Election Day

“A day of decision,” intoned the local newscaster, “but, first, a check of the weather.”

Before the mail-in ballot, weather on election day varied considerably. Indian summer-like weather in certain years, cold and blustery in others, and a few on the wintry side. Today, nice but warm clothing required.

Colorado blue skies

The mail-in ballot has largely made the weather a non-factor. If you did not want to spend the 85 cents in postage to mail back your ballot, polling centers have been set-up to collect completed ballots. For those who have difficulty in marking their ballots, the county does have touchscreen voting machines at a pair of their major polling centers. While a few have groused about ballot security or an illegally cast ballot, vote fraud has been exceedingly rare statewide.

The Ballot

Of the races for an elected office, fortunately we’ve been spared from having white-hot, contentious ones. Just the standard mudslinging kind. If there is one thing that unites everyone across the political spectrum, it’s the ending of the incessant stream of political ads. There have been a few instances of political ads running after the polls have closed on election night; one time, the day after the election.

before the ballot:  a late night, margarita pick ’em session on paper

Half of the ballot are the various initiatives, some from the state legislature, some from petition. The “blue book” explains the various statewide initiatives – the fine-print initiative language, pros and cons, and an impact analysis (the dollar cost or savings). We largely pass on reading the blue book. The same goes for the voting guide on local initiatives, which are largely tax and bonding issues.

What has made voting on initiatives easier is the language simplification. A “yes” vote means a vote in favor an initiative, a “no” vote means a vote against an initiative. While the language used is more straightforward, at times it has muddled the aim of an initiative. Two years ago, an amendment that would have banned slavery in all forms and circumstances, including those who have been incarcerated, failed. Another amendment to ban slavery has made it onto the ballot. The language is cleaner and straight to the point – all forms of slavery are banned.

The Trump Effect

The less said, the better. Simply, he’s unfit to be president. He would also make for a poor dogcatcher, if that is an elective office anywhere.


To our friends across America, please do vote. Making a difference, being that difference, matters. Though elections are mostly decided by more than one vote, there have been instances in which a coin flip, a hi-lo card draw, or a straw drawing has decided an election. Don’t let the race you care about be the one to be decided that way.



A wind began to stir near the witching hour. It was said it would soon begin to howl. I had to hurry inside. I knew it wouldn’t be safe in the night’s darkness. Leaves, rustled by the wind, raced past my quickening pace. In the distance, a wolf’s howl. “It can’t be,” I shouted in my mind. “There are no wolves here!” The last wolf was over a hundred years ago.

I walked faster, fearing I wouldn’t make it inside. The door, finally! “Safely inside,” I said to myself.

A muffled growl came from the darkened hallway. Then, piercing, glowing eyes. I could hear its paws and claws strike the floor in every step it took. “About time you got home with the extra candy. Not a chance I was going to give my kibble to the next trick-or-treater.”

A happy, safe Halloween to all!


The more intimate dates within our family are remembered, celebrated for the happiness they bring. My parents’ wedding anniversary is one of those dates. Today is their 65th anniversary. Mom would say, “Sorry, I have missed this celebration and a half.” While it is bittersweet, my dad is not one for misty-eyed moments. He has remained loyal in wearing his wedding band after mom’s passing.

A baker, a lover of chocolate, mom would have loved these chocolate chip cookies. Extra rich, they are the “melt-in-your-mouth” kind. “Decadent,” mom would have proclaimed.

Our family chocolatier, Laurie, baked these late, last evening after a long day at work. They will be savored tonight after a hearty stew for dinner. A perfect dessert on a cold winter’s night.

A toast to their long marriage.

Happy Anniversary!


Colorado In Fall: Coming Home

A warm hearth awaits, along with stories and tales to be told.

Dino and Pebbles were first, when they were baby kittens in 1989. Then, it was Egypt in 2005. On the equine front, Cara and Magician came in 2003. There’s something about October, something about the fall season, when it is time to come home.

Soon, another October addition will come.

Tara riding then two-year old Shelby (Double N Ranch, TX – May 2016)

Shelby is destined be Tara’s future show jumping horse. In the two years since Tara’s first ride with Shelby, the paint has undergone a growth spurt and now stands at 17.3 hands tall. At four years old, Nicole says he’s going to be a talented one. Shelby is jumping at the one meter level. Nicole believes his time has arrived to learn and develop with a talented rider. For Tara, Shelby reminds her so much of Jasper.

With Shelby, Tara notes, “Second chances rarely come. We’re going to make a good run at being the best.”

Pebbles: Rainbow Bridge Day

They were unsettled days, a mix of cold, rain and snow. The past few days have not been much different. The similarities of two moments in time, separated by thirteen years, have been most striking. Yet, they have been very different in mood.

The good days with Pebbles were many. She was ever loyal and loving. The best napping companion. She did not ask for much, except for tuna, a small taste of fresh canola oil, and her own little plate for dinner.

baby quilt: taking the morning nap

the daily tuna: lunching in the kitchen

Pebbles also liked her luxuries. She nibbled on her grandma’s gold bracelet, and developed a fondness for her leopard-print, leather handbag. My mom was more than happy to give Pebbles the handbag. One night, Pebbles spotted Andrea’s diamond pendant on her dressing table. The next morning, the pendant was missing. Andrea searched high and low for the pendant. While she thought Deborah or Elizabeth may have taken the pendant, Andrea found it laying in the kitty toy basket. Pebbles had put away her new special toy. When she saw Pebbles giving her the eye, Andrea asked if it was okay if she could wear the pendant for the day. Pebbles meowed her reply; Andrea took it to be a “yes”.

kitty fashion: Pebbles with her leather handbag

spa: warming in the dryer

Every day was a good one with our Pebbles. We were very privileged to be her forever family for 16 years. We love and miss you much.

Love you always,

mom and dad

A Quiet September

… and, not by design.

The month slipped by quietly, with October beginning today. The girls, immersed in their studies while staying sharp with their riding, are taking aim at the Las Vegas Nationals in mid-November. The always busy Laurie and Andrea, busy. Except for a pair of early starts, no one required their special talents in the middle of the night. For myself, a few work projects. One project is on hold pending the arrival of a new printer. My existing HP OfficeJet printer gave out last week, unable to lift a sheet of paper to be fed into the printhead interface. It gave nine years of flawless service.

Similarly, fall began quietly. No chill winds, no large temperature swings, and most importantly, no surprise snow. While the fall colors have gone past their peak in the high country, they are slowly beginning here in the lower elevations. Autumn gold should take hold around mid-month, mostly from cottonwoods and elms. Reds and oranges will mostly come from scrub oak, poison oak and poison sumac.

the fall colors in the old neighborhood (October 2017)

dulled color: gray skies and low clouds

A dull gray, not the best color to begin a new month. Rain, only a slight possibility, from the remnants of Hurricane Rosa. While the overcast gives the impression of cooler temperatures, it has been in the mid-70s for most of the day. Very pleasant. Better yet, not many flying insects hanging by the barn.

In the forecast: Brighter, warmer days. Cool overnights.


It has been nearly a generation. Of remembrances. Of recollections. Of reflections. A somber mood embraces the day.

September 11th Memorial Garden (Main Gate, Fort Carson, CO)

Perspectives have varied through the years. Those who lost a loved one, the hurt and the memory of the moment remains fresh like yesterday. The shock, the grief, the pain have largely slipped away for the many. They would prefer if this page could be turned considering the passage of time. Or, the calendar somehow turned back to September 10, 2001.

What makes September 11th different? Perhaps its scale, the senselessness, the summoning of fear. It was a declaration there would be no safety anywhere. The greatest power, too, would experience a measure of fear and uncertainty. Moreover, “the civilized world”, riven with division, would be willing to abandon their principles in the resulting turmoil.

Instead, we witnessed the greatness of America rising from the ashes of tragedy. From the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, to the quiet of a Pennsylvania field. We saw people, of every persuasion, step forward, asking what they could do. They did not wait for a glib slogan, or an opportunist’s call to action. It was America at her absolute best.

In remembering, remember the tragedy, but also remember the best of America revealed.


*** Remembering September 11th, a pair of documentaries:

9/11: The Day That Changed the World
George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview