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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Solstice Lunar Eclipse

It was the first lunar eclipse on the winter solstice since Gallileo's time. The kids' sleep schedule is a wreck. They did fall asleep outside in their sleeping bags which was oddly funny.

Astronomy pictures are hard. I definitely need some more practice. This one was hard for me particularly when there was as much moon in shadow as not. The contrast was too high and I managed to gray out the reflected light and gray out the red shadow. Oh no, I'll have to take more pictures...

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I can has cricket?

That's Rowan's title for a mantis we found. It's a line from a website devoted to captioning animal pictures. If you're unfamiliar with the site, check out the lolcats also known as "I Can Has Cheezburger?"
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Peek Inside

I like that I can see both the more camouflaged underwing and the bright blue upperside.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

They'll Need A Crane

I like the TMBG song, They'll Need A Crane, but with regard to this picture, it's only titular.

I think crane flies are really neat. If Tolkien were adapted to play to an all-fly audience, I think the elves would be played by crane flies.

The little clubs beneath the wings are halteres. As I understand it, they are balancing and stabilizing rudimentary hind wings. If instead the forewings were the rudimentary pair, we'd have to call flies "halter tops."

Did I mention I've been on a stream of consciousness kick lately?
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Isn't that Dandy?

It's like the love child of a snowflake and a weed. I hadn't noticed the hexagonal symmetry before I took this picture. I also thought it looked like the puff had tilted its head into the frame and said, "Boo".

Close up dandylion pictures seem kinda cliche, but I suppose they're popular for a reason.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cpt Tribble of the 3.14th Airborne Division

Perhaps this little thing really escaped from a Dr Seuss book.

I like these. They always make me laugh.
I'm more sure about this id as a bee fly or Bombyliinae. :)

Thanks Anonymous for the Lynx spider. I must be distracted.
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Hum vs Buzz

This little bird was buzzing around us, eating mosquitoes while we were playing catch and release with crawdads.

I'm sure that day was the first time that I thought a hummingbird really should be much, much faster. She might have just thought it was good sport rather than an actual meal.

Just about everyone in our little group was being eaten alive. I don't usually react to bites, so I can often neener-neener. Skeeters are an annoyance, but the bites aren't painful and won't raise a bump or itch. For all my other allergies, I'm relatively immune to mosquito bites. This day, the sheer number of mini-vampires that were trying to enter my ears was enough to send me packing. I hate that buzzing sound when it's actually in my ear.

When I got home I think I found a red dot on my arm. That was surprising. I couldn't find it the next time I checked, so maybe it wasn't a bite.
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Dragon Overhead

'Nother present for Matt.

I was in a swampy area with cat tails standing six plus feet high. This dragonfly was patrolling the area. A few times he came to hover and buzz a couple feet in front of my nose, but I guess I looked mostly harmless.

No news yet. IBM fires Theo today for job desertion. The HR people are trying to figure out if the kids and I can apply for COBRA or not and if so will IBM contribute. Previously it was yes, then maybe, then yes with perhaps little help, then today it was that Theo would need to fill out and sign the forms.

As Matt said, there is a certain irony that they are terminating his employment since he's missing, but in order for his family to get COBRA he needs to sign forms -- presumably including why he isn't there to sign the forms.

The Catch 22 is alive and well.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Missing Person: Theo Petersen

We've filed a Missing Person report on my husband. If you've seen Theo Petersen please contact Det Jason Weaver with any information 303-660-7588 Missing Person Case 10-68523. You can also see Theo's profiles, picture and related information at: LinkedIn Public Profile, Web Development with Apache and Perl, and Good Reads. He was driving a white '94 Saturn station wagon with Colorado plates the letters are GBL, but the numbers I'm not sure of, maybe 683. He said that he was headed for Indianapolis, but no one has verified that he arrived there.

Since his last communication on June 30th, he hasn't contacted his work and his family haven't heard from him either. Various details of his departure have worried us about his safety and/or well-being. We are in the midst of a divorce, so he could be under a significant amount of stress. As of this writing, I have not located either his passport or mine. The police have not called me with any information.

Mini golf Daddy Long Legs

I wasn't sure I wanted to celebrate my 40th birthday (7/3) , but my kids wouldn't let me out of it. It's a cake and ice cream event and it was going to happen whether or not I wanted it.

I took them to a mini golf place with some shade trees. I was trying to keep Jasmine comfortable, but she only lasted about 9 holes before she just retreated from shade tree to shade tree. We need to get super-dark glasses or something that will comfortably work with kids' sunglasses. She's been miserable this whole bright summer. Generally she loves mini golf, but this time I think I should have switched it to bowling.

Anyhow, on the course, I found this beautiful spider with which I wasn't familiar. I loved his acacia-tree like legs. I took a ton of pics, but the profile was the most illuminating for narrowing it down to the family Pholcidae. In layman speak it's one of the daddy-long-legs spiders. I still think daddy-long-legs should refer to the non-spider arachnid the Opilione, here's my pic of one.

Even with this find and my cheerful children, it was a melancholy day. The cloud over my head was that the kids were still under the impression that Dad intended to return from a road trip. I had already received an email from him informing me that he had no plans to return but I was still attempting to get more information before I was going to tell them.

I think the kids were coming to terms with the idea of divorce, but abandonment... the first talk was a cake walk. The kids are still in shock but soldiering through. I'm really amazed by their bravery, but I wish I could do more than I am. They've asked some painful questions and my answers have been less than emotionally satisfying I'm sure. But how can one explain to three young kids events that have stupifyed all the adults? I've told them what I know and ended with things like, "I don't know why," and "I don't know what's happening but I'll tell you as soon as I do."

I'm preparing for rough water ahead. If there is a bright spot it's that the home atmosphere is much less tense -- like a cold, sodden woolen blanket has been removed. Co-habitating with your soon to be ex is one of the most stressful situations I think a person could be under. That or bomb squad work.
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[Addendum] My friend Anonymous pointed out that the spider is actually a Lynx spider. Goofy me. :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Current Favorite, A Tiger and His Ball

I took this at the Cheyenne Mtn Zoo in May. It was snowing at the highest part of the zoo. Yes, the zoo is actually on the side of a mountain and the weather is very different from the lowest point to the highest.

I had a fairly slow shutter speed and the tiger was playing to fast for me to adjust it. I didn't want to missing seeing any of it.

I was thrilled at the motion in the rest of the picture and the sharp focus on the head. I hear they can do that sort of effect in photoshop nowadays. :P
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Dot Theme

More 70's - type dots. I think the grouper was more 50's. This fly is definitely more psychedelic. I'm waiting for an ID from BugGuide, but maybe I can find it first. :)
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Blue Dot Grouper

I didn't remember the name of this fish, but Yea Internet!, I found some info at In Love of Animals. Maybe he's a garabaldi with people-pox. We spent a lot of time at the Tropical Discovery building at the Denver Zoo. Snakes, bats, lizards, frogs, fish, corals, and Komodo Dragons.
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Zebra: Check

Another checkmark on my list of "Animals Photographed While Yawning."
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If Shakespeare Wrote for Beetles

It seems like it could be a balcony scene. I need to look up the species of these two love beetles.
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Tiger Beetles in Spring

Spring is here -- okay, we're already halfway through it, but I've been a bum regarding blogging. I'll see if I can fix this.

Here's the romantic image of the day.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yeti Mouse

I don't know why I started calling her mouse. I guess it's just that she looked like a little white mouse when I first got her. She was three months old, living at the Dumb Friends' League and recovering from malnourishment. She was amazingly affectionate (like OGMO, who I got the same day at the same place). When you'd stroke her down her back, her long tail would curl up so much it would touch the top of her head. She used to fetch Q-tips, but only if you threw them to the same place every time.

I had just started living with my boyfriend (and later my first and then ex-husband) when I got her. Then a move and a couple unfortunate relationships, then my marriage to Theo (with his two cats) followed quickly by three children. She managed to tolerate babies and even become enamored with the kids as they grew older and learned the proper technique for petting her. She had a special bar stool, threadbare and apparently comfy. It stood in the threshold between our front room and kitchen. To get anywhere in the house you had to pass her stool. Rowan eventually posted a sign, "Yeti's Petting Station: On Duty".

Yeti was always a fierce defender of the house. No animal would approach our house without a challenge, even if her challenge was made through the sliding glass doors. Dogs, foxes, raccoons, other cats would all know that she was there and ready to dish out some whoop ass. One neighborhood cat would taunt her by sleeping on our porch; I think he knew we didn't generally let her out. One day she did get out and kicked the tuna salad out of him. He never came to taunt her again.

She did suffer a scratched right cornea from that fight and her eye took a long time to heal. Even in the picture above, she still had a bit of drainage. After we ruled out infection and gave her steroid treatments, we could finally see the injury and it was actually healing nicely. I was glad to have that bit of health trauma behind us.

Then about three weeks ago, Yeti stopped eating and her weight loss was dramatic. She was licking odd things like paper, walls, and plaster-like fish tank decorations. I think she was originally about 12 pounds and dropped to eight, then over the weekend to seven. Blood tests all looked good -- at least kidney and liver, the things I'd always worried about with my elderly cats. However, one type of white blood cell count was up. We gave her antibiotics, but this count indicated a long term inflammation. Cancer was mentioned a few times, but she had no tumors. Another blood test showed no leukemia. I was feeling desperate and didn't know what to do. Prednisone seemed to help a little, but by now all she wanted to do was sleep with a minute or two of pets every hour. She was drinking, but fairly quickly couldn't manage to get to the basement litterbox. I was syringing soft food with vitamins, trying to get as much in without giving her so much that she would throw up. I'd stop a feeding session when she'd start growling at me.

Last Friday, March 5th, we got her an ultrasound. Our vet could see lymphoma right away; her intestine was irritated and inflamed as well. We stepped up the steroid treatment, hoping it would go in remission since there were no tumors. The upside was that it might stimulate her appetite and would hopefully help any pain. That was the beginning of a weekend of stress and worry.

Sunday, March 7th was sunny and a little cool. I carried her out to the sunshine on the porch. I took a few pictures of her as she rested in the sun and purred. See the one above.

Monday, she couldn't walk any more, she wouldn't take food anymore. She still purred when I petted her, but she'd get worn out after a minute or two and would try to retreat and rest. I made my decision and made the appointment for after Rowan's arrival back home from school.

I told the kids that I was going to bring her into the vet to put her to sleep, explaining that she would go to sleep and then her heart would stop. I tried to explain to them and re-convince myself that we didn't want her to starve to death, be in pain, have a terrible quality of life, or (what almost seemed the very worst thought) not purr when I came to her. The vet thought maybe the cancer had already spread in her brain, which would explain the rapid degeneration of her health.

Rowan, Jasmine and Theo said goodbye to her and stayed home. Kai and I brought her in.

Bye Yeti. We love you.
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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Cellar Spider

From the Butterfly Pavilion's display, a cellar spider and her spiderlings. I was wondering if she ate while they spent their time in her web. If so, how does she recognize them as non-food. If not, how are the "stop monitoring your web" signals turned off?
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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Vegetation Tresses

Does this look like a woman wearing a white knit hat? She has wild long hair curling from underneath the hat?
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Monday, March 01, 2010

Cat on her Pedestal

This is Yeti, our adorable and abominable white cat in a typical sleeping pose on her bar stool. She's getting up in years, about 17. A couple months ago she received a scratch on her cornea from a local cat. He's primarily an outdoor wanderer, though he eats and sleeps a few doors down. She's a fierce defender of the house. After weeks of eye drainage and inflammation it finally healed enough that we could see the cause of the distress.

Just as she's getting over that, she fell ill. We're not sure what she has. The vet says everything looks good except her white blood count. She doesn't seem to have an infection, but chronic inflammation. Even so, she's still on antibiotics and we gave her a small dose of Prednisone. I hope it's just getting over her eye injury. He mentioned tumors and cancer. She's losing weight, but still drinking water. We're doing some blood work, and if things keep going downhill we've got an ultrasound appointment. I've started putting soft food on the roof of her mouth to try and keep her weight up.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Uh, I guess you can take my Kodachrome away

More of the monochrome pictures. Ice has really fascinated me this winter. I've especially liked the shapes of melting ice when the temperature creeps up a little.

This is the top layer of ice above a little spillway near our local playground.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Flake Upstanding

I need to make a random title generator.
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Icicle on the Barbie

A black, metal barbeque grill is a great backdrop for winter pictures.
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