Birthday Cake

Nicolas had an Odd Squad birthday this time around. His cake was purple which is his favorite color and had the Odd Squad badge on top. Here he is blowing out the candle.

Nicolas' Ninth

We celebrated Nicolas' ninth birthday this afternoon at David and Renee's. The family was present and had BBQ, chips, fruit and cake. Nicolas of course enjoyed opening his presents.

The Mongols

Scientists may now know what stopped the Mongol horde from taking over Europe…it rained too much and this affected the crops to feed their war horses. Ghengis Khan did have a foe and one he could not defeat.

"In 1206, Genghis Khan, a fierce tribal chieftain from northern Mongolia, began to take over the world. The khan’s ruthless tactics and loyal horde swept across Asia.

One territory after another fell under the overwhelming force of the Mongol Empire, which would eventually stretch from the eastern shores of China. A series of successful forays in Hungary and Poland made even Europe seem within reach of conquering.

But this unstoppable wave of victories in Europe suddenly ended. Almost as soon as the Mongols set their sights set on Austria, they abruptly returned to Asia."


Fencing the gaps

Since I saw a pickup driving fast across our hay field to leave the property and the gates were closed, Bob has started fencing off the areas near the little barn where the fencing is down and needed to be replaced. Here is the work today.

Frederik the Great Horse

There is a Friesian stallion named Frederik the Great, who is the most striking horse around. He looks like a beautiful statue with a long, flowing mane. This is one for the horse books for sure. He has been compared to Fabio due to his awesome mane of hair and looks. The details can be found here.


The Lonesome Cave

In Romania, they found a cave that has not been exposed to the outside world for over 5 million years. Evolution there is different than what occurred on the rest of earth. The cave is crowded with insects and the ecosystem is fragile, few are allowed in to see.

"The few who have ventured into Movile Cave have discovered it’s crawling with life — literally. The residents of Movile Cave are not concerned with the high levels of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide in the air. With just half the usual concentration of oxygen, human visitors need breathing equipment to survive. The cave gets more crowded with insects the worse the air gets.

Most creatures in Movile Cave are believed to have arrived over five million years ago when limestone sealed the entrance. Most insects have since adapted to the complete darkness by losing their eyes and pigmentation. Many have also developed longer legs and antennae to feel around in the dark."

Up and Running

Bob got my fountain that we brought from California up and running after the winter's break. It is pleasant to hear the sounds of running water. I love the fountain but it does not run as often since it gets plugged with bees and leaves. It still is a pleasure.

Bone Church in Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, there is a church that holds the remains of between 40,000 and 70,000 people. Many died during the plague in the 1300s, other in wars in the 15th Century. The bones have been used to increase the decorative appearance inside the church. It is a bit macabre. See it here, the Sedlec Ossuary.


The British Museum in London is displaying some ancient statues that are the sunken cities of Egypt. A world lost to us until found in recent years. The British Museum is amazing. We just spent part of a day there and it would require many more days.

Scotch Whiskey

I like single malt Scotch Whiskey. It was fund to take the Whiskey trail south and southeast of Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland. One of our favorites is Talisker from the Isle of Skye, another is Clyneleish from the Brora area on the NE coast of Scotland.

Here is an article suggesting some good scotch whiskeys that are more reasonable in price, since they have gotten expensive.

Ryan Using Chopsticks

At Momiji's last night having sushi for dinner. Ryan trying out chopsticks on the strawberries we brought for the kids to eat.

The Strawberry Kid

The first strawberries of the season from our garden. We figured some urchins would love them for dinner as we went out to eat at Momiji's. The baby bird look.

Firs in Sunlight Sidestream

Another photo from last night's display of bright sun streaming horizontally from under the clouds onto the trees near sunset.

Trees in Sunlight at Sunset

Today the weather was troubled and unsettled. Near sunset, I was able to get this photo of the sun streaming from the west under the clouds and highlighting the trees. Really setting off the colors.

The Greatest Documentary

Yes, I would agree with this designation. An article that calls The World at War the greatest and an essential primer on history's deadliest conflict. I have recorded this set and then later purchased the DVD set. It is serious, riveting, unbelievable and above all watchable. See why.

Pet Sounds

The Beach Boys I know. I grew up with their music. I did not know the album, Pet Sounds, though based on this article it is a shame I did not. This is a wonderful tribute to music and especially to this album considered one of the best ever produced.

Dickens Minor Characters

I have always enjoyed Charles Dickens books. I love the BBC TV productions of these stories. I was hooked when in high school we studied "A Tale of Two Cities" and one understood the symbolism there.

So is there more to Dickens? Check it out.

"Allow me to introduce Mr Plornishmaroontigoonter. Lord Podsnap, Count Smorltork, and Sir Clupkins Clogwog. Not to mention the dowager Lady Snuphanuph. As for Serjeant Buzfuz, Miss Snevellicci, Mrs. Wrymug, and the Porkenhams… who the dickens are all these people? Why do they have such weird names?

They are the best of names, they are the worst of names, from an age of onomastic wisdom and hypocoristic foolishness, an epoch of… well you get the picture. You may recognize this raggle-taggle cast of minor characters, in all their rich variety, as stemming from the fevered imaginings of one Charles Dickens."


I am known to overdo the punctuation or often not use it as appropriately as it should. Where did it come from and why is it important? You mean you did not read "Eats Shoots and Leaves"? Check out this bit about punctuation and learn your grammar!

Women Can Do It-The Barclay Challenge

Do you think you could walk 1000 miles in 1000 hours? This is the Barclay Challenge. A man did it first, Captain Robert Barclay Allardice. Women back in the day were considered not to be able to do this sort of physical activity or at least "win" at it. See how the challenge was met, when and by whom.

Wine Tasting Heard Round the World

For so many years, French wines were considered the top of class in taste. Nothing could touch them. Then at one point in the 1970s, a surprise happened where California wines came out of the shadows and beat the French wines in a tasting test. The world has never been the same again. Another story to read.

The Amerikans

I have watched the TV show, The Amerikans, on FX since it started. The concept is a deep cover family, parents came over from Russia and are very American like spies for the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Their children do not know they are spies and they assume they are a normal American family.

I came across this story of a family of much similar circumstances. The parents were deep cover spies for Russia and the children did not know of the deception until the FBI arrested the parents. Now the sons must live in Europe and wish to be able to return to the U.S. Read the story.

The Bobble

Bob in Scott's back yard on a nice sunny evening, last night in fact.

Ryan Turns Three

The big 3 came for Ryan and everyone gathered at David and Renee's home for the celebration. Ryan was hyped up with excitement and sugar. There were lots of presents to go around, along with cake and sugar.

ryan-third-birthday top 5-9-16


Mt. Shasta in the Sun

On the road again….home. It is too soon since we needed the break from work and the same surroundings. It was a beautiful sunny day for a trip, at least on the northern California side. I just wish we could have gotten some pictures of the Castle Crags. The lighting on them was spectacular.

At Civic Feline Clinic

We made a visit to Civic Feline Clinic today. It was fun and sad to see the old place. It has been sold to NVA, corporate practice. Here is my long time technician and friend, Michele. She came to work for me in 1988 which is a long history.

Back in Walnut Creek

We showed up in Walnut Creek area about mid-morning. Stopped in Concord to visit the Koellermeier's to talk old times and business. Later on we headed to John and Josie's place to again talk old times and have dinner. It was a good day and fun to reminisce.

One the Road to California

After spending a cool night over in Bend, we were on the road to California for a quick trip.Going down Hwy. 97 through Klamath Falls and past Mt. Shasta to Weed, CA we past Mt. Shasta peering out from the clouds. There were some big thunderstorms to the west of Shasta over the Trinity mountains.

Anniversary of a Passing

Today is the 10th anniversary of Mom's passing. This was such a difficult day for me and everyone. The story is too sad to share. She will be missed by those of us she touched and loved.


Family members know that one of my favorite movies is Aliens. One loves to quote lines from it. I have a kindred spirit of Melissa Kennedy who also loves the movies and the quotes. I did find this information of some facts one can find about the movie I didn't know.

Holocaust Liberation

A beautiful photo and story about the liberation of some Holocaust survivors. I imagine it was an incredibly liberating experience to see someone coming to their rescue after being on the edge of death for so long.

Manhattan Transfer

One music group Bob and I love to listen to the music is Manhattan Transfer. We have seen them perform several times while we lived in the Bay Area. The lead singer has passed away but the group is still going strong. Great Doo-Wop music. Here is a description of their current status and a show they put on in Minneapolis.
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