Sunday, October 25, 2015

Out of Order

Dear Readers,

I upgraded my operating system and messed up by blogging platform. I don't know how to fix it, and will be OUT of ORDER for a couple of weeks.

Thanks for your patience.

Travel blogs will resume!


Pam Glover

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Here to There (Is Surry County in the same universe as Spain?)

I headed out for my walk today and couldn't help but contrast here with there. 

For the last two weeks I've been hoofing over pavement in Spain. There I sidled through jammed sidewalks,  strolled down tree-lined paseos,  or treaded carefully over river rocks  in medieval alleys.

Today I was alone on our country drive, rather than sharing crowded walkways. 

The breeze was moderate with a crisp tinge unlike ocean-tempered Barcelona or warm Granada.

The only color left in my yard was from leggy cosmos lying horizontal. Compared to the Alhambra, it isn't even a garden. 

Join me the next few weeks as I contrast bustling Barcelona to medieval Madrid to laid-back Granada. It will have to satisfy both of us until we book another trip.  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Breakfast at the Starbucks Academy

My city mouse grandchildren always look around for the Target and Starbucks. They can't fathom life without one or both at a nearby corner. 

Recently while visiting them, we stopped off for coffee, etc. on the way to a the airport. What surprised me was a line of families stopping to get breakfast before school.

Apparently in that neighborhood the kids don't eat breakfast at home or at the school cafeteria. Thus, Starbucks is fast food. But not really because the line was so long and it takes more than a minute to whip up decaf latte mocha with nonfat milk and no whip cream. 

The nearest two schools to that location are private, both called academies.
One costs $17,000 a year, the other doesn't state the tuition price on line. I guess if you have to ask you can't afford it. As a product of public education, and a teacher in public education, I can't fathom that kind of money.  

It baffles me. It rankles. It makes me sad because the kids I taught deserved beautiful facilities, small class sizes, well-endowed libraries, labs and even sports fields. 

Starbucks they could live without. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Critters in the Suburbs

The distinction between inhabited and wild landscapes is blurring faster than a rabbit on the run. 

My daughter sent this photo taken on her run in a south Denver suburb. She wasn't more than 1/4 mile from major traffic areas. Seeing the doe was a nice surprise, although worrisome for the deer. But the buck! I've never seen a buck even out here in the boonies!

 used by permission of RJ Sangosti, Denver Post

Back in September she took her kids to school to discover the school was in lock down. No, not guns, a school bus full of kids and their driver spotted a bear in the neighborhood park.  No kidding. Later in the week he was tranquilized in a backyard a mile from her house! 

It's good she runs with her cell phone, but maybe she needs a holster for a big spray can of bear-b-gone. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ivy is a porch barnacle

I just realized that ivy is a porch barnacle. 

Like its seaward sister, it starts small and is a already a problem when you first spot it. 

It fastens itself to posts, crawls between boards, and climbs effortlessly. It grows tiny rootlets that don't need soil, and produces a superglue that allows it to adhere to any surface, even glass. The rootlets absorb water from rain and the air, and flourish anywhere. 

Left too long, it's a struggle to remove the vines. And once you dislodge it, it leaves behind tough tan dry roots. 

If barnacles are scraped off they leave behind their footprint too.  Here's a rock I picked up at the ocean. You can see large and small barnacle imprints. 

Like the ivy, cirripods manufacture a fixative that fuses the larvae to the host. They attach head first, and their bodies have tubes that deliver the glue. As the barnacle grows, layers of the animal are added, and more cement laid down. 

Of course, both ivy and barnacles add weight to whatever they affix themselves to. Ivy in a large tree can literally weigh a ton, and barnacles on a boat can slow its progress.

I don't want my porch to be overgrown with ivy so I snip it off a couple of times a year. 

As for our rowboat, maybe the barnacles are the reason I'm a klutz with oars!