Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First Snowfall of Autumn

Monday and Tuesday were warm and windy. I grumbled as I put on a lightweight skirt and short sleeve blouse and sandals for work yet again. Frowned as switched on the air conditioner in the car. Checked the Weather Channel, and read about friends on the Northwest coast receiving fog and rain.

Wednesday I woke up, looked outside and saw that the scenes outside had changed.

Snow had fallen on the "benches" as they call the mountains around here.
This is a picture of Mt. Olympus, the mountain I look at every day from my kitchen window.
The sky: Could it get any darker over "my" mountain? The temperatures had dropped, and the cold winds made my eyes tear up.

I found a place where I could capture my community at the base of the mountain.
Autumn has slipped lower and down among us; winter has dances upon the peaks that touch the sky above us.

Autumn colors and snowfall combining together is a rare short lived event. I took an extended lunch to visually satiate myself and to capture the beauty forever with my trusty camera.

About a mile up the road from our house is an area called Neff's Canyon. It has a parking lot and a trail that leads up the canyon alongside a stream bed. Bernie and I have hiked it once...on a hot day. I told him I'd wait until the weather cooled before trying the trail again.

This picture was taken while I was still at the trail head, in the parking lot!

(Me: click. click. take a step. click. click.....)

The clouds were absorbing the light, yet when the sun got the smallest breakthrough, the colors became almost blinding.

If only I could have gotten there sooner...snow on the red leaves would have been magnificent.
I turned around, and walked to the other edge of the parking lot, which overlooked the Salt Lake Valley. The Unitas Mountains are in the distance on the other side of the valley; I am in the Wasatch "front" (mountains) as I photograph.

It was so tempting to skip the rest of the work day and go hiking up now muddy trail.

A perfect header shot wouldn't you say?
(Jeepers...I seem to be changing my header daily now.)

Since I had "skipped" eating lunch during my lunch time so I could jam around taking pictures, I decided to stop by the house to grab a sandwich before heading back to work.

The view above was taken looking up the street in front of my house.

The view from our deck to Mt. Olympus behind us.

But wait!

All those pictures before were taken yesterday, Wednesday Sept. 30th.
This morning B. got up and looked out the window and said "There's snow on the lawn."

Yesterday's snow hadn't touched our property. This morning....snow at our place, on our deck.

And on B.'s car.
Last weekend he had declared that we HAD to clear out our garage and donate the stuff that we had left over from our move.
He said his goal was to be able to park the cars in the garage by October 1st.
Apparently he was prophetic about the need for this to happen by that particular date.
Last night (Sept. 30th) I parked in the garage for the first time since our furniture arrived last April.
This morning...
Oct. 1st....
Boy was I glad MY car didn't need to be scrapped this morning!
(He didn't go to work...a touch of flu...chills...feverish. H1N1 has hit his workplace already.)
Remember yesterday's picture from our deck?

18 hrs later, it looked like this!
Will winter here hold heavy snowfall?
El Nino, El Nina...I get them confused.
Me personally:
I'm rooting for the snow!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This post is probably going to be distasteful to readers on many levels.

Be forewarned.

And towards the end...well, what can I say. I went to a co-ed college.

Here's the news story:

LONDON, Sept. 28, 2009
Al Qaeda Bombers Learn from Drug Smugglers
New Technique of Storing Bomb Materials Inside Body Cavity Nearly Kills a Saudi Prince
Play CBS Video Video Storing Bombs Inside Bodies
Security officials are concerned over a tactic newly employed by al Qaeda. Sheila MacVicar reports suicide bombers are now storing explosives inside their bodies in order to avoid detection.

Suicide bomber Abdullah Asieri, avoided detection by two sets of airport security and palace security by smuggling a pound of high explosives, plus a detonator in his rectum. (CBS)

(CBS) Al Qaeda has developed a new tactic that allows suicide bombers to breach even the tightest security, as CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports. Inside a Saudi palace, the scene was the bloody aftermath of an al Qaeda attack in August aimed at killing Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, head of Saudi Arabia's counter terrorism operations.

To get his bomb into this room, Abdullah Asieri, one of Saudi Arabia's most wanted men, avoided detection by two sets of airport security including metal detectors and palace security. He spent 30 hours in the close company of the prince's own secret service agents - all without anyone suspecting a thing.

How did he do it? Taking a trick from the narcotics trade - which has long smuggled drugs in body cavities - Asieri had a pound of high explosives, plus a detonator inserted in his rectum. This was a meticulously planned operation with al Qaeda once again producing something new: this time, the Trojan bomber.

The blast left the prince lightly wounded - a failure as an assassination, but as an exercise in defeating security, it was perfect. The bomber persuaded the prince he wanted to leave al Qaeda, setting a trap. Al Qaeda has an animated movie showing the meeting between the bomber and the prince. Asieri says more senior al Qaeda figures want to surrender and convinces the prince to talk to them on a cell phone.

In the conversation recorded by al Qaeda, you hear a beep in the middle of two identical phrases that are repeated by the bomber and his handler. Explosives experts tell CBS News that beep was likely a text message activating the bomb concealed inside Asieri.

The Trojan bomber hands the phone to Prince Mohammed. He's standing next to him, and 14 seconds later, he detonates.

"This is the nightmare scenario," said Chris Yates, an aviation security consultant. On a plane at altitude, the effects of such a bomb could be catastrophic. And there is no current security system that could stop it. "Absolutely nothing other than to require people to strip naked at the airport," said Yates. And al Qaeda says it will share its new technique via the Internet very soon. There is nothing that can stop that either.

This is serious. Not only does this mean that our airlines are unlikely to be secured by our current methods, it also means that bombers can breeze into any gathering anywhere undetected and dentonate themselves.

This information rattled me for a moment.

(I'll bet you are aren't thrilled with this development either.)

However... moments later I was laughing at comments from the article's readers. (I really should be absolutely appalled as a very nice polite girl and all.)

With apologies to my Mom who really did raise me right and who taught me to only use the word "bottom" in's what made me laugh.

(I also apologize to those who are above this kind of humor. Sorry. Really.)

Let me copy a serious comment first:

Ladies and Gentlemen: While the "methods" used may be mildly amusing, if the report is correct (and given the propensity of the main-stream,and I use the term very loosely to fabricate the truth)then this bomb attempt is terrifying. It is obvious that we can not do body cavity searches on people boarding planes. And if there are no feasible means of detecting people secreting explosives in their bodies it may mean an end to public transit as we know it.

And now for the low brow humor found in the comments after the article.

I didn't make it up...but had to laugh.

**** Sir, did anyone pack or place anything in your a** or did you pack your a** yourself? Has your a** been out of your sight or control at any time?

This is going to make C.B. Fleet Company very, very wealthy. Buy stock in Fleet (fleet enemas) and become wealthy over night. Preparation H might be something else to consider also...
I've always kept a couple of deadly bombs inside one of my body cavaties. Light a match and pull my finger and I'll show you!
better be careful next time they bent over to pray to mecca. Their buddies might try shoving a skud missile in their holy place.
If a plane blows up and it is because some nut had a bomb in his "body cavity", water boarding will be a walk in the park compared to what we will use to get information out of anybody we capture in the future. I firmly believe that the American people will DEMAND information be gained at all costs, and those that believe in rights for terrorists will be told to shut up, sit down, and color.
don't miss Katie Couric's 1 Hour Special ..."AL QAEDA UN-PLUGGED"
Wow, that gives new meaning to the phrase "Blow it out your @ss"
My guess he is not anal retentive any longer.
Rectum? He darn near killed 'em!
Sure gives new meaning to the term 'explosive diarrhea.'
And the secret code for this type of terrorist attack is "number two".
Look, any electrical detonator (called a "squib" in the industry) can be detonated with an external Radio Frequency signal. Doesn't matter what frequency, really. A .1 second blast of RF at 100 Watts per square meter (not harmful to kiddies or pacemakers) will cause the squib to go bang. Anyone carrying an electrically-initiated explosive package will become instantly embarrassed. Build a concrete rotating door that people come into a secure area through and flash them as they are segregated from the rest of the people. Nothing there, no harm no foul. Nasty toys will be revealed. Hose down the interior of the door as required.
Is this kind of bombing called "Holy Sh** since it is done during a holy war?

Hoo boy. Just when you thought it couldn't get crazier out there!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Leaf Peepers: We Go On a Sunday Drive

Bernie and I have agreed that we want to do something fun every weekend, even if it just to take a drive to some place we haven't been before.

This past weekend had been pretty full of tasks needing to be done, so it was almost 4 o'clock on Sunday when we decided to bag the "to do" list and take a ramble around the area instead.

While he gassed up the car, I took shots of the hills around our house.

( Re: The blurry sky in the picture above and below: One should check one's camera lens frequently. Especially if one never goes anywhere without one's is bound to eventually need cleaning.)

I was pretty excited to see the color change views just a block from our house.
As our son told us when we first moved here:

Fall comes down from the mountains, spring comes up from the valley floor.

Fall was definitely streaming down the mountainside on this very hot early fall Sunday.

The hillsides that were green, green, green in spring are now a shaven golden color with freckles of color popping up here and there.

I think the white rock layers are pretty cool too...originally flat, but after centuries of earthquake activity, now appear almost like rickrack trim on the hillside.

Once the car's tank was full, we headed north east, toward Ogden. We really hadn't travel up north much before.

Fifteen minutes on the road...and I was yelling "OH MY GOSH!!!"
The tree colors were spectacular!
At the first wide spot in the road, B. pulled over and I jumped out of the car with my camera in hand.

Now this is a mystery to me: Sweet Peas are blooming wildly all over SLC right now.
I could of sworn that Sweet Pea is a spring blooming flower. It is April's birth flower for goodness sake. My birthday being in April, I know this to be true.

Pink and white blossoms trail weirdly through the autumn leaves.
Is this typical? Anyone out there know?

There was a path through the trees..

I walked and stared up at the colors overhead, taking picture after picture, and breathing in the scent of autumn around me.

Growing up in Southern California I used to dream of scuffling through colorful fall forest.

It is a dream come true.
I keep repeating, rejoicing over and over: And all this is only 15 minutes from my front door!

The path crosses over a stream and leads up the mountainside. I want to trek the path...but Ogden is still ahead and the light will soon be gone

Mentally I decide I will take a few days off work...explore all of these paths...think about going over to the paths after work. Decide working is a blasted waste of time when the earth is putting on limited time showings like this.

I'm thinking of friends...wishing they were with me to walk and take photos and go "" right along side me.

Why didn't anyone tell me Utah and SLC had such gorgeous fall colors before?
Back to the car...and I notice that there will be more color change in the days ahead, judging from the trees that are still green across the way.

Looking back down the road: Yes, I should come back here every couple of days just to enjoy the changes.

We push on, driving on curving narrow roads that do not have places to safely pull over.
At last there is one place...from where the view of mountains seem to continue forever.
The fall colors have arranged themselves in orderly streamers rippling down the mountainside.

Blasts of yellow morph into flaming orange then red then green...a fallen rainbow of color.

The white sticks beneath the green topped trees tells me that this celebration has just begun.
The aspen has not fully given in to golden garb as of yet.
What day will that happen?
Tell me...what day?
I can not bear to think that I may miss the ultimate color explosion.

Will the red still be in the mix when the hillside turns totally yellow?
Will snow fall and add white to the pallet I now see there?

Colorful stripes!
How does that happen?
No man planted any tree that I see.
Yet the organization there...SOMEONE must have had a plan.
Can't stop taking shots of the stripes! Wish I could shot the scene in morning and afternoon light too.

Then we press on. The hills are like brown sugar lumps, with odd shapes of yellow embedded here and there. The Mormon pioneers travelled this passage a century and a half ago.
Did they ever see the upside down L shaped aspen grove on the distant hill?

An isolated forest has formed up on the craggy ledge. Are those trees remnants of when the ground was flat, or did breeze carried seeds plant themselves on an awaiting ledge?

We stop to peek at a stream...
and a few miles further on discover a stream feeding waterfall.

It was almost dark....

I craned my neck to capture the font, trying to capture the view with flash, and then with camera settings for low lights, bracing my camera to hold steady for the long exposure.

Leaning over the railing on the roadside, I tryed to get closer to the falls, trying to get just a wee bit more light for a picture.

Behind me the evening's last light caught a protruding rocky tip with a single stubborn plant growing up high.

Car whizzed pass with lights on, stabbing the darkness, missing the watery view that I enjoyed.

It is never to late to cast a was however too late to be able to see well enough to tie a fly on the line.
The fish will be there another day
Ogden...well, I'm not sure how to get to the charming little old part of the town that nestles up into the mountains.
I've read they ring huge church bells when the first powder snowfall arrives. The day is a holiday; everyone heads to the slopes.

We'll have to come back again to see what the town has to offer. I've heard rumors of quaint shops just waiting to be explored.

Even though we didn't explore Ogden,the trip was clearly not a waste. The fall colors were fantastic.

But oh is it hard to stay inside now. Outside a warm southwestern wind is whipping the trees, and by this time tomorrow there could be snow on those hillsides.
I want to go wander the hillsides.
I want to go enjoy outside!