Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January is so boring...unless you have cats.

Is it STILL January?
Is anyone else out there as bored as I am with this month?
I just can't seem to find much to interest me.
I  find myself watching with envy when the cats get a good game of turbo chase ball going on this thing:

 Funky picture I know, but for all you non-cat owners, this is what is known as a turbo track.
The ball is "stuck" inside the track,  but it can be made to race around the track with the slightest pat of a kitty paw.
In the middle of the night, one can lay awake listening to the sound of the ball rrr-rrr-rrr'ing followed by a thwack and an increased rrrrrr pitch.
I figured if I was bored with January, then the cats must be kind of bored too.
Saturday they got their belated Christmas gift.
I had barely snapped the pieces together before the ball was set into motion.
Now the three of us sit on the floor and play turbo chase together.
After a few hours, Tate was finally tuckered out and took a nap.
Actually we all took a nap.
January is a month that inspires nap taking.

We have only tried the 8 track and the Hearty Party configuration so far.

Of course I think it would be more fun if I got them the scratching pads to go with the track.  A small catnip dump onto the scratching pads adds so much to the game.

(The first picture is what the game looks like when played on catnip I think...) 
We might have to move our furniture out though. 
With HUNDREDS of design possibilities and a bottomless check book, a turbo track could be installed that would allow epic turbo ball games to be played.

We could probably sell tickets to our neighbors so they could come and watch. Maybe even sell tickets to our neighbor's cats for that matter.  We could set up cat teams...have little cat team uniforms made...have fantasy turbo cat track games being played on the Internet...

Bernie has his own kind of non-turbo track game that he is playing a lot.
That's him out there before dawn today.

Yeah, we did get a lot of snow this last dump.
If you look closely at the picture you will notice that there are a lot of cat tracks leading up our walkway.
Guess the word is out, and our cats are already selling tickets to the neighborhood cats during the night.
Wonder when the big game will be played.
I'll keep you posted.
My  money's on Bitsy to win fastest ball around the track, with Tate coming in second!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

World Cup!!!

World Cup!  Speed Skating!
You had it on your calendar to go on Saturday, didn't you?
And then something came up...and you missed going?
Not to worry!
Bernie and I went...and took lots of pictures so you wouldn't miss out!
Seriously...can you believe it?
Bernie just casually asked if I wanted to go watch the Speed Skating; I said yes, thinking it was just a practice thing.
Thinking it was up in a totally different area.
Frankly not really thinking much at all except it might be good to get out of the house on Saturday and go do something.

It turns out the event was WORLD CUP! 
And it was not up in the mountains at all.
But it was an Olympic venue, and those things are all over the place here in SLC after we hosted an Olympics ten years ago.

(Bet those are the same flags that they put up for the Olympic event....pretty aren't they?)

I had a lot to learn.
First of all, I expected the skaters to have outfits that said where they were from.
No luck there.
And oddly, almost all the skating outfits had KIA (the car manufacturer) spelled out on them.
Didn't mean that they were skating for Korea though.
See what I mean about KIA?
Eventually Bernie pointed out that there was a board that told who was skating and from what country.

Then I had to figure out where to stand to get the best shots as the skaters whizzed by.
I was just as facinated at how beautiful the advertisment reflection on the ice looked as I was by the skaters that came into the scene.
 The skaters had their families with them cheering them on, like this lady from Korea.
(In the paper the next day we read that the event had the most people in attendance since the Olympics themselves.  4,000 people had squeezed into the venue and were avidly enjoying the competition, much to the athletes delight). 
The skater's postures and uniforms created some really great sculptural forms.
Check out the size of this guy's upper leg.

This is Russia's uniform.  I thought it looked rather oriental in design. I was wrong of course.
Again, look at those upper legs!
The board said the guys in this uniform were from NED.
Bernie clued me in...Netherland.
As in Holland.
By now you should know I love the color orange, and so of course loved their uniform a lot.
It eventually sank in to me that I was watching the folks that will be competing in Russia in the next winter Olympics. 
They were just a few yards away from me here.

Cute NED guy...in a teenage girl's dream poster pose.
Just to remind you where we were...
In between the Men's and Women's shorter and longer meter events, a girl was introduced who did a skating routine.
Sadly, I didn't catch who she was.

But I did do pretty good catching her moves.

Isn't that something?
Everyone reading this who can get into this position standing on a rug in your living room...raise your hand.
Uh huh.
Yeah...I think I counted zero hands go up!
Bernie kept saying I should be on the look out to see the athlete's bottoms when they are just walking around in their sweats.
I thought that was a pretty weird prodding on his part...I usually don't go around looking at people's backside in sweats.
But he had a point: The athletes, including the women, had just the most developed glutes I have ever seen.

Later that night after I went to bed I wondered if they are able to sleep on their backs.
Like, are their fannies so hard that it isn't comfortable trying to sleep that way?
OK...enough of that little side trip.
The winners of the Men's 500 M
US took bronze!

Kind of funny when they had the guys the flowers.  They hold them like "What am I supposed to do with this?" for a second then wave the flowers around appropriately.
I had not idea that the Oval had its own mascots....three Mascots no less!
Then it was back to competition for the longer course.
The girl in the light blue cap...our town's Heather Richardson!
Go Heather!!!!

Japan had the most facinating uniform...the uniform made the competitor look like machines instead of a human.

Go Canada!
Go Holland!
Go France!
And there are the final scores!
Canada take Gold
USA takes Silver
Holland takes Bronze


Christine Nesbitt looks pleased with the results...
Not sure what the Canadian cheer guy was so unhappy about.


Since the skaters would zoom by between heats, I got a chance to zoom in with my camera on their skates.
They were so beautiful.
And I know they are SO expensive that they deserve to a thoughtful documentation. 

These are Christine Nesbitt's skates.
Isn't she graceful slipping on her skate blade guards?
I got a kick out of the barefoot and half peeled NED guy.
Back to competion: Germany v. Canada
Canada is gaining...
And Canada wins the heat!
USA v Canada
Shani Davis, Olympic medal winner skating for us.

And USA wins!

Showing a little skin...reminds me of the surfers who used to walk around the beach with their wet suits half zipped like that.
Good times...
Another  nice pair of skates.

Now what do you suppose these two are up to?
Good that this was happening where it happened.
In context, it is obviously something to do with skate training.
If I had seen this anywhere else...
 I would probably be calling the cops on the guy.

Standing next to this guy I felt totally out gunned camera wise...
Canada's Christine looked so sweet getting her Gold medal.

Fixed her hair up a bit for the cameras...

Heather Richardson got silver...
Let's hear it for the girls!

(No National Anthem was played, and if one wasn't paying attention it would have been really easy to miss the awards being handed out).
And let's hear it for the guys!

Shani Davis..

More than a few National speed records were broken during the day.  It was a good World Cup meet.

Had to love this fan from Holland showing her team color boldly via millinery.
Bernie didn't miss a chance to get a photo op with some of the other skaters who are Olympic bound. They were so sweet as we chatted with them at their table where they sold items to raise funds for their team.
They sure did look tiny standing next to Bernie.
I had never really thought about if skaters are short or tall before...

Or even how skaters are trained!
The pouring rain outside turned into heavy clumping snow as we walked to our car after the meet.
I got a new profile picture with the snow on my hat taken once we buckled in to drive home.
It seemed so perfect to have snowfalling on us after a day  of watching speed skating.
Hope you enjoyed coming along with us too!