Red-light cameras are off

To my great disappointment, the city has decided to pull the plug on its red-light cameras, because apparently, the program “didn’t meet safety expectations.” Not sure if this means the cameras are off today or tomorrow, so if you’re planning to run the lights, probably ought to wait. Just to be safe.

I believe camera enforcement of routine traffic violations is a good idea and frees up the police to do things like solving crimes. If my boss at my day job could replace me with a camera, you can bet he’d be all over that. And also, it’s easy money for a city struggling for cash. (I sent in $75 — which is half the price of a regular ticket. Win-win.)

So farewell, our short-lived traffic enforcement program. Maybe we will meet again someday in some other city.

Colorado Springs red-light traffic cameras are off

I am an outlaw, jeoparding the lives of all around me.

Colorado Springs red-light traffic cameras are off

The smirk of dangerous criminals will now be witnessed only by police hiding at intersections.

 

Ghost Cat: The True* and Terrifying* Tale of Mr. Robert E. Lee

 

“The devil’s name is dullness.” — Gen. Robert E. Lee, 1807-1870

The long-vacant house had a strange odor in the entryway, which sits right next to the driveway. A cat odor. Not a terrible or necessarily unpleasant odor, but the unmistakeable smell of a housecat.

Funny, the realtor said, the house has been vacant for over a year, and the previous owners didn’t have any pets. Probably just a random old-house smell. After the tour, on the way out, it was gone.

We bought the house, and every now and again, the entryway cat smell would return briefly, then vanish.

It wasn’t long in our new home, when we began to notice other strange things in the entryway. Caught a fleeting blur once that I figured was one of our cats, but they were both fast asleep together on the chair. We’ve heard a creature late at night running up and down the stairs in the entryway when our own two cats are cozily nested at the bottom of our bed.

The skinny one, PJ, obsessively pooped at the foot of the stairs for a while, though he’d never done that before. Then one day he stopped. Carl, our fattest cat, sits and stares at the entryway sometimes and cocks his head like he’s trying to understand something.

—————————————————————————-

Neighborhood cat Robert E. Lee enjoyed a territory of six historic homes along Willamette Avenue many, many years ago. The polite and agreeable Russian blue spent his days wandering the block, resting in the shade of maybe one home in the hot afternoon, then seeking the sun in the backyard of another as the day wore on.

Overall, Robert E. Lee was a welcomed fixture in the neighborhood, except maybe for the pigeons he menaced. And the mean and miserable widow Jennings who lived at the end of the block. The woman you saw only through curtain slits as she spied on the neighbors or when she shuffled to her mailbox. She never said hello, never waved.

One day, middle-of-the-block neighbor Patty, the quasi-owner of Robert E. Lee, answered her door to widow Jennings, surprised, of course, to see her at her home. She wondered maybe if they would talk finally, or if she needed help. Maybe this would be the start of a dialogue, a friendship, maybe. Patty opened the door to invite her in and saw at widow Jennings’ feet the lifeless lump of Robert E. Lee’s body.

“Found your cat dead in my driveway,” widow Jennings said. Without another word, she shuffled off the porch and back to her dark home at the end of the block. Patty sat in her doorway with Robert E. Lee for a long time, stroking his soft and beautiful gray fur and trying not to cry.

—————————————————————————-

Many, many years later, the widow Jennings is gone. Most of the other neighbors are gone, except Patty. There have been births, marriages, deaths, divorces. The neighborhood is less close than it used to be, probably a byproduct of modern life more than anything else. But everyone still knows everyone else and tries to be neighborly.

Soon after moving in, Patty organized a meet-the-new-neighbors party, and at the dining room table, with drinks and snacks, the first story she told was of the day many, many years ago that the mean old woman who used to live in our house poisoned her cat.

When she finished her story, everything made sense. The driveway where Robert E. Lee died, right next to our entryway. The sounds, the smells, the curious and inexplicable flashes of movement. Robert E. Lee lives in our home.

And we are happy to have him.

Ghost cat on Willamette

Mr. Robert E. Lee the neighborhood cat was a Russian blue and probably looked much like this one. His presence now graces our entryway.

*mostly true
*OK, not very terrifying. Whatever. Happy Halloween.

Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs

Our fave, Detz Cafe (211 East Cucharras Street) didn’t win anything in the CS Indy’s Best Of The Springs. This is extremely lame because they are awesome.

They’re open everyday except Saturday and would make a perfect place for a nice Sunday breakfast.

Detz Cafe Colorado Springs Hours

Detz Cafe Colorado Springs Hours

We’ve talked about them before, but we like them so much, we’re going to talk about them again.

And show you pictures of their food.

So go down there and have something to eat and let us know what you think.

St. Charles Campground, Lake Isabel, CO

We’ve been wanting to go camping one last time this year but things keep coming up and we haven’t been able to go. So last week, instead of going camping, we took a drive to investigate some of the campgrounds we haven’t been to yet and to see some fall foliage.
Lots of pretty leaves in the San Isabel Forest, Colorado.

Lots of pretty leaves in the San Isabel Forest, Colorado.

We wanted to check out St. Charles at Lake Isabel and Alvarado, near Westcliffe. We were unable to actually FIND Alvarado, tho!

St. Charles was really nice. We’ll definitely go there next year.

The entrance to St. Charles Campground near Lake Isabel, CO

The entrance to St. Charles Campground near Lake Isabel, CO

St. Charles campground, Lake Isabel, CO

St. Charles campground, Lake Isabel, CO

There was no one there when we went, which was the last week it was open this season.

There are 15 sites, most situated on a little stream, The St. Charles Creek.

Some of the campsites at St. Charles Campground, Colorado

Some of the campsites at St. Charles Campground, Colorado

The campsites are more secluded from each other than some other campgrounds, but you would still be able to see your neighbor. The sites also seemed pretty large compared to some of the other places we’ve been.

The creek was pretty low last week, not sure if it’s higher in the summer. But there were plenty of fish. It’s a pretty small stream, and tight in spots so fishing might be a challenge. There’s also a big lake, Lake Isabel, within walking distance.

The St. Charles Creek, Colorado

The St. Charles Creek, Colorado

The St. Charles Creek, Colorado

The St. Charles Creek, Colorado

Lake Isabel near St. Charles Creek and Campground, CO

Lake Isabel near St. Charles Creek and Campground, CO

Lake Isabel near St. Charles Creek and Campground, CO

Lake Isabel near St. Charles Creek and Campground, CO

More fall foliage near Lake Isabel, CO

More fall foliage near Lake Isabel, CO

Lake Isabel is near Bishop's Castle, which is a whole 'nother experience.

Lake Isabel is near Bishop's Castle, which is a whole 'nother experience.

Bishop's Castle near Lake Isabel, Colorado

Bishop's Castle near Lake Isabel, Colorado

Bishop's Castle near Lake Isabel, Colorado

Bishop's Castle near Lake Isabel, Colorado

You can read more about Bishop’s Castle here.

A band we like: The Ivory Banks

Add Willow Welter to the list of people we like: Decent, kind, suspiciously pleasant. She’s half of the band The Ivory Banks, which we also like. We’ve never met the other one, this Hillary, so we don’t know whether we like her or not. Chances are she’s OK, but you never know.

Anyway, they’re playing Thursday at Thunder & Buttons in Old Colorado City. We’re going to try to get out to see them. Maybe you should, too.

Meanwhile, here’s our favorite song so far: Schladming.

The Ivory Banks, Colorado Springs

Willow and Hillary, of The Ivory Banks.