Entries 375 - 351

ENTRY # 375
DATE:  05/13/13 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  I'm Officially Ready for Summer...

     Well, it's official. I am now ready for Summer to hit. I'm not all that interested in the hot, humid, sticky temperatures that are coming this way soon.... I'm still, very much, enjoying the 60, 65, 70 degree days we've been having lately.... but I'm ready. Both my air-conditioners are in the windows!!! I managed to put them in yesterday morning between all the on-and-off-again drizzle, fog and rain.
     I also washed out, and filled, all my ice-cube trays. During the next couple of days I'll be filling the bucket in the freezer with ice-cubes so the cats will have plenty of ice for their water-bowls. And then I dug around in my storage-closet and rearranged stuff so I can get to the big fan I have in there in case I need that too.
     I'm ready for summer! Not all that willing, but at least ready....


ENTRY # 374
DATE:  05/12/13 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  It's Been Six Months...

     OK, so here's the deal..... tomorrow, May 13th, will be exactly six months since I've spoken to Jennifer. Tomorrow is also Zachary's (Jen's son) 13th birthday. According to Facebook they had a small party for him today that I knew nothing about 'cause I, obviously, wasn't invited. Why, I don't know, but I wasn't...
     Which reminds me, I also wasn't invited to the one they had for him last year. I knew nothing about that one either until the subject came up three months after the fact at her mother's funeral in August. Cindy had mentioned something about "Zach's birthday party" and when I heard her say that I immediately looked over at Jen... and she immediately glanced over at me to see if I caught what Cindy had just said and was, like, "Oh, it was nothing big, really. It was just something really small, not a lot of people." I was so shocked... I felt so slighted... I didn't even know what to say to that so I just sat there thinking to myself, "Y'know what, whatever, Dude. Small or not, I should've been included." I always have been in the past. So, two years in a row, I wasn't invited. And this year was a big deal. This was his 13th birthday. He's actually a teenager now!!! Why wasn't I invited??? What the hell is going on??? I don't get it!!! Whatever... I digress...
     So anyway, getting back to the point, it's been six months since we've spoken; tomorrow is Zach's birthday; and today was Mother's Day. With those three things combined, I figured, it was a good opportunity for me to call her - just out of the blue like - and it would appear, to her, that I was just calling to say, "What's up?" So I did...
     At 8:30pm this evening I called her cell phone ('cause that's the only number I have for her now ever since she moved into her mother's trailer) and had to leave a voicemail 'cause she didn't pick up.
     Now, at this point, I could speculate that she didn't answer the phone 'cause she saw it was MY number and didn't want to answer it. However, even after six months of being completely ignored, I'm still willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was in the car and couldn't answer it. Maybe she didn't hear the phone ring. Maybe she was in the bathroom. Maybe she still had company (i.e. Cindy and her son) from the birthday party I wasn't invited too. Maybe she was tired from the party and the inevitable cleaning up that followed. Maybe she was sleeping because she was so tired. Maybe she was depressed 'cause this was her first Mother's Day without her own Mom being around. Maybe she just wanted to spend the rest of Mother's Day alone with her son and not be bothered with talking on the phone. Fine. Whatever. I get it. The list is endless. There's a ton of reasons why she didn't answer the phone. No problem. Like I said, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt... 'cause I just don't want to believe that my best friend of 30+ years is intentionally blowing me off. But I gotta admit, after all this time, it is getting really hard to believe otherwise.
     So, anyway, I left a message.... just a very generic-sounding message. I was, like, "Hey, Jen... it's me. Nothing important. It's been awhile, a long time, since we've talked. Just wanted to say what's up, get caught up with stuff. Gimme a call when you can. See ya." And that's it.
     I've done my part. I've reached out. The ball is in her court. (Although it always has been since she's the one that said she'd call me to see how my mother was after the brain surgery back in November --- a phone call that never came.) It's up to her now. Which leaves me in the same boat I've been in for the last six months. Waiting to hear from her. I wonder how long it'll take...


ENTRY # 373
DATE:  05/12/13 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Just a Quick Shout-Out...

     Just wanted to post a quick shout-out to all the Mom's out there, mine included...

Happy Mother's Day!!!

     I hope you all had a nice day with your families...


ENTRY # 372
DATE:  05/04/13 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Mystic Topaz...

     So... the girl I work with has a loose prong on her engagement ring so she hasn't been wearing it 'cause she doesn't want the diamond to fall out. She's been wearing other rings in it's place. The one she's been wearing lately is really pretty but she can't remember what the stone is called. At first glance, it looks like amethyst... but it's not 'cause it reflects a full spectrum of colors and I've never seen just plain ol' amethyst do that, no matter how it's cut. She said she thought it was called "fire amethyst" but wasn't sure... and she also can't remember where her husband bought it. This has been frustrating me to no end because the more I look at it the more I want it, LOL.
     For the last month or so, I've been searching online trying to find out what kind of stone it is. I've tried searches for "amethyst," "fire amethyst," "rainbow amethyst," "mystic amethyst," "bi-color amethyst," "tri-color amethyst," "treated amethyst"... I've seen, literally, thousands of images of all types of amethyst - all different colors, shapes, sizes, cuts, you name it - and none of them look like the stone in her ring. Then I tried looking up gemstone web sites to figure out what else I could search for. I found a gem called "ametrine," which is a mix of amethyst and citrine... and after sifting through hundreds of images of ametrine stones I gave up. It's not ametrine either.
     Then I tried tourmaline... which lead me to "watermelon tourmaline." It's really pretty - and it's close to the stone in her ring - but still not exactly what I'm looking for. I did find one ring that I was ready to settle on... here's a picture of it...

     That's "watermelon tourmaline" but it's an extremely rare cut of that gemstone. Most watermelon tourmaline is cut horizontally so you can see the gradation of colors run from green to white to pink, so it looks just like a slice of watermelon, hence the name. This ring is custom-cut against that gradation so the colors reflect in the checker-box pattern once it's faceted. It's a gorgeous ring and I decided that it would do. However, this particular ring is already sold... and, apparently, it's a "One of a Kind" ring 'cause - again - I've searched through THOUSANDS of images of watermelon tourmaline and it's ALL cut horizontally. So I gave up. Again.
     Eventually - after approximately twenty hours of searching - I found something called "mystic topaz." For the last three weeks I've been browsing through tons of web sites that have a bunch of this "mystic" stuff... and, even though it's not exactly what I'm looking for, I really like it. Although, viewing it online can be deceiving. I wanted to see it in person to make sure I really do like it before I commit to ordering something from some web site.
     I had to go out today 'cause I wanted to pick up Barbra Streisand's new movie, "Guilt Trip," on DVD. Once I got that out of the way I decided to hit some jewelry stores to find some mystic topaz. I went to Fanedo's Jewelry first..... they had one mystic topaz ring in stock but the stone was really small so I couldn't really tell, for sure, if I liked it or not. From there I cruised out to the Milford Mall, planning on hitting Harstan's first. Although, when I got there, I parked at Sears so I checked their jewelry department first. And I'm glad I did!!! They had a complete sterling silver set of mystic topaz - a ring, earrings and a pendant - and it was all in the CLEARANCE section, LOL. The ring was originally $175.00, marked down to $42.00. The earrings were originally $175.00, also marked down to $42.00. So I spent the $84.00 on the ring and the earrings. I'm not a big fan of pendants so I left that at Sears and on I went. Here's a picture of what I bought...

     The photo really doesn't do them justice... the stones are much prettier in person, trust me. (I seriously need a new camera!!!) I'm not sure, yet, about the earrings. There's a slight possibility they might get made into a ring instead. We'll see. It'll depend on how expensive a custom-made setting will be.
     Belden's was my next stop but they didn't have anything in stock so I kept going, LOL. I hit Zales next... they did have some mystic topaz merchandise in their display cases but - apparently - I became invisible because not one sales person offered to help me the entire time I was in their store.... Oh well. Their loss, not mine! Next was JCPenny. They had one ring, that's it. It was a great looking stone but the setting was crap. It was sterling silver, plated with 10k gold. Plating sucks. It always cracks and chips away so I left without it.
     I was about ready to head home at that point but then I remembered that I had seen a ring I liked online from Macy's. The one I had seen on the website was a large facet-cut, oval stone, set in a simple 14k gold band... but it was 200 bucks. I had a feeling finding it in an actual store (vs. online only) would be next to impossible but - since I was already at the Mall anyway - I might as well stroll on over to Macy's just to check. Here's a picture from the website...

     And imagine my surprise when I actually found it in a display case in the store. I was shocked. I honestly thought it was going to be an "Online Only" item. Seeing it in person made a big difference. The stone was gorgeous... but I didn't really want to spend 200 bucks. However, as I was standing there gazing into the display case - drooling over the ring - I finally read the little sign that was propped up next to the ring. Then I read it again. Then I read it a third time just to be sure I wasn't imagining anything. The website never mentioned it being on sale. It just said "$200.00." This ring was originally priced at 600 bucks!!! Marked down to 200. Oh. My. God. 400 dollars off the original price?!?!? How could I possibly leave the store without it??? What were the chances of ever finding this ring again for 200 bucks?!?!? I bought it. I had to buy it. There was no way I was gonna leave that store without it. So... it's mine, LOL. I actually wore it out of the store.
     So, basically, I bought a thousand dollars' worth of jewelry for under three hundred bucks. I'd say I had a pretty good day. :-)


ENTRY # 371
DATE:  05/01/13 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  Spring is Finally Here!!!

     Now that it's May 1rst, I think Spring is finally here to stay! The temperature is rising, the trees are starting to turn green again and the flowers are starting to bloom. And this is me...

     Happy Spring, everyone! Enjoy!!!


ENTRY # 370
DATE:  04/28/13 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Bead Shopping (Again!!!)...

     I hit two new stores today in my quest for Pandora beads. The first store was down in South Norwalk... a little place called SoNo Silver Company. They're getting rid of ALL their Pandora merchandise so everything was 40% off. Cool!!! I bought 5 silver beads there...

        

     After the store in South Norwalk I hit Fanedo's Jewelry in Trumbull and bought the daisy safety chain, the "My Garden" watering-can bead and the "Purrfect Together" bead (which is the one with the two cats I was talking about in entry #367). Here's the photos of the safety chain and the watering-can...

     

     It was a good day. I would've bought a couple more but my damn credit card was declined so I gotta pay that bitch off again!!! I get three paychecks in May so I don't think that'll be a problem. It shouldn't take too long to get my balance back down to a more acceptable amount, LOL.
     I wasn't really sure, until today, if I was going to bother with buying a safety chain. The snap-clasps are really secure... but, considering how much money I've dished out on all these beads, I figured I'd rather be safe than sorry.
     When I got home I added all the new beads and the safety-chain to the bracelets. My second bracelet is almost full already, LOL, which means I'll be wearing it really soon. That also means I'll need another safety chain for that one too. Good grief. I am SOOOO addicted to Pandora!!!


ENTRY # 369
DATE:  04/20/13 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Shemar Moore -- Added to the Hotties List!

     Last night, after receiving Lena's email, I spent some time browsing through my older Dish entries from 2005 trying to remember who Lena is. In entry #56 entitled "Q&A" With Some "DDD" Readers this is what I found...

Q:  Just curious about something. I loved your entry about Will Smith. I was wondering what other "brothers" are on your HOTTIES list? (from BrwnIdGrl, aka Lena)
A:  Oh boy! Well, off the top of my head, I'd have to say... Denzel Washington, Tyson (the model), Cuba Gooding, Jr., Sean Patrick Thomas, Savion Glover (the dancer), Michael Jordan, and David Ortiz from the Red Sox (though he's really Dominican). That's it for now. If I think of any others I'll add them here. Thanks for asking!
     Once I found that I then went back to the Will Smith entry she was referring too (entry #48 - Dove's Gettin' Jiggy Wid It!!!) to see what I had said initially to trigger Lena to ask me that question in the first place. This is what I found...
Confession: I adore Will Smith. I love his movies, I love his music, I love his dance moves, his lyrics are fabulous and he's not too shabby either! In fact, he's an absolute "hottie!" OMG, my step-father would pass a brick if I ever brought home a "black guy"... and that's a real shame 'cause - let me tell you - there's some fine lookin' brothers out there...
     OK, so here's the deal.... I am now putting Shemar Moore at the VERY TOP of my "Hotties of All Time" list. This guy is, without a doubt, drop-dead GORGEOUS!!!!! Just in case you don't know who he is, you might have seen him in Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad, Black Woman. He played Orlando, the guy with the long braids and the bandanna. If that's not ringing any bells, he also plays Special Agent Derek Morgan in Criminal Minds. Oh. My. God. He's absolutely beautiful. What more can I say? Judge for yourself...


ENTRY # 368
DATE:  04/20/13 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  My Three Bracelets...

     Last night I received an email from one of my original "Dove's Daily Dish" readers. Her name is Lena and she was a "DDD" fan way back in 2005. I'm glad to know at least one of my readers has discovered that "The Dish" is back after the five-year absence. Anyway, she's read all about my new fascination with the Troll/Chamilia/Pandora jewelry and asked if I could post a photo of all my bracelets so she could see them assembled instead of just the individual beads as I purchase them. So this entry is for you Lena! (...and, by the way, welcome back!!!) This is what all three of my bracelets look like as of today...

Left:   The Trollbeads bracelet with the lobster-claw clasp. Yesterday, on my lunch hour, I stopped into A.J. Klein Jewelers to ask them if they thought it was possible to redrill the Trollbeads so they'd fit on the other bracelets I have. The two women in there at the time weren't sure. They said I should come back with the beads to show their repairman to see what he thinks..... but I got the impression that they were pretty sure it wouldn't work so I'm not even going to bother. Screw it. I'll just wear it as it is even though I'm not crazy about that damn lobster-claw. And I'm not sure if I'm going to fill this bracelet with more beads or not. I suspect that once it's full it'll be even harder to put on.

Center:   The Chamilia bracelet completely full with a combination of Chamilia and Pandora beads. I love this bracelet. I wear it just about every day. This is the one I've gotten a ton of compliments on.

Right:   The Pandora bracelet half full with a combination of Chamilia and Pandora beads. I haven't worn this one yet 'cause it's not full. Once it's finished I'll be wearing both of them all the time. And if I have the time to fuss with the lobster-claw I'll be wearing all three of them. Who knows.... eventually, there might even be a fourth bracelet in the future. We'll see.

     That's my collection so far. Not bad since it's only been three months. :-) And I just realized something.... my original plan back in January - when I started this whole thing - was going to be two bracelets. One was going to have a pet/animal theme and the other was going to be all about me. Somewhere along the way I forgot all about that and just started mixing everything together. LOL, oh well. It's more fun this way!


ENTRY # 367
DATE:  04/17/13 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  Four New Chamilia Beads...

     LOL, bought four more Chamilia beads today after work. There was only two left on my Chamilia Wish List so I figured I'd just get them now so I could scratch them off the list. But, when I got to the store, a really pretty blue glass bead caught my eye so I ended up buying TWO of that one also. So now my Pandora bracelet is almost half full. At the rate I'm going it'll probably be completely full in the next couple of months so I'll be wearing both bracelets all the time. I wear the Chamilia bracelet just about every day... and I can't believe the amount of compliments I've received on it. Everywhere I go at least one person asks if they can see it.
     I've pretty much given up on the Trollbeads. I don't even wear that bracelet anymore 'cause the damn lobster-claw clasp is so hard to deal with. It's almost impossible for me to put the damn thing on my wrist. I wonder if it's possible to have those beads redrilled so they'll fit on the Pandora/Chamilia bracelets. If it'll work at least I'll be able to wear them with the rest of the beads I have... especially that African Pride bead, since I wanted it so bad. I highly doubt the core in the glass beads can be redrilled but I don't see why the silver ones couldn't be. I'll have to ask the jeweler the next time I'm in a store. Anyway, here's the ones I bought today...

          

     The color scheme on this bracelet is turning out to be a little different than I had originally planned. Since the Trollbeads bracelet is purple and the Chamilia bracelet is pink, I figured this bracelet would follow the same theme. Although, one of the next beads I want to get is the Pandora hot-air balloon called "Up and Away"... and that bead is blue/white enamel. And I've already got some silver beads with red enamel on them.... plus the Cherry Blossom glass bead is red and pink..... so it seems I'm mixing pink, red and blue together. Hmmm... I'm not sure how it's gonna look if I ever wear all three of them at the same time. Although, red and blue make purple... so maybe it'll work out. We'll see.
     Oh, and Pandora has another brand new bead that I want to get.... it's two cats sitting side by side. I know I already have the "Two Cats" bead that Chamilia put out... but this Pandora bead (called "Purrfect Together") is SOOOOOOOO cute. And the cats actually look like British Shorthairs! I have to have it!!! So, once I have them both, "Two Cats" will represent Sweety-Face and U-Turn (my old cats) and "Purrfect Together" will be for Rigby and Sabrina. Here's the pics of the hot-air balloon and Purrfect Together...

     

     According to the latest Pandora booklet, "Purrfect Together" was released this month.... but "Up and Away" isn't going to be available until sometime in June. All the beads that are left on my "Wish List" right now are by Pandora. Although, I don't have the new Chamilia catalog yet so I'm sure that will change, LOL.
     Even though this is kind'a expensive, I am really enjoying it. I love the beads and the stories/memories they represent. It's like wearing a scrapbook of my life on my wrist. It's pretty cool...


ENTRY # 366
DATE:  04/13/13 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  A Few Things Worth Mentioning...

Number 1:  The dog that did all the barking last Saturday wasn't just a visitor. It is a permanent resident. I found out, for sure, on Wednesday when I came home from work. And, yes, I was right... it is a Pit Bull. It's a male and he's absolutely gorgeous. His name is Cappone and he's white with gray patches and freckles. He's eleven months old, fully house-broken and extremely friendly. They adopted him from a friend who could no longer keep him (for whatever reason). He's a really good dog and I'm glad he moved in. I've always felt safe in this house. It's in a good neighborhood and all the tenants through the years that have come and gone since I've been here have all been good people... but with Cappone here it makes the house feel even safer. A Pit Bull is bound to set off an alarm if there's someone around that shouldn't be. And, ever since last Saturday, I haven't heard a thing. He hasn't done any barking at all. He's a good boy!
Number 2:  We finally had a warm day on Tuesday.... the outside temperature rose to 72 degrees. It was a beautiful day. However, by the time I got home from work, my apartment was 80 and stuffy as hell so I opened all the windows. Luckily, by the time I went to bed, it was cool enough in here for me to get to sleep. Because of that, my exciting plans for this weekend consisted of putting both my air-conditioners in the windows. Although, when I woke up this morning, it was only 39 degrees outside... so both the ACs are still in the closet. I've had the Weather Channel on all morning and the extended forecast says the high for the rest of the week is only going to be about 60. Maybe I'll put them in next weekend instead. We'll see...
Number 3:  As of today it's been exactly five months since I've heard from Jennifer. The last time we talked was when I called her on her Mom's birthday (November 13th). Out of pure curiosity I was going to wait and see how long it would take her to call me.... but after five months it's pretty clear that if I ever want to talk to her again I'll have to be the one to pick up a phone. Apparently she's just too busy with Cindy gallivanting all around CT and NY following cover bands to be bothered with me. Oh well. Maybe I'll call her tonight...
Number 4:  I'm still a huge NCIS fan... but I'm starting to get into the show Criminal Minds now too. It's awesome! Mandy Patinkin, Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore and Joe Mantegna... a great cast! I actually went out and bought seasons one and two on DVD so I can watch from the very beginning. After what I've seen already, I'm sure I'll be collecting the rest of the seasons as soon as I have a little more spending money. I'm on disc two of season two now... I better start saving my pennies 'cause I'm gonna need to buy season three pretty quick!!!


ENTRY # 365
DATE:  04/06/13 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Bark, Bark, Bark...

Bark...
Bark, bark, bark...
Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark...
BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK...
BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK...
     Um... [bark, bark] hmmm... [bark] This is just a guess... [bark, bark, bark, bark, bark] ...but I think [bark, bark] ...the folks on the second floor [bark, bark, bark] ...got a dog today.
     I can't tell, exactly, what kind of a dog it is. I know it's not a small, ankle-biter dog. I know it's not a really big dog. It doesn't sound like a puppy either. But there is definitely a dog in the second-floor apartment RIGHT NOW 'cause I've been listening to it bark for the last two hours. Judging solely by its vocal range, I'd say it's a Pit Bull 'cause it sounds an awful lot like Zoey, my Mom's dog... and Zoey is a Pit Bull-mix.
     I don't know if it's actually their dog or if it's just visiting. I'm sure I'll find out soon enough though. Stay tuned...


ENTRY # 364
DATE:  04/04/13 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Happy Birthday, Rigby!

     Today is Rigby's birthday. She is two years old today! I can't believe my little baby girl is already two years old. Time sure does fly!!! She was born on April 4th, 2011... I don't have any photos of her on the actual day of her birth but I do have this one...

British Shorthair "Eleanor Rigby" -- photo taken on April 11, 2011

     In this photo, her first photo ever, she's only seven days old. She sure doesn't look like that anymore, LOL. She's a big girl now!

          
British Shorthair "Eleanor Rigby" -- 2 years old already!

     She's been a good girl so far... but now that she's entered the TERRIBLE TWOS I wonder what I'm in for from now on, LOL!!! So, after work this evening, I drove out to PetSmart in Orange to get some new toys for the Birthday Girl. I bought four new toys and they are all loaded with catnip. I haven't given them to her yet but she's very interested in the PetSmart bag on the counter. As I sit here typing this I can hear the crinkling sounds coming from the kitchen. I don't even have to look --- I know it's her trying to get at the toys in the bag!
     On the way home I passed by Michael's Jewelers. Um... er... well... OK, I admit it... I didn't actually pass by. I went in. And bought three Pandora beads. I couldn't help myself. I was there. The store was there. The beads were there. That's all it took. Here's what I bought...

      

     Rigby got presents today... and so did I. Fair is fair, right??? :-)
     Happy Birthday, Rigby!!!


ENTRY # 363
DATE:  04/01/13 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  Ham Dinner at Mom's + Ham & Chicken Dinner at Adrienne's = a Very Happy Easter!

     Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday as much as I did. Mine began with a rocky start but eventually got better...
     My shop was closed for Good Friday so - WOOHOOO!!! - it was a long weekend for me. My original plan was to go to my Mom's early Friday morning, spend the night there, then come home Saturday afternoon. Well, that plan was foiled due to a rather persistent bout of diarrhea which began Thursday evening around midnight. I have no idea what caused it, if it was something I ate or if it was a bug or what... but it kept me running (no pun intended) to the bathroom through the rest of the night and well into Friday afternoon. Not willing to drive the 2-and-a-half hour trip to Worthington, MA in that condition I called my Mom at 6:30 Friday morning and told her what was going on and that I might not be able to make it. We were both disappointed but, as the old saying suggests, shit happens (pun intended). I told her I'd call her later in the day to let her know how I was feeling, hoping that I'd be able to at least salvage Saturday.
     At 10:30am the phone woke me up. It was my Mom checking up on me. She was hoping that I'd still be able to make it that day, even if it wasn't until the later evening hours. Since my condition hadn't changed yet I told her I was gonna go back to sleep and that I'd call her later...
     By 4:00pm I was feeling a little better... so I made myself a small bowl of white rice for dinner. I figured if that didn't cause any more trips to the bathroom I'd probably be able to make the trip on Saturday. Two hours later, at 6:00, I called my Mom to let her know I'd be there in the morning.
     Saturday morning I was on the road at 5:45am and was at the Volunteer Fire Department by quarter to eight. This time of year - after all the snow, ice and rain - my Mom's dirt road is nothing but mud so I left my car at the firehouse for the day and she came to get me so my little Kia wouldn't get stuck in the mud. Both the dogs - Zoey & Heinz - went nuts when I walked in. After about twenty minutes they finally calmed down and I was able to sit without two hundred pounds of dog in my lap. We chatted for a little while at the kitchen table then got to work. The first thing we tackled was my hair. It hadn't been cut for almost two years and it was starting to drive me crazy so I had her cut it all off, back to shoulder-length. The next thing on the agenda was her digital camera. She couldn't figure out how to move the pictures from the camera to the computer so I took care of that. All her photos are now in a new folder right on her desk-top. After that the afternoon was free.
     She started preparing our Easter dinner (even though it was only Saturday)... and I showed her my new bracelets that I've been working on. As far as jewelry goes Pandora isn't really her thing so she wasn't as impressed as I have been with all the beads. Oh well... everyone has their own style. She prefers gold and diamonds, LOL.
     We ate dinner (ham, corn, mashed potatoes, and rolls) at noon and then followed it with dessert.... strawberry short-cake... but mine had a little surprise at the bottom. Under all the cream, strawberries and cake there was a chocolate brownie covered with chocolate syrup. It was yummy!!!
     After dinner we settled in front of the TV to digest. We watched two episodes of CSI... but, because of the big meal and the toasty temperature in the living-room, by 3:00pm we were all falling asleep so I got ready to leave. Even though it was only a seven-hour visit - instead of an overnight stay - I still had a good time. Got the hair cut, got the photos on Mom's computer, got mauled by the dogs, had a good meal and finally saw them both again. I hadn't been there since Thanksgiving. It was a good day.
     The funniest moment happened in my Mom's truck as she was trying to back down the driveway. She made a comment about how hot it was in the living-room and I was, like, "Yeah, I know. I was sweating," and I pulled out the material of my shirt from under my arm and sniffed at it. I said, "I smell like an armpit." She started to laugh. Then I explained how I could feel the armpit-sweat trickling down both my sides into the waste-band of my underpants... I was, like, "All my deodorant is in my underwear," which made her laugh even harder. So as we're slowly backing down the driveway, waving bye-bye to Dad (and the dogs who were both watching from the window) we're both laughing our asses off in the truck. Then I hit her with, "But that's OK... I may smell like an armpit but at least my crotch is Powder Fresh," which stopped all momentum of the truck altogether. She couldn't even drive at that point. She hit the breaks and we both just sat there for a moment cracking up. Poor Dad. He had no idea what was going on in the truck, LOL. Ayuh. I made my Mom laugh. It was a good visit!
     I was home again by 6:00pm Saturday evening, fed the cats, scooped out the litter, got into my pajamas and hit the couch to rest up for another big ham dinner at Adrienne's house the next day. Ahhh, life is good!!!
     Sunday morning I didn't do too much. I didn't have to be at Adrienne's house until 2:00pm so I just kicked back in my pajamas snuggling with Sabrina and Rigby on the couch. Well, with Sabrina at least. Rigby isn't really a snuggler. She was perched on the back of the couch scowling at Sabrina the whole time 'cause she's so jealous, LOL.
     At 1:00pm I washed up and got dressed... then I tried to sneak out the front door without Rigby knowing. No such luck. She came flying into the room as soon as she heard the lock on the door click and started rubbing all over my legs. She might not be a snuggler but she absolutely hates it when I leave the house, LOL, and she does everything in her power to keep me from going. After lint-brushing myself off - THREE TIMES - I was able to get out the door and was at Adrienne's right on time. Heading up the walk-way to their front door I could already smell the food. I love that house!!!
     There was ham, greens, potato salad, deviled eggs, rolls... and chicken. At 3:00pm we loaded our plates.... and once her father blessed the table we all sat and got down to business. Well, not all of us... Adrienne's sister, Kimmy, wasn't feeling well so she stayed upstairs while the rest of us ate.
     Everything was good. Real good. But... the chicken was out of this world. After the first bite I was, like, "Oh my God, what IS this?!?!?!" It was incredible. It was big chunks of chicken breast sliced down the middle filled with stuffing (?) of some sort all held closed with little tooth-picks with the colored cellophane on top. Then the whole casserole dish was smothered in Cream of Chicken soup which thickened up while it was baking that created a really thick chicken gravy. Oh! My!! God!!! It was the most amazing chicken I think I have ever eaten.
     And for dessert there was cake. Birthday cake. Kimmy's birthday is April 2nd so they decided to have her cake during Easter dinner. This presented a problem 'cause Kimmy was still upstairs sleeping, LOL, and it just didn't seem right to cut into her birthday cake without Kimmy being there. Elwood, Adrienne's father, was sent - quite reluctantly - upstairs to do the dirty work of waking her up. It wasn't a successful venture. He came back downstairs without her. We waited another half-hour and sent him upstairs again. Virginia, Adrienne's mom, was adamant this time. She wanted cake and wanted cake now, LOL. About twenty minutes later Kimmy finally made it downstairs to join the rest of us.... we sang "Happy Birthday" and dug in without wasting another moment.
     The funniest moment happened shortly after the dinner table was cleared and Virginia started wrapping up all the left overs. She came into the room carrying a couple of those ZipLock travel containers and I thought to myself, "Oh boy, I hope those are gonna be for me," because I was really looking forward to eating more of that chicken! When Adrienne realized what was going on she said, "Whatcha doing, Mom, makin' a doggie bag to bring upstairs?" Which I immediately followed with, "I don't know what she's doing, but I know what I hope she's doing!" and they all cracked up because everyone knew I wanted to take some of that chicken home. And, sure enough, I did come home with some!!!
     And tonight, after work, I had my third Easter dinner. I heated up the left overs from my Mom's house AND the left overs from Adrienne's house and dug in all over again. Good stuff! I practically licked my plate clean!
     Life is good!!!
     Happy Easter!


ENTRY # 362
DATE:  03/28/13 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Selections from the book I Could Pee on This (And Other Poems by Cats)...

I Could Pee on This
Her new sweater doesn't smell of me;
I could pee on that.
She's gone out for the day and
left her laptop on the counter;
I could pee on that.
Her new boyfriend just pushed
my head away;
I could pee on him.
She's ignoring me ignoring her;
I could pee everywhere.
She's making up for it
by putting me on her lap...
I could pee on this
I could pee on this

--------------------------------------------------

Why Are You Screaming?
Why are you screaming?
What did I do wrong?
Why are you crying?
How can I make it right?
Would you like it in a different color?
Would you like it in a different size?
Would you like it in a different room?
I just wanted to show my love.
I just wanted to express my thanks.
I just wanted to put a dead mouse on your sheets,
but now you are screaming
and I don't know how to make you stop.

--------------------------------------------------

Separation
You can have the CDs,
I will take the string.
You can have the TV,
I will take this fuzzy thing.
You can have the kitchen set,
I will take this crumpled foil.
You can have the car,
I will keep this rug I soil.
You can have the beach house,
I will take this tissue box.
You can have everything,
Ooo, I want those dirty socks.
You can go to hell, I will see to that,
For how dare you come home
smelling of another cat?

--------------------------------------------------

And Now We Know
Nine-hundred-and-ninety-five...
I'm doing this for you.
Nine-hundred-and-ninety-six...
So please don't interrupt.
Nine-hundred-and-ninety-seven...
I'm just keeping them honest.
Nine-hundred-and-ninety-eight...
So please do take note.
Nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine...
And now, thanks to me, we all know
There really were one thousand sheets
in this toilet paper roll.

--------------------------------------------------

Self-Affirmation
I am intelligent.
I am attractive.
I am powerful.
I am proactive.
I have value.
I have health.
I have strength.
I have stealth.
I am surrounded by love.
I am a beacon of hope.
I - HORKFLAKGLORKSPUKE
. . .
That was a hairball.
And I am a cat.
And what just happened,
I am fine with that.

     If there are any other cat lovers out there that wanna read more poems by cats please get your copy of I Could Pee on This (And Other Poems by Cats) today. The author is Francesco Marciuliano and the ISBN # is 978-1-4521-1058-5. And be sure to check out
www.chroniclebooks.com for more.


ENTRY # 361
DATE:  03/23/13 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  I Found the Mitten!!!

     I had to go to FOUR different stores today to find the Mitten bead... and, of course, I bought something at each and every store. My first stop was a little place called Something of Bev's in Milford. She didn't have a very large selection but I did manage to find two beads on my Wish List -- the Puzzle Piece and the Whale...
     After chatting with Bev for a while she sent me on to a place called Diamond Designs in Orange in search of the Mitten. They didn't have it but they did have the Cats bead I've been looking for. So that was cool. Another one checked off the Wish List.
     From Orange I headed south to Stratford to The Paper Store (which used to be Hallmark) on Barnum Avenue. No Mitten there either but I found the Best Seller bead and the Baseball bead! I also bought a great coffee mug that says, "Everything tastes better with cat hair in it!" and a book entitled "I Could Pee on This (And Other Poems by Cats)." I haven't read any of the poems yet but I plan on diving into it later tonight.
     My fourth, and final, stop was A.J. Klein Jewelers in Shelton on Bridgeport Avenue. That's where I found the Mitten bead! I also found a brand new bead that I've never seen before... it's a Cowboy Hat so I bought that one too, LOL. Another SEVEN beads today. Here's the pictures...

            

     My Chamilia bracelet is now completely full. In fact, it's so full the Cowboy Hat bead had to go on the Troll bracelet, LOL. As of right now I have a total of 36 beads... six are Pandora, twelve are Troll and eighteen are Chamilia. Since January 26th -- in only two months -- I've spent over $1,400.00 on bracelets and beads (and that's BEFORE tax)... so... um... yeah... I AM DONE FOR A WHILE. I have definitely spoiled myself enough to last for a long, long time!!! But, I gotta be honest -- it was money well spent. I am genuinely pleased with all these beads. They make me feel good. I like having all these memories and sentiments on my wrist. They make me happy! Rattle, jingle, clink!!!
     Now I have to buckle down and get serious with my money again. No more splurging!!!


ENTRY # 360
DATE:  03/22/13 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Rattle, Jingle, Clink...

     I wore both my bracelets to work today. This is the first time I've worn either one of them... and I gotta tell ya, it's gonna take awhile to get used to them. First of all, they're kind'a heavy. And, second of all, they make a LOT of noise. Since the beads are sterling silver and glass they rattle and jingle and clink constantly, LOL. When I type you hear rattle, jingle, clink.... When I pick something up you hear rattle, jingle, clink.... When I push my hair off my shoulder you hear rattle, jingle, clink, clink... When I answer the phone you hear rattle, jingle, clink, clink, clink, LOL. All day long I was rattling, jingling and clinking around the shop.
     The graphic designer I work with wears a Pandora bracelet every day. She's got a Chamilia bracelet too but doesn't wear that one 'cause it's not full yet. She's used to all the rattling, jingling and clinking by now. Every time I walked by her today I said, "I'm rattling," and she'd laugh...
     She was excited to finally see all the beads I've been buying. When she walked in the door this morning I held up my wrist and she was, like, "Oh my God, come here, lemme see, lemme see, lemme see!!!" She oohed and ahhed as she inspected every single one, LOL. It made me feel pretty good. Since she's an experienced "Bead Buyer" I was proud that all my purchases met her approval. :-) Now we're both rattling, jingling and clinking around the shop.


ENTRY # 359
DATE:  03/21/13 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Addicted to Chamilia & Pandora...

     Good grief. Seriously, I have absolutely no control over my new-found love (addiction???) of beads. This is getting out of hand, LOL!!! Wasn't it just the other day when I said I was only going to get two more and then that would be it for awhile?!?!? Well... um... I just bought NINE more...
     I went to Country Hearts again after work today 'cause I decided I really want the Mitten bead. It's adorable... and, dammit, I've just gotta have it!!! Well, they didn't have it in stock. In fact, they said it's a "retired" bead so it's probably gonna be hard to find. Since they didn't have the one I wanted I picked out another one instead -- the Moose bead. Yup, a moose. Chamilia actually made a bead in the shape of a bull moose. Then I picked out the football bead. That one has been on my Wish List for a while so I figured since I was there I might as well get it. Then I also picked out a silver bead with fuchsia jewels on it... it's really pretty and since the color scheme is pink it made sense to me, LOL. Then I also saw two pink glass beads that I liked so, ayuh, bought those too. Five total at Country Hearts.
     And then, all of a sudden, I found myself standing at the Pandora counter at Michael's Jewelers in Milford. I got the Badminton Birdie, the Garden Hat, the Dancer's Shoes, and the Lucky Cat beads. Four from Michael's Jewelers...
     NINE beads today. Yup, I'm totally hooked. But I still want to find that darn Mitten bead. I'm gonna have to search for more Chamilia dealers in this area. Hopefully I'll be able to find it somewhere. Anyway, here's the pictures of the ones I bought this evening...

                                 

     Oh, and I now have a third bracelet. When I was at Michael's Jewelers the saleswoman informed me that, if I was to spend a hundred dollars (or more), I'd get a free Pandora bracelet. I just started to laugh and said, "Um, that won't be a problem!!!" LOL, I knew I'd end up with three. I just knew it. So now my Trollbeads bracelet is three-quarters full and the Chamilia bracelet is three-quarters full. The new Pandora bracelet is empty and still in the box. Since there aren't that many beads left on my Wish List right now it'll probably be a while before I start working on filling that one up. I wanna find that Mitten bead... and then THAT IS IT for now. I think, LOL. I've got bills to pay before I blow any more money on beads. Wish me luck!!!


ENTRY # 358
DATE:  03/15/13 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  New Bracelet & More Beads...

     I received my State of CT tax refund the other day which was $607.00. And, as you all know by now, I had Jury Duty on Tuesday. Put these two facts together and it means I deserve to go out and buy myself a present. So I did!!!  :-)
     I went to Country Hearts after work this evening and splurged on a Chamilia bracelet (with the clip clasp I mentioned in an earlier post) and seven beads. Yup, seven!
     Originally, I was going to get a Pandora bracelet... but I only saw one online that I liked and it was $190.00. It was a "starter" bracelet so it came with a bead or two on it already but, yikes, I thought 190 bucks was a bit steep. Since the Chamilia bracelets and the Pandora bracelets are the exact same thing (except one has a C on the clasp and the other has a P) I decided to go for the cheaper of the two. The plain Chamilia bracelet I bought at Country Hearts tonight only cost me 65 bucks. That decision saved me 125 dollars... so I figured why not get some beads too???
     I wasn't planning on buying so many. When I walked in, I planned on getting the firefighter bead, the volleyball bead, the paws bead and the January garnet-wheel bead (plus the bracelet itself). However, after I picked out the four I wanted the saleswoman informed me that all their "retired" beads were on sale for 50% off. Upon hearing this news I said, "OK, show me what'cha got!" and that triggered the sale of 3 more beads, the pink bubble bead, the Murano purple glass bead and the Jack-o-lantern silver bead. Here's what they all look like...

         

         

     Six of them are Chamilia beads... only the Pink Bubble bead is a Trollbead, but it's a universal bead so it'll fit on the Chamilia/Pandora bracelets 'cause it's got the larger hole in the center. Even though it was the Trollbeads that got me into all this, there are no more Trollbeads on the "Wish List" I have written in my notebook. All the beads I still want to get are either Chamilia or Pandora.
     Since I have a bead for my Mom (the horseshoe) and my Dad (the music notes) and I have future plans for the badminton bead (for my grandfather) and the garden hat (for my grandmother) I had to have a bead to represent my step-father too. When I saw the picture of the fireman's helmet in the Chamilia book I had to have it... it's perfect. I just wish it had the number five on it instead of a one. He drove "Squad 5" when he was a fireman... but, unfortunately, the beads don't come with different numbers on them to choose from. It was either buy it with the one on it or don't buy it at all. I chose to buy it. The fact that Chamilia even made a fireman's helmet is good enough!!!
     I bought the paw-print bead to represent all the cats and dogs I've had throughout my life... I bought the Jack-o-lantern bead 'cause I used to love Halloween as a kid and now, as an adult, I love anything pumpkin-flavored. The volleyball bead I had to have 'cause I played volleyball for two years in high-school. The garnet-wheel bead I wanted because that's my birthstone. And the 2 pink/purple beads I bought simply to continue that color scheme.
     Once I get the two beads for my grandparents that's gonna be it for awhile, I think. I have plenty of beads on both the bracelets at this point. If I don't stop dishing out money on beads now I'll be living on the street next month, LOL.


ENTRY # 357
DATE:  03/12/13 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  The Horrors of Jury Duty...

     It all started about two months ago. I came home from work like every other day, got out of the car, walked up to my front door, checked the mailbox and there it was -- the envelope we all dread receiving -- a summons from the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Jury Administration. Though I was standing on my front porch completely alone, I felt like I had just been physically assaulted. Jury Duty?!?!? Me?!?!? Again?!?!? Why?!?!? Why, Lord, Why?!?!? Out of the millions of people that live in this area why did they have to assault me with their little white envelope? Shit.
     As I climbed the stairs to my apartment, cussing out the nice Jury Administration folks on each and every step, the flashbacks began... Downtown Bridgeport; driving in circles through the garage in search of a parking spot; walking two blocks to the courthouse in lousy weather; metal detectors; smelly, cramped elevators; the seventh floor; signing in; the white and blue JUROR stickers they force you to wear all day; parking validation; being held against my will for the next eight or nine hours of my life; the boredom; the stuffiness of the Jury Room; being surrounded by strangers; public restrooms; the courtroom; the arrogant lawyers; the holier-than-thou Judges parading around in their black robes... Oh, dear God, make it stop. I beg you, please make it stop!!! Shit.
     Standing in the middle of my kitchen, still muttering a list of obscenities to myself, I tear open the envelope. In bold-faced type I'm forced to read:

     You are scheduled to appear for jury service on 03/12/2013. Please appear at 8:30 A.M. in the 7th floor Jury Room for the Bridgeport Superior Court at 1061 Main Street in Bridgeport.
     You must call the court at (203) 579-7200 on Mon., 03/11/2013 after 5:30 P.M.
     Screw you. I toss the envelope and its contents onto the kitchen counter and head to the bedroom to get into my pajamas, then hit the couch to continue sulking. Jury Duty. Shit.
     That envelope sat there, right on my kitchen counter, for the next two weeks as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do. Do I want to appear on March 12th and get it over with? Do I want to postpone it for another date? What if I decide to go on March 12th and the weather is lousy. What if there's another blizzard? Do I want to drive in those conditions to the courthouse? Will the Court stay open or will they decide to close in bad weather? And if so, what does that mean if they do close? Will my obligation be considered fulfilled for the next three years? Or will I be called again to appear on a different date? Hell, I even thought about throwing it away and pretending that I never received it, LOL. With my luck, though, I'd get arrested for "Failure to Appear." Although, I have appeared for ALL my other Jury Duty days through the years. Maybe, just maybe, they'd accept the "I never got it" excuse and go easy on me 'cause I'd be a "First-Time Offender." What if I postpone it? If I do that, though, I could get stuck with going in the middle of the summer when it'll be 120 degrees in the Jury Room. What if I postpone it until the end of summer when it's not that hot, say in the early Fall. What if there's a hurricane that day? Again, will the Court stay in session or will they close for the day due to the weather??? Maybe I could get a note from a doctor excusing me from Jury Duty for the rest of my life? The trouble with that is, one, I don't have a doctor and, two, I also don't have an illness or an injury that would even justify a doctor's note of that kind. Shit.
     I finally decided to just get it over with. I filled out the paperwork, took it to work, made a copy of it for my employer, hammered a stamp onto that damned envelope and shoved it - rather violently - into the mailbox. Good riddance, you Bastards. I'll see y'all on March 12th. Consider my ass RSVP'd. Then I ran around my shop writing JURY DUTY on all the calendars so nobody would forget that I'd be out that day and I put the copy of the paperwork on my boss' desk where he wouldn't miss it.
     On March 4th, as before, I came home from work like I usually do, walked to my front door, checked the mail and was assaulted yet again. This time, in my mailbox, I found the Your Guide to Jury Service booklet along with directions, parking instructions, and more paperwork to fill out. Since I was already prepared for Jury Duty, receiving this wasn't really a full fledged attack, I guess. This was more like a subtle punch in the mouth, just a little love tap from the Court reminding me that they now own my ass for an indefinite amount of time. Shit.
     Today was the day. March 12th, 2013. Jury Duty Day. J-Day....
     I woke up, fed the cats, scraped out the litter boxes, got the water boiling in the ol' microwave, got dressed, turned on the Weather Channel and sat, with my coffee, hoping for the Storm of the Century that might close down all government facilities for the day. No such luck. Just rain. Then the screen on my TV changed from the "Local on the 8s" menu to the traffic-cams that run up and down Interstate 95. 95 Southbound - heading into Bridgeport - was a mess. The traffic was backed up for 19 miles. Goody, goody. So I left my house at 7:50am figuring that would give me a solid 40 minutes to battle the grid-locked traffic and still get to Court on time.
     I grabbed my coat, purse, keys, umbrella, the court paperwork for sign-in and a tote-bag filled with lunch (including silverware, a knife, fork and a spoon), snacks, beverages, 3 puzzle books, a novel (Lincoln, by Gore Vidal), my MP3 player and my hand-held electronic Sudoku game and out the door I go. I jump in the car and hit 95 South and.... there's not a car in sight. I am the only one on the road. What the hell? Where's all the traffic??? It took me 6 minutes to get to the Lafayette Parking garage. It's only 8:05 and I don't even have to be at the courthouse until 8:30. Dammit!!! I just gave myself an additional 25 minutes of "sitting-around-waiting-all-day" time.
     I found a decent place to park - since I was there so friggin' early - and I head out to the sidewalk for the two-block hike to the courthouse. Granted, two blocks isn't all that far to walk, I know, but I'm carrying all this crap with me, it's windy, it's cold, it's raining, my umbrella keeps flipping inside-out on me, my nose is running, my shoes are damp, I'm dodging puddles, and for what? It's not like there's a happy ending. I'm not on my way to a concert, or dinner, to a movie, or to a friend's house. It's Jury Duty. At the courthouse. In Bridgeport. So, yeah, it was a hike!!!
     The first obstacle was the metal detectors and the X-ray machines that are situated right inside the main entrance. It's 8:10am and there's already a line forming outside the doors and down the sidewalk because of the metal detectors. We're all standing there, in the rain and wind... my umbrella is flapping around uselessly like a white, surrender flag so, already, I know exactly what kind of a day I'm in for. It's finally my turn so I place my purse and tote-bag on the conveyor belt and send it through the X-ray machine. I remove my watch and place it in the little plastic bin and entrust it to the security guard who's running this charade and I walk through the metal detector.
     Free on the other side to collect my belongings, I turn around and see the guard rooting around in my tote-bag. I'm thinking to myself, "Dude, what's the problem? You want some of my tuna fish sandwich?" He pulls out my Sudoku game, of all things, and examines it like it's some kind of a stun gun, no doubt an item that could be used to threaten every living soul in the building. With a nod of acceptance he shoves it back in the bag and zips it back up. He hands me my watch and sends me on my way. Towards the elevators I go, shaking my head in annoyance and disbelief. My Sudoku game is subjected to such scrutiny... yet the STEAK KNIFE packed in my lunch is completely acceptable. Whatever, Dude.....
     On the seventh floor, I find myself a seat in the Jury Room and dig out the book I brought and I start to read. By 9:30 the room is almost packed and the sign-in process takes place. We all hand in our CONFIDENTIAL paperwork in exchange for a JUROR sticker and validated parking permit ticket-stubs. After that we all shuffle back to our seats and the tortuous waiting begins...
     I flip through the Your Guide to Jury Service booklet and read a few of the FAQs they list. In the very beginning of the booklet there is a "Dear Prospective Juror" letter that is quite entertaining, for lack of a better word. The last paragraph is, and I quote:
     "We recognize that jury service interrupts other important obligations in your life and we greatly appreciate the sacrifice that jury service often entails. Please know that our jury system is possible because people like you are willing to serve. We are grateful for your participation and we will do everything we can to make your service pleasant, interesting and meaningful.
     Very truly yours,
     Chase T. Rogers, Chief Justice"
     LOL, willing to serve? Pleasant?? Interesting??? Meaningful??? You have got to be kidding me with this shit. Well, Mr. Chase T. Rogers, Chief Justice, I've only got one thing to say to you... you can go find something to suck on!!!
     At noon, my name is included in the fourth group of 18 people to be herded down to the fifth floor where the courtrooms, lawyers and judges are all located. If you've never done this before you might think that this is where the action is! This is where our great legal system goes into effect! This is where all the drug dealers, murderers, rapists, car thieves and all others go down! This is where the trials are held! This is where the lawyers really get busy and put their heads together, their armpits ringed with stress-sweat and furrowed brows, and present heated arguments! Bullshit. In actuality, this is where we, the 18 prospective jurors, are shoved into a tiny room - that only holds about 10 comfortably - and are completely forgotten about, forced to sit and wait for another hour until lunch time... which is at 1:00pm.
     We are instructed by the court Clerk to go to lunch and to return to this tiny room by no later than 2:00pm at which time the serious "court-like stuff" will resume. At 2:05, after being trapped in Jury Service for SIX HOURS, finally something happens. We're all moved into the court room where we're sworn in and given all the names of everyone involved in the case -- the lawyers, the Judge, the plaintiffs, the defendants, the witnesses, the doctors and everyone else under the sun. This particular case involved Stew Leonards in Norwalk. Though we weren't given the actual facts of the case at that time we all just assumed someone must've gotten hurt (maybe they fell, or maybe there was a car accident in the parking lot, or whatever) and is now suing the grocery store for damages.
     Once the lawyers were finished running their mouths, the 18 of us are led back into the tiny deliberating room where we are now forced to wait for the lawyers to call on us individually for private questioning, after which they determine if they want us to sit on the jury or not. At 2:30 they took in the first person.... and the rest of us, now fully annoyed, bored, frustrated and, not to mention, pumped up on sugar from lunch, were getting a bit punchy. We started chatting... we started telling stories.... we started laughing and carrying on like we've known each other our whole lives. Apparently we were getting a little too loud 'cause two different Judges came in and asked us to keep it down. The second Judge was funny... she said, "I really don't want to reprimand you guys 'cause it's so infrequent that we have people in here who are actually enjoying themselves, but you've gotta keep it down a little, we can hear you all the way down the hall. I know it gets hot in here, but I'm gonna have to close this door." And the guy sitting across from me piped up with, "That's OK, close the door. You come back the next time, we'll all be butt-naked in here." Even the Judge laughed at that...
     By 4:00 the lawyers had only questioned three of us (thankfully, I was not one of them)... it was taking them forever, so the Clerk came in and made an announcement that they were only going to have time for 3 more people. She said she was going to call off a list of names and if we heard our name we were FREE TO GO. She read off 12 names and - Hallelujah!!! - I was one of them. The 12 of us lined up, followed the Clerk (just like the 12 apostles following Christ through the desert eagerly awaiting a miracle) through the court room and out to the main hallway. Once set loose, all 12 of us literally sprinted to the elevators to get the hell out of there!!!
     Oh. My. God. What a nightmare. What a complete waste of time. Good grief. Once outside, it was still raining, but I didn't care. With a spring in my step I headed back to the parking garage and found my car. As I was pulling out of the lot onto Lafayette Street, I called my boss to tell him about my day and how horrible it was. He laughed through the whole story and finally said, "Yeah, it's brain-numbing isn't it? It's just awful."
     Even though today sucked, I guess it was worth it. My obligation is fulfilled... I won't have to deal with Jury Duty again for the next 3 years. They can't nail me again until sometime after March 12th, 2016!!!


ENTRY # 356
DATE:  03/08/13 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Storm Saturn = Another Snow Day!!!

     Woooohooooooooooo!!! Had another "Snow Day" today thanks, this time, to Storm Saturn. It dumped another 8 to 10 inches on us so my boss decided to close down the shop again. Ahhhh, a long weekend. NICE!!!
     The roads weren't that bad this time though so I went out into the blizzard in search of Trollbeads, LOL. I went up to Country Hearts in Monroe first but they were closed because of the storm. From Monroe I headed back down to Shelton and hit Marks of Design on Howe Avenue. Luckily, for them, they were open 'cause I bought four beads!!! Three glass ones and one silver one. Then I hit Pottery Plus in Orange and bought two more. Another glass one and, drum roll please.... the "African Pride" silver bead I've been wanting for over a month now. They actually had two in stock so I grabbed one as soon as I saw it!!! To see what that one looks like visit entry #342 for the photos. And here's the other five I bought today...

            

     The silver bead I bought to represent my Dad. He's a huge jazz fan so I thought the musical notes were appropriate. The other four beads were only bought to create the color scheme which is purple/pink to set off the starter bead the bracelet originally came with.
     When I got home I immediately added the six new beads to the bracelet. I'm definitely gonna need another bracelet 'cause there are a LOT of beads out there that I still want and I only have room enough left for four or five more on this one, LOL. That didn't take long, did it? LOL.
     I'm so excited that I was able to find the African Pride bead. It made my whole day!!!


ENTRY # 355
DATE:  03/05/13 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Sympathy Cards...

     I finally mailed out three sympathy cards today. One to my cousin Sheri, one to my Uncle Johnny and one to Rene, Brian's wife. I wanted to mail them sooner but every time I sat down to write them out my mind went completely blank...
     What do you say when someone loses a brother? A son? A husband? Words just don't seem to mean enough when you can't even imagine the amount of pain, grief, and sadness that person must be feeling. I mean, honestly, how many times can you hear, "I'm so sorry for your loss," or "My thoughts and prayers are with you," or "May your special memories help you during this difficult time." Those sentiments are nice, sure, but they seem so trivial when compared to the trauma and shock of losing someone that close to you...
     There are no words, period. Let's face it... there are no words that will bring him back, or make his sister, or father, or wife actually feel better. The only thing that will help is time... and even time takes years to ease that kind of loss.
     So the cards sat on my kitchen table for a week. The envelopes were addressed and stamped but the cards themselves remained blank inside 'cause I had no idea what to say. I don't know if there's any kind of "Sympathy Card Etiquette." I have no idea if there's a "rule" that covers the amount of time you should stick to when it comes to expressing your sympathy or not. I know that Thank You cards should be sent out within thirty days. Are Sympathy Cards like that too? I dunno. But, after a week of looking at them sitting on my kitchen table, I kind'a felt pressured. Seeing them sitting there every day just added to the guilt I already felt because I wasn't able to attend the services. So unfortunately, out of desperation, I ended up sticking to a combination of the aforementioned trivial, over-used condolences and mailed them out. What else could I do? It's the thought that counts, right? Which is yet another over-used expression when it comes to matters of the heart...
     Brian was loved and he'll be missed by everyone who knew him. That's all that matters, I guess...


ENTRY # 354
DATE:  03/01/13 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  H&R Block...

     Woohoooooo!!! Just got home from my appointment at H&R Block. Between my State and Federal refunds I'm getting back a little over 2200 bucks! Thank God. I can finally pay off my damn credit card. I absolutely hate owing them money...
     Once that's paid off I'll still have half of my return left... not sure what I'm gonna do with it all but I'll probably buy some Trollbeads for my bracelet. And I'm actually thinking about buying a Pandora bracelet also. I've decided I like the Pandora "clip" clasp more than I like the Trollbeads lobster-claw clasp. I think the clip clasp is more secure. I'll still keep the Trollbeads bracelet but I'll make sure to add a safety chain to that one. This means I'll have TWO bracelets to fill with beads. ;-)
     I should buy some clothes for work too. I need pants desperately. And I also need to hit Stop & Shop for groceries... the cabinets are looking kind'a bare. Food is always good, LOL, but lugging a car-load of groceries up all my stairs is a pain in the butt. And the cats have to go to the Vet for their yearly check-up and shots. And I need a new digital camera...
     Hmmm, sounds like my refund is pretty much shot already and I won't even get it for a couple of weeks yet. Oh well... easy come, easy go.


ENTRY # 353
DATE:  02/20/13 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  Services for Brian...

     I found out, today, that the funeral services for my cousin are going to be held on Monday and Tuesday in Taunton, MA. This means I can't go 'cause I have to work. I can't even sit here to write anything else about it... I am miserable. This totally sucks...


ENTRY # 352
DATE:  02/19/13 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  My Cousin Brian -- RIP...

     Sad news... My cousin Brian passed away today. He was only 46 years old. He was happily married and had five kids. He was a school teacher, adored by all his students. He was diagnosed as "terminal" approximately five years ago but they were never able to determine what illness/disease was causing the problem.
     I don't know, yet, when the services are going to be held. I'm hoping they'll be over the weekend so I can go and pay my respects to his wife, his father (who is my uncle) and his siblings, my other cousins (Craig, Kevin & Sheri).
     The last time I saw Brian was at a family reunion years ago during which we sat together for most of the afternoon chatting away about family, kids, work, books, tattoos (he was shocked that I have three, LOL) and life in general. I don't know what year it was.... all I remember is that his youngest child, Brianna, was only a few months old at the time so it must've been about ten years ago 'cause she's 11 now, I think.
     That reunion was held before he was sick so, even though I'm sorry the last time I saw him was so long ago, I'm happy that I will always remember him as strong and healthy, brimming with happiness and loving life as he watched his family grow alongside his beautiful wife, Rene.
     Rest in peace, Brian. You may be gone but you'll never be forgotten.


ENTRY # 351
DATE:  02/15/13 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Coffee Mug & Mocha Trollbeads...

     OK, fine... I admit it... I have absolutely no will power, no self control whatsoever, LOL. Even though I just spent 70 bucks last night at Michael's Jewelers I bought two more beads on my lunch hour today.
     There's a little store in Monroe, on Main Street, called Country Hearts which sells Trollbeads and Chamilia beads. Woohoooo!!! I didn't have much time for browsing but I didn't need to browse anyway... I knew exactly what I wanted. I got the "Coffee Mug" bead and the "Mocha" bead. (See Entry #342 for the photos.)
     I now have a total of seven beads on my bracelet. It's still kind'a empty looking but, I don't care, I think I'm gonna start wearing it anyway. :-)



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