Entries 500 - 476

ENTRY #500
DATE:  10/25/16 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  I think my brain just farted!!!

I don't understand how I can remember
every word of a song from 1980,
but I can't remember why I walked into the kitchen!

ENTRY #499
DATE:  10/24/16 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  Dove's [personal] Anthem...

"Redneck Woman"
...by Gretchen Wilson...

Well, I ain't never been the Barbie doll type.
No, I can't swig that sweet Champagne, I'd rather drink beer all night
In a tavern or in a honky tonk or on a four-wheel drive tailgate.
I've got posters on my wall of Skynyrd, Kid and Strait.
Some people look down on me, but I don't give a rip...
I'll stand barefooted in my own front yard with a baby on my hip
'Cause I'm a redneck woman
I ain't no high class broad
I'm just a product of my raising
I say, 'hey ya'll' and "yee-haw"
And I keep my Christmas lights on
On my front porch all year long
And I know all the words to every Charlie Daniels song
So here's to all my sisters out there keeping it country
Let me get a big 'hell yeah' from the redneck girls like me, hell yeah
Victoria's Secret, well their stuff's real nice
But I can buy the same damn thing on a Wal*Mart shelf half price
And still look sexy, just as sexy, as those models on TV
No, I don't need no designer tag to make my man want me!
Well, you might think I'm trashy, a little too hardcore
But in my neck of the woods I'm just the girl next door
I'm a redneck woman
I ain't no high class broad
I'm just a product of my raising
I say, 'hey y'all' and "yee-haw"
And I keep my Christmas lights on
On my front porch all year long
And I know all the words to every Tanya Tucker song
So here's to all my sisters out there keeping it country
Let me get a big 'hell yeah' from the redneck girls like me, hell yeah
Hey, I'm a redneck woman
And I ain't no high class broad
I'm just a product of my raising
And I say, "hey y'all' and "yee-haw"
And I keep my Christmas lights on
On my front porch all year long
And I know all the words to every ol' Bocephus song!
So here's to all my sisters out there keeping it country
Let me get a big "hell yeah" from the redneck girls like me, hell yeah
Hell yeah
I said hell yeah!

ENTRY #498
DATE:  10/23/16 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  A favorite from ee cummings...

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

ENTRY #497
DATE:  10/21/16 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  This n' That...

     #1:  Um... well, I've decided not to upload all the emails and IMs (which I now refer to as the "Friar Files," LOL) after all. After reading a couple more of them, and realizing how personal some of the content is, I think it's best if all that stuff just remain between him and I. Although, I honestly don't think he remembers much of it anyway but, still... it's better that I just keep it all to myself. I might share a couple here (depending on the content) as blog entries... if they're funny enough, or cute enough, or if I want to share a particularly meaningful memory.... but, other than that, the bulk of them will remain private. So, I think the scrap-book idea is a "go" at this point. Maybe that'll be my project during the 4-day weekend I have for Thanksgiving. We'll see.

     #2:  The huge tree that's been looming over this house ever since I've lived here has been cut down!!! FINALLY!!! I've been after the landlord for years to have it either trimmed or taken down so I am relieved that it's finally gone. It always scared the hell out of me during hurricane season. One less worry in my life now! Woooohooooooo!!!

     #3:  Discovered a pretty cool book the other day at Barnes & Noble called The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell. I'm about half-way through it and it's pretty good! Not exactly sure where the story is going yet but it's good enough to keep me turning the pages. It's about a Catholic priest who has to solve a murder and save his family from harm. The Vatican is involved and so is the Shroud of Turin... so, it's kind'a got a "DaVinci Code" feel to it, but not exactly.

     #4:  I am sick and tired of all this "Trump vs. Hillary" bullshit that's EVERYWHERE-YOU-TURN. Thank God the damn debates are over!!! Good grief... if that man makes it to the White House this country is done. I think he's a jackass, always have, and the thought of him being "The Most Powerful Jackass in the World" is terrifying!!! Enough said!

     #5:  I found an interesting video on YouTube today when I was at work. It was uploaded by "breski1" on January 22, 2009 and it's only 42 seconds long but it's of Fr. Marcel. Now, the computer I use at work doesn't have speakers on it so I was only able to watch the video, I couldn't actually hear it. As I was standing there watching it Porter came over and asked, "Who's that?" so I said, "Oh, that's Marcel," and I pointed him out.
     And, y'know what, I am now thankful I wasn't able to hear it when I was at work 'cause I came home and watched it on my computer that DOES have speakers... and I was shocked. He said something about how he "influenced people, back when he was teaching, and how some students come back to him now and bring him books on Francis..." and then he laughed - in fact, they ALL laughed - like the thought of someone giving him books about Francis was absurd. My heart sank, 'cause I've done exactly that. Don't I feel like a friggin' laughingstock now, LOL. Oh well.... guess I'll never do that again. Though I 'spose there's no great worry there, huh?, since the chances are good that I'll probably never see him again anyway. My god, out of the billions of videos on YouTube, I had to see that one. Figures.

     #6:  It's Butternut-Bisque Season!!! Woohooooo!!! As I was driving by Bobette's Take-Out in Milford yesterday I happened to catch the sign hanging out front about their Butternut Bisque and I made a very abrupt U-turn, right in the middle of Route One, and pulled directly into their parking lot!!! Now, to be honest, ALL their food is fantastic! I haven't had anything from their menu yet that didn't qualify as Yum-tastic Ecstasy. But when it comes to their soups and bisques.... Oh. My. God. Their Butternut Squash Bisque is damn-near orgasmic!!! There is absolutely no other way to describe it, LOL! It's A-MAZ-ING!!! The down-fall is that they only make it on Thursdays. So... guess what that means? Every Thursday from now 'til about March, LOL, that's where I'll be headin' for dinner!!! Wooohooooo!!! I'm so easy, LOL. It sure don't take much to make me happy, now do it?!?!

     #7:  Well, it looks like I'll be seeing HAMILTON on Broadway on July 5th, 2017. My friend Steve got tickets a couple weeks ago. Now, I appreciate he wants to take me. And I also appreciate the fact that these tickets cost him almost 500 bucks. However, July 5th falls smack-dab in the middle of my ONLY vacation during the year. Now, I usually don't do anything during my vacation 'cause I'm so wiped out/exhausted from busting my ass all year long. However, this coming July I was thinking about doing some traveling around the Lake Erie area. I thought I might [possibly] drive out to Ohio to visit my friend Micki and then [possibly] visit Marcel in NY on my way back to CT. And now, because of HAMILTON, I can't go anywhere. Granted, I'm sure I'll enjoy the show. I mean, the reviews it's been wracking up have all been fantastic... so I have no doubt it'll be a great show. But, honestly, I don't give a rat's ass about seeing this particular Broadway show. It's definitely not something I would've spent my own 500 bucks on, that's for sure. There's not even a "celebrity" in it that I'd care to see. So, I find it a little irritating that Steve took it upon himself to just assume he could book this during my ONLY time off during the year, without checking with me first. He just jumped at the opportunity to get tickets because HE really, really, really wants to see it. I "get" the fact that purchasing tickets for HAMILTON is almost impossible 'cause it's SOLD OUT for months in advance... but booking it during my ONLY time off, without checking with me first, I think was a little unfair to me. Oh well... it's too late now. And, as far as my traveling around Lake Erie... I guess I'll just have to try to work out something else. Maybe sometime in the Spring... or Fall.... it's either that or I'll have to wait 'til July 2018 and that totally sucks ass!

     #8:  I can't stand my cell phone. I definitely need to get something else. My current phone is pretty old.... it's not even a Smart phone. It's a friggin' flip phone and the Internet feature on it, right out of the damn box, has never worked. On top of that, I also have no way to transfer data from the phone to my computer. Because it's so old the data-cable works only as a power-cable. So I can't even use the camera on the phone 'cause there's no point. I can take pictures, sure, but since the Internet feature doesn't work and neither does the data-cable I can't do anything with the pictures. They have to just sit on the phone forever until I delete them. Arrrrrrrrrrgh!!! I gotta get something else. AND SOON. I can't take it anymore!

     #9:  I think I've finally decided what vehicle I want to buy next. As of right now, I'm almost positive it's gonna be the Jeep RENEGADE...

     I'm seeing more and more of them on the road and the more I see them the more I like them. I've seen a couple orange ones and I really like that color for a Jeep! (Although I'm not gonna be all that picky! As long as it's not BLACK, I don't really care what color it is.) Not to mention, since the winters seem to be getting a little worse here in CT, I think 4 WHEEL DRIVE is the way to go!!! Now I just gotta scrape together enough for a down payment. Wish me luck there! LOL!!! Although, I also have the benefit of the trade-in value on my current car so maybe it won't be so hard after all. We'll see...

     #10:  My crazy cat, Rigby, has taught herself how to peel bananas, of all things!!! She's always enjoyed chewing on the stems, for some reason. I guess the toughness and/or the rubbery-ness(?) must feel good on her gums, I have no idea. But now her chewing habit has actually developed into peeling the banana and helping herself to the fruity goodness on the inside, LOL. Which means I come home from work to find smeared banana-mush all over the kitchen table and/or counter-top. Wonderful!!! I really don't mind it all that much... but, I gotta tell ya, once that smeared banana-mush solidifies, you need a razor blade to scrape it off the kitchen surfaces she decides to smear it over, LOL. Then, of course, you need about 50 baby-wipes to get the banana-mush out of her fur and out from between her toes. What fun!!!
     And that's it out'a me for tonight. I'm gonna go read for awhile. Ciao for now!!!

ENTRY #496
DATE:  10/19/16 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  A Blast from the Past!

     LOL, last night I spent quite a bit of time on the "Internet Archive: Wayback Machine" site. I visited versions of Marcel's web site that go back as far as 2000, 2001, 2002, etc., etc. OMG, and it was amazing!!! I eventually found one version of it where he uploaded a little animated friar .gif file and it almost brought tears to my eyes. I'm the one who found that little friar and emailed it to him. This was something I had totally forgotten all about. In fact, I don't even recall seeing it on his site back then, so to find it last night brought the memory back and made me smile.
     Then I also found another .gif file he had uploaded. This second one was a file I had actually created myself for him. It was a small square-shaped slide-show which included 7 or 8 different pictures of St. Francis...
     Years ago, we used to use the same "GIF Construction Set" animation software. Apparently, when I sent him that St. Francis file, he opened it in his software, added an "Animation by:" placard with my name on it, then resaved it and uploaded that to his site as well. I never realized he had done that. When I found it on this old version of his site I was, like, "Thank you very much!" and I downloaded it right away, since my original version of the .gif was lost years ago.
     After that, I kept on browsing.... and paid close attention to the versions of his site between 2007 and now. Those were my "friarless" years... and that included his site also. Back then it was just too painful to visit his site so I rarely ever did. (And, the couple times I did visit it, it was just a quick glance to make sure the site was still up and that he was still alive.)
     I found a ton of photos and slide-shows and downloaded a bunch of them. I was mostly looking for photos of him through the years that I had missed out on seeing... but, when I started watching some of the slide-shows of all the flower/veggie gardens he's grown, I just had to download them as well. I've always loved his photography.... and, to this day, I'm still kind'a amazed at how similar his eye is to mine, when it comes to looking through the lens of a camera. When I look at many of his shots I can't help thinking, "Damn, I would've taken that exact same photo!"
     LOL, I think he's always thought the same about my photos too. I remember when I returned home from my visit to Ellicott City, we emailed all the photos we both took that weekend to each other. He praised many of the ones I took... but, I think, he was mostly impressed with HOW I took them, 'cause he ended up sending a bunch of photos of me taking pictures. LOL, he's got photos of me sprawled out on the ground - flat on my back and/or stomach - aiming the camera up into trees and under bushes.... he's got shots of me on my knees, and shots of me zooming in for close-ups of his flowers... I was really amazed when I saw how many pics he actually took of me. And it still kills me to know that we both had our cameras close at hand all weekend long and neither one of us thought to have someone take a picture of us together. Duh!!! Oh well.... it is what it is.
     Anyway, it was fun, last night, perusing the years of his life I had missed out on. I then clicked over to my "IM/email" files and scrolled through them looking for the emails where I actually sent him those GIF files. The little animated friar.gif was sent to him on March 10th, 2002... and the Francis.gif was sent to him on August 3rd, 2002. I am so glad I saved all our IMs and emails. Well, actually, it's not ALL of them. I started saving stuff in August 2001. My god, if I had saved everything starting back in 1997-1998 I'd probably have thousands of files to deal with, LOL. Regardless, I'm glad I have all these memories "backed-up," so to speak. One of these days, I'm gonna sit down here and read them ALL, instead of just picking and choosing. I'll start with #1 and end at #369... should be a fantastic trip down good ol' Memory Lane!
     Here's the little animated friar I sent to him! (I won't post the Francis.gif file 'cause it's got my real name in it, but the little friar is safe to share here)...

     I gotta figure out a good place to use him on this site somewhere... he's just too cute not to use! Must think of something!

ENTRY #495
DATE:  10/18/16 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  An old "AOL Signature" Resurrected...

     As I was creating all those .pdf files the other night, reading some of our old emails, I came across a "signature" I had set up to include at the bottom of them. The first time I used it was back on October 23, 2001... and I continued to use it for a number of years after that. Here it is...

     When I first saw it the other night I was, like, "OMG, yeah, that's right, I remember that; Wow!" And I immediately wondered if Marcel would remember it too. So, last night, as I was replying to an email from him, I included that old signature, just to see what kind of a reaction I'd get. LOL, his next email came to me with "Equation" in the subject line... and in the body of the email was one line, "I like your math." Definitely a cute response, but it didn't seem like he remembered it, though I couldn't tell for sure. He very well might have...
     Here's his reply to the original email (from 10/23/2001) when I first used it... and, yes, both the email addresses have been altered!

Subj: Your math
Date: 10/23/2001 6:53:27 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Friar@ooo.ooo
To: Dove@ooo.ooo

I printed out equation.

LOL, both emails - though fifteen years apart - are strikingly similar, wouldn't you say? :-)

ENTRY #494
DATE:  10/16/16 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  I just created 369 .pdf files, LOL!!!

     LOL, well, after doing some tinkering on all those IM and email files I mentioned in my last entry, I finally discovered that they open beautifully as long as I'm running AOL. Apparently, since they were originally created with "AOL email" and AOL's "AIM" software, they actually still share enough components with the current version of AOL I'm running. So... WOOOHOOOOOO!!! At least I can read them now with no trouble at all.
     Once I got them to open correctly, I sat here - for 12 hours - and created a .pdf file of each and every one of them. 369 total!!! Ayuh, it took all night long, LOL.
     Now I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with them. I'm thinking about creating a scrap-book with them... but that would mean printing out well over a thousand sheets of paper. Hmm. Not really sure if I wanna do that or not. I'm also thinking about uploading them all to this site somewhere.... but that would mean I'd have to edit out all the screen names for anonymity and that could take months. Again, not sure I wanna do that either. All I know is that, one way or the other, I want easy access to all the memories they hold. While I was creating the .pdfs I actually read quite a few of them and they are fantastic!!! Hell, maybe I'll just bite the bullet and do both, the scrapbook and the uploading. We'll see...

ENTRY #493
DATE:  10/14/16 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Home sick for two days...

     Well... this sucks. I'm home from work, sick. I was forced awake yesterday morning, once again, by an EMS attack at 4:00am. This one was a record-breaker too. The pain was so intense I was actually vomiting all morning. By 8:30 last night I finally felt "OK," but didn't dare eat anything or do much since I didn't want the pain to flare up again... so I spent most of the evening crashed on the couch.
     This morning, when I woke up, I thought I was alright so I proceeded to get ready for work and off I went. Half way there, after a few sips of my coffee, the nausea came back so severely I thought I was going to have to pull over on the highway. By the time I actually got to work Porter took one look at me and was, like, "Damn, Dove, you're gray. What's wrong with you?" LOL. I went into the kitchen, where our time-clock is, to punch in and as soon as I caught a whiff of the coffee that was brewing I had to, literally, run to the bathroom because of the nausea. To make a long story short, by 9:30am I couldn't take it anymore, so I punched out again and came back home.
     I absolutely HATE being home from work sick... because that only means ONE thing -- the longer I'm not at work, the deeper things pile up waiting for me to come back. 'Cause, y'know, god forbid, expecting anyone else to do some work around that place when I'm out is just way too much to ask!!!
     Once my stomach calmed down (thanks to a bottle of Pepto), I've basically been sitting here most of the day trying to engage my Friar Friend in an actual conversation which, apparently, is a battle I will never win.... since it seems he's morphed into a seventeen-year-old who can't put down his cell phone. So, all I ever get from him now is five or six word txt-messages which, honestly, is frustrating as hell, LOL.
     I've been trying to tempt him into conversation by sending him old photographs of himself...LOL... and when I say old, I mean OLD. It all kind'a started yesterday...
     In one email to him yesterday I sent him a scan from my old 1985 yearbook from high school. In that scan, he's holding up a coffee cup that he received as a gift and it's also the same photo he chose to autograph for me when I asked him, that year, to "sign my yearbook." Along with that old picture I also included a very current photo of him (along with Fr. Paul) that was just taken a couple weeks ago [that I found online]. With the pictures, I included a little note stating how handsome he was back then.... and how that's still true today all these years later. His entire reply to the photos and the note was "Easy on the niceties." That's it... four words, LOL.
     Last week, Marcel and I were emailing back n' forth about a photograph on his web site that I wanted to make a print of and hang on my living-room wall. During this conversation he mentioned that he's experienced a couple computer crashes through the years and he's lost a great deal of photos. With that in mind today, I figured, "OK, let's see what he thinks of this." I pulled out an old CD I have where I had saved a bunch of stuff (emails/IMs/photographs/web cards/gif files/etc.) that we've shared with each other in the past... and I found three really old pics he emailed to me probably 15-20 years ago, LOL. Well, actually, one of them, I think, I might've swiped off an old version of his web site a few years back (thanks to the "Internet Archive: Wayback Machine" site), but I can't remember for sure. It's been too long...
     The first one I sent was of him and a buddy of his ("Al") from high school. (This is the one I might've gotten from his old web site.) I have no idea what year this picture was taken but he can't be any older than 15 or 16 in it, LOL. In the body of the email I wrote, "I only have one word for this... WOW!!!" And, again, his response was a txt-message saying, "Where are you getting this stuff!!!!!" Six words... LOL.
     The second picture I decided to send was taken, I think, in 1950 (or maybe '51?) - I can't remember exactly. I wanna say he was around the age of 19 when this one was taken 'cause it was from the day he was ordained. I put "Double Wow!!!" in the subject line and sent it off to him. His response to this one was, simply, "Nice moment." LOL, only TWO words that time. Good grief... it's like trying to draw blood from a stone, LOL!!!
     My third, and last, attempt was a picture of him and his sister... and it's a fantastic shot of him, all dressed up in a beautiful suit, looking very dashing and charming as hell. (Seriously --- he could charm a dog off a meat-wagon! My goodness!) In the subject line I put, "My favorite so far/drum roll please..." and in the body of the email, along with the picture, I wrote, "This one takes the cake... TRIPLE WOW!!!" in big, red letters. This one apparently knocked his socks off 'cause, in his subject line he said, "Woaaah," and he actually responded with a whopping 18 words, LOL -- "That's my sister Jeannie... where on earth did you get that????? That must be from the 40's!!!! ZOWIE!!!!!!!!!"
     After that last photo I basically gave up 'cause I was getting nowhere as far as coaxing an actual conversation out of him. It appears that he just doesn't remember how much we used to share with each other before he disappeared out of my life all those years ago. I found that really disappointing. Granted, I don't expect him to remember every little detail of our past friendship but, the fact that I had just hit him with 3 pictures in a row, I was hoping he'd remember that I had gotten all this stuff from HIM. The fact that he shared them with me meant something to me; they were important to me and I've just saved everything through the years. But, I guess the passage of time has swept quite a bit of me from his memory. Oh well...
     My god... I really miss the good ol' days. I would give my right arm to be able to IM with him again, like we used to do. Oh, how I wish he still ran some version of AIM. And y'know what's really funny? I actually still have two or three of his screen names saved in my current Buddy List from, like, 18 years ago. LOL, like I mentioned back in that "Dove's Journey" entry he's STILL on my "Allow" list. Always has been, always will be... ;-)
     One of these days, I have to sit here and spend some time reviewing all the IMs/emails I have on that old CD. I've tried to read through some of the IMs but it's kind'a difficult. Since they're so old, my newer software versions don't like to open those old files. They do open as text files but they're filled with a bunch of computer jargon/symbols mixed throughout the file so they're almost impossible to read. There's got to be a way to open them so they're actually legible. Maybe I'll do some tinkering this weekend to figure it out. We'll see...

ENTRY #492
DATE:  10/11/16 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Talked to my Friar Friend today...ON THE PHONE!!!

     Ever since Fr. Marcel and I started "communicating" again back in June (???), I was pleased to discover that he was "exactly the same" as I had always remembered him. However, all of a sudden, about three weeks ago, I noticed a significant change in his short-term memory and, at the same time, his typing seemed to decline rather drastically as well. At first I didn't pay much attention to it... I just chalked it up to his age, or figured maybe he was just tired, or maybe it was due to spikes in his blood sugar, or perhaps even a missed dose of medication. But, as the days slowly ticked by - into weeks - and without seeing any "return to normal," I started to get a little concerned. I actually began fearing that he may have had a stroke.
     Now... people can have mild strokes or sometimes what is referred to as "mini strokes" without even being aware of it themselves. That's what I feared may have happened. Well, by Friday (October 7th), I had basically worked myself up into a frenzy about this.
     I kept thinking, "What do I do? What if I'm right? What if something major happens to him and I could've prevented it simply by mentioning my suspicions to someone?"
     But then, at the same time, I was also thinking, "What if I'm wrong? If I bring this to someone's attention and it turns out to be nothing, then I've caused a bunch of unnecessary worry... plus it would probably embarrass him; or it could possibly piss him off to the point where he'd vanish from my life again."
     What the hell? How do I deal with this? What do I do? Ultimately I decided I'd rather have an angry Friar than a dead one so I actually sat down and composed a letter to another Friar who lives out there close to him explaining the entire situation and what my suspicions were. I never sent it though; I saved it and filed it away. I just didn't feel right about going over his head or "behind his back," so to speak.
     After sleeping on it, I figured the best thing to do would be to talk to him directly first. So, last night, when I got home from work I sent him an email asking him to provide me with a phone number to either his residence or his cell. And then I sat here for almost four hours waiting for a reply, LOL. I eventually sent him a second email, giving him MY numbers so he could call me instead. And he did!!!
     Today, when I left work for my lunch, I dug my phone out'a my purse and discovered I had a voicemail. As soon as I saw the area code I knew it was him, LOL. I listened to his message as I was driving home and, honestly, I was a bit discouraged to hear how he sounded. Although, he did mention in the message that he had recently received a Flu shot and he knew his voice was a little "froggy" which he then apologized for. LOL, like he'd have to apologize for that! (Gimme a break!) Anyway, once I learned about the Flu shot, I did feel a little better after that. And, on a very positive note, I also didn't hear any slurring or other stroke-like symptoms in his speech at all. Cool!
     I never ate lunch today. I spent the remainder of my lunch-hour on the phone with him, just chatting about this and that. Though he did sound very congested, he still sounded very much like the Friar of my memory so I felt much better as I drove back to work. Unfortunately, we didn't talk all that long. Between him not feeling well, and our connection starting to break up, I figured it would be better to just let him rest so I ended the conversation. Thank God he's OK. Hopefully he'll recover from the Flu shot quickly. I do not want this turning into pneumonia! Not at his age!!!
     That was the first time in 13 years that I've heard his voice. In person, anyway (as opposed to the Rosary Hour Chapel video I downloaded from his site that he narrated). It brought back a bunch of memories... from so many years ago. By the time I got back to work I was in tears. It's amazing, to me, how much I still miss him after all this time...

ENTRY #491
DATE:  10/09/16 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  It's Praying Mantis Season!!!

     OK... so here's the deal -- though I absolutely HATE spiders, I LOVE the Praying Mantis. I think it's one of the coolest insects on the planet!!! They're awesome to look at, it's fascinating to watch them catch and eat their prey, and it's a pure marvel to witness them in flight!!!
     I think it's equally fascinating to hold one in your hand. They weigh practically nothing but, they're such perfect predators, they've been known to kill small snakes and, on occasion, even birds.
     Like the Black Widow spider, the female Mantis will kill and eat her mate. In most cases she'll actually start eating him - usually his head first - before the act of copulation is even complete. Hmm. I think they're on to something there, LOL! Not that I'm bitter at all... but I have been in certain "situations" where I wouldn't mind ridding the evidence myself so I can totally relate to Ms. Mantis! ...but that's a whole other story. ;-)
     I said "It's Praying Mantis Season" in the subject line but that's not technically true. It's actually Mantis Season all summer long. It's just that during the summer they usually keep themselves well hidden so we don't see them as often. This time of year though - early to mid Fall - is when they come out of hiding to hunt in full view of everyone, LOL. They're getting desperate and need to eat as much as they can so they have enough energy to lay their egg cases (or "Oothecas"). We'll soon start seeing them dangling from window frames, gutters, tree branches, chain-link fences, and even sunning themselves on the hoods of cars, picnic benches and trash-can lids.
     Saw my first one today, as a matter of fact... which is what inspired me to write this! It was a big one, measuring in at approximately five inches long, so it must've been a female. The males are usually much smaller than that. She was dangling precariously from one leg, hanging upside-down from the speaker of the Dunkin Donuts drive-up order thingamajig. They are just so darn cool!!!
     So, for all you gardeners out there, since this is the season when you usually "break down" your gardens for the winter, if you happen to come across anything that looks like this...

...try to keep it warm and safe during the winter 'cause that's a Praying Mantis ootheca (or egg case). Once you start up your gardens next spring, you'll have a little extra help in keeping the other insects away from your precious flowers/vegetables thanks to the Praying Mantis!!!

ENTRY #490
DATE:  10/07/16 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Rigby Encounters Another Stink-bug!

For those of you that don't know, THAT is a Stink-bug. They are called "Stink" bugs because, like the skunk, when they're TAMPERED WITH they emit a very pungent, offensive odor!

For those of you that don't know, THAT is my cat Rigby. She's best known for TAMPERING with stuff. (LOL, can you see where I'm going with this???)

     When these two creatures come face to face, bad things tend to happen -- to the Stink-bug, to my cat AND to myself. It's not a good time for ANY of us! Trust me!
     This is not the first time Rigby has encountered a Stink-bug. This is, in fact, the fourth time she has encountered a Stink-bug. And, dammit, you'd think she would've learned by now that it's best to just leave some things alone!
     To me, it's very simple logic... Don't poke the shark! Don't poke the bear! And whatever you do, don't poke the Stink-bug -- especially when it's in my living room! But nooooooo! My cat insists on poking the Stink-bug! No matter how many times she gets nailed in the face, or receives a mouthful of that noxious gas, she just can't resist the urge to poke the damn Stink-bug! Goody, goody!
     So now... the poor Stink-bug finds itself mangled and balled up in a wad of paper-towel in my trash can. Rigby is sulking in a corner of the room wearing a very prominent YUCK-face. It's 50 degrees outside and I am currently wrapped in a blanket since ALL the windows are wide open trying to rid this apartment of Essence-of-Stink-bug!

ENTRY #489
DATE:  10/03/16 - 10/04/16 (Monday/Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Happy "Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone" Day!!! - aka St. Francis of Assisi...


ENTRY #488
DATE:  10/02/16 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  The Bernard Pivot Questionnaire! - 10 years later!

     Back in February 2006 - in entry #87 - I posted my answers to the Bernard Pivot Questionnaire that's featured in the show "Inside the Actor's Studio" with James Lipton. Now that it's [more than] ten years later, I thought it would be fun to post my answers again to see how different they turn out to be. (The answers from 2006 are in red.) So, here we go...

  What's your favorite word?
  2006: Sensuous.

  What's your least favorite word?
  2006: Hypocrisy.

  What turns you on?
  Books. Music. Movies. Art. Photography.
  2006: Music, books, a good movie, writing, photography. Mostly things that have to do with creativity... whether it's my own or someone else's.

  What turns you off?
  2006: Cruelty to people... cruelty to animals. Hate'em both.

  What sound or noise do you love?
  Wind chimes. Church bells.
  2006: The sounds horses make... whinnies, nickers... their feet trotting up a dirt road... the squeaky sounds the saddle makes as the rider shifts their weight. Great sounds!

  What sound or noise do you hate?
  Infants crying. Children screaming.
  2006: All the sounds we heard on September 11th... planes crashing, buildings crumbling, raging fires, people screaming, crying...

  What's your favorite curse word?
  Shit! Jackass! ...and Balls!
  2006: It's a tie between shit and fuck. They both come in pretty handy.

  What profession other than your own would you most like to participate in?
  Writing / Veterinary Rehabilitation.
  2006: Writing... I'd love to be an author and write books for a living.

  What profession would you least like to participate in?
  Department of Motor Vehicles.
  2006: Toll Collector... y'know, those people on the highway that collect your change? I think that'd suck, being couped up in that little booth all day long, breathing in nothing but exhaust. Gross!

  If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
  Your table is ready -- everyone you love is already seated!
  2006: He wouldn't have to say anything; His applause would be plenty.

ENTRY #487
DATE:  09/30/16 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  It's PUMPKIN season!!!!

     WOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I am a pumpkin nut! I absolutely LOVE this time of year because the Pumpkin and/or Spiced Pumpkin flavor can be found in anything and everything! If it's got pumpkin in it, I'll eat it, drink it, wear it - you name it - if it's pumpkin I'm down with it!!!
     Pumpkin pie! Pumpkin cheese cake! Pumpkin bagels! Spiced Pumpkin donuts! Pumpkin cookies, muffins, cake, and bread! Pumpkin cider! Pumpkin Pie vodka! Spiced Pumpkin Hershey's Kisses! Pumpkin Autumn Harvest body spray! Pumpkin Pie lip gloss! Pumpkin Lattes, pumpkin juice, pumpkin coffee creamer! I even found Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts! Life is good!!!
     And today, at work, thanks to a couple of my co-workers, I learned about this stuff.....


     ...Oh boy! And they're both LIMITED EDITIONS which means, LOL, I'm gonna have to buy, like, FIVE so they last me throughout the year!!!
     Hot pumpkin cider spiked with a splash of that cinnamon Fireball stuff... oh my... it's SOOOOOOO gooooooooooood!!!
     Yummy, yummy, yummy!
     The Dove is happy!!! Very, very happy!!!

ENTRY #486
DATE:  09/27/16 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  "You smell like fruit salad!"

     The shampoo I use is by Suave (their Essentials line) and it's Aloe and Waterlilly scented.
     The body-wash/scrub I use is by Dial and it's Tangerine & Guava scented.
     The deodorant I use is by Dove and it's Cucumber & Green Tea scented.
     This morning as I was getting dressed for work, the body-lotion I chose is by Pacifica and it's Tuscan Blood Orange scented.
     I then layered that with body-spray from Bath & Body Works called "Get Happy" which is White Peach Sangria scented.
     And then, as a final touch, I applied a very fine mist of Italian Citrus Sun, also from Bath & Body Works, throughout my hair.
     Right before I got out of the car this morning, in the parking lot at work, I applied some hand lotion (since I work with paper all day, hand lotion is a daily neccesity), and that's by Beauty Spot which is Coconut & Lime scented.
     When I left work this evening, I went next door to Stop & Shop 'cause I had to pick up a few things.... some cream cheese, a gallon of milk, a jug of Deli Cat for Rigby, a jug of kitty litter, paper towels, and various bags of Halloween candy for our front counter at work. As I was walking around the store, I kept noticing the same little, old lady. Every time I turned around, it seemed, she was right there a couple paces behind me. Then, when I got into the check-out line, I turned around to start emptying my cart and there she was again, right behind me, next in line. She smiled at me and said, "You smell just like fruit salad."
     For a brief moment I didn't know what to say. Hmmm, I thought to myself, this could go two ways -- either she likes fruit salad or she doesn't, so it's either a compliment or a complaint. Being that she was smiling when she said it I figured I was safe, so I said, "Thank you, that's very kind of you. It's not too much, is it?"
     With a twinkle in her eye, she beamed at me and said, "Oh, no, dear, it's lovely. I've been following you around the store just so I could sniff you. It's so light and refreshing; it's like summertime in a bowl. It's lovely!"
     She made my day. I smell like fruit salad, summertime in a bowl. I think that's one of the finest compliments I've ever received!

ENTRY #485
DATE:  09/25/16 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  A Birthday Shout-out!

OK, so I know I already sent him a gift and that he's already received it... but I just can't NOT post a birthday shout-out here. So, here's the Bible verse I sent him in the card (Numbers 6:24-26):

In Latin....................................................

Benedicat tibi Dominus, et custodiat te.
Ostendat Dominus faciem suam tibi, et misereatur tui.
Convertat Dominus vultum suum ad te, et det tibi pacem.

In English..................................................

The Lord bless thee and keep thee.
The Lord smile on thee and be merciful to thee.
The Lord turn his regard towards thee and give thee peace.

     Happy Birthday to the friar!!!
     Pax et bonum!!!

ENTRY #484
DATE:  09/25/16 (Sunday)

     OMG, OMG, OMG!!! I just clicked on Marcel's site again, this time by accident. I was supposed to click on the "Bill Bryson - Book Series in Order" site in my Favorites but at that moment I sneezed and clicked on the wrong thing, LOL. And what a shock I just got! HE CAUGHT A SKUNK YESTERDAY!!!! He actually caught a skunk!!! In his squirrel trap!!! OMG, I just dreamt about that shit last week!!! Here's a picture [and the "head line" he wrote] I just swiped from his site...


     I can't believe he caught a skunk! I can't believe I actually dreamt about that! That's TOO funny!!!

ENTRY #483
DATE:  09/23/16 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  St. Francis Didn't Break!!!

     WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! {insert Dove doing her Happy Dance here} He opened it early!!! He opened it early!!!
     When I got home tonight I checked my email and found another note from Marcel with "Awesome package!!!" in the subject line. Obviously, that's the very first email I clicked on to read and found this...

It is beautiful and arrived in tact! That package could have survived the atom bomb! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Also love the Latin blessing of St. Francis! God bless you! Appreciate your kind heart!!!! love and hugs....the friar.
     Holy smokes! He must have been happy. I've never seen him use that many exclamation points in my life, LOL. Wow!
     I signed off, ate dinner, read for a while, then signed back on to check the rest of my email... once that was done I clicked over to Marcel's web site to get the latest squirrel updates and to see if he added any new photos or slide-shows and was DELIGHTED to find this photo posted right on his main page....

     Ahhhhhhhhhhh. I am soooo relieved it didn't break... and I'm sitting on Cloud 9 knowing that St. Francis is finally home where he belongs!!!

ENTRY #482
DATE:  09/22/16 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  St. Francis Arrives in Athol Springs!!!

     WOOHOOOOOO!!! The box has been delivered. I kept tracking the package today while I was at work and I finally found out the UPS driver left it at the Rosary Hour's garage. Then, when I got home tonight, I signed on immediately and found an email from him with "WHAT A CARD... IT EVEN HAS A GIFT!!" in the subject line. And in the body of the email he said, "SPEECHLESS IN ATHOL SPRINGS! L AND H" and he sent along this picture....

     So... at least it's there. It's in his possession! But the little stinker is REFUSING to open it until Sunday, the 25th!!! Now I have to wait three more days to find out if it's broken!!! OMG, he's killing me here!!!
     The box does look a little beat up but it could've been a lot worse, I 'spose. For now, my fingers are still crossed.....

ENTRY #481
DATE:  09/20/16 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  St. Francis meets UPS...

     Well, I had fun last night!!! So did the cats!!!
     Now that "the friar" and I are talking again after a very long hiatus - and since his 84th birthday is on Sunday (the 25th) - I decided to finally dig an old statue of St. Francis out of my storage-closet and ship it to him. It's something I bought for him years ago to put out in his garden but I never had the opportunity to deliver it to him. Then, after the whole "Aunt Jean Onslaught" (see the Dove's Journey entry for that story), the statue ended up getting packed away, "out'a sight, out'a mind."
     Anyway, Sunday evening, when I got into bed, I happened to remember that statue. I got out of bed and peeked into my closet. There he was, buried, waaaaaaaaay in the back. So, there I am, at midnight, emptying the entire closet to get to that statue. Good grief! By the time I managed to reach him, it looked like a bomb had gone off in my bedroom. LOL, what a mess!
     I brought him out to the kitchen and turned on the light. Oh my! He was covered with almost a decade's worth of dust. I cleaned him up as best I could and stood him on top of the microwave, one of the few safe places I have away from the cats. I stood back and admired him. The statue itself was still in fine shape.... but the original tag hanging from one of the doves perched on his shoulder was pretty mangled and the string was badly frayed, not to mention yellowed with age. I wasn't too happy about that. I wondered if the store I had purchased it from was still in business. I got online and looked them up. Bingo! They were! I jotted down their hours and phone number, and tucked the old tattered tag into my wallet... then I got to work in the bedroom, putting all my stuff back in the closet. At 3:40am I finally managed to get back in bed, LOL.
     The next morning (yesterday), as I was nuking the water for my coffee, I - again - stood back and looked at that statue. It was quite a bit taller than I had remembered. How the hell was I going to ship this thing out to him, without him receiving a box full of St. Francis jig-saw puzzle-piece sized fragments? "Oh well," I thought to myself, "I'll just do what I can and hope for the best." I found a ruler and measured it. It was almost 22 inches tall...
     As soon as I got to work I grabbed another ruler and started measuring some of our paper-cartons in the stock room. The only one I could find that I thought was sturdy enough was an envelope carton and it was only 24 inches long. Damn, that's gonna be a tight fit, but I'm gonna have to make it work. I grabbed that box, a brand new roll of packaging tape, and approximately a hundred feet (LOL!) of bubble wrap and stuffed it all into the back seat of my car.
     Then I called the gift shop I had purchased it from and explained the situation about the tag. Luckily, they still had two of those same statues in stock and the owner of the place said that she'd have no problem at all exchanging the old tag for a newer, cleaner, one. Woohooo!!! On my lunch hour I jumped in the car and off I went. With the new tag tucked securely in my wallet I then headed to The Paper Store for a card. I found three that I really liked and, of course, I couldn't decide which one I wanted so I bought them all, LOL.
     Once I got back to work I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out how I could wrap it. There was really no way to wrap the statue itself and have it turn out in the "presentable" fashion I'd want... and I really didn't want him to receive just a plain brown cardboard box. It's a birthday present! It's supposed to be festive! Then the scrap-booker in me came out and said, "Hey, what about me??!!!"
     When I punched out at 5:00 last night, I went straight to Hobby Lobby and picked out a whole bunch of flower, balloon, and Happy Birthday embellishments. Then I headed over to the aisle with all the specialty papers and picked out a few sheets of shiny silver adhesive stock that I knew I could cut with my little Slice machine at home. As I was doing all this, I happened to think of a Bible verse that would be cool to include in the card. Then I thought, "Oh, wow, if I could write it in Latin that would be even better!" Oh my god, LOL, this whole thing was just spiraling out of control, like some Science project run amok. I couldn't stop. I was just along for the ride at this point.
     From Hobby Lobby I headed down Route 1 to Barnes & Noble and went straight to the Bible aisle. I knew the verse I wanted was somewhere in Numbers but that's all I could remember. It's a verse that's stamped on the back of a San Damiano cross pendant I have and I thought it would be perfect for his card! I finally found it (6:24-26) and jotted it down in my notebook. Then I went over to the dictionary aisle, hunkered down on the floor, and there I stayed for the next two hours trying to translate this stuff. LOL, it never occurred to me to just come home and look it up online. Duh! Which I ultimately ended up doing anyway in order to check my work. Ayuh, the Redneck in me was definitely showing last night!
     "Was'sat 'lectronic box do? Oh, tha's a computer? An' whas' thishere Internet all 'bout?"
     Good grief! Dumb ass...
     Anyway...LOL... once I got home, I lugged the box, all the bubble wrap, the packaging tape, and the bags from Hobby Lobby and The Paper Store up to my apartment. It was already 9:00pm and I hadn't even had dinner yet. My armload of stuff got tossed on the bed. I fed the cats and nuked some Mac n' Cheese for dinner. By the time I finished eating, the cats were having a blast in the bedroom. They kept hopping in and out of the box, the bubble wrap was strewn about all over the floor, and Rigby had also managed to chew her way through the plastic Hobby Lobby bag and all the embellishment packages were spread out across the bed.
     OK. First things first...
     1. Get the card done. Check!
     2. Remove the cats from the box. Check!
     3. Get the box lined with bubble wrap. Check!
     4. Write Happy Birthday message on bottom of statue with Sharpie marker. Check!
     5. Remove the cats from the box. Check!
     6. Wrap the statue in bubble wrap. Check!
     7. Remove the cats from the box. Check!
     8. Very gently, place the wrapped statue in the box. Check!
     9. Remove Rigby from the box (because only one cat will fit now). Check!
     10. Cut smaller pieces of bubble wrap to stuff around the statue. Check!
     11. Remove Rigby from the box. Check!
     12. Fill box with the now-cut pieces of bubble wrap. Check!
     13. Remember to stick the card in there somewhere. Check!
     14. Write FRAGILE all over the box. Check!
     15. Tape the hell out of the box. Check!
     OK, hee-hee-hee, now for the fun part! I brought the box into the living room and placed it on the coffee table. I collected all the scrap-booking stuff I'd need and - for the next three hours - I cut out the individual Happy Birthday letters from the shiny silver stock I had bought and stuck them on two sides... and then I applied all the flower, balloon and Happy Birthday embellishments all over the four sides, and the top, of the package. I had a blast! I thought it was adorable. And it was much more fun than just shipping a plain brown carton! And the last step was covering the box completely with clear packaging tape to keep all the stickers from coming off during shipment. By the time I was done the package was basically laminated in plastic.
     Today, on my lunch hour, I went to The UPS Store and shipped it out to him via Ground so it should arrive sometime on Thursday. The woman taking care of me couldn't believe what I had done to the box. She was amazed. There were two other clerks there, in the break-room having lunch, and she actually called them out to see this package, LOL.
     So... after holding on to that St. Francis statue for approximately ten years, I am just thrilled to death that it's finally on its way home to him! It will finally stand in one of the beautiful gardens he's grown and I'm almost in tears thinking about it. I really hope that statue is going to make it there in one piece. If I kept that thing for 10 years without a scratch on it, and UPS has it in their possession for less than 48 hours and they manage to break it, I'm gonna be royally pissed off. Just in case, though, I insured it for 500 bucks. I figure if it does show up in pieces, once I file the claim and collect the insurance, I'll send him the money instead and he can either A: splurge on something he wouldn't normally buy for himself or B: make a donation to the Rosary Hour Ministries in his name.
     Now what's killing me is this... I have to wait two whole days to hear from him. I'm sure he'll email me as soon as he gets it. But, damn, that's not gonna be 'til Thursday. I'm also trying not to email him to alert him to the fact that he should be expecting a delivery from UPS 'cause I'd like it to be a surprise. Last week, I did ask him for his actual mailing address IF I was to ship him something.... so I'm kind'a hoping he'll just assume that I won't actually do it. Either way, I guess, it'll still be a surprise. LOL, the size of the box, alone, will probably shock him!
     I've got my fingers crossed, trying to have faith in UPS. I'm also hoping he'll send pictures once it's in the garden! We'll see...

ENTRY #480
DATE:  09/19/16 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  More Horse Humor...

ROFL... another horse photo just came through from my Dad. This is even better than the first one!!!

ENTRY #479
DATE:  09/18/16 (Sunday)

LOL, just got this from my Dad. Being that I have experienced this exact view of a horse I thought this was hilarious!!!

I love it, love it, love it!!!

ENTRY #478
DATE:  09/16/16 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  The Year of the... SKUNK???

     OK, so, seriously, is this the Year of the Skunk or what?!?!? They are everywhere it seems!!!
     Back in July, right before my company's week-long shut down for the July 4th holiday, we had a baby skunk sniffing around our building. It was alone and very young. I imagine it's mother was probably run down on Bridgeport Avenue and now this little guy was forced to forage all by itself. When I first encountered it, my gut reaction was to trap it and raise it as a pet so it wouldn't starve to death. I know that might sound crazy to some of you out there but based on my personal experience(s) with skunks in the past (when I was a kid) they actually make excellent pets [once you have them descented, of course].
     When I lived in Bridgeport I had a next-door neighbor that was an animal fanatic. Her pets included five hybrid wolves, a dog, a cat, an iguana, a turtle, and a parrot. She even owned two fully grown bison! Their names were Shasta and Balazaar but they didn't live in Bridgeport, LOL. They lived on her 60-acre "ranch" in New Hampshire along with a couple of peacocks and various birds-of-prey that she was rehabilitating. She loved all animals and would do whatever she could to help them out. She "adopted" just about anything that ventured into her yard whether it was stray dogs or cats, injured birds, opossums, rabbits, and - yes - even skunks.
     She caught a baby skunk in a trap one night and discovered that one of his front paws was deformed. Fearing for his life, she took him to her vet's office, had him descented and neutered, and added him to her menagerie. He became a regular "house pet" and it was awesome! They are very smart creatures and easily trained. She taught him to use a litter-box just like a cat, and she used to feed him vegetables, sun-flower seeds, dehydrated berries, meal worms (purchased from a pet store), and dog-chow kibble, all mixed together with a raw egg. She named him Harry and he quickly became a permanent "member of the family." He was very friendly, loved to be cuddled and all us neighborhood kids simply adored him.
     Anyway... I kept my eye on this baby skunk at work for as long as I could, trying to figure out how I could get it home. It eventually wandered off and I lost track of him. Also, at this time, there was a construction crew working on our building. They were remodeling one of the suites that would later become a cafeteria. As it turned out, that little baby skunk found it's way into our building during this construction project and had become trapped in one of the walls once the crew members started applying the new sheet-rock panels. Of course nobody knew this at the time though...
     My shop then closed up for a week for our annual vacation/shut-down.... and about a week after returning back to work the place started to stink -- and it was, obviously, a skunk smell. Now, when skunks are young, they are born with scent glands, however, those glands take months to fully develop to where the skunk actually has the ability to spray as a defense.
     Thankfully, when this skunk died in our walls, it was still a baby so it's glands weren't fully developed yet. If it had been a mature skunk we probably would've been forced to shut down again due to the smell. Since this one was so young, the smell was tolerable but it did become annoying after a couple days. Eventually the landlord brought in some kind of "pest control" company and they x-rayed the walls. Sure enough, they found it and began cutting holes in our walls to remove the carcass...
     The poor thing had survived as long as it could by drinking from a small puddle that had formed from the condensation dripping off one of our built-in air-conditioning units. Though it had found a source of water it wasn't able to find food so it died of starvation, a very slow, drawn out, agonizing death. If only I had acted on my gut instinct... I could've saved it's life. Shit.
     About six weeks ago, in August, I came home from work one evening and when I pulled my car into the driveway I spooked three skunks, a mother and two half-grown adolescent kits. They immediately scooted under the front porch/deck of this house.
     Great. Just great. Now what? My first thought was to call my landlord and have her contact Animal Control... but as I sat in the car remembering the baby skunk that died at work, I thought to myself, "I'll be damned if I'm going to be responsible for three more deaths." I put the car in reverse, backed out, and off I went to Home Depot in search of some Moth Balls. I bought two boxes of them. Then I went to Stop & Shop and bought two bottles of pure lemon juice 'cause [most] skunks hate the smell of citrus. By the time I got home again it was dark out so I came inside, changed my clothes, grabbed a flash light and headed back outside armed with the Moth Balls and lemon juice, LOL.
     I hit our dumpster first, figuring that was probably the skunk family's primary food source. I threw a couple handfuls of Moth Balls inside the dumpster, then poured one of the bottles of lemon juice all around the ground surrounding it...
     I tackled the front porch next. Very slowly, I got down on my hands and knees right in front of the hole I saw the threesome use earlier... and, sure enough, the beam of my flash light caught the reflection of six eyes staring back at me, all huddled together up against the foundation wall. Skunks also don't like light since they're nocturnal so I left the flash light lit, laying on the ground right outside their entrance-way, hoping that would keep them trapped under the porch long enough for me to spread some Moth Balls and lemon juice around the other two sides of the porch.
     Luckily, it all worked out. Once I finished all the spreading and pouring, I grabbed the flash light, turned it off, and backed away from the porch keeping my eyes glued to that hole. I stood in the middle of the driveway for about twenty minutes just waiting to see what would happen. LOL, and that's all it took... Mama Skunk emerged first, looked around for a few seconds, then Baby Skunk 1 and Baby Skunk 2 crawled out and, in perfect formation, off they all waddled up the driveway and down the sidewalk away from this house!!! As soon as they hit the sidewalk I spread the remaining Moth Balls and lemon juice in front of that hole to keep anything else from taking up residence under the front porch!
     I watched them waddle up the sidewalk for a few minutes. At the second street light, they crossed the road and went into someone else's yard and out of sight. I haven't seen or smelled them around here since! Good riddance!
     Don't get me wrong - I like skunks - I really do - I just don't want them living under my front porch!!! It's bad enough I'm already trapping mice and relocating them FIVE MILES away (per the instructions on the traps I use). My thought process is this: If I have to drive five miles away for a tiny, little mouse, exactly how far would I have to travel to relocate a skunk? I can just see myself smuggling them over the border and releasing them somewhere in Massachusetts, LOL. Honestly, I just don't have the time for that shit. Plus, with my luck, I'd end up getting pulled over and I just can't fathom how I'd explain that story to a State Trooper!
     On September 1rst (three weeks ago), I made a delivery to Cooper Surgical in Trumbull. As soon as the guy raised the loading dock's bay door and I caught a whiff of him I was, like, "Dude! Whoa, new cologne, huh!?!?" He laughed. The night before, his Mom's cat got into a fight with a skunk and - apparently - lost that battle, badly. When they let their beloved pet back into the house, of course the cat reeked and it immediately hid under the bed. Over night that skunk smell just permeated into everything throughout their house -- the upholstery, the carpeting, the drapes, the bedding! The poor guy was forced to come to work with that smell clinging to his clothes while his Mom stayed home from work trying to shampoo, wash, and scrub down just about everything they owned. That sucks! What a pain in the ass!
     Then, on Friday, September 9th, Debby, the woman I work with, had to stay home from work because the night before her DOG got nailed.... and she was forced to deal with the exact same situation as the loading dock guy, LOL. Both her kids were sent home from school as well 'cause they, also, had that infamous Skunk Funk in their clothing.
     Earlier this afternoon, since I had the day off today, I awoke from a nap on the couch after having a strange dream. I guess my subconscious mind blended my two most current primary thoughts together and I ended up dreaming about my Friar Friend catching a skunk. He's been catching and releasing a lot of squirrels lately, then posting the photos on his web site so I'm sure that must've influenced the dream as well.
     In the dream, I don't know what I was doing there -- I guess I was either visiting or maybe I worked for him 'cause I seemed to know my way around the place fairly well. We went outside to sit in the garden with our coffee and he found a skunk in his squirrel trap while he was watering some of the tomato plants. He went inside to grab his camera and by the time he returned I had already managed to cover the cage with a blanket and had the thing in the back seat of my car so we could haul it off.
     He grinned. "Road trip?" he asked.
     "Ayuh," I said, "get in. Where to?"
     He gave directions as I drove.... and eventually we pulled into a small, circular, dirt parking lot at some lake shore town Park, complete with picnic tables and swing sets and jungle-gyms for the kids to play on. We got the cage out of the back seat and very carefully removed the blanket that was covering it. He shot some pictures of it while it was still in the cage. I popped open the spring-loaded door and we both backed away rather slowly. As the skunk emerged out and waddled off towards some near-by trees and bushes, "the friar" continued to take pictures.
     That's when I woke up. Cute!!!
     So, yeah, after all this, I am now officially proclaiming this year to be the YEAR OF THE SKUNK!!!

ENTRY #477
DATE:  09/15/16 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  A Day Off???

     So I was at work today, as always, working on nine things at once and my boss comes over to me and says, "Would you like to take tomorrow off?"
     It was right about then when I felt my brain start to melt...
     Would. you. like. to. take. tomorrow. off.
     Umm, wait.... what?
     Now... I've been working since I was sixteen years old. I have never had an employer offer to give me a day off - EVER - just out of the blue like that. I've always had to ask, pray, beg, plead, promise my first born, sacrifice a chicken, maybe a small goat... and then I'd also have to make sure to give plenty of notice - like a month ahead of time - 'cause, y'know, god forbid, if Dove's not there for a measly eight hours surely that means the company is going to crumble!
     Even at my current job, which I love, never has my boss offered a day off for no particular reason. This was definitely a first for me. So, when he asked me that, I didn't even know what to do with that question. As my brain slowly started to reboot, the only way I could even find to answer him was with a question so it went something like this...

     Gary:  Hey, D...
     Dove:  'sup, G?!?! How you doin'?
     G:  I'm doin'. Would you like to take tomorrow off?
     D:  W-W-What?
     G:  Would you like to take tomorrow off?
     D:  Um. Why?
     G:  I just thought you'd like a day off...
     D:  Me?
     G:  Yeah.
     D:  Seriously? You're giving me a day off?
     G:  Yeah. You wanna take it tomorrow?
     D:  You know tomorrow's Friday, right?
     G:  Yeah, that's OK. You wanna take it?
     D:  You want me to come in on Saturday instead?
     G:  Nope, long weekend...
     D:  Wait... am I fired?
     G:  No, you're not fired! You wanna take tomorrow off or not?
     D:  You're not gonna be here tomorrow either? Y'all goin' away for the weekend and you wanna just stay locked up tomorrow?
     G:  Nope, we'll be here. I just wanted to know if you'd like to take tomorrow off, that's all. Porter's leaving early today and Debby's had a lot of time off lately... just take it, you can use a day."
     D:  Oh. Um. OK. Um... Thanks?

     Soooooo.... now I'm sitting here trying to figure out what on earth I'm going to do with myself all day tomorrow. Since I had no warning ahead of time, and didn't have to actually plan for this time off, I'm at a complete loss! I have absolutely no idea what to do tomorrow. I really can't go away anywhere for a long weekend 'cause, again, it's too late to plan something now. The first thought that came to me was, "Yay! I can finally get to the laundromat." Um, no. That is so NOT gonna happen. I'm not spending a day off at the laundromat! I should clean my apartment 'cause I haven't done anything around here for months. Even the cats are walking around going, "What the hell? Is the vacUUm cleaner broken?" (Yes, I had to use those two UU's consecutively, LOL!) But, since I've already refused the laundromat idea, the clean the apartment idea went right out the window too!
     I could do some scrap-booking, I 'spose. I could get some reading done. I could dig out a couple of my coloring books, I guess. I could watch an all-day marathon of "Grace Under Fire" since I now own the complete series on DVD. I could do some work on this little web site of mine... although the blog is pretty much current now. I could go to Barnes & Noble. That's always a good place for eating up eight hours of free time, LOL! I don't know....
     I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens!

ENTRY #476
DATE:  09/13/16 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Quote of the Day...

Wow! Ain't that the truth!!!

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