Entries 625 - 601

ENTRY #625
DATE:  12/29/17 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  The Freedom of the Moon...

The Freedom of the Moon

I've tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.
I've tried it fine with little breadth of luster,
Alone, or in one ornament combining
With one first-water start almost shining.

I put it shining anywhere I please.
By walking slowly on some evening later,
I've pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,
And brought it over glossy water, greater,
And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow,
The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.

Robert Frost

     ABOVE:  A few shots of the Moon I took earlier this afternoon.  Since the ones I took at night came out kind'a cool, I wanted to try again during daylight hours so I'd have a blue-sky background [instead of black].  Not bad, but I think I favor the night shots over these.

ENTRY #624
DATE:  12/28/17 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Burr!  It's cold in here!!!

     I definitely prefer cold Winter temps over hot n' humid Summer temps but, um, this is getting ridiculous, LOL!  As soon as I walked in my door this evening I was, like, "Did I leave a window open by mistake?" 'cause it was really cold in here!  No wonder Rigby's been sleeping under the covers the last couple days.
     I just took a picture of all the thermometers in my apartment so y'all can see exactly how chilly it was in here when I got home from work.  I usually try to wait as long as I can before turning the heat ON for the Winter...  apparently, the time is now, LOL!!!

     The heat's been ON for a half an hour and it's already climbed to 55 degrees in the kitchen.  Woohooo!!!

ENTRY #623
DATE:  12/27/17 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  New Socks from Adrienne, LOL!!!

     I got EIGHT pairs of socks (among other things) for Christmas from Adrienne, LOL!!!  And I absolutely LOVE them all!!!  Candy socks AND Fine Art socks, how cool is that?!?!
     I have no idea how many pair of socks I own now but, at this point, I think it's probably a World Record, LOL.  And I was so tickled when I opened the box and saw them I was, like, "I'm taking pictures of ALL of these and putting them on the blog!"
     I know one thing for sure....  my feet will be plenty warm enough this Winter!
     Anyway, I just HAD to share that with y'all.
     I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!
     Ciao for now!

ENTRY #622
DATE:  12/24/17 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Merry Christmas...

     It's Christmas Eve and I'm spending a very quiet evening at home, wrapping a few last-minute Stocking Stuffers, and sipping on a mug of hot apple cider spiked with a shot of Smirnoff's Kissed Caramel vodka.  It's yummy!  (When that's gone, I might dig out my bottle of 99 Bananas Liqueur and try mixing it with some Godiva Chocolate Liqueur.  I'm sure that'll be equally yummy!)  The cats are playing with scraps of wrapping paper, ribbons and bows that have been strewn all over my living room and they're having a grand time!  We are NOT listening to Christmas music, LOL!!!
     When the wrapping is done and the living room has been returned to LIVABLE status, I plan on snuggling up on the couch in my pajamas and watching my all-time favorite movie, It's A Wonderful Life, with Jimmy Stewart.
     Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.  I have to be at my friend Steve's place by 11:30am.  We'll do our "gift exchange" at his apartment, then it's on to his brother's house in Branford for a big meal with his family.  Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow so, hopefully, it won't give us too much trouble.  I'm not really interested in cleaning off the Jeep three or four times throughout the afternoon, LOL, but it'll be the first White Christmas we've had here in years.
     Tuesday afternoon, Christmas continues over at Adrienne's house -- more gifts and another big meal!  No snow in the forecast that day, thankfully!!!
     I may or may not have to work on Wednesday.  My boss hasn't decided, yet, if we're going to close.  He said he'd text all of us Tuesday evening to let us know what he decides.  I've definitely got my fingers crossed for the extra day off just to digest all the food I'll probably eat, LOL.  The weather should be pretty good Wednesday so that's another reason I'm hoping for the day off.  IF I leave the house at all, LOL, at least it won't be blizzarding outside.  That's a plus!
     I hope you all have a wonderful holiday spent with family, friends and good food!  Stay warm, drive careful, and be safe!
     God bless!

ENTRY #621
DATE:  12/17/17 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Some Famous Graves photos have been uploaded...

     I just loaded all the photos of the "Famous Graves" onto my computer and sorted through them.  I've chosen a few from each grave visited and they've been uploaded.  You can find a link to them on my Photo Albums page.  Simply scroll down to the bottom of this blog and click on the button that says Dove's Photos -- that'll take you to the Photo Albums page.  Once there, scroll down to the bottom and you'll find the link for the Famous Graves photograph collection.
     Or you can simply click this link --
The Pachyderm Pictorial Page:  Famous/Notable Graves -- to be taken there directly.
     Depending on the weather here in New England during the next couple of [Winter] months, I may or may not be adding more photos.  We'll see.  It'll all depend on how much snow we get.  Too much snow means I won't be out there cemetery-hopping 'til Spring, LOL.  But, for now, there's 15 graves to check out.

ENTRY #620
DATE:  12/14/17 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  The Joys of Christmas?!?!

     Spent the entire evening Christmas shopping...  and, OMG, the Christmas music is making me NUTS!  It's been three weeks of nothing but Christmas music and there's still another week and a half to go!  Ugh!  I can't take it....
     I'm ready to shoot "poor Rudolph" and put him up in my freezer!  If I hear that damn tune one more time, I'm warning you all, the safety switch is coming off!
     And Frosty's magic, old, silk hat?  Good grief!  I'm at the point now where I'm fantasizing about snatching it off his big bald, snowy head and stomping up and down on it, leaving it riddled and tattered in a muddy gutter somewhere to rot -- in the hot sun, no less, so he'll never return!
     Don't even get me started on "Santa, Baby!"  That song has been covered by so many artists through the years, they're playing it twelve times a day.  I'm itching to light a fire in the ol' fireplace so when he "hurries down my chimney tonight" his cheap, synthetic, polyester, bright red suit bursts into a ball of flames!
     And, Lord have Mercy on my soul --- if I hear "Dominick the Christmas Donkey" one more time, I'm sorry, but I'll just have to kill myself.  Hee-Haw, Hee-Haw, Hee-Haw, Hee-Haw!!!  Enough already!!!  It's NOT cute!  It's annoying as hell!  That little bastard needs to be hitched behind a sod-busting plow and whipped.... severely!
     Grandma got run over by a reindeer?  You don't say!?!?  Well, that's fine by me.  Leave the bitch out there, I don't care -- she's not MY grandmother!
     The Little Drummer Boy?  Why, oh why, did his parents have to give him a drum???  They should have given him an AIR GUITAR so we wouldn't have to listen to him pa-rum-pum-pum-pumming all damn night!
     All you "want for Christmas is your two front teeth!"  Really???  Must be nice to be able to afford Dental Insurance!  I wouldn't know.
     You're "dreaming of a white Christmas"???  That must mean you're not the one stuck outside, freezing your balls off, shoveling your sidewalk and driveway so your guests don't slip and fall, then turn around and sue you for medical costs!  It must mean you're not the one stuck in traffic, trying to drive in all that treacherous white shit falling from the sky!  Lucky bastard!
     "Baby, It's Cold Outside!"  Wow, nothing gets by you, eh?  NO SHIT, Sherlock.  It's December!!!
     "Up on the housetop, click, click, click!"  Um, if you're running around on my roof making click-click-click noises, I've only got one thing to say -- you need to get the hell off my house and take your medication!!!
     "Silent Night!"  I wish....
 And that was when I finally reached out and turned the radio OFF.
     Oh.  My.  God.  The crowded stores.  The long check-out lines.  More Christmas music playing overhead.  Circling the parking lots trying to find a spot.  People pushing and shoving.  Screaming children.  Shopping carts clogging up all the aisles.  The endless traffic!  It took me over an hour to get home from Milford and it's only seven miles away!  That's it -- I just can't take it anymore -- next year I'm doing my shopping in AUGUST!!!  Thank God I'm home!  It's like a holly, jolly END OF DAYS out there!!!
     Happy Holidays!

ENTRY #619
DATE:  12/08/17 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  A new Mac & Cheese creation...

     So it's no surprise that I'm a fan of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.  I mean, seriously, what's not to like about it?  It's easy, it's fast, it's yummy, it's cheap, and it's comforting.  It's also very easy to doctor it up.  I'm constantly experimenting with mixing in different foods to jazz it up.  I'm sure we've all had it with hot-dogs mixed in at one time or another....
     But have you tried it with bacon?  I have.  It's awesome!
     Have you tried it with hamburger?  I have.  It's awesome!
     Have you tried it with tomatoes?  I have.  It's awesome!
     Have you tried it with sliced hard-boiled eggs?  I have.  It's awesome!
     Have you tried it with chicken and broccoli?  I have.  It's awesome!
     Have you tried it with a can of French-cut string beans mixed in?  I have.  It's awesome!  (Note:  if you try this, though, make sure to drain ALL the water out of the string beans before mixing them in 'cause too much water makes the Mac & Cheese a little runny.)
     Have you tried it with Kielbasa?  I have.  It's awesome!  (I recommend frying the Kielbasa, though, instead of boiling it.)
     Have you tried it with pepperoni and garlic?  I have.  And, guess what?  It's awesome!
     It's pasta and cheese....  you can add just about anything to it and you're in for a treat!  Um, notice that I said "just about" anything.  A word of caution here -- you want to avoid using beets, especially the ones packed in vinegar.  The vinegar totally destroys the flavor of the cheese and, I gotta tell ya, once the beets are mixed in, the color, alone, is very unappetizing, LOL.  It looked like a big pot of hot vomit so that batch got thrown away!
     But I digress...
     As I was driving home from work tonight I was mentally rummaging through my cabinets at home, trying to figure out what to have for dinner.  After working all day I'm all about "quick and easy" so I already knew it was going to be one of my experimental Mac & Cheese recipes.
     Once the Mac & Cheese was done, I grabbed a can of tuna fish, pressed all the water out of it, dumped it in and mixed it up.  It was OK but a little bland.  I mixed in two tablespoons of sour cream and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper and, WOW!!!, it was amazing!  The sour cream made it extra creamy and gave it a little "tang," while the black pepper gave it a subtle spicy kick.  It was really good!
     Hmmmm....  Up until this evening, the Mac & Cheese with Kielbasa has always been my favorite.  Now I'm not sure.  I think this new Tuna recipe might've pushed the Kielbasa into Second Place.

ENTRY #618
DATE:  11/26/17 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  A "Famous Graves" Scrap-book...

     If you're a regular visitor to "The Dish," you already know three things about me -- A. I enjoy photography;  B. I enjoy walking around in cemeteries;  C. I collect things (ie Stephen King books, coins, movies, music, and - apparently - lip gloss, LOL).   All three of these hobbies have stayed with me since childhood.
     Many years ago, I came up with the idea of creating a Famous Graves Photo Album.  Makes sense, right?  Since I'm in cemeteries all the time, and the camera is usually close at hand, gathering together a collection of photographs of famous/notable graves is right up my alley.  It's an idea that's been residing in the back of my mind since I was about 16(?) years old.  I think it stems from one Summer Vacation [from school] in particular.  It was the Summer when my Dad and I spent a week in Washington DC.  We visited Arlington Cemetery, the Veteran Memorial Wall, Kennedy's burial site, and all the famous monuments and buildings throughout the District.  We toured the White House, the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, the US Mint/Treasury, a couple museums and we even visited Mount Vernon and the Gettysburg Battlefield/Museum.  It was one of THE BEST vacations I've ever had.  That same Summer I also found (by chance) the graves of PT Barnum and Tom Thumb while exploring Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport.
     Flash forward to today...  these days I also enjoy Scrap-booking and driving around for hours listening to my MP3 player.  Add these two to the three listed above and this "Famous Graves Photo Collection" makes even more sense for someone like me, LOL.
     Well, after approximately 30 years of procrastinating, I've FINALLY begun work on this little project/new hobby of mine.  It's actually blossoming quite nicely.  Although, I must admit, it's a LOUSY time of year to start this whole thing.  It's getting cold and soon snow will be covering the graves so I'll have to put it ON HOLD 'til Spring.
     However, during the winter months, I can work on the Behind-the-Scenes research that's required --  and by that I mean stuff like organizing a Game Plan, such as deciding on which states I'm going to explore.  I've already acquired lists of famous/notable graves in CT, MA, NH, ME, VT, RI, NJ, PA, and NY.  Thanks to the web site Find-A-Grave.com that was a cinch!  The next step (for ease), is to compile sub-lists of cemeteries that include multiple graves I'd like to find/photograph.  I don't want to visit the same cemetery four times in order to photograph four graves, y'know what I mean?  Then, I have to find addresses/phone numbers and directions to the various cemeteries... and also maps of the cemeteries themselves (if available) to save hours and hours of roaming around aimlessly on foot trying to find the head-stones.  There's plenty of work to do to keep me busy during the Winter.  So, by Spring, I'm hoping to have all the necessary information compiled into a handy, at-a-glance, Reference Guide I can take on the road with me.  It sounds like tedious planning, I know, but - honestly - I love doing that kind of stuff 'cause, y'know, as stated previously, I'm a big nerd, LOL!
     Last weekend, I revisited Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport and photographed the graves/monuments for both PT Barnum and Tom Thumb.  From there I headed to Long Ridge Union Cemetery in Stamford and found Benny Goodman (the great band leader/jazz musician) and Gilda Radner Wilder (the actress/comedienne from Saturday Night Live).  Then, on the way home, I stopped once more at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fairfield and found Mary Tyler Moore and Jason Robards!  Not bad for only one day of exploration!
     Yesterday, I was at it again!  I cruised up to New Haven and spent some time in Grove Street Cemetery.  That was awesome!  I had never been to that cemetery before so it was an adventure.  It's a lovely cemetery and an absolute pleasure to walk around in!  I found Lyman Beecher (Harriet Beecher Stowe's father), Eli Whitney (the inventor of the cotton gin), Noah Webster (creator/founder of Webster's Dictionary), Walter Camp (the "Founder of American Football"), Charles Goodyear (the inventor of vulcanized rubber which, obviously, birthed the Goodyear tires we're all familiar with today), and the Memorial for another great big-band leader/jazz musician, GLENN MILLER!  He's not actually buried anywhere since they never recovered his plane/bodily remains, but I photographed it anyway because I grew up listening to his music!
     From New Haven, I headed to Putnam Cemetery down in Greenwich to find Victor Borge (the pianist/symphony conductor/comedian), Thomas Hastings (the architect best known for his design/concept for the New York Public Library, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington Cemetery), Ezio Pinza (the opera singer/Broadway star), and Martha Moxley (the young girl murdered in Greenwich by Kennedy cousin, Michael Skakel).  My visit to this cemetery was a total wash.  The grounds are enormous and I was unable to find any of them.  The Office was closed and there were no maps available that I could find so I'll have to visit again once I do a little more research.
     An hour later I landed in Stepney Cemetery in Monroe to photograph Ed Warren's grave.  Ed is best known for being half of the husband & wife team (Ed & Lorraine Warren) known simply as THE WARRENS, investigators/researchers of Paranormal Activity.  (ADDED NOTE:  This little cemetery has its own "Claim to Fame" worth mentioning -- it's supposedly haunted by an apparition/ghost referred to as The White Lady.)
     From Monroe, I hit Lakeview Cemetery in Bridgeport on Boston Avenue in search of Gustave Whitehead's head stone.  I don't think he's actually buried there;  it appears to be just a Memorial but it was cool to find it, just the same.  For those of you who don't recognize his name you should look him up sometime.  You'll be surprised to learn that what we were all taught in school about the Wright Bothers wasn't exactly accurate.  ;-)
     Then, on the way home, my last stop was St. John's Cemetery in Stratford to pay Igor Sikorsky a visit.  He's the inventor/founder of Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation, which is the present day helicopter manufacturing giant, Sikorsky Division of United Technologies.  I don't know how "famous" he is but anyone residing in Connecticut will most likely recognize the Sikorsky name since the huge manufacturing plant is located right off the Merritt Parkway in Stratford.
     So...  in only a week, I've collected a bunch of photographs!  They're all still on the camera.  My original plan was to print them all and create an actual hard-copy scrap book out of them....  although, now I'm thinking that, once I load them on the computer and sort through them, I might create a new Photo Album Page to share some of them here.  We'll see.
     There's a lot of other famous/notable graves in Connecticut I want to track down too!  Katherine Hepburn, Samuel Colt, and JP Morgan are all in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford.  Art Carney is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Old Saybrook.  And the famous Winchester family is in Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven.  Dominick Dunne is buried in Cove Cemetery;  Frank McCourt, Earl Hindman, and Arthur Miller are all in Roxbury Center Cemetery. There's also an RMS Titanic passenger/survivor (who later died in 1955) buried in Fairview Cemetery in New Britain.  His name is William Sloper and even though he's not technically famous, the Titanic has always been a personal interest of mine so I gotta find him too!
     Once I'm done with Connecticut I'm not sure which state I wanna conquer next.  I think it might be Massachusetts.  There's one cemetery in particular that I'm just dying to get into (ha, ha!).  It's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery located in Concord (not to be confused with Concord, NH).  The famous, literary Alcott family is there, along with others such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau!  How cool is that?!?!?
     And the state of New York is exciting!  There's HUNDREDs of very cool names I want to track down.  The first one being Lucille Ball.  She's buried in her hometown of Jamestown, in Lake View Cemetery.  That's a good 8 hour drive from here, though, so that'll be a weekend trip.  BF Goodrich is in that cemetery too so he's on the list as well.  When in Jamestown I plan on also visiting the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.  There's no way I'm gonna pass up that opportunity!  I'm sure I'll go through that place with a fine-toothed comb!  I don't think it's that big but I have a brochure from the place and it looks really cool!
     So anyway....  I have a feeling this new hobby will be enough to keep me out of trouble for years to come, LOL!

ENTRY #617
DATE:  11/23/17 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Turkey Day!!!

     My favorite things about this holiday?  Good friends, good food, good drinks, and good laughs!
     My least favorite thing about this holiday?  It's the first day of an ENTIRE MONTH of nothing but Christmas music on the radio!  A week would be cool, but a whole month of it???  Bah-humbug!!!

ENTRY #616
DATE:  11/19/17 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Bailey the Black-Nosed Reinpuppy...

     So my Mom called the other day and she says to me, "The next time you come up here, I'd like you to get some photos of Bailey wearing antlers for my Christmas card this year!"
     Knowing that Bailey is only eight months old now, I responded with, "Um, you're kidding me with this shit, right? What makes you think that dog is gonna sit still long enough for that? I can't imagine she's gonna be happy about wearing antlers."
     "Oh, don't worry," Mom says, "we've been practicing! As long as I keep feeding her cookies, she totally ignores the antlers!"
     Right, I think to myself.
     "And what happens when she finishes the cookie in her mouth before you feed her the next one?" I asked (already knowing the answer).
     "She shakes her head and the antlers go flying!"
     Right, I think again.
     Not knowing what else to say, I remained silent.
     "Don't worry," Mom says, "you'll figure something out. You can do it, I know you can."
     "Um, OK.... I'll give it a shot, I guess. I can't promise anything but... we'll see."
     Well, this photo session took place yesterday afternoon.  It was the coldest day of the year (so far!).  Their grass was still green but the ground was frozen solid.  We bundled up in heavy sweaters, jackets, gloves and scarves and the three of us romped around the front yard for about an hour.  My Mom had a pocket full of cookies for Bailey which, we discovered, was not a good idea.  The dog kept staring at my Mom's jacket pocket and at her hands looking for the next cookie...  which wasn't really working out for the photos.  I wanted Bailey to look at the camera or, at least, in my general direction.
     After awhile the whole "eat a cookie, eat a cookie, eat a cookie" thing was abandoned.  I went in the house and grabbed one of Bailey's large bones and brought it outside.  Once she saw the bone she began to cooperate a little bit more.  My Mom kept waving the bone around to get Bailey to look in certain directions...  which worked for a little bit but eventually it wound the dog up so much she began jumping all over my Mom making it impossible to take photographs.
     For almost an hour the conversation went something like this....
     Bailey!  No!  Sit!  Stay!  Bailey!  Here!  Sit!  Stay!  No!  Ouch!  No bite!  Drop it!  Stay!  No, come here!  Sit!  Sit down!  Stop it!  Bailey!  Bailey!  Come here!  Stay!  Lay down!  Ouch!  Dammit, sit down and stay here!  BAILEY!  HERE!  SIT!  STAY!  BAILEY!  BAILEY!  BAILEY!  Sit!  STAY!  OUCH, dammit, NO BITE!  BAILEY COME HERE!  HERE!  LAY DOWN!  HOLD STILL!  STAY!  OUCH!  I SAID NO BITE!  SIT, DAMMIT!
     It was, um, challenging to say the least.  About twenty minutes in, my Mom and I were freezing;  our noses were running, our eyes were tearing up, and we're laughing our asses off the whole time.  My step-father is sitting in the garage watching this fiasco go down in the front yard, offering no assistance at all, just shaking his head and laughing.  My Mom is running from one end of the yard to the other, waving a dog bone in the air like a Mad Woman, Bailey is chasing her, and I'm chasing after them both trying to get pictures.  Then, all of a sudden, I look over at my Mom and she's got the dog bone in her mouth, frantically waving both hands in the air trying to hold Bailey's attention.  Good grief!  Thank God they live out in the middle of nowhere on a secluded dirt road -- NO WITNESSES!!!
     Anyway....  I shot a total of 80 photographs, out of which only FIVE were good enough to consider for a Christmas card.  We loaded those five photos onto my flash-drive and off to Walmart we went (45 minutes away, mind you) to print them out.  We printed one copy of each just to see how they'd look....  then, out of those five, Mom picked out two she liked the best and we had 15 prints made of each one so she could mail out thirty cards.
     Another 45 minutes later we were home again --- Bailey was passed out cold in her crate and Dad was sitting in front of CNN grumbling at the TV, like usual.  It was as if the entire spectacle never even happened, LOL.
     It was fun.  Exhausting, but fun...

ENTRY #615
DATE:  11/17/17 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  An Outrageous Omelette...

     OK, so I just made an amazing "Left-Overs Omelette" for dinner!!!
     Last Sunday I cooked up a batch of, what I call, "Taco Meat." It's three pounds of lean hamburger, a package of Uncle Ben's 90-second Basmati Rice, an entire can of whole-kernel corn, half of a medium-sized onion (finely chopped), a medium-sized green pepper (finely chopped), and two packets of Ortega's Mild Taco Seasoning Mix... all stirred and simmered together in the largest fry pan I own. It's awesome stuff! Even though I call it "Taco Meat" I rarely make Tacos with it. I prefer to make sandwiches out of it using grinder rolls from my local deli. I pack the grinder roll with the meat, then add some shredded cheese sprinkled over it, topped off with a dollop or two of sour cream! Great sandwiches!!! Anyway, since I made up such a large batch I've been eating this stuff all week long, LOL.
     Wednesday night, when I got home from work, I cooked up a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and added a couple sliced up hot-dogs like my Mom used to make for me when I was a kid. Mmm-mmm good! Nothing like a big bowl of "Comfort Food" after a rotten day at work. I couldn't finish all of it so I proceeded to put the left-overs away. I couldn't find room for another bowl in the 'fridge so I took the lid off the Taco Meat container and dumped the left-over "Hot-dog Mac & Cheese" in with the meat.
     On my way home tonight, as I was sitting in traffic, I was trying to figure out what to have for dinner. And I realized the left-over Taco Meat has been in the 'fridge since Sunday evening so I figured I'd better finish it off before it goes bad. It's way too good to waste! When I dug out the container and opened it I was, like, "Oh yeah, that's right, there's Mac & Cheese with hot-dogs in here too!" So I nuked the whole thing and mixed it all together. Then, with a GASP!, I realized I didn't have any grinder rolls left. I could've eaten it right out'a the container as it was but then I thought, "Hey! I have eggs! I'll make an omelette with this stuff!"
     I dug out my cast-iron skillet and lugged it over to the stove. It's my favorite skillet and it's perfect for making omelettes. I'm the fourth generation to use this particular skillet. It used to belong to my father's grandmother, making it approximately 150 years old, so it's been properly seasoned (to say the least). The only thing I don't like about it is the size of the thing. It must weigh fifteen pounds... and by the time it's loaded with food, it's so heavy, you have to use both hands to move it around, LOL. It's cumbersome as hell so I don't use it all that often but, when I do, it's worth the burden!
     I whisked up four eggs, milk, and black pepper and a few minutes later, voilà, absolute perfection --- fully loaded with the left-over Taco Meat and the Hot-Dog Mac & Cheese! By the time I was done, the kitchen was smellin' so good, both the cats were circling like sharks. The Outrageous Omelette was an inch and a half thick, about four inches wide, and just about as long as the plate it landed on! The skillet blackened up the eggs just the way I like'm and, oh my goodness, it was so darn pretty I just had to take a picture. Check this out, will ya.... it must've weighed two pounds, LOL. And it was gooooooooooood........


ENTRY #614
DATE:  11/05/17 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Two more "Full Moon" shots ...

     My second attempt to photograph the full moon we're seeing this weekend was almost foiled by the weather. Thick clouds covered my area until 8:15pm last night. Once the skies cleared, though, I set up the tripod and got busy!
     In twenty minutes, I managed to get approximately 30 shots. It's hard for me to decide which ones to consider "the best" out of the group. There are fourteen photos where the moon is partially obscured by clouds but they're still kind'a cool. There are three or four others that were "photo-bombed" by a couple of bats that were out hunting their dinner so I've excluded those completely. The rest are all about the same, I guess, the only variation from one to another being the composition. I think these two are my favorites out of the entire bunch...

     Now I'm trying to figure out which full moon this actually is. Originally, I thought this one was called "Hunter's Moon." Although, my friends Steve AND Marcel have both referred to it as "Harvest Moon."
     When I was a kid, I was taught that the Harvest Moon was the first full moon that fell after (or closest to) the Autumn equinox, which usually means the Harvest Moon appears in September. However, the first day of Autumn this year was September 21rst and the first full moon after that was on October 5th so that one should've been "Harvest Moon," making this one "Hunter's Moon."
     Farmers' Almanac's Full Moon Calendar refers to it as "Hunter's Moon." The web site FullMoonPhases.com refers to it as "Hunter's Moon." And then I checked NASA's Full Moon Calendar and they refer to this one as "Beaver Moon," which I've never even heard of before, LOL.
     I've been sitting here reading about all this stuff for about seven hours and it seems there's really no definitive answer. There are too many "ifs/ands/buts" involved making it impossible to determine which information is accurate. I've explored too many "moon" and "space" web sites and now I'm utterly confused. They all, pretty much, offer roughly the same names of the full moons during the year but not necessarily the same dates/months in which they occur so I can't distinguish which moon is which. It's kind'a frustrating. And, good grief, when you factor in "Blue Moons" that occur periodically throughout the year (or not), it only complicates matters.
     I did learn that I was correct, though, about the Harvest Moon last month. This is Space.com's explanation of why 2017's Harvest Moon was later than usual...

     "The moon officially turns full when it reaches that spot in the sky opposite to (180 degrees from) the sun, and this moment will occur on Thursday, October 5, at 1840 GMT (2:40 p.m. EDT, 11:40 a.m. PDT).
     But this full moon is also the one that comes closest on the calendar to the September equinox. In 2017, this circumstance occurs later than usual; it's in October, as opposed to the more traditional month of September.
     Between 1970 and 2050, there are 18 years when the Harvest Moon comes in October. The last time was in 2009, and the next time will be in 2020. On average, October Harvest Moons come every three years, although the time frame can be quite variable and as many as eight years can elapse between these events (the next such gap will come between 2020 and 2028). 2017's Harvest Moon comes rather late, although it can occur as early as September 8 (as in 1976) or as late as October 7 (as in 1987)."

     Anyway, between all the web sites' differing information, the Blue Moon factor, the Lunar Calendar being only 29 days (while other sources say it's 30) which obviously doesn't coincide with our Earth calendar, the regions/hemispheres/time zones offering different names for each full moon, I'm throwing in the towel at this point. I'm sure there's probably some kind of scientific/mathematical algorithm to use in order to figure it all out but, honestly, I've been sitting here for so long trying to decipher all this stuff I just don't care anymore, LOL. If Farmers' Almanac says it's "Hunter's Moon" then it's "Hunter's Moon," dammit, which is what I thought it was called in the first place, LOL!
     As I told Marcel in a recent email, "it sure was purty, no matter whacha call it!"

ENTRY #613
DATE:  11/04/17 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  An Early Frost in Autumn...

Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

     The above poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost was originally published in the Yale Review in 1923. It was later included in Frost's collection entitled New Hampshire which went on to win him the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (his first of four).
     In 1967, it appeared in S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders. Then - sixteen years later - in 1983, it was included in the movie adaptation [of the same name] directed by Francis Ford Coppola, where the poem is recited aloud [from Ponyboy to Johnny].
     It's a lovely little poem... and it makes expressions such as Live in the moment!, Take time to smell the flowers!, Take a picture, it'll last longer!, and There's no time like the present! ring true. The web site Genius.com describes it by saying, "In a few deft strokes, the poem paints images of natural beauty and golden promise; it also depicts the decline and fall of that very same promise. The result is a brief, powerful meditation on the transience of both beauty and life." The moral is clear -- life is short, enjoy it while you can, take nothing for granted.
     Due to the movie's highly acclaimed release in the early '80s, Nothing Gold Can Stay quickly rose in popularity, becoming one of Frost's more recognizable works. It even birthed a new expression that's occasionally still heard today -- Stay gold!
     What a lot of folks don't know is that this poem was written by Frost around 1920 (some sources actually cite it being as early as 1915) and was originally entitled Nothing Golden Stays. Unlike the popular eight-lined single stanza version we're all familiar with, the early draft was three stanzas [of eight lines each]. This version is much harder to come by and, to this day, I've been unable to find it in any published collections of Frost's work.
     That being said, here's Nothing Golden Stays [in its entirety] accompanied by one of my photographs of this morning's Autumn sunrise...

ENTRY #612
DATE:  11/03/17 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Dove's Lunar Views...

ENTRY #611
DATE:  11/02/17 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  ANSWERS to the Bible Brain Teaser...

     OK, so it didn't take me as long as I thought it would to find ALL of them so here's the answers. In order of appearance, these are the 17 books hidden in the text below -- Mark, Luke, Kings, Acts, Revelation, James, Ruth, Numbers, Job, Amos, Esther, Judges, Titus, Lamentations, Hebrews, Peter, and Matthew. (They are all shown below in capital letters.)

     I once made a reMARK about the hidden books of the Bible. It was a luLU, KEpt people looKING So hard for fACTS, and for others it was a REVELATION. Some were in a JAM, ESpecially since the names of the books are not capitalized, but the tRUTH finally struck home to NUMBERS of readers. To others, it was a real JOB. We want it to be A MOSt fascinating few moments for you. YES, THERe will be some really easy ones to spot. Others may require JUDGES to help them. I will quickly admiT IT USually takes a minister to find some of them and there will be loud LAMENTATIONS when they are found. A little lady says sHE BREWS a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. See how well you can comPETE. Relax now, for there really are the names of 17 books of the Bible in this paragraph. If I choose another sentence or two I could add another book for you and post theM AT THE Water cooler.

ENTRY #610
DATE:  11/01/17 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  A Bible Brain Teaser...

Find the names of 17 Books of the Bible hidden in the text below.

     I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible. It was a lulu, kept people looking so hard for facts, and for others it was a revelation. Some were in a jam, especially since the names of the books are not capitalized, but the truth finally struck home to numbers of readers. To others, it was a real job. We want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there will be some really easy ones to spot. Others may require judges to help them. I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find some of them and there will be loud lamentations when they are found. A little lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. See how well you can compete. Relax now, for there really are the names of 17 books of the Bible in this paragraph. If I choose another sentence or two I could add another book for you and post them at the water cooler.

Dove's Added Note:  LOL, this is tough. I've been studying the above paragraph for almost half an hour and I've only found eleven of them. I'll post the answers as soon as I actually find them all. Good luck!!!

ENTRY #609
DATE:  10/31/17 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Some of my Favorite Costumes through the years...

1974  The Skeleton was hand painted by my Mom on black pajamas. The only thing she bought was the mask. If memory serves correctly, the paint she used was the glow-in-the-dark variety so folks behind the wheel could see me on the side of the road.
1975  The entire bunny outfit was hand sewn by my Mom. Unfortunately, this is the only photo of that outfit I have so you can't see the fluffy cotton-tail I'm sitting on.
1976  Another hand made costume by Mom. Again, all she had to buy was the Ghost mask. If you look closely, you'll also notice that she drew a big spider's web and spider on the front of it. Pretty cool, eh?
1986  Two shots of this "Cyndi Lauper" costume. Didn't have to buy anything that year either. I put together that whole outfit with random items already in my closet.
1987  This "Punk Rocker" outfit was also created with stuff out'a my own closet. Except the wig, of course -- that I had to buy.
1990  A thrown-together "Cyndi Lauper" costume. I was sick that year and hadn't planned on going out. I felt better, though, by that evening so I decided to hit the streets at the last minute.
1996  This "Lion" costume was hand made by myself and by Mom. That was a fun year spent Trick-or-Treating in Bangor, Maine! And, YES, that is the gate in front of Stephen King's house! That's also my real hair, not a wig, for the lion's mane. It took two of my friends (Adrienne and Jennifer) about an hour to tease my entire head. Combing it all out once the night was over was a bitch but it was worth it!!!
2004  The same lion costume was resurrected for this "CATS on Broadway" look. Did all the face paint myself too! And I love the fangs. I still can't believe how perfectly they matched my real teeth. Very awesome!!!

ENTRY #608
DATE:  10/26/17 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  "Throwback Thursday" -- Pumpkins from the Past...

     I carved the one of the hummingbird for my Mom because that's her favorite bird. She's got "hummer" feeders hanging all over the yard, on the deck, and hanging right outside her kitchen window so she can watch them feed as she's washing the dishes. Even though it's not a spooky Halloween pumpkin I think it's my favorite one. She loved it too!
     It's been almost six years since I've carved a pumpkin. Living with two cats - especially Rigby - makes it hard. Washing pumpkin guts out of a cat's fur is much harder than it sounds, trust me!

ENTRY #607
DATE:  10/20/17 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Words to live by...

     Came across this earlier today and HAD to post it here. Very cool words of wisdom...

ENTRY #606
DATE:  10/12/17 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Sunrise Over Stratford...

     The view right outside my window this morning! It was a gloomy, dark, drizzly morning --- yet sunrise was still kind'a spectacular! Thought I'd share...

ENTRY #605
DATE:  10/06/17 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Vibert's The Marvelous Sauce...

     Jehan Georges Vibert's painting The Marvelous Sauce and the photos it inspired (from my recent trip to Naples/Hamburg, NY) can now be viewed on my "Favorite Paintings" page. Click here to check them out if you're interested.
     After work this evening, I went out to Hobby Lobby in search of a frame that would hold three 5x7 photographs. Oddly, I found exactly what I was looking for! The photo below depicts what is now hanging on my bedroom wall. It's a combo-collage of The Marvelous Sauce and The Marvelous Soup.... and it's lovely! It's the very first thing I see when I walk in my front door! Gotta love that!

ENTRY #604
DATE:  09/25/17 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  Happy 85th Birthday!!!

     I woke up this morning still smiling from my visit with The Friar Saturday night. What a treat that was! After thinking I wouldn't get to see him because of the circumstances surrounding Fr. Ross, those unexpected hours I was able to spend with him [after all] have really buoyed me up! Even though it's his birthday, I'm the one who received the greatest gift -- an evening of great wine, great food, and great smiles -- all shared with a great friend! It doesn't get any better than that.
     When I got into the Jeep this morning to head off to work, I discovered that I had left my MP3 Player plugged in last night when I got home from the trip. When it started to play, Susan Boyle's soaring voice surrounded me. She was singing You Raise Me Up and I grinned when I realized how appropriate those lyrics were, considering how elevated my spirits have been since Saturday evening.
     So.... on this very special day, I am dedicating these lyrics, with love and thankfulness, to Marcel as he celebrates his 85th birthday.

You Raise Me Up
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, till I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up, to more than I can be.

There is no life -- no life without its hunger;
Each precious heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, till I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up, to more than I can be.
You raise me up, to more than I can be.

ENTRY #603
DATE:  09/24/17 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Back from Naples & Hamburg...

     So... yesterday morning, I left my house at 5:00am, right on schedule. And, yes, I listened to all SEVEN Susan Boyle CDs -- her voice kept me company for the first FIVE HOURS of my trip to the Inspire Moore Winery.
     At 11:00am, I was sitting in traffic on Route 245, with the Winery in view. The Festival was already in full swing and the place was mobbed. I had already decided that this was NOT the day for taking photographs. I'm not crazy about crowds and I knew trying to take pictures while maneuvering around thousands of people would spike my blood pressure so I didn't bother with the camera at all.
     I pulled into their driveway, parked, and approached the first employee I could find. I explained how I had just come all the way from CT for a case of the LOVE wine and asked if I could leave the Jeep parked right in front for a few minutes so I could run in, get the wine, then leave. Nope, of course not! He said that they were expecting a bunch of trucks delivering equipment, food, and musical instruments for the band and the driveway had to remain open for them to come and go. So off I went to find somewhere to park. The closest spot I could find was about eight blocks away... and it cost me five bucks to park there because it was someone's back yard, LOL. As I hoofed it back to the Winery I was, like, How the hell am I going to carry a case of wine this far? Whatever! It is what it is! I figured I'd manage somehow.
     Oh, and this is probably a good time to mention that it was also 88 degrees outside. In the shade. At 11:30 in the morning. Ugh! So long, Summertime, my ass! I was twenty feet away from where I'd parked and I was already covered in sweat! Wonderful.
     As soon as I entered the Winery I spotted a woman working behind the register in the Gift Shop and headed in that direction. As soon as I told her I was from CT for the LOVE wine she said, "You're Dove, right?" I said, "Ayuh, that's me!" and she told me they had a case of it already set aside for me! Woohoooo! I was very impressed by that! She immediately sent someone to fetch it for me. In the meantime, I checked out a shelf that was full of T-shirts and sweatshirts. I hadn't planned on buying any souvenirs but when I spotted a lovely bordeaux-colored (red, not white!) hooded sweatshirt I knew it was coming home with me!
     When the guy brought the case over to me he placed it on the counter. I picked it up to see how heavy it was.... it wasn't that bad but I knew I'd never make it all the way to my Jeep without having a stroke. I paid for everything and they asked where I was parked, they'd bring it out for me. Once I told them how far away my Jeep was they said, "No, no! You should've parked right out front!" I laughed and explained how I'd just done that but was told I had to park elsewhere. They apologized and told me to go get the Jeep -- they'd open the driveway for me when they saw me coming -- and that I could pull right up to their door. Good grief! So off I go, beatin' feet, back to the Jeep in 88 degree weather!
     Anyway, I got my wine!!! The whole affair only took about half an hour. I was on the road again by 11:40. I back-tracked my way to I-90 West and arrived at my hotel in Hamburg at 2:30...
     I checked in, unloaded the Jeep, then cracked open the case of wine. The bottles are really nice -- the glass is dark blue and the labeling is printed directly on the bottle (not on a paper label) in two shades of pink! The cork is bright pink too! I pulled out two bottles for The Friar and added them to the gift-box in the back seat (which already contained a beautiful Yellow Kalanchoe plant and a gift-bag holding a Mrs. Miniver DVD, a book of selected poems by Robert Frost, some Arctic Strawberry Altoids and his birthday card), all topped off with a helium, Mylar Happy Birthday balloon. Once that was squared away, I hoisted the rest of the case into the cooler I'd brought along and packed in as much ice as I could from the hotel's ice-machine!
     I grabbed my camera and drove over to the Rosary Hour/Sr. Friars Residence where I, very stealthily, deposited the gift-box right outside a sliding-glass door where he was sure to find it. I tip-toed back to JEEP ROMULUS and took off! I headed over to Prospect Lawn Cemetery to give my camera a work out. At 3:30, as soon as I parked, I sent Marcel a text letting him know I dropped off a package for him. LOL, mission accomplished!
     At 3:45, exactly 15 minutes after I sent him that text, my phone rings and he says, "WHERE ARE YOU? YOU HAVE TO COME BACK! WHY DID YOU LEAVE? HAVE YOU EATEN YET? PLEASE COME HERE!"
     LOL! I told him I was in the cemetery taking pictures, then I had planned on going up to the Basilica... and on the way back from Lackawanna I was going to pick up a sandwich from Subway and eat in the hotel. I said I knew he had a lot going on due to Fr. Ross being gone and that I didn't want to bother him or intrude.
     Since he seemed adamant about my returning to the Residence, I took that as a sign that he had some time available so I asked if he still wanted to go to dinner for his birthday. He explained that he couldn't leave because he had a batch of soup simmering on the stove but, CAN YOU COME HERE?, he asked again. Seriously? Like I'd ever say no to that, LOL!
     "OK," I said, "I need about an hour. I'll finish up here, then I'll go to Subway. How's 5:00? Is that OK? I don't want to show up while you're trying to eat."
     "No, no," he said, "I can eat whenever. Please come. 5:00 is fine."
     "Alrighty, I'll seeya in about an hour!"
     JEEP ROMULUS, Susan Boyle and I rolled back into the Residence parking lot at 5:03 and found Marcel out front watering his plants.
     As soon as he ushered me through the front door, the aroma coming from the kitchen reminded me I hadn't eaten a thing since the fruit, last night, in my Sangria cocktails. I followed him straight into the kitchen and I watched as he stirred the heavenly concoction bubbling on the stove. It smelled marvelous... and it looked even better! Nice big chunks of potatoes, carrots, celery and beef! There was also a large bowl of elbow macaroni sitting on the counter waiting to be added to the soup later. My stomach rumbled and growled its approval!
     "I've moved the package to the patio. We can sit out there if you'd like, while this cooks." he said.
     "That sounds nice," I agreed and we made ourselves comfortable, sitting in the shade under the SunSetter that covers most of the patio. The package was on the table and I noticed it was still untouched. I nodded towards it, then grinned at him. "That Kalanchoe is probably gonna need water soon, especially in this heat. The florist watered it right before I picked it up yesterday but it's been wrapped in that cellophane and sitting in my truck since last night. The rest of it, though, you can open now or wait 'til Monday, whichever you'd prefer."
     "I'll wait until Monday," he said. I knew that was what he'd say, but I had my own suspicions he wouldn't be able to wait that long.
     "Oh, and about that wine," I began, "when I was here in July, you remember when we were in Letchworth Park and we ate at the Glen Iris Inn? That fabulous wine we had with dinner..." As I spoke, he was nodding his head and grinning from ear to ear. "...that's the wine we had that day! It took me a while to hunt it down but that's the stuff!"
     "When I saw the bottles in there, I was hoping that's what it was!" he laughed. "How'd you ever find it?" He removed one of the bottles from the package to read the labeling as I told him the story about locating the Winery and how they weren't able to ship it to me; and how I'd planned my trip around this particular weekend, knowing his birthday was Monday, so I could bring him some.
     "We should open one; let's have some now!" he announced.
     "Um, OK... it's not cold though. It's been sitting in my truck since 11:30 this morning, it's not chilled."
     "That's OK, it'll be more flavorful this way!" and he scooted off to find a bottle-opener. He returned, cork-screw in hand, along with two wine glasses. He had the cork out'a that bottle in two seconds flat! He wasn't messin' around. The Friar wanted some wine and he wanted it NOW, LOL. He didn't even give the bottle a chance to breathe -- he just popped and poured immediately! And I can't blame him -- 'cause I was hankering for a glass myself!
     We chatted our way through the first round pretty quick. He then had to tend to the soup on the stove for a bit so we went our separate ways for about twenty minutes. He headed off to the kitchen and I grabbed my camera and walked over to Lake Erie to get some shots of what little shoreline I could see. During my walk back I got a few shots of some Goldenrod "weeds" and some Willow trees. When I returned to the patio he was still inside so I walked over to his garden to see what I could point the camera at over there. Got some great shots of a couple flowers, a good one of a tomato, and an interesting shot of a Yellow Jacket sampling the sugar-water in one of Marcel's humming-bird feeders.
     By the time I made it back to the patio, I found The Friar - hands deep - rooting around in that gift-box! LOL, I knew he couldn't wait 'til Monday! We poured round two of LOVE to sip on as he opened the gifts. As he tore away the wrapping paper he kept saying, "You don't have to do this. You shouldn't do this!" But, the thing is, I love to do it. The way his face always lights up with wonder and intrigue and excitement - just like a little kid at Christmastime - fills my heart with such joy, I just can't help myself -- I love to make him smile!!!
     The bottle of wine now empty, we adjourned to the kitchen to check the soup. As soon as he picked up the ladle to give it a stir, my memory flashed back to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery we toured back in July. While we were there I admired a delightful painting by Jehan Georges Vibert entitled "The Marvelous Sauce." With Marcel now standing at the stove, ladle in hand, I thought to myself, Cool! Life imitating art!, so I dashed out to the patio to grab my camera real quick! I got a "staged" shot, looking straight down into the pot, as Marcel presented the ladle FULL of the soup's hearty ingredients. But when he said, "I have to sample it to make sure," I hurriedly stepped around the counter and aimed the camera at him, waiting for that precise moment! Two quick candid clicks managed to capture it perfectly!
     He dished out two steaming bowls and we settled in the TV-room to eat. We watched a few segments of Nat-Geo's The Incredible Dr. Pol while we dined on Marcel's "Marvelous Soup!" The meal was topped off with a couple Klondike ice-cream bars for dessert!
     I had been awake since 3:30am and now, with a full belly, I found myself fading fast. By 8:15 I was exhausted so I thanked him for making time for me (once again!) and for sharing the wonderful meal! He walked me to my Jeep where I dug a third bottle of LOVE out of the cooler for him [to replace the one we drank]. He accepted it with another one of his beautiful smiles! I snuggled into his hug, told him I loved him, wished him a Happy Birthday, and off I went to crash at the Red Roof Inn.
     I don't know whether it was the drive to the hotel, the air-conditioning in the room, the sugar from the ice-cream, or pure euphoria from getting to have dinner with The Friar after all but, by the time I climbed into my pajamas and ready for bed, I got a second wind and was wide awake. Alone in my room, with nothing else better to do, I broke out my coloring books and some Sharpie and BIC markers and colored for almost three hours... the fruits of my labor being two Mandala designs -- one inspired by the colors of the Winery I visited; the other inspired by the first days of Autumn...

     Tired, but not quite sleepy yet, I grabbed the novel I had packed (Ararat by Christopher Golden) and began to read....
     Seven hours later I awoke, Sunday morning, still clasping the book in my hands. It was a great night's sleep but I suppose that doesn't say much (or maybe it does!) about the author's story-telling, LOL!
     Still in my pajamas, I went out to the Jeep to check on the wine. It was definitely chilled and there was plenty of ice left for the trip home. I had nothing planned for the day so I thought about heading up to Holy Cross Cemetery with the camera but, when I turned on the TV to find some local news, I was reminded that The Bills were playing in Buffalo. It was a one o'clock game and, since my hotel is located right in between both exits off I-90 for New Era Field, I decided I'd rather not get stuck in all the football traffic. I washed up, got dressed, loaded JEEP ROMULUS and checked out. I was on the road by 9:30am... and, GOOD GRIEF, it was already 85 degrees!
     I had no particular reason to RUSH home so, when I approached exit 42 on I-90, I decided to head back to the Inspire Moore Winery to get some pictures.
     Now, before I go any further, let me ask y'all one thing --- when, exactly, is this OLD-ENOUGH-TO-KNOW-BETTER stuff supposed to kick in???
     LOL, I don't know what I was thinking. BIG mistake!!! It was 12:30 by the time I could see the place -- and there must have been twenty-thousand people mulling around. Cars were parked on both sides of the road for MILES and the thermometer in the Jeep was now broadcasting an outside temperature of 93 degrees! The traffic was horrendous! It took me TWO HOURS to get turned around so I could head back to the thru-way. I managed to snap three semi-decent photos of the Winery through my window as I drove by, two of the actual building and one of their sign. Oh well.... there's always next time. I'll just make sure next time doesn't fall in the middle of a Wine/Grape/Music/Food/Arts & Crafts Festival!
     I did manage to get some beautiful "country" shots while heading back to I-90 from Naples. I pulled over a number of times along route 245 to capture some corn fields and a few big red barns with their grain silos looming in the background. Some pretty scenery! Very reminiscent of my younger days growing up in New Hampshire....
     The rest of the trip was uneventful. Hardly any traffic at all so I set the cruise-control at 70 and enjoyed the ride. My mind wandered back over my visit with Marcel and his Marvelous Soup. I thought, again, of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and I remembered that I purchased a couple note-cards depicting Vibert's painting, The Marvelous Sauce. I made a mental note to dig them out so I could send him one as a Thank You card.
     I smiled all the way home...

ENTRY #602
DATE:  09/22/17 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Liquid Happiness: Celebrating Autumn's Arrival!

     Need I say more? LOL, probably not, but I will anyway...
     Today is the first day of Autumn! WOOHOOOO, I am ready! I've been ready for weeks now. I'm NOT a fan of Summer's hot n' humid weather. The older I get, the more I dislike it...
     And even today - since it was 82 degrees here - I wasn't too happy but, when I got home from work, I was pleasantly surprised to be invited in to share some delicious Sangria cocktails with my neighbor Maya and her boyfriend, Howie. They even constructed a second one for me to take "on the road" which, luckily, only involved climbing the stairs from their apartment to mine, LOL. And what a construction is it -- it's Pomegranate Sangria and it's fully loaded! From the bottom up, it's blueberries, strawberries, honeydew melon and pineapple! And it is fabulous! I've now filled up on so much fruit I won't have to eat dinner tonight, I'm stuffed!
     I'm VERY excited about my trip this weekend. I can't wait to get to the Winery/Vineyard. The weather is supposed to be awesome and I'm looking forward to roaming around the vineyard with my camera! I haven't been to a real vineyard since I was about 18 years old!
     From Naples, I'm heading onward to Hamburg to spend the night. Thank goodness the Red Roof Inn had a room. There's no way I could drive the round trip to Naples and back in ONE day. That'd be almost 12 straight hours of driving, LOL, no way! I may be young at heart but, trust me, I'm much older in other places!
     It's a shame I won't be able to see The Friar when I'm out there. I'm not even gonna try at this point. I got a strange text from him last night at 8:45. He sent me three question marks and that's it. I had no idea what that meant so I answered, "Yes?", and he fired back with "Not a good time." All I can figure is that the "???" text was sent to me in error. It's pretty clear, though, that things aren't going well out there because of whatever's happened with Fr. Ross. I hope it'll all work out... and I hope Fr. Ross will be OK. I am worried about Marcel though. He seems a bit stressed and I don't like that at all. It sounds like he's got a lot on his plate right now and I don't want to intrude. I'll just drive by, drop the birthday package off at his door, send him a quick text to let him know to look for it and then I'm out'a there. I'll probably spend the rest of the day up in Lackawanna... between the Basilica, the Father Baker Museum, Holy Cross Cemetery and the Botanical Gardens there's plenty to keep me [and the camera] occupied until I run out of steam!
     Well... now that I'm thoroughly liquored up with Sangria, I've got to get to bed. It's almost a six hour drive to Naples, NY and the Winery opens at 11:00 so I'm planning on hitting the road somewhere between 4am-5am. The cooler is in the back of JEEP ROMULUS ready n' waiting! I have no idea how many bottles of wine I'll end up with... It'll all depend on how many fit in the cooler! :-)
     So long, Summertime! Wooohoooooooooooo!!!

ENTRY #601
DATE:  09/20/17 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  Bummer! No more dinner plans...

So I just got this txt-msg from Marcel...
          Kind of hectic here
          Fr Ross in Hospital.
          Going to Ellicott city.
          He needs rest
          Not a good time for
          your visit till
          replacements are made
So I replied with...
          No time for dinner?
And then he said...
          Talk later.
          Not a good time.
I sent OK at 7:42pm and there's been nothing since. It's now 10:30pm and I've been sitting here waiting to hear something else from him...
     This is why I hate cell phones and communicating via text messages. What does his Talk later mean? Does he mean later tonight? Or later as in a couple days? Or does he mean we'll just talk about me visiting at a later date? I have no idea, LOL.
     And who, exactly, is going to Ellicott City? Ross or Marcel? When I read it initially, based on the punctuation, I thought he was saying HE [Marcel] was going to Ellicott City and I was rather taken aback by that. Although, after reading it a couple times, I think he's saying it's Ross who's going to Ellicott City and he'll rest there... which, in itself, doesn't make any sense. He's been hospitalized and needs rest but he's going to travel all the way to Maryland? I'm still a bit confused.
     Anyway, it appears dinner is now off the table for some reason. I'm not sure why Ross going to Maryland would interfere with dinner. I mean, regardless of where Ross is, Marcel still has to eat, doesn't he?
     I think there's been some miscommunication somewhere along the line. He said it's "not a good time for me to visit until replacements are made"... which leads me to believe that Marcel thinks I was planning on spending the entire weekend with him when, in fact, dinner was all I had suggested. In my original email to him, all I had asked was if he'd be free for an "early birthday" dinner Saturday evening. I never mentioned anything about the rest of my weekend at all. I never explained WHY I was going to be in Hamburg... and, of course, I just assumed he saw my blog entry explaining about the winery in Naples. The fault is mine -- I should have been more clear.
     LOL, and now I have this adorable gift-bag I've put together for his birthday and I don't know what to do with it. I'd hate to disassemble it in order to ship it because the bag, the wrapping paper, the tissue paper and bow all match. I also doubt, very much, the helium Mylar balloon that's attached would survive being stuffed in a box for five days on the back of a UPS truck. Plus, I wanted to give him a bottle (or two) of the wine I'm getting in Naples since he really enjoyed it too. :-( This blows...
     Y'know what... I'm over thinking this. I'll just bring it with me and I'll drop it off at the Rosary Hour with whoever answers the door. If no one's there, depending on the weather, I can always leave it on the patio then just send him a text to let him know where to look for it. I dunno. We'll see.
     Check-in time at the Red Roof Inn is 2:00pm. I probably won't hit town until around 3:00ish. Now that my dinner plans have gone down the drain, I guess I'll just eat on the road somewhere between Naples and Hamburg.... and as for the rest of the day, I don't know what I'm gonna do. Maybe I'll scoot up to Holy Cross Cemetery with the camera. Maybe I'll hit The Father Baker Museum... I just checked the hours on OLV's web site and they're open 'til 9:00pm. Or I could just chill out in my hotel room with a bottle of wine, my MP3 Player and some coloring books........

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