Archive for the ‘cat’ Tag

12-08-2015 Journal – My Christmas Tan!   Leave a comment

thQVZPA7IL
It’s just seventeen more days to Christmas. I realize that’s not a big secret to any of you so let me continue.  There’s seventeen days left until Christmas and for the first time in my life I’m suffering a little from sunburn. Can you believe that? The weather here in what is normally cold and snowy Maine defies belief.  It’s been bright and sunny for the last week with daytime temperatures climbing into the mid fifties.  U.F.B.

Two days ago I found myself digging into the storage area where I placed the deck furniture two weeks ago, looking for my chaise lounge.  I dragged it out onto the deck and set it up in the place that gets the most sunshine at this time of the year.  As I was doing that I couldn’t help thinking how absolutely crazy it was.

th7SWX1F4R
I was wearing a short sleeved “Guns and Roses” T-shirt and a pair of shorts which is also a bit ridiculous but "what the hell", I plopped down with a hot cup of hazelnut coffee and my I-Pod.  I was able to relax for a few hours listening to a little Amy Winehouse and a lot of Harry Chapin.  It was the most pleasant experience I’ve had in weeks.  No cell phone calls, no annoying text messages, and no visitors.  Just Harry, Amy, Me, and my cat.  I have to consider this my first and best Christmas gift for 2015 and it’s one I gave it to myself.

th03WWXHG5
As I stepped into the shower later after my workout I suddenly remembered that hot water on a semi-sunburned body hurts like hell. I received just enough sun on my arms, face, and neck to make that shower a little torturous.  It was a good pain and if I’m really lucky I may get one more chance to do it again tomorrow since the weather forecasting geniuses are calling for more sunshine. 

Another plus is that my tanned face will make my white beard look even whiter.  I was asked by a toddler in line at a Walmart register a few days ago if I was Santa Clause and what could I say to the little guy? I lied through my teeth, of course, and told him “Yes I was”. I then asked him if he’d been a good boy this year and of course he lied right back at me.  He said he’d been good all year. His mother was standing behind him smiling and shaking her head with a big "No". It made my day and I think it made his too. He got to meet, greet, and lie to Santa Clause. How cool is that?

thZ2828T65
This is slowly becoming the weirdest Christmas I’ve ever had and believe me that’s a good thing because I absolutely love "weird".

SIXTEEN SHOPPING DAYS LEFT

Advertisements

12-06-2015 Journal– Red & Green Insanity!   Leave a comment

thSI3QTAQR

‘Christmas Eve in Maine.’

How is your holiday season progressing?  Are your preparations ahead of schedule or behind? Is your Christmas tree real or artificial? Are your kids driving you crazy yet? Has your alcohol consumption increased progressively with the holiday pressures?  All really good questions but as we all know they’re rhetorical. 

The drumbeat of Christmas is getting louder each day. I go to sleep thinking about what I’ve accomplished that day and wake up thinking about all of the stuff that I still need to accomplish today.  I am so full of Christmas cheer I could scream out loud.  After rereading this paragraph I think I discovered something else I must be full of.  You get my drift, right? I’M LOSING IT MAN!

Here is my kitchen table as I found it this morning:

DSC_0005

Trust me when I tell you the entire living room and family room look exactly like it as well.   I’m knee deep in Christmas and there’s still 18 shopping days left. It could take us until sometime in February to repack all this stuff and I can’t wait.  At least the damn cat seems to be enjoying himself:

DSC_0012

I haven’t had my breakfast yet but since I can’t eat in the kitchen I may retire to the deck and eat there. That’s right, the sun is shining and it’s still warm enough to sit outside and have breakfast. It’s madness I tell you.

Even Mother Nature appears confused by the weather. I took a stroll around the property yesterday  for no other reason than to get a little sun on my pasty white body.  I found this lonely little flower in the side yard. One stupid dandelion that’s decided it’s really not December but April. I can officially say this is the latest I’ve ever seen any flower growing and blooming.

DSC_0007

‘The all-time dumbest flower on the planet.’

I’d like to continue on with this post but I’m getting the evil eye from my better-half. It’s time to get back to my Santa duties. Everything has to be just perfect for the grandsons when they arrive (in two and a half effing weeks). Sorry about the language but all these red and green colors are finally getting to me or maybe it’s just my requested Christmas aneurism finally showing up.

I hope someone tells Santa just what a good boy I’ve been this year. He owes me big time.

10-31-2015 Journal – Bye, Bye October!   Leave a comment

Say goodbye to October everyone. This last month has just flown by and once again ended with no Halloween trick or treaters at our house.  Depending on how you look at it, it could be both a good thing and a bad thing.  Being in a rural area with very few toddlers around, we’re usually safe from pranksters and vandals and that’s a good thing.  The bad thing is for my better-half who prays for costumed kids to show up in great numbers.  These days she’s forced to pour all of her Halloween craziness on her grandchildren and she does . . . in spades.

Our out-of-town visitors arrived yesterday afternoon, intact and tired after an eight hour drive through NJ, NY, CT, MA, NH, and finally Maine.  With this recent burst of warm weather we decided to do a little grilling on the deck.  It’s likely to be the final time we’ll be using the grill this year and next week it will be winterized and stored away.  Here’s a quick shot of the kabobs just before hitting the grill. They were yummy.

DSC_0011

If that does make your mouth water just a little you may have a serious problem.  The food was excellent and gave everyone a chance to sit back and relax and catch up a little.

I’m up early this morning and enjoying a cup of strong and hot coffee.  I fed the cat and he apparently enjoyed his breakfast because he just strutted into the man-cave looking for a comfortable place to plop.  After all he desperately needs that 18 hours of beauty sleep every day.  I’ll give him about ten minutes and he’ll be out cold for a few hours.  If you haven’t figured things out just yet, he’s also retired.

DSC_0005_1

‘A big fat lazy cat.’

I hear people waking up in the house and if I know my better-half there’ll be quiche in my future within the hour.  More hot coffee, some crispy bacon and if I’m sneaky enough I might snatch one of the last two chocolate éclairs leftover from last night.  Who says life isn’t awesome some times.

Today will include a  visit to see the grandkids and possibly some shopping. I hope the weather clears a little so I can get a few good shots of the group.

MORE LATER

09-17-2015 Journal – CSI-Saco, ME   Leave a comment

thD71JHYW8
On any given day I’m never sure what’ll  happen around here but today even surprised me a little. I was minding my own business and enjoying my life until I found a corpse in my driveway.  I make it a point to be aware of what goes on around my residence by checking things regularly every day. I was able to determine the time of death based on my last patrol of the property and let me tell you that corpse was fresh.

With my investigative background it took only a quick glance to determine that this death was not accidental. . . . it appeared to be murder. I could plainly see the blunt force trauma to the head and several deep puncture marks along the side of the body. It wasn’t pretty. 

DSCN0122

‘Deadly head trauma to be sure.’

I closely searched the surrounding area looking for obvious clues but found nothing.  This investigation really couldn’t be all that thorough because I no longer have access to the appropriate forensic equipment except for latex gloves and a big, old magnifying glass I found in a drawer.

In recent weeks there’ve been reports of suspicious behavior by a gang of delinquents (coyotes) roaming around the neighborhood after dark and wreaking havoc throughout the area.  It’s resulted in the loss of a number of  household pets and those guys are persons of interest.

DSCN0124

‘He never had a prayer.’

There was no way to identify the body so we’ll just call him Mickey Doe.  He had brown hair and a large unruly mustache. I was able to get a couple of photos of the body but they added very little to the investigation. As you can see this will be a difficult case to solve and I expect it will go cold rather quickly.

DSCN0124B 
‘Some serious bite marks.’

My main suspect lives across the street and is often seen skulking around looking for trouble. He had motive and opportunity because I saw him just before finding the body as he was high-tailing it home to hide under the porch.

As of this report the case remains open. I was forced to remove the body from the driveway and reverently picked it up by the tail and tossed it into the woods.  We have no refrigeration facilities here to store corpses.

Another sad and merciless loss of life here in Maine.

BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR THIS GUY

xa9u0479

FANGED AND DANGEROUS

09-07-2015 Journal–Burgers, Sausage, & Lobsters!   Leave a comment

DSCN0090

With Summer slowly fading away our daily routine changes once again. The nights have been cold enough recently to require a little help from my electric blanket. I rolled over the other morning and found my cat snuggling up against me, something he almost never does unless his fur coat isn’t getting the job done.  I touched his back and it was ice cold so I threw a blanket over the little dummy and went back to sleep. Another real indicator of Winter like caterpillars with extra thick fur.

I’m forever raving about how great I think Maine is but I’ve never shown any photographs of it’s main export.  While I’m not a lobster lover my better-half is.  We had a family cook-out yesterday with all the normal grilling food, burgers, dogs, sausages, and as extra added bonus . . . lobsters. As you can see these poor fellows look pretty contented in the first photo but not so much in the second.  They are now just a memory but left my better-half, her daughter, and son-in-law with dribbles of melted butter on their chins and a smile on their faces.

DSCN0087BB

‘Before’

DSCN0091BB

‘After”

Our menial tasks continued this week with the canning of more pickles, the making of more zucchini bread, and the drying of more herbs.  Over the next few days I’ll be harvesting and drying batches of tarragon, basil, parsley, and chives.  I have so many damn chives growing everywhere it’s getting ridiculous. If I dry too many I’ll just have to package them up and give them to friends and family members.

I hope to begin removing plants from the garden next week. I have a lot of work ahead but would like to get it done as soon as possible.  Once the plants are removed I can begin making a few changes to the garden. I’m expanding the rhubarb area because it’s growing so fast I can’t contain it. I’m also adding on two additional frames, one abutting each large frame, to help expand the sunflower areas. We both love having as many sunflowers as possible in the garden and the birds will be thrilled with all of the extra food.  I thought it best to do this construction now rather than in the Spring.

DSCN0021

Life in Maine continues.

08-12-2015 Journal – Computers, Reading & Boredom!   Leave a comment

Boredom-feature-007[1]
I feel like I’m in a rut of late which means this posting may ramble a bit. I seem to spend most of my time these days doing yard work, gardening, fighting with my computers, exercising, and reading endlessly.  I’ve complained for decades that I never seemed to have enough time to read as much as I’d like and now I do.  I should know by now to be careful what I wish for.

I set a goal for 2015 to read two books a week. I thought that was an unreachable number but something still worth shooting for. Believe it or not I’m ahead of schedule for the first seven months with a total of fifty-eight books read.  I must have been out of my ever-loving mind. Since we decided to eliminate cable TV from our lives my reading time has increased ten fold. I’m making Amazon really happy because my purchases of Kindle books has also increased dramatically.

My better-half agreed to work a special two week schedule for Lowe’s requiring her to wake up at 3:00 am and to return home at 2:30 pm. Of course that also means she’s asleep by 7:30 pm giving us approximately five hours a day together.  Just what I didn’t need was more free time to read.

boredom1[2]

I still love reading but OMFG.  This home has become a flop house for a cat who sleeps eighteen hours a day and for me who reads almost that much.

With the fiasco of Windows 10 making me crazier than usual and frustrating me beyond belief I immediately fell back to reading as a way to clear my head of all things “computer”. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d say something like this but I have no choice . . . Microsoft sucks!

Things have gotten so bad of late that I’ve actually considered going back to school just to have something to do. For someone who absolutely hated every school he’s ever attended, that quite the admission.

I’ve even thought about going back to a daily posting of this blog but decided against it. I’d rather start a new blog entirely to take a more critical look at current events and politics from my unusual and sarcastic perspective. I’m feeling a little meaner these days and with Obama on his way out the politicians of all parties have once again become fair game. It’s what our military would describe as a target rich environment.
bored[1]

So to summarize . . . I’m freaking bored.

07-19-2015 Journal–Down With Cable TV!   Leave a comment

th954DMWGF

It’s a gray day once again after having a few days of bright sunshine. The better-half is at work and the cat and I are doing as little as possible.  Over the last few days I’ve been spending time familiarizing myself with Netflix.  It was a little cumbersome at first but it didn’t take long to get the hang of it. I was told by a long time Netflix user the danger of “binge watching” and I thought she was kidding.  She wasn’t! I now can see just how that can happen because its happening to me already.

th

As I’ve posted in the recent past, I’m preparing to finally disconnect myself from cable TV once and for all.  I’m sick of the continuously rising costs and the hundreds of channels of garbage programming I’m forced to pay for.

th3CPPFNEJ

I’m making the most of this Netflix free trial for the next month and the more I use it the better I’m liking it. I’ll be signing up for HULU Plus and their free trial next week to checkout the the TV shows they offer.  If I’m satisfied with HULU  I’ll be terminating my Dish cable service early in August. It’s been a long time coming and I can’t wait.

DSC_0001

I think I’ll be doing a little shopping tomorrow at Best Buy. I need one additional ROKU device to adapt my last TV to video streaming. The costs for these devices are minuscule compared to the amount I’ll be saving each month. I just love having extra money in my pocket instead of theirs.

th6RW9VK3N
I should have no problem getting through the winter months this year with lots of books to read, a huge selection of TV programming, and more movies than I could ever watch.

th0GWJ2QC2

It’s time for me to return to my desktop computer, my laptop, iPad, smart phone, and TV because I can now video stream on all of them.  I’m deep into the storyline of the series, Marco Polo, with five episodes remaining. Then I can begin watching episodes of an old TV series, The Finder, one of my all-time favorites. It’s back and I’ve got it. 

Add to that a bottle of good Sangria, a bag of tortilla chips, and a quart of my salsa and I’m in heaven.  I’ll also be saving $645.00 in the first year that will pay for my annual car insurance, a year’s supply of cat food, and the occasional bottle of brandy. It can’t get much better than that.

07-03-2015 Journal – Wine and Jam Day!   Leave a comment

DSC_0036B

‘While we were working the cat was meditating.’

My last posting concerned our short but successful foray with strawberry picking.  Even though we only managed to pick three quarts before the rains came, we still considered it a moderate success.  It also succeeded in motivating my better-half into a jam making frenzy yesterday.  It required another trip to the food store for additional strawberries, blue berries, and black berries with rhubarb harvested from our garden as well. As you can see in this photo the rhubarb plants are out of control and trying desperately to take over the garden. 

DSC_0021B

She worked diligently for five hours and the results were impressive.  She made one batch each of strawberry, strawberry rhubarb, and blueberry jam. She also completed two additional batches of tripleberry which has become a favorite of everyone (blackberry-blueberry-strawberry) who has tasted it.

DSC_0030
Of course I did my best to taste them all as they were being made, bobbing and weaving to avoid those painful hand slaps. They were all over-the-top delicious and I can’t wait to add the strawberry/rhubarb jam to my breakfast menu.

While she was completing the jam I was in another area of the house preparing to bottle my first experimental batch of wine for 2015. My goal was to make a wine unique to Maine and one never made by anyone else.  I thoroughly searched the net but could find no references to this type of mead. It was made from raw maple syrup and fresh honey. 

DSC_0001

The final product was a clear and sweet mead with a faint bouquet of maple. It was a good first effort and with some fine tuning of the recipe I may make it again soon.  I bottled three and a half gallons into various size bottles and kept one for myself. I always volunteer to be first to sample anything containing alcohol before giving it to others. 

DSC_0003

After two glasses I felt that special glow I’m always looking for.  Testing with my vinometer indicates an alcohol content between 7-8%, more than I anticipated.  All in all a really successful experiment.

DSC_0008

The batch was corked and capped and will go into storage for a few months and then be tasted again.  Most wine improves with age and I look forward to an older version of this mead to enjoy through the winter months.

02-23-2015 Journal–Bottle Snatchers!   Leave a comment

DSC_0009

Today is that day that occurs every six weeks or so and honestly it’s not one of my favorites.  Let me explain.

First, regardless of what you know or think you know I’m not a fanatical environmentalist. I’m a former Greenpeace member who bailed out on them when they decided  to turn their attentions to banning nuclear power. I’m a former Sierra Club member who decided that any organization that puts the needs of animals before humans regardless of the consequences is too extreme for me. I’m also militantly against organizations like PETA and the idiots that  run them.

DSC_0011

Now let me confuse you further.  Up until 8 years ago I NEVER recycled anything.  It wasn’t that I didn’t care about the environment but I just didn’t see any long term benefits that required an investment of my time.  I understand the need for it now but for the most part I didn’t take it seriously then.

When I met my better-half and after we decided to be together FOREVER my brainwashing began.  In any relationship it’s mandatory that each participant be willing to compromise on certain things to maintain harmony.  My better-half is convinced that by recycling she will save the world. Totally naïve but understandable. Unfortunately the town of Saco, Maine where we live apparently agrees with her.  We’re now forced to recycle by the local government  which in turn  gives her even more ammunition to use against me.  Separate the paper and plastic into the brown container and all of that good old fashioned trash into the green container.  If you don’t obey the rules the town will refuse to pick up your trash. Heil Hitler to you too.

DSC_0012

All of my working life experiences and accomplishments have now been turned on their head.  Every six weeks or so I’m required to make a trip to a local recycling center to cash in bags of bottle and cans.  I was coerced into maintaining those containers at our residence where each days bottles and cans can be collected and stored.  Now part of my garage smells suspicious like that dumpy recycling center. If you like the smell of stale beer and garbage you too can be an environmentalist.

DSC_0002DSC_0003

We live in a rural area and use a well as our primary source of water.  Unfortunately well water is notorious for heavy mineral content and the occasional smell of rotten eggs.  So for cooking, coffee making, and normal consumption we use bottled water purchased from local retailers.  My new career as forced upon me by my better-half has reduced me to the level of a homeless guy wandering the streets collecting bottles and cans to save a nickel or two.

DSC_0013

So every six to eight weeks I bundle up bags of bottles and cans, put the stinky crap in my car, and head out to collect my seven dollars. It supplies me with just enough money to pay for my cat’s needs.  His food, treats, and litter are now paid for by my endless recycling efforts.  To tell you the truth I’d much rather just pay for it myself and stop all this madness but this is the compromise I must make to maintain this Garden of Eden we live in and all of the benefits it provides.

Oh yeah, I’m also saving the freaking world too. Brother !!!

02-11-2015 Journal–More SNOW!!!!!!   Leave a comment

My life is no longer my own.  It seems my only purpose in life is to monitor the weather reports to determine how much snow is coming and then to spend a great deal of time moving the white stuff around to clear walkways and the driveway.  With two storms a week becoming the norm I can anticipate more and more snow in the next few weeks.

Even my cat is pissed about the snow.  His routine includes four hours a day lying on a huge bean bag in front of the picture window.  He loves watching traffic go by and seeing the birds flying around.  That’s his job and if you get right down to it, it’s a better job than mine.  I took this picture today as he sat looking out at the snow.  He’s not too happy about it either.

DSC_0015B

‘It’s a little tough to see much of anything.’

The snow and ice on the roof worry me a little because every night the news reports tell of collapsing roofs on all sorts of buildings.  As you can see from this view from my bedroom window, the icicles are almost ten feet long on the rear of the house.

DSC_0020B

DSC_0009B

It’s a wonder that any of the birds that stick around through the winter are still alive. We normally feed them all winter but it’s tough even getting to the feeders with five or six feet of snow making it almost impossible.  I  tried to take a short walk just a few feet into the backyard and this was as far as I could get.

DSC_0004B

I keep hearing that this is the snowiest winter in recent memory here in Maine.  Taking into account that March is normally our snowiest month we may be in for a lot more before Spring decides to arrive.  If this craziness keeps up I may have to invest in a much larger and fancier snowblower. It should have a nice padded seat, a heater, and a hookup for my Ipod.  A cup holder would also be nice because I wouldn’t want to spill my Irish coffee. 

Then bring on the effing snow.