Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daddy's Girl

Ariana had a special outfit that she wore for her flight down to Texas.

It was a brand new outfit that Nana Carol bought for her last week:
  • a new pair of distressed jeans
  • purple Nike sneakers
  • a lime green zip-up hoodie
  • a lime green New York Yankees fitted (Though while she's in Texas she should probably get a Texas Rangers or Houston Astros hat.)
  • a purple tee shirt
  • and, layered over the purple shirt, a white tee shirt in colorful stars and designs and words that say "Daddy's Girl"

Ariana chose that tee shirt especially for Neil.

Neil, I hope you like Ariana's tee shirt tribute to you.

Back At the Ranch

After dropping off Carol and returning home, Ryan gathered up his laptop and headed for home so that he could get some shut-eye.

And I decided to clean Ariana's room, now that she was gone and not returning.

Oh! The mess!

I filled 3 garbage bags. And that was not counting the 4th bag that I removed from the shop vac.

I was wondering why the shop vac wasn't working as well as it should have been ~ why it was sucking in a bad way instead of sucking in a good way.

After removing the top of the shop vac canister, I discovered the culprits.

First of all, there was a large wad of crumpled up paper blocking the elbow joint to which the vacuum hose was attached.

The second matter was that the air filter was absolutely clogged with thick clumps of fur and tons of dust and dirt. God! It wasn't just dirt. It was soil. And there was so much of it that I could have put it into a flower pot and planted seeds.

Anyhow, once I cleaned out the obstruction and the air filter, the shop vac sucked in a good way.

After vacuuming Ariana's rug, I sprayed it with pet odor neutralizer, especially since Attila had been teaching the little kitten his alternative litter box ways.

Kitty piddle and poop everywhere!

I also did 3 - 4 loads of laundry from all the stuff I collected in Ariana's room and the chill room as well.

In between cleaning and blogging, Ariana would call to let me know about her progress.

First she called from Charlotte, North Carolina. Next from Dallas, Texas. And finally from Lubbock.

She had already met Neil at the airport, picked up her luggage, and was riding in his car.

She couldn't talk too long because Neil needed to listen to the directions on his GPS.


A chapter has ended here and a new one started in Texas.

Yes, Ariana is now in Texas, over 2000 miles away from here.

The house is quiet.

Yet, I think it may take awhile before I get used to her absence and accept that I will no longer hear her coming through the front door, thunk-thunk-thunking across the living room floor and up the stairs.

Just like I stared at the spot where my stolen laptop used to sit, expecting it to reappear any minute, I'm sitting behind the keyboard waiting to hear the opening and closing of car doors and hear Ariana walking into the house.

Just like I had to accept that my laptop was stolen and that I will never see it again, I have to accept that Ariana will not be coming back.

However, the one thing that I don't have to accept is that I will never see her again.

I will indeed see her again.

God willing, soon I hope.

Leaving On a Jet Plane

4:30 AM could not have come too soon.

I had just about 4 hours of sleep, the kids even less.

Because she had not packed her carry-on bag last night, Ariana set to do it this morning. And there, on the table, I saw a slew of TSA prohibited items for carry-on luggage ~ a big-ass 6-ounce tube of toothpaste and several large bottles containing perfumes and hair products.

"You can't take that on your carry-on!"

"I didn't know."

I packed the toothpaste in the suitcase that I had Ryan load into the car's trunk yesterday ~ before it started to rain.

As for the rest of the stuff, Ryan and I said that it would be better off that I mail those items to her. After all, Ariana's suitcase was already bursting at the seams. And with the way the airline employees handle luggage, there was a good chance that even plastic bottles would have broken.

Then there was a giant, one-gallon size baggie crammed full of make-up.

"I think that it would be a goo idea if you left that here, too."

I could just see the TSAs going through all that make-up in search of incendiary devices and very sharp objects.

(The TSAs were also going to have fun rummaging through her suitcase, which was packed so much that it was practically bursting at the seams.)

Finally, with everything being all set, it was time to roll.

Before stopping to pick up Nana Carol, we decided to stop at Tedeschi's to get some coffee. However, when we got there, Teddy's was still not yet open.

So we just went across the street to Carol's condo and picked her up.

It was rainy driving. The roads were so wet that I could not see the painted lines on them. Fortunately the rain was light, and in some cases just a drizzle.

As we approached T.F. Green Airport, I suddenly remembered that the parking lot I was hoping to park in was not the one I was going to be able to park in. That parking lot was on the ground level where the arriving flights were. I needed to find a parking area for departing flights.

That parking area was a high-rise parking lot. We entered in at the 3rd level. But we had to drive up nearly 3 more levels because all the spaces were taken.

Once inside the airport, we had to find the ticket window. I made the mistake of going to the wrong window at first. I went to United Airlines, only to discover that I needed US Airways.

Oh well, they both began with "U."

At least the United ticket agent was friendly and good natured about it.

I couldn't say the same thing about the sour puss at US Airways. What a bee-yotch! God! It wouldn't have hurt to have a smile or be understanding about this being Ariana's first time flying.

There were a few new things since the last time that I've flown, nearly 2 years years ago.

Now you have to check in at the computerized kiosk before a human ticket agent will deal with you.

The check-in procedure is ridiculous.

The touch screen instructs you to press a certain key if you don't have credit card. So that's what we did. We gave it the information that it requested. And at the end of all that, you had to put in your credit card anyhow.

(We found out that for an extra $100 you could up-grade to first class. Oh! that would have been fun. But as generous as Carol has been, I didn't think it would have been appropriate to push our luck and take advantage of her generosity. First class will have to wait until next time.)

And that was another thing that I objected to. Now you have to pay a $15 fee just to check in.

Oh! The rip-offs didn't stop here.

Before, it used to be that if you had an over-weight piece of luggage ~ that is anything above the free 50 pounds that the airlines allow you ~ you had to pay $25 for bags weighing between 51 and 75 pounds.

We knew that Ariana's bag was above 50 pounds. In fact it was 63 pounds ~ just around what we thought it would be after having Ryan pick up the suitcase and stand on the bathroom scale.

So, I figured that the only extra amount we would have to pay would be $25.


The fee now was $50. And to add insult to injury, we had to pay that same fee twice ~ for each of the airlines that Ariana was flying on.

What a royal rip-off!

Anyhow, once Ariana got her boarding passes and her over-weight luggage issues squared away, she was on her own. We could no longer accompany her as she went to stand in the security check line.

Even though we could no longer be by Ariana's side, we could still follow her progress, through the clear Plexiglas walls, as she drew closer to the x-ray machine. I was even able to sign to her to remove her necklace, which she did.

Ariana dutifully followed the drill, taking off her shoes and putting them in the bin. And she even remembered to remove her netbook from its case and put it into a separate bin.

So far, she was golden . . .

. . . that was until her over-stuffed purse went through the x-ray machine.

From where we were standing, we could see the x-rayed contents of the people's bags. When Ariana's purse went through, the TSAs did not like what they saw on the screen.

They sent the purse through again.

Then they looked inside it. Then they grabbed a flashlight to look inside it. And then they dumped the contents into a bin and sent that through.

We could see that Ariana was getting anxious. We were getting anxious, too. Did she forget to thoroughly clean out her purse and remove potentially prohibited and contraband items? And was she going to be taken away in handcuffs?

Fortunately, the TSAs discovered the offending item and returned to Ariana her purse. We watched her head towards the gate that she needed to be at for boarding.

And after a brief pit stop, the 3 of us headed back to the garage.

Once we were driving out of the garage, Ryan called Ariana to find out what the big fuss was all about.

Apparently Ariana did have an incendiary device in her purse.

In fact, she had two.

The first one was her bullet-shaped torch lighter ~ the one she thought she lost. (Well, she did lose it. Her purse is a black hole that sucks matter in and doesn't give it up.)

The second ID was the mini Coach bag lighter that Barbara bought her. It wasn't a torch lighter, by any stretch of the imagination. But then, TSA agents aren't hired for their imagination.

While Ariana was waiting at the boarding gate, we were heading back to Massachusetts.

Carol very kindly offered to treat us to breakfast at IHOP. That was greatly appreciated, especially since we've been up for 4 hours with nary a drop of caffeine in our veins. The days was just beginning when to us it felt that it should be at least noon.

By the time we sat down and got our coffee, Ariana was already up in the air.

Last Day Under Oath

Not only was yesterday Ariana's last day under oath, it was also her last day in Massachusetts.

Ariana had to return to court to answer the last few questions the prosecution had and to face the cross-examination of the defense attorney.

Whereas she was very anxious last Friday, yesterday she was more at ease. In fact, she said that even had a bit of fun, especially when she made a fool of the defense attorney.

(The bugger was not expecting her to be as sharp as she was. And when she gave him an answer that he was not anticipating ~ an answer that did not allow him to get his way with the court ~ he just silently turned away and walked off in a huff.)

Ariana was finally done before noon.

Our next stop was going to be Best Buy to see if Ariana could return her netbook (which got infected w/a Trojan and a few other viruses) and get a new one.

(One would have hoped that the netbook would have come with at least a free 30-day anti-virus software trial. But alas it didn't.)

However, an easy swap out wasn't going to be possible. The store's procedure was to have the Geek Squad examine the machine before they could accept it as a return.

Sure enough, the Geek Squad found the offending viruses.

To make a long story not as long, Ariana wound up buying an external USB CD drive, from which she could load the netbook's recovery disc and do a total system restore.

(It would have cost a lot more money to have had Geek Squad perform that task than it was to buy the USB CD drive.)

Once Ariana restored her netbook to its originally factory condition, the first thing that she did was to download a reliable free anti-virus program. Then she was all set to roll.

Jeremiah and No Toes stopped by a bit later. (I think those two may become an item in the near future!) No Toes helped Ariana dye half of her head black, as Ariana was planning on coloring her hair Cruella de Ville style after she was done testifying.

After Jeremiah and No Toes left, Ryan came by to spend the night. He was going to go with us to the airport the next morning. And it would have been easier to have him spend the night here than to go and pick him up in Marion the next morning.

Even though we knew that we were going to have to get up early ~ 4:30 AM! ~ the next morning, it was difficult to get ourselves into bed the same time the birds were roosting.

We hung out upstairs, playing with the kitten.

Then finally, one by one, we dropped off to bed.

Looking Back On Last Week

Things were a bit wild and crazy last week, especially the latter part of the week.

On Thursday, when I went to boot up my laptop, I noticed that it wasn't there. I called Ariana to ask her if she knew where it could have been, and she had no idea.

Then slowly it had dawned on me.

My laptop was stolen.

That explained why I found the front door left wide open at 6 o'clock in the morning.

I just could not believe that someone had actually broken into my house, while we were sleeping, and took my laptop. It was hard to comprehend that it was actually gone. I kept looking at the spot where it had sat and was expecting it to reappear.

Talk about getting an intimate lesson in the mechanics of denial.

When I finally had to accept that my laptop was stolen, I called the cops.

Mitch, the cop who gave me my CERT training, showed up to take the report.

While talking with Mitch, I mentioned that it was unusual that only my laptop was taken. My iPod, which was right next to my laptop was still there. So were my cell phone and Nikon digital SLR, both of which were just feet from the missing laptop.

(While I'm very upset that my laptop was ripped off, especially since it had pix on it that are now forever lost, I am glad that my Nikon was left alone. The camera was worth more than my laptop, and it was my "baby.")

Apparently the crook(s) jimmied the lock on the side door, which was the only door without a dead bolt.

Mitch said that most likely the burglary was done by someone we knew ~ someone who had been in the house before.

He advised me to get a bolt for the side door.

After Mitch left, Ariana realized that her 16-gig iPod Touch was missing. So I called the police station, and they had Mitch come to the house to take another report.

After Mitch left a second time, I took a drive to get a barrel bolt for the side door.

A bit later on, thoughts and memories started coming together, and I thought that I was able to get a better idea of the time the burglary and why the other 3 items near the laptop were left alone.

You see, at around 4:00 AM, Gomez woke me up. He was very agitated. I tried to calm him down and get him back up on the bed, but he wouldn't go. Then, when I went to bring him downstairs so that I could let him go outside to the bathroom, he just sat on the top step and wouldn't budge. That was highly unusual behavior for him.

Eventually, I did manage to get Gomez downstairs.

I think that it was during this time that my house was being burglarized, that Gomez's behavior was due to the intruder(s) downstairs, and that all the racket that I was making startled the thief before he had a chance to grab the rest of the tempting goodies lying near the laptop.

That made a lot of sense. And it made sense why the side door was left open. As Ariana said, they didn't want to close the door because that would have made noise.

Upon reaching that epiphany, I called the police station to let them know that I thought I nailed the approximate time that the burglary occurred.

(Now that I think about it, I do not remember hearing a car engine. Already wide awake after dealing with Gomez's distress, I think I would have noticed the sound of a car pulling out of the driveway because I know that hearing something like that at the wee hours of the morning would have prompted me to exclaim, "What the f#*k?!")

Later in the day, Jeremiah came over, shortly followed by Carol and Leonard. Jeremiah installed the barrel bolt that I bought at Mahoney's, and he also screwed down a couple of windows in the workout room.

As an extra precaution, I blocked off the windows that would allow someone from the porch to see inside the house. I told Ariana to lock her door on the chill room side while I locked the door at the top of the stairs.

Ariana was especially upset with the break-in, especially since it happened the day before she was scheduled to testify at a murder trial, the thought of which was very stressful ~ so much so that she has been throwing up almost every day.

The following day was like something out of a police drama.

We had to meet our police escort behind the police station in the municipal parking lot and follow his car to the parking lot that was across the street from the court house. From there he walked with us to the court house, and then he led us through the legal library and up the back stairs into a room that served as a witness room.

Most of the time was spent waiting.

When it was time to get a bite to eat, we had 2 armed cops escort us to the diner and back again.

After Ariana testified and court was adjourned for the weekend, we had to wait until the people (which were blessedly few) cleared out and drove off. After that, the prosecutor gave us a ride to our car.

It was a long and draining day. Ariana was in a most foul mood from having to spend the weekend, not being able to do much ~ which in her case would have been visiting friends in New Bedford, the area that she was ordered to keep out of for her own safety.

Even though I did not testify, I felt beat and as though I had gone through the wringer.

Shortly after we got home, Roma and her friend Sheila popped in for a visit and to take us out to dinner. (Roma had wanted to see Ariana one more time before she left for Texas.)

I'm afraid that with all the day's draining drama, neither one of us was good company. Fortunately they were understanding of our situation and did their best to avoid imposing themselves on us.

After they left, I called Expedia to change Ariana's flight, which was originally scheduled for Saturday. As exhausted as I was, I needed to get that done before Ariana's flight was scheduled to take off.

There was a bloody $150 fee for changing (or cancelling) the flight. I tried to talk the Expedia rep out of having us pay that extra cost. And after that proved unsuccessful, I had him wait on the line while I made a 3-way call to Carol so that she could give the Expedia guy her her credit card information.

When that was done, I changed the flight to Wednesday morning. In fact, it was the same identical flight ~ right down to the flight numbers.

It was amazing, as I talked to the Expedia rep, the change popped up on my computer instantaneously. Oh! I just love computers and the Internet!

After that was done, Barbara and Jeremiah showed u for their usual Friday evening visit.

They didn't stay too long. It was obvious that I was exhausted. In fact, I was so exhausted that it was even a chore to drink my glass of wine.

It took me a long time to decompress that night. Those 2, very leisurely sipped glasses of wine helped.

The next morning we both slept in late.

Saturday was a blessedly quieter day.

Carol called in the morning. She felt bad that Ariana's iPod was stolen and wanted to buy her a new one so that she would have something with which to entertain herself while she was on the plane.

Because Apple does not offer any discount prices on its products, Ariana wanted to go to the Apple store at the Providence Place Mall.

So we took a trip down to Providence.

I'm afraid poor Carol was utterly lost and out of place in the Apple Store. It's a veritable Geek Kingdom that oozes extremely high concentration of über-nerdity through its countless pores.

(Oh! Would I love to have the tech-savvy that was vibrating madly and bouncing off the walls in the Apple Store! I could most certainly appreciate it, but to immerse myself and be able to swim in its swift currents without drowning would have been an altogether different experience.)

Not only did Carol so generously replace Ariana's iPod Touch, she allowed Ariana to get an up-graded model ~ 32 gigs! My puny 8-gig pales in comparison!

In addition, Carol got Ariana a rubberized protective case and a pack of fingerprint-proof and anti-reflective screen protector films.

Ariana applied the film in the store, as it did not have any of the pet hair that perpetually floats around in our house.

After getting her new iPod, we went to Fire & Ice for a late lunch.

(If one had seen all the food I put away, one would have accused me of eating like a pig. Little would they had known that that was my only meal for the day.)

Once we were done eating, we headed back home. Ariana was exhausted. And I, myself, could have used a bit of a rest.

The rest of the day was spent not doing much of anything.

Come Sunday morning, Ariana told me that she discovered, the night before, that her new digital camera ~ the Nikon CoolPix that she bought not even 2 months ago with her own tax refund money ~ was missing.

So, on our way to church, we stopped at the police station to have that added to the police report. I was grateful that Mitch was on duty. That way I did not have to worry about having a message relayed to him.

When we got to church, the folks were very happy to see Ariana. Although she got sick (throwing up) just before the service started and spent the entirety of the service downstairs, she lingered a bit during fellowship hour to give Father Stan and each one of the parishioners a farewell hug.

Once the nausea and sick feeling had passed, Ariana and I drove to Best Buy so that we could get her a replacement camera that Neil had offered to put on his debit card.

Unfortunately, as I had suspected,the folks are Best Buy required that Neil be there in person with his card. They would have not permitted to have him give the card info over the phone.

But rather than lose a sale, they suggested to Ariana that she apply for a Best Buy store credit card, which she did and got approved for.

Instead of deciding to get a camera, Ariana decided to get a netbook because her laptop was on the edge of crapping the bed, and she had no way to connect to the Internet in order to be able to download music and movies onto her iPod.

So, Ariana got a sweet Asus EEE netbook. (I may want to get one myself after the insurance check comes in.)

After downloading her favorite music and movies and copying her picture files onto the netbook, Ariana spent the day with her friends in the tri-town area.

Barbara had invited us for a cookout, but I was feeling rather out of it. I really needed to spend the day at resting at home.

I needed the rest, and I got it. After all, the next day I was up and about enjoying a nice Memorial Day picnic at Carol's.

Memorial Day

Nobody likes a crappy long weekend, especially when that long weekend also heralds the "official" start of the summer BBQ season.

Friday and Saturday were downright miserable days ~ dreary, wet, and chilly.

Fortunately the sun decided to come out on Monday. And with a nice, bright, and warm sunny day, eating outside is the only way to go.

As usual, Carol graciously hosted a fine Memorial Day picnic on her back patio.

Jeremiah came over to enjoy the bright sunny back yard as well as the fine food and even finer company.

His mom, Barbara, came too.

Ariana had a special treat when her oldest and "bestest" friend Lauryn (affectionately known as "No Toes") popped in for a visit. Ariana had known No Toes since she was 3 years old. She hadn't seen her for awhile, so it was really nice to catch up and get to see her one last time before Ariana left for Texas to join Neil.

(Ariana has Barbara's newest "baby" in her lap ~ April, a very delightful 3-month old Pug puppy.)

Chilling with Jeremiah is Ariana's friend Raven.

And here's a pic of me in mid-squint, taken by Jeremiah. (He loves playing with my camera.)

After eats. the younguns took off to have some fun at the Miles Standish State Forest. Even though the day was warm, the water was still a bit chilly for swimming. But that didn't stop them from plunging in.

Monday, May 18, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

My birthday celebration did not end with going to see the new Star Trek movie. Barbara had made plans to take us out to Pomodores Sports Bar in Wareham for a night of karaoke.

Neither Barbara nor Ariana nor I were brave enough to stand in front of the mic, but Jeremiah was.

Here's Jeremiah (in the white shirt) belting it out with one of his friends.

This time he was part of a trio.

Actually Jeremiah wasn't all that bad.

In fact, I was very surprised to discover that there were more good and decent karaoke singers than there were awful ones.

Most of the folks did a good job, and some of them were even awesome.
The only really 3-sheets-to-the-wind performer wasn't even a signer. He was a soused soul who was attempting to dance with a woman in the bar. Or should I say, "attempting to stand on 2 feet?"

Ah! The advantages of staying sober in a bar! You get to see the drunken idiots making fools of themselves. It's like getting an extra show.

But for the most part, I didn't see anybody else as looped and lit as this fellow. Maybe that's a credit to this bar.

was one of the friendlier bars that I've visited. It's one of those "Cheers" bars where everybody knows your name.

Not only that, the patrons at this establishment were definitely into music. And that was a very nice thing to witness. Very often the whole bar would break out into song when someone was up at the mic.

It has been several years ~ perhaps even over a decade ~ since I had last visited a bar. And while I don't plan on making bar-hopping a new habit (after all, I do enjoy spending my nights curled up with a good book), I think that I may want to step foot into a karaoke bar again.

It was fun.

And maybe one of these days I may actually brave the mic!

A N.Y. Yankee in Red Sox Nation and Warp Speed Ahead

After our short visit to Seven Arrows, Ariana and Iheaded to Wareham to Barbara's house. We needed to get there for noon because Barbara and Ariana had a previous commitment.

While still in Swansea, the both of us decided that our tummies needed something more substantial than just fruit juice and whoopie pies or lavender cookies.

So we stopped at a Wendy's on Route 6 for their 99-cent bacon cheeseburger.

While at Wendy's, one of the help gave Ariana a hard time over her N.Y. Yankees hat, saying that such a hat does not belong in Red Sox Nation.

Though I may not be a sports fan, I do agree that wearing a Yankees hat in Massachusetts is close to asking for grief.

After having stuffed our faces with cheap fast food, Ariana was taking pictures of the moving scenery outside the car and of herself.

Dosen't she look like a pouty super model in this pic?

Here's another model-worthy shot of Ariana.

We got to Wareham right at noon.

I visited with Barbara and Jeremiah for a few minutes before taking off for home, where I played Zuma on my laptop until Ariana got back.

After she got back, I took Ariana and Jeremiah to see the new Star Trek movie.

Ever since I was a kid, I had always enjoyed Star Trek, and I was very much curious to see how this new and improved re-booted version was.

I must admit, I did enjoy the movie. Parts of it were very different from the Star Trek that I grew up with. Yet there were also many familiar elements that did justice to the original series.

It was an exciting movie.

And it did have its unexpected moments. . .

. . . like when, during a scene with Spock, Jeremiah shouted out loud, "You go, Spock!"

That elicited a bit of laughter from the movie-soing audience.

While I am not one who typically enjoys seeing a movie over again, I wouldn't mind seeing this movie again. I bet it would be real fun in an IMAX theater.

Saturday Was My Birthday

Yup! Saturday was my b-day.

51 years.

And for my birthday, the weather was the nicest it's been all week.

Ariana and I started off the day early. We left a little after 8:30 AM to take a drive down to LaSallette Shrine in Attleboro on a mission to get a twirly rosary ring at the gift shop.

When we arrived there, we saw lots of very nicely dressed people getting out of their car and heading towards the building that housed the auditorium and gift shop. At first I wondered if they were all going to Mass. But then I noticed that some people were dressed in Indian outfits. A couple even carried trays of what appeared to be food.

So, I guess they weren't going to Mass.

When we got into the building, I discovered that the event that all these people were going to a memorial service for a Swami of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society. I found that very interesting seeing that LaSallette Shrine is an über-Catholic place and Vedanta is a Hindu sect. How very nice that LaSallette engaged in open-minded ecumenicalism.

The gift shop was still closed, so we decided to wander to the rosary pond.

The Rosary Pond is one of our favorite places at the shrine.

And this time we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the Rosary Pond was stocked with a group of good-sized koi fish.

We had never seen any koi the last time that we were there.

One of the fish could have easily fed a family. Bit fortunately for the fish there were "No Fishing" signs around the Rosary Pond.

The Rosary Pond is also home to water fowl like ducks, geese, and this graceful swan.

Ariana and I were in for a treat when this magnificent swan flew breathtakingly low across the pond. When it got to the other end, it let down its "landing gear" and came to a splashy stop.

Here's Ariana at the center of the Rosary Pond.

And once again.

Yours truly's top matches the beads of the giant rosary.

Ariana took this picture of the both of us.

After we were done taking in the sights and tranquility of the Rosary Pond, we headed back to the gift shop. There was a five minute wait before the shop opened, so we sat and waited at the bistro just outside the shop.

We were disappointed to find out that the gift shop no longer carried the twirly rosary rings, especially since Ariana had lost her old one.

But we discovered
Infinity Circles instead. Infinity Circles are polished stainless steel washers that have one-word affirmations stamped on them. We both got 6 circles apiece, plus ball chains to hang them off.

With our mission accomplished we left LaSallette and headed to
Seven Arrows Herb Farm and Uncommon Nursery so that Ariana (who's leaving for Texas at the end of the week) could say "Goodbye" to Judy and her husband Michel. Judy gave Ariana a polished amethyst as a parting gift.

It would have been nice to relax with a cup of tea in the tea room, but we were on a deadline. So we just had some juice and something sweet to eat instead.

Time to get back on the road and head for the next destination.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Munch-Out

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!

We had a pleasant Mother's Day celebration. In fact, our celebration ran for 2 days, with Ariana and me taking Carol out to lunch at Pop Casey's in Acushnet yesterday and Roma, Ariana, and me taking my mother out to El Rancho Grande in Providence today.

El Rancho Grande opened up just before Mother's Day last year, and Roma and I thought that it would be a fun place to take our mother to.

And it was a fun place. Maria, the owner, greeted us personally as we entered and later stopped by to chat with us. The food was awesome. All mothers got roses. And the dessert cake was super moist and out of this world.

We were happy to find out that it was the same way this year too.

Here's our mother enjoying her drink at the table.

Ariana and her Močiute (that's Lithuanian for "Grandmother") enjoying each other's company.

Roma is being her usual diva self.

Michael (on the right) and his friend Eric are mugging it up for the camera. How bro-mantic. LOL

Ariana brought Callee with her to Providence (though she didn't bring her to the restaurant). Everyone fell in love with her.

While we were gone, little Callee never left her spot on the sofa in Mam's living room. That could be because Callee still does not yet know how to jump.

After coming back from El Rancho Grande, we spent some time chit-chatting and playing with the kitten.

And as usual, Roma and I spent time together upstairs, rummaging through the various bedrooms that were crammed full with all sorts of goodies in search of hidden treasures. (We found a photo of me when I was still in high school! Boy did I have great legs back then!)

But like all good things, our delightful visit to Providence had to come to an end. And we all went our separate ways carrying with us good feelings and good memories from this day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Cuteness Never Ends

Calypso is one lucky kitty.

How many kittens get to have a play date with their siblings after being separated from their litter mates?

Here, Callee's brother, Blade, is paying her a visit.

Even though they are the same age, Blade is slightly larger than his sister.

It's always fun to have a little tousle with ones brother.

Everyone's taking a breather to pose for the camera.

Let's get back to business.

Can't say that they are fighting like cats and dogs. It's more like they're fighting like brother and sister.

A move worthy of the WWF.

Put up your dukes!

Go get him, Callee!

That was fun! When's the next play date?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So Cute That It's Terminal

Seems like we have 2 new best buds.

Calypso looks likes she's very comfortable being around Gomez. In fact, when placed on the couch, she goes to him (or Gypsy).

And it seems as though Gomez doesn't seem to mind her company.

However, it may be a different story with Emi.

Or, maybe not.

Saved By a Wee Whisker

Call me crazy. Call me nuts.

I did what I said I would not do, and that was adopt another pet.

This one was an impulsive act. And it was a rescue mission.

Yesterday Ariana had received a call from Jeremiah. He was out on a landscaping job when he discovered a litter of 6 baby kittens under a bush while he was mowing. In fact, if it had not been for his sharp eyes, the kittens would have fallen as tragic victims to the blades of the mower.

Anyhow, he asked if we wanted a kitten. While I said "No," Ryan, who was visiting Ariana, said "Yes."

So we drove down to one of the MacDonalds in New Bedford to meet Jeremiah and the kittens.

When we got there, we saw Jeremiah standing by his car with 3 young girls around him. They each wanted a kitten.

There were 6 kittens, just like he said. All but one were either orange and white or buff and white. There was one little odd ball ~ a grey tiger with orange spots.

With a mind of its own, my hand reached for the dark kitten, and I found myself saying, "I want this one."

Ariana was shocked.

So was I.

The thing is, when I first heard that there was one lone dark kitten among the orange ones, I was thinking that perhaps it could be a tortoiseshell. 2 of our beloved cats from years gone by had been torties.

(By the way, it was this kitten who was very nearly run over by the lawn mower.)

After I selected my kitten, Ryan selected his. Then the 3 girls selected theirs. They were young girls, and I felt some concern for the kittens' welfare in the hands of these girls. Fortunately, one of them was an animal shelter volunteer.

Next came the difficult task of naming the kitten. I looked at baby names online and made a list while Ariana went out with a friend to get kitten food.

There was some concern when the kitten would not drink water. And it took Ariana half an hour to coax the kitten to eat from her fingers, which she finally did.

But the kitten still would not go to the bathroom.

Later that evening, Ryan called Ariana to tell her the information that he received after going to Petco with his new kitten.

Apparently, the kittens were much younger than we originally thought. They were around 4 weeks old ~ at an age where they were just beginning to learn how to walk, still needed to be bottle-fed, and needed help to go to the bathroom.

We went to Petco too, and got the kitten formula, baby bottle, and a little litter box and scoop. Patty at Petco showed us how to bottle-feed the kitten and how to rub her bum with a warm wet wash cloth in order to stimulate her to pee and poop.

When we got home, Ariana called Neil so that he could also be involved in naming the kitten. The both of them chose "Calypso." It was not a name that I was crazy about, but it was a 2 out of 3 vote. Well, I could always call the kitten "Callee."

This morning we made an appointment to take Calypso to the vet for a wellness check. On of the vet techs, who had just weaned a litter of baby kittens herself, called back to ask which kitten formula we were using and to say that a good way to encourage the kitten to go to the bathroom is to put the kitten's bum into warm water.

And here is little Callee soaking pretty in a dog bowl. Ariana put her in the bowl, and she just sat down and stayed there. God! She looked so cute.

(Sitting in that bowl of water is probably the closest little Calypso would get to being like her namesake, the sea nymph in Greek mythology.)

Shortly afterwards, we left for the vet appointment.

Calypso weighed in at a whopping 1 pound.

The vet tech who weaned the litter of kittens brought out one of the kittens from the back room for us to see. The kitten looked just like Calypso. In fact, another vet tech thought that Calypso was the other tech's kitten.

However, the other kitten was 6 weeks old, and there was a major difference in size between the 2 kittens. It's amazing how much difference those 2 weeks made.

Dr. Jill pronounced her in good health. In fact she was in great health considering her very young age.

Little Callee got some de-worming medication and was free to go with a clean bill of health.

After the appointment, we made a stop at Tedeschi's before returning home. Dr. Jill had recommended adding a slight bit of cream to kitty's bottle in order to encourage her to poop. (Calypso had not pooped since we got her.)

Where she was very quiet yesterday, today Calypso was mewing up a storm in her high-pitched kitten voice.

She's already taken to eating canned Fancy Feast. Between the cream and Fancy Feast, looks like Calypso is well on her way to becoming a spoiled kitty.