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Walk on the Wild Side

3D42FC64-C75B-4FA9-8BC8-F7A9E8EFD90CWe live in the woods and often get visitors of the wild kind. As I ease back into blogging I thought I would take the easy way out this time and share some footage of our various visitors.  Some, like the bear are very recent, other pics are from a while ago.

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These wee ones are in a Burning Bush directly outside our bedroom window.  Denyce and I were watching and trying to figure out what type of birds they are, one  fell out of the nest.   I ran outside found the little dude (I don’t know if it is male, female or gender fluid, nor do I care) and placed him/her/them back into the nest.  While mom and dad watched from a nearby branch.  I came running back into the house only for Denyce to tell me he/she/them fell back out.  Once again I ran outside, found the little bugger and placed him/her/them (how exhausting) back into the nest.  When I got back into the house Denyce asks, “Was it the same one?”   I guess she saw the dumbfounded look on my face because she followed up with, “Well maybe it had some dirt on it.”  The Good news, it has been a few days and everybody is still where they should be.  Incase you you are wondering they are Grey Catbirds.

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For a few years we had a white squirrel running around, very rare in this area and no, not an Albino,  Clary barks at them all.  Denyce figures he was a grey squirrel and Clary just frightened the grey out of him.  We called him Pyr-a-Squirrel as he is the same color as Clary.  All the neighbors knew about him and we all kept an eye out.  We haven’t seen any around in about two years now.   And yes, we know he is male, he was not shy about standing up and stretching to get to the bird feeders.

Denyce was texting with a neighbor when suddenly the neighbors texts, “Hey there is a bear crossing my driveway heading your way.” So I jump up camera in hand and get a couple of shots of this guy. He/she/they started running once he/she/they spotted us.  He/she/them was about 4 ft at the shoulder.  Denyce and I raced through the house to see if we could get a better look at the Black Bear and we opened the porch door just as the bear stopped at the end of the porch.  The bear took one look at us and had a look on it’s face of “AHHHHHHHH………HUMANS!!!!!!”  His response was this photo below.

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In the last pic that is actually its butt in the air. Mother Nature is quite amazing.

img_0312While hard to tell from this picture. Boris is actually the size of my palm.  But what she lacks in size is made up in her presence.  There have been several discussions that surround Boris including the debate on selling the house and not disclosing her presence to potential buyers, to burning the place down.   When we called the Penn State bug people, (yes, I know a spider is not a bug) they told us not to worry as she is quite common and keeps other spiders away, (not really). I think the spider guy was trying to be re-assuring when he told us we never have to worry about walking into her web, Boris doesn’t make a web as She is a hunting spider! We we figured out Boris was a she when his one day my wife came home and Borisella was sitting on an egg sack.  Yes, an egg sack, we now have many of these spiders running about.  *sigh*

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What Can It Be?

I’ve written about Ghosts before including Do You Believe and Demons in the Trees along with a host of others (I will include additional links below.) Some based along the edges of truth while others are made up. The following three videos were all caught by our security cameras and I cannot explain them. Can you?

This first video was recorded at 1:14am, it is not one of the cats. It moves too smoothly to be an animal. While the curtains are closed I am reasonably sure the entity is outside. Do you know what it is? I don’t.

What can it be?

This next was caught a few years ago. I can see the argument where one can say it is simply a trick of light. However I see the apparition of a dog sitting. My wife thinks it is a cat. Can you see it? It just materializes on the edge of the kitty condo and only for a brief moment.

Cat? Dog? Something else? Or trick of the light?

This will be my final offering of the day. Sorry the image is obscured the camera is mounted between the window and the screen. During the day the screen is invisible, not the case at night. There are no trees along that section of the house, and we have no lighting in that particular area. Yet if you watch the right side of the screen it appears a shadow is running up the side of the house at an angle. In one instant it seems to be almost swinging. One thing I know is that it is way to large to be a bat. Tell me, what do you think?

What can it be?

The following are a few links to my other ghostly stories.

Ghosts in Colonial Williamsburg

The Barking Dog

My Beautiful Ghost

Enjoy.

Demons in the Trees

I love remote control toys. I don’t have many as I really can’t justify spending the money and the good ones are usually quite expensive. Years ago I built a remote control sailboat, but that is a story all on its own.

I love my drone. I don’t fly it nearly enough, mostly because I’m afraid of crashing it, and I am not good a very good pilot. Plus we have trees. Lots and lots of trees. My drone is light, so any breeze makes flying difficult, and just because there is no breeze down here does not mean there isn’t one higher up. There are drones that can actually sense trees and not fly into them, maybe one day when I can pilot better I’ll be able to ‘invest’ a little more and get something more advanced. For the moment the one I have will do fine.

All you have read thus far has nothing to do with this story. I just needed a place to start. Often the beginning is the hardest part.

I was flying the drone around the house, snapping pictures as I went. I was trying to take video but I had forgotten how, (hold down the picture button). Sounds simple but when the drone is in the air, there seems to be a lot going on and I tend to panic.

Later, in the comfort of my living room I was looking at the pictures, there was the driveway, the lawn, part of the roof, (which reminds me I need to clean the gutters) and the tree I flew into seconds later.

After reviewing the picture of said tree I am not sure I flew into it. I think my drone was called into it by the demons that inhabit the tree. You don’t think I am serious, take a good look at the picture. I even made it easy for you and circled the demons face. I also see two more faces, one directly to the left of the circled face and another just above.

Directional Voice

Have you ever driven in Southern California? The Main Street, El Camino Rael runs from San Francisco to San Diego. 600.2 miles of a hellish nightmare. Six lanes, three in each direction. Two of these lanes appear and disappear without warning. u-turns are encouraged. Imagine, you are stopped at a red light, you can see the next red light a city block away, between you and that light is a short strip of road with a speed limit of 55mph. If you are not doing 55 by the time you cross the intersection you are currently sitting at, you become a moving hazard!

You know your right turn is coming up but not sure exactly where so you move into the right lane, You are moving at 60+ mph cars are all around you and your lane disappears. Whatever you do don’t use a turn signal. Turn signals tell the other drivers to bunch up and not let you merge. Luckily its okay if you fly past the street you want because now you get to play frogger and cross over to the left lane before the next intersection so you can ‘bang-a-uey’ into the three lanes of traffic coming at you and start the process all over again. There is of course one street far worse than El Camino Rael. The Freeway.

We decided to meet some friends for dinner. My father in law (John) who has been diagnosed with Dementia opted to join us. I am driving, John in the passenger seat, my wife is in the back being the navigator. With growing horror I notice signs for the entrance to the freeway. My wife pipes up;

Denyce: “Wait, we can take El Camino Rael all the way if you don’t want to take the freeway”

Me: “Point me in that direction”

Denyce: “I need a moment”

…we didn’t have a moment! In a moment we were going to be on the freeway! My father in law tells me to turn right at the next street, I ask my wife who is manning the GPS, who mutters, yes turn right”

Me: “Okay Denyce, now where?” I ask, the mood being a little tense.

Denyce “I don’t know yet, ask my dad”

Me: “Which way John?”

John: “How should I know? I have no idea where we are going.”

Me: “Then why did you tell me to turn right?”

John: “Because left was wrong”

(Silence)

Denyce: “We may be going the wrong way.”

Me: “You told me to go right.”

Denyce: “No I didn’t.”

Me: “Yes, you both told me to go right”

Denyce and John: “No I didn’t.”

Denyce: “El Camino Rael is in the other direction we should have turned left”

John: “Yes El Camino Rael is in the other direction, turn around.”

Me: “Okay but you told me to go right so I went right!”

John: “Yes but I did not know where we were going.”

Me: “So why did you tell me to go right?”

John: “Because I didn’t know where we were going.”

Finally I get turned around. I know I should drop the issue but I couldn’t.

Me: “Denyce, you and your dad told me to turn right.”

Denyce “No I didn’t!”

I start to worry maybe I’m the one with Dementia.

Me: “Yes, you told me to turn right!”

Denyce…a little softer now, “ Yes I did, but I wasn’t using my directional voice”

A few years ago my wife and I decided to take a long weekend and pay a visit to Colonial Williamsburg Va. Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum. An entire city re-created to simulate life during the Colonial times in the USA.

The first thing we did after checking into our hotel was look for food. A friend of mine told us about the golden coral in Williamsburg, “it has the biggest buffet you have ever seen!” He said. It just so happened that this Golden Coral was right across the parking lot from our hotel. Not far from that was a 50’s Style dinner complete with classic cars in the parking lot. Decisions, decisions. We settled on the Golden Coral with the knowledge that we can eat at the burger joint later.

Do you know what happens when you enter the largest buffet you have ever seen? You become a twisted, demented eating beast. Want gummy bears on your steak? Not a problem. Candied sprinkles on your cauliflower? Good to go. Fish, salad, soups, meats, deserts, pizza, Mexican, Chinese? You name it, it was there. This particular Golden Coral was geared to serve the droves of school and tour busses that descend on Colonial Williamsburg every day. Unfortunately we stuffed ourselves silly, our visit to Colonial Williamsburg would have to wait another hour so we could decompress at the hotel.

We wandered around the town, took in the shops some tours got a feel for the atmosphere learned a ton of stuff now mostly forgotten, we signed up for one of the evening ghost tours. I was really looking forward to the tour and I am sad to say we were a little disappointed. Our tour guide had us walking around the town stopping in front of different establishments and always ended with the predictable, “…And guests report seeing an apparition appear in that attic window” And we would all stand there for a few moments looking at the window but seeing nothing but glass. Or, “The maintenance staff often find the furniture re-arranged when they open that building in the morning” and so it went. I hate to toot my own horn, but I’ve made up better ghost stories.(my beautiful ghost), Do You Believe? And The Barking Dog

As the ghost tour was breaking up one of the other couples mentioned getting a bite to eat. My wife suggested the 50’s style diner down the road at which point the tour guide said to us, “It must have been awhile since you last visited us, so sorry to have to tell you that diner closed 25 years ago and was leveled by the city soon after”.

Three…Two…One

Back in the day, and by day I mean 30 years ago. I couldn’t tell you exactly what day, but it was a day. A rainy day. An excellent day for lounging around at home, or going to the mall. Which is exactly what we did. My Father, Mother and myself found ourselves at the mall in the middle of a rain storm. The type of rain the elders talk about from long ago. “Noah!” He said, “Build an arc”

Anyway.

Standing just outside the big mall doors but under the safety of the roofs overhang the three of us watched the driving rain as it swept across the parking lot in unrelenting waves. I am not sure why we were in such a rush to leave, but instigated by my mother it was agreed that at the count of three we would all make an insane mad dash for the car.

One…

Gathering my wits, plotting my course.

Two…

Scrunching up my neck between my shoulders creating a smaller target. Taking a breath Getting into the runners stance.

THREE!….

Suddenly there is a hand grabbing my arm, knocking me out of my ‘zone’. I turned, looked at my mother who was holding my arm and laughing hysterically. My father? already gone, lost in the winds and rain, no doubt soaked to the bone before he got 5 steps away from the mall doors. Probably unaware that he was making the dash alone.

I look at my mother in disbelief. Her response? In between fits of laughter “Why should we all get wet?”

For a very long time I wondered why my father didn’t drive home that day leaving us at the mall. It would have been well within his rights to do so, but just a few moments later the car appeared, my father behind the wheel grinning from ear to ear looking like a drowned rat as he maneuvered the car to get as close to us as possible so we wouldn’t have to get too wet.

I am 52 years old now, I’m as old as my dad was back then. And while I am not a father I absolutely know why my father came back and picked us up after we (my mom) played him that way, He did it because that is what Dads do.

And I know why he was grinning from ear to ear sharing the laugh as the rain dripped off his hair and face, laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes as he wiped his glasses free of rain drops appreciating my mothers scheme as if he came up with it himself.

He did that because that is the type of man he is. The type of man I hope to have become.

Love you dad. Happy Father’s Day.

Right Time Wrong Car

Our old car was a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Being smaller than the average suv and bright blue it was really easy to spot in a parking lot.

Our new car is the larger Outlander, it is black and looks like every other black suv on the road.

Tonight we went to Pizza Hut for some take out pizza. I went in, Denyce stayed in the car I got two pizza’s an order of breadsticks and some sort of cheesy garlic balls of goodness. I balanced them all on top of one another and carefully made my way back. In a minor feat of balance I squished the boxes between myself and the car to hold them steady and opened the back passenger door. It was locked. I figured Denyce got nervous and locked the doors. And as that thought crossed my mind it was quickly replaced by another. Wrong car!

Quickly I backed away, this car was right in front of the door to Pizza Hut. What if the owner of this car saw me? Being Hicksville central what if the owner came storming out of the Pizza Hut guns a blazing? In these parts nobody would think twice about a redneck shooting the Jew who was trying to steal a car by putting non kosher pizza’s in the back seat.

I made it safely out of the line of fire site from the restaurant, and came around the edge of our car. This time I knew it was our car because Denyce was in the front seat laughing to the point of hysterics. Did she not know I was almost killed by a Jew hating, gun toting redneck in central Pa? No, all see saw was her husband trying to put pizza in the back of a strangers car.

We drove home with the wonderful aroma of pizza filling our souls and tears of laughter in our eyes Denyce explained to me how just the other day she came out of a building and had to try three cars before she finally found our car. On one car she saw the first part of the word ‘out’ and didn’t bother to read the rest of the word, ‘outlander’ ‘outback’ close enough, except for the fact that the car was green!

A few years back I bought a belt.  After the purchase I realized the belt came with a secret ninja type bottle opener.  Can you imagine my excitement?  If you can, just let me know in the comments below!  Anyway, I was incredibly excited that I purchased a twofer, (two for one). Not only could I keep my pants from falling down, I could open a bottle anytime, anywhere!

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Disappointment set in quickly.  Almost every bottle, or at least every bottle I need to open is a twist top. Bottle openers are everywhere, on utility knives, survival tools, key chains and places I certainly would not have thought of, belt buckles being one.

Don’t you think that in this day and age somebody would have gotten in touch with the bottle opening people and let them know that bottles are now all twist top? They need to stop with the traditional bottle openers and start selling twist top openers so we can all save our fingers from getting shredded!  

Now my friends, if one person stands up and demands a change in bottle openers, well they will think you are crazy, but if three people stand up, can you imagine three people standing up and demanding a change in bottle openers?  Why they will think its a movement, but could you imagine if we all stood up, hundreds if not thousands of us stand up and demand a change in bottle openers?  Why they would think its a revolution, and friends that is just what it would be, The 2018 Bottle Opener Revolution!  All you Arlo Guthrie fans will understand the above reference. The rest of you may want to find half an hour and have a listen to Alice’s Restaurant. 

Now to get back on track with this blog.  We are just waiting for it to come around on the keyboard. Here it comes!

A year went past, and another one and I never got to use my secret belt buckle bottle opener.  And then it happened. Walking through the grocery store we found a four pack bottle of soda, limited edition, with, you know it, non-twist off bottle caps!

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The first bottle I totally messed up.  I was at home in sweatpants.  I reached into the fridge took out the bottle and without thinking tried to twist the top off shredding my fingers in the process.  Pissed off I reached into a kitchen drawer and used the traditional kitchen bottle opener to open the bottle and only thought of my belt buckle moments later.  Damn!

The second bottle was a success(?) I was at work and had brought one of the bottles of soda.  When I went to open it I realized I didn’t have a bottle opener.  I looked around at work, no bottle opener.  I have a few unorthodox methods of opening a bottle and was looking for the proper surface to do just that when it struck me!  I was wearing my belt! Yay.

Then I found another problem.  In order to use my secret bottle opener I had to unbuckle my belt and losen it some as the opener is located on the underside of the buckle.   I don’t know about the rest of you, but undoing my belt at work and using it to open my soda bottle is not what I consider appropriate.  Heading into the washroom with a bottle of soda is also not something I would recommend either, Finally I slipped into the warehouse hid behind a pallate of boxes and did the deed.  Finally I got to use my belt to open a bottle. 

Money well spent.

 

The Power of Cats

We adopted Clary in 2015.  A year later we drove to Kentucky (from Pennsylvania) with Clary to adopt Quinn.   They hit it off in the first minute.  We spent an hour or so with the foster’s of Quinn, during that time the dogs played and got to know each other.  We then put the two dogs in the back of our little Mitsubishi Outlander and drove back to Pennsylvania.  This goes against everything we recommend to potential adopters.  Slow gradual introductions are key to the success of two dogs getting along.  We however, were lucky. With only a few minor skirmishes they have always been close.  The sleep in the same room. They eat together, share toys and play together and are seldom apart.  What they are not, is cuddly.  Not with each other and not with us although both are not shy of coming over and ask to be petted or food or anything else they want.  They enjoy contact.  But they won’t come over and curl up with us they don’t sit in our laps etc.  All of which is fine by us as they are both 100+ pounds.  Note, Clary is the white one (female).  Quinn obviously is the other (male).

Asking and receiving some attention

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Quinn and Clary at play

Quinn Clary playing

But it took a cat to pee on the other bed to force the two into a cuddle session.

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Quinn was already lying in that bed when Clary discovered what the cat had done.  Quinn, like all males in all species resigns himself to his fate.

Living with a Pyrenees

Here is an interesting observation.  Every sound in and around our house has the exact same ending.  An example?  Okay, a bird chirping in a tree sounds like this, “Tweet…tweeet….twweeeWOOF WOOF GGRRRR WOOF WOOF!”  A car pulling into a driveway four houses down sounds like this, ‘VroooWOOF….WOOFWOOFWOOOF…GRRRWOOF’.   The neighbor in his kitchen opening a beer, ‘PfffWOOF…WOOOFWOOOOF…’.  How about an ant farting under a leaf? ‘…..WOWOWOOFGRRRRWOOF…WOOF.’   Every sound day or night.  I’ve lived here what 16 years now? Until we brought a Great Pyrenees into our home I never noticed the similarities to the sounds.

Perhaps it is because our house is in the woods and often damp that food here left un-attended, almost instantly turns into a tiny puddle of slime.  Just the other day I took three cookies out of the bag. I ate one and put the two remaining on the counter while I went to get a drink.  When I turned around to pick up the cookies they had reduced themselves into a small pile of drool like substance.  We made pizza the other night,  my wife had her plate on the end table as we ate and watched television. When she went to reach for the last piece on the plate, it had transformed into a spot of slime.

Our self-cleaning counters also cleans the dishes.  True thing!  Place your plate on the counter, turn your back and when you turn around plate is clean, although sometimes there is a tiny puddle on it.

I never knew that inanimate objects had hair.  Our couch has hair, as does our floor and clothes heck even our carpet has a carpet on top of it. Sure you can vacuum it up, which we do but it just grows back and grows back fast.  If only what is left on the top of my head would do the same.

But you know? Even with the hair, drool and barking.  Even with the brushing, walking, vet, Even with the fights to get them a bath or clipping nails I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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