It's That Time Again

It's been a wonderful, restful time off. We had a ball on our lil road trip to Atlanta. I wish it hadn't rained so much, cause there is lots of stuff I wanted to do in the yard. We only got to work in the yard 1 day and it was really too wet then. We only scratched the surface of our gettin' ready for Spring gardening. One thing is for sure, there was ample time for "couch potatoing" and Sunday afternoon naps. I ship out tomorrow, bright and early for the whole month of February. As always, I'll keep the camera handy and try to take some nice pictures to share with you. Til I'm home to blog again, I hope you are safe and happy.I'm sure Peggy is looking forwards to her 'take' on things and will post while I'm gone. As always, I ask that yall leave us a comment and let us know how you are and what ya think. It means a lot to us and we love hearing from you. That is the motivation that keeps us blogging, and thanks for it. Well, see ya in March; til then ,may God bless you and yours.

Hunkering Heron

Well, in case ya aint noticed, ever since the movie "Dukes of Hazzard" came out, every 'talking head', on every news broadcast, went to lots of trouble to work the phrase "hunker down" into their commentary. Why, during the hurricanes, ya heard "Hunker down" every few minutes for months. You don't hear it as often anymore, now that the 'new' has worn off it, but still on occasion, ya learn that someone is hunkering down somewhere. Not news-worthy, in my opinion; guess das why ya don't see my chubby, fuzzy face on tv anchoring the nightly news. I can see it now: "This is Cappy coming to you live from Colorado, where folks are hunkering down in the threat of blizzard conditions". Rest assured, that aint happening. For those of you unsure what 'hunker down' means, I use the pictures I took of a young blue herron one cold, drizzly morning as an example.


Our Atlanta Road Trip

1-24-07 True to form, we embarked on our lil trip at the "crack of noon". We aint mornin' people and we definately aint punctual. Typical departure times for us range from noon, to midnight or later. We like driving at night and try to avoid rush hours. With that in mind, we plan duckin' through the woods, skirtin' Nawlins and takin' I-12 to Slidell, then north on I-65. To get there we gotta traverse some narrow, curvy roads through the lake region of S.E. Louisiana and that's always fun for us. This time, though, we gonna pay close attention to where we are going. We have been known to laugh and sing our way past a turn and wind up several hours outa da way.

Plan 'B' Jan 24 12:30

Ok, so, cause of the rain and wind we decided to take I-10 to I-55 to I-12 to Slidell, La. Back to I-10 to Mobile, AL, then I-65 North. Lots of turns, we know, but see all the "I's"? They mean way better roads and speed than our afore mentioned route through da swamp.

Jan 24 @ 3 pm

We just crossed into Alabama, 1 Hubig pie(cocunut creme my favorite) 2 bags of M&M's, a lemonade and a diet Coke later. Currently singing along in awful harmony to the Nitty Gritty Dirtband's version of "Praise the Lord, I Saw the Light!"

1-24 @ 6 pm

We just merged onta I-85 in Montgomery, Alabama. We caught the very tail-end of rush hour but it wern't bad at all. With ole 'Slow Hand' banging out da blues on da juke box, we sail on into the night singing "Wonderful Tonight". Peg's driving, and I just finished my second beer. :-)

jan 25 @9:15

Well, we found an Econo-lodge just south of Atlanta last night, that had a king-sized bed and was on the first floor, so we could park right by the door. The only bad thing was that it smelled a lil smoky. "Hadji", our night-clerk said the only room to fit our request was full of ashtrays. This was not a problem though, since we quickly altered the smell from cigarette smoke to hickory smoke, when we warmed up some left-over smoked chicken in the microwave. After a good night sleep, a tank of gas, and a couple cappachinos, we are off in search of the museum.

Jan. 25 @1pm

We went straight to the museum like we knew where we were going, a rarity for us. The exhibit from the Lourve was wonderful. The pencil sketches and studies were amazing. Most of them never before exhibited. I was impressed by the fact that many of the sketches were from the artists' sketch pads, and represented studies on works they were going to paint. Many of the completed works no longer exist. Several of them had grids super-imposed on them by the artist, who used them to "blow up" to mural size, to adorn the wall or ceiling of some church or castle. The thought that some ole painter held the sketches we were seeing, in one hand and painted a 150' masterpiece on some wall or ceiling with the other hand, really amazed me. Anyways das what impressed me the most. Peg, I'm sure, will have much more to say bout the art work later. I leave that to her. So now we off in search of something to eat on the way home.

jan. 25 3:45 pm

When it comes to road food, Peggy and I like to get off the interstate into little towns. The "interstate oasises" that have sprung up around almost every exit are convenient with their Gas and fast food one-stop store, but for 'Real' food ya gotta get into the lil towns off the interstate and look for a place thas been in business longer than the interstate has been in existance. We found a jewel of a lil Georgia town called Newnan, bout 4 miles offn da interstate. It was a quaint lil southern town with a very nice stately collection of old homes in it's historic district.Peggy and I wandered several blocks of the tree lined streets enjoying the old southern architecture and just imagining what it must be like in the Spring all ablaze with bloomage. Matter of fact, we plan to come back in the Spring and find out for ourselves; the place is just that pretty. To make this lil side adventure all the more special, we stumbled upon a neighborhood bbq joint. Hank's Hickory BBQ resturant was a wonderful find, full of Southern charm and hospitality, decorated with assorted tacky paraphenalia, dominated by a Pig collection. Peggy and I felt right at home. For the Ribs to be any bettter I'da had to cook em ma self. Seriously, these were the best smoked Ribs I've bought in several years, and this from a guy who buys lots of bbq. Peg had a big ole salad that she couldn't eat half of and I had my first ever bowl of Brunswick stew. It was tomato corny, meaty, smoky delicious. I can't stress enough this advice to my fellow travelers: (Take this from some fun lovin chubby foodies) LEAVE THE FAST FOOD BEHIND! Go just a few miles off the interstate towards a dot on the road map, look for the old part of town; ya just may find some history along the way. Go eat at someone's place. Usually the sign reads a first or family name, followed by the word restaurant,diner or grill, or in this case "BBQ". You will seldom ever be disappointed, and most often meet some wonderful people that are genuinely glad you stopped in, just like the good folks at Hank's.

Home Again, Home Again, Gig-adee-gig

We Blew back into town last night(Jan. 25) 2 minutes later than my E.T.A of 11P.M. It was a wonderful trip, and we wasted no time unpacking da truck and crawling into bed for a nice long nap with da dawgs. I'm sure Peggy will have much more to say bout the museum part including pictures, but for now, here is my abrieviated version of our lil 2 day road trip.


A Fish Tale

Well in case yall aint noticed I am not one for tellin fish tales. Everyone has one, or knows someone who has one or has heard one. They usually start like: "Did I ever tell ya about the time.............", and go on to describe some whale that got away or hung outa the back of the pick-up on the way home. I leave fish stories to Peg, who has been known to catch fish that continue growing long after they have met my frying pan. One of her favorites is bout the time we went to the River to tight-line some catfish and she 'skunked' me(fisherman's term for catching fish when I didn't) I'm afraid if she don't come up with a new story soon, her arms will be too short to tell this one:-)
Well, I digress. Here is the story I have bout the Redfish that came to Thanksgivin' dinner on the boat:

Me and Larry(our wheelman) had just finished loading a 'location' and were crossing a shallow bay on our way to the next location that we were to load the next day, which was Thanksgivin'. I was drivin' and, Larry, havin' just finished stowing the lines, came up to the wheel-house to "BS" for a while. We were planning our Thanksgiving dinner and all happy that we were gonna get where we were going early and tie up for the night. We were short-handed with just the 2 of us on board; I figure that was probably cause of the holiday.
Well, while crossing the Bay, I saw something strange in the water in front of the barge, watched it for awhile and asked Larry "Hey, whas that look like to you?" He grabbed the binoculars off the dash, leaned outa the door for a good view and said "Man!! das one BIG !#%$!~#% (sailor term)Redfish!!!" We couldn't figure what was his problem; he was thrashing around waving his tail up outa da water, like hooked on something. I backed the engines, stopping the barge and Larry ran out to see the fish. He hollered back, " He aint hooked, He is just on top of the water lookin kinda tired out." Well, bout that time the fish found a burst of energy and swam away. Larry walked back to the boat, and bout the time he got there, the fish popped up again a few yards further away. Well, to shorten an already long story, we chased that fish for about an hr. around that bay. Kinda comical, if any one had seen us. Big ole barge and boat chasing a fish around. Well, anyways finally we caught him. I stopped the boat and ran down to the deck to help Larry with the fish. He had managed to wrap some line round the fish's tail. I reached down, grabbed the fish by the tail, tried to lift him aboard, but he was too heavy and slimy for me to get a good hold on him. I told Larry to get a rag which would help with the grip. He wrapped a rag around the fish's tail and that gave us the grip we needed to pull this fish aboard. No joke we caught this fish with a rag!

Larry cleaned the fish while I drove towards our next location, and he was the Guest of Honor at our Thanksgivin' Dinner the next day. Those of you who are currently "Pishawing" and "Awwwwwwhhhhh cappy-ing", look below. I tell this fishy tale with evidence :-)

Ok, now for the explaination: notice that the fishy pictured above, is very fat looking, with a big bloated pot belly???? It's because Mr. Fishy ate way too much and had a bad case of Gas. Yes, you heard me right, Gas! When Larry cleaned him he found his belly distended like a balloon, and in it (in addition to a whole lot of gas) was 3 almost keeper-size fishys. This fish had so much gas in his tummy it affected his bouyancy, and he floated up to the surface. By the time we saw him, he was exhausted, trying to swim down with his tail thrashing in the air. Das what we saw. After spending years looking out over the water, ya develop a keen eye for what aint usual. Anyways, das my story, and unlike my growing fish story-tellin' wife, I have pictures and a witness:-)

I usually don't tell long stories on this blog, prefering to be short and sweet, with my comments on life. Consider this my attempt to compete with Tom's Bear Tale. I think my story is better, cause it ends with a wonderful baked fish Thanksgiving dinner, where Tom's story ends with the Bear being the only one getting dinner.

Anyways, I'm tellin' this story to a man from Oklahoma that I've never met or spoke too. His wife is a chat friend of ours and a reader of this blog, and from what I hear he likes a good fish story. THIS ONE IS FOR YOU MIKE, HOPE YOU ENJOY IT!


Another Awful Bear Story For Our Blog

It was a wonderful ride this year. The Saints have nothing to be ashamed of. One of the reasons everyone in the New Orleans area was so darned excited about The New Orleans Saints was that, dang, if the "Come-from-behind" Saints could come back victoriously, and win (...something that was totally unthinkable for years) then maybe so could New Orleans herself. Last year, while New Orleans was still doubled over, trying to recover from a 'sucker-punch' in the gut, Tom Benson, the owner of the Saints was thinking about uprooting the whole team and moving the them to San Antonio, TX., which only served to deepen the grief of our area even more. Lose New Orleans AND the Saints?! We are so grateful that for whatever reason, he decided to persevere and keep the team in New Orleans. On television he appears to be as happy as we are.
Today may be the end of our season, but this team has only just begun; the Best is yet to come! The Saints are still our winners! As in the past, things might get New Orleans down, but when all looks lost, there's always been a pulse, so we hold our heads high and still say, "Who Dat!?"

some cool utube saints stuff




scroll around theres lots of em in this section of utube. geaux saints!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two and a Half Hours Til Da Big Game!

Geaux Saints!!!


Mad Rush on Saints Merchandise

All across the Gulf Coast there is a mad rush to purchase anything to do with the Saints. Here's our take on it. Hope you get a giggle from it. Cappy and Pegody

Saints fever here

I found this in an E-mail in my rather full mail box when I got home Thursday. Since then I have been very busy honeymooning with Peg and kinda unwinding. We are thrilled down here at the Saints playing for their first division championship. Well anyways heres a copy of the E-mail I thought it was cute.

Peyton Manning, after living a full life, died. When he got to heaven, God was showing him around. They came to a modest little house with a faded Colts flag in the window. "This house is yours for eternity, Peyton," said God. "This is very special; not everyone gets a house up here." Peyton felt special, indeed, and walked up to his house. On his way up the porch, he noticed another house just around the corner. It was a 3-story mansion with a black and gold sidewalk, a 50 foot tall flagpole with an enormous Saints logo flag, and in every window, a New Orleans Saints towel. Peyton looked at God and said "God, I'm not trying to be ungrateful, but I have a question. I was an all-pro QB, I hold many NFL records, and I even went to the Hall of Fame." God said "So what's your point Peyton?" "Well, why does Drew Brees get a better house than me?" God chuckled, and said "Peyton, that's not Drew's house, it's mine."

Who dat say they gonna beat them saints Who dat.


Dawg Tired and Cat Napping.

The roses Joe, Jessica and the kiddoes sent get more beautiful each day.
Thank you all for the wonderful ecards, etc. for my big o'l dreaded birthday. (Taylor and Teri and Cooker and Taffy and Lona and Helen....and Foy, I meant to mention your 'angel', Mrs. Brenda. And of course, thanks to you, too, Anonymous.)You made it so much nicer with your thoughtfulness. And Da Saints won, as you prolly already know...Yee Haw! IF they beat Da Bears this weekend, it's one more step toward the Super Bowl...first time ever for these guys.
Cappy gets home tomorrow! Can I get another Yee Haw?! We plan on settling in, watching the Saints game, then sometime in the next two weeks, we plan on going on over to Atlanta to the High Art Museum! It's one of my big gifts from Cappy for Christmas. I thought brushing a cat in one's lap with an electric egg-beater would be easier than getting Cappy into an Art Museum. He's had it planned for quite awhile. On display there are the works collected by the great kings. It was quite an accomplishment getting them all on display in one place, and they are only on loan for a brief time. I'm all stoked.
I forgot to tell you what else Cappy got me for Christmas. Let's see...one year it was a MOP. Another year it was a Cajun fishin' tackle box. Last year, tho, he gave me an electric keyboard. This year, besides the trip to the art museum, it's a 22 rifle! His friends on the boat, said, "Man! Don't give your wife a GUN for Christmas! She'll shoot you". He thought about it, then decided he was going to anyhow. ("She'll shoot you") I thought about it, then decided not to anyhow. Actually, I like target practice.
Well, so what I've been doing is getting ready for the Cappy to come home tomorrow. Today I took SparkyBear and MarkyBear to get all groomed and pretty for when their "Dad" gets home. Raleigh can have a regular bath in the tub. When the 'boys' get home from the groomer, Raleigh doesn't know what to make of them, all poofy, powder puff-looking and smelling of some kind of sweet vanilla/flower scent. Sparky doesn't know he's a 'shee shee froo froo' and starts running all over, rolling in the grass, looking for something wonderfully horrible to roll in.
It's been quite a month, and I'm bushed already. I'd better take a nap or something, cuz when Cappy gets off the boat, as you know, we are off and running.


Well, I Just Don't Know How the Day Can Get Much Sweeter Than This.

What a wonderful day it's been so far. My dear, sweet Hubby...Cappy called and wish't me Happy Birthday, and hung on the phone with me, til somebody pulled up in the driveway with a big bouquet of gorgeous flowers and a bunch of balloons! The trickster kept saying all week from out on the towboat, "Awe, I'm so sorry I didn't get you anything for your birthday", then the Ol' Sweetie-Pie pulled this. He had it up his sleeve the whole time. Actually, I got a sound machine, too, that puts me to sleep with the sound of rain, too, but he said that gift doesn't count. Oh yes it does! I LOVE it!

Talk about Sweet, look at this face.

This is Aunt Gussie. She just called me, too, and made my day. Every time I see her I just feel as though I'm home. She is so maternal; nurturing and caring. She's just like that. It's what I miss most from my Mom and grandmother. I'd like to give her a big kiss and put her in my pocket so I could keep her. I don't get to see her anywhere near as often as I'd like, but I Love her dearly. I only wish we lived closer.

Dan, his wife, Jen, and his family sent this huge fruit basket, which also contained Nestle Crunch bars, assorted Hershey bars and kisses. Cappy warned me to take pictures before I pawed through it....too late. This was as good a picture as I could get before anymore "dis-assembling" took place. It's got pears and apples and kumquats and...and...Right now it looks as though one of "Thom's bears" from yesterday's story, had gotten ahold of it. Yummmeee.

Take a look at these roses! Three dozen!!! Joe and Jessica & family sent them. Plus, they came in a big crystal vase, which I see now that I've got the picture posted, didn't show. The smell is wonnnderful. If you can get the picture to enlarge, do it...the dark red rose looks almost velvet. Just gorgeous....all of 'em.

And here are the balloons and flowers that my HoneyBear sent.

As you know, I can't get the camera out without SparkyBear getting into the picture somehow. After I take the shot, he always wants to 'come see' himself in the picture on the computer, like a little kid. (He and his brother, MarkyBear have an appointment next week with the groomer to get all purdied up the day before their 'Dad' gets home...you can tell SparkyBear needs it.)

But aren't these flowers beautiful?? Cappy told them to make sure to include a lot of wild flowers because he and I love them so much. The tall green flower in the middle is one that I'm totally mystified by; I've never seen that type before. I love this assortment and can't stop going back to look at all the strange and wonderful plants in it. Check it out close up, if you can.
People online have sent ecards and regards, like Linda aka "Baker", and Foy and Mr. G. Our buddies.
And now, I'm gwinder get ready to go to Mass, come home and settle in for the Saints and Eagles' game. This has been the best season for the Saints EVER, and it could possibly be one more step on their way to the Super Bowl. Even if they don't win today (shhhhhut my mouth!) they have been wonderful for the spirit and morale of the people in the New Orleans area. You just can't imagine it...the whole town is bursting at the seams with happy, celebrating people wearing the Black and Gold colors of the team. Even the Eagle fans have been having a great time this past week partying in New Orleans, getting ready for the big game. Both team camps "picking" back and forth at each other good-naturedly. We've all been yelling, "Who Dat! Who Dat! Who Dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints!"
The Saints winning would be a great way for this day to get any SWEETER!


Bear With Us...It's a Long Story

Our son, Thom, wrote a story of his side of the "The Great Bear Adventure". It took place last year, and I think it will be the last camping trip Thom and his brother, Dan,ever go on, together.
My Bear Story (edited by his mother)

Well, my brother, Dan invited me up to go camping with him and his family in the Old Forge area of the Adirondak mountains of upstate New York. Before we even left I told him I didn't want to see any bears; that just the thought of them made me nervous, because they are so much bigger they are than we are. I guess he just brushed it off, so I decided to go anyhow.
It was a long drive from Rochester to Old Forge, and the closer we got, the more nervous I got, thinking there might actually be some bears where we were going to be camping, and I mentioned it again. I guess everyone else in the car didn't take me seriously, because then, of course, they started clowning around and teasing me, saying a bear was going to 'get me' by coming right into my tent.
We drove around looking for the perfect place to camp. We saw some nice places, then finally found a campground that had a little store, free swimming, and a very 'cool' looking camping area. It was about dark when we got to our camp site, but right where we entered, I noticed this huge wooden statue of a bear. It took me off-guard, and I thought, "Oh no! That's not good."

We were setting up the camp, in the dark, when I discovered I would be sleeping alone in a tent by myself. "Oh, how comforting; just me, in the cold air, with nothing but a thin tent cloth around me." I lay there listening to every sound; the other campers talking, the wind blowing, and all the while thinking about that big bear statue. Finally, after about an hour I fell asleep. I had a comfortable and great rest.

The next morning Dan cooked scrambled eggs with cheese, then we headed out looking for wood. I especially wanted a lot of wood, so I could keep the fire going all night. Later, we all drove to town so Dan and Jennifer could check out the antique shops. I asked a woman who worked in one of the stores about the bears in the area. I asked her if she'd heard any stories about the bears attacking anyone, or were they friendly. Sure enough, this lady didn't care if she scared anybody or not...she told about this time a father and son, about ten years ago, taunted a bear, by covering themselves with honey and smacking the bear with a big, heavy stick. (Sheesh. Now just pause a moment and ask yourself, "Whaaa...?!") These two, drenched in honey, hollaring at this bear, poking and hitting him with a stick thought the bear wouldn't do anything?? She said, "Suddenly this bear wouldn't put up with it and killed the both father and son."

Instead of thinking that it would take a lot to provoke a bear to attack, I was upset, knowing that there were bears out there in the woods where we were camping, who had actually killed two humans. I should never have asked, because now I had to go back to my tent, alone, in the dark, try to feel cozy enough fall alseep and not think about killer bears. Dan tried to reassure me by saying, "Oh, they just want food; they're very friendly". Just to convince me all the more, he decided to take us all for a drive looking for the bears, because noone else in our camp had ever seen one. We drove along all the back dirt roads we could find, and I tried to keep an open mind about it, but when Dan kept turning off the engine and very slowly coasting down down heavily wooded grass and dirt roads to keep the bears from hearing us coming, I felt that if we startled a big bear and his family; and the car wouldn't start, they might attack before Dan could get us out of there. They are strong enough to smash car windows.
I was relieved when we finally stopped trying to spot any bear and headed back to camp to get something to eat.
We stopped at the camp store and I overheard people talking about seeing bears. The place was loaded with all different kinds of bear trinkets for the visitors to buy. I guessed by that, that it was an indication that there truly were bears around there. To make matters worse, when we got to our campsite, more stories emerged from other campers around us, that bears had been coming around the campfires while the campers were cooking!
When it was time for bed, I tried persuading Dan to stay up with me, telling him how great he was at making big campfires. I guess Dan figured out what I was doing, so he went to bed. So did I. Just as I was falling asleep, I thought I heard something scuffling through the leaves, so I listened for awhile longer, heard nothing, and fell asleep.
We had a wonderful day, boat riding, watching remote airplanes, etc. That night I stayed up late again tending the campfire, and thought everything in the woods must be asleep by now, even the bears, I went to bed, the the warm glow of the campfire shining through the side of the tent. Just as I was about to close my eyes, I didn't want to believe what I was seeing! A huge black shadow, first the nose, then the head of a bear, his big body slowly walking along the side of my tent! After I was sure it was gone, I was still shaking and called to Dan, "Dan, did you just see that big bear walk between the tents??" Dan called back, "Yeah, they're just looking for food", but he sounded a little nervous himself; but he had four other people in his tent for protection. Yeah, why should he be scared. It took me 2-3 hours to go to sleep after that.
The next day I told Dan, "I don't know if I can do this." Dan's fiancee` decided to make a game out of it and did different things to tease me about it. She'd look at something behind me and yell, "Oh migosh! There's a Bear!!" which would about make me jump out of my skin, or any strange sounds we might hear from out in the woods, she'd say it was a bear growling; she even put food under my tent for the bears, as a joke. I didn't see the humor in any of it.

That night to relax, we all went to the camp store, which also doubled as a lodge and sat around watching television. Even there, from the next room, I could hear people talking about bears. Some girl had gotten stranded when a bear showed up and her 'friends' had gotten scared, ran off and deserted her. Some old guy was out there telling about walking out his door and accidentally stepping directly onto a bear's paw, who had been sitting just outside his cabin door. The man quickly took his foot back and slowly closed the door. I dreaded going back to our campsite because I did not want to see another shadow on my tent, like I had the night before. We stayed until the store closed then went back to camp. I kept trying to think of ways to keep Dan up talking with me, tending the fire, etc., but he said he was on vacation and needed his rest. He told me to take the lantern with me and leave it on til it burned out. I had only just gotten into the tent when I heard something shuffling through the leaves, right up to the tent! Now, with the light on, I could see through the tent cloth even better than the night before. I could see the whole bear brushing along the tent, and hear him sniff and snorting, pushing his huge nose into the cloth at the base of the tent. I could hear every awful breath he took; deep rough breaths in and out, hungry and looking for something to tear into. I was panicked; I could hear the blood of my pounding heart rushing through my ears. This bear wasn't afraid of the fire in the lantern or the campfire. I had even poured a trail of kerosene close around my tent earlier, in hopes that the smell would keep them away. I felt like a terrified piece of raw meat waiting to be sliced into by the sharp claws of this smelly uncontrollable animal just the other side of the flimsy, thin nylon...it might just as well have been supermarket cellophane. Of all the tents, why did it have to be mine?? While he was circling my tent 15 slow, horrifying times, my mind was going crazy. At any second I just knew his huge body was going to rip into my tent and me. I was asking myself how I let myself get into this situation, and "Why would anyone in their right mind put a campsite where bears prowl around on the loose". An animal like that can't be reasoned with, telling them to go somewhere else to find food...but wait! I could hear it's breath moving away from my tent, and heard it's big paws shuffling through the leaves, away toward some other poor helpless victim's tent.
It just so happened that some other campers had just moved in and were all settled into their comfy sleeping bags for the night. I heard one of them say, "Did you hear that? Something's out there." I could hear every word they were saying; my senses were still on high alert. They were nervous over there, and kept saying over and over, "What is it? What could it be??" I was afraid for them, because I knew what it was and they didn't. All of a sudden I heard a loud tearing sound over there and the people starting shouting, "What is it? What could it be!!?" I wanted to yell at them, "It's a BEAR...what do you THINK it is?!" Then it sounded like a cooler being pulled across the ground and the people in the tent got real quiet. There was a loud bang and I could imagine the bear was demolishing the cooler and going through it, looking for his reward. The noise didn't stop...I heard dishes smashing and things flying all over the area; and what was that? In the distance I heard other bears tearing things apart, smashing and banging, dragging coolers around at other campsites, and other people almost calmly calling, "What's going on? What's going on out there?" I wanted to yell at all of them...what did they expect any how? "It's BEARS...What do you THINK would happen out here...there's even a big statue of a bear...What do you THINK all of the racket is?"
I stayed quiet and still in my tent, and so did the people in the next tent over, for quite awhile til all the commotion died down. When I finally dared to, I yelled over at Dan's tent, "I want out of here! You knew I don't like bears!" I heard the other people murmuring to themselves over there, but then when they heard me talking about bears, they started talking as though they were panicked, too. I just had to do anything to get out of there, so I yelled enough to get Dan awake. (I don't know how he slept through all that, but he had.) I wanted him to at least take me to any local store that was still open; anywhere away from here. Dan was still half asleep and didn't want to get up in the cold and dark and told me to just try to go back to sleep. He refused to get up so I yelled all the more that he had to do it...he HAD to get me out of there. Well, he got mad. He said the only thing he was going to do if he had to get out of that warm sleeping bag was to come over there and kick my a--! Right then I was more scared of the bears than I was of him, so I taunted him and said, "I'm not afraid, DO it!" , just to get him up and out of bed. He was tired and really mad, and came staggering wildly out of his tent, shouting as loudly as he could. Actually, I was happy about it, thinking,"Great, the more he shouts, the bears won't come around". He was angry, saying I was disturbing his vacation, and raced me down a curvy road, spitting stones left and right to an all-night convenience store. He stayed and talked with me for an hour or so, and made sure I had enough money with me to get something to eat before he went on back to camp.
I talked all night with the cashier, and she didn't mind my being there. She told me more stories about bears, telling me not to be afraid of them. She knew about them killing people too, so telling me not to be afraid didn't help all that much. When the sun came up, I got the courage up to ask someone for a ride back up to the campsite. I walked back to my tent as though nothing had happened; I was going to get some sleep. I noticed that the new 'neighbors' were gone. They had packed up and left town. The neighbors on the other side of Dan's tent asked me what had happened last night. I told them about the bear wandering around the outside of my tent. He said he had heard terrified yelling and screaming. How embarrassing.
Dan moved us into a cabin that night, thinking he was finally going to get a nice vacation out of the deal, with some peace and quiet, and for once and for all, shutting me up about the bears and the tent.
When everyone was asleep, (the people in our camping party who loved picking at me because I had seen the huge shadow of the bear) I barricaded the door, because, by then I'd even heard that the bears were breaking into the cabins, too, ransacking them, and terrorizing the people in them. About an hour after everyone had gone to bed, I was still lying there trying to go to sleep, when I heard something big and heavy creeping up onto the wooden cabin porch. I thought to myself, "Sure...now it's out here where I am, and could just push this door open. I've seen all I wanted already, and I'm not looking again." I know what it looked like, so I just lay there in the dark and let my ears 'look' at it until it eventually wandered back to where it came from. It went away...and so did we the next day.
I learned not to be fooled by a nice looking campsite. It can also be a bear habitat, and they're running the show. I'm not going to give them the chance to get the best of me again. (I'm almost positive Dan won't let it happen, either.)

Now this is Dan's side of the story:
Back in 2005 I had a blog, and I wrote a little piece on how it went... We enjoy the great outdoors... The smell of it... The taste of it... The wild life... ahhh the wildlife.... THE WILDLIFE!? We like to tent when we camp. We could get a camper, RV, or rent a cottage, but we like the real outdoor experience. So when we planned our Camping trip we decided that the Adirondack Mountains were the destination of choice. When calling through potential camp sites, that usual "expedia.com vision" did not pop into my head when they brought up the fact that black bears live in the area. So I jump feet first into a 5 night commitment via the internet (still safely withdrawn from reality 180 miles from these bears that they speak of). We spent a day and a half packing and arrive to our site at 10pm... Yes it is dark at 10pm. Not a prob... I was a boyscout... And I am MAN!!! The setup went fine, and women and children were first asleep. The next morning all went as usual through the glorious breakfast and fascinating first urination barrier. Then everywhere we went people spoke of the bears, there were statues of the bears, there were posters of the bears, and there were victims of the bears. This promoted my brother Thom to the position of Wildlife Investigator for the protection of the Miles Campsite. He made great breakthroughs interrogating the locals and exiting campers (they had to pry him away with a crowbar). He now had credible witnesses, he found that food sources without a pulse was the motive, and now he needed to see the perpetrators first hand! We spent countless days and night searching for them, they must have known...!!!! We then started to joke about the possibility that all of the hype may just be overblown and a publicity stunt to lure tourism in, and that the locals could have conspired to dress up like wildlife to give legitimacy the black bear stories to the disbelievers... Til the night of the spotting.... I awoke to a light rain and as I thought that I heard another sound of heavy breathing accompanying the light pitter patter. I then looked over my pillow to the side of the tent and saw the silhouette of a big hairy ear followed by a seemingly endless hairy back (not my own). I then heard almost simultaneously Thom say "Dan... Did you see that"? In my mind I wanted to say "no... Thom its all in your head" but I knew that investigator Miles would not let me go easily. The next day we walked slowly around and saw the prints left by the bear and now Miles had the evidence that would convict his perpetrator. The next night Miles thought that the bear was trying to "snuff" him because he was circling his tent and breathing hard... The bear then went the neighbors campsite and beat up a cooler. Miles finally said "Dan, you got to get me out of here"!!! I took him to a 24 hr. Gas station where there was a bear savvy convenient store clerk that just happens to be bored every night and welcomed his company til sunrise. He described feeling like the bears were like the warlocks from the movie "Time Machine" where they would retreat back into their caves underground with their live meals, and just like the bears they only came out at night... Hmm At this point Miles thought that everyone must be crazy... To just live, play and even tent camp so close to these barbaric creatures. We stayed in a cabin the rest of the time spent in the Adirondacks. Well fortified and Miles on high alert caused him to get very little sleep. So please if you want to have future pleasant camping experiences, I would recommend your kids watch the "Animal Planet" and refrain from showing them movies like the "Time Machine" .


It Was All Sweetness and Light(s)

As soon as Cappy got off the boat the last time, we were engulfed in a sea of sugar, making his favorite Christmas goodies. Our son, Dan, was here and also up to his elbows in confectionary. Aha! caught him red-handed, sampling the wares, which he said were heavenly. He and Cappy made three batches of Heavenly Hash, til they got it right. The third try was truly heavenly. They also made an huge batch of Cappy's Momma's cocoanut balls, which are called a French name, which escapes me at the moment, but the name means Red Balls, shown below. After they are hand-rolled, they are covered in powdered sugar.

While the boys were outside in the 'cold', I made them some fresh, from scratch, gingerbread to "stink up the house...in a GOOD way", as Cappy calls good cooking aromas, and put a big pat of butter on it, just the way he likes it. I wanted the warm scent of Christmas to embace and greet them when they came inside from hanging up the lights. (Giggling here...I think they were very appreciative.)

One chore Cappy considered "sweet!", was picking Satsuma oranges and lemons, for the first time ever, from our citrus trees, then bagging them. We have babied those trees for about four years now, through hail and high water. We ate them til we were about blue in the face; they were Yummy.

Well, I can't mention sweet stuff, without mentioning our 'brats'...they sat together, on top of the back of the couch, in their usual perch, (Bichons think they are Cats) 'laughing' and enjoying the "goings ons".

Another treat we tried making was the traditional pralines. Last year we turned out lots and lots of them to send for gifts, but this year the humidity was just so high, that we couldn't get any to hold their shape. That didn't stop friends and family from requesting the 'flops'; they ALL said they wanted to crumble them on top of ice-cream. They got their wish. Those crumbly pralines were wonderful. The "Perils of Pralines".

Is this plate half empty or half full? ;-D

During Dan's visit we went to New Orleans again, this year, for the walking tour of Celebration in the Oaks. We really like watching the Cajun Night Before Christmas light show. Only in Cajun Country would you see Santa in a pirougue, (pronounced " Pee'-row ", meaning a small boat, used to go up and down the bayous) being pulled by eight "allima-gators".

Dan and Cappy did the 'guy thing', hauling the tree outa the attic, assembling it, and festooning it with lights. I decorated it later, at my leisure, which I had to eek outa somewhere, what with everything else going on. Actually, what I did was to send the boys 'over the River and through the wood to Gramercy' they went, to the Gumbo tasting festival...or the Festival of the Bonfires, while I tried catching up on things. Every year folks build elaborate log structures on the levees of the Mississippi River, to be lit Christmas Eve, so that "Papa Noel" will know where to stop to deliver his goodies. When they are lit it's an amazing sight. Some of them are as tall, and maybe taller, than twenty feet.

The guys had so much fun putting up the lights and seeing the sights, and now they are gawn. BAW!! Dan back to his family in Rochester, NY and Cappy back out on da boat. As I'm writing this, tho', it'll only be about another week and a half til he's home again, then we are off and running on new adventures.

As of today, I'm going to start taking down the ornaments, unwrapping the tree, and putting things away. It's going to be harder for me now that the sweets are 'packed away' and riding on my backside, and I sure aint light. Grrrr. Oh well, it's a New Year. I hope your Season was bright, and that your New Year has started out to be the Best ever.


Alright, Where Were We...?

We are back from the Stone Age; the land of no telephone and internet service. We tried beating out a blog on the old messenger drum, but it appears that the drumline, as well as the phone line was out of service due to rough weather recently, and it's way too foggy in South Louisiana for smoke signals. So, that's why you haven't heard from us in a week or so. When the repairman just left a little while ago, I leaped online to let everyone know where we've been, but wouldn't you know it...the blog site said it was closed up for some kind of problem, which they were working on and for me to check back in a bit. Well, I waited a few minutes, and here we are! Now, in case this blog still isn't working properly, and has plans on eating what I've just written, this will be a "Test and only a Test", with a ton of writing and pictures to follow, in the near...uh, very near future. We missed Ya'll and hope you didn't forget about us, for we surely didn't forget about you! (Cappy is still out on the boat for a couple more weeks.)