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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/callmetj
Rated: 13+ · Book · Personal · #1921220
My thoughts released; a mind set free
These pages contain my thoughts, from meandering ideas and persuasions to deep cerebrations and serious mentations.

Why, for what purpose? To release my mind and set creativity free. Somewhere inside the constraints of my mind dwells a writer, a poet, an artist who paints with words. In here I release those constraints and set the artist free.

Perhaps, lost somewhere in the depths of thought, is a story or a poem, waiting to be written.

I'm docked at Talent Pond's Blog Harbor, a safe port for bloggers to connect.
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March 6, 2024 at 3:32pm
March 6, 2024 at 3:32pm
#1065727
An old house and a sealed room — is there a story there?

I grew up in an old house, a big two and a half story, stuccoed structure built around 1890. I don't remember the exact date, but it's recorded in the towns history. Originally, it was both a residence and a hospital. The doctor and his family lived in the main part of the house, but there was also a hospital ward that served the miners when required. The doctors brother also resided in the house, but he was terminally ill with TB and was quarantined from the rest of the house.

Off of the doctors bedroom was a small entryway that led to a staircase down to the laundry/kitchen area on the ground floor and to a rather fancy room on the east side of the house that was a self contained living quarters with many windows where the infectious brother resided until the end.The room had a large built in closet, dresser, and booth like table as well as a second small closet which housed a wash basin and chamber pot.There was a small door, about two foot square, that opened into the upstairs bathroom and latched from the bathroom side. It was used to empty and clean the chamber pot, as well as the wash basin. I should mention, the brothers room also locked with a skeleton key that hung outside the door as well as with a small dead-bolt on the outside to insure the resident not leave the room and infect others.

There are stories about this time-frame, some documented, some not, but most of my history of the house came from an elderly woman who lived next door. I was in my early teens and she was in her late 80's at the time. Her house had been built about 1902 and she was born and raised next to our house and had many memories.

There is much yet to be said but not now. Perhaps if there is a story (it would be fiction as it's based on both fact and rumor. Of course, to make the story even more interesting, I would likely add to it with my wonderful imagination. But for now, the true base I would work with.

The house served the miners in the area, and we know the mine were unsafe and there were terrible accidents. Because of this, there were some deaths within the hospital part of the house, as well as the brother who also died, locked in his room with only occasional visits from his brother. This resulted in the stories of the house being haunted but did not explain that when my family moved in, the doorway to the brother's room was nailed shut, from the outside!

Of course, in time my dad opened the door and we got a look inside. The room was exactly the same as it had been, except there was no one in the single bed, no clothing or personal items, just the room, pulled blinds, and stripped bed. Oh, and decades of dust.

The people we had bought the house from provided some answers. Being a small town, about 1200 people, it wasn't difficult to keep in touch. Harry told me the door was nailed shut when he purchased the house from the second owner who had informed him that the door was sealed when he purchased the house from the doctor. He had also been stern that the door should never be opened! Harry had lived in this town his entire life and knew some of the rumors, so he had no ambitions to open the sealed room.

Even after my dad had opened it, I was still preteen at the time, he never used the room except to store some junk in. He also ensured the door was always locked and dead-bolted and kept the key in his dresser. Us kids were forbidden to ever go near the room! I had seen the room when he opened it up, I was with him, but that was shortly before the room was locked up again. My mother told me years later that it wasn't until after the door had been opened that the weird things started happening in the house; she didn't believe in ghosts, but she did agree that something haunted our home.

Nothing bad ever happened, but doors would open or close, we would hear footsteps at night, and items would disappear only to be found in the strangest places with no explanations. In time my parents sold the house and we all moved on.

Years later, I was showing my kids where I lived and grew up. I showed them where I went to school, and where I lived. The house was still much the same, but the brother's room on the east side of the house had been removed! Curious I went to the door and knocked. A middle-aged, pleasant woman answered. I explained I had lived there and was showing my kids where I grew up. I mentioned the east room being removed and asked why. She looked shocked. "You lived here? Then you know why! It was unclean!" She literally slammed the door in my face.

That's it for now. I had recently had a dream of the old house and the "unclean" room, and wanted to write a bit about it in my blog. Perhaps there is a good story that can develop from this. I don't know too many people who grew up in a haunted house, and with my imagination, I'm sure I could add some good yarn to the truth.

February 24, 2024 at 3:19pm
February 24, 2024 at 3:19pm
#1064810
A comment on one of my blog entries brought something to mind that I decided I wanted to write a bit about.

Back in the 90's I took a bad fall down some stairs and ended up in the hospital for a few weeks. I had injured my lower spine, had some paralysis in my legs, and uncontrollable muscle spams through my lower back. There was a couple f cracked vertebrae, a shattered tailbone, and two broken ribs, as well as some internal bruising of my kidneys.

Two weeks of treatment and I was able to leave the hospital in a half body brace and a wheelchair. After a month I started physical therapy and started getting some feeling and use of my legs, and after four months was able to walk with a cane. I saw a couple different surgeons and was faced with a big decision, do the surgery or not. I opted to not, to wait and try and overcome my injury.

After a year I was walking and able to work again, but would suffer bouts of muscle spasms, back pain, and loss of feeling in my one foot or the other, sometimes both. Again, I was told that surgery was the best choice, but I did not like the odds of ending up worse instead of better. I also didn't agree with what they all claimed was the problem. Why? Because the injury should have been consistent, it should have been affected by lifting and various activities, and it shouldn't just go away and return for no apparent reason. Yet, I was now working in a sawmill and doing pretty much everything I had done before. I would have my back problems, but there was nothing that seemed to trigger them, and none of the specialists could explain why.

The solution they wanted was to fuse three vertebrae in my lower back; that was the only thing that remained constant. After we moved here, things were going great, I hadn't had much for back problems for quite some time, and then it surfaced. I could barely walk, I was having severe back spasms, and I had lost feeling in my lower right leg. I had no choice but to see the doctor, again.

Being in a new healthcare system, I had my medical records forwarded to the clinic and went in, expecting to hear the same old routine. But, this Nurse-Practitioner questioned the records, asking the same questions I had been asking. She ordered x-rays and seen the sideways bend in my lower spine, but needed an MRI to show any soft-tissue damage. In order for my insurance to pay for this, however, they required me to go to physical therapy first.

Instead, my doctor wanted me to see the clinic chiropractor and work with her about the therapy. I set up an appointment and wasn't expecting much, but after the first hour session she was determined that the spine was in fact not the cause of the problem, my pelvis was. She showed me the x-ray images, measured the length of both legs, did a lot of poking and deep prodding, and confirmed that she did not think my spine was the problem, it was a result of my pelvis being tilted about an inch high on the left than on the right.

She put me on the table and worked her magic. Once the muscles were relaxed, she did an adjustment and there was a loud popping sound and instantly I had feeling back in my foot, the spasms stopped, and when I sat up, I was straight instead of bent. Of course, it went right back out by the following day, but I had appointments set for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the first two weeks.

I went one day before my pelvis tilted again, then two days, and eventually I was going once a week, once every two weeks, and then once a month and then once every two months. My pelvis had been tilted, as shown in the x-rays since the mid 90's and now, finally eighteen years later, someone discovered what was actually wrong and was trying to fix it. My back still gives me some problems, but nothing as severe as in the past, and I try and have it adjusted or checked to make sure it's in place every couple months.

I had never had much faith in chiropractors in the past. But now? Now I'm glad I had to go see this one. This woman fixed what I was told only surgery could help. Yes, surgery would help if all went well, but it would never be right, I would lose quite a bit of mobility, and there was always the chance that it could also be worse. Now I've learned that had I had the vertebrae fused and the pelvis slipped out, the lower back would not have been able to flex to accommodate, instead vertebrae higher up my back would have to bend instead, moving the problem up my spine, and possibly even causing more paralysis.
February 22, 2024 at 8:23pm
February 22, 2024 at 8:23pm
#1064701
Just sharing some thoughts, yes, actual thoughts, not my usual malarkey and gobbledygook.

Our winter has been uncommon and February is more like early spring than winter. What little snow we did get is pretty well all melted, and it's difficult to think we could still get a lot of snow. With the mild weather, my wife and I have been taking the two dogs out hiking, getting some exercise and enjoying the springlike days.

Of course, being out of shape, I've started slow and easy, and am working my way up to more, but with our last hike we completed a five mile loop with a mile side track because the signs were down. Yeah, I over did it, but actually wasn't as stiff and sore as I thought I would be today. With challenging trails, it was very difficult, but the worst part is the mud. Uneven terrain, hills, rocks, and mud make for an easy misstep, slipping, and even a twisted ankle.

The ankle has been a pain for the last year or thereabouts, with no idea why it's always sore. I don't know of any injury I may have inflicted, and it seems better if I go barefoot than if I wear shoes, boots, or even my slippers. It hurts worse today after the taxing hike and twisting it yesterday, yet there's no swelling or discoloration. I'm thinking I should make a visit to my doctor and get the lowdown on what's up with the ankle, so I can get it healed up for more hiking as we move further into spring.

But, since she's laid off, we are temporarily without insurance. She starts a new job next week, and there is insurance pending from her layoff, but we all know how slow bureaucracy moves. Hopefully I'll be able to set up an appointment before the end o fthe month. In the meantime, I have an ankle brace to use so we can still get some hiking in as long as the weather continues to pamper us.
February 15, 2024 at 7:14pm
February 15, 2024 at 7:14pm
#1064240
In a recent comment I was reminded of what other people sometimes say without knowledge of the person they talk about. This was what I was facing many years ago.

I quit high school after a bad, almost fatal accident. But, once I began to heal and had time to think, I decided that I would go back to school and finish. The situation was, however, I couldn't return to my hometown school because of the problems that lead me to quit in the first place. Back in those days, there was no open enrollment, so this created a problem. The solution was, I would stay with family friends in a small community who's school was willing to over look the resident situation.

Changing schools in high school is tough, and to finish, I needed to be tougher. So, with an attitude adapted from my Dad, I handled the problems and completed high school. What was the attitude, and phrase my Dad used? "I don't give a rats ass what they think!" This type of an attitude soon resulted in many people talking about me, except for a few friends who actually knew me. Why didn't I try and change other peoples attitudes towards me? Because, for one, I was very introverted, and two, it meant most people just left me alone.

After high school, I served some time in the military. Upon my discharge, I returned to the small town I had finished high school in only because my wife of the time insisted we live there. After time passed, we divorced, but since I had three teenagers I was now raising that had only attended the local school, I stayed for them. But, as the years passed, more and more of my fellow townspeople seemed to adopt an idea of me being anti social (introverts are), of having a temper (I do, and I do not like people infringing where they are not welcome), and being ruthless. This stemmed from certain individuals that thought they could bully me and/or my kids. There were even a few who didn't like how I lived and would start a fight.

Let's just say that I don't like violence, but if someone starts something, I don't back down, either. I also will make a stand for what I believe in, even if it does result in someone else taking a pop at me. My Mom did try and teach me the "turn the other cheek" rule, but I never seemed to master that one. Being this way meant my share of fights, and being as stubborn as I am, it also meant that I may take a beating, but the other took worse.

This, in time, resulted in most of the town believing I was someone best left to self, an idea I fully enjoyed and ensured would stick. Except for a few people I called friends, no body realized, or maybe refused to believe, I had a kind heart and was in fact just the opposite of the what was rumored.
February 12, 2024 at 6:29pm
February 12, 2024 at 6:29pm
#1064082
Today my wife and I took the two dogs for a road trip to Lake Carlos State Park (not named after Carlos Santana). We wanted to check out the park and the camping sites for a family camping adventure in August.

We are planning a family camping trip for my wife and I, as well as our children and grandchildren. Lake Carlos is about as centrally located as we can find for those who have to drive the furthest and set up for both electric sites and tent sites. We want an electric site, and two other families have campers, so will need electric, the rest will be tenting it.

We found a nice area that will accommodate everyone close to the public showers and bathrooms, all six sites are in one semi-private area on the far end of the loop, and there is ample room for children and pets.

Now, it's just a matter of getting an approximate head count, figuring out which days will work best for everyone, and reserving the sites. Hopefully everything will work smoothly and everyone will be able to camp together for at least part of the five or six days we are reserving the sites for.
February 5, 2024 at 2:20pm
February 5, 2024 at 2:20pm
#1063563
I was doing some reviews and came across a poem, "Happy Father's Day by Prosperous Snow celebrating that brought back a memory from my youth.

I was in high school and had a terrible accident that lead to more problems and eventually I quit school. After a few months, I did return, but I went to a different school and stayed with a friend. His uncle, Jasper, was a true to life mountain man who had recently returned home because of some health issues. He had lived ten years in the Rocky Mountains as a mountain man.

My friend and I, being teenagers, liked to go camping, but our camping trips consisted of some hotdogs, a 12 pack of beer, and staying out overnight a short distance from his house. Jasper showed us what real camping was all about.

He would help us load up necessities in our packs and we would pick a general direction to start hiking. The necessities included some fishing line and hooks, his old flintlock riffle, lead balls and powder, flint and steel, water purifying tablets, three tin cups, a one quart kettle, our bedrolls (a heavy wool blanket we would roll into. He refused our sleeping bags, they didn't insulate if wet and took too long to dry out), and a change of cloths. Oh, and our canteens.

We would gather water when we came across a river or stream, we fished for our meals, and if needed, he would shoot a squirrel or rabbit. On a few occasions we would have partridge if he could shot one on the ground or roosting, since anything other than a head-shot wouldn't leave much to eat.

We slept on the ground in the open, under the stars, unless it was raining or looked like rain, then we would help him build a small shelter from pine boughs and branches. We never slept in the same spot, but would hike further each day. He insisted on everything being cleaned up and restored before we broke camp, and we often stayed out at least a week. Some days we didn't have much to eat, but he knew what we could pick and eat, how to find edible mushrooms, and even said we could eat various insects if we got hungry (this was more on the line of a threat if we complained).

Being a kid, I did not pay attention to a lot of what he showed us, something I regret now. But, I still hold my love for camping, the more remote the better.


2023 Quill Nominee.
A proud member of "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group

"Reading soothes the soul, writing sets it free." T.J.
February 2, 2024 at 9:21pm
February 2, 2024 at 9:21pm
#1063345
Today started with a lot of time to do what ever I decided I'd like to do, which was a lot of nothing, except spend time in here, since I'm still kind of tired from our road trip Wednesday; it was about a four hour drive over to my stepdaughters.

One of her children, my granddaughter, was visiting from Montana. Because of certain events with the father, she was lost to adoption as a baby, so my wife and I had never met her. She is a charming young lady, kind of quiet, but very nice. We had a wonderful visit, stayed for homemade pizza, but then had to get going for the drive back around eight.

It started out well, the weather was very warm all day and into the evening, but shortly after we left, fog rolled in. It was spotty at first, but soon became very dense. We should have had about three hours left to our return trip, but it ended up taking about five. Of course I was tense driving in near zero visibility, as well as straining to see through the grayness that enveloped us. But, we didn't have any issues or problems.

Instead of lounging about in here and reading, as I had planned, we ended up having to drive over to another town to do some shopping. Shortly after we returned, we had company show up and spend the afternoon. After they left, I had to get busy cooking chicken on the pellet smoker for dinner, and now, finally, I have a bit of time to spend here.

The company today was a surprise; completely unexpected! Last spring our two adopted daughters decided they didn't want to live with us anymore, or even have anything to do with us. The oldest one stopped by today to apologize. A very sincere, with lots of tears, apology. She didn't ask for anything, and confessed that she had expected us to turn her away after all she and her sister had put us through.

It's another entry for tomorrow perhaps.
January 19, 2024 at 12:48pm
January 19, 2024 at 12:48pm
#1062661
I'm pretty sure everyone is familiar with, "Sometimes you're the Bug, sometimes you're the windshield", or something similar. Yesterday, I was the bug! Yes, it was one of those kind of days.

Actually, it started Wednesday evening when one of our neighbors came over right after we had let the dogs out for the last tie before bed. We gave them their treats, then settled in to watch a little TV before bed, when he knocked on the door. He doesn't come over often, only when he needs something, and this was no exception. His Straight Talk phone wasn't working right, and he needed to use a phone to talk to customer service to get it working right. I agreed to assist him, but it would have to wait until the next day, which was yesterday.

Here I should explain a bit about him; he's a nice, elderly, guy who pretty much keeps to himself, unless he's having problems. He lives alone and is a bit of a hoarder, which isn't a problem for me. But, he is also not very clean. He doesn't shower often, wears the same cloths for weeks, and doesn't clean his apartment, doesn't take out his trash, and chain-smokes to the point that everything inside is stained yellowish-brown, not to mention he keeps it about 80 degrees inside and there is a constant fog of cigarette smoke.

The day started out like most other days, I was up early and enjoyed some coffee while my wife and I talked about our plans for the day. She had a few things to do around the house, then planned on going over to her elderly mom's to do some cleaning, visiting, and then a bit of shopping before returning home.

I planned on spending some time in WdC, going through the Community Newsfeed, engaging in some Small Talk, and wanted to try and pull a poem up from the depths of the abyss for Express It In Eight. I also wanted to try and get a blog entry done for Andre's Banana Bar before spending some time reading another Nameless book I had downloaded from Kindle Unlimited. But, I also had agreed to help our neighbor with is phone, so I wanted to get some of this done before I went over to assist, knowing I would want to shower and put on clean cloths upon returning.

We spent about an hour in our Bible Studies, then she grabbed her guitar to do some practicing while I spent some time in WdC. But, her nephew is staying with us for the winter and got up a few minutes after she started her practice. She's just learning, and he sometimes gives her tips and advise. Wednesday, he decided to give tips, advise and instruction. This made it difficult for me to concentrate and focus, so I took the dogs out, then putzed around until it was time for her to leave for her mom's.

Since I couldn't do much of anything else, I decided to get the unpleasant task of helping the neighbor out of the way. I could have asked him to do this at our house instead of his, but the dogs continuously try to lick his filthy clothing and we would have to clean and sterilize anything he came in contact with (seriously, he is that bad). But, after trying for about an hour, we were still waiting for someone to answer his call. So, I went back home with the unpleasant task of returning later in the evening, around seven.

I showered, changed cloths and thought I would do my time in WdC, read, write, et... but, my wife's nephew decided to sit and visit, watch videos, and just hang out. Since I can't focus with a lot of noise and distractions, I decided to work on our dinner, my own recipe for red beans and rice. By the time I had dinner simmering, my wife was back home, so we visited a bit and then enjoyed dinner. After, it was back over to help the neighbor get his phone working.

We got through to customer service after a half hour wait, then went through removing the sims card, turning the phone off and back on a few times, and then were told to hold for a specialist. But instead of being placed on hold, we were disconnected. We called again, we waited again, and we went through a lot more of the same questions, routines, and in the end were told it was something wrong with the phone. Up until now, all that was asked about the cellular data is if it was turned on. I took his phone, turned his data off, then turned it back on and the phone worked like a charm...

After, he thanked me. I went back home, took another shower, changed into some comfortable clothing, and relaxed with a glass of Fireball, then off to bed; the day was shot and I hadn't accomplished anything I had planned on--just a bug!
January 15, 2024 at 1:43pm
January 15, 2024 at 1:43pm
#1062444
To read or not to read is based on multiple things, one of which, is can I. Maybe not so much, "can I" but more like do I want to mess around with the item in question. You see (pun intended) more and more people using fancy fonts (comic and impact) as well as smaller fonts around WdC.

This is fine, you can, and should use whatever you prefer. But, when writing for other people to read, keep i mind that not all of us have good eyesight. Many of us older types have difficulty with our eyes, but many younger people also have vision problems. So, if your typing something and use "comic" font, it is more difficult for some to read. If you also decrease your font size, it becomes close to impossible. And, if you type with impact font, it's all in code unless the reader copies it and deciphers it.

I cannot speak for other people, even though I see posts and comments stating much the same, but as for me, I have neither the time or the desire to decipher something written in code. My opinion is, if you want me to read it, you'd write it so I can.

This also goes for using comic font. Yes, I can read it if it's large enough, but I do find myself straining my eyes unless it's written in a larger than default font. When it's both comic and smaller font, I'll get a headache from reading. I also strain my eyes and have to stop reading completely to let them rest, which cuts into the time I have to spend on site, which is often too little already.

So, if you want everyone to read what you've written, be considerate and use the default size or larger, especially if your using a font such as comic. I'm sure there are many individuals around here that would agree. As for me, I'm tired of straining my eyes to read something, so I just pass over it and move on.

When I was in college, I took Writing Composition. Our instructor informed us that everything we wrote and turned in had to be in Times New Roman, 12 point font, written with black on white paper. Anything else would (and did) go right into the trash. I understand now why.

If this sounds like a rant, it isn't. I really don't care how other's write, that's your choice. I just wanted to address this to let anyone who reads it know my reasoning and why I won't read items that are strain-full and difficult.

One last thought, color also matters. It may look pretty, but some colors on some backgrounds are difficult for some of us to read. I don't mind reading colored items, but please, be thoughtful and ensure the contrast is not a source of eye strain.

It's really quite simple, if you want people to read your writing, write so they can.



There are additional items from other readers posted in the comments, such as: "Too many emoticons". Please read and leave any addition content you feel should be included.

Thank you



A proud member of "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group

"Reading soothes the soul, writing sets it free." T.J.
January 12, 2024 at 11:51am
January 12, 2024 at 11:51am
#1062293
Why am I writing some of my thoughts on what poetry is, because Grumpy wants to be edjumacated (his words). See: "Grumpy's Short-Lived Poetry Contest

Poetry is an art form, or should be, much like a song without the music. However, like music and song, there are many various styles (too many to list here). Some are easy, some more difficult, and some down right difficult.

I believe poetry should be fun, both to read and to write. However, reading poetry can be a bit difficult because the reader doesn't know the pauses and flow the writer intended. With music and song, we have the notes and pauses provided (if a person knows how to read music), but with poetry, all we have is punctuation (not always) to show pauses, stops, and flow.

When I was in school, I disliked writing poetry simply because of the rules we had to follow. Looking back, I now understand it was to teach us how to write various forms of poetry, but at the time it was a difficult task for a child to do. Trying to understand things like line count, couplets, various types of rhyme (is it abab, is it aabb, etc...), meter, and flow seemed like a lot; it still does and often I have to research to write a poem correctly.

Most often, I just focus on rhyme and flow. I enjoy poetry that rhymes and has a smooth flow, both to read and to write. I often don't look at meter at all, as long as it flows smoothly. Some poems don't even need to rhyme, think freestyle.

For example:

It's winter now and cold outside
the ground covered with snow.
I like the spring and fall the best,
summers too hot and winters too cold.
But where can I find a place to live
that's always spring and fall?
I'd have to migrate like a bird
across the entire globe!

To me, this isn't poetry, it's a statement. To some, however, it's both poetry and their preferred way of writing. Similarly, much of my poetry doesn't incorporate meter, so to others, it's not correct. In other words, poetry is different to different people; there are many forms to fit different tastes.

As I stated, I usually just focus on a nice flow with catchy rhyme, but I can write poetry that follows various rules, such as limericks, acrostic, and tanka (you can find some in my port). I can also write a poem that has correct rhyme and meter, such as the one I did for Grumpy, over at, "Grumpy's Short-Lived Poetry Contest called, "She Don't Like Roses. Although a bit more difficult, the challenge is good, and I believe adds more delight to this poem.

In summary, poetry is an art form of expression and can include rigid rules and format, it can be expressed freestyle, or it can be a bunch of gobbledygook. It can be serious or silly, sharing emotions or just for a laugh; poetry, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.






January 8, 2024 at 5:11pm
January 8, 2024 at 5:11pm
#1062080
"So, you asked what's going on here recently? You didn't ask? Oh, sorry. My bad. But, since you're here and I'm here, I may as well tell you."

There's still some uncertainty as to whether my wife has a job or not. She has been out of work since the start of November when the company asked for volunteers for a lay-off until Jan. 2. She called in and told them she had an appointment on the 2nd and wouldn't be able to return until the third, but then heard through a friend at work that they had extended the lay-off until Feb.

She talked to one of the supervisors who confirmed that her name was on the list of people off until Feb. but didn't understand why she was supposed to return on Jan. 2 and said he would look into it.

Meanwhile, since it's been tight with her out of work, she applied for a different job and is now starting classes for it. She has online classes for two weeks, starting to day, then goes in and takes a test, then two more weeks of online study, another test, and then she goes in for clinicals for a week, takes the state test, and starts her new job. So, if she's suppose to return to work, she won't be able to, but if she's still on lay-off, we have some unemployment for the month. It's been tight with her unemployment, but if that runs out, it's going to get even tighter.

Oh, and last week, the brakes went out on the car. I took it in last Wednesday and picked it up today. It was leaking fluid pretty fast, so there wasn't a lot of braking power, but I managed driving it in to the garage, having to pump the brakes to stop. The brake line had rusted out, so the mechanic replaced it, fixed a slow leaking front tire, and checked it over for us. It wasn't as expensive as I had thought it would be, but when money is short, everything is expensive.

But, once my wife starts her new job she'll get better pay, better benefits, and more vacation time. She's done this type of work before and enjoys it, and we do have a bit tucked away in savings to carry us through. So,, it may be a bit of a rough start for the new year, but it's looking better.
January 3, 2024 at 12:56pm
January 3, 2024 at 12:56pm
#1061800
Happy New Year often means, in simple terms, same shit, different year. Or, at least it has seemed that way for the past few. But I also remember some years being better than others. Why? What makes one year different than another?

There are some forces at work in this world that we cannot control, there are other circumstances and situations that can make a year good or bad, and again, many we cannot control. But we can control how we react or respond to things, and we do have the power to change ourselves and how we perceive things. In other words, even a crappy year can be better or worse depending on our own perspective and choices.

I have tried all of my life to see the brighter side. Even in bad situations I can choose to be bummed out or not. Of course, it isn't just a simple process, shit happens and it brings me down just as much as the next person, but I have a choice from there; do I want to continue to wallow in misery or do I want to enjoy life. I pick enjoy life. It's difficult and takes time, but it's better than just existing in total despair.

How is 2024 going to be? As good as I can make it. Did it start out good? Not particularly, but like so often, it could be a lot worse. There are a few things going on that are unpleasant, but that's life, right? I need more time to read, more time to write, and more time to spend doing what I desire to do. At the same time, there are outside factors that are putting high demands on my time. Some are legitimate and must be dealt with, but others are just other people refusing to think beyond their own wants and desires. There are even a few that just refuse (or are unable) to think for themselves at all.

I want to write more this year, and I also want to get back into reading. I used to read a lot and would often finish even a thick novel in a week or less. But, to read or write, I need quiet and to be undisturbed. A little noise is fine as long as it's not loud or right next to me. The biggest requirement, however is to just be left alone to do my thing. This has become almost impossible for me at home, but there isn't any place I can get away from it without driving for over an hour. And, the last time I tried to write in a public library, I was interrupted and annoyed by peoples rudeness and inconsideration.

My wife and I agree, I need what some may call a man-cave. I don't like the term and prefer to call it a writing-den or something similar. But, it needs to be mobile! There would be no escaping if it was located someplace on our property. I found this out when I tried to use our camper for such a place. Neighbors would come over to see what I was doing! I would explain my purpose, but that did not trigger a hasty apology and retreat from them, they would sit and converse how they have the same problem, or offer their thoughts. Of course, it's also close and convenient for family to show up with problems, seeking advice, or just to let me know what's taking place outside my secluded hide-a-way.

I'm still leaning towards a small camper or a van converted into a mobile office, bu money is rather tight for us right now. It's something I will be pondering, but for now I will deal with it the best I can,

December 30, 2023 at 5:18pm
December 30, 2023 at 5:18pm
#1061601


Our December holidays are Christmas and New Years. When I was younger, New Years celebrations were always fun, usually attending some kind of party with friends or relatives, but as I grew older this faded into just staying home for New Years Eve. We still sit up and have a drink to celebrate the arrival of the new year, but these days the evening is spent playing games, reminiscing, and relaxing.

Christmas, however is still the most favorite holiday in our home. My wife decorates the Friday after Thanksgiving and we keep the decorations up until after New Years. She does most of the decorating around the house, but I do add a little of my touch to a few things. We have an artificial tree we set up and decorate while listening to Christmas songs on Alexa. My job is to take out the decorations and hand them to my wife who finds their places on the tree. While we had children at home, it would be her and the children hanging decorations, but now it's just her and me. It has always been our tradition, after all the decorations are hung, for me to put the topper on the tree.

Gifts are placed under the tree as they are wrapped, and we still enjoy stuffing a few little things into the Christmas stockings that hang above our fireplace (electric). While there were children at home, there were always a lot of gifts left in hiding until after they were asleep Christmas Eve which would be from Santa. We did this as long as there were children in the home. In fact, this was the first Christmas that we didn't have gifts from Santa under the tree. Our tradition has been to open gifts from each other Christmas Eve, but the stockings and gifts from Santa were left for Christmas morning. After, we would get together with relatives for a festive Christmas day together.

This year hasn't been a very good Christmas for us. Our two adopted children decided last spring they didn't want to live with us anymore and it has been a long ordeal that finally came to an end right before Thanksgiving. On top of this, there wasn't any snow for Christmas, the first time in over one hundred years for our location. Much of our shopping was done together for things we needed or wanted for the home, but we did get a couple of gifts for each other that were unknown. It seemed like neither of us really got into the holidays like we used to. But, next year, I want to make Christmas a lot more special for my wife, even if it's just her and I at home of if we decided to spend the holidays with family.
December 4, 2023 at 5:23pm
December 4, 2023 at 5:23pm
#1060534
Over a month since I made an entry here! Why? Because I've been making entries in "Pages of Pint-Sized Poetry and "Alotta Monkey Business.

Today, however, I decided to write another entry here. Why?

Jeeps, you sound like my granddaughters I visited yesterday, nine year old twins who ask why to everything.

We wanted to surprise their older sister who had a Christmas concert yesterday, so we left around ten and enjoyed an uneventful drive to South Dakota. We didn't have a lot of time to spare for stopping, so we drove over to the interstate and headed south. Once we arrived, we did stop and use a gas station's rest rooms and picked up a few snacks to hold us over until after the concert. They also had pickled asparagus, one of the things I enjoy if it's seasoned right, but don't like if it's not. It's hard to find any good brands around here, so I got a jar.

After, we took the dogs to the state park just outside of town and let them run and do their business after the long drive. There wasn't any snow, but the lake was froze over and Max, my Husky loved it. Bellah had to chase him on the ice and soon discovered that ice is slippery/ Her feet went out from under her and she kind of bowled Max over when she slid into him on her back. I laughed so hard I couldn't breath. Always entertaining those two are.

The concert was terrific; she attends a Lutheran high school so it was a traditional Christmas program. I hadn't enjoyed a traditional Christmas concert at a school since my kids attended school. After, we drove out to my daughter and son-in-laws for supper and had a great visit. Again the younger twin girls hd to entertain us with a little show they made up while they ate. Max decided he wanted to be in the show as well. That worked for a few minutes, but then, being a Husky, he decided to steal the show and used his rear hip to shove the singing girl out of the way.

She of course, would have none of him pushing her away, so she used her but to shove him out of her way. But, Husky's are stubborn and soon he shoved her again and took her spot. What Max wasn't aware of is the fact that young females are also very persistent, and she again butted him back out of her way. Max was not going to be outdone and for the third time gave her a shove and then proceeded to add in a good chewing out as well while she finished her song. It was an excellent show that had us all laughing and clapping.

We left about nine last night for our return trip. Heavy fog had moved in so it was a long drive almost to the North Dakota border where the fog finally thinned enough to see more than a few hundred feet. The rest of the drive home was peaceful, the two dogs were tired from all the attention and interactions of the children, so they slept, we crept along slowly in the fog, listening to Christmas songs and talking. But, with the fog and having to drive slow, we didn't get home until one this morning.
November 2, 2023 at 6:47pm
November 2, 2023 at 6:47pm
#1058648
Once again, I find myself getting behind from a lack of visiting the site. Why?

Life!

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we attended Grandparents Day and had a great time, but after we returned home, I started suffering from allergies, I thought. But, the allergy meds didn't help and it continued to get worse. I don't feel sick, but my sinuses are blocked and when I try to sleep at night, I have frequent coughing fits and haven't been getting much sleep. But, I did see my doctor and am now on antibiotics and a cortisone nasal spray and should be over this in a few days.

My wife got hearing aids a few years back, some fancy gadgets that recharge kind of like earbuds in their own case. But, the batteries have gotten to not holding the charge, so she called the place she got them from and was informed that they needed new batteries, and to bring them in. We have moved since then, so we had a three-hour drive to bring them in, but it worked out nice since it was also on Grandparents Day and our grandaughter lives about twenty miles away from the ear clinic.

The plan was, to drop off the hearing aids to have the batteries changed, attend the festivities, and then pick them up after. But when she dropped them off, she was informed that they couldn't change the batteries there, they had to send them off someplace and it would take a week or two to get them back, and she wouldn't get the same set back, she would get a pair that had been refurbished a new charging case and have to have the fitted and adjusted. We left them and did our thing, but after we got home we found out that her insurance wouldn't pay for this and the final cost would be about $1200.00. She called the ear clinic and told them not to fix them and just mail them back to us. No problem, except it would cost us $50.00 to have them mailed to us.

We planned to go to our son's for Thanksgiving so we would be in the area and could pick them up. Everything was fine, until Monday, when they called and said we had to pick them up this week because they were closing that office. Yesterday, after seeing the doctor for this nasal funk, we completed the three-hour drive and got her hearing aids, stopped by to visit our son, his wife, and our two grandchildren, and then returned home.

Is it any wonder I can't seem to stay caught up with things?



October 23, 2023 at 2:29pm
October 23, 2023 at 2:29pm
#1057917
Daylight savings time is destroying the climate!

Okay, maybe not the climate, but it's sure messing up the seasons. As I see it, we have twelve months in the year, and those are divided into four seasons, spring, summer, fall, and winter. Now, I'm not a mathematician, but I can add, subtract, multiply, and divide and I'm telling you, it doesn't add up.

We should have three months of each season every year; no matter how you divide it; each season should be three months long (3 months x 4 seasons = 1 year). You could even do it by weeks: 52 weeks in the year, or 4 seasons of 13 weeks each. I did not factor leap years into this because it makes the formula a bit more confusing, and it would only influence the seasons by one a day a year for four years before the calendar is reset again.

So, I ask you, how is it that we end up with two weeks of spring, 18 weeks of summer, 4 weeks of fall, and 30 weeks of winter? I'll tell you why, Daylight Savings time. That extra hour of daylight results in the summers being longer! Then, they set the clocks back which results in a longer winter! Since they change the clocks in the spring and fall, these are the seasons that suffer loss.

Now, this didn't happen overnight. It took years upon years for the seasons to go spinning out of whack, and it would take just as many years for the seasons to balance again. If I remember history correctly, and I seldom do, it was Gaius Julius Abraham Lincoln Caesar who first began Daylight Savings Time. Why, he was at war with the Chaldeans and wanted to dig the Suez Canal so he could sneak up behind them, cut off their petroleum supplies, and end the war. He was in a hurry because the war was cutting into prime-time television hours and he wasn't able to watch "I Love Lucy" with his wife, and she was making his life miserable.

So, in desperation, he called Gallileo and asked him how he could get the canal dug faster. Galileo thought about this and told the Roman president to add an hour to each day so the workers could dig longer, thus finishing the canal sooner.

Anyway, that's where this all got started, and over the decades since, it has continually altered the seasons. Now, the time has come for all people to join together and demand equal time for every season!
October 19, 2023 at 4:31pm
October 19, 2023 at 4:31pm
#1057689
I was gone yesterday; my wife and I left early and didn't get home until late, so I didn't get the opportunity to log in yesterday. Now that I'm caught up (kind of), I decided I would blite (bog-write) about my day.

My oldest son called about a week ago, his daughter had asked him if Grampa TJ and Grandma RL could attend Grandparent's Day at her school. They live a couple of hours away, and we hadn't ever been told when these were, so I was quite honored that she had asked us to come.

I told him we would try, but Grandma RL had to work and didn't have any PTO left. As it worked out, she needs replacement batteries for her hearing aids and the place she got them is very close, and on the way, to his house. Even though they would not give her an excused absence from work for our granddaughter, they would for any medical purposes.

I called him back and told him we had the time and would head down to surprise her, and her brother who happened to have his birthday the same day. He agreed to keep it between us and his wife, and the plan was in motion. So often, it seems that once a plan is established and begins to unfold, something comes along and disrupts that plan, and this time was no exception. But, we worked around a few things and made it work.

Yesterday, after dropping off the hearing aids we drove over to our granddaughter's school, found a place to park (not an easy thing), and went inside. It just so happened that we arrived a bit early and she was still at lunch. So, we were allowed to wait outside of her classroom. We were looking at some art the children had created on the wall (no, not graffiti, it was on paper taped to the wall) when she returned. She rounded the corner of the hall and squealed, no, she screamed in delight, almost knocked me over when she ran and hugged me, but before I could hug back she had already pushed off and was attacking Grandma RL.

It was wonderful to spend a couple of hours with her at her school, play bingo (I lost every game), eat some cookies (they need to add coffee to the snack menu), and enjoy her excitement. After, she insisted she ride back to her house with us! We went to the office and explained this to the secretary, who then called home to get parental permission, so we could give her a ride.

Shortly after getting to her house, my son arrived from work and asked me to ride with to pick up our grandson to surprise him for his birthday. We parked near the bus drop-off and waited. He got off the bus, engrossed in his phone as he walked towards his house (he lives with his mom for one week and with his dad for a week). He didn't notice us parked there, so my son rolled down the window and yelled at him. He didn't notice because he had ear-buds in, so my sone honked. This got his attention enough to see his ride was there. But, he didn't really look to see who was riding with his dad and assumed it was his stepmom.

He was shutting down whatever was on his phone as he put his bag in the Jeep, then climbed in, looked up, and finally noticed who was riding along. He also yelled, although not as loud as his sister had, "Grandpa!"

We returned home and had burgers cooked on the grill, smothered-baked potatoes, and birthday cake. He had requested a cheesecake first, then an ice cream cake. The place they got it actually makes a combination cake and ice cream dessert and they incorporated a layer of cheesecake into this, it was delightful.

We had a wonderful time and stayed much later than we had intended since Grandma RL had to be up early for work today but it was worth it. We returned home at about eleven last night and were both up (I figured if she has to get up early for work, I can at least get up to see her off) at five-thirty.

October 15, 2023 at 7:44pm
October 15, 2023 at 7:44pm
#1057465
My wife's nephew, who tends to be kind of a loner and does his own thing, is working harvests in the area. Since it was rainy yesterday he wasn't working and stopped by for a visit. He only has a couple of weeks left hauling sugar beets and will likely be done working for the year. He asked if he could stay with us over the winter, which is no problem since we have plenty of room.

I had my office pretty well set up, finally (Can you say procrastination?), and just spent half the day taking down pictures and moving everything so he would have a nice room. There is another spare room that's just a bit smaller, and next to our bedroom that I decided to set up for my office. Being in the rear of the house, it's quieter, less distractions, and will work better for me.

The problem is, instead of a junk drawer (we have one of them, too) we have a junk room that serves as a catch-all for stuff we don't know where to store. (Again, I think we can say, procrastination)

Anyway, my wife and I spent a good deal of time taking everything out of the junk room and finding places to store the stuff. It was a slow process but eventually, the room was barren and everything has a place. I moved my desk, bookshelves, and another set of shelves into the office, figured out how I wanted them, and then carried in all the containers of stuff I had in my office.

I did get my books moved and set back up on the bookshelf, and I have my whiteboard up by my desk, but everything else is in tubs, boxes, and containers. I'll likely spend the next couple of days setting everything up again, then I'll change my mind and rearrange everything at least once, but I'm hoping that I'll have my office ready to use in a week or two.

There is a morale to this story: Don't put things off till later, do it now! Seriously, it will take even longer if you put it off. Say No To Procrastination!
October 10, 2023 at 3:38pm
October 10, 2023 at 3:38pm
#1057134
In the previous episode last entry I mentioned Camp Bagoo, which many of you are unfamiliar with. So, without further ado, let me explain how Camp Bagoo came to be. For the sake of brevity, I'll try and keep this short!

I met my wife in February 2002 and we did our first campout together in early May, which almost resulted in hypothermia. But, despite this, she continues to love camping. We started out with just the basics, a tent, a few cooking and eating utensils, and some blankets; cooking and coffee were done over a fire, and our bed was the floor of the tent. But over the next few years, our camping gear increased and we soon had a gas cookstove, an air mattress, a couple of folding chairs, a crate to carry things with a wooden top that served as a small fireside table, and a bigger tent.

I had a young puppy, Klarissa, and by the time she was about a year old, my wife got a six-week-old puppy, Hyko, as well. They soon became best of friends, and we brought them with us everywhere we went, including camping. These two were a source of constant entertainment, loved the water, full of energy, and very curious; they got into everything. Even so, they were very well-behaved with other people, stayed at the campsite (most of the time), and loved our camping adventures more than anything else, except cookies. No, they would have passed up freshly baked cookies to go camping.

While camping, we often saw signs that read, "Welcome to Camp Fill-in-the-blank" and we decided we should get a sign for our camp, but what to name it? We gave consideration to many options over time, but after the two beloved pets passed away, we decided we wanted to honor them and their love for camping. But, it didn't seem to work using their names, "Camp Hyko-Clarissa" or any combinations.

As I mentioned, they were quite the characters, and after one incident with Hyko doing something mischievous, awkward, or silly (likely all of the above) my wife quoted a line from the cartoon, Mr. Magoo, "Oh Magoo! You've done it again!" But she misquoted and said, "Oh Bagoo, you did it again!"

I laughed, she looked puzzled. I explained, she laughed with me and said, "You know what I meant."

"Yeah, I did, but it was funny, and the look Hyko gave when you said it only made it funnier. You knew she was talking about you, didn't you Bagoo?"

He looked at me when I said it, cocked his head, wagged his tail, and from then on, his nickname was Mr. Bagoo. With the two being inseparable and so much alike, Klarissa soon became Mrs. Bagoo. To make it even better, they would respond to their nicknames with cocked heads or back-talk. In time they were no longer pets, dogs, or anything other than a couple of Bagoos.

In conversation with people we would, without thinking, refer to them as the Bagoos. it just became a normal term for them. "I have to get home and let the Bagoos out." Or, I have to give Mr. Bagoo a bath." Even things like feeding time, "Are you two Bagoos going to come eat?" And, they would.

Ever since they passed, we have referred to our camp as, Camp Bagoo" in loving memory of the wonderful times we shared, but we never did get a sign to put up. Life has a way of making us put things off. But, now that we have the mobile tent, we often reminisce past camping trips and how much the Bagoos would have loved the camper, especially when it rained. (They loved the water, they swam any chance they got, you couldn't keep them out of a river or lake, but they despised getting wet from rain).

Now, the time has come to finish our "Welcome" sign. Max and Bellah seem to have a bit of Hyko and Klarissa in them and will do things that the Bagoos used to do. This winter, I'll make the sign and my wife will either paint it or use her wood burner, and by spring we'll be hanging out our sign, "Welcome to Camp Bagoo".

Our mobile tent is a 1998 Coleman Bayside, it's twenty-five feet long with the bunks extended and has a slide-out dining area. It's plenty big enough for us, gives us the convenience of a camper, and the enjoyment and memories of our years tenting. When the weather turns nice again, I'll remove the "Bayside" decals and my wife will replace them by painting (I write, she's the artist) Bagoo in their place. We haven't yet decided, but are thinking about replacing them with, "The Bagoo Mobile-Tent".


October 10, 2023 at 1:33pm
October 10, 2023 at 1:33pm
#1057127
We packed up the mobile tent (pop-up camper) and headed out Friday for likely our last camping adventure of the season. It was damp and chilly, but a nice day for our three-hour drive. The leave's brilliant fall colors were in contrast to the gray, cloudy sky, and the drive was beautiful. It started raining about a half-hour before we reached the campground but stopped just as we arrived.

I backed the mobile tent into the site and assisted my wife in getting set up and our gear inside. With my back acting up, she had to do most of the bending and lifting, but we packed our gear in multiple bags and tubs to keep them lighter just for this reason, and the mobile tent is pretty easy to set up.

She had just about everything inside by the time I finished hooking up the water, electricity, and sewer. Just as I was going in I felt a few raindrops; it rained for about an hour and the wind picked up to about thirty miles per hour. I started the furnace (the temperature only reached the mid-forties Friday) while she put things in their place. Once we had everything put away, the rain stopped so we took the dogs for a walk, then carried the few remaining items in. Shortly after, it began to rain again.

We took out some food, put on a pot of coffee, and enjoyed our first meal at Camp Bagoo listening to the wind blowing and the rain on the tenting. It was cozy, warm, and very relaxing.

Saturday I was up early and was able to log in to WdC for a short time, but the WiFi at the campground was intermittent, and since I have a difficult time typing on my tablet, didn't post very much. It got cold at night, down to about freezing, so we waited until it was warmer (it got up to fifty) to start a fire and sit outside while the dogs roamed the area and explored their new surroundings. The campground was about half full, but nobody was camped near us, so we had quiet and the dogs had plenty of room to explore and run.

We cooked a simple lunch over an open fire and enjoyed it inside the camper as the wind picked up a little and more rain passed over. But, by the time we finished eating and cleaning up, the rain had passed. Still, it was pretty wet out, so we decided to load up and go for a scenic drive. The fall colors were splendid as we drove the backroads into Bemidji. The furnace did great at heating the camper, but we wanted to get a small, electric heater to save on propane. We found a small, about two feet wide and a foot and a half high, electric fireplace with infrared heat that was perfect to use in the camper. We took a different route back and enjoyed the scenery, some deer, a couple of eagles, and a lot of squirrels.

Once back we set the heater up, decided on our dinner, and I got another fire going. Later, we enjoyed hamburgers, baked beans, and sweet potatoes cooked over the fire. After eating, we built the fire up and watched a very beautiful sunset before returning to the warmth of the camper. Unfortunately, we forgot to charge our phones so we didn't get any pictures that evening.

We started Sunday the same; a warm fire to cook brunch and relax while it warmed up into the fifties. By early afternoon we had most of the campground to ourselves and enjoyed watching the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks going around the various campsites searching out tidbits of food while the fire burned down.

My back was doing better, so we went for a short hike on one of the easier trails. When we came to a split in the trail, I was still doing well and decided to tackle the inclined side up to an overlook. The trail was nice with a gentle slope, and about halfway we found a place to sit on a downed tree and take a short break while the dogs explored around us.

This was the only bad experience we had! After a short rest, we started walking and called for the dogs who were a short distance away, in the woods. Bellah came right away, but Max was distracted and after we walked a bit further, I called him again. He came this time, but we were further up the hill and the sun was behind us. He looked towards us, but I think he was blinded by the sun and didn't recognize us because he started running around the area he had last seen us in. I started walking towards him, and he panicked and started running back the way we had come.

I called him a few times, and each time he would stop and look, but then start running in circles looking for me. He's not quite a year old yet and got very confused until I was in a position where the sun wasn't hitting him straight in the face. Once he could see me, he bolted straight at me! At over sixty pounds, and moving fast, there wasn't anything I could do except brace for the impact... But, at the last minute, he put the brakes on and didn't jump. He stood up against me and licked my face before running over to see the rest of our group, giving them Husky kisses before we continued on.

When we crested the hill, we discovered a large meadow on top, the foundation of an old structure, and an old wooden fire lookout station. The dogs ran around the meadow while we enjoyed the view. The tower stood another twenty or thirty feet high and would have made for an awesome view, but it was closed off; not that I would have been able to climb the ladder anyway.

We took a different trail back down, this one a bit steeper and more difficult, and by the time we reached the bottom my back was getting pretty sore, so we returned to camp and lounged around in the camper while I waited for the Advil to take effect. Then it was another fire and roasting sausages on forks to go with chips and dip for dinner.

In the evenings, since it was a bit too chilly to sit out, we enjoyed the comforts of our mobile tent and played Backgammon. Well, we had brought a Backgammon set along, with the intent of learning how to play, but the directions were very confusing and written so small we couldn't really read them. So, using what we knew, taking what we could from the directions, we improvised our own version of the game.

Monday was another beautiful day, no clouds at all, a bit windy, but warmer. There were only two other campers and they were at the far end, so we walked the dogs around the campground a bit, built a fire to cook lunch then started packing things away. Knowing we are in for temperatures below freezing, and it's not very likely we'll get out camping again this season, we stripped down bedding and packed it in the truck, removed all the food items and put them in the cooler, and removed any liquids, so we could bring them inside when we got home.

We cooked stew and ham over the fire, enjoyed one last meal in the mobile tent, and then closed it down. We took our time and let the fire burn down and go out, then hooked up the camper and headed for home. Knowing we wouldn't get here until late, we stopped in Park Rapids at the A&W and enjoyed some very good food. I should have taken a picture, but didn't think about it; they still have the carport in the back with car-hop service!

Now, after my wife gets home to help me (my back is still acting up) well pull the camper into the lawn and set it up to clean it real good, drain the water, and get it ready to hibernate for the winter. Still, if the weather isn't too cold, I may be tempted to take it out for a weekend, one last time; I can hope.





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