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Rated: 18+ · Book · Personal · #2017254
My random thoughts and reactions to my everyday life. The voices like a forum.
I do not know quite what happened or when , but my hubby and I now qualify for seniors' discounts at some venues. This creates a quandary; in order to save money, but not face, we have to admit to our age. HMMMM..... We definitely do not consider ourselves to be old. In this day and age ,when people as a whole are living longer and healthier lives why are 'young seniors', those in their fifties, like moi, considered 'old'?? It's so true that age is just a perception! "Maturity" is very objective/subjective, and I object! Whew, a few years have skittered by since I composed this biography block. Those "fifties" are in the rear view mirror and they are distant, fond memories. Oh, I do not plan to stop writing any time soon.
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June 29, 2022 at 8:20pm
June 29, 2022 at 8:20pm
Bard's Hall #10
         Perhaps I have too much idle time on my hands as I bake in the early summer heat and swat away the predatory, blood-sucking insects. What motivates those mosquitos? I wonder if they attend mandatory training sessions? I can envision a flight squadron with tough drill sargeant/instructors and malleable cadets. There must be a training manual, right?
         "Listen up you mewling wannabes. I'm only going to say this once. To acquire a target you must look for colour. If that colour moves, guaranteed it will provide your next meal. The red, peeling ones are easy pickings. They're already exposed and just asking for you to stop by. The brown, sun-ripened ones may prove more of a challenge. Their skin tends to be more leathery, tough, but still edible. No, it's not a rumour, the white, pale-as-a-ghost blood donors seem to be the sweetest. Need I remind you bare skin is your optimal target? Sure, burrow if you wish, but there's plenty of succulent, bare skin available."
         "Ah, excuse me sir. Some of the older skitters claim they've developed a sixth sense. They are attracted to anything with a pulse that expels CO2. Can we expect that, too?"
         "With enough flight time, yes, anyone may develop a blood radar. You will learn that different vintages exist. Will you like the taste of certain blood types more than another? Absolutely. A constant untapped supply awaits you. From several of my missions, I can attest that O+ abounds."
         "If I may sir? Could we explode if we imbibe too much?"
         "Nothing remotely like that has ever happened on my watch. Do not over-indulge. It will slow you down and scuttle take-offs. With added weight you experience less air buoyancy."
         "Ahem. Sir? I don't know if I can control my appetite? This is our flight fuel isn't it?"
         "I cannot stress this enough newbies. Take only what you need. I assure you the buffet never closes. You will have a choice of locally-sourced, or tourist import."
         "Sir, sir? I've heard whispers of distraction techniques. What is that?"
         "I'm pumped that you asked. An advance patrol first makes contact with a blood source. They buzz eyes, whine in ears. The rest of your squadron moves in. Do not hover, it attracts attention and telegraphs your presence. You are a stealth strike force. Get in, get out."
         "Um, sir? Rumours say that a great whooshing precedes the disappearance of our fellow flyers. Some mumble and tremble recalling a sudden, loud clap, too."
         "Risks exist, I'm not going to sugar-coat your raids. Every unit should have a scout. Their job is to shout abort, abort the moment they sense a downdraft. If you hear the clap, it's too late for some of your party. Irritate, yet remain vigilant. Avoid the whooshing."
         "I speak for all of us sir when I say I'm more than ready. When do we take off? I for one am famished."
         "It's go time, cadets. Move in, move in. Walking smorgasbord detected. Remember swarm, swoop, strike."
June 27, 2022 at 1:41pm
June 27, 2022 at 1:41pm
Bard's Hall # 9
         I habe a summer code. Germs have struck, very bold. Oh woe is me. Why? Why? I don't get sick's my cry.
         Sniff, sniff. Snort. Snuffle. Sneeze. Swipe. Staunch. Repeat.
         The waterworks cascade non-stop. It's not a drip, or a dribble. My left eye is in danger of floating free of its socket. Flooding has not abated. The tears are streaming on tears. Was there ever a dam that crumbled? Where were the anti-cold fortifications?
         How did this virus slip past my defences? Did my unsuspecting immune system accept/welcome a trojan horse? Sure, come on in, make yourself at home. Stay a while and visit. My respiratory system is your respiratory system.
         This invader has created a munitions factory and tucked it deep within my nasal passages. Bombs disguised as sneezes explode forth at regular intervals. Bonzai scream these missiles as they hurtle from my quivering nostrils spewing their germ shrapnel.Cold clones scatter in a fine mucous spray, invisible parachutes cushioning their landings.
         Misfired, aborted sneezes implode in my sinuses. Shock waves reverberate. Mucous regroups and re-arms. Production intensifies.
         I've attempted to evict my unwanted guests. I've resorted to huffing, puffing, and blowing, but they outnumber me. Despite my vigilant efforts to trap and dispose of them with copious tissues, they continue to attack. They lurk in cavities/bunkers plotting their siege.
         I believe I'm shell-shocked. I habe a summer code. Sigh. Sniff, sniff.
June 24, 2022 at 8:18pm
June 24, 2022 at 8:18pm
Bard's Hall # 8
         Am I the only one who dislikes the program, or whatever it is that attempts to guess what word I'd like to type? You know autocorrect, or is it predictive text? Who was the genius that unleashed this on the world? I know the words I wish to use to express myself and I do not need a computer program second-guessing me. Why would an unseen force compelled by computer code replace my text with random gibberish and then think I'd accept it? No, this is not okay. I've learned to turn off this offensive option to save myself editing grief. Do not put words in my mouth at my finger tips.
         Predictive, sure... There are so many possible words in the English language and many share the initial letters. Texting I am excited could be twisted to I am excellent, or I am expelled or, I am expired or I am experienced. They all have quite different meanings.
         What is the writer's intention? Jack is bored. Jack is borrowed. Jack is borderline. Clear as mud, right?
         I will admit that the substitution of words is often humorous. In an online discussion about mice-repellent methods someone posted street wool and the other contributors carried on accepting the intent had been to suggest stuffing holes with steel wool. I'm not adverse to the idea of street wool. Most Canadian citizens own and wear some form of wool garments when they're strolling on our streets in the chilly winter. I fail to see though how toques, scarves and mitts will deter a mouse invasion. Take that you vermin! Just try and chew your way through our street wool.
          Recently citizens were sharing their disparate views re the trucker occupation in Ottawa. One person waded into the fray and expressed the following. Protestors ride on the fridge of the left. Imagine an irate, flag-waving mob swooping in to our country's capital city astride bucking, snorting, ill-tempered fridges. Silly? I believe the intended word had to be fringe. There is a marked difference, n'est-ce pas?
          I cannot fathom ordering a seizure salad, but a diner raved about one. Yes waitress, please bring me the starter that causes uncontrollable tremors. I do love a good seizure. The caesar salad is so passe.
         I do accept that texters/ posters occasionally create typos. The letter keys sit in close proximity and fingers often act with a stubborn mind of their own. We know what we intended to type and presume our digits did as we expected them to do. I myself seem to strike the o when I really wish to utilize an i. Sometimes an l sneaks in to subvert a p, or a k. I'm in the habit of proof-reading with due diligence, not due dipilence.
         Finally, I must mention this unfortunate public post left to bewilder us all."The shit's the balm." Ewww! Say it isn't so! A balm is a salve, something intended to be soothing, healing, restorative as in lip balm. Would anyone agree that sh*t is any of these things? Yes, yes, of course the sender meant to express themselves with the word bomb. Right? Didn't they? Or does the poster believe that an explosive device is spelled the same as a cosmetic/health product?
         English already has a reputation for being difficult, puzzling, nonsensical, frustrating, confusing. Predictive text and autocorrect do little to clear the water.
June 23, 2022 at 8:47pm
June 23, 2022 at 8:47pm
Bard's Hall #7
Names are personal. Whether we like our monikers or not they identify us. They give people something to call us besides hey you.
         My soon-to-be son-in-law detests the name he's been saddled with and curses his mother for her choice. She defends that fateful decision, but she doesn't have to live with it.
         When our daughter first told us the name of her beau my hubby asked, "Is he Asian?"
         Nope. The suitor is an over six-feet tall weightlifter, Caucasian and French Canadian. I've been with him when he's had to repeat his name and then been urged to spell it for clarification.
         He begins by stating, "Y," and then he draws the wrath of whomever made the request.
         There may be a loud sigh, or a glare, or a snippy comeback. "Because," they snap, "don't be rude."
         Yan shrugs and attempts to spell out his name again.
         "Is that it, er, um, Ian?"
         He corrects them. "No, it's Yan."
         My aunt who will officiate at the wedding this summer refers to the pending groom as Yawn.
         To me this sounds like a Scandinavian name. "That's right. My name is Jan pronounced Yawn."
         Too many times my daughter has texted me, mentioning her partner, and her cellphone has autocorrected his name to yam, or yak.Imagine having a name not recognized in predictive text.
         You may wonder if Yan has other names, middle names, to use instead. Why yes he does, but again his mother didn't do him any favours.
         He is Yan Nichole Raymond. His first middle name looks like a girl's name, Nicole. His Mom only brings out his full label when she wishes to startle him and gain his full attention. She pronounces it knee-cull. As for Raymond, it's okay, but still not what Yan prefers.
         My daughter has a lovely French name, Danielle. All her life she's corrected people to not call her Daniel which she considers insulting because she is not male.
         Her French-Canadian future mother-in-law who should pronounce this name the accepted French way instead calls her Daniel. It's frustrating, but this woman has an excuse. Her daughter insisted that a grandson's name be pronounced in the English form as Daniel and over the space of twenty-five years this has become a habit.
         Sometimes, my fellow grandma slips and refers to our mutual granddaughter as Alexandria instead of her actual name Alexandra. It may only be the difference of one vowel, but this irks my Danielle.
         Odds are that my daughter will wed a Yawn in August and giggles will be stifled.
June 21, 2022 at 2:15pm
June 21, 2022 at 2:15pm
Bard's Hall # 6
         I noticed the following intriguing question posted on Facebook. What did you collect when you were a child? The responses were illuminating and amusing.
         My British born and raised step-mother-in-law Mary, replied,"Empty scent bottles. I loved the shape and smell of them."
         This shook lose memories of my Mom and her career as an Avon lady. Sure, she received hundreds of perfume bottles for her customers. Of course, I'd been warned not to open every one just to have a sniff. I admit to ignoring this a few times. I could not resist. All the scents mingled and perfumed the air. Um, I do not believe I sneezed into any of those containers.
         Avon marketed their scents in fancy glass bottles that became collector items for some avid fans. Several were shaped into figurines. Some were beautiful, sparkling glass bells, dinner bells. I picture the lady of the manor raising it with her dainty hand, shaking it and commanding,"Oh Jeeves, did you not hear my summons and why on earth is there a sudden scent of perfume in the air? Jeeves?" I vaguely recall a kitten one. Even the men's colognes sported fancy bottles. Were they irresistible fish, baseball gloves, motorcycles? Hmmm, I cannot remember.
         One macabre woman responded to the online prompt with this. "Tears from my little brother." Really? Is she kidding? Did she antagonize her victim sibling? Could he have been a sensitive child? Was she a bully? Did she live to torture him?
         I'm the eldest of four, a boy and three girls. I will admit that when the three oldest of us tired of the baby we united to rid ourselves of her. All we had to do was utter a protest of some kind, something that would register to Mom's ears located elsewhere. It only had to be simple, direct. "Sherry, stop it!" "Sherry don't do that!" "Sherry, not again!" Mom was predictable. She'd holler for Sherry and then we were free. Were there tears? No, not from us...
         One poster claimed to collect bruises as a child. I did, too, but it wasn't by choice. Bruises just materialized on me. I also collected stubbed toes, fractures, blisters, scars, whatever. They are battle wounds. Remnants of misadventures, miscalculations, missteps and okay, misbehaviour.
         My mother regaled me with tales of her childhood as the eldest of five. Her nightly ritual, job had her emptying her sister Janine's pockets before bedtime. Mom remembered cringing and taking a deep breath. She never knew what she'd discover and then be forced to dispose of without alerting Janine. There could be one or a few worms, dead, or still wriggling. Pebbles could be nestled amongst chewed, sticky gum. Spiders might crawl out of captivity. Sharp nails could be waiting to stab someone. Yuck!
         I remember objecting if a sibling dared to request the same wondrous prize from a cereal box that I fancied. The math never did add up, one box, four kids. The odds improved when and if we each had our own box of Cracker Jacks, a caramel popcorn. There's nothing like eating your way through the treat in anticipation of a hidden reward.
         My maternal grandparents and my parents purchased Red Rose tea which stuffed lovely, tiny ceramic figurines in the boxes. It always produced a surprise. Maybe it would be a cat, or a dog, or a fish, or a horse, or wee children. Nanny lined all of them up along her kitchen window sill. When young, we rearranged them and played with them.
         I recall collecting empty, glass pop/soda bottles from the street or parks. Returning them to the store meant earning spending money for candy, or another pop. What an ingenious recycling plan! Exploit children to clean up with instant gratification.
         I suppose I collected and still collect precious memories.
June 21, 2022 at 12:44pm
June 21, 2022 at 12:44pm
June Camping Trip!
Monday, June 20th


While camping, you or Andre spot Bigfoot!
What happens? Tell us all about it!
         A breeze caressed my cheek and ruffled my hair. Without opening my eyes I elbowed Andre snoring next to me.
         "Andre! Did you forget to zip up the tent door again?"
         Snorting in reply Andre rolled over. A mosquito buzzed near my exposed ear and I swatted it away. Over and over that persistent pest dive bombed me. Several more marauders joined the first. Waving my arms I sat up and peered through squinted eyes.
         It took a moment for the fog of slumber to dissipate. Were those twinkling stars? Wow, the moon seemed so big and bright. Wait a minute...
         "Andre wake up! Where's the tent?"
         I poked and kicked the monkey until he too sat up, stretching and yawning.
         Something rustled in the grass and a shadow hovered over us. I may have been half-asleep, but my eyes recorded a tall, shaggy creature clutching our pup tent.
         "Hey!", I blurted.
         The thief took off running and stumbling, the tent's poles clanking, the lines tangling in his humongous feet.
         Andre and I struggled to our feet and set off in pursuit. We didn't cover much ground in that first attempt in fact we face-planted, hard. We'd forgotten we were sheathed in our sleeping bags.
         I wiggled and thrashed in my cocoon desperate to shed it. Andre grabbed his sleeping bag in both hands, leapt to his feet and began hopping. I marveled at how quick he bopped along. I remember thinking Andre must be a shoe-in to win sack races and I made a mental note to choose him as my partner at the next competition. I couldn't help it, I hollered.
         "Go Andre!"
         After more of a tussle and a few choice mutterings I wrenched myself free. I tossed my cumbersome sleep sack aside and followed the sounds of snapping twigs and huffing/puffing.
         "Andre, I'm right behind you."
         Into the tangle of trees I plunged. I pushed. I pummeled. Branches snatched at my hair and slapped my face. Mosquitos whined. Shadows flitted past. Things creaked. Things shuffled. Things loomed large and silent.
         I burst into a moonlit glade. Gasping for air I bent over and grasped my knees. A whimper alerted me to look up and I spied an upside down Andre trussed in his sleeping bag, swinging from the stout arm of an immense tree. As I stepped towards him, the hairy, well-muscled creature peeked around the base of the trunk. He glared at me and raised a giant fist. I froze.
         Maintaining eye contact he stooped to gather up our tent. Straightening to his full impressive height he cocked his head and grinned. With a wave he vanished.
         Both Andre and I whispered, "What was that?"
          ( 471 words minus the 21 words of the prompt )
June 20, 2022 at 7:23pm
June 20, 2022 at 7:23pm
         Bard's Hall #5
         We all enjoy a variety of foods, right? Some of us anticipate tasting new treats. Every summer there seems to be unique ice cream flavours introduced to entice me. The name may be kitschy, but I love Moose Tracks.
         I've just learned of a different something soon to be on the market. It's touted as a "limited-edition product" meaning a short time availability.
         What is this item that I assume marketing gurus thought we all needed? According to a survey commissioned by the condiment company French, 79% of Canadians like or love ketchup. Eighty-four percent of those polled put this red gloop on their french fries. Ketchup is considered a "notable flavour of summertime in Canada."
         Yep, someone somewhere decided we couldn't resist a frozen treat, a "condiment-turned-popsicle," a frenchsicle, created from 100% Canadian tomatoes.
         So, I may well rummage through a freezer in a variety store and pull out a ketchup-flavoured popsicle? Do I wait for it to melt and then spread it on a burger? Could I utilize this frenchsicle in a pasta sauce? Perhaps they may be a substitute for fresh tomatoes in a salad? What's that unique ingredient in your chili?
         The red ones are not necessarily cherry? Should I suspect the yellow popsicles are mustard-flavoured and not banana-y?Wait, will the lime ones become obsolete? Yuck! I do not like relish. No, please, no relish popsicles. I'm not a fan of pickle popsicles either.
         Really? This is the best brainstormers could envision to attract new customers? Did they believe the 21% who did not claim to like or love ketchup would jump at the chance to lick it in a frozen state?
         What's next? Waitresses asking, "Will that be one or two lumps, ie. ice cubes, with your order?"
         Just imagine no more condiment bottles; restaurants saving and serving all their flavour enhancers in mini ice chests.
June 17, 2022 at 1:40pm
June 17, 2022 at 1:40pm
June Camping Trip
June 17th Prompt

You're one of the campers.
Write a letter home telling your family about your favorite camp counselor, Andre.
Dear Parental Figures,
         If you've received this letter I must still be alive at its writing... barely... hanging in there... waiting for the tough to get going. My skin has flaked off most of my body. Andre showed me how to write my name with the sunscreen lotion on the backs of other campers sleeping in the sun. We sure laughed, but the girls punched me and it really hurt my sunburn. Some kids now call me ack. Andre and I hurried, so we may have missed an important letter.
         You'll be thrilled to know I've only been rescued from a tree four times. During my last attempt, I missed a branch and fell, giving the rescuers a break. Andre double-dared me to chase him and I never back down from a dare. He's quick.
         My toes are not comfy with all their bandages, but the camp nurse said they will heal soon. The two toe nails I ripped off should grow back, too. Andre insisted I could grip with my toes like he does.
         He's a great camp counsellor. His bald patch is already showing new fur. I did what he told me to do. When he said throw it, I threw it. He did not tell me to throw the burning stick into the campfire.
         Guess what? I eat bananas now. Andre showed me to eat them with melted marshmallows and chocolate chips. I can hardly tell I'm eating a fruit. Will any fruit taste good this way?
         Have you ever slept under the stars? Andre said I chose the perfect night to do this. It didn't rain, or snow, or anything. The mosquitos only bit the parts of me not in my sleeping bag. Andre doesn't mind if I scratch. We still haven't found my tent. Andre and I wonder if it walked away. Even the pegs are missing.
         See you soon. It's time for archery and Andre has promised me my own shooting spot. Your son, Jack
(355 words minus the 24 of the prompt )
June 17, 2022 at 1:36pm
June 17, 2022 at 1:36pm
Bard's Hall #4
         Well, June is here again. I know, I know it comes around once a year. The timing of its arrival is a nod to a pattern. How apropos then that I’d discover that June thirteenth is Sewing Machine Day. Despite opportunities and a seamstress in the family, I never did learn to translate a pattern into anything useful, or recognizable. My meager efforts were half-hearted and they only succeeded in fraying my nerves.
         How does one celebrate Sewing Machine Day? Is there a Hallmark greeting card? Should I invite a sewing machine to lunch? Could I phone a florist and order a bouquet of flowers? What flowers are associated with this? Forget-me-nots? Oh, I know. Aren’t there flowers known as buttons? Since I raised this question I investigated. Yes, a lovely bloom exists and is known as bachelor button. But, do sewing machines like to receive gifts? Should I purchase something more practical like a new needle, or a spool of thread?
         Here’s the thing. I do not actually share my home with a sewing machine. Am I expected to go find one and offer to spend time with it? Are there borrowing agencies similar to a library? Could I sign one out after promising that no harm would befall it? What on earth would we do to pass the time? I do not speak ‘sewingnese.’ I’m not adept with one either.
         Oh, my maternal grandmother earned a living as a seamstress coaxing temperamental sewing machines to cooperate with her vision. She attempted to school me in this mystic art. I balked. I resisted. My mind wandered and blanked. What’s that expression? In one ear and out the other.
         I failed to learn anything . Over and over, Nanny demonstrated how to thread the contraption, and over and over the thread would snap and I’d forget her patient instructions.
         That thread had to be slipped through a doohickey and then squeezed into a whatchamacallit. Somewhere it twisted ‘round a thingamabob and headed for the needle. Yes, I recognized the shiny, pointy, moving thing as a needle. Oh, and under the needle inside a port lay a bobbin. A fun word to say, but still a mystery to me. Why did the thread insist upon snapping? Why was it so delicate and filament-like? And if by some miracle it stayed temporarily attached, why did it snarl? Ugh!
         Here is where I confess that I am not the least bit coordinated. Rarely have all four of my limbs cooperated as a cohesive team. To operate said sewing machine one of my feet had to volunteer, er, I mean control a foot pedal, the floor-placed gizmo my Nanny did not like me calling an accelerator. To describe it as finicky is an understatement. I’m certain the wee bit of pressure exerted by my baby toe caused it to rev and race. Holding my breath did not help either.
         I never cared for the sharp, stabbing material-piercer whirring up and down. I did grasp the concept of feeding cloth to the needle, but I never placed my vulnerable fingers anywhere near it. I suppose this did explain the bunching and knots. In spite of my dismal efforts, my seams were never what anyone could deem straight. I created a hitch in my stitch.
         That particular sewing machine and I never developed a rapport, an understanding. I still believe it smelled my fear.
         Perhaps it’s for the best if I miss Sewing Machine Day. I enjoy a wonderful life free of this ornery hunk of metal and I do not wish for my status quo to unravel. Thanks Nanny, we know I’m no sewing machine wrangler. My snippets never amounted to much. My eldest daughter Carrie adopted your ol’ work horse and she has stitched together a mutually beneficial partnership. Over the years she has offered to set me up with the ‘family heirloom’, but I refused to accept. It’s thriving in its present home. Why sever their common thread?
June 16, 2022 at 5:12pm
June 16, 2022 at 5:12pm
Bard's Hall #3
         Recently, I celebrated yet another birthday. If I should ever lose my faculties, or forget how to count, or grow muddled at the concept of time and aging, I feel certain my children will note the passing years for me. They keep a running tally.
         Perhaps it's a test meant to measure my awareness. Is Mother with it ? Does she know she's approaching that hill? Has she begun to slip? Do they ogle me with bated breath as I announce my new age? Am I supposed to fiddle with the numbers and shave a few off? Really, would I outright lie?
         I've learned there's a sobriety test police officers use and it's known as the FIT, Field Impairment Test. My kids could repurpose that FIT to be Faculty Impairment Test.
         I like the memories Facebook has saved for me. If my recollections dim, FB has my back. It's all there in black and white, posts I shared and FB has guarded. Proof exists that I once could write coherently. Here is one such memory.
         June 1st, 2010. Okay, I admit it... today I become 51. When you think about the cake (and cookies) I've eaten, all the jokes I've heard and still mostly remember, the great people I've met, the songs I can still boogie to and the very real fact that I still have my own teeth and hair, well... life is grand! Thank you for the birthday wishes.
         If I should ever myself floundering I could repeat this post at each new birthday only altering the number. Would/could I do that? Naw, where's the spontaneity in that? If I'm alive to relish that good fortune I must honour my advancing age with new words.
         Every second of another journey 'round the sun is well worth it.
         I read this online jab and thought to myself isn't that the point, to acknowledge and appreciate being older? This whole birthday thing is getting old. Can there ever be too many birthdays?
         Am I getting wiser with age? I dunno. I believe I'm still learning. I will always be an apprentice.
         To prove I have much to absorb I admit to this. Much of my life I dwelled within the standard Imperial world of measurements. One day Canada switched to all things metric and I adjusted. No longer did I record car trip in miles. A new temperature system existed. I purchased both milk and car fuel by the litre. This has become my new reality one which my kids recognize as normal.
         Two weekends ago, shivering in my trailer at my campsite, I reluctantly cued the furnace to expel heat. I commanded the thermostat to reach a temperature of 28. It cranked to life and began circulating air...cool air. I had noticed in the recent past that my bedroom at the rear of the trailer never seemed to grow warm. I shrugged and piled more blankets on my bed.
         Hubby sat down to troubleshoot and discovered that the digital thermostat had the capacity to be set to much higher numbers. He set it to a shocking 68, and soon I felt real warmth. We both realized then and there my mistake.
         "You do know this trailer is American, right?"
         It was an eureka moment. I'd been thinking in the metric sense, so 28 degrees should've been very balmy. Twenty-eight Celsius is not the equivalent of sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit. At 28 Fahrenheit I'd set our trailer to be below freezing!!
         Thank goodness I've lived long enough to learn this. Happy Birthday to me.

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