Working Wednesday, September 9, 2020

I have a list of things to do, crucial things, and I don’t seem to be doing any of them. Like a disconnect between my logical brain and my confused body. (What day is it? Did I already do that? Am I out of Diet Coke ALREADY?). I’m hoping it’s just quarantine brain and not senility.

Tell me what you accomplished this week. Inspire me.

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62 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, September 9, 2020

  1. Coffee water stored in a lower cabinet, next to the mixing bowls. One door for each section. Bumped into the water door first thing every morning when I forgot to close it after taking water out, so decided to switch them. Moved bowls to water side, water to bowl side.

    Now open TWO doors to find either water OR bowls, but I have faith that in two or three years I will remember which is which. Hopefully.

    On a lighter note, I’m happy every time I remember that next spring we will have the 17-year locusts back, which I love in so many ways.

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    1. I have missed the Brood X cicadas the last two times they erupted, but plan to be around next May/June. The 1970 emergence is seared into my brain. I cannot WAIT.

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    2. My first year in Houston was 2009 and they had huge numbers of cicadas that year. Houston is not on the list of 17-year and whatever-year lists, but apparently they hadn’t had that many cicadas in so long a woman told me her 17yo son had no idea what the noise was. I found it disturbing and was walking in a nature park the first really bad day. I had to leave; it sounded like alien insectoids out to eat my brain. (I actually wrote a blog post about I then.) I haven’t heard that many since, but I found it creepy. So loud, I could hear them inside my apartment and inside my car with windows rolled up. Perhaps I don’t like them because I spent most of my life on the West Coast and we didn’t have anything that sounds like cicadas there.

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      1. Cicadas are the sound of summer holidays to me. They’re the sound I associate with staying at my grandparents place, which is why I always love hearing them in anime – it immediately drops me straight into summer.

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        1. When the cicadas came to the metro DC area in 2004, the kids in my daughter’s middle school started eating them (well, the boys on the bus did it to gross out the girls, possibly inspired by the Maryland Secretary Of Agriculture eating them at a press’s conference), and the principal ended up having to make an announcement. “There will be no bringing cicadas on campus to eat them. There will be no going off campus to eat cicadas. There will be no eating of cicadas.” Because a lot of Washington Post reporters kids are in our school, this ended up in the Post.

          There are some real idiosyncrasies about raising kids near the nation’s capital.

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  2. My Internet went out for hours, so I cleaned a bit, baked biscuits, and unpacked a couple of boxes.

    My set studio room is still in boxes, but I did get a small table set up with my quilling supplies.

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  3. I got ready for my holiday and started it. Went to the zoo yesterday, which I haven’t visited since childhood. It quietened down for the last hour or so, and I enjoyed it more – especially the butterfly house. Finished by taking an unexciting picture of an elephant, just as I did on my first visit there at the age of seven, with my mum’s old Box Brownie: my first attempt at photography.

    I’m at the allotment today: it’s sunny again, and I want to mulch the big bed I cleared before the weeds come back.

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  4. Excellent news! Getting a bunch of blankets shipped up north to my cousins that my aunt had started and I finished! My other aunt was kind enough to take a load (whole suitcase worth) with her as she travels back north! Just in time for my cousin’s birthing!

    There’s now a clear little space on the spare bed where the projects have been sitting for 9 months. I finished my gma’s whopper of a blanket, super excited about that!

    And now, New Project Time! Soooo excited to finally be working on something new! Not many small blankets left, but im gonna work on them anyways. Next timeline is next summer when my parents go up north. Seems far away, but not really. I’m slow on big projects, and there are some with stitches new to me.

    It would be magical if I could finish everything by next summer… think that’s my goal!

    I’m glad for the chance to post this (thank you Jenny!). Work has been… the same as always, but it got to me last night. Think I’m gonna talk to my manager today. We’ll see. But I’m glad for the opportunity to be grateful and reminded of the good things!

    Last night we also made our first frittata (never even tasted before) to use up leftover spaghetti! It wasn’t bad! But it definitely needs some pizzazz. All the “leftover spaghetti” recipes I found for frittata were all super plain. Discovered after people add all kinds of things! So now must experiment. Vegetables and maybe some extra sharp cheddar, def. Some garlic in there. Wanna work with fresh herbs so badly, but waiting until the weather cools off and I can move some plants to the patio. I bought some new ones at the grocery store, lost one in a week to aphids. Other one is slow turning yellow and not sure why. Not dry, watered thoroughly, and kept it inside with decent sun. 🙁

    Silver lining, I’. making that the basil pot if that plant kicks it!

    Happy Wednesday!!

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    1. Think of a frittata as a really good way to clean out the fridge. When I make them they turn out about 3″ tall and full of everything. I’ve put leftover roasted potatoes, wilting veggies, risotto, anything and everything. They never turn out the same way twice but that’s okay.

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  5. I got my sewing room put back to rights after last week’s plumbing escapade, which made me much happier. I’ve done the paper piecing of the new project, and am in the process of ripping the papers off (fun and mindless while watching TV). I also put together a frog quilt (a panel with surrounding borders) for my great niece. It turns out she loves swimming and catching frogs in the pool between her cancer treatments. I ran over to the longarm shop yesterday afternoon, so all that is left now is getting the binding sewn down. Here’s a picture pre-quilting.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CEzqyeDBENi/

    Now to finish up those other projects have I strewn about the house!

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    1. What a great quilt! Some women at my church made a quilt for me, bear claw pattern, when I went through chemo–a great comfort!

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  6. I fixed my office chair. For some time the pneumatic lift cylinder has been funky – going up when I get off my chair and then going down in jerky movements when I sit – all without touching the adjustment lever. Argh! So off to You Tube land I went and saw what other people had done. I found just the thing to fix it in the handle of an old pump sprayer that had not been used in years. As the pump handle had a curved open side just the same diameter as the lift cylinder on my chair’s lift, I used a hacksaw to cut it to the right length, snapped it on the chair lift and used some duct tape to make sure it stays in place. Now the chair can’t continually sink until my knees touch my chin. I can’t tell you how excited I was. It’s like getting a new chair.

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  7. I did the training to be a poll/election worker yesterday. I don’t know if I will get called b/c they had quite a few people volunteer (which is a good problem to have!). I have a whole new level of appreciation for what they do. I found it all pretty overwhelming.
    Today, my older son actually got some one on one time with his teachers which was good and something I have been asking for from the beginning. I had to assist him which I didn’t mind and I think seeing this also gave the teachers a better sense of his level of frustration with online learning.
    It was almost like a comedy routine. I would write out a math problem on a piece of paper and hand it to him to work on the answer. He would ball it up and toss it over his shoulder. (“No math. Math all done. Bye Bye Math”). I feel that way about math too, so I can’t really blame him.

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    1. Thank you for your service as a good citizen. We need all we can get.

      SLATE magazine ran an article a couple of weeks ago on how to be sure you can vote in every state, and I excerpted the information for California and included it, with citation and hyperlink, in a newsletter I did for a ladies’ group. They were quite pleased with it, and I plan to be sure to continue with the information and other appropriate encouragement right up to Election Day. [Group is a 501 (c)(3) charity, so political stuff is off-limits.]

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  8. I made reservations for a week’s vacation at the end of the month. That’s it.

    I’m not going far–just enough to make it not worth a day trip, but no flights required.

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  9. I just learned that state governments in Germany are handing out a kind of scholarship to artists (writers, Musicians, you name it) who lost income because of Corona. So the most important thing I did today was to apply. (I basically lost all my PR clients, medium-sized businesses who presently have other challenges to face than turning out customer or employee magazines and stuff like that.) We’ll see whether I’ll qualify – it would let be be much calmer while I’m researching and writing my next historical novel. Keeping fingers crossed.

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  10. Making motions but accomplishing little. Hopefully the zoom meeting I am in charge of tonight will go smoothly, and I will make more muffins as a breakfast item. If so, it will feel more productive than I have managed to be at work so far this week. And tomorrow is another happy day (as my dear mother used to say, with varying degrees of sarcasm).

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    1. when it’s been hard, or far too commonly, unmotivated I like “tomorrow will be better”, usually managed without sarcasm, though indeed, not always.

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  11. This week it was more day job than anything but I did take Friday afternoon off to do some yard work. I cut away a (fairly) straight edge and put down a row of reclaimed half bricks around the yard by the garden fence. I didn’t get all the way done, I have to work around the lilac tree and the peas growing on the fence, but I got most of it done. It’s mostly to be a track for the wheels of the lawnmower and to help keep the weeds back from so it doesn’t have to be perfect, but I think it looks nice.

    We were going to go on a picnic on Saturday but it rained so we just made a run to our local Stihl dealer to drop off the weed wacker to get fixed. They have a trade-in program so if it’s worth anything as a trade in, we are going to get a smaller one. This one is huge and industrial and it’s made for trimming large areas and it’s just too big for us. It’s hard to store and very ungainly so a smaller one will suit us, and by us I mean Paul as he does the trimming and I do the mowing, better.

    I made 20 minutes of aquafit today. I didn’t do a lot of leg work but I still made 5 minutes beyond my goal! I’m aiming for 2 classes a week, as much or as little as I can do and the instructor knows I’m injured so she doesn’t fuss when I have to leave early. It’s already been almost a year with this knee so I know my limits with it.

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  12. Flailing through 3 kids doing online school w/ online dance classes. So much flail. Also surviving Washington’s wildfires which are unbelievable. We have power, internet, and no evac orders so we’re golden, except for the part where we’re all asthmatic. Not the most productive week ever here.

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    1. We started getting huge winds (gusts to 50 mph) from the east bringing smoke from wildfires in Washington two days ago. Last night we also started getting intermittent winds from the south bring smoke from Oregon wildfires. Everything outside has a thin layer of grey ash and I can’t go out because of my asthma. Oh, and the temperature has been around 90. We lost power for about 3 hours night before last but have had no problems since then. I don’t want to clean house even though I am stuck inside because I will just have to redo it when the smoke stops. Which meant I actually took out one of my canvases and started blocking out a painting. I haven’t done that in a while. See. Silver lining.

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  13. With my son in a five-week break before his (online) university starts up again, we made a To-Do list for the condo. That was two weeks ago. Nothing done yet, darnit, and it’s my fault; just not motivated. Reading a lot. Hoping to kick into gear today, he starts classes in 3 weeks!

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  14. Over the long weekend, I made about twenty flannel cowl/masks to give to friends/family for the holidays. Double layer of flannel, with elastic at the top. I still need to make a few more for people who don’t wear the intense colors that I prefer for myself. I’d like a medium green, but all I saw was either deep hunter or neon lime.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CE7PiK5D2qW/

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  15. I am completely unmotivated about anything under the heading of ‘housework’ but did at least get laundry done today.

    Over the overheated weekend, published novel #14; and had a guest post go up on All About Romance. Oh, and updated my listings at Queeromance Ink. Have also completed Chapterization & Pre-Publication Review of my October and November titles, and pestered my designer about covers.

    At the moment I am chillin’ before a Zoom meeting with my work group. Got a ton of stuff done this morning and have a ton more to do post-meeting, but no point starting that now.

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  16. The grandkinder are all back to virtual school, Zooming their little hearts out. You know how the running gag is that to operate an electronic device, find a ten year old? It will never be truer than with this generation, and the generation supervising them.

    Since the GK have my laptop as well as all their laptops, pads and phones, I am thrown back on my minicomputer, and I love the little dickens. However, I have no anti-virus helper, just the native windows defender, so I spend a lot of time in airplane mode, save for checking email and coming here.

    I can’t say that I’m accomplishing anything.

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  17. Yesterday I had enough ground beef to make stuffed peppers and enough to make meatballs for a meal. Instead of bread crumbs I used sliced potato bread as a binder also grated a carrot to stretch them out. I remember from my weight watcher days potato bread counted as a vegetable according to the team leader. I would keep a loaf of the bread in the freezer and take out one piece and slice it down the middle in order to have two whole pieces for a sandwich. I think about those days every time I put a Pepperidge Farm cookie in my mouth.

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  18. I determined to read a novel which is intriguing my seven year old grandson. I has proven, unexpectedly, to be an immense burden. The book’s good, I love to read, so why?
    The central character, an abandoned wolf cub, survives through luck and pluck. Lots of Aesopian tiny parable vignettes move plot and character along. But I am ploughing through by main force, engaged only by analytic fervor, applying standards of early childhood development and kid lit hooks and keepers, trying to figure out why he loves this book. The prose is simple and academic level English, no mean feat, and the best kind of example to offset message app bursts of emoji communication.
    I got through it yesterday. Good for me. But I feel in need of a large dose of Bujold to repair my stretched tolerance. Baffling.
    As penance, I dusted a year’s worth of cobwebs from the basement ceiling and walls and swept the remnants into the dustbin. Today, fruit flies have swarmed the tomato harvest. “The gods are laughing.” (Isak Dinesen, I think)

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  19. I got the first curriculum packets for my pre-k class put together to deliver tomorrow. Then I need to make packets for the two year old class. Next week we start all remote preschool. We hope to add some outdoor meetings starting in October. Maybe our county Covid numbers will be good enough that we can add in some classroom time before we hit the winter rain.

    It’s good to have indoor projects to work on because the smoke from the wildfires is making the air quality terrible. Hang in there, all you other west coast folks.

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  20. I’m doing my first in-person school visit for the year this morning, as the schools in Tasmania have just opened up to visitors again. Talking to Grade 3/4s in a little seaside town south of Hobart. I’m really looking forward to it. 3/4s are usually slightly deranged, in the best possible way.

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  21. I’ve been picking away getting the launch of my next book ready. I think I’m all set and plan to release later this month. So excited for this one because the main characters are in their late forties – yet still have hot sex and great chemistry. 🙂

    Have been staying on top of the gardening, too. Usually by this time of year I’ve simply given up. Frosts are coming soon (sometimes we have one in late August, but despite the cool summer our nights have been quite mild) and normally I can’t be bothered to baby them knowing their days are numbered. But since it looks like me might get our summer in September I’m trying to keep things looking good.

    Our last child moved out of the house in July so my husband has been painting his room as a respite space for his dad, who lives with my brother-in-law. Hopefully he can come stay for a few nights to give my BIL and his partner a break. It’s tricky with COVID social distancing measures but we think we can make it work.

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  22. I’m organizing for a group Zoom meeting Friday morning, while we’re having the weirdest weather day anyone has ever seen — the local wildfires put a layer of ash overhead; under that is the local marine layer. I left the house this morning for a medical lab fasting blood sample. The sky was a yellow-gray color with enough light for an hour before dawn instead of 7:45 am. Headlights on all morning as I went on to grocery shop. A worried cousin in NYC texted me, sure we were on fire, and I told her about the sky and added that the air quality isn’t too bad (apparently the marine layer, otherwise called ‘fog’, has kept the breathing air somewhat cleaner than might otherwise be the case AND lowered the temperature below the 100-odd degrees predicted). However, it reminded me of Pliny’s description of Vesuvius, though we don’t have any volcanoes in the IMMEDIATE neighborhood. She said, Krakatoa? Gloomy pair of us . . . .

    Now it’s 2 pm and outdoors looks like sunset.

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  23. Happy reports today from 3.5 year old GD who started new pre-K in-person class today at private Christian school that her parents plan to send her to thru grade 5. Plans are in place for on-line class if Covid rates warrant it, but this gives her the opportunity to get to know her teachers and new classmates before that happens.

    Am now in my second month of retirement. This weekend DH and I got all of our camping gear washed/rinsed/packed in winter storage containers. Now just need to put them away in their winter storage areas.

    DH works from home right now and we have been spending our mornings (while he works and I crochet) watching the Tour de France. Neither of us are bike racers, nor do we follow bike racing the rest of the year, but we got in the habit of watching the Tour every summer about ten years ago. It is actually a gorgeous travelogue of France and provides beautiful views and vignettes of the French country-side and ancient architecture. With the added benefit of some drama as the various races unfold. I was missing my annual fix at the beginning of August and was delighted when we got back from camping to discover that they are currently running it.

    The rest of this week is being spent doing some adulting: making long over-due maintenance doctor’s appointments; paying bills and balancing checkbooks and basically shuffling personal papers around. Next week I plan to start researching recipes for healthier meals…..

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  24. My house manager owns her own property management company and about a month ago, she hired me to help her with one of the sites because the previous person has moved out of state and can no longer do on-site stuff. She and I go to the site together every Wednesday, we both notice things done and need doing, I write it all down, and I write up a weekly report. I think it’s a very simple report — it has headings and lots of bullets of items — with a couple of paragraphs for the board. I think it’s just a simple thing; the manager and the board think it amazing. Weird. But, I am getting paid for several hours a week and so far it’s all been under the table so it doesn’t affect my minuscule unemployment checks (especially now that I’m not getting all that extra). I help with some admin and keep telling her I can help on the computer, too, but she’s too unorganized to let me help. Oy.

    So, that’s the most productive stuff and it’s so far the only time I leave the house. At least there’s that. I have a new therapist here who has a very different personality and way of approaching talk therapy than the one I had in Seattle. I think this one will manage to give me the pushes — and the tools — I need to make progress. Today we mostly talked about my procrastination and not living in the present and about how I can put up notes. Then, she asked how I was going to engage with what the signs remind me to do. This is the first time anyone has taken me past just making and putting up reminder signs! She got very specific about engaging, about how to be more here now. It was great. That’s may other work. I’ve been in therapy since 1993 off and on (mostly on) and I think this is going to be the most productive I’ve ever been through, after only four sessions. I may eventually be out of therapy! Woo hoo!

    16+
    1. This is fabulous! A therapist who will deal in specifics and follow through is a pearl beyond price. Often it is like a workshop I went to about being assertive. After we worked on condensing our needs down to 1 or 2 sentences and delivering them, I asked what do we do if that doesn’t work. All they said was that that was not the subject of this workshop.
      Your therapist sounds a lot more realistic and helpful.

      8+
  25. I finished a freelance project last night and did dishes. That’s about as industrious as I get. Working on campus six hours a week; it’s slow, now that most people have their IDs–the library was given that job a couple years ago. But we are all working alone, so I’m not getting anything else done. The now five-week-old kittens charm me daily, cutting into any thought of productivity. Looking forward to cooler weather and more walking. Just getting through the day is exhausting.

    7+
  26. This week, I weeded a pot plant and cooked the veges that were going off in the fridge. It felt like progress.

    And we had an artist friend staying for the weekend and did a couple of sessions of drawing each other. I feel like my drawing’s getting more consistent. Most of my sketches look like the person I’m sketching, at least kind-of.

    In my drawing class, I’m drawing a dog, in pastels. I’ve been amazed to discover that I can draw by doing a first layer of pastel that doesn’t look at all like a dog, then add more layers on top until it does. I don’t need to make the first layer good, let alone perfect. Totally eye opening.

    8+
  27. Today I helped my sister sort out her pantry and weed out the things that will be donated. Since most of the charities are not accepting donations right now, I’m not sure what we will do with the stuff, but the more we can get done now, the better off we will be.
    I also submitted my application for winter heating aid and started my recertification for food stamps. Having to deal with so many State and Federal forms at the same time is making me cross eyed, but once I finish this set and send them in, I’ll be done for the year. I have procrastinated for so long that it will be a huge relief to get the next stage underway.

    5+
  28. I’m in the midst of a very firm discussion with Mademoiselle Cecile Brunner. She’s incredibly thickety and far too tall. I have no legitimate rose pruning skills, but I think she’ll be hard to kill. Only about a thousand buddleija left to prune (it feels true), a couple of apple trees and the clematis. Have planted a lot of vegetables under improvised frost protection devices near the houses, done some extreme renovations with the Bobcat on the vegetable patch over the creek and a spot of adulting making specialist appointments. Gosh, reading that back, I think I’ll have a lie down.

    8+
      1. My new Mme. Brunner is doing a wonderful job of producing roses, sometimes too fast for me to pick: going from no color showing to wide-open petals falling off in less than twenty-four hours. Being planted bare root in May, with about a foot of stem, she’s only about three feet high at the highest right now. Looking forward to next year when (based on the behavior of my parents’ bush over forty years) she should reach the eaves.

        3+
  29. felt like a nothing done all day but really
    I washed the windows in my bedroom, they get much rain and dust plus having a hard to remove screen. fiddly and painful but now the view from my new exercise machine is so much better. Important as going outside for exercise less and less attractive.
    And I cleaned my toilet and the cat box.
    And I started fringing the blanket I’m making a nephew. Never fringed anything before. He wants a very short fringe, I’d no idea that short would be so tricky that it begins to seem worth the waste to fringe longer and then trim.
    Then spent ages fan folding foil (since I was wrong the first few times about lengths and size). The foil is so I can pre-separate paired lengths and the pile of 7 colors. The first few inches of fringe I did just from piles of short lengths of yarn have involved three unpickings of colors and several escaped lengths where pulling out two strands left one on the floor or unnoticed on my clothes to be walked through the house. I don’t know yet if it’ll help but the arc of silver fan with black strands fringing 3/4 quarters of the oval sure looks pretty. Counts as a happy too, esp if it works

    7+
  30. This has been the second week of The Shed. I pulled out boxes a papers from my dad’s career, and actually got him to look them over and decide what to keep. So far about 120 lbs to the the shredder of old checks, business papers, etc., about 35 years’ worth. Then some precious mementos, now smelling of mildew. Boxes of curtains covered in mouse poop and mouse nests, to the dump. Old sticky books, covers ripped off, and recycled. Next step is to put the saved items in plastic storage boxes with cedar and dessicant packets.
    My sister’s coming to visit in a week or so, and we’ll tackle the garage. Phew.

    7+
  31. Hi, I just read, for maybe the 10th time, Agnes and the Hit Man. It is probably my favorite book. I love it, the humor, the romance and the action. It is great.
    Have you ever thought about a follow-up. They are such great characters. They’re people you would to know.
    I like the humor in your books because there’s humor in everyday life if you look for it.

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