Tues. May 17, 2022: This, That, and Other

image courtesy of monicore via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and cool

So it was Mercury Retrograde chaotic. Friday morning, after my first writing session on the porch, I decided to do the script coverage in the morning, so I’d have a longer weekend, but it all took longer than expected. Plus, it took an hour to get the computer limping along again. I also cleaned out the refrigerator, which was a bigger job than I expected, but it’s clean and shiny and we got rid of those bits and bobs that tend to take up residence in the back of the shelves and morph into scary monsters.

By afternoon, I was tired, even though the work wasn’t that difficult. I read on the porch, played with the cats, fussed over the plants. We’re having wasp issues this year, again. I managed to kill one of them; according to MOTHER NATURE’S HERBAL, I can use sugar water to get rid of them. If it continues to be an issue, that is what I will do.

I was actually happy for most of the day. I’ve been almost afraid to be happy since the move, afraid the other shoe would drop and something else awful would happen. But we are happy here. This was the right move. We love the home, we enjoy the city, there’s a lot for which to be grateful and to enjoy every day. I need to allow myself to experience that instead of being afraid of it.

My mom turned over her winter clothes for her summer clothes. Willa “helped” – which was pretty hilarious.

I made a simple dinner of breaded flounder, rice, and steamed vegetables for dinner, and we had gelato for dessert. Time to stock up on the gelato!

Rough night again of strange dreams and waking up with stress memory. Charlotte has decided she prefers to sleep either stretched out along my back or curled up against my chest. Which is sweet, except it’s a little too hot for that. That’s more of a winter thing!

Up early on Saturday, another sunny and hot day. I wrote on the porch, with Tessa for company. After yoga, I switched out the flannel sheets for bamboo sheets, and switched out the comforters.

McAfee forced me to renew the virus protection (nearly a month early). They gave me a “discount” and then I had to uninstall the old version and install the new version and restart the computer (which was having screen freezes anyway). When it all got fired up again – every screen looks completely different. Every feature runs differently. I assume that’s part of Windows11. I haven’t decided how I feel about it yet – I mean, it’s a sleeker, more modern look – but it’s different and I have to get used to it.

Did a bunch of paperwork that had to go out on Monday. Signed up for Counter Social. I’m @DevonEllington over there.

Usual Saturday housework stuff.

If you missed the Self-Care for Mercury Retrograde oracle spread over on Ko-fi, you can find it here.

Made potato salad and put some chicken in the crockpot with honey barbecue sauce. Switched from flannel sheets to bamboo sheets, and put away the winter comforter for the summer, rose-patterned one (Charlotte’s favorite). Fussed over the plants, including changing the water in the birdbath. Put together two of the three small shelf units I bought. They’re much nicer in person than they look on the package. The third unit is missing a shelf, so I had to return it yesterday.

These two small units are for my tarot cards, only I don’t think they will all fit, and I’ll still need to use some space in the blue bookcase (where they all used to live, in the other house, but where I also have writing books and poetry books now in my office).

Finished repotting the rest of the plants bought last week, repotted the last Cape Cod geranium, and planted some more seeds: the new morning glory, cat grass, some marigold seeds sprinkled in with the ruby cherry tomato we bought.

The college across the street had their graduation on Saturday, and it was a beautiful day for it. It was joyful in the neighborhood, although one young woman, wearing shorts and a tee shirt under her robe (and high heels), walked by and said, “Oh, my God! I just realized it’s all over. What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

As someone who knew what I wanted by the time I was six, that made me laugh.

The neighbor across the street put rows of solar lights along the path to the front steps. Which is great, I love that they’re decorating. However, at night, it kind of looks like a landing strip!

We discussed the various road trips that have been on the table, that we hoped to do this summer. We decided to cancel the trip to Ithaca. It was supposed to be a pilgrimage to Moosewood Restaurant, but they keep having to close for a few days here and there as their staff tests positive for COVID. Which means their patrons are being selfish and going out to eat while positive. Even with outdoor seating, it’s not worth the risk. We’ll put it off, and see how things are in fall, or next summer. We’d also considered doing a quick hop to York, Maine, just for an overnight. But, with the variants being more dangerous for those over 60, even with double boosting, we’re not comfortable doing an overnight in a hotel, even if we can get our favorite pizza in the area as takeout. So that’s cancelled (although we have the sneaking suspicion we’ll have to head that way for a funeral at some point over the summer; a family member is not doing well).

I still hope to do a back-and-forth with friends to Beacon. I’d like to visit there, and would love them to visit here. I’m still hoping to do a day trip over to Saratoga during race season to visit with friends there whom I haven’t seen since before we moved to the Cape.

My mom really wants to do a couple of small trips, since she’s basically been in isolation for going on three years now. So we picked a few places nearby and will do short day trips. And I’ve got a book of unusual places right here in the Berkshires we can visit. We didn’t really get a chance to explore much last summer, because we were so traumatized and exhausted by the move.

Plus, with a season pass for Windsor Lake, we can pop up there whenever we want.

If we take our jaunts midweek, it won’t be as crowded. We won’t eat indoors; we’ll get takeout and eat in a park or something. The great thing about freelance is that if I take off a day midweek, I just work a weekend day, and, as long as I meet my deadlines, it doesn’t matter when the work is done, as long as it gets done. When we return, we will follow decontamination protocols, and we will continue to mask indoors. I mean, not at home, but I’m still masking at the grocery store, library, anywhere else I go inside. And when we travel, we will do the same.

So that discussion and those plans took a lot of stress out of the mix. We won’t be able to get a storage run in before Memorial Day, so maybe we’ll do one in early June, and then nothing until autumn again. I’m hoping I can get enough work this summer so I can afford to rent a storage unit up here and move everything up. If I can even find a storage unit up here. But the prices listed are much less than I’m paying on Cape, and it certainly would be easier to get at things. And maybe store things seasonally.

Dug into my Elizabethan theatre research again, for a long-time idea that might, later this year, be ready to form, if I tweak it into an alternate universe, instead of making it historical. An idea on a book about Jonson and his masques gave me an idea for an arc for The Big Project, should I decide that the initial arcs are strong enough to support continuing. (That will all make sense when I publicly announce what The Big Project actually is).

I have to figure out when I can make an appointment at the Williamstown Historical Society so that I can do some more research into the history of The Spruces for the Retro Mystery. I’m pretty sure I want to write it for this year’s National Novel Writing Month in November.

The eclipse energy started hitting me in the evening, and my emotions were all over the place.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:30 Sunday morning, which was wonderful. It’s light enough and warm enough now to do my first writing session of the day (in longhand) on the front porch, and once she’s had her breakfast, Tessa joins me. The scout crows stop by and we all have our morning chat. Tessa has developed a really strong relationship with the two scout crows. They chat every morning. And it’s not like the birds she wants to catch, out back, with the swishing tail and the predatory body language; it’s a chat.

Still having trouble with the computer. It takes an hour to boot up every morning, even from sleep mode. Then it takes about 20 minutes to start running properly, without freezing screens. If I take a break for a few minutes, with the laptop lid up and it goes into screensaver mode, it takes 20-40 minutes to rev back up. Usually, if I take longer breaks, I put the lid down to protect the keyboard from cats and dust, but then I have to start the whole hour boot-up process again.

This is not okay. It cuts in too much of my workday. How is this an “improvement” or an “upgrade”? I have PLENTY of space on the hard drive for this upgrade.

I got the email for the World’s Largest Poem, giving me the heads-up that I will get my prompt in 7-10 days. So excited to be a part of this.

Edited three chapters on CAST IRON MURDER. The pace, the flow, the story, are all working, thank goodness. Updated my tracking sheets, too.

Took “Personal Revolution” down and will revise it so it can work on more platforms. Since it’s set around the 4th of July, I want to make sure it’s clear of all the previous outlets before the re-re-release. Looking at it, it needs more revision than I’d hoped.

Updated the Devon Ellington Work site.

Finished reading TO MARRY AND TO MEDDLE by Martha Waters, which was kind of fun. The theatre/backstage scenes were done particularly well, and I appreciated that.

Started John Scalzi’s THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY, which promises to be one of his typical wild rides.

We had thunderstorms, so I took down the hanging baskets, worried they would get pounded. Students are moving into the ground floor unit across the street; I wonder if they’re there just for the summer, or are staying all year.

Up early on Monday, thanks to Tessa. The computer actually booted up pretty quickly. Got some blogging done, and put up the GDR post for the week, which you can read here. Started revisions on “Personal Revolution.” It needs more work than I’d hoped, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Revised three more chapters for CAST IRON MURDER. Got the inbox down from over 1000 emails to just over 200. Looked at some calls for submission. Did some admin.

The morning was gorgeous, and I got out and did errands: returned the shelf unit missing a shelf for a refund (they’d sold out of the units, so I couldn’t just swap it out); dropped off/picked up books at the library; went to the liquor store.

Found out that Berkshire Gas is doing their inspection of the lines today (the one where I’d been trying to get actual information for weeks, and finally just turned it over to the landlord). They may or may not have to come into the apartment. Which meant I spent the afternoon cleaning instead of working. Not that the place is dirty (I mean, I cleaned over the weekend). But still. I wanted it to be even better. I mean, we still haven’t unpacked everything yet, and we’ve lived here for nearly a year.

Finished reading John Scalzi’s THE KAIJU PRESEERVATION SOCIETY, which was a wild ride. I don’t know how he does it, but that brain of his is certainly unique. Read THE AMBER CROWN, by Jacey Bedford, which was a much grittier alternate world fantasy than one usually gets. Started THE BONE ORCHARD by Sara A Mueller, which is fascinating.

Thunderstorms and intense rain came through in the afternoon and evening. But it’s absolutely gorgeous this morning.

The MADE IN MARSEILLES cookbook arrived yesterday. The jerk of a postman (I think our former, lovely postman retired) also left a package for 10 numbers down the street with my package. So I went down the street (in the rain) to make sure they got it. Our former postman loved his job and all the people on his route. This one doesn’t give a crap about any of it, and doesn’t even pretend otherwise.

Doing some last-minute cleaning this morning, and taking the garbage out. Then, it’s back to the page in the morning, knowing I could be interrupted at any point for the inspection. We’ve closed the doors to the bedrooms and the laundry room, and the cats are very confused.

I hope to work on revisions for CAST IRON MURDER, The Big Project, and the radio plays today, along with some script coverage. Tomorrow morning, the car goes back in, hopefully, to be fixed once and for all.

I’m hoping to even work outside on the back balcony, in one of our enchanted garden spots. I’m pretty sure if I do, Willa will want to come out, and we’ll put her in her playpen for safety.

I’m not talking about the three mass murders by gun over the weekend, or how the Supreme Court continues to force its ideological agenda on the country. This post is long enough. That will wait for a different day.

Have a good one, friends.

Wed. May 11, 2022: House and Home

image courtesy of kmcremeans via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and lovely

I was out the door by 7:15 yesterday morning, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get to the mechanic. I got there in 15 minutes, found it, no problem.

In other words, I was there before they were.

They didn’t mind that I waited for them, and got me settled on their too comfortable couch while they got their day sorted out and then looked at the car. It took four hours, because they had to be methodical about it. The previous mechanic had given a vague code reference, and they had to go down a checklist to find out what the actual problem was. It’s a much simpler fix than the other guy warned (which also means less expensive). They did a temporary fix so I could drive without worry, ordered the part, and I go in next Wednesday for the fix.

During those four hours, I just chilled out on the couch with my book and watched how well they interacted with their customers. They know most of them by name, and have a great rapport. With me, they were nice, straightforward, and everything made sense.

They will also replace the battery in my key that went out a couple of years back, where I was told it could only be done by the dealer and cost $300. They will fix it for $13.

On the way home, I stopped at the store and picked up some stuff, including a hanging birdbath for the back balcony and a rug for the enclosed front porch.

After lunch, we got in the car and headed out to Whitney’s Farm, where we spent too much on plants. But boy, is the place gorgeous! Then, of course, we had to buy more pots for the plants. We weren’t back until well after 3. But I’d blocked off the whole day, and it was nice not to worry about anything.

Spent the late afternoon on the porch, reading. Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Only a few more weeks, and we are done. Of course, that’s what we though in 2020 and 2021.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat. Windows 11 has decided to install, so who knows how long that will take. I’d hoped to get some work done before I head out to the library and the grocery store, but we’ll see.

It’ supposed to get into the high 80’s later this week, so it’s time to switch out from the flannel sheets mid-week instead of over the weekend, and to really set up the front porch and back balcony enchanted gardens.

I don’t have scripts in my queue to worry about, and, while I should worry about that, I’m enjoying taking it a little slow and doing things around the house. Once the Windows Update is installed, I’ll get some writing done, too.

I’ll write about it all in more detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post.

I have a tarot reading up on Ko-fi about handling the Mercury Retrograde with grace.

Have a good one!

Wed. May 4, 2022: I Don’t Even Have the Words

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and mild

Yesterday was a frustrating day, workwise, because the computer update took four hours, even with tech support. So I lost half my scheduled workday. And I had to sit and watch the update, because I had to answer prompts along the way. I couldn’t walk away and do something else.

I’m glad I got something done on The Big Project while I was at the laundromat, or I would have been really upset.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script and went back to contest entries.

While raging about the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It’s not that I’m surprised – since it became law, this threat has been on the horizon. But to allow judges appointed by a treasonous Russian asset and the husband of an insurgent to make decisions that affect our lives it unacceptable. It’s only the tip of the iceberg of rights being overturned; that is part of the long game. And if any law can be overturned, then we’re never safe.

This B.S. that campaigning politicians give us about “voting harder” needs to stop. Right wing extremists are being placed to negate election results. Right wingers and Manchin have blocked voting rights. Voter suppression is on the rise. November is too late. We can’t vote our way out of this.

Plus, we HAVE the votes. We put enough Dems in office to get it done NOW. Stop making excuses about Manchin and Sinema. It’s up to Schumer to put Manchin’s balls in a vise and twist until he complies, and do whatever needs to be done to Sinema for the same, instead of giving in to them all the time. If McConnell can keep his people in line, Schumer needs to do it, too, or he doesn’t deserve to be Majority Leader.

Milquetoasts talking about the high road are only getting us killed. It has to stop. NOW. Not in November. NOW.

It should have stopped on January 21, 2021. But the Dems were tiptoeing around being nice, while the Republicans mobilized to kill more of us on multiple fronts, from anti-vaxx to stripping away rights to sedition. We work ourselves literally to death to get Dems in office, and all they do is make excuses about why they can’t get it done.

And Merrick Garland is part of the problem, too. If the Narcissistic Sociopath had to pay for his treason, and the seditionists in Congress removed, the invalid justices could be removed and people who are qualified could actually get back to governing.

We are in this mess because the Dems keep bringing a dandelion to a gunfight instead of getting gritty and doing what needs to be done. Those of us that understand what’s going on have been screaming about this since Reagan.

We talked about this at Knowledge Unicorns. A couple of the kids will be old enough to vote in this election, and you better believe they are going to do so.

Today, I have to dig in and catch up on the work I couldn’t finish yesterday, including turning around at least two scripts, working on both the Big Project and the next draft of “Owe Me”, and working on contest entries. I was going to do a library run, but I think I’ll wait until tomorrow, and go by car, when I do the big grocery shop.

Stay safe, friends, and do your part in the fight. At this point, anyone who says they don’t do politics, especially a woman, means they agree with what’s going on. See them for who they are.

Wed. April 27, 2022: Creative Expansion and Unnecessary Stress

image courtesy of mohammad Hassan via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a mixed day. I managed a good bit of admin in the morning; I have to, or the number of emails becomes overwhelming. It rained a good portion of the day, although I managed to get home from the laundromat before it started, and dashed out in a quick pause in the afternoon to get the garbage out.

I went back and started re-establishing myself over on Ello, and remembered why I enjoy that platform so much. I cross-post a lot of what’s here over there; haven’t yet decided how I want to do new content.

On the wave of the work I’d done on The Big Project at the laundromat, I did another section. I am still way, way, waaaaay behind where I need to be on it, and I have to double down on it in May.

I had some additional material to look at for the contest, which was just forwarded to me (late), and dealt with that. One category is now officially finalized. I’d hoped to have the second category done today, but it’s more likely to be tomorrow or Friday (likely Friday). That depends how much script coverage comes in. Right now, I just have one more script to cover today. I’d hoped for two tomorrow and two on Friday to end this pay period close to what I need, but it looks doubtful.

I set up a Ko-fi page. I think it’s a better fit for me than Patreon, because there’s less pressure for tiered content and constant content. I still want to add new material pretty regularly, and use it to play with material that’s out of my wheelhouse a bit, or with pieces that I know are strong, but haven’t found the right market.

For instance, I posted “Fallout” which is one of my favorite flash fiction pieces. It’s received excellent feedback, but never the right market fit. So it’s here, and it’s getting positive response.

I also want to do some tarot pieces, using different decks. I’d considered doing it on Instagram (inspired by other tarot readers who do a great job on that platform). But it’s too complicated to do from my phone, so I’ll do it on Ko-fi instead.

It’s not that I think I’ll make a huge profit or anything on Ko-fi. I figure the money I get can be then used to support fellow creators on the platform. It’s basically going to be the same $3 going round and round forever.

And, it gives me a no-pressure playground.

It’s likely I will leave (or severely cut back to only promotions) Twitter in a few months, once the Muskrat purchase goes through, I intend to enjoy what I enjoy and use it to its fullest potential between now and then.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon and well into the evening.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are in the last few weeks. Some of the kids are graduating high school; no one knows what the next school year will bring. Some of the families plan to continue homeschooling their kids because they’re doing so much better; others are going to wait and see. In any case, they have built among themselves, the parents and the kids, a strong support system, and I can step back at the end of this school year without guilt. I was a strong voice in keeping the kids out of school because there is no such thing as safety in school right now, either from COVID or school shootings. And I helped the parents and kids make it possible to stay as safe as possible for two and a half years. I walked my talk. Now, as their situations have evolved, they need to make a variety of decisions, and it’s time for me to step back.

Still fighting with both Tracfone and Consumer Cellular to get my mom’s number transferred. Both companies are basically crap, but there aren’t any other choices for the simple flip phones anymore. We have to make this transfer to Consumer Cellular happen.

The company who bought the storage facility on Cape where we’ve got the rest of our stuff is AWFUL. Zero customer service and badly disorganized.  So I have to dig in this summer and take on as much extra work as possible so I can afford to bring the stuff up in fall – provided I can even get a storage unit around here. Because CubeSmart pulled such crap, selling us off to someone else out of the blue, announcing it the day after last month’s payment, I will certainly not rent from them in the future. They actually had the gall to send an email stating that they were up for an award and wanted me to vote for them! I don’t think so.

And I still haven’t been able to get an appointment to get the car fixed.

I am royally fed up and ready to go back to bed and tell everyone to fuck right off. I have a horrible headache like creatures dancing inside my head wearing cleats and wielding pickaxes. Tessa woke me at 4 this morning. Not a happy camper.

Instead, I have to go back to the page and work.

Fri. April 1, 2022: A Step Away For the Day

image courtesy of Open Clip Art Vectors via pixabay.com

I dislike April Fool’s Day because too often, the “pranks” aren’t about humor, but about cruelty.

There’s been enough crap around all week, and I’m not in the mood for it to escalate today.

I’m staying offline, except for uploading work and checking email. And woe to anyone who is dumb enough to send me an April Fool’s email.

I wish you peace and respite today. I wish you the ability to experience joyous humor, rather than cruelty.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on April 1, 2022 at 9:30 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 1, 2022: A Step Away For the Day  
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Fri. March 11, 2022: There Will Be Cake

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Today is my birthday, and it is a Big Number Birthday. I am giving myself the long weekend, to do exactly as I please. This is my third birthday during a pandemic, and I am damn well going to do as I please. Still away from people.

There will be cake. Chocolate cake.

Catch you on the other side of the weekend.

Published in: on March 11, 2022 at 9:28 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. Feb. 28, 2022: Intent for the Week–Navigating the Rapids

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There’s a lot going on, and we have to figure out how to navigate it, personally and professionally.

Yes, we have to take care of ourselves. But not everything is about us. So we have to balance our own needs with our responsibilities to those around us. We have to decide where to cut ties, and where to give more physical and emotional space. Because most of us are doing the best we can. Some are energy vampires, trying to make it all about them, trying to suck everyone else’s life force. But most of us are trying to survive, thrive, and help those around us however we can.

So this week, with all that’s happening on large and small stages, is about navigating the rapids. Deciding when to speak up. Deciding when to STFU.

Do the best you can. Be as kind as possible. Because, in spite of the meme that it’s “always” possible to be kind, sometimes it’s not, not if you want to survive.

Published in: on February 28, 2022 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Mon. Feb. 28, 2022: Intent for the Week–Navigating the Rapids  

Mon. Feb. 7, 2022: Intent for the Week — Glow With the Work Flow

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I originally meant to write “Flow with the Work Flow” but typed “Glow” instead. When I thought about it, that’s what I actually mean.

I keep beating myself up about not being “productive enough.” Yet, when I look at what I get done in any given week, it’s quite a bit.

It’s simply not always what I thought I would get done at the start.

I love my work. In order to keep lvoing it, I need to get out of my own way and stop the toxic productivity narrative I had when working in someone else’s office. Each day is unique. The reason I work freelance/remote is so that I CAN create my own schedule each day and it is not set.

I can take time in the middle of the day for necessary errands, or to take a walk or go to the library and root around the archives.

I can take a break when I’m tired in the middle of the day, and then work later at night.

It’s not a “failure” to take off a few hours in the afternoon and then work at night, if the work at night flows better during that time.

The workdays we’ve been trained to put in for other people, and to overwork additional hours (too often unpaid) for other people are constructs to serve their profit, not to fit our creativity and work energy. There are ways to still be reliable and responsible, meeting deadlines, obligations, and earning money, that don’t force these rigid parameters.

Instead of beating myself up about not getting everything and more done during “traditional” working hours, I’m going to “glow with the flow” this week, work on what my energy is best suited for at any given time, while still meeting my deadlines, and, as long as I’m not working sixteen hour days for eight hours’ worth of pay, not tell myself I’ve “failed” if there’s still work to do outside of traditional hours.

What is your intent this week?

Published in: on February 7, 2022 at 8:44 am  Comments Off on Mon. Feb. 7, 2022: Intent for the Week — Glow With the Work Flow  

Mon. Jan. 17, 2022: Intent for the Week — Reassess

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Not even three weeks into the year, and it’s time to reassess. But that’s what’s great — when you find something isn’t working, you step back, look at the big picture AND the details, and rearrange things.

I have a lot of work that has to get done this week, but in the spaces between projects, I am going to look at the small and large picture(s) and see what needs repositioning and how to do it.

I’m hoping it will be a quiet week, but that’s like sending a challenge to the universe, isn’t it?

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on January 17, 2022 at 7:46 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 17, 2022: Intent for the Week — Reassess  

Saturday, January 1, 2022: Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

May each of us be the light in the world that is needed.

Published in: on January 1, 2022 at 8:33 am  Comments Off on Saturday, January 1, 2022: Happy New Year!  

Fri. Dec. 31, 2021: Happy New Year’s Eve

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Happy New Year’s Eve to you. May you have the start to the new year that you wish!

Published in: on December 31, 2021 at 8:30 am  Comments (4)  

Sat. Dec. 25, 2021: Happy Christmas Day!

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Have a bright and merry day!

Published in: on December 25, 2021 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Sat. Dec. 25, 2021: Happy Christmas Day!  

Fri. Dec. 24, 2021: Merry Christmas Eve!

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I wish you all the delights of the holiday.

Published in: on December 24, 2021 at 9:03 am  Comments (7)