Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thinking

Today's Link
Flowerpot Days

Saying for the Day
Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
~Hal Borland


Picture of the Day
(From the archives)

I have been doing some thinking about the New Year.
I do that with some trepidation because thinking gives me a headache and after an hour or so I have to take a couple of aspirins and watch some mindless TV. The same sort of thing a lot of people will have to do tomorrow because of the excessive drinking tonight.

I have been trying to decide what will be NEW for me in the New Year.

I know a lot of things will be the same:
1. I will live in the same house
2. Will ride in the same car ( Betty drives)
3. Will work on the same layout.
4. Will keep up this same blog.
5. Will have the same wife ( Thank God)
6. Will have the same mortgage.
7. Will have the same children and grandchildren .
8. Will have the same illness.
9. Will belong to the same church and keep up its website.
10. Will serve the same God.

That means that my day to day life won’t change much.

So what will be NEW.

1. I will have a new President ( Have no idea where he will take us )
2. Will find some new bloggers and increase my links list.
3. Will put a new roof on the house.
4. Will plant some new flowers.

And that is about it, For some of us the New Year won’t change things very much.
Despite the parties and the celebrating and all that horn blowing when it’s all over life will be pretty much the same.
We will have the same hopes and dreams.
We will have the same wish list.
But we will go on living pretty much the same life.

So I don’t worry much about the New Year.
My newness comes every day when The God who made it all renews me. Luther says that every day we drown the old Adam in our Baptism and we come forth as a new person in Christ. That new person can handle anything that comes in the New Year.


News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
The Happy Pigeon is ready for one great celebration tonight. Pigeon Ekola, the owner, has had a three story tower erected on the roof of the main building. At midnight a huge plastic potato will come sliding down and hit the ground just as the New Year begins. Inside the Happy Pigeon there will be a dance band and loudspeakers will carry the music out into the street. The band will be playing your usual New Year’s Eve tunes.
The only sour note came in the form of an e-mail that Pigeon got this morning from Homeland Security telling him to be sure to check the potato for a bomb. It is “ an obvious target for terrorists “.He has asked Tommy UK to come and check everything out.
Herman has decided not to go to the big celebration. Instead he is joining a group of people over at Last Lutheran who will pray in the New Year. They will ask God to bless the nation and Pigeon Falls.
As of this morning the Lake of the Loons hasn’t frozen over but Tommy UK is still worried about the whale.
Petrovich and his wife will be back on Monday. He is working on translating another group of driblets.

Wrap Up
Had a wonderful day but not much time on the computer. Pat and his sons came in last night, a day early, and two of the boys sleep in the computer room. During the day I was busy enjoying their company so I didn't get to the computer. I played canasta, Alex and Pennie against Betty and I and Alex and Pennie won. But I enjoyed the game. Even as I write this Pat and his boys are making saffron buns. Life is good. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Annual Quiz

Today's Link

Rambling Woods


Saying for the Day

Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.

~Benjamin Spock

Picture of the Day

Trout Creek Christmas Tree


How well do you know Betty and I?

Let's find out.

Here is our annual ( almost) quiz. You find the false statements ( there is more than one) and send the information to us and win a priceless prize.

Prizes include”
A Genuine ( no fakes here) plastic dragon
An 8X 10 picture of Dr. John
A Lemax Sugar and Spice Merry Go Round ( Wow!)
5 Christmas Finger Puppets
One Stapler (You can always use a stapler)
One Pre-Read Book


So first here is the information

John
1A. finished the first layout module in January. ( That’s the town on the mountain with the train going round)
2A. confessed in a meme to playing Sudoku .
3A.In January read and hated “ I AM AMERICA ( AND SO CAN YOU) “ by Stephen Colbert.
4A. On January 26 celebrated Maggie’s birthday.
5A. still has his own hair and it’s not gray.
6A. sold a lot of stuff on e-Bay.
7A. Talked to his sister Dawn a lot as she called at least once a week.
8A. Ran a short campaign for President.
9A. Supported Obama.
10A. Supported McCain
11A. Wrote the Ongoing Adventures of Agent o12
12A. Took many, many breathing treatments.
13A. Added three more modules to train layout.
14A. Went to Madison for Thanksgiving.
15A. Uses his electric scooter in Church.
16A. Kept up the St. Mark’;s website ( http://stmarksneenah.com)
17A. Wrote a daily blog ( http://fortresslinna.blogspot.com)
18A. Did puppet sermons with Pennie at St. Mark’s ( Margaret lives again)
19A. Taught Confirmation one Sunday.
20A. Flew to Finland and visited relatives.
21A. Went to train show in Green Bay.
22A. Bought the Lionel Chesapeake & Ohio Empire Builder Train Set
23A. Saw Dark Night in the theater on his electric scooter
24A. Visited often with his grand children.
25A. Still misses Crystal Falls.

Betty
1B. Had a blog of her own ( http://bettygram.blogspot.com)
2B. Went to Bible study almost every Tuesday at St. Mark’s.
3B. Went to Finland with John.
4B. Attended her 50th class reunion in July.
5B. Built mountains for the train layout.
6B. Took on the primary role of driver.
7B. Had fun writing stories for the blog. ( One with John)
8B. Finally got the fireplace mantle put together and installed.
9B. Learned to bowl on a WII. ( At Pat’s house)
10B. Just loved Alex’s python
11B. Helped Pennie make posters for the Sunday School Christmas Program.
12B. Got roses from John. ( Who else)
13B.Takes Maggie for a walk almost every day.
14B. Was surprised one morning by gunshots in the neighborhood and tried to play detective.
15B. Attended a very good Woman’s retreat at St. Mark’s.
16B.Learned to play Zoo Tycoon on the computer.
17B. Had trouble getting Maggie to give up the bird she caught in the backyard.
18B. Forgot Elijah at the house when she took the family to Church on her anniversary.
19B.Was upset by her visit to the Zoo at the way the animals were caged.
20B. Went to the Brown County Fair. ( Met Luke, Peter, and Bree there)
21B. Was pulled by Maggie after a rabbit.
22B. Blogged about two shootings that took place while she was in Crystal Falls.
23B. Considered putting her inherited Barbie Doll collection on e-Bay.
24B. Got a new computer in 2008.
25B. Still misses Crystal Falls

Now e-mail the numbers of the false statements to
jlinna@new.rr.com- (There are exactly seven total false statements)
Then sit back and wait for your priceless prize.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
The :Lake of the Loons is almost frozen over except for a large space in the center. Today the whale surfaced through that space. Tommy UK is really getting worried but he has no idea how to keep the lake from freezing and he can’t get anybody to help him. At this point he is so upset that he’s not speaking to Tammy or the other members of the Tommy Club.
Herman has gotten a job at the hardware store. It doesn’t pay much but he’s working. His wife can’t believe that either. This new Herman is just full of surprises.
Our ghost piano has switched from the Nutcracker to variations on "Auld Lang Sye" and of course the shoes dance on.
The dragons flew down main street this morning fighting a brisk headwind. This winter has to be hard on them.
Petrovich, wife, and children are still in Green Bay.
Nancy and Tommy TW will be returning tomorrow from Marquette Mountain. The skiing has been superb.
While Tommy UK has been caught up with the whale Tammy has been trying to find out as much as she can about the man in black. She found a number of people that saw him but she can’t find out where he stayed. But since he was in town three days he had to stay somewhere.

Wrap Up
I did some reading, watched a bit of the "Burn Notice" marathon, and Betty cleaned. I visited seventeen of my links. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Annual letter

Today's Link
Molly Blog

Saying for the Day
Some years you get dat New Year but some years you git dat recycled one. Eino Jutola

Picture of the Day

Betty's Christmas Gift from me

Every year we inflict upon family and friends an annual letter telling how wonderful we are. Here we share with you this year's letter.

* Disclaimer– Everything you are about to read should be taken with a grain of salt and a little pepper wouldn’t hurt either.

Every attempt has been made to make it as close to the truth as our imaginations could make it.

It began in January in the top secret lab of the good Doctor John. Here the plot to change the world , forever was hatched with the help of a few loyal dragons.


First they would corner the market on saffron buns. Then Easter eggs . But to do this the not so good Dr. needed help.

So he set out in his new rocker ship to find family.
First to planet Green Bay where the Peter Linna’s were having a very good year.
Bree, the granddaughter was overjoyed at the prospect. She was an almost straight A student with a quick mind and all that kind of stuff and she had connections to Church( A worldwide institution) being that she was in Confirmation.

Her brother Luke couldn’t wait to start . He even took karate lessons and practiced flying space craft. Being all the way into the first grade he brings a wealth of experience to the enterprise. He also tells great stories.

Peter the head of this varied group ( when Lori lets him) continued as a computer programmer in the Green Bay school system and brings his computer skills to the task. He was, however reluctant to join .

That brings us to the real head of the group, Lori. She can make any enterprise work. And kept the family on an even keel for another year while blogging. But she was also sure the bottom would fall out of the saffron bun market so she declined.
So back to the rocker ship and off to Madison and the Pat Linna family.

But first the good Dr. needed to fuel up.




In Madison we first invite Alex to join. Like Bree he is an almost straight A student. He loves to cook ( just what we need) and has a pet python snake for protection. He could hardly wait to get started.

Then we moved on to Elijah. He is having a great year. He is an expert computer game player just the kind of skill we need and went to his first dance. He was a bit reluctant and we had to promise not to get in the way of his partying.

This brought us to Caleb the youngest of the bunch. He is very good with animals. He is loyal as can be to his older brothers so he was glad to join. The good Dr. put them to work making Easter Eggs.

That left Patrick. He works for a big cable company and has an outrageous mortgage but is making it. He loves his kids and is a great saffron bun maker. We needed him and he said yes. He has already started on the saffron buns.

Back on the rocker ship and home to check on Pennie. She lives in the other half of the house, works for the county as a counselor and had a pretty good year. She is a doting Aunt so we knew that since we had the kids she would join us.


We were going to go to Evansville to try to get Betty’s sister Susan but she was in Spain celebrating the birth of her first grandchild so we gave that up.

While Dr. John was chasing around Betty had been hard at work trying to organize the basement so they could store the saffron buns.


Maggie the house dog also wanted to be part. She has a taste for saffron. She has a taste for anything but dog food.

I’m sorry to say that because of the economic collapse the entire program had to be suspended. Perhaps next year.
Now the Linna’s are getting ready for the New Year
May you all have a
wonderful New Year.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Poor Tommy UK , his plans to save the whale are not moving along very well. Yesterday , at coffee, the men told him that what he wanted to do just wouldn’t work. They had very good reasons based on the depth of the lake where the whale was.
Herman suggested they could cut a hole in the ice but it would have to be pretty big and it would keep freezing.
Even worse for poor Tommy UK is the fact that Tammy and the rest of the Tommy Club thinks the entire idea is silly. They feel that there shouldn’t be a whale in the lake in the first place. This could just be nature’s way of getting things back to normal. Tommy UK is very upset because he thinks if Tammy really loved him she would support him and not say his idea is silly.
Herman’s wife , who promised to love him through better or worse is having trouble adjusting to the better. She doesn’t know what to make of a sober Herman that brings her flowers for no reason. While she was working he cleaned the house and he had never ever done that before. It’s not that she wants the old Herman back but this one is so different she doesn’t know how to act. He is too kind, too considerate, and just plain too helpful. It just has her so confused. She almost wishes he would go and get drunk.

Wrap Up
Another day of not doing much. I added this week's Bible study to the St. Mark's website and Sunday's bulletin. I did some reading. Watched a soap opera ( One life to Live), and visited forty blogs. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

First Sunday of Christmas

Today's Link
My Kinda Humor

Saying For the Day
When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind. ~Seneca

Picture of the Day

In the liturgical churches this is the First Sunday of Christmas. Christmas is not just a day but a season that lasts from December 25 until January 5 and this is the first Sunday of that season.
The Gospel text for this Sunday is Luke 2”22-40. It is the story of a baby and two old people. It is a story of the difference between living the faith and making a living from the faith.
Mary and Joseph brought the child Jesus to the temple to be consecrated. They were supposed to do that. It was biblical law.
Jerusalem was the theological center of Judaism. The rabbis, priests, teachers, professional leaders all came here. One would have expected one of them to see the child Jesus and shout out “Behold the Messiah”. After all they talked about the Messiah , a lot. They made sacrifices that pointed to his coming. They taught the texts that refereed to Him. Surely they would recognize Him. But it’s clear from the text they didn’t.
Who Did?
Two old people did. One was named Simeon and one was named Anna. They saw the child and they proclaimed him as the Messiah. How did they differ from the Priests, Rabbi’s , scholars ? The Messiah was not how they made their living, the coming Messiah was their life.
Today we would call them fanatics. They were you know. Simeon believed he would not die until he saw the Messiah. He came everyday to the temple watching for Him. Anna spent all her time in the temple worshiping and praying. They were fanatics.
But they saw Jesus as the Messiah. They saw the wonder of what God had done. Then they proclaimed it. They didn’t do it to upset anybody though it probably did. They didn’t do it to make anybody feel guilty but it probably did. They did it because they had to. They had seen the Messiah.
In my ministry I met a lot of Simeons and Annas. They had names like Nila, Agnes, Margaret, Pauline, Lud, Wayne, Richard. They talked about Jesus because they had to. They had met the Messiah.
I learned why God choose Anna and Simeon for that early proclamation. People don’t listen to the professional. They expect him or her to talk about Jesus. That’s what he gets paid for. But the Annas and the Simeons they witness because they have seen the Messiah. Over the years I learned a lot from them
Now I’m a professional no longer. I don’t get paid to talk about Jesus. Now I’m just old John and I have seen the Messiah and I have to proclaim it. I have to tell you of the joy and the wonder that Jesus gives.
I don’t do it to say I am better than you if you don’t believe. I don’t do it to say my religion is better than yours. I don’t do it to make you feel guilty.
But I have seen the Messiah and I have no choice but to proclaim it.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Tommy UK is on a new crusade. He wants to save the whale. He is afraid that if the Lake of the Loons freezes up altogether as it has some years the whale won’t be able to come up for air. This year , despite global warming, has been colder than ever and the lake is already three fourths frozen Tommy UK since he rode on the tail of the whale to Canada feels a real attachment to the creature. He can not stand the thought of it dying for lack of air. So today, over coffee, he is going to try to get some men from Last Lutheran to assist him in putting in a bubbler that will keep an area of the lake open. He has done some reading and he is sure that this would work.
Herman is ushering at Last Lutheran this morning. That will surprise a few people. They never expected to see him in church let alone ushering.
Nancy and Tommy TW are at Marquette Mountain and hit the slopes early this morning. She feels bad about skipping Church but there will be a service in the lounge this evening put on by one of the local Lutheran Churches and she intends to go to that. Tommy TW says he’d rather spend the time in the hot tub and probably will.
Mrs. Amanda Pemberthy will be worshipping at the Methodist Church this morning as she does every Sunday. But as usual she is not happy with the Pastor. She wasn’t happy with the last six pastors. It is almost time for her letter to the Regional Superintendent telling all that’s wrong with this one. The superintendent’s office has a file folder filled with her letters. She always threatens to quit and join the Lutherans if something isn’t done. But despite the earnest prayers of the Superintendent she has never carried out her threat.

Wrap UP
We went to Church this morning. The bell choir played during the service. Pastor Steve's grand kids were in Church and became part of the Children's sermon. Pastor Steve's main sermon was on Simeon and Anna. The fellowship afterward was great. I spent the afternoon redoing the St. Mark's website so it would load faster. All of the pictures have been moved off of the first page. Then I did some reading. Pennie and Betty watched the Packer Game. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Me and the Senate

Today's Link
Country Roads

Saying for the Day
Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. ~John Quinton

Picture of the Day
My Backyard

If I ever wanted to be a Senator without having to go through that annoying process of being voted on or having ever served in public office I know now it is impossible. There are three things that keep me out of the Senate.
1. I live in the wrong state.
I need to live in Illinois or New York
2. I don’t have enough money.
Illinois Senate seats don’t come cheap.
3. I have the wrong last name for New York.
Linna doesn’t cut it. You need to be a Kennedy
This is stuff they don’t teach in political science 101 .This is real life. This is the way the process really works.
Darn!

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Kivi & Maki had their big after Christmas sale yesterday. Well! It used to be called the day after Christmas Sale but yesterday they called it “ Jump Start the Economy Sale “. They had big signs in the window that said “ Economic Renewal Starts Here” , “ We Can Do It”, and “ Do Your Duty. SPEND!”. If it was any indication of where the economy is going the nation ois in deep trouble. Returns, it seems outnumbered sales almost two to one.
The traditional “After Christmas Sale” didn’t go any better over at Wink’s Woods. Business is so bad that Wink said he was thinking of taking the corporate jet to Washington and looking for a bail out. He was kidding, of course, he doesn’t have a corporate jet.
In reality the economy in Pigeon Falls is not really that bad. The mill is still running, the mine is working, the dairy cows are still producing milk, and tourists are still coming to see the ghost piano . Not many people lost money in the stock market crash because not many people had stocks. The real estate boom never got to Pigeon Falls so there was no real estate bust. The only people on the edge of bankruptcy are those who visit the big Indian Casino on a regular basis.
Sometimes being a poor little town has its advantages.

Wrap Up
Had planned on visiting Peter today but the fog here was really bad and it stayed all day. So I spent most of the day on the computer. I made some adjustments to my link list which is still too large. Then I visited every link on the list and left a comment on every blog that had a new entry since my last visit. That took a long time. Then I did some reading. Betty and Pennie ventured out into the fog late in the afternoon. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Night of Christmas

Today's Link
Confessions of a Sometimes Serendipitous Girl


Saying for the Day
Things ain't what they used to be and probably never was. ~Will Rogers

Picture of the Day
St. Mark's Christmas Tree

Twas the Night of Christmas ( by Dr. John -more or less)

Twas the night of Christmas and All through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

The stockings were flung by the wall without care
The loot that was in them , no longer there

The children were sleeping all snug on the floor
Having played with their legos, Barbies and more

And I in my ice pack and ma in her wrap
Had just settled down for a short little nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I crawled from the couch to see what was the matter.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

They hung in space not moving a lick
Held in the hand of our neighbor old Nick

He was screaming and hollering and calling by name
The reindeer of Santa thinking he was the same

Now Happy! now, Dopey! now Rudolph and Pixen,
On Cupid! on Sneezy! on Dunder and Bitsun!

So up to the house top the sleigh he threw
Then opened my door and came in too.

He was dressed all in red from his head to his foot
And his boots were covered with ashes and soot.

A bag of garbage he had flung on his back
He looked like a shopper opening his sack.

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
And the beard on his chin had pieces of berry

He was perfectly soused a right jolly old elf
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself

But the pain that was growing so large in my head
Demanded that I go quickly to bed

So laying a finger aside of my nose
And giving a push out the door he goes.

But I heard him exclaim as he staggered from sight
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Pigeon Falls celebrated a very nice quiet Christmas.
Not many people attended the 10:00 service at Last Lutheran. It seems everybody went on Christmas Eve and Lutherans almost never go to Church two days in a row.
Tommy UK gave Tammy a beautiful necklace for Christmas. He had his uncle in Iron Mountain get it for him while he was busy trying to save the town. Tammy, who doesn’t have an uncle in Iron Mountain failed to get him a gift at all. She feels bad and even a little guilty. But Tommy UK doesn’t mind. He is in love.
The Petrovich’s went to Green Bay for Christmas. Her parents are there and they just love the two grand kids. And they wanted to celebrate Christmas in a Russian Orthodox Church. They will be in Green Bay until after New Year’s Day so there will be no troubling driblets at least until then.
Herman hasn’t had a drink since saving the town and he went to church both Christmas Eve and on Christmas day.
The ghost piano continues to play selections from the Nutcracker and played all day on Christmas.
Nancy has turned over her coffee shop to her assistant and she and Tommy TW are going to Marquette for three days of skiing at Marquette Mountain, his gift to her.
Yep! Life is back to normal.

Wrap Up
Didn't do much today as there was a NCIS marathon on TV. Aside from watching that I did some reading and some blogging. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

May You Have A Blessed Christmas


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tour the House

Today's Link
A Cup of Tea

Saying for the Day
Home is where you can say anything you like cause nobody listens to you anyway. ~Author Unknown

Picture of the Day
( From the archives)
Our Little Church

Betty's Angels


Our Socks hung by the Chimney with Care

Our Christmas Train




News from Pigeon Falls
Most of the people who left because of the shadow are back. They are thrilled to be able to celebrate Christmas in Pigeon Falls.
Over at Last Lutheran Pastor Joan is putting the finishing touches on her sermon for tonight. Last Lutheran will have a service at 6:00 and at 9:00 . Pastor Joan wanted the late service to be at 11:15 so that the Communion would be received right around midnight but the Board turned her down. Thirty years ago it was at 11:30 then it was moved to 10:30, then to 10:00 and just five years ago to 9:00. People just don’t understand what they lost on going for the convenience of the earlier time, according to Pastor Joan. She remember as a child going to the late service with her grandfather. It just seemed holier. It was like you could hear the Spirit of God moving in the quietness of the church. But the Board was more interested in maximum attendance than in the depth of the Spirit in the service.
All over town kids are waiting for Santa to come with the Christmas loot. Here and there a parent will read the kids the Christmas Story from the Bible but the vast majority are more likely to hear the poem “ Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Yes Pigeon Falls is back to normal.

Wrap Up
It snowed most of the day, I read and did some blogging. Betty wrapped the last of the gifts. I decided that given the way it was snowing it would be just too hard to get my scooter out at church so I stayed home this evening while Betty and Pennie went. If the storm stops I'll go to the Christmas day service tomorrow. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Agent 012-Christmas Special

Today's Link
From Ohio With Love

Saying for the Day
Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice. ~Author Unknown

Picture of the Day
(From the Archives)

The Ongoing Adventures of Agent 012
Poor Agent 012 lay on the floor in the backroom of the casino. The charley horse in his leg was getting worse and he could hardly stand the pain. He watched as the biggest of the thugs that hauled him in to the room took down a heavy wooden cane off the wall.
“ If you don’t tell us how you fixed that wheel I’m going to fix you so you won’t be able to walk for a month” the big guy said waving the cane in the air.
At that point Agent 012 thought “ enough is enough. I'm not going to end up in the hospital with Agent 010.” and pushed a button on his belt. A mask popped up covering his nose and mouth and from the back of his shoes a knockout gas poured into the room. The two big men slumped to the floor and Agent 012 grabbed the cane using it to get back on his feet and to help him walk out of the room. But first he reached into the bag that contained his winnings and took out $3000 in chips. “ They owe me that for all I’ve been through”,, he thought. They can keep the rest.
He hobbled straight from the room to the all you can eat buffet and got a big bowl of beef barley soup. As he ate he could feel the charley horse letting go and his leg returning to normal. Then he dropped the cane and cashed in the chips.
From the casino he hastened to “ Candles and More Candles” the Agency front in Las Vegas.
As soon as he was the only customer the usual dialogue was entered into.
“ Can I help you?”
“ I would like some pine candles , please.”
“ Do you want those in Norway or White?”
“ I’d rather have spruce”
“ Spruce is so ordinary why not try pine tar?”
“ Evil people should be tarred and feathered”
At that a secret door opened and Agent 012 entered the real Agency shop.
There he shared all that had happened and the fact that Mute probably wouldn’t be back. But they did now have a picture of him and every Agent would be watching for him. Agent 012’s job in Vegas was done,
Now he would do some Christmas shopping and then fly home for Christmas.
It was going to be a great day.
News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Yesterday people started returning to Pigeon Falls and it began to feel like the Christmas season.
Homeland Security did its final investigation. They even checked the cows the two agents were found sitting on but found nothing. One of the men said that a video surveillance camera showed a dragon moving toward the shadow just before it vanished. The video was destroyed. Dragon fire was no more acceptable in a report than puzzle completing as a means of getting rid of the shadow. In the end they decided that they only thing that made sense is it was something they did. They will now spend months analyzing the data and trying to decide what it was they did. In any case they packed up and left.
Somebody said a good looking man dressed in black left on the same train. He was whistling.
Herman, the unofficial hero spent an hour last evening talking to Pastor Joan but nobody knows why.
Nancy’s poltergeist is now juggling Santa Clauses to the amusement of her coffee shop patrons. The old piano continues to play every morning at the museum but now it’s playing pieces from the Nutcracker. The shoes continue to dance. The dragons and the whale have been seen. The big manger scene glows brightly on the town square which doesn’t belong to and never has the town.
One could say that life is back to normal in Pigeon Falls.
Wrap Up
Today I visited all my links. My sister Dawn called to tell me my nephew got the Christmas gift I sent. I did some reading and Betty and I wrapped Christmas gifts. Then Betty and Pennie went shopping. The flowers I ordered for Betty that were supposed to come tomorrow came while they were gone. Doesn't anybody get anything right out there? Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Monday, December 22, 2008

More of Me Again

Today's Link
Ramsey Daily Photo

Saying for the Day
Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money. ~Author Unknown

Picture of the Day
(From the Archives)

It’s Monday and time to reveal more of me.
On Raven’s blog I found two memes , a long one and a short one. Because we are so close to Christmas I decided to borrow only the short one.
All I have to do is list 6 things you do every day that make your life better. ( Raven only had five)

1. I thank God for a new day and ask Him to guide me in it.
2. I take two breathing treatments, one in the morning and one at night, to keep my lungs as open as possible.
3. I take a horrible number of pills.
4. I blog. What would life be without blogging?
5. I play with my trains. Every man needs some toy.
6. I spend an extended time in evening prayer. I thank God for the day. I pray for the needs of others. I try to remember the prayers asked for on blogs. I close with the Lord’s Prayer.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Yesterday around noon the shadow suddenly vanished. That’s right it just vanished. There was everything that had been under the shadow , all of it unhurt.
Over at the Maki farm where it all began his dog was back as good as ever. All his cows and chickens were back. Even the two Homeland Security people who had vanished were back. They were found sitting on the backs of cows facing the tail. They had no idea of how they got there. They remembered nothing from the time they entered the shadow until it disappeared. The cows, of course, couldn't talk.
The Homeland Security people who just minutes before the shadow vanished had been demanding that an Atomic Bomb be dropped in order to save the world. Now were desperately trying to find out why it was gone.
Some kid told them to go talk to Herman at his mother’s house . So they did. He gave them some crazy story about putting together a kid’s puzzle and this made the shadow vanish. They decided he was some kind of local flake. If the best equipment they could bring to the task couldn’t get rid of the shadow there was no way putting together a puzzle would do it. Of that they were sure. They finally decided that something they had tried had had a delayed reaction and they had gotten rid of the shadow. That’s the way they wrote their final report.
But In Pigeon Falls people knew that Herman was the hero. He was the town Seer and the one who saved it.
Wrap Up
Just one of those days. I blogged in the morning. Then Betty and I went back to cleaning up the living room. My sister Chris called. She never calls. It must be close to Christmas. She had already opened the gifts we center her. I got a stange package from Santa Claus and I was going to open it but there was a card also from Santa Claus that said " Don't you dare open until Christmas". So I won't. Even the return address said North Pole. Betty and I wrapped gifts. Then Betty went to her eye exam. I posted the Christmas bulletin for St. Mark's. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Today's Link
The Open Window

Saying for the Day
Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it. ~Richard Lamm

Picture of the Day
(From the archives)

Today the liturgical churches will celebrate the last Sunday in Advent. They will light the last of the Advent candles. We are almost at Christmas.
The Gospel lesson for today is the announcement to Mary that she is to be the mother of Jesus.
Now if I was God I wouldn’t have done it that way.
I might have had the Chief Priest put a lump of clay on the altar and it would suddenly grow into a strong man, the promised Messiah. Everybody in the temple would see it. All of Israel would know the messiah had come. This messiah would gather all Israel around Him and go to war with the Romans. They would win a great battle but in the aftermath the Messiah would be stabbed in the back by Judas one of his top soldiers and die. But three days later he would emerge from his tomb and after promising to come again in full sight of all of Jerusalem he would ascend to the Father. That’s what I would have done.
But God didn’t do it that way.
Instead he fond an obscure town and an ordinary young lady and choose a different way for Jesus to enter human history. The wonder of that story is Mary said yes. She could see what was coming. She could see the disgrace of having a child and not being married. But she said yes. And so God would enter our history almost unnoticed except for a few invited guests.
That same God still breaks into lives and says follow me. Are we like Mary willing to follow?
The miracle for us is that with all of God’s power he never forces us.
He just asks.
Today when they light the fourth candle I will say again “ Here I am Lord. Send me!”

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Early this morning Herman went to his mother’s house and for the last two hours he has been sitting and looking at the puzzle and the pieces, just sitting and looking. Then he did something he hadn’t done in a long time, he left the puzzle undone and went to Church.
Over at Last Lutheran Pastor Joan was putting the finishing touches on her sermon for the last Sunday in Advent. She had come to love this town, this church, and the people. She could now look out the window and see the area covered by the shadow. She knew that by tomorrow the church would be gone. She knew the congregation this morning would be even smaller than last week. But everything was not bad. There was Rachel, the church organist. Her house was lost to the shadow but instead of fleeing she had stayed in town to play these last two services. Pastor Joan paused for a moment to thank God for Rachel. In the sermon she would talk of Mary’s response to God’s call and remind people that even in this time of the shadow God still called and we needed to both hear and respond to the call. We needed to do that even when it wasn’t convenient or pleasant for us to do so. She would close her sermon by reminding them that even though they walked in the presence of the shadow that God was with them.
After Church Herman did not stay for coffee but left in a hurry.
Wrap Up
We have a bit of a blizzard here. This morning we considered not going to Church. The driveway had two rather large drift but they were separated by almost clear areas. It was ten below zero. But we decided to go for it so we gunned the car out of the garage through the drifts to the road. The road was in better shape with only small drifts here and there. We made it to Church to find the attendance was down. St. Mark's usually has lots of kids but when it came time for the children's sermon there were no kids. I guess parents with little kids stayed home. But those of us that were there got to hear the Christmas story as part of the choir cantata. It was great. The fellowship after was also great. However, nce we got home we decided we wouldn't leave the house again today. I spent part of the afternoon bring the St.Mark's website up to date. I posted most of the choir cantata . Then I did some reading. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Raven's Challenge 44

Today's Link
Merle's Third Try

Saying for the Day
See everything; overlook a great deal; correct a little.
~Pope John XXIII


Picture of the day
From the archives
It is Saturday and time to play with words supplied by Raven's Wordzzle

This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: When pigs have wings, Moonlight, Mystery, Tower of Babel, Butterflies, Bread and butter, Beef barley soup, Charley horse, Novelty, Cold shoulder

Mini Challenge: Software, Lottery, Newspaper, Mailman, Ringo Starr’s drum

This week's vanity wordzzle uses the words: monastery, cyclone, corncob, tenacious, rat, be-bop, Marxist, tingle, fraction



The On Going Adventures of Agent 012
The Mega Challenge

Poor Agent 012 was taken to a little room in the back of the casino where it became obvious these were not part of Mute’s gang but Casino personal.
“ That wheel is our bread and butter and we want to know what you did to it”, the meanest looking guy said, slapping Agent 012 in the face.
“ I didn’t do anything” Agent 012 gasped. “ I just made a small bet”.
“ And won a million dollars”, the big guy said and slapped him again.
“Wow! I won a million dollars. All I ever won before was $2.00 in the lottery, must have been my lucky night.”
“ Luck had nothing to do with it. The wheel never hits the same number three times in a row”
“ It could you know, The little ball just landed there.”
“ Ya, it could when pigs have wings and fly with butterflies. So what did you do to fix the wheel? Some kind of software?” and he slapped him again.“ Look friend the take on the wheels is down in every casino from the Tower Of Babel to the Moonlight. We have suspected somebody was tampering but this is the first time you got greedy and took a lot instead of a little.”
The light came on in Agent 012’s head. It was like suddenly seeing something in a newspaper you had never seen before but should have. It was no longer a mystery what Mute was doing in the casino. He was controlling the wheel so his henchmen could take out small almost unnoticeable amounts of money. He was not the mailman bringing communications. He was the moneyman.
The novelty of the entire scheme set 012’s mind spinning. Mute had seen him and set him up. Now he had to convince these casino thugs it wasn’t him.
But just at that moment he got a terrible charley horse in his right leg causing him to fall to the floor and writhe in pain. “I need beef barley soup “ he murmured. He always ate beef barley soup to end his charley horses.
The two thugs gave him the cold shoulder and let him thrash around on the floor in pain.
“ Look buddy”, the big guy said, “ If you think your in pain now if you don’t tell us what we want to know we are going to beat you like Ringo Starr’s drum.
This was definetly not his day

Fifteen Words in one Sentance
The bread and butter novelty software of the Tower of Babel Software Company had always been the “When Pigs have Wingsmystery program but now Charlie Horse and Butterflies McGoon had written “Ringo’s Stars’s Drum in the Moonlight“ and “The Mailman in the Beef Barley Soup” which according to the trade newspaper “ Software Lottery” would surpass everything that had gone before and yet the company was giving them a cold shoulder.
Ten Word Challenge-When Pigs Fly
Charley Horse was uneasy about his new position as head of the Tower of Babel Institute. He knew that the Institute had been funded by the mystery man Jacob Moonlight who was rumored to be the richest man in the world. He knew Jacob would be happy only when pigs have wings. He knew the task of Institute was to give pigs wings. But he didn’t have the slightest idea of when this would be accomplished.
Not that they hadn’t made progress because they had. As he had his quick lunch of bread and butter with beef barley soup he poured over the research reports. He knew that the best DNA for the wings came not from birds but butterflies. The novelty of that fact had worn off soon after he came to the Tower. The problem was the wings the pigs were growing were not strong enough to support them in flight. They were pretty though. But he didn’t feel this was what Jacob wanted.
Now he held in his hand the latest memo from the master. Jacob felt they were giving him a cold shoulder and was threatening to cut off funding.
Well a pig with bad wings was better than a pig with no wings so he called Jacob and invited him to come and see the progress they had made.
It would go well as long as he didn’t expect it to fly.
That had to be the time the pig started to spin a cocoon.

The Vanity Wordzzle
Thomas had been many things in life before coming to the monastery.
He had been part of that fraction of the Marxist party which had written Marxist be-bop trying to reach a younger element than the old fogies that made up the party. Those old fogies then kicked him out of the party and had the nerve to call him a rat.
So he got a camera and chased cyclones. Just seeing one of those things made his skin tingle and he was tenacious in his efforts to photograph them. But he soon tired of that.
After that it was corncob art that he displayed at the state fair. He even won some prizes.
But now he had found God. Just thinking about it made him tingle all over. He was ready to become a monk. He wanted to serve God.
He wondered if they would let him write a be-bop service for Matins.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Poor Herman hadn’t been this upset since he lost his bid on e-Bay for Ringo Star’s drum. His entire life had been one of losing. He only got losing tickets on the state lottery even though he had purchased that software on line that guaranteed he would win. Reading the Iron River Reporter, the local weakly newspaper, he saw that his Lions had lost again. The mailman brought him a notice that the value of his retirement funds was now $6000 less than a month ago Loss, loss, loss, one loss after another. . And now he was supposed to be the one to save the town. They had to be kidding. He was a loser, plain and simple. Losers didn’t save towns. They just didn’t.
But Tommy UK seemed so certain that he was the one. That as the town seer he was the only one that could fulfill the driblet. He was no longer sure he wanted to be the town seer. He just wanted to be left alone. He was sorry he ever had a vision and was beginning to think this whole shadow thing was his fault.
But then he thought all he had to do was go to his mother’s and do a little kids puzzle. That was it. Irt wasn’t asking very much so why was he so afraid. Why didn’t he just go and do it and they would know it wasn’t the answer. If it was he would be a hero. The Great Seer that saved Pigeon Falls. But deep inside his mind a little voice said. You can’t do the puzzle Herman. You never could do the puzzle Herman. Throw the puzzle and run.
What will Herman do ? Will he stand up and be the Great Seer.? Will he give in to the voice of his inner child? Will Pigeon Falls be saved?
Wrap Up
It started off as a good day. I blogged. I called my son Peter and we talked Christmas gifts. I ordered a gift for Peter. Then my wife and daughter decided we should go shopping. I , of course, went along. The snow was falling and I was nervous. But we drove to Oshkosh and a toy store going out of business. Now because only really strange people go out on a day like this there was no crowd. The place was not picked over. We got bargains. People were even friendly. Then we went to a store where Pennie and Betty shopped for clothes. I shot ahead of them on my electric scooter and then couldn't get the door open. I was really cold. A nice man saw my plight from half way up the block and ran to open the door for me. Who says there aren't nice people Christmas shopping. From there we went to Hobby Lobby and I got plaster cloth for the layout and some candy you can only get there and only at this season. Life is good. But the storm got worse and we had to drive home. Pennie drove slowly and we made it back. We stopped at Applebee's to eat. They don't shovel well there and my cart almost didn't make it in. Coming home I scanned over a hundred pictures for Pennie and then visited blogs. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Good to be an American

Today's Link
Rambling Woods

Saying for the Day
Do not... regard the critics as questionable patriots. What were Washington and Jefferson and Adams but profound critics of the colonial status quo?
~Adlai Stevenson


Picture of the Day












I feel really good about being an American today. I really do.
Why?
Because some guy in Iraq threw a shoe at President Bush.
It’s not that I dislike President Bush.
In fact I kind of like the guy.
It’s not that I don’t respect the Presidential office.
Because I do.
But I feel good because the people of Iraq got to see something of American style democracy.
They saw a man throw a shoe at the most powerful leader in the world and:
He wasn’t shot by the secret service.
He wasn’t tortured by our ar5med forces.
He wasn’t caused to vanish never to be seen again. ( Even if some are afraid it will happen)
They knew if you threw a shoe at Sadam any or all of the above would have happened.
We live in a great country with great ideals.
It even allows for those Bush hating people, and there seem to be a lot of them , to mail shoes to President Bush.
I saw on a blog where the send a shoe to Bush campaign has begun.
The FBI won’t call on them.
They won’t vanish.
Their blogs will continue to publish.
Washington will get a lot of shoes.
Why, I’m willing to bet those shoes will in the end be given to shoeless people and serve a useful purpose.
Is this a great country or what?

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Yesterday Herman slipped quietly into his house, knowing his wife was working, and intending to get something to eat. Tommy UK was there waiting for him. Tommy UK did his best to explain to Herman that he was the one who could save Pigeon Falls. Destiny had made him a seer just for this moment. Somehow in the Pigeon Falls world where dragons fly andwhales swim an undone puzzle now held the fate of the town and perhaps the world. And Herman alone held the key. Herman alone could finish the puzzle.
All of this was more than Herman could handle. He fled to the Happy Pigeon and got drunk, very drunk. More than anything he wanted another vision. He wanted another way out. He wanted a magic word or some hand gesture. He wanted anything but that puzzle. He had always hated that puzzle. He had tried to destroy that puzzle. He thought that puzzle was long gone but now it was back to torment him.
But now he had to decide either to force himself to go back to his childhood and the stupid puzzle or to save Pigeon Falls. He decided to have another drink.
Will Herman do the puzzle? If he does will it end the shadow? What about the whistling guy in the black suit? Could dragon fire burn off the shadow? And of course is Tommy UK really the undertaker’s kid?

Wrap Up
Another very good breathing day. After I blogged in the morning. I did some reading. Then Betty and I started on cleaning the living room for the holidays. We started on the part near the patio doors. The problem was that every flat surface had accumulated papers , magazines, cantaloupes, and junk. By the time we finished we had four grocery bags filled with old papers, magazines, and catalogues but things looked much better. My sister Dawn called. I then upgraded the bulletin on the St. Mark's site. After that I visited some links. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Global Warming Please

Today's Link
Jamie Dawn's Mindless Blather

Saying for the Day
Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right. ~Laurens van der Post

Picture for the Day


I really don’t want to be seen as politically incorrect or a global warming heretic. In fact for a long time I used to get up every morning and bow toward Washington three times and say Global Warming, Global Warming, Global Warming. Then I would face Detroit and say green house gases, green houses gases, green houses gases. This was always followed by a reading from the great prophet All Gore.
But I can no longer do that.
I am just too cold. My poor frozen body won’t bend and it is hard to get the words out.
Even worse the wind keeps blowing our huge amount of snow around so I can’t tell in which direction Washington is , yet alone Detroit.
In this one of the coldest winters on record in my part of Wisconsin global warming seems so far away.
I suppose this is caused by those dang conservatives who don’t believe the Prophet Gore. They all are leaving their refrigerator doors open to push the temperature down. I have even heard and I wouldn’t put it past them they sent a group to Canada with big fans to blow the cold air down here. They do things like that you know.
Still I am cold. I am very cold.
There is snow lots of snow.
Maybe global warming wouldn’t be so bad.
So we lose a little coast line.
At least I would be warm.
I wonder if I can find a nice mechanic who will really dirty up my exhaust.
We need more green houses gases before I freeze to death.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Tommy UK and Tammy are now desperately looking for Herman. They are convinced that he is the key to stopping the shadow. It seem likely if they don’t find him by Monday the shadow will be coming in to Pigeon Fall proper. By Monday afternoon Last Lutheran will be gone and the hardware store. But they have no idea where to look.
He has not been in to the Happy Pigeon for over a week. The bartender at the Fly Inn hasn’t seen him. Nancy says that nobody has seen him. He may very well have left town.
Herman’s wife , however, says she thinks he has been at the house while she was working. There was food missing from the refrigerator and the food cabinet. He seems to have helped himself.
This gives Tammy and Tommy UK hope he is still around somewhere in town.
Homeland Security is still trying to get Washington to drop an Atomic bomb on the town. But still president George is steadfastly refusing. "If I do that" he is quoted as saying " American reporters will throw shoes at me and shoes hurt."
In the midst of all this a mysterious man in black has been seen walking along the edge of the shadow and according to Willie the man was whistling.
Wrap UP
It was coldtofday but my oxygen was up. I didn't need the tank at all today. After I blogged in the morning I decided to take some time away from the computer and began reading my newest book. You can see it listed on the side. Betty went to a Bible Study. I kept reading. My sister called to tell me I could get a good English Spaniel for just $70 but I told her Maggie was enough ( more than enough). I visited my first tier of links. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More of Me-A little delayed

Today's Link
My Life Shifting

Saying for the Day
Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. ~Carol Nelson

Picture of the Day

I borrowed this meme from Everything and Nothing

1.Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial but with a rotating base.

3. When do you put up the tree? End of November

4. When do you take the tree down? Early February

5. Do you like eggnog? No but Betty does

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Electric train or Charlie McCarthy puppet.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? We have several. The one on the layout is up all year round.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Betty

9. Easiest person to buy for? Luke, my grandson

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Never got a bad one but as a kid I wasn’t happy with clothes . Come to think of it I’m still not.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Both

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Dicken’s Christmas Carol

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? January


14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? NO!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Saffron buns

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear

17. Favorite Christmas song? Silent Night

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home but used to travel

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? No

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? An angel. Betty insists

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning but one on Christmas Eve
.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Crowds


23. What I love most about Christmas? The family coming together

24. What do YOU most want for Christmas this year? Nothing. I need nothing. Just let everybody be happy.

25. Any last thoughts? Don’t forget the Christ of Christmas-the real gift.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Tammy and Tommy UK were stunned. Putting the pieces in the puzzle hadn’t worked. They had read the driblet. They were certain this was the answer and it hadn’t worked. Now what could they do. Where should they go. They had bet on this answer and it seems to be wrong. Tommy UK went over the clues again. Herman was the seer. The puzzle was something from his past that he knew but he had forgotten. In other words something he knew but didn’t know. The pictures in the puzzle fit the three pictures from the roof of the Masonic building. They had to be right but it didn’t work. It just didn’t work. Little by little the shadow was still growing.
Then it hit Tommy UK. Herman was the key. He had failed in the long past and somehow caused all of this. He had to undo it. He had to put the pieces in the puzzle. But where was Herman.
Is Tommy UK right? Will they find Herman in time? Can they convince him to do the puzzle? Is this really the answer?

Wrap Up
Good breathing day. Betty and I did one thing all day. We started early in the morning and wrote our annuaol family letter ( you know the one everyone hates to get in which you tell how wonderful your family is) and the sort of annual quiz ( a little bit annual). Then we created our Christmas card. After that we ran them. We had some printer problems but got those corrected. My sister Dawn called to see how I was doing. After we finished the cards and letters we brought the address labels up to date and I printed labels. Betty put them on the assembled cards. Then we prepared the Christmas gifts for my nephews and tomorrow we will mail them all out. After that I visted the first tier of links. Now I need a breathing treatment.
GBYA
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