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It’s a vicious circle, it is. Mmmm hmmmm.

Last week, I managed to get tv. We have long been Dish Network customers {like, over 10 years}, but, of course, didn’t bring any of the stuff with us. Several years ago, we went looking at satellite options for the RV, and basically struck out unless we wanted to go with Direct TV, which we absolutely did not.

As it turns out, about a year and a half ago, Dish Network came out with the Tailgater; a portable satellite dish designed for easy transport. Originally, I thought we’d have to pay the retail price, which I wasn’t necessarily happy with, but it’s something we would continue to use when we went camping down the road; plus, at this point, with no tv options at all and living in the rv, any bit of creature comfort has got to help.

Incredibly, the big cities here didn’t have one. Nope, they didn’t. And I was shocked. I was not of a mind to drive an hour one way to get to Raleigh to get one. Fortunately, the people Dish Network sent me to in Roanoke Rapids actually had one- as in, a single unit. AND- they got me the receiver for free. I, apparently, was eligible for an upgrade.

Little did I know, however, that getting one meant signing another 2 year contract. *sigh* Oh well. We’ve been happy with DN all these years, and we didn’t see anything changing once we got here. I figure it was worth the trade-off.

We have some more fiddling to do with it, but after climbing and putting it on the roof to grab a signal, we were still not able to, so the cable is strung across the road. I just hope no one steals it. Yikes.

5 am Saturday morning, amidst the continued downpour, Murphy came to pay us a visit.

If you’re an RVer, you know how to angle your awning so the water drains off and doesn’t collect. Well, apparently that wasn’t enough of an angle for the kind of rain we had gotten overnight. Yep. You can see where I’m going with this.

Our awning came crashing down. *sigh* It’s like, close to $1,000 to replace. *sigh*

I know this, of course, because when the spring went out on our trip to Oklahoma {the one where we lost the tires and had the blowout on the way home}, we got home and priced it out to replace the hardware. And, because the underside of the awning was stained from campfire smoke, we thought, why not check and see what it would cost to replace the whole thing.

Needless to say, the sticker shocked us right out of that thinking. Now, however, we’ve got no choice. *sigh*

So my tasks this morning are to call insurance and see if that’s covered.

I’d like to run if the rain will hold off.

And I need to get back to Wally world this afternoon. On the list also, in addition to finding shoes that we didn’t get to last week, are ear plugs. Seems oldest dd has an ear infection, which she has gotten from swimming. It’s been really only the last year or so that she’s had continued issues with her ears after swimming, so it’s time.

I also need to write down ingredients to see what I can find for treating it homeopathically {don’t laugh, but now is the time I’m wishing I had some breast milk…… you probably think it’s really gross, but I’ll tell you from experience that it DOES work, because it’s teeming with live antibodies that help all kinds of stuff- works on pink eye, too, and is used for cancer treatment…………

Breast milk used in cancer fight

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2009/01/13/breast-milk-cancer-fight/

Cancer, arthritis, diabetes, even acne – is breast milk the new wonder cure?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1268987/Cancer-arthritis-diabetes-acne–breast-milk-new-wonder-cure.html

Breast-feeding, HAMLET, and cancer

http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~andersh/research/milkcancer.asp

Substance in Breast Milk Kills Cancer Cells, Study Suggests

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100419132403.htm

but  I digress. :lol:} to help knock it. I have never gone looking for tea tree oil, but I know I can find some olive oil; maybe some garlic oil. If nothing else, I am sure we’ll be vampire-free for a while. 😀

Now’s the time I am wishing I would have had the space to pack my family herbal book. *sigh*

I will say it feels like a time warp ala Murphy. I am working on options, but honestly, I’m feeling a lot discouraged. I knew going in this was going to be difficult. I just didn’t figure on getting no respite from it. I was hoping new patterns would be established; new habits would take root. And I can say that we’re not there yet.

I can look at the situation logically and know it could be worse; we are blessed to be able to have the option of me and the kids even being here; most of the stress is material, etc etc; we are blessed to have opportunity. I can also look at this and realize the things I did to fill my tank are sorely leaving a gaping hole, and I may really need to seriously think about taking that on sooner than later.

So. We’ll see what this week has in store for us.

And, because life is a soundtrack and it’s Halloween month and I really need a good giggle this morning, I leave you with Time Warp {dance} from the Rocky Horror Picture Show

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rtkdo7bOmJc%5D

 

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Yep.

Well ok. Not really. But it sure feels like I am.

Go get some cheese, ‘cause I’m bringing the whine. 😆

I’m paying $30 a month PER DEVICE for internet. Right now, we’ve got 3 devices. As soon as my son gets the parts to fix his laptop, it’ll be 4. And that’s not counting my Kindle, which I’m too cheap to pay for, and still too lazy to download to my computer because it’s just going to be a royal pain given the download rate. For crying out loud, I can’t get anything to stream for any length of time.

This is not endearing satellite internet to me even remotely. I have no idea why it’s so crappy, except to say it’s a shared signal at a campground. Seeing as it’s still relatively early, and there are not a lot of people here, one would think it wouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Well, it is. And I am trying not to get really annoyed. If it was free, I wouldn’t be complaining. Even if it was $10 a month, I wouldn’t be so ticked off. But this is enough of a pain in the rear that I’m not keen on even using it, and I’m paying through the nose! *Sigh*

I know I’m picky. I admit it. But there is something to be said for paying for a service and actually getting something for it.

In addition to the nearly non-existent download rate, I am having a royally rotten time of even getting to WordPress. I can’t log in 99% of the time. You may have noticed that I’m not liking and commenting as I usually do. Well, you can totally blame the satellite internet/WP combo for that.

I have literally been running in circles, fighting myself. Seems WP somehow doesn’t recognize me, and it’s always timing out my log-in attempts (because somehow it won’t cache me, either), except it may not be WP; more like it’s the satellite connection timing out. I can do some on my phone, but I’m not loving that, either, because it seems to have a mind of its own much of the time when it comes to words, even when I type the whole thing out. Yes, I could turn off the auto complete, but then I lose the spell check.

There is no clear answer here.

What has been made clear is that this is as good as it’s going to get until the house sells and we’re in the next one.

We went and scoped out the other campgrounds yesterday. The one with free wi-fi and cable is nice, if you like a parking lot. It’s got good buildings, but it’s not geared towards kids. Anyone under 14 is required to be accompanied at all times (including riding bikes, it seems). Not to mention- there is zero shade, no grass, no real playground, and did I mention it’s a parking lot? I have no idea where I would park.

The killer though, was the laundry price. It’s twice what I’m paying, per load. Now, while that may not seem like much, when you have 4 kids and are doing laundry a lot, it starts to add up. Combined with the additional gas because it’s at least 15 minutes further, it really will add up quickly and more or less negate the arm and leg it costs for dismal internet here.

The second place we checked out was in the city we anticipated settling in. Well. Not only are we not going to get set up there because of distance, I am very sure we’re not even going to consider living there, unless we can’t find something here. It’s just too darn far away!

Hunny would be looking at least a 30 minute commute one way, in traffic, which could vary his travel time considerably from day-to-day. It would also completely eliminate the option for him to come home for lunch if he could.

What’s interesting to me is that many people out there live in that town and don’t think a thing of commuting that distance. In fact, one of his managers drives 45 minutes one way and doesn’t think a thing of it. It’s just a mindset I don’t really understand. Maybe it’s a school thing-maybe his kids are in a good school or started out somewhere and he changed jobs. I don’t really know.

What I do know is that I’m only concerned with schools as a point of resale. And I have no intention of being that far away unless I can’t help it.

Hunny is getting rid of his motorcycle, and I completely see why. The roads and highways are busy- so much so that riding won’t be enjoyable in the least, and dangerous, so there’s really no point in hanging onto it.

What’s also interesting to me is that people are not interested in living in the country; particularly in the smaller towns. While on the one hand that’s good for me- less competition for houses out in the country, that also means inventory is really low and really not much to choose from. Did I mention that we’re kind of picky and have specific needs with a house? *sigh*

And yet, despite all these little things, I know this is where we’re supposed to be, and I’m standing on the promise of what’s waiting at the end of this part of the change.

So. If you don’t see me commenting or liking, don’t think I’m gone. Just try to keep in mind I’m fighting with myself and doing what I can with what I’ve got. And that it’s temporary {God willing}.

In the meantime, if you’re inclined to pray for a solid, quick sale, or if you know of anyone in that area that’s looking, please keep us in mind. We’d appreciate it! 😀

Because life is a soundtrack, this is what came to mind this morning: Fighting With Myself; The Invisible

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bruF7tedwnU%5D

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I’m Missing ‘Em


{I’ll tell ya- I’m getting sick of writing entire posts and them not saving but a letter each time…….. maybe tomorrow I’ll remember to use something else first so I’m not as frustrated……….}

We’ve done longer stints in the RV than this. Don’t get me wrong- I am not complaining, per say. I know we are blessed beyond measure to have the option of being together during this transition.  In the past, we have even seriously considered full-timing.

I will say, though, that everything is different when you are living compared to being on vacation. It’s hard to look at something as a total adventure when there is no actual end in sight.

There are things I’m starting to miss, though, since we are getting back into the grind of daily living……………

I’m missing my full sized bathroom. Yes, there is the campground bathroom, but it’s not quite the same as having your own full sized bathroom and child-free space since they had their own in the big house.

I’m missing my alone time. Since Hunny is now only home early morning and evening, I’m not even getting much time with him alone, especially since the oldest has decided to start getting up with us at 5:30 am. *sigh*

We used up the last of the real eggs yesterday- I’m really missing my girlies. Actually, all of us girls are missing them and dreaming about them. 😦

The one thing I am really, really missing? If you’ve been reading along, you’ll no doubt remember how much I despise shopping of any kind. {clothes shopping is an absolute hate; followed closely by food shopping.} When I fell in love, I fell hard.

There is something cathartic about buying 16+ gallons of milk and knowing you won’t have to do it again for 2 weeks.

Now, though, I’ve gone in reverse. We can keep a maximum of 3 gallons total in this fridge, which means I have to go to the store every other day just to get milk. I hate that. I’m missing my big fridge, and the extra one in the garage.

While the queen size bed here is good, I am missing my comfy, big, King sized bed. I know. I’m such a spoiled whiner. 🙂

At this point, I am even missing my washing machine and dryer. It’s about $12 to do laundry here, for a few loads (and a buck a load is pretty cheap, but that’s about one load per person), and we’ll have to wash about 2xs a week.

I miss TV, too. When I was researching campgrounds, I was disappointed to find slim pickins’. There are 3 available. One is not the best place for extended stays, but has wi-fi and cable, I think. The second one is new; no trees; all concrete (which we don’t particularly like); is more geared for adults than for kids; has a bit of a cheaper rate and has cable and wi-fi- but it’s something like 45 minutes from the plant. That means no chance of Hunny coming home for lunch if he’s able.

The one we’re at is closer- 9 miles away and is nice. It’s clean, the laundry is cheap; the people are very nice {I’ve got my mail forwarded here, even}. But. It’s higher priced; wi-fi is paid at $30 a month PER DEVICE and there’s no TV. Because our rig has just an antennae and we got it before TV went digital, we don’t have a converter. We’re looking into that.

The decision to land here was based mostly on location. But shoot. The kids are bored out of their minds, especially without wi-fi. We’re going to check out the other options, because this is not going to work long term unless we want to shell out major $$$$ for wi-fi, which, of course, we don’t.  There is no clear answer here.

Initially, we figured we’d use our phones to make hot spots, but apparently, they didn’t actually activate that on our plan like we asked them to. Hunny researched it and it looks like it can really mess up the billing with the plan. So, that is a source of frustration.

But really. I am not complaining. I’m just missing the things that made our daily lives comfy, is all. Even our regular activities, like our weekly bible study are off limits- the closest one here is about an hour away from where we are. If we buy a house in the area we were thinking of, it will be a bit closer, but not much.

Hunny doesn’t want the worry of me on the road right now, until we get more settled and more familiar with the area. I can’t say I blame him, but the one class has a homeschooling class, too, which would be nice for the kids.

That, quite honestly, is a BIG miss for me. I spent 8 years with that group of ladies; including 5 years with same basic group core group of leaders and teachers, and it really feels like I’m missing my ‘tribe.’ The things that normally grounded us all- are gone. Yes, we’ll make new “norms,” but until we sell the house and get moved into the next one, it’s going to be hard not to be reminded of what’s missing, mostly because it’s really difficult to make “normal” out of “limbo.”

I’m making a point of reminding myself daily- ok, it’s really moment to moment :lol:- to keep my eye on the prize. I’m trying really to visualize the end result we know is coming- and remind myself of how good it’s going to be.

In the meantime, I need to throw my concept of ‘normal’ and ‘preferred’ out the window, because nothing is normal right now; preferences don’t really matter because accommodation has to be made. There is no point in whining or being unhappy.

Now, if I could just get the kids to go along with that plan, things would be looking up considerably. 😆 In the meantime, I’ll try not to dwell on what I’m missing……………….. 😀

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I Dodged the Bullet


Whew. Yep, I sure did.

So how did the rebuild go? Well…………. I’m plugged in externally to a passport drive and a sata drive. I’m not completely dual-boot. Actually, I’m triple boot at the moment. And still not running completely healthy, although things are better.

Had issues getting all my email accounts to migrate over to Thunderbird, and will have to dig and see if there is a way to batch migrate all my contact info over past doing them one at a time. Somehow, I lost a day of running data between all three drives; not quite sure how that happened…

I decided to do some cleaning in my program files. There was a lot of junk in there that not only do I not use, but had no idea what it even was!

Y’all remember what I said about my magnetic personality? Ya…………. well, apparently, you can get rid of non DLL or exe files that apparently have nothing to do with what you need, only to find out that you can’t run a major program that took you weeks to organize. 😯

Can you imagine my distress when it told me this morning I had to uninstall ITunes because it was missing an application file?  😯  😥

Fortunately for me, Hunny made a backup somewhere, that would have been my last resort. I was resolved, though- I was not going to go that route unless I had to.

I reinstalled. I had my fingers and eyes crossed. I waited. And hoped.

*sigh*

To my great surprise, it installed and opened and all my stuff was still there! Yay! I’m a ninny, I know, but I am sure relieved.

It doesn’t happen to me much, but I’m always kinda floating when I actually do manage to dodge a bullet………  :mrgreen:

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Danger! Danger!


Yep. That’s what I’ve been hearing in my head since yesterday. To be fair, hunny heard it too, as my laptop kept crashing as he was trying to extract stuff. Meh.

The blue screen of death. Sudden and unexpected “sleep mode.” Hard crashes. Meh.

Methinks this does not bode well……………

The solution we’ve come up with is a new box.  Since I’m no longer doing website design and needing to be mobile, the best solution looks to be moving back into a desktop. My purple dragon awaits me……….somewhere buried in the garage.

I did find another neato purple case that is really cool. It’s on backorder, though, so I don’t think it’s going to be part of this emergency package.

Hunny has already speced out parts; now he’s down to comparison shopping locally and online, which will take him maybe another few hours. My son is sitting on a brand new unusued graphic card that we’re going to buy off of him. (Ya, he’s 15, and not only does he build his own computers, he buys his own parts, too!)

I’m not entirely sure what’s up with that card since he got it last week. I think he may have found a better one for some specific game he’s playing. Honestly, that is not my area of interest expertise. Talk to me about books, or running, or {gasp!} even chickens, and you may regret not setting aside enough time.  😆 But computer stuff I leave to the experts in the family.

That said……….. I have my fingers, toes, and eyes crossed, hoping that I don’t have a permanent fatal error that kills my entire system before hunny can get the pieces parts in and put together. Today I spent time purging, in hopes of helping my laptop limp along until we can make the move. I may even think about doing another defrag, just to see if that helps.

I have to say- there’s a lot of stuff I was unintentionally hanging on to that I had no problem dumping. Truly, some of that junk I didn’t even remember I had in there from the last move about 3 or 4 years ago! I actually still have all those things backed up on dvd.  It is staggering to see how much web design stuff I had packed in my machine!

Dumped. Trashed. Purged.

Wow. What a good feeling!

This next machine- I resolve to only fill with stuff that makes me happy. I’m not gonna hang on to stuff that is going to drag me down thinking about it. Less stuff should hopefully = less opportunity for something to get wonky.

The risk we took changing to a laptop was that when you have hardware failure, you can’t change parts out like you can on a desktop. I am really looking forward to having twin drives again, I have to say. In some cases, absence really DOES make the heart grow fonder!

I WILL let my favorites be overrun with running gear and chicken stuff. :mrgreen: Because, certainly, there is no danger with chickens and running……………. 😉

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No, not like that. Nope, not like that either. (Sheesh, people!!) 😆

I have been putting this off for like, a year. Maybe even more. Not just because of the time and effort involved, but mostly because I’m scared. In many ways, I am a creature of habit.

I have my own method of organization, and I see it in my head, where everything is stashed. I like to avail myself of all the options, and the last time I went down, things didn’t work right on the other side. It worries me to think I’ll lose something I need or things won’t work the way I want them to, because that makes me frustrated.

And I’ve put up with it for what- 3 or 4 years now? My level of frustration has been increasing to the point where I’m spending more time being frustrated than being productive. When things start coming to a standstill more often than not, I have to admit it’s time, and just bite the bullet and go down………….

Yep. It’s time to rebuild the laptop.

The last time we did this, the computer was new. I decided against a Mac (silly me) because my web design software was PC based, and I didn’t want to have to the big $$$ on new software, particularly after getting a new sooper dooper PC. Well, that blew up in my face.

After numerous installs, including re-doing my ITunes a gazillion times (literally, hours and hours and hours several consecutive weekends because I was moving IN to ITunes and hadn’t migrated all the music over from Windows), it became pretty clear that my old Dreamweaver (Macromedia MS) was not going to play nicely with my new laptop at 64 bit.

Here’s something I learned about design software- much of the time, if you are homeschooling, you can get a deeply discounted rate. Pretty neat, eh? Because I had a new PC, that’s the version of Adobe CS4 I ended up with. NOT the way I had hoped things would work out, but too late to do anything about it. I had been wanting to switch to a Mac for a long time, but the stars aligned against me, and it was not to be. Boo.  😦

In the years and years of having Windows machines, we’ve learned a few things.  One big thing we learned was that every year or two, you’d get to the point where things were running soooooo terribly that it was hard not to pitch the whole thing out the window. The solution we came up with early on was to totally rebuild the OS.

Now, I don’t do any of that, because y’all know I have this fantastically magnetic personality, right? I know I’ve talked a little bit about this, but this is a serious problem around our house. Fortunately for me and all involved, Hunny is the antidote.

Whereas I’ve been screaming at my printer because it won’t print for some magical, unknown reason, Hunny can talk to it and stand up to take the few steps to get to it- and it will magically start working again. Seriously. He can stand right over me and see that I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do, and it doesn’t work. The second he tries, though- everything works just fine.

This applies to everything mechanical in general, including autos and power tools. I am a force to be reckoned with.  😀

So, it goes without saying that I won’t mess with the rebuild. I let Hunny deal with it, and in reality, this will only take him a few hours. Having an engineer in the family definitely has its perks!

For example, my laptop was the first one we actually bought. Prior to that, he’d rebuild obsolete machines or start from scratch. You ought to see all the pieces parts in the garage….

My son built his first machine all by himself when he was 12. Hunny always sweats putting in the motherboard, because they are $$$ (that first one for the boy was over $200), but he dropped it without thinking twice. 😯 Because they are gamers, they go with build-your-own boxes because it’s easier to change out parts.

For a long time, I had a very nice purple box. I was annoyed that I couldn’t find a purple monitor to go with it, but I’ve since moved past tube monitors, so it’s all good. 😀 I even managed to find a wireless keyboard and mouse that were nearly the same purple. I seem to think the actual case was called something like “Purple Dragon.” Pretty cool, eh? (yes, I AM a girl!)  😆

Those turned out to be a total bust. The mouse battery only lasted a few hours (there was no dock for recharging- this was back when wireless mice were new) and while the batteries for the keyboard lasted a bit longer, I wore off the letters on 2 keyboards both within a week.

The box over here was basically the one I had, except mine had solid sides. It rocked.  😀

To make the switch to a laptop was a leap for me, but at the time, I was doing some travelling and needed the option to take it with me for presentations on the website(s) I was building. That was the trade-off, because I knew the days of slapping in more RAM and new graphics cards, etc, were over. Boo.

So, it’s time. I’m going down for a rebuild. I am past being frustrated with lag time. And I’m pretty much done with Windows, too.

At this point, I’m going to be dual-partitioned, with primary boot in Ubuntu. I have not been a fan of some OS applications, but this one doesn’t bother me a whole lot. I’ll still be able to use anything MS based that I need, like my design software and my MS Office suite if there’s something in Linux I can’t find.

I assume I’ll be back online by tonight, barring catastrophe and mayhem. If you don’t hear from me for a few days, you can assume I probably got more involved with the rebuild than I should have, and have caused myself problems.  😆

Let the games begin……I’m going down!  :mrgreen:

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Have you looked?  Do you usually look? 

~~WARNING!!!! LONG POST AHEAD!!!~~~~  😆

Every year around this time, I end up laughing sardonically to myself.

“I just love a clean slate!”

“New year= new beginnings!”

<gag> I mean, really? Do people really believe this? Like, nothing from the past year is going to follow them into this year because it’s a “new calendar?” Or that because it’s the new year, things are just magically going to be “better” because the time meter has been reset?? The short answer is yes, apparently they must because every year, they say the same thing.

Ooooooookkkk- back to reality! I love history. I just don’t live there. 😀

Sir Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Yep. It’s true. The key here is learning.

So many times, people do the same things over and over, each time expecting a different result. Doesn’t work that way. Never has; never will.

Learn something from the past, get over it, and move on already. Play the hand life has dealt you instead of moaning and groaning about better days (like when you were in high school). Don’t let the past keep you trapped, because you can’t escape from self-imposed imprisonment. It’s just not happening.

Get rid of your grudges– they keep you enmeshed, even if you don’t think they do. Why are you continuing to let that/them/him/her/it continue to have that kind of power over you? They don’t care about your grudge, and it’s going to damage you far more than it will them. Let it go……. but learn from the experience- don’t forget it; protect yourself from something similar happening again.

This is why we need to periodically look back. For me, it’s a measure of taking stock- where have I been? What went right? What needs work? Were any of those things things I actually had control over?  😆

Let’s take a walk down memory lane for a minute so we can see what my frame of reference is:  2010.

~~~~~~~~~~Intermission music~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh hey. I see you’re back.  🙂

The big rant there, about the medical billing? Yep. It’s still broken. The one bit of information I redently learned from my insurance company was “All emergency room doctors are contractors. None of them work for the hospital.” <gasp!>  😯

That was news to me! I thought only smaller community hospitals were cursed with that! I have no real way of confirming this information, so if you have some kind of concrete evidence, would you point me at it, please? Thanks.

Why, you might ask, is that even on my radar? Well, in August, dd #2 (my now 10-year-old) ended up in the ER with a concussion. I kid you not when I say that the hand of God was on that situation from the get-go, because financially, it could have been a WHOLE lot worse than it turned out to be. (I mean, of course the hand of God is in everything all the time- this was one situation, though, where a person could see it really clearly and know it for what it was.)

Explanation: We here, in our rural community where a larger city is 200 plus miles away in ANY direction, have 2 hospitals. One is relatively new; a private, physician owned venture that is really, really nice. Thanks to the cuts in Medicare and Obamacare, it can’t expand nor can it sustain itself, so it’s being bought out by the other hospital. I’m not sure that’s happened yet, and it’s besides the point.

So, when J started vomiting after goofing around with siblings (something I did not witness), I knew it was time to take her to the emergency room. I’m pretty well convinced that the other hospital will kill you unless you are mostly dead anyhow (ya, this is the one where the head of ER services told me “Everyone has pitting edema in the morning- you are just fine besides the connective tissue disease issue. Get off the internet and stop trying to find something wrong.” Yes, really. Nevermind those pesky chronic illness that other COMPETENT medical professionals have diagnosed.  🙄  😡 ), so my thinking was to take her to the other ER because surely, it had to be better.

Indeed, it was. We were in and out in 2 hours; the CT confirmed a concussion but no bleed (which was a huge relief, because that’s an airlift out). In reality, we were the only ones there.

That was early August. It is now January. A few weeks ago, I got another bill from the emergency doctor’s contracting service, which turned into nearly 2 hours (yes, really) of time waiting on the phone. First, I had to call the service to find out why they hadn’t billed insurance again. (We had already had this conversation in October.) They said they had, and insurance said it needed more information from me.

??? I hadn’t gotten anything from insurance, so I called. Insurance said they couldn’t find a record of a claim. Interestingly, the hospital bill and the labs had been completely paid for by the end of September- apparently, the hospital, which took my information- was able to properly bill insurance with no problem. Somehow, the ER doctor service wasn’t able to take that same information and do anything with it. That bill was for nearly $750.

When I called insurance, it showed that it hadn’t been billed at all. The next logical step was for the insurance company to call the ER doctor service to try to straighten it out- all with ME still on the line……..Granted, most of the time spent was just being on hold, but still…. 2 hours later, it was finally determined that the ER doctors hadn’t actually billed the right place, but now it should be on the right track.

How does this stuff happen?!!! You give your information a single time; to a single person. This person enters that data into the computer, for goodness sakes. And every one but the one gets the billing right? Maddening!

But wait- there’s more!  😆 As it turns out, the new hospital doesn’t actually HAVE pediatric services.  Yep. You read that right. They can deliver the bulk of the babies for the community, and they treat adults, BUT, they cannot admit pediatrics because they are not equipped to do so.

AND NOWHERE WAS THIS INFORMATION POSTED OR OTHERWISE SHARED WITH ME

You’d have thought that when we showed up, there would have been a note or something posted- or the person taking our information would have said, “Please be aware that if she needs to be admitted, we are going to call an ambulance to transport her to the other hospital.” Had I known that, I would have taken her there to begin with (where a dear friend actually works in the ER).  It was a given that if she had had a bleed, it would have been a chopper ride out- but first, they would have transported her to the other hospital by ambulance, too, because they are not equipped to do that there for peds.

WTH?!!! Pardon my french, but really? You don’t think you should tell someone that kind of information when they come in with a child that clearly needs medical attention? But see, fortunately, this is where God was clearly *overtly* in charge, because there was no bleed and things went well, all things being considered (we didn’t come home with something like MRSA….).  But when my friend called and let me know what was more likely to have  happened- wow. Just wow. Do people not have consciences?

I think we can conclusively say that medical billing is broken. And while our medical system is broken, I’m still inclined to think it’s considerably better than other countries with socialized healthcare, where people have to wait for eons to get surgeries and other services. At least here, I, the consumer, have the option to shop for doctors, even if I have to fight the payment ring-around-the-rosey later.

I think we can check that off the rants for 2011.  😆

Let’s see- the Stuff issue remains, more or less. Getting a Kindle has been hugely helpful in not adding to the pile of books, so that is good. The other stuff- *sigh*.  Work in progress.

I will say, though, that unlike 2010 which I was glad was dead and buried, 2011 actually DID have some really good points.

I missed not doing our usual travels. I think we all missed not taking out usual vacations. This was due completely to the addition of CHICKENS! If you’ve been reading along, you have no doubt figured out by now that I am totally crazy chicken lady.  :mrgreen:

Not a *single* regret here for getting chickens! Santa even brought Mama some chicken lanterns for Christmas, which add to the chicken calendar, magnets, and ornaments for her birthday.  😀

We’re hoping to get the chicken arrangement more automated so when we do hit the road again, we’ll have it set to where our chicken sitter only really has to come once or twice a day to collect eggs and make sure they all put themselves to bed.

Of course, all of our girls are grown up now and they are all laying eggs. One of these days, I’ll actually get around to taking pictures of the chicken condo, the girls, and their gift of eggs!!  😆

The other “big” thing for me this year came in the form of running shoes. The change to Vibram Five Fingers has been absolutely monumental for me. Because I’m not running with as much pain, I’ve been able to increase my mileage and enter races. 2011 brought me 2 10k races. 

Year end totals for running: 935.76 miles. At the beginning of the year, my goal was 500 miles. At some point, that changed, and I was looking at 800 miles. When that goal got close, it changed to 900. The last few weeks, I had changed the goal again, to 950 miles. 😆

The last week bit me in the rear, though, as I hit a pretty major flare on Christmas Day followed by a tummy bug. I only logged 43.5 miles for last week; my monthly total for December was 205.

How does that break down with the shoes? 308.56 miles were run in my Asics, which leaves 627.2 in my VFFs. I’ll continue to update periodically on my VFFs, as a measure of keeping track of the longevity of these treds. The Holiday Challenge finishes today, so stay tuned for the update coming soon!

Overall, 2011 wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. In fact, it was considerably better than I had hoped! That being said, I can’t confess to having unbridled enthusiasm for 2012.  While I’m cautiously optimistic, I’m probably just too cynical.  😆

2012- looking forward to good things and firsts- like going and collecting eggs, because we haven’t collected eggs at all this year.  😆  And then a run, since I haven’t run at all this year………………. 😆

What are your goals for the coming year?  Do you set any?  Have you looked in your rearview mirror yet?  😀

 

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I know y’all are gasping and picking yourselves up off the floor, you know, from the shock of that admission. 😆

I’m coming clean- I am picky. Most of the time, I’m pretty laid back and easy-going; however, in some particular regards, I am way too picky. That means that I like what I like, and I don’t what I don’t, for those needing clarification.

Today, I once again faced my nemesis and ended up wasting an entire afternoon. I am pretty sure, though, that victory is mine. (muwah ha ha ha)

Yesterday was a bad electronics day. Firstly, the left side of my headphones stopped working. Then my iopd went all wonky; skipping, repeating, randomly shuffling through settings (including the radio and basically refusing to cooperate.) This was after mile 3, and I wasn’t going any faster at that point than I had been. So, I commandeered my oldest dds ipod, and had the same result. ????

By this time, Iwas past mile 4 and steam was coming out of my ears, I was so ticked. I really need to listen to something while I’m running! I settled for listening to the random, thankful that the voice-over lady hadn’t turned on……

Anyhow. My task for this afternoon was to stop at Target on my way home and replace my headphones. This should have been a no-brainer. For years, I suffered with ill-fitting headphones; headphones that would come flying out once they got sweaty; headphones that would come falling off repeatedly. I have heard of those who use sports tape to tape them in- I’m allergic to the tape.

Several years ago, hunny was tired of my constant complaining secretly went on a headphone search for me, and found me an awesome pair for my birthday. They were *exactly* what I was looking for- lightweight; sweat/water-resistant; and over the ear adjustable. I had gone through numerous clip-on (over the ear) headphones and never had any real luck with getting them to fit right, which then left me annoyed.

He found a set Target and picked them up. Granted,  if it was me shopping, I would have not spent that amount on myself, but wouldn’t have batted an eye at spending it on him. (This reminds me of that part of Ron White’s standup where he’s talking about diamonds. “Diamonds.  That’ll shut her up.” :lol:)

My plan for this afternoon was to swing by Target on my way home and get a new set. That’ll teach me to plan!

Do you think they had them? Nope. “No problem,” I thought, “they are Nike’s, so I’m sure the sporting goods store will have them.”

Nope. So I thought, “Well, I guess I’ll check Radio Shack, then.”

Nope. So then I thought, “Oooook, I guess that leaves the sporting good store in the mall (yes, I know, we actually DO have a mall, although our only local Hallmark store is now out of business, and we don’t have the leather store in there anymore, either….) as a last-ditch effort.

Nope. So I wandered down to Foot Locker, thinking certainly they wouldn’t have them, and I wasn’t disappointed.

That’s what I get for thinking! “Easy enough,” I thought again (even though we know how that turned out just a bit ago- apparently, it takes a bit for me to learn….), I’ll just go home and find them on the internet.”

Two hours later, I had emailed hunny to ask him if he could remember what he paid and which ones they are. Even once he got home, I was still debating which ones to get. His response was to say, “Christmas is coming.  They always have stuff like that at Christmas…..”

“But that’s eons away!  I can’t suffer with regular ear buds until then!  I’ll go crazy!” {and mumble mumble, we could count them as my birthday present, she says quietly}

After hemming and hawing, I finally went for the ones that I am pretty sure are the same ones I already have.

Here’s my gripe: PEOPLE. LISTEN UP!  If you have a product that you LIKE, please leave a review online. Because otherwise, people like me will waste spend hours of their lives, swinging back and forth between cost and the one product they think they had success with, only to find there is no review for that one at all, and so now it’s like a shot in the dark, for all practical purposes.

*Sigh*

My Nike Vapors are totally adjustable. These are the ONLY pair of headphones I’ve found that I like. They fit well. They sound good. They are water/sweat resistant.

My headphones should be here in a week or so.  I hope I survive. 😆

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If you’ve been reading along, you know of my great, and sometimes detrimental, love of books.  😆

The question was a posed a bit ago: would you rather be deaf or blind? I used to answer this question without hesitation.  Why, of course, given my background in music, I would MUCH rather be blind than deaf.  I could not imagine a life without my music! 

Classical music soothes my soul.  So much so that time escapes and nothing else gets done while listening.  I know people (like my guys) who can listen to music while studying and doing other things.  Not me.  Once the music captures me, the world can cease to exist and I might not notice.

I can paint (as in, the walls) and listen to music; I can clean and listen to music.  I run and listen to music.  It’s not classical music, though, and that’s what allows me to get things done.

But, the classical comes on and I am lost.  I take great joy in identifying parts and seeing the weaving and the artistry of the composition, all the while recognizing I will never have that vision and divine gift. It makes me love it all the more.

Wednesday, however, gave me a new answer. We’ve been on vacation this week, and even though it’s a staycation -our first in years – I’ve done a bit of reading.  The last vacation we took was the first with my Kindle, and I admit, I barely crawled out of the bed the entire time because I was reading.

There is nothing better than having an unlimited amount of books to read. Always in the past, I had been limited to how much I could take by the amount of space available.  I even left yarn behind to take a few extra books!

But not this time, for I had loaded my Kindle with 40 some odd titles. Titles that were free!

One of the reasons I chose a Kindle over other e-readers was the amount of freebies I had stumbled on prior to purchase. Being married to an engineer has taught me the concept of payback.  In this case, it is initial cost of the Kindle vs. space and cost of e-titles. I figured I’d have to read enough free titles to cover the cost of the Kindle, and then I would be home free.

We’re now months later, and I’m still reading freebies. I don’t have magic; I don’t have psychic ability to predict which titles are free when.  I do, however, have Facebook. A friend shared a link and I’ve been hooked ever since.

In my I’m Drunk  post, I shared how a friend on FB posted a link to Ereader News Today, which sent me into overload.  I immediately joined, and have been loving it since. 

On Wednesday, there was a post simply stating, “There is some big news for free Kindle books today. There are over 200 new freebies! I’ve created a link to a list of all the free Kindle books instead of making a post for every one.” (insert drooling smiley here)

Over two hours later, as I finally finished page 9, I realized that getting through all those 584 titles (which is now 606) was not for the faint of heart. Some titles I already had. Some I didn’t want (like textbooks). Some were short stories. Some were sneak peeks of the first few chapters. On the Amazon site, the titles are just listed and you have to click through to get the description.  That’s time consuming, but the freebies are worth it to me.

I stopped at a suitable place (somewhere after 100) because, after all, I was eager to get reading. Another thing I really love about my Kindle is the light in the case.  I debated about spending the extra money on the light, but I will tell you, it was WELL worth the extra $$.  I have read while everyone else was in bed; I’ve read out by the campfire.

It was in bed, around 1 am when I finally finished the one book. I was surprised at the time, but it’s fantastic to finish a good book.  I remember thinking, “I could live here forever.” Meaning, I could live in the book world forever and do nothing else; taking minimal time to eat, reading all the while.

And then it hit me. I have changed. My Kindle has caused me to change! Instead of my default setting of being blind instead of deaf, I would now rather be deaf. (And this is in no way to make light of or make fun of disabilities, but thinking along those lines from time to time can help a person better understand themselves.)

Books captivate me; they take me to another place, where I get lost. And now I’m getting them free! 

I have something like 15 pages of unread titles.  And I haven’t gotten through the list yet.  I’m trying to work my way through it, but books are calling me……..

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Fly LadyStuff.  I have it.  Too much of it.  Really, thanks, I have more than enough.  Do you want some?

Here’s the cliché – cluttered home; cluttered mind.  I’d love to test this and see if it’s true.  There’s just one problem with it – I have too much stuff. It’s not a matter of cleaning; things here are generally clean.  The adults are clean.  The children are clean.  Shoot, even the dogs are clean, as dogs go.

We’re not hoarders, so don’t think in terms like that.  And I’m not one of those people who IS a hoarder but is in denial, just a person saying they are “collectors” of things.  Nope, don’t do that, either. Except books, which was largely unavoidable, until my Christmas shopping resulted in a much-loved Kindle so that I don’t continue to add to the boxes but I digress.

We are very good, in general, about throwing broken items away and donating outgrown clothes and whatnot.  I regularly purge my closet, although I confess that since I despise shopping, I would rather wear clothes something I’ve had for years as opposed to going and buying something new.  I’ll save that for another post.

“So, what’s the problem?” you might be thinking.  My conclusion, which remains the same, is the house.  We’ve been in this house for over 8 years, and almost immediately, I knew we would have problems.  We lost a ton of storage (and a great garage) for a house with more space.  Problem is, we lost necessary storage space and gained things like living space – in all of the *right* areas, I might add.  It’s not a total bust.  I love the spaces we DO have; we just need more of the other kind of spaces.

When we left our other house those eight plus years ago, we were minus a cat, a dog, and a child.  While the bedrooms are bigger and have better closets, having three children of the female variety in one room – one of whom is a tween – the medium-sized walk-in-closet has not come close to solving the chronic issues with having three girls in one bedroom. I, in my naiveté, thought that having another baby that could be a girl would not be too much of a problem, at least until the time came where we sold the house to solve the problem.  So here we are, six plus years after said third girl, and having tried to sell the house for nine months in a failing market, feeling a bit at the end of the rope, and up to my ears in stuff.

If anyone is to blame, I blame myself.  Not so much for having another baby; or for having “too many children” for this house (I mean, who does that, right?  Live your life based on how many you can fit in a car you like or take a chance that you might not fit back into your clothes post pregnancy, requiring more money spent on a new wardrobe?); or even for the amount of stuff this many people require. 

Nope, I blame my lack of inner Martha Stewart.

Back in the olden days, when I had just the one and then just the two kids, I was making all kinds of things.  I made things for their walls, for their beds, and things for other people. I made wall hangings with cute little decorated frames that were painstakingly hand-decorated; I made bedding, including sheets, bedskirts, pillowcases and curtains.  I even made a crib skirt and matching curtains for the nursery.  I made clothes; I sewed clothes and crocheted everything you can imagine – and those things are taking up space, too.  I thought of myself as being generally “crafty,” and was well pleased, feeling like my life was progressing as planned.

By the time baby number three arrived, kindergarten for the oldest was underway, and everything changed.  I didn’t have so much time anymore for making new stuff, so the projects tended to linger for days at a time, on the dining room table, while we moved it aside or ate in the living room. We talked about adding on to our existing house, but decided a different location would probably be better. It wasn’t long until we decided to find a different house, with more space. 

I had been looking off and on for several years, but then I found this house.  And I knew it was a home run – less the storage issue.  I convinced myself (and probably my better half, too) that we would find a way to get through the loss the of storage and everything would work out just fine.

Eight years later, and I am still trying to find a way to fix, treat or solve the storage issue. (Aren’t you proud of me?  I’m trying not to habitually use the Oxford Comma, just to shake things up a bit.  :D)  Yesterday was a day of complete frustration; knowing that not only have I not resolved or adequately treated this issue, but am quickly losing ground.

Yes, this means I – rather, *we* – are trying to put the Christmas things away, including newly added items to the overwhelming stuff problem.  And part of this overall problem is that, really, these are things that are needed, like socks and underwear (indeed, I’ll wrap just about anything, so long as it’s not alive). And other clothes.  And then the more fun items, like a few toys and books.  Did I mention we have a book problem? 😆  In our defense, we’ve been homeschooling for the last eight years, so that endeavor has justifiably added substantially to our ongoing dilemma.

Yesterday, in an effort to combat my overwhelming stuff problem, I grumbled and griped heavily at the kids – who, being kids, are generally unwilling to put good effort into helping clean things up, like putting clothes away appropriately, i.e, hanging in the closet, when it’s much easier to pitch everything on the floor. Logically, I know griping backfires, as does giving praise ;). We’re still working on the concept of children gaining inner satisfaction for things being put away where they belong, which is still a big part of the overall problem.

I got started cleaning the things I can control, like my file boxes, which are organized.  If you know me, you know I am anal when it comes to organization. 😀  Yep, that’s me, known in my work world as a person who has a gazillion files, but can find anything – unless it doesn’t get filed. I *love* ♥♥♥ being organized.  It helps me feel calm, and feel a sense of “all is right with the world and I don’t have to struggle to find what I need,” which let me tell you, is a HUGE thing for me. 

My desk is now mostly free of stuff, and contains my Swiffer, so I can dust my electronics as many times a day as I want.  This will require me to buy another one, but this is a step I am willing to take. If something small like that can help me not to explode while trying to find the one thing on my desk that has sprouted legs and gone wandering off, that is a little bit of progress I am willing to count as a victory.

I go out of my mind – literally – when I can’t find something, particularly when it was *just* right in front of me. In addition to that “Not Me” person who lives in my house, there is also a gremlin that follows people around, snatching up recently set-down items, just for the point of infuriating them. While I know he visits many of you as well, I think he finds my house to be a particularly comfortable environment in which to thrive.

I have a constant battle with stacks. I’ve tried using the Fly Lady method of spending “x amount of time” every day sorting/purging or taking  “x number of items” off the pile every day.  I’ve even thought about getting my shoes on first thing in the morning. Do slippers count?  If they do, then I’m good.  

But shoes “to lace up?” Nope.  Not for me.  One of the things I do the mornings I’m home during the week is run on my treadmill.  The shoes go on pretty early – just not when I first get up with hunny before work.  I get dressed twice as it is.  I don’t think I need lace-up shoes on my feet by 6 am. 😆  Since I’ve now delegated the dish-doing to the kids, the personally shining of the sink every day is off the list, too, although I do try to nag them to shine the sink every day.  That’s not going so well, as you can imagine.  😉

But, I do ok with the stacks, even though they tend to pile up.  I have come to realize that my nemesis in this category is not the junk mail, which I am faithful about shredding, but the magazines I don’t have time to read.  Yes, I read books.  Magazines not so much.  I used keep the pile so I could take my own magazines to the doctor’s office, or when getting my hair done.  I used to have great enthusiasm for the topics in my magazines, mainly Trailer Life and the Good Sam Club’s  HighwaysI also enjoyed reading gift subscriptions to Better Homes and Gardens and Reader’s Digest  for a while I think the reading in public while waiting is a task that now goes exclusively to my new Kindle.

What I’ve learned, interestingly, is that because they come, I feel obligated to read them.  The RV camping magazines were good when we were new at it all, and it was great to get educated about RV/camping and find suggestions for good places to go. What I came to understand, however, is that many of these places often weren’t set up to accommodate busy children or were too far away to get to and back on a week’s vacation.  Plus, through the years, I’ve found my own good ways of searching for campgrounds and destinations that will fit our evolving family,which largely involves using the forum accessed by either Woodall’s  (linked from the Woodall’s site) or RV Net. I’ll share those in another post that is more pertinent to camping.

Back to stuff.  Other magazines have involved crafts; crafts which I don’t seem to have time or space for anymore. As a result, reading my magazines no longer has a top spot on my “things I like to do” list, which is getting shorter and shorter these days. Clearly, I resolved a long time ago not to renew these magazines, but one comes as part of a membership (which gives discounts that we regularly use), and one I ordered for several years, several years ago, that I keep hoping “this is the year it expires.” As you can see, the magazines coming into the house will continue to come into the house, and will continue to be a topic taking up gray matter.

The kids’ magazines, on the other hand, like Kids Discover and National Geographic Kidsare considered part of our homeschooling curriculum. This qualifies them as a necessary evils. The kids really like them and get knowledge, so who can argue with that?

The one set of magazines became “bathroom reading” once I was done with them, but it didn’t take me long to realize that I had moved one pile to another pile, and into a place in the house I desperately try (notice I said “try” 😉 ) to keep as “stuff-free” and as “serene” as I can.  Given the stack of books on the dresser, I know I’m not doing so well in that category, either. At least now I have a Kindle, and therefore some hope for that situation.  Moving one pile from one room in the house to another room in the house is not what I would call “solving the problem.”

For years, I have tried not give the kids stuff that has a lot of pieces. Hum. At least most of the incoming items relate to camping, education or have a box to contain the pieces (like puzzle pieces). Progress? The jury is still out on that one.

And I have food stuff, too. While I am lucky to have a large kitchen with more-than-the-average-number-of cabinets, I have learned that once you get hooked on canning your own food, you will never have enough space.  And I mean that genuinely, with great love. 😆 ♥♥♥  There is nothing more satisfying than filling your cupboards with your own food; food that you know how it was processed and food that isn’t loaded with other stuff.  I am unabashedly a canning junkie.  The problem here again, is space.  I don’t have enough space to contain all the stuff I would like to can; therefore, I don’t can as much as I would like to.

Stuff, stuff, stuff and more stuff.  It is oozing out of my ears! I used to keep boxes in the garage, so that I could pack away stuff (like clothes that weren’t ready to be used by the next child) and keep the room organized.  When we tried to sell the house, I purged – and used – the boxes I had saved.  See the problem?  I had a span of nearly a year without new boxes to store stuff in, which meant………stuff piling up the room. Since I can’t justify buying plastics (which my attic is full of – containing mostly yarn and miscellaneous other craft stuff) because eventually the stuff will either be used or donated, I’ve had to wait for the cardboard boxes which usually only come during this time of the year.

Now, unfortunately, I find I am terribly overwhelmed with the task set before me.  This is primarily why I am sitting here writing instead of trying to sort through all the stuff.  😆  My real world consists of a days that are packed full of stuff to do – schooling every day, running every morning I’m home, being someplace where people count on me the morning I’m not home, and least two afternoons a week at the job. This schedule has to work around being chronically ill, which in-of-its-self is a never-ending guessing game of “how much can I get done today?” It is no wonder that, come the weekend, I am not interested in doing much besides kicking back and trying to do something I enjoy and find relaxing.  Organizing stuff is not relaxing.  😀

While I know it needs to get done, and probably will get done someday, I am not in a hurry. Logic dictates that the longer the stuff goes unaddressed, the more it’s going to accumulate. This isn’t an untested theory, either. 😆 I know this to be true, because the stuff is oozing out of my ears. Next week is back to normal, and if I let myself think about it, I could get worked up into a real panic. I try to remind myself that, as the Fly Lady says, “….your home did not get this way overnight and it is not going to get clean in a day.”  I have the clean part down ok; it’s the stuff getting organized in a place that it will stay that is the issue here.

What am I going to do today?  I am going to doodle online and then tackle the stack on my dresser, which includes movies I haven’t watched yet.  This, I am confident, will help my overall goal of finding a home for more stuff, since we actually do have a place to put the movies.  Once I’ve worked my way through the pile of “unseen,” I can move them to the “seen” pile, which can then be put away.  See how easy that is?!  If I apply this thinking to other things, I will surely end up with more books read, jewelry made, and magazines thrown away.

But in the back of mind, I know I’ll be thinking about how to tackle the storage problem in the one bedroom, and thinking about whether or not perhaps a storage cube can be of help.  Will it help the containment issue? Do we need to put another bookshelf in there for the growing collection(s) of books? How much will it cost?  How will it wear?  Will it be durable and look good in a month (a year, two years – dare I ask – five?)?  Will it actually get used, or will things still be scattered from one end of the house to the other?

My desk is clean, so I am feeling lighter, at least in this space right here. I’m going to cut myself some slack, and do something more that does not involve tackling the stuff. All the while, though, I’ll be thinking about the stuff, and what to do with it and how to combat and it and wondering if my efforts will make a difference long-term.

Stuff. I’ve got it. And it needs to be organized. Less thinking; more doing.  I guess I’m off – to try to tackle one small pile of movie stuff.

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