Musings From A Bookmammal


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Six Word Saturday–5/3/14

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Booklover Problem: What To Read First?

5.3.14

This is a picture of what I call my 9th bookcase—it’s the floor by my bed where I keep newly acquired books that I want to read. The two piles on the left are used books I’ve purchased over the past month. The two stacks on the right are my current library haul. So many books that I’ve had on hold at the library have all come in at once! Luckily the loan period is three weeks—but I do have other things going on in my life like a job and friends and a family that take up time. 🙂

So—where do I start? My impulse is to dig into the library stack—those pesky due dates and all—but then again there are a couple of books in that used book pile that I’d really love to explore. What a great “problem” to have, right? I’m hoping to get errands and chores done this morning and then will have time this afternoon and evening to do some serious reading of SOMETHING in one of these stacks!

How about you? What’s on your agenda for this lovely Saturday? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday–4/19/14

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Cooking ahead for Easter dinner tomorrow!

I always spend Easter at my parents’ house, and we always enjoy a delicious mid-day meal of ham sandwiches and assorted side dishes. Today I’ll be making baked beans (pinto, black, garbanzo, and butterbeans), cinnamon brownies (no “lamb cake” for us!) , and some sort of potato salad (I’m still deciding on that one). I’ll take all of these with me tomorrow morning when I travel across a couple of towns to spend the holiday with family.

How about you? What’s on your agenda for this fine Saturday? If you’ll be celebrating Easter tomorrow, how will you do so? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday–3/29/14

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Spring is here—sports are colliding!

I really like this time of year. The break after a long winter is wonderful, of course, but what I REALLY enjoy is the collision of two of my favorite sports—baseball and hockey!

Opening day of baseball season is on Monday and, as a long suffering Chicago Cubs fan, I’m hoping for a solid rebuilding year after last year’s disappointing season. I’ll be at work during most of Monday’s opening game, but should be able to listen to the end of it in the car on my way home.

Hockey is winding down the regular season and the playoffs will be starting soon. My Chicago Black Hawks have been floundering a bit, but I’m still confident that a Stanley Cup repeat is within reach!

This is the time of year that I can always find a game—either on grass or on ice—to enjoy. I love it!

How about you? What are you looking forward to now that Spring is here? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday–3/15/14

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Taking time to appreciate little things . . .

  1. Sunny, warmer weather with no new snow for the past two days.
  2. My shiny, freshly washed car.
  3. Spur of the moment lunch plans with friends.
  4. Tax refund received much sooner than expected.
  5. Daylight Saving Time means it’s now light out when I leave for work, and it’s still light out when I get home.
  6. Finally being able to leave the house without a scarf or gloves.
  7. Picking up an armful of books from the library–so many possibilities!

 

How about you? What little things are you appreciating on this fine Saturday? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday–3/1/14

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Looking forward to a lazy weekend.

This past week was a rough one at work. Lots of changes going on, lots of uncertainty, and lots of folks jockeying for position and trying to throw others under the bus to do it. It’s exhausting. I love my job and I’d like to focus my energies on doing it, but instead there’s so much nonsense going on.

So—I’m looking forward to relaxing and re-energizing this weekend. I don’t have anything planned beyond doing a lot of reading, some napping, some cooking of comfort foods, and then escaping by watching the Oscars on Sunday night. I haven’t seen many of the movies that are up for awards, but I do like to see what everybody is wearing!

How about you? What are your plans for the weekend? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday–2/15/14

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Ten things on my weekend list.

I have a three-day weekend–my office is closed on Monday for President’s Day. I’m planning on doing some serious reading, napping, and Olympics-watching, but I also have some chores to get done. Here are the ten things–some big, some small–that I hope to accomplish over the next three days:

  1. Pay bills.
  2. Finish doing my taxes and submit them.
  3. Laundry.
  4. Clean upstairs bathroom.
  5. Grocery.
  6. Figure out what’s wrong with my printer (I don’t have much hope for this one!).
  7. Make something in the crockpot (to be determined!).
  8. Go shopping for a sweater or top and a nice pair of black shoes with a small heel to wear with dressy black pants for a meeting next week.
  9. Clean off my dining room table which is covered with paperwork, receipts, catalogs, etc.
  10. Get my hair cut.

 

How about you? What’s on your agenda for the weekend? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday–2/1/14

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Monthly tradition–Say “Rabbits, Rabbits, Rabbits”!

When I was very young, my Dad taught me the tradition/superstition of saying “Rabbits, Rabbits, Rabbits” on the first day of every month. The trick is that it has to be the first thing you say before you say ANYTHING else. If you’re able to do so, you’ll have good luck all month. It was a fun, silly Dad/Daughter tradition that we both enjoyed.

Many, many years later, I still try to do this each month! Sometimes I succeed–often, I blow it by saying something to the cats (yes–talking to animals does count!) before I remember what day it is.

This morning–February 1–I remembered! So I’m looking forward to a February filled with good luck. Hopefully part of that luck will be a little less snow. It’s been a rough winter!

How about you? Do you have any family traditions like this? What are your plans for this fine Saturday? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday–1/25/14

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My heart is with my friend.

pink sunsetNext week one of my co-workers—and a good friend—will attend the trial of the person responsible for the death of her 22-year-old daughter nearly three years ago. Her daughter’s boyfriend was killed in the same incident. There’s no doubt that the woman who will finally go on trial was responsible for these deaths—the only thing to be determined is the level of negligence.

I won’t share any specific details of the event that killed these two young people, because it’s not my story to tell—and I can’t even attempt to be unbiased. I’ll just say that they were on the threshold of endless possibilities in their lives—both within months of completing training to enter helping professions–and in one instant it all ended.

There have been so many delays of this trial over the past three years that I can’t even keep track of them all. There have been nearly thirty pre-trial courtroom appearances concerning this case—my friend has attended every one of them. It makes me wonder how  “cruel and unusual punishment” is defined, because it seems to me that having to go through these endless postponements has been very cruel to the loved ones and friends of both of these young people.

Any death of a child is beyond horrible. Parents are not meant to bury their children. In my friend’s case, the situation is escalated because her daughter was her only child, and she was a single mom. I don’t know how she’s managed to keep it together as she has.

I don’t know what the outcome of this will be. I can only hope that my friend will get some measure of closure when it’s over. I’m trying very hard to believe some sort of justice will finally be served.

Not my usual light-hearted Six Word Saturday today—but my heart is too full for anything else right now. Thanks for reading.


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Six Word Saturday–1/18/14

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I guess I’ll do laundry later . . .

laundryI got distracted when I was sorting laundry this morning. When I got back to it, this was what I found.

I just don’t have the heart to ask her to move. . .

What’s on your agenda for this beautiful Saturday? Any chores that you’re happy to put off? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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An incredibly awesome customer service experience!

Everyone (me included) always complains about poor customer service. However, I had an excellent customer service experience just this morning!

A bit of background—in my part of the world, we are getting slammed with incredibly frigid temperatures this week—and next week is supposed to be even worse. On Monday, the HIGH temperature is predicted to be -9 degrees F.

Very early this morning I woke up to a cold house—and a cranky furnace. I dug out my manual, tried to do what it said—no results. This morning I made a service call and resigned myself to a big weekend repair bill.

Instead—a technician called me back, asked me some questions, and then said “Do you want to save yourself $200?” Of course, I said “Sure!” He then VERY patiently walked me through what to do—and I now have heat again—with NO repair bill!

I’ll be sending an email to the company’s headquarters today, mentioning this technician by name. I couldn’t be happier—and from now on the only company I’ll be calling for any heating/cooling issues is T R Miller Heating and Cooling in the Chicago area!

I’m planning on spending the weekend staying warm, preparing for more snow later today and tomorrow, and cooking some sort of comfort food—maybe some nice homemade soup. How about you? What’s on your agenda for the weekend? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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Getting organized for the new year!

Every year at about this time I go into full-on organizing mode. I like to start the new year with good intentions, and that involves cleaning out the old and tidying what’s left. So that’s what’s on my agenda over the next several days–on my list is my linen closet, kitchen cabinets, desk, clothes closet, and bookcases. I’ll be weeding out what I no longer need or use (a couple of local organizations will get donations, and I’ll be making a trip to my nearby used bookstore), and I’ll be organizing what’s left. Doing all of this to peppy music helps–so does spreading it out over several days–and I usually get a nice surprise or two when I uncover something that I forgot I had. I’m always in such a better emotional place when my surroundings are organized—it doesn’t always stay  neat for long, but I sure enjoy it while it lasts!

How about you? What’s on your agenda for the remainder of the year? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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An unexpected act of neighborly kindness

kindnessMy across-the-street neighbor—we have a “wave to each other and shout greetings across the street” kind of relationship—went out of her way to do something very kind for me this week.  I was floored when I found out about it, and am very grateful to know that someone in my neighborhood has my back and will watch out for me. When you live alone, as I do, that’s important. I have a little bagful of small gifts for her baby that I’m going to take over today as a thank you.

As for this weekend, the weatherman says we’ll be getting a combination of rain, ice, and snow through Monday. Luckily most of my holiday shopping is done—I’m staying in and will be cooking something wonderful, reading, wrapping gifts, and napping after a very busy week!

What about you? What’s on your agenda for the weekend? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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A perfect evening with Love, Actually.

Picture1The other night I got home from work tired, cold, and hungry. We’d gotten our first significant snowfall that day and my commute both ways was twice as long as usual. I came home, heated up some dinner, turned on the TV—and found that the movie Love, Actually was just starting. So my evening was set—for the next three hours I did absolutely nothing but watch one of my very favorite films, which also happens to be a Christmas movie.

I love so many things about this film. I love all the interconnected storylines and characters whose shared relationships don’t all really become clear until the very end. The little boy who plays Liam Neeson’s stepson is adorable, but not annoyingly so. The soundtrack is awesome. Billy Bob Thornton makes a deliciously creepy cameo appearance. I love the fact that there are several interracial relationships in the movie, but they aren’t called out in any way as big statements—they’re just pairings between people who happen to be of different races, which is, I feel, how it should be. Laura Linney is heartbreakingly wonderful. Emma Thompson is her usual fabulous self–there’s one scene where she is simply standing alone in her bedroom and, in doing so, says more than most actors can say in a whole page of dialogue. And there are a few scenes that still make me cry, no matter how many times I’ve seen them. Does the movie go off the rails a bit in some parts? Sure. But I’m willing to forgive it because the rest of the movie is so great.

So, all in all, I had an excellent end to a tiring day—which seems to get harder to come by during the hectic holiday season. I hope you’ll be able to find the time to do some things you thoroughly enjoy–either alone, or with family and friends–during this busy time of year!


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Six Word Saturday

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Had a “two-for-one” dream!

moon_and_starsI think dreams are fascinating—it’s like a whole section of your mind opens up when your barriers go down during sleep. I usually have really vivid dreams—sometimes with multiple plot lines—and on most mornings I can remember a dream when I wake up.

Once in awhile I’ll have the great experience of what I call a “two-for-one” dream—and it happened to me again last night! At some point in this dream, I went to see a play with some friends—but it was NOT a real play that I’ve ever seen in real life—it was a totally new play created by whatever part of my mind creates all of my dreams.

I love it when this happens—I’ve also experienced watching “dream” movies or “dream” TV shows—and I always feel like I’ve gotten a little “bonus dream” when it occurs!

How about you? Do you usually remember your dreams? What’s on your agenda for the weekend? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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Changes on the way at work.

question diceI’m feeling pretty unsettled these days. There’s a big restructuring on the way at my company—the official announcement will probably be made this coming week, but the changes will come in waves over the next several months. I’m not really concerned that my job will be eliminated, but I’m very concerned that my job description may change. I simply love what I do right now, and I’m not sure that it’s going to continue in the same capacity. I’m making a very conscious effort to not spend time worrying over something I can’t control—but that’s part of what has me feeling a little at sea—I have absolutely no control over what may or may not happen over the next few months. I’m just going to have to trust what I have generally found to be true in the past—that everything happens for a reason, and that my performance history with the company will carry me through these changes.

So–in the meantime, I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend of reading, cooking, napping, and some organizing. That last one isn’t a coincidence—if I can’t control what’s going on at work right now, I can at least control the clutter on my desk and in my closets!

How about you? What’s on your agenda for the weekend? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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Purr practice started early this morning!

cat_painting_sleeping%20tabby%208x10

credit Constance Shields

Before I woke up this morning I was having a great dream–but in the dream I kept getting distracted from the plot (I generally have dreams with very involved storylines!) by the sound of an air conditioner–a very loud air conditioner. I finally woke up to discover that my cats were curled up on either side of my pillow–and that the air conditioner noise was actually the sound of both of them purring away like it was their job–which I suppose it is! If there’s a better way to wake up on a Saturday, I don’t know what it is.

I hope you’ve had a pleasant start to your Saturday! What are your plans for the weekend? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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Twelve things on my weekend list

I’m hoping this will be a productive weekend, as I know that next week is going to be rather hectic at work. Here’s what I’m hoping to get done between now and Sunday night—some are chores, but some are fun things because sometimes you’ve just got to remind yourself to relax!

  1. Grocery
  2. Gather books to take to the used book store
  3. Organize desk
  4. Cook something delicious
  5. Laundry
  6. Vacuum
  7. Call my mom
  8. Pay bills
  9. Sign up for annual renewal of medical insurance
  10. Play with the cats
  11. Do some reading
  12. Watch the Chicago Blackhawks

 

What about you? What’s on your agenda for the weekend? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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Pretty much the best dog ever!

SebastianThis is Sebastian—he’s my parents’ dog. They adopted him about three years ago from the local pet rescue. I see him about every month or so when I visit them, and when I walk in the door he always acts as though I am the most exciting, fabulous creature he’s ever laid paws on.

When I’m not around, he’s definitely my mom’s dog and he always wants to be sure of where she is and what she’s doing. However, when my dad had major surgery about a year ago, Sebastian wouldn’t leave his side for the first few days after he got home from the hospital. Somehow, he just knew that my dad needed a little extra attention and protection. He also regularly defends both of my parents from dangerous threats such as squirrels and empty bags when they’re taking walks.

I love my two cats to pieces, and I’d love to have a dog, too—but  I’m just not home enough and my house isn’t big enough for myself, the cats, and another four-legged mammal.  So I just satisfy myself with spending time with Sebastian as I did yesterday and this morning–giving him belly rubs, cuddling with him on the couch, and telling him what a handsome boy he is, and that he’s the best dog ever.

As a side note–I know that those of you who have your own dogs are thinking “Nope–MY DOG is pretty much the best dog ever!” And that is just as it should be! Whatever would we do without our pets?

What about you? What are you thinking about on this fine Saturday? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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Homemade soup will soon be simmering!

Slow-Cooker-Vegetable-Beef-Barley-Mushroom-Soup-e1321722727401It’s going to be a chilly day today–maybe even some rain–and I think I may be coming down with a cold. So that means it’s a perfect day to make soup! I love to make homemade soups because I don’t really have to measure anything–I just keep throwing vegetables and seasonings into the pot and I stop when it gets full. Plus, I find cleaning and chopping vegetables to be very calming and relaxing because I can completely let my mind drift while I’m doing it.

Today I’m going to make Beef-Vegetable-Barley soup. This morning I’ll brown the meat and then let it simmer in broth with some onions and spices for several hours. Later on I’ll add other vegetables and the barley. By late afternoon I’ll have a rich, comforting soup that I’ll probably eat tonight and tomorrow, and then I’ll freeze the rest for other days.

How about you? What are your plans for your Saturday? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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Attention Autumn Weather: Where Are You?

imagesCA64PQHCIt’s been in the 80s all week–hot and HUMID. It’s also been rainy, so it’s felt almost steamy outside. It’s been a BAD HAIR WEEK! I know I’ll be regretting this in January when it’s well below zero with the wind chill factored in, but right now I am so done with summer weather. I want to wear turtlenecks and tweed blazers and boots! I guess it’s a good thing I haven’t gotten around to putting away all my summer clothes yet–sometimes procrastination can be a good thing!

What about you? Have the seasons changed yet in your part of the world? What’s on your agenda for the weekend? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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Hockey season starts Tuesday. GO HAWKS!

hawksI don’t “do sports”. I am probably one of the most un-athletic people you’ll ever meet. However, I LOVE to watch sports! Baseball, football, college basketball . . . I’ll even watch golf if it’s a big tournament. And don’t even get me started on the Olympics–I pretty much ignore everything else that’s on TV during those two weeks. But my favorite for the past several years has been hockey–Chicago Blackhawks hockey!

Hockey is such a great sport to watch–it’s fast paced, the stamina of the players is incredible to witness, and their footwork is simply amazing.  Last year’s season got off to a late start because of the strike, but it was all worth it as the Hawks won the Stanley Cup for the second time since 2010.  This year’s season starts on Tuesday night and I’ll be right there in front of my TV in my Hawks jersey (yes, I’m just that geeky!) with a supply of snacks. I’m looking forward to a great season!

What about you? What are you looking forward to next week? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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Going shopping for mums and gourds!

gourdsI don’t do a lot of seasonal  or holiday decorating around the house. I only do the bare minimum even at Christmas. But somehow it just doesn’t feel like Fall to me unless I have a couple of big pots of mums on my front porch and a basket of gourds on my kitchen table. So, at the top of my list of errands for today is to hit the garden center to find some big pots of  bright, beautiful, yellow and orange chrysanthemums–and a bag of the bumpiest, most oddly shaped gourds I can find!

What about you? What do you have planned for your Saturday? Please share!


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Six Word Saturday

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White chicken chili in my crockpot!

Yesterday was the first day that really felt like Fall this year. I LOVE Fall–it’s my favorite season! I think part of the reason is because I love to cook, and many of my favorite things to make are comfort foods–which tend to be things that I mostly like to eat in autumn and winter.

So, in a little while I’ll get my white chicken chili started in the crockpot, and in a few hours my kitchen is going to smell fabulous! This is one of the dishes that I’ve made so many times that I don’t even use the recipe anymore.  I’ll probably sneak a cup or two this afternoon, and then have a huge bowl for dinner tonight.

How about you–What are your Saturday plans? What’s for dinner at your place tonight? Please share!


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Saturday Nine–Band On The Run

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1) This song is about a band of musicians that escapes on an adventure. Do you consider yourself spontaneous and adventurous? I’m usually all about making plans—which I think are actually part of the fun–not so much about just picking up and doing things on the spur of the moment.

2) Paul McCartney and Wings traveled all the way to Lagos, Nigeria, to record Band on the Run. That’s a long, long way from London. What’s the farthest from home you’ve ever been? I’ve been to California several times, which is about 2,000 miles from where I live.

3) Wings featured Linda McCartney on keyboards. Paul said that when Linda died, after almost 30 years together, he lost the love of his life. Who is the love of your life? Or have you yet to meet him/her? I have yet to meet him.

4) Paul has said he’s very proud of Band on the Run, his most successful post-Beatles album. Brag a little. Tell us something you’re proud of.  I’m very proud that I am completely financially independent and have no debt.

5) Paul’s birth certificate reads “James Paul McCartney.” He’s named for his father, Jim. Are you named after anyone? Nope—my parents didn’t want to cause disagreements between families, so they purposefully didn’t name me after anyone.

6) Paul enjoys oil painting in his spare time. What’s one of your hobbies? I love to cook!

7) 20 Forthlin Road, Paul McCartney’s boyhood home, has been turned into a museum by the British government. It’s a modest 2 bedroom cottage, with a drainpipe that Paul used to climb to sneak in after curfew. How would you describe your childhood home? A small, two story house with a great back yard. I lived there from age 7 until I moved out after graduating from college. My parents moved from there about fifteen years ago. I recently was looking at some photos of it and I couldn’t believe how incredibly tiny it looks to me now!

8) Paul is 5’11”. How tall are you? 5’8” in my bare feet.

9) Actor Christopher Lee is on the album cover. He played Dracula in a series of movies in the 1950s and 1960s. Who is your favorite vampire? The Count from Sesame Street, of course!


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Six Word Saturday

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Tired after many deadlines this week.

Working on laptopThis was an exhausting work week. Lots of last minute emergency projects came up, in addition to previously scheduled deadlines that couldn’t be bumped back. Plus, performance reviews were due. The three-day Labor Day weekend couldn’t have come at a better time!