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Don midwest
Don midwest

Ghost stories from Iraq — how bad it is

At the North Gate:
Patrick Cockburn

how it starts — I added the bold

Apart from witches, who come here to bury spells, few people visit the British North Gate cemetery in Baghdad. The witches believe that words written on paper and placed in the ground between the graves of non-Muslims, particularly old graves, have enhanced magical powers. North Gate, in the Waziriyah district, is a large quadrilateral of burned grass fringed by palm trees. There are 511 graves with tombstones, almost all of them dating from the calamitous British campaign in 1914-18, when 40,620 soldiers from the British and Indian armies died fighting the Ottoman Turks. British military cemeteries, looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, are dotted around Iraq. Looking for somebody to let me into North Gate this summer, I asked a group of women standing outside their house by the cemetery if they shared the superstition, common in Iraq, that it was unlucky to live near such a place. They said they didn’t mind the cemetery but didn’t like ‘the witches who climb over the fence in the middle of the night so they can carry on their works among the dead’. One of them said that whenever she saw witches she would phone the cemetery’s caretaker, Sayid Jassim, and he would come and drive them away.

how it ends

basically, how the failed war contributed to Brexit and more dependence on USA for UK

Don midwest
Don midwest

Long article about Lakewood, CA.

I lived here for about 6 months when around 5 years old but didn’t realize what it was until now. I stayed in Long Beach until age 22 and then off to college and elsewhere.

A community where GI Bill, aircraft and defense factories made jobs plentiful, a golden age to grow up in.

Like a mine that has run out of ore, the community is on hard times.

“Lakewood,” the sign still reads at the point on Lakewood Boulevard where Bellflower becomes Lakewood. “Tomorrow’s City Today.” What was being offered in tomorrow’s city, as in most subdivisions of the period, was a raw lot and the promise of a house. Each of the seventeen thousand five hundred houses would be nine hundred and fifty to eleven hundred square feet on a fifty-by-hundred-foot lot. Each would be a one-story stucco (seven floor plans, twenty-one different exteriors, no identical models to be built next to or facing each other) painted in one of thirty-nine color schemes. Each would have two or three bedrooms, oak floors, a glass-enclosed shower, a stainless-steel double sink, and a garbage-disposal unit. Each would sell for between eight and ten thousand dollars, Low F.H.A., Vets No Down. There were to be thirty-seven playgrounds, twenty schools. There were to be seventeen churches. There were to be a hundred and thirty-three miles of street, paved with an inch and a half of No. 2 macadam on an aggregate base.

There was to be—and this was key not only to the project but to the nature of the community that eventually evolved—a regional shopping center, Lakewood Center, which in turn was conceived as America’s largest retail complex: two hundred and fifty-six acres, with parking for ten thousand cars, anchored by a May Company. “Lou Boyar pointed out that they would build a shopping center and around that a city, that he would make a city for us and millions for himself,” John Todd, a resident of the area since 1949 and Lakewood’s city attorney, later wrote. “Everything about this entire project was perfect,” Mark Taper said in 1969, when he sat down with city officials to work up a local history. “Things happened that may never happen again.”

What he meant, of course, was the perfect synergy of time and place, the seamless confluence of the Second World War and the Korean War and the G.I. Bill and the defense contracts that began to flood Southern California as the Cold War set in. Here on this raw acreage on the floodplain between the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers was where two powerfully conceived national interests, that of keeping the economic engine running and that of creating an enlarged middle class, could be seen to converge. What happened at the site of the hundred-foot pylon in the spring of 1950 was Cimarron: thirty thousand people showed up for the first day of selling. Twenty thousand showed up on weekends throughout the spring. Near the sales office was a nursery where children could be left while parents toured the initial seven completed and furnished model houses. Thirty-six salesmen worked day and evening shifts, showing potential buyers how their G.I. benefits, no down payment, and thirty years of monthly payments ranging from forty-three to fifty-four dollars could elevate them to ownership of a piece of the future. Deals were closed on six hundred and eleven houses the first week. One week saw five hundred and sixty-seven starts. A new foundation was excavated every fifteen minutes. Cement trucks were lined up for a mile, waiting to move down the new blocks pouring foundations. Shingles were fed to roofers by conveyor belt. And, at the very point when sales had begun to slow, as Taper observed at the 1969 meeting with city officials, “the Korean War was like a new stimulation.”

Trouble in Lakewood
How a once idyllic postwar town fell under the sway of a teen-age gang.


Typhus in Pasadena and Long Beach

… a typhus outbreak in Los Angeles County and say it has reached “epidemic levels” in the city of Pasadena.

Twenty cases have been reported in Pasadena, mostly in the last two months, health officials told NBC News, noting that a normal year would typically only see five infections. The city of Long Beach, California, has 12 cases so far in 2018 — double the normal annual number, said Emily Holman, the city’s infectious disease response coordinator.

Don midwest
Don midwest

is this bigger than climate change?

well, part of Human Exceptionalism


But the visual vocabulary of fear, disgust and dread that has been so effective at selling antibacterial products for well over a century has brought us to an ecological dead end. Our overuse of antibiotics is the most obvious evidence of the failure of the demonise-and-destroy approach that antibacterial thinking produces, leading to a market failure that some experts posit is bigger than climate change.

A totally new understanding of bacteria as a realm that we must live within, from which it is foolhardy to think we can escape, is needed. An important step in that direction is describing the destructive ways of thinking about bacteria that have stepped in between us and these necessary cohabitants of our planet.

a short article by artists

How capitalism ruined our relationship with bacteria

showing how humans have been scared shitless …


Cory Booker testing the waters in Iowa for 2020

“I heard a president mock and laugh and jeer a survivor for telling her story,” Booker said. “I know there’s a lot of folks hurting right now. When I was walking through here, I had survivors walking up to me, telling me what the fight meant to them.”

Booker’s Iowa visit, the first by a Democrat considered a top-tier presidential candidate in 2020, was rapturously received by activists who had lost nearly every office in their state. The New Jersey senator had quietly agreed to keynote the party’s gala eight months earlier, shortly after joining the Senate Judiciary Committee; he planned to stay in the state through Tuesday, as Democrats kicked off their 30-day early-voting period.

His speech, delivered to about 1,400 Democrats at an event designed to stoke presidential speculation, dealt with the anguish over Kavanaugh’s confirmation with a digression into Booker’s personal story — a suburban kid who became an organizer and later mayor in Newark — and stories about his Iowa relatives, who had made friendships across racial lines, “folks coming together with their cloth to do a quilting bee.”


Turd Way Strikes Again—MAGA—UGH!


With an eye towards the GE and 2020, I’m looking at the swing states concerning the possible aftermath of the Kavanaugh confirmation. Here’s from the NH Union Leader, which is a very conservative newspaper.

NH Politicians react to Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation

Chris Sununu, incumbent Republican governor:

“Today’s vote by the U.S. Senate brings an end to what has been an unfortunately divisive and hyper-partisan confirmation process. I have said from the beginning that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is more than qualified to sit on the United States Supreme Court, given his extensive legal and judicial experience.”

Molly Kelly, Democrat candidate for governor:

“With Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, women’s reproductive rights are now in jeopardy — and state leadership has never been more important. As governor, I will take action to protect a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion. We refuse to go backwards. (Chris Sununu) cannot be pro-choice and also support Kavanaugh. New Hampshire women cannot count on him to protect reproductive rights. Women will no longer be silent. I believe women, I stand with them, and I will always listen to them as governor.”

What about the Congressional Candidates?

Eddie Edwards, Republican candidate for the 1st Congressional District:

“After all of the many investigations, questionings, and hearings, the U.S. Senate arrived at the right decision to confirm Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. I am confident that he will be a strong constitutionalist who will ensure that the vision our Founding Fathers outlined many generations ago will continue to be the guiding light for our nation.”

Chris Pappas, Democratic candidate for the 1st Congressional District:

“As the rights of women, workers, and LGBTQ Granite Staters are threatened by this confirmation, I will do whatever I can in Congress to ensure we don’t take any steps backward.”

U.S. Rep. Ann Kuster, incumbent Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District:

“I was disappointed today by the Senate’s vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since his nomination, I have been concerned by Judge Kavanaugh’s positions on issues like health care, a woman’s right to choose, and executive power that appear to be outside of mainstream judicial philosophy. More recently, Judge Kavanaugh’s response to the allegations of sexual misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford and other women revealed that he has neither the temperament nor impartiality required of a Supreme Court justice.”

Steve Negron, Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District:

“While this was an extremely ugly process, I am pleased to see that our nation is poised to move beyond this divisive United States Supreme Court confirmation. It is time for our nation to come together and recognize that there is more that unites us than separates us. More that brings us together than divides us. I believe that Kavanaugh will be a strong advocate for the United States Constitution and will fight to ensure that our rights are not infringed upon.”

Current US senators?

Democrat U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan:

“Even beyond the very serious and credible allegations of sexual assault against him, I opposed Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination because of his record of putting corporations before people and diminishing the rights of individuals, particularly women.”

Democrat U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen:

“(Dr. Ford’s) testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee was sincere and credible, and I believe her. … And it is incumbent on all of us in this body — regardless of where you stand on Brett Kavanaugh — it’s incumbent on all of us to not deepen those scars by diminishing the pain of these women as political theater. This is not political theater, and it should not be viewed through a partisan lens.”


Shaheen is mean. What does that even mean, don’t view this through a partisan lense? confirm? wth?


I think she may be referring to Lindsay Graham and Grassley.


Ahhh. thx.


Ann Kuster strikes the best note in this group, IMHO.


With Kavanaugh Confirmed, It’s Time to Burn It Down

I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation”
Abigail Adams wrote that in 1776. Her words have never seemed more prescient than they do today.
Surely, this is a time where many ladies wish to foment a rebellion. So many of us, today, want to burn a system to the ground that could put a man like Brett Kavanaugh, a man accused of multiple accounts of sexual assault, on the Supreme Court. Especially when there is such a strong sense that justice has not been done. The FBI’s investigation was limited. Mark Judge, an alleged witness, was never subpoenaed and made to testify. Ford’s nuanced, precise testimony seemingly could not hold up to a man shouting about how much he enjoyed beer.

“Women are so angry,” Trump declared in a rather garbled press conference about Kavanaugh on Tuesday night: “Women are very angry.”
It may be the first time I’ve agreed with Trump. God, are we angry. If we had calendars, like Kavanaugh, for many of us, this week would just be represented by the word “fury” scrawled in all caps.
Women are fleeing the Republican party in droves. In 2002, 36 percent of young women identified as Republican. In 2018, 23 percent do. Steve Bannon (has said “The Republican college-educated woman is done. They’re gone. They were going anyway at some point in time. Trump triggers them.” I would suggest that it’s the entire GOP’s dismissal and mockery of issues like the #MeToo movement that “triggers” them, but okay. This, all by itself should be a message to men on the Right to stop laughing, and start taking women seriously.
But they’re refusing to. If anything, they’re leaning in to misogyny.
In Kavanaugh’s confirmation they have revealed their true colors completely.



Kavanaugh’s first vote could be in Trump executive power fight

Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s first vote as a member of the Supreme Court could come as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday on a Trump administration request testing how much power courts should wield over top executive branch officials.

The administration has already made one unsuccessful run at the high court on the issue: asking Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week to step in to block depositions of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Justice Department civil rights chief John Gore in lawsuits challenging Ross’ decision to put a question about citizenship on the 2020 U.S. Census.

Ginsburg rebuffed the stay request, but Justice Department attorneys have indicated they plan to return to the Supreme Court with another emergency stay application within days unless they get
full relief from lower courts, which seems unlikely.

Justice Department lawyers argue the depositions of Ross and Gore ordered by a federal judge in New York City constitute an unwarranted intrusion into executive authority and could prove distracting to senior officials with important duties.


I hate the corporate fascists, but some of this FR stuff will backfire. That’s precisely why Kavanaugh was named by orange imbecilic mafia goon. Let’s see what these FRight yahoos do when tRump throws the full dictatorial power question in their collective faces: Alito, Roberts, and good ole boy Clarence Thomas.


Kinda bummed out today as I’m sure a lot of us are. Very scary now that the R corporate fascist’s have total control of the Govt. So many thing’s that took decades to move America forward are now in very real danger of going by the wayside. Voter suppression and gerrymandering quite possibly may become the law of the land and if it does it could keep R’s in power for ever (look at WI). I hope that the Dems that always seem to sit out mid terms vote in Nov. Just read that the Russian Govt just added their congratulations to Kavanaugh (WTF!!!!!). We are in dangerous times and 100 million Americans who don’t bother to vote don’t realize that they were just thrown into the proverbial pot of water that the R’s just turned up the heat up it. Remember 2020 isn’t just any other mid term its for whom gets to redraw congressional districts. And if the R’s win Dem voters will be hemmed in to an ineffective voting block.


Russia loves executive power, tp put it mildly. And Trump wants to have more of a dictatorship.

Hell, most of them do. I was thinking yesterday about the argument to bring “terrorists” to court and try them–you know, the American way—is never heard anymore. Now we just decide on Tuesday “kill” day who dies. Or maybe Trump has changed the day.


I hear you, my TPW friend. Good thing I have my reading/book addiction, and silly NFL distraction. 🙂


Benny family is watching the KC vs Jacksonsville game now, Obf. 🙂




Thanks, lala!


Space Force seeking applications for transfer to mobile infantry

“offering transfers” up to $20,000. i think this is real. via naked cap. strange.

“Our goal is to be able to rapidly field an initial corps of trained warfighters who will then be able to train the next generation of mobile infantry,” said Space Force Lt. Col. John Rico. “Our troopers will be prepared to deal with anything, from the gritty hell of face-to-face combat, to the potentially awkward moral dilemmas that may arise from railing out your smoking-hot redhead platoon mate while you’ve still sort of got a thing for this pilot chick.”

Mobile infantry warfighting doctrine calls for rapidly deployable units that can counter not only Earth-based threats, but also potential attack from non-Earth based enemy forces. Insertion by orbital dropship is the primary assault tactic employed, as it enables rapid massing of friendly forces on the enemy objective and the establishment of a secure lodgment for follow-on operations or beer-and-bang parties.

Mobile infantry units will deploy aboard heavy fleet cruisers such as the USS Rodger Young, the first Space Force cruiser to be commissioned. The cruisers can deploy 32 Viking-class dropships, each capable of carrying one fully combat-equipped rifle platoon as well as four Conestoga-class support dropships stocked with mission-critical supplies including spare munitions, rations, hair-styling products, beer kegs, electric violins, and footballs.

more at link.


Except in Trumpcorp’s space force Service doesn’t guarantee citizenship 🙂 For you non sci fans out there its “starship troopers”


Starship Troopers certainly came to my mind! Watching it, in a somewhat horrified kind of way I, in between hiding my eyes from the worst of the violence, began to wonder if it was some kind of satire. That was the conclusion of Calum Marsh at The Atlantic.

critics had missed the point. Starship Troopers is satire, a ruthlessly funny and keenly self-aware sendup of right-wing militarism. The fact that it was and continues to be taken at face value speaks to the very vapidity the movie skewers.

The rhetoric throughout is unmistakably fascistic: Earth’s disposable infantrymen, among whom our high-school-aged former-jock hero naturally ranks, are galvanized by insipid sloganeering, which they regurgitate on command with sincerity as they head to slaughter. (“The only good bug is a dead bug!” is the chant most favored—shades of Animal Farm abound.)

The resulting film critiques the military-industrial complex, the jingoism of American foreign policy, and a culture that privileges reactionary violence over sensitivity and reason.

But Chris Bower at Movie Forums doesn’t buy that analysis:

If someone makes a satire that almost everybody takes seriously, is it a brilliant success, or a miserable failure?

The answer to that depends at least partially on what you think the aim of satire is. Generally, the word refers to the exposure of folly through irony. But to many of this film’s defenders, it seems to have mutated into a synonym for “sarcasm.” If the goal were to expose the folly of militarism, then the sheer number of people who didn’t “get it” would seem to suggest that it didn’t do a very good job. If the satire doesn’t land, then it hasn’t necessarily outsmarted its audience: it’s just as likely outsmarted itself.

But, then again, maybe Bower is still embarrassed that he was one of the, “scads of teenage boys (I was one of them) who thought the film was incredibly cool when it came out. Because, you know: giant bug space war.”

Myself, I prefer the former assessment. Because if it wasn’t the former then I must conclude that the entire effort was a piece of clumsy propaganda.


Honestly, reminded me to much of a fascist Germany under Hitler, and that style of Military controlled Govt took over the planet. Of course I wasn’t in my teenage years when it came out so I guess my thought process was different.


You really have to wonder if it was such a good idea to elevate him to the head of Interpol in the first place. Now he’s being held in China and who knows HOW many secrets, and how many bits of information, are being pried out of him.

To my mind, the agency is now completely compromised.

His wife Grace

was moved to contact authorities after she received a final text message on September 25, shortly after he arrived in China, with a knife emoji and instructions to “wait for my call.”

That call never came.

The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based newspaper known for its connections inside the Chinese government, said Meng was “taken away” for questioning upon landing last week. The newspaper cited an unnamed source.

In a separate development, Interpol said it had received Meng’s resignation from the international police agency with “immediate effect” according to statement posted Sunday.

“knife emoji”?????? That certainly doesn’t sound good.


Sometimes it feels like Amazon is taking over the world.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Thanks Don! I’ve been really trying to reduce my used of plastic these past few years. The packaging issue is so troublesome to me. I see so much waste.

I did get myself in trouble though, the other day, when the issue came up at my FIL’s. He took my quest personally and started to yell at me as though I’d insulted him directly. He’s of the mind that the plastic just goes back to the earth (eye roll), he’s a stubborn know-it-all.

I try to spread the word in my more-or-less quiet way (bellowing FIL or no) by doing things like refusing to accept plastic tableware. I have a set of steel utensils at my desk at all times and if I do end up with a plastic spoon I wash it and stash it for future use. I wish we weren’t such a throwaway society.


Everytime Kavanaugh votes on a decision his outburst will always come up.
“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons. and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades. This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions, from serving our country.
And as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around.”

So will his decisions be based on law or REVENGE ??

Don midwest
Don midwest


there will be a Kav watch

ongoing bringing Supreme Court into attention of media and maybe voters…


It would appear a distinct possibility. Also, his decisions will always be suspect if he really believes what he yelled. Because that’s downright conspiracy theory right there! He is either not too bright or mentally twisted.

Don midwest
Don midwest

world choking on plastic waste. China and Hong Kong first, now ….

Waste Watch: US Dumps Plastic Rubbish in Southeast Asia


Thanks again Don! This is a very troubling issue for me. It’s made me somewhat neurotic tbh.

Some points gleaned from your link:

1) recycling used to provide some cities a revenue stream, now it’s a cost.
2) recycling has lulled a lot of people into thinking of it as a panacea (the same FIL proudly proclaimed just yesterday that he doesn’t produce ANY waste due to his recycling (and composting or burning of paper). But that’s just not true.


One more thing.

While we in the west are obviously at fault with all of the exporting of plastic waste, countries in the east are at fault for exporting so much plastic!! Walking into the dollar store to buy my t.p. and napkins is always upsetting seeing so much disposable plastic crap.

We need to become far more aware about our purchasing and use of plastic.


Researcher: Duncan Hunter Use Of Racist Rhetoric Panders To Voter’s Baser Instincts

What Hunter describes as radical Islamist propaganda was actually an anti-bullying program that focused on Islamophobia.

The speech came hours after Hunter appeared in court on federal charges of misusing campaign funds, a case he claims is politically motivated. He slammed federal prosecutors and his Democratic challenger, Ammar Campa Najjar, alleging he was named after Yasser Arafat.

Campa-Najjar has said he was named after his father, not Arafat. Campa-Najjar said he eventually changed his name to pay homage to his mother.

While critics call Hunter’s rhetoric Islamophobic, his campaign has said the allegations are pure political nonsense.

However, Professor Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSU San Bernardino, said the language is racist.

“This is the leading edge of something we are seeing socio-politically and that the rhetoric isn’t just tinged with racism, but immersed,” Levin said.

That same rhetoric is being echoed by some of Hunter’s supporters.

Retired Navy Capt. Joseph John appears in a Hunter ad. At a recent rally, he said shared his thoughts on Campa-Najjar,

“He was indoctrinated in Gaza until he was 13 years old by the Palestinian Liberation Organization. His father was a member of the PLO for 25 years and held very important positions,” John said.

Campa-Najjar identifies as Christian. He said he went to a Catholic School in Gaza, left when he was 11 and was raised in San Diego by his mother.

“People maintain attitudes based on three things: emotion, cognition and then there is the behavioral aspect. Many people today are hearing a story that resonates with them emotionally and the facts don’t necessarily need to line up,” Levin said.

Levin said the factual currency is worth a lot less in today’s socio-political world than it was before. In part, because people can revert back to group echo chambers on social media where facts don’t hold the same weight as anecdotes and fear. The situation makes society, right down to congressional districts, more fragmented and tribal.

“We’ve seen social media and other types of communication become weaponized,” Levin said.

Research shows hate crimes and incidents of bigotry have recently gone up in San Diego and across the country.

“During political seasons, with hot-button issues, we sometimes see an increase in bigoted behavior particularly against certain groups and we’ve seen that in the past and we’re seeing it repeated, we believe, now,” Levin said.

Recent research shows 42 percent of Americans polled think white people are currently under attack.

Levin warns, for those people, fear often trumps facts.

“As some of the research has indicated, there are large swaths of white Americans who believe that their status is being challenged and that comes into a whole array of fears,” Levin said.

Levin’s research shows hot-button political issues often stoke the fire as elections draw near.

“Bottom line is, the line between dog whistle and bullhorn, with respect to contemporary politics, has now eroded. It is gone,” said Levin.


Hard to believe that so many think white people are under attack and support Kavanaugh. Sad.


The ‘born on third base who think they hit a triple’ people are, deep down, afraid of losing their privileged places on the playing board.


Scary 🙁


Gratitude-filled greetings to La58 for a great job keeping these pages going! Hello and ongoing thanks also to LD, jcb, pb4, Benny, Mags, wi60, DonMw, obf (adding my appreciation for your nicknames: “the orange imbecilic mafia goon,” below, is a keeper!!) and any other PWers that I might have overlooked (but still appreciate)!

It’s been a long and grueling week with the Senate hearings. I was put through the mill, emotionally speaking, as I know others here were also.

Forget whether the frat boy was “proven” guilty or innocent. Just his prior rulings and the fact that so little of his “career” was spent on the bench at all, which indicates his deep partisan political orientation, should be enough to disqualify the jerk.

That said, the Repubs have slapped all women in the face twice just in the past 2 weeks: once by putting Blasey Ford on trial, and then again by confirming the frat boy.

Every woman who can drive, walk, ride a bike, roller skate, skateboard or CRAWL to the polls in November is going to vote against any and all Repubs.

Good upcoming week to all!


Thanks, Eye Round, tp you, as well!


Thanks @EyeRound! Your encouragement is like a cool glass of fresh water. 🙂

Last week was tough!

My lady friends and family in Canada all have been expressing their horror about Kavanaugh to me, and most of them as triggered and exhausted as so many of us are down here.

I hope you have a great week!!!



Of course they will. Joe can kowtow to them til his dying breath and they will still do their best to oust him. Manchin is corrupt AND delusional!


Hello friends! Just wanted to wish you well and let you know I’ll be back Tuesday a.m with a post now that life has settled down a bit!

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