Surprise Visitors!

 

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Moving quietly,

Two deer foraging keenly;

Such gentle creatures.

 

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When I was at a friend’s house last Monday, at one point in the early afternoon, I happened to glance out the window and was treated to the sight of these two lovely, young deer, as they looked about and helped themselves to fresh greens to nibble on.

The presence of my friend’s cat on the outside porch – glancing with curiosity in their direction – didn’t seem to faze them much, other than they took note that the cat was there.

Harmony prevailed.

The deer grazed.

The cat lazed.

 

 

 

 

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Surprise in my Compost Bin!

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Solitary plant —

A stray seed took root this spring

In my compost bin.

 

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As I’d go visiting my compost bin over the summer, I noticed at one point that a plant had taken root and was seemingly doing quite well.  It had its share of sun, and I checked that it had enough moisture ie. water.

The leaves and look of the plant puzzled me, so I didn’t know for a while what it would turn into, although I suspected perhaps a flowering plant?

A few days ago, when I went to look again and saw that leaves were starting to wilt with the cooler autumn temperatures, I looked more closely and realized that what I had thought might be that Chinese lantern plant with its papery “flowers” was actually….a ground cherry plant!!

I am relatively new to ground cherries, although ever since I first bought them via a farmer’s market a couple of years ago, I have become an avid eater of them!   Whenever I find some, I will get a pint.  They are usually sold with their delicately light, “papery” covers enveloping them (you can see some in the photo above).  And the ground cherries quickly disappear on my drive back home.  Yes, they are just SO good!!  For nibbling!  Tart and bursting with juice.

I suppose that a stray seed from one ground cherry last year found its way into my compost bin and germinated this season…..?

What a lovely surprise!

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This modest-looking plant produced a good two dozen yummy ground cherries – that clearly was a gift from Mother Nature!

Note:  I just did some quick research.  Ground cherries are classified under the name Physalis plant (in the nightshade family).  And I have learned that there are some connections to the Chinese Lantern (aha!), the tomatillo, and the native gooseberry.  That explains a lot!  I have bought tomatillos from a local organic farmer as well, and just recently I came across another farmstand selling the gooseberries.  Gooseberries share a tartness to the ground cherry but have a little bit more sweetness in them.

 

Garden Resident

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Sits ever so still;

But on approaching too close,

Whoop!  Leaping surprise!

 

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It was one of those days when a lot of wildlife showed up in the garden as I was hoeing and weeding.

First, a more beige-coloured frog surprised me, when it jumped from beneath some leaves, as I must have been getting closer with the hoe.

Then a little later, this little green, spotted fellow crossed my path and soon sat in the cool shade and let me take oodles of photos. Such a cutie!

AND THEN! As I continued hoeing, all of a sudden there was a slithering going on! Startled me a bit until I realized it was a garter snake – I guess I disturbed her rest.  And I watched her do her slithery circle thing through the grass and back into the flower bed.  As she disappeared underneath some protective leaves, another frog suddenly leaped from that same area and crossed the path to the other side!!

And among some blue-ish flower spikes, there was a constant buzzing and wing flapping going on – both bumble bees and butterflies dining busily on all the nectar.

Lots of action happening!

 

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A Chocolate Treat

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Just two inches high,

A cute and tasty chocolate!

Little Dutch windmill.

 

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My sons and I picked up my husband from the airport yesterday.  He’d gone to Holland for a fun, week-long trip with one of his cousins and returned with a nice collection of photos as well as some souvenirs and treats for the family.

There’s some Dutch ancestry on his side of the family, and we are all big fans of windmills and the beauty of tulips and the fine art of Rembrandt and Van Gogh.

He gave us all our individual little milk chocolate windmills yesterday, and so I quickly took some pictures of mine to show you – as they are quite distinct in design – before I gobbled mine up.  Haha!

 

 

Ohhh…..nummy num num!

 

One of life’s little surprises…

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of unlocking a door, stepping inside the house……and hearing the unmistakeable beeping of an activated alarm!!
AAAHHHH!
And then within five seconds, yes, that alarm goes off – Weeoo! Weeoo! Weeoo!
That was my adventure this morning, when I went to do a cleaning at a client’s home. I have been going there regularly for close to two years, and this would be the first time the alarm was activated.

Yeah, well…..communication gap was the reason. One person knew I was coming, but the other one didn’t….hahaha!…..and so the latter set the alarm and then headed out for work.

As the alarm was sounding, I locked the door again, carried all my supplies back to the car, and waited……..in preparation for the twenty police cruisers that would be showing up in 2 minutes. You know, like in the cartoons.

No police cruisers came. And eventually the alarm shut off.
I calmly sat in my car and called up my clients in order to figure out the next steps. And yes, I got to do my cleaning after all.

Check that off my bucket list!
And it wasn’t even on it! Hahaha!

The Liebster Strikes Again! Haha!

It’s been a few weeks, but the sense of surprise and joy and thrill is still with me, as I now have a chance to acknowledge this exciting award that my enthusiastic blogging friend, Dottie, has nominated me for in her post, along with four other keen bloggers.  Thank you, Dottie, for this exciting recognition!  This is my second nomination.

 

liebster award #2; blue, from dottie

 

Dottie, you gave some wonderfully creative questions!  I hope you enjoy the answers.  🙂

Describe your creative process.

Sometimes I get the idea of the post swirling around in my head until I can write it down, and edit, and re-write.  Sometimes I will be taking photos – most every day there is something that catches my eye and imagination – and then an idea will come to me in connection with the photos, so I sift through those until I have the ones I like best.  Then I meld all that together in photo and writing format.

 

What was the last thing that made you cry with laughter?

Tricky, this one.  I laugh lots every day.   However, you’re asking “crying with laughter.” I have had moments of laughing so much that tears streamed down my face and my abdominal muscles became sore.  I can say there have been times with my kids and also with my parents, where we just laughed ourselves so silly which included tears.  But I can’t specifically pull out a memory on that one.  

 

If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

My first temptation would be to say….a onesie.  I don’t have one….yet, but I have been seeing people sharing photos of their adult onesies, and they look SO warm and comfy for when you’re at home.  And such variety in the styles as well.  But, then, I’m thinking it’s not practical for being outside and about.  So, in that case, I think I’d go with casual pants and a comfy shirt with short enough sleeves, so my hands and arms would be free from distracting material when in the kitchen, or drumming, or writing, or taking photos.

 

What’s your wish for mankind?

I always wish what I think so many people would like to see….that everyone achieves happiness, love, peace, prosperity, and great health.  Not so much division where a few control so much and the great majority face unnecessary hardships and harsh struggles.  And I would also like them all to realize that finding their joy and becoming empowered is what can provide the clearer way to better lives, which includes taking full responsibility for their lives.

 

The desert island question:  what are your 3 must-haves?

Well, I hope the essentials of water and banana trees are covered.  🙂  After that I’d hope to have a couple of books to keep me company (one being a comedy) and a harmonica and a drum.  Music has been a constant companion for me all of my life – something to lean on in down times and something to rejoice in during the up times.  And although a guitar would be more diverse, when the strings give out, then what would I use for replacements?  A drum and harmonica should last a good long time, thereby allowing me to make mouth music via harmonica or via singing whilst drumming.

 

Share one of your pet peeves.

When people don’t take responsibility for themselves.  For their actions.  For their health.  All part of the mainstream thinking of finding something or someone else to blame, when things aren’t going right or going well.  It’s never anything to do with them.  Excuses galore.  And that mentality where everything needs to be turned into a lawsuit.  Imagine if people would accept their decisions and actions as what they have done and to be accountable for that.  It doesn’t have to be negative.  In fact, ultimately, it becomes empowering and positive.

 

What’s your idea of the perfect meal?

When everything tastes delicious, and you can tell that the food was prepared with love and a desire to provide the best.  It could be sushi.  It could be a five-course meal.  It could be a main meal salad.  It could be a delectable bowl of chili with fresh-baked biscuits.  It could be beer-battered fish and hand-cut chips that melt in your mouth.   Food that has the kind of flavour that gets your taste buds singing!  🙂

 

Name your favourite feel-good song.

That’s hard.  I have so many favourites!  But these days I will always break into a smile and get dancing, when I hear Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” song.  🙂  That song needed to happen, and I’m glad it did. 

 

What’s your favourite quote?

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”       – Oliver Wendell Holmes

I first heard that quote during a talk by Dr. Wayne Dyer, and I was so intrigued by it that I wrote it down as a keeper quote.  In my experience I find that it definitely applies.

 

What’s your defining characteristic?

In a world where so many of us share characteristics like being cheerful, being friendly, being helpful, how can you pinpoint a defining one that sets you apart?  Well, I DO love to laugh.  I laugh every day, as there is always much to enjoy in life.  Whether it’s jokes or a funny cartoon or accidentally doing something silly or purposely doing something silly.  Sometimes it’s in the sharing of some amazing moment during an activity with friends or family, or even strangers.  And it’s a defining aspect for me, because consistently over the years, people have said to me that I have a distinguishable laugh……often described as infectious!  They enjoy hearing my laugh.  There have been instances of people crossing the room, an outdoor area – or a hall – to tell me how much my laugh has had a beneficial effect on them.  Hahaha!  And it’s a positive feature, so I’m keeping it.  🙂

 

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I would divide the money up.  Keep a portion for personal dream fulfillment along with close family needs.  The rest of the money I would try to have set up in such a way as to  create a constant flow of money so that those funds could be donated to various groups who volunteer their services to help others and can use the monetary support for supplies in their various duties and activities.

 

11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT MYSELF

1.  I love indulging in slow-paced days, where a sense of time evaporates.

2.  I love days filled with things to do and see, as it requires a different energy for those.

3.   Every so often I still try and imagine what it would be like to fly – like a super power – without a plane; just like in my sleep dreams.

4.  I tend to have crushes on my teachers; when I was younger and going to school and even now when I find myself learning new things, like in music.

5.  For most of my life my favourite colour was blue, but for the past four years it’s been purple.  Probably has something to do with having purple strands added to my hair. 🙂

6.  I was given a second chance at delving into great rock legends via my kids, as they grew into their teens.  I had always played them lots of classic rock and pop at home, but in my youth I hadn’t really gone that in-depth with musicians like Hendrix, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, etc.; however, as my kids explored all these legends – and in great depth – I got to learn right along with them.

7.  I had a surprise encounter with an exhibitionist in Paris, France…..many, many years ago, when I lived there and worked as an au pair.  🙂

8.  Also, over the years I have become known among my friends as an enthusiastic wearer of band shirts – haha!  I have a diverse collection of various shirts – many of them tie-dye as a base and then band names on them or silhouette images of certain musicians.  Others are black with images on the front and sometimes the back.  Some of them include:  The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Pink Floyd, Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Plus, I also would get shirts of local musicians as a way of showing my support at concerts and in public (more visibility for them).  It probably really got started big-time once I started getting back into music about seven years ago….when I also started going to shows and concerts on a more regular basis.

9.  In the past I was active as a Leader in both the Girl Guides and Boy Scouts, and as some of you may know, Leaders are given fun nicknames by the kids in their groups.  So, with Girl Guides/Pathfinders I became known as Orca  (they actually asked me what name I’d like…. 🙂 ).  And in Scouting, when I started in Beavers, I was given the name of Rainbow, which I kept all the way up to Cubs and Scouts.

10.  In addition to English, which is my main language, I also am fluent in German (my family ancestry) and French.

11.  Finally, I have never lost my love and enjoyment of playing games, whether it’s cards (like Crazy 8s, Solitaire, UNO, Wizard), board games (such as Chess, Settlers of CATAN, Trouble, Alaska, Mole in the Hole), various computer games and video games (Black Ops, Worms, LEGO Racer, Pharaoh).  These days my main games tend to be Scrabble, Mahjong, and Sudoku.

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FOLLOWING NOMINEES FOR THE LIEBSTER AWARD!

Seeking Romance

Sitting In Your Little Room

Wandering Wives

Poet Rummager

Ramblings

 

The idea of the award is to recognize and promote new up and coming blogs of a good standard with less than 200 followers (on WordPress).

For anyone new to the Liebster Award this is how it works –

  • In a post – answer the questions that your nominator posted for his/her nominees.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Make up 11 new fun questions for your nominees.
  • Give some love back to your nominator, include a link back to their blog and their post.
  • You must nominate 5-11 bloggers.
  • Notify your nominees of their Liebster Award.

Note to Nominees – There is no deadline for this. Please add a link to your new post below when you’re finished. The aim is to raise the profile of your blog.

 

QUESTIONS FOR THE NOMINEES

  1.  What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
  2.  Who has been an inspiration to you?  (Someone personal in your life or someone more famous)
  3.  Where is your favourite place to go, when you want to wind down or re-energize yourself?
  4.  Name five things that make you laugh.
  5.  Where have you travelled?
  6.  What are some of your goals and dreams for 2016?
  7.  Have you ever had an encounter with someone that felt strongly serendipitous?
  8.  Name a blog post you like and why.  (Please add the link)
  9.  What would you say is a weakness of yours?
  10.  Have you had an opportunity to meet a famous person and how did it go?
  11.  What’s your favourite drink?

 

And my link:  A Natural Model

What a Surprise – A Liebster Award!

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Hello, Friends!

Can you see the HUGE grin on my face?  Hahaha!  And I’m trying to contain my rambunctious giggling urge!

I have been nominated by my friend, Jessie , for a Liebster Award!  What a thrill and an honour!  Thank you so much, Jessie!!  🙂  If you haven’t visited her blog yet, I keenly invite you to drop on by, as her writing is uplifting and caring.  Jessie focuses on the positive, even when it comes to a sad subject.  As her blog title states, “Spread Love Not Hate.”

Ever since I started blogging earlier this year, once in a while I would see other blog pages displaying this award or that one, and I would think “How wonderful for them!  Who knew there were awards in the blogging world?  And…..maybe some day, I might…..?”  Well, Jessie answered that one, didn’t she!

And the next bit is….

The Rules

  1.  Mention and thank the blogger who nominated you.  Add a link to their blog            (Note: I had some help from Jessie and another blogging friend, Paul, on how to TAG in lieu of adding a link.  That way by clicking on their highlighted name, it automatically takes you to their homepage).  Thank you as well, Paul !! 🙂
  2. Answer the 11 questions.
  3. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  4. Notify your nominees of their Liebster Award.
  1. Where are you from?

I was born and live in Canada.

2.  What made you start your blog?

I’ve always enjoyed writing.  It was my old school chum, who kept nudging me to give blogging a try (he also blogs actively), and my older son had started a few months before I did (he is pursuing a career as a writer) and he, too, was encouraging me to dive into the world of blogging.

3.  What is a country that you would like to visit?

So many to pick from!  Haha!  And I have been lucky to have travelled to some already.  One country that has been intriguing me for a while is Iceland.  All the Scandinavian countries I find fascinating, and Iceland especially.

4.  Favourite novel?

Again….so many to pick from in this category.  So, I will pick the most recent one that I have read which resonated with me the most.  “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.

5.  If you would do a social cause, what would it be?

I would like to be of service in promoting the idea of Basic Income as a system to be adopted by our government.  It has been successfully implemented in a few places….even including a community in one of our provinces (Manitoba).  Germany has been working on it.  The Scandinavian countries are focusing on it.  And I tend to look to those countries for inspiration that are coming up with more sustainable ways of living for all their people.  Basic Income would allow citizens to receive a basic income that would cover their costs for shelter and food and take the pressure off of job security.  It will replace the welfare system.  People would then seek work more along what they enjoy doing and feel happier as well.

6.  What is your favourite blog post?  (share the link!)

About a week ago, I came across this blog post, and I just loved the photos as well as the flow and feel of the poem.  The description of the changing leaf colours along with the leaves falling to the ground and how this transition to November feels during that time touched me, as I feel similarly. Here is the link:

https://kunstkitchen.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/last-of-the-fall-leaves-november-is-upon-us-the-memory-of-trees/#comment-1533

7.  What is your favourite season?

Each of the four seasons brings with it unique and beautiful aspects; however, overall my favourite is spring, because when winter finally reaches an end, the transition to spring with the promise of new growth and budding early blooms, along with the return of songbirds to liven up the skies again with their music…..that always has my heart soaring.  Plus, I was born in the spring time.  🙂

8.  What is your pet peeve?

Greed.  Hatred.  They stem from negativity.  I don’t get why people want to dwell in negativity….starting with their minds and then their hearts.  How they can be so hurtful to others and not have that tear them up inside.

Love is by far the strongest force and capable of doing amazing things, and with love at the core comes peace and community-minded well-being.

9.  Favourite colour?

I have bounced between a few, such as blue, green, and yellow with blue being the predominant one.  These days, though, I am having fun with purple!  🙂

10.  What would you improve on yourself?

My confidence.  Over the past six years I have managed to increase my confidence some more; however, I am finding that even though in some areas, I can tackle things without much hesitation, there are other areas, where I become hesitant and doubtful.  I need to feel confident in dreaming big….dreaming of things for me to achieve beyond what I have thought possible before.  And then going for it.

11.  How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Loving.  Friendly.  Enthusiastic.

My Questions: 

  1. Where do you live?
  2. What languages do you know?
  3. What aspect do you like the most about yourself?
  4. Describe one fun childhood memory.
  5. Name a blog post you like and why (please add the link).
  6. What has surprised you most about blogging?
  7. What do you hope to achieve with your blog?
  8. List 5 other interests in your life.
  9. What kinds of music do you enjoy?
  10. Describe an encounter with a person who inspired you.
  11. Have you any pets and what are they?

My nominees: (no obligations!)

Zoe

Leyla

Laura

Sue Dreamwalker

Nyambura

Traveling Rockhopper

Keith and Laila

Micah

Kuku

Vonita

kunstkitchen

That First Snowfall

Even though I know to expect snow at some point in the late fall, I always wonder when that first surprise snowfall will occur.  Most often it shows up in early November, but on occasion it swooshes in sometime in October.

That’s what it did this year.  Three weeks ago.  On the Sunday of the weekend where I took part in a scouting and guiding event located in a picturesque place approximately one hour southwest from my home.  The Saturday had been sunny and warm, although that same night it turned quite cold.  When I went for my early-morning-and-still-dark quick trip to the outhouse (port-a-potty) and was climbing out of the tent – where my snuggly warm sleeping bag had reluctantly let me go – I could feel the layer of frost on the outside of the tent as well as on the ground.  And that frost stayed on the ground until well into the morning.  Until the sun came out and warmed things up enough for us to dry out our then empty and inverted tents to pack them all up for the trip back home.

And just as we were putting the last bits into our vehicles, the snow came.  And it came heavily.  Would it stay a while, I wondered?

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In the last 20 minutes of our drive, all of a sudden the sky cleared up again, the sun came out, and there was no more snow to be seen anywhere!  Just ever so many lovely coloured leaves that had fallen down from the windy Saturday.  And those leaves danced merrily, as the van in front of us (pulling the trailer) created a whoosh of wind as it zoomed along…..

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However, as we stopped in town to drop off the trailer, I noticed some snowy remnants on the outdoor displays of our local grocery store.  So, there was still some evidence left of that earlier snowfall.

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Upon arriving back home soon after that, I walked around a bit.  To admire the beautiful orangey-red-yellow leaf carpet.  The last big load of leaves, that had still clung to the trees two days prior, had all since fallen to the ground.

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So what about that snow?

What snow?  There was snow?

(We had only been an hour away.  What a difference!)

Hahaha!  Happily, that first snowfall never lasts for too long, nor does the snow get a chance to settle on the ground.

Coincidence….AND Six Degrees of Separation

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The weather this week has been glorious!  It’s November, and instead of the usual cold setting in, this week’s temperatures have been reminiscent of our September ones!  Everyone I have been talking to has been enjoying this unique warm interlude.

Which brings me to the new someone I met today – and we ALSO talked about the amazing warm weather streak.  Well, this is where the coincidence part comes in, because the warm weather inspired both of us to go outside…..me for my hour-long walk up my country road, and she for her hour-long bike ride where part of her route is along the same country road.

Timing is everything sometimes!

I was on my return leg of the walk and happened to notice something white huddled in front of the fence on the one side of the road.  I was puzzled, because I hadn’t noticed it earlier when I walked by.  As I got closer, the white huddle turned into a human form that stretched back to a standing position.  She had noticed me coming along, and so we each said hi.

Next surprising aspect is that we were new to each other; this was our first encounter.  But as people sometimes will do if they meet along a bike path or walkway, we started talking…..about what we’re doing, about the fine weather, etc.  so, she told me that she’d been taking a photo of something that had caught her eye, and she showed it to me.  She had wanted to capture the sunset’s golden rays as they danced off of a particular plant.  It looked good.

And THEN we introduced ourselves!  Hahaha!  Christine and Michaela.  Christine looked at me a bit more closely and said that she thought I looked familiar somehow and wondered from where.  I didn’t recognize her.  Eventually, we pieced it together.  Via facebook and a mutual friend.  In the listing off of potential mutual friends who lived in town some 10 km away, we quickly found our mutual one.  And things started clicking into place!  Christine and I decided we TOO would connect on facebook once we returned to our homes, and it was then that I noticed another mutual friend…..intriguing, I might add, because I had only JUST met this person last week!

This is when I marvel at the perfect timing……you know, having met Louise (the other mutual friend) the week before, and then the happenstance encounter on the country road (we could have missed each other so easily if either one of us had decided to go earlier as we often did).  And the other two people we knew….that’s where the six degrees of separation comes in.

Life is just SO cool!  I started for my walk, thinking “what kind of nifty things would I see and what kinds of surprises might be in store?”  And even before I met Christine, I had already been enthralled with all sorts of other discoveries on my walk of which I took plenty of photos!

But that’s coming up in a future blog post.  I promise.

(In the photo above, Christine gave me a final wave from her bike as she headed back for her home.)

The Cat Kleenex

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Beware when you reach for a kleenex,

as you may find something you weren’t expecting!

Soft, yes…..but then all that fur!

I guess no box is too small or odd-shaped for cat explorations…..

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Hey….there’s a tiny window in here…..

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Funny-looking?  Me?

Umm…..okay, so how do I get out of this thing?

Getting in was easy!

Aha!  I think I have an idea…..those hind legs sure do come in handy!

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One more pull…..AND……

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….free again!

Clearly, she wasn’t feeling distressed, because as soon as I tossed over the empty kleenex box…..

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….she dove right back into it.  Hahaha!