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Archive for the ‘New England’ Category

Lately, a couple friends have asked us how we “come up with this stuff” to blog about. And the answer is that we don’t actually come up with anything, I just turn a tape recorder on at some point during the day. Sunday is kind of an exception, because on Sundays I try and have a definite question that I want Buck to answer for Q&A. But I’m not a planner in the planning sense; I shoot from the hip when it comes to pretty much everything. Because of that, every now and then I tape a conversation that just isn’t suitable for print. They’re not dirty conversations, or racist or anything like that. As far at that stuff is concerned, both Buck and myself would sooner put fork to eye than listen to racist comments, or even worse, a racist “joke”. 

 No, the conversations that I find unsuitable are ones that just don’t go anywhere. Not that our conversations ever go anywhere, but some are to the Nth degree. We jump around, make insider references that no one would get, state misinformation then insist it’s fact, and I can’t even find a sound byte to end it on. They’re just interviews gone bad.

Normally I take a conversation like that and just tape over it later in the day, but this past weekend we were buried in work and time didn’t allow for a second, better discussion later on. So, to demonstrate what I’m talking about when I say how bad an interview can go, I’m blogging the following:

Without this helpful yellow circle, I would have missed ax-wielding serial killer Fritz Haarmann in this charming Christmas advent calendar offered by the Hanover, Germany, board of tourism. Here, Haarmann is pictured at his old stomping grounds along the Leine river where he dumped the bodies of the 24 boys and young men he murdered before he was caught in 1925.

 Me: I read that in Germany, an advent calendar is creating a lot of problems. The board of tourism who created the calendar included a famous serial killer in the little pictures, because he lived and killed in that town. So my question to you is, how much time must pass before a murderer can become a national treasure? At what point in time is all forgiven and it’s okay — and smart business sense, even  — to embrace a killer’s path as a tourist destination?

Buck: [sighs deeply] Is this your topic?

Me: Kind of. Yeah. What do you think of tourism people embracing killers and their crime scenes?

Buck: Well, people go to Nicole Simpson’s house, they go to OJ’s house. There are bus tours, and people like to get photographed there, so I guess there’s a call for it and there are good parts to it. Unless you’re a neighbor.

Me: There are no good parts to it.

Buck: Well, what’s your question? I don’t understand what you’re angling at.

Me: [laughing] I’m not angling for anything. I thought I thought …

Buck: What did you think?

Me: I don’t know. I guess I saw that advent calendar and it made me think of the Jack the Ripper tours in England —

Buck: Well this topic … is kinda weird. You know?

Me: Yeah. I agree, it’s weird. And probably in poor taste even for us.

Buck: [in stupidly high voice meant to be mine] Do YOU have an opinion whether it’s good to have a killer on your town Christmas card?

Me: [laughing] That wasn’t even my question. [laughing]

Buck: [laughing] Oh. My mistake I guess. What was your question?

Me: Oh, God.

Buck: Did you think this murderer Christmas card thing was lighthearted? Because it’s not. It’s a downer, not to mention weird. And not weird in a good way.

Me: [laughing] I suppose I could do a different topic.

Buck: Oh, I think we should continue with this one. This one’s really going places. Plus, it will help to alienate all the people whom we haven’t alienated yet. 

Me: [laughing]

Buck: Another good thing about it, is that you haven’t used the fuck-word in your blog lately so maybe you could refer to it as the fucking advent calendar

Me: [laughing]

Buck: — which will keep you in good standing with that subversive  sub-culture you’ve joined where you’ve all taken a vow to use swear words in your posts. You’ve probably been kicked out by now.

Me: I was never part of that thing and they are not a weird sub-culture. They’re linguists for crying out loud. LINGUISTS. And I was never part of it. I just happened to read about it. Not that I’m against it, it’s just that I don’t go out of my way to swear for shock value. I just swear when I swear, but like everything else I’m pretty lazy about it, so I couldn’t have participated even if I’d been asked to.  

Buck: That’s true.

Me: But this whole interview has taken a weird turn because I was talking about murders in history and how tourism is exploiting the whole thing, and you brought up a recent killer who’s still on the loose playing golf and robbing people at gunpoint and whatnot.

Buck: [laughing] What’s the difference?

Me: WELL THAT’S WHAT I’M ASKING. Is there a difference? Is it acceptable to  embrace murderers after a certain amount of time goes by? Ten years? A hundred years?

Buck: I think the old ones are more boring. Most of them, anyway.

Me: I don’t think that one murder story is more boring than another. Old murders aren’t more boring  —

Buck: They were. There was no DNA, no photos. Murderers could be anybody. YOU could have been a serial killer —

Me: I could have never been a serial killer —

Buck: No, what I’m saying is that anybody could have committed the crimes because getting away with it was easier before all the new technology —

Me: I can’t get into this now. Never mind.

Buck: All I’m saying is that the old killers are boring because killing back then wasn’t that hard. I mean, Lizzie Borden kills her fa–

Me: HEY! Lizzie Borden is totally off-limits here. Don’t even go there. I’ve read a lot about the case, watched all the forensic documentaries AND the Elizabeth Montgomery movie, and I believe the theory that Mr. Borden had a history of sexually abusing Lizzie and her sister and Lizzie had had enough. So, given the era and the circumstances, given her history prior to the crime and after I can’t fault Lizzie Borden for what I believe was an act of rage and desperation. So leave Lizzie out of this. 

Buck: God. Elizabeth Montgomery must have been very powerful in that roll for you to feel so strongly she must have done a helluva job —

Me: [laughing] Shut up. [laughing]Elizabeth Montgomery was not the deciding factor, although it was fascinating the way they said Lizzie did the whole thing naked, which is why there were no bloody clothes or shoes —

Buck: I think you believe Elizabeth Montgomery was Lizzie Borden.

Me: She did do a great job and I liked having it all put into perspective that way. The timeline, the trial. I welcomed that movie after hearing the Lizzie Borden song my whole life, and having Fall River and Lizzie Borden become synonymous —

Buck: Synonymous for you. I don’t think of Lizzie Borden when I think of Fall River.

Me: I hate this conversation. And my mail box is full of stuff I haven’t even opened. Seriously. It’s FULL. I have 175 unopened emails, and the thought of them makes me very tired. I don’t even think there’s any spam or stupid chain letters in there. That’s weird isn’t it, wishing half my mail was spam and chain letters? And I’m hungry. I need something to eat.

Buck: I’m gonna go get the M&M bag. I need some M&Ms after this conversation.

Me: What conversation? I don’t even know what this was, but I have to post it anyway.

Buck: Why?

Me: I don’t know.

Thanks again for the ashtray from Hawaii, Gail. I love it.

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Links:

Lizzie Borden B&B in Fall River.

London Times: German Calendar Reminds Children of Serial Killer

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The Graduate

     Max Buck graduation

     We just got back from a “whirlwind” trip back home for Max’s graduation from Johnson & Wales. Now he has a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts. We had a great time, and because we were there for such a short time we insisted everyone be together as much as possible. That meant seven of us stuffed into Cody and Paul’s apartment for much of the trip. Everyone was great about it, even those who had to sleep on camping mattresses on the floor, and we laughed and ate and really got to be “a family” again. That is to say, ever since I started having kids, I’m at my best when we’re all under one roof and I know where everybody is.

     I’m not a helicopter parent, but I do love those one or two nights a year when my whole family is within shouting distance and I can turn off my cell phone with confidence. Anyone who would really need to call me is right there. Life, simplified.

The Fam

     No, he didn’t graduate at a Dunkin’ Donuts. It was the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. I think around 1500 graduates received their diplomas that morning.

     Because we were there for such a short time we didn’t get to visit with any friends or extended family, which is always a bummer. But they’re all very cool about it, nobody gets bent that we’ve flown thousands of miles and then didn’t rent a car to drive a few hundred more to squeeze in a one- or two-hour visit with them. Everybody’s down with that, and besides…Route 95 goes both ways, and we don’t freak out about them not driving up to see us so briefly.

     So that’s where I’ve been. Buck picked up a cold on the plane ride home and is still a little out of it. Maybe next time he’ll let us get the face masks I so desperately want to wear on a plane. It think it would serve two purposes: Keep us healthy, and stop anyone from sitting in the third seat. This one  plugs into a computer!

 

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Yeah, baby

There was a lot of yelling and shouting going on in our house last night, but it worked because the end result is this: Pats 16-0.

I have to work today but in a roundabout tribute to the Pats (and for the amusement of my friend Raging Storm) I’m posting this video by The Guy From Boston. He doesn’t go the packy in this video, which I know will disappoint Raging Storm, and listening to him makes me homesick and kind of sad, but for anyone outside of New England he does clarify the fact that you can’t actually park in Harvard Yard.

I wish I could show this video to the previous owners of our house. Before we bought it, when we were just renting it, he told us to STOP parking in the circular driveway because he didn’t like the way it looked. He very nastily said, “What do you think this is, Harvard Yard?” as some sort of jab. It made me really mad, but just as I was about to cut him off at the ankles with my witty retort of “Why don’t you go fuck yourself?”, Buck grabbed my arm as a warning to keep my mouth shut.

(Warning: Do not watch this if you’re offended by the fuck-word)

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Sons

     After months of waiting to see them, my sons are finally here! Max (on the left) made the mistake of telling me that the moon looked really cool over the mountains, so I made him and Sam get up on the roof with me while I took their picture. They’re used to this, I’ve been sticking a camera in their faces forever.

     They flew in from Providence Thursday night and Buck and I feel like we’ve just been laughing ever since. They’ve been cracking us up, and helping us move furniture. Actually, they’ve done all the furniture moving. This is the first time we’ve had our furniture in the house and it’s excellent … I forgot how nice it is to have a couch to sit on. And they didn’t even complain while I carefully considered each move of the couch or chairs and then said, “No, let’s try it over here instead …” 

I did that four or five or five times.

My daughter Cody is staying in Boston for the holiday. It was a tough decision for her, I know she wanted to be with us but she also wanted to be with her boyfriend.  I stayed out of it by supporting her decision whatever she chose. It’s hard enough to make decisions without your mother putting in her two-cents. I know this because my own mother had an opinion about everything and didn’t need any prompting to verbalize it, and wouldn’t stop verbalizing even when you asked her to. My mother’s constant “advice” made life miserable, actually. I never want to inflict that on my kids. We miss Cody, but that’s all part of this growing up stuff I guess. (My growing up, but her as well.) She sent a surprise duffel bag of Christmas packages on the plane with the boys, “To make me and Sam look bad, as usual,” Max said. But I said, “Yay! Thank god for daughters! Now give me that wonderful-wonderful duffel bag …”

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Buck didn’t like my idea of using empty Diet Coke bottles as Christmas decorations. He prefers colored lights.

Me: Apparently you didn’t like the idea I had to decorate with bottles of red and green colored water. I wanted to use empty Diet Coke bottles. And food coloring. But you didn’t like them.

Buck: Didn’t like them? That’s putting it mildly. I hated them.

Me: What didn’t you like about them? I only got one bottle done —

Buck: When I was a little kid, people used to have those bottles in their yards along with the globes, which I’ve gotten used to and actually like.

Me: Yahd globes.

Buck: Mystic globes. Whatever.

Me: There’s nothin’ mystical about them.

Buck: But people used to have big glass bottles with colored water in their yards. And they’d set them up and —

Me: Yes! That’s why I was gonna do it in our courtyard!

Buck: — I just didn’t get it.

Me: Well I don’t get it either, but I was gonna do it anyway.

Buck: Let me finish my story here you asked me and I’m trying to tell you.

Me:

Buck: So anyway I’m walking in a section of Taunton that was not as wealthy as other parts of town, the people were very nice but they weren’t wealthy, and someone had bought a house and taken hundreds of those gallon-size milk jugs and lined them all up and down the sides of their driveway and filled them all with different colored water. And I know they probably thought it looked very nice, because somebody really spent some time on these. There were a lot of them up and down this long-long driveway —

Me: Yes! That’s what I was gonna do! And I was gonna do them in red and green —

Buck: Yeesh Oh my God Christ Blechhh.

Me: [laughing] What is your fucking problem? I thought it would be a cheap, interesting, nostalgic, festively weird —

Buck: Oh my God, all it reminds me of is the worst soda I had as a kid: strawberry, and lemon-lime. It would bring back all those horrible memories of, Okay now drink this lemon-lime soda now the strawberry …. [laughing] Okay now wash it all down with this cheap orange soda that’ll rip your throat out —

Me: YES! That orange soda was a cruel, punishing drink, wasn’t it?

Buck: Well, lemon-lime was no easier.

Me: I’m sure, but I would never drink that. I’ve never even tasted it and the mere idea of it makes me sick. But WHAT the hell was in that orange soda that made it so painful to drink? Battery acid? Why was it so painful?

Buck: It just was. Most of them were.

Me: [laughing] It was like liquid sand paper going down your throat —

Buck: [laughing] It was. That’s why when I was young I stuck with root beer, sarsaparilla, cream soda —

Me: Me too. White birch wasn’t bad.

Buck: Anything else was dangerous.

Me: But that orange soda? The one that Simpson Spring had my God, that was seriously like liquid sand paper, or liquid nitrogen. Drinking it at birthday parties was so painful. And if you laughed and it came out your nose? Forget it … that was the most goddamned painful experience you could have. You might as well have snorted Ajax. It would sear your nasal passages  —

Buck: It was like putting two butane lighters up your nose.

Me: [laughing] I know, right? That was horrible.

Buck: But compared to the lemon-lime, the orange was a treat.

Me: I wouldn’t do the lemon-lime. Still wouldn’t, even today.

Buck: You had Simpson Spring. That was considered the fancy-ass soda.

Me: No sir. We drank it ‘cuz that’s what we had in Easton: Simpson Spring. The spring was in my town, that’s why we drank it —

Buck: I know, but they were also in Taunton. But my father stuck with Kist. The trucks had the big lips that preceded the Rolling Stones lips, and the slogan was Did you get Kist today?

Me: That’s just insane. I can only relate to Simpson Spring. I have no idea what you’re saying to me, it’s all clicks and whistles.

Buck: All the towns had their own brands. New Kid had his own soda man, who was different that ours.

Me: He did? Who was his soda man?

Buck: I’ve forgotten.

Me: You know, they used to take us to Simpson Spring on field trips in school, to the bottling place, you know?

Buck: Yeah?

Me: The bottling plant was cavernous. And cold. But they’d take us into this room called the tile room, and it was the stuff of my nightmares. Seriously, it gave me nightmares. It’s a weird room that was built around this hole in the ground, which is the spring. They think it’s just beautiful, this room, but it was creepy. It used to pop up in my nightmares. I’m going online right now and see if I can find out anything about that room it was like something out of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Or Titicut Follies HERE IT IS! My God, they have a photo of the room!

Buck: Good.

Me: Well they used to tell us that the hole, which as I said is the actual spring, was bottomless. I always had nightmares about leaning against that flimsy little railing and falling into it and drowning in soda. Orange soda that would burn your skin off.

Buck: [laughing] I think our soda water came out of a hydrant.

Me: Simpson Spring probably did too. They probably made up that whole spring thing and that hole was just that: a hole.

Buck: When we’d see the Simpson Spring truck cruise through the neighborhood? We were like, well la-dee-dah, aren’t you something fancy, you’ve got you’re own spring. No other town claimed their own spring. Except for Nemasket Spring, which was really just a river. Do you remember that?

Me: Sorta.  It’s in some soggy and inaccessible part of my brain Let me Nope. I can’t seem to go there, the sludge is too deep.

Buck: Well that was another one. I think they were out of Middleboro or some place. But they were all around, like Simpson Spring, and they claimed to use water from some spring. As compared to all the other people who just got it out of a spigot. [laughing] 

Me: [laughing] Or Hockomock Swamp.

Buck: [laughing] Or Ma’s sink.

Me: [laughing] 

Buck: That’s where Kist probably came from. When the Kist truck came around we’d get two cases of soda per week. The big wooden cases, which I’d have to carry down to the cellar. We’d get one case of mixed, which sucked because they didn’t let you pick and a lot of it was lemon-lime, and a case of ginger ale. The ginger ale was for my father, and nobody else could drink it. Couldn’t be golden, had to be pale dry.

Me: I never liked the golden myself. What is the golden? What the hell is it?

Buck: It’s just sweeter.

Me: And your father didn’t like it?

Buck: Well, it didn’t mix well with the Seagram’s.

Me: [laughing] 

Buck: That was always his thing … he was apt to choke on his highball if the ginger ale was golden. [laughing] 

Me: [laughing] 

Buck: That was a thing he had, I’d have to check the case and make sure they didn’t sneak a golden in. So that’s what we got every week, one case of ginger ale that was only for him, and one case for the other … for the other —

Me: EIGHT OF YOU.

Buck: [laughing] Yeah. A case for him, and a case for us. Our case had a lot of lemon-lime, strawberry, and I think rhubarb.

Me: [laughing] So … I guess you don’t want me to use the bottles of colored water as ornamentation.

Buck: Right.

Me: See, I thought I could fill up the bottles with colored water, be all festive and everything, then dump them out after Christmas. Clean, quick, done.

Buck: I don’t want some kid coming around here and thinking the same thing I thought at that age.

Me: They’d be hidden in the courtyard, but whatever. I don’t even know if I should decorate at all.

Buck: No. No. The decorating is great. The colored lights are great. You know how I always get mesmerized by colored lights. They’re very cheery.

Me: Should we bother buying a tree?

Buck: No, I liked the tree we had last year.

Me: Yeah, but the tree we had last year was just that dead branch with  lights on it —

Buck: It was the most kickass tree in the world!

Me: I liked it and everything, it was easy. No maintenance. But I didn’t even photograph it.

Buck: Really? Too bad, it was really kickass. You’ve already got part of it here now.

Me: [laughing] What? Where?

Buck: In the planter in the living room. The branch trellis thing sticking out of the planter. Where you were growing your beans.

Me: [laughing] Those aren’t fucking beans[laughing] 

Buck: I thought you were growing beans. [laughing] 

Me: [laughing] What is wrong with you? Fucking beans. I was trying to grow morning glories near the living room window, but then the stupidass sun stopped shining —

Buck: [laughing] I was hoping you were growing magic beans.

Me: You would think that about me. They were almost morning glories.

Buck: Well that sucks, then. Who cares? I thought we were gonna have magic beans. I was all ready to trade them for something. Like some Christmas decorations. [laughing] 

Me: [laughing] This is just bullshit. I’m outta here. Family Guy is on.

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Here’s Buck, motorcycle enthusiast. I’ve never inserted my opinion on this, and now I don’t have an opinion on it.

     Buck has seven motorcycles and he rides them all the time. I have no say in this and, frankly, because in a healthy relationship you really have to pick your battles — give and take and all that —  this is one battle I never even took up. Buck loves motorcycles, he’s not stupid about them, and I stay out of it. Probably some readers will wonder how I can stay out of something that could potentially effect me just as much as it effects him. But were he to say to me, “No, I will not tolerate a dog, much less three or four,” I would die a little inside. Because that’s part of who I am, I’m a goofball for dogs. He’s a goofball for motorcycles. So think of it that way, consider something you love and are passionate about, and how you would feel if your partner took it away. That’s why I stay out of it.

     So Buck rode his Honda into the city on Wednesday and before I go on, let me say that he’s fine, he’s okay. But he got hit by a car . A car driven by somebody who apparently did not see him. This is a huge danger for a motorcyclist,  being invisible to cars. It’s as though a driver won’t even see a motorcyclist, or if they do see you, they assume there are different laws for motorcyclists and they never have the right of way. I don’t know what the problem is, but it’s a problem.

     Anyway. Buck got hit by a car and, in his typical pig-headed way, refused to let the bike fall to the ground. This is a perfect example of why we in our family believe Buck is capable of just about anything. How many people could be riding along on a motorcycle, get wacked by a car, and keep the bike upright?

     So he fought to keep the bike upright, wrenching his back in the process. The bike was damaged from the impact with the car, and the driver of the car sped away completely unaware (or uninterested, which is more like it, and rather typical here). Buck was pretty shaken up, and the bike was no longer rideable but it hadn’t fallen to the ground, which was what Buck really cared about.

     Cut to three hours later. Red Sox Nation is alive and well in El Paso, Texas. I’m sitting in front of the TV waiting for Game 1 of the World Series to start. I’ve got my talismans all lined up, my incense burning, my knitting in my lap (I’m knitting a pair of red socks, my version of a prayer shawl) and Buck comes in the door. Having been driven home by a friend, he limps directly over to the liquor cabinet and pours himself a shot of tequila, and calls into the living room to say, “I got hit by a car.”

     Some people say that when I’m freaking out, I most resemble a chicken. And because I flap my wings and run around in a circle, I probably do. I did this then, went into my crazed-chicken mode, forgetting about the Red Sox, The World Series, my dignity, etc. “And what I need you to do,” Buck said, pouring a second shot and watching me squawk and flap , “is go to Wal-Mart and get me some Prilosec. I’m all out, and I can’t eat anything till I take some. I’m starving.”

     So I grab my pocketbook and the keys, run outside at top speed and fling myself up and into the truck and take off. Like a lunatic. I get to Wal-Mart and it’s packed. PACKED. Millions and millions of shoppers flooded the aisles and everybody is looking at me and parting like the Red Sea. Which is weird, because I’m generally invisible here in Texas. Tiny little abolitas in wheelchair carts nailed the gas (or whatever) to get out of my way, parents ushered their dozens of children to the side of the aisle, a young man grabbed his girlfriend and pulled her into the donut display, an old man shuffling alongside of me suddenly stopped and insisted I pass. They’re all getting out of my way and staring at me, and I don’t even care. I just want the Prilosec.

     But then, once I had the Prilosec in my hands, I suddenly realized, You know what? He’s okay. He’s fine. I bet he’d like some fudgesicles, some peanuts, and any other goodies I can put in his hands as I remove the tequila bottle he’s undoubtedly clutching.

     So I grab some crap and stuff it into a basket, and I stop some Wal-Mart employee in the aisle and I start questioning him about their stock. But he has this horrified look on his face while I’m talking to him, and I thought it was because I was so distraught that my accent must be the problem, I was too shook up to bother enunciating like a newscaster. What I said was this: 

(Tip: When reading this in your head, do not make the mistake that so many do when imitating a New England accent and that’s pausing or dragging out the words. We do not pause or linger over words, we just breeze right through the sentence at what is probably a break-neck speed compared to the rest of the country, and that in itself may be part of the problem.) 

I said, “Does Wal-Maht only carry stuff with sugah? ‘Cuz ovah in tha freezah all y’got right now ah the fudgesicles with sugah. My husband will eat those, he likes ’em okaaaay, but he prefers the kind without sugah. He’s not diabetic, he just likes ’em.”

And the guy looks down at his feet. Seeming to not understand a word I just said, he  walks away!

     So I just grab the fudgesicles with sugar and dash over to take my place as number 17 in the Fast Checkout line. Standing and standing, waiting and waiting, surrounded by people still giving me weird looks. I start thinking about my roots, and how maybe they’re looking at me because I’m so overdue for a hairdressing appointment. But there are people around me whose roots look worse than mine, with over-processed hair and some with no hair at all. And then it hits me. Holy shit, I’m on display in the middle of Wal-Mart wearing my Motherfucker shirt.

     Now. I’m not the complete A-hole that everyone thinks I am. Sure, I believe that swears are just words and too many people make too big a deal out of them, I don’t fully trust anyone who makes a practice of never swearing no matter what, and one of my favorite books is English As A Second F*cking Language by Sterling Johnson.  But I’m cognizant that this is strictly my opinion and I don’t force it on people or go out of my way to shock them. I don’t swear around children (under 16) other than my own, and I don’t wear this shirt, or any of my other hilariously offensive apparel in public (such as Bound and Gags’ Nahfuket T-shirt with the map of Nantucket on it). The shirt pictured, the one I had on in Wal-Mart, is something I wear around the house because it makes Buck smirk, kind of underscores the fact that living in Texas we have no friends to drop by unexpectedly, and it’s a direct quote from Lindsey Lohan, who mumbled this when she was stumbling drunk and the paparazzi asked her if she was okay. Plus, I’m not an A-hole, but I am a jerk, so what can I say?

     Whatever. The point is that I would never have worn this to Wal-Mart had I not run thoughtlessly out of the house like a lunatic. That’s my post for a Saturday blog and I’m sticking to it.

     Buck, by the way, really is fine. Here he is wearing two bathrobes (because the temperature has dipped here in El Paso) marveling at the power of static cling in regards to packing material.

 

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