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Welcome to the BOMB.

The Blog Of the "Mother" of Bandit.
Bandit is my Hairless Chinese Crested--he's the "normal" one. I, on the other hand, am unrepentantly "pet-crazy." You know the type--the spinster who lives in the haunted house three blocks over with 72 cats...okay, so I don't have 72 cats, and my house isn't haunted--but my dogs wardrobe is better than mine! Need I say more? :~)
I've never been consistant at journaling, so the timing of my blogs will be sporadic at best. I just hope they are as entertaining to you as they are to me; however, be forewarned: Most of my blogs will be about The BaldOne. In spite of his Don King "do," I think he's just as cute as any of the Brothers B!
Now, if I can just remember not to get him wet--or feed him after midnight...

About Me

My photo
My bags are packed and I'm always ready to seek out an adventure with Bandit and Moggy in tow. Bandit is my thirteen year old Chinese Crested, who I frequently call The Bald One or The BaldOne Boy (like he was one of the Baldwin Brothers). Moggy’s full name is Pip-Moggy. He’s my two year old gansta-resuce kitty. I couldn’t decide between Pip (which are the spots on die and domino tiles) and Moggy (or Moggie when I mistakenly thought he was a she), so I combined the two. Moggy refers to the British term for "cat of unknown parentage .” So in essence, I have an almost bald dog, and I’ve named my cat “Spot.”

Fun Stuff (I'm doing now or have done)

  • Artistic Attempts weekly (alternating between Painting With A Twist, That Art Place, and Peniot's Palette).
  • Bunko with the Belton Bunko Babes monthly.
  • Participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.
  • Spades and Liverpool Rummy with the Spadetts weekly.
  • The Mighty Texas Dog Walk, Austin (fund raiser for Service Dogs, Inc--they train shelter dogs to be Service Dogs, then give them free of charge to people with disabilities.)

Monday, November 23, 2015

The "Lucy Day"

I have two types of Lucy Day. The first is the  I Love Lucy  Lucy Day—a little craziness and a enabling trusted sidekick.  The second is the Peanuts Lucy Day—a little bossiness doled out with nickel advise.

Yesterday was a Peanuts Lucy Day.

It occurred as I shopped in a small store and the urgent need  to visit the facilities came upon me. I made it quickly to the Ladies Room at the far end of the store only to find the two staller was less than stellar.  

Oh, it was clean enough; however, the first stall was crowded and the bowl was barely a foot off the floor. This would make my visit uncomfortable for several reasons:  my knees are stiff and don’t like to bend, and my weight is such that rising from a position that low is not graceful. Additionally, the door swung inward into the empty stall and almost scraped the front of the bowl. Did the stall designer not  realize if the door is almost hitting the bowl in an empty stall, a full stall will necessitate  the person straddling the bowl to open the door to exit?! Again, not a graceful picture. 

My second choice was the handicapped stall. It was door less.

While crouching over the toy bowl, with my knees simultaneously hitting the stall door and my chin, I pondered the reason for the door less state of the handicapped stall. I decided anything less than, “The door fell off the hinges less than 3 minutes ago,” was unacceptable and in true Peanuts Lucy fashion, after I finished, flushed, and washed my hands, I sought out the Store Manager to dispense some free nickel advice.

As anticipated, the Store Manager attempted to say the door has a work-order pending, the maintenance man had told her he was in a nation-wide search, and the hinges, which are no longer made, are on back-order; however, I ungraciously over-talked her. That is not something I am proud of doing. I should have been more courteous.

However, my dander was up and my inner censor was down. I stopped her feeble excuse by saying, “One dollar. That’s what a plastic shower curtain from Dollar Tree would cost. One dollar is all it would take to provide a small measure of dignity and privacy to your handicapped customers.” 

I actually saw the lightbulb above her head as her eyes popped open and she said, “I never thought of that. I can get one right now and fix it.”  She could have left it at that and we would have both been happy...until she added, “But that stall is rarely used.”

“That’s not true.” I replied,  “I am not handicapped, but when I come across an inferior,  non-handicapped stall," (and I explained in detail about my aversion to tiny toidies—to which she wholeheartedly concurred and stated she was remodeling her home bath and chose the elongated toilet because it was taller). I regained my focus and returned to the use of the taller toidie, and continued, "If there is not a handicapped person, or a mother and small child waiting, I use the larger stall with the taller bowl.”

She was mercifully called away to the register at the front of the store, but as she left, she promised she would hang a curtain.

I was just glad my unsolicited advice had accomplished some good...and my Peanuts Lucy, Lucy Day had not turned into an I Love Lucy, Lucy Day.

I shudder at the thought and try not to allow my over active imagination to conjure up pictures of that scenario...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Newest Dream-Twist.

I dream vivid dreams. I always have. As a kid I sleep-talked and sleep-walked.  And from time to time I still do--but now mostly I just dream the actions within the dream. 

There was a period of time when I dreamt the same dream every single night. I did not like this dream--even as a child I knew my choices in the dream were leading me into danger. One day I decided I was going to change the dream. And that night, when things started to go wrong in the dream I told myself, in my dream, "I don't like this. I'm going to stop this and I'm going to do something different."  I knew I was dreaming, but I was determined to change my dream. And I did. The outcome was much more pleasant, and I never had that particular bad dream again. Dreams can be powerful.  But we, even as children in our dream-state, can be more powerful. 

Here are a few of the more interesting characteristics of my dreams:  

On many occasions I have woke myself up giggling, crying, and singing.

I feel pain when I dream--both physical and emotional. I feel stress, terror, pinches, broken teeth, falling sensations--everything I dream. 

My dreams are played out in vivid colors. Bright, sometimes psychedelic, strong colors. Technicolor. 

For a while, I did not see faces--I recognized people more by their personalities than by physical attributes--so a friend who has brown hair and green eyes might appear in my dream as a blue-eyed blonde, but I would know who they were by their kindness, ability to salsa, or whatever is unique to them. But in recent years, I have started dreaming more realistic appearances of my friends--the situations I find myself in continue to be bizarre, totally disjointed, and frequently play out like an episode of "I Love Lucy,"--but my people are more realistic looking. Go figure.  

I also love to analyze my dreams. I can usually find a connection to something from my real life. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. Always with an interesting dream-twist. 

Tonights dream twist was a bit of a shocker.  Evidently I now dream with an accent.

For some reason I think it was Columbian-Peruvian.  

I'll have to analyze this to find out what it means. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Deer Chicken

I almost meet Potential Suicidal Deer Number Three in the gloaming last evening. I'm nicknaming him Potty, which is rather apropos since that's what I almost did.

Potty was across the roadway from his Travel Companion. I actually saw TC first. He wisely flipped his white tail at me and pounced up the embankment to the safety of the tree line. And when I say pounced, I mean cartoonish pogo-stick pouncing.

At this point I revisit  the questions I always ask myself when Bambi takes me off guard by being a little too close for comfort when the lighting is less than optimal:  Why have I not installed a Deer Whistle?  And second, Would a Deer Whistle emit a high-pitched sound that would hurt Bandit's ears?

Back to the deer:  Potty on the other hand, and on the other side of the road, raised his grazing head and looked directly at me, then looked at TC as if he were judging the distance and speed of the SUV, the distance to his Friend, and calculating his possibilities of safely joining him.

"Don't do it." I said. "You'll lose this contest." I honked my horn and slowed down.

Potty again looked first at me, and then at his Friend.  Then again at me, and again at his Friend. Potty wisely chose to run parallel to the road rather than attempting to cross it.

Knowing we were not out of danger yet, I honked my horn again and slowed even more as I passed TC, who had disappeared deep into the trees.

Up ahead, I noticed Potty had stopped and once again looked at me and the place TC had disappeared into safety.

Unbelievable, I thought, He's still considering trying to beat me across the road!

And again, he looked at me, then the trees, me, the trees. I knew in that instant he was going to try it. I braced myself for impact.

Sure enough, he dashed into the road, and then froze as if he was taken by surprise when he saw me bearing down on him.  I laid on the horn and the only reason he did not become Actual Suicidal Deer Number Three is because I also slammed on my brakes. By this time we were traveling at a crawl--even still, Bandit was almost dislodged from his back seat perch.

So now I have added a third question to my near deer miss repertoire Is this the Deer equivalent to playing the stupid daredevil car game of Chicken?

Copy Catting

I thought when I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I might be able to do so in privacy since the FurKids stayed where they were.  However, they stirred and as usual felt the need to join me. It's a circus sometimes. 

Anyway, Moggy came in first (quite unusual), walked a circle, and left. Soon thereafter Bandit arrived with nose to ground, walked the same circle, and left as well. He appeared to be tracking Moggy which was comical since there's only a small area for the FurKids to be. 

Bandit returned to the bathroom, placed his front paws on my knee and stretched his back--this is what he usually does as soon as he enters the bathroom--no matter how long he's been up and running around. It's like his bathroom ritual. But then Moggy came in and did the very same thing. He's never done that before. Usually, he hops up on my lap on his way to the sink. 

I realized both of the FurKids are copy catting each other and I got tickled--to the  point I couldn't stop laughing. 

It was funnier at 3am. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Some Days I Just Can't Help Being High Maintenance--No Matter How Hard I Try Avoiding It.

I  don't think of myself as High Maintenance. In fact, I think I'm pretty self-sufficient. I own my house and SUV. I put myself through Nursing School at a private college 950 miles away from my family. (Okay, that may not be a great feat since I was older when I finally decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I still count it since I did it by myself.) I travel all over the country by myself. Well, maybe not all by myself since I have my Chinese Crested in tow, and we've added a Domestic Short Hair rescue kitty. (And since traveling with a dog and a cat is not challenging enough, I have been known to also travel with a plant, or six). While traveling sans human companion, I have dealt with a trip and fall in Vegas, my steering going out in the middle of nowhere, and a tire blowing out in Utah.  All occurred during the same trip last year. And I handled it. I am the one my friends come to for advice. I am the one people come to for answers. I am the one that gets things done. I am the strong one. I'm not usually the High Maintenance one. I don't like being High Maintenance. But every once in awhile that's where I find myself. 

So when I finally made a reservation for a cabin in Northern Georgia after several days of phone tag and instant messages, I laughingly told the rental agent that I really wasn’t High Maintenance—just computer challenged.

That I couldn’t find the cabin by the directions they sent, didn’t mean I was High Maintenance—I found the cabin on my own—without resorting to calling them, or asking for assistance from anyone. And no, I did not use GPS—the data was insufficient.

I did feel kind of High Maintenance when, still dressed in my PJs, I locked myself out of the cabin the first morning and had to find a neighbor whose phone I could use.  The maintenance increased when I had to call back about some non-functioning items (microwave and kitchen lights), and again, when I couldn’t get logged onto the internet…and yet again, when I couldn’t figure out the gas fireplace. However, in my defense, the previous guests had left the cabin binder with all the cabin information and instructions on the porch, under a drip.  When I finally found the binder, the day after I arrived, it was a soggy mess. I don’t think a High Maintenance person would have taken it apart and dried it in front of the fireplace, and then reassemble it—which is what I did.

After I locked myself out of the cabin and made all the calls to the office, I decided I would not call the office again. No matter what. I was going to be the model guest, even if it killed me. Even when the neighbors told me they had seen the Mama Bear and her two cubs romping near the cabin.

I didn’t call when I started hearing noises outside, and found the back porch screened door open—twice. I didn’t call when the phone rang and no one answered, like I was being stalked—four times in two days. I didn’t call when Moggy found the mouse caught in the trap, brought it into the living room, and started to play with it to the large dog bed provided by the cabin owners. I didn’t even call when the water went out late at night—by this time the cabin binder was sufficiently dry for me to separate the pages, and I read the section on whom to call when the water goes out. Since it was late at night and likely not going to be fixed during the night, I waited until the morning to call the guy listed in the binder.

When I called the next morning, the guy said it had been reported already, they thought it was a water pump that had gone out, and there was the possibility that I would be changing cabins, but in the meantime, they would try to fix the water pump by the end of the day. 
I had already planned to visit with my Second Cousin and his Wife—I had recently learned that they were in the neighboring town when they come stateside (she works for the National Forest Department—in the Virgin Islands, lucky girl), and they happened to be stateside for medical treatments this week (not so lucky girl). So I spent some time visiting with them. Then I visited a few antique stores in their town, as well as in mine. All in all, it was a very nice day.  And since I had passed a water truck coming up my mountain that morning, and I had not received a phone call to the contrary, I assumed the repairs had been accomplished during my absence and I was not going to be required to change cabins.

You know what they say about assuming…

The first thing I did when I entered the cabin was check the water, fully expecting it to be back on. Nope. So I called the cabin rental office. Jerry and I are on a first name basis by now. I told her the water was still off and she was puzzled. She asked who I had called and I told her I had called Keven as the binder instructed.

It seems, Binder Kevin is also Water Kevin—but he is not Cabin Kevin.  Therefore, the water department was aware of the water situation; however, the cabin rental office was not. 

Jerry made a few calls, came up to the cabin to check the water herself, then came back a second time when she could not reach her husband, Terry, to request him to bring up some bottled water for my use. 

Jerry hugged me and said I was being very nice and understanding.  She told me not to worry about washing the dishes or starting the linens to wash when I leave in the morning (I am going to wash my dishes though, that’s why I needed the water—to flush the toilet and clean up my kitchen mess).  She also asked if I would like two free nights on a future rental. I told her I would love to return to Laurel Knoll! We hugged again. 

Not only are we on a first name basis, we are also on a hugging basis.

And the icing on the cake—I won’t have to fret about where I’m going to spend my next vacation.  I just have to decide when—and this is the time of year we place our leave requests for next year….I think a little earlier in the season for the Apple Festival and more of the Leave Turning might be nice, and I think I want to drive up the Natchez Trace—it’s only 3.5 hours away. Or maybe I’ll come back during the Spring—the Scenic Train Ride is supposed to be spectacular during both the Fall and Spring.

Decisions, decisions…

Whatever time of year I decide to return, I think I’ll bring a couple of gallons of water… in case the water goes out again, I'll be prepared and won’t end up being High Maintenance.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

High Maintenance--Trying to be Low Maintenance.

I promised the rental agent I would not be high maintenance once I arrived–too bad I was unable to keep my promise.

During the online reservation process, I experienced technical difficulties. After two days volleying instant messages back and forth, and playing answering machine phone tag, we finally had a completed reservation. I’m sure the technical difficulties were user error. They almost always are when they pop up on my screen. And being under a time crunch didn’t help.

You see, last year when it was time to place requests for our 2015 annual leave, I was still grieving Daddy’s death.  I didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere. As a result, I never got around to placing my requests. In fact, the year was almost up, and I was in “use or lose” status:   use 2.5 weeks by the end of November, or I would lose the time. There are ways around it—the possibility of obtaining a waiver to allow you to take the time later in the year, or even to roll the time over to the next year, but the process is a hassle and your request can be denied.  I already give them way too much free time, so I started looking for places to go.

My plan was to find an out of the way cabin or beach house that had internet access. I would use part of the time to travel, see Mama and other relatives, and possibly attend a couple of the away games of my Alma Mater (that didn’t happen) with a week of rest, relaxation, and writing. My time off coincided with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so maybe I would finish the stalled novel. Or at least work out some major plot points. In preparation, I had purchased a new lap top, and taken an online creative writing course. There really would be no excuses. I should at least get a large chunk of the writing done. What I needed was a quiet place, with few distractions. A Jacuzzi bathtub and an outdoor hot tub would be nice—as would a fire pit or fireplace—even though I know nothing about building fires.  My needs were modest. My wants less so.

I started looking at different options as diverse as a solar powered shack in the middle of 80 west Texas acres. That was definitely out of the way. But maybe a little too remote since it would just be Bandit (my 10-year old Chinese Crested), Moggy (my 1-year old Domestic Short Hair rescue kitty), and tech-challenged but highly imaginative yours truly.  Although, come to think of it, the remoteness combined with my overly active imagination could result in some highly suspenseful scenes if my Cozy-turned-straight Mystery-turned Romance-turned-Suspense-returned to Cozy, returns once again to Suspense. It would be a major step forward for me if I could just nail down the genre. I chickened out of total seclusion.

Then I found a renovated narrow gauge railcar in New Mexico—complete with a claw-foot soaker tub with a view. Soaker tubs have higher backs, and may also be called slipper tubs. The only thing wrong with this rental was the fact that the outdoor hot tub was not private. I guess that means it was not quite remote enough. I needed something in between the secluded solar shack and the relaxing railcar.

I revisited some of the more memorable places I’ve vacationed recently, cabins in Ruidoso and Oregon, condos on the beach in Navarre, a yurt in Hot Springs. Humm…maybe another visit to the yurt. I checked, and it was booked. So I looked at a couple of really cool places in Hot Springs. One of the places was a renovated garage. Another was a quaint attic apartment. Neither panned out. Then I decided to try eastern cabins and stumbled on to a site where each of their cabins were dog friendly, and six were also cat friendly. During this process I found out the reason many places are not cat-friendly, is because of the dander.

Because I am me, and love the planning process, I made charts comparing all the amenities, cost, and availability of the six cat-friendly cabins. Finally I settled on Laurel Knoll. I went to make the reservation, and hit major snags with the process. After two days of phone tags and volleys of instant messages, my last comment to the rental agent was my promise to not be high maintenance.

I stayed in a nearby town the night before check-in which was 3pm or later. No exceptions. It was a good thing because the night before, the weather turned rainy and cold and I realized my clogs were at home and the only shoes I had with me were the flip-flops I wore. As I took Bandit out to potty that night, I noticed a SAS (San Antonio Shoemakers) in the small strip mall next door. SAS is the only place I can find wide and double-wide shoes in stock.  The next morning I stopped in and bought the most expensive pair of shoes I have ever worn, and a pair of socks. I was ready to drive the final hour to the cabin.

The driving instructions to the cabin told me to turn off my GPS when I arrived in Ellijay, the small town near my cabin. I dutifully did as instructed, and ended up driving in circles. Either this was another case of user error, or the instructions were not clearly written. Since I never found the road they listed (I ended finding the second street off of Main Street in the historical downtown), I am thinking perhaps it was not entirely me that was at fault. Before I stumbled onto the second street in the directions, I almost broke down and called the office. But I had promised. I was not going to be high maintenance. The third time I made the same loop, I realized I would have to call before the office closed, and it was getting close. I decided to make one more attempt on the road I was on, and then I found the place the road dead ended into a cross street. The instructions said it might not have a sign. The cross-street didn’t have a sign (this was good), but it was also a divided highway (this was not good). However, as often happens when I take a scenic tour before I came to a turn-around, I found something interesting—a sign pointing to the next turn in my directions. Somehow, against all odds, reading directions that did not name streets correctly, I had lucked onto the correct street!

I continued on, looking for the Emergency Response Building that was a landmark mentioned in the driving instructions. I never saw an Emergency Response Building; however, I did find a Fire Station. Close enough. The next named street was actually my next turn. When I came to the street where the instructions cautioned to drive slowly, but not slower than 10 mph, and definitely don’t stop because the grade was too steep, I laughed—this was not bad!  It must have been paved since the instructions were written, or else what they called “gravel” in the Northern Mountains of Georgia, is really what we call pressed tar in Texas.

I shouldn’t have become cocky. The pressed tar road which was barely wide enough for one SUV, let alone two, had several blind curves—on the tops of rises. It was harrowing to say the least.

I found the steep gravel finally. It was actually a hairpin left-hand turn into the driveway to my cabin. I had arrived, and it was exactly as the video tour and photo slideshow had depicted it. Laurel Knoll was picture perfect. I nearly wept with relief.
Unfortunately, I did weep when I attempted to extract the house key from the lock-box. It had turned very cold and my frozen fingers were not cooperating. Blowing on my fingers, I warmed them up and finally, I retrieved the key and opened the door. I propped it open and unloaded the $140 of groceries I had purchased when I hit town, the small bag with pet food and dishes (even though the cabin furnished a dog bed, food and water dishes, and dog treats—my kind of “pet-friendly” abode), and my overnight bag.  Everything else could wait to be unloaded.  The food took several trips—I had been hungry when I shopped and bought way too much. I decided after I pottied Bandit, and set the pet feeding station and cat litter box up, my first order of business would be to make an early people dinner.

In preparation of my trip I had watched several recipes on you tube. For my first meal in the cabin I made a four cheese macaroni from scratch, green bean casserole (Mama never made this when I was growing up and in the last few years I have become obsessed with it), and  a garlic pull apart bread. Even though I haven’t cooked in years, it all came together at the same time. In record time. I was feeling pretty cocky. The cockiness didn’t last long.

The next morning, I took Bandit outside and I grabbed the remainder of my luggage from the car, only to realize when I started back inside, I had locked myself out of the cabin. I was wearing my robe and PJs. I had my car keys.  Luckily a second copy of the rental agency office telephone number was in my car. But my phone was locked inside the cabin. I looked around the front porch, tried all the windows and doors even though I knew they were all locked. Then I saw a second lockbox for the housekeeper. I tried my code, just in case. As expected, it didn’t work. My choices:  drive to the rental office in my robe, or bother a neighbor. Again, in my robe. I opted for the neighbor since I didn’t have a clue where the office was located.  When I sat in the SUV, I noticed my iPhone was still synced. I was going to avoid anyone seeing me in my robe. I dialed the number from the touch screen on my dash thanking Ford for overdoing the options (there are like seven different ways to perform every function involving the navigation, entertainment, and communication functions in my Escape). I was too quick to believe it would work. It didn’t.

So, off to the nearest neighbor with a car in the drive I went. I drove because the driveways are all treacherously steep. I pulled into one and a young girl was out on the porch in her PJs as well. She went for her Mother, who was also dressed in her PJs. It was still pretty early. I called the agency. The phone numbers didn’t work. But I knew they did, so I assumed they were vacationing as well and I dialed the number as a long distance number. Success!  I told the office girl what I had done and she gave me two codes to try on the Housekeepers Lockbox. I also reported several problems:  the cabin binder had been left on the screened porch by the last renters and it was soaked. I had found it that morning and had it drying on the hearth, but I could not find the instructions for the gas fireplace. Also, the microwave and kitchen light were not working. She told me to check the fuse box but was unsure where it might be. As for the fireplace, she told me it is activated by the thermostat. Easy Peasy.

The second housekeeping code worked. I found the fuse box (in the bedroom), but none of the fuses had been tripped. I checked the GFCI and that fixed the light above the sink and the microwave. I love two-fers.

I was feeling a little less high maintenance. Maybe medium maintenance. Until I tried to log on to the internet. Once again, the soggy cabin binder did not appear to have the internet instructions, so I called the office.  Again. They told me what they thought it might be and said to call again if it didn’t work. So much for my not being high maintenance.

And making breakfast took longer than dinner the night before. Since it didn’t come together as well as dinner did the night before, I decided to start the prep-work for lunch (homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese) and dinner (cauliflower bread, roasted potatoes, leftover mac and cheese, and homemade apple turnovers).  I don’t know what got into me, I never cook—yet here I was making all my meals from scratch. On my vacation.

I finally sat down and tried to log onto the internet after lunch. It only took three attempts before I got the right combination of characters.  All I needed to do now was make a copy of the email with my soon to be worked on novel, and transfer it to a word document.  Only, for some reason, I couldn’t make a copy. I’m so not tech savvy. I have no idea how to accomplish this task. So, rather than working on my novel, I’m watching the NCIS marathon. And cooking up all the remaining food.

So far the rest of my stay I have been the model, low-maintenance guest.

So far. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Private Blue Angels Air Show--Just Me and Daddy.

I visited Daddy's grave today and was treated to my very own private showing of the Blue Angels.  Actually, I think I read a sign as I entered the Base announcing the air show was in honor of the Blue Angeles Change of Command. For what ever reason, I had the cemetery to myself.

Daddy was Navy for a couple of years before he joined the Air Force and he loved to see the Blue Angels perform. As a result, every time they came to whatever base we were stationed at, we went to the Air Show to support them.

Today's show reminded me of all the good times we had on those family outings.  While there is nothing like the pomp and circumstance of military traditions, we only went to the viewing stands once. Most of the time we would find a quiet, out of the way place, throw down a blanket and picnic while we watched their daring acrobatic maneuvers.

Even though I stumbled on them today,  and I didn't plan a picnic, it was still a treat to share the Air Show with Daddy.   The icing on the cake came when the Cemetary sound system played a lone bugle song. I'm not sure of it's name but I'll have to find out.

The Blue Angles were thrilling Daddy. You would have enjoyed today's show.

Love ya!