Archive for the ‘thanksgiving’ Tag

12-06-2015 Journal– Red & Green Insanity!   Leave a comment

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‘Christmas Eve in Maine.’

How is your holiday season progressing?  Are your preparations ahead of schedule or behind? Is your Christmas tree real or artificial? Are your kids driving you crazy yet? Has your alcohol consumption increased progressively with the holiday pressures?  All really good questions but as we all know they’re rhetorical. 

The drumbeat of Christmas is getting louder each day. I go to sleep thinking about what I’ve accomplished that day and wake up thinking about all of the stuff that I still need to accomplish today.  I am so full of Christmas cheer I could scream out loud.  After rereading this paragraph I think I discovered something else I must be full of.  You get my drift, right? I’M LOSING IT MAN!

Here is my kitchen table as I found it this morning:

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Trust me when I tell you the entire living room and family room look exactly like it as well.   I’m knee deep in Christmas and there’s still 18 shopping days left. It could take us until sometime in February to repack all this stuff and I can’t wait.  At least the damn cat seems to be enjoying himself:

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I haven’t had my breakfast yet but since I can’t eat in the kitchen I may retire to the deck and eat there. That’s right, the sun is shining and it’s still warm enough to sit outside and have breakfast. It’s madness I tell you.

Even Mother Nature appears confused by the weather. I took a stroll around the property yesterday  for no other reason than to get a little sun on my pasty white body.  I found this lonely little flower in the side yard. One stupid dandelion that’s decided it’s really not December but April. I can officially say this is the latest I’ve ever seen any flower growing and blooming.

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‘The all-time dumbest flower on the planet.’

I’d like to continue on with this post but I’m getting the evil eye from my better-half. It’s time to get back to my Santa duties. Everything has to be just perfect for the grandsons when they arrive (in two and a half effing weeks). Sorry about the language but all these red and green colors are finally getting to me or maybe it’s just my requested Christmas aneurism finally showing up.

I hope someone tells Santa just what a good boy I’ve been this year. He owes me big time.

11-28-2015 Journal–A Christmas Ass Kicking!   1 comment

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone and I’ve digested all that good food I’d like nothing better than to relax for a bit.  Dream on fool, here comes Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Years!

Meanwhile, here’s a quick look at our Thanksgiving table for this year. A luscious prime rib roast, asparagus, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a chilled bottle of honey mead. I have to say it was the best Thanksgiving meal we’ve had in recent memory. Hope yours was the same or even better.

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Black Friday has also come and gone and fortunately for me I missed it completely. I missed all the large crowds of pissed off shoppers, the pushing, the shoving, the fighting, and the shootings that makes these holiday seasons so near and dear to my heart. There’s nothing like a little physical combat with pregnant women, kids, or anyone else for that matter who gets in the way.

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It feels extra special to shove some old lady to the ground and to grab an item from her hands that you wanted more than she did. A big thanks once again to Walmart for costing a few people their lives and many others minor injuries and arrests. The almighty dollar rules absolutely in the  world of Walmart with very little concern for the consequences of their actions.  Nothing new, right?

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‘Deck the Halls’

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‘Happy Holidays’

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‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’

I’m not blaming all of these problems on Walmart because Target, Best Buy, and hundreds of others are just as guilty.  My better-half and her daughter braved the crowds yesterday while I sat at home hoping they survived without injuries or incidents.  They fortunately arrived home in one piece with more shopping war stories that I’ll be forced to listen to for another year. There are some traditions that need to go and Black Friday is one of them.

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This is the time of the year I thank God I’m claustrophobic. All the more reason to increase my on-line presence next year and never leave the freaking house.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND STAY OUT OF MY EFFING WAY

A quote stolen from more than ten million shoppers.’

11-26-2015 Journal – The Madness Begins!   Leave a comment

It’s Thanksgiving morning here in Maine.  No snow, no sleet, no high winds, and fifty degree sunny weather. What’s wrong with this picture? I wait all year for this holiday when I can put on a heavy coat, take a walk in the cold fresh air, eat a great meal, and relax the day away.  Warm weather? What the hell?

Yesterday was the big day for us. My better-half finally was finally bitten on the butt by the Christmas bug and all of the cherished peace and quiet in this house is over for the foreseeable future.

I was given my marching orders early which required me to make a visit to my least favorite place . . . the attic.  A spooky, dirty, and buggy place filled with boxes of holiday crap stacked everywhere. Pick any holiday of the year and I can find a few boxes of decorations to dig through for that day. Christmas is the worst because the better-half seems to have saved every Christmas decoration going back to her birth. As you can see our family room looks like Santa’s sleigh had some maintenance issues and crashed and exploded right here.

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Wrapping papers, boxes of lights, then more lights, then tinsel, then more tinsel, then tree ornaments, and then more tree ornaments. I’m hip deep in the stuff and there’s still more boxes left in the attic. God help me!

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My main chore each year is to unpack the tree, find all the pieces (it’s not a real one), drag everything into the living room and put it all together. It’ll be much easier this year since we purchased a new tree at the end of last year’s holiday season. The previous artificial tree was seven feet tall and almost five feet wide and huge pain to assemble. It consisted of at least forty different limbs and parts and took quite a while to construct as well as shedding about a pound of plastic pine needles every time it was touched. This new one went up with a snap in five minutes and then it only needed a little TLC and tweaking to make it really nice.

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Hopefully by the end of today the tree will be up and decorated, the furniture rearranged or moved into other rooms, and the Christmas tunes will be firmly imbedded in my skull for the next month. After Country & Western music I hate Christmas music the most.  Unfortunately once those damn songs get stuck in my head I’ll be humming them until the middle of January.

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‘Step One’

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‘Step Two’

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‘Done’

This is one of the good things that happened today. My better-half has a tradition of supplying freshly baked cinnamon buns soaked in sugar icing the morning of each holiday.  I watched her prepare the buns, letting them cool, then pouring that glorious sugar sweetness all over them. I  hijacked a couple, scurried off to another room and quickly wolfed them down.  That’s my payment for today’s Christmas chores and like it or not I’ll probably eat a couple of more tomorrow.  I can at least give thanks for them.

So it begins . . .

11-24-2015 Journal– Computers, Crowds & Shopping!   Leave a comment

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The electric blanket remains at level six this morning as I lounge here and try to decide what this day will bring.  The better-half works only a half day today which I fear means more Christmas shopping in my immediate future. Fortunately I recharged my Kindle and my Surface last night and feel I’m ready for almost anything.

I suspect I’ll end up sitting in front of the computer for the afternoon as I’ve been doing for most of the last week. I’m preparing and editing some of the  blog postings from the last year that will be included in a blog book I’m having made.  I do this each year and have collected quite the library. It does take an investment of time but I love having the ability to go back to my library to insure I’m not repeating things over and over again and boring my readers.

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Once that little project is completed I can return to the sorting and indexing of my archive of photographs. I currently have almost twenty thousand pics which need reviewing. I’m determined to eliminate everything that isn’t just perfect which will take a great deal of time. Since I have most of those pictures already backed up on my personal cloud, I’ll be able to recover a great deal of hard drive space on my desktop which is badly needed.  I’ll also need to stock up on more extra strength Tylenol to help me with the headaches I anticipate are to come.  It doesn’t take much screen time to put a severe strain on my eyes.

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With Thanksgiving just two days away I’m in no rush to accomplish much. The better-half and I can relax for a few days after enjoying our laid back holiday celebration.  She’s already mentally preparing herself for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all of the other shopping days that have been created to allow retailers to pelt us with junk mail, TV ads, and spam.  I like spending time with her but any shopping done in and around Thanksgiving is not all that enjoyable for me. I get a little claustrophobic in large crowds and prefer to avoid them whenever possible.

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I’m about to spring into action but every time I try to get up the bed and that damn electric blanket keep calling me back.  The coffee is starting to kick-in which will eventually force me to my feet and to get ready for the day.

ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY

11-22-2015 Journal–A New Thanksgiving Tradition!   Leave a comment

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‘No Thanks’

Why turkey? The tradition started with the Pilgrims struggling to survive and supposedly the Indians brought them food, they had dinner together, and so it began . . . but why turkey? It could just as easily have been lobster or maybe even groundhog. I doubt seriously if I would have enjoyed a big, fat, roasted groundhog for Thanksgiving every November for the rest of my life but it could easily have happened.  We could have easily combined Groundhog Day with Thanksgiving and had Punxatawney Phil as an entre.

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‘This is Phil’s cousin Bill’

I guess we can blame or credit one lonesome Indian out foraging for food for our Thanksgiving tradition that ended up lasting for hundreds of years. What we haven’t been told is that he took the good food home to his family and stuck the Pilgrims with some scrawny turkey he had left over.  That tradition has also created a number of cottage industries like raising turkeys by the millions for our eager consumption and all of the accompanying paraphernalia required to prepare them.

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‘Bill Before’

Don’t get me wrong I like turkey well enough but as a kid it was a special meal we had only once a year. These days we eat turkey year-round and have it readily available at food stores and even some gas stations and convenience stores. Not so special anymore, at least not for me.

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‘Bill After’

This Thanksgiving is a unique one for both my better-half and for me. Most of our family members are spread across the country and the ones remaining in Maine are visiting other family in northern Maine.  After some discussion we determined that because it’s just the two of us this year, we can do whatever the hell we like.  They’ll be no turkey this year and trust me, there won’t be any roasted groundhog or lobster either.

This years feast will consist of some traditional items such as cranberry sauce, stuffing, corn, and squash. The meat of the day has been upgraded a little as well. Picture a large standing prime rib roast dripping flavor from every pore and as tender and soft as eating marshmallows.  That’s what I call a proper dinner to give thanks for.  I eat turkey on an average of three times a week and won’t miss having it on the table at all.

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I hope this year goes well because this is a tradition that is long overdue and that I fully support. I may miss some of the turkey leftovers but truthfully I’ll get over it. I can taste and smell that prime rib already and it’s making my mouth water. A good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and the fixings’ and we’ll both be fat, dumb, and extremely happy.

SLEEP WITH ONE EYE OPEN PHIL, YOU NEVER KNOW.

11-20-2015 Journal–More Pre-Christmas Shopping!   Leave a comment

I’m posting a little later than I like today. I was stolen away by my better-half for a day of errands and Christmas shopping.  I wasn’t thrilled but I’m trying to work on improving my Christmas spirit  this year so I’ve been smiling and nodding a lot. That was my first mistake.

For those of you unfamiliar with Maine the “Holy Land” of shopping is the town of Freeport located approximately 10 miles north of Portland along the coast. It’s a small town composed primarily of an endless supply of outlet stores from damn near every retailer you can name.  It’s always been a tradition for us and most Mainers to do some of our Christmas shopping there and to spend more than a little time doing it.

This year was the first time we’ve actually gone to Freeport before Thanksgiving and Black Friday (Thank God).  The stores weren’t too crowded and finding parking was a snap for a change.  Our first stop was my favorite place called Mexicali Blues.  It’s actually a modern day version of what once was  considered a “head shop” minus the bongs and roach clips. 

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If you like extremely bright colors and off-the-wall apparel, this is the place.  I never miss a chance to visit and I always buy something interesting. Today I picked up a few wild and crazy stocking stuffers for some of the family members.  I just love the place.

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Smoke a fat doobie, sit on the sofa, and contemplate on this bird. That’s sure to get your head and your Christmas season kick-started.  If you choose to do that I’d recommend a huge bag of Lays wavy potato chips and lots of wine.

Another stop that is always mandatory in Freeport is a visit to L.L. Bean.  The crowds were small and the better-half was able to take her time (like always) and buy a few small things for the family. 

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I waited until the appropriate time to start complaining.  I was hungry, I needed coffee, my feet hurt, and anything else I could think of.  Being subtle with the better-half is a losing battle. I just have to blurt things out until she gets tired of hearing me. Sometimes it takes a while but it always works eventually. 

We made it home in record time and I was able to put anther day of shopping hell behind me. I guarantee you I’ll be hiding for the rest of the holiday season in places the better-half won’t look.  Wish me luck, I’ll need it.

11-16-2015 Journal– X-mas Insanity Begins!   Leave a comment

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This post will probably be confusing for some of you because there isn’t any rhyme or reason behind what I’ll be writing.  I’ve been very busy of late with a lot of little stuff that needs to be handled before the holidays officially arrive. Just keep your hands and feet inside the car, this ride may get a little bumpy.

My life has changed dramatically in the last month due to my elimination of  live cable television.  I’m happy to announce that I haven’t watched more than ten minutes of commercials, ads, or television shopping channels for over a month.  It took me a few weeks to get the hang of streaming and I’ve been able to locate and avoid those few channels that still insist on running commercials. It’s truly a game changer.  I have more freedom to watch what I please when I please and no scheduling of my time in order to watch a specific program.  No more waiting for commercial breaks to make  bathroom runs, I just hit the pause and Ta Da.  I also like watching what once was an hour long show in 43 minutes, minus all those damn commercials.  Life has gotten seriously better.

The better-half’s birthday has come and gone and was a great success. She loved her gifts, the wine, and that big, fat, medium rare T-bone steak. I tried to be as romantic as possible and I think I pulled it off rather well.  Here’s my lame attempt at a table setting on our crazy retro dining room set.

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I’d like to officially thank the cow that made the ultimate sacrifice for our meal. Tender and soft as marshmallows washed down with a semi-sweet Merlot.  Yummmmm!

I’ve been diligently working towards having all things Christmas, purchased, wrapped, and hidden away by Thanksgiving.  That will free up my time between Thanksgiving and Christmas to be the better-half’s decorating slave. First the tree, then the lights, then tinsel, then motorized talking and singing toys scattered throughout the house.  I can only pray that my first gift will be a noise-cancelling headset. 

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Here’s some bad news. Last night I was strong-armed into watching the first Christmas movie of the season.  That’s right, a Christmas movie on November 15.  Please just shoot me now.

Three days ago I was dragged kicking and screaming to the Mall. It was a typical mall trip which bored the hell out of me. I ended up sitting in the middle of the mall surrounded by herds of screaming kids being chased by their parents. Thank God for my Kindle.  The best part of my visit consisted of my standing near a small kiosk and allowing a really hot young lady to place heat packs on my neck. I let her go on and on with her sales pitch and finally walked away without making a purchase. My neck felt a lot better and so did my morale. thBVIZQLLU

I have a few more gifts to wrap today and I think I’m  be totally finished with Christmas preparations.  With that goal being met I think I’ll then deserve a tall, cold, and refreshing Gin and Tonic later this afternoon. 

I hope your holiday craziness isn’t too overwhelming.  Before you know it 2016 will be here and we can start preparing for next Christmas. Are we all insane or is it just me?

11-14-15 Journal – Pre-Christmas Blues!   Leave a comment

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I’m already on my third cup of coffee this morning and that good old caffeine buzz I’ve come to rely on has yet to rev my engines.  I have a lot of errands to run today and need some serious motivation to get them all completed.  The blessing is that my better-half is working which will keep her out of my hair (what little I have left) to prepare for her birthday dinner tonight.  It’s difficult to get anything secret done around here and over the years she’s forced me to become even sneakier  than usual.

She loves being surprised and each year that goes by it get tougher and tougher to come up with fresh ideas.  I’ve purchased her a few gifts which I’m sure she’ll like because I am “The Man” when it comes to giving great gifts.  As much as she likes being surprised I like doing the surprising.  I can’t go into too many details because she reads this blog looking for clues.  I’ve learned to be very careful in keeping important information as secret as possible.

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She’s been feeling a little depressed coming into the holidays since it’s the first ones since the passing of her Mom.  She’s usually a Christmas fanatic going totally bonkers with decorations and general X-mas silliness. She needs something to get her into the holiday spirit and I’m hoping we’ll  have our first snowfall soon. That’s always been a kick-start for me and I think it will be for her as well.  She’s also a shopping machine and quite possibly a few hours out in the crowds on Black Friday will help too.

I understand how she feels because I went through the loss of both my parents in the last eight years.  My mother was a Christmas lunatic too and it’s still difficult to have Christmas and not think of her and my dad and Christmases past.

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The saving grace this year will be the grandsons.  Christmas has always been for the children and once the tree gets decorated and the kids come to visit, chattering on and on about Santa and reindeer, she’ll be just fine.  They own her completely and a few smiles from them will make all the difference in the world. Then she’ll go crazy the last week before Christmas trying to make up for lost time which is what I’m hoping for.

Truthfully I’ve been a real Grinch for many years about Christmas but having the boys in our life is changing all that. I hope we both can find the holiday spirit once again.  I’d love to have that feeling on Christmas morning like I did when I was eight years old.

It can’t get much better than that.

10-03-2015 Journal–A Really Early Holiday Message!   Leave a comment

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‘This is written with my tongue lodged firmly in my cheek.’

Where did our Summer go?  It seems like just a short time ago we were complaining about the heat and humidity and WHAM, all of a sudden we’re rolling into October and looking down the tunnel at that proverbial bright light approaching at seventy miles an hour. That light is the damn holiday season quietly sneaking up on us. It’s October for God’s sake. Doesn’t anyone care that it just too damn early to be worrying about the holidays.  Stop the madness people. 

I was in Lowe’s yesterday visiting my better-half who was tied up with a number of other employees doing their Christmas reset. Just shoot me now, please. What the hell are they thinking.

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These retailers claim they start their seasonal BS  early because of the huge demand for their holiday products.  Honestly, when was the last time you ever heard anyone . . . that’s ANYONE say they were happy about seeing the Christmas season starting in early October.  Never!!  The truth of the matter is that the demand is created by the retailers themselves who lower their prices just enough to entice customers to the store.  They can be so disingenuous at times it makes me crazy. It just goes to show you how stupid they think we the shopping public are.  And sadly they’re right!

I refuse to be manipulated anymore.  No early holiday nonsense for me, no Black Friday idiocy, and no paying attention to the thousands of emails that will be clogging my mailbox over the next ten weeks.  I’m done with it. 

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I plan on spending exactly fifteen minutes on Christmas shopping this year  and thank God for Amazon. A five minute walk-in at Toys R Us for two gift cards, a five minute walk-in at Home Depot for one gift card, and finally five minutes to order seven additional gift cards from Amazon. That leaves just a few gifts I need to purchase for my better-half which will be ordered on-line as well and shipped directly to our house.

Stick those gift cards in an envelope with a Christmas card and a short note and you’re DONE.  No more stress, no more purchases of gifts that no one really wants or appreciates. Get your gift cards in the mail, buy what you want, and leave  me alone.  I never intend to spend more than an hour on Christmas preparations ever again. 

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I’m only asking Santa Clause for Amazon or Kindle gift cards this year since I’ve been very, very good. I’ve spent too many years getting clothing I hate and would never dare to wear, smiling and lying about how much I liked that fruit cake I received, and all of the required traveling around the countryside in terrible weather to visit people. I’m sorry folks, it’s nothing personal, but in my opinion if you’ve seen one Christmas tree you’ve seen them.  So here is my collective seasons greetings for most of you in case I forget later.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

HAPPY HANUKKAH

HAPPY STUPID KWANSA

HAPPY SEINFELD FESTIVAS

MERRY CHRISTMAS

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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I’m exhausted already from just listing all of this foolishness.  I wish I could just go find a cave and hibernate until February 15.  It would make for one of the best holiday seasons ever if I could.

BAH HUMBUG

11-27-2014 Journal – Happy Thanksgiving!   Leave a comment

It seems to me that 2014 has come and gone in the blink of an eye.  It was a busy year which probably accounts for that.  It’s Thanksgiving morning and I’m relaxing with a coffee and donut supplied by my better-half who was the early riser this morning.  It’s been quite some time since we’ve had a snow storm on Thanksgiving and I’m looking out the window at a winter wonderland.  I can’t believe she was up and out so early in this weather.  It’s one of those special holiday miracles I guess.

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I spent time yesterday as the snow was accumulating trying to keep the driveway passable.  The snowblower was unveiled and got it’s first use this season and so did my back and arms.  I’m more than a little stiff today but that’s par for the course here in Maine.

The final snow numbers indicate between ten and twelve inches with most of the area suffering from downed tree limbs and power outages.  I’m not sure how we missed out on the loss of power but for a change we made it through the storm with only a few momentary lapses.  We have our issues with this snow and as you see so do the birds.  They’re scratching their way to the food as best they can.  

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The sun is shining and is being reflected off the snow and it’s amazing.  I can’t wait to get dressed and get out with my camera.  Everywhere you look there are beautiful pictures to be taken and I’m going to get my fair share.

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I’d also like to send out a special thank you to the Saco town snowplow operator responsible for destroying my new mailbox during the first effing snow storm of the season.  I wish I knew who he was and where he lives.  I might just do a drive-by on his mailbox with a baseball bat. Freaking A-hole!!

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For the first time in a while our Thanksgiving dinner will be just for two.  All of our family and friends are scattered about the country celebrating their holiday. We’ll have our meal this afternoon and be thankful for our good health and the blessing of a quiet day to properly enjoy it.

I do love the snow and I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more before this winter is over.  I hope you and yours are enjoying this holiday and appreciate your lives together.  Now we can rush headlong into the Christmas season and then the welcoming of 2015.