sewn in a sweater you can wear when it gets colder

Recently I found myself in the midst of a conversation about 3-D printers (and also Oxford commas– always use Oxford commas!) and I said how it seems so weird, like they’re making something out of nothing. Even though, obviously, that’s not what they do. It still seemed too magical, or sci-fi, or something. But then today I was knitting and I realized that knitting is a very similar process. You take a very very very long piece of string and shape it into a garment? What? Knitting is kind of like making something out of nothing, too. So 3-D printers are like machines that can knit plastic and metal. Or… Whatever. Maybe that comparison only works in my head.

In other news: it snowed! And it looked messy and weird clinging to trees which are still clinging to leaves, and coating the leaf piles on the curbs.
(Bug: “Our leaf pile looks like the exact shape of a crocodile.”
Me: “What if leaf piles were like the Sandman and they could shape themselves into different creatures, and they came to eat you?”
Bug: “Woah.”)
I woke up on the snowy morning singing “White Winter Hymnal”. And the night before, as I came out of work, I already knew it would be snowing because I had seen it through the windows. But apparently the lady who stepped out of the doorway before me didn’t. “Aughhh!” she cried. I ran out laughing.

Well, yesterday was Poncho’s birthday… So we all went out to dinner. This is how that went…
Grandpa (as soon as we sat down): “Elvis was a drug addict. Did you know that?”
Me: “Why….”
Grandpa: “Looooove me tender, you ain’t nothing but a hound dog.”
Dodge: “I don’t think those are in the same song.”
Grandpa: “Yeah they are!” *plays air guitar* “The girls went crazy.”
Me: “Oh-kaaaay, new topic.”
Dodge: “Hey Grandpa, who’s your favorite Browns player?” *evil grin* “Brandon Weedon?”
Grandma, overhearing this, glared daggers at our end of the table.
Dodge: (snickering, aside, to me): “Look what I did.”
Mom: “Kick Dodge under the table.”
Me: *kicks Dodge under the table.*
Dodge: “Stop it!”
Grandpa: “Hey, be nice to your sister.”
Dodge: “What? She’s the one kicking me…”
Grandpa: “You gotta be a man and take it!”
At this point Dodge and I fell over ourselves laughing… Then all was normal (ha-ha, riiiiiiight) for a bit until Dodge started playing with his knife, spinning it on the table.
Grandma: “Just wait till you cut your finger off, and I have to drive you to the emergency room.”
Dodge: *pretending to saw his hand* “Grandma, in about five minutes I need to go to the hospital. Go warm up the car.”
Grandma: “You better watch out, that’s all I’m saying.”
Dodge pulled his hand inside his sleeve and waved his knife in the air. “AAAAHHHHH! My hand!”
I took the knife from him and dipped it in salsa. “There, it makes it more realistic.”
Dodge: “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

Also, I got Poncho a sonic screwdriver, and I have no regrets. Even though he shined it in my eyes (probably trying to verify that I am, in fact, an alien) and pretended to sonic every closed door. I don’t think it has left his person since he got it out of the box.

I guess that’s all for now… Happy 13th birthday to Poncho, and I am off to make something out of nothing (which is to say, I am going to work on some writing).

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This should really be two separate posts. But… it isn’t.

So, I worked nine to five yesterday (yeah, cue the cliches) and had an oddly fun time. Because I got to, first of all, feel very official. (I mean, for some reason I felt like I was supposed to be there, unlike usual when I feel like… an intruding elf who sorts the books? I dunno.) Secondly, I got to hunt down books like Easter eggs for the first half of the day, talked to a lot of patrons (the place was hopping), and best of all, I got to spend some quality time listening to the circulation desk ladies chitchatting.

It’s true; the “Circ” ladies are maybe my favorite part of working at the library. Since the library is so large and busy, there are a lot of these ladies working at once; a couple of them behind the checkout area, three or four processing materials in the sorting room, and another one or two milling around taking care of odds and ends.

It’s a writer’s gold mine. The distinct characters! The dialogue! Not to mention, it probably fills some internal, subconscious need within the old-fashioned me to be surrounded by chit-chattering ladies while we all do some mindless task like weaving, or picking berries (or in my case, picking gross, faded pink “new!” stickers off of not-new-anymore books).

So, anyway, seeing as I was working a full day, I got a real lunch break. And this is what I heard as I ate my potatoes.

Guy librarian: “The new branch– have you seen it?”
Circ Ladies: “Oh yes, we hear it’s very nice.”
Guy librarian: “Lots of wood… And the kid’s area– They even have a little train going around above it.”
Lady A: “Yeah, a noisy, squeaking train–”
Lady B: “Someone needs to oil that thing.”
Lady A: “Ugh.”
Lady C: “I hate trains.”
Guy librarian: “Why?”
Lady C: “It’s a childhood thing. Always hated them.”
Guy librarian: “Oh, but did you hear what else? They have a fireplace, too. It puts out a nice bit of heat.”
Circ Ladies: “Psh!!”
Lady B: “And what’s going to stop some kid from going up and sticking their hand right on it?”
Lady A: “Parents.”
Circ Ladies: BAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA
Lady B: “You wish.”
Lady C: “Yeah, that happens one time, and they won’t turn it on anymore.”
Lady A: “Right! Why would you even put a fireplace in a library, anyway?”
Me (finally piping up): “Because it’s old school.”
Guy Librarian: “Yeah, it’s old school. It makes a nice mix of old school and new school.”
Lady C: “Yeah, there’ll be a fireplace and no books. Just stare at the wall!”
Me: (internally) Hear, hear!
Lady A: “I heard that the break room is like two chairs and a table. And that it’s practically in the middle of a hallway.”
Lady B: “And what was that one door…?”
Guy Librarian: “That was the staff bathroom.”
Circ Ladies: “That was the staff bathroom?!?!”

Totally worth the sore feet at the end of the day, that.

Well, I have been very negligent of you, blog readers. Sorry. I was going to blog about how Super Awesome my vacation in Kentucky was, but then I… didn’t. I really have no excuse.

This is the part where there’s a long silence and somebody coughs way in the back of the room.
And then you feel like you have to cough, but you can’t, because it would seem so loud–
But then–
Your throat itches–
And you decide, okay, I’m going to cough, but then you can’t cough so you do that awkward not-cough thing and…
Yeah.

Anyway, what else has been going on around here? Oh. Right.

WAAAAA-a-a-AAAAAA (Wua, wua, waaaaaaaaa). Aka the theme music from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. Or, as my dad calls it, “The most epic cowboy movie of all time”.
I would have to agree.

I don’t normally like cowboy movies, especially not long ones, especially not long ones where at least one person dies every five minutes. All of which apply to “GoodBadn’Ugly” (which is another name my dad calls it. As in, “Let’s watch a movie.”
Everyone: “What movie.”
Dad, in one excited breath: “GoodBadn’Ugly!” …. “What, we have to watch it at least once a week.”).

But I do like movies that weave multiple stories together, which this does. And when something is historical, my FAVORITE way for them to be that way is to have a personal story with the historical stuff as the background– for the main action to be about the main characters and their peculiar struggle, and then WHAM, history leaps up out of the dull background like an Asian carp out of Lake Erie and smacks you upside the head. But it never overshadows the main story– it only makes the whole thing more epic, adds depth and whatever.
Actually, I think what it really does is bend your mind. You start out with the main story, which, since it’s the main story,  has a great importance to the watcher. It IS the story. But then the history stuff comes out, and what’s happening in the history can be so huge– yet it seems small because it’s the background here. It’s a reminder of reality, that whatever you’re in the middle of, whatever you’re looking at very closely, is what seems huge and epic. The lives of ants and sparrows are epic if you could follow them closely.
Which is to say, if the story of three guys trying to beat each other to 2,000 dollars in gold isn’t enough to hold your interest, imagine that it also takes place during a (surprisingly accurate, considering this was an Italian film) Civil War.

So that’s partly what makes that movie the most epic cowboy movie of all time. I also think it’s due to the cinematography– the move is so long because they will spend AGES on certain shots, which builds tension (and is also artsy). Plus, it was all shot in real places rather than on a fake set, so all the landscapes and long faraway shots and such are really cool. It also helps that there are some scenes where I wanted them to take forever on the shot, like when the ghostly carriage is racing toward them across the open desert…

The movie is highly quotable, too, I must mention.

And another major factor in making the movie EPIC is the EPIC MUSIC. I mean, the main theme is pretty cool by itself (it’s what I like to call “adventure music”), but when there’s also songs like this, how can it not be epic? I’m sitting here listening to it while typing, and the sky was all gray and brooding, and then right as the song hit the crescendo a sunbeam came out and shone on me. Like I said.
Epic.

Also. There is a scene where Clint Eastwood pets a kitten.
That seals the deal.

Well, this has kind of been like two posts in one… As usual, a perfect example of how my strange mind works.

Yours,
Pen

“Double bunny ears! Double bunny ears!”

I usually don’t watch the Olympics when they come around, but this year it’s different. I was initially enthralled by it– I mean genuinely glued to the TV and reveling in the glories of victory and the agony of defeat, et cetera.

Then… Dodge started watching it with me.

During swimming: “Just to troll, I’d start doggie paddling.”
(later during swimming): “How come when they guys win it’s like ‘YEAH! EAT IT, LOSERS!’ And when the girls win they’re like, ‘Hug, hug, oh, you guys all did great, hehe, I win.'”

During the men’s running–
Dodge: “Where’s our guy? Oh, he’s so short! Why did they put a short guy in there? He’s gonna lose. Look, Kenya’s guy is just going for a jog.”
Dad: “Yeah, he could stop and tie his shoe and he’d still win at this point.”
[Actually, he didn’t end up winning, but only because, according to Dodge, our guy “ran under everyone else’s legs”.]
Dodge: “Yeah, just to troll, stop to tie your shoe… No, wait, they have to have pit stops– And a bunch of guys run out with a new pair of shoes– ‘Double bunny ears, double bunny ears!’ And they have to make the noises– Vrrp, vrrp, vrrp! ‘Come on, come on! Tie quicker! What do you want me to do, run on my hands?!'”

So I just laugh through the entire Games now. (Also, thank you, Hunger Games, for making that word sound so sinister.)

And on a side note, watching the runners makes me want to take up running. I keep trying to remind myself that running is not fun, but I actually might try it. Once it stops feeling like the tropics outside.

Anyway, I don’t think it is humanly possible for Dodge to not make commentary while watching something. (Except Back to the Future. Somehow he was silent during that. Oh, except–
Me: “Dad, did you ever say ‘heavy’ like that?”
Dad: “Uh, I actually don’t remember.”
Dodge: “That means yes.”)

But back to the Olympics.

Now Dodge and I have comandeered the couch, remote, TV and refrigerator (Me to the DHFs: “How come you guys don’t watch the Olypics?” DHFs: “We hate the commercials.” Me: “Oh, you mean the snack breaks?”) all through primetime. Then we go to bed way too late, and wake up the next afternoon. Repeat.

I find it ironic that watching the Olympics is making me lazy. I mean, amazing athletes performing their utmost– and then there’s me, still in my pajamas until noon, and only moving to change seats during the day as I read Jane Eyre for the fifth time.

Going for the gold, baby.

Tomayto, tomahto, potayto, potahto.

Dad: “Would you like some tomatoes?”
Me: “Blech.”
Dad: “Tomahtoes?”
Me: “No one says ‘tomahtoes’. Seriously. No one.”
Dad: “Potayto, potahto.”
Me: “No one says potahto!”
Dad: “Maybe in some snooty town in Maine they do. (snooty British voice) [why he thinks they are British in Maine, I don’t know] ‘Oh, I would like some potahto… What do they call it in the Midwest? A Backed Potahto?'”
Me: (same snooty voice) “Yes, I’d like some Backed Potahto whilst I watch for Horse Chestnut Charles…”
Dodge: “What was that from? I remember that!”

(It was from this, in case you were wondering.)

Well, I had a very humorous day yesterday with Dad. He took me to the Most Pointless Doctor’s Visit of My Life So Far. It went like this:

Doctor: “Hi, how are you today?”
Me: “Um, better than yesterday, because yesterday I couldn’t even move–”
Doctor: “How old are you now? What grade are you in?”
Me: “Er.”
Doctor: “Wow, you are growing up so fast.” (looks in my ear) “Are you going to college?”
Me: “No.”
Doctor: “So you’re going to stay home and commute to college?”
Me: “No. I’m not… doing… college.”
Doctor: *has heart attack* “WHAT? BUT HOW WILL YOU GET A BETTER JOB?”
Me: “Actually, going to college doesn’t guarantee– I mean, no one has a job right now–”
Doctor: “Well, that’s because they go to college undeclared and become, like, business majors. You can’t get a job as a business major.”
Me: “Er. Okay. Well, anyway, yesterday I thought my appendix was ruptured–”
Doctor: “What do you want to be?”
Me: “Writer. And, um, I think I’m having a severe food allergy to milk–”
Doctor: “Oh, you want to do journalism–”
Me: “Actually, books– But what I really mean is, well, yesterday, I thought I was dying–”
Doctor: “Well, how are you ever going to write for a national newspaper if you don’t go to college?”
Me: “Novels!!!”
Doctor: “Oh, I hate those…You know, like that guy who’s worth a billion dollars now… You’re not going to write like him, are you?”
Me: “Like who?”
Doctor: “You know, the guy with the glasses? Oh, Harry Potter.”
Me: …………… (thinking, Does she think Harry Potter WROTE the Harry Potter books? Holy cow.)
Doctor: “So you felt sick yesterday? You felt nauseated?”
Me: (thank God, she’s finally getting to it!) “Yeah, I really did. I couldn’t move all day, and I still feel weak–”
Doctor: “Were you really stressed about anything?”
Me: “No.”
Doctor: “Well, just drink rice milk. Keep track of what you eat. Then call me back in two weeks and we can see if you need bloodwork.”
Me: “I also thought it might be wheat–”
Doctor: “Oh, yes, Celiac. Well, they usually have some real symptoms.”
Me: ………………….

That was just great. Wow. I feel so much better now that I had my ear looked in. The whole time, I was thinking, I came here because you’re my doctor, not my college counselor! And, you see me, what? Like twice a year, maybe? How do you presume to give advice about my personal decisions? While not even listening to my SYMPTOMS???

Time for a new doctor. And I have decided to, at least for now, avoid dairy like the plague. Which makes me sad! Oh, colby jack cheese, must I be so early parted from thee?

Sigh. Well, to celebrate the milestone of Most Pointless Doctor’s Visit In My Life So Far, Dad took me to lunch just us two. Which was very nice. Then Mom called and asked what the doctor said, and he answered, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed”. Classic Dad…. What else can I do but shake my head and smile?

Fat Tuesday musing…

I’ve been thinking about sacrifices and things, and I’ve come to realize that *news flash* nearly all food is delicious. I mean, one would practically have to live on bread and water– but bread is actually quite good. Come to think of it, I really like water, too. (It’s so refreshing!) And sweets… Tea is sweet, juice is sweet, fruit and cooked carrots and sweet potaotes are sweet. And Eliza’s broccoli might as well be dessert!

And fish? First, if it’s a dead animal, how is it not meat; second, unless you eat them like Smeagol, they’re delicious; thirdly, no one can even pretend eating anything fried is a sacrifice. Then there’s, what? Pierogies? Potatoes and cheese and onions swathed in soft, buttery noodles is considered fasting?

Has sainthood ever been more attainable?


PS: I guess I could just live on ham and grape juice… But then I probably wouldn’t. Live, I mean.

Horse Chestnut Charles

Well, so far it looks like the groundhogs were right about getting spring. In fact, we were just talking about it last night…

Me: “How do they know if the groundhog sees its shadow? Just because it has one doesn’t mean he sees it.”
Mom: “When he goes back in his burrow they say he saw it.”
Dad: “Of course he goes back in his burrow. There’s a million reporters out there with cameras going off. Well, he’s in a cage anyway.”
Me: “What about Buckeye Chuck? Is he in a burrow?”
Dad: “No, he’s the same. But at least he’s a Buckeye.”
Me: “Yeah, Ohioan solidarity.”
Dad: “Except, in some fancy suburb, he’d be Horse Chestnut Charles… He pops up wearing an argyle sweater…”

I happened to be drinking water when he said that and he made me almost choke. Oh, Dad’s humor… Which reminds me of another story he told us yesterday night, about when he was in an elevator and some lady got on.

Her: “I hate these elevators blah blah blah blah blah.”
Dad: “Well, it’s better than the alternative.”
Her: “The stairs?”
Dad: “No, being thrown from the roof.”

Yep, he’s weird, but we love him. :)

-Pen

PS: I started reading 1984 and it’s stupid. I mean, wow, subtle, Mr Orwell. *eye roll*

Nice Holiday Traditions

Dodge: “Come here come here come here! Look!”
Me: “Huhhh?”
Dodge: “Okay, you stand behind that wall, and watch the stairs…”
I looked at the stairs, and Dad was standing at the top of them, looking down. The box containing the fire-retardant tree was balanced at the edge of the upstairs landing, and Dad had a mischevous grin on his face…
Me: “NO. You wouldn’t.”
Dodge: (evil laughter)
Me: “It’ll break!”
Dad: (evil laughter)
Dodge: “One, two, three, GOOOOOO!”
The tree fliew down the stairs in a spectacular flip! And Poncho screamed as the box landed at his feet.
Me: “Oh my…”
Dodge: “We did it last year too. It’s a tradition.”

Later…

Dodge was beginning to actaully build the tree, when he noticed that the stand was not in the box. Meanwhile, Dad was lying on the couch with a footlong piece of floss in his mouth. (Don’t ask.)
Dodge: “Where is the stand?”
Dad: “In the box.”
Dodge: “No it’s not. It must be upstairs.”
Dad: “Well, it’s supposed to be in the box.”
Dodge: “Well, it’s not.”
Dad: “Well, it should be.
Dodge: “Well, it’s not.”
Dad: “I’m not going to get it.” He started to play guitar using the floss as the string, pulled tight from his front teeth.
Dodge: “You are such a child.”
Dad: “Am not. Ow, I think my tooth is loose now.”
Dodge: “Hmm.”
Dad pretended to sleep, leaving his floss hanging out of his mouth. Daisy came along and smelled the minty flavor… and started to chew on one end of the floss.
Dad: “Ehhhhhhhhhh! Ehhhhhh!”
Dodge: “I’ll save you if you’ll go get the stand.”
Dad: “EHHHH!”
Dodge (takes the floss): “Go now or I’ll drop it on your face.”
Dad: “I’m going, I’m going!”
He finally got the stand… It is quite beautiful…

Dad: “Hm, I think it needs more tape.”
Dodge: “Really?”
Dad: “Yeah, I put a new piece on every year. It’s a tradition.”

What a night. Phase One of putting up the tree is now complete.

History, Naturally.

Today we (Dad, Mom, Dodge, Poncho, me, my godparents and godbrother) went to the Natural History Museum. On our way there we passed the art museum which made me go “Oooooohhh!!! We HAVE to go there, pleeeeeeeease Mommy, pleeeeeease!” They finally opened their impressionism wing. Impressionism is my favorite style of painting at the moment, and I’ve been waiting forever for more of the museum to be reopened after the renovations. We also passed the Botanical Gardens, which we have a membership for and the place that I absolutely adore. Oh, and Dad was in such rare form today. A bunch of places we passed he remarked as, “Oh, remember that crash? That was right here!” (To which Dodge replied, “That pole! That’s the one you were sitting by!” And I was all, “Aww! The pole!!”.) Then we passed this pond/lake and Dad was all, “Oh yeah, someone got killed there.” We passed a bunch of new houses and he was saying, “This used to be all burned-down stuff from the riots…” We were talkign about hospitals and he said, “Oh, there was one up here that I liked. It’s gone now, but it used to be pretty good. Except there were people who had been bludgeoned…”
Mom: “Did he just say bludgeoned?”
It was kind of humorous. Dad definitely was morbidly funny today.
We finally got to the Natural History Museum and met up with my godparents. My godbrother is very cute. He wanted to be our tour guide the whole time. Oh, and we got a membership to the place. Now we can go to the Natural History museum, the Botanical Gardens, and the art museum without paying! They’re all practically next door to each other anyway.
Well, at the museum there was an exhibit about space, which was very interesting. They had a thing that showed all the craters on the moon and what their names were. They were all named after mythological heroes, scientists, etc. And then there was one named Billy. Like, what, did they run out of names or something? :P
Despite how cool the exhibits were, my godbrother found something else even more fascinating. “Hey, look what I found!” he yelled. “It’s a window!”
Little kids are awesome. :D
Next we saw the animals part. There were a lot of taxidermied creatures everywhere, which was a little disturbing. I mean really, don’t you fund it just a little creepy when you turn a corner and you’re being stared at by, say, a crocodile or a bear or whatever? The apes are the worst, especially since my dad had to keep bringing up the fact that chimpanzees are highly dangerous. “Look at its fingers,” he said. Very disturbing. All I could think of were those crazy long fingers trying to gouge out my eye or something. I officially am afraid of apes. Except orangutans. I kind of like them. Not that I’d ever want to be very close to one, anyway. All the same, the animals part was interesting. Wolves, tigers, and ostriches are actually quite huge up close, you know. From far away in a zoo or on TV, they seem normal-sized, but in the museum a few inches from your face in all their stuffed, marble-eyed glory, they’re enormous! The tigers were frightening a bit but also inspiring in a way, since there is a tigerlike sort of creature that lives in my novel Layers of Shadows. Ah, yes. That dear on-hold novel. Oh well. Forgive me, NaNo. Writing contests call and so does destiny!
OK, over dramatic. Ummm. Oh yeah. So then we saw a TON of dinosaur stuff. I mean, dinosaurs are cool and all but I’m not exactly that into them. I used to be. (Land Before Time flashback!) But it was cool because they also had a prehistoric Irish Elk that was preserved in the bogs (*shudder*). It was gorgeous, though, in a weird way. Its bones were dark, dark brown and its antlers were thick and spreading. They had sabertooth tigers, mamoths, etc. They had a giant evil-looking fish’s head that was found in Rocky River. Museums all over the world have to use casts from that one becuase it’s the rare and prized original! Freaky to think that it probably swam around where my brothers and I go hiking around, though, splashing in the water and playing with the dogs. That monster of a thing used to prowl in the very places where we wade casually during the summer.
There were also rocks, fossils, and jewlery, but we didn’t get to see too much of that becuase the boys were very much less interested than us girls. So we said maybe Mom, my godmother, and me can all go back someday and just do that part. We appreciate beauty. ;P
We also explored outside and watched a fox get fed. I felt bad for some of the animals, though, especially the one raccoon becuase he kept pacing madly, like he was so stressed out, and his fur had marks in it from here the fence pushed into it every time the thing paced. My godmother clapped at it and tried to make it go away from the fence, stop pacing for even like five minutes, but it wouldn;t and it was heartbreaking in a way. There was also a turkey that my dad had a very interesting conversation with. It would make funny noises when he asked it questions. At first glance the turkey as quite ugly, but then once I looked at his eyes and he kept making that soft chirping noise I found him very sweet.
That was the end of our day at the museum. It was all in all, very fun. :)
On the drive home my dad was being funny again…. Mom was talking about their wedding photographer and how they were taking pretty bad pictures. They just didn’t have much talent for photgraphy I suppose, and Mom was saying, “You know, the birde’s not supposed to see the groom right before the wedding, so I wasn’t able to be there when the photgrapher was taking Daddy’s picture. I wasn’t there to tell her where to have them stand and everything, which I shouldn’t have to do anyway, but I would have–”
Dad (in a robot voice): “I will now assume control.”
I burst out laughing and couldn’t stop. Mom kept asking, “What did he say? What did he say?” But I was so out of breath I couldn’t say it without laughing more. Finally Dad told her and she was like, “Oh, thanks.”
Dad: “It’s from a Rush song! You know, they have all those weird noises, and then the guitar goes duhdadaduhna and then you hear, ‘I will now assume control.'”
Mom: “Oh.”
OMG I am still laughing about it. Ever since the drive home we’ve been saying “I will now assume control” to Mom.
The rest of our drive was Dad telling stories about faulty GPS’s and the crazy things that happen to him at work. It was a riot.

I just have to say, my family was awesome as usual. :D

My day ended with me lying exhausted and over-full (the rolls I ate at dinner killed me) on the couch watching Masterpiece Mystery on PBS. Miss Marple with her, “They Do It With Mirrors.” It was really good, actually. I totally didn’t expect that ending! Except I did know that that lady was up to something…. and I knew the newspaper was important….. Hmmmm. I want to read some of those books now and learn a few more things from Miss Marple. What’s cool is she’s this old lady but she still has such a keen eye and ear and such adventures. That is what I hope I’ll be like in my old age someday.

Wow. Long post. Time for bed now. :)

Peace,
–Pen