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12/31/09 04:44 - 34ºF - ID#50706

(edit) New Years Egr & Eve & Black Ice

This year I resolve to purchase a vehicle that was made within this millennium.


The cars I drive tend to have a lot of character, much like their driver.

I have full intention of spending the New Year with (e:peeps) as long as my car will behave long enough to get me where I am going and home safe again.

The milder temps today aggravated the EGR valve

- --likely causing it to stick open. Full replacement is expensive so often mechanics clean the sucker out. It has been cleaned before, but I continue to have intermittent issues with it, primarily where there are fluctuations in the temperatures. Likely needs cleaning again. What happens is, rough idle, jerking at higher speeds and the propensity to stall, which is the worst to deal with. Some stink involved, too. A few errands (involving several short distance trips in between) this afternoon resulted in a challenging drive home.
By the time I will be ready to leave, the car should have fully cooled down as will/maybe the outside temperature.Now that I have been home for about a half an hour, I am off to check the car over, check fluids and so on before it gets totally dark out.

I aim to see ya'll later.

(if not.. a rousing evening of cleaning and cocktails for me)

I left my house to find nothing but black ice. Miles and miles of it. Yeh.. I tried to drive out of it, but to no avail. It has been raining all day, and still is, but the temps are now at the freezing mark. Not a good combination. Intellect won out and after popping into a convenient store, I made my way back home. Lots of bars and what not I could have gone to, but that is so not my scene normally, and especially not on NYE.

Roads are baaaaaad. *sigh*

Wish I had some champagne!!!!
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Permalink: _edit_New_Years_Egr_amp_Eve_amp_Black_Ice.html
Words: 332
Location: Youngstown, NY

12/31/09 12:19 - 27ºF - ID#50696

reflections of a decade

I'm sitting here reflecting back on this past year, but then my thoughts meandered further back in time and it dawned on me that we are finishing the first decade of the new millennium. I mean, i knew this but the more I thought about it the greater the impact of this implication.

10 years.

A lot has happened!

off the top of my head...

I remember my 1999 New Years Eve party, heading into 2000, "Y2K". I had a bunch of friends over, it was a warmish night, and we had such fun partying inside and out on the city streets.The world did not end.

It was the year that I knew that I did not want to be involved in a serious relationship until I was in my thirties. This truly made a huge impact on years to come. I was 23ish and looking for more than the usual matters of an early twenty something. I had a lot of self exploration and learning to do, and after being in a long term 4 year live in relationship (19-23), I knew I had to just focus on myself. What a liberating feeling to not be so distracted in trying to be in a "relationship". I frustrated suitors left and right, but it was a good choice. Dating was light and never full of drama. I always attract good people and often made friends out of those experiences. It was nice to continue to develop as an individual and not get lost in someone else.

This past decade also brought a break in my family. I won't get into that here, maybe fill in some spots later.

That spring of 2000 I graduated from UB. I refused to go to my graduation ceremony, but I did geek out on campus with a live action role playing group. They played, "Vampire". I didn't take to it, but it sure created a funny memory. That summer another group of friends and I resurrected good old fashioned D&D.

My entrance into working within the mental health field started in 2000. First as a counselor working full time with Severely Emotionally Disturbed youth, followed by working at the Niagara Country Jail in Juvenile corrections secure detention unit. Gaining interest in law, I began taking law courses, essentially priming myself for entry into Law school. I earned enough credits to provide me with a certificate in paralegal studies. I kept going until..

A couple of years in I had a work related back injury that flipped my world upside down in so many ways. Intense determination got me (literally & figuratively) back on my feet in every way, in a relatively short period of time. A pivotal time in my life was this challenge I had to work through. Constant pain, mending herniated disks, going for nerve blocks, intense physical therapy and battling the effects of financial ruin and other related craziness, was at the forefront of my mind at the time. If you knew me during this period of time, you know I took it all in stride. If you really knew me.. you knew how driven I was to get better and that I was in more pain and experienced more anxiety than I let on.

Brother and sister kittens, Joey and Kayla (my loves), who are often referenced here, found their way into my home during that time (now, late 2002). I had to suddenly move, and i needed a cheap available space- the city of niagara falls ended up being the place. Not anywhere I ever want to live again, but on some level it was a good experience. Anyway, the kittens (like many cats there) had been abandoned in the city and I took them in. They are awesome.

I continued my foray in the mental health field by working with autistic children in the educational setting. I piggy backed related extra jobs in the evening- working one on one in residential settings. Most of my work was related to behavioral modification.

I went to Grad school (2004-2006); received my masters in organizational psychology/leadership. Intense but awesome program. I pushed the limits.

Kept going up the ranks at work, ended up in job directly related to all of my degrees, especially that which I went to grad school for.

less than a year in, realized I hated it all and as great as I could be at it, I could be better doing something else. There was a chapter in my life that had not yet been explored and I needed to drop everything I knew to explore the unknown.

I'm still exploring.

sometimes I still feel lost.

but I am in a better place within than if I had continued on the path that I had been on. For some it is a dream, for me the friction inside was an indicator that I am do something different. Some pieces of that old puzzle remain while I continue to find the missing peices..

Back to relationships.. I continued to meet awesome guys, go out on dates, get to know them and also easily recognize their "expiration date". Some were fun for a few weeks, months or just a night, but I never tried to make anything more out of it than what it was. I had a lot of fun on many levels. When someone super awesome and special and full of possibility came along, that is when I allowed them more into my life and let it develop into a "relationship".. however, my keen sense and discerning attitude will back out of something if it doesn't feel healthy any longer. In the past few years I have done that twice. It is all good, though. Integrity is a good hand to play.

Continued to meet new friends, worked on establishing and maintaining friendships, dropping those that didn't work and opened myself up more to emotion and sharing of my thoughts. estrip had a lot to do with that back in 2005-2006. I made an effort to let it all out. My reserved introverted nature easily reverts back to holding it in. However, I am more about expressing myself with a fully baked idea, only sharing it after I have thought about something a lot within myself. As opposed to a half baked one and spewing it out for reaction. Not big into drama. Here, I've settled into skimming off the top from the deeper bottom layers. I conclude that my comfort level in what I share and how I share it is ever changing. I'm like that in real life too. Even those that know me don't "know"me. It isn't intentional or a cool thing to do, I just exist deeply in my head. As much that comes out there is so much more within. Writing or blurting little things out in written form is a way for me to bridge that gap a bit.

and so, it is getting late. I only expected to write a couple of quick lines and now I am not sure where exactly I was headed or how long it will take. So instead of putting this in draft mode, I will post it, but with the intention of coming back to it and both adding to and clarifying my thoughts...there are a bunch of them :)

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Permalink: reflections_of_a_decade.html
Words: 1225
Location: Youngstown, NY

12/30/09 04:17 - 26ºF - ID#50692

I've been adopted.

This is a longish story. All pictures are at the end for the visual quick version.

But if in the mood to read, here you go :)

Back towards the end of summer (end of August), I had written about two young stray cats that found their way over to my neighbors yard late one night (the young man I shared the duplex with).The short pictorial is here: (e:theecarey,49804)

We had learned that the older of the two kittens, the boy, had a "home" supposedly. The much younger kitten had attached herself to him, but did not officially have a home. Well, my neighbor decided to keep her. He would have taken the boy as well, but as far as we knew, the boy belonged to someone.

Well, later on we realized that he was strictly an outdoor kitten. Whether kitten or cat or dog, keeping an animal strictly outdoors is not having a pet. Now, to be fair, I wonder if they simply take care of strays. I hoped my neighbor would try to take him in as we both hated seeing him outside with the cool fall weather approaching.

September and October.. Well, the boy continued to come around. He was always happy to see us and wanted attention. He never sought food, just belly rubs and "conversation" (ever chat with a cat? they have a lot to say!)

If either of us were outside, he found his way over. Eventually he took to hanging out mostly on my side of the yard, coming out of nowhere when I made an appearance.

One mild fall day, I heard knocking at my door. I looked out, but didn't see anyone. Perhaps I was hearing things. Then not long after, I heard it again. At this point, I had left the main wood door open, leaving the large window/screen door to let in the light, and allow my cat, Joey, to look out. Well, Joe "answered" the door when the knock came again.

It was the little boy cat. Standing out of view, I watched as he tapped on the door. Stepping into view, the little cat got excited. He jumped up to a spot close to the door handle, and was pawing at it. The little guy really wanted in! Joey sat and watched in curiosity.

All I could think was, "please go home!" Again, I kept emotional distance, if not physical; and even then it was a very quick rub down and I carried on my way. Apparently determined, he found a way to walk in the door with me without my being aware a couple of times. I freaked out a little as I did not want him mixing with my cats due his potentially having fleas, illness or whatever.

So, now I was constantly on the look out any time I came or went from my apartment.

Late October into November--- Again, the determined little dude upped the ante, and began following me around outside. If I left to take a walk, it wasn't long before I heard his little meows. It was rather cute, for sure, but I was concerned for his safety. Especially, as a few times that I crossed the street, so did he.

There were two occasions that I thought I was in the clear from him being around and spotting me, that I left my apartment and crossed the street. Once a car was coming, but it wasn't close enough to nail him. Hoped it was a one time thing, when a few days later, again crossing the street when I thought he was away for the day, I heard his little meowing. I had already crossed my street and was walking up another driveway. I turned around and saw him prancing down mine. *I* was his destination. My street is busy, and sure enough there were cars coming from both directions. I began to walk towards him to keep him from going any further. But instead of stopping, he picked up the pace to try to get to me quicker. I stopped in my tracks. The cars were coming in quick. The cat was now at the road. I hung my head and covered my eyes as I was sure I was about to see the little guy get creamed by one of the cars.

He BARELY made it. I glanced up and saw his little ass lift up; whether by his own doing or if the breeze of the car millimeters from him swept him off his feet.

So that is when I grabbed him, walked him back to my place and tossed him into my garage. It was now November, and his behavior since the end of August was only getting more desperate. I knew he would either succumb to the traffic or the elements.

I really didn't know what I was going to do with him!!

--I truly wasn't interested in taking him into my home.

--Talking my neighbor into adding him to his furry menagerie would have been very ideal; but for a few reasons that didn't happen. Maybe I'd have laid the persuasion on..

--The ASPCA was already terribly over run with animals and they were in fact looking for more foster people to help them out. No way would I add to their burden.

No one came looking for him or out up notices for a lost cat.

I couldn't let him in my house as again, I didn't know if he harbored any illness.

A few comical garage adventures (he got up into the rafters, I happened to hear his pathetic meow and had to be let out through an air vent that led outside) led me to relocating him to my basement, the very place that he had spent that first night when my neighbor discovered these homeless cats a few months prior. (again, (e:theecarey,49804)) Still, I didn't know what I was going to do with him.

Then at some point I began thinking from a reasonable, intellectual level (I had not bonded with this animal and he was nameless), that given his personality he would fit into the household easily. Also, I have the space, energy and finances to be able to provide him a safe home. I sat on that thought for awhile and in a few more weeks, which brings us to early December, I made the appointment to bring him to the vet for a check up, tests, shots and so on. He weighed 8.5 pounds and maybe 8-9 months old, which is what I pegged him as (I figured 4-5 months back at end of August). Only once he was declared healthy did I let him integrate into the main household.

He still didn't have a name. Mostly because anything I liked didn't really work for me. I tried all the Torchwood male (nom) characters names on for size, but nothing stuck. Eventually, quite recently, I decided on Charlie. He took to that name instantly. As he was older, I knew it would take a little more time for him to recognize his name. With "Charlie", he really seemed to get it quickly. My whole life my cats were called with something that sounds like a rapid procession of , "ChickaChickaChicka". The "Ch" in "Charlie" may have helped to get him to learn it, as he had heard that sound come from me from the first time he "met' me.

A couple of weeks of behavioral modification techniques. I won't go into to it, but essentially he had to learn how to be a house cat versus anything he learned being strictly outdoors. Not litter use or anything, as cats don't need to be taught that.. but to learn sounds, their meanings, the routines and so on.

Gotta say, he is quite perfect..

and this morning, I took him to the vet to get neutered. He is still there in recovery. I am very eager to pick him up. "Anytime after 5pm"-- oh, I'll be there at 5:01.

Poor little guy; hope he doesn't hate me or the pet carrier after this.

A bunch of pics from over the past couple of months..

Knocking on door, Joey checks to see who is there.

It is the little stray dude from, (e:theecarey,49804)



seriously, he banging at the door handle there.





few months later (a few weeks ago).. after he officially "adopted" me and was brought into the household:

hanging out in front of the heater--

hanging with me at my desk, checking out the fish and snails

He loves Joey and follows him everywhere.


right around Christmas.. his faced has changed a lot in the past few months. I'm glad I am a huge animal dork and take lots of pictures. I used to do that as a kid with film, and it would annoy my parents.. all these pictures of all sorts of animals and even more of my one cat that we had, whom I truly grew up with..Snowball (RIP 1978-1997)

And now, introducing, "Charlie":
aka Little Guy, Little Dude, Little Orange Guy, Joey's Minion.
edit: almost forgot, and "damn ginger kid" ala South Park.
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Permalink: I_ve_been_adopted_.html
Words: 1560
Location: Youngstown, NY

12/29/09 06:54 - ID#50690

mental snapshots

Things I think about..

Ever catch a glimpse of someone and wonder what their story is? I mean, outside of finding someone 'attractive'. I often wonder what makes people tick, what their lives are like and what experiences they have had that have influenced who they are today. I often say, I don't care what you "do" for a living, I care more about who you "are" for a living. People often can't answer one without the other yet, there are differences if you know yourself and can see yourself for the multidimensional being that you are. Social gathering are especially interesting regarding this.

So I find myself perpetually curious about people. Sometimes I ask them questions, but more often I just listen and observe. Sometimes I see their bigger picture forming before me, sometimes just a peak within. What really gets me thinking is when I don't have the opportunity to get up close and get to know someone. All I see is a physical glimpse of someone, having only my mental snapshot of them to use as a source of unanswered wonderment.

Christmas afternoon I took the quiet country roads out to my moms house on the lake. There wasn't any traffic, or snow, or anything remarkable overall. Yet two sightings left an impression on me, a common occurrence within my observing life, but they stood out nonetheless.

As I drove, I rounded a bend of the road that has a cemetery
located on it. Parked a long the dark gravel shoulder, a gray SUV barely stood out along the back drop of gray skies, bare trees and granite head stones. In the few moments that I passed by, I noticed the young woman standing an arms length away from a low headstone, head down, back straight, arms crossed. Her medium weight gray coat and dark slacks added to the already monotone palette of the day. I wondered what her story was. Who was she there for? Were her arms crossed to protect her from the elements or from her thoughts? Was it family? friend? Was she there out of love? guilt? Was she on her way somewhere else? and so on. Two seconds of observation to create an endless stream of thoughts to follow.

Then maybe ten miles later, I see an old man standing on the side of the road. A glance at his protruding arm and thumb indicates that he wishes to get somewhere. Approaching, I see his thick scraggly, gray and white wavy hair whipping around his face. He wore a sour expression along with his red and blue plaid flannel shirt, gray sweat pants, and tan slippers. No socks. Passing by, I see that he is on the shoulder at the end of a driveway to a large country house set back off the road. Was he a hitch hiker making his way to the next town? His sock-less feet and proximity to the house made me wonder if he simply walked out, frustrated over something or someone within those walls. Was he coherent or perhaps he was confused with dementia? In that same second, he is looking at me, looking at him. I nod in acknowledgment, but maintain my speed.He glances back at the house, confirming my thoughts that he likely lived or belonged there. Is someone about to come out for him? Is he hoping someone notices him? Is he seeking attention? Or perhaps he is waiting for somebody? My rear view mirror tells me that another car is not far behind me. Would it stop for this old man?

I continued my drive and glanced back at the man, the house and the approaching car until the car fell back further and further. I have to wonder if the car stopped for the old man. If it did, do they know each other? If not, did he get in the car? and so on..

There are stories around stories. There is a lot of information to be gleaned from a few details, yet there is so much more that we don't know. And just the same a few details can lend to using the imagination, for better or worse, to flesh out the rest of the picture.

ah yes, just a few things that I think about.

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Permalink: mental_snapshots.html
Words: 718
Location: Youngstown, NY

12/28/09 11:48 - ID#50679

monday catching up and waking to snow

Saturday was a complete dud of a day. The energy that I claimed to have lasted all of an hour or two before I was feeling so dragged down that I eventually just went back to bed. Not cool. However, I did manage to regain consciousness around 9pm, where I headed out for a grand adventure to Mighty Taco and Tops through thick fog and makings of black ice. Also did my cat-sitting duties for a neighbor which entailed my checking in on & playing with his cat (Sat-Mon).

Sunday was redemption. I awoke with insane amounts of energy which I immediately put to good use. All of the Christmas decorations were taken down, my apartment was put back to order and I did a thorough cleaning and a few loads of laundry. Yay! As much as I enjoy the sparkly stuff of the season, I am very much happy to see it go away. After a couple of weeks (or for some people a couple of months- gah! take it down!), all of it loses its visual appeal. So everything has been packed up and put away until next year.
Besides the energy and productivity, the day itself was rather nice. It wasn't too terribly cold (like it will be Tuesday), it was still green, still mostly sunny and just a good day to get chores done. By late afternoon, the sky was darkening and a flake or two were spotted:


My energy levels continued to soar even as the night wound down. Not sure when I went to bed, but I woke again to an excessive amount of energy. This is always a welcome thing especially on a Monday morning.

I also woke to this:


It isn't a lot, but it truly covered the grass and there was enough to need to do a little shoveling and wipe my car off. Hello, winter.


(I like a fully cleared off car, so I finished it after this pic)

As it still wasn't super cold today, and the sun peaked out a little and there wasn't any wind, AND the snow seemed like it needed to be tested out more thoroughly, I thought about....cross-country skiing!!!
In a moment of elation at the thought of maybe, just maybe, getting out there on the trails, I grabbed my skis and hugged them. LOVE! With camera in hand and dork level at an all time high, I took one more pic.


However, I did not have the time to get out there today. I got home just shortly before it got dark out. There is no way that I am going out tomorrow as the temps will be only in the teens with wind. Uh, no thanks.

My dork-o-meter reading had diminished by the time I realized that I would not be going out to ski, so no sad face utterly disappointed picture to post.

I had some company over but the remainder of the evening left me itching to get out and do something. Was in the mood for a museum or art gallery, but a lot of local stuff is closed this week. As I didn't want to venture far and I needed whatever I did to be free or super cheap (I just checked my severely dwindled banking account, yikes!), I headed to the library. Yeh, big Monday night out. But my options were limited and since I can find some entertaining value with just about anything, this worked enough for me. Besides conversation with random library people, I grabbed some music, a couple of movies, the two Chuck Palahniuk novels that I hadn't yet read,"Pygmy" & "Snuff", and Ken Auletta's, "Googled: The End of the World as We Know It"

Figured staying in with books & movies will be one of the things that will keep me entertained until I boost my account back up. Fortunately most of my bills are paid well in advance.

Well, stay warm peeps, it is going to be COOOOOOOLD tomorrow. Also, watch the roads, with the weather advisory for wind and blowing snow, the roads could easily become a mess, especially in areas that got more snow recently.

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Permalink: monday_catching_up_and_waking_to_snow.html
Words: 720
Location: Youngstown, NY

12/26/09 02:35 - 33ºF - ID#50662

and it is over.

I hope everyone is doing well and had a safe holiday.

I spent the day at my moms on the lake. Temps felts mildish hanging in the upper 30s. Although when it began pouring, it didn't feel so good. The lake looked super cool with its breaking waves. All afternoon I would just stare out the windows taking in the ever changing scenery. Freighters passed by, clouds rolled in, mist, crashing waves.. good stuff. We had an early dinner, exchanged gifts, watched a movie, and chatted. I left in the early evening to go home for a little while before heading out again to meet up with friends.

A few of us went to see "Sherlock Holmes" late last night; the theater was packed. It was a fun movie and it would good to see again just to catch everything that went on. Finished up the night/morning with some Denny's food. I haven't been there in a long time, but among friends it is usually a late night x-mas tradition for us-- movies/Dennys.

Despite being tired, I managed to stay up way too late. I may have fallen asleep around 5am. My light block bedroom curtains and gray day allowed me to sleep until noon with ease.

Now I am ready to take decorations down. Depending on what I come up with to do today, I will start on that process.

Which brings me to.. I want to do something, but haven't come up with anything. It is a Saturday, so most people are off from work, and likely it is a very busy day out there for driving, going into stores or whatever. I'm not in the mood for traffic generated by cars or people wandering around looking for deals the day after Christmas. So, I'm not exactly sold on heading out anywhere.. but I'm in the mood to do something and my day is wide open. Hmmm. Let's see where my ambition takes me.

Well, time for breakfast/lunch. I totally throw myself off when I am up all night like I was. Seriously, it is after 2pm already?! maybe a day to veg instead...

huuh, looking out the window, the rain is turning white.

oh.. never mind. back to rain.
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Permalink: and_it_is_over_.html
Words: 375
Location: Youngstown, NY

Category: holiday

12/25/09 12:17 - 26ºF - ID#50651

And so it is here....

I just looked at the time...


and for those feeling a little 'bah humbug'

Whatever your plans, whether you are celebrating or not, with people or on your own, have a fantastic day.

After some family time, I plan to go to the movies to see Sherlock Holmes.

What are ya'll up to?
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Permalink: And_so_it_is_here_.html
Words: 57
Location: Youngstown, NY

Category: holiday

12/25/09 12:15 - 26ºF - ID#50650

Christmas Eve

It was a fun day.

Had a few family members over for a Christmas Eve early dinner. Well, it was my mom and my "step dad" (someone who has been in my life since I was 12, who was with my mom for 14 years until she decided to end the relationship but they are still very good friends, which is totally awesome) and his room mate/friend (who moved in six months ago, they had grown up together, was supposed to be a one month temporary thing, but it has worked out well for it to be a longer situation, so naturally he is adopted into our "family"- that's how we roll). So the four of us had a really nice time- good food, conversation and lots of laughs.

After they all left, I spent the remainder of the evening catching up on emails, chatting with some friends I haven't spoken to in awhile and just.. thinking. I guess with another year at a close, some thoughts are bound to be at the forefront of my mind.

While doing all the emailing and chatting and so on, I had a nice mug of hot chocolate from a mix that (e:pyrcedgrrl) had made as gifts. I added a candy cane and an extra large splash of chocolate mint Baileys. Yummy. I tossed my special hat on that I wear when I am chilled sitting at home. Ok, I have an assortment that I can chose from, and really I just grab whatever is closest to me. The one I chose always brings a smile to my face, it is an old joke of the sort.. yeh, it has Barbie on it (so NOT my thing).

Now I am wrapping it up and heading to bed with a book. Warren Ellis', Crooked Little Vein, if you want to know.

want some?


Trying to get me, the cocoa and the top of my hat in while take a self pic was much more complicated than I thought, so you get a second pic of me. :P
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Permalink: Christmas_Eve.html
Words: 353
Location: Youngstown, NY

12/23/09 02:36 - 20ºF - ID#50642

keeping warm

I have a DeLonghi microthermic flat panel radiant heater. It is awesome. It heats up quickly and takes care of a good size room easily. There are multiple settings but usually I am cranking it high. I got it last year for use in a room that never quite gets warm enough, also for use when I am going to be hanging out in one room for a long period of time and I want the extra warmth but don't want to heat the whole apartment to that level.


My cats love it too. I often see them stretched out in front of it basking in the panels warmth. I don't have any pictures.. yet.

So when I saw this picture today over at that lolcat site, it did indeed make me "lol", as I can totally imagine that being my Joey warming his little fuzznuts near the heater.

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Permalink: keeping_warm.html
Words: 161
Location: Youngstown, NY

12/22/09 01:16 - 19ºF - ID#50629

It is officially winter

and officially, my little village got its first snow late last night. There have been a tease of flakes at times, but it has been all green up until this morning. Today, the snow covered the grass.

yesterday afternoon I saw Joey was watching the snowflakes fall. They weren't really sticking, so I didn't expect anything to wake up to.



however, I did wake up to a good dusting. Nothing on the roads. Maybe an inch fell?


with the sun, it is already melting.

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Permalink: It_is_officially_winter.html
Words: 94
Location: Youngstown, NY



New Site Wide Comments

joe said to flyingdinosaur
Welcome to (e:strip)!...

paul said to joe
oh Jan Magnussen ;)...

paul said to tinypliny
I miss you too!...

tinypliny said to paul
Oh I see the sheep are there too. Is this the entirety of your flock? :D...