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Re-writing the saga of my life day by day
Six weeks tend to go by rather quickly for me. You see, when you really have no weedends or weekdays per se, no schedule to keep track of for the most part, time can go by very lightly and very quickly. Days blur into a constant "now"and it becomes hard to remember if something happened yesterday or last week. It's very peaceful for me, but ....that means I tend to lose track of things, timewise.

Ok, for those wondering, the newest bird, Snowpea has made it VERY clear that I am HIS. Cuddles, my evil little conure, seems willing to share my attention with a big cockatoo, which is a bit surprising. You see, in the past, she was intensely jealous of attention I paid to other birds. Perhaps it's the fact that Snowpea is a different color, shape, and size. Perhaps she's just mellowing out, and willing to share Papa. Weirder things have happened.

Cuddles, as those that have met her can attest, is an angry little soul ...a wolverine in a small green parrot suit. She reserves her affection for Papa and a select few others, and even then, it's on HER terms. Snowpea is a gentler sort, at least for those he trusts. Like most of his kind, he's an attention junky, but has finally decided that if I leave, I'll be back, and waits for me. He has a very sly sense of hunor as well, coupled with being very sensitive to my moods. last week, I turned my back for a second to get his water dish, and he quickly slipped out on top of his cage. Then, it was time to play "Tag"with him, as he cheerfully ignored commands to "step up". Howver, just when I was getting frustrated, he decided to slip back down through the door and onto his favorite perch. It seemed as if he was saying "Fun is fun, but I don't mean to upset you."

The weather her, like in many parts of the country, has been odd this summer. We'll have a couple of days of normal temperatures (i.e. baking hot) and then a cooler period with scattered showers. Today, it's 95 in the shade outside my door. It's supposed to be in the 70s tomorrow.  "Global warming"doesn't necessarily mean "warmer where YOU are".  This winter could be ... interesting.

Meanwhile, my faithful old Cedric is in the shop, possible in terminal condition. They say they can recover the data at least ...ok, they said they "should"be able to recover the data, but I won't know any more until Tuesday at the earliest.

Ummm ..somebody want to remind me when Tuesday gets here?

Current Mood: cranky cranky

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First, I take no responsibility for any medical emergencies or rips in the fabric of space-time that may result from me posting two days in a row. Just thought I should get that disclaimer out of the way.

My determination to make this a GOOD day paid off, but I think maybe I had a little help.

You see, I stayed up late last night watching a movie instead of going to bed because, well, because I felt like it all of a sudden. I went to bed in a good mood, and very tired.

But, for some reason, I woke up right at 6AM .... very unusual for me ...except ...

When Mom was alive, I'd get that call every year on my birthday ...right at the time I was born (0600 Mountain time) Something woke me up at just that time today ... and I laid there a little amazed when I heard the radio announce the time.  I went back to sleep after about 15 minutes, smiling. Leave it to Mom to find a way.

I got up a while later, still shaking my head and smiling, and went to check my email. My inbox was crammed with good wishes from old friends and new. I went on to Facebook, and my chat there lit up.

OK ..call me an idiot ...but I guess I just figured it'd slip past folks. Oh sure, I mentioned it, but didn't make a big deal out of it, and figured nobody else would. I was wrong ...

The day continued, with more birthday wishes coming in ..my phone kept singing out that someone wanted to talk to me, my primary email account kept happily announcing new messages, and through it all, I sat smiling and laughing, even as tears ran down my face.

Tonight, I was surprised with a birthday cake baked by my niece ... which nearly set me off on the whole laughing and crying all at once thing again.

Since I had forgotten my flashlight, I had to get home before dark, and there the final surprise of this day occurred. Just before I got to my door, two of the neighbors stopped along their way to pay their respects. There, at the end of my house, were two very large bucks. One was a three or four point (out west, we only count the points on one side of the rack) and the other, if my eyes weren't playing tricks on me, was a SIX point buck. I reached for my camera and then stopped as what I was seeing sunk in. You see, by their size, I first thought they were fair sized mule deer ...but what I was looking at from no more than 15 yards away was the two most incredibly huge WHITETAIL bucks I have ever seen. The monster six point moved away, leaving the four point to stand, eyes locked with mine, until he gave what seemed a friendly flick of his ear and brief nod of his head, and then went on his way in that odd prancing strut that big bucks use when they're showing off. I was left with the odd sense of one great lord and his retainer granting a courtesy to another.

It was the perfect cap to a day where reminders of love and acceptance flowed from sun-up until sundown ...literally. It has been a birthday I will always remember and always treasure, and my thanks to those of you that were part of it.

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

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OK, so tomorrow is my birthday, as LJ has possibly informed you. Normally, this time of year is full of reflection on everything I've gotten done, or more usually, HAVEN'T gotten done since my last birthday. It's a time where I'm usually a bit depressed, and, given my current age, and the tendency of the men in my family to die about now-ish, it's a time for contemplating my own mortality ... in short, once you toss in the heat of a Montana late July, it's not really the greatest of times for me.

This year, I've decided to give myself a very special birthday present to change that. This year, I have avoided second guessing myself, and worrying about if this will be the last birthday. I've even reconciled myself to not getting that phone call from Mom ever again.

In short, I'm giving myself the same sort of break I always give everyone else. I'm giving myself a pat on the back for the thing's I've accomplished, and not worrying about the tasks unfinished or pending. I'm giving myself complete forgiveness for past mistakes. I'm giving myself peace of mind.

I live in a beat-up little house in sore need of a good cleaning. My running water has progressed to being a single hose from outside. In the move from Washington to here, I was forced to discard most of my possessions, and have discovered that some things that meant a great deal to me were left behind. My closest friends are over 40 miles away, and I seldon see them.

But, that shabby little pigsty of a house sits in the middle of a land with its own beauty, a spot of peace and tranquility. In the quiet of the evening, I can hear the dog that lives a mile away barking, and stepping out my door, I encounter such neighbors as a beautiful, shy doe, or a grumpy little porcupine, or the Sandhill Cranes that dance and clatter in a nearby field. Thanks to the wonder of our current technology, I've made new friends, and re-connected with old ones via the internet even from my remote location. I have music, and even whole books I can read, with just a few strokes on the keyboard.

And, I am loved. I have a whole horde of little lives out here who show me that every day. I have a sister who surprised me with a lucky second hand store find of a painting of wolves, and who snarled at someone else who was about to buy it before she could. I have old friends and new who stay in touch through technology that was pure science fiction not all that long ago, and who offer their hand when I am down, and applaud when I am up.

I am a very blessed man, and this year, I'm taking that realization to heart.

Happy birthday, you lucky bastard.

Current Mood: content content

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I'm going to take a second here to first mention that the Fourth of July was a special time growing up. My grandmother's birthday was on the third, my mom's birthday was the fifth, and in between we got to attempt to severely burn or otherwise injure ourselves with the sort of fireworks that would horrify many folks today. Since Mom's death, the Fourth has been kind of ...odd for me, and I fully expected to be a little bummed out, especially with the fifth following so hard on its heels, and having my mom in my thoughts lately.

AS they often do, the animals around here provide a welcome distraction from any heavy musings. Instead of shooting off fireworks tonight, for instance, I'll be keeping Bear company and comforting him as he flinches at the sounds coming from the big show over at Edgar (about two miles away along the river). Loud noises are NOT on his list of favorite things. amd I fully expect to have him literally holding on to my legs when the banging starts, like he did last year. Thunder and lightning is bad enough, but those dern fireworks are just ... unnatural, and it's Papa's job to make sure a dog is ok.

But it's the newest member of the collective menagerie out here that has completely distracted me. Snowpea is a nine year old male Lesser Sulfur Crested Cockatoo that my sister took in, and from day one, he's made no secret of who HE thinks he belongs with. He currently shares a room up the road with my sister's doves and Cuddles, my fierce, loving, and completely evil little green cheek conure. Snowpea has been worming his way into my heart ever since Sis brought him home. We were told he was a biter, a plucker, and a screamer, which is a pretty nasty combination. We were told wrong, as we;ve seen no evidence that he's a problem bird in any way/ Admittedly, like most parrots, he gets very vocal at sunrise and sunset. It's in their blood. And, he does let me know that he wants to see me if I'm up there. But most of the time, he's a perfect little gentleman.

He's also incredibly smart, and today was a wonderful example of it that. Bear followed me into the "bird room" today, and laid down to wait for Papa to tend little birds. When I went out to wash his food and water dishes, and get him fresh water, Snowpea watched with interest, but kept quiet. Normally he raises a minor fuss, but he simply waited for me to come back. Best I can tell, he's figured out that I don't go anywhere without Bear, and if Bear was still in the room, I'd be back in a minute, and there was no need to worry.

A bit later, he dropped one of the peanuts he gets as a combination toy and treat, and Bear, who of course is horribly starved, snapped it up and crunched away on it. Snowpea got a funny light in his eyes then, and as my sister and  I watched, reached into his dish for another peanut, and then quite deliberately tossed it to Bear. (Snowpea isn't super fond of actually eating peanuts ..they really are more something for him to shred apart and play with) He seemed delighted when Bear laid down and accepted the treat he'd tossed.

As I was getting ready to leave and come back here to tend fish, I called for Bear to come. I swear Snowpea said "Who's Bear?" So, I pointed to the big furry goof, and said "That's Bear, sweetheart." I KNOW I heard him say "Oh! Bear-bear!". As Bear and I were taking our leave, I turned and said "Bye-bye" to the birds. Cuddles gave a low chirp, and Snowpea raised his crest and said "BYE!!!" followed by a cheerful "Get back!" as the door closed. In other words, hurry back and see me when you can. As i passed his window, he gave out with a few goodnatured squawks.

The little stinker will soon have me as wrapped around his little claws as Cuddles does.

For three years now, Cuddles has lived up the road, partially to ensure that no matter how bad a morning I'm having, I'll go up there and tend her. Now there's another little feathered child of mine up there. Somehow, I think that sooner or later, we'll all be happier when they move in down here with me. Even Bear, who seems to have developed a taste for peanuts.

It's hard to be depressed when the strange and wonderful just keeps coming

Current Mood: amused amused

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I got a call the other day from a friend who follows my journal here, and he gently ..ok ..not so gently ...reminded me that it'd been a while since I updated here. Oh, the usual reasons/excuses still apply as to the long hiatus, but this morning, something happened to give me the kick in the rear I needed to actually take the time to update my little corner of cyberspace.

For a while now, I've had someone on my mind. In high school, I loved her with all the intensity that teenagers can muster. A lot of memories of her kept surfacing: watching the sun come up together, walking past her house, not daring to knock, writing semi-awful poems that nobody but me ever read... more or less the usual.

We connected again in 1990, just for a visit. We'd both grown, and changed. Life usually has a way of doing that to people. The adults we'd become gave each other one last hug from the teenagers we were, and we parted fondly, but permanently to continue our respective life journeys.

This morning, I woke from dreaming about her again. In the dream, she was both the girl I had ached for and the woman I said goodbye to back then. I decided that maybe all my thoughts of her meant something, and that in this internet age I might be able to track her down again. So, I started with a simple search on her name.

The very first item that came up was her obituary, dated 4 months ago. There wasn't much there ..just the usual name, dates, "survived by" ... nothing much about who she was. There was nothing about her yellow VW convertible in high school, or her trip in later life to the Himalayas, or her becoming a Bhuddist. There sure as hell was nothing about her helping a young man accept the fact that someone he loved dearly was gay, and that there was no future for them.

If you're concerned that I'm grief-stricken ... don't be. After all, we said our last goodbyes almost twenty years ago. I'll admit I'm listening to music from my high school days right now, and succumbing to a bit of nostalgia  but I think "wistful" covers my emotions right now better than "grieving".

Today, I'm pondering some of the paths fate could have taken, and I think, all in all, I'm satisifed with the one it took. I've been out here in Montana  for three years now. I look back on all the projects unfinished, and get a bit frustrated. Then I look inside myself, and find a renewed innner serenity, and acceptance of who I am right now. I guess in the end, only the soul matters.

No promises, but I'll try for better than quarterly updates in the future.

Current Location: My shabby little house
Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
Current Music: Seals and Crofts "We may never pass this way again"

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Yeah, I know ... it's been a while. Between the horrendous time-sink that is Facebook, and all the writing and reading I've been doing for the Start Trek thing, I keep thinking: Ya know, I really ought to update my journal more.

Part of the problem is the yo-yo weather we've been having. On the nice days, I have to almost chain myself to my desk, and on the not so nice days, I just don't feel like doing anything but wishing for spring. I tend to lose track as days slide by, and before you know it, "maybe tomorrow" is a couple of weeks in the past... sigh.

To bring you up to date on the new dogs,  brave little Sandy is still a resident up the road ... Bear was a bit annoyed when he visited down here (and Sandy is now very nervous around Bear). Willie was withdrawn for a while, and then slowly realiezd that, unlike his previous life, he wasn't going to be kenneled at all here. Now he's the little clown again, and takes a positive delight in running outside and getting positively filthy. He's a Dirty Ole Farm Dog now, and loves it. Sandy, while he likes outside, makes no secret of the fact that it's still a bit chilly for a tiny short haired dog, and prefers to make short visits outdoors before retiring to the chair he's claimed for his own.

Willie has apparently decided that, as a Dirty Ole Farm Dog, his Job is to make sure the ever growing legion of cats up the road behave. He's taken to roughhousing a bit with the young toms up there, and breaking up fights between them. Sandy just yawns, and prefers to nap in the comfort of his chair, or sneak over to see me when Bear isn't looking. He's gone from a hyper little dog to a very mellow one.

Speaking of cats, anybody want a few? My sister and niece are enamored of all of them, and that's ok, I guess, but they really do need to thin the Horde up there a bit. I get the occasional visit down here from one of the older cats, and that's it any more.

The house cleaning project proceeds at a glacial pace, but, a dear friend gave me a couple of very good pieces of advice. The first is to try and set aside just fifteen minute and do SOMETHING on it each day. The second one was to advise me to check into Pex tubing to re-do the plumbing here. I did, and it's looking like something I can pretty much do all by myself, and that will be well within my incredibly modest budget. In fact, once payday rolls around, I'll be buying the supplies and making a start, And, if the weather will settle down, it should be a very quick and easy project. Looks like I may get to retire my camp shower finally after all this year.

Having running water here again will, in turn, give me a boost to finish the great clean-up project. The ability to wash up or take a shower right here will remove a big excuse as to why things aren't getting done.

In the short term, I should have my current project done soon: setting up a used 50 gallon tank (with a sump system for filtration) and breaking down the deathtrap that my little 30 gallon tank can become. Pretty much all the books advise that, for a stable saltwater system, you want to go with at least a 40 gallon tank if you're not able to perform frequent partial water changes. So, things are getting rearranged a bit in my bedroom, and the new system will (cross your fingers) be running by Monday. I'll update with a photo of it soon ..shall we say another three weeks?

Current Mood: creative creative

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Yesterday, at the urging of a friend, Sis and I went tinto town to meet some prospective new dogs for out here. They had been the pets of the current owner's mother who had passed away fairly recently. The little Lhasa Apso, WIllie, is just over a year old, and he's a happy playful little cuss with startling blue eyes. He's a dog that anyone would love, and was pretty much a no-brainer. It was the other dog, Sandy, that posed a difficult decision.

Instead of the Jack Russel we were expecting, we found a small, delicate little fellow that looks like a terrier-chihauha cross. He was very suspicious of the intruders in "his" home. We got the full story on him then, He had been the companion to a lady in a wheelchair for a few years. When she died, he went to the current owner's mother, who also died on the poor little guy. His sweet and brave little heart seemed full of grief and pain that overshadowed what I could feel was a naturally good disposition. To almost everyone's amazement, I worked slowly and carefully with him. until he allowed me to gently stroke him. His current owners were amazed. I found out later that they referred to me as the "Dog Whisperer". All I did was treat him with gentleness and dignity, and he responded in kind. We put him in a pet carrier, and started the trip home.

Sis and Bonnie went into Wal-Mart to grap a few things, including my list, while I stayed in the car with Willie and Sandy, reassuring both of them. Well, mostly Sandy, because cheerful little Willie considered the whole thing a great adventure. Sandy allowed me to gently stroke him in the carrier, and I kept up a flow of low soothing words.

As I often do, I decided that the names they had were only part of their "true names", and decided the first order of business was to bestow "full" names on each of them. Perky, playful little Willie still shows flashes of dignity, and became Herr Wilhem Ormund Von Teagh (a bad pun for Wiilie Or Won't He). Sandy was a bit more difficult. He's very pale, with a few gold highlights, but must have been more sand colored in his puppy days. In recognition of the noble spirit I could feel in him, "Sandy" became short for "Alexander", and his full name became Alexander the Pretty Damn Good. I swear the little fellow swelled with pride at that.

Finally, we got them back to Donna's. and installed them in a bedroom away from the other dogs for now, leaving Sandy in the security of his carrier, and discovering almost immediately that Willie is an escape artist.

I came back home with some leftover steak, and mollified Bear, than we went back up to feed the Horde. Finally, we took food in to the two newest members of the menagerie, which Willie promptly dived into. It was finally time to let Sandy out of his carrier, and to to my delight, and accompanied by a BIG grin from Donna, instead of running and hiding, or cowering and barking, he swarmed into my arms. Bear in mind that he's been a woman's dog for almost all his days, and that SIS is the one most folks will tell you has the "touch" with animals in our family. Sis gently reached a hand out, and he nervously allowed her to pet him, glancing back at me from time to time. FInally, I set him on the floor so he could explore the first part of his new home and get something to eat and drink, while Donna informed me with a grin "Yep ..looks like you may have a dog living at both ends of the road".

Introducing them to the rest of the pack will be a slow, careful process. Bear is likely to be incredibly jealous, and will have to be kept under close control at first. He wouldn't deliberately hurt one of the new boys, but he's big and strong enough that he could do so by accident. I'd find it incredibly strange and wonderful if he and Sandy became friends, though.

Today, I went up to take care of the Horde, and slipped into the bedroom to see the newest members. Willie came prancing up to me. No surprise. The surprise came when Sandy cautiously approached and asked to be picked up. He was trembling at first, and then I saw one of the most wonderful sights I have ever seen, As I stood there, holding him and asking him what he thought of his new home so far, his sad, worried expression vanished, and his face lit up with a big, doggie grin. To see that happiness and hope in that little dog's eyes filled me with joy.

I've always been a "bigger dog" guy. I can only think of one dog we ever had while I was growing up, and in my adult life that wasn't around sixty pounds or more. But, the little "barking rat" is growing on me, and he's obviously made his own decision about who HIS person is out here. Who knows. Maybe he and Bear will agree to share, and he'll move in down here with us.

I slipped up sans Bear this afternoon to take each of the new boys outside to do what a dog's got to do. Willie, the boisterous youngster, was a bit overwhelmed by all the new sights and sounds and smells and was happy to go back in the house. Sandy, with his tiny warrior heart, was more fascinated with all the new things, leading me about while he left his calling card as a dog must do. A bit of a chilly breeze came up, and I had to lift him into my arms to walk back inside. Once back in his room, he shyly came up to be petted and praised, letting me know that it was all abit overwhelming to him as well, but that he was being brave.

As usual, life here may be a little on the slow side, but the weird still keeps on coming.

And, it appears that I have a dog at each end of the road here now

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

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Short answer: a whole lot, and yet nothing at all, by some standards, but I'll try and catch you up.

One thing that has made updates here a bit spotty just lately is I've been seduced by the time sink that is Facebook. I like it, because I've connected with some old friends and a few new ones there. But it offers so many little ways to waste time that before I know it, a chunk of my life is gone. So, I've resolved to continue my monologues here on a more regular basis. (If you're on Facebook, and want to connect with me, leave a comment on who I should look for. Some of you already have found me there.) It's funny ... for the most part, I haven't gone looking for anyone there, but the word seems to slowly leak out. Before I knew it, a Friends list of three people is at over 50 and climbing.

Another thing contributing to the spotty updates (and I'm on record as indicating they may be sporadic) is an increased email volume, mostly dealing with Star Trek fan club related stuff. Toss in my monthly battle to get our group's newsletter out (including writing a fair amount every month, and I'm doing a LOT of writing lately. It just hasn't been here. Mea culpa.

Then there was this year's version of The Trip. The Plan was to fly out in a light plane, but weather conditions forced a change in that. Although having to suddenly cram 30 hours into 16 made for a bit of an an annoyance, falling out of the sky and dying would have probably been a bit more annoying. We drove out and back instead.

The event itself was a LOT of fun, and since some of my favorite evil minions arranged for a private room for me, I was able to nip in and decompress any time I needed to. Toss in some recent personal growth and progress against the inner demons that have kept me low profile in person, and a wonderous thing happened.

Whenever I was out in "public", I was "ON". The old bigger than life Haak that seemed to be gone forever was back, and not only back, but at the top of his form. The old friends that were there keeping a quiet eye on me, ready to catch me if I fell came up to me privately with tears in their eyes, incredibly happy to see the man they knew and loved strong and confident again. Last year, I managed to fake it when I needed to, This year, it was real, and the difference was obvious to those who knew what to look for.

It was not without its price. Two weeks later, I'm still tired, and trying to recover from that burst of energy and the strain of being away from the comfort of my messy little house and my beloved dog. It's not something I'll be able to do again soon, and it's not something I'll be able to do often, ever. But that weekend, a miracle happened. A man many (including me) thought dead and gone rose and walked through the halls of the hotel there.

Those of you who know me well know I don't like having my picture taken as a general rule, and that there are few pictures of me out there that I genuinely like. Below is one of those few, with a bit of background photoshopped in by the art director of the newsletter I edit. Consider it a gift to make up for my absence here

Current Mood: calm calm

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I must make the following important announcement:

I'm an idiot.

(don't ask ...  I  probably won't tell you what brought that on)

But, in all fairness ....

I'm a MAGNIFICENT idiot!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Friends list or internet surfing

Current Mood: quixotic quixotic

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So, the Project for this week seemed so simple: find the loveseat . It's manily covered with the sort of clutter that the marginally controlled chaos I seem to thrive in generates.

But first I have to GET to the loveseat, and things start getting complicated. I have to clean a place out to clean everything into, and things start spiralling out of control from there.

But, it's going to happen. I've got That Look on my face, and I'm determined to get it done. Frankly, my little house has gone to hell since Mom got too sick to come over here any more, and I think it's time to change that. It's easy to let things go when all that's really required is a more or less clear path for Bear and I to move to and fro.

It would be easier if mine was a house that other people visited. I'd have more motivation then. But, aside from my sister coming over once in a while, that doesn't happen.

But maybe, if I make an offering to the odd gods of the universe of my time and effort to make things a little more presentable, maybe that will change. So, I've set myself a little goal, and given myself time to accomplish it. By the anniversary of Mom's passing., my little house will once again be a place where she could come in and not roll her eyes and quietly reach around to help straighten things up. It won't be spotless by any means ... not even close. But it also won't be the sort of place where you're tempted to break out a flamethrower and start over.

Who knows, maybe even running water will enter in there sometime this spring?

I HAVE cleared out the clutter in another way. Today I went through my private, self-only entries. As I've mentioned here before, they're generally pretty dark. After I revisited each moment of darkness, I deleted it. Finally the last one vanished, and a funny thing happened ... I smiled through the tears all the memories brought up, shook my head to clear it, and then began to laugh. Not just any laugh, mind you, but that deep, almost evil laugh some of you may know. Bear cocked his head, wondering what Papa found so funny, why he had gone from laughing to singing, with a voice a bit rusty and off-key the great rolling words of Stan Rogers:

And you to whom adversity has deal the final blow,
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go:
Turn to and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain,
And like the Mary Ellen Carter rise again!

Rise again, rise again!
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend
Like the Mary Ellen Carter rise again!

It is still the midst of winter, but I feel a warm spring breeze in my heart, and the universe is hereby put on notice that this old wolf is more scarred and battered than ever, but he's still here, and he's still in the fight.

Current Location: Home ...where else?
Current Mood: hopeful hopeful
Current Music: Stan Rogers "Home in Halifax"

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