Vertically Challenged



Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"
I’m sorry to be late with this classic A&J, but I’m a little busy helping send out T shirts! As I remember, I was supposed to be something of a figurehead and a quality-control type, but there’s been some serious mission creep, it would appear. At least you’ll know whom to blame!

99 thoughts on “Vertically Challenged”

  1. So, given the picture just above the comic strip up there, is Janis actually folding the T-shirts everyone is buying? Cool! Just how does Arlo contribute to this process? If he just wants to sit around and drink coffee, get him to run errands or something. Yes, I know that Luddie is useless in this endeavor. Except as a model.

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  2. From the earlier discussion about sweet tea… The melting ice cools, but also decreases the concentration of sugar, so that the overall equilibrium may be maintained. The real reason to put so much sugar in is so that one may drink the tea flavored sugar sludge at the bottom of the glass. 😉

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  3. Breaking News from Breaking Tee Shirt News™ (When News Breaks, We Fix It)…

    The Cobra™ 104* – THE Cat™ 73*

    Stay tuned for all the latest updates.

    *ebay sales only

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  4. Trapper Jean, the sugar will dissolve until the tea is saturated, but just how rapidly that occurs is a different question. In general, the colder your tea, the longer it will take to dissolve the sugar. I’m guessing you’d like to be drinking the tea before that amount of time elapses; I know I would.

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  5. Mark in TTown: My ensemble is always complete without cat hair. We have Tibetan spaniel fur instead. A & J ain’t never goin’ get a Tibbie. Too much trouble to draw. Luddie is the Ignatz Mouse of cartoon cats: simple and slightly elegant, slightly not. Is there any cartoon cat otherwise?

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  6. I just finished writing my 38th (maybe 39th or 40th?) consecutive Christmas-time family newsletter. Yep, I am one of those types. Always included is a disclaimer to the effect that I will not be offended if the recipient chooses to discard the page, use it to kindle a fireplace, make an airplane, or use it as a coaster. Whatever floats that recipient’s boat….

    In turn, I always read every word of those sent to me. Some are real hoots and some are dreary or even sad; I like to be in the circle getting the information considered important.

    Poll: Are you a newsletter writer? Reader?

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  7. See, Luddie wants to write a Christmas newsletter. See the way he looks at Arlo in panel two? His front paws exactly together? That’s what he’s saying. But Arlo says beat it, and now we won’t get a letter from Luddie.

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  8. Thanks for the reminder. I was sitting in a boring meeting, so I updated my family newsletter from last years. I always update the letter to the person that I am sending it to. However, if I am on Facebook with the family members, I don’t send a letter. They already know what I am up to.

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  9. My favorite is “Into each life a little cat hair must fall” followed by “What is the USDA limit on number of cat hairs allowed?”

    Jimmy, eBay or someone may or may not have put the fifth shirt on my credit card. I will order another when that batch gets here.
    Keep on a stuffin’…………..

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  10. I just heard from JJ about my order! My check goes out tomorrow, and not to the address one of you kindly provided. I do thank that source for the effort, though. Now, if they get here in time to be reshipped a thousand miles or so, all will be well.
    Thanks, JJ.

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  11. c x-p: Both. Emailed my yuletide ltr. yesterday, had gotten one already. Sent earlier than usual. Receive fewer cards and ltrs. than I used to, which is fine. Convinced we know neither the year, date, site, or circumstances of Jesus’s birth, but also that it has no significance for faith. Stars don’t do that, Herod probably didn’t do that, magi probably were not there, Roman emperors were already said to be born of virgins. Non-virgins are not thereby impure.

    Santa, evergreens, snow, reindeer, elves, and such have even less significance. As noted here before, our family celebrates some time in summer, when there’s less ice on the roads.

    Luddie is a far superior cat to Solange, but not to Marzipan or her companion [whose name slips my over-crowded mind at the moment]. Garfield is not a cat. Is Ludwig a he, or a former he?

    Peace, emb

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  12. “Exploding death rocks from space” – tabloid headline or just a good name for a band? Tonight’s NOVA is about the large meteor that hit Russia some years back. That phrase just jumped out at me 🙂

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  13. emb, I’m pretty sure Luddie is an ex-he. I recall the strip where Arlo and Janis are watching Ludwig through the window and Janis comments how Ludwig and the other cat just sit and stare at each other. To which Arlo replies Ludwig can’t talk, has been fixed, and something else I can’t recall, what else do you expect him to do?

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  14. emb: Former he, I’d say. Don’t have time to find it, but there was once a cartoon in which Janis commented that Ludwig and another cat were just laying in the yard staring at each other, and Arlo replied something like, “When you can’t talk, can’t open a beer bottle, and have been fixed, what else are you going to do?”

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  15. Actually a busy day at the ranch. Had to play network engineer. Moving printers, installing a new one, and then updating drivers on all the assorted devices. Then installed an NFL stadium size monitor in the Loon’s office. Also baking bread and making vegetarian veal bean soup. Someone is watching Netflix on her tablet. The cats have all either fallen asleep or been sucked to the ground by the Issac Newton effect.

    Mir vsem i vsemu dobroy nochi

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  16. ‘Marzipan or her companion Wicket.’ Pretty sure it began w-short ‘i’, started through the consonants and there it was. Friend in SE Mpls. has a good ear for cat names. Peace,

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  17. You’re welcome, emb. Thank you for getting the whole quote, Ghost. I knew there was a third part, but just could not remember it.

    Your comments about the creation of Christmas as we know it today rang a bell. Several of the pastors whose churches I have attended as I moved around have also talked about how Jesus was likely around 3 years old when the Magi came to visit. And that in the dead of winter, the shepherds would not have been sleeping in the fields with their flocks, indicating another time of year was more appropriate.

    And for those who believe the Bible and science are incompatible, think of this. The first mention of human cloning would seem to be in Genesis, where God took a rib from Adam and created Eve. That fits the most basic description of cloning I can think of.

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  18. Sand
    Those are the beads I was trying to describe.

    c x-p
    I am more a paragraph writer – by hand – to a few people.
    The rest are lucky to get a card at all.
    The ones that mater get e-mail and the ones that mater most get
    phone calls. Remember telephones that were just telephones?

    I just realized why I like our rotary dial phone so much – the handset
    is so ergonomically correct – it feels right.

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  19. Help me out here with the time but
    The Chinese Astronomers saw a Super Nova about 6(?) AD.
    Others think there was a planetary conjunction about then by retrograding
    planets in their orbits.

    The shows will be repeating soon.

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  20. While listening to the on-cable Christmas music with my mom last night, an interesting factoid I’d not known came up on the screen: “In the 1700s, German Christmas trees were actually large decorated tree limbs hanging from ceilings.”

    I wonder if that made it any harder for cats to climb them.

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  21. Good morning Debbe. Couldn’t sleep. I usually can’t wake up in the morning. The above reminds me of a good book about a library cat named Dewey Readmore. Has anyone else read it?

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  22. Good morning Villagers….

    …back at ya, Jerry, did you get a chance to watch those videos? I love the close up of Elvis at the end of ‘Elvis’s first Christmas” video….he was just a kitten.

    Jean, glad you enjoyed the video…..

    Well, it is over, the massacre…and the cleaning begins….but not for me. I am going to the other hen house and help Marlene pack eggs…..pays to be 62 this time. Just can’t pull that stuff off any more. Plus, I remember the first time I cleaned about 4 years ago, It was in November and cold, but I toughed it out then.

    Thanks Sand for the encouragement…..

    GR 😉 good for you, trying to get back in the spirit of Christmas, setting up a tree for your Mother and all. This is going to be a rough one on us 4 girls, Mom will not be there, in spirit she will be though. Loved the peace symbol that made you think of me….funny, but true 🙂

    OK…CPA said ACA owes me $95 according to IRS 🙂 I’ll take it!!!!

    Ya’ll have a blessed day….

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  23. Jerry, no I have not…..I Wiki’d ‘The Yardbirds’, and the only ones that stood out over the years, is Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton…and I can’t remember the other one. Wiki them, that may help.

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  24. Only Just a Dream. That cat reminds me of why I hope that I never lose my hair. I lost a little when I began taking thyroid meds, but I started taking Biotin and it came back.

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  25. Debbe, actually they aren’t completely hairless, just a very short coat. Feels kind of like warm suede. Met a lady carrying one to a yard sale with her and got to pet it.

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  26. Thanks Ghost – I didn’t know that! I do remember that Dewey was a big believer in simplified spelling, hence the library school joke “Melvin Dui cudn’t spel.”

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  27. Bison can be gentle giants, but can turn into something to fear without notice. I have stood outside of a double fenced corral watching a bull run circles and charge. Even with two levels of steel pipe fencing I felt uneasy when he came my direction head down.

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  28. c-ex-p, I do indeed prefer to drink iced tea before the ice melts, otherwise the “tea” taste is all watery. But yes, the tea flavored sugar sludge is good, too.

    Debbe, Mark is correct about that cat. She (I assume) is an Egyptian Spinx Cat, and because they do not have long hair are particularly good for people with allergies. A friend has one, named Piglet.

    As for Christmas letters, yes, I read every one I get. Someone took the time to write it, so it only seems polite. I do have good intentions of writing one, but in past years the three children that I would have written about kept me too busy to do the writing, and now I’m just too lazy. I do try to send cards, though.

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  29. We always read newsletters, and in past years used to send letters (computer printed) out with Christmas cards that had a handwritten note. Now just about everyone we would have sent newsletters to are connected via Facebook. They’ve already suffered through TMI (too much information) for the entire year, so a newsletter would be redundant.

    As a related side note, writing a letter to the mother of my kidney donor is about the hardest thing I’ve ever done. She has written us three times and my wife has replied before. How do I tell someone that I’m doing better, able to do many things (including travel) that I haven’t been able to do for years? How can anything I say do anything but make the first Christmas without her son even harder? She’s asked for pictures… we have ones with my family smiling and doing things that I can do now because I’m carrying her son’s kidney. I certainly didn’t do anything to deserve healing, and he absolutely didn’t deserve to die. I have a different sort of survivor’s guilt. :/

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  30. David: “How do I tell someone that I’m doing better, able to do many things (including travel) that I haven’t been able to do for years?”

    I submit that you tell the donor’s mother and family exactly that. Do you not think that was exactly what they hoped and expected when they made it possible for you receive the gift of life from their loved one? Tell them. Give them the solace of knowing that something good came from something awful. And don’t feel guilty. That’s the last thing they would want you to do.

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  31. Jean dear and sand: Notwithstanding the fact that your tee shirts seem to be going in the wrong direction, I assume they will eventually end up at your respective front doors. 🙂

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  32. Given a choice between a restaurant that touts that it is “non-GMO” and one with a paid sick days policy (so no employee is feels the need to bring that norovirus to work with him), I’ll gladly take my chances with the GMOs.

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  33. David absolutely write her and tell her how your life was changed and what it has meant to you. I wanted to donate anything I could have when Mike died but the cancer prevented that. Now I try to donate so something of his soul lives on.

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  34. Ruth Anne, Me too!

    Re: Escherischia coli. E. coli is a normal and essential bacterium in our gut, and I believe the most abundant one. One strain of E. coli has turned parasitic and is real nasty. Microbiologists and pathologists can identify it, and thus look out for it. But the sp. as a whole is beneficial, does some of our digesting for us.

    Time for lunch. Lutefisk supper at Calvary LC this evening.

    Peace, emb

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  35. Yep, David; send the letter and photos with your sincere gratitude and appreciation for what those folks made possible.

    I recall “For Your Love” from – apparently – the ’50s, but never new who sang it. Agreed, that was one FINE piece of music for dancing….

    I’ve been in contact with JJ and his alter ego in Iuka, and have been told my 5 shirts are being sent this very day. JJ’s check was also inserted into the postal system this day, making matters nicely symmetrical.

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  36. Jackie survived her pre operative testing but realized I am at risk of carrying MRSA (not sure that is correct initial ) the deadly antibiotic resistant disease because my late mother in law had this and I was repeatedly exposed. They are testing for carriers now and if I am one I won’t probably get my surgery.

    On another note I entertained the female hospital staff with my leather jeans and hot granny wardrobe. They refused to believe my age and diagnosis. That was uplifting.

    I have to wear the stupid sports bras that open in front. The surgical educator said to please try them on!

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  37. Jackie, there is MRSA (the nasty one) and MSSA (the sensitive one). Most carriers are detected through nasal swabs, apparently the bugs like it there. MRSA is resistant to certain drugs, and the list keeps growing. MSSA is sensitive to most antibiotics.

    Good luck.

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  38. The staph infection I had in my left index finger a year and a half or so ago (and left me with only about 50% of normal range of motion in that finger) was a MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) but fortunately it was sensitive to one of the newer antibiotics. Health-care acquired MRSA infections have become quite widespread and are cause for great concern. Last I heard, about 2% of the population is a MRSA “carrier”.

    So, if one tests positive as a MRSA carrier, one is prevented from receiving healthcare in a hospital setting? There’d seem to me to be some rather serious moral and legal issues, affecting several million people, involved in such a prohibition.

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  39. OK, all caught up on Village News. Anyone else get that newspaper?

    Started putting decorations on tree, all plastic. Left a pack of the cats inside. We will see.

    My favorite minion is about to become a grandfather, a baby girl. I am off to shop for baby gifts. The rest of crew took off for Tulsa to support the mother.

    In last two days they have located some amazing things I thought gone forever. Sometimes God sends angels to help us.

    Left my resident deputy switching new doors to outside and rebuilding my breezeway. Another God sent angel, just six feet eight sounds unlikely to wear wings.

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  40. Debbe – Thunder is my outside kitty. She is the only one without a “home.” There are at least two or three other cats I feed because they are left outside without food or shelter. I had constructed a shelter for Thunder, but the cold snap created a fight for creature comforts. Thunder seems to have sprained her left front paw while defending her home. She limped progessively worse each day. I took a chance and set her up on the porch. Her limp is getting better, but she is still not up to par. Blacklight is not happy about the new boarder. I don’t expect them to make nice.

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  41. We’ve had low-to-mid 70s here in the Deep South all week, and AccuGuesser says it will be almost 80 by Saturday. The Extended Guess is for mid-60s on Christmas Eve and high-50s Christmas Day. Merchants love a really cold day or two the week prior to Christmas to get last-minute shoppers in the mood, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen here this year.

    I was picking up a parcel at the Post Office a few days ago from my favorite clerk and mentioned I had missed her for a while. She told me she had taken some time off after Thanksgiving and had actually completed all her holiday chores. “Well,” I said, “you’ll be able to kick back from now until Christmas.”

    “Other than the fact that I work at the Post Office,” she said with a smile.

    “Yeah, there is that little detail,” I agreed.

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  42. Ghost, no they don’t refuse treatment, but you might be put in contact or respiratory isolation to keep you from spreading it to someone else. I don’t think they would stop the surgery altogether, but maybe delay it while giving Jackie a course of antibiotics and running tests after to see if they got rid of it. Of course they don’t want to chance having it spread after her surgery.

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  43. Infections and daytime high temperatures, all appears normal in our Village. Hit a high today of 80°. Rain coming for the weekend.

    I noticed that the Village Square has been dressed in holiday lights. Many of the cottages are also dressed in holiday finery. It is sad to say a few remain undecorated. Those yet to get in the spirit can contact GR6, who it is my understanding, can arrange the decorating for a nominal donation to the Village Orphans Christmas Fund. All donations go to buy toys for the orphans. Rumor is, GR6 will again dress as Santa’s Helper and distribute the toys on Christmas Eve. This will be a busy evening for Ghost, as he always joins the hospital nurses on their caroling stroll. Stay warm Ghost Rider, keep everyone merry, and thanks for all the community services.

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  44. GR6: “I submit that you tell the donor’s mother and family exactly that. Do you not think that was exactly what they hoped and expected when they made it possible for you receive the gift of life from their loved one? Tell them. . . .”

    Sir, all beautifully said.

    Judith Martin, AKA Miss Manners, gave some advice on a different subject. I have never forgotten it. But it’s a little similar, too: Tell the person.

    For this one person had written to MM, wondering about bringing up the subject of someone else’s dearly departed, but hesitated, not wishing to remind the one bereaved. Tell him, Miss Manners, advised, for you won’t be reminding him. Indeed, he never is forgetting about it. I know this to be true. I am always glad when someone brings up something important to me. It helps.

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  45. Mimdy, girl I wanted to do a crystal and white tree but I was already deep into cookies and candy theme. Just left Big Lots and they had an awesomeinexpensive for your tree down here, stuff I have never seen and gorgeous. No candy canes. UT lots of tear drops and icicles.

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  46. DJJG, you are so right, and I bet most of the Villagers think so too. My late husband is in and out of my thoughts all day, and it makes me feel good when the children reminisce about him or re-tell his stories. Or if friends do the same.

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  47. Sandcastler, I love what you wrote about the decorations and lights in the Village, and about Ghost, and the toys for the Orphans. Very clever and sweet.

    Now I’m remembering a really good idea; I read this somewhere and have made it my own. When someone dies and you need to write a note of sympathy, write some story about the person. Something nice and thoughtful he or she did for you, or for a friend, or even a funny story, to recall the person as they were. This helps at the funeral home too, when you say nice things to the bereaved family. Much better than platitudes, like the person is better off now and so on!

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  48. DJJG and Charlotte:

    Amen. Anyone who reads my columns knows I think about late wife lots. Many of my close people in town are close because [or largely because] of her, and she comes up a lot.

    Common cause of recollection is encountering something I should tell her about. Of course, she may know about it already. E.g., she’d be proud of Bemidji Community Theatre’s recent production of ‘Hello Dolly.’ [Best of the 3 productions of it I’ve seen.

    Peace, emb

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  49. I write and read Christmas letters and enjoy both. Mine always seem to come out long and include lots of pictures.

    Best of luck on the surgical front, Jackie. And David, big seconds to what others have said.

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  50. Home from dress rehearsal for our church Christmas concert. I sing in the chancel choir and tonight was subbing for the handbell director. Concert also includes children’s choir, youth choir, orchestra, and praise team. It’s always really nice.

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  51. I have said before-
    There is nothing we eat – or any of our pets – or even ourselves that have not been
    “genetically altered” It just took longer in the old days.

    As for today’s offering –
    Neither of our microwave ovens have anything other than a analog (twist) timer.
    In fact could not find the old kind when MIL’s went out, luckily it was just a fuse.
    (She could not operate push button style)

    Oldest unit the timer does not work – so we have a timer from the dollar store
    or look at our watch. Push button ON – push button OFF.
    Simple tools for simple folks.

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  52. You cannot live with some one the number of years I did and not be reminded constantly of them.it does not mean you can’t or shouldn’t go on with life. A fact my children don’t get.

    The tree progresses with plastic ornaments. I will have it finished before I go into hospital so it will be done when I come back. Candy and baking, cupcakes. And sweets, cookies. I had one lady following me around Big Lots. She said she could tell from what I bought I was a professional decorator, my cart was gorgeous and I had all the good stuff. Not true, I could have done a half dozen themes. Or more easily.

    Funny thing, I love to buy at discount stores, was still buying pajamas. I mean I have to wear something if I’m going to have caregivers here. They had fleece Playboy Bunny pajamas. I know, buying fleece long pj’s goes against everything Hefner stood for but I bought a pair. For me to wear but I thought my cardiologist would get a laugh out of it. I will tell him I am wearing my Bunny suit. I already told him he could take all the photos he wanted, I would be unconscious on the operating table a long time. He laughed. The blood might disconcerting to people.

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  53. Good morning Villagers…..

    David, you have been given some excellent advice above and also a second chance to live life to its fullest…do it.

    Yesterday I went to pick up my packet at the CPA’s. I so badly wanted the wife to be there and she wasn’t….why? Because she and my Mom bowled together, but on different teams, and they were friends, I just wanted to talk to her and hear her say something about Mom.

    Yesterday was also my Dad’s 84th birthday…..

    I gotta go…….

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  54. My mother, age 90, refuses to leave her home. Fortunately she can afford a daytime care giver. Her mother died in that home and my mother probably will too. At this time in 2007 we were sitting in the hospital with my father who died on Dec. 14. I haven’t felt like decorating for Christmas since. His 82nd birthday would have been 5 days later.

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  55. Thanks to all for the excellent thoughts. The letter is written and the card with letter will go to the transplant agency today for delivery. As some of you stated, the memory of a departed one doesn’t leave, but perhaps there is hope in knowing that good still came of the loss.

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