I made a "hobby book" and if you are totally interested you can get your own copy for too much money (yet still at cost) or you can look at the online version full screen, which is what I would do...
Dear America, I was buying some groceries the other day and was happy to see that we still have some solid reporting in this country, not just fake news from Macedonian teenagers and a crazy Brit hell-bent on turning the world into some kind of right-wing freaktopia.
I was especially pleased that Apple is returning 4.5 million jobs to the United States. Too bad about Bill though.
Dear Duluth, Thanks for the polar vortex. First we get a fall so warm it feels like the impending doom it probably is, then we get a nasty cold front with a silly name. Vortex should be the name of my next vacuum cleaner, not our weather.
Three years ago when we moved here we bought an overly large, old house on the hillside, one of those houses people just shouldn’t buy unless they have already won the lottery or own a carpentry business. It was built in 1914 and still had the original insulation, which might be a blend of matted horse dung and asbestos. According to an energy specialist who inspected our place, ours wasn’t the most drafty house he had ever seen, but close. In addition to multiple air-leak points there is no insulation in the walls, which made it easy for the flying squirrels to run up and down and into the attic, we soon found out.
We finally found a recommended contractor who insulated our attic, the most important step. Put a good cap on it, they say. So now our house is like a naked person in a storm with a really good cap. But the squirrels are gone thanks to all the toxic fluff up there now, and we sleep much better.
Yesterday I walked the streets and shore even with the windchill approaching absolute zero, all in order to take a few photographs of who knows what. Winter, in truth, is just getting started. The lake is still liquid and the snow barely there.
Dear Diary, I’m not typing these words with anything resembling energy. That’s just how it is somedays, everything is stuck, including my thoughts.
We have an old dog who appears to be entering his final phase. With dogs you get an accelerated preview of what your own downward slope to oblivion might look like. It’s not always pretty. Today I gave him a bath in the utility sink, which worked well. I was able to clean off his old dog smell for at least a few days. I’m keeping his appetite up with home-made turkey stock mixed in his kibble. A little canned pumpkin helps keep diarrhea away.
He is supposed to be a Yorkie/Chihuahua mix. He’s definitely a puppy mill dog. My wife picked him up for too much money in 2003 when we moved to Juneau, Alaska. We named him Pico because of his small size, though like many hybrids he grew to be larger than expected (18 lbs or so). He spent the prime of his life with a great back yard, going on hikes in the woods, and running on various beaches. Juneau was a mostly off-leash sort of town, so he was able to run free much of the time.
Here he is in better times:
Dear Diary, Jake and Elia came with me to get the Christmas tree today, before they drove home to Minneapolis. As usual (our third tree here) there was a guy in an old trailer (maybe 1960’s style) with twenty or so Balsam Firs lined up in the Mount Royal Grocery Store parking lot. They all appeared a little ragged, but we bought the best looking one and secured it to the car roof with twine.
The guy running the place said to make it out to ATF, initials for the farm, and I asked him if he got many Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms jokes. He said yes, along with Automatic Transmission Fluid jokes.
The tree is waiting now for us to decorate it. Like many atheists, we celebrate Christmas and don’t give it a second thought. To us it’s a family and community celebration, less a religious one. We put all the religious Christmas music on the stereo just like real, live Christians do. It’s the music we grew up with.
It might sound strange, but you could say we are atheist Christians in the same way some Jewish people are atheist and Jewish. Oh, and I have no problem saying merry Christmas, yet I also say happy holidays if the mood strikes.