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Friday, March 29th, 2013

Subject:Guess what? I'm still alive!
Time:7:42 am.
Mood: embarrassed.
Guess I have to admit it - my social media consciousness has switched over to Plurk entirely (with the occasional Tweet). Sorry, LJ. You're so 2003.

Of course, one of my other problems has been, and always will be, that I mull so much over longer writings that it's difficult to actually get them down on paper or screen. I can't tell you how many times I started writing something here, but gave up over wondering what to write. I'll never be able to do NaNoWriMo.

So, what has happened in the past year and more? Well, first things first: brother is doing better. Much better. It was a long, slow process, but he improved over the summer last year. He wanted to go with my parents and I to our family reunion, but his doctors nixed that--didn't think his heart would handle the altitude of Flagstaff at that point. But he and sister-in-law were able to go with us to Yellowstone by the end of the summer! And after that, he started back to work--part time at first, but he's up to full time now. And so far, bar lingering issues with his liver and eyes, he's clear. He's still going down to Rochester monthly for tests.

As mentioned, we did get in some major travels last summer. My dad's mom's side of the family had its every-three-years family reunion in Flagstaff, and my parents and I drove to that, taking our time. We hit Rocky Mountain National Park, which I'd never seen, and Carlsbad Caverns, which we had been to years and years ago. This time, we stayed close enough to the Caverns to go see the bats' nightly departure. That was a very interesting experience! I'm going to do my best to get photos up on Flickr, and more detailed account here, soon.

And, of course, we did our yearly trip to Yellowstone, with brother and sister-in-law. The best thing? After years and years and years of trying, we all saw Fan and Mortar erupt! I'm so glad my brother got to see that! Again, more detailed account, and pictures, to come.

Last year at work was very busy for me, as our undergraduate programs went through a major redesign, which necessitated major updates to all our articulation agreements. This year is going to be an entirely different story. So different, in fact, that I've been traded back to my old department, and I'm doing transcript and credit evaluations again, as well as any articulation agreements that come up. Heh. This wasn't at all what I was expecting, or wanting, but it does make my position more secure. And hopefully something will come up in the future that I can try for--something more on the academic side of things. We'll see.

I enjoyed several museum trips throughout the year for special exhibits. The Terracotta Warriors exhibit was amazing! To see the level of detail in those figures with my own eyes... wow. There isn't anything really major on the docket this year, for now, though, having just looked, I see that the Science Museum will have a Mayan exhibit this summer. Yum.

I am now a published author twice over. Sort of. *grin* I did tell you about my story in the book we New Babbagers self-published, Tales of New Babbage (now available in eBook format). Well, early this year, Volume 2 came out. (Link is to a YouTube video teaser that I quite enjoy.) It is also available in eBook format, so you don't have to spend too much to get a taste of what we do in Second Life. And I have not one, but two stories in Volume 2. If you buy it, see if you can figure out which ones they are. *chuckle*

That, I think, covers the big stuff. I'll try not to be so silent for so long again.
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Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Subject:Should be an interesting year...
Time:10:50 am.
In 2012, bookworm1225 resolves to...
Lose ten museums by March.
Get back in contact with some old good eats.
Take evening classes in science.
Learn to play the debussey.
Give up reading.
Eat more classics.
Get your own New Year's Resolutions:

*wanders around her apartment while munching on The Iliad*
Darn it! I *know* I put that MOMA around here somewhere...
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Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Subject:To SurrDave:
Time:4:55 pm.
I don't know if you knew this, but Ron Greeley died a couple months ago. They're informally naming an area on Mars after him.
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Subject:Not Letting Go Yet
Time:7:22 am.
My Christmas tree is still up. Well, after all, it is artificial, and I didn't get it up until the day before Christmas. I want some time to enjoy it! So up it stays until at least mid-month. Though I suppose I've waited too long again to get more ornaments for it.

Christmas Eve service was a bit ragged. Sound guy got sick, so he wasn't there. Sub did his best, but it's never quite the same. And the lighting cues didn't go at all as planned. *rolls eyes* Ahh, well. No idea how Christmas Day was, as I wasn't there. Though I did stay half-an-hour after the Christmas Eve service to go through the slides for the Christmas Day service and make sure they were all correct, so whoever did it should have just had to fire it up and advance on cue.

Christmas Day, I had breakfast at my parents' house, and then we drove down to Rochester to visit brother and sister-in-law. They'd had no time for present shopping, of course, so we didn't get them anything, either. Well, almost. They did say that if we wanted to give anything, we should donate to the charity that runs the house they're living at--which I did. But I also gave them a copy of the Rifftrax DVD 'Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny.' I had to share the pain. *grin*

cressida0201's visit went well. We ODed on Rifftrax, grilled porkchops for dinner, and I drove her out to Montevideo on the 23rd. I'm assuming she's back home by now.

Saw 'Hugo' on the 27th. I quite liked it! I'm not sure I'll get to 'The Muppet Movie' while it's out, though. That might have to be a Netflix rental in several months.

In other news, I'm now a published author! I have a short story in the collection Tales of New Babbage: The Steampunk City. Yes, a bunch of us Second Lifers got together, wrote a collection of short stories about our city, and self-published it. I'm already trying to think of what to do for the next collection. (Besides volunteer to do a grammar sweep--my inner grammarian winced several times while reading this, I must admit. *wry grin*)

This new year has been a bit odd so far. I feel a bit...off. Twitchy and restless. No idea why. I just hope it passes soon.
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Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Subject:Holidays are supposed to be for relaxing, right?
Time:1:44 pm.
Mood: okay.
Heh. Riiiiight.

Not that I'm not looking forward to it, and not that there'll be a lot of fun in it. But there's going to be precious little me-by-myself time. So I think I will take the 27th off of work, too, and make that a me-day. Finally go see 'Hugo' or the Muppet movie.

cressida0201 took me to task for not having updated this for so long. Mea culpa. *blush* A lot of my writing attention has been on the two-month-long role-playing event in my home city in Second Life, which has been epic, to say the least. It was a *lot* of fun, though--the guy who does this every year really knows how to set things up, and a lot of people took the ball and ran this year. (If you happen to be interested in it, the timeline is here.)

Anyway, with my brother, it seems like it's 2 steps forward, 1 1/2 steps back. He's been in and out of the hospital with various issues. So continued prayers/good thoughts would be welcome. My parents and I are still going to try to go down there, either Christmas Day or the day after. It's definitely going to be low-key, though, whichever day it is.

Work isn't too bad right now, but it's definitely going to pick up the pace after the start of the year, as I'll be redoing everything I've done for the past couple of years, due to some changes. (And I'd better not be more specific than that. *chuckle*) It's job security, though, which is a good thing in these times.
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Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Time:1:31 pm.
Mood: okay.
Just talked to my mom. Ron's still in the hospital, but he is slowly improving. I'm praying like mad that that continues...

And if you missed it, pictures from my fall day trip to Temperance River State Park.

Dear Other Parts of the Country: Plz to be sending us ur snow. Kaythnxbye.

(OK, so I'm not the best LOL-speak writer around. Which is just as well. *grin*)
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Monday, November 28th, 2011

Subject:Trying to Cope
Time:11:44 am.
Mood: worried.
Sis-in-law posted on her Facebook page this morning:
"Ron is not doing the best. Oxygen level is low & heart rate very fast. They are checking things to see what is happening."

Definitely not the sort of thing one wants to hear. Prayers would definitely be welcome.

I myself am finally getting over a cold that started developing two Thursday ago. Ended up taking 4 days off of work--which is good, as I needed to use up the PTO, but I'd rather it was used on something more fun. I did try last Wendesday to see the Edo Pop exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; got about halfway through before pooping out. I'll just have to go back soon for the rest. *grin* (Perhaps when @cressida0201 comes to visit? We'll see...)

Finally working on some autumn pictures. I've posted a small set taken on a walk by the Minnesota River. Today or tomorrow, I'll have completed and posted the set taken when I drove up to Temperance River State Park for a day.

[Edit] Here are the Temperance River State Park pictures.

We had another round of layoffs at work. The department I'm currently in weathered it, but my previous department saw three supervisors given the boot, and two of the outside sales people I worked with were also let go. *sigh*

Lunch break is over. Time to go back to trying to concentrate on work.
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Subject:RIP Anne McCaffrey
Time:5:58 pm.
Mood: sad.
She died yesterday after suffering a stroke.

Definitely time to re-re-re-re-re-re-reread the Dragonriders of Pern series.
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Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Subject:No pictures, for once--just a straight update
Time:12:06 pm.
I haven't written anything about my brother for a while, as things have been so much up in the air. But now I can share more concrete news.

A bone marrow match was finally found. He and sister-in-law moved down to Rochester last week, to the Mayo Clinic, for the transplant and recovery. He's in the hospital now, getting immuno-suppression treatment. The transplant itself happens in a few days.

And yes, we're all rather twitchy. I can't help but be a bit extra-twitchy.
I was house- and dog-sitting when we first learned he had lymphoma.
I was house- and dog-sitting when we learned he'd come out of remission earlier this year.
Guess what I'm doing now? *wry grin*

Prayers and good thoughts would definitely be welcome.
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Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Subject:Yellowstone, day 7, 8, 9 (Sept. 2, 3, 4)
Time:7:12 am.
(I'd best finish this off while I can!)

Mom and I actually managed to get up early on Friday. Dad always gets up early, and goes out while it's still dark. We usually don't join him, but this morning, we decided to do so, and went to join him on the Hill when it was just starting to get light. That's when we found out that Fan and Mortar had erupted overnight. *sigh* Shut out again.

But it turned out that it was a very good thing we went out that morning, as Beehive Indicator started erupting! After a 20-minute wait, off went Beehive, with only myself, my parents, and a couple other people to see it. (1, movie) While I was shooting the movie, I rather abruptly ended it, as we suddenly realized that Old Faithful was erupting, too. Two Beehive/Old Faithful duals in a row! Woohoo! (1, 2, 3) After that came another Depression eruption, but another weak one. Finally, we headed back to the cabin for breakfast.

In the late morning, we went back to the Upper Geyser Basin and Fountain Paint Pots area for another Fountain Geyser eruption. It was still very windy, as evidenced by this picture of Clepsydra Geyser--you don't often get to see its colors, as its eruption water and steam usually cover it--but it was sunny and clear, leading to a wonderful eruption to watch and snap. (Except that I'd gotten a spot on my camera lens, and didn't know about it! Waah!) (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Another windy shot of Clepsydra)

We went back to the cabin for lunch, then headed out to Grand. And here's where our luck with Grand ran out. We waited 4 1/4 hours for it! And it was only a 1-burst eruption! (1, 2) Nothing like wiping out your whole afternoon/early evening on one geyser. *sigh* After dinner, Mom and I soothed ourselves with a stroll on the hill and a listen to Doublet Pool, which periodically thumps like a bass speaker.

Saturday, we finished packing up. We weren't sure what to do, until we heard that Grand was predicted to erupt in the morning. So we went up there, and waited...and waited...and waited...and it was nearly 11:00, and we really had to get going. And we ended up leaving it 20 minutes too early. *sigh* Definitely not the best way to end the vacation, but that's geyser-gazing for you--you take the bad with the good.

We made it to Glendive, MT, for the night--but couldn't stay in the motel we wanted to, as it was completely full! (And, for that nice, ironic touch, it's called the Yellowstone River Inn. One more dig at us!) Luckily, we managed to find a room in a motel across the street. After a late dinner, it was time for bed.

Sunday was the drive home. We managed to pick up a couple more roadside markers for my collection, though there's one that it doesn't look like I'll ever get, as the rest area it was at has been flooded out and closed for the past 2 years. Oops. We got home about 6:00, unpacked the car, and home I went.
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Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Subject:Yellowstone, day 6 (Sept. 1)
Time:7:49 pm.
It was a bit cooler this day, and cloudy at first, but still very windy. Still nothing from Fan and Mortar, but we decided we'd had enough of being tied down to the Upper Geyser Basin. We went that morning for a stroll around Black Sand Basin (1), then went back for another predicted Grand Geyser eruption (1, 2, movie). Only one burst this time, but it was a very long burst for Grand.

After Grand, we went down to Oblong Geyser to wait for it to go. But while there, we got the call that Beehive Indicator was going, so we snatched up our things and took off. And again, thanks to the long lead time, we made it in time! (1, movie). And this time...I got my Beehive/Old Faithful dual eruption! (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) Man, that was wonderful!

In the afternoon, we left the Upper Geyser Basin again, and headed for Fountain Geyser, which we estimated would be erupting fairly soon. It was *very* windy there, and it clouded up not long into the eruption, but I still got several nice pictures. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, movie1, 6, 7, movie2)

There wasn't anything much going on after that, so after dinner, we took a stroll on Geyser Hill, then went to bed. And still nothing from Fan and Mortar.
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Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Subject:Non-Yellowstone pictures
Time:7:22 pm.
I went to the Minnesota Zoo a couple of weeks ago, and got some pictures.
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Subject:Yellowstone, day 5 (August 31)
Time:7:35 am.
We started the day heading to Grand Geyser. On the way, we saw two bison, who appeared to be sizing us up. We were able to get by them easily enough, though. The morning threatened rain, with lightning fairly close by, but thankfully, it never actually rained on us. After an hour or so of waiting, and watching smaller geysers around the area, like Old Tardy, Grand Geyser erupted--and it was a two-burster! (1, 2, 3) After the eruption, we started back to the van.

We'd just passed Castle Geyser, though, when we heard the call of "Beehive Indicator!" We were in a very bad position--whichever way we went, it would be quite a hike to get there. But then, the Indicator had been giving us a lot of lead time. So we decided to chance it. We turned around, went back to the junction of trails near Grand Geyser, and took the usual Beehive Stampede trail to the Hill. It was a stampede-and-a-half, but we made it with time to spare! The next dilemma was where to stand. It was another warm, very windy day, and the wind seemed like it would push the spray toward the east. But the east side is where one would see rainbows in the spray. I took a chance and went to the east side. My parents stayed on the west side. And, just as Beehive started, the wind shifted, getting everyone on the west side wet. I chose...wisely. *grin* And there was, indeed, a very nice rainbow, though, because of the wind, the water column never got as high as usual. (1, 2, 3)

After Beehive, we hung around the Hill for a while with some other geyser gazers, waiting for Depression Geyser. And it did erupt, so I finally got to see it from beginning to end. (1, 2)

It was time for lunch after this, and we relaxed again for a while. This is notable, really--we're such geyser chasers that we don't often actually *relax* while we're in Yellowstone. But we were still hanging around waiting for word about Fan and Mortar, which kept us from going off to other geyser basins. But eventually, we went out for the afternoon Grand eruption, passing Castle along the way. (I just liked the juxtaposition of geyser cone and cloud.) We waited at Grand for about two hours, which isn't too bad, and were rewarded with another beautiful two-burst eruption! (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)

Yes, I do have a serious addiction to taking pictures of Grand Geyser. Why do you ask?

We had dinner, then my parents went up on the Hill for a stroll. I stayed by the Old Faithful Inn to sit on the porch and cull my pictures, which I hadn't had time to do for a couple of days. Then I realized that Old Faithful Geyser would be erupting right around sunset, so I positioned myself to try to get pictures of it backlit by the setting sun. Unfortunately, Old Faithful held off until the sun had just slipped behind the mountains. I took a couple of pictures anyway (1, 2), but they weren't quite what I wanted.

And so to bed, with still nothing at all from Fan and Mortar.
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Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Subject:Yellowstone, day 4 (August 30)
Time:7:39 am.
We were still wondering what was going on with Fan and Mortar. It hadn't erupted overnight, so we were still inclined to hang around the Lower Geyser Basin.

Grand was predicted for a morning eruption, so we headed out early. I caught a minor eruption of Bulger while there. After a while, we got the call that Beehive Indicator was erupting--time for a Beehive stampede! Could we go the half-mile plus, down and then *up*, in time? Well, this year, it was definitely possible, as Beehive Indicator was giving 15-20 minutes of warning, instead of its usual 10 or so minutes. On the way, Lion Geyser erupted. Plume Geyser also gave us its hourly show that takes one by surprise. Finally, Beehive erupted, with wonderful rainbows in its spray. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, movie) Then it was time to hurry back to Grand Geyser, stopping for some wildflowers on the way. It was a steamy eruption of Grand, since it was still morning, but it gave us 2 bursts, which is always fun. (1, 2, movie)

After Grand's eruption, we went back to the cabin for lunch and some relaxation. Then we wandered back down-basin, and caught another Daisy eruption. (1, 2, movie) Then we went to Oblong Geyser to wait for its eruption. (It isn't one of the regularly-predicted ones, but one can get a fairly good idea of when it'll go.) It's not the easiest of places to wait--no shade or shelter from the wind--but it can be worth it. And this one was--much better than the eruption we'd seen the previous day. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Then it was on to Riverside for another eruption, with more spray rainbows. (1, 2, 3)

And, because Grand had erupted early enough in the morning, we had the chance to catch it again in the late afternoon. It proceeded to catch us all by surprise, by erupting only 20 minutes into its 4-hour prediction window! And it was another 2-burster! (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) That gave us plenty of time to catch Castle Geyser, which also erupted very early in its prediction window, and was, this time, a major eruption. (1, 2, 3, 4, movie) We also--finally--saw some bison hanging around (1, 2), though only a few, and only for a couple of days. I'm wondering if all the bear activity was keeping them and the elk away.

So, after all this, was dinner and bed, while still puzzling over Fan and Mortar, which had done absolutely diddly-squat the whole day.
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Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Subject:Yellowstone Trip, Day 3 (Monday, August 29)
Time:4:02 pm.
We've been trying for years to see two particular geysers erupt--Fan and Mortar (they erupt together). Problem is, when they're erupting, the intervals are usually 2-5 days. And they seem to have a penchant for erupting at night when we're around. However, they'd erupted the past Friday, so people were definitely starting to get excited for the next one. Thus, we decided to hang around in that area (well beyond most of the other big geysers of the Lower Geyser Basin) as much as we could.

We headed down there in the morning, and caught part of a Rocket Geyser major eruption. (If it erupts, it starts about an hour into the eruption of the one next to it, Grotto Geyser.) (1, 2, 3, 4. Not long afterwards, Riverside Geyser erupted. (1, 2, 3, movie1, 4, 5) And not long after that, Daisy Geyser erupted. (1, 2, 3, 4) It was quite windy, but we managed to have lunch, and see rather a good eruption of it.

After lunch, we made our way over to Grand Geyser, which erupted about mid-afternoon. (1, 2, movie) After that, we moved back toward the Fan and Mortar area. We stopped at Oblong Geyser and caught its eruption, though it was quite wimpy. (1, 2, 3, 4) While waiting there, I also managed to get a couple of pictures of an osprey on the wing. Then we went back to Riverside for its second eruption of the day. Since it was afternoon, the angle of the sun created rainbows in the spray. (1, 2, 3, movie2, 4)

We went back to Fan and Mortar and waited for a while. Mom was getting quite tired, though, so we decided to head back. But the geyser gazers there told us to stay--something was happening. And things were happening--splashing in Main Vent, River Vent coming on for a bit, and other vents turning on and off, all of which indicated a possible build-up to an eruption. So we stayed, and watched. Angle, Gold, and High Vents played played back and forth, and excitement built among all the watchers. But those three vents just wouldn't quite get going enough to indicate that a true eruption was imminent. Angle Vent kept erupting for half an hour, teasing and teasing us--the gazers hadn't ever seen a cycle quite like this before. But, after an hour and a half of waiting, everything finally stopped. There was no eruption.

And so, with that frustration, we went back, had dinner, and went to bed.
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Monday, September 12th, 2011

Subject:Yellowstone, days 1 and 2
Time:12:30 pm.
Gonna try it this way, and see if it spurs me to get it done in a more timely fashion. *grin*

Day 1 (Saturday, August 27):
Left at about 7:30 a.m. About an hour into the drive, we passed a truck that had a sign taped on the back: Dave Matthews Band Truck #1. I remembered that they'd had a gig at the Minnesota State Fair, and assumed they were on their way elsewhere from that. (Why am I relating this? You'll see...)

We hit a couple of Minnesota Historical Markers along the way: Red River Ox Cart Trails (1, 2) and Steamboats on the Red River (1, 2, 3). Driving through North Dakota, including an overlook at the entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we saw that it was greener than in other years. Some of the ponds/lakes that line I-94 were also considerably larger.

We arrived in Forsythe, MT about 6:00, and stayed in our usual place, the Rails Inn. Then dinner, and bed.

Day 2 (Sunday, August 28):
Sunny, and very warm the whole day. We left Forsythe about 6:45 a.m. About 8:00 a.m., we passed a truck that had a sign taped on the back: Dave Matthews Band Truck #1. *laugh*

We arrived at Yellowstone a bit before 12:00, and drove immediately to the Upper Geyser Basin. We swung by Great Fountain Geyser to see if it was nearly ready to erupt. It was. So, after a hasty lunch of sandwiches, we settled down for its eruption. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) As it turned out, this was the only eruption of Great Fountain Geyser we saw the whole trip.

After watching it for about half an hour, we headed down to the Lower Geyser Basin to check in. After unpacking, we headed out for the Hill. We saw an eruption of Lion Geyser (the 6th in that series of eruptions, but still very good), Depression Geyser (a very wimpy one, so no pictures), Old Faithful Geyser, and finally Beehive Geyser. And if Beehive had started a few minutes earlier, or Old Faithful a few minutes later, I would have had a dual eruption picture to show. *sigh* It wasn't the best Beehive we'd ever seen--or would see, in the coming days--as it was quite windy.

After that, we went and had dinner. Mom was feeling tired, so just Dad and I went to Castle Geyser for its predicted eruption, dodging some elk on the way. Unfortunately, the Castle Geyser eruption was a minor one, meaning it only went for a few minutes. (1, 2) Which was a pity, as the lighting was very nice then.

(To be continued...)
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Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Time:8:30 pm.
Back from Yellowstone. Very tired. More such earth-shattering statements later. *wry grin*
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Monday, August 15th, 2011

Subject:My new favorite video
Time:5:47 pm.
Mood: enchanted.
Seriously. I can't stop watching this. It's an absolutely *lovely* video of a rare event--snow in Wellington, New Zealand.

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Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Subject:More piccies
Time:8:34 am.
Mood: okay.
As promised, Minnesota Zoo pictures from last June.
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Monday, August 1st, 2011

Subject:More pictures
Time:8:04 am.
Mood: sad.
I'm slowly working through my backlog of pictures sets. This set is from last October, when I revisited a number of markers to get GPS coordinates. I'm rather fond of this picture. (Which I tried to embed, but it doesn't seem to want to work. *sigh*) Next up will be Minnesota Zoo and more historical marker pictures from last June.

I'm trying to keep myself occupied, and not thinking too much, today. It won't be easy, though. Four years ago today was the 35W bridge collapse. And four years ago today, we began to learn just what it is my brother has. Certainly not the pleasantest of associations for this day.
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