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My “Do It Yourself” (DIY) efforts on setting up a home workout station are proceeding.  Below are some images of the yesterday’s progress…
Yesterday, I assembled my “double-double”.  Basically, it’s two striking targets attached at two ends.  The bottom target is roughly the height of a body shot (waist to lower ribs).  The top target is roughly the height for head shots (chin, front and side of the head).  You may notice a few things:
1)  the top attachment is vertical while the bottom is horizontal.  The bottom target would normally be either fixed to the flooring below or (using some type of rope or bungee) attached to a weight to stabilize the target and limit random / excessive swinging movement.  In this case, I had to work within the “command structure” of:  “I don’t want any of your weights damaging my concrete!”  So, I used a horizontal bungee (with a loop to keep the rope from sliding left and right).  The practical limitation to this setup is I cannot work around the target;  I am limited to the 180° on the front side.  Still, I can live with it…
2)  less obvious until you start hitting the targets…  They are not “fixed” within the netting.  There are gaps above and below the balls where they can move when struck.  The practical effect of this is they are not staying in the same place in the netting when you try to do a double-up punch (like two jabs to the head).  I will try to correct this by tying rope / paracord around one end of each ball / net to “lock” them into a more standard position within each net.
3)  FAR less obvious, (but which I have learned from recent experience,) is that these targets hit back at you – and from unexpected angles (at least up to now unexpected).  In my initial setup (prior to my wife’s objection), I had the bottom ball / net secured by weights.  This tended to produce reaction motion for both balls in a relatively circular motion around a vertical axis (much like an up-right cylinder).  After the modification to the bottom to include the horizontal bungee, a solid right punch to the bottom target resulted in a solid left hook by the upper ball to the right side of MY head.  My wife started laughing and said:  “It hits back!!”  (Note: NotAre you okay, dear?“)  As near as I can tell, this is due to the back and forth (back to front) motion of the lower horizontal bungee and the circular (like a vertical cylinder) motion of the upper vertical bungee.  My response:  “I’m gonna need a head-guard.”  Her reply:  “You sure are!“, still giggling.  Fortunately (for me), there wasn’t sufficient mass / speed in the basketball to knock me out, because it certainly struck me full on the side of my head at roughly temple / cheek height.
My next brilliant (okay, obvious) idea was to attach the original horizontal double-end target (“bag”) and see what that felt like.  To my surprise, a “triple-double” and it is terrific!  I now had a target (the bottom ball) for body shots, a target (the middle ball) for upper-cuts and body jabs, and a top target (the top ball) for chin and head shots.  The only trick now is to find a way to attach the original double-end to the double-double which keeps them together (when used together), but which also easily separates so I can continue to use the single-double on its own.  The original horizontal “single-double” works as a “slip-rope”.  A “slip” is when you move your head side to side (like a metronome) to avoid an incoming punch.  It is frequently accompanied by a “bob” (up and down head movement).  Together, they are referred to as “bobbing and weaving”.  Basically, I stand next to one post and move to the other ducking under the rope with each step to the side.  When I get to the middle, I release an upper-cut.  I then continue to the opposite post.  When I reach the post, I turn around and start back, trying to time the steps so my next upper cut with be with the other hand.  (Always try to practice every punch with both hands.)  Anyway, there is still some tweaking to do…
The next image is what’s happening in the background.  I attached a “hook-screw” to the back post and then I just swing the weighted chain up to it and hook onto it.  The lat-pulley set up is then out of the way for the boxing.  It is adjustable for more clearance, but because of the angles, it (the chained weights) doesn’t have to be as far back as I initially expected.
And, finally, here’s an image of the “normal” lat-pulldown.  We timed the set up and take down and it takes under a minute to set up or take down!  It takes longer to put on a single boxing hand-wrap than it does to set up the station for boxing.
And so the adventure continues…
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On This Day In:
2020 Posting As A Continual Exercise
2019 Border Security – Yes, Border Wall – No
2018 Supporting Survival Values
2017 Inauguration Day 2017 [Sometimes, I hate it when I’m right! — KMAB]
2016 Or A Pot Of Gold After The Storm
2015 One, Two, Three…
2014 Lend Your Hand
2013 Amnesty, n.
2012 Best Resolv’d
The Clock Is Running
2011 Magic

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Some of you regular readers may recall I had a pull-up rack set up in a corner of my backyard.  Image below…

Pull-up Stand with Double-End Target

I was always intending to use the setup as a multi-function station for working out going forward.  My initial modification was the addition of two “eye-screws” to setup a horizontal double end punching bag.  As you see, I made it out of an old basketball, a basketball net and a couple of bungee cords.  This has worked out reasonably well…
The “main” goal of the setup was to have a pull-up station.  Unfortunately, it turns out I am FAR too out of shape to hang from the bar, let alone try to do a pull-up.  In my first (aborted) attempt, I nearly pulled my arms out of their sockets “trying” to hang.  I was able to hang for just long enough for me to remember my age before letting go (aka: “falling”).  Also, despite my interest in adding “DIY” boxing options, I will NOT EVER be boxing / sparring.  I have a heart condition and am on blood thinners which (technically) make me a “border-line” hemophiliac (a “bleeder”).  The boxing options are only for their fitness / exercise value.
To make a longer story short, I scavenged some parts from my old “Total-Gym” and have now set up a “Lat – pulldown” system which I can use to build up my strength until I can hang from the bar and try another pull-up.  Image below…

Image of Lower Bar & Lat Pulley Setup

Lower Bar & Lat Pulley Setup

A “Lat – pulldown” is an exercise which concentrates on the latissimus dorsi muscles.  These are the muscles used to pull something down from above your head or to pull your head and body up to something which is above your head / shoulders.  In this case, I am using four(4) ten pound weights.  At the moment I have completed day four(4) of a 30 day challenge to do five(5) sets of fifty(50) “reps” (repetitions).  After each set, I turn 45° and do a cross-body pull down Left to Right (50 reps) and then Right to Left (50 reps).  In all, 250 reps of the double and 250 reps per side.  As I get stronger (and less sore), I hope to get up to 10 sets per day.  Hopefully, by the end of the 30 days I will be able to suspend myself in a hanging position for a few seconds.  Then I can proceed to descending pull-ups, which will lead to actual “up” pull-ups.
I have an additional five(5) modifications under consideration:  1) adding a “slip bag”;  2)  adding a “heavy bag”;  3) adding a vertical “double-end, double bag”; 4) adding a “speed bag”; and, 5) adding a two-grip, low level pulley systems to create a “rower”.
So, that’s the progress.  And, that’s the future plans…  (Oh, yeah.  The posts and the rest of the back fence have to be painted / stained to help reduce / prevent weathering.)
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On This Day In:
2020 Still Crazy After All These Years…
2019 20 / 20 Foresight
He Knew Damned Well…
2018 Be Someone’s Kindling
2017 When The Moment Comes
2016 Changed Clothes Lately?
2015 Like Stone
2014 Resistance Is Futile
2013 Subtle Humor
To Look Behind Green Eyes
2012 The Path Is Endless
2011 Happy MLK, Jr Day!!!
A Factor Of Ten
Better Late Than Never?
Whoops!
Acceptable Beginnings
Slow Progress
Useful Confrontation
When Phenomena Are Different
Creative Avoidance
Thinking
Fast And Flexible
Surrender Certainty
Techniques
Vive La Difference
Destiny
Completeness
Art

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Each Christmas season, our tradition is to get our Christmas tree the first full weekend of December and to take it down the first full weekend after January 6th (aka: the “Feast of the Three Kings” or “Epiphany” or “Little Christmas”).  We have a secondary tradition of purchasing a representative decoration for each year.  Sometimes they are religious (angels, stars, etc.), sometimes they are Christmas but humorous and sometimes they are topical (StarTrek, StarWars, Harry Potter, Dr. Who, etc).  Anyway, we are getting ready to take the tree down next weekend, so I thought I’d post a few pictures of this year’s tree and ornaments…  (You can click on the image to see a larger version.)

For the X-mas movie geek (me)

Peanuts Anniversary

Doggie Ornament (will be Shiva when we can get a decent photo after the lock-down)

Our 2020 Tree

2020 Tree and our “Saudi Tree” in the right background

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On This Day In:
2020 Still Looking
2019 Too True
2018 Simon Says
2017 Next Cell
2016 Important Knowledge
2015 Are You Still The Exception?
2014 In Answer
Days Are Passing
2013 Opportunity
2012 Appropriate Qualities
2011 A Place To Hang My Hat

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Another New Year’s Resolution… ??

A responsible pet owner…

[This image is not of me or my dog.  I do not own the image or claim any rights to it.  It’s just something I found on the Net and laughed at, so I’m sharing it…  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 From The Mountains To The Shores
2019 Watering The Trees And Seeds
1221
2018 Take Care Of Me…
2017 Make Some Difference
2016 Still 99%
2015 Adolescent Opinion
2014 In A Big World
2013 Vacancy For God
2012 Sweat Equity
Try It… You’ll Like It
2011 Still Incomplete
2010 Happy New Year – 2010

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My wife isn’t sure if I’m having a mid-life crisis or just going into my second childhood…
This year I’ve been watching A LOT of YouTube.  Well, okay…  It started last year, but that’s just a detail.
I was viewing a bunch of videos on working out and I found myself going through reams of “30-Day Challenge” videos.  Of course, I decided to give one a shot.  My choice:  the “30-Day / 100 pushup per day challenge”.
Day One (Test):  Zero.  That’s correct.  I could not do a single pushup from the floor.  I could get into a plank position, (with effort,) and lower myself to the floor, but not get back up off the floor.
Obviously, some modifications would be necessary…  Inclined pushup from the back of the sofa.  Five.  Okay.  It’s a start.  First day:  20 sets of five, spread through-out the day (and evening).
Days 2 and 3 were more of the same.  Day 4, I was able to do 10.  So, 10 sets of 10, spread through-out the day.
To make a longer story shorter, about day 10 I was finally able to do ONE pushup from the floor.  By then, I was doing five(5) sets of 20 inclined.  At the end of 30 days, I could do 5 pushups from the floor.  (And shorter again…)  At the end of 60 days, I was able to do 15 pushups from the floor.  By way of comparison, Google says an “average” 65 year old man should be able to do between 6 and 16.  In other words, I went from abject failure to the top end of “average”.
And then I got hurt…  (But that’s another story.)
While browsing YouTube, it started feeding me boxing and martial arts videos (over and over again).  So, (of course) I started watching them…  Because I wasn’t able to do much other than walk, I started shadow-boxing in front of a mirror…  And then I bought gloves…  And then I bought hand-wraps…  And then I bought focus pads…  And then I started making home-made (read: inexpensive) boxing targets.  It turns out YouTube has videos on how to jury rig most of the expensive kit you need to practice boxing.
Here’s some pictures of my gloves…  They are RDX F12 Training Boxing Gloves (16oz.)

Fresh out of the box and still in plastic

Palm side up

“Business” side up

And, after trying them on a few times a week for the last month or so…  Today I did my first “workout” with the gloves.
Now to be fair,  I did actually try them on and use them for a few minutes when I would set up a new target and once for a few minutes of shadow-boxing in front of a mirror, but until today, my wife had put it down to another one of my “phases”.  When approached on the possible purchase, she did insist on a $50 limit on my gloves because she was convinced they’d be gathering dust by now.  So, yes, they’re an inexpensive pair.  Not “cheap”, just inexpensive.  And, no, they are not leather.  They are “engineered” leather.  (LoL!)
Today’s workout was about 45 minutes long, sweaty and exhausting.  But, it was loads of fun and I felt terrific after my hot shower.  Tired and relaxed and starting to get sore in strange (and not so strange) places, but all things considered – terrific!
I’m really not sure if this is a “phase” or not, but I’m going to put up a post every now and then about this “journey”.  I’ll try to come up with a way to let you know in the “post” title when I’m on this topic as I have no idea how many of my blog followers have the slightest interest in this side topic.
A final note (reality check):  I am a 65 year old man, morbidly obese, with a heart condition (AFib) and on blood thinners.  So, NO, I will NEVER be in a fight or EVER sparring.  This is just a way to try to add some fun to my efforts to raise some sweat (and maybe learn a bit about the “sweet science” while I’m at it.)
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On This Day In:
2019 I Think I’m Repeating Myself
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like X-mas!
2018 No Reason To Turn
2017 Talking Knuth
Seeing It Through
2016 Hoping For The Best Come January
2015 Adaptive Security
2014 Wants
2013 Side Effects
2012 Just Trying To Earn A Living
2011 Productive Worry

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Image of 2020 Thanksgiving Trifle Dessert

2020 Thanksgiving Trifle Dessert

The photo above is a snap of the trifle dessert my daughter (Sarah) made to compliment our Thanksgiving day dinner.  You can’t tell from the image but it was about ten(10) healthy servings – divided among the three of us.  (LoL!!)  It lasted until Black Friday dinner afters…  And, then there was none.  😦    Trust me.  It was even better tasting than the picture looks…   🙂
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On This Day In:
2019 Happy Thanksgiving (2019)
2018 And Smiles…
2017 Or Savor A Little Longer…
2016 Sometimes I Just Want To Smell The Flowers
2015 One Truth – Done Well
2014 Now In Imagination, On The Other Hand…
2013 No Plan, No Map
2012 Singing About Love
2011 The Awesome Power Of Truth

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We remember…
The two images below are of mementos from my wife’s family side.  The medallion was given to her family for her father’s uncle who died in World War I (“The Great War“, “The War To End All Wars“).  The second image is of a Christmas card from 1917, which Hil’s grandfather (her mum’s dad) sent home while he was a prisoner of war (POW) in a German camp.
A token of service for a life given and a signal of life for continuing hope.
Sacrifice and service…  We remember…
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On This Day In:
2019 Veterans Day – 11 November 2019
2018 Veterans Day – 11 November 2018
2017 Veterans Day – 11 November 2017
2016 Veterans Day – 11 November 2016
2015 Veterans Day – 11 November 2015
2014 Veterans Day – 11 November 2014
2013 Veterans Day – 11 November 2013
2012 Monkey Business
Veterans Day – 11 November 2012
In Others
2011 Veterans Day – 11/11/11
Deeply Confused (Still)
2010 We are not from fearful men and I Am Not Afraid!!
Veterans Day – 11 November 2010
2009 Narrowly missed first weight goal, but still happy…

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Image of 2018 Veterans Day Poster

2020 Veterans Day Poster

[To all who are serving, to all who have served, and to all those who have waited patiently for their return, “Thank You!!
If you have the time, take a minute to read:  What Is A Vet?    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Veterans Day – 11 November 2019
2018 Veterans Day – 11 November 2018
2017 Veterans Day – 11 November 2017
2016 Veterans Day – 11 November 2016
2015 Veterans Day – 11 November 2015
2014 Veterans Day – 11 November 2014
2013 Veterans Day – 11 November 2013
2012 Monkey Business
Veterans Day – 11 November 2012
In Others
2011 Veterans Day – 11/11/11
Deeply Confused (Still)
2010 We are not from fearful men and I Am Not Afraid!!
Veterans Day – 11 November 2010
2009 Narrowly missed first weight goal, but still happy…

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Image of Lady Liberty in Hiding

Still waiting on the vote count…

Note:  This image was found on the internet.  I do not own it or make any claim to copyright.  If anyone knows the owner, let me know and I will credit them for it.   —   KMAB
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On This Day In:
2019 Transfiguration
2018 2018 Mid-Terms
Praying For A Blue Tsunami Election
2017 Islam Is Not The Enemy
2016 A Checkered Past, A Checkered Future
2015 Preferences
2014 Have You Taken The Pledge?
2013 Nurture Tolerance
2012 Election Day – Please Hear What I’m Not Saying
2011 Mostly Strange, Always Blue
What Is It You Want?
2010 MSNBC, Bring Back Keith !!!
Value..
Worse Still…
Afraid So…
Making It
Don’t Jump Small
Time
Push!!
I’m Still Here… (A Message To Keith Olbermann)
Choose
Not Yet…
Mean Too
Still Building (and Planning)
Hangin’ High
Always…

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Several years ago, I was riding home on our BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system and I looked out the window at the memorial to those lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It moved me deeply.  These lives lost are a far greater treasure lost than the “mere” trillions we’ve spent on fighting these conflicts.  Our military forces are still present in both countries with no real (IMHO) hope of any “victory” in any normal sense of the word.  The best we can hope for is that whatever government we leave in place when we finally withdraw is not slaughtered within the first two years of our “escape” – as happened in South Vietnam.
Anyway, I was watching the Presidential debate and listening to President Trump tell us how (once again) we’ve “turned the corner” on the COVID pandemic, while former Vice-President Biden was telling us under President Trump’s continued “leadership”, we stood to lose another 200,000 American lives by the end of the February.  This morning, I was looking at some news sites and I saw an image which stopped me.  It was an image of small flags, one for each American death from COVID.
Here is an update on the image of the lost military lives over the last 20 years:

Lafayette Hillside Memorial

And here is an image of Americans lost to COVID in less than nine(9) months:

Flags representing individual American lives lost to COVID so far in 2020.

Remember these flags are “expected” to double by the end of February 2021 if we don’t increase our efforts to stem this terrible pandemic.  Today’s current death count:  227,107.
Please:  1)  WEAR a mask;  2)  wash your hands frequently;  3)  practice social distancing (stay a minimum of six feet apart);  4)  avoid large (more than 10 people) gatherings;  and, 5)  if you must gather (even with 10 or less), do it outdoors.
This predicted loss of life doesn’t HAVE to happen.  Our losses over the last four months could probably been halved if we (90% of us) had simply followed these five simple rules.  We cannot prevent all of the losses over the next four months.  But estimates are that we could halve those predicted losses if we act based on science and not politics.  The question is:  What have we learned America?
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On This Day In:
2019 Can I Get A Witness?
2018 I’d Still Like To Try It Out
2017 In Every Thing
2016 Future Halo
2015 The Hard Way Every Time
2014 Indispensable Wits
2013 I’d Like To
2012 2012 National League Champions – San Francisco Giants!!
2nd Viewing – No Change
Light Shining Out of Darkness
2011 Just Kickin It
Are These The “Real” Protectors Of America’s Constitution?
2010 Giants Advance To 2010 World Series!!!

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Last night (Wednesday 7 September 2020), we had our Vice-Presidential debate.  During the debate, a fly landed on the current VP’s hair as sat there for a couple of minutes while he spoke.  See the image below…
My question is:  How is it that even the common American fly knew which side of the debate was full of sh*t?
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On This Day In:
2019 Bigger Hearts
2018 Signaled Progress
2017 No Progress, But Still Unreasonable
2016 Notes Unsaid
2015 Still Seeking (Believe It Or Not)
2014 Guidelines For Bureaucrats
2013 Failing At Normalization
2012 Are You An Expert?
2011 Joy!

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A few weeks ago, we finally got our back yard area worked on.  We had a fence repaired.  A wind storm toppled it and it was propped up with some supports ever since.  We got the path on the north side of the house re-done.  We’d had it done, but it didn’t slant away from the house, so it tended to puddle, or worse, tilt water towards the house.  And, we got two small patio areas added – one with some left over bricks we’d had for years, and one with some paving squares.  Here are some before, during and after photos…

Image of Old North Side Path

Old North Side Path

Image of New North Side Path

New North Side Path

Image of Original NE Corner w/ rusted shed

Original NE Corner w/ rusted metal shed

Image of NE corner w/ shed gone and bricks stacked up on dirt between the trees

NE corner w/ shed gone and bricks stacked up on dirt between the trees

Image of New NE corner w/ gray stones added, red path pads added and sitting areas completed.

New NE corner w/ gray stones added, red path pads added and sitting areas completed.

Image of New sitting areas (brick and pavers), with white stone trim and invading gnomes and other varied yard critters.

New sitting areas (brick and pavers), with white stone trim and invading gnomes and other varied yard critters.

Image of me in a hammock.

Moi assuming the position. I always swore I’d put up a hammock between those two trees!!

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On This Day In:
2019 Seeking Nobility
2018 My Family Calls It Hoarding
Day 30: Done & Dusted
2017 Rogers’ Rules (Hexadecimal)
2016 But, It’s Such A Simple Mistake
2015 Crawl Towards The Light
2014 Sweet Songs
2013 The Wife Of An Ordinary Man
2012 Three Words
2011 Know Anyone Like This?
2010 Apoplexy??
When Breaking Up Is Hard To Do…
Sibling Awareness

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You are looking at $1K+, folks!!  Still, I can’t complain too much.  The “gap” had a root canal and crown over 30 years ago, so there was no bleeding and no pain.  And my dentist squeezed me in this morning for a temporary until they can finish the job in a couple of weeks.  They’ve just re-opened after the COVID shutdown and are limited in scheduling procedures by the amount of PPE they can keep in stock for the procedures.  At the moment, they are only taking emergencies and beginning to add to the calendar a month plus out.
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On This Day In:
2019 You Really Don’t
No One Can Imagine
2018 Until Integrity, Decency, Wisdom, And Humility Return
Just Tell (And Re-tell) The Big Lie Often Enough On Fox News
2017 To Laws, Not Office Or Individuals
Beast / General / Civil
2016 Patronage
2015 For Blogs, Too!
2014 Righteous Anger
2013 An Irish Blessing
2012 But Is It Worth It?
2011 Let Us Start

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Nana And Poppa With Big Smiles

Hil’s Mum and Dad with Big Smiles

Early this morning, my mother-in-law, Doreen Carter passed away from COVID-19 back in Liverpool, England.  She was predeceased by her husband, George Carter, by some twenty-years.  They are survived by their three children and five grand-children.  Below are some photos to remind us of her journey through life…

Hil's Mum and Hil's Grand-mum

Hil’s mum (as a little girl) and her mum at the beach.

George and Doreen in their wedding limo…

The newlyweds with their parents…

Doreen and her three at the beach… (Hil on the left)

Grand-dad (Doreen’s father), Doreen and the three on picnic…

A (Brit-side) family portrait…

The American side…

George, Doreen and our Sarah (back when we lived in Liverpool)

And more recently…

“Nana” and Hil in Mike and Viv’s back garden…

A recent Facebook post…

Together again…

In our hearts, thoughts and prayers…

Way back in 2011, I posted a conversation I had with “Nana” Carter:  Things I’ve Learned From Life – Nana Carter
Her thoughts on “Life’s Lessons” may give you some insight into our loss…
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On This Day In:
2019 Laugh With Me
2018 Both Sides, Mr. President?
2017 Republicans Better Wake Up
2016 Truth Telling
2015 To Be Effective In The Modern World
2014 A Little Cover
2013 Binding
2012 Lift
2011 Another Good Movie, Another Excellent Book
miSFits
I’m Just Not Sure

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Plans For Today, Tomorrow, The Next Day…

[The above image was found at (and “borrowed” from) one of the blogs I visit regularly:  Pacific Paratrooper
Please visit the site if you have a free moment or two…  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Beautiful Rules
2018 Skepticism
2017 WWGD?
2016 Growing Greatness
2015 When It Is Darkest
2014 Knowledge And Doubt
2013 Three Thoughts
2012 Gentle Reader
2011 Leave The Light On For Me Anyway

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