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July 25, 2007

I wanted to love you even when you made it impossible
Anais Nin

Click images for desktop size: "Eternity Comics"
a common theme lately seems to be hectoring me about not keeping this log regularly updated.
I'm not sure why.
I'd hope its to see the pretty pictures.
For some I guess it's to be able to check in and see that I'm okay, maybe to see what sort of whacky adventures my puppy and I have gotten into today.
Other than that I'm at a loss.

I have been busy. Very busy this whole week.
Busy always seems to result in me being dead tired.
Last Wednesday I had to go to the State Legislature and talk about dogs. Sadly to talk about humane ways of killing dogs. As if there is any humane way for anything to die.
It went over well but not in my eyes or ears. No one was converted, I'm fairly sure. Rhetoric that doesn't effect change is sinful to me.
State employees want to round dogs up and execute them quick and easy. They use the machine invented by the Nazi's for Auschwitz and Triblenka. I can understand without empathizing with their situation. They want their job to be easy. It doesn't matter to them whether dogs and cats expire with dignity or wrapped in fear, confusion and fighting each other as well as death.1936 - Assassin Of Youth
Thinking about that made me think that I hope Michael Vick is guilty of the things he's been indicted for. If he isn't guilty its a real crime the way he's been pilloried.
I'm not religious but I think that all creatures deserve respect, to live a life of their choosing. To grow and live free.
I don't think Vick, the State or dog pound employees have a right to choose harsh brutal methods of killing living things.
If I hear the phrase, "They only kill the ones who aren't adoptable," again, I might have to decide the speaker is un-adoptable. I figure if they have the right to decide life and death then they give me the same right.

I've been mad trying to get all the paperwork and logistics ready for my move.
Its a pleasant if arduous chore.
Its time. There are people I'll miss, of course, but a brighter future lies ahead.
I'm worried how my puppy will cope with it. She adores me and I hope that is enough for her to endure all she'll have to go through.
I know she'll try.
Today she passed her final exam. She's now certified to work with mentally retarded patients. It takes a load more forbearance, tolerance and empathy as well as old fashioned patience.
I figure living with me for 2 years has taught her that. She always understands and trusts me. Even now when she's on a diet, she stays an overweight ball of love.

Too many of the people I work with are getting dogs. I keep wondering what hole they're trying to fill in their lives. Most seem to want a dog to entertain them. They don't share their lives they just expect the dog to be a perfect house guest and not a loved member of the home.
Out of four dogs 3 have been returned to the shelter . . . one because, in four hours, it was claimed the dog did nothing but attack him. Smart dog.
Of course this idiot got another dog right away.
Frank Frazetta-No Title
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Frank Frazetta
I'm not just being harsh. This fellow is an absolute idiot. He frightens me because he's the sort of guy who I think is truly un-adoptable.
I met him at lunch. He weighs 325. I know as that's how he introduced himself and as, "I'm Brian Junior and that stands for BJ and that stands for Blow job and I loves 'em. I weigh 325. My ex-wife is a maniac (sic) depressive who used to beat the hell out of me. I left school after the 7th grade. Look at me! Who says you need an education."
Hell of a way to meet someone. Since this was in a crowded restaurant and he felt the need to shout at the top of his voice so that all heads turned towards him I spent the rest of the hour trying to make sure he didn't breathe on me because I was already certain that if he touched me I'd have to slug him.
He spent the rest of the time telling everyone how much smarter he was than all of us. We work hourly paid jobs so I'm confused as to what he considers success.
He's back with his wife who actually outweighs him. His wife moving in with him is what prompted the decision to get a dog.
Poor dog.
1956 - The She-Creature I saw two films of note.
One Japanese, "Memories Of Matsuka". Its the story of a an obese bag lady who is murdered in a park. A young guitarist in a punk band is visited by his father who orders him to clean out the hovel she's been living in. The kid is surprised to learn he had an aunt.
While cleaning out the refuse and squalor he begins to get glimpses of what his aunt was. Se was a child jealous of her father's attention to her terminally ill sister.
Matsuka goes off and become a teacher, then a modern geisha, a topless dancer, a yakuza's moll, a singer, a prostitute and finally a murder victim. Her life is told in bright super saturated colors. The story amazes and delights, confuses and confounds. Its remarkable and all the more so in that Matsuka isn't all that extraordinary. The people she met were all just people. The glamour she knew is that a cell mate from her time in prison turns out to be a wildly successful porn star. In other words Matsuka's life isn't any much different than any of ours.

The other was South Korean, "Miracle On First Street". Its about the mad rush in Korea to industrialize, to compete with Japan and the USA. To do this a lot of nasty things are done to rather nice people. A gangster is sent in to terrorize the people of a slum to move out so that his boss can build a fancy high rise.
Click images for desktop size: "Butterfly" by OCLE
The gangster isn't too good at this. He meets the kids and is inadvertently turned into their protector. He meets a girl who aspires to be a championship boxer, like her brain damaged father. And with just that the film progresses easily into being a great comedic, tragic miracle. Their are three miracles. The first is supernatural and just a red herring to set you up for the true miracle of First street. And like all miracles it is merely human.
The third miracle is this little movie.
Only other thing of passing interest is the people who come to see me at work. The priest who tells me of his fears about his marriage and his first son, and the psychiatrist who I first new as a resident talking with me about his concerns in his life before him.
Students talking about trips and plans, men and woman talking to me about the ashes in thier arts and how badly they've handled a bad relationship.
I have no idea why they talk to me about it. I used to think they just talked to anyone who would listen, but now I'm not so sure.

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July 17, 2007

Teacher; teach me

Click images for desktop size: "Crisis" by Anime
I learned to surf the same way all kids learned to surf.
Every morning at dawn I'd ride my Schwinn down to the beach and I watch the surfers straggle out into the waves.
If I'd seen the surfer a few times and he hadn't kicked sand at me I'd ask him to let me wax his board. Sometimes they'd let me and show me the right way to do it.
I was 6 years old. I was a gremmie.
What the other gremmies and I always prayed for was a great wipeout where the guys board would wash into shore. This was our excuse to chase after it and try and grab a few white water rides before we dutifully returned it.
If the surfer was a hodad he might say thanks. Otherwise the surfer would just take the stick back and paddle back out.
Only kuks, wannabes would ever say anything. They didn't know the rules of the beach. What we did was what gremmies do.
At first my mother was upset about me slipping out of the house everyday before sunrise. Soon she got used to it.
1962 - Women Of Nazi Germany She had a lot of excuses for not swimming or even trying to surf. I realize now she was just afraid. I think she really wanted to surf. She would come and watch me surf for hours but never ventured into the water herself.
I learned by watching and listening. Seeing how they did it and then trying it myself.
I got my first board as a gift. Lance, the shaper at the little shack gave it to me. I went to the beach in the morning and then to the surf shop after school and then down to the beach again to watch the evening glass. I'd run errands for him and listen to his stream of conscious prattle about rocker, rails, sinking the skeg. It taught me what to look for in a board, what the difference was between a pin fin and a swallow tail and what his shaping was intended to do.
Alex, my dog, and I would run all the errands for Lance and the other surfers.
He gave me the stick. Dead white with just "Gremmie" airbrushed in green on the deck. It was a short twin, super thin but plenty big enough for a seven year old.
At first I just rode the breakwater into the beach. I was used to that. It took a couple of hours before I dared paddle out to the break line with the other surfers. I sat out there and was ignored. Being ignored was fine by me and more than I could hope for.
i remember intently the first wave I caught that didn't pitch me out. I made the bottom turn and it was the most thrilling thing I had ever experienced. It still is only equalled by a passionate kiss from a loved one.
When I hit the bottom I didn't know what to do so I got tossed and pitched into the impact zone. I was thrashing around when something lifted me out of the water by the trunks. It was a local legend, Mickey, Da Cat. He said, "Kid, when you hit the bottom kind of lean into the wave." He had my board bobbing beside him. He put me on it and I paddled back out and tried to catch the next one.
That was a surf lesson.
I missed school for 3 days. All I did was surf. My mother was pretty angry with me but it was worth it to me. I was learning.
Daniel-Merriam 5 1680X1050
Click images for desktop size: "5" by Daniel Merriam
My mother decided I was getting too wild. A music school had opened up in the Palisades so I was signed up. I took drum lessons. Three bucks a week. I hated it when my mother gave me a five. It was a real wrestle with my conscious bringing her back the change. Drums are the only lessons I ever took.
After a while I wanted to play guitar. So I watched every guitarist I could. At shows I'd squeeze up front and look at the way they fingered the necks, bent the strings. I'd scribble the dial settings on the palm of my hand.
I got a Harmony guitar at Sears for 19.99. It was acoustic and had, no joke, about a 3/4 inch action. I traded it to another kid and spent 39 bucks for a Dano-Electric, Candy Apple Red. The coolest thing, to me, about the Dano-Electric, aside from the lipstick pick ups was that the amp and speakers were IN THE CASE! Wired right in to the guitar case.
I thought I was a young god.
So I kept watching guitarists, any guitarist, on the beach, on TV and I'd try and play along with my records until I met another kid with a guitar and we'd try and play together and he taught me somethings he'd seen and I taught him what I'd seen and then we'd played together and then we learned some songs and then we formed a band.
1965 - Rat Fink And that's how I learned to play guitar.
For team sports you usually need coaching, but even there you learn most of the sport by watching other games, getting tips from your teammates. Its the way we learn.
Which is the reason I just can't understand why American's haven't learned anything for 30 years.
You can make some arguments that the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and even World War II were wars that needed to be fought. You can make arguments. . .
I've never seen anything gained by a war in my lifetime that was worth one persons blood being splattered across an imaginary battlefield.
Now we have a bunch of lying despots ignoring the law, ignoring us and plunging us deeper and deeper into wars that we already know we cannot win. Fat old men sitting at home sending children to their deaths, and I have yet to understand what we are winning. Nothing to benefit me. Nothing to benefit most of you. Higher gas prices benefiting you?
I sort of understood, but not really, why we invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. I thought a war? Wouldn't super cool and clever secret agents have handled vengeance more smoothly, efficiently and effectively?
We just saw what the Russians endured fighting the Taliban, back in the days we were told the Taliban were heroes.
And now, after seven years of bombing and killing and being killed we've lost another war. According to the government that started this war and the War in Iraq Al Queeda is stronger and more organized than they were before we went in. We still haven't captured Bin Ladeen. This would get a baseball manager fired, a police chief fired and they'd deserve it.
George W Bush has proven time and time again that he is a smart arrogant idiot who does not care what happens as long as he makes out.
Look at the Texas Rangers. When he owned them they were the losingest team in baseball yet his tickets, parking and refreshments were the most expensive in the sport.
Freeso Whitetrees 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "White Trees" by Freeso
He's a proven loser but the radical religious fanatics that we home grow (as opposed to the radical religious fanatics who want to kill us all) blindly support him because when the rapture comes they'll be saved anyway and the rest of us will perish in eternal flame. Which still sounds to my raised Catholic mind as insane as believing that giant spaceships will swoop down from the planet Theta and rescue the Thetans on Earth while the rest of us perish. (Scientology)
We've seen this all before and we're letting it happen again. Bush's Tri Lateral Commission statements are clear. Who knew that the results would be that just like South America, more and more wealth would be in the hands of fewer and fewer people, people obsessed with their own comfort so much that they are willing to let our sons and daughters perish so long as their families remain save.
Support the troops and then allow rats to sleep in their hospitals and gnaw on their wounds, not in the far off wilderness but right here in their home.
They're stealing our freedoms to keep us save, and violently protecting their own freedoms to keep themselves safe because we have no right to know the truth.
1965 - Repulsion England has had these same insane laws on the books for decades. It is almost impossible to walk down a public street in England without being filmed. yet that never stopped the IRA and it didn't stop those doctors recently, who were fortunately inept, from attempting to kill them.
But we don't want to learn anything anymore.
Life is too hard for us to take the time to stop our government from killing us.
The right wing fanatics don't learn. They only attack but never face to face. They'll say I'm anti-American. Which is nonsense. I've spent time in the world and America is my home. But I am a sap. I don't believe in their America I believe in our America, I believe in Superman and believe that you fight for truth, justice and The American Way.
And the American Way wasn't to become the virulent monster that we are now, it was the America that aspired to be something better, to be the best, and to be the best fair and square. We were the America that gave an outstretched hand to the unfortunate. When problems arose we didn't curse them we figured out how to fix it. And we fixed it in bright glaring light because we weren't ashamed of what we were. We were proud.
There was a time when how much money you made was really far down on the list of how we judged what kind of person you were.
Honest, where do you think I learned it. I learned it from watching and trying to be like that.
What we are now sickens me. What we are prepared to become is the nightmare.

July 13, 2007

Standing on a mountain looking down on a city
Harold Dorman

Wier Vaudeville Theatre Ca 1920 On Heron St. In  Aberdeen, Wa
Click images for desktop size: "Weir Vaudeville Theater, Aberdeen Washington-1920" by Unknown
When I said Alkaline Trio are my favorite group I created some confusion. They are not my all time fave group. They are my faves of the moment.
I've never really given much thought to an all time fave band. I guess it would have to include Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. Johnny Burnette's Rock & Roll Trio, The Everly Brothers, Jan & Dean (hey, there's more than one of them, so that makes them a band, doesn't it? I mean the inverse way that Dick Dale and The Del-Tones don't count, I mean, other than family does anyone know who the Del-Tones were?) The Ramones, The Small Faces.
These guys shouldn't need any explanation. I mean if you don't understand the beauty and poetry of lines like "I was cruising in my Stingray late one night when an XKE pulled up on my right" or, "I smell the flowers growing through the concrete," and "There's a little juke joint just outside of town where the cats pick 'em and then lay 'em down. You get your gal and I'll get mine. We'll get together and we'll have a good time," then there's little hope for the world, little hope at all.
La Bamba X02 I'd also give consideration to The Kinks. No one has ever written a line like, "While the rich get their kicks with their affluent antics," and actually made it work. That they also made it rock is more than laudable. It's miraculous. The only problem with the Kinks is that their best songs are so incredibly personal, they wheedle into your soul so deeply they become private little treasures. It is almost sinful and cruel that they are also world wide mega hits. Nothing makes something impersonal like universal fame.
And of course Love looms large. You had to mega talents in Arthur Lee and Bryan McLean plus about 5 other musicians who ended up robbing liquor stores or od'ing on drugs. No wonder they could produce a handful of totally classic punk/garage singles including the seminal unforgettable "7 & 7 Is", while also spinning out the unforgettable enduring and endearing album "Forever Changes". That they hated leaving LA, that Jimi Hendrix was considering joining the band, all add up to one powerful force in music.
And any band I spent more than 15 minutes being a member of has to rank pretty high as well.
But the band that I would have to pick as my personal fave would be, The Sonics. I don't know much about them except their music. I've kept it that way.
I know they were from Seattle, wore colorful alpaca sweaters and made a sound that would later be called grunge.
The sound of their records is monstrous. They were a standard combo, guitar, bass, organ and drums but their records were just a pure Phil Spector wet dream wall of sound. Occasionally someone would step forward and solo but like an orchestra there really wasn't a single instrument, the band was the instrument. It was a thick seditious sound that you could excavate and and hold in your hands, a rich throbbing dripping thing. You could slice it with a switchblade knife and watch it pulsate in your hand until, like the Blob, it engulfed you and made your body jerk to its own incestuous beat.
They had hits. The unbelievable "Psycho" that thundered like a mythic dinosaur with Rosalie's leather lunged vocals asking not for pity or understanding. It was rage. (I used to do a great cover of "Psycho" except that after singing it I couldn't talk, let alone sing, for at least an hour and sometimes the rest of the night)
Timmelidio 29Palmsdrivein 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "29 Palms Drive In" by Tim Melidio
In "She's A Witch" and "Strychnine" this rage propelled the dancing rhythm into another ionosphere where all your life's experiences were sucked out of you, reshuffled and re-prioritized. In the mega cool "Hustler" and "Boss Hoss" the voice bragged in pride and dared you to cross the line and question him.
In the awesome cover of the Contours hit, "Do You Love Me" the voice became a defiant dare and the bands sound chased along at a fearsome clip.
The final notable cut was "Night Time Is The Right Time" an old R&B standard that most Gen Xer's know from that horrible episode of the Cosby Show when the family lip synced to a creepy version of it.
For the Sonics the standard was anything but cutsey or ready for prime time.
It was a gut bucket howl wearing a Michael Meyer's boiler suit making it demands known and daring them to not be met.
Yeah. The Sonics. Alpaca sweaters.

I'm doing fine. My puppy loves me and my foster dog loves me.
High School Confidential (1958) The doctors said that my White Blood Cell count has stabilized.
That's good. Now the biggest thing is to stop the irreversible damage done getting things this way.
I hurt my ankle this morning dodging some idiot in a car who went off the shoulder of the road. They didn't stop.
At first I thought I ruptured the achilles tendon. Its got an interesting knot and still burns fiercely.
I put it off to Friday the 13th. What you going to do?
Me? I worked.
They're refinancing the entire company, which seems odd because it is damn peculiar. They're refinancing through a company that made its biggest mark in the world in Boston during the building bust there, picking up multi-million dollar properties for a dime on the dollar and then just waiting out the bust for the boom. They did it with refinancing . . . Just like Lionel Barrymore in "Its A Wonderful Life". I guess my employers figure they're just smarter than these guys.
The guy who "owned" Freckles took off in the middle of his night, apparently running for his life. Had to be drugs, bad drugs.
I made sure he took the dog with him, or at least didn't abandon the dog someplace where I could fetch her.
That's pretty much it. Work, packing, loving. Sunday another adoption event to try and give away my foster puppy, but only to people who will love her.

July 9, 2007

You're something there ain't nothing lower than
Broderick Crawford

Theorphans Thefozz
Click images for desktop size: "The Orphans" by The Fozz
For no real reason I've decided that Alkaline Trio is my favorite group.
Probably because I've listened so much to "Remains", and likely because Tesla's new one "Real To Reel" is covers, they even sink to covering their own stuff - and its faithful covers, not new just the old songs done reverentially.
And The White Stripes have gotten too big. I enjoy Jack White but the passion and expectations of deliverance are gone, replaced with boring confidence and amazing skill.
There's just nothing new out there that socks and amazes me anymore, except Matt Skiba and Alkaline Trio.
Pride Of The Yankees Xlg - 1941
My friend said something I was stunned by. She thinks that all surf music sounds the same!
As a guy who has 16 versions of "Pipeline" and can identify the guitarist and the group from the attack on the first note of the opening glissando I am, needlessly and obviously, shocked!
She claims that because she likes the Duo Tones acoustic surf album that exonerates her from this onerous claim. The Duo Tones don't really count. Back in the day you always could identify a Dick Dale tune by his speed, Link Wray by his hysterical attack, Paul Johnson by his his exuberant precision and Gil Orr by his technical proficiency.
Since Duo Tones are Paul Johnson and Gil Orr and since both of them learned classical guitar first (hey, the lead guitarist in Anthrax studied jazz guitar before he discovered thrash) I contend that, while the Duo Tones are definitely surf liking them doesn't count as appreciating surf music.
I've always figured that all instruments are just a way to approximate the human voice while trying to isolate and purify the tone. (Except percussion which is just approximating the pounding of bones on rocks, which is why I studied drums first).
In surf music the guitar replaced the lead vocalist. The guitarist was the front man of the combo. Surf music was too cool for words. When Dick Dale invented it by using the Fender Reverb unit to make his blazing fast riffs sound like a vaseline machine gun every kid in the South Bay discovered a calling.
Now one thing modern surf bands, like the Aqua Velvets et al forgot was that surf music isn't tiki rooms and ultra lounge,its hard scuff up the floor boards dancing music.
Click images for desktop size: "Zebra" by Unknown
The kids who played it had to be better musicians than most garage band types. Almost all of them had actually had lessons!
This was a rock and roll where they could get all the chicks and get to show off.
Very few of the guys in surf bands could surf. Which was cool. When we parked our vans at a break and turned the tape decks up loud it was more likely the Ramones or reggae we surfed to. Surf music was for the drive along PCH, scoping the waves and starting to feel the pump.
I like surf music. It will never fade away.

The All Star game is tomorrow.
I'm stoked. Baseball is the only sport where an All Star game really works. It reminds me of the pick up games in the park. No pressure, just the fun of the game and a casual interest in victory.
Few things are as beautiful as that.

I've bought boxes home to start packing.
I might be leaving my cruddy job right on time. Today I've had to deal with appraisers and Structural engineers. Why the hell an hourly employee is left to their own devices in handling the brass tacks of a multi-million dollar transaction is totally beyond me.
One thing I'm certain of is that something isn't right. We've been told, and I know they lie to us at will, is that this is for the new investors. . . An environmental report for investors?
This smells of a major refi or, most probably, a sale.
I might be mistaken but I've been here before, although not in the lowly capacity I now have.
This is the oddest place I've ever worked. The fellow who I threatened about dumping his dog has quit, called from 4 states away to say he quit without notice.
What a jerk.
At least he didn't leave the dog tied up to a fence post . . .

July 3, 2007

But the fact of it is, nobody gives anymore
Ray Davies

Flowing Rock
Click images for desktop size: Flowing Rock" by Apple
I think most books about dogs are like porn. No matter how badly they're written, sans drama and effect, sans character and denouement, still read them and still get some hidden thrill from them.
At least I do.
I hate myself for it but I still keep reading. I enjoy pointless stories about dogs. I enjoy the characters that even bad writers convey.
Other people must as well as these terrible books keep hitting the best seller charts, keep making high rated TV shows.
Yet with all this product being sold about and some for dogs how can so many people be so blind to the cruelty inflicted upon them.
They are like pop stars you can throw broken glass at and still feel nothing but love in your heart.

I've been remonstrated for not posting more.
Hear it once I don't think about it. A half dozen times and I guess I have to accept the fault.
I've not been feeling too well, a lot of fatigue. I keep going into work but at the end of the day my legs feeling like burning cores of lead.
Merry Melodies Tonight I congratulated myself for resisting taking pain pills for 4 solid days. Pain just tells you you're still alive. I gave in tonight. Its okay. I don't have to be superman.
No work and no doctors tomorrow.
I don't get paid, which is a rip but I haven't had a day sprung on me where I had no responsibilities for too long. With a national holiday I am exonerated. There is nothing I can do.
I need that.
Just a day with my dog who loves me.
While I wish America hadn't become a country that would tolerate a President who tells us he is better than us, that he is above the law and his zealousness is our protection (similar to Stalin rhetoric in a scary way) it won't be my problem soon.

There is good news.
For some reason I seem to always be blessed with good news. I don't know why. Same way I don't know why there are so many people worth loving in my life. Why I met them and why they care about me. I'm a pretty crabby guy.
One of my old friends had another son on Sunday. In his words, he ran out of good names so he had to give him mine for a middle name.
I can't say how touched and pleased I am.
He's a man who I've always known would be a good father.
His call on Sunday washed all pain out of me. I saw a future.

There was also a reminder of the past.
I got the copy of the "posthumous" bootleg CD.
For the most part the music is confident. The two songs I remember still astonish me. I don't know why they weren't hits. They're good and I can't do any better.
I think most of the problem is that I'm not a front man. My voice is great singing back up but not distinctive or quirky enough for lead.
I'm a born rhythm guitarist. I fill in the holes in the sound and keep the danceability in.
I was still confused as to why anyone could call this punk. I write pop tunes. I like pop tunes. I like pop art. Art that's not intended to last forever, just to make you feel good for a while.
Silence Shiftedreality1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Silence" by Shifted Reality
I was glad to hear it. It reminded me of those times. Building the tape decks and rewiring the mikes. Playing with friends and crazy crowds. The laughing, the jokes, the heat and the sweat.
My wild man act is just gentle nostalgia now.
I saw "American Hardcore", the documentary about the hardcore punk movement. (There should have been more music and less talking - is there anything more boring than old musicians talking about the way it used to be?)
It was the same sort of nostalgia only this one was a touch more personal.
I have to go now. The early fireworks have terrified my foster dog.
My puppy isn't bothered by them at all but the foster dog deserves calmness and reassurance. Right now she's torn between believing I'm either the bravest thing in the world or the stupidest. Stupid because I don't know how dangerous those fireworks are and I should be trying to escape!
Prison Without Bars (1938) I'll try and post more often again.
There's never any need to worry about me. Ever.
Its not my desire to worry anyone.
The words are really just to make pretty frames for the pictures.
I am overwhelmed with fatigue sometimes. Nothing wrong with that.
I have a lot to do to get ready for the relocation in about 2 months.
Its a big move but it should make me and my puppy as happy as we can be.
I hope everyone goes to the beach. That you remember your sun block and have as many reasons as I do to smile.

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