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A beautiful goldfinch and a bunch of my favorite sparrows (they're my favorites, because they eat the bird food the other birds throw on the ground) hanging out on our fence this evening. #forJohn

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I might have made a grave error in judgment when I RSVP'd to a friend's event for this fall. The event is in the evening, so, we're planning to stay overnight that night. However, I just started looking at lodging in the area. In order to get a hotel room for less than $350/night, we'd have to stay about an hour away from the venue. Ugh. I thought, maybe, there'd be something in the $200/night range (which, while pricey, was something I'd figure out how to swing). This is not in a major city; it's just in an extremely gentrified area, I guess.

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And then the question becomes, if we were to stay almost an hour away from the venue, how expensive would it be to hail a rideshare from our hotel to the venue and back.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle
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is there something like Air BnB?

 ‎· Christina Pikas
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@cpikas: Good question. I might look into that.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle
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RT @cgrymala: “Tried a new twist on 1 of our favorite summer desserts this evening. Instead of having pound cake or angel food cake with strawberries & whipped cream, we tried some vanilla creme brioche bread with it. It was delicious.” https://twitter.com/cgrymala/status/1396648786055729156

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Got word this morning that most of my uncle's family that's left in India have all tested positive for COVID. At least one of them is already in pretty rough shape. Positive thoughts/vibes appreciated.

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I’m so sorry. Keeping them and your family in my thoughts.

 ‎· Jennifer D.
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Wow, yeah, positive vibes headed in your/their direction.

 ‎· I keep receipts.
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I wish I'd known before last night that, apparently, there is no way to buy more chlorine tablets for our pool (well, someone on Amazon is selling a bucket that usually costs ~$100 for >$400 right now). Apparently a chlorine plant got wiped out last year, and that means that there's no chlorine to be had this year; I totally understand that situation, but it would have been nice to know that before now, so I could have bought another bucket last time I saw one. Now I just have to hope we have enough chlorine to get through the summer, and that chlorine will be available sometime in the future.

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can you switch to bromine or whatever - i know there's a salt thing you can do ... i'm hazy on the whole process... but can you switch?

 ‎· Christina Pikas
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Unfortunately, I think bromine is considerably more expensive than chlorine usually is (at least, the tiny little bottle of bromine we have for our hot tub was pretty expensive), and, as far as I know, to switch to salt or another chemical, we'd have to wait until all of the existing chlorine in our pool dissipates. I think we'll have enough chlorine for the season, but it might be tight.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle
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We are currently putting in a small pool and am happy we decided to go with salt water given what I've heard about the chlorine shortage!

 ‎· sshreeves 1
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RT @cgrymala: “Oh, look. Things still aren't getting better in Berkeley County, despite the fact that the governor seems to think COVID is over.” https://twitter.com/cgrymala/status/1386707356629807104

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IDK - your Governor has been begging people to get vaccinated. Talking about body bags and whatnot. He did loosen up the masking in gyms requirement (sketchy). I feel like he's in a position like Whitmer - have to tread a line over what he can actually enforce and what is needed. (I watched his whole press conference last Wednesday for a report I was working on)

 ‎· Christina Pikas 1
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@cpikas: Yeah, I understand he's in a difficult position, and I have been mostly happy with the way he's handled this situation (and the fact that WV has fared much better - in a matter of total cases/population, although we've fared much worse in the matter of total deaths/case), but I also feel like removing a lot of the restrictions statewide was the best move he could make. If he'd gone back to a county-by-county basis, that would have been one thing. Around here, people have been flouting the regulations from the start, but, at least when there was some governmental support, individual businesses had a leg to stand on when trying to curb bad behavior. Now they have no support at all.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 1
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And, it should be noted that the numbers coming out of Berkeley County over the past month or so are worse than I think they have been at any other point in the pandemic (and certainly staying that way for longer than they ever did previously).

 ‎· Mr. Noodle
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^yeah, I feel for you. The vaccination was leading the country until they ran through the people who really wanted to be vaccinated and then hit a wall. It's going to be a trudge.

 ‎· Christina Pikas 1
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On the plus side, in another 10 or 15 years, the kidlet will have $100 (since the governor is sending out $100 savings bonds to everyone between 16 & 35 that gets vaccinated).

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 2
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Getting old sucks. I just pushed a weed out of the way with my foot, then bent down to pick it up, and, all of a sudden, I got a shooting pain just below my butt cheek, and my leg almost gave out on me.

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:-( Ouch! Did the pain subside or has it continued?

 ‎· Galadriel
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Sounds like sciatica? No fun at all. Hope you're feeling better.

 ‎· LB. Just LB.
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The pain has gone down, but it's still there. Last weekend, I felt like I probably strained the same muscle group while we were bowling, so, I'm guessing it's just a flare-up of that same issue.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 2
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A very sad day for music. Jim Steinman was a phenomenal song writer, and I am really bummed to see him gone. Jim Steinman, Songwriter for Meat Loaf, Celine Dion and More, Dies at 73 "Jim Steinman, the composer, lyricist and record producer who worked with artists like Meat Loaf, Celine Dion, Bonnie Tyler and more, died Monday, the Connecticut state medical examiner confirmed to…" (by Jordan Moreau) https://variety.com/2021/music/news/jim-steinman-dead-meat-loaf-celine-dion-1234955739/

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RT @cgrymala: “Considering things are worse in Berkeley County, now, than they have been throughout most of the pandemic, this makes total sense, @JimJusticeWV What a disgrace. https://t.co/MpFtIbesdNhttps://twitter.com/cgrymala/status/1384504910117363727

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RT @cgrymala: “Hooked up to my old soundbar, our new projector works really well. Almost like being in the theater. I just wish we could sit a little further away from the "screen", but none of our rooms are big enough to do that. Will be fun to try it outside some other time.” https://twitter.com/cgrymala/status/1383602294776684546

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There were a *lot* of really bright lights in Godzilla vs Kong, so, my eyes kind of hurt through a decent part of the film.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 2
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CBS Paid the Actress Eliza Dushku $9.5 Million to Settle Harassment Claims https://t.co/pcePAbFQNe .

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I am really angry that we were all denied an opportunity to watch Eliza Dushku in another recurring role on TV because some men have no idea how to behave themselves.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 6
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@halil: Ah, there are a few articles from 2019 - she stated then that she was not quitting Hollywood, but had moved back to MA to attend Lesley University studying holistic psychology.

 ‎· Jennifer D. 1
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RT @cgrymala: “Sitting outside the dentist office while the S/O gets a tooth fixed; I look out the car window and see these guys just wandering up towards the front door. Do you think they have an appointment?” https://twitter.com/cgrymala/status/1376861788319408132

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Probably just stopping by to settle their bills. Or at least to make a down payment.

 ‎· LB. Just LB. 8
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@laurabotts: That's fowl.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 3
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@cgrymala: :)

 ‎· LB. Just LB.
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RT @cgrymala: “You know; I never realized this before, but it's a real shame that Juliet Landau isn't in the Mission: Impossible movies. Given that she's the daughter of 2 of the stars of the original series.” https://twitter.com/cgrymala/status/1376665645509529604

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Our governor announced today that anyone (16 and older) who wants the COVID vaccine is allowed to get it, now. There are no more restrictions. The S/O and I are already signed up to get ours in a little over a week, but, now we can start looking to see if we can get the kidlet vaccinated, as well.

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I'm hearing rumors that Walgreens is doing walk-in vaccinations, but I haven't gotten confirmation on that yet.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 2
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Your state is kicking butt and taking names with respect to vaccinations. Go you!

 ‎· Christina Pikas 2
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@cpikas: Yeah, it's one of the very few things WV actually seems to be getting right. I will say, in fairness to our governor, that he has done a _fairly_ decent job managing the pandemic crisis, but that, sadly, does not make up for all of the other crap our state is responsible for.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 1
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RT @cgrymala: “Was feeding the #grandniblet this morning, and when I was trying to burp her, she farted, instead. That still counts, right?” https://twitter.com/cgrymala/status/1373974835408351239

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I just scheduled a COVID vaccine for myself! I have no idea whether it's the 1-shot J&J, or if this is the first of 2 appointments, but, I was successful. I got the email yesterday, and there were no appointments available then, but, I decided to check again this morning, and there were plenty of appointments. I will be getting shot on April 2.

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RT @cgrymala: “Planning to observe Pi Day and St Paddy's Day today. Just prepped the corned beef. It's a big enough slab, I have to use our roaster oven, because the meat alone took up the whole crock pot. Had no room for the veggies.” https://twitter.com/cgrymala/status/1371055792439320578

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We'll be having dutch apple pie and blueberry pie for dessert (my mom is making those), and my mom is also making irish soda bread to have with the corned beef. Both of my parents are fully vaccinated (they both got their second shots about a month ago), so, we should be able to safely have a small gathering with them.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle
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RT @cgrymala: “One year ago, today, the kidlet walked into school for class like any other normal day. The next day, they were already scheduled to be off school for a teacher workday. She has not been back into the school for class since then.” https://twitter.com/cgrymala/status/1370406626373464064

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Bought some Tillamook cream cheese at the store the other day, and was excited to try it this morning with a new batch of homemade bagels. Unfortunately, none of us were really impressed with it; honestly it just doesn't have the flavor or even quite the texture we've come to expect from cream cheese.

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The texture is strange. It's almost a little grainy, but it also spreads fairly easily, and, very strangely, once you spread it, it almost lays like a slice of very soft cheese. Like, you could almost peel it back off of the bagel.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 1
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I'm not sure how to describe the flavor; it's almost like Philly or any store brand cream cheese, but there's something missing, and I can't quite put my finger on it.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle
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Huh. I don't think I've seen that in the stores around here. I swear by their sour cream (it's a lot thicker than most of the other brands I've found,) but hadn't see that. Good to know - I'm a bit fussy about cream cheese.

 ‎· Jennifer D. 1
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hmm I've bought that multiple times and it doesn't match with what i've had.

 ‎· holly 3
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@hollysue: Interesting. I wonder if we just got a bad batch or something.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 1
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Today is the last "snow day" for our county schools. Apparently they built 5 snow days into the school calendar, and today is the fifth one, so, regardless of the weather, the kidlet will have to do school work tomorrow.

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Just updated our cell phone plan this morning. Previously, we had a "family" plan where we shared 15GB across 3 lines, with rollover. The base charges for our plan were $138.50. For a base charge of $140, I was able to switch all 3 of us over to "unlimited", plus I get access to HBOMax, and 30GB of hotspot usage on my phone (it would have cost $20 more to add the hotspot usage to the other 2 lines). So, basically, we should be getting HBOMax for what amounts to an extra $1.50/month, and we get the added benefit of having unlimited data on our phones, now, too.

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In order to get it for $140/month, I had to sign up for autopay; this is the first >$50/month bill I've done that with, so, I'll have to pay more attention to things, now, but, I think it would cost $30 more per month to turn that off.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle
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The new grandniblet came to visit for the first time yesterday. :) We'd gotten to meet her once a week or so ago, but this is the first time she's come to our house.

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And, yes, they are in our "bubble", and we are in their bubble. Aside from the S/O having to go to work, and Thing 1's fiance having to go to work, Thing 1 & her household are the only folks we spend time with outside of our household (we see my parents occasionally, but always at a distance, and always with masks), and we are the only folks they spend time with outside of their household.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 8
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Oh, so very darling. Thank you for sharing with us!! ❤️

 ‎· StephAnie Wear A Mask 6
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Welcome to the world new grandniblet!

 ‎· Galadriel 1
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She’s a cutie!

 ‎· Soup 1
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RT @cgrymala: “I'm not sure how anyone is expected to keep up with this stuff. I made this flow-chart to show how Berkeley County School students have to determine whether or not they have school on each given day (not shown is the fact that they only check the "red" status 2/week).” https://twitter.com/cgrymala/status/1357356772269297664

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SVG copy of the flow chart: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvhbHD5kAXrxmMVwLFm-y45awyt-NA

 ‎· Mr. Noodle
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TIL that the official Twitter handle for the American Bar Association is "ABAesq", and, while I get it, I can't help but wonder if the person who created the handle is a fan of Erasure (for those not in the know; Erasure has an ABBA cover album called "ABBA-esque"). Abba-esque - Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abba-esque

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Love this EP.

 ‎· kaijsa 1
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A few weeks ago, while grocery shopping, we picked up a box of mini "pretzel dogs" on a whim. We had them for dinner a few nights ago, and they were pretty good. Went back to the grocery store yesterday, and planned to pick them up again, but, when I scanned them to add them to my cart, I noticed that they were $20 (and that's on sale; normally they're $25)! I guess we weren't paying any attention when we picked them up the first time. They were good, but I don't think they were $20-25 good.

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😯

 ‎· LB. Just LB.
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what are pretzel dogs?

 ‎· StephAnie Wear A Mask
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Oh, wow, that's steep. The Auntie Anne's ones in our frozen section are usually $6-8 for 4 full-sized ones.

 ‎· Jennifer D.
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^^ In this case, they were cocktail franks wrapped in pretzel dough; similar to pigs-in-a-blanket, but with pretzel dough wrapped around them instead of biscuit dough.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 1
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^^ This was a box 36 mini pretzel dogs; the full-sized Nathan's ones were ~$8 for a box of 4. That's what we picked up this time to see if they're as tasty. With a family of 3, though, the 36-count box was a lot easier to split up than the box of 4 full-sized ones will be.

 ‎· Mr. Noodle 1

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