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Joelle's misc Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Joelle Duran" journal:

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July 2nd, 2018
05:46 pm
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Jagged June
Another awful month. Too much heartache, too many setbacks, and too much depression. Got my pcs running how I want at last, and sometimes I even have a little time...but now I'm too depressed to work on art projects. Oh, the irony!

My garden got hit by a hailstorm and then overrun by a plague of aphids. That's been fun. And my TV broke, so now I get to do my exercise while watching episodes on my computer monitor instead, which is much smaller.

There are always the bright sides. I got to borrow the Towners's minivan for nearly two weeks aorund my birthday, which was a big blessing. And at least dysthymia helps mitigate some of my summer seasonal depression symptoms. I'm really enjoying the fact I haven't had any anxiety issues yet this summer. And since my area of the state is already at 9 days of over 90 degrees and just barely missed hitting 100 on the 29th, I'm glad my portable air conditioner is working and earning its keep. I'm past caring what my electric bill looks like!

Also glad that I made good progress in June with pass 2 of book 4 revisions. The project, not so much, since I keep finding more I have to learn and plan, and it's hard to find time to focus on it. I did manage a bit of training over lunch breaks, thanks to LinkedIn Learning.

June 7 - Second platelet donation of 2018

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions In Progress, 71% complete
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions not yet started
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots not yet started
Pass 5 Verbal read-through not yet started
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout not yet started
Pass 7 Final sweeps not yet started


As for July, that's always been a grit-my-teeth-and-just-survive sort of month, especially when there's no vacation pending. Attempt to stay cool, try to get some good sleep, and keep inching forward on various fronts. I would love to get to August with three balls rolling instead of two, but time will tell...

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June 30th, 2018
11:26 am
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Congratulations!
Congratulations to my brother and sister-in-law on the birth of their tenth baby! Yes, that is double digits!

Jonathan David
8 pounds, 4 ounces
20 inches long
June 20, 2018 at 2:30 am

And off to a great start making mom miss out on sleep! ;)

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June 1st, 2018
08:36 pm
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Fractured April and Muddling May
The last two months have really stunk. It all kicked into high gear on April 6. That was the day I was going to start moving files from my old pc Tertius to its successor, Quartus. Instead, Tertius decided to 'retire' a little early. Thus ensued a very expensive battle, in both money and particularly time, to get my files from Tertius, get Quartus up and running, try and fail to repair Tertius, spend far too much of my life messing with BIOS menus, have to purchase parts and software multiple times, buy an OS, buy a new hard drive, buy cords to read from a broken hard drive, read all sort of advice on the internet, get a replacement for Tertius, cannibalize parts from Tertius, be forced to switch emails and start updating way too many accounts, lose easy access to all my old emails, and pretty much make no progress with anything truly meaningful.

Life was rotten. No creative progress, no art project in motion, no big enough blocks of free time to do book 4 revisions, and definitely no writing progress. My soul already felt like it had shriveled into dead dust by how awful 2017 was (leaving aside the wounds of 2007 onward), and then this fun came along. Nor was that the sum of it. No car, no way to get out to parks, but little reason to attempt it either, because my lovely state decided to skip spring. April went from a super cold month with a monster blizzard in the middle, to May, which started hot and then ended with a unprecedented 6 days in a row of 90+ temps (and one day likely hit 100) and became the second-warmest May on record. Or as the meteorologist put it, we had two Marches and two Junes this year.

At least I had a blessed reprieve in the form of visiting family in California, though it was not the sort of trip to bestow mountains or long hikes. I'm grateful I was able to not spend all that time thinking about the computer war and do special outings with nieces and nephews.

Needless to say, accomplishments were abysmal, unless staying quasi-sane counts as such.

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions In Progress, 33% complete
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions not yet started
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots not yet started
Pass 5 Verbal read-through not yet started
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout not yet started
Pass 7 Final sweeps not yet started


So now comes the real June and horrible summer in full, and how I feel is that I'm effectually dead, even if I do technically still have a pulse, collect a paycheck, and pay taxes.

And at least, though I'm now probably approaching $800 over budget with all that's gone wrong, I do finally have Quartus and all its needed software purchased and installed, and Sidekick (the replacement for Tertius) is set up well enough that Quartus is siloed from the internet. If I can scrounge up any time or inner strength, I could go full-bore into art projects again, with only the non-existent Vue website and store to keep me from being able to pursue any project I want.

My big project that I started on in March and hoped to unveil in June has to be rebuilt from the ground up, but at least the delay gave me a little space for some extra training during recent lunch breaks. And I was blessed that I could sequester 7+ hours on Memorial Day just to do book 4 revisions, so at least that ball has the potential to keep rolling.

I'm glad to have things to anticipate. A special event getaway in early June, and just maybe my big 25th anniversary celebration gift will be finished in June as well. Oh yes, and turning 43.

Hopefully that's enough to keep the depression I'm flirting with from getting any stronger, and hopefully life can begin to move in the direction of being something more like life again. I'm very grateful for Starfish (my netbook) in this whole mess, and intensely grateful for my portable air conditioner. Trying to brace for a horrifically warm summer in which I won't want to go many places even if I did have a car.

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April 2nd, 2018
01:05 pm
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Middling March
Lots of things in progress for March, a few more projects started, but not much of anything got finished, as shown below. And that includes winter, if the snowfall due tomorrow is any indication! Art projects wound up getting put on hold because most of what I want to do requires a less-elderly computer or time I can't spare. I'm pleased that I made fantastic progress with Geren book 4, getting pass 1 finished and pass 2 started.

Tax refunds made their most welcome appearance, which meant I got to purchase my long-anticipated new desktop and saw it delivered at the very end of the month. Also got rolling with a large, time-consuming project I've been wanting to start since a year ago. It requires a great deal of learning and will hopefully be somewhat presentable in June.

Mar 24 - First platelet donation of 2018

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions In Progress, 5% complete
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions not yet started
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots not yet started
Pass 5 Verbal read-through not yet started
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout not yet started
Pass 7 Final sweeps not yet started


As for April, that will be half a month at home, and half a month visiting family. Spring might eventually decide to show up, too! (Probably after I leave.) Work will start bringing some challenging projects and hopefully some finish lines (and celebrating?) with the big Canada implementations that have been spread out since last year. I hope to keep working at Geren book 4 pass 2 when time permits, but getting my new desktop up and running will be a big priority, and hopefully resuming some art projects as well. Whatever happens, I expect it will feel a very quick month and May will be breathing down my neck far too soon...

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March 1st, 2018
06:02 am
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Fine February
February of 2018 was definitely special. I really enjoyed my eleven days off to celebrate 25 years since first 'meeting' t'DoL, even if I was also surprised by how much I didn't find the time to do! At least I got the essays written, which I will cherish in the future, and I also (finally) completed the review of first three Geren books, the pdfs and eBooks made or remade, and my (late) announcement posted. At last. Lots of feasting happened too, along with extra exercise to make up for it!

Best of all, I got a short story written, my 25th anniversary story! Had some fun with small 'unscheduled' art projects as well, and finally dove into the Geren book 4 revisions. And got fabulous news from my employer with the yearly bonus, though taxes aren't done yet.

Feb 10 - Started writing 'Relentless'
Feb 17 - Finished Mastersword wallpaper image
Feb 19 - Finished writing 'Relentless'
Feb 22 - Finished Mastersword LJ avatar and movie

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions In Progress, 19% complete
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions not yet started
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions not yet started
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots not yet started
Pass 5 Verbal read-through not yet started
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout not yet started
Pass 7 Final sweeps not yet started


As for March, much of it may be devoured by book 4 revisions, not just because that's top priority, but because I get sucked in by parts of the book when I reach them! I'd like to keep working on some art projects, such as the illustration for 'Relentless,' but book 4 might just be too engaging at times. I do hope to get 'Relentless' (the story) cleaned up and ready for readers at some point in March.

March is a milestone month in a sense since it gets me to half a year of being carless. I hope to do my taxes and get into shopping for a new desktop in earnest, though I might not get Quartus until late March or April. March also brings the first stirrings of spring, which will make getting around easier, eventually!

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February 19th, 2018
01:22 pm
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A belated FYI, finally!
Running later than late this year--didn't manage to finish in January. But I finally finished. This is an FYI that the revised version of my third Geren novel is now available for anyone who read the older version and might like to read it again. I've also made some very minor tweaks and cosmetic changes to the first two Geren novels.

Available formats
- pdf
- epub (for Nook, Kobo, Onyx Boox, etc)
- mobi (for Amazon Kindle)

Please let me know if you want paper copies, and they will get a higher priority on my ever-lengthening purchases list!

And now for Geren book 4...and that will NOT get finished in a year unless I really do find a time-turner!

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
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February 17th, 2018
12:00 pm
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25 Years


After a week of celebrating (or more accurately, trying to get through even half of the items on my want-to-do list) the long-anticipated day has finally arrived!

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February 14th, 2018
07:04 pm
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Inception
February 14, 1993 was the day I marked for starting on that very first drawing of what would become the Defender as a fledgling. (More about that in my 'Defender Rising' essay that I wrote in 2008). Amazingly, I wrote the dates on the back of it, February 14-20, 1993. And more amazingly, for some bizarre reason I signed it.

I observe my anniversary date on the 17th. This due to my hunch that by that point the picture was far enough along that I had come up with the backstory associated with it, as well as the fact that the 17th is halfway between the 14th and the 20th.

That grey clothingCollapse )

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February 10th, 2018
01:37 pm
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7 Days Out - Silliness
Only one week left to my 25th anniversary of first 'meeting' t'DoL! I've got a lot in progress, but I decided the best way to kick off the celebration postings was with a little fun.

Some may question my sanityCollapse )

Current Mood: amusedamused

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February 1st, 2018
06:31 pm
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25th Anniversary post: The One Against the Many
[Composed February 2018]


For me, the Defender of Life (t'DoL) has always been the avarii. He was and remains the first and central character in the world of my stories. In fact, it was not until writing 'One Shining Day' in 2005, and about Heruvael's youth in 2006, that any avarii save him entered my writing, save for secondhand references to the Changer in my Geren books, and t'DoL's own testimony of loss near the end of Hope's Passage, also in 2006. That meant twelve years in which I wrote about no other avarii, while avarii culture didn't even start getting described until I wrote 'A Song in the Twilight' in 2004.

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06:28 pm
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Inspirations for my Writing, chapter 3
[Composed February 2018]

Inspirations for my Writing, chapter 3: Themes, Challenges, and Motivations


Chapter 2 for inspirations, that I wrote ten years earlier, focused on books I encountered as a child or young teen containing thematic links or plot parallels with my stories. This chapter is more focused on what impacted my motivations and perspective. In a sense, the why, rather than the what. The below are listed in attempted chronological order, ranging from childhood to high school years.
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There is probably a fine line between influence, challenge, and ideas I intentionally worked into my writing. Which is to say, I have no clue if there will be a chapter 4! Maybe if I ever finally find that last stubborn quote...

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06:08 am
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Delayed December and Jouncing January
December was a grueling month on the job, especially in the beginning, and a month for frustrating delays in other areas. I was glad to get the 2018 single page calendar completed in decent time despite some additional hurdles. I kept working at pass 7 in the third Geren book, but got stalled waiting to hear back from my editor. Started on what was supposed to be a 'quick' art project that ended up taking over a month due to how difficult it was for my pc, but at least the art project following stuck to schedule better.

January got off to a very interesting start due to being called up for Jury Duty starting on the 2nd. Thanks to God's grace, I narrowly missed being put on a weeks-long criminal trial, and ended up spending only one day away from work, which was a real blessing with how crazy busy it has been there. Since book 3 was stalled, in January I moved ahead with a quick review of the first two Geren books, to take up some of the changes and details I've learned from my wonderful editor. Started on initial prep-work for my 25th anniversary celebrations, and finally got the awaited reply from my editor toward the end of the month. So I'm free at last to get Geren books 1-3 all wrapped up once I make some final decisions and tweaks.

December-January were the months in which my body decided to emulate my father and quit digesting lactose entirely. That has not been fun. They have also brought an amazing and long-lived cold snap (with fantastic frost) and a snowstorm on January 22nd so heavy and magnificent it actually paralyzed a chunk of Minnesota--that takes some doing! And now the state has rolled out a nippy and somewhat snowy welcome for the Super Bowl visitors, hah!

Dec 5 - Finished "With Sound Effects!" 2018 calendar project
Dec 11 - Fourth platelet donation of 2017

Jan 12 - Finished "Midwinter Mercy"
Jan 26 - Finished "Sea of Leaves" (Shado-blanket project)

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots COMPLETE!
Pass 5 Verbal read-through COMPLETE!
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout COMPLETE!
Pass 7 Final sweeps In Progress, 97% complete


As for February, I am very much looking forward to February! It brings me to 25 years since I first 'met' t'DoL as a senior in high school. I am going to celebrate getting to enjoy a quarter century of such a blessing! I've got seven days off work coming up, which turns into eleven when I add the weekends. Since I couldn't save up the $2,500 a 25th anniversary merits, I had to settle for a spendthrift enjoyment of time instead, which is equally precious. I've got plenty planned, even if a chunk of it is just clean-up work related to my writing that I can't find the time for in normal circumstances. And just maybe I can get the ball rolling on the rewrite for book 4, too!

February also brings taxes and finding out if I get a yearly bonus from my employer, so hopefully by month's end I can be full-tilt into working on buying Quartus, my replacement for my elderly and longsuffering desktop Tertius. As always, time will tell!

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January 17th, 2018
05:19 am
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Essays and Remembrances
This is a hub page for essays I've written over the years related to my writing. Some are about beginnings and how my writing for t'DoL got started. (t'DoL = the Defender of Life.) Others are about influences on me and my writing, or how my writing has impacted me, or what I might now choose to do differently. Those at the bottom are full of book spoilers and restricted in access.

If you're struggling with insomnia or just plain curious, dive in!

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January 14th, 2018
02:18 pm
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2017 Silver Lining: Art
While 2017 was a really horrid year on all sorts of levels, as I mentioned in my yearly summary post, there were a few silver linings. And probably the biggest of them was how great a year it was for art projects.

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January 7th, 2018
07:31 am
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2017 Books
Another new year means another round of moving my books list from my shouts_of_joy bio page over here to be a reference down the road. 55 for 2017 (not including my own, of course), so at least better than the past two years.

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December 31st, 2017
03:39 pm
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2017
Back with the quiz I've posted yearly since 2004. 2017 was awful. Awful awful awful...in fact it could be up near the very top of the worst years of my life, vying with 2008 and 1997. Except. God has brought me to the place where I can bear it better than in prior years. Jonah-style "meltdowns" were about once a week toward the beginning of 2017, and further apart later on. Those would have happened multiple times a week to daily, along with bucketfuls of depression, had I experienced a year as bad as 2017 three or more years ago. I am so grateful for the work God has done, but really really wanting to be finished with this horribleness. Setbacks and poverty everywhere. Closed doors, burned ladders, barred gates, blocked paths, and way too much darkness. The only aspects of life that did not go badly this year were personal health, staying employed, and art projects. Easier to make that list than describe all the bad stuff!

Whatever happens in 2018, at least it's got my 25th anniversary since first meeting t'DoL in it, therefore it can't be as bad as 2017, right?
 
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December 1st, 2017
05:54 am
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Normal November
November felt like a stasis month for me. Nothing changed on the car front (3 months now) or the Triune front (6.5 months), or pretty much any other front. But at least no big hurricanes or other bad events for me or my family. The month started out feeling like early December and then moved backward, so now it's as warm as early November. I was finally able to finish my first draft of 'Deceptions' after it dragged out for months. Got started with pass 7 work on my third Geren novel, and continued working on my single-page calendar for 2018, which as always brings drama and setbacks, course corrections, and struggle with my aging desktop. November also brought the joys of t'DoL's birthday and Thanksgiving, both of which were quite good and passed too quickly.

As usual of late, not much on the accomplishments list, but anything is better than nothing!

Nov 11 - Third platelet donation of 2017
Nov 13 - Finished writing 'The Deceptions of Hu-Havenn'

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots COMPLETE!
Pass 5 Verbal read-through COMPLETE!
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout COMPLETE!
Pass 7 Final sweeps In Progress, 36% complete


As for December, wrapping up 'With Sound Effects!' (the 2018 calendar picture) and also trying to finish pass 7 work will be top priority. Hopefully I can get 'Deceptions' pounded into shape as well. It will be interesting having Christmas at home in my small one-bedroom apartment, since it means I can decorate "more" as my prior place was far too big for my limited collection. No space for a Christmas tree, mind, not with my dwarf umbrella tree Schleffie occupying the dining room!

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November 3rd, 2017
08:38 pm
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Pending October
Thank God, October was not nearly so bad on the hurricane front, or overall--in many ways it felt like stasis and waiting. With the local weather, I feel it brought one of the shorter autumns I've seen in my area. Color got started very late, and then abruptly ripped to shreds by the rain, wind, and finally loads of snow that came near the end of the month. It would have been nice to have more than one Saturday all month with decent weather, but oh well.

I'm grateful the cooler weather helped me recuperate from summer, and I've managed to make more progress with the ghastly story I'm writing. Finish line before year's end? I truly hope so! Very pleased with progress on the art front, since I now have another wallpaper to enjoy and a good start on my 2018 calendar image. As my editor spent the month working through the third Geren novel, October proved a fantastic time to enjoy reading too. Triune remains in limbo and I passed my second month of being carless.

Oct 22 - Finished 'Face-off,' Geren book 3 eBook cover image
Oct 24 - Finished 'Face-off' alternate wallpaper version

The prospect of November always cheers me, since it brings Thanksgiving, t'DoL's birthday, and cool weather. My wonderful editor just finished with Geren book 3 review, so November will certainly be busy, juggling pass 7 work, writing, and the art project. Getting by without a car in increasingly cold weather will be interesting, as I won't want to bike unless it's warm enough. I got a cart for hauling groceries and I'm shopping for boots with better traction, as my annual competition with Winter to get through without falling will be a bigger challenge when I have to walk more.

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October 1st, 2017
09:20 am
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Savage September
So maybe I'm not curious anymore. What a ghastly month September turned out to be. And I'm not referring to the fact that September was more like August for temperature while August was like September. Or the new challenge of my first month living without a car. That was just a challenge. The heat didn't help my attempts to recuperate from seasonal depression at all, but what made the month ghastly was the hurricanes. I thought it was dreadful enough to feel the scourge of Irma bearing down on Florida and aimed to show up at my editor's city right when she was supposed to start editing my third Geren book. That felt like a bolt from hell aimed right at my heart. Thank God, my aunts, cousins, and editor escaped with minimal to no damage and just a few days without power (but so many others suffered worse).

If anyone ever reads these posts who is not related to me: I am Puerto Rican (or mostly, with a little dash of Cuban). So then came Maria, as if Harvey and Irma weren't dreadful enough. That made September go from feeling like a bad dream to feeling like a nightmare that can't be awoken from. My grandparents are no longer living, but I still have cousins and a great deal of extended family in Puerto Rico, and it is a horror to contemplate how their lives and so many others have been upended, and how many months it is likely to last.

So, not much to show for September except a lot of grief and dread and prayers.

Sept 13 - Second blood donation of 2017
Sept 30 - Finished 'Autumn Play' (art therapy)

As for October, well, I really hope there won't be any more destructive hurricanes. (I fear otherwise.) Hopefully I can recuperate enough to keep struggling ahead with the story I'm stuck in, and I certainly have more than enough to work at for art projects. I'll be missing out on the height of fall without a car, but just have to make do with what's in range. Since my editor is working on my third Geren book, I can continue enjoying my extended editing break with more reading time on the bus rides. Not much else to say at this point--only hope that affairs stop going from bad to worse eventually!

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September 10th, 2017
09:32 am
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Oregon!
Below are a few photos from the wonderful trip my mom and I took to Oregon late August. Got to see great new places (Columbia River Gorge, Jacksonville, Bend, Sisters) and revisit others (Ashland, Florence, Hecata Head). Most memorable was seeing the total solar eclipse north of Madras, but aside from too much wildfire smoke in places, the whole trip was amazing.

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