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I was really sorry to see Notre Dame burning, omg! I'm glad that the stone and stained glass windows and other parts were saved! These are a few pics I took back in 2007 --

Been enjoying the spring flowers! This also means I've been working on the yard, cutting grass, weeding, etc. Not much camera time lately! Lilacs in the yard --
Rainy Day!

You know...a couple years ago, I read where a conservative Republican laughed and said something like 'They (meaning gay people) would NEVER be president.' I remember shking my head and thinking...I don't think that is correct. But I didn't think there would be a strong candidate so soon!

It's been really nice to see Pete Buttigieg running. Definitely following him on Twitter, and I kicked some coinage his way as a donation.
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Book club last night..I waited too late and didn't quite finish the book, but it was an enjoyable time nonetheless!

What was funny was how much the book was discussed, even though most folks didn't seem to like it -- too long, too biased, too flowery -- but folks talked about it BEFORE dinner...and AFTER dinner...and AS WE WERE LEAVING!

Usually, everyone agrees about the book, and then conversation goes to the eye-watering daily politics! But last night -- it was all book all night!
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My mom shares my love of Lilacs...these are from a bush I have in my backyard. I grew them from 'volunteers' -- plants that come up by themselves -- that I got from her bush years ago when I bought my house.
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I think spring has arrived!
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...I bust my ass moving my grandmother's lemon tree outside!

I always let the tree dry out as much as possible before I move it -- to make it as light as possible! I bought a new flat dolly this year -- which helped A LOT!

Back outside for summer and fall!

The date this year is not much different from usual -- I have a spreadsheet where I record in and out days. The tree spends about 7.4 months of the year outdoors.

Happy Ostara!
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I often describe the Lord of the Rings as my Bible! I have read it many (MANY) times...even in other languages (French, Portuguese)!

I think it is because Tolkien shared my love of language. And the good vs evil thing in the books.

My music selections are probably a good description of my life.."Everybody's worried about time, but I just keep that shit off my mind"...
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You know...I really like the HomePod...it has worked out very nicely for me and allowed me to get rid of the old stereo system with all the wires and speakers. Frees up space in the living room...looks and sounds good.

But sometimes...sometimes.....Siri just grates me, lol!

I mean, I could give it to him if I were speaking Portuguese -- since I'm not a native Portuguese speaker. But in English really, there's no reason whatsoever he shouldn't have understood my instructions this morning.
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I like remembering my dreams.

The other night, I had a dream where I was sitting on a couch, watching TV at a gay bar. Mind you, there was no roof -- this was a sectional sofa with a large screen TV outside in the open.

I was sitting between 2 guys. The guy on the right was, appropriately, "Mr. Right". The guy on the left was "Mr. Right Now"...

Mr. Right was sandy blond, average to muscular build, quiet and rugged. Mr. Right Now was glassy eyed and dark haired and very demanding of my attention. As a matter of fact, Mr. Right Now wouldn't leave me alone until he got my contact information, and I remember thinking that I was wasting time talking to him when I really wanted to be talking to the guy on my right.

Mr. Right Now also had a kiss that was WAY TOO WET...In the end, I did get to talk to Mr. Right (on my right)...I remember that he made me feel emotionally safe. An interesting detail.

I don't remember anything else...it was a pretty vivid dream as they go.
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Started the new gig...as usual, I felt out of place the first week. I'm a little worried about this place because everything seems to be done via phone -- I prefer face to face meetings because that is actually my skill -- forming relationships with customers. In my not very humble opinion, phone-email-text "conversations" suck and don't allow for relationship building.

Been self medicating this week with yard work, wine, and peep pictures, lol --
Peeps Mountain Climbing

The weather seems to want to become spring, but there's still a fair amount of cold! I've been doing a bit of yard work, putting down some dirt, getting up sticks and leaves from last year. I've also been looking at seeds that I might plant --

The tomato seeds I planted inside have sprouted!

Here's the sky the other night from my front porch -- the rest of the sky was dark and stormy looking, but the west had a nice orange glow -- it made for very interesting light outside!
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I’m starting a book that I’m excited about because of the subject matter. The book is called the "Final Pagan Generation", and the book’s subject is the last generation of people living in the Roman Empire as the Empire changed into a strictly Christian empire -- a generation who could not imagine a world where the pagan religions were not able to practice publically.

The generation he’s talking about is the older one that was still alive just AFTER Constantine (first Christian emperor) had died.

I’m just on the introduction now, but already I find it interesting how he is comparing the younger generation, who recognized the existential threat to paganism represented by Christianity, and the older generation (the ‘final pagan’ one) who could not even imagine the world order changing so much that paganism could be forbidden.

Here are some excerpts from the intro:
The younger pagan and Christian religious warriors were born into a world in which Christianity was clearly ascendant. They anticipated its destructive and transformative power, and as they matured, they came increasingly to understand that the dawning new religious order threatened the very existence of traditional Roman cults…

Older men did not see the world in this way…They reacted instead as if they could not imagine a world in which traditional religious practices did not have a part…

The “final pagan generation” I will speak about is made up of the last group of elite Romans, both pagan and Christian, who were born into a world in which most people believed the pagan public religious order of the past few millennia would continue indefinitely…

They lived through a time of dramatic change that they could neither anticipate nor fully understand as it was unfolding.

What I find interesting is that I might equate the words “pagan religious order” with "US political order" -- my generation's understanding of the rules and mores of how the US Republic works. I wonder that we might be the ‘last generation’ to think that the political order of "how things have always been" might not be how things might always be in the future.
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"Sing, Unburied, Sing" is the selection for book club this week. I didn't expect to like it because it is set in the Jim Crow South, and I grew up with the remnants of that, and didn't feel like I wanted a reminder.

But I did end up liking the book -- many of the scenes are painted with descriptive waves of supernatural familial sentiment: "....Mama...looks at Leonie with so much understanding and forgiveness and love that I hear the song again; I know that singing. I've heard it from the golden place across the waters. A great mouth opens in me and wails; I am an empty stomach.

The scaly bird lands on the windowsill and caws.

I found myself re-reading sections just to hear the words again.

Later Addenda -- It wasn't until the book club meeting tonight that I realized that this book is actually set in modern day! One of the guys at the meeting mentioned a cell phone used by a character -- and he's right, so the book's setting is in modern times, but I didn't realize it! The reason is just that the setting in the book was so very descriptive of the 'Jim Crow South' that I had read the book that way, but the story of the book happens in recent times! I imagine that was part of the author's intent -- to show that the Jim Crow South hasn't really gone away.

Also, I learned a phrase: "magic realism" as a description for the type of book this is. Basically, the ghost characters, and the talking animals (as understood by some of the characters), etc. amounted to magic realism.
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I may have posted this before but ran across it again tonight, but I really like this Youtube...it's a graphic description of Ancient Egyptian afterlife beliefs, set in the Biblical story of the final plague against the Egyptians before the exodus.


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It was a dreary, but fun day at the river with my friend yesterday, but the sun did come out as we were walking to a nearby brewery to have a couple drinks!
At the river yesterday with a friend

I got a little yard work done today...and now the rain has come back. I swear, the weather is driving me crazy this last year...and what if the unpredictability gets worse as the climate changes?

I brought some daffodils in before the big freeze arrives again next week --
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In the Buddhist way, I have been watching my monkey mind's thoughts.

I am in-between gigs right now -- I left the last one yesterday, and will start the next one in a few days. I noticed today that my mind has been swirling between tasks I forgot to do for the projects at the last gig (past), and doing laundry, etc. to prepare for the gig starting soon (future).

The Past and Future thoughts are totally stealing my Present! Both types of thoughts are natural, but I would like to settle down and enjoy the Present :)

Hanging out with a friend tomorrow and then dinner first part of next week with another friend, so hopefully that will help!
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I haven't posted much lately because nothing much to report. I'm in the last few days of my current gig, and I've been working harder lately than I have in a while because I'm trying to tie things up. It has been cold and rainy -- typical February. Spring has arrived, as attested to by the daffodils, but it's still dreary weather.

I've also been taking pictures of Amaryllis as they bloom. This is the last one!
Amaryllis 'Sweet Star'

Spent some time with various friends -- eating dinner and drinking mostly -- lawd, my weight has gotten out of control since New Years! Really, just not much to report, lol!
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Today is a good day. I settled on a rate for a new gig last night and gave my notice at my current gig today.

And I made an Amaryllis time-lapse (I think you will have to click on this and have it open in a new window in order to watch) --
Amarylis Time-Lapse
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Maybe too many episodes of that British baking show...but I felt like making bread today! I hadn't in a very, very long time, although it's something I really love to do!

It took a bit more time than usual because the particular recipe I used called for 3 rises -- 1 more than usual, presumably because this recipe only had 100% wheat flour, no white flour in it, so it probably needed a bit more time rising.

And so it begins --

After I finished kneading --

Nice 1st rise --

My favorite part is the punch down!

I forgot to take a pic after the 2nd rise, but it looked pretty similar to the 1st rise, just higher. Here it is after the 3rd and final rise in the loaf pans before going into the oven --

Final result, cooling on a rack --
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The Flowering Quince in the hedge is always the first sign of spring! The flowers bloom in February every year.

Every February, the Flowering Quince in the hedges are always my first sign of spring!
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Gawd, I have been busy at work for 2 solid weeks...I can't get what I need to get done and my typical organized work behavior is becoming disorganized. And for pretty much the first time I can ever remember, I came home with tense shoulders last night. That's not where I hold my tension -- it was bizarre.

Part of the problem could be that I need to make a trip to the eye doctor for a new prescription!

But a big part of the problem is that the current gig thinks that all Projects Managers are interchangeable. Need a rocket ship? Pull a Project Manager from the inventory. Need a new defense system? Go grab a Project Manager, would you? Need a new building? Hey, can you go grab a Project Manager from the back room?

I've been assigned to managing a fucking CONSTRUCTION project -- big, new building -- zoning, entitlements, MEP, general contractors, subs, building plans, the works. But my ENTIRE background is in software development project management. I am in no way qualified for this. I'm not in charge of the overall project, of course -- only managing from the perspective of where I am currently working. But adding the additional work of this to my other projects has just resulted in stress for me.

#NotTheBestSituation but Imma take care of myself. Count on it! You can mark that shit down.

Anecdote -- a PM was recently let go. He wasn't the most experienced, and his "EQ" -- Emotional Intelligence Quotient -- was not as strong as mine. Truth. And I really can't say if I liked him or not, although I did buy him lunch before he left. #basicdecency

Someone recently described him as a 'Goldfish in a Barracuda tank' -- and I LAUGHED SO HARD because it is true. The Barracudas just gobbled him up in one bite...no bones left...nothing! Me? Not a Goldfish. But not a Barracuda either. I like to think of myself as a nice, old fish -- maybe a Dolphin? The Barracudas generally leave me alone. But Imma take care of myself. Mark it down!

De-stressing tonight with some old Madonna --

On a more pleasant topic, I was rather pleased with this photo of a hawk last weekend. I actually missed it, but when another guy saw that I was taking pics of a heron, he pointed out the hawk to me.

The colors are nice. It was in the morning, so the light is nice. I used my longest zoom, and tried to be careful not to disturb the hawk.
Birds at Maymont


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"O seguro morreu de velho, mas o desconfiado ainda está vivo." -- "The safe one died of old age, but the suspicious one is still living."