Thursday Thoughts: Universal Goals

November is done. I came to the end of National Novel Writing Month with just over 50K words written in MOONSTRUCK MAFIA: BOSTON. My goal is to get finished by the end of the year so it can get edited, proofed, formatted and uploaded right after the first of the year. Not sure that will happen because…damndang. This sucker is turning out to be a complicated–and long–story. I may have to shift some long and short-range goals before all is said and done. Which brings me to today’s message from the Universe.

Enjoying short-term pleasures at the expense of long-term dreams is just about as silly as pursuing long-term dreams at the expense of short-term pleasures.

Silver, pursue both.

I do,
The Universe

Kind of like, have your cake, Silver, and eat it too.

I like cake! Having it and eating it. And pie. Cookies. Brownies. Ice cream. Ahem. I digress. Change the word pleasures to the word tasks and dreams with projects and you have my topic for today’s essay on writing. This is especially true in self-publishers but it also applies to traditionally published authors too. See, writing and putting a book out into the world is a process. Writing, editing, revisions, proofs. All of that takes time and there’s often periods of inactivity between each step. Experienced writers put that time to good use. They start the next project. And the next. And so on. It’s like being on a hamster wheel but not quite as boring or as exhausting physically. 😉 My ponit is, writers need to have both short and long term goals and they should learn to mesh those goals so that tasks become pleasures and projects become fulfilled dreams. Right? Let’s get out there and work on those pleasures and dreams!

So, tell me. If you going to have your cake and eat it too, what kind of cake? Me? I’m kinda craving a chocolate cake with rocky road icing.

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Wednesday Words: A Year’s Time

How can it be the first of December already!?!? This year has flown by which makes today’s #1lineWed THEME of **ONE YEAR AGO** very apropos. This scene is very rough, has been rewritten once and will be revised again, especially when I rework the scene from Devlin’s POV that precedes. This happens well into the book. And it happens a year after the scenes I wrote Monday and Tuesday to get me over the 50K count so I could win NaNoWriMo. Dev has been very patient, which surprses me because…wolf…mate…claiming! Anyway, not sure if this one’s been shared or not. At this point, it all runs together because…time passes. Anyway, I hope you enjoy…
She had no clue why her so-called friends would drag her along on this fiasco. Even Mary Pat, whom she’d known since first grade at St. Vincent’s Catholic School and whom she considered to be her very best friend, had insisted. One year ago, they’d put Tommy in the ground, closed casket. The looks of pity from everyone, including Mary Pat, hadn’t gone unnoticed. She’d also recognized the arch looks of superiority from the others. They all thought she hadn’t known that Tommy was screwing around on her.

From her seat in the corner, she watched Nora and Rosie play their games. She wondered if they knew Tommy had been bumping uglies with both of them. Oh, they’d looked all pious and concerned at the bastard’s wake, but she’d heard them gloating to others, not to each other. Everyone felt so sorry for her—the young widow of the hero cop. Ha. Some hero. Tommy had been taking payoffs and screwing everything with the right plumbing. She counted herself lucky the six years they’d been married that he’d rather use her as a punching bag. Tommy used that to work out his frustrations. The fucking? That was sheer punishment and he dished out the marital rapes with ruthless intensity. She’d gotten pregnant once, but then he beat the kid right out of her. Oh, he’d gotten a lot of sympathy over that one. Poor Tommy Gallagher who’s clumsy wife had fallen down the stairs and miscarried.

Then on a hot August night, some Southie gangster did her the biggest favor of her life. He walked up and shot Tommy in the head. She figured it happened while some whore was sucking him off. That little tidbit stayed out of the papers because the department made him out to be a hero. The magnificent Tommy Gallagher, dying in the line of duty protecting some helpless woman. The department, or Danny Boy Moore, paid off some working girl, so the story she gave was that a john was beating her up and Tommy intervened. As if. She wasn’t stupid. Or clueless. Tommy had played a dangerous game and paid full price for the ride.

Noise in the strip club ramped up and the strobe lights went into hyper drive. She wanted nothing more than to be home in her own bed, the one that Ishe shared with the new love of her life—Puck, her Newfoundland dog. Then she looked up. And saw him.
And there you have it. There’s a fun scene–already written–that occurs very shortly after this one. I’m ready to get past the heavy stuff, which those last two chapters were. REALLY heavy. Writers, any year ago events of note in your WIPs? Readers, what were you doing “one year ago?”

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Tuesday Treats & Titles: Caramel-Bourbon Pecan Pie

There weren’t many slices of my plain ol’ pecan pie leftover from Thanksgiving. Good thing I didn’t make this version. There would have been none left! This treat takes Southern cooking to a whole new level!

Total Time: 3 Hr. 15 Min. incl. refrigerating
Prep Time: 15 Min.
Cook Time: 3 Hr.
8 servings

Enhance this bourbon pecan pie with sweet, toasty melted caramel. Top each serving with a dollop of COOL WHIP for a delicious Caramel-Bourbon Pecan Pie.

What You Need
36 KRAFT Caramels
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp. bourbon
1 pkg. (6 oz.) pecan halves
1 frozen deep-dish pie crust (9 inch), thawed
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
*Please use alcohol responsibly.

Let’s Make It
1 – Heat oven to 375°F.
2 – Cook caramels, water, butter and bourbon in medium saucepan on medium heat 8 min. or until caramels are completely melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat.
3 – Spread nuts onto bottom of pie crust. Whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl until blended. Gradually stir in caramel mixture; pour over nuts.
4 – Bake 40 to 45 min. or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
5 – Refrigerate 2 hours.

My Tip: You read the instructions right. You put the pecans on the pie crust then pour the gooey stuff over it. During the baking process, the pecans “float” to the top.

Get all the details from My Food and Family. Since this is essentially a Southern recipe, you can bet my Texas heroine Annie makes this pie for her Wolf, Sean/Boomer. It’s also a favorite of her son, Cody. You can read their story in WOLF MOON or your can grab a bit more of their story, as well as Jacey and Connor’s tale in MOONSTRUCK: LIES. Both of these books are available from a wide variety of on-line bookstores, and you can read LIES for free with Hoopla. Just click on the titles or the cover pics to head on over to get your copy. I don’t know about y’all, but now I’m hungry for pecan pie. What are you craving?

*Required PSA from the Food & Family site 😉

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Long Weekend Monday

November is coming to an end. For a month with only 30 days, this one has seemed almost interminable, while zipping by at the same time. Also, it’s the Monday after a looong holiday weekend for those people are working. Well, I work, but I don’t have to get up, get dressed, face rush hour traffic and actually have to…you know…PEOPLE out there in public. I sympathize with them. I do actually remember what that’s like. This also means that the rush to Christmas has turned into a mad dash. My Christmas tree is up. (I haven’t taken it down in like…six years?) I need to get some light holder ground spikes before the outdoor lights go up. I won’t bore you with the details but I’m swithing out the rope lights on Nessie and then stringing the old lights along the front walkway between the driveway and the front door. Next up is dealing with gifts. Gift cards anyone? 🤣

In critter news, I kept hearing a thump on my office window and would catch a fleeting shadow. Birds occasionally land on the sill so no biggie. Until I saw a fuzzy tail. Yup. Squirrel! It took him awhile but he finally figured out how to get from the sill to the flat feeder outside the window. Where was Loki when this new catevision show was playing? No clue. He often lays i the window watching the birds but totally missed the furry critter.

Speaking of holidays, Thanksgiving happened. The five of us (LG, Only, Stormy, Baseball Boy, and me) went to Uncle Fix-It and Aunt Hooey’s house, along with her extended family. Yes, we were totally outnumbered. Not many leftovers, though we did have a little pecan pie left to go with our turkey sammiches. However, the only reason we HAD turkey sammiches is because I’d bought a 3 lb. turkey breast roast and I cooked it Friday. We had a nice time but I suspect the James Gang all went home and took naps. I certainly did!

Let’s talk college football. Wow. What a crazy weekend! All the sports folks were touting Rivalry Weekend (or Rivalry Saturday, depending on the outlet). There was certainly a lot of that to go around. There was excitement. Frustration. Outrage. Close calls. And my favorite: UPSETS! OSU and OU certainly lived up to the Bedlam hype. It was a crazy game but my Pokes held on and we beat Big Red 37-33. Michigan finally beat that other OSU (you know, Ohio State, that wants everyone to call them “The…”). I’ll give you three guesses who I was rooting for–and no, the first two don’t count. 😉 Michigan State then beat Penn State. #2 Alabama was almost upended by unranked Auburn. Four–count ’em–FOUR overtimes. They won by 2 points. There were other upsets (*koffLSUoverTexasA&Mkoff*) so the polls should be interesting. And they are. AP and Coaches polls rank my Pokes at #5, and that other OSU at #7. Playoff Selection Committee doesn’t hit until Tuesday but I’m not holding my breath. My Pokes never get the respect they deserve–when they deserve it. Anyway, moving on…

Writing. I did some. I have until tomorrow night at midnight to hit 50K words. As of typing this, I have 2251 words, which puts me at 45,720. Bare minimum of 2140 for the next 2 days puts me right at 50K. This book will not end at 50K. Nope. It’s a complicated story and that’s okay. There are a lot of couples and each one needs attention, but I’m still convinced this LONG book will be better than dividing the story up into short tales that get convoluted due to the concurrent time/plot line. Anyway, I AM writing new words and that’s the good news after a couple of weeks *koffmonthskoff* of drought.

Reading–not sure why I call it reading when I’m listening to audio books but whatever–has also been slow due to the above news abourt writing. I can’t listen to other authors’ words when I’m writing my own. I’m still in the marathon of Jayne Castle’s Harmony/Ghost Hunter/Dreamlight/Rain Shadow series. Yes, master/mistress of plots that Jayne is, she’s able to pull a whole raft of series into one cohesive whole! These are fun books for me and there’s the treat of a new release at the end of the marathon. I just started CANYONS OF NIGHT (Rainshadow, #0; Ghost Hunters, #8; Looking Glass Trilogy, #3; Arcane Society, #12). See what I mean? Anyway, I’m just managing to stay on track to meet my 200-book goal for my 2021 reading challenge.

Not much else going on in my world. Work. Naps (still NOT vibing with the time change!). Family. Life. Work. I truly do need to get focused on writing again. It didn’t used to be this hard and I keep looking for ways to make it easier because I’m happier and y’all are happier when I’m putting out books on a regular schedule. Anyway, cheers to a new and productive week ahead. What’s up in the corner of the world you call home?

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Friday Sinema: Thanksgiving, Southern Style

I hope everyone had a safe, sane, and enjoyable Thanksgiving, no matter how you celebrated. The folks at It’s a Southern Thing are at it again, and I’m pretty sure everyone will find at least once thing to identify with in this video. If you’re headed out for Black Friday shopping, good luck out there. Me? I’m just gonna stay in where it’s warm, do some work, and debate whether I should snatch the last piece of leftover pecan pie or be nice and let LG have it…TGIF and have a happy weekend!

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Thursday Thoughts: Universal Heart

I’m just going to let the Universe speak for itself. There’s not much I can add.

Always follow your heart, Silver, unless it’s been broken, then you must lead it.

Back into love,
The Universe

Did you know, Silver, that hearts are never too big to mend, too small to rebound, or too tired to love?

With all the crazy in the world, I’m thankful that there are those of us who can still love and have this day to share with family and friends and be thankful for what we have. Happy Thanksgiving, all! ❤

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Wednesday Words: Sibling Rivalry

NOTE: Crud. I  somehow didn’t get the autopost time right. Sorry I’m late. 🤦🏼‍♀️ The Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Wow. This week has flown by. Since this holiday is centered on family, today’s #1lineWed THEME of **SIBLINGS** is rather fitting. This snippet started live as a flash fiction prompt about being a prince. The two characters involved are Callum, who is the IT guru and 4th in command of the Borus, and Sophie, who’s father leads a rival gang.
Sophie became aware of the man as the maitre d’ escorted her to a table. She’d noticed he was with a woman so she reined in her immediate interest. Once seated, she remained aware though she attempted to focus on the menu. Except it was hard when he was staring at her. Like she was the premiere entry on the dessert cart. She was so captivated by him she paid no attention to his companion. Until she heard her sister’s voice.

“What is she doing here?” The shrill tone was worse than nails on a blackboard.

Well, shit. Wasn’t that just her luck? The first man to capture her attention in months and he was out on a date with her witch of a sister. Delilah was already bitching about her presence and she braced for the confrontation she was sure would come. While she could clearly hear her sister’s words, the man spoke so softly she couldn’t catch what he was saying.

Then, Delilah sprang out of her chair and Sophie winced. Those nails hurt when Del raked them across skin. She knew that sensation all too well.

The man’s movements were almost lazy as he blocked her sister’s blow. The approaching waiter halted mid-step, clearly appalled judging by the expression on his face. He balanced a tray of food, looking as stiff as a mannequin and now plainly terrified of interrupting the drama playing out in front of him.
The man gripped Del’s wrist with apparent carelessness. Sophie let out a soft whistle. She had never seen any man look more ruthless and she’d grown up in a viper pit of alpha males. A part of her brain wondered what her father would do if confronted by that look.

For a moment there, after realizing her sister was here, she’d almost left, but the stubborn streak that kept her chin up in the face of the shit storm that was her family forced her to stay. She had as much right to dine here as her estranged sister. And wow, was she glad she had. Del was famous for her dramas and this one was turning out to be a doozy. When she’d caught that glimpse of interest in Delilah’s date’s eyes, which were focused on her, not her sister, she’d decided to stay. Not that there was any sibling rivalry between them when it came to men. Except maybe this time because…damn. By every ounce of femininity she possessed, she was aware of him. In a visceral way that touched all of her. All of her. Her skin crackled like someone was tracing sparklers over it and she would swear there were skyrockets bursting across the ceiling above her head.

She didn’t move, hypnotized by the snake-like reaction of her sister’s date. The man brushed away Delilah’s attack and then the maitre d’ and two burly busboys descended. Sophie slipped out of her seat and all but ran to the ladies room. She could miss this part of the debacle and stay out of Del’s clutches. When she returned, her sister was gone and the man occupied the other chair at her table, looking as cool and controlled as a king cobra.

He rose and held her chair. Hesitating, she felt those sparklers again. She sat before her legs betrayed her. He sat and offered her his hand.

“Callum Fitzpatrick.”

She knew the name. Irish mob. God knew he would never be a prince but she didn’t need one of those. She needed a man who would fight for her.

“Sophie McNamara.”

He smiled. And she was a goner.
For those of us dealing with family tomorrow, I hope that if sibling rivalry rears its head, it is due to competing culinary skills, because my rolls are so much better, y’all. Just sayin’. So’re my pecan and pumpkin pies but I’m only taking rolls and the pecan. Writers, any siblings in your WIPS? Readers, are your family gatherings full of friendly competition?

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Tuesday Treats & Titles: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Brown Butter Caramel Sauce

There’s still time to grab supplies and whip up this yummy dessert in time for Thanksgiving. And if you are in a part of the world who won’t be eating turkey, ham, turducken, *insert meat of your choice plus all the trimmings, I’m sorry. A traditional Thanksgiving meal is one of my favorites. I love turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, hot rolls, sweet potato casserole (that’s the one with Karo syrup and marshmellows), and even green bean casserole. Well, as long as the fried onions are on top. Add in hot rolls or bread, and DESSERTS! Pumpkin anything. Pecan pie. Okay, any pie! And Redi-Whip. Lots and lots of Redi-Whip. Anyway, this one isn’t all that quick or easy but it sure looks tasty!

Total Time: 7 Hr. 5 Min, (including refrigerating)
Prep Time: 35 Min.
Cook Time: 6 Hr. 30 Min.
16 servings

Sample the flavors of fall with our Pumpkin Cheesecake with Brown Butter Caramel Sauce. Pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice come together in perfect harmony to make this dessert irresistible. Our Pumpkin Cheesecake with Brown Butter Caramel Sauce makes any occasion special.

What You Need
1/2 cup butter, divided
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla, divided
4 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

Let’s Make It
1 – Heat oven to 325°F.
2 – Melt 1/4 cup butter. Mix with graham crumbs and 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
3 – Beat cream cheese and 1 cup of the remaining granulated sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and 1 tsp vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
4 – Bake 1 hr. 5 min. to 1 hr. 10 min. or until center of cheesecake is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake 4 hrs.
5 – Melt remaining butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue to cook 2 min. or until butter is light golden brown in color with a nutty aroma, stirring constantly. Add brown sugar and 1/2 cup whipping cream; mix well. Bring to boil, then cook 5 to 7 min. or until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.
6 – Beat remaining whipping cream with remaining granulated sugar and vanilla in small bowl with mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Spoon over individual servings of cheesecake before topping with the caramel sauce.

My Food & Family is my go-to site for recipes so CLICK and check out all the nutritional details. Thanksgiving in Blaidd’s Gap is always a family affair. FYI, Sean “Boomer” Donaldson deep fries his turkey, in competition with Mac. His mate Annie is big on the candied sweet potato casserole–you know the one, sliced sweet potatoes, Karo syrup and marshmellows and her addition is chopped pecans. Jacey is all about pecan pies and Amy handles the dressing while Connor and Harjo are ham and brisket. Amy provides the pumpkin pies and Lightfoot provided the turkeys, sharpshooter that he is. Rudy will wash dishes and Izzy has the homemade rolls and bread–for turkey sandwiches–covered. Antione wisely joins Rudy on KP and DJ, with a lot of help from Miz ** has figured out mashed potatoes and giblet gravy. That only leaves Hannah. Who threatens to boycott every year, but grudgingly provides the relish tray because “How f*cking hard is it to open a bunch of different pickle and olive jars, celery, baby carrots, and Lipton Onion Soup dip. I mean, that’s soup mix and sour cream. Also, no f*cking way in hell will I ever serve stewed okra, no matter what that crazy Cajun wants! And who the f*ck actually eats that canned cranberry jelly sh*t! So hell no, I’m not letting it leak on a plate and contaminate the other stuff.”

Ahh, Hannah. She’s one of a kind, yes?  MOON SHOT is technically the “end” of the Moonstruck series–at least as far as the Wolves of the 69th are concerned. They’re living their best life but dang if they don’t get involved with other Wolves so it’s not like they won’t be around. Now, y’all want to know know who contributed this awesome cheesecake to the feast, right? You can thank Granny Mae teaching Liam and Joy how to mix up all the ingredients. (To be honest, Liam mostly licked the spoons and bowl but hey, he was right there cheering Joy on! 😉 And he did do the dishes so there’s that…) MOONS SHOT is now at many on-line booksellers so just click on a pic or the title to grab your copyl. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Me? I’m all about the turkey sandwiches made with leftovers.

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Monday of Thanks

This month is getting closer to the end. After today, there’s only one more Monday. Months should NOT have FIVE Mondays. Because there’s never a month that only has three. Right? Here in the US, Thursday is Thanksgiving Day or Turkey Day or Get Together With Family and Argue Over Politics Day. We’ll be heading into the city for lunch at Uncle Fix-It and Aunt Hooey’s house. I’m taking hot rolls and pecan pie. They’re predicing about 25 people, most are in-laws. It’s okay. We sit at one table, they sit at another and we all get along. Mostly. So long as no one discusses anything beyond the weather. 😉

So…last week and the weekend. Both happened. As time does pass, don’cha know. And stuff happened. I think. My circadian rhythms are so screwed up, I have no sense of time any more. Let me think…

Writing. I did a little. I’m up to almost 37K words. I still hope to have 50K by the end of November–because NaNoWriMo–though I doubt that will be the end of the book. I did som prompt writing which helped with new words and then I took some “orphan” scenes and figured out where they belong in the timeline, got them inserted with intros and extros and some edits and new words as I filled out the particular scene. I know most of you are aware that I’m a Puzzler. I always mean to be a normal Pantser and just right the book from beginning to end but…yeah. I get distracted. An idea comes to me for a scene and I have to write it down. Then I save it, knowing that my subconscious has a place to put it when the time comes. It sort of works for me and it’s seldom that I actually jettison a scene because there is no place for it. Anyway, the Boston Wolves are mostly playing nice so there’s progress. I have two books coming off Kindle Select/Unlimited (whatever the ‘Zon is calling their subscription program these days). WOLF MOON and MOON SHOT will get their back matter updated this week. They go off on Thanksgiving day so not sure how that will affect getting the books wide. I’ll upload them on Friday, making sure they are OFF KS/KU, and take them wide.

In sports news, the real OSU won, as did OU. I was really hoping that Michigan State would beat that other OSU but nope. Ah well. I’m counting on Michigan to take them down this weekend! Of course, my OSU and OU play Bedlam this Saturday. It should be a good game, if a nailbiter. Go Pokes!

On the reading/audio book front, STILL doing the marathon of Jayne Castle’s books. Hey, I’ve been actually working on the Wolves so not listening as much. And there are like 16 books and I’m on book 6. It’s a fun paranormal/SciFi/romantic suspense series. Three of my fave genres wrapped up in one series, FTW!

TV. Yeah. It’s been on. I’m back to watching news because I can’t believe some of the crap that’s being bandied about. Whatever happened to truth and justice? Still doing the paranormal reality shows at night, and working slowly though some of the DVR’d stuff, which is crime, history, and paranormal. Hey, when you conk out at 9 p.m., it’s hard to stay current and most drama shows seem to have agendas and I’m tired of that shitstuff. Sadly, there haven’t been any movies that have caught my attention. Weird head space–sort of like I was in my reading not long ago. That said, I’m sorta sad that I didn’t watch the Masked Singer this season. Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame was unmasked last week. Three guesses on his costume and the first two don’t count… He was the MALLARD! 🤣 And nobody guessed him!

No drama going on around here. No funny Lawyer Guy stories, Loki tales, or doggo shennanigans to report. OH! THE BOSS AND HIS COWGIRL has been released in Korea. And BILLIONAIRE COUNTRY is available in Germany, both translated. Covers and titles for foreign editions sometimes boggle me. That’s pretty much all the news fit to print in my neck of the woods. I’ll be updating back matter, writing new words, making rolls, and baking pie this week. What’s up in your world?

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Friday Sinema: Sing Along

So…I saw this… And I thought, “Self, you’d go to Mass with this priest.” And I would. Father Ray reminds me a lot of the Episcopal priest who officiated at my dad’s memorial serive. As we were planning things, I mentioned that dad really liked “Amazing Grace,” and had mentioned truly enjoying hearing the kids in the church sing it with accoustic guitars. Father Tim grinned and mentioned learning how to sing the “Gilligan’s Island Theme” to the tune of “Amazing Grace” while in seminary. He then proceeded to sing it. I laughed and it truly lightened my heart. And yes, the kids did their version of the song at the service. Anway, I stumbled across this and thought two things–I’d go to Mass and this guy needs to be on Britain’s Got Talent.

Lo and behold, the next video up…

Can I call ’em or what? Have an uplifting weekend, all.

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