Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Californy, Here I Come!

Yes, I am going to that other Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland. Why? Because it's the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, of course!  Am I running?  Heavens no!  Am I participating?  Heavens, yes! I am planning to do the 5K and 10K, and skip the half-marathon, since I have done next to nothing since my knee/IT band gave me a run for my money in May. And since I have done next to nothing, which really means totally nothing, even the 5K and 10K could be iffy.

No matter as I have paid for the entries to the races, paid for the hotel, and paid for the airfare. I am going to Disneyland!!  Molly will be joining me and doing all the races - because she can. I decided to fly out this morning (thank you for very reasonable prices, Southwest, and for not charging me when I changed from my not-so-reasonable price). I will get to the hotel in time for lunch and maybe a nap before Molly arrives later this evening.

The worst part of the trip is the long plan ride out there.  My only consolation is the possibility of a nap, the chance to catch up reading a magazine or two, and the scenery outside. And maybe an early arrival. Oh well - I'm going to Disneyland!!

Clouds are always pretty - as long as they don't hold hidden pockets of bumppity-bumps!!

I am always interested to see the shadows clouds make on the ground.


And then there's landing at LAX,
and being thankful I'm not on those REALLY BIG airplanes!!


And then I'm at Disneyland, and my room overlooks the fireworks!!
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Blessings today include: Maribeth taking me to the airport; window seat with quiet seatmates; safe, smooth, early flight to LAX; shuttle ride to hotel and my room ready when I got there (after attempting to check in to the wrong hotel); Molly's safe arrival

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August 2016 Project - #18

A portion of my "Sixty Things" is to do a project every month from August of 2016 until August of 2017. Since this month was quickly coming to a close, I had to get busy. And luckily, I had all the materials I needed to get this project done.

Over the years, I have used several methods of keeping and organizing photos. Keep in mind, these were the years where you actually used a camera, made photos, and had them all printed because you had no idea which ones would actually turn out. With three children, we had a lot of photos, naturally a ton for the first one, with dwindling amounts for each successive offspring.

I first put them in old-school photo albums, the kind with sticky back and a clingy clear page cover. This was great until the stickiness wore off and the photos started sliding out of the albums.

I continued to put the photos in albums, using whatever the latest rendition was. Then it was time to organize the albums so I could actually find a photo that I was searching for. Needless to say, it because quite the mess.  And then I started using the photo boxes.

I started with a few boxes, mainly just tossing the photos in them with no rhyme or reason. Sure, the photos stayed in one place, but it would become quite a task to actually find a desired photos. So a couple of years ago, I bought a bunch of boxes and actually organized them. And all was well. At least until we had some family changes and additions, and the unorganized photos started to build up again.

Until today. I had some unused photo boxes from the first purchase, made some new labels, and got stuff organized again.  Of course, baby Emmatha has very few actual printed photos - they're on the computer and everyone's phones and on the internet. Guess I'll have to get those printed out.

At least all the photos on hand are in a box and ready to be called upon, should someone be looking for a particular photo. And one thing (number 18 on the list) is complete. Only 59 more to go!!

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Thankful today for: completion of photo box task; A30 for flight tomorrow; early morning airport run for Steve; Maribeth ordering Demos for dinner delivery

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Happy Birthday To Me!!

Yup, today is my birthday. I am 59 years old, which means I am beginning my diamond year - my 60th. In anticipation and appreciation of such a momentous birthday/year, I am planning a big project. And what is that project? Why, it's Luanne's Sixty Things, of course! Let me explain ...

I have 60 things/activities/projects/habits that I am going to work on for the next two years. Why two years? Because I am actually starting my actual 60th year on Earth, and once that is done I will be legally 60 on this Earth, so in my crafty little mind, I have actually two years of 60 (and not to mention that for some of these items, I am going to need all two years). The notebooks to the left are my ways of making sure I stay on task.

What kinds of things are on the list? Some are trips/activities. Some are habits that I really want to either break or make. Some are projects and tasks. Some are things that I'm going to do 60 times or 60 versions of. And some are just things. I would list them all here for you, but the list is "fluid". Because two years is a long time. But along the way, I'll share them with you.

And yes, one is keeping this bleeping blog updated. Because technically, this "50+" blog is definitely in its last year. We'll see if Luanne@Sixty comes next!!

Meanwhile, here's to year 60 - both of them!!
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Thankful today for: yellow roses from Lisa, Jeff, Grace, Mabry, and Kate; birthday dinner with the family; chia pet, serving platter, painting, photos, and earrings from the family; birthday cards from Pam, Emily, and Marilyn, blog catch up days - August 7, August 8, August 9

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Just A LaLa For Me, Please

Today Emmatha started school. Okay, so technically it's day care, but since it's licensed, they do have a plan. Which in my case would be nap time all day, hence the reason there is no LaLa Day Care.

Once at Disney World, I was on a bus going to one of the theme parks. I was chatting with a lady who said that she took care of her grandchild because the lady couldn't imagine putting the child in a day care. And while I knew it was good for that lady, I also knew that it would not be good for me.

I have the blessing that my grandchildren live in the same city as I do. And since I have a degree in education, I should be qualified to do the day care thing and provide wonderful learning experiences for them.

But I don't want to be their full time teacher and caregiver. I don't want to be their parents' sole childcare provider. And I'm pretty sure their parents don't want that either.

I just want to be LaLa, however good or bad that may be. All three of the girls are having excellent educational experiences at the schools they attend for preschool and elementary school. And I love hearing about their adventures and what they learn. Sometimes I'm on pickup duty, which means a visit at LaLa and PawPaw's house. I'm also the backup for sick days and on no-school days. And on those days, we take the day off, maybe squeezing in a fun thing or two.

So maybe for now there is no LaLa Daycare. I think we're all good with that!!
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Thankful today for: Everley's happy attendance in her new class; Emmatha's easy transition to her class; Lindley day at the Doik

Monday, August 8, 2016

Time To Return To Normal - Whatever That Is ...

The house has been empty for awhile. Maribeth, Everley, Emmatha, and Steve have all been out in Wyoming and Montana since the end of July. I was gone for several days to meet up with friends at the beach, getting back home last night. Tonight, the rest of the crew will be flying in, and the cats will lose their peaceful existence - although I think they like having us around.

There will be unpacking to do and laundry to catch up and day care to get started. Emmatha starts tomorrow and will be attending the same one as Everley, a real blessing since they just started a baby class. Since I've been taking care of her on Maribeth's work days, I will have some time to get things accomplished - and there are too many of them to name. I just now no longer have an excuse a valid reason for not doing anything!

Molly's and Maribeth's houses are about to start the remodel process (hence the reason Maribeth and the girls are living with us), so that should be fun. And then there's the travel for fall (I may have a Disney trip or two in the mix). So there seems to be plenty to keep me busy in the upcoming days. Like maybe updating a certain blog?

So, where to start? That's always the part that is the hardest. I guess for today I'll just start by unpacking my suitcases so that when the rest of the crew lands, at least my stuff will be done.

That's probably enough for today, don't you think??
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Thankful today for: Delta getting itself together in time for the Montana party to catch their plane and get home safely; unpacking my stuff and getting back with the program at home

Sunday, August 7, 2016

So Long For Now!

Today was the last day for our Starkville Girls Weekend at Pam's. Madeline was driving back to Starkville where she lives and Carol was driving back to Ft. Worth (yes, Texas) where she lives, so they were going to have to leave early - which ended up being just before noon. Elizabeth had an early afternoon flight to Indianapolis, and Laura and I had late afternoon flights to Johnson City and Nashville. But before Madeline and Carol pulled out, we had enough time to get a group photo:


That's Eek Eek on the bottom (dolphins are quite strong, you know), and left to right - Madeline, Carol, Elizabeth, Laura, Pam, and me. What this photo doesn't show is the effort it took to pull it out - and interminable time working with a selfie stick until we discovered that Madeline's phone had a timer on it. So we planted the self stick in the sand, put on the timer (once we figured out how to work the timer), and viola - this stellar photo!!  Of course, you will have to imagine the effort and sweat that it took these six menopausal to achieve this feat ...

Anyhow, we got our group shot and said a bittersweet farewell to Madeline and Carol. After they pulled out, Laura, Pam, and I headed to Pam's pool again for a cooling-off. Elizabeth still had some packing to do, and joined us once that was done. We all had some great pool time before returning to Pam's. Pam and Elizabeth left for the airport and Laura and I got out all the leftovers for some lunch.

Shortly after, Gregg (Pam's hubs) came home. He had been sent to his parents for the weekend (wasn't that nice of him?). He's also from Starkville and an old friend, so Laura and I had fun catching up with him (and tried to convince him that Pam needs a swinging bed on their screen porch). A little while later, Pam returned from the airport and we got a text from Elizabeth saying her flight had been delayed.

Soon it was time for Laura and I to make it to the airport, so we all said our final farewells. We made it to the airport without a problem, returned the rental car, and found out our flights had been delayed as well. Apparently Elizabeth was still there and was boarding her plane as we were walking through the terminal.

Eventually our planes took off, and we arrived home. Well, I did. Laura had to connect in Atlanta, and apparently Delta was having problems, so she got a night at a hotel before eventually getting home the next morning.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend. One truly blessed by God, who blessed us all with our friendships nearly 59 years ago. In many ways, we all had changed. And in many ways, we were still the same. But we left knowing each other a little bit better, and being thankful for all the years we shared, and all that is yet to be.

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Thankful today for: safe travel for friends returning home; safe, smooth flight home for me; Molly picking me up at the airport; relaxing in Pam's community pool; group photo fun

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Water

This morning after our breakfast book discussion, most of the crew opted for some beach time. I opted to stay in Pam's super comfy and quiet home and take a nap. Or two. I am not exactly a beach person, especially when it is about a billion degrees outside. My one exception?  That would be Castaway Cay, of course, but that's a different story ...

Anyhow, after a few hours, everyone returned and opted for their own personal activities. Some decided to chat a bit, some decided to nap a bit, and some of us decided to go to the pool a bit. Pools I like - there's no sand to get all caught up in one's various cracks and crevices, no hungry ocean creatures looking for a snack, and no ocean waves lurking about to pull you out to sea.

Laura decided to take the inflated dolphin with us, presumably to float on. As you can see, being in the pool kinda excited Eek Eek (named via its owner Pam), and he/she because quite animated, thus rivaling his/her cousins we had seen last night.

We taught Eek Eek how to jump over us.
Seriously. Laura is just holding on so he/she won't go too high ...

Laura did bring Eek Eek for floating purposes (or should I say porpoises).
After a while at the pool, we headed back to Pam's to clean up. She had a yummy place for us to eat (and the only reservation we could nab was at 4:30pm), and we were super excited about it. Because next to talking and sleeping, eating was a big agenda item for the weekend. We went, we ate, and we came home to watch "Fried Green Tomatoes" while our food settled us into a lull.

It's been a great weekend. It's been a weekend to catch up the past 40+ years for some of us, and to renew those friendships that started when we were kids. And after watching the movie tonight, I think Ninny Threadgood (via Fanny Flagg) said it best -


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Thankful today for: breakfast chats with friends; Pam making pop-em-out rolls; quietness of Pam's house; pool time with Laura, Pam, and Elizabeth; dinner with the whole gang and photos in the sun; movie time with friends

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cruisin' For Dolphins

Before we arrived at Pam's, she sent out several emails about things we could do during our weekend (this would be in addition to sleeping, eating, talking, eating, sleeping, and so on). One of the things that she suggested was going on a sunset dolphin watching boat ride. And so that's where we found ourselves this evening.

At first, our excursion looked in peril. The skies grew very dark (especially in the area we were headed to get on our boat). We got to the dock early and Pam went in to inquire about our trip. The dudes in charge said to hang out and wait - hopefully the skies would clear. And so they did, and God even blessed us with a beautiful double rainbow!

It did take them awhile to dry off the benches and decks, but soon we were aboard and headed out to find dolphins. And find them we did!  The technique goes like this ... The boat company takes out two boats. The skippers of each boat motor around until they find dolphins, then the two boats take off side by side, thus creating a wake somewhat akin to ocean waves. The dolphins, provided they are in the mood, create quite a show with their jumps and leaps into the air. We all had a great time and all too soon it was time to return to the dock. We stopped at a CVS for supplies and a Starbucks for drinks before returning to Pam's for some dinner and some "Mama Mia" while eating and chatting all the while. Eventually we turned in for the night - because who knows what adventures await us tomorrow!!






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Thankful today for: a great day for naps and food and everyone doing her own thing; dolphin watching; dinner discussions and decisions; "Mama Mia" movie watching and sing-along

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Gang's All Here!!

Today the rest of the girls arrived today. Some by plane and some by car. We've come from Tennessee, Texas, Indiana, and Mississippi. but in the end, it's like we've all just come back home, to our little hometown of Starkville, Mississippi.

Laura lives in east Tennessee, and actually got here yesterday after a couple hours flight delay.

Elizabeth lives in Indiana and arrived via plane on time (although when Pam called Elizabeth to check on her arrival, Pam actually called Elizabeth's daughter Kat, whom I'm sure was delighted to talk to Pam. And will probably wonder what her mom has gotten into this weekend).

Madeline drove in sometime after lunch from Mississippi - the only one of us who still lives in Starkville and can keep us updated on the goings-on there.

And last but not least, Carol drove in late tonight from Texas, after having to say a final farewell to her beloved family kitty yesterday. The rest of us stayed up to greet her, mostly by going through Pam's old photo albums and scrapbooks and attempting to remember old times.

We managed to make a late afternoon trek to the beach to watch the ocean for a bit before returning for a chicken spaghetti dinner and a fitted-sheet folding demonstration/contest. We also compared notes as to how one puts sheets on the bed, the brands of mayonnaise and toilet paper we each prefer, and how each of us loads the dishwasher. As you can see, it's going to be an exciting weekend!

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Thankful today for: safe travel for all friends; preparing dinner salad with lots of input; remembering old times and old friends

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Travel Day!!

Today I'm headed South - but not where you might think ... I'm hopping a plane for Pensacola, Florida, where I'll nab a nearby Hertz vehicle and head for Orange Beach, Alabama, for a weekend with some friends from the Golden Ages. Today I'm arriving a day early to help our hostess Pam (the bride from the princess bridesmaid cruise) get ready for the group - Laura, Elizabeth, Carol, and Madeline.

Pam lives about a seven-minute mile from the beach, so I'm sure we'll visit that. And she has a community swimming pool in her neighborhood, so I'm sure that will be on the agenda. But I'm sure that much of the time will be spent catching up and eating - because those are the best activities that happen when old friends get together (although I'm not saying which activity will be enjoyed the most, or how much time will be spent doing both at the same time).

I think it's going to be a great weekend!!


 
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Thankful today for: safe, smooth, short flight to Pensacola with empty middle seat; easy rental car procurement; mostly easy trip to Pam's; fun grocery store trip

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Just Helping Out ...

Since Maribeth is out of town, I checked in last Friday at the Open House for Everley's and Emmatha's preschool classes. In each one, I asked if there was anything they needed for the class. Emmatha's teachers requested CDs and Everley's teachers requested copy paper. Both seemed pretty easy to procure and donate. Later that day during my daily trip to the Wal-Mart, I managed to pick up both requests. I found several CDs for babies and grabbed a case of copy paper.

Today I decided to drop the items off at preschool, saving time for Emmatha's and Everley's first day next week.  The CDs were easy to carry - I just plopped them in my bag. But the copy paper was a different story. For one thing, it was a fairly good-sized case. For another thing, it was fairly heavy. And for the last thing, my current upper body strength is fairly nonexistent.

So I came up with the bright idea to load the case of copy paper into a baby stroller and stroll it into Everley's class. I had an old-school umbrella stroller in the closet, and took it out and put it in the car (since it collapses into practically the size of an umbrella, it fits into my car perfectly). And all was on track - until I got to the school.

I got out of the car and pulled out the folded-up stroller. And then proceeded to realize that I had no idea of how to pull the thing apart. Clearly it was stuck together by some hook - I was just having trouble finding the hook in question. And yes, I'm sure it was quite entertaining for anyone looking on in the parking lot. First I would look at one side, then the other side, then the top, then the bottom - and could still find no hook. I would pull and tug, to no avail. Finally by following the tubes, I located that rascally hook, unhooked it, opened the stroller, and loaded the case of copy paper.

I then strode into the preschool, pushing a stroller full of copy paper. Well, that was after I couldn't get the stroller to move, only to find out the wheels were locked. I remedied that situation and off we went. Mind you, it was a Mickey Mouse stroller - would the copy paper deserve any less? Anyhow, I dropped off the CDs at Emmatha's room and proceeded to Everley's room. Which was down 4 steps. Clearly I faced a dilemma - should I attempt to get the cheap stroller weighed down by a heavy box of copy paper down the steps, or heave the case out of the stroller and attempt to walk down the steps with the case, hoping for the best?

I didn't have to ponder long, as one of the directors (I believe) saw me and asked if I was looking for something. I explained the situation and she volunteered to help me - and then picked up the case and hauled it into Everley's classroom. She stuck her head out the classroom door and said, "And who are you?" I explained that I was Everley's grandmother, to which she replied, "I figured you must be the grandmother. Or the nanny."  Seriously??

Anyhow, the supplies got delivered and I turned to retrace my steps and return to my car. I decided to fold up the stroller rather than stroll it back empty. The only problem was that I couldn't figure out how to fold up the stupid thing!!  Rather than hang around and look really goofy, I just put the stroller in gear and left. And then got to my car and attempted once again to fold the stroller. And just kept failing at that task. Finally, rather than continue to entertain whomever was watching in the parking lot, I just turned the stroller upside down and stuck it in the front seat - fully opened.  This nanny may not know much, but she knows when to make an exit!!

Later this evening when Sam and Lindley were over, he figured out how to fold the stroller, Which he was going to show me, but left before either of us remembered to have that demonstration. Oh well, the case of copy paper should last awhile, so maybe I will learn how that stupid stroller works before my next deliver.

And one more thing - the breastmilksicles made it to Montana!!  Fully frozen!!  Between Fed Ex, Sam/Batch, and Lala, we can get things done!!

Except maybe that stroller folding up thing ...
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Thankful today for: taking things to preschool and chatting with the teaachers; stroller fun; Lindley hair-braiding time; Sam folding up the stroller; getting house picked up before I leave town; blog catch-ups for May 18, May 19, May 20, and May 21

Monday, August 1, 2016

Then There Was The Time Emmatha Wanted More Milk ...

Emmatha is currently in Wyoming and/or Montana with her parents, her sister, and her PawPaw. I am not there, for several reasons. Emmatha has also decided that she wishes to drink more milk than her mother can currently produce, mainly because Emmatha had decided that she wants more. And since Emmatha obviously failed Econ I, probably on the "Law of Supply and Demand" quiz, she is blissfully (for her, anyway) unaware that her demand is quickly depleting her mom's supply. In other words, Ems wants to drink more than Maribeth can currently pump out. Which is going to be quite fun in a short time when Maribeth catches up to Emmatha's demand, only to find that Emmatha has decided to go on a baby diet and not drink the multitude of milk that Maribeth manufactures. Which leads us to today's adventure ...

Sam and Lindley are flying out on Wednesday to meet up with the Wyomontata tourists. At some point this morning, I received a request for frozen breast milk. See, during the past four months, while Emmatha has been quite content with her feedings, Maribeth has been mass producing milk and freezing it, resulting in my freezer being full of breastmilkcicles. Before they left, Emmatha was given a taste of the previously frozen milk and deemed it acceptable. So, with Emmatha's current ravenous state, Maribeth requested that more frozen milk be sent.

The first choice was for Sam to bring it when he and Lindley come. Which really wouldn't be that strange - a man, his six-year-old daughter, and a cooler of breast milk. I googled "taking frozen breast milk on a plane" and found some valuable information. I promptly texted Sam of his possible mission along with the valuable information. To which he quickly texted back and suggested Fed-Ex. Apparently with Batch, he has his own personal Fed Ex Guy, who gave him all the valuable information about Fed-Exing breast milk. Which Sam gave to me. And so begins the fun.

First I texted Maribeth as to how much breast milk was requested. She replied with 20-25 frozen breastmilkcicles (each is basically a bag with 4 ounces frozen milk). Sam's valuable information was to (a) get a cooler and dry ice, and (b) go to the Metro Center Fed Ex, and (c) send it Priority Overnight and tell them its perishable. Sounds simple, right? Yes, and I am current on this blog ...

Anyhoo, I counted out 25 breastmilkcicles and put them in Maribeth's lunch cooler. Which filled up pretty quickly. Of course I knew this would not be a suitable container, but I jammed it full with an ice pack and headed directly to Wal Mart. Where I studied the cooler aisle for what seemed like hours attempting to ascertain which cooler would be acceptable for this mission. I finally decided on one, for reasons totally unknown, and headed to my next stop, the dry ice place.

Luckily, Sam also apparently knew a Dry Ice Guy, because he knew exactly where I should go. I googled directions, and was soon pulling into the cryogenics place (or something that started with a "C"). I got out of my car with my cooler of frozen breast milk and my new Wal-Mart cooler and looked for a door. I went in the only one I saw and found myself in sort of a warehouse looking room.

I looked around with my usual lost blank stare, until Dry Ice Dude walked out of some office. He had on a tshirt and shorts, but he looked fully competent so I told him my story. He said a bag of dry ice scrap would work, and went over to the freezer and pulled out a paper bag, presumably of dry ice giblets and not someone's frozen head. I assembled all the milk bags into one big ziploc, Dry Ice Dude put the oversized ziploc into another paper bag, put that in the bottom of the new Wal-Mart cooler, and put the dry ice scrap giblet bag on top. He told me it weighed 31 pounds and if Fed Ex wanted me to take some dry ice out, that would be ok. As if I knew and/or would do that ...

So I paid him the $10 for the dry ice bits and got back in my car with my two coolers and asked Siri where the Metro Fed Ex was. To which Siri promptly replied there were six - which one did I want? I didn't have time to mess around with Siri, since Sam had told me the package had to be at Fed Ex (the important one where he has a guy) by 4pm. So I texted Sam and asked him where the #%$^ was the Fed Ex office. While waiting for his response, I picked one of Suri's picks, which ended up being the correct one, as per Sam's eventual response.

Eventually I pulled into the Fed Ex office and hauled my Wal-Mart cooler filled with frozen breast milk and dry ice to the counter and explained my situation to the Fed Ex Dude. He then asked if I had the dry ice label. I looked around at the myriad of Fed Ex supplies and said I didn't - where could I get it. To which FE Dude said I would have to print it off the internet, that they couldn't give them out anymore. They used to be able to give them out, but no more. I would have to go to the internet and google "Fed Ex Dry Ice Label" and print it out. Of course, today would be the day that I did not have my handy dandy car computer and printer in my car...

I hauled the cooler/breast milk/dry ice back to the car and texted Sam that I needed the label. To which he said, "Fed Ex should be able to make that for you." To which I schooled Sam on the latest Fed Ex rules and regs. I happened to be in the vicinity of Sam's Batch store, so he said to come there, that he would locate the label on the internet, print it out, and hand it to me in the parking lot. Which all happened, only after I nearly rear-ended some idiot who thought he would pull out of his parking place just as I was driving past ...

Anyhow, with label and directions for the label in hand, I return to the Fed Ex store and to FE Dude, who seemed surprised to see me so quickly. I reiterated my mission, and he selectively listened, weighed the cooler/breast milk/dry ice, and had me fill out the label and tape it to the cooler. I asked him if the cooler would be put in a box, to which he said no, it would go as is. I taped the cooler as best I could, taped the precious, internet only label to the cooler, and handed it off to Fed Ex Dude. Who, I assume, rushed it out to the waiting Fed Ex driver who would whisk it off to the airport for the Fed Ex plane waiting on the tarmac to fly it off to Dillon, Montana.

I just hope Emmatha is thirsty when it gets there ...
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Thankful today for: getting many tasks complete (other than the milk mission); dry ice dudes that helped; Fed Ex dude who had lots of information and eventually helped; Sam and Batch's help in the milk mission; Las Palmas dinner; catch up blog: May 16, May 17