Here’s a post that’ll probably get my remaining Facebook friends to unfollow (reminder: I don’t do FB anymore, though I recently realized I not only still had dlvr.it connected, but when we upgraded the server to SSL it decided to repost all the links over again, sorry). Didja vote for That Man, or perhaps for one of the representatives that voted for AHCA yesterday? Let me tell you a story.

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We went out to Brigantine this afternoon since it was in the 80’s all of a sudden. Strong onshore breeze coming off that 50-degree water meant it was chillier on the beach, but also meant the beachcombing was pretty good even though we arrived at low tide, late to the party. Found the coolest thing I’ve seen so far: a whelk(?) shell covered in coral. It’s like an ocean geode.

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I saw bluebirds on the suet feeder all of once last spring/summer, but they’ve been all over it this winter. I put a bunch of dried mealworms in the platform feeder and they brawl over them regularly. One bird will sit in the middle of the feeder, not even eating, and run off all comers until a bunch of them mob it and chase it off, and then they go back to a squabbling rotation.

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Caravan seems to have a bit part in the new Pixar sequel.

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The temperature was perfect last night for some very considerate snow. Not sure tomorrow’s storm (3-5 inches, albeit on an uncertain track) will be so polite.

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This is a little bit off-topic from my usual beaches-and-travel-and-food, but email infrastructure is a hobby of mine so bear with me while I try to explain things for the layman. You’ve gotten a phishing email before, unless your provider is super good at filtering them (more on that in a moment). They claim that someone accessed your account and you should change your password, or someone made a purchase and you should log in to cancel it, or whatever.

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We’ve been meaning to do this for some time, and the impetus of “we should see the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas tree” finally gave us a deadline to get it done. There are a lot of ways to get to NYC. Greyhound runs from Atlantic City, but makes plenty of stops along the way. Some of Carl’s co-workers take a bus or train from Toms River, but that’s a little pricey for a casual trip.

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No, that’s not a misspelling, at least on my part. The SS Atlantus, a WWI concrete ship (as in, a ship made of concrete) is slowly disintegrating just off Sunset Beach, on the west coast of Cape May. It’s pretty cool. It was a chilly but otherwise pleasant day, so we decided to drive down to Cape May and take in the lights. First we stopped in Cape May Court House, which is the name of an area and not an actual courthouse.

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“Hmm, I need an occasion to make these Costco cannoli. Hey, I live in a place with great bakeries and lots of fresh pasta. I’ll just grab a loaf of Formica bread and a bag of salad and it’ll be a simple Thanksgiving dinner for the three of us.” later “Well, if everything else is simple I could dress up the salad a little.” still later “Well, dang, they sold out of bread.

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Pretty sure this will be the last tomato this year - that cold front that’s been rolling across the country just reached us, and we’re having sleet and Kansas-grade winds.

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I subscribed to our local(ish) paper awhile back, and today remembered that gave me access to the archives. They’re fascinating. And by fascinating I of course mean ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING.

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I have baked very little bread since we moved here, because Jersey’s bakery game is strong. I had an extra baguette that (surprisingly, given our usual humidity) went stale instead of moldy, so of course bread pudding had to happen. (I’m not a fan of soggy custard bread, but Carl is.) And now for an election-related cautionary tale I shared on Twitter: Not being really into the whole drinking thing, our own means of dealing with Election Night is probably going to involve setting phones to vibrate and going to see Doctor Strange at the local IMAX.

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The leaves are just starting to pass their peak, so we took a day trip around Wharton Forest to check things out. Not that we really had to go anywhere - we are surrounded by trees that are pretty spectacular. But because South Jersey is flat, you pretty much only get the full effect where a road cuts through the forest. Ideally, we would cross the Delaware and visit someplace like the Lehigh Valley, where you can see a valley full of color.

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It’s Olivia’s second birthday-with-us, and our second Halloween here. We were hoping for more trick-or-treaters now that we have kids on our cul-de-sac, but after all the area events all weekend I don’t think many kids got out. The neighborhood kids came over before piling in cars to go elsewhere, but that was about it. The college kids decided to improvise, and hung a bag of candy with a sign around the giraffe’s neck, which I guess is what I should have done.

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I had to stop in the middle of the road and take a (terrible) picture of these ferns and their fall colors. I’m going to have to swing back over there with my camera and not just my phone and get a proper picture - I almost jumped out to take one, but there was another car coming behind me so I decided to move on.

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We had some bonus “locals summer” days this week, though we didn’t make it down to the beach apart from the rocket launch(!) on Monday, but today the weather turned. Chilly, windy, a little rainy, and the last weekend for the CSA. My jalapeƱo out front has some optimistic little pea-sized peppers on it, but I don’t think they’ll get anywhere, and I need to pick the last couple green tomatoes and make some relish with these peppers and cabbage.

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It has dried out and cooled off a bit, with an almost-frost, so everything is getting ready for winter all of a sudden. The mosses and lichen are doing whatever weird things they do at the last minute. The pincushion moss has tiny little green threads that I assume are its flower-equivalents (look closely), and the sphagnum or whatever next to it is throwing up thicker, reddish shoots. The pale greenish cup lichen is making cups all over the place.

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… hangin’ out on the dog poop scoop. Classy!

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One of these days I’m going to hose down with tick repellent and venture into the woods, but in the meantime there’s a surprising variety of stuff just in our yard. This is the first variety of fly agaric I’ve seen in gold - we’ve had red ones around before. This is pincushion moss, because what else are you gonna call it? (Tribbles hadn’t been invented yet.) There is a lot of it (a lot of them?

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Yesterday morning, we boarded a bus to the New York Maker Faire, held in a place I could not previously prove existed outside of a Hollywood back lot: New York City. Although I took my camera, I didn’t get very good pictures. It was overcast, the bus had (as far as I could tell) no suspension whatsoever, and I think I’m going to have to swap the camera under warranty because it really struggles with focus.

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Those are pretty awful, though (especially when one spends a lot of time at a computer) so Carl found a different solution.

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Still not 100% sure these places exist outside of Hollywood sound sets but I guess we’ll see.

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Every time Baxter sleeps like this, Carl asks me if he’s still alive. So far, yes.

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Today I learned you can see Philadelphia to the west(ish) from the same place you can see Atlantic City to the east(ish). Yes. I have moved to a place where you can stand in the middle of the state and see both sides.

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Yesterday morning, Olivia found her shadow was in a strange place. Apologies for the baaaaaad lighting, but of course I couldn’t turn on the light. She was on top of the bookcase, and spent a lot of time very carefully checking out her shadow. And no, she never fell off. Watch the video

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Use a “charitable” foundation to pay off a state AG and stop investigations, then run for President? Why not? You won’t hear about it on TV but the Florida AG was looking into an investigation, asked for a donation, and was given $25,000 - from a foundation that claimed to the IRS it didn’t make political donations, and as a 501©(3) isn’t supposed to. The donation was “accidentally” recorded as going to a non-political charity in a different state.

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Well, this should be fun. Update: We got nothin’. I had to water the plants because we didn’t even get rain.

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Finally up to speed.

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Nate’s cousins back in Wichita have all been in school for weeks now, so it should seem like time for him too, but it still seems too early. Carl usually drops him off at school (a whole half a mile away) on the way to work (a whole two miles away) but he’s ending an on-call stint so he came home afterward. In case you thought he wore flip-flops to work, Mom.

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I’ve lost track what week it is, and haven’t taken pictures of them lately, but here is what the CSA and garden are doing this week. It was waaaaaay too hot to pick any flowers or herbs or tomatoes, so the CSA is a little short of what it could have been, but that’s okay. The carrots and weird-looking cuke are from my patch at the community garden - the CSA carrots came in last week.

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After stalling in the heat, the slicing tomatoes are turning fast. I count five in varying shades of red.

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Last year, Carl’s back was in no shape to hike all over a fairgrounds, so we missed the Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival - but I put it on the calendar for this year, and bought opening-weekend tickets (which are cheaper than other weekends). It’s up in Lancaster County, somewhat over two hours away from us. Nate wasn’t thrilled with the idea, and loaded up his phone with videos so I had to keep telling him to look out the window at things.

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Tomatoes from the CSA, basil from a pot out front. Almost too pretty to blanch and peel, but I did. No regrets.

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These grow at the edge of the forest, at the end of our cul-de-sac.

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Carl gets the day off for his birthday, so we took a day trip to the Franklin Institute, a science museum in Philly. We entered Philly via the Ben Franklin Bridge, staying on-theme. That’s not hard - Philly is pretty serious about Ben Franklin. (Also serious about: cheesesteaks.) We didn’t take the train (shoulda) so we had to park a ways from the museum since their parking garage was full.

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The tablet (still can’t find the camera) keeps trying to correct for the “yellow” lighting, and there is no button for “that’s not the lighting, that’s the turmeric” so this is as good as it gets. And to get it this close I still had to hold up a white card over it and then crop the picture. These are bread-and-butter pickles, thirteen half-pint jars plus not-quite-a-jar-left-over in the fridge. I’m hot-processing them so they’ll keep, because thassa lotta pickles.

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The cherry tomato has had tomatoes for what seems like a really long time. But instead of ripening (except for one weirdo outlier) the ones it had, it just kept making more. But we’re hanging at the top of the roller coaster now, and pretty soon I’ll have more than I ever wanted. The slicers are doing some of the same thing, though not with quite the same degree of prolificness.

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Very often, when I’m watering the plants, a dragonfly (same one? I don’t know) zooms around and lights on the pepper stake. It’s not nearly as big as the photo makes it look - mayyyybe three-inch wingspan. I’m not sure if it is waiting to catch whatever I stir up out of the plants, or waiting for me to finish so it can go in and drink water off the leaves, or what.

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Haven’t seen this guy in awhile, but he was sunning himself in a parking space at the other end of our building and came trotting over when he saw me out with Baxter. Seems just as sleek and healthy as the last time I saw him, so I guess he has a home. Good thing, because I have no idea where the shelters are around here and what their quality is.

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We had a little squall blow through, and I’m not sure if there was wind or just a lot of sudden rain that did this. This pot was on the ground, with a metal plate under it to keep it from sinking into the ground, so I suspect it was just that the wind caught it. Luckily, the bean plants gave it enough structural integrity that I just stood it right back up again (after taking a quick phone pic in the rain) and it seems fine.

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The slicer is doing pretty well. Lots of big tomatoes, though none are starting to blush yet. There are three hyacinth beans in with it, which are blooming scarlet here and there. Doesn’t really go with the pink-and-purple theme I have going on in the other flowers, but that’s okay. The Super Sweet 100 is still pretty scrawny, but it’s easily twice as tall as it was a week or so ago, despite having lost a foot off its top in one of our little windstorms.

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Continuing to adhere to my “if you see something new, give it a try” rule. Pierogi aren’t new, but this brand was, and they had samples at Costco. The sample-pusher was much younger than the usual demographic, and he had a good spiel: “Come get your pierogi samples… and we’ve also got Pokemon! Come on over here and catch them while you’re trying our pierogi!”

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Our CSA share includes pick-your-own flowers, which I kind of glossed over when I bought in - I mean, pfft, decorating with live flowers, who has time - but obviously have found myself making use of.

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Whether or not it and its slightly larger friend were the guilty parties, I sentenced them to exile over by the woods.

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I harvested a big ol’ cabbage today (bierocks!) but the thing that’s done the best in the garden has been the pot… … marigolds. At least visually. They’re a little bitter right now, probably due to the heat. At least they’re still pretty. The tomato, though, I don’t know what to make of. I put the paste tomato in the community garden bed figuring that was the one I wanted to do best, and it would get full sun there.

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Ramses has one slightly folded ear, which shows up more when they’re relaxed. Also, he’s apparently so soft the camera can’t focus on him.

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Technically, I think I could have gotten these last week too, but I forgot to bring scissors. I didn’t spread the haul out on the kitchen table because I didn’t bring home any baked goods and so fixed breakfast when I got home. But I did befuddle the guys with fresh flowers on the table, which never happens. Unfortunately, because that never happens, during the move I got rid of all the various glass vases I had accumulated, and the pitcher is just a little too squat to hold these properly.

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I don’t think that’s how that’s supposed to work. We got a lot of rain yesterday. Not quite as much as the neighboring counties, where they got four inches in a very short period of time - I think we got an inch overall. But for my slow-draining tomato pots, that was enough to make them pretty heavy, and for the one that’s still on the footed stand, that was enough.

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Manayunk is a neighborhood in Philly that used to be a small town but was absorbed in the 1800’s, though it still keeps its own identity, like certain other neighborhoods I have known. They have an annual arts festival where they close Main Street and a hundred thousand people show up and it’s pretty nuts. When I took the above picture, we had gotten to the top of the hill and I thought, “Okay, here’s the turnaround point” and then I looked over the hill and saw all this.

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Red lettuce, butter lettuce, Swiss chard, Olivia, cauliflower, broccoli, dino kale, SO MUCH SPINACH, snap peas (behind the spinach), kohlrabi, turnips, plus the bonus blueberry kolaches and eggs from the farm co-op shop. I foresee a freezer full of fatayar sabanegh (triangular Lebanese spinach pies) real soon now. But not yet. Today we’re going to the Manayunk Arts Festival.

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All the birds have been bringing families around, it seems like. We have absolute swarms of nuthatches, a young downy was pestering its dad at the suet feeder, I’m pretty sure some of the white-throated Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds we’re getting are juveniles and not necessarily females, and I’ve seen brown Red-Bellied Woodpeckers peeking out of the nest hole though not yet flying around yet. Catbirds are not big seed fans, so mostly we just hear them around.

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I guess they don’t happen very often in Jersey, but we had some quasi-tornadic weather earlier. I had to turn on the weather radio like some kind of animal because they don’t have tornado sirens here.

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There are amusement parks, indoor and outdoor water parks, aquariums, arcades, and who knows what else within an hour of our house. When we asked Nate what he wanted to do for his birthday, his answer was quick: go to the ocean. Nate, it’s summer, we can do that every day. Go to a boardwalk by the ocean. Well, that we need to time a little better but still, we can do that almost any time.

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Carl decided for Father’s Day lunch he wanted to go to Stewart’s (since we don’t have A&W’s around here). We had driven by the one in Hammonton and noticed that it was open, so that’s where we went. We first checked to see if there was a closer one (Hammonton is about half an hour away), and were puzzled when it didn’t come up on Google Maps. Turns out that’s because it’s not just a Stewart’s, despite the violent orange exterior and decor.

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I saw a chipmunk once in Wichita (or rather, just out of town), but they’re not as common as here. Of course, “ground squirrel” doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes climb, as this one did while I was trying to take its picture. It went up about fifteen feet and came right back down. No idea why.

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Garlic scapes, snap peas, kohlrabi, Ramses, toscinato kale, arugula, SPINACH, Olivia, buttercrunch lettuce, and radishes. Not included but in the farm store from other farms: a million calories of brioche, chicken sausage, and feta cheese. Nate didn’t get his act together in time to come, so he missed out on the u-pik blueberries (also not included, and just starting to ripen).

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The ocean is magnetic - you get Nate within range and the flip-flops come off and he’s in it. We went out to Brigantine, the nearest island (sort of - to actually get onto it we have to drive through Atlantic City, which is on Absecon Island) for a new Friday night “Art Walk” they’re getting started. First we tried a sushi place for dinner. A thing we’ve noticed, that I recall from Indiana but not so much Kansas: Chinese (and here, Japanese) restaurants start you off with wonton strips and duck sauce, which Carl has dubbed “Chinese nachos.

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I don’t even know what’s going on here, but I suspect Olivia was involved.

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Sunlight was coming from low on the horizon, so the camera had some trouble with that, but I caught a hummingbird perched on the feeder. Its wings seem bigger when they’re not a blur. I almost always see a female out there, or possibly a juvenile. Not sure if there’s a mother with a nest nearby, or if this is a group of young ones taking turns. Later in the evenings I sometimes see two or three out there orbiting the feeder and waiting their turns.

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I’ve been hearing rustling in the juniper bed out front, and figured we had chipmunks and voles and everything else under there. The crabapple(?) tree has been dropping pea-sized fruit all over the sidewalk and into the junipers, and the squirrels and birds have been having a field day so I’m sure the ground-level critters are too. A little bit ago I went to let the dog out, opened the door and there was a foot or so of garter snake coming out of the junipers.

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I’m not sure if vacation homes here have the retirement-area tradition northwest Arkansas has, of displaying your former license plate so people know where you’re from, but I hung onto our old plates with the intention of doing this. Finally found a right-sized frame a while back, and Flag Day seemed like a good day to hang it up.

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You can pretty much stand at the back door for five minutes or less and be assured of seeing at least one hummingbird now - unless the squirrels are hogging the feeder. I really need to move the nectar feeder to its own pole.

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It feels like Jersey schools run halfway through summer, but today is finally it.

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I first saw a female hummingbird, which I wasn’t sure of since she zipped away before I got a good look - I couldn’t rule out hawk moth. Then I saw a male, but didn’t have the camera handy, and he zipped away pretty quickly too. This evening I saw the female, had the camera handy… and the darn thing was almost out of battery and struggled to focus on the feeder blowing in the wind.

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It amazes me that there are ever any trees standing here, because some come down every time it storms. I’m not sure this one was dead. This one, at least, was.

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The local convenience store (not always gas station, if as the singer says it’s a “legacy” store) chain prompts, if anything, even more loyalty than QuikTrip does in its area.

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And no, we’re not going to move again. Probably.

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There are two boys and a girl. They usually visit all together, but sometimes one of the kids will show up solo. Without Mom around, they get in trouble… climbing on the window screens to investigate the cats, climbing the feeder pole. I don’t know why Mom thinks the pole is bad, but she jumps at them when they try it while she’s around. Right now they’re scratching so much I kinda want to catch them and put tiny flea collars on them.

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They’ve been eating all the suet, which made me think I should get a peanut feeder to add to the sunflower, thistle, suet, nectar, and jelly feeders. Then again, maybe not…

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This feather is twist-tied onto the wire shelf that holds our pet treats. Since it’s a federal crime to possess feathers from migratory birds without a permit, I am confident this is a random domestic-turkey feather that Nate picked up on the beach, and not from some kind of gull.

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We got our sample ballots in the mail today.

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There is a half-inch-long spider spinning a web across our front door frame. I imagine it telling its little spider friends, “Sure, it’s a long shot, but if it works I’m set up for life!“

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He’s fifteen (or maybe even older) so whenever he does this I check if he’s breathing. Then I take his picture.

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Traffic begins to stall on Garden State Parkway just north of Somers Pt-Beesley Pt bridge #MemorialDay2016 #acpress pic.twitter.com/PvHwrE7Hhe — Michael Ein (@ACPressEin) May 30, 2016 I don’t understand the beach yet: it’s pouring rain, will continue to do so all day, and people are going to sit in traffic to… jam into the indoor mini-golf courses along with everybody else who would normally be out on the sand? I guess you’re there in your swimsuit, and you’re less likely to get a sunburn.

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Surprised somebody at my front door when I took Baxter outside tonight. Eat lots of mosquitos and get big, little toad!

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By the request of family and friends, I posted my post-move stuff to FB rather than the blog, so for the last almost-year it’s said the moving van is going to show up in two weeks. It did, went about as well as I’d expected, and… we’re in New Jersey. We still haven’t gotten used to the ocean, the trees, the wildlife… but somehow we’re bearing up.

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Check your Facebook Ads privacy settings. They opted you back in without notice or consent. https://t.co/7gJx8UcXZc pic.twitter.com/McffGfTRQo — David Carroll (@profcarroll) May 29, 2016 I checked the ad settings page and Facebook did, in fact, opt me back in. For the benefit of family who is still there, I’ll pipe this blog into it, but otherwise I’m done posting to FB. Update: that writer wrote a whole Medium post that explains more.

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