Saturday, December 31, 2011


New Year's Eve
Time for reflection
for resolutions
for peace
for me

written down
grown strong and 
confidant in themselves
still linger on  fingers
afraid to reach 
out for 

its time
to step beyond
embrace the unknown
fling myself open
without caution 
nor prejudice
into life

Friday, December 30, 2011


time slips through my fingers
like so much rain
at Christmas

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy for Christmas

I am happy for Christmas. 
I love you. 
I am thankful for Mommy. 
I am happy for my parents. They are good to me. 
I love Taryn and Grandma
and I know I would have Grandpa Paul
as my friend.
I love the Christmas tree.
I know the Christmas tree is nice.
I am friendly to my family, which is nice to people 

And with these immortal words by my youngest, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May you find peace and joy on this lovely day. I hope to find a little round belly attached to my smile, as I celebrate the season with turkey and all the trimmings amongst family. Bless you all!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Dreaming of a White Christmas

Saturday's Email of the Week

Twas the night before Christmas
and I've still lots to do
So I'll leave you with comics
while I vacuum & mop too.

The cookies are baked
and presents, well mostly wrapped
Next, onto the bedroom
where fresh sheets shall be slapped.

As time, it is fading
I cannot stay long
but I wish you holiday greetings
and hope good health keeps you strong

Now back to my turmoil
and the basement of horror
but Santa bells will soon free me
from any more work tomorrow.

Merry Christmas my friends!
I fear that the only snow I will see this Christmas is the snow in these cartoons
So, while I can't get the kids to make some of these crazy snowmen
I am sure I can keep them busy doing something
Here's hoping your holidays 
are merry and bright


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas on Repeat

Jingle Bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way…

Jingle Bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way…

Jingle Bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the…

WHY did I bring that electronic book upstairs? With cookies still to bake and presents to wrap, I think I need another rum & eggnog.

Merry Christmas from my corner of chaos

(Psst. That was also a scant 55 words that I shall offer over to G-Man!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Lifetime

I signed back into Bob’s and was greeted by Terry’s familiar face. “You have returned,” he exclaimed. Yup, I made it. I was back in downtown Cape Town for a last foray around the city, before heading to the suburbs and my aunt and uncle’s house. It was nice to step into a familiar place again and be welcomed by a known face.

“You’ve put on weight,” Terry continued. “It looks good.” His eyes dipped briefly to the most obvious spot that the aforementioned weight had landed. Yes, my thread-bare bra was now stretched to the max.

“Yeah right,” I thought, but could not deny it. My chubby cheeks and straining pants were a tell-tale sign that not everyone is starving in Africa. The many days and nights spent in the passenger seat of a travelling truck had taken their toll. Not to mention all the food that I had scarfed along route. In fact, before hitting the hostel, I had stopped for breakfast at Nino’s. I decided that I deserved to splurge on breakfast after surviving the questionable transportation I had endured over the last month. A R20 English breakfast was no match for this eating machine and my servers were thoroughly impressed. The only thing left was a mere croissant, which I slipped into my bag to save for later. The lady can eat folks!

I made a mental note to cut back on the carbs when I finally hit Canadian soil again. And yes, a little exercise might not hurt either, especially after watching the arm on the scale swing wildly back and forth under my tread. Even with my shoddy conversion of kilograms into pounds, I was shocked to note that I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. No wonder all I wore was my stretchy peasant skirt! Could I really have ballooned up to 70 kg? It was definitely time for some exercise.

With that in mind, I stowed my pack and headed out to walk around the city. Over the days that followed, I wandered through art galleries, perused the Cape Town Museum in a downpour, did some last minute shopping on my limited budget and even managed to hook up with my cousin Greg to say hello. I desperately tried to cram in as much culture as I could in my remaining hours. 

Now that the days were numbered though, the hours flew by. I realized that I would not make it to the top of Table Mountain, nor out to wander around Robben Island. There was time enough to visit with relatives, and as that was the reason why I came to South Africa in the first place, I returned to the arms of my kin. Indeed, when I returned to Brackenfell, my father’s brother greeted me with all the warmth he possessed, as if we had known each other my whole life, versus the short few months that I had been on the African continent.

In the grand scheme of things though, I suppose that my life in Africa was a lifetime in and of itself. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Friends Forever

Saturday's Email of the Week

Day sped away 
gym, glowing games & gabbing girls
friends ♥ forever

I have a very good friend of mine visiting today, so have been away from the computer. Wonderful, but I noticed that I didn't have anything prepared for you. Ack! As I have spent many an hour laughing, giggling and chatting the night and day away, this little joke is all that I have come up with on last notice. You are lucky that I love you all and am willing to share this little Christmas present that I got.

Merry Christmas ladies!

(Pst. Shall I send him your way when I am done with him Ron?)

Santa sent me an email stating he's tired of delivering toys.  That he's too old to be flying all night across the globe and that starting this Christmas, he's sending his son, Santa Jr. . . .   
HO HO HO . . . .
Merry Christmas my dear friends, behave so that Santa Jr. goes down your . . .chimney  :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Rainy Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas
Outside, who’d guess?
Rain and gusty wind
Replace white stuff, no less!

Nary snowflake, nor snow bank
For Santa to mount
But those hungry reindeer
Still have green grass about

So while I debate rainboots
For my midday stroll
I pray that Santa still visits
To fill up my soul


Oh G-Man, how is Santa ever going to come, if he has to drive those soggy reindeer through the rain? I am sure they will just stink up the house to high heaven like wet dog! We better leave out some towels too, so that Santa can sop up his dripping boots, or else I am going to be ticked. There are only a few days a year where the house is sparkly clean, and you better bet that will be one of them. If I have to remop the floor, well...

I guess I will dear Santa, because the kids said they asked for a new car for Mama and I've been very good this year!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dark Passenger

The dark stole over us all of a sudden like, as seemed to be the way in Africa. Springbok lay behind us, but Cape Town was still a long way to go. I was committed now. There was no turning back and the night made sure of that. The highway was no place for idle hitchhikers after dark, so for better or worse, I was Mango’s passenger for the night.

When dinner became a memory and eyes fought for purchase to stay open, I began to release the day. I was not the only one who fought a battle with sleep though. I tried to chat with Mango to keep us both awake, but conversation gradually ceased and we drove along in silence. Reflective tape flashed towards us in the dark. My eyelids bobbed under the mesmerizing display, dangerously close to staying shut, until Mango’s voice jarred me awake.

“I am going to stop,” he announced. "I need to sleep."

“You’re the boss,” I thought, as I nodded in agreement. The truck geared down and eased to the side of the road for a much needed break for both of us.

We were in the middle of nowhere. No lights twinkled in the distance, near or far, that I could see. While there could have been people hidden in the depths of the dark, essentially we were alone.

“Do you want to join me,” Mango half-heartedly suggested. “No charge for the ride?”

This is what I had been dreading and hoping against hope would not happen. I was instantly awake and tense.

“No,” I stated

“Sure?” he pushed, but I shook my head emphatically. He waited a second and then lay down. He flipped over with his back to me, apparently unconcerned by my rejection. I remained rigid in the passenger seat. Long after Mango slept, I listened for his even breathing, to assure me that I too was safe to snooze. Needless to say, it was not a sound sleep that night.

Before morning light, we were rolling along again. The sky outside my window was steely gray and rain broke on the windshield as we drove. My eyes were dry and gritty from having slept in my contact lenses, but Cape Town approached. After spending almost 24 hours in the truck with Mango, he geared down once again. Where the N1 and N7 intersected, I lit from the truck into the pouring rain. I thanked him for the ride, gave him the promised money and watched him drive away.

Within minutes two lovely ladies stopped to scoop me out of the downpour. Next stop: downtown Cape Town. After 9 ½ months of meandering here and there between Cape Town and Lamu, my travelling days were finally at an end.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Hurry Love

Saturday's Email of the Week
Happy Saturday my friends. The week fairly flew by, it seemed. The blur is hard to even stop and put a finger on. There was a Holiday concert at school, which entailed a quick visit from Grandma and Grandpa for the show. I lounged at the salon, shopped till I dropped and made time for coffee with friends on more than one occasion. I might have got a little bit of work done, but it feels like it was despite myself. Who has time to work with a date at the museum, a visit from the window repair man and SNOW to appreciate! This weekend isn't going to slow down much either, as a Christmas tree hunting we shall go, followed by some hard-core decorating of our prize. Welcome to the hustle bustle of the holidays, I guess. How about taking 2 minutes for a chuckle before you throw yourself into the rest of your weekend? It just seems appropriate too, what with a few dates under my belt as of late. And NO, there is nothing to tell yet, but you will be the first to know, I'm sure. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

what if...

sunshine with rainbows
pretty ribbons & bows
doves trailing peace lilies
with goodness else knows

I'm suffocating under smiles,
reeling from rose petals dreams
frightfully twinkling with trembles
and darn effervescent twould seem

a heart explodes
with what ifs and maybes
this pounding chest
so foreign of its beauties

love songs play
and in confusion I turn
for so long painful
and a thing to spurn

but I sit here at peace
my soul lit with hope
for today's door swung an inch
lord knows if I'll cope

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Favours of the Road

Think small, inconspicuous and less than attractive thoughts”, I repeated to myself, as I leaned in close to the truck door. After my last hitchhiking experience, I felt like I might be truly pushing my luck in jumping into another big rig again. At least there was only one person in this truck though.

But maybe that’s a bad thing”, my brain whispered to me.

“Shush!” I demanded. “Nervous thoughts will only make me look more vulnerable than I already am.

And so the dialogue with myself continued, as we drove along. Mango didn’t seem to notice though. He didn’t seem to be overtly threatening. His eyes stayed on the road and small talk was minimal. He asked me where I was headed and when he heard that I was thinking Springbok, but eventually Cape Town, he suggested that I just skip Springbok entirely. He himself was going to the Cape Town area. If I decided to just continue with him, I could have one continuous ride all the way from Keetmanshoop to Cape Town – no small feat, as there was over 1000 kilometers between the two. It would give him company along the way and be a direct trip back to Cape Town for me, leaving more time to visit with relatives before leaving Africa.

My brain whirred in thought. It was a fantastic offer and for R50, I couldn’t beat the price. A bus would have cost me at least double that and if I got out of the truck, I would then have to scavenge God knows how many more rides in order to get closer to where my flight would be departing in two weeks time. Plus, the sooner that I got to Cape Town, the more that I would be able to squeeze in, like a visit with aunts, uncles, cousins, a trip up Table Mountain, out to Cape Point, my Dad’s birthplace of Hermanus and maybe even another wine tour!

Of course, I could stay in the truck, watch Mango turn into a super sleaze ball and/or worse. I did not know the man and from experience, was leery about trusting anyone now.

Were my guardian angels still in place? Was it time for me to be tested again? If I fell asleep, would I wake up? All thoughts that had me sitting on the far edge of my seat. But I had listened to fate before and this could be another gift presented. Was this Africa’s final offer of faith? Time would surely tell, but was I willing to wait and see?

As the miles flew underneath the truck’s wheels, conversation ebbed and flowed between Mango and I. He smiled, but hands did not cross over to my side of the truck. We chatted, but it was sparse due to limited language between us more than anything. He seemed a simple man, doing his job and nothing more. My presence in the truck was a kindness and the norm for travel on African roads. I suspect that some ladies paid their fare in “favours”, especially when they travelled alone, but I continued to hold out hope that I would not have to pay this fee for my passage. My hope was that I served more as company, extra pocket money for his troubles, and distraction to keep him from being bored or falling asleep. Accidents along African roads had become legendary in traveller’s tales everywhere I went. Keeping a solo driver alert was more than just a perk at times – it was often a lifesaver.  

The border approached and decisions would soon need to be made. You never knew how long you would be held up at the border, but once across it was only a few hours further to Springbok. The longer I travelled with my new companion, the more comfortable I became. Was it worth it to skip Springbok altogether, and a potential visit with cousins, in order to get to Cape Town faster? A deep breathe told me to take one step at a time and enjoy the world going by my window until the universe told me different. 

And Namibia flew by. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

End of an Era

It’s the
Of an era

Oh Monkey,
You swung us thru
This junglescape
& kept us
On our toes.
“Quit monkeying around
With syllables down.
You’ve only 160
To play
No more…

Tonight is Monkey Man's last night for his weekly Sunday 160 challenge. I know there will be lots of people wondering what to do with their Sundays now, but I for one salute you for all that you did to improve my writing with this great exercise in brevity. Here's a song dedicated to you from a new band I just discovered that does some kick-ass Christmas tunes. Keep swinging Monkey! We love you baby!!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: Can the Funny Bone Cure the Common Cold?

Saturday's Email of the Week
It's Saturday and I am still sick. Just a cold mind you, but snotty as ever & its been almost a week now. I wouldn't mind so much, but with a lower than usual energy level the house has taken a toll. Confetti litters the living room floor, remnants from the snowflakes that now hang gaily on the window above. Counterspace is hitting max load in the kitchen, almost too much for this poor soul to bear. I don't even dare look at the kid's playroom.


But I shall ignore it all a little longer, as the girls head to roll and tumble the last of the morning away. I myself will see if I can sweat out the last of my germs while I am at it. And despite thinking that all the emails that I received this week were not worthy to share, upon second look there are a few nuggets in there that offer a smile or two. Actually there were three from a certain blogger friend of mine that all made me smile. She even got a spotlight on a community poetry blog that has been rocking the web as of late. The one that I am most interested in though, holds some links to a story that she promises will touch my heart. I can't wait! Plus there was a cute animated advent calendar from a distant aunt, a notice for a new writing contest (Canadians only!) that I am mulling over, updates from clients and a barrage of emails regarding Christmas drinks with my book club. What to choose though?

Well, this one from my aunt got a giggle. Hope you have a great weekend!

Just in case you need a laugh:
Remember it takes a college degree to fly a plane ... but only a high school diploma to fix one ... a reassurance to those of us who fly routinely.

After every flight ... UPS pilots fill out a form ... called a 'gripe sheet' ... which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft.

The mechanics correct the problems ... document their repairs on the form ... and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor.

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by UPS pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.
By the way ... UPS is the only major airline that has never ... ever ... had an accident.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK ... except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.
P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-feet-per-minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground..
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.
P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF is always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right and be serious.
P:Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.
And the best one for last
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from the midget.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Day after day
Tapping words for others
Happy, busy, I portray
(yes, the right answer)

But as the sun sets
Time crawls
Walls hum
and the dark
turns a cold shoulder
to this moment’s passage

Life is a gift
so they say
Make of it what you wish
you pray


Well, that was 55 words
written about time
so I guess I am tipping my hat
to Patti & G-Man 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mango Delivery

As I left the hostel behind, I swung my pack onto my back for the last time on the road. Keetmanshoop was a small town and acted only as a short rest stop for me.  Time marched on and so must I. There was now less than two weeks left of my African Adventure, so every moment was precious. I had no time left to play idle tourist, when there was a finite amount of time left to get back to Cape Town and squeeze in a quick final visit with relatives. It was time to move on.

Sadly, when I evaluated the last of my funds, I found that a train trip back to Cape Town, or even Springbok for that matter (where a cousin lived), would be too dear for my pocketbook. My options were limited. So putting trepidation aside, I decided to try my hand at hitchhiking once more. My spiritual renewal in Swakopmund had refueled my faith in the fates again, so I set my mind to the end goal.  I crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t run into any rides reminiscent of my last hitchhiking fiasco. Or worse, for that matter.

So with a prayer to my angel wing-man, I turned from the train station and headed out to the highway. I couldn’t help but pull out the camera to take a quick snap of my beat-up, dusty old pack that had seen thousands of miles pass under it. There wasn't much left of it or in it, besides the thin orange and brown polyester sleeping bag and an assortment of even thinner clothes. It was hard to believe that I would be hanging it up soon. Even harder to think about leaving this beautiful land, that I still felt like I was only just beginning to know. When I thought of the family and friends that I would soon see, I was spurred on to action though. I slid my camera back into my pack, just as a big rig approached. I stuck out my thumb and the truck slowed to a stop. This was it, I thought to myself, as I swung up into the cab. 

And as the truck lumbered back up to speed, I met Mango. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: First Dates

Saturday's Email of the Week

Its Saturday. And I feel like torturing myself today, so am going to share some of what I got up to last night. You see, I went on a date yesterday. Ooooh aaaaah! I know - wow. pffft

Well, I fussed about what to wear. I donned makeup & even let my girls dictate that I wear lipstick. I own the stuff, but have to admit that it doesn't get a lot of "face time". Har, har, bad pun. If you know me though, it just usually doesn't happen. But last night, you better believe it did! Oh, and I even put on a pair of pantyhose. For my dear gentlemen readers, I am pretty sure you designed the crazy things, as they are really quite the uncomfortable item, if you have to wear them for any period of time. Sure they help to aid as a tummy tuck if necessary or hide less than smooth legs, but really! Anyway, thank God I noticed that I had a run in them when I got home. I am sure I could have laughed through that at the time, but once home they were Off & then GONE! But, I must note that I did opt for them for the affair.

So we set a date, picked a location to meet and right off the hop, the location wouldn't work. You see date night has to work around my kids, first and foremost. I had arranged for them to be at a gymnastics outing that was a 3hr affair, therefore I had time constraints. The first restaurant of choice required reservations or a time slot that didn't work with my child are arrangements. Damn, this dating stuff is hard work! But the crux of the story is that this my friends was a first date. In fact, my first date in a good long time. And you know what? It was darn awkward! Lord, I felt weird. Essentially it was a blind date, so we had to try and get through the " Hi, nice to meet you" phase. shake hands here. Then what to order and what to talk about and ...

yeah, it was just weird. But I can now lay claim to a first date. And no, there was no mad passionate kiss that swooped me off my feet at the end of it, in case you were wondering. Suggestions were made to chat again, but I am wondering about that whole spark factor. Bah! I wish there was an easier way. Anyone on here single? Got any single friends in the Canada region? Kind of a big place, being the 2nd biggest country in the world and all, but I have been known to go on a road trip or two. So what have I learned from all this?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Poet

real live people
flesh and blood
sparked with creative juices and 

draws us in
united as brothers 
to tease meaning and maybes

one and all
carrying the stylus
set in ancient tongues of

words on page
thoughts in mind
all our own exalted bards


set in 
cinquain style
to describe a poetry reading
by moi

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Little Promo

I have been doing some looking.

More than just looking at cute strangers too. In fact, I have been looking at me. Scary! Worth a look every now and then though. And what is it that I see, you wonder?

Normally I spend my day writing, often trying to come from other people's voices or perspectives, but as of late I have turned the magnifying glass around to inspect myself. What I am trying to see is a professional writer scraping out a bit of a living. I am trying to envision this business person that works for a living and does the job at hand to the best of my ability. There is attention to detail there and yes, an eye to the clock for timeliness as well. Hey, those are good qualities and worthy of a nod for my chosen profession, right?

This process does not flow so easily though. I am not sure if you noticed or not, but I had a suggestion to polish up my professional image here, so did a little housekeeping. I revamped my pages and tweaked a thing or two. If you get the time, I would love it if you checked it out and let me know what you think. When I was going through the process though, it forced me to take a look at me. Truth be told, it wasn't so bad! If I look at my resume of people that I have worked for, variety of subject matter attacked and timeliness in making it all happen, I am a little impressed. I have written more than an article or two, and some of them are quite good! Looking at them from a potential new employer's eye, the trick is to decide which articles are most worthy to share though. FYI: Much harder than I thought it would be. I am still not sure if I did myself justice either.

That bring me to today. When it comes to the marketing of me, I could use a lot little more practice. I become shy and reticent. To humble to boast, I am unable to sing my praises, despite knowing that I do have a modicum of talent. Again, I feel all gangly here; barely able to spit out a cohesive thought.

You want me to talk about me? Oh geez! What's to say?

The problem is, I have to get over that. I have to put on my biggest smile and sing my praises as loud as I can, because it is only through marketing, in the world of writing and social media, that your voice can be heard louder and in more places. And I do have a book that I would like to see in print in the near future, so I need the practice. And while in my little blog, I have been content to use my own small voice to gently share thoughts, poems and prose, that needs a little dose of confidence thrown in now and again. I have to find my big girl voice.

So in my best Big Girl voice today, I am going to ask of you a favour. Kahemm...

You see, while my first love is to the beauty of words, Mama gets a new pair of boots via selling those words (Winter is coming up fast and I noticed that my old winter boots have a hole in the bottom of them).

Oh geez, I am doing it again! Blathering to the point of LOSING the point. So,

I would appreciate it if you would all visit some of the sites that I work for and comment on whatever you might find interesting. If you do find something interesting, it would be even better if you could SHARE it too, like on Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon or Google +. Heck, you could even follow them! My clients are pretty generous folk, but a little more turnaround would be beneficial to keep me working.

Thank you

In Your Neighbourhood - DIY, house, home & real estate, plus a cool FOLLOW THE FLIP of 2 houses
CLC Tree Services Blog - focus on trees, plus general gardening tips, landscape lighting & Christmas Decor

Monday, November 21, 2011

Still Looking

My journal entries got longer and more verbose as the days went by. It was to be expected I suppose, as I spent most of my days alone. It left me more time to think and hence write those thoughts down. After travelling with so many people, through so many places, it was kind of nice to be left to my own devices. But in truth, it kind of scared me too. With all those kilometers under my belt, I felt like I should have some kind of hold on the world by now. Instead, I still wondered what I wanted to be when I grew up. More importantly, I wondered what I would do with myself when I returned back home to Canada. The answer seemed no closer than when I had left home over nine months before.

I returned to the best way to avoid thinking about the present moment – through travel. I left Swakopmund behind and took in Windhoek and its sights. I visited the Alte Feste and learned a little more about Namibian history. A Natural History museum provided information about some of the local animals I would see if I were to explore the game parks in the area. Interesting, but I had no time left for game parks.All I had left was the opportunity to read about cheetahs, rhinos and some of the aboriginal cultures that existed in the area. My time was ticking now though and it was more about quantity over quality.

From Windhoek, I boarded a train and blissfully watched the miles pass me by from the safety of its rocking compartment. It was the first time in my African excursion that I had the luxury of train travel, but the eleven hour journey left me a little less than impressed. Thankfully, it was an overnight trip, so at least a few of the hours slipped by unencumbered. Of course it also amounted to more time to ponder my fate, so when I arrived in Keetmanshoop my journal had a few more pages of notes added to it.

At this rate though, there would not be many more pages left to write. I had made it official. With a bittersweet heart, I changed my plane ticket for the last time. In a little over two weeks, I would fly out of Cape Town for Germany, then home. All that was left to do now was to get to Cape Town. Keetmanshoop deserved a cursory exploration, but as I debated what this arid town held to offer, I knew my heart was no longer in it. It was time to go home. 


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