Kapanda Llama!

 

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See the cute little boy?  See the nice Grandpa?  See the Llama?

Look, look!   Nice Llama.

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Nice Little Boy. 

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Nice Grandpa.

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WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Somebody named this Llama KAPANDA! 

What kind of a name is that for a llama?  I would expect it to be named Carmen Miranda Llama or Electra Llama or even Alana Hasta Manana the Llama, but Kapanda?

I’d name mine Alana Hasta Manana the Llama, but that’s me………..I like long names for my llamas.  Of which I have none.

What?

Oh.  Yes, it does have a nice ‘ring’ to it.  Sort of implies a friendly Panda bear kind of llama, all cuddly and soft.

Well, yes, it is kind of a nice name…………..

Oh alright.  ‘Sides, one of Kaki’s grandchildren named her Kapanda.  So cute!

Llama Llama Duck! all y’all…………..

 

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News From the Front (3rd Edition)

When one is 111 or so, survival can be a matter of outsmarting the younger/quicker/more agile and especially, the machines! and now sometimes the rude ‘service providers’ (oxymoron!)

Therefore, I offer you (from time to time), NEWS FROM THE FRONT, a summary of experiences and observations about the on-going “survival war” we seniors (and the rest of society) fight every day, one battle at a time.  Don’t stop fighting for your rights!

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It’s All Automatic!

It’s 5 a.m. and yours truly is opening the mail.  The electric service bill has come, automatically paid through bank draft.  We’ve been in this house for 13 years and had the same bank account for longer than that.

I look at the bill—something is different about it I think.  Retrieving the bills from the last few months I notice that this bill does not say “Do Not Pay.  The Amount Will Automatically Be Deducted From Your Bank On May xx, 2014.”  All the other bills say that.

I know it’s now just 6 a.m., but I call the electric company anyway.  Somebody answers! (A plus for the electric company and I applaud them for good customer service!  Imagine reaching a REAL PERSON at 6 a.m.)  The gentleman explains that evidently the routing number for the bank has been changed.  I respond that if it has, nobody has told us about it.  We just got some new checks with the same old routing number.

He will investigate.

He calls back at about 8:30 and tells me there was an error made on their part.  The amount will be automatically taken from the account on a certain date, just like it always has been done. They are sorry.

Well, I would have been sorry if I had not caught THEIR error and our electricity had been shut off for lack of payment.

Moral of the story:  always check your bill statements, even if they are the routine kind and you THINK the system is automatically taking care of the charges.  The machines are not necessarily our friends.

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1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 and 4!  At Your Service:

Apologies ahead of time for the length of this story.

The last time I purchased a new pair of pants was about 9 months ago.  It is difficult for me to find a pair of pants which fit properly, but this one store generally has the correct size.  Girlfriend agrees to help me in my search. 

We go to the name-brand store and a sales woman offers help—actually, she insists!–in finding some pants for me to try on—but only after she’s tried to get me to buy some which I don’t want.  Then she attempts to get me to look at their newest styles.  I do not want newest style, I want plain pants in black, beige, or white.  Please.

The woman needs pants!” she announces in a very unfriendly-like tone.  I am an uncooperative customer unwilling to consider HER suggestions.  How annoying.

Off she goes to find some for me to try on, and tells me to look around.  I notice a big sign by the front door which says, 50% off the second item if one spends $100.  Oh!  And I already have a $25 coupon which was mailed to me.  This coupon is good if I spend $100 or more.  Believe me, pants will cost $100 or more. 

A rack of tops with a sale sign:  $24.  I like the quality of the tops and think I might buy one of these as well.

A while later, the sales woman brings several pants for me to try on.  After a long wait for a dressing room, I try on all the pants, select two identical pair ($99 each)—one in black and one in beige.  As I step out to show Girlfriend, another sales woman says to me, “I had a customer in that dressing room!” implying I had absconded with HER dressing room.   I mildly reply, “The other sales woman told me to use it?”  She goes off in a huff, obviously angry with either me or the other sales woman or both.

I go to the register.  While waiting there, I decide I will buy one top for the $24 sale price, so I place it on the counter along with the two pair of pants.

The first sales woman, who is definitely overworked with too many customers, has paid almost no attention to me, but that is alright.  I don’t need a lot of attention and don’t really expect it.  I have made my selections. I do not care for shopping in retail stores, anyway, and often only go when I have a specific purchase to make, as I have done this day.   She says, “You must buy two of these tops for the price to be $24 each.”  Oh.

Well, alright, although I did not see that explanation (in small print) on the big sign.  I select a second top and think it’s still a fairly good buy.  We will be taking a vacation and I will be glad to have two new tops.

She rings up my purchases—now two tops and two pair of pants–and deducts the $25 coupon. 

I ask about the 50% discount?  Oh, she says.  Well, she can’t take off both the 50% and the $25 coupon. 

I say, “Well, obviously, I would like the higher discount.  Please.”

She is now irritated.  She voids the transaction, says she has voided it, but refuses to give me a receipt for either the original charge nor for the credit.

“It’s like it never happened,” she states, “You’ll never see it on your account.”*  I disagree and tell her that it WILL appear and at least let me know what the amount was so I can be sure the credit comes through.  I write down the amount, although I can tell she is very irritated with me now and absolutely will NOT give me a receipt of any kind.

She rings up my purchases again, which total $25.43 LESS than the first time.  So I have saved myself $25.43 by simply requesting the higher discount. (Every sales person I’ve ever had would always offer the higher discount to a customer.  This was a first.)

BUT She has charged me $28.29 for one top, and $25.38 for the other top.  Both were on a rack with a large sign, “$24”.   $94 for one pair of pants and $47.02 for the other.  I was also ‘given’ a 5% discount for belonging to their “club” meaning I’ve spent some money there before, which was about 2 years previously.   (As stated, I do not care for retail shopping.) 

And they STILL overcharged me for the tops!

YOU MUST ASK FOR THE LARGER DISCOUNT or you won’t get it, either because the clerk is unknowledgeable and does not know how to apply it, or too greedy (can you say ‘commission’?) to offer it.  It’s unclear which in this case.

Regardless, she is clearly eager to get me out of the store, but no more eager than I am to leave. 

Yes, I should have complained at the overcharge a second time—but by then I was tired of being treated rudely.  As she hands the package at me, she says nothing.  No “Thank You” or “Come Back” or “We appreciate your business.”  She just shoves the bag at me and turns to ring up someone else.   I have spent over $200 in that store.  Evidently that is a ‘minor’ purchase and I certainly do not feel like a ‘valued’ customer.

I go home.  Deciding it is more trouble than it’s worth to get the $5 overcharge corrected, I’ve decided to just forget it.  A couple hours later, I ask TMWLH to check our account online and see if the credit has been issued. 

*My spouse tells me that I’ve been double charged for my purchases.  One charge is $25.43 more than the other charge.  Together, both charges are over $400.  No credit has showed up in the account.  So much for ‘It never happened and it won’t even show up in your statement.”

The cash register receipt has a website.  They want me to take a survey, which I immediately do.  I explain the entire shopping experience.  It was not a pleasant one.  I am now more than just displeased, I am angry.  When one is angry, one needs to take action—you know the old statement, “Do not get mad, get even.”  Well, I think, they owe me some money and I need to make this transaction EVEN!

I call the store and obtain the name and phone number of the district manager.  I leave a message.  My daughter, who has come for dinner,  is furious on my behalf. 

The saga continues, of course.  When the Store manager calls, I talk with her and the District Manager has left me a message.  Both are profoundly apologetic.  I am told that there will be credits issued to my account.  The Store Manager is so sorry—and she will speak with the sales woman about this transaction.  She wants me to know she is so terribly terribly sorry.

It is now 6 days later and the credits finally appear on our account.   A few hours later, they are removed.   Then, the next day, the credits reappear!   No compensation of any sort  has been offered to me for my troubles.  Just a lot of apologies and a brief hand-written note apologizing again, this from the District Manager.  I think that if this type of behavior had happened in a restaurant, at least I likely would have been given a free dessert or a free meal.  Not so with retail shopping.  If I get what they owe me, that’s evidently all I’m going to get.  What ever happened to trying to please the customer?

Oh—you want to know the store name?  Well, I won’t tell you, but I will say it is a popular woman’s store all over the country.  I’ll bet you can figure out which one it is.  (Hint:  See the heading above this article.)

The next time I buy any clothing with this brand name, it will be from a YARD SALE!  At least there, the prices are very reasonable, discounts are negotiated on the spot,  and the sales women are friendly. 

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Guaranteed Arrival

Son-in-law has negotiated with his service provider for a new computer modem.  Son-in-law is an I.T. specialist and knows the lingo and that the competition offers a faster, new modem for no additional charge.  He is told that the installer and the modem will be there at 2 p.m. on Monday and agrees to meet the installer at that time at his home.

This requires Son-in-law to drive 30 minutes from work to his house in the middle of the day (and 30 minutes back to work), which he does, arriving a couple minutes past 2 where he sees the technician standing by the open door of the company vehicle.

Getting out of his car, Son-in-law greets the installer and says, “Come on in,” while walking to his front door.

The installer says, “You are late!  I’ve already cancelled the installation.”

WHAT??????

No amount of arguing with the installer could influence him to go ahead with the installation.  Son-in-law was told to call and reschedule the appointment.

I am not exaggerating here…..this actually happened this week and yes, Son-in-law was literally two minutes ‘late.’

Needless to say, Son-in-law will be changing service providers from Uverse.   And yes, I mention the provider’s name this time. 

Caveat Emptor!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caveat_emptor

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A Visit to Corinth, MS

Last week, friend “California” (below)

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and her hubby (below)

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were driving cross-country and stopping to see Shiloh.  We drove three hours to Corinth, Mississippi to meet them there.

Shiloh is the site of the most brutal battles of the Civil War.  Over 23,000 men lost their lives there.  The National Cemetery area honors those who fought, on both sides, and relates the history of the Battle of Shiloh.

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Inside the small museum area on the grounds was a place to make donations.  We saw that one could make donations based on what area of the country one was from.  Ironic, I thought.

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There are 600 monuments on the grounds, dedicated to those who had died.  The monuments are by states.  It is a very sad and eerie area to visit, but part of our American history.  One drives through the park to visit various battle locations.

In Corinth an interactive museum is most interesting and beautiful.  Here are some scenes from the interactive museum:

image  Metal sculptures of items which soldiers might have dropped along the way are scattered on the sidewalk leading to the interactive museum.

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At the entrance is this almost life size plaque:

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image  TMWLH stands by the entry donation sign.

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Above, a display.  Below, a large room with sculptures depicting an early classroom with a young girl talking to her instructor.

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Outside a beautiful water feature detailing which various cities and towns ‘fell’ each year during the Civil War.  The large blocks represent towns and cities and each block has a name on it.

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We enjoyed spending the day with our friends, later having a nice dinner.  After an overnight stay in a motel, we bid them safe journey home.

If you are close to Corinth, Mississippi or within driving distance, go spend the day.  Well worth the time and effort!

 

Community Sales

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Finally!  Even though the weather was a little rainy and cold, there were several community sales today.  We were happy.  Happy, happy, happy.  Llama llama duck!

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See how happy, happy, happy, llama llama duck! Sosew is above?  She found some treasures!Yep.  HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!  Kickin’ up her heels! happy.  Now, THAT is happy.

(Poor Girlfriend, though.  She found a jacket which Sosew liked, too.  She gave it to Sosew.  Girlfriend is a TRUE FRIEND.  We also tease her a lot, but she’s a good sport about it.)

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Two FLINGOS! in somebody’s Dusty Miller patch.  They were happy, too.

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Cupcake is happy.

image  Sosew modeled a wrap around dress which tied behind the neck.

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Cupcake made a ‘haul!”

Which means she found a lot of stuff on-the-cheap.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The ‘find of the day’ has to be a free baby crib!  It was propped up under a tree, labeled, “Free!”  We stopped, the owner came out and helped load it in the van along with the mattress.   As it turns out, one of Racer Daughter’s friends needs one.  This all-wood, very good condition crib is perfect, and………it was free! 

At a small estate sale, we found this ceiling of interest:

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It was not for sale, though.

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We met this woman selling her exercise instruction books.  How old to you think she is?  Take a close look.

Her exercise instruction book is for facial muscles.  For $5, one could purchase the book along with a pair of white cotton gloves which one uses to do the facial exercises. 

This woman has not had any cosmetic surgery or any type of face lift.  (Scroll down.)

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She is 86 years old.

I bought the book!

Go here to read about the book and to order one of your own if you like:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/catherine-chisholm/a-do-it-yourself-facelift/ebook/product-17453390.html

News From the Front, 2nd Edition

When one is 111 or so, survival can be a matter of outsmarting the younger/quicker/more agile and especially, the machines!

Therefore, I offer you (from time to time), NEWS FROM THE FRONT, a summary of experiences and observations about the on-going “survival war” we seniors fight every day. 

**************************

Everyday (God I hope not) Frustrations:

After repeated attempts to repair a washer which had a short in it (this is called attempting to avoid electrocution), Friend Leader orders a new washing machine.  Truck arrives, drives up their rather long and steep driveway, taking out ALL THE LINES which connect their house to ALL THE SERVICES a house needs.  You know:  telephone, computer, electricity and heaven knows what else.

As if this isn’t bad enough (or, WAIT! WAIT! THERE IS MORE!):

New washing machine set up, old washer removed.  Truck leaves with driver handing Leader his card and begging her to PLEASE call HIM and not his firm when she gets the bill for the cost of hooking up said house to what we seniors refer to as ‘life as we know it.’  First day on job for the guy.

Leader gets electrical company to reconnect lines.  Somehow without incident.

Leader calls phone company and whoever else and arranges for lines to be repaired.  Phone company guy arrives and delivers his life’s story whilst connecting phone lines.  He just came back to work—injury from falling off a ladder.  Attendant troubles with bills, baby at home, etc., etc.  Leader feeds said repairman a chicken sandwich—guy really has had a rough time.  Leader really has a soft heart.

Meanwhile, Leader had started a load of clothes after the electricity was back on.  Because she NEEDED to start a load of clothes.  She is also watching 18 month old Granddaughter who is sleeping (God is compassionate sometimes) to make sure Granddaughter does not decide to go wandering off somewhere without supervision.  Eighteen month old Granddaughters often can and do.

Leader’s husband suddenly begins yelling.  Seems it is raining INSIDE the basement.  There is a flood in the laundry room above which is now encroaching the kitchen and threatening the family room carpet.  Grabbing whatever towels are available, Leader and her spouse mop, rinse and repeat.  There is a lot of water in those washers, let me assure you.

Washer guy forgot to hook up the drain.

Company called.  Ceiling in basement area wet.  Stored furniture and other items wet there; floor tiles now have water underneath them in the laundry room and likely elsewhere.  Granddaughter thankfully slept through commotion, although her parents are trying to reach Leader on landline phone and can’t get through.  Trying to find out if she can pick up Grandson at school.  

Keystone Cops LIVE!  (Per Leader)

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Checking Out

Jabber is in line at a “convenience store” (an oxymoron if ever I saw one).  Man ahead of her is an older gentleman who is making a small purchase.  He slides his card through the machine and is prompted to

1.  give his pin number which he carefully enters and clicks ‘enter’

2.  asked if he wishes to contribute to some cause and how much—$5, $10, $15, $25, $50? 

What?  No.  Not only no, HELL NO!  His purchase was about $2.

3.  asked to put in his phone number which he does after finding out the machine wants his area code as well as his phone number.  This takes a little while.

4.  clerk asks to see his card and signature. 

5.  the machine asked if the amount is correct? 

He accidentally hits ‘no’ and the process has to begin all over again.

6.  finally, he is asked to SIGN the machine.  The signature disappears as he is signing it.  Yes, it’s one of ‘those’ machines.  He tries a couple of times and finally says, “Well, I did the best I could.”  Machine accepts his signature even though only about 3 letters of his name actually showing from his signature.

7.  Clerk says, “Wait, sir!  I will print out and hand you your receipt.”  Man responds, “This is worse than taking out a mortgage!”

I agree.  I pay cash.

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One of those “Courtesy Calls”:

From our provider of internet, telephone and TV services.  We are not home, so a ‘robo’ message is conveniently left on our phone telling us we are entitled to a new modem, FREE!, and that it will allow us to have the fastest access to internet and streaming video.  All we have to do is go to a certain website.  I dutifully copy down the website and enter it on my computer.

Website asks me to log in to my account.

Lookie here:  how many darned passwords does one have to have anyway?  I’ve got about 20 and I can not for the life of me remember what password goes to which website.  So, I write them down, but I missed this one because how often do I even have to GO to this website?  Once or twice in twenty years?  Don’t you just love it?  And, God forbid you actually say you ‘forgot’ your password.  Then you have to invent another password which you definitely won’t remember and it has to be so many letters WITH numbers somewhere interspersed and the computer will tell you if it is a ‘strong’ password or not.   Don’t forget to write it down!

Okay, back to the website which actually gave me an alternative option:  enter last 4 digits of  my Social Security number.  I do,

Nope, says screen.  You are not the primary subscriber. 

So, since there are two of us in this household, not including Security—and I really don’t think Security HAS a Social Security number, but maybe she should?—I enter TMWLH’s last four digits…..

No, that’s not right.  He has ten digits still, and I certainly would not use any for a website……….

I enter TMWLH’s last four digits of his Social Security Number.  There.  That’s right.

No, it’s not.  It says he is not the primary subscriber either.  So who the heck IS the primary subscriber.

I’m beginning to look at Security a bit suspiciously…….she isn’t talking. 

The automated “courtesy call” didn’t give me a phone number.  This means that I will have to call the provider, spend the rest of the afternoon trying to reach a person (you know—press 3 for service, press 2 if this service is related to TV, press 5 if this is in regard to your billing for the service related to your TV, etc., etc., etc. and then I’ll get a computer voice which will tell me everybody is busy for the next umpteen hours, but my call is VERY IMPORTANT TO THEM, so please HOLD ON to keep my place in line and my call will be answered by the next available operator, of which I am certain there is only one.  It’s probably the guy who got fired for not hooking up the washing machine drain and he wasn’t happy to begin with.

And I’ll have to listen to ads for the next several hours interspersed by some type of obnoxious music.

When operator finally DOES get around to me, he/she is so disgusted by his/her job and complaints from dissatisfied customers he/she will be in no mood to deal with my request for a free modem.  Which isn’t really free.  I’m PAYING FOR IT to begin with!

And as we all know, there IS no such thing as ‘free’ when it comes to such offers.

Still, I am compelled to check it out.  Wish me luck.

  

Llama Llama Ding Dong

“Really?” Jabber asked.  “Really?  Lookie here, I know you is a ding-a-ling or as our ol’ friend Pooh Bear used to say, ‘a bear of very little brain,’ but what’s with this llama llama stuff?”

It’s hard to explain, Jabber.  Unless you’ve been there.

Wait a minute, you WERE there!  You are me—sometimes.  (Score one for Jabber’s initial insight into…….oh never mind.)

(And no, this is NOT about the Dali Llama, who I think is a pretty fine guy.  He laughs a lot too, and so should we.  Go ahead, channel your inner llama—Dali or otherwise.)

This is how llama obsession all came about:

Prior to the half, we all ‘did’ twelve miles on the marathon route—for practice.  I sent out this video along with a note which said I KNEW everyone felt just like this! 

One week and ready to  go!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VthKC_XZKS0

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So then I was committed. 

“No, you weren’t.  Shoulda’ been, but you weren’t.  You were runnin’ free..and people were unawares………” Jabber commented.

Which is true.  I was committed, obsessed some might say, with llamas.

So, a while later, I sent out this:

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Keep channeling your inner llama.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHNczNvOnGc

I’m hung up on llamas at the present time.  Sorry to inflict them on you.  Can’t help it.

Half-crazy………….(half marathon………get it? Huh?  oh, never mind………)

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Followed by this:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y_RXVBKpAc

First 17 seconds—You may THINK these are llamas, but they are really us channeling our ‘inner llamas’.  It’s ALL OF US!  And somebody just said they didn’t believe we did the half marathon—go get ‘em llamas!

Okay.  I’m done with my obsession with llamas.

Smile

P.S.  The rest of the video is kind of funny at times, too—but it’s the first 17 seconds that really illustrates us!

P.P.S.  Well, no I’m not done with my obsession with llamas.  This is my llama love song to all of you!  Smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3rpRjxQLN4

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And so now, of course, I have found out that Cupcake’s daughter lives next door to a bunch of llamas! and Kaki’s brother actually lives WITH llamas.  Who knew?* 

Everybody has a llama but Jabber, who obviously loves llamas.   Well, actually, I rather prefer Alpacas, but llamas will do in a pinch.  There aren’t many videos on youtube about Alpacas.  Or Llamas, either, actually.  I have more or less exhausted the supply of readily available youtube videos of llamas which were to the point, more or less.

Likely less.

Llama Llama DUCK!

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*Oh, alright.  Cupcake’s daughter’s neighbor doesn’t actually live with llamas that I know of.  Might, but I doubt it.  I think he just HAS llamas.  And Kaki’s brother doesn’t live with llamas, either, at least not inside his house, as far as I know.  He has some, though, and he raises them I’m told.  And guess what?  SOMETIME SOON I’LL GET TO GO VISIT THE LLAMAS.

I just hope they don’t spit at me.  I’ve been giving them pretty good publicity here lately………..

 

 

 

Hotlanta Hugs!

All good things come to an end and our Hotlanta! trip had to come to an end, too.  Which is why I’m here, at home, writing this blog entertaining all of you Weeders.  Otherwise, I’d be there.  Still. 

You ARE entertained, right?

Okay, never mind…….

The last day of our Hotlanta trip began with hugs.  From the most amazing lady we’ve met in a long, long time.

We decided to try this place for breakfast:

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Daughters had oatmeal with all kinds of luscious toppings and Jabber had an omelet.  Of course she did.  And we all got HUGS from this lady:

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Her name is Yvonne.  She MAKES the Corner Bakery joyful.  She gives hugs to EVERYBODY to enters. 

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This is a woman who has adapted her career into her life’s work—making other people happy, showing them some ‘sugar’ and some unconditional love.  If ever you are in Hotlanta, go see her!  You will be very very happy you did.

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Thank you Yvonne!  You made our day and our weekend in Atlanta something wonderful to remember!

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