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I’m working on a bouquet of smaller projects today, so I’ll leave you with this thought:

“I don’t care what you do in life, but challenge people with greater power than you and defend those with less power.”

— Nick Clooney, to son George

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Original photo by SUNBEAM PHOTOGRAPHY on Unsplash

A PSA for the USA

This is for all my American readers out there. 

Need a free Covid test and / or N95 mask? This is your lucky day!

Omicron just waves as it floats past cloth masks, and surgical masks (while a marked improvement) aren’t always ideal. What’s better? An N95 mask. Unfortunately, top-quality masks aren’t cheap.

The good news? Most of us can reuse N95s, and there are ways to get these masks for free. 

There has been a lot of press about this but in case you haven’t heard or don’t have the links, here’s how to take advantage of these free offers:

Stay safe out there!

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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Wisdom, with Bear

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.”

― Lorraine Hansberry

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Photo by billow926 on Unsplash

“What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications.”

― Nora Ephron

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Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

I love history. Not the memorization of dates and tests and such, but that moment where you realize in a sudden, visceral way that the past isn’t ever really gone. That the present is built on its bones.

I also like the idea of uncovering that past, either via literal bones or the items that people leave behind. Gold is nice and all (not least because it lasts) but I have a soft spot for the ordinary. What was once worthless, like a broken pot, a used envelope, translucent blue glass jar or a single button, becomes a window into the everyday.

A window in time, if you will.

From museums to restored footage to dragon bones (ok, not exactly but still) and virtual reconstructions, there are a lot of ways to see the past.

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I tend to prefer the more tactile alternatives. 

My mother used to take us out to a friend’s cabin in the woods. In winter we helped her gather sap for maple syrup, but in summer my brother and I would head to the stream at the base of the hill. The water had cut a small cliff into the shale, and if we were lucky and good we could find fossils. 

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Here are two examples of hands-on history I think would be fun to experience.

The fossil hunters of the Jurassic Coast

… with the West Dorset cliffs eroding at such a rapid rate, scientists alone could never hope to save even a fraction of the fossils emerging onto the beaches before they’re swept away by the waves. This has left amateur collectors as key partners in the fight to preserve the area’s extraordinary fossil bounty for study and display, and has, over the past two decades, fuelled a huge rise in the number of people visiting the local beaches in search of prehistoric treasures.

How to Mudlark

… the majority of the things salvaged from the mud are more recent—often medieval or later—and are small, humble reminders of what people used, maybe loved, and eventually discarded. Exploring the shore as a mudlark is like conducting a swift, simple, satisfying archaeological dig, with almost no digging at all.

More fun for the future!

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The Choice

“All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate… I choose love.”

― Johnny Cash

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According to my local bird store, today is Squirrel Appreciation Day. Now, I’m fairly sure that the local squirrels object to being relegated to just one day, but given the monopoly they have over the neighborhood feeders, I think they’ll get along fine.

To avoid the possibility of a Great Squirrel Uprising (TM) however, I have arranged to send one squirrel to a resort and spa for the day.

Yes, this was a rush job. No, you will not get extra nuts with dinner!
Photos by big.tiny.belly on Unsplash and maja777 on Pixabay.

Also bird seed. Works every time.

Today Is Awesome

Today is an awesome day.

The kitty says so!

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Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

It’s Alive!

Today, some useful writing advice from award-winning writer Nalo Hopkinson.

The point of fiction is to cast a spell, a momentary illusion that you are living in the world of the story. Fiction engages the senses, helps us create vivid mental simulacra of the experiences the characters are having.

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Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash

Feeling Lucky

Yes, it’s Tuesday and work is crazy as usual but it’s not all negative news. We will not be hit by an asteroid today!

A huge asteroid will fly safely by Earth today. Here’s how to watch it live. | Space

See? Tuesdays aren’t all bad.

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Not an asteroid but I liked the rainbow. Photo by Cyrus Press on Unsplash