Back to Living a Quiet Life of . . . I Don’t Know

My sister, who has been here helping look after our 97-year-old father, left this morning, and shortly after she took off for places unkown, I went to dance class, leaving him alone. When I checked on him upon my return, he didn’t seem to have been affected by either of our absences, just went about his life as usual.

I’ve lost track of how many times he’s seemed to be at the end of his life, prompting me to plan my immediate future. The first time, I planned a cross-country trip to promote my books. I started gathering the promotional materials, even went so far as to roadwrite all the independent bookstores in the country. He returned to his normal self, scotching my plans, which was just as well — I got such an abysmal response to my USPS mail campaign, that I lost all interest in visiting the bookstores in person. (I didn’t send just a Hi-I’m-an-author-buy-my-books promo. I sent gift certificates for ebooks and offered to interview each of the storeowners for my interview blog to help promote their stores. Not one responded.)

The second time, I planned to walk to Seattle, either via the Pacific Crest Trail or the various coastal trails. (California, Oregon, and Washington all have a coastal trail in the process of completion.) I spent weeks trying to figure out the logistics of such a trip, taking into consideration my age, the state of my fitness, and the prodigious amounts of water and other supplies I would have to haul. Just about the time I realized how improbable (if not impossible) such a trip would be for me, my father got better.

There were a few other quickly aborted plans during some of his short down times, such as my getting a teardrop trailer, perhaps, or renting a room in a house to make it easier to continue taking dance classes. During this last near-death turn of events, I didn’t even bother to plan (though I did have a few nights of panic when I realized I have no idea how or why or where I will live after I leave here). I finally understood the futility of expecting or fearing anything when it comes to such a tenacious old man. And sure enough, he’s dragged himself back to life.

One of my siblings suggested putting him in a nursing home, but there is no reason for such an action. He’s on hospice, so I have help when/if I need it, though he has refused to wear a medical alert bracelet that would connect him to hospice in an emergency and he has refused to have someone come stay with him when I’m gone. Still, I’m only out of the house about twenty-four hours a week (you know where I am a lot of that time — dance class!). I keep my phone with me when I’m away, and I’m in the house all night every night. (And if he gets worse, my sister has promised to come back.)

Now that both my dysfunctional brother and helpful sister are gone, I’m back to living a quiet life of . . . I don’t know. Waiting, perhaps, though I’m not sure what I’m waiting for. Maybe my own life, whatever that might be, though for now, this is my life. Or more precisely, dancing is my life, and being here for my father allows me to continue taking dance classes.

At least he’s still alive. To be honest, the thought of perhaps having to live for a few days with a dead body in the house creeps me out.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, andDaughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

In the Presence of Death…

When one is dealing with the dying or the very old, one ends up having some strange discussions. The most bizarre conversation came about on Tuesday afternoon. The hospice social worker was here to discuss various matters and to bring us current on the procedures hospice has already taken care of and to let us know what they will doing in the future.

To me, one of the greatest benefits of hospice is that no matter what happens or what you need, there is but a single phone call to make — to hospice. Hospice does the rest. The social worker reminded me of this and said to notify them when my father was gone, and they will call the designated mortuary and arrange for the body to be picked up.

RIPI knew hospice performed that service, of course, but this is where things got weird. “Since this is a private home and not an institution,” the social worker said, “according to the law, the mortuary has up to a week to collect the body.”

“A week?” I all but shrieked. It seemed impossible that a body could be allowed to remain in a private residence for so long. At the very least, it has to be insanitary. “But what do we do about . . . ?” Since my father was sitting right there, I didn’t want to put my concerns into words, but the woman understood I was referring to smells and decomposition.

“There shouldn’t be a problem for a week,” she said. “Just close his door. If you’re worried, you can always pack ice around the limbs. That will help.”

My first thought was relief that we have so many gel-packs stored away. My second thought was a bit of macabre humor: so my father is lying there, ice packs around his slowly decomposing body. And what would I do? Go to dance class, of course.

I truly doubt I’ll have to deal with a body in the house for a week. When my mother died, this same mortuary arrived within three hours, even though they are 121 miles away. But yes, if my father lay here dead for a week, I would continue with my dance classes.

It makes sense, of course. My presence would have no effect on him, he would have no need of my help, and there wouldn’t be much for me to do since another sister is in charge of funeral arrangements. But still, the thought of dancing with a dead body in the house does seem a bit coldhearted, and I’m sure people would be appalled.

And yet . . . when else should one dance? If dancing is life, and life is dancing, then it is in the presence of death that we need dance the most.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, andDaughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

When Elvis Kissed Me

Elvis tribute artistI was invited to a luncheon today where Elvis was scheduled to appear, so of course I went. Elvis sang several songs, made a few self-deprecating jokes, and threw trinkets to the delighted audience. I was sitting right up front, and when he started to sing “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” he came and took my hand, looked me in the eyes, and sang to me. Then he kissed my hand and moved on.

For just that moment, I was young again, starry-eyed at the attention of an idol. The singer wasn’t Elvis, of course, but he is a celebrity in his own right — one of the top three Elvis tribute artists in the world. And I was never that young, never awed by the presence of stardom. But today, caught up in the fantasy, the moment seemed magical.

My only real experience with celebrity came when I was very young. A friend wanted to go to the airport to see the Beatles, and her mother would only let her go if I went too. (I was always the responsible one, which now seems a bit pathetic for such a little girl, but I didn’t know any other way to be. Still don’t.) I didn’t want to go, had no interest in the Beatles, didn’t want to be her chaperon, and didn’t want to deal with a taxicab (her mother, like mine, didn’t drive), but finally she hounded me into asking my mother. I agreed, knowing my mother would say no as she always did and I would be off the hook. To my shock and horror, my mother said yes. And I was stuck.

My mother always accused me of being naïve, but now I see that in many ways she was the naïf. She hadn’t a clue what “taking a taxi to see the Beatles at the airport” meant or else she would never have said yes. But I knew. At least I thought I did, but the reality was beyond my meager imagination.

Originally, the Beatles were to land at Stapleton International Airport, but when the crowds of onlookers grew to a horde, the landing was moved to Buckley Field. We stood outside the chain link fence, the press of kids keeping me immobile against that barrier between us and the icons. In the distance, I could hear first murmurs then shrieks from the crowd as the car drew near. It must have been a convertible, because I can clearly remember seeing Paul’s face before I was all but crushed between the fence and the frenzied crowd. I would have been pulled under, but luckily I kept a strong grip on the links. As the vehicle passed us, everyone ran after it but me. I stood immobile, terrified by the power of the mob. My friend (who wasn’t much of a friend, if you must know) ran with the crowd. And soon I was the only one left standing.

I have no idea how I got home that day. (At the time, obviously, I knew, but I’ve forgotten.) I imagine someone took pity on me and called my mother or my friend’s mother. (I was in a panic because I was responsible for the girl, and I’d lost her.) I know I took a cab back.

I have made a point of never being in a crowd again. Oh, my, such a wild, uncontrollable beast! (The crowd, not me.)

But today, there were only two or three dozen of us — no mob — and it was sweet, especially when Elvis kissed me.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, andDaughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

A Fowl Day

Today was clear, dry, and hot. The outside temperature reached 100 degrees, which could be why we didn’t have fowl weather on such a fowl day. (Fowl weather, I imagine, is weather that gets the geese flying south for the winter.)

I’m no spring chicken, which is especially apparent on fowl days such as this. I’ve been running around like a . . .

chickenNope, I can’t say it. I’ve never seen a chicken running around with its head cut off, though I suppose the bodies of chickens can last a few seconds without their brain — after all, the expression “hen-brained” must have come from somewhere. Still, whether I use the chicken metaphor or stick to the unfeathered truth, I have been rather busy today, running seemingly unending errands, dealing with visitors and various hospice workers, fighting an invasion of ants.

When I was out, I stopped to see a small camper for rent, a refinished 1955 Field and Stream 14-foot trailer. I’m not actually looking for something like that. I’m not sure my car could tow it, don’t particularly want the problem of parking it somewhere, and I’m afraid I’d feel cooped up. (Aha! Another fowl metaphor!) Still, it’s fun thinking about perhaps crisscrossing the roads in a portable roost to see what is on the other side of the country.

As much fun as it has been to use so many fowl metaphors, one I will never use is “henpecked.” I once saw a poor hen-pecked rooster, and oh, what a sad and bloody sight that was.

I hope you have a ducky day today!

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly FireandDaughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Nonagenarians and Non-Aging

People in their nineties are called nonagenarians. My mind always processes the word to mean “non-aging,” and to a certain extent, that is true. After 93, people seem to stop aging. In fact, when people are in their late nineties, they are no more likely to die than someone in their early nineties. I just checked an actuarial table, and it seems as if everyone in their nineties has a life expectancy of about two years, and that expectancy of two years is a fairly constant number. On each birthday in your mid to late nineties, your life expectancy is approximately the same as it was the previous birthday, so you basically aren’t aging much at all. In fact, research seems to show that whatever health issues a person had at 93 remain, but new health issues generally aren’t accumulating. Nor are nonagenarians dying from dangerous pursuits such as sky diving or motorcycling. Since many people of that age seldom leave the house, their chances of getting in a car accident are slim, as is their chance of catching a serious illness old manfrom being in crowds.

Michael Rose, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of California says: We still don’t have a full explanation of the underlying genetics of the cessation of aging. One possibility is that there are genes that are advantageous early on but damaging to health later in life — an effect called “antagonistic pleiotropy.” And these are the genes that cease to be. We now understand that aging is not a cumulative process of progressive chemical damage, like rust. It is a pattern of declining function produced by evolution. Aristotle was wrong (Aristotle thought of aging as a remorseless process of falling apart, until death finally puts us out of our misery), and so are all the present-day biologists who try to explain aging in terms of biochemistry or cell biology alone.

In other words (at least according to my understanding), nonagenarians outlive the process of aging.

There is a chance that my 97-year-old father will live two more years despite his being on hospice, and maybe even because of it. The problems he has have been with him since his early nineties — congestive heart failure, COPD, and prostate cancer with such a low PSA number that his only symptom is occasional bleeding. What usually precipitates a serious decline in his health is a visit to the hospital. (They always seem to admit him when he is feeling his strongest, so whatever it is that bothered the doctor wasn’t bothering him.) Because the doctors take the opportunity to give him a thorough check-up (heart function, breathing problems, removing water build-up in the pleural cavity), he always returns home weeks later much worse off than when he went in. Now, with his being on hospice, he is not at the mercy of doctors who are determined to keep him alive at all costs, so he could remain at the stage he is in for a long time. (Of course, he could just as easily die tomorrow or next month, but statistically, chances are he won’t.)

I truly did not think he would recuperate from this last hospitalization — he wouldn’t get out of bed when he was there, claiming he was asserting his patient’s rights to refuse any treatment, so he ended up with pneumonia and an extended convalescent stay. When he finally got home, he was bedridden, but that robust constitution of his that outlasted a majority of his generation kicked in, and now he is up and about again, fully capable of being left alone. Apparently, he has outlived everything that could have killed him, and now he is drifting in his nonagenarianism.

Despite this cessation of aging in the elderly, they do die, so I know my father won’t be here forever, but still, it’s interesting to see firsthand the principles Michael Rose postulated.

Rose’s idea doesn’t change my mind about my own longevity, though — I’ve never wanted to live into my nineties, and for sure I don’t want to do so knowing that I could linger there for many years in some sort of pre-death limbo. I know we don’t have a choice in such matters, but luckily I take after my mother, so I probably won’t have to deal with either nonagenarianism or non-aging.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

The Most Compelling Images

The most compelling images seem to be those that somehow mirror ourselves, or at least our image of ourselves. At it’s most basic, this mirroring is why humans buy magazines with other humans on the cover, and why the animals we most bond with have the cuteness of a human baby, with wide-set, round eyes, and generally a round face.

I didn’t realize that I was prey to such subconscious mimicry, but of course I should have known since, although I don’t always like to admit it, I am just a human. I was reminded of our subconscious fascination with ourselves when I was gazing at the tarot card I chose during a one-card self-reading, a painting by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. This three of wands card shows a woman standing at the edge of a land bridge, far above a mountainous scene with a river running through it.

I was suddenly struck by the familiarity of the image, and then I remember this photo of me on the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, which I used for the cover of Grief: The Great Yearning:

There I am, standing at the edge of the world, though the altar-like rock in front of me masks that reality. If the photo had been taken from the same perspective as that of the tarot card image, you would see I what I am seeing — a mountainous scene with a river running through it.

No wonder the image of the woman standing above it all struck such a familiar chord.  She is I, or maybe I am she.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Earth Houses

I went on a field trip today to see houses made of dirt and to get an idea of how they were made. It’s not so much that I was interested in the houses, but a friend invited me, and I make a point of not turning down invitations — I never know where such an invitation could lead. And today the invitation led to a place where they teach people to make sustainable houses out of local materials, mostly dirt.

The guides claimed the houses were cheap to make, and they were, but of course, you have to buy the rolls of sandbag material to stuff the dirt into (the only purveyor of the stuff is this particular company — surprise, surprise), and if you want more than a temporary shelter, you have to add concrete to the mixture, which adds to the cost. One such house, a three-bedroom, three-bath house with an adobe look and feel, cost $138,000. That did not include land or labor costs, which would have upped the cost to more than $500,000. Unless you particularly wanted to live in a dirt house, you’d be better off buying a ready-made traditional home.

The tour was fun — I saw many interesting shapes of houses — but the lecture not so much. I get bored easily with droners and repeaters, and the speakers both droned and repeated so I kept wandering off to look at various houses and structures. Each time I returned to the lecture arena, I heard the same thing, “You can build these houses anywhere in the world.” And so I would wander off again, shaking my head. No, you can’t build these houses anywhere in the world. Maybe the low-technology is available anywhere there is dirt, but most places in the United States and in other “advanced” countries, you have to deal with zoning laws, health codes, building permits, and various other matters that make it impossible to build such a house. And of course, you can’t build an earth house in the middle of the ocean. Since 71% of the world’s surface is water, that leaves a rather small percentage of the world available for building the houses. But I’m being too picky and literal, especially since living in a non-traditional house might suit me.

My favorite structure was a dome built of straw bales with a stucco-ish finish. Mostly what interested me was the dome shape. I could live in such an airy space, as high as it is wide. I don’t have furniture, and don’t particularly like the stuff. I once had a wonderfully comfortable couch that was simply a mattress on the floor covered with a dark sheet and dozens and dozens of pillows stuffed into matching and contrasting pillowcases. Oh, the luxury! Added benefits of that couch was the ability to change the décor at whim, it could be used as a bed. That kind of non-traditional furniture would be perfect for a single-room doomed house. I don’t like hanging things on wall, so curving walls wouldn’t present a problem, either. I’d just need to make sure I had the amenities like a working kitchen and bathroom, and wi-fi capabilities.

But would I really want to live in a room that calls attention to itself? I don’t know. Though I live in clutter (a symptom of too many simultaneous projects), I prefer an austere living space where my mind can roam free, unsnagged by my surroundings. I also don’t know if I would ever want the permanence that owning such a house would suggest. Still, a domed earth house is an interesting concept, and so is being able to build one’s own house from whatever is at hand. Something to add to the stew pot I call my mind.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Floral Carnage

I’m not much of a gardener, never have been. My last attempt to plant anything was a couple of years ago when someone gifted me with a Bonsai kit (planter, soil, seeds), and that result was typical — seedlings that poked their head above the soil, looked around, saw who they would be dependent on for their very lives, and promptly gave up their ghosts. I planted lights after that, and we’re all happy. Nothing to kill, just a bit of beauty when I’m feeling down.

I love flowers, and sometimes when I see bouquets in the grocery store, I’m tempted to buy the blooms to add a bit of life to my life, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to make the purchase. Even though the flowers were grown for such a use, I can’t help feeling I’d be buying death. I’ve only received flowers as a gift a couple of times, and I treasured them, but I’ve never been able to return the favor. Death, death, my soul cries out, and so the flowers remain unpurchased.

Now that I know the truth about flowers as a commodity (or part of the truth), I’m doubly glad I never participated in floral carnage.

In The World Without Us, Alan Wiesman explores the problems Kenya’s Lake Naivasha is experiencing after Kenya bypassed Israel to become Europe’s biggest provider of cut flowers. Weisman writes:

A flower, like a human, is two thirds water. The amount of a typical exporter therefore ships to Europe each year annual needs of the town of 20,000 people. During droughts flower factory production quotas stick siphons into Lake Naivasha, a papyrus-lined freshwater bird and hippo sanctuary just downstream from the Aberdares. Along with water they suck up entire generations of fish eggs. What trickles back whiff of the chemical trade-off the keeps the bloom on a rose flawless all the way to Paris.

Lake Naivasha, however doesn’t look quite so alluring. Phosphates and nitrites leached from flower greenhouses have spread mats of oxygen-choking water hyacinth across its surface. Water hyacinth — a South American perennial invaded Africa as a potted plant — crawls ashore beating back the papyrus. The rotting tissues of hippo carcasses reveal the secret to perfect bouquets: DDT and, 40 times more toxic, Dieldrin — pesticides banned in countries whose markets have made Kenya the world’s number-one rose exporter.

I doubt the flowers I see in grocery stores and in the hands street corner sellers come from Kenya, but wherever they come from, many of the problems would be the same. As any gardener knows, perfect roses and carnations, orchids and lilies, don’t grow all by themselves. They have become addicted to the chemicals that make them marketable.

For now, I’ll find my flower enjoyment in the blooms I see in gardens or in my potted lights. At least I know I’m not contributing to mass murder.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Standing on an Unbuilt Bridge to the Future

It’s not often a picture speaks to me. I’m not particularly visual, which is why I write and dance rather than paint. Still, I keep thinking of the Three of Wands tarot image painted by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. The picture is of a woman accompanied only by a cat, standing on the end of an uncompleted bridge arcing out over a river far below. The meaning of the card is about seeking what is uncharted, expanding one’s horizons, taking a long view, moving fearlessly into new areas, trusting that the bridge will form beneath our feet as we tread beyond what we know. (The symbolism of the cat wasn’t explained, but traditionally, cats tend to give us messages of change, flexibility, adaptability, beckoning us to realize that when we turn within to our own hearts, minds and souls, and trust in ourselves, we will always be shown the truth of matters.)

I’ve been researching various other interpretations of the Three of Wands card, and though there is some difference of opinion, generally the card means, besides just expanding one’s horizons, looking away from the past to an unknown future, dreaming beyond current limitations, trusting in oneself (when there is no one else to help, we can always look to ourselves and never be let down), and new opportunities for financial success. This card often is about traveling to actual places, but it also refers to other travels such as fresh starts, new insights, and even dance. (Bruce Chatwin wrote: “To dance is to go on pilgrimage.”)

This was the first tarot card I ever drew for myself (actually, I didn’t draw it, it fell out of the deck when I was shuffling the cards), and it will probably be the last because I wouldn’t want to dilute its power. The card hints at a visionary and creative future for me, and gives me a image of myself that I’d like to believe — strong and fearless, embracing the unknown, willing to go beyond the ordinary even if I have to go alone.

Perhaps that image of me isn’t true now, but as I continue to change, continue to be open to whatever happens, continue to believe that something awesome (in the sense of causing both fear and wonder) lies ahead, then the world will lie open at my feet.

Now that I think about it, isn’t this true of all of us? We’re standing on an unbuilt bridge to the future, the past behind us, the bridge growing beneath our feet when we walk. There’s nothing really to be gained by looking back, especially since looking back could cause us to lose our balance. So, like the woman in Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s lovely painting, we go forward, trusting, hoping, believing . . .

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Inviting Myself to Dream, Explore, Believe

Yesterday I moved energy around. Today I moved two carloads of stuff around. Took the things to a friend who has a use for them. At least I hope she does, otherwise I’ve just used her as a dump. Of course, she’s also free to move the stuff around. It’s hers now.

Someone used me as a means of moving energy/stuff around — she gave me her tarot cards and the book to help me interpret the meanings of my readings. I’m not really into tarot or any sort of divination for that matter. If we can change the future, then it doesn’t matter what the predicted future is, and if we can’t change it, it doesn’t matter either.

Still, out of curiosity, I did a one-card tarot reading where you ask a question and the cards give you some sort of answer.

Right before Jeff died, he told me things would come together for me. And recently, my publisher said he has a strong feeling things will work out for me. Of course, I’d like to know how they will work out. I mean, personal and financial successes are ways of things working out, but so is death. (That is how things work out for all of us in the end.) But I gave the cards a break and simply asked if things will come together for me.

I dealt myself a fantastic card, the Three of Wands, painted by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. The picture is of a woman accompanied only by a cat, standing on the end of a bridge to the edge of the world. It arcs out across the sky, and ends abruptly, a shimmering river far below. She is obviously standing on the edge of the precipice, wondering where to go. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That seems to be a recurring theme in my wonderings on this blog.)

Knowing that sparkling potential waits for her, she takes a step. And it is not emptiness that meets her unhesitating foot, but sturdy rock and shale. She continues to walk, the bridge growing beneath her feet with every step.

Wooo. Seems apropos, doesn’t it? And so much like an answer to my question. Just go, believe in the journey, and everything will come together when I need it.

The section about the Three of Wands in Shadowscapes Companion by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore ends with, “The Three of Wands invites you to explore, seek out the uncharted, expand your horizons. Take a long view of situations and express leadership.”

I’m not sure how much leadership one can express when one is alone at the end of bridge that is being dreamed into existence as one walks upon it, but otherwise, it’s exactly what I’ve been inviting myself to do — dream, explore, believe.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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