Greetings from cow country!

As I drove to the gym this morning, I was stuck behind a slow-moving tractor pulling a manure wagon. It made me think that there aren’t many places left where this is a common occurence. However, smell aside, I like living where we live. On a quiet night, we can here the cattle lowing at the farm down the road. It’s peaceful. It’s bucolic. It can stink to high heaven. But it’s our home now.

I took a half day vacation to handle a few projects for my mom (and to get a blessed haircut), so after my gym session with the boys (totally killed it, too… had the treadmill up to an 11° angle and up to 3.7 mph for a stretch) I headed to the bustling metropolis of Reading, PA.

Now Reading is somewhat infamous for being among the most dangerous towns in Pennsylvania (per capita). It’s a city of around 75,000, lots of city issues, i.e. unemployment, drugs, gangs, prostitution, political corruption. It’s a regular ray of sunshine. My travels did not take me downtown today. I spent part of the time in the suburb where I grew up, and I gotta say, it’s a lot scarier than I remember. Old mom and pop places that I remember have been replaced by tattoo parlors, check cashing places, Walmart, etc. Farm fields plowed under for housing, all the typical stuff you see these days.

It made me sad… I’ve only been out of high school 24 years and the mall I worked in is now I place I will not willingly set foot in.

But, I still have family in the Reading area, as does Supportive Partner Woman (Photographer of great skill!), so it’s a necessary evil that we visit there from time to time, and no, the evil is not seeing our familes, but seeing what has happened to our home town.

One of my daily routines is to visit the Reading Eagle website on a daily basis just to see if I know anyone who got shot, stabbed, or otherwise. I do this every day. There’s just something wrong with that, ya know?

So, I got to my mom’s, moved a big flowerpot for her (and didn’t throw out my back FTW!), and put in her window screens. I don’t see mom as often as I should, but she was really surprised with the changes in me since my operation. She even liked my Beasts. I was very proud of her as she didn’t try to push food on me, as she used to. She understands that my capacity is limited and I appreciate that.

After that, off to work. Now, as for the weekend, SPW will be working (and I might have to work Saturday… the jury is still out on that), but she will be taking time on Sunday to shoot pictures of her parents’ class reunion. As for me, I have to take my mother to a viewing. In a surprise move, she’s not really thrilled at the thought of having to drive into the hood by herself, but since the deceased was the mother of a close family friend, I’ll do it. Dolly was a sweet lady and will be missed.

Next weekend, though, is the Dreaded Yard Sale. This year, all proceeds from the sale are going to Team AllEars and from there to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Should make for interesting writing at the very least. Maybe the fact that the proceeds are going to a good cause will stop some of the cheap bastards from trying to haggle over a nickel.

I doubt it.

Song of the Day: You Just May Be the One – John Flywheel

P.S. As I was at the gym this morning, the “music” channel was playing something from Justin Bieber, prompting me to say, “Is there a volume setting lower than “mute”?

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