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Recently I was on Martha’s Vineyard, and my sister, with a penchant for apple fritters, insisted we wait in line at Back Door Donuts. It’s a bakery in Oak Bluffs that will sell hot, fried, sugary delights from the back door from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am.

We had taken part in this new island tradition the last time we were up there, but we did it earlier in the evening and sampled the greasy goods while sitting in ocean park during sunset. I was never really impressed – perhaps I’m just not an apple fritter kind of gal.

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This time we went much later in the evening. I think it was closer to 10 pm and the line was enormous. It snaked back and forth along a roped off path; I’d gamble to say that there were at least 100 people in line ahead of us. I think the line for Space Mountain was shorter.

I was already weary after a long night of walking around town, but my husband and kids wanted some hot donuts, so we decided to wait in line with the family. While waiting we perused the menu they had written out by hand on a couple of sheets of poster board. My brother aptly stated “these better be the best donuts on the planet for this long of a wait.”

After waiting in line for at least 45 minutes, we finally went to place our order, only to find out that 75% of the donut varieties on the menu board were sold out. At no time did any bakery employee come out and announce that they were no longer available, or better yet, place a sticky note or a placard saying “SOLD OUT” over that variety on the menu.

Nope, these greedy mothers wanted to you keep waiting in line, KNOWING that you would settle for any donut because like an ass, you had waited in line for an hour.

Typical of Tracy, I was not amused…especially since I didn’t even want a fucking donut. I got the fried dough instead, which wound up being a total disappointment. I got crispy, over-fried strips of dough that more closely resembled bread sticks. My idea of fried dough is like what you would get at an Italian fair…a zeppole. I gave the bag to my sister who had smartly decided to have a few beers while we sheep waited in line.

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I won’t ever waste my time there again. If hubby and my girls want to that’s fine.  I’ll sit in the park watching the gazebo and hearing the waves crash along the Oak Bluffs beach – let someone else wait in line.

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20170606_163147I am not ashamed to admit it…I love my job.

Sure it can get frustrating constantly dealing with deadlines, and clients who get their ad materials in an hour before press time. Sure it sucks when your sales rep gives you the bare minimum of information when designing an ad that you spend an hour on, only to have the client say “it’s not what they were looking for.

But when it comes down to the proverbial brass tacks, I love my job.

Take today…I am working from home. I already work from home every Wednesday, which is our slowest production day, but this Friday our sales team met their goal, and they have the day off. My publisher, the fair and reasonable gal that she is, told us we could work from home as well. So I sit here in my jammies, mug of tea by my side, writing this rather than driving into town to the office.

This happens frequently. On days where she can our newspaper and magazines are in good shape, she’ll send us home early. This is because she knows that when we are swamped with ad builds, we work weekends and after hours to get proofs out. She acknowledges that, and gives us time off when we are slow.

This is something my other bosses never quite got. Hell, at my last job if I needed to leave early because family was coming in or I had a doctor’s appointment you had to SHOW you made up the time. The fact that I came in 1/2 hour early every day, or sometimes never took a lunch break escaped their notice. They were slave masters when it came to hours.

I also love my job because I respect the product we put out. My newspaper is the heart of Charlottesville…the alternative to your basic newspaper, we cover topics that others won’t touch. This was the cover of our last issue of 2016…12_28_2016 CVILLEWEEKpg01It took BALLS to put this out there for all of Charlottesville to see….to boldly show that we do not agree with what is going on in Washington and around the country. We got a lot of flack for this cover. There are still a few advertisers that refuse to do business with us. But that is why I LOVE our product. They are not afraid to tell it like it is.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 7.42.22 AMThis is another one of my favorite covers from a previous year. Colorful and fun, promoting equality and diversity…and with a drag queen front and center.

My paper sponsors a lot of awesome events in town as well. Not only the Pride Festival, which this cover was promoting, but the Tom Tom Founders Festival, our local baseball team, the Tom Sox, along with a plethora of other community events. They are very invested in our town, and I really dig that.

My company also shows a ton of appreciation for it’s employees. We are fed often…There are always snacks on the table – actually, I’m not sure if this is really a good thing…

My boss is taking my coworkers and I to lunch next week – this after she bought a whole bunch of us lunch just a few weeks back. We frequently have work time-outs where we play games, drink wine and snack for an hour or so at the end of the day. They plan outings for us as well. In a few weeks we will all meet at a TomSox baseball game for a barbecue and drinks.

Yes, there are perks a plenty! Gift cards, free concert tickets and tickets to lots of community events are handed out frequently. During the spring my family got to attend an outdoor barbecue that costs $75 per ticket. I got my daughters free tickets to a Parachute concert a few months back.

Ooops! It’s 9 am! time to log in from home and begin my day. You know what they say…when you love your job you don’t work a day in your life.

 

20170703_105904I just got back from a week on Martha’s Vineyard. The main reason for going was to spread my father’s ashes around the island. You see, my father is the founder of Martha’s Vineyard for our family. He went up one weekend a million years ago with a college friend, and never wanted to vacation anywhere else.

While he was never able to afford to buy a house on the island, he turned my cousins Bob & Carol on to this summer wonderland, and they own two homes – one rental and a large home that they live in during the summer. For 52 years it has been my summer place, and it felt really good to release dad to the beauty of this island.

We began by releasing some ashes into the water during the ferry ride from Woods Hole to the Vineyard. My husband, in a flash of brilliance, let one of the crew members know we were doing it, and after dad’s ashes swirled into the air, he gave the ferry horn a long, loud blast. It was very cool, and very moving.

20170702_195615We spread more ashes on the beach in Menemsha at sunset. It was a beautiful evening spent on the beach with the family, listening to music, sipping wine and noshing from a picnic spread. I think dad would have loved it.

20170703_114816And of course, we had to leave some of dad on Gay Head. My mom’s ashes are here. It was funny…when we spread the ashes by my mom, my sister had trouble with the container, and it was a very clumsy release. It makes me laugh to think of that now, because I think it’s something my mom would have found amusing.

We also walked further down the beach and around the horn of the cliffs to spread dad among the stones, rocks and ocean. It felt right.

The trip itself was pretty hectic. I’ve never seen the island so crowded….things are definitely changing there. I’m just so pleased that there are pieces of both of my parents on the beaches where we spent so much time growing up. I know how much dad loved this place. I am certain he’s resting peacefully now.

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This past Saturday the KKK came to my town of Charlottesville. They were protesting the removal of two confederate statues, one of Robert E. Lee, and one of Stonewall Jackson.

There were several counter protests organized, as well as events celebrating love, equality and acceptance throughout the city. My youngest daughter and I attended the counter protest by the Stonewall Jackson statue.

When we arrived there was a man with a large sign on a microphone screaming that gays were going to hell. There was a man in a green diaper dancing in front of him. People were dancing and playing drums. It was kind of amusing at first…a sort of circus atmosphere.

And then the troublemakers showed up.

20170708_140158I pointed them out to my daughter…two men who have been at every rally of every kind in town carrying signs, and I told her that things were going to get all sorts of nasty now. Within minutes people were screaming at him, and I came very close to having my phone broken.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.11.04 PMWatch the video here

Things escalated after that. Before long I noticed a crowd that had surrounded a woman and her husband, both wearing bars & stars hats. They were being screamed at by no less than 20 people, because they were not in favor of removing the statues.

My daughter and I stood amongst the crowd, watching the woman attempt to defend herself, while a fat woman in a tutu and a push up bra screamed in her ear non-stop. The couple were being protected by police officers, and this enraged another young woman, who began calling them “killer cops” and yelling the names of African Americans who had, in essence, been murdered by police officers.

But this wasn’t why we were here. We were here to denounce the KKK, right? Her rants, while valid, seemed out of place. The police were simply trying to protect a couple from Maryland who did not share the opinion of the majority of protesters.

As the protest continued, I saw some of Charlottesville’s best…folks who were handing out free water, fruit and sandwiches to fellow protesters. It was hot and sunny that day, and if you ran out of water, you were craving some quickly. One man walked around saying “The KKK is hydrated today…are you?”

Other people were gathered in song, or parading through the small park and surrounding sidewalks carrying signs and chanting peacefully.

But I have to tell you, I saw more of Charlottesville’s worst that day. At one point my daughter and I witnessed the same man and woman, now joined by a younger couple, who were obviously statue supporters. They were surrounded by police, but there was a crowd of at least 50 people screaming at them.

20170708_152438Watch the video here

I said to my daughter, “I feel really sorry for those poor people.” It was then that a woman began to argue with me, and my use of the word “poor.” According to her, they were getting what was coming to them, and were not “poor.” I didn’t understand her at first, maybe because her argument sucked.

I turned to her and explained that just because they had a different opinion, it did not give that angry mob the right to treat them that way. We were here to protest the KLAN…were they klan or just some passionate southerners who don’t think it’s right to take down statues of Confederate Generals? In the end, they are human beings and deserved to be treated with more respect than they were being shown.

I also told her that Charlottesville was showing its ugly side and that I was ashamed. She didn’t like that one bit and skulked away.

Perhaps I’m a bit naive, but I think people should be treated fairly…I hate to see anyone surrounded by a mob – I’d have handed them a water, but my daughter, fearful that the crowd would turn on us, begged my not to.

The Klan showed up and we booed and chanted, but in the end, they kind of won. They had complete protection, cordoned off by barricades and a wall of police, and seeing the angry crowd in a complete frenzy probably gave them huge erections…even the women.

The whole day left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m glad I went because it was a very interesting experience, but I’ll tell you…there are some nasty, angry people in this town.

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Charlottesville, VA, the town that I live right outside of and work in, has become somewhat of a racial hot bed in the past few months. You see, we have a few confederate statues in town, and like they did in New Orleans, Charlottesville is having them removed.

Not only are they removing the statues, but they have renamed both parks, which were named after confederate generals. However, the new names they picked really suck. I doubt they’ll stick.

In any case, we had one white supremacist rally last month led by white nationalist Richard Spencer. They showed up burning tiki torches – it was a pretty fucked up thing to happen in our little artsy fartsy fairly liberal college town. The photo below was taken one block from my office…from where I sit now writing this…and it’s a pretty daunting sight. However, because they were burning tiki torches, one spectator said, “the air was heavy with both hatred and citronella.”

http---o.aolcdn.com-hss-storage-midas-81e85007b128e965a97fb7cb321d4def-205265721-Screen+Shot+2017-05-14+at+10.21.14+AM.pngThe following night,  hundreds of Charlottesvillians took back the park in a peaceful candlelit protest. It made me super proud of our community. We don’t take kindly to this hate stuff.  Had I known the counter rally was going on, my girls and I would have been there with candles ablaze.

C_1HJnOXoAE3uMv.jpg-largeSo it turns out the KKK wants to jump on the bandwagon. They have a protest scheduled in the same park on July 8th. My paper, C-VILLE Weekly is running an article on it this week. You know, I sit a few desks in front of the reporter who did the research for the article. It was very interesting to listen to her interview actual KKK members via telephone. It sure beat what was on the radio.

To quote the article (which doesn’t come out until tomorrow or I’d post a link), the reason the KKK is coming to Charlottesville? “We think it’s a shame they’re erasing our Confederate history, our white history,” says Jones. “It’s a spit in our face to take down our monument.”

There are several counter protests scheduled at the same time, and I was bummed I couldn’t be a part of it. See, that very day we were to spend the day in New York City on our way back from Martha’s Vineyard. But it turns out one of the counter protests is happening at the outdoor pavilion my husband works at, so we decided NYC can wait…we want to be a part of what could be historic happenings in our hometown. We want to be among those who stand up and say, “This is not what Charlottesville stands for.”

It’s sure to get National coverage….how often does the KKK raise its ugly head and come out from under the rock to stand up for its twisted beliefs? But I will be careful – my whole family will. To further quote the article…

 “Some members will be wearing robes,” he says, noting that it’s illegal in most states to wear the face-covering hoods. Others will wear black military garb. And many will be packing heat, he says.

And sadly, this protest on July 8th won’t be the end of white supremacist assholes flooding our fair city. There is another rally scheduled for August. Richard Spencer and his Alt-Right cronies are slithering into town with what will likely be hundreds of people to further rally against the removal of these statues.

Uff da…the bars and stars will be all over the place. That alone will make me crazy. But seeing actual robes? Not sure how that is going to make me feel at all.

Stay tuned.

 

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The other day my girls and I stopped at a local kebab shop for dinner. The place was empty, and we got our food rather quickly. While we ate, people began to pour in, and throughout the rest of our meal, there was a long line to both order and receive food.

It was a case of good timing.

I began to ponder the idea of timing the other day when I came very close to missing my annual mammogram appointment. A co-worker had asked me a question which prompted me to look at my iCalendar, and that was when I realized that the next morning at 7:30 am I had my mammogram scheduled.

Had she not asked me that question, I most likely would have been out on my morning walk the next day at 7:30 rather than getting my boob flattened between two glass plates.  And had I missed it, God knows when I would’ve realized I missed it, and even further, how long it would’ve taken me to make a new appointment.

I’m no stranger to this oddity of timing…stuff like that has happened to me before.

I wouldn’t have the job I have now were it not for freaky timing. At the time I was transitioning from one job to another, working both simultaneously. I had no reason whatsoever to look on Craigslist – I already had more jobs than the average Joe. But something, I don’t know what, told me to look.

And there was my job. I had worked for the company before, and emailed the publisher asking if I could talk to her about the job. A week later I was hired, and my life improved 1,000%.

And I still think back to a month or so ago when my girls and I were almost crushed by a falling tree while driving home. Had a truck not stopped traffic for a moment in order to make a U-turn, we might have been under that tree.

What causes those quirky little instances? Is there meaning behind them? Some sort of Divine intervention or a nudge from a guardian angel? Or is it just the oddity of timing?

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It is no secret that I deeply despise the person most of you call President. That being said, when I heard about the March for Truth in Washington DC on Twitter a few months back, I decided I wanted to go.

My girls were all for it, more for the trip to DC than to stand up against our crooked disaster in chief. Hubby? He wasn’t thrilled. For the weeks leading up to the date of the protest, he tried to get me to attend ones closer to home…in Richmond or in Charlottesville, where we both work.

But there was something in me that felt the need to stand in the shadow of the White House and send a giant “Fuck You” to trump. It’s not as if we are that far from the Nation’s Capitol…just a few hours through the Virginia Countryside and then *gulp* up I-95. We can make the trip there and back in one day.

We decided to avoid the hassle of parking in the city, and opted to take the Metro train in from one of the commuter stations. This proved to be a big mistake. You see, both my husband and suffer from motion sickness, and this Metro train to DC was in by no means a smooth ride.

The train lurched and leaned and bobbed and weaved, it stopped and started and sped and slowed. It was a 45 minute ride from hell, where I had to sit with a cold water bottle pressed up against my neck or cheek or forehead, depending on how hard I was trying to keep my breakfast down.

When we finally arrived at the Smithsonian station I was so thankful, but fully aware of the fact that I still had to make that same trip back later in the day. But like Scarlett O’Hara says, “I won’t think about that today…I’ll think about that tomorrow” and we headed for the Washington Monument.

It was a beautiful day…blue skies, sunny, warm, but with enough of a breeze to make it bearable. The rally wasn’t to start for an hour or so, and we took that time to get closer to the white house, where I flipped trump the bird, followed by a trip to a food truck where my girls each ate a hot dog.

As the time for the rally to begin drew closer, more and people started to show up and gather in front of the stage, most with signs, flags and t-shirts. We had nothing. I didn’t want to have to carry a sign on the Metro train, possibly inviting trouble from a trumpling. All I had was “covfefe” printed on the back of my sing bag in black Sharpie. In the end I was sorry I didn’t have a sign.

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It was quite an experience…chanting, cheering, and booing with other Americans who are also disgraced by what is going on in our country…the lies, the evasion, the idiotic tweeting by the man child in charge, and all with the White House in clear view.

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After several speeches, the crowd moved to a spot on the grass right next to the Washington Monument, and formed our bodies to spell “Investigate trump.” My family and I make up the bottom part of the “R” in trump. Groups of photographers were raised up in a scissor lift to try and capture the image.

Unfortunately it wasn’t high enough…the letters are hard to make out. Oh well…the sentiment is there.

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After the rally we scarfed down a food truck lunch and poked around the Air & Space museum. But before long, hubby and my dogs were beginning to bark and we still had the long ride on the Metro to endure before we got to our car.

This Metro ride was far worse. There was a pack of very loud kids on the same car as us for most of the ride….the noise coupled with the sickening movements of the train were enough to swear me off the Metro forever.

I may head back up to DC for more rallies and marches in the future. Even though the event was on the small side, it felt good to feel like I was part of an attempt to speak out against all the crap being fed to us by this crooked administration. I was part of a group of like-minded folks who aren’t going to take trump’s bullshit lying down.

I just know that if I do head back…I’m driving all the way in. The Metro can go blow long and hard.

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For my youngest, this is her last week of school before the school breaks for summer. This morning, she turned to me and said, “Momma, it’s my LAST week of school. I just realized I have the whole summer ahead of me.”

And you know what, she’s right. What a delicious time of year that was when you were a kid…those last few days of school before the start of summer vacation. Where you did next to nothing in class other than watch movies and talk with friends. Recess would be 2 hours long.

The summer seemed almost endless. Long days spent at the pool, riding my bike up to the corner store to buy candy or ice cream, afternoons filled with bottles of diet Pepsi and bags of Doritos while watching Match Game.

And then, vacation would come. Like real vacation – packing up the family and heading to Martha’s Vineyard for 2-3 weeks of gloriously good times. We never went to the Jersey Shore growing up. My dad hated it. I don’t think I had ever been to the Jersey shore until I was in college. Who needed it when you could romp in the surf of South Beach.

Every aspect of our trips to the Vineyard were magical. We would always have an early ferry, so we would leave our house in the middle of the night. I remember as a child going to bed that night in giddy anticipation of being woken up at 1 or 2 am, piling into the back of our station wagon fixed up with pillows and blankets, and heading north towards Cape Cod.

Dad would usually stop at the Howard Johnsons at the Mystic Seaport exit, where we would get muffins and hot chocolate. And those next few hours in the car were blissful…the cool night air and the anticipation of the ferry ride that began the official start to vacation.

We are heading up there again this year to spread my father’s ashes. It’s really where he belongs. While this trip will be the highlight of our summer, I’m hoping there are many other trips that my daughters will cherish over the course of those short summer months.

Things like visits to Kings Dominion, hiking and swimming at Blue Hole, and a trip to DC to take part in the Truth March. Yeah, I think the summer of 2017 might turn out okay.

Oh wait…I still have to buy a bathing suit. Groan.

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I had to stay in town last night. My youngest had a doctor’s appointment, and my oldest was working the will call booth for the Def Leppard concert at the John Paul Jones Arena.

So, younger daughter and I poked about town and then went to a movie, trying to kill time before oldest daughter’s shift was over. She was hungry, so we stopped by Mickey D’s for a few dollar menu items for her and her dad, who had called and said he was hungry as well.

Upon heading home, we were traveling up a narrow, winding portion of Route 53 that passes both Historic Michie Tavern, and Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. The land on either side of the road between both of these attractions has a steep slope, with many large, old that fight to keep their purchase in the Virginia clay year after year.

That night there was a strange thing in the sky…most likely a drone, with flashing red & green lights, and we were sort of fixated on it. As my girls were commenting on it, and I was grumbling about having to keep my eyes on the road, I heard a very loud crash, and exclaimed to my daughters “What the f#ck was that?”

Seconds later my headlights fixed upon the scene above. A very large tree completely blocking the highway.

We stopped, and sat dumfounded for a minute or two. Then a small commercial truck lumbered up behind me, his headlights fairly blinding me, and so close that I found it hard to try and turn around.

A man in a tuxedo walked up to the tree and began taking photos. He asked if we were okay, and I asked him if he got hit. His car was the last one to make it past the fallen tree from the other direction, and he said, “Yeah, we got hit.”

I did an Austin Powers 15 point turn…this road is very narrow, and even with my small Kia, I wasn’t taking any chances. Once turned around, I stopped behind the tuxedo clad man’s car and got out to look.

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The entire back of his car was squashed…the tree had caught the very rear of his car. Talk about lucky…this guy and his wife/girlfriend/date literally escaped death by split seconds.

And then I realized…my girls and I had been pretty lucky as well. You see, leading up to this incident, there were several things that slowed us up, perhaps keeping us from meeting our demise, or bad injury resulting in our car being under that fallen tree.

  1. Stopping at McDonalds. Our total was 7.06 and it took me a ridiculous amount of time to fish out the 6 cents from my wallet.
  2. Red Lights. We hit no less than 4 on the way to my husband’s work.
  3. Hubby himself. He was slow to meet us to grab his burger, and some time talking to the girls about their night while I was like, “come on, let’s go!”

But all that was nothing compared to the last delay. Because I am sure that had this not happened, I’d be blogging from a hospital bed, or not at all, ever.

As we were approaching Michie Tavern, there was a medium sized commercial truck trying to make a U-Turn. This caused the car in front of me to stop, and for me to have to hurriedly stop as well. The car in front of me slid past the truck, and after making sure it would be safe, I crept by too.

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The next thing I know, less than a quarter mile up the road, a mere 45 seconds later, there is a tree blocking my path… the car in front of me was the last car to make it past before it fell. That’s how close we were to getting crushed. I’m fairly certain if that truck hadn’t been trying to make a U-Turn, thus slowing us up for just a moment, my girls and I may have been in a much different situation today.

The cause? We had some torrential rain that morning, which most likely caused some serious erosion. I guess that old tree just couldn’t hang on anymore.

It’s sobering. I remember looking at the fallen tree, seeing cars stopped on the other side, and thinking like that tree separated two worlds. Quite frankly, I’m amazed that nobody was hurt. I mean, tuxedo dude has some serious car damage, but that’s peanuts compared to personal injury.

Yeah, I’m feeling pretty lucky, and pretty glad to be alive today.

 

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This week I decided to kick my nonexistent diet and work out regime into high gear. Vacation in July will be here before I know it, and I had trouble buttoning my favorite summer shorts this past weekend.

So I am doing an experiment this week. I am sticking to a 1400 calorie a day diet, and working out 3 times per day. Not per week….per day.

A few weeks back I hooked up our old VCR to an equally old TV in our garage and made a little gym area. I have a zillion VCR tapes filled with movies, MTV videos and TV shows, and I thought it would make a session on the treadmill easier to bear. We threw a few old carpets so we could do some of my old aerobic tapes as well.

So, my routine this week has been a half hour on the treadmill (1.25 miles) while watching a movie, a long 2+ mile walk during my lunch, and a short, 20 minute aerobic/weights workout after dinner.

Last night I decided to pop my old Jane Fonda’s Step Workout video into the VCR. I have the whole kit shown in the photo above. I bought it in the 90s, and subsequently have done it hundreds of times.  I have it pretty much memorized. But I got a rude awakening last night.

I could barely make it through the starter song…the easy one that you pretty much get warmed up to. I did my 20 minutes worth, but I couldn’t do all the moves…there were times I had to either march in place or do moves that were less “intense” than the already lame/easy moves in the video.

Holy crap. I used to do this video with one hand tied.

So what’s a 52 year old gal to do when she can’t keep up with a Jane Fonda tape? I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not switching to Sweatin’ to the Oldies. I’m determined to master that tape once again.

And I’m curious to see what kind of results I get by week’s end. I’ll keep you posted.