Simply Sunday- 17 Nov. 2019

Wow! Another week has gone by and I’ve got new books!  (Yes, this is not another puppy post).

The Fullers Bookshop Reading Group email came out this past week and the first three books of 2020 are here so I have picked them up to get started. The long hot days of an Australian summer with their horrendous fires will be upon us soon enough so I wanted to start my reading while confined to a cool indoors.

Below are the February, March and April books in no particular order.

I have never read this book and have always meant to so I will begin with this one.

images (2)The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton:

The blurb on the back (for those who haven’t read it) states:

“When the Countess Ellen Olenska returns from Europe, fleeing her brutish husband, her rebellious independence and passionate awareness of life stir the educated sensitivity of Newland Archers, already engaged to be married to the Countess’s cousin May Welland, “that terrifying product of the social system he belonged to and believed in, the young girl who knew nothing and expected everything.”

I think we can see where this one is going.

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The Godmother- A Crime Novel by Hannelore Cayre.  This book won the European9781770415430 Fiction Prize and the Grand Prix de Literature Policière

“Meet Patience Portefeux, 53, an underpaid French-Arabic translator who specialises in police phone taps. Widowed after the sudden death of her husband, Patience is wedged between the costs of raising her daughters and the nursing home fees for her ageing mother. She’s laboured for 25 yrs to keep everyone’s heads above water.

Happening upon an especially revealing set of wiretaps ahead of all other authorities, Patience makes a life-altering decision that sees her intervening in – and infiltrating- the machinations of a massive drug deal. She thus embarks on an entirely new career path: Patience becomes ‘the Godmother’.”

This sounds like a fun summer read.

Last but not least is our third book of the summer.

images (1)The Trespassers by Meg Mundell. Finally we have a book that is closer to home. Meg Mundell was born in New Zealand but now lives in Melbourne, Australia.

A shipload of migrant workers flees the pandemic-stricken UK, seeking a fresh start in Australia. For nine-year-old Cleary the journey promises adventure, for former nurse Billie it’s a chance to put a shameful mistake behind her, while struggling schoolteacher Tom hopes for a brighter future. But when a crew member is murdered and people start falling gravely ill, the Steadfast descends into chaos. Trappedon the ship, the trio must join forces to survive the journey and its aftermath.  The Trespassers is a beguiling novel that explores the consequences of greed, the experiences of migration and exile, and the way strangers can become the ones we hold dear.

I am looking forward to reading this too. For once I have book club reads I am happily anticipating.

Other News:

For once all dogs are doing fine! We had a scare with our 14 year old Molly and thought “this thumbnailis it,” but a change in medication and diet has her firing on all of her stubborn years and giving a big “what for” to Ollie.  Ollie on the other hand gets his second vaccination next week when he turns 14 weeks and is then able to go outside of our property.  He will be enrolled in the Hobart Dog Training club and will start puppy classes on Sunday.  I’m hoping that takes a bit of the wind out of his sails.  He loves running around giving Molly and the three cats grief but he doesn’t always come out on top.

I have some other events and travel bits and pieces that have piled up I need to get on this page so hopefully you’ll be hearing from me before too much longer. I attended an author event at Fullers Book shop, went to the theatre and our photo club wrapped up the Hobart Photography Exhibition. There has been a great deal happening in the past two or three months and now I am looking forward to the next two or three months of stability, peacefulness and planning bookish goals for 2020. Believe me those goals will not be grand.

I hope all of you are well and moving along and I look forward to more catching up. Let me know what you’ve been doing to keep yourselves entertained.

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Simply Sunday 10 November

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Ollie- 12 weeks old. Male.

It’s been a very hectic week but more pleasant than the previous week.  Readers will know we lost our lovely Odie last week. We were going to adopt another puppy as our older dog Molly is missing him. We wanted to get one from the Dog’s Home but they seldom have puppies that are small breeds. As we’re getting older we need a dog we can lift if needed. Odie needed to be carried a lot and we struggled with his weight. We saw a lovely litter of Jack Russells that needed a home. I checked it wasn’t a puppy mill turning them out and it wasn’t. A lovely family with six children had a pair of pedigree Jack Russell puppies. The mother is from Queensland and the father is a Tasmanian.  A good gene selection.

Ollie came home on Thursday this past week. Molly has taken over keeping an eye on him. As she’s 15 years old in March she is an old hand at raising a couple of puppies and a few kittens. She seems livelier since he has joined our family and has cheered all of us up immensely though he will never be a replacement for Odie. We named him Ollie as it is a combination of the names of our past two dogs, Wally and Odie. He seems to be getting used to it. So he will continue to feature on this blog in future posts here and there.

Snip20191110_1As we’ve been so incredibly heartbroken over the past couple of weeks I needed to find a book to read that offered comfort. I downloaded the audible book of All Creatures Great and Small read by actor Christopher Timothy from Audible.com. I have been listening to the wonderful stories of the Yorkshire practice before World War II in England. The family of characters, the country folk, everything about the series is lovely. Christopher Timothy played Mr. Herriott in the series that aired on television in the 1980’s. The series was wonderful and I have seen it a couple of times.  It is my go to comfort watching/reading.

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Alf Wight

 

Mr Penguin and I went to Yorkshire in the 1980’s and were lucky enough to be in the town of Thurso while James Herriott was still practising. Known as James Alfred (Alf) Wight, not Herriott we were told in the local bookshop we visited that he would be in his practice the following day talking to visitors. With a newly purchased book in hand, we trotted over to his practice and waited with a handful of others as he turned up from a day’s work and invited us into his parlour. He chatted with us and autographed our books.  It was a lovely day and we enjoyed meeting him very much.

The other book I’ve started as a hard copy is one Simon of Stuck in a Book (see his review here which I agree with) discussed awhile ago about a family who moved to Hay on Wye in Wales and decided to raise their family there. It was when Hay on Wye was in its heyday of bookshops in the early 2000s. The title of the book is Sixpence House: Lost In A Town of Books by Paul Collins.Snip20191110_3

I’m only about a quarter of the way into it but am enjoying it very much.

I also realise several bloggers are doing the Non-Fiction November readings this month. I haven’t joined in this month but it turns out I have only been reading non-fiction lately so I guess I’m participating despite my plans not to actively join in.

I’m looking forward to the new year of 2020 and am making some bookish, photography and dog training plans.  I’m hoping it will be a more uplifting year than the past couple of months have been.  I know life is cyclical so we can only continue to go up now.

As I have previously lost one book per puppy. (You cannot leave them unattended- books that is); I am hoping Ollie does not continue the tradition.  I will let you know how we go.

Who can believe we’re in the middle of November already?  Until next time….Snip20190825_5

Simply Sunday

 

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I have probably had the most chaotic time in the past six weeks I’ve had in a long time.  First things first.  We are heading overseas to Russia and the Baltic countries on Thursday.  I will be taking my laptop with me and although I do say I will try to put up blog posts I find the 20 persons tours we go on are exhausting.  However I will try a bit harder. The days we have dinners out at night give us less time for anything else. We are heading to Moscow and St Petersburg then onto Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic. It is a 27 days tour.

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Next up, is, our dog Odie had his second ultrasound scan and the tumours remain unchanged so he very happily remains with us. Our house sitter has been briefed and is an angel who cares for him in conjunction with our vet.  We expect he will be with us awhile longer. We really are overjoyed at that.

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I just had a week in Sydney with two good friends. As it was booked months ago, the timing turned out to be difficult as so much going on but it was a good distraction and we had lots of fun. I spent three days of photography with one friend and then four days of theatre, shopping and a film. We saw The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard at the Sydney Opera House. It is a very wordy play and I thought a bit too long. But once we figured out the first act of a play within a play we soldiered on.  One night we went to the beautiful Capital Theatre and saw the musical Chicago. It is thoroughly entertaining with great music, dance, choreography and voices that brought the house down. Lots of fun. We had one very rainy day so ended up at Events Cinema on George street, a large, almost empty theatre to see Downton Abbey which we loved. I hope to see it a second time. It was so much fun.

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We also loved visiting the independent Glee Books on Glebe Pt Rd and the second hand shop next door and the big Japanese book store in the Victoria Galleries, Kinokuniya.

I brought back two books, one from Glee Books and one from Kinokuniya.  I thought I would share them with you.

9781631495946Writing Across the Landscape 1960 to 2010 edited by Giada Diano and Matthew Gleeson. This is one of the stories of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, now 100 years old,  who has been many things: (from the blurb on the back) a poet, painter, pacifist, publisher, courageous defender of free speech and the co-founder of San Francisco’s legendary City Lights bookstore. (A store I absolutely adore.) This is a compilation of his travel journals spanning 60 years of various places around the world. It’s a chunkster so won’t be travelling with it but the bits I’ve dipped into are fascinating.

 

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The book I purchased at Glee Books is called Thumbing It : A Hitchiker’s Ride to Wisdom by Barbara Noske. I have just begun it and not sure if I’ll travel with it as I only tend to take books I’m happy to leave behind and this is not one of them….yet.

Barbara Noske is mad about hitchhiking, especially in trucks, and has 40 years of it, in, among other places, Europe, Algeria, the Sahara, as well as the vast expanse of Canada and the Australian outback. She is a Dutch anthropologist and philosopher whose field is the relationship and the similarities between humans and animals. She lives in the Dutch countryside with a horse and a bike. She has no driver’s license and no smartphone. (Blurb on the backside)

She travelled during the days before the internet, google maps and smart phones. I really enjoy tales of travel from brave women in the past.

I finished Shaun Bythell’s book Confessions of a Bookseller, the sequel to his first bookseller’s tale, The Diary of a Bookseller,  in Wigtown, Scotland.  It is identical in structure to his first book  I know many people have read. If you really enjoyed the first book I would recommend this one. There are more characters introduced, just as quirky as those in the first book. I found it a delightful read, especially in relation to all of the things going on around here during the past month.

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This is the invitation,  not my photo. 

Other good news is one of my photos made the finals in the Fremantle, Western Australia International Portrait Prize and will be on exhibition in October. I have been invited to attend but will be overseas so will not be able to.  I really am in shock that it has been recognised as a finalist.

I could go on for another couple of paragraphs of activity but feel this has been enough.  I wish everyone well and hope to be in touch again soon.

PS- I will remember to pack the Penguin and hopefully he will not end up in a Russian gulag or lost on a bus somewhere.Snip20190825_5

Simply Sunday

A Recap of the Past Week….

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Odie enjoyed his swims at the dog beach. 

This has not been a good week. Not at all. No, It has been an awful week except for maybe one bright spot later on in the week, but that hardly seemed important.  Let me start.

On Monday we took our beautiful dog Odie to the vet for more tests to ascertain why his legs are swelling. Why is he in pain. Making a long story short…A full day at the vet’s, extensive blood work results and three hours of ultra sound tests on his shaved belly have revealed a 5 1/4 cm tumour in his pancreas. As well as another tumour on his spleen and his liver. Prognosis?  Weeks maybe? If the swelling doesn’t go down in his legs then probably he will be put to sleep pretty immediately.  The swelling has gone down a bit and medication is managing his pain.  So he continues to be cared for night and day by us. Now, a week later, we are getting our heads around it and are not a sobbing mess.

We have a month long trip coming up to the Eastern European countries the end of September. That is our dilemma. It’s booked and paid for and the Housesitter who Odie loves has come to visit him and talk with us. The vet doesn’t think we will still have him by the time we leave. But they don’t know if the tumours have been slow growing or came on quickly, all at once. Surgery is not an option as the pancreatic tumour is very inaccessible, a great deal of vascular things tied up with it and we won’t put him through even an exploratory.  Besides we all know pancreatic cancer doesn’t generally end well. So if he is still coping okay before we leave do we leave him for a month and hope nothing comes up with the Housesitter? Though the Housesitter and the vet will easily work together. Do we want to have him put to sleep when we aren’t here? Or do we have this happen before we go even though he may be okay while we are gone? The dilemma. I guess we will wait and see until closer to the date and see what the vet says. We trust her and she’s a good friend as well so we’ll see.

Snip20181121_17Now we are enjoying what time we have left and doing everything in our power to get back to normal and let Odie know that he’s okay. He is very happy and very comfortable. As soon as that changes, then he will gently be put to sleep. And please, I don’t want anyone talking about the ‘rainbow bridge’.  I really don’t like the way  many people look at death of a pet.  He’s had a caring, loving life and has never known pain, hunger or lack of shelter. When it is time for him to go he will go with as much love as he had when he lived. That’s all any of us can ask for.

Enough….

Snip20190819_3I have started the book I talked about last week. These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper.  I’ve not read a lot as it’s often hard to temporarily concentrate enough this week but the writing is exquisite and I am really enjoying it. The Paris apartment block where this story takes place has interesting characters and wonderful descriptions.  I will read it slowly so my slow mind can enjoy all I find it to be offering.

On the Audible scene I am listening to The Golden Earrings by Belinda Alexandra. It’s historical fiction based on real events in Spain. I haven’t read historical fiction since I was in the my 20s and 30s.  But when travelling in Spain we saw a performance of Flamenco dancers that was stunning. I enjoy the music and dance of Flamenco so much. One of the people who travelled with us told me how much she enjoyed this book. It focuses on the time when women were first allowed to dance Flamenco as it was a man’s domain for a long time. The protagonist evidently decides that she is going to change this and the novel is based on the woman in life who made this happen.  We’ll see how it goes. Since Audible.com had it for one of my credits I decided to see if the story is good or not.  I’ll let you know.Snip20190825_1

The bit of good news I had is about my photography. Months ago I saw a competition in Australian Photography magazine calling for people photos taken in Black and White.  I took a photo of a hotel porter walking in the rain, taking our bags to our room in Sri Lanka. We walked behind him and the photo in my mind called me to pick up the camera that was around my neck and snap his photo. I loved the result and thought why not send it in.  Then I completely forgot about it.

Thursday night I received an email from Australian Photography magazine that it had received a Commendation congratulating me on the photo.  It didn’t make it through the second shortlist but did make the first shortlist.  Considering thousands of people enter these competitions I was really happy it got as far as it did.  It won’t go any further now but I do have the commendation certificate on the wall.  I needed a bit of good news this week and that could not have been better. Especially as the more conservative landscape photographers in our Photo Club never seem to like my photos of people.  They never do well in the local challenges. However a love of photography and all art for that matter is subjective and I never let others put me off something if I like it. That’s all that matters. Photographers in Tasmania take lots of photos of wilderness areas.  Lots of lone trees on sun bleached landscapes. I call it Trees and Moss photography and waterfalls thatSnip20190825_2 looked like combed ice.  It is beautiful photography, no question about it, but I prefer to document life as I see it and Street Photography is my favourite form of photography so I continue to do it. Many in our club believe it exploits people or the photos should not be allowed without permission. I would never focus on someone I thought I was exploiting, ie (homeless people or disabled people). I generally get permission when getting frontal views and never share photos or take photos of children without parent’s permission and telling them why I’m doing it although Australian law states one can take as many photos as one wants if in a public arena.  There are ethics around street photography and I tend to adhere to them.

Well we will see what this next week brings because for now everything really is One Day At A Time.Snip20190825_5

Simply Sunday

Snip20190811_7This has been a very quiet week. The weather here has been cold, blustery, snowy and windy as a polar vortex sweeps the southeastern part of Australia. So we have not gone outdoors much at all except to run errands and stock up on food.

I have gotten into the book The Red Kangaroo by Hannah Blackmore. It is an Australian Travel Diary written by her in 2001. This year she has decided to publish it in the book I’m currently reading.  The author blurb on the back states she is from Jersey in the Channel Islands and now lives in Hobart, Tasmania. She is an artist and writer, working from her studio in Salamanca. She is passionate about art and travel.   Maybe I’ll run into her.  She kept a diary for one year as she travelled around Australia in 2001. Each entry is a paragraph or three about each day from mid 2001 into 2002.  So far she still hasn’t left Sydney. Evidently she is spending Christmas with family members before taking off on her own to backpack around the country.

I am enjoying it so far. She is a good writer and as this is a diary, she is quite concise which I enjoy. I am getting a good look into the life of living in a backpackers hostel on Bondi Beach and she writes a lot about her days at Coogee, Bondi and areas between there and the city centre.  She visits galleries and gardens, works briefly in a local, very busy cafe and spends days at the beach with new found friends and her boyfriend who visited from the UK for three weeks.

I am looking forward to the rest of her trip.  If you enjoy travel diaries then this one is fun and doesn’t take long to read. I’m also wondering if her relationship stacks up while she is away for one year and he is in the UK.

 

My other reading has me going cover to cover with Australian Photographic Magazine, Womankind Magazine (published here in Hobart)  and MindFood magazine (all Australian).  Winter is a great time for long, hot baths, hot drinks and reading magazines.  I get motivation when I read what the rest of the world is currently doing and magazines are good for that.

Our dog Odie and his friend Charlie (greyhound featured a couple of posts ago) had a play date bush walk up the fire track on Thursday and also we visited the donkey up the road. However Odie has either been bitten by something or somehow managed to get something into his foot that has caused quite the infection. Saturday’s trip to the vet with his very sore back left foot had him in hospital for the afternoon for x-rays (no fracture or tumours), a couple of high doses of methadone that made him a very sociable dog and antibiotics. He continues those now he is home with another check scheduled for tomorrow. He is such a drama queen and pretty much refuses to walk on three legs so we are carrying him outdoors in the pouring rain all weekend from the polar vortex. Now who’s being a drama queen?  As he’s 16 kgs this is great fun, while waiting for him to do his doggie business.  Hopefully whatever is causing his swollen, very painful foot will ease off in the next couple of days.

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Most recent photo of Odie- 2019

As Odie spends long days on my bed sleeping and refusing to walk, yet we don’t want him to jump up and down off the bed, I am on the computer sorting through old photographs from a couple of years ago, keeping an eye on him.  I thought I would share a few of my Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary photos that I forgot I had. As I have several North American and European blogging friends I thought they might enjoy seeing some of our wildlife here.

All photos taken at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary that cares for injured animals with view to release back into the wild, if possible and educate the public about our wildlife. They have rescued more than 7000 injured and sick animals this past year.

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Greg, the owner, explains to tourists about the life of wombats. I love the expressions on their faces. 
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Orphan wombat being cared for until old enough to be released into the wild.
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Tasmanian devil, part of the education and research programs
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Eastern Rosellas that just hang around the Sanctuary in the wild.
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Koala. Not native to Tasmania. He is here for education and display to the tourists who love them. They are not allowed to be held but are patted at sometimes under strict supervision. 

We’ll look forward to seeing what this coming week brings. Hope your weekend is sharping up to be a good one and for you Australians, hope the storms didn’t hurt you too much. received_344353279619767

Simply Sunday–21 July

It has been a quiet week here (for a change).  Our Play Reading class is about to start a new play next week. Good Reads describes it as:Snip20190720_6

“Ring Round the Moon by. Jean Anouilh,  Christopher Fry (translator). NYTs Brooks Atkinson called it a work “of many moods… wistfully romantic, satirical, fantastic…” To make his points about love, Anouilh invented a story about twin brothers — Frederic, shy and sensitive, and Hugo, heartless and aggressive. To save Frederic from an unhappy marriage, Hugo distracts him by bringing to a ball a beautiful dancer who entrances everyone. The twins are played by the same actor. “Beautifully translated with wit and grace and style,” said critic George Jean Nathan, that plays “like a theatrical miracle.”

Jean Anouilh – June 23, 1910. He died 23 June, 1987.

“Anouilh was born in Cérisole, a small village on the outskirts of Bordeaux and had Basque ancestry. His father was a tailor and Anouilh maintained that he inherited from him a pride in conscientious craftmanship. He may owe his artistic bent to his mother, a violinist who supplemented the family’s meager income by playing summer seasons in the casino orchestra in the nearby seaside resort of Arcachon.”

I think we will have quite a bit of fun reading this. I didn’t know Stephen Fry translates pieces of literature.  I’ll let you know how we go with this.
BOOKS:
I finished the Australian book, My Mother, A Serial Killer by Hazel Baron with Janet Fife-Yeomans.  Wow, what a tale. I will never forget these characters. I found it most interesting to follow the family dynamics throughout their lifetimes with everyone knowing the crimes Dulce, the mother, committed and how their children coped with this knowledge. I thought it was written very thoughtfully and although the crimes were committed, I didn’t feel any of it was sensationalised for the reader. Great journalistic reporting.

Snip20190720_1I am now reading the book, The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell, published in 2014. I remember reading reviews about it at the time. It sounded interesting so I picked it up where it has been sleeping on my bookshelves since.
I am planning a real crackdown on my TBR piles of books. Looking at a serious challenge for the remainder of this year and the first half of next year. We’ll see. More on that later.
The Good Reads blurb is as follows:
“A haunting debut novel set against the background of New York City in the 1920s…

Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool.

As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.”

I love the time period where it takes place, the early 1920’s. I love that it is in New York city.  I love remembering about typewriters!! I loved typewriters. I loved the sound they make, the way the type is imprinted onto the white, crisp paper. The nostalgia of it all.
I remember when in university doing my Masters degree in the early 1970’s at Central Michigan University.  I had an electric typewriter.  It was a high school graduation gift.
I had a report due and spent quite a bit of time on it. I thought everything was fine. Content, structure, you know what I mean. It was handed back to me to do it again. “Why?” I asked.  “Clean the letter /e/ on your typewriter. It has a slight smear on it. You cannot deliver professional reports if the keys on your typewriter aren’t clean.  So off I went, cleaned the key, typed the entire thing again and turned it in.
Younger people out there….. you have no idea.
Snip20190720_2I am also reading a library book that came in about the early days and photographs of Annie Leibovitz. I’ll do a separate post about this book.  It is called Annie Leibovitz: The early years, 1970 – 1983.  I’m finding it very interesting at this point.
The rest of the week went by with my dogs, cats and I pretty much holed up. Mr. Penguin was house sitting for a friend. The wind howled into Tasmania from the Southern Ocean for five consecutive days. We had quite a bit of rain earlier in the week. Lots of snow on the mountain.  I won’t take the dogs out in the strong winds because there are too many gum trees around here and the branches are known for dropping when you least expect it.
We watched some Netflix, read, studied photography, fed and watered animals and cleaned up hairballs and litter.  There is always laundry and Odie had a bath and is very fluffy this week.
That’s our week. Hope yours was under control. See you later.
And just for fun…….
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Mr Penguin gets home from house sitting and Cousin Eddie helps him unpack.
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Odie has a bath and becomes a big fluff ball.
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This is how we spend cold, very windy nights here.
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We’re all staying warm. See you next time.