Thursday, February 17, 2011

SWANS AND IPHONES



Pat Arkansas at Remembrances of an Arkansas Stamper mentioned she was going to Lake Magness in Arkansas to view the Trumpeter Swans who winter there. Check her blog for some really nice swan shots. I got super tickled at the “butt up” one. I tried to get one like it but never quite made it.

These Swans are relatively rare birds that were almost extinct in the US by the early twentieth century. They are currently on a comeback. Pat's blog inspired me visit the site the next day. I'm rather impulsive.

With this great weather we are having, day or week end trips are getting very appealing. Arkansas is a lovely state and there are still places on my list to see. The diamond mines, elephant sanctuary, Mt. Magazine, and Garvin Gardens to mention a few.

I packed a picnic lunch and took ole buddy Mighty dog for the 60 mile trip. He had to stay in the car around the swans, but just getting to go with me and the hours of alone time in the car, is good for him. He has learned to sleep through my singing attempts.

At first when I got there, there were about 5 other watchers, all snapping pictures with silent intensity. The swans are very large and beautiful birds. While there were a lot of swans, the water was just teeming with Ring-neck ducks. I had never seen them before and they are very attractive. I just love the formal look.

Notice the lack of females in this group. Only one.

I saw a man and woman in a full power walk coming around the lake toward me. Without cameras slung around their necks, I figured they might be locals who lived close by. Being camera-less is one way we spotted non-tourists in Florida.

So I approached them and asked some questions about the birds. Turns out they were visitors from Mississippi but regularly came to this part of Arkansas. They did know quite a bit about the birds and the history of the place. They were quite eager to share with a nice little old lady. Gosh I love my white hair.

My questions uncorked a very talkative guy. He stopped, hunkered down and became an eager font of information. What he did not know about the swans, his wife quickly found out by Googling it on her iPhone.

Now iPhones are really cool gadgets that I had never seen except on TV. I do know what an app is, I just have never touched one. Mr. Sippy was quite proud of his apps and let me play with them all I wanted. Hum... I guess that does sound a tad suggestive.

He was a true enthusiast of the iPhone and quite convincing. Had he been selling them, I might have bought one right there. I really wouldn't want the phone part (my cell is strictly for emergencies plus I have poopy reception where I live) but to access the Internet while standing by a lake, that I found fascinating.

If you have one, do you think the iPhone is worth it? If I have a problem, it is with the small screen with my eyesight. An iPad would solve the readability but would take away the portability. I don't carry a large purse. Your thoughts??


There was one token Bufflehead duck that really stood out from the Ring-necks. Have no idea how he came to be with the Ring-neck bunch but they all seemed compatible. He could hold his breath for an incredibly long time and seemed to know when I had my camera on him. I got a lot of shots of ripples where he just was.

Mrs. Sippy and I got tickled when we tried to count the female Ring-necks. Out of over 60 ducks in one group, maybe 6 were female. We both decided we wouldn't want to be in the female's feathers come breeding season. There is being popular and then there is plain ole gang banging. Just hope more females find the pond.

Then we saw a furry something scooting along the lake bank. We followed him and it turned out to be a ground hog. Trust me, he saw no shadow, it was really overcast but then that day has come and gone.

So the day was a grand success. I saw some lovely wild life, met some nice people and spent quality time with my mutt. Gosh I love day trips. Do you take day or weekend trips in your state?

Betsy, I all ready know your answer to that question. You and George are my inspiration.

41 comments :

  1. My mom and dad used to take day trips and they dragged me along until I got old enough to say no, so I could stay home and wait for boys to call....lol

    We seldom do that, especially now, but I can see the fun of it. I love watching swans and would enjoy that a lot.

    I've seen iPhones that friends have and they look like fun, but then I'd not want to pay the fees for all those apps, and I'm told they do mount up. I would prefer the iPad size if I were in the market for one. I'd be happy to carry a large purse for that one!

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  2. I love day trips. Sometimes, I don't even go very far...just go someplace I haven't been before. I take my granddaughter (she's 10) I figure in a few years, she won't have time for me...boys, you know. My phone only does one thing...I'm so far behind on all that stuff.

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  3. That is just my kind of day!
    My daughter just got an Ipad for Valentine's Day, but that's all I know about them. My sister-in-law has an I phone that she loves--uses a bird identification app. I'm happy just to have a computer at home and a phone that I can make calls on--altho' I seldom to remember to take it with me. At least I can assure Oprah that my car is phone free zone.

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  4. Morning, Patti! I love those impulsive little trips and take one every now and then. Sounds like yours was a lot of fun and you got some great photos. I haven't seen swans like these...cool!

    The iphones sounds like fun but something my tired old brain would have a hard time wrapping itself around. I still haven't figured out everything on my plain little cell phone!

    Have a great day, Cheryl

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  5. First, thanks for the link to my post, Patti.

    I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to 'swan' lake. Thanks for the identification of the Bufflehead Duck. We saw a couple of them, but never in a place where I could get a photo, so it was hard to remember exactly what they looked like when we got to the bird book.

    A groundhog! You know I lead a very calm life when I find your discovery so exciting! Neat photo, too.

    There were 25-30 folks around the fence while we were there; I spoke to three women, and one very shy man. Maybe my rampant enthusiasm paralyzed his tongue. I'm glad you got to visit with the folks with the I-phone. Handy little gadgets, but I don't see one in my future. I keep my cell phone on all the time, but it's for "emergencies."

    I hope to go back to the lake, if not in the next couple of weeks, then next fall when they come back.

    Wishing you a happy weekend.

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  6. Ha Ha, Patti... Love this post... YES---we obviously do take lots of day trips and weekend trips not only to our state but to yours...

    One of these years, I'd love to go to Arkansas and see those swans... GORGEOUS!!!!!

    I am not sure I'd use an iPhone if I had one.. I like the BIGGER print --and have trouble with that tiny little print on the phones.

    We have a Verizon phone --which takes pictures (which I don't use), texts (which I do use) and of course is a phone. That's enough for me.

    George has an iPad --which is fabulous. You can make the print larger --and he can do most everything on it. I am still hooked to my laptop.

    Since your service is sparse in your area, I don't blame you for not having a cellphone as your major phone.

    We've talked about getting rid of our home phone and just using the cell.. But--we haven't made that move yet.

    Hope you are having a good week. Glad you got to see the swans. (I'm jealous!)
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  7. Lovely post! I love ring-necks (and others of course). They winter here on the Cape, but not in great numbers like yours.

    As you know, I do like day trips and hope to complete many this spring and summer. At the top of my list is a whale watch. we have not been in a few years and I am anxious to get out and see them again.

    Thanks for sharing a part of your wonderful world.

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  8. I love day trips! Haven't been on one in a while, but looking forward to exploring the mountains this summer. My sister just got a phone that connects to the internet. She is absolutely thrilled with it. She's a real estate agent, so being able to check on a piece of property at any time while she's out doing business makes her VERY happy. Having a cell phone for emergencies is enough for me.

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  9. Day tripper here. Just get a bee in my bonnet to see something and I'm off.... Max rode shotgun for years, now Gus is. There are millions of birds around us being in the center of the Pacific Flyway. my favorites are the sand hill cranes, a hoot to watch.
    No iPhone/iPad here, everyone else in the family has one. They love theirs. I use my old cell for emergencies and very seldom calls. I was cleaning out a box the other day and came across one of the bag crank mobile phones from the "old" days.....

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  10. We used to see trumpeter swans in Minneapolis. You could hear that distinctive bugle sound. Weird, just yesterday I was at Verizon and looking at the Droids. It's time for a new phone. I poke a number and I get three numbers. i phones don't do well in Montana. But I didn't want to spend another thirty-some bucks for a fancy phone since the gal yesterday realized I was a senior (duh) and put me on a program that reduced my monthly bill by thirty bucks.
    Love and peace

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  11. I own too many gimmicks now. My cell is like yours, only for travel and emergencies, although I occasionally take it shopping if I am purchasing items for someone else--quite useful to be sure I get the right thing.

    The iPAD is expensive, enticing and basically is a computer with many, many functions.

    When my health problems resolve, I hope we get out more. Right now I am somewhat bored, scared, depressed and lost as to decision making.

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  12. I know how to work my cell phones "five favorites" and that it period. As to trips ever kind works for me. We do long, medium and day. Just walks in the woods with my GSD is a favorite. He runs ahead in the woods and stirs things up. Most serious birder would say that a no no but it works for me. :)

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  13. Awesome trip. I love those swans. Used to have my pupils read The Trumpet Swan by E.B. White and then have them do projects. I learned a lot that way.
    In December I bought an iphone and my daughter put it on a plan. The first 2 months of service were free. I have fallen in love with it. I even get blog comments on it. The screen size is adjustable to very large. I have added my itunes and now walk to my favorite songs. It can also give my radio reports and I could watch films but don't I have bad vision too but I still do fine. An ipad is not that big, smaller than a magazine but both units need wifi or a 3G network and we have lots of that. Cost is worth it. I have an apple macbook too and lately I'm using my iphone more and more because it's so portable.

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  14. Congratulations on such a wonderful day. I hope you'll do more of these because the rest of us were also able to enjoy the day.

    I have an iPhone and will stop it when the contract is up in August. We will keep the contract on Bob's because he likes his. The battery has a very short life, in my opinion. I only use a cell phone for emergencies so constantly mothering the battery on the iPhone is a real pain for me. I don't care for the small screen. I'm not so busy that whatever I want can't wait for me to get home.

    How did you spot the female ring neck ducks? They all look alike to me.

    I do love swans but was surprised how large they are in real life. I never pass up a chance to view swans.

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  15. Patti - I love that your title was about Swans and Iphones and your photos were all of ducks! This trip sounds like an impulse that went exceedingly well. I have those sometimes, but not often enough. I do have an iPhone and really can't imagine my life without it. (That sounds sad, but it's true.) I don't use the phone all that much for calling, but I love accessing the Internet when I'm traveling or just sitting in the car waiting. I also have tons of handy apps like a store list one and a pill reminder one. (Not to mention games for my Grandchildren.) My husband has an iPad which he uses to read books and also for Internet when we travel. We're old but high tech!

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  16. Ummm, I really enjoy day trips which for me includes the ocean :) the best day trip ever!!!
    I don't have an i-phone, in fact, just have a simple cell phone where if I want to text, I need to hunt and peck which is fine as I'm not a phone kind of gal...but hey whatever floats your boat!
    the photos are great!

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  17. You have probably heard about the pair of swans that found our little man-made lake here. Some moron(s) decided it would be fun to beat the female to death, leaving the male, who either disappeared or met the same fate later. We have some of the most insensitive morons living here!

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  18. What a cute groundhog. I checked out the other pat's swans. Thanks for the tip. Dianne

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  19. Oh you make me laugh. Your humor is so dry.

    As far as the iPhone goes...I just got one. The jury is still out on how I feel about it. I loved my BlackBerry, but my husband bought me this new phone for Valentine's Day. It is handy. I looked up something we needed to know in class the other day while I was teaching. Since we don't have computers in the classroom, it was nice to have.

    The size is ok. I like the size of my BB better. I'm not into apps, but then again, I use the dictionary quite often during class to help explain vocabulary etc. I am a traveling teacher, so I don't have to lug around a dictionary and a lap top with my iPhone.

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  20. kenju,
    I'm with you. I loved them as a kid till I turned 10 and had a steady beau.
    I am a bit concerned about the add on costs also. Think I will wait till the price comes down.

    Turquoisemoon,
    A youngster would make a perfect companion. Better hurry, I was 10 when I started preferring boys to family time.

    Olga,
    My cell is so old fashioned that I can't even text. Don't feel like I am missing much. You and I are good Oprah sign ups.

    Cheryl,
    Pretty sure I was having a moments lust for an iPhone. Though it would be nice to have information at my finger tips, guess I could wait till I got home.

    Pat,
    Wow, there was a crowd when you were there. I want early and not so many. Everyone was quiet and serious till my walkers arrived.
    So glad the groundhog pleased you. He sure did me.
    Also glad there was more than one Bufflehead duck. Now I won't worry about him being lonely.

    Betsy,
    Well you don't need one. Your husband comes equipped and is always handy. That is what I need to do, cultivate a friend who has one instead of buying one. Good idea.

    Barry,
    Oh lucky you--a whale watch. Now that is really exciting. Doubt I could do that in a day trip. Maybe someday.

    robin,
    I think for people like your sister, an iPhone is a necessity. What a marvelous tool.

    Brighid,
    I just love Sandhill cranes. They are total clowns. I hope you have gotten to see a young one. I just learned they are called "colts". They are orange balls of feathers on long legs.

    Manzanita,
    Don't ya love the rewards we get just for being a senior? I sure do. Makes the pains not hurt so much. Way to go.

    Nitwit,
    Gosh I am so sad that you are in a bad place but the constant medical problems can really wear on our good nature.
    Hopefully this good weather will help turn the tide healthwise for you.

    troutbirder,
    Hay, he is just making sure you get to see all there is and they are only momentairly disturbed. Enjoy.

    KleinsteMotte,
    So glad to hear from another user. I was amazed to learn that man had over 10,000 pictures stored and all his tunes, plus computer capabilities. An amazing piece of equipment.

    Linda,
    As long as Bob has one, you probably don't need another. A plain old cell would work.
    The females are a drab brown. The one in the picture has her back to us and is 2 up and 2 in.

    Barb,
    Caught me. Actually the swans were the reason and Pat really had better pictures so that is why I linked her.
    You really are high tech--you go girl.

    Tracy,
    My cell is quite primitive also but is useful if I am stuck on the side of the road.
    Ocean trips are very cool.

    Betty,
    That is totally disgusting. I don't even want to think about someone capable of such a vicious deed. These are powerful birds, I hope they at least got in their licks and broke some bones.

    schmidleysscribblins,
    I thought so too. I was actually pretty excited to see him. The feeling was not mutual.

    Retired English Teacher,
    I am so glad you think so.
    I would think that phone would be a great tool for a teacher. Knowledge at your finger tips and light weight.

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  21. Loved this post and the pictures. I too hope more females find that flock and join...if not what females are there may need to fly away before mating season. Poor things.

    I do not own and IPhone and know nothing about them but for watching my son answer calls on his and look up information. So I can give no advice.

    When the kids were home we took day trips a lot. We have been to Mt. Magazine it is beautiful there. Now hubby and I don't set out to take a trip but if we go anywhere a ways from home and have some time we will go the scenic route or make the trip a bit longer so we can see new places we have not seen before.

    I love to travel and see things but since riding in a car is painful for my hubby after a time we do not travel like we once did.

    Your posts are always so interesting. Hugs

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  22. I have a Macbook and an iPod Touch, along with an iMac, but I don't have the phone. I think I am afraid that if I am constantly connected, I'll forget to Be Here Now.

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  23. I have an IPhone and love it. I've had a Blackberry which did a lot of the things an IPhone will do it but it wasn't as easy to navigate. And I'd love to have an IPad - but since I already have a Kindle I have to forego that since there is no room left in my purse. :) blessings, marlene

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  24. Thanks for sharing your trip - I'd never heard of Lake Magness or the Trumpeter swans. My daughter just got an iphone and likes it, but we're fine with our computer on its desk at home. I'm looking forward to your trip to the elephant sanctuary.

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  25. Wow! What a fantastic day you had! It's always so much fun to meet people who enjoy sharing what they know with you. The iPhone really does sound great. However, I wouldn't get one for the same reason you mentioned. But then again....... gee... it does sound fabulous.

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  26. Pat's blog is really nice I saw it yesterday and admired all the photos of Trumpeter Swans and Ring-neck ducks. Two waterbirds which are not indigenous in my country.
    How wonderful that you could google on an i-phone! I have an i-pad but I can only use it in my house if I need internet.
    I thought you and Pat Arkansas both live in Arkansas. I have still a lot to learn about the geography of the USA and its
    history.

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  27. Patti, as I am already addicted to the internet, I'm afraid that, if I had an Iphone, instead of looking at the swans, I'd be checking my email.

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  28. Mumsy,
    I am sorry traveling is painful for your hubby but think it is neat that you make your trips count by taking the scenic path.

    Djan,
    That is one reason I only use my cell for emergencies. I do like those out of contact times. You are high tech enough.

    Stichinbythelake,
    Maybe we should give up purses and go with backpacks to carry the toys. I'm like you about my Kindle.

    Ellen,
    The sanctuary is only open to the public the first Saturday of the month. I am shooting for March
    5th. I can't wait.

    Kay,
    I know, I am torn but will probably not get it till we get better reception here. Maybe by then, the price will come down more.

    Reader Wil,
    You are right. Pat and I both live in Arkansas but several hours apart. She is in the central area and I am more north.

    marciamayo,
    You know, I was thinking that also as we were playing with apps while swans were doing their thing. Might be more distraction than attraction.

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  29. Your pictures are beautiful as were Pats. I would love to see swans, they are rare around here but I keep hoping.

    I LOVE my IPhone and my IPad both, they are the best inventions I have ever encountered since the internet......... :). I love the apps, everything you can think of is at the app store. I have bird, flower and butterfly guides on my phone and Ipad. But if you do not have good reception. On AT&T's web site you can put in your zip and see if it would work for you. Verizon probably has the same.

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  30. Ooo, I'm afraid if I could access the internet while I'm standing lakeside I'd never see the gang-banging ring-necks. It's good to leave it behind.

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  31. What a great day, I don't even know what ipods or i phones are or how to use them, where did the simple days go to? I hope I get a chance to go to that lake one day. I'm a big fan of day trips, but reading blogs makes me want to take longer trips too.

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  32. Love that you got out with your baby for the day. It was good for both of you.
    Those swans are beautiful and glad you got some good photo's.
    My kids have the phone and I would love it but I guess I will be happy with what I have but it would be good for you as far as seeing it better.
    Use to take a lot of day or weekend trips but have not in a while. My plans are to take one to the beach real soon just to feel the sand underneath my toes.
    Love ya
    Maggie

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  33. Iowa Gardening Woman,
    I hope you do get a chance. They are beautiful, graceful birds though a bit scary on take off.
    I did check with both, minimal AT&T, zero with Verizon. Guess I will wait.

    Murr Brewster,
    You are right. I spent too much time at Swan Lake playing with his apps.

    Linda Starr,
    Me too on the longer trips. Think I will wear out Arkansas first. I do have that pet problem.

    Grandmayellowhair,
    Now sandy feet would be fun. Know when you get that back straight, you will be able to do more.
    Keep healing.

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  34. What a wonderful day, my dear Patti...And I LOVE all the pictures of those Beautiful Ducks....
    Mighty must have been soooo Happy to be Top Dog for the day....!
    I'm thinking about the iPad, too...but...just thinking. My eyesight is an issue as well in regard to the iPhone...My cell phone reception up here is not great, but for the Internet access and some other things, I think the iPad would work BEST for me....Maybe it is not that big, Patti...You should check it out.

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  35. I never wanted an iPhone because I'm morally opposed to the contracts. My cell company is month to month. We got rid of our land line last year but I'm not much of a phone person so it works for us.

    I got an iPad in December for our first road trip. I wanted to be able to access the Internet for things like restaurants, gas stations and weather reports. It's good for the car that way.

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  36. I feel sorry for the females. Around here we have Mallard ducks, but they are all pretty much the same when it comes to mating. Three or four males gang up on a female and if the dummies try mating in the water, they hold the female down so long, that she sometimes drowns. When our daughters saw this happening one time, in our front yard, they opened the door and chased them away, mumbling about the female being raped. So I got a book from the library and believe it or not, that's what they called it in the book. Was I ever surprised. Thank goodness they don't come over here on our block any longer mating and laying their eggs under shrubs. I think they've been staying closer to the creek which is about two blocks away. Hope you and Mighty had an enjoyable day trip.

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  37. Nice writing and nice pictures. Arkansas is a lovely state, jst like you said, and I think it is very underrated in that regard. I have only been there two times -- once when I was 8 and my family was driving back to Florida from Colorado, and then when I was 34 and my wife and I went to a wedding in Eureka Springs -- but I have a dream to one day hike the Ouachita Trail.

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  38. OOLOH,
    I have done some checking and it would not work here but would be great on a trip. Will have to wait for the price to come down a bit on the Ipad first though.

    Linda Myers,
    That is what I think they would be great for--trips. Have to decide if I make enough trips to warrent the purchase. You definitely do.

    Patty,
    I was afraid that would happen. Sure hope they skip out of pond before breeding season. I think rape about describes what you saw.

    Jonh,
    Thank you so much for stopping by.
    Arkansas is not the "Natural State" for nothing. I am relatively new to the state and just love all the beauty. Hope you saw some of the resident ghosts at Eureka Springs.

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  39. .....and ya got to play with a strange mans aps!!! Heeeheheh!!! I love it!

    Girl, have a great blog break, we all need a little time every now and again.

    God bless ya and enjoy your down time!!!

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  40. How did I miss this post ....brilliant ....was sitting with you watching the fowl ...I love doing that.
    ipods ...well Jay and Vicki both have them and love them for so many aplications but I just use my phone for emergencies like you ...anything else is too much ...I'd probably loose it....have lost 3 phones ...lol

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  41. Nezzy,
    Thanks, I'm enjoying the heck out of it.

    Angie,
    Glad you liked it. I've never lost a phone but there is always tomorrow.
    Think I will wait for better reception here.

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