TIME, CHANCE AND MORE II

Some weeks would pass when they would both not set eyes on one another. She often wondered where ‘Smiler’ was.

“Where does he even work? Has he been taking another cab? Will I ever see him again?”

He would disappear for two weeks and then re-appear, making her even more curious. She wanted to know more about him, about his appearing and disappearing acts. She was aware that he knew she worked at one of the banks along Ring Road because they both alighted at the same place and she had caught him looking at her while she sashayed into the gate. He however never got to catch her turning back to look at him as he tried to cross to the other side of the road.

He was attractive, yet he was a mystery. She wanted to know more, but it was those times when she willed herself to try get a way to get into a conversation the following week that he would disappear. It took time before she knew he worked shifts.

Tolani was not alone!

Ike would want to talk but quite unlike him, he remained tongue-tied. The effect she had on him was the kind no other female ever had.

“I will make that move tomorrow”

The tomorrow came but she was nowhere to be found at the bus stop. He would then not have a chance because the weeks that followed would have him working either the night or afternoon shifts.

As he made the final decision one day, he got a letter from the Human Resource department that he had been transferred to another end of town. He had two more weeks to resume at the new branch. He was even more determined to at least hear that voice speak, to and with him. He wanted to know her name, he wanted to be more than a co-passenger, he had to find a way to make it happen. How else, if not by making sure they join the same cab on his final morning shift week.

Ike made sure he left home a bit earlier than usual that week. He always alighted at Boluwaji, the stop where Tolani would normally pick a cab. She was nowhere to be found all through that week. There was no way he could trace her to her office because he did not know her department. All his efforts proved abortive.

He smiled sadly as he resumed in his new office, remembering how the pretty girl always made him look forward to his trips to work via the ‘rubbish express’.

“She’s the one that got away”

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Tolani had missed seeing ‘Smiler’. She had gone on a well-deserved break, holidaying away from Ibadan while her annual leave lasted. She was determined to speak to him on the day of her resumption. She was pretty sure she would be in the same taxi with him at least three days that week so she was not bothered much when he was not seen throughout that week. She kept believing till Friday, and assumed that he was working the afternoon or night shift. The two weeks lapsed and she still did not see ‘Smiler’.

She had come to know that he worked shifts on one of their trips to work. He was answering a call and telling the person at the other end why they could not see. His voice was music, sweet melodious music.

“Guy no vex biko. Na night I do two weeks ago and last week na afternoon shift. As I dey morning this week, we go fit see and settle everything.”

He was speaking while still smiling in a way that could ward off any form of resistance from anyone. His voice did not sound like that deep baritone of many men, it had a distinct feel to it. A voice that sounded like one that should whisper sweet nothings and scream loud somethings to one.

For all of her beautiful memories, Smiler was nowhere to be found. It struck Tolani that they did not know each other’s names by any chance. Here she was, wanting to know his name and more but where else would she find him except Boluwaji. She smiled, then giggled as she brought herself back to the present.

“Abi Smiler has also gone on leave ni?”

She waited and hoped to see him one day. It did not happen. It never happened but she never stopped thinking about him everyday.

She made it a routine to smile to herself as she took a cab daily till she no longer had the need to join a cab to work, having bought a car of her own. It later became a reflex action for her to regularly look out for him anytime she got to Challenge, hoping against hope, that she would sight him.

Days turned to weeks and months. Life had happened and other things competed for Tolani’s attention. Yet, Smiler was never forgotten.

“Smiler has joined the Canada train jare. We will meet when I get to Canada”

Tolani thought to herself and let out a chuckle that caught the attention of her colleague.

“Tolani kilode?”

“Never mind my dear. I just remembered something”

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TIME, CHANCE AND MORE

 

Grrrrrrrrrrinngggggg!!!

He tossed in bed and changed sides. The part of him that never slept immediately started querying the alarm.

“How could it be dawn so soon? Did I not just sleep about two hours ago?”

His mobile had come to life with the alarm function. The light emanating from the five-inch screen lit up his dark room and he gave up on sleep.

Having slept past normal time and getting to work late on a few occasions, Ike had learnt to set three different alarms so as to be spared the ire of his horrible Boss. He had experienced Wilson’s meanness on two different occasions and did not want to have any cause to cross paths with the foul-mouthed Supervisor.

On this particular day, he was at the receiving end of different punishments for arriving exactly fifteen minutes late. Wilson halved his pay for the day before giving him a thorough dressing down in the presence of his subordinates. He indeed wondered why the boss could not cut him some slack seeing as tardiness was never something to be associated with him. To forestall a reoccurrence of that unpalatable situation, he set extra alarms to support that function he used the table clock for, and since then, found it a permanent position on his bedpost.

Working and living in Ibadan, after growing up in the mad house that he called Lagos was a huge experience of relief. The singular fact that he could effectively time his commute from the end of the city where he squatted with his cousin to his place of work in the popular Oluyole Industrial Estate made him prefer Ibadan. He could leave home as late as 6:45 a.m and get to work fifteen minutes before his resumption time of 8 o’clock.

He got up from the bed to start the process of making his regular breakfast – rice and stew. With the food cooking, he quickly filled the big plastic container with water before rushing to take his bath. He had, of course, perfected the art of multitasking so one thing did not disturb the other. Within an hour of waking up, he had forgotten how much he struggled with sleep. The day had started, and he was lucky to have no midweek blues.

He exited the house and made for the junction, walking as fast as he could because every minute counted. If he delayed by a minute, he would not be able to join his favoured cab man. His precision in timing was such that he would join a particular cab which most times ended up conveying a particular set of people to the ever busy Challenge area.

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Tolani’s bank job was draining her in all ways. She was unsure whether she had a minute of a day’s twenty-four hours to think of nothing but the job. If it was not one target she had to meet, the perpetual fear that she could get to work and be unable to log into her work computer crept in on her. Sure, that meant only one thing – the end.

She had complained to her parents but all they did was urge her to endure. Whenever she expressed her frustration, her retired civil servant father would smile in return and tell her to ‘soldier on.’

“My darling Omotolani, getting tribal marks always comes with pains and aches. It is when the wound heals that it becomes something to show-off .”

Tolani  usually imagined what tribal marks had to do with her condition, although she understood his message. Every day was a tug of war because if there was no reason to shout, her supervisor would create one and eventually end up making a scene. She no longer looked forward to working days and would start counting down to Friday from Wednesday.

To make it worse, her commute from home to work and back was really annoying. She would need to leave home early enough to link the expressway before the mad rush that characterised every business day started. The only bright spot for her on her way to work daily was the drama that was never missing on the different means of transportation she took. Being pretty and petite meant she was mostly the centre of attention. Her form earned her stares and smiles, and she had to become used to it, and even try enjoying it. Her part of the big city also meant she encountered many illiterates and semi-literates while trying to link the expressway. She found their interactions in the taxis entertaining. That alone, and one more reason, encouraged her to anticipate a new day.

  ************************************************

All smiles as they approached Boluwaji bus stop on the expressway, Ike alone knew the reason for his state of mind. A set of co-passengers would mostly alight at Academy junction while the cab driver mostly had the next stop in sight. It was at that stop that the passenger with whom he always wanted to ride would join the cab.

Whichever angel was in charge of their itineraries made sure they journeyed together at least three out of the five working days of the week. He mostly chatted away on his phone while she could hardly wait for the cab to speed down the highway to Boluwaji where she  joined the cab for another drive to Challenge.

Immediately Tolani joined the cab, her favourite part of the daily commute would start. The mobile phone-loving co-passenger was one she always looked forward to journeying with. A smile always plastered his face as he half focused  on his phone and stole glances at her. They got to sit at both ends of the Micra taxi most of the time, he behind the driver and she behind the passenger in front.

He never caught her looking at him; he was always the one gawking at her and getting caught. He would then face his phone and resume smiling, as if gaping and getting caught.

“Can’t he just say hello or something, instead of staring?”

She liked the contours at the edges of his mouth whenever he smiled. She would not mind being engaged in a conversation. She would melt the ice one day if he didn’t make the move. Yes, one day. Soon.

This daughter of Eve looked every inch his ‘spec’. Her petite frame so well accentuated by her feminine features, her skin tone that was neither fair nor dark; and indeed, the way her sing-song voice rendered every other sound cacophonous whenever she wanted to pay the cab driver. He wanted to talk to her; he really wanted to start a conversation but she seemed too distracted by other thoughts.

“The perfect day would come soon. Yes, one day.

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THREE YEARS DOWN, STILL GOING STRONG

By this time on August 6th 2016, my piece titled As I Take My Vows had been written and posted. It was the day I fully quit bachelorhood, having done so traditionally the previous day. 6th August was the day I exchanged rings with the woman I am now married to for three years.

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Moments after taking the vows

Indeed should I or not write has been the question on my mind in the days leading up to this anniversary but I once again sit and decide to put down a few words after going through my picture gallery. I did not want to write, because I did not want to be predictable. I did not want to write because I have other things of equal importance competing for attention in my head. I did not want to write because David will disturb me (so much for using the boy as an excuse). I however discovered that I did not want to write because I did not want to write. Contradictions jakujaku!!!

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To write or nah?

When I took my vows on this beautiful day three years ago, I knew what I was signing up for. When I looked into Bukola’s eyes and read the vows, I knew I had lost myself. I was ready to forget about ‘me’ because I knew ‘self’ had to take the back seat for ‘us’. What I did not know was that I would feel like I was being intruded by a stranger the following Saturday which was our first weekend together. What however felt like and invasion of my privacy that day has taken a totally different turn that makes me feel I may not be able to survive without her around. Or how else will one explain the fact that I chose to embark on the long road trip around midday from Port Harcourt sometime last October, knowing I won’t get home till very late at night? All I was focused on was HOME, and HOME is where Bukola and David were waiting.

Marriage has changed me in the kind of way I expected. I have had the fortune of journeying with an understanding partner who has made every single day worth it. I have been lucky to have her accommodate my excesses just like I have learnt to cope with hers. One of my old friends told me while on honeymoon that some things happen when you’re not expecting. It did happen because we were ‘blessed’ within a month of marriage, when we were not expecting and I knew the change was real. There was just that shift from me and us to shifting attention to the growing foetus.

Worthy of note is the fact that some things did not quite move as expected, and in the midst of all the turbulence, my wife has been a very sturdy pillar of support. Giving encouraging words and sticking out her neck for me when necessary or otherwise. She is the one huge human blessing I have had over the past few years and for this, I am immensely grateful. In fact, my words cannot convey the depth of gratitude I feel for having her in my life.

As we launch into the fourth year of this journey, let me write out the some of the lyrics of Cece Winans’ I Promise (Wedding Song), which I ensured was played during our nuptial dance on that bright August afternoon. Every word in that song touches the very core of my being…

I will love you faithfully

Forever Unconditionally

And my love, I promise

Everything I have is yours

You’re everything I prayed and waited for

And my love, I promise you

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Cece Winans’ I Promise (Wedding Song) playing…

 

Grateful to The Almighty for this journey as I celebrate another year of togetherness with Habibti, the blessing that was pointed to me by the Divine Compass that directs my life always. I love you, and will do till death do us part.

 

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SOMETHING FOR THE FATHERS

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It is June again,and from here, it is HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Someone reading the line above  wonder if I have smoked a reefer or two . Let me explain, I am sending a new year greeting because this my  first  writing piece in 2019.

Truth be told, I have opened this blog countless times to read stuff I wrote from way back and see if I can still match the quality. That is gist for another day. I have also tried to restart my writing on different days but…(that’s also a separate story)

Today however, I am  breaking the jinx, and  resumed again, and I will keep writing…SO HELP ME GOD!!!

There have been special days this year: days recognized worldwide, family memories, birthday anniversaries and the like. On each of these days, I have wanted to write but…(no, we won’t leave it this time)…other things got the better of my time, commitment, attention and devotion till that special day passed.

Today however, being Fathers’ Day, I choose to celebrate the uniqueness of the ‘Chief Servants’ of the home. There has been no time when the sacrifice of a father has been lost on me. I am lucky to have a father with whom I can relate properly and who has at no time hidden the different sides that being a father shows forth in a man. I am also lucky to have lived beyond being told what fatherhood is, and experiencing it myself.

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The fact that I have been opportune to sire another has further exposed me to the sacrifice a father makes at different times. No matter how simple or unchallenging it seems to some people, it is what it is.

A little journey down memory lane and I can say with all sense of appreciation that fathers are just wonderful.  Although, I carry the same distinguishing organ like many men, the things real men  do for the sake of their offsprings, cannot be quantified. Permit my repeated use of the word ‘luck’. I am lucky to have a man who sired me but who is actually a friend. I saw the way he put his comfort aside to make my siblings and I have the best that can be had.

My dad will always tell us he preferred to be ill than for any of us to suffer any health-related discomfort. As a young chap of seven or eight years, I always wondered if he was sane but as life moved me into the stage of fatherhood, I understood his position.

One of my father figures may be reading this. This man would give all he had to his kids and go get a way to hitch free bus rides from Sango to Secretariat when I was in primary school. As young as I was back then, it meant a lot to me.

As we grew and became more conscious, we became more aware of the things our fathers did just to make sure we did not suffer for anything. I know how a friend’s dad would take blue collar jobs to augment the earnings of his white collar job. It really cannot all be quantified.

Some of us had fathers who we saw as cruel when we were kids but as we grew, we understood how much they loved us despite never saying it to our faces.

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Life has bestowed the title of father on me. Daily as I wake and see my toddler bounce out of the room in search of ‘Daddy’, I feel something I cannot explain. Of course, as I looked at him sleeping peacefully on the day he was born, I felt  indescribable emotions. I was moved to tears and everything in my life has revolved round him. I have had to deny myself some comforts to put a smile on the face of the little one because…FATHERHOOD!

I don’t know how we do it, I don’t know how we will keep doing it but I celebrate everyone who is a father today. I am graced to have fathers along with my FATHER and I celebrate you all today.

May as many of us be chanced to reap our labour of love.

HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY

P.S: is there a memory of your dad that has stuck with you? Please share in the comments.

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DO YOU STILL WRITE?

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This has been a recurring question I have had to answer of recent. My writings have mostly been to let out steam. I also wanna be God sometimes, so I ‘create’ people.

In the midst of all the happenings that make man ask a lot of questions, I have managed to stay sane by writing. Sadly however, there has been a whole lot to catch up with, and that has affected my writing.

Stories aplenty dance to different beats in my head. Daily occurrences that used to the trigger have recently been like just ‘one of those things’. Still I try to write: even if it is for me and my eyes, for me and my mind; for me and the audience of one for whom I have learnt to sing.

I try to write and be read to gauge the feedback of those who take time to read my reflections. Refusing to put it out is the risk as I was told by someone close. “What happens to everything you have written and have refused to post if the end comes?”.

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That struck something in me…

I stick to my guns though. I want something to be put out after I have exited all the worries, pain, fame and glory of this rat race. I want someone to open my PC (or whatever/wherever my writings are) and see what I put down while I tried my best to live in this clime like a colossus.

Long and short…I still write, and I have my first book published.

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Yes, I still write, and I just finished writing something for you to read.

Picture credit: http://www.unsplash.com

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LETTER TO THE ARK

MY emotions are just the exact way like the day you were born: I really cannot put a name to how I feel. The period of your pregnancy was a very interesting one. I kept a diary that I could not keep up with because my PC went bad but one day, you will get to read how things progressed.
Our plan was not to have you come so soon after our wedding but being a gift that would not be held back, you came. That exactly is why you got the name Oluwatamilore, which is translated as God has given me a gift.
With you coming into our lives with ease, I learnt to be more thankful than ever. How the weeks and months rolled by without any trouble while your mom’s tummy grew in size was amazing.
Then the scare! We were to cross to the other side of the road as we made our way from Church that Saturday evening in January. As the road seemed safe enough, we moved only to be caught in the middle of the road by a motorcycle that had no headlamp. Your mom was hit right on the tummy by the handle of the motorcycle whose rider managed to steady himself and run off. It all happened within the twinkle of an eye; more like a movie scene.

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We rushed straight to the hospital for an emergency scan that showed something little to worry about. As much as we worried, you kept kicking. In fact, your kicks grew more regular. I would ask Mama to let me take a look at her tummy in the evenings to see how you were kicking. That stage of your life fills me with a lot of gratefulness.
You had been named by the fourth month of your pregnancy. I was tending the birds on the farm when the gentle voice whispered to me about Obed Edom. Right from when your pregnancy was confirmed, I pet-named you ‘Champ’. On this day, The Whisper told me you are to be called ‘The Ark of Testimony’ as your pet name, and IREAYOMIDE as your first name. I called Mama to tell her immediately, and that was it.

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Your delivery story is in itself one that I use as a prayer point for people. Mama fell into labour very late on Tuesday evening. We got to the hospital past five in the morning and before half past seven that morning, you were born. I looked into your eyes and the first words I said was “Thank You Jesus”. I was taken by your looks as I smiled and added “Welcome Chief”. I shed tears of joy just looking at you but I could not touch you till after twenty four hours. Yes, I betrayed emotions as it was too much to take in.

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Indeed, there were 20+1 names given to you. Behind each name is a story. There is Oluwabamise because it is the name of one of my seniors back in Olivet Heights Oyo. I doubt if Bamise Adeniran would even remember me but I like his carriage and behaviour back then. There is Oluwadamipe because your Big Mommy said you looked every inch a job well done. Your grandparents on both sides know why they named you Oladapo, Oluwadamilare, Adejare and Ayooluwaniagbarami (The joy of The Lord is my strength). We asked what your late grandfather would have named you and we were told ‘Abdulqahhar’, meaning ‘The Dominant One’. God rest my Big Daddy, Pastor Adewole Babalola. You were the last Babalola he named before passing. He called you ‘Olamilekan’. Uncle Jibola said you will be called ‘Oluwaseyitan’.
Mama gave you David. She always called you Collins from before you were conceived. Uncle Nifemi smuggled in the name ‘Emmanuel’. You were named Dennis because you share the same date with Dennis Bergkamp, the non-flying Dutchman who is a legend of my darling Arsenal Football Club. There are two great people I know who answer the name Ajani. That exactly is why you were given that name.
I have watched you grow from that tiny 3.7kg infant to an amazing 10kg toddler. I have watched you take your first steps a bit early. Seeing you learn how to clap and babble as you learnt to sing has been beautiful. Your first words ‘bata’, ‘Grandpa’ and ‘water’ have brought me great joy. You will wake in the morning to “give my Daddy hi-five”, do the routine ‘Halleluyah’ and ‘clap for Jesus’ every morning before proceeding to turn the place upside down. I appreciate the fact that your burst of energy is amazing and your smile very contagious.

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Don’t stop being a shining star HiRay. Your heritage in Christ is secured. Everything that has held those before you down will have no power over you. Nothing will truncate your destiny. Yours will not be a life of struggles as The Lord lives. The words of The Lord which “are in Him Yes and Amen” will find fulfilment in your life in Jesus name; And just like #TheArk of Covenant that you are, wherever you are, there will be a lot of blessings.
This is the first of many beautiful years. The BIG promise I am making today is that I will be a father, a friend and a confidant. I will bring you up in the way of The Lord, and will not force my likes on you.
God bless you son. Have a very happy first birthday. I hope one day when you read this, you will come give me a big hug.
Blessings all the way son. Happy birthday

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RAMBLING THOUGHTS POST MARCH 28

This place has plenty cobwebs. The blog possibly does not like me again. Just beg am for me as she’s well-loved and the chase for daily bread, coupled with other things like an ‘ill and admitted’ PC have hidden me. Well, my people in the ‘errrm’ community say I should type on my mobile but I have never found it easy going that way. The screen is too small for me and everything seems clumsy. Let us leave all that story and clean all the dust and cobwebs here together as we take a short ride with my reflective post.

I normally put up something on my birthday but I was lucky enough to have people in my life who thought the best they could do was write what they think about me. If I added mine that same March 28, everything would be too much. Hence, I took the back seat and let you digest what was said/written before I do my own bit of writing (although ‘tis more of a junk folder emptying).

So I start by registering my appreciation to everyone who took time to reach out to me on the day that annually brings me to reflection. There were phone calls and sms; there were physical meetings. The biggest ones came from people who reached out via the virtual world. There are people I cannot remember knowing at all but who by virtue of being my Facebook friends, reached out too. There are those for whom it’s the annual ritual, and they did not fail with the “HBD, LLNP”. Big thanks all

Of course, I have people whom I have seen just a few times or never seen that have become friends and family via social media (I reject the temptation to mention names). These guys wrote words that touched and moved me. If what they wrote about me is anything to go about, then I only have to set the bar higher and keep living the way I presently do.

Like I noted earlier, my birthday always brings me to the place of reflection. My outlook about life has always been “to be better today than the me I was yesterday”. If I have made you smile before, I want to make you grin. If you ever remember me, I want it to be that you will send me a word of prayer. I want you to lighten up with a smile whenever I stroll into your consciousness.

I am presently strutting my stuff here but I want to live when I am no longer alive. I want to be remembered as the one who was the reason for many positives. All these spur me on so that it would be said of me “he’s no longer here but he’s still right here”. I want to write books you will want to read over and over, like I have read some over the years.

In this journey, I have been blessed with great people, and of course the not so wonderful ones. I am glad as both groups of people have been of immense help in shaping my thought process. I have enjoyed the loyalty Peter had for Jesus (that made him deny Christ at a point); I have been kissed by Judas (maybe I survived); I have found and lost LOVE; I have lost and found PEACE. I however have the right dose of all I need. The only fear I have is to not translate potential into result. With the help of God, I will exceed expectations (at the appointed time).

There are people I carry on my head who are gracious enough to show me they don’t care a bit about my feelings. There are those who have reciprocated by carrying me high. I have been mean to some who say they love me and some have been mean to me because of the same thing, or even what is not worth it. I am however glad because I am in the University of Life.

I have been taken advantage of and taken for a fool because of many things. What the inner man says to me however is to let things be, and let time heal me. What I believe that has made me ignore is that beneficiaries of my supposed weakness have no moral justification to call me out.

I am calm because I never want to ‘fight’ with anyone as no one knows the last moment with anyone. I will not confront you because I just want to live in peace. I am no pretender, I just do my thing and go on. My human interactions and inter-personal relationships mean a lot to me, and I will not joke with it no matter who feels offended. I can lose one person to cling on to five. It is me, and how I choose to live, don’t you worry about how that wil get me into trouble.

I am not ashamed to have recurring decimals. Many of them are good and have been ladders and bridges despite some people trying to eject them from my life; some others are what they are, parasites. I am blessed with many who believe in me (even when I know/feel I am not good enough).

I have another chance to start another 3-6-5, and I already am in it. I will not stop doing what I do, neither will I stop living in the way I do. I will only seek to be “better today than the me I was yesterday”.

Big thanks everyone. I really felt great on my birthday and I do feel great now that I have a whole lot of wonderful people in my life.

Hopefully, this marks the resumption of life on this blog that used to be my run-to-place.

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