Hello, Friends. How are you? I’m publishing my Friday link list earlier than usual this week, because we’re headed out of town first thing tomorrow morning. Our niece, Lauren Blair, is getting married in England this weekend, and we’re headed to the wedding.

To get there, it’s part driving, part ferry. We drive to a port town called Ouistreham (you pronounce it like we-strum) here in France, then drive our car onto a ferry, and the ferry lands in Portsmouth, England 4 hours later. After the ferry, we head straight North on a five hour drive to Billingham. It’s going to be a long travel day, but we’re heading to a part of England we’ve never visited before, and we’re excited to see what it’s like. Plus we get to see cousins!

Something else we’re looking forward to? When we arrive in Portsmouth, the first stop we’re going to make is a store that sells fascinators — the fancy hats/headpieces that you wear to weddings in England. We’re going to pick something out for me, Betty, and Flora. How awesome is that?

It’s been an exciting week for us, with a couple of big tasks that have filled our time. We found a car and negotiated a price. It’s a used car with 7 seats, called a VW Caddy. It comes from their commercial vehicle line, but is quite a bit smaller than the VW Transporter (also from their commercial line) we drove last time we lived here. We pick it up next week. We’re a bit nervous about it, but hope we end up loving it.

And… we put an offer on a house this morning! And found out it was accepted this afternoon!!! I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

But first, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

The decline in bird populations is “a staggering loss that suggests the very fabric of North America’s ecosystem is unraveling.” (NYT)

-The tide is turning!! Hooray! The gunmaker Colt is suspending production of rifles for the civilian market — including the popular AR-15.

-Meet The Woman Who Poisoned Makeup To Help Over 600 Women Murder Their Husbands.

-This is astounding and horrific. 1 in 16 U.S. women say their first sexual intercourse was rape.

-Also astounding and horrific. The U.S. just massacred 30 farmers.

What really extends lifespan?

-There’s nothing wrong with good, harmless fun. (WP) The Kavanaugh news this week made me furious.

-Woah. Chess grandmasters lose around 10-20 pounds during the course of a single tournament.

-The Alt Summit Call for Presenters has closed — and there were over 1400 pitches! The Community Vote is now open to the public. You can check out the pitches and vote for up to ten.

-I finally ordered a pair of Rothy’s. I usually avoid light-colored flats because they look dirty and sad after one wear, but these are machine washable and I adore them! They come out of the wash looking like new. Plus they’re comfortable and made from plastic water bottles.

Americans, you’re doing tea wrong.

Here are some interesting things on Twitter I bookmarked to share with you:

-Did you know these massive tree trimmer saws existed? I had no idea.

-Would more people leave their job and starting a business if they didn’t risk losing their health insurance? Would businesses be able to grow and compete in more effective ways if they didn’t need to provide health insurance for employees? This tweet and comments present an interesting conversation.

-Do rape allegations really ruin lives? This researcher wrote a thread explaining that’s a myth.

-A theory on why people thought serial killers were smarter than the average person.

-If you’ve ever given an animal via programs like Heifer International, this is a really cool idea for making it meaningful to your kids.

I hope you have such a wonderful weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


P.S. — We went to pick up mail at our cottage and realized gorgeous grape vines have grown all over the place! The grapes are just starting to turn purple.