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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 165: Ron MacLean

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 165In this 165th episode, Mike chats with broadcaster Ron MacLean about his years hosting Hockey Night in Canada, working with Don Cherry on Coach's Corner, his fallout with Gary Bettman and so much more. This episode is exactly 1:21:45.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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I Choose Hockey

Fewer and fewer kids are playing hockey these days. It's a fairly expensive game and there are plenty of other, often safer, options. Neither of my nephews play hockey. It's no longer a surety that a Canadian kid will strap on the skates each week and chase a puck.

I just watched my oldest play. He's 14 now, and I've been watching him play since he was a Timbit. That's about a decade of house league hockey action, and I've loved every minute.


And I mean it. I absolutely love watching him play, and always have. He loves it, too. I tear up at the thought that one day I'll watch him play for the last time.

For the record, I put my oldest daughter in Timbits, and would have loved to follow her career, but she chose dance over hockey. I still remember my very convincing argument as to why she should should keep playing, and I still remember her gently letting me know hockey wasn't for her.

But two more are coming. My youngest boy is almost two and will be a Timbit in no time. Then, as my oldest winds down, he'll take the reigns. And then his little sister can follow suit.

If I play my cards right, I'll have hockey games to enjoy for another twenty years, and by then I could have grandchildren playing. I hope it never ends.

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Patty Duke, Dead at 69

Patty DukePatty Duke was 69. She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at age 16 for her role in The Miracle Worker before starring in The Patty Duke Show.

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Wally Crouter, Dead at 92

Wally CrouterWally Crouter was 92. He was the morning man at CFRB 1010 for 50 years, from November 1, 1946 until November 1, 1996.

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Questions for Ron MacLean

I will be sitting down later this week with Ron MacLean, long-time sportscaster and former host of Hockey Night in Canada. He'll be dropping by next week to record an episode of my podcast Toronto Mike'd, and I get an entire hour to ask him anything I want.


I know what questions I'll be asking him, but I'd love to know what you would ask him. What questions would you like me to ask Ron MacLean?

Discuss "Questions for Ron MacLean" (33 comments so far)

Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Garry Shandling, Dead at 66

Garry ShandlingGarry Shandling was 66. He was the stand-up comic best known for “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show.”

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Time Machine

I was catching up on some work last night when I saw this tweet from TSN1050 host Mike Richards.

Immediately, I knew what game he was watching. It was my game. It was the final Maple Leafs game of the 1980s and I was in attendance at Maple Leaf Gardens to witness the most exciting game I'd ever seen live.

It was 6-1 Bruins, and my buddy Joe and I were playing the funeral march over a megaphone he had smuggled in. We didn't get to many games, so when you got a dog, it hurt. And there were plenty of dog games in the 80s.

When I saw this tweet from Mike Richards, I turned on the television and tuned in LeafsTV. I got to relive that night in 1989 and it was as glorious as I remembered.

Vincent Damphousse scored late in the second period to make it 6-2, and that's how it stood with 5 minutes left in the third. Then, Gary Leeman scored, and Luke Richardson scored, and Ed Olczyk scored. Suddenly, it was 6-5.

At this point, it felt like we couldn't lose. Eddie O made sure of it, with a nifty breakaway goal to tie it up late. Then, in OT, Mr. ALL HEART whacked home the winner. Leafs win! Leafs win! Leafs win!

I spent last night in 1989. That wasn't a tweet, that was a time machine.

December 30, 1989 - Maple Leafs

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Joe Garagiola, Sr., Dead at 90

Joe Garagiola, Sr.Joe Garagiola, Sr. was 90. He played for nine seasons in the major leagues and was part of the 1946 St. Louis Cardinals team that won the World Series. He went on to become the play-by-play voice of baseball for NBC for nearly 30 years.

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Phife Dawg, Dead at 45

Phife DawgPhife Dawg was 45. He was a founding member of A Tribe Called Quest whose 1991's The Low End Theory and 1993's Midnight Marauders are staples of my personal playlist.

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Rob Ford, Dead at 46

Rob FordRob Ford was 46. He was Mayor of Toronto from 2010 until 2014.

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The Greatest Hoodie Ever Worn

I'm not an Abercrombie & Fitch kind of guy. That's partially because I'm old, and partially because I lack style. My idea of dressing up is blue jeans and a clean tee shirt.

I don't even like the idea of wearing a shirt with the company's name emblazoned on the front. The Abercrombie & Fitch crowd always struck me as walking billboards. No thank you.

About six months ago, my oldest son gave me three sweatshirts he had outgrown. One of these shirts was an Abercrombie & Fitch hoodie that fit me perfectly. I was wearing a hand-me-down from my firstborn and I was cool with that.

Initially, I was turned off by two details: the aforementioned Abercrombie & Fitch emblazoned across the front, and the faux wear and tear I've always hated. This hoodie was sold to look like it had been worn roughly for years. You've got to earn those scars, you can't buy them off the shelf!

But I kept wearing this hoodie. I kept wearing it because it was from my son, fit perfectly, and is ridiculously comfortable. In fact, when I'm wearing another sweater, I miss this Abercrombie & Fitch hoodie. Nothing else feels as soft and warm. No other sweater in my collection comes close.

It is, without a doubt, the greatest hoodie I've ever worn.


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Someone Knows Something

The CBC recently launched a new podcast in the vein of Serial entitled Someone Knows Something. We're four episodes deep, and here are my early thoughts.

I also listen to a CBC podcast called The Doc Project. Each week, The Doc Project airs an hour-long radio documentary. They're usually pretty interesting.

Following the first episodes of Someone Knows Something, it felt like an average episode of The Doc Project. Better than the weak episodes (I'm still sorry I wasted my time on that Harry Potter ep), but not as good as the stand-outs.

I don't know where Someone Knows Something is going, and I'll stick with it to find out, but so far it really does feel like a half-decent hour long documentary stretched into a series. A 5-year old boy vanished in 1972 while on a family fishing trip in Eastern Ontario and the case has gone cold. It's a tragic story, but lacking the compelling essence of Serial that made it so addictive.

I'm happy to hear more Canadian content being produced, I just think we can do even better.


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Daily Photo: Me and My Brood


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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 164: Mike Wise

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 164In this 164th episode, Mike chats with CBC anchor Mike Wise about this work at the CBC, the future of the public broadcaster and our many digital distractions. This episode is exactly 1:15:20.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

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My Morgan

This morning, at 6:34am, Morgan Sophia arrived. She was 7lb 11oz and perfectly healthy. Mom was awesome and is doing great. James and Michelle met their little sister today and Jarvis gets the honour tomorrow.



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The Dinosaurs that Walk Among Us

I remember watching Goose Gossage play. You simply don't forget a moustache like that. And as a kid, I thought Goose was a pretty fun nickname.

Goose went off on Joey Bats Thursday. "Bautista is a fucking disgrace to the game," he told ESPN. "He's embarrassing to all the Latin players, whoever played before him. Throwing his bat and acting like a fool, like all those guys in Toronto."

Goose Gossage is a dinosaur, one of many still covering baseball. This incident reminds me of when Jonathan Papelbon choked Bryce Harper in the dugout last September. One by one, the dinosaurs came out to defend Papelbon, condoning the physical altercation as part of the game.


The picture above seems rather appropriate for this entry. It's me in my Bautista bat flip shirt and Kevin Barker. He recently accompanied his wife Hazel Mae on a visit to my home. Barker and Gregg Zaun are two dinosaurs living in a different era.

Goose Gossage, Gregg Zaun and Kevin Barker are cherry picking their memories, after all. Here's a tremendous clip of Goose getting punked by Kirk Gibson in the '84 World Series.

The bat flip is beloved in this city, and rightly so. The dinosaurs can either adapt or get out of the way. They're blocking my view of this beautiful game.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 163: Kid Craig

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 163In this 163rd episode, Mike chats with 102.1 the Edge broadcaster Kid Craig about the origin of his name, his work at The Wolf, CHFI and Virgin 999 and how things are going at the Edge. This episode is exactly 57:16.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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TNT Surplus

I just read that Queen Video is closing its historic Queen Street location. Danier Leather is also winding down, and will shutter all locations before you know it. The more things change...

One southwest Toronto store seems to defy the laws of economics and still stands at the corner of Lake Shore Blvd W. and Islington Ave. TNT Surplus has been there selling military surplus, camping and safety workwear since 1957, when Islington at Lake Shore was still known as Seventh Street.


I remember biking to TNT with my buddy Ed back in 1990 so he could pick up a pair of boots. He loved army surplus stores, and TNT was one of his favourites. It's amazing it still stands today. If I had placed a bet at an online casino canada, I'd have lost.


Recently, the city painted a new mural on the side of TNT to celebrate the flag of Canada's 50th birthday. The old mural was just "TNT" but this new one is a wonderful honkin' slice of Canadiana. I see it every day and dig it the most.

Nice new mural on the TNT building

I don't know how TNT stays open, but I'm glad it does. Sometimes I take the kids in there just to look around. It's like a museum, defying all odds, frozen in time.

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Hugh Burrill, James Cybulski and Jamie Thomas Cut by Rogers Sportsnet

As learned from TSM, Rogers axed a number of people at Sportsnet yesterday.

The vast majority of those fired worked behind the scenes, and have names you won't recognize, but at least three on-air people you're familiar with are part of these cuts.

They are:

  • Hugh Burrill
  • James Cybulski
  • Jamie Thomas

I truly feel for people in this industry that looked so glamorous when I was young. The number of jobs paying a respectable wage continue to shrink, leaving those discarded with fewer and fewer options.

Here's hoping everyone lands on their feet and remembers that they are not their job.

You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

~ Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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George Martin, Dead at 90

George MartinGeorge Martin was 90. He was "the Fifth Beatle" who produced 13 albums and 22 singles for the band between 1962 and 1970.

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Hammy Hamster's Adventures on the Riverbank

Twelve years ago, I sang the praises of Hammy Hamster.

I remember fondly being mesmerized by Hammy Hamster. Hammy Hamster was the lead character in a television show entitled Hammy Hamster and he was indeed a hamster. Not a cartoon hamster, but an actual hamster. His best friend was G.P. who was a guinea pig and there were others. These riverbank creatures had calming adventures and I was just psyched to see actual rodents performing. It was very cool.

Now, thanks to Retrontario, we have a full episode of Hammy Hamster's Adventures on the Riverbank as it aired on Global TV back in 1982. It even has the original commercials.

That's my jam right there... sweet, sweet nostalgia.

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The Amber Alert TV Alarm: Hearing What You Want to Hear

Apparently, if you criticize last night's Amber Alert in any way, you aren't thinking of the children. There's no middle ground. The cool thing to do this morning is to attack anyone who doesn't universally praise the Amber Alert communication process. You're either behind the method in which the Amber Alert spread last night, or you're an asshole.

Nonsense. Here's my little story and how it was grossly misinterpreted because some people only hear what they want to hear.

I watched 60 Minutes profile our Prime Minister. They misidentified Kim Cattrall as Maggie Trudeau, which was fun. Kim even replied to my tweet about it, which was pretty cool.

Then I watched the Raptors blow it at home against the Rockets. That was frustrating. Our sweet home court winning streak came to an end in a game we once led by 18.

Then, because my wife was knitting a blanket for our unborn child and I wasn't ready to turn in yet, I tuned in the Democrat Debate on CNN. That's what I was watching when the Amber Alert came on.

It was a scroll that crawled vertically at a snail's pace, and it was accompanied by the loudest sound to ever emanate from my television. It was far, far louder than the volume set on my TV, comparable to the smoke alarm. The tone was a piercing, frightening alarm that scared the shit out of me. Because the scroll was so slow, I actually went to Twitter to find out what was happening.

And yes, I tweeted about it. Because the alarm didn't just happen once, it happened again a few minutes later, and that's when I shut off the television for the night because my nerves couldn't handle another round. Here's my tweet on the subject.

Some told me I was being selfish, after all, a child was in potential danger. Someone asked me if I'd feel the same way if it was my child. Others accused me of complaining my precious shows were being interrupted. Another just replied with "that's a brutal tweet you should be ashamed. Unfollow".

That's right, because I don't think you need a tone that harsh and ridiculously loud to share an Amber Alert, I should be ashamed of myself. I'm not against the Amber Alert, I think interrupting shows for a time sensitive message of importance is a great idea, I just don't think my cable provider should blast such a jarring sound at that volume into my home. I believe there's a better, more sensible way.

After all, nothing would get my attention like a brick through the living room window, but I don't think that's a good idea, either. Sometimes, we need to use common sense, even when we're thinking of the children.

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Nancy Reagan, Dead at 94

Nancy ReaganNancy Reagan was 94. She was an actress and the First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989. She launched the "Just Say No" drug awareness campaign in 1982, and in later years, was a staunch supporter of embryonic stem cell research.

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Daily Photo: Shot From the Giant Inukshuk




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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 162: Don Landry

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 162In this 162nd episode, Mike chats with broadcaster Don Landry about his years at The Fan 590 co-hosting the morning show with Pat Marsden and Gord Stellick, why I should have Vic Rauter on the podcast, what he thinks of skinny cable packges and Gord Martineau's exit and what he's been up to with the Argos and curling and much, much more. This episode is exactly 1:32:47.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Have fun and make some money while staying indoors this winter

Canada's long dark winter nights sure can get lonely and boring, but now there's a great way to fight back against the winter blues.  The massive casino games to play at Euro Palace casino will keep anyone entertained for hours, and who knows you might even come out with more than you started with thanks to the generous bonuses and excellent odds offered by the Euro palace casino.

If you've ever played at an online casino and ran out of options for new games you'll want to give Euro palace a try.  With over 500 different games you can play something different every day of the year.  They offer a large array of table games with multiple options such as Craps, Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat.  You'll also find nearly 200 different slots games -- enough to give even the most die-hard slots player more options than they can take advantage of.

If you're snowed in and prefer a more Vegas-like experience you can take advantage of the Live Casino at Euro Palace.  Here you'll find live dealers hosting games of blackjack, roulette and baccarat.  It's just one more feature that makes the Euro Palace casino the go to gaming experience for players in the know.

I haven't even gotten to the best part for some of you.  Euro Palace has all the blockbuster pokies you love to play such as Game of Thrones, Avalon II, The Dark Knight, and Thunderstruck II.  There is also a wide array of regular pokies to keep you entertained.  And those who love progressive jackpots can play the following progressives, some with jackpots topping $1 million: Cyberstud poker, King Cashalot, Mega Moolah, Roulette Royale, and Major Millions.

All of these great games are powered by Microgaming, so you know the games offered will keep expanding and Euro Palace will always have the latest and greatest games to keep you entertained year-round, even during the cold Canadian winter months when you can't get outdoors to a bricks and mortar casino.

To keep things fresh and make sure you can play longer the Euro Palace offers a welcome bonus, but they don't stop there.  You'll find weekly promotions that can lead to some quick rewards.  They come in the form of tournaments, lucky draws, free spins and bonuses and can even include physical prizes such as vouchers and the latest electronics.  Monthly promotions are slanted more towards tournaments and offer much larger prizes as they typically last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks.

Euro Palace gives points for each wager made in the casino and those points can add up fast and be redeemed for cash credits as soon as you reach just 5,000 points.  The cash credits are better than normal bonuses as there are no wager requirements.

So come over and take a look at the massive casino games to play at Euro palace casino.  Once you do you'll never need to go back to another casino, and you'll have found a solution to the boredom of the long, cold Canadian winters.

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In-form Raptors Chasing Down the Cavs

Whenever it has looked as though the Cleveland Cavaliers were about to pull away from the Toronto Raptors at the top of the Eastern Conference, the Canadian franchise has clawed them back. With less than a month to go until the end of the regular season, the Cavs and the Raptors both know that their postseason tickets are all but booked. But that won't stop the battle between the two going all the way to the finish. While it's hard to look beyond the Golden State Warriors in terms of the championship this season, there are at least two teams in the East who will be feeling confident about handling themselves well against Stephen Curry and company.

Toronto's impressive 112-104 overtime victory over a Miami Heat side leading the Southeast Division only served to further cut the gap between the Raptors and the Cavs at the top of the Eastern Conference. DeMar DeRozan once again showed just how much of an influence he is going to have in the playoffs, with the All-Star swingman repeating his exploits from the 117-115 win over the Portland Timbers earlier in the month by recording 38 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. The latest in a string of sensational performances this season, DeRozan scored 17 of his 28 points in the final 17 minutes of the game and impressed in all areas of the court.

1/24/14 | Sixers vs. Raptors
"1/24/14 | Sixers vs. Raptors" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by  Philadelphia 76ers 

In a rare off night for Kyle Lowry and Cory Joseph, who recorded just five goals from 23 attempts collectively, DeRozan's performance ensured the Raptors maintained pace with Cleveland at a time of the season when many felt the Cavs would have already wrapped up the Eastern Conference. But with still a month left of the regular season, including a number of tough games for both franchises, this race at the top of the conference could well go down to the wire. While Cleveland are as short as 4/11 in the latest Bet365 NBA betting odds, the Raptors have shown more than enough over the past few weeks to prove they aren't yet willing to throw the towel in just yet. And while you're at it, Bet on Euro 2016 finals on William Hill's website.

While Toronto were beating Miami, the Cavs will have been sat around their televisions knowing just how big a result this could be. With the Canadians now within two games of Cleveland, who have led the conference for much of the season, both teams know it would be the Raptors who would take the title should the East's top-two finish with identical records due to their 2-1 season series win. Both franchises are set to play 10 of their final 18 regular season games away from home, during which time Toronto could be able to welcome back Carroll into the team following his knee injury.

Having averaged almost 12 points a game, the former first round draft's return to action will be a major boost to a Raptors team that will need all hands on deck come the postseason. While Toronto have won 23 games from the 28 Carroll has missed, the small forward will have an important role to play between now and the end of the campaign.

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Wrapping My Head Around the World Cup of Hockey

I don't blame the NHL and NHLPA for putting together the World Cup of Hockey. The Olympic hockey tournament is the very best and why wouldn't the NHL and NHLPA want to cash in on such an event? The World Cup of Hockey is theirs, unsanctioned by the IIHF, with NHL rules and NHL refs. I get it...

What I'm struggling with is the under-23 Team North America. This is the team that will star Conner McDavid and will compete against Team Canada. I love best-on-best tournaments when I can get 100% behind Canada as we take on other nations. And the two countries I love to beat most are Russia and the United States.

McDavid and other under-23 Canadian hockey stars will be playing alongside the Americans on that team. This does two things that bother me:

  1. It dilutes Team Canada, removing some players that I'd like to see play for my country
  2. It forces me to cheer on the United States if I'm going to root for Team North America

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this tournament, I just wish they hadn't fiddled with the basic premise by introducing the under-23 Team North America. It alone has made me care much, much less about winning this tournament than an Olympic gold medal.


This is not to say I won't be watching. As an NHL fan, there will be general curiosity, and I'll likely tune in. I just won't really care if we don't win it all, and I'd never say that about the Olympics.

What do you think about the World Cup of Hockey?

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This is the Month

It's March. This is the month. This is the month in which my baby girl will be born.

My wife is almost 37 weeks pregnant. I know because I've literally been counting them down. Her OB/GYN is happy with everything, from the baby's heartbeat to the fundal height, and now the excitement is setting in.

This will be my fourth child, and my second daughter. It will also be my last. The next time I'm this psyched about a birth it will be because I'm becoming a grandfather.

When my third child was born, I moved my podcast studio from the second floor to the basement and gave him that room. This time, I'm completely out of rooms. My oldest son has the basement room around the corner from my studio, and my daughter's not interested in sharing her room with a toddler or baby, so there are some decisions to make. The newborn will likely sleep in a bassinet in our room for the first while before she moves to a crib in her littlest brother's room. It's literally a full house.

Then there's the car situation. I've driven the same car for 17 years and I still love it, but it only has five seatbelts. If the entire family is driving somewhere, there's a problem. We either take two cars or I bike to the destination. At some point, I need a car with at least six seats.

Other than those two minor details, we're ready. There's something about being 100% sure this is your last child. I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

This is the month.... I can't wait to meet her.

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