Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Wednesday, May 30, 2007


    Before I go off and mommyblog all over the place, I finished the quilt and it's winging its way to Illinois and the shower. I wish I could be there, but the boyos' last day of school is Thursday, and that's something they shouldn't miss, even if they don't remember it later on.

    Now. I am thoroughly sick of small children. Sick. Of. Them. I'm this close to eating my young, and I can't promise I won't eat anyone else's. I have recipes people, and I'm not afraid to use them!*

    The house has been bombarded by small children since last Wednesday night. We seem to have become the neighborhood drop-off point. The kid-friendly house. Only I'm not Mother Goose, so it's more like a toddler flophouse. Little children sent away by their fed-up parents, wandering the world in their ragged jammies, scrounging by with paper routes and chimney sweeping gigs, find their way here – The Last Stop on the Way Down.

    But why can't they be winos? Winos are quiet, peaceful people. Instead they're whinos – shouting, screaming, demanding, turning anything they get their grubby little hands on into some sort of weapon, fighting with said weapons, shrieking when said weapons are taken away.

    I have bruises.

    I can tolerate this in small doses. It's all part of being a Mother of Boys. They fight. They're loud. They get dirty and smell bad. But it's been non-stop. On Sunday there were five of them. Five. Ok, one was a little girl and she smelled fine, but still.

    We're spending too much time in the front yard, where people can see us. That's the problem.

    “Yeah, sure, he can come over and play! We're just out here doing yard work. Yeah! Sure they can come over. Yeah!”

    Yeah. For hours and hours and hours.

    I tried to keep them outside. Inside is just a bad deal. Too many rooms. Too many stairs. Too many breakables – like the cat for instance. But they poured in like water through an Army Corps of Engineers levee. And someone got hurt. The littlest one of course. She was fine, but we returned her to her mom, who collected her son about half an hour after that, with the promise that she'd watch them all next time. Just like she said the time before.

    And then there were three. And then there were three that night. And then the next day all the parents had hangovers except me, so guess what? And then when it was someone else's turn to watch them all after school on Tuesday, her son wanted to come to our house instead (god knows why).

    I finally lost it yesterday. But I had my reasons. When I see a kid pitting my sons against each other, and then running to me to tattle on the one he's isolated, I get a little upset. So I yelled at him. Loudly. I think my hair caught fire.

    I had to separate my boyos, reading to the one who had been picked on last (this kid took turns choosing his 'favorite' when he played his little games) while the other two watched a video. I don't know if it was the best solution, but it brought peace for a while.

    *Stuff the urchins with lemons and brush on a little rosemary-infused Oliver oil before roasting in an 350 degree oven. Serve with fingerling potatoes.

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    Sunday, May 27, 2007

    About That Writing Time

    I'm working on something else instead. I'm binding a quilt that needs to be finished by Monday night so that I can send it off to a baby shower in Illinois.

    I've been working on it a long time now.

    And I'm very sad, because the one person I really want to show the quilt to can't see it. Because I don't know how to show it to her. My godmother, Liz. The quilt is for her first grandchild.

    I don't know what to do. Do I take it outside and hold it up to the sky? Do I wait and press it against the ground at her grave site when I pass through in June? What do I do?

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    Friday, May 25, 2007

    Just Another Bird Story

    Keep 'em coming, by the way. Good stuff. Not quite over the edge yet though. But not far from it.

    Busy week. We took a trip to the zoo on Wednesday (any time it takes more than forty five minutes to get to a destination, I consider it a trip). I approached the outing with a mix of excitement and dread – two boyos under the age of five, bubonic plague-infested squirrels, and me.

    I'm trying to get out more with my sons. They are bored at home, they're older now and sometimes actually listen to me, and in the fall, all of us are going back to school, which means this is our last summer vacation.

    So the zoo. It was fun. The weather was a perfect accomplice; cloud cover, cool breezes, and the threat of rain about the time I was ready to pack it up and go home. The decent weather made the animals more active too, so it was less like looking at big fur rugs and more like Wild Freaking Kingdom.

    Case in point. We walked up to the Grizzly bear environment; your typical structure of man-made rocks, a couple of bare trees, and a dry moat between the bears and us monkeys watching them.

    The biggest bear raised his head and sniffed. He ambled over to the edge of the moat and watched the three of us, nose in the air. His buddy came over, nose wrinkling, eyes on the prize.

    Which, apparently, was us.

    We watched the two grizzlies try to negotiate the steep sides of the chasm in an attempt to cross. The smaller one roared. The other stood up on his hind legs, all the while staring at us, nose a-quiver.

    The boyos were thrilled.

    I smiled, said, “Oooohh, guys, look at the bears!” And inside my head a cave woman was jumping up and down and screaming OH JESUSFUCKINGGOD IF WE WERE IN THE WILD WE'D BE LUNCH!!!!

    After that we looked at the penguins. Nice, friendly funny little penguins.

    And speaking of birds. I have a bird story for you from the zoo.

    I love Canadian geese. When they fly overhead I always stop to watch them. “Somewhere geese are flying.” A line written by a man I despise, but nonetheless I use it as a mantra to reassure myself that there is ephemeral beauty surpassing anything we can comprehend.

    We sat down to lunch at the zoo, watched the brave sparrows dart around the tables for crumbs. A Canadian goose waddled through them and over to our table. He hunkered down right up against my leg, like a cat. I waited for him to start purring.

    Then a disease-ridden little tree rat scampered up, and I warned the boyos not to touch it. The goose got up, waddled under the table and bit the squirrel on the tip of its flea-infested tail, sending the little bugger running. The the goose fluffed his feathers and returned to his place against my leg.

    Good goose. But where was he when we were looking at the bears?

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    Sunday, May 20, 2007

    An Experiment

    To write the next part, I need to go a little crazy.

    And you, Dear Readers, are going to help me.

    Your assignment, if you chose to accept it, is to pay close attention to birds for the next week. Watch them in nature, of course. But also watch for them to turn up in songs, in images, in dreams even.

    And while you're at it, think about what birds mean to you personally.

    You can tell me your stories as they happen, or you can save them up for next Saturday night, since I'm hoping to carve out a little more writing time on Sunday.

    Spread the word.


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    Friday, May 18, 2007


    Mona's challenge this week is just that. I've already written my best about the subject, I think, so a rerun for repro. Kind of fitting.

    I should be

    cleaning. I should be doing dishes. Sweeping. Vacuuming.

    I should be dressed. I should be finishing the book. Or writing a sestina about the universe called Breath, and using the words: feather, falling, word, void, love and laundry. I should be playing with the boyos and their new toys, I should be dressing them, I should be supervising as they pick up blocks. (I did feed them; food is love.) I should be blogging the continuing Frango story now that my mom left this morning. I should be leaving my fortune cookie witticisms on ya'll's blogs. I should be answering your wonderful comments on my own blog (one-way conversations are only half-fun). I should read my email, I should be writing thank-you notes.

    But, I'm napping. More or less. I'm putting these words together in my head, to type in later. I should be sleeping. I should give up. I should call Dr. S., make my follow-up appointment, ask him if it was only a hallucination that I heard – his voice solid and real floating over my dreams, pulling me up and out of the dark; She may want to have that ovary removed.” He wasn't there when I opened my eyes, just the nurses and Fiji. I should have asked right then. I think I tried. No one said anything about it to O.

    This was before I had visitors: There were pictures. I saw them; someone flipped through them quickly in front of my eyes, and then they were gone. I remember seeing something that wasn't supposed to be there, and then it was gone in the next picture. Then the pictures themselves were gone. I wonder if I'll see them again in a textbook.

    Everyone wanted me to tell them how I felt in numbers. God's own language, I thought. A nurse told me I shouldn't feel worse than a six. I told her I was around a five. She put something in my IV that took me to a two, for about two minutes. After that, 3.5 sounded good. I wanted to say pi, but I didn't want them to think I was delusional. Or hungry.

    Then the girl who sat in front of me in 9th grade biology took me to the bathroom. Seriously. Ask her. Life's so absurd.

    I should be thanking God for Vicadin. I should be set for the next migraine. I should be knocking on wood.

    I shouldn't be telling you about the second night. I should leave a happy story be. I shouldn't have laid down alone. My diaphragm borrowed the nerves in my shoulder, having none of its own. It came on quickly, the pain. It wisely ignored the Vicadin, sending red pressure into my shoulder, where the closest nerves screamed a warning about my diaphragm; leftover co2 compressed it, and I couldn't breathe. But the pain was so intense, I couldn't move, either. I lay gasping like a fish in the middle of the bed, pain level as close to a ten as one can get without passing out. Pi cubed.

    My mom heard me, heard that tiny, crucial sound. She called O in. They propped me up and I tried to breathe. My exhales were tight-fisted screams. “If you can do that, you can breathe!” O screamed back, trying to pull me out of the panic. I closed my eyes and when I did, I saw flowers bloom. Little five-petaled flowers bursting open.

    The bubble moved. I breathed. I didn't sleep well after that.

    I got better. I am better. I'll stop slacking after today. After I post this. After I think about napping again. After I decide not to.

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    Thursday, May 17, 2007

    Series Finale

    First of all, can I say that three glasses of Chianti make me a better mom? They really do.


    I went to the retirement party tonight for my print shop bosses. Out of three freelancers (including the one who works in-house in my footsteps) I was the only one to show. So it was C and P the retirees, G the office manager and her husband, D the pressman and his wife, and S the sales guy/business partner and his wife. Just us Old Crew.

    And the Old Crew is making a lot of adjustments. The old shop is closed, all the equipment and personnel moved and merged with the other place across town. Waaaay across town. G is talking about retiring herself and moving to Grand Junction. Me, I've got school and a new career to think about. And D the pressman (and all-around IT Genius and Problem-Solver) went on about one of the graphic designers quitting today because she wanted to 'do design work only' and was through with putting names on business cards, and didn't get along with him anyway.

    I admit, my ears did perk up a little, but you know what? I didn't jump on it. Not like I would have a short time ago. And that felt good.*

    C made a toast and we all stood, clinked glasses, laughed. P handed the waiter her camera and after he took a picture of all of us, he asked if we were mother and daughter.

    “Because of the red hair?” P asked.

    “No. You two have the same smile.”

    It's funny. I'm sure if anyone were watching, what they saw was a family. And they wouldn't be that far off. C is the father, P the mother. (Think a kinder but just as opinionated Archie and a not-quite-so-ditzy Edith.) G is the eldest daughter, the steadfast one. D is the son who simultaneously wants approval and to rebel, who can't quite seem to leave the nest though he's tried since I've known him. And now he's the only one staying with the company.

    Me, I'm the youngest daughter, and all that entails. I guess that leaves S as the weird uncle. Yeah, that works.

    I looked at everyone and thought of the changes we'd all been through in the past ten years. And then I couldn't believe that ten years had passed.

    The whole thing has the air of a series finale. Old characters you've grown to know and love, now sharing one last meal before moving on. And the camera pans back. Roll credits.

    *Not that I'd turn down the work. I mean, if someone puts money in your hand, close your fist, right? But...I don't want to work with any other bosses in this capacity. I've held a few jobs, and the ones I liked best were the ones where I could like and respect my boss. I don't think I could like or respect these new bosses, from what I've heard.

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    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    Feet Leaving Ground

    I needed a starting point. And a kick in the pants.

    I found one and the other followed all on its own, as these things seem to do.

    Pregnant ladies. I love pregnant ladies. Ever since my sister-in-law's pregnancy ten years ago, I've felt protective of those big round bellies and those sighing ladies.

    So I decided that I would start there, with my desire to help moms-to-be. But what to do?

    Then it hit me. Doulas. I could be a doula! I could help women navigate their way through all their birthing choices, give them information on breastfeeding, and just be there to hold their hands and say, 'there there' in my most comforting voice while they're freaking out over the little bundle heaven's about to toss their way.

    Tears in my eyes, the minute I realized this was what I wanted to do.

    But I'm not going to be a doula. For various reasons, I've decided not to pursue that dream.

    However, I'm still going to help out those dear pregnant ladies I love so much. And today I made my first real step in that direction.

    I'm back in college, Dear Readers. I'm going to be a diagnostic medical sonographer, otherwise known as an ultrasound tech.

    It's a one-year program. However, since I'm old, the expiration date on my first college degree passed seven years ago. So it's back to basics – to even hope to get into the program I first need to retake biology, anatomy/physiology, physics, algebra and English comp. (I'm hoping to test out of English comp. Think I can do it?)

    In other words, all the classes I loved in high school and mostly avoided in college in favor of a (mostly) worthless Journalism degree. Ah well. We do what we do, and we waste what we waste.

    So. Next August I'm taking Biology 111, complete with lab and discussion. 5 credits. For science majors. How the hell'd that happen?

    The kick in the pants? Well, I wrote about that already. P and C selling their print shop was a wake-up call for me. I had no desire to go out and find similar employment, freelance or otherwise. Even though I'll be taking a 50% cut in my hourly pay by becoming a sonographer, I'd rather be doing that. I have clients who will be broken-hearted to see me go and I will miss them, but...I'm done now. (unless you have a job for me, Clowncar, before you bid your own career adieu.)

    Tomorrow night P and C are having a farewell dinner for their former employees and freelancers. They are celebrating the end of an era. And quietly, I'll be celebrating the beginning of one.

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    Saturday, May 12, 2007

    Finding Meno

    I'm back home, unpacked, and breaking up fights every five minutes. So, that gives me...four minutes to sum up a perfect day.

    And to show you a decent pic of my sparkly nose and unmanageable Pacific Northwest hair. See?

    Ever had so much to say that writing failed you? I'm sure this hasn't happened to any of you.

    Maybe my brain is still filtering things.

    I heard a story once about a Englishman traveling through some colonized country or other. He had a team of natives lugging his unessential luggage of course, and after traveling several hours, they all sat down as one. When he asked why they refused to move, one of them answered, “We've been traveling so fast, we need to wait for our souls to catch up to us.”

    So maybe that's it. My soul's still catching up. Of course the trip was so quick, I imagine my soul's only just got to Alki Beach, and is enjoying the surf in my washed-out footsteps. I wouldn't be surprised if it stuck around there for a while. It would be a fool if it didn't.

    Seattle. Is. Beautiful. I got sunburned there, in the land of crazy-mad rain. I could count the clouds on one hand.

    Anyway, I'll do my best in my soulless condition to write about Meeting Meno!

    I would have known her anywhere from her beautiful eyes. They haven't changed since she was a kid. And yes, the height was a tip-off as well, but everyone seems tall when you're four foot ten.

    Schmoop and I met Meno at a restaurant next to the market – a place with a stunning view of the sound (not to mention that we were seated at the best table in the house; they must have know it was us. Heh.) One of Schmoop's new friends joined us as well. It was so comfortable. It was really more like catching-up than getting-to-know-you.

    Anyway. What's Meno like you ask?

    She is extraordinary. Funny, sarcastic, lovely and very intelligent. Just as you would expect from her blog. And I was so glad she stayed with us after lunch. We had a great deal of fun exploring the Pike's Place Market, and she didn't even look at me funny when I went into a reverie over the fresh produce. (Well maybe she did, I don't know. I was busy dreaming about the morels and what they could become under my tender care).

    We took a water taxi from the market to Alki beach and back again, just to get out on the water. Oh, there's nothing better. I felt good out there. It's been a long time since I've kept my balance on a boat. But my body remembered what to do.

    We stood at the prow on our way back and I watched the boat cut through the water, churning it, turning it white and sending up perfect little spherical droplets that fell back into the whole. A little rainstorm right above the water. And I didn't think about much else. I just watched and listened and smelled and gave my head a break.

    Later, we met up with Stucco in a (can you believe it?) coffeehouse. They have those there.

    But no clouds. Seattle does NOT have clouds. Or rain.

    At the coffeehouse we had to drink these little pink things that had nothing to do with coffee. At least they were cute and cold and sprinkled with tasty little crumbs of...something. And they were free. Woo-hoo!

    I think Meno was expecting Stucco to have a giant head, like those fish-lens photos of dogs that give them big eyes and giant noses.

    Anyway, we had fun talking some more, and after that, it was time to go. There were kids to pick up and food to order, and one last unexpected beach comb before going to the airport.

    Later, I'll tell you about Cannon Beach. And everything else. Soon as my soul gets back.


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    Tuesday, May 08, 2007

    Post 250 -- Seattle

    Morning. The sun is shining, there's not a cloud in the sky in the capital of rain. Schmoop and I are headed for the beach.

    For some reason beyond reason, my laptop refuses to play nicely with Stucco's network, and I can't blog from my laptop. I believe this has something to do with Jo, who told me to unplug. heh.
    So. Photos later. Beach now.

    This is heaven.

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    Monday, May 07, 2007

    Am I Packed Yet?


    But, I do have three dinners prepared and out of the way. And I have an all-important list of things I can't forget.

    It would be good if I could find the list.

    But, I have a post.

    And even though we will be in a car for hours on end, Schmoop and I still managed to talk for half an hour this morning.

    And I will have hours to myself on a plane. I will fly with wings on my ankles and bells on my toes.


    And I'm meeting Meno! And possibly Scott from Oregon!

    So life is good. Very good.

    Carpe diem!

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    Saturday, May 05, 2007


    I can't believe it's already Friday night. And I'm in a real live coffeeshop downtown (Paris), and due to events of two weeks ago, I am now Hip Enough to Be Here.

    Let's review. But first, let's wave to Jo. Hi Jo.

    A conversation, two weeks ago, among the Sushi Babes:

    Sushi Babe Der-Leche-Globetrotter: “Does it hurt?”

    Sushi Babe Hippie-for-Jesus: “You die a little inside.”

    Sushi Babe Der-Leche-Globetrotter: “Oh.”

    Sushi Babe Hippie-for-Jesus: “So, Nance,* you ready to lose a little bit of your soul?”

    Sushi Babe Nancy-Dancehall: “Bring it on.”

    Sushi Babe Hippie-for-Jesus: “You sure you don't want to do this?”

    Sushi Babe Der-Leche-Globetrotter: “Oh no. I've spent enough money on my nose. I'm not going to put a hole in it. But I brought the camera! Smile!”

    *click* *click*

    Ten minutes later, I had a new hole in my head. Yay!

    I'm wearing a little clear rhinestone. O calls me Sparkle.

    But the guy who pierced my nose could have been friendlier. I mean, when you're going to poke a hole in someone's face, shouldn't you be just a little bit friendly? I finally got him to warm up when I asked him about his daughter's artwork. We were friends after that. Well, maybe not friends, but I felt better about having him potentially deliver unto me some god-awful pain.

    Which didn't happen. It didn't hurt as much as getting my ears pierced. Seriously. I'd been psyching myself up all week and it only hurt for about three minutes.


    It's been a GREAT week, so great that I can't even write about it. I've tried. It comes out wrong. There wasn't any Great Big Event that made it good, just a series of very nice happenings. And I'm bulletproof. Nothing got me down this week, and there were a few things that really could have. I just want to thank you all for your comments in my last post. It's a big part of it, I think.

    And Maggie's poem capped off a good week.

    So. Maybe when I get another free bit 'o time, and my Medroxyprogesterone isn't drawing me to my bed (yes, it's hours later and I'm home) I can actually write about some of those nice things that happened this week.

    And maybe I can come up with a post including the word 'belly' that includes something about a very erotic dream I had concerning mine, in which petals slipped one by one from someone's hand, and when they landed on my belly became little drops of rain that slid down my skin.

    That is, if you really want to hear about something like that. I'd hate to corrupt the pure hearts and minds of my Dear Readers.

    *They actually don't know my Secret Identity. But since you might not know my Real Identity, we won't cross nickname streams here.

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    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    A Series of Unfortunate Events (with a Couple of Good Ones), To Be Followed by Some Really Good Days in General

    I'm doing this synopsis because every time I sit down to write a real post, my butt catches fire and I have to jump back up and put it out.

    Last Week:

    Started with a visit with my favorite Cooter War Doc, Doctor S. I was hoping to grill the ultrasound tech as well For My Own Personal Reasons (which will come up here shortly, you'll see), but there wasn't one and the good doc did the deed himself. He complimented me again on my perfectly diseased ovaries (“Textbook photo, really. Perfect examples.”) and...couldn't find anything else wrong.

    “I believe you about the pain. I want you to know that,” he said. “It's like when your car is making a noise and you take it into the mechanic and he can't find anything wrong and it stops making that noise and you want to tear your or his hair out. But please don't tear my hair out.”

    I love Doc S.

    “I have some options for you, but I don't like any of them. So you get to pick,” he went on. “I hate putting patients on medication, and I hate seeing them in pain. And...those are our only options.”

    Option 1: “Limp your way to menopause.”

    Option 2: “Switch you to Provera, which is a pill, which I hate doing.”

    Option 3: “Put you on The Pill, which, again, is a pill.” I reminded him of my Pill history and he said, “Oh. I don't think you want that then.” (And he's right. I really don't want a stroke, thank you.)

    Option 4: “Total laparoscopic hysterectomy. Despite the controversy, I would put you on estrogen replacement therapy, because you are too young. And, I would take your uterus too, because well...”

    He didn't like what he found in there the last time. Thinking about this option makes the edges of the room go all black and I have to sit down.

    (And my eyes are leaking again. This was supposed to be FUNNY, dammit.)

    Then, a Good Thing last week. We got Jo moved into her new pad with relatively little muss and fuss and nothing broken. And I drove home in a blizzard which, with the snow coming straight at my windshield, made me feel like Han Solo hitting hyperspace. And really, who DOESN'T want to be Han Solo hitting hyperspace?

    And then there was the Incoming Kindergärtners Orientation. I had these plans, see? Kindergarten is only half days, but there is a supplemental program, which turns some of those half days into whole days, and those whole days would allow me to...

    ...go back to school myself. Woot.

    I even know what I want to do this time around. But I'll save that for another post, because this one is ridiculously long and convoluted and I don't have this guy's skills to pull it off.

    Anyway. Then I found out that the supplemental program, which is in a tax-supported public school, costs more than a year of college.

    So. No whole days. And no school for me for another year. Peh.

    And finally, there is the looming doom of a Trip to Illinois. See, my dad's retiring beginning of June, so my mom has this fabbo plan of driving the minivan out to nab the boyos and me for, “oh, a week or two, maybe three, hey you can stay as long as you like!” And I DON'T HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN! There was talk of flying, of driving, of O flying out, of O driving out, but O's employee is going to Germany about that time, and OH MY GOD I THINK I'M GONNA SPEND THE SUMMER IN ILLINOIS UNDER MY PARENTS' ROOF. *breathe breathe*

    I love my parents. Let me repeat that, and let me yell because I seem to be doing that a lot all of a sudden, I LOVE my parents.


    There are other family members I'm not so keen on. And I'm not so keen on surrendering my adult identity for more than say, the time it takes a photon to traverse my kitchen.

    But, with my dad retired perhaps I can keep us out of Rockvaletonford by distracting him with trips to Madison for shiny objects -- “Look, Daddy, look! Rare Beatles CD with a track of Ringo eating a cracker! Oooo...shiny! Let's get it! Hey, is that a Whole Foods Store? Who wants a treat? Good boy!”*

    So. You see. The events of Saturday night, with the whole unwilling surrender of parental control, sort of played ping pong with the events to come in which I will be forced into unwilling surrender of parental control. And even though it's kind of like a ping pong game with Forrest Gump playing against all of Communist China in terms of the players' potential menace, there were those echos that sent me, well, sitting down because the edges of the room were turning black again.

    I gotta go. My dog's eating Sheep 'n' Peat.

    I'll do the 'Some Really Good Days' post later. I've had some.

    Oh! And, this time next week, I will be staring at the ocean. Unbelievable. Joy.

    *(I can say this because I do respect him, love him terribly and I'm just like him.)

    Additional labels: Posts that are synopses that aren't really synopses but really long posts instead, my favorite space pirate, I found my tiara and it says 'Drama'

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