Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Secret Message
I was loading Bunny Boop into the car yesterday morning when I heard a deafening crash coming from across the street.

Is the busiest girl's car okay?
posted by Phoenix | 11:32 AM | 1 comments


Is it just me...
Or do the cavemen in that Geico commercial look like and sound like Billy Bob Thornton?
posted by Phoenix | 11:14 AM | 2 comments


Meme Time
I discovered this little meme at Silk's place. I find myself in the right mood, so here it is:

FOUR JOBS YOU’VE HAD IN YOUR LIFE
1. Babysitter
2. Truckdriver
3. Agronomist
4. Mommy

FOUR MOVIES YOU COULD WATCH OVER AND OVER
1. Jake Speed
2. The Princess Bride
3. Pride & Prejudice (BBC Production)
4. Any Harry Potter Film

FOUR BOOKS YOU COULD READ AGAIN & AGAIN
1. Unintended Consequences by John Ross
2. The Harry Potter books
3. Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding
4. Pride and Prejudice

FOUR CITIES/PLACES YOU’VE LIVED IN
1. Suburbs of Chicago
2. Manter
3. Token Creek
4. Champaign-Urbana

FOUR TV SHOWS YOU LOVE TO WATCH
1. NCIS
2. Alias
3. E Ring
4. Two and a Half Men

FOUR PLACES YOU’VE BEEN ON VACATION
1. Hawaii
2. San Antonio
3. Germany
4. Peurto Vallarta

FOUR WEBSITES YOU VISIT DAILY
1. Cake Eater Chronicles
2. Drudge Report
3. Just Breathe
4. Checking my 401K

FOUR OF YOUR FAVORITE FOODS
1. Steak
2. Crab Legs
3. Cheesecake
4. Chocolate

FOUR PLACES YOU’D RATHER BE RIGHT NOW
1. Anywhere, so long as I'm holding my daughter
2. In bed with my husband
3. On the farm
4. San Antonio

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posted by Phoenix | 9:43 AM | 1 comments


Monday, January 30, 2006
Desperate to Regain Media Attention
Cindy Sheehan has announced her intention to challenge Dianne Feinstein for her Senate seat.

Talk about going from Bad to Worse.

Cindy takes issue with Dianne's vote for the war and the funds to keep it going, and the fact that Dianne won't call for the immediate withdrawal of troops.

When will this woman just shut up? But, you know, a Senate bid was the next illogical step in her loony progression from sad to ridiculous. But, will Californians vote for her? I don't think she is attractive enough, to be honest.
posted by Phoenix | 11:43 AM | 1 comments


Wonder of wonders, Miracle of miracles
One step closer to sainthood.
posted by Phoenix | 11:41 AM | 0 comments


Reading Between the Lines
As you may or may not be aware, the results are in on the recent election in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas came away as the big winner. That's right! A people who are largely dependent on the largesse of the rest of the civilized world have elected a group of terrorists to represent them.

In retaliation, some of the countries of the world are threatening to withhold the moolah. So what happens? Hamas starts whining (from MSNBC):

Hamas asked the international community on Monday not to cut aid to the
Palestinian Authority.

"We call on you to transfer all aid to the Palestinian treasury," Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader in Gaza, told a news conference.

Addressing international concerns that aid would be used to fund violence, Haniyeh said: "We assure you that all the revenues will be spent on salaries, daily life and infrastructure."


(Emphasis mine.) Shall I decode that last part for you?

"Salaries" - payments to suicide bombers
"Daily Life" - incidental expenditures for daily ration of bullets, suicide bombing belts, and the like.
"Infrastructure" - guns and rocket launchers

I am happy to provide this Reading Between the Lines Service for you, my gentle readers.
posted by Phoenix | 10:53 AM | 1 comments


Monday Morning Blech!
Today is my first day back to work after a 6-week absence. Needless to say, the markets have gone wacko and I don't have the first clue as to what all I missed. So, don't call in and look for much market intel from me today!

The lowpoint of my day was dropping Bunny Boop off at the sitter's. God, my heart just about broke. She barely noticed. I will forgive her. However, when my husband got home from work this morning, I sent him over to the sitter's house to check on her. Irrational? Maybe. But I am a new mommy, you'll have to forgive me my neuroses.

Later this afternoon, I will hie myself to my doctor's office so that they can confirm that I am okay in my post-surgery, post-baby reality. That should be fun. (Note dripping sarcasm.)

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posted by Phoenix | 10:41 AM | 2 comments


Thursday, January 26, 2006
Returns
My maternity leave is coming to an end and I will be returning to the rat race on Monday.

I am looking forward to it and dreading it as well. I am looking forward to getting out of the house and feeling like a productive member of society again. I am eager to catch up on current events and the blogosphere and my work email box (which likely has thousands of unread messages).

I am dreading leaving Bunny Boop each day. I am afraid that I will miss her smiles and her firsts and that she will resent me for my absence. I am afraid that she will forget the sound of my voice and the comfort of mommy and Bunny Boop cuddle time. I will wear the guilt like an albatross, like all the working women who have come before and all those who will come behind.

So, while I am eager to get my nose back to the grindstone and have hours where I don't change a diaper, I also dread the anxiety of not being able to look at her face and make sure she is okay.

What a taco. Taco Hell.

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posted by Phoenix | 3:06 PM | 4 comments


A Match Made in the Geriatric Ward
It is Thursday again, so it must be time for another go-round with the Demystifying Divas and the ever plucky Jamesyboy of The Mens' (Man's?) Club.

This week we are tackling yet another of those age-old questions (ha ha - pun intended). To wit: Does age matter in a relationship? Managing age gaps and the oldest/youngest you would consider.

I am not sure that I am of a single mind on this issue. On the one hand, I believe that age is more a state of mind than a counting of rings on the tree thing. I believe that there are young-at-heart 60-year olds and one-foot-in-the-grave dreary dead 20-year olds. Age on people is not the same as age in wine, if you get my drift.

On the other hand, it can be pretty creepy to see a scantily clad blonde bimbo who would ordinarily be chasing rock stars and their drugs instead pushing the wheel chair of some 90-something geriatric medical case. That isn't attractive, it is suspicious! And, if I were the old devil's grand daughter, I'd make sure that there were no incentives to Bambi (with an "i") to send him to his maker ahead of schedule.

But surely there is something, some wisdom, that I can offer on this topic?

Well, here goes nothing.

Love is love. There is no getting around it. But, while love can not be denied, it can be reasoned with. In order for love to be real and lasting and not based on lust or fleeting passion, two people must have some mutual foundation of experience and trust, or at least speak aommon language. The best way for me to explain this is through a series of examples.

Example 1: Grandpa and Pop's Tart

Grandpa, ask yourself some hard questions. Are you interested in this young woman because she doesn't yet know the feel of a girdle on her hips? Are you interested in her bouncing and likely man-made front bumper because it reminds you of the balding tires of some classic car you once got laid in? When you mention the "Rat Pack" does she think you are talking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or some new video game? Do you understand what she means when she speaks, or are there words that sound like words, yet do not make sense? If your intentions are other than seeking the match for your heart and if you do not speak the same language or have a commonality of experiences to draw from, how can your heart ever be satisfied? Do you really want to be constantly describing and explaining FDR's policies and what Prohibition was really like? Give it up, you dirty old man!

Pop's Tart, ask yourself some hard questions. Are you interested in Granpa for his classic cars or his retirement fund? Are you interested in his strange old-man smell and love of slippers and cardigan sweaters, or looking to get your first widowhood out of the way so you can date a major league ball player? When you talk about "bling" does he get a glazed look on his face as though he can't remember his own name, let alone the address of Tiffany's? Do you find his constant stories about days gone by and obsession with reading the obits charming? Does he think J. Lo is something they serve in the hospital and Puff Daddy is a new cereal? Get over your money lust and ask yourself if you love the man. If not, pull up your thong and walk away.

Example 2: Grannie and The Boy Toy

Grannie, ask yourself some hard questions. Does the Boy Toy have anything intelligent to offer in the way of conversation or is he merely arm candy, best seen and not heard? Are you interested in his rock-hard abs, or his soft smile? Are you in love with his stamina in the bedroom or his charm in the drawing room? Is your real thrill from the looks on your card club's faces when he picks you up in tight blue jeans and a muscle shirt? I don't deny you your toy, but that doesn't make it love. When you ask where he was when Kennedy was shot, does he respond, "Ted Kennedy was shot?" Honey, if you can't trust him with your grand daughters, walk away as quickly as you can with your walker. You can use his old tennis balls on the feet of it later.

Boy Toy, ask yourself some hard questions. Does Grannie get you hard or do you need some other stimulus before you can perform? Are you satisfied with the rigorous cycle of garden parties, teas, and card club, or do you look forward to the days when she goes shopping so that you can drink beer and watch football with the boys? Does the smell of old lipstick and even older perfume make you weak in the knees, or are you more interested in where she bought Microsoft? Do you find your eyes lingering longer over her grand daughters than her bony polyester-covered legs? If Grannie's gaze doesn't stiffen your sails, you should go find somebody more your speed.

Love is not sex. Love is not money. Can an 80-year old man find happiness with a 22-year old girl? I suspect they could be happy, each for their own purposes, but I doubt that their happiness could be complete without the common language and experiences that make life's tapestry rich. I think this sort of relationship serves both parties ill. When he dies, she (if truly in love) will be devastated and her friends will not understand what she is going through. He, when she cheats, will be devastated and find his manhood far more shriveled than it ever was before, and begin to suspect her motives are not altruistic.

I wish these folks well, but I don't think it is love.

Now, to the second part of the question: How old and how young a person would I consider acceptable and how I would manage the age gap.

I am 32-years-old. My husband is 39. My mother is 52 and her husband is 43, I think. Let's just say that I wouldn't date (were I single) someone more than 10 years my senior because it would creep me out that he should be dating my mom. My little sister is 18. I wouldn't date anyone more than 5 years my junior, because he'd likely be more interested in her and her world than mine. But these are my rules. As I said before, age is a state of mind. I can't really offer any real advice on manage the age gap. If it is a problem, I would suggest ending the relationship and if it isn't, then there isn't any problem to manage.

So says I.

Anyhoo, go check out what the other Divas (Silk, Ally, and Theresa) and our lonely Man (Jamesyboy) have to say on the matter.
posted by Phoenix | 2:09 PM | 0 comments


Thursday, January 19, 2006
Question of the Day
If a rapist holds a gun to your head and tells you to "like it, or else" do you believe him capable of honoring his agreement?

Conversely, if bin Laden offers a truce in the same breath that he says additional attacks on the US are in the planning stages, do you believe he would honor a truce?


'Cause I don't. I think it is the smelliest crap in the barnyard, smellier even than any crap ever uttered by the esteemed Ted Kennedy.
posted by Phoenix | 2:52 PM | 0 comments


Woo Hoo!
This Very Happy Birthday Wish goes out to Amelie, who deserves everything good and fine.

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posted by Phoenix | 2:47 PM | 1 comments


Status Report
I have been a woefully lazy blogger lately.

My only excuse is that I have been pretty busy flexing the mommy muscles and bonding bigtime.

I did want to let everyone know, though, that baby and I are both fine. My pants are starting to slide off of my hips and I am fantastically upbeat. I am loving life and am not in the slightest post partum. Which, I must say, is fortunate since Tom Cruise's number is missing from my rolodex.

For the record, I find it disgusting that Brangelina is preggers already. Not that it has any bearing on my life or theirs, but I find it to be another example of how far from human Hollywood has gotten.

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posted by Phoenix | 2:41 PM | 0 comments


Loving More Than One
The topic du jour for the Demystifying Divas and the Men's Club (Party of One) is simple. Can you be in love with more than one person at a time?

For the purposes of this essay, I am going to make a few assumptions. First, let us assume that the question refers to romantic love between two people of the opposite sex and not pets, siblings, parental units, friends, or kitchen gadgets. Secondly, let us also assume that "at a time" refers to romantic entanglements of the heart, and not some sleazy menage a trois. Lastly, let us assume that this question refers to living, breathing individuals, and not the love you harbor in your heart for someone dead and gone.

(Deep Sigh)

Okay then, the rules having been established, I shall endeavor to answer for womankind.

It is not possible to really and truly love more than one person at a time. For women, love is very private, emotional, and almost sacred. While many women will easily profess to "being in love" they are really admitting to "falling in lust." Love is more complicated than mere lust, you see. The young, inexperienced woman may fall victim to the confusing of the two things in her head. I call her a "victim" because the confusion of lust with love can be very painful to the unhardened, uncareful heart.

It is easy to lust in many places at the same time. I can lust over Colin Firth at the same time that I drool over Mark Harmon. It is very easy. But, for my real love, the place where I keep my heart, there is only one. There can be only one. I can not segment my heart and divide it like slices of a pie. It is part of me and can be safely entrusted to only one individual at a time.

Those who would suggest that you can love more than one man at a time, I am sorry to say, are deluding themselves. I have heard it all first hand..."I love them both" said in that pouty whine that suggests she is blameless in the sordid matter. The truth is, She is not loving anyone, not even herself. She holds herself in little esteem or is confusing lust and love. Just calling something "love" doesn't make it so. Love is about equality and trust, affection, comfort, sex, and that elusive giving of self. Lust is a chemical response that results in fluid transfer. While there can be lust in love, meaning you can (and should) lust for your true love, the opposite just doesn't hold true.

So, simply put, the answer is no. Women love only one at a time. At least, the nice ones do.

For more scintillating coverage of this engaging topic, please go see what Silk, Ally, Theresa, and James have to say.
posted by Phoenix | 2:17 PM | 1 comments


Thursday, January 12, 2006
To the Suffering Loyalists
I have been informed that mommydom is cutting into my blogging and certain loyal readers are suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Mea culpa. Really. I am sorry, but seriously? Dude, man. I am tired. I need a moment for me. I know, I know. That used to be what the blogging was for. I was thinking more of sleep.

Things will return to normal when I go back to work. Probably. I can't imagine why not.

Whether or not I will have maintained my snarky and scathing bite and be able to point out the hypocrisies in the likes of Teddy "Chappaquiddick" Kennedy remains to be seen. I mean, really, does any man on the face of the Earth have less room to talk on questions of "what I done did in my younger and dumber days"? He's the freakin' poster child for Morally Bankrupt.

So, I guess Dubya won't be calling me to join the Supremes, huh. And here I had a plan all worked out on how to balance Mommy and Me with the Judicial Carpooling Requirements.

I could have made a real difference, you know.

Anyhoo...to the maker of the fabulous lasagna (the pan of which I've been holding hostage): first, thank you for the delish eats and second, I'll try to do better.

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posted by Phoenix | 9:46 PM | 0 comments


Limiting True Love to One Time Round
Hello devotees of the Divas and Gents weekly topical take on all issues facing the sexes. That's right, my lovelies, here I am at the keyboard, toiling away and wearing my water-raw finger pads to the nub, to bring you the scintillating topics that you desire.

I am nothing if not devoted to you and your inquiring minds.

Ha.

Okay, so this week we are answering the following classic and vexing question: Is there really only one true love out there in life for each of us?

Honestly, I don't even need four minutes to think on this one. The answer, unequivocally, is NO. NO, no, no, no,...NO!

Love is a magical thing, to be sure. But it isn't so terribly rare. Think of it as the miracle of life, the wonder in a newborn's face. It is a treasure, but it is only a common miracle. If we are talking exclusively about romantic love between two consenting adult humans, (and I really think that is the purpose of this topic - no goat love issues here, folks), then I must say No.

As a woman, I have been in love a couple of times. As a teenager, I truly loved my high school boyfriend. It was as deep a love as we were capable of at that time in our lives, but it was real love. Later, in college, I fell in love again. This was a more mature relationship and a more mature type of love. And, of course, now I am married to a man that I love more with each passing day.

Love is not limited. As we grow as individuals and our life paths lead in new directions, our heart seeks out and finds what it craves. There is not just one true love in life, but a series of very real, very true loves. But, as no two people's paths are exactly the same, no two people have the very same experiences in love. Each love is equally valid in its own way, but invariably some loves will mean more to us as we grow and mature.

A small part of me will always love my high school sweetheart, schmuck that he is, because he was my first love and we shared some very sweet moments. And, a part of me will always love the Rat Man who came next, for the way he touched my heart.

As true as the loves were, they both pale in comparison to the love I share with my husband. He is a port that I don't wish to stray from...he is my home. So long as we have each other, I know that everything will be okay. He cherishes me and I treasure him right back. We have a mature love based on mutual respect. It is a trusting bond filled with playfulness. You can't expect to duplicate it, because no two loves are exactly the same, but it doesn't exclude the possibility that I or he might find love with another in our golden years as we putter around the retirement community.

The real truth about love? You won't find it if you go out looking for it. Love finds you. It can hit you like a bolt of lightening or sneak up on you gradually until you finally notice it standing there in the sunlight. Love is magical, but it is not unique. It is a commonplace miracle that happens to people everyday. There is always hope for those who have loved and lost.

Well, that's all I've got. Check out what the others have to say on this topic. Silk, Ally, and Theresa have got the question covered for the Divas and The Man (currently the only Gent in the Men's Club) Jamesyboy has also posted.

Go forth.
posted by Phoenix | 9:04 PM | 1 comments


Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Blame it on your lyin', cheatin', cold, dead-beatin', two-timin', double-dealin', mean, mistreatin', lovin' heart
This week's topic for the Demystifying Divas and the Men's Club stems from The Wizard's vexation over a situation on television's Grey's Anatomy. The question is: Why is it that we value commitment so lightly? Does one person's cheating in a relationship give the other person license to cheat?

Now, for those of you who do not watch Grey's Anatomy, let me sketch out the scenario so you can understand where the question comes from. The main character, a woman learning to be a surgeon, begins dating/sleeping with her boss on the show, someone she refers to as "Dr. McDreamy." Unbeknownst to her, at the outset, he is a married man. Separated, but married. His wife hunts them up soon enough and moves herself out to Seattle in order to "save" the marriage. Now for the backstory: Dr. McDreamy left his wife because he caught her cheating (red-handed) with his best friend. So, he picked up his panties and moved west, without her. He didn't file for divorce or anything, he just...left.

I believe The Wizard's big problem with the show and the circumstances laid out by the writers is that the audience is predisposed, nay, encouraged, to see the wife as a villain and root for the end of the marriage so that Dr. McDreamy will end up with Dr. Grey. This is where his questions come from.

The first question posited by The Wizard is why we value commitment so lightly. To this I can only respond that individuals and "society" don't necessarily agree. It is true that our society sees little incentive to maintain commitments. Take them to court, divorce, annulment. Things are too easy to get out of, and in a great many respects, far too easy to get into. In this respect I can actually speak from experience.

I DO NOT value real commitment cheaply. I've been cheated on and taken it, accepted his words that "it meant nothing" and "wouldn't happen again." But, the thing is, it did always happen again. This eventually brought me to the conclusion that as little as the other woman and his shenanigans with her might have meant, he valued me no more highly. As a result of being cheated on, I now value commitment more highly. It is a thing to treasure and cherish. Not unlike a relationship, commitment has to be tended and nurtured like the most precious and sensitive of things. If you start to get lazy or lax, all is lost.

In the case of the show, the writers have set us up to root for the dissolution of the marriage. It is a plot device. Young woman falls for older, wiser man. Man's wife must return to spoil the ensuing happiness. This is, afterall, television. Furthermore, we want to root for Dr. Grey because she is the underdog and the main character. I call her the underdog because she is wimpy and uncertain. In juxtaposition, the usurper, the new character to the show, the wife, is cold, hard, aggressive, and determined. You could not have a more obvious opposite to Dr. Grey's self-doubting, wimpy, and wispy character. So naturally we come down on Dr. Grey's side. That's what we are supposed to do.

However, what we all should realize here is that all parties bear some culpability. First, the wife's actions with the best friend were reprehensible. No amount of whining on her part about feeling "abandoned" and "seeking comfort" where she could find it garner her any moral advantage.

Dr. McDreamy is just like Scarlet O'hara's preferred beau, Ashley. He is a man who lacks backbone and ends up hurting everyone. He lacked the backbone to face his cheating wife. He lacked the backbone to come into a new relationship with all of his cards on the table. He should have told Dr. Grey about his complicated marital situation. That would have been the decent thing to do.

And Dr. Grey, she is not blameless. First of all, she should know better than to get involved with her boss. That's a no-brainer. Second, if you are going to have a relationship, at least do your homework and find out if the guy is a criminal or ...you know, married.

Now, to the second part of The Wizard's question: Does cheating on the part of one party condone the same behavior in the second party?

Never have I been able to answer a Diva/Men's Club question so easily.

Absolutely Not!

The entire question is ridiculous. Does someone else committing murder entitle someone else to do it? NO. The behavior is wrong, it doesn't matter who is doing it or when. Cheating is cheating. If you are such a sleazeball that you can't see this, I can't help you. That whole "he/she cheated first" argument falls flat with me. Both cheaters are cads, in my opinion. If he cheats on you it gives you license to leave, not to cheat.

Now, for exceptional coverage of this same topic by the other Divas and the Men's Club, see the following sites:

Silk, Ally, and newly annointed Diva Theresa. (Welcome to the fold, by the way. I'll update my links and things soon.)

Posting for the men, Jamesyboy.
posted by Phoenix | 5:00 PM | 2 comments


Monday, January 02, 2006

This is a face I save just for Mom & Dad, to indicate my displeasure. Posted by Picasa
posted by Phoenix | 4:30 PM | 4 comments



Out. Cold. Posted by Picasa
posted by Phoenix | 4:28 PM | 0 comments



Naptime is so important. I can nap anywhere, but I prefer to do so on someone important. Posted by Picasa
posted by Phoenix | 4:27 PM | 1 comments



Hello, Everyone! Posted by Picasa
posted by Phoenix | 4:26 PM | 4 comments



I'm just a bit shy. Posted by Picasa
posted by Phoenix | 4:25 PM | 1 comments



That flash is awful bright! Posted by Picasa
posted by Phoenix | 4:25 PM | 0 comments


Honestly,
I have absolutely no idea what is going on in the world.

Who knew that motherhood would turn a current events/news junkie into an uninformed shut-in?

I haven't read a blog in weeks, including my own.

So, now, if you will excuse me, I have some surfing to do.
posted by Phoenix | 2:09 PM | 0 comments


Reflections
I have developed a new respect for mothers, now that I am one.

The work is unending, exhausting, and it is easy to get lost in things. I've caught myself thinking something, then wondering if I spoke it out loud or not. Crazy.

Seriously. Women who attempt parenthood on their own are Superwomen to me. My Prince has been fabulous, taking up the slack so that I can get some rest now and then. I don't think I could do it without him.

We had a great night last night. She slept in long jags, allowing me to get some good solid sleep in. I feel like a new woman!

Seriously, though, I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. It is such a huge responsibility, being responsible for someone so small, their entire life in your hands. It is awesome and humbling. And really, really, scary. Her every sniffle, snuffle, and sneeze weigh on my heart like a nuclear time bomb ticking down the last few seconds. Her frowns, adorable as they are, bring me great concern. Her smiles send me over the moon, of course, but soon enough she does something or makes some noise that scares me again.

I'm on tenterhooks, dangling over the precipice and in real danger of losing my grip and going over the edge.
posted by Phoenix | 2:02 PM | 0 comments


Happy New Year
Let's all try to stick to those resolutions, shall we?

I do hereby resolve to be a good mother.

And, to read more non-fiction.
posted by Phoenix | 2:00 PM | 0 comments


Sunday, January 01, 2006
Not Yet Back to Normal
No. Things haven't yet quite returned to normal.

I'm not even sure what normal really is anymore. Probably I will have to chart a new course for normal.

Being a new mommy is exhausting. Really. I sleep fitfully, listening very carefully for the slightest whimper from the bassinet. I am doing a very poor job of keeping house - don't even ask. I went to the grocery store Sunday by myself (sans baby) and it depressed me. I didn't want to leave her behind, but enjoyed the few hours of freedom. Enjoying the freedom made me feel guilty. It is a vicious cycle.

Songs on the radio make me cry, so the hormones are still a swingin'.

All in all, I'm beginning to doubt my own sanity.

More later.

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posted by Phoenix | 5:27 PM | 1 comments


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