Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh the Futility...

I'm feeling like a total loser because my self-published poetry book has yet to sell a single copy.

It's not like I had HUGE EXPECTATIONS OF A BREAK-AWAY SUCCESS. I wasn't expecting crowds of people to be snatching it up like the latest Grisham novel or whatever. I know poetry isn't a popular medium, and I'm ok with that.

But I have like 15o subscribers on this blog (last time I bothered to check), over 600 on Twitter and you'd think somewhere in those numbers, there'd be at least, I don't know, ten people who actually like poetry or want to support me enough to buy the damn thing.

But nope, nada.

Even my friends who have heard me bitch and moan about no one buying the book and have been all "I'll buy it!"... haven't.

So depressing.

There's nothing like working my heart out and no one giving a damn to make me feel like the way I spend my time and energy is a total freaking waste.

Related posts:
Truth, Love, Blood and Bones Available Now!
Time Lines: Local Poetry Anthology
Poetry Exercise of Yesteryear

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Why Destroying All Humans Isn't the Answer

Jezebel had an article earlier this week about plants having feelings and whether or not that makes vegetarians worse than carnivorse. While I strongly believe plants have feelings (if you don't, you should read The Secret Life of Plants where an entire series of experiments shows otherwise), I don't think that makes people who eat veggies bad.

On the other hand, I get seriously irritated when people end up articles about food, the way this one was, by saying stuff like this:

The truth is, the best thing human beings could do for (almost) every other species on Earth would be to cease to exist. Anytime we choose to keep ourselves alive at the expense of other living things — which we do all the time, consciously or not — we sacrifice a certain amount of our moral purity. This is something people on both sides of the debate about food politics have to accept — that vegetarians will never be entirely morally perfect, and that this lack of perfection doesn't invalidate what they're trying to do. (source)
I mean, seriously, that is some BULLSHIT. Humans evolved like all the other species on this planet to work together, to be the check and balances for one another. That's why the top predators keep their prey herds healthy, etc., etc. The thought that humans are somehow separate from this cycle is so ridiculous, so conceited and so moronic that it drives me nuts.

Plants may not feel great about dying all the time, but I seriously doubt they have a problem being used FOR THE PURPOSES THEY EVOLVED FOR. It's not like we're going up to a cloud and trying to eat it, which would be pointless and confusing for the cloud, I'm sure. This is stuff that mysterious path of evolution created to feed the world.

I think it's just a bad idea to have such a whacked-out view of the world and how it works that we think that removing humans would be the best thing for plants. Trees and other plants often work at their peak efficiency ONLY when humans are tending them. We evolved these crazy thumbs and fingers for reasons beyond scratching our own asses. We can care for plants and animals in ways they could never do for themselves.

We aren't a separate part of the system, whether or not we want to believe we are. We have a place and a purpose here that I sincerely believe the animals and plants need us to fulfill.

Mass genocide or suicide of the human race is not anywhere near being the solution to our problems.


Related posts:
Eat and Be Satisfied
What I Wish I Knew When I Became a Vegetarian
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Xmas, Y'all

Little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid
look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"
-e.e. cummings

While I don't really celebrate Christmas, ( just go along enough not to be thought of as a Scrooge) I still hope you have a good one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Siblings and the Holidays

My friend @yourdailyjoe shared an article with me about sibling rivalry and why siblings can drive you nuts that got me thinking about my crazy childhood and why I rather like my siblings. While I always had a level of combat with my siblings and they're the reason why I'm so freaking scrappy and enjoy a good fight or wrestle, I always also considered them my compatriots in the war against the parents (AKA the battle to get out of childhood alive and not too wounded) and therefore felt a level of trust and safety around them that wasn't always reciprocated, but all in all we made each other's lives somewhat less miserable (usually).

These days, even though some of my siblings find me ....uh... odd, it is also weirdly comforting to be around them and to know that

  • they know all the shit I've gone though (to a certain point) more than anyone and don't judge me for it;
  • we all went through some fucked up stuff and ended up pretty freaking okay; and
  • we're smart and strong enough not to let what happened to us determine our happiness for the rest of our lives.
It's bittersweet to be around them, especially when we're still always dealing with how our parents drive us freaking crazy, but it's something that makes me aware of just how good my life is now... beyond the wildest dreams of my childhood and definitely beyond anything I expected as an adult.

Anyway, it's one of the things I'm grateful for this time of year: having all the brothers and sisters that I do... especially when it comes to family gatherings. The more of them that are around the less I have to worry about my parents paying attention to me, which is always stressful.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Classic Matinees Now at the Tivoli

Tivoli Cinemas in Westport is showing four classic films on sequential weekend matinees now through January 10th. You just missed Some Like It Hot, which I hadn't seen before and thoroughly enjoyed.

This upcoming weekend they're showing Casablanca, which I've seen about a billion times because it was my older sister's favorite movie when we were kids, but I've never seen it on a big screen, so I've got to do that.

Then on Jan. 2-3 they're showing Duck Soup, starring Groucho Marx, and Jan. 9-10 is Breakfast at Tiffany's, one of my favorite old flicks.

All showings are at 12:45 PM.

The best part is tickets are only four dollars so you can afford it after all that present buying (oh and there's some crap about a discount which I didn't really understand and no one explained to me but I wasn't going to use it anyway so I didn't ask).

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Robyn: Ridiculous Pop Princess

Robyn is cracking me up. She is so ridiculous, I can't help but giggle and that makes me a happier person. Tiny chicks with huge attitudes are fabulous. And her Tank Girl-esque hair do is pretty darn cute too. This is her self-description as heard on her self-titled album:

You cannot stop this. You cannot escape it and you cannot turn it off. So, I’d appreciate your kind consideration in this matter, Sir or Mam, would you please turn it the FUCK UP.

I present to you: the queen of queen bees, phoenix from the ashes risen. World record holder with a score of 2 GAZILLION in Tetris, two time recipient of the Nobel prize for Super-Foxiest female EVER, and wartime consigliore to the Costa Nostra.

She’s the founder and CEO of Konichiwa Records. The most decorated professional on the streets, with a perfect track record since kindergarten when she used to whup schoolboy ass.

In this world of tension, pressure and pain, she’s known for her wisdom, compassion and relentless determination in the quest to GET PAID.

(Click to see embedded video)

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Gusto Lounge

The new Gusto Lounge isn't someplace I thought I'd be visiting. I found their sign proclaiming they are "the bar that made Midtown famous!" so ridiculous and obviously not true that I wasn't going to patronize them. Then it turned out that some of our dearest friends went to high school with the two guys who bought it and so we all went there Monday night.

My buddy Tommy and one of Gusto's owners, Steve House

My friend Ruth quoted Ink's recent article on them before we got there, saying it was like "your uncle's man cave." And it was a very accurate description. Loads of retro furniture and kitsch made the Gusto Lounge amusing and comfy. My favorite was the old airline seats.

Resident Stevil and my fiance Matt being manly in the man cave

On the whole though, I dislike the way the downstairs is laid out (but I didn't like that when it was the Lava Room either). It's too oppressive in the bar area with all the darkness and the great big art thing hanging down from the bar and it's totally the opposite in the other room where there is pool but almost no seats there. Also the breeze coming in from the cracked window was unpleasant.

The antlers were one of my fave decorations.

The upstairs, called "Top Shelf" was much more my style, but sadly my camera batteries died before we made it up there. It was Monday night so there were a couple of couples salsa dancing all impressive like, the bar has a boatload of weird but awesomely so drinks, and the layout was more open and the furniture was also retro, but in a cute way instead of a vaguely trashy-on-purpose way.

All in all, I had a fun time and I would definitely go there again.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Seen Around Midtown: Snow!

So we're walking home from a friend's party Tuesday night/Wednesday morning in a gorgeous snowfall, wandering in the middle of the streets because no one else is out, and Matt is all "It's the most beautiful thing I've EVER SEEN!" and I'm all, "Whatever, American Beauty, hurry your ass up!"

Can you guess which one of us had to work in the morning?

I'll give you a clue.. it was me.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cat Wrastlin'

My cats aren't as active as they were as kittens, but they still like to wrestle on a more-or-less daily basis - especially Inky, the youngest one. I managed to catch them on video being ridiculous and simply had to share...

Pinky v. Inky

Inky v. cat toy

Pinky v. Inky v. box

Inky v. cat scratcher (made to hang on door knobs) full of fresh catnip

Pinky v. Inky rematch

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Monday, December 7, 2009

My Conservation Project: Update 2

If you'll remember, I've been given my grandmother's trunk and spoon collection, both needing some fixing up! Thus far, I've only worked on the trunk, which you last saw cleaned and sanded. Since then I primed it and made it a gross shade of gray.

At this point I was totally unsure of how to proceed. I thought it would be easy to decide on a color, but it was the hardest part of the entire project. I spent hours gazing at color samples and ended up hating everything I even temporarily chose. I was kind of freaking out as I had already primed the trunk and needed to paint the darn thing within 2 weeks of doing that! Then, I was chatting with my friend @jacaphene about my indecision and she sent me a picture of a steamer trunk that became my inspiration for updating my grandma's trunk:

Neat, right?

I used acrylic copper paint to paint panels in the top of the trunk and the little tin stars that decorate it.

Next, I used an anti-rust paint from Sherwin Williams for the body of the trunk (which is a combination of wood and metal) that I got for only $9 thanks to my fiance working there. Here it is with a single coat:

And here's the finished trunk:
I got it done in time for my family to see and admire it on Thanksgiving. I was happy they all liked it since I feel it's still communal property even though it's residing in my apartment at the present.

Next up: I will have to tackle the god-awful grime on my grandma's spoons.

Related posts:
My Conservation Project: Update 1
My New Conservation Project

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Chester 5000 XYV: Steampunk Electrosex Web Comic (NSFW)

Chester 5000 XYV is not like any other web comic I've recommended before. It's a steampunk comic drawn by Jess Fink about a busy man that can't satisfy his wife so he makes her a sex robot. And, well, it goes on from there...

Great premise, right?

It cracks me up how it's further "old-timey" by not being a "talkie" i.e. no dialogue is used because everything is portrayed in the images.

It's ridiculous, hilarious, awesome, weird and sexy good times.

You should seriously check it out.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Truth, Love, Blood and Bones Available NOW!

I'm so freaking excited! I'm a self-published author, of a real live book!

In the hopes of tempting you to buy this 41 poem volume for yourself or your favorite literary geek (the holidays they are a'coming....), here are my favorite few poems from Truth, Love, Blood and Bones.

I am like a goat butting
my hard head and tiny horns against everyone
and everything I come across, if only to find out what
they’re made of. I’m made of stubbornness
and questions. My cry could be a laugh.
I hop rock to rock, restless explorer.

Growing Pains
Pain accepted becomes power
the way a gift of seeds blossoms with love.
My pain grew a dogwood tree flowering,
soft pink petals bearing mauve stigmata like the bloodstain
blooms hidden in my mattress. My woman’s wound
flows with blood mysterious as transubstantiation, the pain
twisting me like a dogwood while my sap runs
through this curving form, expressing in beauty
the pain that is my power.

Women Grow Strong (this is the poem that inspired the title)
Women grow strong in
their silence - the calm before the storm -
gathering truth, love, blood and bones into a hurricane of
righteous fury that can lift the roof up right over you
in a swirling chaos working to destroy what is
to make the land suitable for planting something new.
Women grow strong in silence like a snake
slipping through the forest,
knowledge leaping straight to our tongues on the breeze
as we grow beyond and leave behind
the skins that would contain us.
Women grow strong in silence
like ears of corn pulling power into their sweet, meaty kernels
direct from the sun. Bursting like the Corn Maiden
from green and gold silk, we disperse ourselves
to feed a nation only too happy to devour us systematically,
left to right, then back again.
Women grow strong in silence
and under pressure, melting like rocks
in the face of insurmountable odds,
coalescing into something greater, more dynamic, more liquid.
Together we rise up out of the throat of silence -
lava pouring from a mountain -
blazing trails through wilderness,
destroying the casual assumptive power of the civilized,
and changing the landscape of our lives.

New Legs
Although dreams come cloaked in vulpine velvet
of seeming softness but with hidden teeth,
although the pale, florid, petaled flowers we give
the dying only die themselves, dropping one by one
in their mission of mercy, although the mind’s delicious imagination
must twist serene delight to turbulent delirium, although
trees can form - but also topple - houses
which we erect about us in self-righteous strength,
although we each have a will
but no soul except those with which we wander,
my footfalls must follow close behind
the shaky steps you take with such new legs.

Give me xocolatl to crush between these teeth
(as I eye your neck longingly). I will swallow
the dark sweetness, thinking of the damp earth,
inhaling the smell after rain which promises new beginnings.
Once I watched a bird
die between the jaws of a starving cat,
surprise extinguishing in those obsidian dewdrops
before the growling force even came to a stop.
Feathers fluttered helplessly the way your pale moonlit limbs struggled once
against your bonds before submitting in a slump
for my ravenous mouth. I take another bite
of the chocolate, crumbling it across my tongue
before thrusting it between your lips, feeding you
the way the bird fed the cat: with intimate exchange of fluids.
I kiss you hard on those sweet lips,
rub my head on your chest cat-like,
breathing in your scent of moss and dew,
all the while your heart flaps like a bird against your ribs.

You pull secrets from my throat like scarves
one after another
pouring through my lips so swiftly,
flashing like semaphores through the air
into your pocket.
Only then do I realize
the empty spaces between my spleen,
I’d been stuffing myself with secrets but you so easily found
the thread leading through my squishy gut labyrinth and
hauled out my soul as if water from a well.
Magician, your scarves have turned
my greatest fears into brightly colored prayer flags. In your hands
they are beautiful and sacred.

You can purchase this as a real book or an e-book at where you can also read the first 10 pages.

Seriously, it's good stuff.

Related posts:
Time Lines: Local Poetry Anthology
Poetry Exercise of Yesteryear
My Top 10 Books of 2008

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Women's Business Expo Nov. 29-30

The feminist book club I'm in is putting on a Women's Business Expo November 29-30. I'm going to be one of the vendors. I'll be selling a bunch of original drawings I have and maybe some collages if I feel like it. Now here's some official information about it:

Please join us over two days, Sunday, November 29th, and Monday, November 30th, for our "Supporting Women in Business" Local Gift and Service Expo! Come support local women's businesses, everything from catering to Avon, and original artwork to clothing and accessories. You can pick up stocking stuffers, cross off everything on your holiday shopping, AND put your money where your mouth is, by supporting organizations that truly empower women. We will also have food and drink (appetizers, desserts, lemonade and iced tea), so you can nosh while you shop!

Find out about wonderful businesses, services, and products you never knew existed! Get all your holiday shopping done in a quick, pleasant, and conscious manner! Meet other smart, cool women, eat great food and drink, and make new friends. Support women (and families) worldwide in their business endeavors, through our donations to CARE International.

Sunday, November 29th, 2:00 – 6:00 PM
Monday, November 30th, 5:00 – 8:00 PM
2907 S. 45th Terr., Kansas City, KS 66106

2 blocks West of I-635 and Shawnee Drive in Turner District of KCK. Take the Shawnee Drive exit (not the same as Shawnee Mission Parkway!), turn West, go past KFC/Taco Bell on your right, McDonalds, Phillips 66, and Orowheat Bread Store on your Left. Just past the bread store, turn Left onto our street, S. 45 Terr. Call 913-384-9593 if you get lost!

More info about this event is at:
To learn more about CARE, visit CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. We place special focus on working alongside poor women
because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty.

Hope to see you there!

Some other neato local sales coming up include: Indigo Wild is having a sale at the local factory where everything will be half-off on December 10th, according to my friend who works there, and Murray's Ice Cream will be having a clearance sale December 6 before they close for the year.

Support local business and build community!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Check Out My First Commissioned Painting

It's 38" by 42" in acrylic paint with some Sharpie. It looks even better in real life.

It's a portrait of one of my blog readers and her husband. She wanted it Klimt-esque.

If YOU want to have a super awesome personal peice of art made for you, shoot me an e-mail at reddvenus AT gmail DOT com.

More stuff I made is on

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Building Rome's "Nightmare" (Album Review)

I was one of the lucky 1,000 fans to take advantage of receiving St. Louis band Building Rome's latest album, Nightmare, for free!

I heard them soon after I moved back to the area when they played the same night as my friend Kara's band and really loved their enthusiasm, sense of fun and overall sound. I bought a CD that night and was horrified when I listened to it later that absolutely none of the keyboard had translated to the recording and that they sounded nothing like the awesome-fun band I had heard the night before.

So I was really looking forward to listening to something new that had been recorded and mixed better and I was not a bit disappointed. Generally, the album focuses on relationships, mostly the parts of them that will drive you crazy. Some bands they remind me of include Sugarcult, Kaiser Chiefs mixed with some OK Go and She Wants Revenge.

What Are We Fighting For - This was the opening track that starts out quiet and quickly explodes into full sound. I like the sound of this, it was catchy in a good way. It's vaguely anti-war, but the lyrics half the time seem totally random. Good song, but not stellar.

Tired of Waking Up - A mellow, happy-go-lucky song about being trapped in your head by memories you wish you could live again. Lots of gentle longing and I really enjoyed the overall feel and flow of the song.

Bring Me Home - This song is the answer to "Tired of Waking Up," where the protagonist wakes up to find that he's in his happy dream where he's with his sweetheart instead of waking up alone. It's full of sweet-nothings, painting the picture of a tender angel-blessed romance.

If This Is Where It Ends - This song is basically a bridge between "Bring Me Home" and "Nightmare." It has a single line and lasts for one minute. I didn't even notice it was a separate song until I was listening to the album for this post.

Nightmare - Once more it seems our happy couple's good luck has come to an end. Once more, they're splitting up and the 'I' in the song is taking apart their ex, while complaining about how their heart has been ripped apart. Just a good, solid break ups suck kind of song with a good fast pace driving it along.

Dr. Doctor - This song continues the theme of suffering carried over from "Nightmare" but now our singer's agony is caused by being in love again. He's begging for relief from his suffering. "Dr. Doctor I've been pulling out my hair/Just give me something, just make me impaired./Dr. Doctor, I'm tearing at the seams/She's in my dreams, I'm meeting her there/Because I'm living in a nightmare." In my opinion, this is one of the catchiest tunes on the album. There's a fun balance between a gentle melody and a frantic sense of urgency.

Sink Like an Anchor - This song reminds me of a lilting Celtic-esque melody. It's the type of song that you might sway back and forth to drunkenly with your friends in some random bar. This song is about being alone in order to protect a beloved. Kind of haunting, bitter sweet and lots of fun to listen to.

Burn (Take Cover) - This is probably my favorite song on the album because it's about a crazy powerful woman boys are afraid of. Like a domme's not gonna eat that shit up. It had my favorite lyrics: "Take cover run as fast as you can/That little girl's got a gun in her hands/And she's got eyes of fire, eyes of fire./ You're burned burned by your mission of sin/She'll take you out before you've taken her in/And I have no desire to burn." A fun rock romp.

Haunting Me - More pop-y, this song tells the story of a guy who can't get an ex out of his head because everything around him reminds him of her. I like that the cheery music contrasts with lyrics that would be ridiculously emo if the singer didn't sound just so darn peppy.

Last Time Again - This song turns all the meaning of the rest around abit by making the entire album seem about the same on-again-off-again relationship. The singer is begging his love to give them just one more chance. Lots of longing, but not too whiny about it, so I like that. I also like that it makes the rest of the album cohesive and makes the first song make more sense in context of the rest, since all this struggling to be together seems to be "What We're Fighting For." I like when albums tell complete stories, so this song and the effect it has on the others made me really happy.

Orange Case - Once more, the singer is asking for forgiveness from the beloved. Back together again, he's now done something to piss her off (possibly drug related) and is trying to make up. A nice pop-y alternative song.

Streetlights - This song is the climax of the album where we finally "see" the couple consumating their relationship. The singer is offering sex and a relationship as something they can believe in, implying that god is unreliable. He proposes having dirty sex in the girlfriend's car: "I'm gonna tear you apart under the street lights, baby/Fog up the glass in your car, no one will see under the streetlights, baby." Like the lyrics, the music is a bit grungier than some of the other songs.

Overall, this was a well made album that I have already enjoyed listening to several times. You should check it out.

You can listen to several songs off Nightmare at Building Rome's Myspace page or purchase the album on their website. And here's a video of their lead singer Jon and some band mates being ridiculous. "Nightmare" is playing in the background:

Building Rome ( | MySpace Video

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Ender's Game the Comic Is a Total Suckfest

Ender's Game is an amazing book. The series (and the Shadow series) just continued to boggle my mind. But the fucking comic sucks.

My fiance's been reading it for a while (he reads them on his computer and I can never find the files I'm looking for on there... all I ever find is pron) but I finally was looking over his shoulder this weekend and was horrified at how awful it was. The story, dialogue and pretty much everything only makes sense if you've read the novel already. The faces the little kid's keep making look like they were drawn for people 30 years older and shrunk down to fit their heads. And there's zero emotion, which is like 90% of what the damn book was about.

The drawing style overall is completely unimpressive, including the cop-out depiction of the battle room, which looks like they stole images from the Hubble and put them behind floaty kids. Woopie doo. ::eyeroll::

I am sad that Card's awesome vision got such pathetic treatment.

Anyone else seen this? What do you think?

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Asperger's and Insanity

Image property of Bryan Prindiville

For so many years of my life, I would watch myself make a social faux pas and be incapable of stopping the words from coming out of my mouth. Or I would realize by the dead silence after a comment that I'd done something very, very wrong. I'd agonize for hours, days, months, even YEARS afterwards, so frustrated by what I'd done and incapable of understanding what was broken in me that made me so different. I worried I was insane like my grandmother who recently died, who was institutionalized multiple times and tried to kill my dad and his siblings more than once. I was seriously concerned about being mentally defective.

Those little gaffes are much easier to deal with now that I know I have Asperger's. I can just say "oh, I had an Asperger's moment, I'll try and do better next time something like that happens" and for the most part, move on (or at least not die of embarassment). But for most of my life, having Asperger's and not knowing about it just made me terribly afraid of being crazy.

So I found it quite interesting to find out that Asperger's Syndrome is being removed from the upcoming version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. Now I'm officially not crazy.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: At Home with May & Family

(multiple pictures of Inky only because he was following me around and getting in the way, i.e. being adorable)

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