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if I wrote a book, it would have pictures )
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don't say i never gave you anything.
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1. The choir concert was amazing and magical and glorious. For about a week I would get home from traffic control in a soil yard, covered in sunblock and compost, hose myself off and race to rehearsal to sing with a professional symphony orchestra none the wiser. The reward last Saturday was a 5 minute standing ovation, and my well-used voice wrecked and husky as Kathleen Turner's.

2. I do not approve of the new guy hairstyles where it's all swooshed forward like they've been bobbin for apples.

3. It is caterpillar season at work )

4. There is a man named Geert Goiris who takes intensely arresting photographs of desolate and abandoned places. I am riveted. They are lovely and tragic at once. Get moved.

5. After my whole life, I might decide that I like Tom Waits but don't gloat or I will change my mind because I am spiteful!

6. guillotine - named after French physicist Joseph-Ignace Guillotin who tried to convince executioners in France to use a more humane method of capital punishment.

boycott - named after Captain Charles Boycott, "the estate agent of an absentee landlord, the Earl Erne, on Achill Island in County Mayo, Ireland, who was subject to social ostracism organized by the Irish Land League in 1880. In September of that year, protesting tenants demanded from Boycott a substantial reduction in their rents. He not only refused, but also evicted them from the land. Charles Stewart Parnell, in a speech in Ennis proposed that, rather than resorting to violence, everyone in the locality should refuse to deal with Boycott." - wiki.

quisling - one who consorts or collaborates with the enemy. "after Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), Norwegian politician and officer who collaborated with the Nazis." - dictionary.com

definitions without words for $800 - when a person is so widely known for their actions that their name becomes a verb or descriptor for similar actions of others. (edit: EPONYMOUS, per lj_tuckova. and you thought it was just the name for an REM album.)

7.
I am gold as a chicken nugget, and Pollocked with freckles.

8. Just when choir season was over, the nursery job hired me on permanent and part-time and I managed to secure a second job at another flower shop. I recommend two part-time jobs, as it splits the week up and you do not become complacent doing the same thing for 5 days straight. Still broke and happy. Still preferring it over wealthy and pissed.

9. Fuckin, look at this crystal mine in Mexico, where the largest crystals in the world have been discovered. There are little people climbing around them dressed in red.

10. There was a notable dream where I had a husband with whom I lived contentedly. We had a sunful kitchen, a soft bed, a modest tree, and a derelict but hopeful backyard in which one day in the barren winter I noticed at the far corner against the fence a red lily blossoming, defiantly without coercion and called my husband to see, the petals dark as wine, and how uncharacteristic it was to be so healthy, at which he cocked his head, shrugged and paid no further mind, also uncharacteristically.
The crimson bloom never aged, and seemed to only grow overnight in an otherwise brittle and dormant lawn. Days later a new lily stood next to the first dubiously, and then more with each passing day, until soon the yard was a scarlet rash, though nowhere else did the blossoms thrive. The rest of the neighborhood spoke nothing of spring.
Late one night I heard strange cracking, breaking smacking sounds and crept into the kitchen to find my husband crouched over a bloody feast, gnawing on a severed arm. He had long, wet, shining fangs, eyes slate grey and blood matted the fur on his neck. Fingers curled out from the corners of his mouth as he turned to me, horrified. His beast ears erect, swiveled like satellites toward me and he cried a mongrel's cry. At that moment I magically knew where each strange bloom came from, stamens sticky with plasma, that they were rooted from the buried hearts of his kill, and the bones he hoarded like a dog in our backyard. And I ran in my nightgown from our home, from the corpse fed garden into the eye of the night.
Later I was picked up on the side of the road by a kind faced man, who offered to let me stay at his place for a few nights. When we arrived to his house, he gave me a robe and began to tour me around, showing me his kitchen, the living room, where I could sleep on the couch, and then the back porch, where looking out onto the lawn I saw in the distance, red patches of florets, spreading in from the far corners. There was the feeling of alarm that grew from my stomach and vined upward into my throat, and then I woke.
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The Hundred Year Lovers

When she asked, "Where will you go on the day that I die?"
he drew a big empty house in a tree on a hill.
She said, "Draw me the things I must never forget,"
so he drew both of his hands, asleep in a jewelry box

in the big empty house in a tree on a hill.
She said, "Draw something of mine you know you will miss"
so he drew both of his hands asleep in a jewelry box
cupping her heart with a key in its throat.

When she said, "Draw something else you know you will miss"
he drew her shimmering brain, perched on a pedestal
cupping his heart with a key in its throat.
She said, "Draw what I'll look like in fifty-six years,"

so he drew her shimmering brain, perched on a pedestal
deep in a cloud of grandfather clocks.
When she said, "Draw what I'll look like in sixty-five years"
he drew her in their bed, coughing up paper orchids

deep in a cloud of grandfather clocks.
She said, "This is the thing you must never forget--
me in our bed, coughing up paper orchids
telling you where to go on the day that I die."
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zhostovo inspired
close to being finished w this, a repro of a previous mini painting
I did for Mrs. McKibbens, inspired by Zhostovo technique -
a Russian form of folk art. I am getting nice and obsessed
with painting resourceful birds.
The phrase "semantic satiation" was coined by Leon Jakobovits James in his doctoral dissertation at McGill University, Montreal, Canada awarded in 1962.

After the word 'wound' (wow'nd, woo'nd) warped in my mouth I searched for the term for when a word is repeated over and over until it becomes strange, foreign. Semantic satiation.

"Reactive inhibition" occurs as a result of repetition, with phrases, words, experiences and actions. "Reactive inhibition" occurs as a result of repetition, with phrases, words, experiences and actions. Good morning. How are you? I love you. Have a nice day.
Over long periods of time, traditions become meaningless habits. Millions of candles get shoved casually into cakes. We obliviously slide rings onto forth fingers in gestures devised centuries before our arrival. Recite cliches wisely, having never received a gift horse, nor lead one to water. But I guess we have to desensitize somewhat, for trajectory's sake, else we might starve to death spending all day playing with flashlights and hula hoops.

Another application has been to reduce speech anxiety by stutterers by creating semantic satiation through repetition, thus reducing the intensity of negative emotions triggered during speech.

I was unable find the term for when something meaningless through repetition becomes meaningful, or the term for when something changes meaning after a formidable experience, like the smile in a photograph of the loyal who later betrays, or the term for when something means little and is meaningful for being so meaningless.

Or the term for matching rhythm with tasks, not simply dancing, because the movement has purpose, but cleaning in rhythm to music, wiping the counter in rhythm, riding over speed bumps in time to Another One Bites the Dust.

Or the term for not worst case or best case, but kind of upper-middle case, like
I have a lump on the bone below my left index finger, my berating finger. I have a backup index finger, but it's not as astute as the left one because it was broken once in a bike fight and is shorter and not as accusatory. I have already imagined being diagnosed with hand cancer, and getting the entire half of my left hand amputated, replacing it with a sexy hook, learning to paint w my right hand, and becoming the feel-good hit of the summer. There was a scene where a football team carried me o'er their heads while the crowd roared but I cut that one, as it was illogical. This is my life.
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son, age 12.9: for birthday wants One Year Immunity to Groundation
daughter, age 10: (in the shower) Jelly Bean is not my lovah...she's just a girl who says that I am the one!"

boy - you should try out for American Idol, mama.
girl - she's too old, but America's Next Top Model is letting short girls try out!

updatopia

Jan. 19th, 2010 10:10 pm
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small death
Favorite most recent flowershop card messages:
sympathy - "I miss you already."
holiday - "Sorry for being such a prick. Happy holidays from old St. Nick"
love - "It's been 6 months since an angel found me."
recovery - "When you gonna get up off your ass?"

My Sundays are now working at a plant nursery that grows everything organically. It's only seasonal, with the possibility of being employed permanent. My hopes are low that I'll get hired on because I'm a staunch pessimist and it is a dream job, to me, going home with dirt under my nails, learning about propagation, chill hours, soil content, paramagnetic rock. There is a butterfly garden, a labyrinth, two donkeys, some cats, chickens and goats. GOATS. That go maaaaaa. Did you know that pecan trees can have both male and female parts? Did you know peat moss has to age in a bog in New Zealand for 100 years?

Yesterday I was accepted into the city choir. I'm a contralto, the lowest of female voices. Aw yeah.
I have only done some community musical theater in my teens and took advanced choir in like, 8th grade, so I was surprised and excited that I made it through auditions.

We are big and beautiful. We sound together Gothic and omniscient and powerful. Our director is amazing and charismatic, calling to us enthusiastically. I would feel so godlike as a conductor, my every gesture a paint stroke of voices, deepening and fading at my fingertips. Can you imagine?
I'd forgotten how much I loved the experience, the acoustics, being part of such a colossal and profound voice. We are learning Cherubini's Requiem, and how Beethoven loved and owed much of his style to Cherubini.
Then on the way home from rehearsals I was singin my heart off, and a man who was staring at me while trying to make a turn hit the median and had to clomp over it. I was mortified for him.

Even working through the week without a day off I am derelict for the most part. I piece rent together from several paychecks. I am cooking every meal, perusing ingredients to make your own laundry detergent, consulting HillbillyHousewife.com for frugal ideas. I still have want issues, but I'm happy. I love my jobs. I am learning so much about flora and now busy with classical composers and Latin dirges. It's nice to be able to sing, especially when you're dirt poor.
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As some may know, years ago around 2003, I began a list of Movies to See Before I Die, because when I would go to rent movies my mind would blank out, and I would forget all the important ones I'd been recommended and meaning to catch up to watch, and end up going home with Hitch or some shit.

Since I started the list has only grown with suggestions and by new curiosities.
Around this time each year I groom it;

The Original: ) & In Addition: )

Feel free to add on or discuss or build upon your own list. I try to rate what I see and give a quick twittery review. Some things I hate that everyone loves. Some things have no desire to ever see (Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Beverly Hills Chihuahua). But I always welcome suggestions.
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to aid with the haiti relief effort in response to yesterday's devastating earthquake, one can make a ten dollar donation to the red cross by texting HAITI to 90999. it will appear on your next phone bill, all of it goes to the effort, none to the cell phone carrier.

http://twitter.com/RedCross
http://www.nytimes.com/info/haiti-earthquake-2010/
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small death
I was going to get my toolbox, when I found him fallen on the balcony. I blushed and swore and stammered so badly my son embraced me.

He lay there peacefully as if sleeping, unmarred, belly full of mice hearts, dreaming of moon gossip. His talons were clasped together and the down of his abdomen looked so soft it felt disrespectful to notice how it glowed and faded into the air like a flame. He weighed little more than a paper plane when I lifted him. I wrapped his body in a green pillow case, lowered him into a shoebox coffin and drew a heart on the box over where his would be.

Then at sunset we carried him to the forest, where off the trail my daughter and I gathered stones for his tiny tomb. We propped a spiky cedar stump atop the monument, a crown for the night king.
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Surely, there will come a day I'll be the only one left here, rambling on all by myself.

----------------------------------
Men come into the shop with bluebirds chasing hearts in halos around their heads. They are my favorite, next to the elderly husbands. Some ask me to choose loose-cut flowers for them; What would I like, they ask. Would I think *this* is pretty, they ask, as though all girls like the same thing? Or as though I have the better taste to choose? It's a cute question, albeit odd to me. Instead of arranging an armload of blossoms I would want myself to give to another doe, which is somewhat depressing, I try to gauge demeanor and what hints of personality I notice to choose something compatible, that he would not look lost holding; Customary men date ladies who like roses and classical things. Scruffy boys date girls who love wildflowers and gerbers. The seemingly affluent or debonair get stargazers and delphinium. Not sure if it works, but I'm still learning.
I don't know of another place of employment where so many men walk in lovesick. It's not usually something a man wants to admit.

---------------------------------
The cold traps me into the apartment, which is necessary with the superfluity of my half-finished projects, boxes of boxes of notes to self, romantic fragments. I read somewhere that your living space is a reflection of your emotional interior. If it is cluttered, so must be your thoughts. If it is an attic of obsoletes and fossils, so must be your heart.
So I've hauled off about four boxes so far of donation items and the tower grows. I must extract these things quickly, before I over-analyze. Though I only want to hold dear things dear, I'm the sort of girl who can convince myself that everything is vital in some way.

I can't bear to part with my childrens' drawings and am wracking my brain as to what I can make with them; bind them into books, decoupage them onto a hope chest. I don't know. Currently they are in three large boxes, useful as cinder blocks.

Then there is a trunk of old books of poetry and confessions, I could have a bonfire that would drown a polar bear. For the first time in the 15 years I have been dragging it from home to home it has become incriminating evidence to me. I have a horrible fantasy of my family members finding these angst ridden, bloody hearted teenage lamentations while going through my things after I have died. I don't mind the mysterious receipts to hotel rooms, broken strings of beads, cassettes tape coils of ghost voices. They keep their secrets well.

There are not enough lifetimes to accomplish the ever-growing list of resolutions I continually set for myself, even without annual prompt, in self-admonishment or fantasy. I failed miserably to achieve the only (absolutely genius Gaynun) official resolution I made last year, to the point where I have a boy's t-shirt that I sniff and pet like a security blanket (look away. I am a monster.) BUT THAT'S OK.
I am poor as fuck BUT THAT'S OK. My dishes don't match but they still hold food. Even after getting laid off from a job of 3 years, and being too traumatized to be terrified, all told this has been one of the happiest years I've had in many. In my unemployed free time I have made more advancements in painting than all my years combined, getting me that much closer to having enough pieces for my own exhibition. I've traveled to beautiful places. my children have stayed happy and healthy. I go home from my current job often feeling wondrous, enchanted and fulfilled. And I loved and was loved back.

--------------------------------
The last poem I read of the year.
It's about much more than parenthood to me:

Mother and Child - Louise Glück

We’re all dreamers; we don’t know who we are.

Some machine made us; machine of the world, the constricting family.
Then back to the world, polished by soft whips.

We dream; we don’t remember.

Machine of the family: dark fur, forests of the mother’s body.
Machine of the mother: white city inside her.

And before that: earth and water.
Moss between rocks, pieces of leaves and grass.

And before, cells in a great darkness.
And before that, the veiled world.

This is why you were born: to silence me.
Cells of my mother and father, it is your turn
to be pivotal, to be the masterpiece.

I improvised; I never remembered.
Now it’s your turn to be driven;
you’re the one who demands to know:

Why do I suffer? Why am I ignorant?
Cells in a great darkness. Some machine made us;
it is your turn to address it, to go back asking
what am I for? What am I for?
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He loves a girl who yawns like an iris.
He hears the curl of her smile
when she speaks.

I take him by the arm through the shop
describing colors as soft, rich, warm.
Not dark, bright. Not autumnal.

His useless eyes in the nest of his face, blue
as robin eggs, motherless, tilt heavenward

I lift blooms to the swarm of his fingers
watch him trace the symmetry of oblivious lilies

by feel until he finds her
lashes in aster, tip toes in hypericum
her mouth in begonias.
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aaron is good at everything
additional ocular curiosities )

vacation conversations:
self-improvement, slowing down, reasons not to try, society's demise, media manipulation, cannibalism phobias w food, how as we grow up we slowly lose our senses of imagination, the story of Job, how the careless or cruel treatment of our exes is not an indication of our competence or worth, government drug testing on soldiers, WWII, Hiroshima, Harryrodeo, types of pickles, types of soul patches, strength, how i am strong in tribulation but weak of self-esteem, how one can be feeble in spirit but tenacious in intellect, familiar with theory though unqualified in practice, fragile of mind, able of heart.

clumsy, some of us unconscious professors. each of us has so much to teach the other.
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A man calls this morning to say that he had stopped by the shop yesterday to place an order with me to send roses to his wife for her birthday. I recall him, elderly, sweet faced, hound dog eyes, hunkering painstakingly over his card. I remember complimenting him on how well prepared he was, stopping by days ahead to take care of the gift.
Over the phone he asks if I will please open the card back up and write at the bottom "Your husband, George."
I grin and say, "Oh? but I bet she'll know it's you, George."
"Well...sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn't," he replies.
My heart falls. I assure him I will sign his card for him. He thanks me graciously and ends the call.
The address to the recipient I find is in a nursing home.
Inside the card George has written "Sweetheart. I love you bunches and miss you so much, so please stay healthy."


O George, you have killed me.
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pseudo moons
bless long walks and working limbs )
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In my yoga class I keep my head down. I don't make eye contact or try to start conversations. Things are intimate enough, all of us attempting to loosen the daily debris of stress caught behind shoulder blades, in the muscles of the neck, heartbreaks rusting the jaw shut, all in front of eachother. It feels as though I am letting strangers watch me pray.
I go because I need the classroom atmosphere to spurn me into finishing the hour. It would be easier to get tired and turn a video off in the privacy of my own home than it would to abashedly pack up my mat in front of a bunch of people, because I was too weak or lazy to complete the class. Yes, I am using humiliation as motivation.
After and before, the students congratulate one another, talk about their favorite stretches, the returning pains they intend to conquer. I peek at them, without getting caught. I have learned many of their faces, having been to this class so many times I've lost count. But I feel it is best I keep quiet. I get too passionate. I blurt. My filter is faulty. I don't know how to speak to someone without them eventually coming to the conclusion that I am "weird," and not in some cute or good way.
A close, very tolerant, very kind friend tells me I don't make efforts to cultivate a social life. I wait for others to call me. I reach from where I stand. I come when called, but I am too nervous to risk approaching someone without express welcome or enter a life without having been invited first.

________________________________________________________




We are losing our beauties from the 30's and 40's. I have begun to collect them. At the flower shop I save their photographs from the obituaries. The senile stars of their eyes cold as granite. Lush filigree curls lap at their island faces. Their crimson grins so slight if at all.
In photographs from the early 20th century the smile began to emerge. Before then, camera shutter speeds were so slow that subjects shoved broom handles down the backs of their gowns to keep from slouching as they waited in the cold or heat. To hold one's face in rapturous repose for very long was so exhausting that one risked blurring her features if she attempted to do so, thus possibly ruining the only chance to have her image recorded.
Families were told by photographers to relax and let their expressions fall into their natural states, which were often wistful, stoic, prohibition, WWI, 19th amendment, recession faces.
I imagine the obit photos in the years to come of pretties in their primes will bloom with grins, wily, confident, curling like coffee cream, fibonacci, expanding with the years.

________________________________________________________



At the age of 7, I met a long whipping switch of a girl. Our mothers would visit eachother to share plant cuttings while we went looking for paint rocks and fossils, or we would soak her mother's hallway with soap and water and slide down it cackling like maniacs, deep south snow sledding.
She ended up my oldest friend. Neither of us was strange to the other. For ten summers I rode my bike to her house, my skinny black mutt trotting along side. In high school she wore drawstring hospital pants she found at the goodwill, because they were "comfortable." On the bus once, she beat a boy with her lunchbox for thumping me in the ear. When we were 15 we walked out of school and ran away for three days, sleeping in cardboard castles behind furniture buildings, stealing flowers from old ladies' yards to weave through our hair. We made our small town news and everything. We only came home because it rained so hard the streets flooded til stray dogs paddled through them. We lit cherry bombs in redneck bars. We sat in the bathtub tripping, taking turns pouring water over the other's head, feeling like candles, warm wax dripping down our necks. We were so brave we were fools. We lost touch.
I ran off to Georgia, grew up, knocked up.
Today, from all the drug use her skull is gutted like the burned house we trespassed through in our adolescence. Eyes blown out like the windows, throat clogged with ivy, dusty sink hearted. And I am the only one left who remembers our renaissance, building forts in the forest, picking wild black and blueberries from ditches, sailing paper boats in puddles, passing notes with pictures drawn on them of boys we loved, wearing crowns or horns.
I called her my best friend many years after she could no longer recall us, years after I became a vague stranger to her. My memory can be so precise and merciless in detail that I envy the forgetful. They heal so fast. They relinquish so easily.

________________________________________________________


I remember reading Where the Red Fern Grows as a child and coming across a bit about how you can catch a raccoon by carving a hole into a fallen log and driving nails into it at an angle. You then drop a piece of cheap, shiny tin or plastic into the hole and the raccoon will come along and try to grab it out. Once he makes a fist around the bait he is caught. He will starve and howl until the trapper comes to kill him. The nails make a barbed funnel, and will not allow him to get his paw out unless he releases the trinket, but he won't. It's too lovely to let go.
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Imaginary Love Song
For A Very Real Girl

On Sunday I was tired of being a mother. I wanted
someone to take over; to wipe my daughters'
faces, replace my son's quick mouth with a silk
blue bow. After dinner, I snuck off and hid in the
basement. I pretended to be your sister. I imagined
your small feet padding the stairs, your sugary
body wrapped in flannel. It was Christmas Eve,
and I'd stolen the presents from under the sharp
pine tree. And I was tucked behind the stack. It
was my birthday and I was tired of seeing presents
with other peoples' names on them. And I heard
you on the other side of the foil Santas and holly
berry leaves, and I could even hear you smiling
(because your heart always joins in) and it is a
sound that I can only imagine was the sound I
heard when I was still inside my mother. When all
I could do was sleep and dream and dream of her--
my mother--who was strong enough to leave me.
You must have heard what I was thinking, because
instead of dismantling the gift pile, you squirreled
your way behind it. And the thirty-three candles in
my heart lit up and we laid together, cold and
shining. Two soft spoons in a welcome dark.


The above loveliness was sent to me on my birthday and I spontaneously combusted.
Poet, mother, shaman, zebracorn, Rachel Mckibbens, [livejournal.com profile] lowhumcrush, my faithful wife in a previous life, the apple of my eye, the heat of my night, the raider of my lost arc has finally released a book, Pink Elephant, which is available for purchase here. My copy came in today, and I have to take the pages at intervals, it is so potent and haunting and tragically beautiful. You should have it, to test your heart out.
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painted ladies

if we tasted with our feet, maybe we would wear marshmallow shoes.
if we had huge sails strapped to our backs, we might pray to the wind.
if we had 10,000 eyes we'd be awfully distracted.
concretekiss: (Default)
love. this. hat.
I WON THIS HAT. YOU DIDN'T.

My friend Angela ([livejournal.com profile] browniegirl322) makes colorful, pretty things, and sells them on Etsy like some kind of sexy business woman. I already have a lovely scarf and the cutest arm warmers with little white anchors on them that I adore. If you are looking for original, beautiful and handmade gifts to warm loved ones, or just to keep yourself toasty and attractive at the same time, hie thee hence!
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I didn't say "Is it ok if she's Mexican and wears a baseball cap?" to the woman who came into the shop today to ask "Isn't there someone here who is closer to my age? I need an opinion." I also did not say "I have many opinions, one being that you are an ass-faced donkey whore," or "She is out on vacation right now, but you are welcome to blow a lobster," or "You look like you're in your late 40s. I'm closer to your age than Blanche buttfucking Devereaux," or "Sure I'll go get her" and duck behind the counter only to hobble back into the shop all haggafied, with a scarf wrapped around my head, dark glasses and a walking cane.
Instead I politely went to get the manager who in her noble aged wisdom happily and proudly gave her godlike opinion on violets for a tea party, as I glowered in the back room. This kill them with kindness biz can suck my velvet balls. D'nay tells me I should've told the lady "I'm a mother!" like what the fuck would that do? People hate kids as much as Nazis nowadays. Everything always goes back to if I were a dolphin I wouldn't have these problems.

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August 2010

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