Monday, January 31, 2011

Dentist McDreamy

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I think I might be one of the few people on earth who actually enjoys going to the dentist. It’s not the fillings I like, or the paste filled trays, or the drilling (oh, the drilling). It’s the dentist. The brown-eyed-stud in a button down shirt, who is cute as a buttermilk biscuit and just as sweet. Judge me all you want: I have a crush on my dentist. While there are a few reasons it’s a good idea to be so enamoured with the guy – I get to gaze at him all I want while I’m there and it isn’t weird (he is, after all, a mere 12-inches from my face...and I’m wearing sunglasses) – for the most part, it’s a highly inoperative idea. So, I’ve come up with a list. For your perusal, here are the Top Ten Reasons it is Impractical to have a Crush on your Dentist:



10. You only get to see him once every 6 months, more if you’re diligent and inventive. Hardly enough time to foster a passionate love affair.

9. Dentist appointments don’t count as dates. Even if you dress up and put on perfume.

8. Did the guy fit you for your night guard? Yah. He’s probably not thinking about kissing that mouth.

7. He's filled your cavities and gently lectured you about your flossing habits. See #8.

6. He works in an office filled with beautiful women at his beckon call all day....patient who?

5. Although he passed the Ring Test, he used "we" in a sentence when you asked him about his holidays.

4. He’s too good a dentist to switch him for the other guy – which means you’d have to violate the Dentist/Patient code of ethics to date him, and he would have to violate the Dentist/Patient code of ethics to ask you out. It’s a fruitless venture.

3. You remember that time his face got really close to your face, and you could smell his cologne, and see the definition of his shoulder muscles through his crisp button down shirt? He was assessing the plaque on your molars….see #8.

2. Flirting with a half frozen face proves difficult. Believe me, I’ve tried.

1. He is your dentist.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

dinner date required

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So the best news of the day so far…nay, the year, is that I am not going to be forced to live in my car for 2011! Okay okay, I am being a tad dramatic (it’s my favourite kind of flair); and because I haven’t really given the context as of yet, I imagine that I am worrying those of you who might worry about such things. Here is the context: on a particularly bad Monday (last week), at the end of a particularly bad day (last Monday), I ended up behind a young driver as we attempted to merge onto the highway. Long story short (a long story only because of all the HESITATING), I hit him. It wasn’t a bad hit, but it was still a hit, and if you remember where my head was last week (stuck in the bowels of a sunless existence), you can imagine how well I adjusted to the surprise of my bumper beneath his bumper; I made it almost the whole way through the info-trade without crying! Yay me. Poor kid, just trying to get home and he ends up standing on a busy street corner with a sobbing, lip-quivering weenie. I drove home and turned myself in to ICBC dial-a-claim (I might have their number on my speed dial. Just saying it’s a possibility), trying to do some crazy "sometimes people find suitcases full of dollars" math in my head. Once on the phone with the girl on the other end, I was informed that should I have this claim filed against me, my yearly car insurance would go up to ONE MILLION DOLLARS!


Or, it would not go up to one million dollars – but the sum total of my potential yearly car insurance would be enough that it felt as bad as a million dollar payment might feel. Insert more snivels and salty tears and wobbly phone calls to my mom.

But! The story doesn’t end there! No no. I just got a text message from Sir Whitetruck, and praise be to the high heavens, there’s nothing wrong with his vehicle! No claim will be filed! And, relief.

As an act of celebration, I’ve texted Chelsea and asked to borrow the pink suede sweetheart/vixen dress I found for her at Value Village a couple years back. It’s a gem, a delight of a dress; the kind of thing you might wear if you found out you did not owe The Man one million dollars (or the feelings-equivalent of such an amount). A few pins and tucks and it should fit my pre-surgor’d-Kate-Hudson figure with ease. Now all I need is a strapping gentleman to pick me up at 6 next Thursday and pay for my dinner.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

giddy in the sunshine

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....finally! The sun is out! I've officially been transformed into a human being.

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Don Miller is...

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Here's a quote for your day, fellow artists:

"I think half the battle of a creator is in finishing their projects. I wonder how many of the worlds greatest creators never created anything great, because while they may have had the intelligence and even the skill, they weren’t finishers. Finishing is part of the art." -Don Miller


...oof.

Read the rest of the article here:
A Creator Doesn’t Just Talk About Their Work, They Work



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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

good tunes, grey skies

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I always say: if the song fits, wear it.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

the Januaries.

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On my afternoon break at work today, I decided that Survival was highly dependant on the immediate consumption of coffee. So, I grabbed my necessary items (wallet, keys, umbrella) and raced to my car. These days, with all the rainy weather and shitty, non-conformist circumstances and whatnot, I have been serenading my little soul with the music of Ari Hest. Track number 11 repetitiously, to be exact (ironically, I don’t know what the title of the song is). Today, for some odd reason, the lyricless part of the song made me cry.

Although, I suppose the tears weren’t entirely out of place. Did I mention the rain? If I didn’t, let me mention it again: rain. Lots of it. Vis a vis, there is a serious lack of sunshine. Having grown up in the Northern half of the province, I was never exposed to the trials of a dull grey winter. You see, even the clouds don’t like cold weather, so when it’s cold enough up there it’s clear as a heavenly bell and just as bright; minus-45-and-you-still-need-sunglasses kind of weather.

So while I had heard about the Lower Mainland winters – “Rain, followed by rain. After the rain, we expect rain. In addition, there will be some sort of rainy like substance” – it took moving here to fully understand the reality of the situation. My first November on the coast, I actually went to the doctor in a medium-sized panic, for fear that I had come down with some sort of sudden-onset-brain-eating disease. It was like I had been powered down overnight. “I sleep all the time, and when I’m not sleeping, I feel like I’m sleeping, and if I’m not sleeping, it’s because I can’t *%&^$ sleep. Also, I weep a lot for no reason at all.” Dr Walkinclinic looked calmly over my head and reassured me that what I was experiencing was quite normal, and told me I had Seasonal Affective Disorder; that I would feel better in a few months. The short form of that disorder’s name? …S. A. D. The irony of the name was not lost on me, and I immediately wondered if they purposely spelled the words with that acronym, or if they discovered only after naming it that “Hey! We just pointed out the obvious!”. Perhaps these are the same brainiacs that named the Rinoplasty. In any case, every November through to February or March, I cry a lot. Ready for the weighted word? SAD is a form of: depression. In truth, this (depression) is something I’ve dealt with since early highschool; something that’s only been accented by the long grey winters here.

The weirdest part about all of this is that I actually don’t like to tell people, and I especially don’t like to tell people that aren’t biologically programmed to turn Emo every winter (or ever, at all).I suppose this is because the reactions from the na├»ve/uneducated are so varied, and you never really know what you’re going to get in return for the confession.  In my close circle, there are more people than I can count that are affected with some sort of depression, be it SAD or constant, genetically transferred, post-partum or otherwise. So, since SAD season is not quite over, and more of us are dealing with this now in one way or another (either on our own or with someone we know), I thought it might be helpful to post a few things I have noticed about living with depression, and of course: a helpful resource or two for the curious.


#1 – “Don’t talk about that with her. You’ll make it worse”. A common misconception about most (if not all) forms of depression is that talking about a sad subject with someone who is depressed will make the depression “worse”. The truth is that while depression can be circumstantial, or can start with circumstantial changes, most often the immediate surroundings of a person will have very little to do with it. The truth for those that don’t know it yet: depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain, and is far beyond “circumstance” or “choice”. If anything, depression (seasonal or not) is a heightened or intensified ability to feel, not a lessened capacity to do so.

#2 – “I don’t want to ask, I don’t want to embarrass her”. Another common misconception that I have encountered with frequency is the trepidation people feel around me when I am obviously not “doing well.” The thing about depression is that, because of the heightened emotion, there is usually also a heightened perception (truthful or not) of what other people think or notice. In short: we can tell that you can tell, so just ask how we’re doing. Sometimes, all it takes to save my day is knowing that my friend noticed how I was doing.

#3 – “It’s just depression, you can’t take her too seriously.” On the flip side of the above, another misconception is that it’s not important to take a depressed person seriously when they are sad. Not every sadness relates to our depression (ladies: this is like when people assume your bad day is simply your PMS and write you off; it feels about that frustrating). This isn’t a cry for attention, it feels genuinely horrible (if even for a moment), and as I mentioned above, the acknowledgement of the sadness is sometimes all it takes. One of my best friends has handled these moments with me incredibly well: by taking me seriously. Not by agreeing with my irrational thoughts, but by acknowledging them and reminding me of the reality. Sometimes we can’t tell when an incident is isolated, and so we need a trusted voice to remind us of the real things in life. That being said, sometimes we just had a bad day; don’t coddle us, acknowledge it.

#4 – sometimes we are happy, too. I think the biggest misconception about depression is that the depressed person = a negative person. In actuality, the most negative people I know are simply negative people, and the most depressed people I know are some of the most positive.

#5 – It can be an affliction, or can be an accelerant. Without question, some of the best art in the world has been created in the midst of emotional difficulty. Countless poets, musicians, and actors have become “world renowned, not despite of their mental illness, but rather because of it” (Michael Schratter, from an article in 24hrs Vancouver last November). Examples like T.S. Elliot, Edgar Allen Poe, and Beethoven come to mind. Even in my own life, some of my most well received work has been the things I’ve written while in the midst of desperate sadness; the fact that these bits of my life are so well received seems ironic to me every time, given the stigma surrounding “mental illness.” Perhaps art is proof that 'even the depressed’ have richness and beauty to offer the world; their depth is something the world needs, and I would even go so far as to say that without these individuals, we would miss out on a large part of the human experience. So for those of you who question the weight of your world, embrace it and know that you add to the richness of our planet. And for those of you who don’t yet understand the weight of your friend’s world, that’s okay; as long as you’re trying.

Well this turned out to be a lot more weighty than I thought it was going to be. I was actually just going to make a few jokes and then sign off (what like that’s a habit of mine or something? Pssht). However, I figure most of you have noticed my entertaining mood swings by now, so I figure I’d name the source for them. Thanks for reading.

I also happen to know (simply by the fact that so many of you actually enjoy my ramblings) that a number of you must understand the world the way I do. I don’t want to call you out (I realize this is a deeply personal journey), but if you’d like, I’d love for you to add to this conversation. These were my thoughts; what are yours?

Stigma? What stigma? F*&$ you, Stigma.



Recommended reading: by far, some of the best articles I have ever read on the subject of mental health have been written by Michael Schratter, a guest columnist last year in the 24hr newspaper. Click here and scroll down to “24hr Ride Don’t Hide Columns”.

For some helpful information on SAD specifically, visit this link


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hey, wait a minute...

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Dear Jesus,


I thought the game of Hide & Seek was for kids?

love, ashley





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Friday, January 21, 2011

useless inventions: big name products, stupid ideas.

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.It’s a dreary, misty, soggy day in Vancouver. My cubicle is still here, which means I have not been given an all-expense-paid trip to Paris (anyone? ...Buhler? ...Buhler?), nor have I won the lottery. It's been a week of stupid situations and marked overreactions and I've cried more in succession than the one time I watched Titanic (whoa, now that's a throwback. Does anyone even remember that movie!?). As such, perhaps to deflect, I’m in the mood to make fun of something. Thankfully, a new product has reached the market that allows ample room for mockery. And this one’s almost as ironic as the W Network’s new “Guy Friendly” lineup (…Women’s television network? Guy friendly lineup? Yah, those go together).

Marketing and branding are two things that have always made me laugh. Intentional humor in marketing is one thing; I, too, am a fan of the “World’s Funniest Commercials” show that airs every year, and I too can spend hours googling funny/banned commercials on youtube (I’d point you to my favourite one, but you’d judge me. It’s that offensive. Jesus would cry). But it is the unintentionally amusing products that are my particular favourite. This one actually came out sometime last year, and I’ve been meaning to laugh at it publicly for some time now (am I going to get sued for this?).


"Never Touch a Germy Soap Pump Again"


Ladies and gentlemen: the Hands Free Soap Dispenser. …Let down? You don’t think this is a ridiculous product? Believe me, I am all for being lazy, especially when it comes to household products. My dream is to one day own a vaccuum that will vaccuum my house without me (who am I kidding? That's my favorite chore!). In actuality, I have gotten so used to the automatically flushing toilets at our office (fancy, I know), that I actually get a little annoyed at the toilets that don’t flush by themselves; I’m not even kidding…and don’t even get me started on taps or paper towel dispensers that don’t know what I want. But I feel like we might be taking this a little too far. Especially you, Lysol. To be fair, this has actually been produced and sold by a plethora of companies in recent years. But one read through the online ad (see above link) for Lysol’s hands-free soap dispenser had me giggling at my desk – and it wasn't even because there are four "three great scents".


I believe we all need to stop and remember what exactly these products actually are before we buy our feelgoods from them. You promise that I will never again have to “touch a germy soap pump.” To that I say: Heaven forbid I touch something dirty the nanosecond before I wash my hands!!  The hands free dispenser also promises to encourage “proper and effective handwashing to help prevent the spread of germs.” Yes, and we will prevent the spread of germs… by washing our hands. Not by being freed from the tyranny of “germy soap pumps.”

Now before you sue me, Lysol Conglomerates, let me explain something: you are awesome and rich and successful, and I am not. Nobody listens to me anyway. You are still going to sell three million of these soap dispensers a week, and likely, I’ve pointed it out to a few people who didn’t know about it before. You can actually consider this an odd sort of promotion. Or, maybe it’s a Roast. Don’t only popular people get roasted? I think so. And finally, I’m just using you as the scapegoat for all companies who market this for anything other than what it really is: “one more way to laze your way around the house!” It’s not personal, it’s stupid. Stop trying to make us feel better about our laziness! Just admit that's what we're doing!

I suppose, in the end, I laugh at the fact that we are now gullible enough to buy into this sort of weird marketing scheme. Are we really so pulled in by the overuse of the word “family” and by pleasant lighting and models-as-moms? Where is the logic in our decision making? Or, do we still remember that soap existed before batteries and plastic?

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blue Monday: 1, Me: -10

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Blue Monday certainly lived up to its expected reality. As such, I am hesitantly working my way through the emotional repercussions, while taking lots of time to sleep and dream (an act of self preservation and recovery). You might know this about me by now: when Life gets too big and annoying, I no longer feel like writing about it. Until I return, I leave you with the sumptuous and delectable quote I just found:

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection
Anais Nin

 

 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

for the curious...

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...No, no I did not go for a run after work yesterday; the sun beat me to the horizon, and it was too dark to go by myself. I did, however, eat a dinnerplate full of bread & goat cheese for dinner (topped with my Gramma's plum jam. YUM!). I followed that with a large glass of milk and a movie. Then at bedtime, instead of sleeping, I organized a small part of the chaos that is my room. Once I got bored with that, I started an art project of sorts, which I'll show as it eventually progresses into doneness.

So, to recap: instead of working out, I ate two day's worth of carbs and sat on my ass all evening.

As for the run, I would say "I'll try again today" but it's all slushy and icy outside. I'm not sure I feel like getting my ankles wet.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

running terms

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I am craving a good run. Of course you know by now, “good run” is – in my mouth – a loose term at best. A more accurate description would be “vigorous walk”…but who’s counting.


Anyway.

I haven’t run since July of 2010 (almost 6 months ago to the day, actually) – so why the sudden urge? Was it the New Year switchover? My tightening pants? My BFFL inner thighs? Maybe this is an “all of the above” type scenario. Regardless, my running plans have been thwarted since January 1. Snow, rain, sleet, and intense Lower-Mainland-Darkness have been the culprits (and, of course, the occasional “it-is-way-too-sunny-to-go-running-because-my-sunglasses-broke-and-also-I’d-rather-watch-F.R.I.E.N.D.S” afternoon).

So what am I saying: I’m saying I might brave the weather today and go for my first jog of 2011. The Vancouver Sun Run is coming up again in a few months, and since I am planning to kick Last-Year-Me’s ass, I am feeling the need to practice; to get in, you know…what’s the word…shape.






Wink wink: As always, I am never opposed to running with a buddy
(so long as that buddy understands the Ashleyfied definition of the word “running”).

Monday, January 10, 2011

typical.

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Well, despite my best efforts,
I am just like every other girl.






I hope he calls.






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high point: by the letter

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As I mentioned earlier, I have made it a goal this year to pick at least one “high point” each day, every day, until 2011 concludes. What it’s turned into is this: my Android phone and me, taking pictures: a delicious meal, a quiet afternoon by the ocean. Actual note taking is a bit more laborious, and while I have started a journal to document the high notes, the journal is quite sparse; and I expect this trend to continue. Likely, the slower moments of my year will be documented via camera phone, and supplemented by the occasional one line entry in my dayplanner. Already I can tell you that the habit has settled in quite nicely and that I likely won’t be quitting this December 31st as planned, but rather, will continue for years to come…so long as I have an on-hand camera and a slow enough schedule to stop and take a picture.

(…I hope I always have an on hand camera and the subconscious intent to pause.)

The dichotomy is, of course, that once I start trying to pick the best moment of my day, choosing just one becomes quite difficult. So difficult, in fact, that many days I have opted to take note of two or three, or I have guilt for picking one over the other. Despite this, and because of this, I am filled with anticipation for the year ahead. Have all my days been this noteworthy? I suppose they have; and, I suppose, it’s about time I started paying attention.

I might even extend the challenge to you: start taking note of the good moments (even on the bad days). The moments can be simple (a good meal), or irreplaceable (a perfect niece), or extravagant (surprise trips) – but no matter what “kind” of moment they are, they should still be noted.

Today, my high point is one of personal accomplishment: I have (at the ripe old age of 27), for the first time in my life, attempted and finished a crossword puzzle all by myself. With no help from Anita! Without the aid of Google! (yes, Anita knows more than Google, which is why I listed her first).

I even took a picture.



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Friday, January 7, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

...why you should have healthy bedtime snacks readily available...


...yummy.
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why it's a good idea to close out the coffee shop...

...free baked goods!
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soundtrack for 2011

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(definitely worth the revisit)...

Shake The Dust, by Anis Mojgani


This is for the fat girls.
This is for the little brothers.
This is for the school-yard wimps, this is for the childhood bullies who tormented them.
This is for the former prom queen, this is for the milk-crate ball players.
This is for the nighttime cereal eaters and for the retired, elderly Wal-Mart store front door greeters.

Shake the dust.

This is for the benches and the people sitting upon them,
for the bus drivers driving a million broken hymns,
for the men who have to hold down three jobs simply to hold up their children,
for the nighttime schoolers and the midnight bike riders who are trying to fly. Shake the dust.

This is for the two-year-olds who cannot be understood because they speak half-English and half-god. Shake the dust.

For the girls with the brothers who are going crazy,
for those gym class wall flowers and the twelve-year-olds afraid of taking public showers,
for the kid who's always late to class because he forgets the combination to his lockers,
for the girl who loves somebody else. Shake the dust.

This is for the hard men, the hard men who want love but know that it won't come.
For the ones who are forgotten, the ones the amendments do not stand up for.
For the ones who are told to speak only when you are spoken to… and then are never spoken to.
Speak every time you stand so you do not forget yourself.

Do not let a moment go by that doesn't remind you that your heart beats 900 times a day and that there are enough gallons of blood to make you an ocean.

Do not settle for letting these waves settle and the dust to collect in your veins.

This is for the celibate pedophile who keeps on struggling,
for the poetry teachers and for the people who go on vacations alone.
For the sweat that drips off of Mick Jagger’s singing lips and for the shaking skirt on Tina Turner's shaking hips, for the heavens and for the hells through which Tina has lived.

This is for the tired and for the dreamers and for those families who'll never be like the Cleavers with perfectly made dinners and sons like Wally and the Beaver.

This is for the biggots, this is for the sexists, this is for the killers.
This is for the big house, pen-sentenced cats becoming redeemers
and for the springtime that always shows up after the winters.

This? This is for you.

Make sure that by the time the fisherman returns you are gone.

Because just like the days, I burn both ends and every time I write, every time I open my eyes I am cutting out a part of myself to give to you.

So shake the dust and take me with you when you do for none of this has never been for me.

All that pushes and pulls, pushes and pulls is for you.

So grab this world by its clothespins and shake it out again and again and jump on top and take it for a spin and when you hop off shake it again for this is yours.

Make my words worth it; make this not just another poem that I write, not just another poem like just another night that sits heavy above us all.

Walk into it, breathe it in, let it crash through the halls of your arms at the millions of years of millions of poets coursing like blood pumping and pushing making you live, shaking the dust.

So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be.


Jo Bradford / Green Island Art Studios



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Who is this girl? She’s not what I ordered.

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One of the men in our office came by our desks yesterday morning. “Happy New Year!” said my cheery coworker to the man. In response, he chortled and said “I think I got a used year.” It took me a few seconds, but I quickly got what he was saying and started to giggle. He continued in sarcastic explanation, “I think I’ve seen this one before….it looks familiar.” Laughing, I commiserated out loud – “Thank God I’m not the only one who feels that way.” Misery loves company, it’s true; and in this case, misery loved my week.

2011 has started with a run of downward spirals. I can’t even blink without making some sort of mistake, and I’ve also developed a condition in which every word I say sounds even stupider than the last. Thankfully, past does not define future, and sadness does not negate happiness - nor does fault erase potential. 2011 is going to be a good year, dammit.  It has to be.

...right?

Polyanna says: Of course it is going to be better! Every year I’m alive so far has been better than the one before it, and I don’t expect that trend to end any time soon. Even 2010, which was horrendously difficult, was “good” by definition (if “good” is defined as “having a purpose in the long run”). So 2011, logically, should follow up on a lot of the things I learned and experienced last year.

I’ve been given a lot of blank slates for 2011 – in different, surprise-gift formats (journals, sketchbooks, etc) – and I admit that I’m holding tightly to the symbolism. There’s something so remarkably healing about a blank page, and I fully intend to exploit that healing power in the coming months. Yah I said it: EXPLOIT. Stubbornly. Relentlessly. Keep-all-to-my-self-ishly. You can come too if you want, but only if you bring your crayons and your own blank pages.

Happy Used Year everyone; let’s make the best of it.


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