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Ink Quills Guest Post: Brand New Old Friend

I’m Gela. It’s a nickname I’ve decided to adopt. I’m supposedly an adult who’s responsible, but I think some people would contest that. I love to travel, cook, entertain, and read. I enjoy writing fiction, poetry, and whatever pops into my head.
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Dear Stranger,

We’ve never met and know nothing about each other, but I think we should be friends.

We live in a lonely world and I could use another friend. Unfortunately, I’m at the age where I don’t make friends easily anymore. Sure, I’ll be friendly, but I’m busy and you’re busy so it’s not likely that anything of substance will form.

I propose something new. Let’s cut through all the “getting to know you” crap and just be friends. Let’s get together over a cocktail and talk about the real issues. Let’s laugh, cry, and be genuine.

I promise I won’t get offended when you don’t call or text for days. I hope you won’t get offended when I forget to respond to you. I won’t feel slighted when you have other friends or even a life in general. I will be grateful for the time we have together. I will be a good friend to you.

There’s one minor issue to address first though. I can’t stand being lied to. I’m not talking about having differing opinions or that you might think I’m crazy at times. I expect those reactions from you. I’m just saying I expect you to respect me enough to not flat out lie to my face. I’ll promise the same.

Well, that’s my proposal. You interested?

Gela.

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Guest Post: I’ve Got Skills

This guest post comes from Mack who blogs at Is There Cheese In It? Also check out these posts; Wanted: Mom Friends Who Don’t Suck, As If Feeding The Kids Wasn’t Hard Enough, and I Wear “The Pants”, But Everyone In My Family Wears Pants… Sometimes. You can also find her on Twitter @cheeseinit.

skills

skills

New skills honed by motherhood:

* cooking meals with one arm, and one or more large, loud, hungry koala bears latched to my person

* driving with one arm in the back seat of my car (they think texting and driving is dangerous – they should outlaw driving with toddlers in the car)

* yeah, actually, just doing anything and everything with one arm, while lugging 25-50lb weights (i’m considering a second career in body building

* turning any meal into a smorgasbord of 1/4 inch toddler snacks

* peeing, pooping and showering with an audience

* defining “shower” as the cleansing of my face and armpits

* wearing maternity jeans well after the baby vacated the premises

* making shit up ALL the time on the fly, in response to the constant barrage of complex questioning (if you drink bath water, bugs will grow in your belly; if you stick your arm out the car window, a bee might fly into your palm and become embedded; if you are mean to your little sister, santa will not bring you presents; you have to brush your teeth two times a day, or else they will turn green and rot out of your mouth and no one will want to be your friend; yes, i just went pee in the toilet and that is why i am stuffing my face with M&Ms; when you grow up, you can __________ [chew gum/drink soda/drive/wipe your own ass/be the boss/ride a motorcycle, etc.])

* public displays of affection

* acting like it’s totally normal to go an entire day with someone else’s bodily fluids on my clothes

* plane travel while wrestling an angry octopus (don’t try this at home)

* changing the diaper of a moving target

* bathing two soapy, slippery little suckers simultaneously, rarely dropping either one

* carrying on telephone conversations with screaming hyenas in the background, and/or when said hyenas are trying to divest me of my communication device

* surviving sustained sleep deprivation and still appearing (to most) as a functioning adult human

* letting go of my OCD (a little) and learning to be okay with persistent, low-level filth

* embracing chaos (it’s a reluctant embrace, like when you’re cornered at a family reunion by your creepy uncle wally, who’s not actually your uncle (i don’t think), and who thinks you are your mother (who passed away over a decade ago) but hey, baby steps)

* being okay with not knowing everything, and being wrong (every once in a while ;))

* being a lot less judgy and a lot more understanding

* mastery of the 15 minute target shopping trip

* tempering my gag reflex

* whispering in a menacing manner and its corollary, Mom Voice

* i am really, REALLY good at counting to three

* bat ears/supersonic hearing

* reading books upside-down, otherwise they “CAN’T SEEEEEE IIIIIIIT!!!”

* amateur pediatrics and child psychology degrees at University of Google

* stealth, speedy ninja sex

* purchasing supremely embarrassing items from the drug store with a straight face (Gas X, Korbel, condoms, super-duper tampons and a jumbo-pack of pregnancy tests (either way i’m gonna need at least three out of five!))

 

Things that i am completely incapable of doing since i became a mom:

* holding an adult conversation when there are children in the vicinity

* remembering that thing i was just thinking about/looking for

* leaving the house with less than 37 pounds of baggage (and that’s not even counting my kids)

* arriving anywhere on time

* driving past a firetruck, ambulance, garbage truck or any manner of construction vehicle without getting really excited by proxy and pointing and exclaiming “LOOK!”

* basic math

* keeping the house, car and dog clean

* putting laundry away where it belongs

* maintaining normal adult human obligations such as regular medical check ups and dental care

* shaving (both, entire legs) on a regular basis … bikini… fuhgeddaboudit…

* finishing a thought or a sentence

* staying up late

* “partying”

* sleeping through the night

* giving a shit what other people think/say about my parenting and lifestyle

* giving a shit about other peoples’ parenting and lifestyles

* foreplay

* achieving my pre-baby weight

* wearing uncomfortable/matching underwear

* sneezing or laughing really hard without peeing a little bit

* remembering what my life was like “before” (what on earth did we DO with all that free time?!?)

* relaxing

* feeling shame

 

Things i pretend i don’t know how to do anymore when my husband is around (shhhh, don’t tell my women’s studies professors ;))

* use any and all household electronics, including remote controls and the DVR

* open a wine bottle

* reach things from tall shelves

* mix a pitcher of crystal light

* go grocery shopping (except vons.com and target, those i can handle)

* pick up dog poop

* take out the garbage

* blowjobs (i mysteriously manage to refresh my recollection at opportune times, e.g., in cases of emergency and/or as a bribery negotiating tactic ;))

Things my husband pretends he doesn’t know how to do anymore when i’m around: 

* pee IN the toilet

* hold in gas

* surreptitiously rearrange his junk

* basic table manners

* romance, including those long lost sweet serenades on his gee-tar

* hear certain frequencies of baby tears between the hours of 2 and 6am

What skills have YOU learned/lost?

*No Doubt

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Guest Post: Let’s Talk About Sex

This guest post comes from the wonderful and very sweet, Karen, who blogs at The Heart’s Inner Workings. You can also find her on Twitter @KarenPilarski. Make sure to give her some blog love! xx

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Boys will be boys who sniff their armpits to evaluate if a shower is in order. Dudes who put empty milk carton back in the fridge. For kicks they kill ants with a magnifying glass. Over time these boys grow into young men on the verge of adulthood. They are no longer interested in Star Wars figures or watching Disney flicks. Having lived my whole life as a girl I may not be totally educated on what is a boy. I do know the difference between a boy and a man.

I comprehend the curiosity about sex. Everyone can recall the first time those thoughts started to bang around in brains. The naked statue in the art store resulted in pointing and giggling. An older kid using a sexual term sends a jolt to boy’s innocence.

My brothers as youngsters would huddle in a corner of the local library and peruse at that book called ‘the joy of sex.’ Do we as parents spend too much time worrying about girls and their body and self esteem issues? Are boys being neglected? Pornography gives an unrealistic idea to boys as to what sex is. Am I an expert? No! To be candid, I can still count the number of people I have been around the block with on one hand. As a woman, I feel compelled to give an education lesson to these poor misguided young boys.

1. Sex isn’t really that random– In these adult movies, the scenario is usually the same. Some mailman, doctor, manager, flight attendant, etc  are chilling out when some busty and frisky chick happens on by. Usually there is little conversation that doesn’t involve obscenities. Funky, cheesy music starts playing and it is ON. Realistically it takes more than a smile and a hunky guy to get women in the mood. I certainly don’t reward my mailman in that fashion! While there is something called instant attraction, it takes more conversation to make it all the way. Women adore a guy that makes her laugh and wants to know about her. Like for starters her name.

2. Sex isn’t always earth shattering– Elaine from Seinfeld said it best “fake, fake ,fake.” I’m sorry to crush the notion that women climax during every time she has intercourse. Honestly, it takes understanding each other’s bodies and asking questions as to what feels good. All women ‘fake it’ at one point or another. It is about time management. We have things to do and places to be. We have to get up early in the morning. I’d put money on it that Crystal Glass (the name I made up), the blonde nurse in the adult movies, is faking. As a serious ‘actress’ she probably tired of screaming the oh’s and oh my gods.

3. Women are not contortionists– Some women who have been in the ‘business’ a long time are very uh..bendy. They appear to love having their body manipulated like that. Truth be told, the women probably don’t like it (see number 2). While it is fun to be open to new things, and healthy to experiment, women know what they will not do. No matter how much a man begs. Unless women are similar to Gumby, who is green and has a horse name pokey (insert obvious joke). I don’t predict scenes from adult movies being tried out. Sorry fellas.

I’m not trying to make the male species feel bad about pornography. It can be a good way to spice up a relationship or get through a lonely period. I just want young men to realize what they see in adult films or on regular films is not realistic. How would they feel if women held men to those standards? We as women know not every man is hot and well endowed. It takes getting to know someone to feel a spark of interest. What one person labels as not good looking is good looking to someone else. Love and sex takes time. Knowing this and respecting women is what makes a boy transform into a man.

*Pomplamoose

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Guest Post: Bippity, Bobbity, Boobies!

This guest post comes from a very awesome writer who blogs over at Times Like These and who’s a mom to such an adorable daughter, Charley. I’ve kinda become in awe of this great writer. She writes real, true, and honest…. the best way. Some great posts to check out: There’s no swagger in my wagon, but can I offer you a seashell? (best title evah), Sweet Dream Are Made Of… Irony, and Miniature Disasters and Tiny Catastrophes.

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From the moment my family saw the movie preview for Oz the Great and Powerful, plans for a movie night were made. The Wizard of Oz is one of my all time favorites. I still like it even after Charley Anne has watched it 1000 times and dressed like Dorothy this past Halloween and always demands I play the part of Wicked Witch when she acts out the movie. Yes, I am fully aware of the door I am leaving open by freely admitting to ‘acting’ the part of the witch. What can I say – the kid has great intuition. The movie proved to be fabulous. It was awesome and lived up to our expectations. Granted, our expectations are set pretty low by overexposure to all those stupid Barbie and the _____ movies (fill in the blank with any adjective-noun combination: Wicked Unicorn, Happy Hamster, Deadly Virus). Initially, my husband and I feared that Charley would be disappointed, or even worse – BORED, when she discovered it was not full of her familiar, favorite characters.

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My maternal instinct even kicked in (delayed  as usual) sometime during the previews as I considered how insanely horrifying modern cinematography and computer graphics could really make the those flying monkeys. This would obviously lead to my kid having some wicked nightmares (that would ultimately, and most importantly, affect my future sleep cycle). However, the kid never flinched. She was completely mesmerized and sat through the whole movie in complete awe. I was so impressed with her attention span as we chatted about the movie. We even held hands as we discussed characters and plot points. This beat the hell out of the last time we watched a movie together and it ended in sobbing as Charley flipped her shit when one of the Santa Buddies was temporarily paralyzed and the spirit of Christmas was compromised.

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Who the hell thinks of these kids’ films? As delighted as I was with Charley’s behavior, I was floored when, with one small question, a teachable moment presented itself. A night of entertainment and a life lesson with my kid? Pinch me, the teacher-person in me was dreaming. With wondrous innocence Charley asked, “Why did the witch with the red hat became so ugly and mean?” [She is referencing Theodora’s transformation from the innocent, kind sister into the classic wicked witch that we know from the originalWizard of Oz film]. A simple question to most people, but you need to first understand some background to know why I suddenly felt, for a small moment, I was starring in my very own Lifetime Original movie. For several months now we have had the overwhelming task of explaining inner vs. outer beauty to Charley.

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Last Spring she sat on the table in her gymnastics leotard, smacked her belly and asked me if she was fat -like the girl at school said she was. Shit. Shit. Shit. It’s way too soon for this. I suppressed my gut reaction to teach Charley to just start saying, “Your mom is fat” when she was confronted by rude, little demons. However, I decided to not screw up this moment – mostly because I teach middle school and have witnessed too many little girls with unnecessary body issues. Not to mention, there is no way I can afford the therapy later on if I really blow this. After a long sigh, deep breath and quick prayer – the best I could come up with was a small explanation about the meaning of the word “fat.  I ended up just emphasizing that, above all else, what counts is how beautiful a person’s heart is. Hokey and cliche, but she got it. We’ve since had many talks and reminders about the measure of beauty being in our hearts – with no help from Barbie, Bratz and all those damn princesses!

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OK, back to the Lifetime movie… I stood poised and ready to carefully guide Charley through this very real and timely connection to a really tough topic. While lights shone down from heaven and a piano played somewhere in the background, I squatted down with Charley and explained how Theodora lost her beauty and kindness only when her heart became evil and full of hate. With brilliance I effortlessly transitioned into addressing Glinda’s role and how caring and loving she was.

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The moment was glorious. It was the stuff mother-of-the-year awards are based on. My heart was full and I was already planning my outfit for the Parents magazine photo shoot. I brought our conversation to a close by asking Charley to recall what made Glinda so beautiful. I gently placed my hand on Charley’s heart and softly whispered, “So kiddo, what did Glinda have right here [tapping her heart] that made her such a beautiful person?” With no hesitation, my daughter raised her hands to her chest and replied with her sweet voice, “Her boobies hung out.” Dammit. You win again, Disney. *Music pick… Grace Potter And The Nocturnels… very cool.

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Guest Post: Five ways your weekend is different now that you have kids.

This guest post comes from Lori from Once Upon A Product… Stories of life, love, and makeup. I love when I come across a blog that’s so funny and original. No matter what Lori writes about, she keeps you smiling. Some other posts to check out…

Who Are You Wearing?!?! – School in the 80’s, gotta love the clothes… and wearing the boys. Frenemies – What do Nutella, Crunchy Cookie Butter, and Vodka have in common? Those bastards are so damn tempting! In Sync – When music and hot pink corsets collide.

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Before I had kids (two boys ages five and eight) a typical weekend was jammed packed full of parties/events/gatherings/things. Remember Friday afternoon happy hour? Remember concerts? What about brunch after rolling out of bed at 1:00 on Sunday afternoon? Remember brunch???

Yeah, that doesn’t really happen anymore. Because now, things are different.

Dining out is different.

I live in Portland Oregon, America’s foodie capital. In my twenties you would never find me at a chain restaurant – why would I go to Applebee’s or Chili’s when I could support one of the zillions of local, farm to table, delicious, organic restaurants available to me?

Now, on most Saturday nights you will find me out with my clan at Red Robin complaining like an old lady about how loud it is (why would you go there if you didn’t have kids? I see people on dates there and it’s so confusing) how nothing on the menu has any flavor, and how a chicken sandwich is a chicken sandwich, not a chicken burger. Jesus.

So. Not. A. Burger.

So. Not. A. Burger.

Sleeping in is different.

Saturday and Sunday morning used to mean waking up between ten and noon and as previously mentioned, going out to that brunch. My signature dish was a giant plate of biscuits and gravy, because I was all into my health and stuff.

Tomorrow, by seven at the latest, I will be bleary eyed sipping my coffee while constantly being told to “LOOK Mommy LOOK” at SpongeBob doing something funny, Fairly Odd Parents doing something annoying or talking to Dora (because nobody else in the room will do it) answering her question regarding what my favorite part of today is.
Answer: NOTHING.

'Eff you, Dora!

‘Eff you, Dora!

Drinking is different.

I used to love going out for a fancy drink. Give me the most foo-foo girly thing you got, with lots of cherries, pineapples and tiny umbrellas with extra sugar on the rim. I want a work of sweet, syrupy art going down my gullet. Bonus points to the bartender who has the pretentious giant square ice cubes or the little plastic monkeys.

Tonight, I will settle for some old airplane booze bottles that have been sitting in my freezer since the year of the flood. Either over ice or mixed with some grape Juicy Juice, garnished with an actual grape – if I can find one that’s not furry.

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Date night is different.

On the off chance my husband and I do get out for a date night it always ends the same way. I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. Yes we go out to dinner and have a few drinks. Then, we end up buzzed at where else, the worlds most romantic spot – TARGET.

We call it “Drunk Target” or “Tipsy Target” depending on how loopy we are. Because nothing caps off a special evening like stumbling down aisles under fluorescent light with a big red plastic cart to hold you up. I try on clothes, he looks at books and toys and we leave with Ziploc Bags and giant plastic Rubbermaid containers.

Plastic tub and a purple sweater with unicorns on it. STOP ME.

Plastic tub and a purple sweater with unicorns on it. STOP ME.

Movies are different.
I am an actor. I used to see every single movie that was up for an academy award religiously every year. Last year I saw one, Les Misérables. Oh wait, and BraveWreck It Ralph, and ParaNorman. That’s it. Lately I keep talking about how I’d like to see that “new movie” Silver Linings Playbook which I’m beginning to think isn’t ever going to happen.And yesterday I saw Snoop Dogg as a snail in Turbo, which made me pretty damn misérable.

Fo Shizzle.

Fo Shizzle.

And of course as cliché as it sounds, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
Well, maybe some of it. I mean, “for the world?”
I’d get out of eating bland chicken sandwiches and forced early morning conversation with Dora.
My airplane booze and my Drunk Target – I’m keeping those.
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~ Lori Ferraro is an actor, writer and author of the blog onceuponaproduct.com where she writes about her lifelong obsessions with make up, Mick Jagger and the 80’s, and her past obsessions with big hair and boys.
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Guest Post: Vacation vs. Vacation With Kids

This guest post comes from the hilarious Michelle who blogs here. You can also find her on Twitter where she cracks me up all the time!

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Ah, vacation.

We just returned home from a wonderful vacation at the beach. We went to the Wild Dunes Resort in the Isle of Palms, SC. This place is amazing! If you have never been, you have got to go.

Sun, sand, and surf. Afternoon drinks on the balcony looking out at the ocean. Waking up to a leisurely breakfast then sauntering down to lounge by the pool or the beach.

*Sigh.*

Sounds blissful, does it not?

Oh wait.

I forgot meltdowns in the midst of Cheerios, attempting afternoon naps with unwilling participants and having my bathing suit pulled down to flash everyone at the pool.

So…not quite the vision you pictured initially, is it?

See, there’s a difference between vacation vs. vacation with kids.

Vacation: Wake up around 9am. Take your time enjoying breakfast. Maybe sipping your coffee on the balcony looking at the ocean. Leisurely strolling to the pool around 10:30am.

Vacation with kids: Woke up at 7:00am by little tiny people climbing on you. Stumble to the kitchen to chug down coffee and get your kids cereal. All the while, kids are bouncing off the walls to get to the beach and the pool. Spend thirty minutes getting sunscreen and bathing suits on your kids. Make it to the pool by 8:00am.

Vacation: Lounge pool side. Basking in the warmth of the sun and smelling the salt air. Occasionally, getting into the water to cool off. Read a book or magazine.

Vacation with kids: After dumping out 42 pool toys in kid’s pool and finally getting settled in a lounge chair, you get to relax for, oh let’s say 10 minutes. Then your toddler decides he will run to the big pool and dive right in like some sort of deranged Michael Phelps. You hastily get out of your chair to catch him seconds before the catastrophe and spend the next hour in the pool making sure said toddler doesn’t sink to the bottom, whereby he pulls down your suit to flash your boob to everyone.

Vacation: Headed to the beach with only a towel, a red solo cup and your significant other. Soaking up the sun and listening to the ocean. Taking a walk on the beach with your significant other. Holding hands. Gentling splashing in the surf.

Vacation with kids: Head to the beach like some sort of Sherpa carrying an umbrella, chairs, 36 beach toys, towels, snacks, drinks and kids swim shoes. Attempt to set up your things on the beach while your kids run out into the ocean. Keep trying to reel them back in so you can finish setting up. Give up. Dump things in a pile. Play with kids in the ocean. Then play with kids in the sand whereby assuring sand will fill every crack and crevice you possess.

Vacation: After making yourself an afternoon drink, sit on the balcony in the shade and watching the waves crash on the shore. No real agenda. Just relaxing and enjoying your significant other’s company. Maybe you’ll take a nap. Or read a book. Or just relax.

Vacation with kids: After several hours outside, manage to get kids back into condo. Get them lunch. Give them baths. All the while keep them from destroying everything in the condo because they have to touch everything. Try to get them to take naps because they are exhausted. Spend 30 minutes trying to get them to sleep but they fight it like something fierce. Finally, they pass out.

Vacation: Head to dinner around 7:00pm. After dinner, go to a bar on the beach. Have a few drinks, listen to music and head home late in the evening.

Vacation with kids: Go out to dinner at 5:00pm. Spend the whole time trying to get kids to behave and stay in their seats. Scarf down your food (and maybe your one drink) so you can get the heck out of there with your unruly children. Upon immediately entering the condo, give the kids a tubby, and get them to bed. Spend 30 minutes wrestling your kids. They finally pass out and so do you by 8:30pm.

Vacation: Just you and your significant other. No real agenda.

Vacation with kids: You, your significant other and your beautiful, sweet, crazy kids. You have to make sure you have a plan in place everyday so the kids are occupied, exercised and entertained.

Yep, it sure is different with vacation vs. vacation with kids.

But, seeing the joy on your children’s faces as they experience the beach for the first time, listening to their laughter as they splash in the ocean and watching their smiling faces building sand castles, it makes it even better.

*The Boys Of Summer

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Guest Post: Attending and Wrangling

This guest post comes from the lovely Kate. I can’t thank her enough for her guest posts! You can find her at Tree Line Studio and at Kate Joranson. Also, here is her first guest post. Thank you so much, Kate!

If you’d like to guest post, drop me an email at elle dot mommyhood at gmail dot com.

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At any given time during the day, whether I’m at work, or at home caring for my 2 year old, it can be difficult to pay attention to what I need. I might notice I need to stretch my back and shoulders, but then I get swept into a game of baila circulo.

Or my lovely little barnacle-like daughter senses I need something for my personal well-being and so, of course, decides to demand something of me.

Anything.

And whether or not I decide to provide what she “needs,” I’ve shifted my attention away from the sensation I noticed in myself. This is not specific to parents of course, as there are lots of things that demand an adult’s attention throughout the day.

What I find especially challenging about parenting is the constant outward focus of my attention. It can be relentless.

It can be such a wonderful reprieve to spend time with J when we are both attending to the same external thing, like a territorial robin chirping aggressively, or a bunch of porta-potties that she has decided to call “mailboxes.” I get to connect with my daughter while having my own internal experience for a moment.

Although I may never have indulged in the backstretch or moment of meditation I hoped for, these connections invariably satisfy other needs, ones that I am often barely conscious of.

There’s a nice slowness to these moments– I’m not wrangling her into her clothes, or wrestling her to the ground to get sunblock on her– we’re both observing and soaking up our amazing surroundings.

These moments are, in part, how our picture walks came about. My husband and I have taken these kinds of walks for years, with and without cameras. Here is a series of photos from several recent walks that I’ll be adding to my Repairs collection.

k-j1

k-j2

k-j3~~~~~

*Adele ~ Chasing Pavements

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