Author Archives: robynbird

About robynbird

I've been a writer since I could hold a pencil in my hand. I'm learning new and wonderful things about myself through my writing and realized it isn't enough just to write it down, I need to share it. What I have to say may not be Earth shattering, but it is filled with love and I hope it moves those who read it.

time to cull the herd

Don’t you find as you get older that you just have less f**ks to give?

If we’re to believe Alice, I’m not the only one.

I want a simpler life.
I want strong relationships with the people in my life.
I grow weary of the drama.
I’m not drama, so why have it in my life?
It’s time for a cull.
Time to rid my life of unnecessary complications and weak relationships.

My life won’t look different to others. (Unless ‘others’ is among the culled.)
My life may not look that much different to me.
But I can assure you I’ll feel so much better.

The f**ks I give are mine.
And I’ll be holding on to them, thanks.
So I bid unnecessary complications and weak relationships a hearty:

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don’t f**k with Mr Zero

Years ago, I adopted a saying from the movie When Harry Met Sally.
“Don’t f**k with Mr Zero.”
I am Mr Zero.
Do not f**k with me.
And for your own good, do not f**k with my kids.

We were at the U.S. Capital building on Monday. A tour with YBW’s cousin, her husband, and their three year old daughter, who are visiting us from out of town. Joining us, YBW’s brother and Thing G.
All was well until YBW’s brother displayed a bit of “hangry” behavior. Y’all know what hangry is, right? Means you act like a great big dick with the excuse that you’re hungry. (note: that’s my definition, not Webster’s or OE’s)

Now I know something about hangry…only I never actually called it that. Thing 2 is hypoglycemic and can become grouchy when her blood sugar is low. A quick protein-rich carbohydrate snack to bring her blood sugar up quickly and keep it up, and boom! She’s right as rain.

Anyway.
YBW’s brother needs to eat. Like, yesterday.
So Thing G offers him a piece of gum to tide him over. Well, the gum is declined. Not rudely, but not exactly with politeness either. Thing G being the Thing G he is, is happy to accept the decline of his offer, but wants to explain why he offered the gum. His uncle doesn’t want any part of hearing it. He turns to the kid and just shouts, “NO!”
And that’s when my hackles go up.
Don’t talk to my kid like that, mother f**ker! (Only I don’t say that out loud.)
What I do say is, “Whoa, how about no thank you?”
I take Thing G by the hand, who is still trying to explain…
His uncle says, “I’m just hungry!”
I reply, “I understand that, but don’t take it out on us.”
So I hold Thing G back a moment as his uncle keeps walking.
Thing G says, “I just want to explain why I offered the gum.”
I got close to his face and said, “Let it go, bud. He doesn’t want to hear it. But you can tell me instead.”
By this time YBW has caught up to us, I signal to him that I’ve got it.
Thing G explains that sometimes when he’s hungry, chewing a piece of gum will tied him over until he can eat.
Makes a kind of sense.

I’m freaking livid.
Don’t you talk to my kid like that. I don’t give a damn if you’re hangry or not.
But I calm my heart and take Thing G’s hand and we go down the stairs together.

Meanwhile, YBW’s brother has eaten and has returned his normal likable self. So instead of letting this eat me up inside, I let it go. I protected the kid when he needed back up and he’s safe so I can retreat from momma-lioness mode. And we talk and joke and move on about our day.

A bit later, YBW comes to me and says, “Thanks for defending my kid.”
I look him in his eyes and say, “He’s my kid too. But, you’re welcome.”
Thing G sees this. He has a little smile on his lips as he takes his next bite.

Now, I ride that kid hard, and sometimes we don’t see eye to eye.
But I will cut you before I let you be unkind to that kid, or treat him with disrespect.
I love him.
He is part of my brood. Therefore under my protection. Now, I might kick his ass, but I’ll go down swinging before I let somebody else do it.

Of course, Thing G will eventually need to learn that he won’t always be able to express his own point of view. He’ll have to figure out how to accept that and function through it. He’s grown so much in the last four years. And I don’t just mean he’s now taller than me. I mean he’s beginning to advocate for himself. He’s beginning to show how capable he can be. He’s beginning to figure out his place in the world. This is trick for any seventeen year old, but especially so for one with his diagnosis.
But Thing G isn’t his diagnosis. It’s taken his family quite some time to really understand and accept that. It’s taken him a bit longer to understand and accept that. He’s a work in progress. (Like every single one of the rest of us.)

When it comes to the children in my brood (however grown), listen well. All of you.
I am the Mistress of All Evil and I. Will. Cut. You.

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occasionally I burst into song

Standing in the bathroom yesterday morning. YBW is shaving and I’m doing my hair.
I begin to sing about what I’m observing. Just belting it out, making it up as I go along. The tune comes from nowhere, the words are silly and mostly make a kind of sense that doesn’t.
He chuckles.
I say, “See! Real people sometimes burst into song in their daily lives!”
He nods, “Yes, but you’re not singing verse after verse.”
“Neither do I have a choreographed dance number.” I say with a wink.

Folks really do sing at random as they go about their day.
Sure, huge orchestral music and background dancers aren’t involved. (At least not in my random song bursts.) But there are times that life really is a cabaret, old chum, and one must burst into song.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have the Sherman brothers

or Stephen Sondheim

be our personal lyricists.
But that’s OK. When you’re moved by the situation and need to create a little music about it, go ahead. Belt it out! Sing as though MGM has created an entire technicolor soundstage as a place for you to stand.
Sing the song of your life.

After I sang about personal grooming, I switched into Libertines mode and sang I Get Along

So sing your song. Sing loudly or quietly. Sing on or off key. Sing with your eyes wide open or shut. Sing the song of your life. Sing the words and tune that happen in your soul at any moment.
It’ll make you feel good and if someone gives you grief or causes you to feel embarrassed, just remember my favorite line from I Get Along:

I get along just singing my song, people tell me I’m wrong.
F**k ’em.

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(not) punching people at Costco

Ran to Costco yesterday.
Big mistake.

Everyone and their third cousin was up in that joint.
Nobody knew how to drive a buggy. Nobody knew how to load their items on the belt.
Bunch of freaking lollygaggers!

And I’m on the phone with Thing 1 having an absolute fit about it!
She is howling with laughter about how she learned to drive from me (fuming and cussing without really being mad) because that’s how I was rolling through the big ol’ warehouse store.
In the checkout line, the woman in front of me parked her buggy at a 45 degree angle instead of moving it straight up. That was the last straw for me.
I whispered into the phone, “The chick in line in front of me. I’m going to punch her right in the back of her head. Hard.”
Thing 1 laughed and said, “One day someone will hear you and you’ll get in a real fight. I’ll have to come to come see you at the hospital where you’ll be handcuffed.”
We laughed and laughed.
Though that would be just my luck…

I said goodbye to her before I checked out. (I may be a bitch, but I’m not rude. I think it’s so disrespectful to cashiers to be on the phone while they’re helping you.)
I did call Thing 1 back to report the ridiculous way the cashier backed my box. Eggs underneath peanut butter? Really, bitch?
Thing 1 had quite a laugh at me!

Of course I wasn’t quite finished with my spitting rant, so I called Sundance. If there’s anyone to join you in a crazy, spun-up rant, it’s Sundance. And that was just what I needed!
I’m all screeching and shouting and cussing and she’s feeding me with a spoon. At one point only dogs could hear us.
And then it stopped.
And I said, “This is my anxiety manifesting itself.”
And just like that (finger snap) I was calm.

This is something for me to pay serious attention to.
And I mean Serious Attention.

My anxiety is heightened right now. My stress levels are elevated.
I know this. I’m working to manage this. But sometimes it manifests in shopping rage. And in reality, nobody was harmed. I didn’t punch that woman. I avoided handcuffed hospital visits and possible jail time.
Managing my anxiety is an active process.
I’ve got good help.
I’m learning to let go. I can’t control everything, however much I long to. I’m working at not taking things so seriously. I’m working at making sure my expectations are realistic.
So…sometimes I want to punch strangers in the back of their heads. And sometimes I want to stab people with my ice pick. (It’s metaphorical, I swear! I never carry one in my bag or anything…I’m not remotely shifty…)
But wanting to punch or stab is not actually doing either.
So it’s cool.
Maybe.
Just gotta keep paying attention. Knowing I feel stressed or anxious is good, knowing why is better. Knowing how to manage those feelings is best.
Right now I’m at better…gives me something to strive for.
For the moment, that’s good enough for me.

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paying attention to my gratitude

I’ve been thinking about what it means to feel gratitude.
What it means to appreciate what’s important in your world.

These thoughts have been bouncing around for a few days, inspired by my therapy appointment, another with the acupuncturist, and a long-overdo conversation with my beloved sister in law. And though these thoughts are not as fully formed as they might become, it feels to me that they’re ready to hatch.

In living my intention, I’m inclined to believe that in love, all things are possible. But somehow I think it’s more than that. Well, perhaps not ‘more’, as much as ‘in addition to’. (Remember up there where I said these thoughts might not be fully formed?)
Nothing will ever convince me that the word with which I intend to live my life is not love. But…I’m always open to adding new meanings to my personal definition of love. And that’s the pinball of thought that’s been bouncing around in my brain.


A woman I love so dearly commented, “I just love this pic and your life.” in response to this photo.
And you know, for the first time in a while, I stopped and actively thought about it. I love my life too!
I mean I really love my life!
I’m grateful, thankful, and joyful for who and what I have in my life!

I get stuck in my head so frequently. So damn frequently that I don’t actually stop to look around me. And I miss it. I miss all the little things. Sometimes the big things too. And in those moments of recognition, gratitude bursts forth from my heart like a dam breaking.

I don’t think the people in my life experience my gratitude. How could they really, if I don’t?
I told YBW how much I appreciate him. How grateful I am for him. Not only as my husband, but as a human being. His kindness, his patience, his ridiculous sense of humor. My life would be lacking without him.
I’m not sure he feels it. So I’ve charged myself with being more mindful about showing my gratitude, especially to him.

I’m grateful for new and different healthcare providers that have helped me feel well for the first time in years. Thank you for helping me move from a place of being actively sick, to being actively getting healthy!

I’m grateful for my nieces and nephews, none of which are my blood kin. The love we share is sacred. Each one of them is so precious to me. And when I get a random voicemail from one announcing he’ll be in the area with his boyfriend and best friend looking for a place to stay, there is no hesitation. I simply open our home to them. Wherever I am will always be home to my giant brood of children, grown as they are.

I feel gratitude for the relationships I have with my stepsons. My love for them is much bigger than I think any of them understands. Thing C and and Thing G are a blessing in my world. They’re teaching me how to understand boys in a way I have never experienced. And though I’m quick to say I need more estrogen in my world, I’m grateful for the life lessons these guys share with me.

I’m grateful for the women I love. The ones that call me when they need to be talked off the ledge, or that I call for the same reasons. Though we may not see each other or talk as often as we’d like, not a moment has passed in the in between.
That by my precious Sally saying she loves my life, I remember to stop and love it too.
That when Nicole calls me from across the country because she can’t break the cycle of chaos in her brain, I can tell her that she can’t fix it. And it settles her because she knew it, but needed to hear me say it to get there. That Jessica and I can speak of all our joys or troubles with love and understanding.
That Sundance and I are able to communicate oftentimes without even using words.

I’m filled with gratitude when I see my grown girls living their lives. That Thing 1 has become a woman I am constantly awed by, yet retain the feeling of knowing what it’s like to hold her in my arms and keep her safe.
That even though my relationship with Thing 2 feels more like navigating a minefield at the moment, my heart fills with gratitude for all the years of loving each other.

I’m so much more grateful to YBW than he can even imagine. I took a leap of faith all those years ago, and trusted him when he told me he thought he was falling in love with me. That leap of faith has brought me great joy and some pain. But mostly it’s brought me love. A new and different way of loving. When I think “hashtag love my life” so much of that is because of him. I’m the me I am now because of my relationship with him.
Now, I’m the first to admit this me is still me in progress…but I’m a pretty damn good me.

Huh! Looks like Destination Girl is learning to be grateful for the Journey after all.

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what I learned from crayons

I discovered that there is was a water leak. It seems to have started in the boy’s bathroom and run under the wall into my work area of the bedroom.
As I work at tables, I lack storage space. The solution for that is stylish (yet affordable) storage boxes. Constructed of sturdy cardboard, the boxes in direct contact with the floor absorbed the water. I didn’t discover this for some time. And last night when I did, I was sad and disappointed.
The box that took the most damage was filled with boxes of crayons. Now this may not seem like a big deal to most people. But it is a terrifically big deal to me. All the crayons were “collector” boxes. Most of them were standard Crayola cardboard. Some of the crayons have never even been used.
I carefully removed everything from the box, salvaged what I could. Some of the boxes were damaged beyond repair, so those brand new crayons went into quart storage bags. I labeled the bags based on the boxes, “Crayola’s 100th Anniversary 100 colors collection.”, “First edition box of 96 crayons.”, “Crayon color names retired in 1990 special edition box.” And so on.
Now here’s where it gets real.
I know crayons aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
But in the Roby scheme of things crayons are of a most big deal.

I was feeling frustrated. In all honesty I was feeling a bit defeated.
Does that sound dramatic?
I suppose it does.
Yet that’s how I felt.

I asked myself why it is that so many of my things have been destroyed since moving into this house.
My family photos.
My dishes.
My crayons.

Is this house out to get me? Is it retaliating because I call it a “hand me down house”?
This stimulates that awful feeling of sacrificing everything to come here and attempt to make a life. That I continue to sacrifice parts of *my* life to be in this one.
Those feelings had subsided. I finally felt as though it was all for the right reasons.
Yet here they are. All shiny and new because some cardboard got wet.

It’s hurtful. To give up everything you’ve spent your entire life creating. To turn simply walk away from it. Even bringing some of your “things” along doesn’t make it simpler, or feel any less painful. And then those things are broken or damaged…
I feel angry! Must everything be stripped from me? (This is super dramatic, but I’m serious about the way it feels.)

So I went to bed feeling…alienated.
But I woke up with a different feeling.
A sort of peaceful understanding.

Perhaps it’s OK that photos and crayon boxes get ruined with water. Perhaps it’s OK that dishes break.
Perhaps it’s part of the process.
Perhaps I’m still evolving.
Perhaps I still need to shed bits of that old life as I work at building this new one.
Perhaps crayons are simply colored wax wrapped in paper. (My ass! Crayons are magical and that’s the truth!)

I realize that we all “have a past”. I realize that we carry through our lives the things we hold dear. But they are simply things. Things that are emotionally tied to, or are physical representations of experiences from our pasts.
Perhaps the trick to building a new life is to somehow keep the emotions while being able to say goodbye to the things.
All in good time, my little pretties. All in good time.

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Another Day of Sun (from) La La Land

It’s raining here again. And to be quite frank, I tired of it.
I’m sharing with you a little song from La La Land to perk us all up.
If you haven’t seen this film, you’re missing out on something wonderful!

Please listen responsibly.

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pinball machine thoughts

I’ve been sick since we got home from NYC. Is it allergies? Is it a virus? I don’t know, but there is enough mucus for several people sloshing around in my head.
The coughing is even worse. Because after two babies my pelvic floor isn’t what it used to be and I’ve had more “accidents” in the last two weeks than when I was a toddler.
TMI?
My apologies.
I’m just keeping it real here in my nest.

I still haven’t gone through the photos I took in New York. I mean I moved them from the camera to the computer, but there they sit. No edits. Nothing in my ‘to be printed’ folder. I’m either really taking my time or I’m just not up to it. Either way, I’m about to have loads of time on my hands. Only eight more days of school (including this day).

We did have a lovely time. We walked everywhere! All the way down to the Brooklyn Bridge, half-way across, and back.
We ate delicious food. Drank good wine and spirits. People watched in Washington Square Park. And even got shouted at by a creepy homeless guy.

Vintage shops were a disappointment.
But the bookshops were not!
At Strand (18 miles of books, don’tcha know) I found some very cool used books, a brand new one I’m pretty excited about, and bought my very first Moleskine notebook à la Dash and Lily. Only mine is navy instead of red.
At Books of Wonder I drooled over the books in the rare collection. (22K for a first ed. of Where the Wild Things Are signed by Maurice Sendak with a Wild Thing doodle.)
I spent a goodly bit of time choosing a couple books I couldn’t leave without. If I still had a preschool classroom I would have bought more. There were (are) so many books to use as the jumping off point for lesson plans!

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the Thing 2 situation. We still haven’t spoken, though we have exchanged texts. I’m not sure how I can help her in her journey. I’m not sure it’s my place to help her at this point. I do know that “getting yourself together” shouldn’t be a reason not to be together.
I wonder if children have any idea how hurtful the things they do really are. I believe they know instinctively that nothing will make a mother stop loving her child…but I wonder if they understand that one can only bend so long before there is irreparable damage. I wonder this because I don’t know the answers. I wonder this because I know I hurt my mother in my growing up.
It’s hard for an adult child to believe her mom is still protective of her “baby”. That makes sense to me. Only, Thing 1 and I have come to a new place in our relationship. One of mutual love and respect as adults, with a bit of “I need my Mommy” and “I want to protect my baby” sprinkled on top.
A mother’s love has many forms. Looks many ways. Is unpredictable yet constant. That will never change. But it doesn’t mean a child’s words and actions aren’t hurtful. I think even adult children don’t understand that their parents are just human and get their feelings hurt. That realization didn’t really resonate in me until I became a mother.
I don’t know. I love that little girl (yeah, she’s my “little girl” even though she’s about to celebrate her twentieth birthday) but I feel like this must be one of those times of ebb in the great ebb and flow of our love in this life. I hope the tide changes. It hurts more than I ever expected it would.

In the category of ‘getting yourself together’ I’m working on that too. Starting back to school after a three month term break.

Nah, it’s cool. Two more terms and I can wash my hands of this foolishness. Not that a degree is foolish…just I’m so over it. It’s taken much longer than I’d expected and I don’t want to be in this degree program anymore. Only it’s too late to switch to anything else without more courses…
I feel a bit like Marlon Brando in Guys and Dolls. “Stick with me baby I’m the fellow you came in with.” Only it’s not luck…it’s a degree plan.
Whatever. At this point it’s fulfilling a commitment to myself and a means to an end to move into a M.Ed or MSW program.

It seems my thoughts are bouncing around in my head like a pinball today.
You know what? That’s OK.
Let ’em bang around bouncing off each other for a little while.
It might be a great way to start the summer.

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The End of Longing

I read about this play and got excited!
I absolutely adore Matthew Perry. Not as much from Friends, but more so as Matt Albie on Studio 60. When I read that Jennifer Morrison (she was Cameron from House and Emma on Once Upon a Time) was also a member of the cast, I was even more intrigued.
Anyway, YBW seemed game,so we’re heading to New York to catch it Saturday in the limited off broadway run.
Not to make a trip for nothing, we decided to make a weekend of it. We’re taking the train up and back and staying in the Village not far from the theater.
YBW’s all, “What else do you want to do?” And honestly, all I can focus on is seeing the play. So anything else is just ice cream! But I am feeling a desire to visit some vintage shops while I’m in the Village.
Who knows? We’re kind of flying by the seat of our pants for this trip! (and I’m not super anxious) The only absolutes are train times and play tickets. I suspect we’ll spend a great deal of time wandering with our cameras.
I’m ready for a mini-break. I think YBW is too. And this is a pretty cool one.

Check out Mattew Perry on Jimmy Kimmel talking about the “F” word in his play.

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at one with myself

Today, for the first time in a quite some time, I wrote a long stream of consciousness email to my friend Jack. In the process of that, I had a relatively quick text conversation with my friend and mentor, Jessica.
I’m sharing them here this evening because I’ve been moved by the power of my own thoughts and feelings.

I sometimes wonder if I enter this sort of ‘calm before the storm’ mindset before all hell will begin to break loose. I say that partly because after a three month term break, I’ve no choice but to start a new school term in June. I’m so over it and my heart isn’t in it anymore, but I’m no quitter. So I’m going to get it sorted as quickly as possible and finish up and be well shot of every bit of it. It’s strange to be in a degree program I’m no longer passionate about. But I’m so close to the finish line now and I absolutely refuse to trip!
And partly I sometimes think I’m not terribly successful at loads of “free time”. But, the last time I had loads of free time, I was sick and miserable and depressed and just over all pretty pathetic.

Or perhaps I really am ready to tackle all the things I’m excited about along with this six month term I’m not.
We’re about to find out.

(excerpt from email)
I’m feeling healthy for the first time in literally years. I know I’m finally ready to get crack-a-lackin on doing what’s good for me, for my life.
I still struggle with how sick I was and how much it negatively impacted my life. My sense of self. My over all well being. Even the people around me.
Feeling well, feeling healthy, well, it’s a gift really.

I think I’ve been in crisis mode the entire time I’ve lived here. First I had to adjust to leaving my friends and job I loved. Leaving my children.
Then my child “disowned” me.
My father suddenly dropped dead.
My child officially moved here but left again in six weeks.
I had surgery on my foot.
I started planning a wedding (yay but stressful)
Then I got sick.
My daughter’s wedding.
Then the huge upheaval with YBW that threatened to change everything.
And finally I’m coming out the other side of all of that.
This all happened since August 2103.
I’ve been in survival mode for nearly four straight years. AND been sick through half that time!
It’s no wonder I’m feeling as though I’m not in control of myself or my life. I’m finally able to feel like I can tackle living my own life!

Now, there were amazingly good things in this time too, but some of them were also stressful.
I’m realizing I’m not considering these as “bad” things, just things that were stressful. Things that kept me in that crisis mode. Never truly moving past that initial survival time.
I think if I hadn’t gotten sick it would have been different, but I did do. And I’m finally feeling less and less like a sick person and more and more like a real person!

So while I’m conceptually ready to consider taking on the world, I’m smart enough to know that I can’t just jump in with both feet. That I can’t attempt to tackle too much all at once. That will overwhelm me and send me into a downward spiral. So I’m seriously creating a “daily schedule” for how my summer days should go. Just as if I was still running a preschool classroom.
I’ve not yet put it to paper, it’s still in my brain. I have anxiety about putting it to paper just yet…once I write it, it will be hard to adapt and change it. I feel more comfortable planning a bit longer.
Though, quite possibly, I would benefit more from getting it down on paper and seeing it. I’m a visual learner.
To write it and see it would make it real.
If it needs to be changed I simply start again. By erasing. By chucking it in the recycle bin and writing a new schedule.
I’ll most likely need to tweak it as I go in the beginning because it may not work the way I have it planned out.

Yes. I must write this schedule out for my own review. To see what I expect of myself each day.
Here’s the thing, with the exception of course work, it’s all stuff I love and want to do!! It’s freaking summertime! I have nothing pressing that isn’t a choice I can make!
I’ll write. I’ll do lula. I’ll garden. I’ll do projects around the house. I’ll have to do school work.
But over all, these are things I love! These are the ways I long to spend my time. I oughtn’t feel pressured by scheduling them so I can maximize my time and abilities.
Yes! I think that’s it.

Wow!
I’m having this ‘conversation’ with you and I’m having a text conversation with Jessica about Thing 2. In both conversations I’m really introspective. I’m aware of where I am, yet not feeling compelled to “over function” in either situation.
(end of email excerpt)

In the case of Thing 2, I told Jessica:
I kinda wanted to update you on the Thing 2 situation. I sent this text late the following morning:
It’s important you understand that I’ve not responded because I’m not sure how I’m going to respond, and not that I’m not responding simply out of spite.
She responded later in the afternoon:
It’s no big deal if you can’t, really. Don’t worry about it

Jessica replied:
Interesting. What is your gut telling you?


Then I wrote:
I think that should worry me, but it does not.
Jessica responded with:
I urge you to stop judging your thoughts and just begin to notice and accept it. The ball is in limbo. Be patient. You will know when to go forward.

Seriously y’all! This is the kind of introspection I’ve got going on today. And it feels good. It feels really really good.
I feel at one with the universe. But even better, I feel at one with myself.

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Books, exhibitions, films, music, places - anything that inspires. Here so I don't forget.

Sawblades In Your Walkman

I'm the rain on your parade

Joel vs. Books

It looks like the books are winning...

Quoth The Wordsmith

Dreary writing and appalling spelling? Quoth the Wordsmith, "Nevermore."

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