What? No Flying Cars?

That’s right. We’re right smack-dab in the middle of the two decades that science fiction has focused on since the better half of last century. We live in amazing times all right–we’ve put a man on the moon, broken the sound barrier, and invented an amazing contraption that washes clothes at the touch of a button. Wowza.

My hope for the next ten years? That human rights would finally become a real issue where our most precious resource for the success of tomorrow will be recognized in unborn children.

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You can’t take it with you, but I sure could use some

We spend so much of our lives working towards financial goals; paychecks, payments, or bills, that sometimes it’s easy to forget what we really want out of life. Yes, money is a means to an end, but the end usually isn’t worth the means. AJ and I were talking today about how the most rewarding things in life aren’t really what you get, but more about what you give–what you invest into the lives of others.

I don’t generally like New Year’s Resolutions. You make a list of all the things you wish you were doing that you aren’t–because you really don’t want to in the first place, and the end result is that you never do them–at least not for the whole year. However, I think it’s important to take stock of the coming year and think of all the things you would like to have done by this time next year. Here’s our list.

January: go sledding

February: cook only authentic ethnic food. week 1: Japanese. week 2: Indian. week 3: Greek. week 4: yet to be decided.

March: go on an overnight trip to one of the local islands (not Camano) for our half-anniversary.

April: sit at home with my feet up and try not to think of great amounts of mind-numbing impending pain.

May: Have a baby and go visit the icecaves.

June: go to the zoo.

July: go camping

August: go visit the coast/peninsula/rainforest.

September: run a 10k

October: take Violet fishing

November: go to a concert

December: Baby’s first Christmas!

See, that wasn’t hard. We like adventure and fun. We’ve done this before, and the nice thing about having something for every month, is that you put it on the calendar and schedule it in as an event. Of course we also have the gotta-do, want-to-do, but just-too-lazy-to-do’s like working out and stuff. We will of course be continuing the cheese-of-the-month deal because it was awesome and the world of cheese is too big to stop now. If you would like to join, you may pay us $100 a month, or just go to the grocery store and try out a new kind of cheese every month. We also like reading novels in bed at night. There’s something quite enjoyable about putting Violet to sleep and getting under the covers to delve into our latest page-turner together.

Anyway, my point is this: life goes by. At the end of this year, you will have spent a considerable portion of it working for money. Make Life a priority this year and find new ways to connect with people.

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This Ain’t My First Rodeo

I just decided I completely love that phrase. There’s just enough red-neck about it to be real life. Just enough dirt around the collar to let you know it works.

Reasons why two cats are better than one:

  1. they tag-team to entertain Violet.
  2. if one dies, I’ve still got the other.
  3. cats like company.
  4. double the trouble–double the fun.

basically, i still think this whole cat thing was a fantastic idea. last time we got a cat, he had two major strikes against him: never been outside, never seen another cat once he left his litter. Translation: he got his little orange tabby butt kicked by the neighborhood cats and wasted away from sheer lack of know-how. No, he didn’t die–I got rid of him. Charlie and Lola were born and raised outside, although you wouldn’t know it be the way they cry outside the door when we get up.

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Final Jeopardy

Here it is people:

Who are the better drivers, men or women?

Everyone has their own anecdotal evidence and personal experience behind this one. For example, in a typical argument with my brother, I would suggest that women are better drivers because they take less risks and are more likely to drive the speed limit. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but as a general whole–I think this applies to most women. My brother on the other hand, would say that men are better drivers because they take more risks, making them more likely to be more skilled in general vehicular manipulation. whatever.

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Riddle me this…

1 afternoon in a gravel pit

+

4 men

=

10 guns.

really? all ten?

to be more exact, it was;

3 12-gauge shotguns

1 .22 rifle

3 9mm pistols

2 .22 pistols

1 m-1 garand

Which, when I think about it in those terms, reminds me a whole lot of this:

Twelve-pack of Bud

Eleven Wrastling tickets

Ten o’ Copenhagen

Nine years probation

Eight table dancers

Seven packs of Redman

Six cans of Spam

Five flannel shirts

Four big mud tires

Three shotgun shells

Two hunting dogs

… And some parts to a Mustang GT


In case you haven’t caught on yet, that was the redneck version of the 12 days of Christmas.

*Tap, Tap* “Is this thing on?”

anyways….

So, maybe I’ve blogged about this before, but has anyone else noticed how teriyaki places are just not open on Sundays? Why? Why is there no teriyaki place within dirving distance of where I live that is open on a Sunday? Do they not understand I’m pregnant?



Here's a picture of the cats and Violet. Charlie is the shorthaired one. 
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preview and correction

Apparently I spoke too soon. Charlie did not actually run away after all. It seems he got sick of his sister coming in for food and warmth all the time and finally got tired of just watching. His previous owners told us that he was an expert mouser who frequently treed raccoons, so I wasn’t too worried about him. He came crying to the door just after Lola came in for the evening and after exploring the whole house and eating, he settled down on the piano keys for a nap. no, we did not name them. yes, we got them on craigslist–where else do you get stuff besides target and costco anymore?

Also, here is a picture from our Christmas Eve, where we still get together with everyone on my Dad’s side of the family. This picture only shows about a quarter of the fun during present time where we all exchange gifts secret-santa-style.

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Miracles do happen!

That’s right–Violet got a kitty for Christmas. Actually she got two, but one of them ran away as soon as we got home, so…

Anyway, here is a picture of Violet and Lola this morning.

Violet LOVES Lola.

Have I mentioned that Lola loves Violet right back?

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Christmas Poems

I love poetry and rhyme and meter and prose, and mixing them up like nobody knows. I also love Christmas. Therefore, I like writing poems about Christmas on Christmas–clever, I know. That being said, this year I am going green and recycling some poems from years past. Here you go.

This one is from Christmas of ’07

“Your King Comes to You” (Zechariah 9:9)

On the first Christmas morning,
the tears of God were shed.
Watching with excitement,
His eyes were misty and red.
He saw a perfect baby–His own perfect Son,
and He knew that this baby would be the only One.

He watched that little baby with perfect baby breath…those little curls of hair…brown eyes closed in rest–
and He knew that through this baby, all nations would be blessed.

God watched the sleeping child and a tear rolled down His cheek–
the Savior of the world was his first born son.
The sins of all the people He would carry on His shoulders,
He would go down to the grave and victory would be won

listen to the angels’ song,
they tell of a great debut
today with power and humility,
your King comes to you.

I wrote this next on in December of ’08 after an old man at a flea market gave Violet a gift from his table.

…and that one-horse open sleigh

there’s a small-town smile,
a gift from a stranger
a bell jingle on the door handle,
and a baby in the manger.

maybe there’s no snow,
maybe there’s no presents,
maybe you’re working overtime
and debt is the season’s essence.

but bigger than the Christmas tree
in the center of the city,
and bigger still than the lump you feel
as you swallow back self-pity…

is the Hope that grows
like nobody knows
Because of the baby named
Jesus.

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Dear Emily,

Hey! It was so nice to see you in Target today. So, here’s the deal: 2010 is the year we finally get together. I know, I know, we see each other a couple of times a year at a store in passing and our conversations invariably end with something lame like this; “We should totally get together sometime!” “Yeah, that would be awesome!” You know, and I know, and you know that I know, and I know that you know–this doesn’t work. Let’s get our families together for real this year. Besides, Violet loves babies (so far).

As for the rest of you, let’s totally get together sometime, because–that would be awesome! No, seriously.

(unless i don’t know you…in which case, why are you reading my blog anyway? creepy.)

By the way, you know that tire place next to Costco that says “WE BEAT COSTCO”? They do. by alot. they beat les schwab too. I’m not sure if they serve popcorn, but with a 20% savings, I’ll go buy my own freaking popcorn.

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yes, i’m talented

Tonight, I was standing in the kitchen with Violet while I “amazed” her with my skill at throwing an orange up in the air and catching it. I got too carried away and threw it too far. It landed on the rim of a cup. The cup was full of water and sitting on the edge of the counter. It dumped all over Violet’s head. She ran out of the kitchen yelling, “Noooooooooo!!!”

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Milo and Otis

Milo and Otis is the quintessential talking animal movie. As such, it is also the ideal movie for little girls that love animals. Violet and I watched over half of it via clips on youtube, where you can watch the whole movie in segments. Say what you will about talking animals–it’s still my favorite childhood movie.

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Santa who?

I never really believed in Santa Claus. My parents never tried convincing me there was a fat old man that was going to try and scooch down my chimney to bring presents. There was that one christmas when I was probably five or six though…

We were celebrating christmas at my grandparents house with my twenty-something cousins, twelve aunts and uncles, the two boston terriers and one great-aunt. (No, my grandparents weren’t mormons–they were a medium-sized catholic family growing up in the fifties).

All at once, all the aunts and uncles sent the cousins upstairs because Santa was about to bring the christmas presents to the christmas tree downstairs. Santa Claus? In this very house? We sat on the couch choking back excited giggles while we listened to him down stairs. It. was. magical. We could hear everything–the bells jingling on the reindeer harness, the thump of the presents under the tree, and Santa himself shouting “Ho, Ho, Ho–Merry Christmas!”

As soon as it stopped all the other cousins ran to the window to see if they could see him leave. Apparently we were supposed to be looking for something called a rudolph with a bright red nose. From the top of magnolia hill in Seattle, we had a great view of the city and sure enough my cousins soon started yelling.

“I see Rudolph!”

“Really? Where?”

“I see him too!”

“Me too!–wait, thats just a car.”

“No, wait! There he is!…no, another car.”

That’s right. They all saw Rudolph’s nose while all I saw were red brake lights.

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oh brother!

Violet is tentatively getting a brother in May, which means that playing house will be a lot more fun.

When you’re a little girl playing house with a bunch of other little girls; one of you inevitably has to play the dad–which, let’s face it is the most boring role in playing house. It’s like getting the short straw. However, when you have a brother–problem solved! They don’t even have to participate in the game to be included, which means that no  little girl has to waste a perfectly good afternoon of playing house to be the dad.

AWESOME!

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confession

I’m not going to lie. I’ve eaten dogfood before. What’s more–I’ve enjoyed my fair share. Several times when I was little, I remember visiting people’s houses where there was cat food. Cat food is even better. Plus, it’s smaller and crunches nicely, although that might be because we only ever had dog food growing up, so cat food was like a special treat. That sounded bad–we only ever bought dog food for the dog and cat, never cat food. I think the only reason I finally kicked the habit was after my mom convinced us that the occasional hairs we would find were rat hairs, and that they put cooked up rats in dog food so dogs would like it better.

All that being said:

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nic nacs

are bad for your health. get rid of them.

Today while I sat on the couch, Violet sat with me and kissed all over my arm. I had just gotten her some new toys.

December marks the last month of the year, which means we’ve now finished our cheese-of-the-month year. It’s the one resolution we’ve kept in it’s entirety.

Two favorite  brands? Yancey\’s Fancy and Kerrygold. Excellent cheese. Excellent. Both brands are available at Costco and Haggen. This holiday season, start the day off right by pairing Yancey’s buttery, triple-cream Bergenost with apple slices, or use Kerrygold’s Blarney Castle in your homemade cheeseball in place of the swiss. They aren’t even paying me to say this–that’s how good it is.

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Quote Of The Day and other oddities

“We saw our baby’s’ phalanges, and it’s a boy!” –AJ

To be fair, we did see our baby’s phalanges (finger bones) today, and it is also a boy. Keep in mind that we were scrutinizing an area no bigger than my thumbnail, through a cross-section, in a snowstorm. It was kinda hard to miss though.

The other day, I was driving past a sportsclub and they had written a holiday joke or riddle (i’m not sure which) on their sign.

Santa eats Ho Ho’s. Think about it

Here’s the problem, I’m not sure if it’s so simple that I’m not getting it because I hope it’s more complex than Santa say’s “Ho Ho Ho” because he eats so many Ho Ho’s, or if it really is deeper than that and if I think about it long and hard I will suddenly get the brilliance of the joke (or riddle). I think it’s especially cruel to tell someone a joke (or riddle) and finish by saying “think about it” as if to say that their first reaction is going to be wrong so they should second-guess themselves on a one-dimensional joke.

Last but not least, remember back last spring about the whole scandal with the governor of New York, Elliot Spitzer and his call girl? Major kudos are in order for anyone that can maximize their fifteen minutes of fame as well as Ashley Dupre has. Apparently, she was just given an advice column with the New York Post on love and relationships. No, I’m not kidding. It’s nice to see that we’re finally finding reputable sources for advice. Anything to save a failing newspaper industry, right?


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A Bite of Christmas

There are a few things I always make around Christmas. One of them is homemade gingersnaps. but obviously they’re homemade…because I make them around Christmas…in my home.

Gingersnaps

  1. 2 1/4 cups flour
  2. 1 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 3/4 cup soft butter or shortening. (butter tastes better and they turn out the same)
  4. 1/4 cup molasses
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1 teaspoon ginger
  8. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  9. 1 teaspoon cloves
  10. 1/4ish cup granulated sugar.

Mix the egg, butter,  brown sugar, and molasses till blended with an electric mixer. Add half the flour and the rest of the ingredients except the granulated sugar and mix well. Add the rest of the floor and combine. Don’t you love all the different ways to describe a mixing action? combine…blend, beat, stir…i love it. The dough will be fairly stiff so you might have to finish stirring with a spoon.

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Place balls 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or till edges are set and the tops crackle. Cool on a wire rack. If you take them out as soon as the tops crackle, they will be chewy, but the longer you wait the “snappier” the gingersnaps get…that is, until they burn.

Next up, I am actually including pictures from last night like I said I would. wow.

This is Violet eating her first LOC doughnut goodness.

These two don’t look very sure of eachother.

obviously it’s pretty blurry, but my battery was almost dead so I couldn’t retake. Either way, its pretty precious to see a little girl waving at a goat. Yes, it’s a goat. Don’t make me go all farm-nerd on you and explain why.

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Just because it’s warmer, doesn’t mean it’s warm…

We went to the Lights of Christmas tonight. We nearly froze, but were sustained by fresh doughnuts and peppermint mochas. Sounds like christmas in one delicious bite.

I’ll post some pictures tomorrow but right now my camera is charging. Hopefully we can go back before the season is over so we can actually operate the camera without shaking from the cold. Violet LOVED the petting farm and the horses at the pony rides, but she bailed off the horse halfway though into AJ’s arms when she decided riding giant beasts was for crazy people. We did get some totally cute pictures with Santa, which is better than last year when the santa looked like he was the Grinch recovering from a stroke.

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Baby, It’s Scandalous!

I’ve decided to blog today about scandalous Christmas music. You heard right–just because you think it’s innocent, doesn’t mean the words aren’t actually scandalous. Speaking of “scandalous”, I really like using this word.

So what’s scandalous?

How about Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Dean Martin. Don’t believe me? Here are the words. (The song is actually quite long, so I’ve made the most scandalous parts bold.) (In case you haven’t head this song in a while, the song is sung by a man and a woman with the mans’ words in parenthesis.)

I really can’t stay
(but baby it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go away
(but baby it’s cold outside)
This evening has been
(been hoping that you’d drop in)
So very nice
(i’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)
My mother will start worry
(beautiful whats your hurry)
My father will be pacing the floor
(listen to the fireplace roar)
So really i’d better scurry
(beautiful please don’t hurry)
but maybe just a half a drink more
(put some records on while i pour)
the neighbors might faint
(baby it’s bad out there)
say what’s in this drink

(no cabs to be had out there)
i wish i knew how
(your eyes are like starlight now)
to break this spell
(i’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)
i ought to say “no, no, no sir”
(mind if i move in closer)
at least i’m gonna say that i tried
(what’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride)

i really can’t stay
(oh baby don’t hold out)

both:baby it’s cold out side

i simply must go
(but baby it’s cold outside)
the answer is no
(but baby it’s cold outside)
your welcome has been
(how lucky that you droped in)
so nice and warm
(look out the window at that storm)
my sister will be suspicious
(gosh your lips look delcious)
my brother will be there at the door
(waves upon the tropical shore)
my maiden aunts mind is vicious

(gosh your lips are delicous)
but maybe just a cigarette more
(never such a blizzard before)
i’ve gotta get home
(but baby you’d freeze out there)
say lend me a coat
(it’s up to your knees out there)
you’ve really been grand
(i thrill when you touch my hand)
but don’t you see?
(how can you do this thing to me?)
there’s bound to be talk tomorrow

(think of my lifelong sorrow)
at least there will be plenty implied
(if you got pneumonia and died)
i really can’t stay
(get over that old out)

both:baby it’s cold
baby it’s cold outside

Okay, so I didn’t actually have anything to blog about.

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I ask myself the same thing every day

Why?

Two things have become a regular part of my life since having a baby.

1. Burning food. This is just one of the reasons I prefer a one-story house. In a two story house, you go upstairs to read your daughter a book and completely forget about the rice on the stove. My poor pots.

2. Physical pain courtesy of my sweet little daughter. Childbirth aside, the last 17 months have been the most painful of my life. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get hurt by a 24-pound cutie. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s completely unintentional, but that doesn’t mean that headslams, scratches, bites (those are intentional), getting stepped on, sharp elbows and knees, etc. aren’t reason enough to make me doubt my salvation by my reactions. Tonight in a five minute period while reading her a book, the following things occurred. While running towards me with the book, Violet kicked my big toe hard enough for me to check for blood. Then, she fell across my stomach punching me with her elbow. Lastly, she came in for a hug and smacked her head into my ear. I saw stars and briefly considered hiring a nanny.

Of course, she promptly picked up her dinner bowl and put it over her face to make faces at me though the clear plastic. Kinda hard to stay mad.

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no way to go

neutral is for gears, matching, and the judicial branch.

It is not for:

  • perspective
  • position
  • life
  • relationships
  • goals
  • conversations
  • politics
  • ideas
  • parenting
  • actions
  • war
  • peace
  • love
  • hate
  • loyalty
  • or, sunsets.
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To Remember

Today Violet had her first communion. Partly out of necessity, and partly to include her in that sacred moment of remembrance. I was pretty sure there was no way she would sit quietly while we ate a cracker and took a sip of juice without sharing any with her, and the more I thought about it the more I thought about what it really means to take communion.

I don’t think the disciples had a clue what they were drinking to when they took  that first communion. I don’t think they really knew the depth of sacrifice represented by the body and the blood. Jesus certainly wasn’t putting a penitent heart and full acknowledgment of the sacredness of those elements as a prerequisite for sitting with Him at a table and sharing a loaf of bread and a glass of wine.  After all, He did share communion with Judas just before he betrayed Him, as well as Peter; the disciple that would deny he ever knew Jesus. And He knew this.

Communion certainly is not meant to be taken lightly, or in jest, but it is meant to be taken. Jesus invites us to sit and eat with Him without making us to meet certain requirements first.

It will be years before Violet has a basic grasp on the significance of communion. We shared our communion with her today because we wanted to include her in the tradition of remembrance where sacred meets sinful, and where the Divine meets us as we are.

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A list of things that are probably not a good idea.

If you fart laying down and immediately sit up, that was…probably not a good idea.

If you frequently forget to take off the parking brake when driving, that’s probably not a good idea.

If you itch your nose while changing a diaper, that’s probably not a good idea.

Forgetting to bring a change of underwear to the gym after you work out and shower, is probably not a good idea.

Not paying attention and putting the cheese in the freezer instead of the fridge, is probably not a good idea.

“Accidentally” turning off the alarm when you meant to hit the snooze, is probably not a good idea.

Not wearing socks in December, is probably not a good idea.

Leaving the oven on after you take something out, is probably not a good idea.

Teaching your daughter how to blow bubbles in her milk, is probably not a good idea.

Walking outside before you look down to make sure you’re wearing decent clothes, is probably not a good idea.

Giving your email address  and password to a Nigerian, is probably not a good idea.

Not wearing deodorant, is probably not a good idea.

If you get the christmas tree inside before you think to measure how wide it is, that’s probably not a good idea.

If you cut your christmas tree’s branches to make it smaller, that’s probably not a good idea.

But…if you zip-tie the cut off parts back onto the base of said branches to cover up their stumps, then that is a great idea.

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How to Pretend

Tonight we spent the evening with some friends who have a little boy  a couple months older than Violet. At one point, he was blowing across the room at the adults to watch our reactions as we fell back in the face of such cyclonic terror. Each person was more dramatic than the last, until he got to Violet. While this had been going on, Violet had proceeded to steal his sippy cup and now stood ambivalently in the direct path of the wind. He blew, and she look back with boredom. In great surprise, he blew again, harder. Nothing. A step forward. Again with the fierce cyclonic terror. Again with the no response. So much for toddlers having an active imagination.

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how to, too cute, two’s company

1. If you still need a christmas tree and you seek both a postcard moment, low-cost, and adventure, then have I got the link for you.

http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/news/2009/nr-2009-christmas-tree-permits-20091110.shtml

If you go here, it gives you all the info to cut your own tree down in snoqualmie national forest areas. the cost is $10 for a tree under 12 feet and a minimum of $20 for a tree over 12 feet. Pro’s: awesome idea. Con’s: potentially time-consuming search for a tree. We’re heading out tomorrow morning (maybe) so i’ll let you know how it all goes.

2. Violet now initiates prayer at every eating event. I’ll be just sitting down with some orange slices and the next thing I know, I look over and she’s got her head bowed and her hands folded. a-dorable.

3. Violet and Baby #2 are giving me a run for my money. I just want to stick my head under the sand.

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I just love December…

I don’t love starting it off sick. Plus, I now have my second major cold-sore in just a few weeks. pregnancy seriously cancels out my immune system. arg.

However, there’s plenty more to love about this month.

frost on windowpanes

reasons for hot cocoa

christmas lights done well

christmas lights gone bad

sleigh rides (because we all go on those)

cynicism

wait…

fresh donuts from here

wrapped gifts

snow

snow

snow

snowflakes

Christmas carols

hugs

homemade cookies and candy

fudge

honey-glazed spiral sliced ham

shortbread

gingerbread

chocola–okay, i have to stop.

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