Advent candle hunting

November 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

My mom likes traditional Advent candles: three purple ones and one pink one.  These candles are usually not available in Dillingham.  This means that for the past few years, I, loving daughter and resident of Anchorage, City of Stores and Buying Stuff, have had adventures in Advent hunting for these candles.  A few tales follow…

Adventure #1: The last pink candle in the universe.

After going to five different stores, I finally found plenty of purple candles and ONE pink candle.  One. Pink. Candle. Possibly the last pink candle in the city.  Possibly the last pink candle in the WORLD!  And on the way to the register, I dropped it.  And it broke.  Do the math, people: four candles, three of which had replacements available, and I drop the only irreplaceable one.

Adventure #2: I put them in a safe place.

Determined to  avoid Advent candle adventures of the past, I started early.  As in, August.  Tra-la-la!  Pier One had perfect taper candles with perfect Advent colors.  Perfect.  It was all going to be perfect.  My mom was even in town to purchase the candles so any dropping would be her fault and not mine.

It was all going to be perfect.

And then I was placed in charge of the candles getting mailed to Dillingham so as to avoid putting them in airline luggage which is thrown about by snow apes upon departure and arrival in Alaska’s finest airports.  So I put the candles in a safe place.  This was not a good idea.  Because I promptly forgot where that safe place was.  Since I had now lost the Advent candles, the hunt was on.  Again, multiple stores.  Again, the elusive pink taper candle.  After going to every store within reasonable driving distance, I found the candles!  They were perfect!  It really was going to be perfect!

Taking no further chances, I sped home and packed the candles in a box.  The blankety-blank things were going in the blankety-blank mail before anything else could happen to them.  And then it happened.  Seconds, milliseconds, nanoseconds after carefully packing, painstakingly addressing, and thoroughly taping up the candle-containing box, I found the original candles in the safe place where I had put them.

And my head exploded.  I yelled mean things.

Mailed the original candles along with the replacement set.  Also found a set of candles I had purchased LAST SPRING to head off my annual Advent candle-related descent into madness.  Mailed them too because at this point, I refuse to have those things in my house.  So, my mom will be receiving three sets of Advent candles.  Hopefully she puts the extra sets in a safe place.

Okay, just found out that traditional Advent candles are available through Amazon.  Of course they are.  Amazon has everything except for the little bits of my brain that just flew out.

Happy Advent!  You’ll find me celebrating with nice, ordinary, easily accessible red and white taper candles because whilst I love Advent tradition, I think it is trying to kill me.

Reading is Fundamental.

January 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land | Leave a comment

I love to read.  My mom says that we aren’t supposed to love things that aren’t alive, so I should probably say something more appropriate like, “I enjoy reading very much,” or “Reading is one of my favorite pastimes.  But those don’t sum up my lifelong relationship with books and print.  So, “love to read” it is.  Sorry Mom.

Upon listening to a local teacher encourage parents to get their kids reading, my mother asked, “How do I get Stephanie to do anything else?!?”  I resent that.  I do plenty of other stuff.  I write reviews about books I read.  I go to the library to get more books and to return books that I have read.  I read about books on the Internet.  I tell people about books I’m reading.  I help the guy who can fix everything build more bookcases to house the new books I drag home.  I totally do more than just read!

But I do love, love, love reading.

So I can totally relate to Dr. John Sotos, a cardiologist and amateur historian who likes to do things like speculate on the health of U.S. presidents gone by.  An avid reader, as most of us who love dusty corners of knowledge are, Dr. Sotos walks the Stanford “Dish” trail for two hours every day, while reading a book.  He says, “It’s paved.  Except for the time I stepped on a snake, it’s completely safe.”

And some people think of readers as genteel and mousy library-bound people.  HAHA!  They’re so misguided.  Readers have guts!  Readers have dedication!  Readers are VERY INTENSE PEOPLE who ignore danger!

Here are the things that I have done while reading:

1.  Turned on the blender full of cranberries and juice.  Without the lid.

2.  Pulled a pot of simmering pasta off the burner and onto the floor.

3.  Torched three teakettles that I allowed to boil dry.  Note: I now have one with a VERY LOUD WHISTLE.

4.  Stepped on Artemis the Cat.  She’s not poisonous, but she is very pointy in places.  Also very yowly.

5.  Walked into a tree.

Loving reading takes grit.  And fortitude.  And Band-aids.  And mops.  And maybe visits to the emergency room (be sure to bring a book).

I’m not sure why there isn’t a superhero based on a truly dedicated reader.

I would totally read about that.

2012: The Year of the Piercing

January 1, 2013 at 2:06 PM | Posted in I'm related to these people. | Leave a comment

According to Chinese astrology, 2012 was the Year of the Dragon.  Not in this family.  For us, 2012 was the Year of the Piercing; a twelvemonth containing a seriously historical event.  My mom got her ears pierced.

Okay, I realize that ear piercing has become pretty much as common as hair growing; so let me explain the true weight of this event.  It let me take my mother to a body piercing/tattoo shop.  Who, outside the realms of perhaps Harley-Davidson fans and residents of Las Vegas, get to take MOM to the body piercing/tattoo shop?!?  Especially when my mom beautifully manifests all the qualities of the long-time Sunday School teaching, turtleneck-wearing (though only the chic scrunchy-necked kind), scented candle-appreciating, decorative gourd fan that she is.

This may have all started in the back room of N&N Market, Dillingham’s premier grocery and sundry shopping location:

N&N Market

Two-toned vehicle in right of photo not purchased at N&N. That’s a strictly custom Dillingham special.

My sister and I got our ears pierced there.  The back room was located behind the meat counter.  Amy and I were too little to understand that the back room behind the meat counter was an unusual place to have a sterile procedure completed.  Once I got older, I figured out things like the fact that hepatitis is bad (I learned this from anecdotes as my mom made sure I was immunized for hepatitis and every other thing a nurse can poke needles in you immunize for) and that you only need to be able to, like, totally sign your name in order to operate the piercing gun at the mall jewelry shop with the other, like, 12-year-old employees.  These revelations led me to seek reputable, auto-claving body piercing shops resulting in the myriad lovely and disease-free piercings sparkling up my ears all the way to the tips.  Mom and I differ somewhat on our philosophy of just how blank a canvas the human body should be.

With the benefit of the nice and clean auto-claving environment, one also gets the color and flavor of creative body modification enthusiasts in a piercing shop.  Walking ads for piercing and tattoo options, if you will.  So, when my mom decided at an age that most people do not seek out piercings and asked me to go with her to get her ears pierced, she was a bit amazed at the styling variety of the humans in Body Piercing Unlimited.  Despite her determination to join the ear-piercing revolution, the sight of pierced noses, eyebrows, lips, and huge jangling gauges in the ears of the Body Piercing Unlimited staff and clients sent her into a bit of a dignified panic, causing a slight twitch and repeated plaint, “I just want regular earrings.  I just want regular earrings.  I just want regular earrings…”

A nurse, such as my mom, faced with a nervous, slightly twitching, and single-phrase repeating client might try to reassure the poor person.  Body modification artists don’t have bedside manner.  They all cracked up, saying things like, “No piercings yet?  Anywhere???” and “Don’t worry, we’ll just do small gauges like these!” while inserting pens and pencils through the holes in their ears.  Poor Mom.  She’s never going to let me take her for that tattoo now.

Anyway, after the good-natured banter, my mom allowed herself to be led into the piercing room by Kevin, her chosen piercer.  Kevin was the very picture of the reputable body piercer with lots of piercing examples, but he was also as professional as a reputable body piercer should be.  So, he began to responsibly tell my mom about the piercing process, including some comments on the needle being used which perked her up right away.  She announced her status as a nurse and her love of sticking needles into her children and every other resident of Bristol Bay who will let her, and she and Kevin settled into a right cozy little chat about needle makes, models, and methods.  Needle shop talk.  Who knew?

Mom walked out of Body Piercing Unlimited with the “regular earrings” that she asked for.  The guy who can fix everything walked out fighting the temptation to announce on Facebook, “Hanging out with my mother-in-law at the body piercing shop.”  The guy who can fix everything has greater self-control than I do:

Piercing Chat Cropped

I walked out with no qualms at all about telling EVERYBODY.  And now I have.  That’s one New Year’s Resolution down, so 2013 is off to a roaring start despite the fact that my mother says that there will be no more trips to the body piercing shop.

On Gift Giving

December 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Posted in I'm related to these people., Salt of the Earth | Leave a comment

Christmas meant a couple of trips to the dump for my dad.  No, not after the holiday to haul away all the mauled gift wrappings (we were good little re-users and saved paper and ribbons).   Dad went on his voyages of dump discovery long before the holiday season.  See, the dump was a good place to find presents!  Now, this is not “Oliver Twist in Dillingham.”  This is yet another story of how cool my parents were and are.  Dump presents were awesome.  Note: I grew up and went to college.  I’ve been employed for my entire adult life.  No extra organs or appendages have sprouted from my person.  I refuse to buy cheap cheese and I use organic produce.  I have a full set of teeth and health insurance.  Dump presents did not harm me nor turn me into one of the Clampetts.

First, let me explain the dump.  This was in rural Alaska, circa 1980s.  A small community without anything like a rendering plant or nuclear facility.  People mostly threw away cans, rain gear from the summer seasonal workers at the cannery, and things that they couldn’t fix.  This was a gold mine to my dad who, like that guy I married, can fix anything.  And everything.  Doll carriage with a teeny broken axle?  Miniature kitchen dishes with missing wire handles?  All it took was wire, glue, and maybe some hardware and the toys were back in the game.  Of course, they also got a bit of scrubbing from my mother.  She’s a nurse, you know.  Nurses know how to clean stuff.   If my mom were ever going to get a tattoo to go with her recent piercing, it would probably be of the Lysol logo or perhaps a heart encircling “C.B.” for Clorox Bleach.

I remember knowing that the gifts came from the dump.  I thought it was so cool.  No one had the stuff I did (although I suppose they had previously).  And even as a kid, I realized that putting work into a gift added to its value.  Note: I was not a saintly Polyanna-type child exempt from all materialism.  I was quite gleeful the years I received a My Friend Becky doll and a Cabbage Patch Kid (both new in their boxes).  And there was that time I buttered the wheels of my brother’s toy three-wheeler so that it left tracks in the carpet.  That was not saintly.  But it wasn’t like I expected everything to be new all the time.  In fact, I liked the retro and custom nature of my parent’s salvaged gifts.  By the way, they always made sure we had a few new things since coloring books, for example, would be a pretty lame used gift.  Like I said, this isn’t a Dicken’s tale of woe and walking to school barefoot in the snow with wolves and lions and rabid things chasing me.

My appreciation of dump alternative gift-giving is why I was a little horrified when my husband mentioned that his family asks in a slightly worried tone what to BUY for me.  You know, at the STORE.  His family are some of the warmest people you’ll ever meet, so while I’m honored by their wish to buy me something I’ll like, I want them to know that I consider the Salvation Army a terrific place to find gifts for me.  I want them to spend as little money as possible.  Bonus if the thing is avocado green.  After all, the landfills here have giant, crushing bulldozers running all the time.  And I wouldn’t ask people in general to make dump discovery a part of a gift to me.  But I’m glad my parents did it.

We do things a little differently now.  My parents continue finding gifts in places that are not stores, but, much to my dad’s heartbreak, the City of Dillingham updated the dump.  “Ruined it,” according to him.  So, now they find stuff at garage sales, the end-of-summer cannery sales where surplus supplies for fishing industry support can be had for a whistle, and at homes of people who are getting rid of stuff.  And my mom has become a talented navigator of the outlet section of coldwatercreek.com.  I got three new scarves and two new brooches this year, courtesy of the Internet.  But I also got a rack made partially of salvaged wood from Dillingham’s old water tower and vintage wooden candle rings from the recent de-cluttering of Mom’s best friend’s house.

This Christmas, the Guy Who Can Fix Everything gave me a wooden bird that his grandfather carved before passing away.  Just one more way I know that I married the right guy.  He totally understands what I consider a really valuable gift.  And he included a bar of really nice hazelnut-gooshy chocolate (brand-new, of course).  I married the right guy.

Christmas Bird 2012

I hope all of you received gifts that you can treasure this year.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Again with the pets. Because I love them.

November 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM | Posted in Salt of the Earth | Leave a comment

This one could go to college and tutor in calculus while working as a code-breaker on the weekends.

This one is good at, well, um, breathing.

The guy who can fix everything came with a dog.  Levi, ultimate example of canine perfection:  massive half Husky, half German Shepherd, smart as a whip, and all gorgeousness.  Marriage means sharing and compromising, of course, except for when it comes to Levi.  I have stolen Levi.  I’m not sorry because I love that dog.  Levi is not sorry either.  He adores me and uses most of his intellect and energy to figure out how he can be of ever greater assistance.  He helps me balance my checkbook and program my phone.  He advises me on philosophy and astrophysics.  Walking Levi is sort of like being with a celebrity; everyone oohs and ahs and wants to talk to him and take pictures of his giant, fluffy, shampoo-commercial tail and long eyelashes.  And then he’s all charming and helps the older ladies across the street.  And people swoon and gasp and compose ballads.  Until they see him morph into Security mode.  This happens when Levi senses a threat to my person or well-being, like a leaf blowing in my direction or an unleashed dog that doesn’t meet his standard of courtly manners.  Then he’s all icy attitude and muscles.  Fortunately, he’s also all obedience, so we’re still welcome in the neighborhood.  And also well-respected.

Yes, I am noble and awesome.

And then there’s Lyra.  We’re not sure how she happened.  She’s sort of an accident.  But a happy, wriggly one.  Lyra is not smart.  She spends most of her time licking trees and rocks and trying to remember what “sit” means.  While Levi is signing autographs and posing for pictures, no one notices Lyra.  Except me.  I love that little dog.  She collects the loose hairs from Levi and stores them carefully with her most treasured red squeaky toy.  It’s sort of gross, but so cute that she considers Levi-scraps such treasures.  Humans aren’t left out either.  She wraps her whole self around my foot and coos.  She is the world champion of loving.

I’ve always been around animals.  We constantly kept them when I was growing up, and our neighbors had a dog team for a while.  By the way, dog teams create a stench all their own.  If your neighbors choose to engage in the adventure of dog-mushing, you will probably need to find some things that are approximately the same dimensions as your nostrils so that you can plug off the aroma.  Or you could walk around in scuba gear.  I’m not sure which option would be more attractive.  Ask Levi.  He probably knows.  Anyway, animals have been a constant in my existence and I love that.  This comes from my father.

My dad is like a Disney movie.  You know, the kind where birds and squirrels sing duets with the hero and help him escape the dungeon or prison or underwater lair?  Yep.  My dad’s got that.  Animals universally regard him a being of wonder and splendor.  And he likes them too, talks with them like they’re people and lets them sit on the chair with him (much to the grossed-outedness of my poor mom).  It’s one of the best things my dad has given me, the doggie grins and kitty-cat purrs that form the constant scene and sound of my domestic life.

We go through a lot of lint brushes and vacuum bags.  They’re worth it.

And now I am at nursing school.

October 28, 2012 at 8:54 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Please notice that I did not say IN nursing school.  I have switched careers!  I now work in the School of Nursing at our hometown university, serving as a support person for Alaska Native students in the nursing program.  Here are the benefits of my new job:

  • I don’t have to grade papers anymore.  I’ve become acquainted with these new things called, “weekends.”
  • I don’t have to explain to the iChildren that frantically copying a classmate’s assignment while I take attendance isn’t “working together on our homework.”
  • I do not have to tell anyone to spit out his or her gum, prompting him or her to swallow it and then open wide his or her gaping maw with lolling-out tongue to show me that he or she “wasn’t chewing gum.”
  • No one’s parents have called to complain about anything.
  • No one’s parents have said, “But you didn’t tell him he couldn’t stab people in the arm with a pencil!”
  • I can use the ladies’ room whenever I want.
  • I don’t have to explain to the iChildren that doing 45 Google image searches for “fart” isn’t a good use of library time.
  • No one has come back from being “sick” with a fresh manicure and new blonde highlights.
  • No one has informed me that he or she is going to Florida for a two-week hockey tournament and that he or she needs all his or her makeup work BY THE END OF CLASS TODAY.
  • No one has returned from a two-week hockey tournament in Florida without any of the work I scrambled together on the day he or she left because they, “JUST DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO DO IT.”
  • I don’t have to grade papers anymore.  I’ve become acquainted with these new thing called, “after work.”
  • I don’t have to grade papers anymore.  I love that part so much, I will marry it.

But I’m going to miss a lot of things too, including these actual statements (but not the actual misspellings) from real iChildren which will make me laugh for years to come:

  • “You were gone yesterday!  I thought you died!”
  • “You were gone yesterday!  I made you an origami shark.”
  • “Do you want my sandwich?  The news said teachers don’t make very much money.”
  • “My hamster died yesterday.  Can we bury him outside and read poems?  I can bring him tomorrow!”
  • “My personal narrative is about the best burp I ever had.”
  • “You can have this dime because class was fun today.”
  • “Can you make the kid next to me stop farting?”
  • “Oh!  I know who that is!  It’s Tu-PACK!  I’m so street!”
  • “You’re my nicest teacher and your class doesn’t suck.”
  • “I used to hate writing, but since you let me write about roadkill, now I kind of like it.  Not, like, a lot though.”
  • “I’m really into this new band called AD/DC!”
  • “Can I borrow those purple shoes you have?”

It’s been real.  Now I’m going to go and not grade any papers.

We have been fishing.

July 27, 2012 at 7:51 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Image

And now, we are eating.  My dad often says that even the queen of England can’t get fish as fresh as ours.  She’s totally missing out.

We love flat rate shipping. Cargo is dreamy. Go, barges, go!

June 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM | Posted in We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | Leave a comment

Image

Thing 1 and Thing 2, my twin 2-year-old nieces brought their parents to visit last week.  And they left a few things behind when they went home to Bethel, Alaska.  Now, if I were The Guy Who Can Fix Everything or totally bonkers and if it were winter, I could drive there on a snow-go (snow mobile for you laypersons) in three days or so.  But since I am rational me enjoying a balmy 50 degree day, I’m going to use the mail.

Have you ever lived in a place that didn’t have a road connecting it to anywhere else?  It has its ups for sure.  Communities tend to be close-knit since not just anyone can traipse in and out at their leisure.  Tanks of gas tend to go further since driving distance is physically limited–the longest drive you can take in Dillingham, Alaska is under a half hour.  But it isn’t so awesome when you’re out of YOUR shampoo which they do not sell in town.  Or when you can’t send flowers to your mom in return for her lifelong restraint against whapping you over the head with a bazooka.  Or when a pet needs a veterinarian.  And don’t even try to find a Starbucks or try to pay less than 8 dollars for a gallon of commoner, non-organic, just plain regular milk.  You probably can’t even get the fancy stuff.  Then there are those times that planes can’t fly due to weather or volcanic eruption or whatever.  Hope you don’t need fresh fruit and vegetables because in about a week there won’t be any in the local stores.

The lack of connecting roads makes the mail and cargo in Alaska interesting.  I’ve sent decorative gourds, pears, bags of rice, a freezer, salmon scale samples, a single granola bar, rain gear, shop towels, hollowed-out eggshells for Easter, canned salmon, disposable gloves, boat parts of every variety, cell phone parts of the wrong variety and then the right one, Cheerios, and rubber boots along with, you know, bills and regular letters.  During her last visit to Anchorage, my sister and The Tall Guy arranged to send themselves a car on the river barge next month.  My mom is here now and is mailing herself a box of artificial flowers to put on the graves of our dearly departed next Memorial Day.

Later today, I’m going to be mailing homemade odor-eaters comprised of epsom salts and wintergreen essential oil in cheap cotton socks that I will simply rubber-band shut since, unlike Dawn, I don’t do that sewing thing.  My brother is working up on the North Slope (where the polar bears are) and has paralyzingly stanked-out work boots that he is newly aware of since he’s got a girlfriend now. His co-workers will probably give the mail carriers a hero’s welcome.

Alaska’s motto is, “North to the Future,” but it should probably be “If it fits, it ships,” written in black Sharpie marker and covered in clear packing tape.

Once upon a time.

June 2, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Posted in I'm related to these people., We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | 1 Comment

Here’s some olde Alaska!  Check out this photo of two couples, one complete with their catch of the day.  Fish that touch the ground taste like the ground and lose their eyes and unmarked sides to ravenous seagulls.  We’re all about seafood quality in Bristol Bay.  Hence, Mrs. Carlson’s refusal to put down her fish and expose it to less than awesome conditions.  I can so relate!  I wouldn’t put it down either.  As Gollum sang, “Our only wish, to catch a fish, so juicy sweet!”  Besides, a beautiful fish is an excellent addition to any photo, yes?

Grandpa James and Grandma Olga

As funny as the fish part is, the portion of this photo that matters to me is on the right, where my paternal great-grandparents and their daughter, Mary, stand together in the sun.  This photo is the first image I’ve ever seen of this generation of my dad’s family, so it’s of great worth.  Old photos are rare enough, but documentation of my great-grandfather is practically non-existent.  See, my great-grandfather was as slippery as Mrs. Carlson’s fish.  There is one scrap of evidence in an Army log book that states, “James F. Timmerman; drunk and disorderly downtown…again,” but after that, nothing until 1918 when he showed up in Nome, Alaska with the listed occupation, “Gold Prospector.”  Then, he somehow made his way to Dillingham.  Throughout his life there, he didn’t write any letters and didn’t receive any either.  He never left Dillingham, and no one came to visit him.   He met and married my great-grandmother but managed to remain secretive even in that as she spoke no English and, according to my dad, he “spoke no Native.”  And he didn’t reveal much about himself to anyone else either.

There are two census records that show his existence in Alaska and one reference to a brother named Charles in Ferndale, Washington, but beyond that, Jim Timmerman is an unknown.  I suppose that meager collage is a lot for this era in rural Alaska, but I want to know more.  And it’s kind of driving me crazy.

I want to know who this guy was and why he chose to disappear into the place and culture of southwestern Alaska.  I want to know how many brothers and sisters he had and where his parents came from.  I want to if he liked Alaska or if he just didn’t have anywhere else to go.  I want to know how tall he was and what he admired.  I want to know if he could read and write.  I want to know what his talents were.  I want to know what he believed.

Despite all the mystery, one thing is sure: I love that he is holding his little girl’s hand.

What would you call this?

March 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | 2 Comments

Flying David

Here is my husband flying around.  The question for you is, what is he flying?

See, I can tell where you are from based on your identification of the machine in the photo.  If you refer to it as a “snow mobile,” it means that you are from what we in Alaska call “The Lower 48” or “Outside.”    If you would say that is a “sled,” you are probably from the Pacific Northwest or maybe Alaska, but probably from one of the communities on the fancy road system, like Anchorage.  If it’s a “snow machine,” you’re from Alaska in general.  If you call the thing a “snow-go,” well, now I know that we probably know some of the same people because you are from rural Alaska.  From the village.  Keeping it vill!

Despite my rural upbringing, I am not a fan of ripping around on a snow-go.  It’s cold and noisy and smelly and you have to wear this huge helmet that makes you look like a gigantic gear shift.  And there are hidden bumps in the snow that send you crashing around and my idea of fun isn’t dragging a 1000 pound machine out from wherever I got stuck most recently.   And a lot of times, someone shoots a caribou and then you have to drag that thing home which means keeping track of the sled you’re pulling along with trying to watch for spots where you may fall into an unfrozen swamp.  My husband, on the other hand, is a snow-go fanatic.  Except that he would say “sled” because his family is from Wasilla, a community on the road system.

When we were dating, I agreed to go riding with that guy because it’s important to support each other’s activities and all that.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I have never been so scared in my life.  Did you know that it’s possible to do a jump like the one above with TWO people on the machine even if one is using all her molecules to try and remain on blessed Earth?  Add a  gigantic gear shift-head behind the guy in the photo.  If you really want to add authenticity, pour a smoothie down your back and stick your gear shift-head in a fan.  You have to imagine the screeching since the helmet holds it all in.  But it was there, make no mistake.  Banshees have nothing on me.

Now, it’s not that I’ll never go riding again.  However, we have reached the mutual understanding that should David feel the need to jump over the moon, he needs to be prepared to either let me sit it out or to be extremely nice for the next few days while I am undergoing therapy and compulsively eating cheesecake.  It’s important to support each other’s activities and all that.

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