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Rainy Day Roses

I've signed up to audit several classes on
Coursera over the summer, and I've started on one early called In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting. I've always had an interest in art history. In fact, I even tried taking an art history course as an elective when I was in college. I had never had any art classes, and I'm not artistic in painting/drawing, etc. The first day the professor kept dwelling on the work we'd be doing over the course/presenting that to classmates, and I chickened out and dropped it. It seemed geared specifically to art majors. Now that I'm older, I think I'd confront the fear and go for it, but what can you do when you're anxiety ridden and in your early 20s? I'm still riddled with anxiety just about different things now. I have less anxiety about going out on a limb and making an ass of myself in my 30s. It's refreshing. In obtaining a true depth of knowledge on something, I believe you have to make an ass of yourself sometimes. Anyway, I thought about what type of art I didn't understand and didn't necessarily like, and instead of choosing something I easily appreciated like Fauvism, I opted for something I didn't get. I've never understood big squares or lines down the center of paintings so I thought, let me take a stab at this. Why is this important? I've been going at it for about a week. I'm definitely understanding the value more as well as the true difficulty in what, at times, can look easy or nonsensical.

The professor is The Museum of Modern Art's Corey D'Augustine. I didn't know anything about him before this class, but he's an excellent instructor. In the first video in the studio, he is showing how to stretch a canvas, and I fall in love with his arms. You never see much of his face, but his arms are always crowding the screen. I'm not interested in participating in the painting portion of this online course, but I believe you can probably learn and understand more by watching the process so here I sit, in front of my laptop watching. I like how he has this dark hair that looks soft, and there's tons of it. You can keep your smooth metrosexuals, I'd much rather have men with broken noses, a chipped tooth, and hairy arms. The way he moves his arms over the canvas, and the way he uses his hands when pointing out parts of paintings with those tripping, long fingers. He's my new art world celebrity crush. My first art world celebrity crush, I should say. There's some poetic, rhythmic sexy stuff happening with his arms. Is that creepy weird to say? Probably, but I'm creepy weird. I once had a crush on a guy in college, and I think most of it involved his use of an asthma inhaler. My husband lumbers down a hall and has this sloppy walk that seems so inherently positive and happy, and I think it's one of my favorite things about him. I find it incredibly sexy. I hate when married people act like they don't see other people as attractive anymore. My husband is my soul, and I think he's the most beautiful ever but that doesn't mean I don't recognize attractiveness anymore. I didn't die when I got married. I fell in love. That's my one and only person, but I still see beauty. If you're into thin hairy arm porn elegantly moving across space (just proves there's something for everyone, prudes), 9:43 starts is a pretty spot to start at. This isn't the best video of the arms, but the one I really wanted to share wasn't available (only through the course can I find it). You can also Google image photos of him to stare at his arms like I did. I would've posted that, but I could only find them via Flickr, and I didn't want someone finding this one day and knowing how odd I am (besides all of you, of course).I mostly see his arms, and I've never heard his voice because I watch with the sound off, reading subtitles I like when his normally reserved instructional conversation takes a turn for his passion as he says, "Look at this chaos here. Gorgeous." "You'll recall the word enamel doesn't tell you a damn thing about what kind of paint it is." I rarely see his face because when he dissects a painting at MOMA, he stands to the side and draws your eyes to points of interest. I could care less, but I have developed quite an interest with his arms and the way he's cracking the code for me.

I started watching Olive Stone's The Putin Interviews Monday night (I'm going to finish up with Part 4 tonight). I'm always interested in Oliver Stone's work. Sometimes, it seems like he's a little soft on these controversial leaders. It just appears like he goes in chummy with them from the get go. Then, there's another part of me that feels like the media in the United States obviously presents things from our perspective/biased view, and our nation has historically pimped out other countries to make money off of them and their resources (see Cuba). I mean, I understand sometimes that we're not always honest with ourselves through the media or even how we exploit others so I do think there's value in hearing the other side of the story. I've also just finished a book about the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, and there seems to be some pretty damning evidence in that so I just feel a bit confused at the moment. I'm going to try to delve a little deeper and read some more on Russian history which has always fascinated me. I really would love to take this class at the university that is taught by a Ukrainian profession with a Ph.D in Russian and Ukrainian History on Russian history. I'm not sure if I can get off for a 3 hour course just to audit it since I'm not really pursuing a degree at this time. I think whether or not you're going after a degree you should still be permitted that time off because we work at a university which should encourage life long learning even if not to obtain a degree. In the meantime, maybe he offers a night class, or even if he could recommend a book or meet with me to give me some ideas. I've never met him, but I might reach out to him by email.

In other news, our bedroom is kind of sparse. Since moving in, we just haven't put in the time there. Most of our art is still stacked along the walls, and art and books are my most important parts in the house. They are what make my house a home and give me peace. Well, that and my animals (husband is a given). With my delving into Young Living Essential Oils, I'm concentrating on making our bedroom a place of
refuge (I diffuse and relax in there). I added a rug the other day which has helped, but I want to get a new comforter. I also would love to paint, but I'd have to have approval for that since we live on campus. I've got some ideas of where the art will go, and Kelly's going to put that up this weekend. Basically, I want to live in a Matisse painting if that helps any on the kind of colors I'd like in there. I think there is room for all kinds of screaming colors all over. I'm going to work on it. I told you I dug les Fauves.

I posted on Facebook recently that I always daydream of having this minimalist capsule wardrobe, but that's just not the girl, I am. Instead, I am the girl who loves interesting patterns. I've recently bought my first
eShakti dress with ice cream cones (see below), and I have another dress with a gorgeous goldfish print on the way as well as a duster shirt with a "rich old lady" flamingo print. It sounds tacky, but it's stunning. By the way, I adore the way you can customize the eShakti dresses! I loved the fit of mine, and I definitely will continue to shop there.

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We're studying Agnes Martin right now in my class, and I'm more interested in her life than her art. She ran away to New Mexico (Taos, specifically) at one point in her life. She lived as hermit in the desert plains, and I found this article interesting. Now, I really want to read this book on her, though. Oh, New Mexico. I'm still not over you. I never will be. It seems like recently I've read a lot about artists and fictional characters, others, fleeing to live out their days in New Mexico. I also love this photo of her in that magical place by Gianfranco Gorgon. This says happy to me.



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While we were on our trip, I bought three postcards from 410 Vintage Market in Fayetteville.  There were a huge stack of these with a ton of babies in each photo, and I found them both strange and comical.  I desperately wish I knew what they said.  Anyway, I managed to not buy them all, and I narrowed it down to these three.  If you speak French, please enlighten me.  I've been doing Google Research, but I haven't found much about these.  I'm going to mat and frame them together, but now, I'm obsessed with searching for more.  I wanted them all, but I'm embarrassed to admit I paid 4 bucks each for these.  Kelly put his foot down at three.    
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When we arrived in Fayetteville, we beelined straight to lunch at Hammontree's Grilled Cheese. K. had briefly mentioned the restaurant to me, and I couldn't think of anything I'd like more than a restaurant with every combination of grilled cheese known to man. It was a beautiful day so we sat on the porch and shared a beer. I'd been momentarily horrified when I asked for sweet tea, and they told me they didn't serve it. Look, I get that northerners don't understand our southern dedication to tea with so much sugar it could double as hummingbird feed, but it's table wine here. I literally recoiled when the waiter told me they didn't serve sweet tea. "You're in Arkansas, man," I countered. It wasn't five minutes before I overheard another table have a similar conversation. I wonder how many times a day those poor waiters have to listen to that. It'd probably be easier to just suck it up and serve the sugar coma inducing syrup and get over it. I definitely deducted stars from their review on that, but then, the sandwiches were amazing. I had the Brie's Company which was grilled apple, Brie, Gouda, caramelized onions, and fig jam on sourdough. I love cheese, but I could probably be just as happy with caramelized onions and fig jam in all honesty.

Next, we held hands and walked through the alley to my favorite bookstore in the world,
Dickson St. Bookshop. The store is so cram packed that you have to let one person walk down an aisle at a time. It took me forever the first time I visited to find the fiction/literature section. It's just has books to the ceiling and random things taped to the walls, and it's heavenly. I'm so heartbroken that the pictures I took inside somehow were accidentally deleted because it's gorgeous if you're a bibliophile. Also, they specialize in rare and out of print books. One of my favorite authors is Colette, and she's hard to find in regular bookshops. The first time I went there, I had a religious experience when I found about six of her books I didn't own. This time, I actually put back a book of movie reviews and two screenplays by her! That's how good the other loot I found was. If you're interested, I bought Attilio Bertolucci's Selected Poems (Yes, Bernardo Bertolucci's Dad). I usually hate poetry, but I adore his stuff. Bernardo Bertolucci is an incredible writer too if you ever find any of his poetry. I also purchased: Vicki Baum's Grand Hotel, Djuana Barnes' Interviews, Elizabeth Bowen's Last September , Disraeli in Love by Maurice Edelman, La Bâtarde by Violette Leduc, Jean Cocteau's Round the World Again in 80 Days, The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters, The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, and The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani. I've read The Yonahlossee book before, and I liked it enough to add to my collection. I think I've read The Bean Trees too, but I couldn't remember. I know that I've loved several of Kingsolver's books that I read when I was in high school. I presented myself with books stacked in my arms right up to under my chin to K., and he was still sitting sifting through shelves and shelves of books on Arkansas history. By now, I think he could teach a class himself, and he must own all of them. It amused me when he told me that he most enjoys seeing books he owns on the shelves. He rarely buys anything there, but he likes to browse through them. I think that's fortunate for our wallets because I'll spend a ton of our money in there. I spent 56 bucks that time, but I got all of those books plus a postcard I found interesting. It's a great thing they're so reasonably priced. You couldn't even get half of those on Amazon for that price. Plus, it's supporting a magical bookstore. I miss bookstores. Stupid effing Kindle. I admonished K. to hurry up, but he continued singing Lucinda Williams, which was playing softly, and patted me on the cheek. I'm an impatient sort, but fortunately, he ignores me most of the time. He promised to never leave as long as they played Lucinda.

Then, were off to hunt through a
410 Vintage, a great local vintage shop in Fayetteville. Some of my photos from here disappeared, too. I guess I just deleted most from that day for some reason. I can't find them in my recently deleted file either so that's a bummer. I managed to only walk away with three French postcards which I will post a photo of later because A. I don't know what they say in French because I took Spanish, and B. I just think they're gorgeous and kinda funny, too.

 

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I found this photo I took inside 410 Vintage


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This monkey caught my eye, but then I was completely head over heels for the shell collection/diorama below him! See blown up photo of the shell shelf
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Finally, we were off to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. We are so fortunate to have this museum in Arkansas. It's free, and they've got an incredible collection. Kelly and I have been before, and we didn't have a ton of time so we just wanted to hit up some of their new pieces. First, on the list was their recently acquired Frank Lloyd Wright house--the Bachman-Wilson House. It's also free to tour, but you have to get tickets to go through. I really enjoyed it. They have a little self guided tour, and you can't go to the 2nd floor but you can view photos of it online. It's not sturdy enough to have people tromping up and down on the stairs all day.

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Behind the Bachman-Wilson House. I would've taken a photo of the front, but the way the sun was hitting, you couldn't see shit.

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Crystal Bridges itself is beautiful. The architect was Moshe Safdie. I should've taken more photos of the outside of the museum, but Google it. It's stunning.


As you can see in the photo above, the museum also acquired the Louise Bourgeois sculpture Maman. I was so excited to see . I always found her her spider sculptures to be so beautiful and just truly marveled at their construction. I became even more enamored when I read about how she associated spiders with her mother--clever, helpful (eating mosquitoes), and protective. Plus, the artist was 88 when she created the sculpture. I adored it. I loved hiding beneath her and taking photos from different angels. I even liked capturing Maman in a reflection with a "twin" spider.

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Twin Mamans


On the way to the museum coffee shop, one of the docents stopped me and whispered in a beautifully accented voice, "Did you know your glasses make you an artist?" K. and I both remembered chatting with him the last time we visited the museum, and it was nice to meet up with him again. He likes to chat with guests about pieces throughout the museum, and he's warm and funny. He strives to make art accessible to the hundreds that walk through Crystal Bridges every day.

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Karen LaMonte's Dress Impression with Wrinkled Cowl as the sun goes down

Kelly is always teaching me something, and for once, I relished getting to tell him about Keith Haring and the Eames chair while I sipped a Lavender Limeade, and we waited for it to get dark to view Leo Villareal's Buckyball. Buckyball has these comfortable wooden seats for two that are in the shape of a reclining body and allow you to look up comfortably. While we settled in and watched the lights begin to change as the sun went down, people jogged by and talked about the light sculpture and other people joined us in gazing up in chairs. You can see it from the road as you drive by, but it's much more special to take the time to gaze up and watch it cycle through several different colors while tucked in next to someone you love.



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Kelly in front of Buckyball

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K. heading back to our car in the fading light 
 
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For a second time, just like that, a trip is born out of my deepest daydream desire. I can't get enough of sobbing lately about how New Mexico was magic, and it's the only place in the world that's magic--besides maybe the desert where I haven't been, yet. I have taken off all of spring break and, we're going back to Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos...and adding Albuquerque! I won't pout at all when we're there this time because last time K. never knew how much I loved it because I was anxious and snippy. When I got back I told everyone, "It's like an art museum exploded into a city." It made me sad that he never knew how much I adored it. I have generalized anxiety disorder, and unfortunately, it will manifest as anger when I'm all nerves. I know what to expect now though so I don't think it will be nearly as trying. I have been working on lists of things to see and do and places to revisit.

I can't wait to see the mountains. We live in the rice country which is all flat lands for ages. I think it's horribly boring, and I'm usually stunned by the beauty of mountains. I don't like the curvy, scary drop offs, but it's worth it. In New Mexico, there are mountains with different personalities, too. The ones outside of Taos are pine covered and snowy and soft and inviting, but on the way to Los Alamos they are a barren and devastating and fierce--those are my favorites. In the canyons, it looks like the Earth is yawning or maybe getting ready to swallow us all--jagged teeth mountains and secretive Georgia O'Keeffe shadows everywhere. In fact, I never really got O'Keeffe until I visited New Mexico.


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On the way to Taos
 

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Just a small part of the mountains on the way to Los Alamos. They are huge here, and this photo can't capture it. No photo ever could.



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Rio Grande

There is a church that existed in the 1600s and has a staircase that some believe St. Joseph himself designed--a miraculous staircase with seemingly no central support. There is a church with holy dirt to to touch, and you may take some home for your afflictions if you wish. There is a church that the community comes together once a year to pat with their wet palms, caking thick layers of a mud and straw mixture.



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Loretto Chapel Staircase

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Loretto Chapel

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El Santuario de Chimayo


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San Francisco de Asis Mission Church

 
 
In Los Alamos, I finally was able to quench some of my insatiable thirst for all things bomb related. I am mad about atomic history, and it all sounded so glamorous with cocktails and banding together for a common goal. I get it, I know it's oversimplified and naive and the subject they were working on was a blight on American history. I just like the idea of carving their way through the treacherous terrain, and babies born with a post office box as their birthplace. I most like the idea of fresh flowers at the commissary and the canyon stream becoming a skating rink in winter. There were parties at dance halls and community theater in this secret universe that the world didn't know existed. When the world finally found out, there were cakes and earrings and perfumes all celebrating the accomplishments of the brilliant men of "The Hill."


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New Mexico is also the land of liquid chocolate elixirs and foil wrapped sweets. If the rich taste weren't heavenly enough, they sculpt them into dainty little mushrooms and gooshy swirly 6th grade hearts. This door leads into a place more romantic than Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, I promise. I'm going back. It's on my list of places to return.

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Todos Santos Chocolates

 
 

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The teeny mushroom and heart are my favorite to look at, but my favorite to taste is the peanut butter cone.



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These are darling, and I wasn't sure what they were the first time I went but now, I'm almost certain they're surprise balls! I'm going to check when I go back, and if so, I'm picking one up.

Things I won't see next time, but I appreciated last time include--



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Horseface man and horseface horse



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Dali-esque clock in front of the perfect blue sky


 

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I won't go back to see this piece of art, but I do hope to see a duck with boobs.  It is all magic, I swear.  EVERYTHING THERE.  

I'll make a list tomorrow of things I want to see on this upcoming trip, but I'll sign off for now because this is another longest post known to man.  
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News of the week--the weather continued to plague us last week with rain and more rain. Although it's rather pretty resting on the leaves of the tree in our front yard, it doesn't make for good moving weather. We are so very close to being completely in the new house. I was thrilled to see that this week, finally, there should be nothing but sunshine and clear skies! By the end of the weekend, if not sooner, we should be in the new house with all our animal babies! We are on good terms with our sweet rugby boys that play at the university so they have moved us twice over the years. This will be their third move of our house. We moved most of the stuff already, but the big stuff, we let them get. My husband has some heart issues that keep him from lifting heavy items, and I am out of shape and frankly, don't do manual labor. Ewww! Ewwww! The young pups are very familiar with heavy lifting, and they always need a little spending money, as everyone in college does, so it's a win win.

Lately, there have been many thrifting days which I love, and I also had wonderful time out with friends celebrating two birthdays. A group of us met up over sushi and drinks (warm sake to pink my cheeks and make me laugh and a bit brazen). The night was magic and quite literally glowing with cherry blossom trees and radioactive forks with which to dine on the most delicious cookie cake. Hookah and conversation until we all yawned and went home to warm beds.

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My tray of goodies from the thrift: Smiling orange to add to my new kitchen, two pairs of avant-garde sunglasses, silvery magic headband, and a pretty rounded wooden tray with blue/green/yellow motif. I may hang the tray up on a wall. I haven't really decided what I'm going to do with that just yet.

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These glowing trees outside of our local sushi place always make me happy.

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Bathroom selfies are acceptable in pretty public johns. My hair has already been cut again since this photo. It now has no mohawk back, and the sides are completely shaved all the way up. It's sort of like a military high and tight, but much less severe. I've almost had the nerve to shave it completely off which I desperately want, and perhaps soon. I'll get the courage one day, I know it.


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Bubbly, radioactive plasticware, and good conversation for a wonderful end to a great night!


What else has been going on? My life is tragically slow right now it seems. Who am I kidding? It's always slow because I'm pretty much a shut in, and I hate to leave my house. Yeah. Blah blah blah community and no man is island. I'd like to have a go at it most days. I've been voraciously reading. I'm currently reading Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places. I've always been obsessed with Chernobyl history and really anything dealing with nuclear history. I don't know why, but my real dad always says after all the research I've done online and books I've checked out from the library, he's sure I'm on some watch list. :) He jokingly told me once to "only visit his house under the cover of night." I've got a stack by my bed from the library. If you'd like to know what else I'm reading, befriend me at Goodreads, too. I love new booknerd friends.

Kelly and I finally finished Breaking Bad. I know. I know. I'm always 10 years behind on everything. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen. We're making our way through Curb now before the new season, and then, I may have to rewatch Twin Peaks, too. I am beside myself waiting for the new season to come on Showtime.

You guys, I am also beside myself hoping that the boots below don't sell out in my size before tomorrow. I'm ordering them tomorrow morning, and aren't they the most gorgeous shoes you've seen in your life? I haven't had a pair of Docs since high school (those boots lasted me about 10 years with good repeated greasings). I've said before I'm not your stereotypical woman because I could give a hang about shoes. In my opinion, shoes are utilitarian so who gives a damn? I take it all back! Well, I take back the part about being purely utilitarian after seeing these. I can't imagine walking around with works of art on my boots?!! The particular tale of this work by William Hogarth is detailed below (taken from the Dr. Marten blog). You can also read more thoroughly about it here.

 
‘A Rake’s Progress’ is a satirical depiction of the rise and fall of Tom Rakewell, a country boy who inherits a fortune. Having gambled it away and squandered it on debauched evenings in the renowned Rose Tavern in Covent Garden, he marries a rich one-eyed woman. Once again he loses his fortune in a gambling house, becomes imprisoned for debt and eventually dies from madness in the notorious Bedlam asylum.

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Look at this photo I found of them online (above). Green eyed, and I can't wait to have my own!

You guys, if they keep making boots like this, it's all over for me. I'll give in and become a shoe addict. I looked at this pair and these first, but they are out of my size so I went with the Rake's Progress pair. I never knew Dr. Marten worked with museums and added art now. Look at these (photos below) I would effing kill for! I'm going to have to scour the internet for the willow china plate ones, and I'm even fond of the roses on the sides. I think Docs are a good investment, though. Like I said, my first pair I had for ages.
 
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Photo from here
 
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Photo from here


In order to try to be kinder when moving (which I'm forever failing at because disorder turns me into the grouchiest), I'm diving into self-care. I've taken many hot baths lately, one with the pug who continued to whine and bark the entire time so I threw her in, too. I know you all are grossed out, but I'm too old to give a damn now. Yes, I took a bath with my dog. Yes, if I dropped a fork in a restaurant, I'd pick it up and keep eating most likely. Yes, my cats walk all over my counters and step over my plate most days. Guess what? I'm still alive! I like to live on the edge, and it probably builds up my immunity so stuff it, germaphobes. I'll eat my words, when I get a parasite, but until then, I throw caution to the wind and take bubble baths with a pug swimming near my feet. After, I pat my face with rose oil which smells and feels heavenly.
 
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The weather has been hinting at spring here and there. I'm so excited to spend the heady time in a new home!  Check out this beautiful sunset above our garage.  Don't judge our abandoned tomato plant buckets.  We will empty them and plant some new ones before you know it! 
 
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*I know I've been a shitty friend on here, and I promise to get better very soon! It's all the moving that's kept me away from reading and commenting. Hang in there, new friends! Cross my heart and kiss my elbow, I'll be catching up with you all soon! xo*

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