Monthly Archives: January 2011

Guilty As Charged

When I started this blog, I was fresh out of grad school, jobless, and living with my boyfriend, Mike, in Pennsylvania.  I’ve gotten into thousands of fights about what the roles of both men and women should be.  Recently, I offended my friend, Jarvis, who is an incredible writer and professor of Creative Writing in Maryland.  He posted a picture of a stack of papers and a two lap-top set up, and underneath, he wrote, “Man’s work.”  Just joking around (as I have joked with Jarvis about this on multiple occasions), I said, “Where’s the tool belt?”  Of course, I was insinuating that men do hard labor.  Which is not at all the case all the time.

Mike, my darling boyfriend, has been known to say (upon seeing me drool over construction workers, mechanics, and farmers), “I need a man’s job.”  Now, when I look at Mike, I see nothing but MAN.  He’s a GIS technician who maps the land, hunts, fishes, fixes things, builds things, takes care of me, and so much more.  Mike IS a man.  And he certainly does man’s work.

So is Jarvis.

But I’m getting away from myself.  I’ve always been one to appreciate gender roles.  I found this article talking about how Generation Y (me) women don’t know how to do certain things the way we did before.  I don’t know how to cook a pot roast.  I probably should.  And if you’ll remember, I previously wrote about how I CANNOT STAND COOKING FOR MYSELF!

Mike tells me I’m a hypocrite–that I love this idea of a woman cooking for her man and taking care of a house and babies and ladeeda.    Unfortunately, he has a point.  Something along the lines of, “For someone who rejoices in the idea of a housewife, you sure don’t take on the responsibilities.”

He’s right.  And for a long time I fought this.  I said I wouldn’t learn to cook unless I had a reason to–that being that he asked me to marry him and I would cook for someone other than myself.  But I guess this is the time to practice.

When Mom married Dad, she made Mrs. Grass’s soup for almost two years…unless Dad cooked.  I want to be able to cook; it’s just so hard without a goal in mind.  So I’ll quit saying, “Give me a reason, and I’ll learn how to cook,” and maybe I’ll actually just start cooking.

Any good recipe ideas for beginners?  Mike likes bacon.


Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Domesticity


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Happy Birthday, Nick Carter.

Happy 31st Birthday, Nick Carter. In an odd, semi-conscious sleep, I dreamt about you last night.  You know I’ve always been a sucker for that squeaky pre-pubescent voice of yours.  Don’t worry, even though I have Bieber-Fever, you’ll always be my #1.

I want you to know that I have been celebrating your birthdays since 1998.  On more than one occasion, I sat at a table with my friend Caitlin (Frick), who was kind enough to buy ME (Frack-true BSB fans will get this) a cake for YOUR birthday.  It was usually blue and white.  Because you love blue.  And because you love the ocean.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

And I went to your concerts.  I swooned every time you hit a high note.  I lost it when you started dating.  My eyes always went to you in music videos, and I thought, “He’d be a good boyfriend.”

All through junior high (and embarrassingly enough, into high school) I wrote you into some stories.  Did you know that we were going to have a double wedding off the coast of Florida with Brian and my friend Caitie?  I figured you didn’t.

There were a few times that my mother walked into my bedroom when I was a teenager and saw me lying across my bed, my head hanging upside-down, listening to Millennium over and over and over again.  She asked me if I was okay.  Then walked away, shut the door, and I’m sure stood outside it for awhile to make sure I wasn’t sobbing over you.

When you appeared with your pants around your ankles on Rolling Stone, I bought five copies.

At the second BSB concert Caitie and I came to see you and Brian at, we got lost in the arena trying to find our way out.  It panned out, though, because we cut down a 12 foot poster of you and your band mates, rolled it up, and continued the search for the door.  “Hey,” we heard a lady say behind us.  “I’ll give you $20 for that.”

“Hell no,” I said.

“50,” she said, reaching for her purse.

“Absolutely not.  This is ours.”  Caitie and I stood with our hands on our hips, facing this woman and her daughter.


“No thank you,” we said, and walked away.

I gave up $100 for you, Nick Carter.

Actually…with all the posters, CDs, books, magazines, t-shirts, concerts, and McDonald’s BSB action figures…I probably spent close to $6,000.00 on you.

I’m okay with it.  You kept me in love and entertained for probably four years.  So thank you for that.  And then I saw you on House of Carter and realized how bad it had gotten.

While I’m not sure I would date you anymore, I still like when you sing.  So Happy Birthday to you, Nick.  And if you want to come visit Ohio, you’re more than welcome.

If AJ gets out of rehab, I’ll even buy a ticket to your tour with NKOTB…


Posted by on January 28, 2011 in Daily Happenings, When I Was Young


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Poor Jakey…

Lately I’ve been reading Coop:  A Family, a Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg by Michael Perry.

Last night I got to a part that shook me to my soul.  Perry’s nephew Jake drowns in a pond.  The sheer magnitude of the situation is enough to startle you, but the way that Perry writes about it…it gave me chills.

You don’t expect it.  Everything is going so wonderfully in the book.  It’s here I have to marvel at the chapter that comes before Jakey’s death.  Perry is cradling newborn daughter Jane to his chest while all his nieces, nephews, and friends’ children run around him–including Jakey.

Jakey who thought he had to whisper to the stars.  Jakey who thought the moon was a cookie.  Jakey who tipped his tractors upright like in the movie Cars.  Jakey who died too young.

This scares the hell out of me and I don’t even have children.  To make matters worse, Jakey’s father (Perry’s brother) Jed lost his first wife, Sarah, after only seven weeks of marriage.  She was in a car accident, and Jed, who is a volunteer firefighter and EMT, was first on the scene.  Can you imagine?  Trying to save your wife of seven weeks, losing her, and then finding love again only to lose your firstborn son to a pond.

It’s not fair…

I promise for a happier post tomorrow.

That is all.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Daily Happenings


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Choosing Your Own Name

What would you have called yourself had you chosen your own name?

Back when I was into the Babysitters’ Club, I would have called myself Stacey or Claudia.  When I was a hippy in college, I was kinda going for Willow or Storm.  Both of those still kind of make me happy.  I could go with either one and feel content.

Please don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with Erica.  Mom chose it after watching soap operas all through her pregnancy with me.  Something about Susan Lucci’s character on Days Of Our Lives.  I don’t know.  But no one calls me Erica.  They call me Hooty. They call me this because of something I used to do as a child.  Whenever we were in a store, I’d ask, “Who is that?  Who?” to everyone that passed.  My father eventually looked at me, threw his hands in the air and asked, “Do your feet fit a limb?  You’re like a little hoot owl!”

They only people that call me Erica are the people that don’t know me and people at work.  Sometimes, I forget to respond to it.

Jenny calls me Rico.  Carmen calls me by my last name.  My Grandpa Gene calls me Ca. Sometimes, my father calls me Lou.

But what if we chose our own names?

I always figured that the names people chose for their children were the names that they wished they’d been given.  I know that I’m in love with the names I have picked out for girls (I’m not telling you, because you’ll steal them).  And the names I have picked out for boys are names that I believe encompass who I would be if I were a boy.

Some  Indian (Native American, for you PC folks) tribes choose their own names when they gain a certain understanding of who they are.  Often these names are based on an aspect of nature or animal.  Well, they already call me Hooty, so do I choose to stick with the owl?  Do I still maintain that desire to know who everyone is?  Does that stick to me?  I like to think that everyone I encounter, I try to learn something about “who” they are.

In terms of elements of nature, I could do without living by water or mountains.  But I love the sky, and wide open spaces (not-so-subtle nod to the Dixie Chicks).   I probably belong in Kansas, which is also a name I wouldn’t mind having.  She Who Sees the SkyCloud-Wisperer (spelled incorrectly on purpose–get it?  Wispy clouds?)?  Sky Owl?

Prairie Storm.  That’s it, because of the way I can explode like a storm front.  Maybe…  But I don’t live on the prairie.  I live on the plains of Ohio (ask Mike–he’ll tell you how wickedly flat it is).  But “plain” has so many denotations!

What would your name be?  Would you choose a nature name?  Or would you just change your regular name?




Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Daily Happenings


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Camp Lackawanna Grow Up

I never went to summer camp, but lately, I’m regretting that decision.  I did go to Camp Storer for a week in sixth grade.  I wasn’t ready for it.  I cried almost every night.  I cried when this douchebag counselor named Dirk reenacted the Underground Railroad way too realistically.  I quit halfway up the climbing wall.  I did like the cabin, though, and the ghost stories, and the night there was a tornado warning. I liked knowing there was a cabin of BOYS just across the field.  I dunno…just didn’t wanna be there in sixth grade.

But now I wish I woulda pulled summer camp duty.  As an adult, nothing seems as though it’s off limits.  If you’re old enough to pay, you’re old enough to do it.  I pay taxes, loans, bills…therefore, I can drink, live alone, have wine for dinner, pick the color of my curtains…  Whatever happened to someone telling me I can’t?

Because you all can agree with this:  When someone tells you that you can’t, it’s so much more fun when you get away with it.

So I propose to you, my friends and bloggies, that we begin a summer camp–FOR ADULTS.

We shall call it Camp Lackawanna Grow Up, and it will be in the hills.  We’ll have to earn our alcohol by winning competitions and races to the mess hall, and or we’ll have to sneak it in.  This is where the flasks engraved with “Shameless” that Jenny and I bought for each other will come in handy–whiskey and wine, baby.

There will be bonfires at least three times a week, and an endless supply of marshmallows for s’mores.  There will be ghost stories, and cuddling by the campfire.

NO co-ed cabins.  If you’re going to sneak a boy into your cabin, well you’d better get permission from your other bunk mates, and make them vow to never rat you out.  And then you have to keep the giggles under control when said man begins to snore and you have to pretend it’s you.

There will be canoeing, dancing in the moonlit summer rainstorms, music, food fights, skinny dipping in the lake, softball, catch, and awkward tan lines.  Hitchhiking into town, quiet whispers of scheming girls to attack the boys’ cabin.

GAH.  I missed out.  What do you say, friends?  We can’t do it for a whole summer, because we have jobs (we hope).  But we can do it for a long weekend.  Who wants to go camping this summer?  In East Harbor, or Mohican?  In PA?  WHO IS COMING WITH ME?!?!?

RSVP in comments.  Because I’m serious.  This thing is happening.  If I get a big enough response, I’ll set this thing up for summer time, and we can meet up, eat s’mores, and sleep in tents.  Yes?

Great, I’ll see you there.


Posted by on January 25, 2011 in When I Was Young


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Bowling-A Ladies’ Sport

I have mixed feelings concerning what I’m about to say.  And I think what I’m about to say my have solved some of my “finding friends in your 20’s sucks ass once you’re out of school” problems.

I bought a bowling ball.

Me.  A bowling ball!  I’m really excited.  It’s in Pennsylvania right now getting drilled.  To fit my fingers. I guess I’m so excited about this because I’ve never had a personalized piece of sporting equipment.  I played softball and tennis, but I just bought off-the-rack.  Besides the chintzy t-shirts given to us by the recreational leagues, nothing ever had my name on it–and it wasn’t personalized for me.

The bowling ball is both.

Let’s go back to the beginning of my career with bowling.

We all did the bowling thing in Junior High and High school–the GLOW BOWLING THING.  You know…farm kids hanging out in neon lights laughing at the fact that our teeth were blue, embarrassed by the fact that we had so much lint on our clothes.  Couples thought it might be more fun to make out in black light.

The rest of us tried to perfect our kick, to get the attention of that guy or gal that we were interested in, and to happen to fall into their lap on the fiberglass chairs by the end of the night.

And then we’d stand outside in the parking lot, rejoicing in the night, all hopped up on Mountain Dew, laughing at the snow, planning to do it again.

The score wasn’t important then.  We still thought it was fun to get a strike, but in the end, we got to laugh in the black light for a few hours, and that was enough.

And then we got to college, and the competition became the more important thing…but in a different way.  It became about who could sneak the most beers off the tables from the drunk regular bowlers.  It became about the “sex pin,” although most of us never held up on our word.  (((For those of you wondering, the “sex pin” is the bowling pin in the very middle of the triangle.  The opportunity to use the “sex pin” happens when you knock down all the pins but leave the middle one standing.  If you pick up that pin on a spare, you’re supposedly going to get laid that night.)))

I remember bowling with my cousin Heidi when I visited Ashland University before I attended.  She sneaked me a couple beers, taught me about the sex pin, and let me hang out with her now-husband’s little brother.  I felt freaking cool.  Tim McGraw’s “Red Rag Top” was the big song that year, and they played it so loud over the speakers that something about it made me anxious to get to AU for my own college career.

And then there was bowling here and there in grad school.  Mostly I just played along, not actually wanting to be there.  And then the night of Christmas 2009, all of my cousins, Heidi excluded, went out to Plaza Lanes off of Route 20 in Fremont, and we bowled.  BOY did we bowl.  I got my high score that night.  176.

You may not know this about Mike (boyfriend Mike), but he’s an avid bowler.  I bought him a bowling shirt for his birthday with “Big Ern” embroidered on the shoulder–as it is his bowling name.  He has the shoes, the ball, the bag, the nifty little thing that cleans oil of the bowling ball.  He’s hardcore.

And this weekend, after he made me tacos, bought me Skinny Girl margarita mix (it’s so good!), and let me watch Ghost Hunters, we took off on Saturday to do some shopping.  We ended up at Seneca Lanes and bowled a couple of games.  I realized how much I love it–and that we could do it together, and often.  But I also realized how much I freaking hate finding a ball to fit my hands.

So we went and bought one.  It looks like a peacock!  I’ll post pics when it’s done being drilled.

BUT the solution to THIS PROBLEM:  I can go bowling in Brunswick!  I can make bowling friends!  And if…WHEN, Mike gets here, we could join a league!  I’m super psyched about this.

Bowling.  The joy of it all.  😉


Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Domesticity


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Wine for Dinner

Based on the way my blog was going yesterday (i.e. the amount of views and my intense anticipation that I may beat my 117 visitor-best day this past summer), I had wine for dinner.  I had 149 visitors–yesterday alone!  🙂  I’m thrilled.  I will continue to embarrass myself for your amusement.

I have nothing spectacular to say today–only that the snow is coming down and it’s still sunshiney.

I do believe I should have doubled in graphic design.  It’s so much fun.

And I’m happy.  I’m happy.


NOTE:  I am going to try to go to the gym.  ARGH.  I will not be happy about making friends there, though.  😉


Have a lovely weekend, all!



Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Daily Happenings




When my little brother, Jason turned 16, he got his license.  When he returned, I told him to get into the car and take me for a ride.  We weren’t going for a just a ride, though.  I wanted him to take me to get a tattoo.

I was 19 at the time, and I’d decided that I would forever be a rockstar, so I chose to have the outline of a star with a scripted ‘rock’ in the middle.  I got it in Fremont, Ohio where my good friend had just gotten hers, and lying on my stomach, Jason watched me get my tattoo.

My mother, in her all-knowing motherness, knew that something had happened that she did not approve of, and she ripped up the back of my shirt to reveal my tramp stamp (yes folks, I said it, and I admit to it.  I have a tramp stamp).  She yelled, then refused to talk to me, then I won her over in the end.

But people kept saying that the scripted rock in the middle was too close to the edge of the star.  That it looked like “rocky.”  That couldn’t be had.  I had recently begun hanging out at Lucky Luke’s Tattoo Parlor (also in Fremont) and thought that maybe he could fix it–make it so it didn’t look like “rocky.”  He said he could, and sketched up what appears below.

The original tattoo was merely the middle star, just an outline with rock in the middle.  As you can see, I added more…a lot more…which induced another ’bout of yelling and then silence from my mother.

I was incredibly proud of the tattoo…and then embarrassed, and then regretful.  In the end, I only regret its location.  I got a tramp stamp.  I don’t regret the actual tattoo, as I’ve always had the heart of a rockstar (shut up, you, I’ll tell myself what I need to go get by).

But if you’ve ever gotten a tattoo, you know the itch. You know what it’s like to want another…and another…and another.

I’ve avoided this desire thus far.



My second year of grad school, Jenny and I decided that while we were out in Colorado (see Jenny’s link if you’re confused), we would get the same tattoo.  Something along the lines of this: 

That never happened…  Because I did not go.  But I still itch for it.










Instead, Jenny and I both wear this necklace which I bought at LuLuBugJewelry’s site: 

But I still want that tattoo…


Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Daily Happenings



Okay I Give Up…

How the heck do you make friends once you’re out of college!?

Think about this:

In college, you were forced into dorms, common eating areas, classes.  It was easy to find people like you.

But now, out of college…shit got weird.  In Franklin, Mike and I had no real “friends” besides his Deputy friend who came over occasionally, and this super creepy guy named George who was obsessed with getting Mike to kayak down the Allegheny with him.  People at the bars already had their cliques.  People at restaurants don’t talk.  People at Sheetz were stoned.

And now that I’m in Brunswick, I’m running into the same problem…only solo.

I do believe I’ve made friends at work, but at the end of the day, they go home to their families, eat dinner with their spouses, tuck their children into bed. I’m not there yet. So this leaves little room for, “Hey, let’s go get a beer after work.”

Last night I went and read COOP at Starbucks for just under two hours.  One person between the ages of 16 and 50 walked in.  Everyone else was, well, a child or a mature mature adult. Perhaps another coffee house is the answer?  I’ve located one.  I intend on going there next week.

But I’ve thought of other places–and reasons not to try them.  Here’s the list:

Bars: Okay, I love to drink as much as the next lush…but when you’re a 25-year-old girl walking into a bar by yourself, call me old-fashioned but I think you’re asking for trouble.  That is not to say that it isn’t okay to go sit at a bar like, say, Applebee’s or Chili’s, as the restaurant atmosphere is much less threatening.  Plus, I’m just not sure how Mike would feel about it.

The Gym: First off, I DO NOT like to work out in front of people.  I pretty much just won’t do it.  I have no problem walking/running on the streets…but the people that see me are momentary.  I pass their house.  They pass me in a car.  Then it’s over.  End of transaction.  Not so with the gym.  You’re stuck on a track running in circles, in a class where someone is staring at your ass every time you bend over, or on an elliptical machine or the like where all can see you bounce.  No thanks.  And I don’t want to meet friends at the gym because I don’t want the basis of our relationship to be, “Yeah, let’s get sweaty together.”

Social Events: This would work…but it is winter.  And there are none.  I will reserve it for the spring.

And that’s it…I have no other ideas.  I follow folks on Twitter from around the area.  Perhaps there’s something in that.

A book club?

SERIOUSLY.  Where are you 20-somethings?!?!


Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Daily Happenings


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Jewels from the Past

I posted a poll this morning on my Facebook…and I was shocked with the volume of response.

The Question:  Can you wear jewelry from ex-boyfriends when a new boyfriend is in the picture?  Does it matter based on the meaning behind each piece of jewelry (i.e. earrings you just really wanted as opposed to a promise ring)?

We’ll get to everyone’s responses, but first, let’s take inventory:

From Phill, who I dated from age 15-18:

A copper ring, with which he proposed to me on my sixteenth birthday, out in the driveway behind my father’s truck.  I wore this ring on my left ring finger until we split in early 2003. (STILL HAVE)

A key pendant, the “Key to His Heart” (STILL HAVE)

A crucifix necklace (as my dear friend Gina will remember, the tiny gold Jesus fell off of the silver cross in a Creative Writing class at Ashland University.)  (LOST)

From B****, who I “dated” for about 2 years:

A “promise” ring that I got for my birthday.  (STILL HAVE)

NOTE: Everything about this relationship was parenthetical.

From Nick:

The Tiffany Infinity Cross (STILL HAVE)

From A*****:

The Tiffany Elsa Peretti Heart with Diamond (STILL HAVE)

A promise ring (STILL HAVE)

From “douche” in post from last week:

Ruby and white sapphire journey collection. (PAWNED–and then I got rip-roaring drunk on the money)

From ****:

A “Tiffany” (yes folks, someone tried to pull imitation Tiffany over on me) necklace and matching ring. (I no longer obtain these, are they were given back to giver upon his request).

From Mike, my darling wonderful amazing boyfriend, Mike:

Swirly diamond earrings:

A GORGEOUS 1-year anniversary ring:

And diamond stud earrings:

That said, I feel odd wearing anything but the last three things.  I did the poll to see how everyone else felt.  And this is what I got:

Danielle: I’d say if it represented your commitment, then its tacky but if it was a gift of holiday or just because, wear it! 🙂

Ryan: I don’t know why I’m answering this. But:

Overall I think it depends on what the jewelry is, what the occasion was, and how expensive it is. If it’s a nice pair of earrings you got for your birthday, I don’t see a problem with it. If it’s a …cheap vending machine ring he got you on your fifth date, or something explicitly romantic like a locket or charm from an anniversary, then it’s questionable.

If it’s some blingin’ ass jewelry that’s just jewelry, no big deal. Also, there’s not really a need to bring up where you got it.

I should get a hobby.

Mandy: I personal tend to get rid of jewelery from an ex. This is always why I don’t like guys getting me jewelery, especially if it’s something I really like.

Danielle: Personally, I feel guilty wearing any jewelry that was given to me by an ex. I don’t think Nick would have a problem with it, but for some reason I’m not comfortable with it.

Aubrie: If its nice jewelry, then do what I did and take it to a jeweler and trade it in for cash. (granted, it was only like $30, but hey, I’d rather have the $40 then a stupid ring laying around.) If its something shitty from not the counter at Walmart, throw that shit away. Everything has memories attached to it, and if it’s from an ex, then chances are they aren’t the better of the memories.

Mike (poetry professor in grad school): Ask him to lunch, on the way ask him to stop at a Goodwill, and let him watch as you give the old stuff away. It’s romantic.

Kristen: I would say no and agree with Aubrie, everything has memories attached to it and those memories are better left to forget.

Jason: Keep it and wear it out of spite. No matter what! Never give it back. P.S. Promise rings are stupid. 😛

Erin: I second Ryan’s opinion, but then I was thinking about it, and turning the situation around, I don’t think I’d want Jesse hanging onto gifts from an ex. So, go with Mike’s suggestion. 🙂

Erica: Well, I think it depends on your relationship to the jewelry. If you see it as a continuing commitment (which obviously you don’t, because you are now in another commitment with mike) then I would get rid of it. If you see it as pretty jewelry, wear it! You know I still wear my cross necklace! It doesn’t mean I’m still fawning over my ex, I just like the necklace and there were good memories! What’s mikes opinion?

Beki: I gave one piece to a family member who liked it. I still have another that’s too nice to give away or sell. I don’t wear it though. It’s a big heart shape, ha ha. If I ever have a daughter I’ll give it to her. If I’m not interested in the guy anymore, wearing the jewelry feels awkward.

Jarvis: Ultimately, it is about guilt. If you feel guilty about it, you shouldn’t do it. If you don’t, then you should. Now, your current man might try and make you feel guilty, but that is another conversation. Also, you might wonder why he do…esn’t care. But, I mean, it is just stuff. In a hundred years, where is that nice necklace going to be? Where are we going to be? Will we be here? And where is “Here” exactly? I drink out of a mug one of my girlfriends gave me five years ago. Do I remember her name? Of course not. Let age rain down the wisdom upon you. What day is it? I’m sleepy.

Scott: no and no. We are jealous and want you just for ourselves! (maybe you should not tell him someone else bought them for you?!)

Nick (the aforementioned ex who gave me my first Tiffany necklace: My poll- do you want my opinion on this? Ha ha

Jessica-a conniving old student: Girllll, you wear that jewelry, he doesn’t have to know where you got it 🙂 “Oh this old thing” mwahahaha.

Craig (via text): Earrings are ok.  Necklaces are pushing it.  Rings are a no.


I laughed my butt off at most of these comments.  You’re all truly hilarious.  I no longer wear the “promise rings.”  We actually had an interesting idea for them.  I was going to melt them all into one ring and call it the “Ring of Broken Promises.”

I do wear the Tiffany.  IT’S TIFFANY FOR CRIPE’S SAKE!

I think everything is okay but the rings.  You could change my mind, though, if your evidence was good enough.  Happy Tuesday!


Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Domesticity, When I Was Young


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