Friday, April 29, 2005

Fame and Fortune Will Be Here Any Second

I got an e-mail this morning that Curmudgeonry had won an award. Fascinating, I thought -- I am well aware that the content of this blog is neither award winning nor award worthy. But no -- I "won"a designation as a Best Blog in Tennessee. Someone must have found me out through my registering for BlogNashville. As far as I can tell, all this award means is that I am in Tennessee and have a blog with RSS feed. Still, I'm not going to be winning any other awards for this drivel -- so I guess I'll take it.

Gardening Ideas

When there isn't much to say about yourself -- why not talk about your neighbors? There is a house down the street, that was on our neighborhood home tour, that has the most interesting front fence I've ever seen. Originally, my neighbor hired a landscaper to help her redo the frontyard and she planned to put a fence around the place to keep her dogs from escaping.

Then the landscaper had an idea -- why not have a landscaped fence -- a living fence? As I've heard the story, he was so in love with idea that he called the homeowner to ask her permission to do it while loading his cart with the starter materials.

livingfence1.jpg


I watched the fence going up with some interest and have been fairly skeptical about it. When it was just sod wrapped in chicken wire, I wasn't too crazy about it. Now that the plants are in and the ivy and moss are starting to take over and everything is growing, I think it is pretty neat. Supposedly it won't require too much maintenance, though I suspect that remains to be seen. It has a sprinkler hose system in it, so the owner won't have to go out to water her fence. I do think it will be strange to weed a fence though.

As it grows, it grows on me, but I still probably wouldn't put it in my yard.

livingfence2.jpg


Thursday, April 28, 2005

European Geography

I played Place the US States and find the Canadian Provinces and was pretty good at those, so I had to try my hand at the European countries when Nate linked to this quiz. I got 37/44 with an average error of 104 miles, but let me state for the record that other than Andorra and the Vatican, I couldn't find the postage stamp countries of Europe even with a map in front of me and I didn't know that Slovakia and Slovenia were on opposite sides of Hungary. Silly me.

The Evils of Television

I grew up watching television like any normal person, until my family moved to small town, middle-of-nowhere Ohio when I was in junior high. The only way to get TV channels was to subscribe to cable and my parents just weren't going to do that -- at least my mom wouldn't. So no TV. We had a VCR and could watch movies, but I missed all the commercials and all the shows.

In college, I spent a lot of time in the commons room of our dorm catching up on television. In grad school, I had a TV in my bedroom. I spent those years becoming a junkie. We had cable through our landlord while Justin was in law school and though I didn't watch as much TV as I had when I was single, I still watched a fair bit. I had shows I wanted to see and all that.

Then we moved to Alaska and though we could pick up some channels with our rabbit ears there wasn't a lot on I wanted to see -- pretty much only Enterprise and I didn't want my son to watch TV, he seemed too little. So I grew apart from the television. We started letting The Boy watch videos as a potty training incentive -- he'd sit on his potty and by the time the video was over all the stuff would have landed in the potty.

Back in the lower 48 once more, we decided DSL was worth more to us than cable. We also put our one and only TV (with a 13" screen) upstairs where our bedroom is not. For a year or more we basically watched no TV, though The Boy got a daily "lunch video" which he watched while I was getting The Girl to nap. Last year we got a second TV, so that Justin and I can watch TV at night.

Except for that one brief period of addiction for me, we've managed to be a fairly low-viewing TV family. I sometimes wish the kids liked it more. I could do with more vegging out from them sometimes. The Boy's school is very anti-TV. You don't exactly have to pledge that they'll never watch it, but I think there was a question on the application that asked if you'd be willing to cut back on television if the teachers recommended it, and they hand out articles on why television is evil all the time. Really.

Fine. Whatever. I let my kids watch a bit when I want to, but as I said, half the time they don't watch enough to save what sanity I have left. They haven't turned into dullards yet.

I loved this article deriding TV-Turnoff Week. I'm not going to leave the TV on all week, but I know the feeling. I really hate people telling me what to do for my own good, when I can take care of myself and my family with a little restraint and common sense.

Article link via Lexxiblog.

What's In A Name?

It's Thursday Three time, in which I get to fill the blog with content without working too hard. Oh right, there never is content that shows any work at all -- not even spell-checking.

1. What does your name mean—any connection to what you do or who you are?

My first name means "flowing down" or "descendant". I am definitely someone's descendant. My middle name, Caroline, is usually given the meaning of either "womanly" or "freeholder". I'm not sure about the latter meaning, but I'd say "womanly descendant" fits me pretty well as a whole name.

2. Any problems with your name? Do you wish it (either your surname or given name) was changed ?

There were never any stickers/shoelaces/miniature licenses plates with Jordana on them. Life has been most unfair. When I was three or four, I wished to change my name to Mary Suzy. Fortunately, I grew up to like my name just fine. Since I got married and changed my last name, I've rather enjoyed moving from the end of the alphabet to the beginning and from having to spell out both my first and last names to only having to spell my first name.

3. Were you named for someone? If so, whom?

My older brother. His name is Andrew Jordan. For some reason, when he suggested that they name me after him, it seemed like a good idea to my parents.

Bonus Question: Do you go by your first name, middle name, shortened form--(ex. Jim for James)--or by some made-up nickname?

I go by my first name. When I was little -- up until we named The Boy, in fact -- I was known to my family as George. When I was about 3, my parents had a friend who said Jordana was unpronounceable and so he was going to call me George. My parents hated it at first and then it stuck.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Three Kids in Red

I'm not usually all matchy-matchy in dressing my kids. It's kind of cute, but I usually don't do it -- in part because everything they wear came from Goodwill or yard sales and that makes it more difficult to get everything to match. However, I do have a couple of girl's outfits in two different sizes and due to The Girl's being such a tiny thing, she can still wear almost everything she wore last summer. Naturally, I had to stick the girls in matching outfits and take pictures. Then The Boy, who happened to also being wearing red jumped into the photo shoot. Nothing turned out very well, but I thought this photo was cute anyway.

3kidsinred.jpg


Bye-Bye Birdie

grownupbirds.jpg


Our robins have flown the nest, leaving behind a lot off poop and not much else. It was a real pleasure to get to watch them growing over the past few weeks. I can't believe how fast they grow up. I'm glad it is taking my children a little longer before they are ready to fly on their own. The Girl has been a bit upset over the robins' departure. She thought those were her birdies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Touring and Peeking

This weekend was devoted almost entirely to preparing for, helping with and recovering from our neighborhood tour -- which you can read a bit about here and here.

The Girl stopped throwing up Friday afternoon and started being all perky and hungry, so we decided she was well enough for us to go to the next block for a pre-tour party while she and her siblings stayed with a neighbor who had agreed to watch the kids. After a short party and some thank you gifts for the site owners, Justin went home to put the kids to bed and I went on with the rest of the neighbors to see all the houses on the tour. We did this so that all the homeowners would get a tour, but not have to worry about running out on the day of the tour.

The day of the tour dawned grey and cold and proceeded to get colder and rainy. We still had a great turn out for the tour -- a few more people than last year on a really beautiful day.

The girls and I worked as greeters at a house down the street from ours, while The Boy played at another neighbor's house. I got lots of compliments on my house and hated having to deny ownership, but then again a house with only two bedrooms wouldn't work very well for a family of five, even if the bedrooms are large. One couple came to the house that had lived there in the 1940s when it had been converted into a duplex. They were amazed at how nice the house looked converted back into a single family home and remembered the original fireplace tile they'd thought was ugly back in the old days.

Saturday night there was a party for everyone involved in the tour and Sunday was just a regular day of churching and regular Adams' family lateness for church. We try, but obviously not hard enough, to get places on time.

Yesterday I was still recovering from the busy weekend. I had to wash seven or eight loads of laundry, water all the plants, start trying to get the house cleanish again, and those sorts of things. Today I must go grocerying and get to the library to get some new books. I've finished reading all the bedtime stories to the kids that I checked out two weeks ago.



Friday, April 22, 2005

Where Would We Be Without Vomit?

It just isn't really a full week until someone throws up. Maybe we just have weak stomachs around here, but it seems like somebody in the family is ailing almost every week these days. Sure the house isn't spotless, but I don't think we're breeding that much food poisoning.

This morning is was The Girl. She woke up cranky, whiny and lethargic. Then she looked pale and for once I wasn't the one holding the child when everything came up. Still unlike me, who always winds up either covered in vomit or catching it in my hands, my husband grabbed her, held her two feet in front of him and let her puke on the hardwood floor -- which is better than the sofa or the rug, I guess.

She's all tucked in and feeling gross. It figures that someone would get sick when we actually have a party to go to tonight.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Am I On The Cutting Edge Or What?

Slate had a couple of articles last week about the economics of names -- here and here. Since I'm such a baby name nut, I was interested in these and thought it particularly interesting to see that I'm really on the cutting edge for popular names. The name of one of my girls is on their predicted list of popular girls names for 2015 and so are several of the other names we considered. I'm such a trend setter.

Books, My Precious...

It's time for The Spring Reading Edition of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!. As you can see we like books.

living room.jpg

I won't bore you with pictures of the other nine bookcases.

1. Do you like to read one book at a time until you’re finished, or multiple things at once?
Back in the olden days when I had all sorts of time and such, I usually had lots of books going at once. Now I'm lucky to be reading anything other than a blog entry here and there and so I usually stick to one book at a time and perhaps a few magazines.

2. Do you do your browsing at the library, or do you prefer going to retailers such as Barnes and Noble and glomming up free samples of the publishing arts, pretending you’re actually going to buy something?
Library. Library. Library. I love buying new books, but I have eleven overflowing bookcases and I hate packing books up and storing them away. I'd rather check them out, which appeals to the cheapskate in me anyway, and not have to find a home for them on a new shelf.

3. Which do you prefer--hard cover, paperback, or online?
Although I probably read more stuff on the web than any where else, online is right out as my preference. That's not really a good way to read anything long. I suppose hard covers, or as we liked to call them in my librarian days "cloth" books, are the best, but unless a book is really, really old I can't get too worked up about the cover. Books are too familiar as friends to be sacred. In this house we live with them all over, which means they get bent, tossed around, stepped on and mistreated. But they are also loved. If the pages fall out of a book, we tape it back together. It's the words that matter more than what the cover is made of to me.

That said, I do have a bookcase filled mostly with very old or very special books. I read from there occasionally, but the children aren't allowed to get their grubby hands on those books.

And a special bonus question:

4. What do you read most often?

A very non-specific question, I must say. I probably read children's books most often, followed by blogs and magazines next. Once in a while I get to read real books. Sometimes I like to read fluffy Regency Romance novels and sometimes more improving literature, but it's been a long time since I got to concentrate for long on much of anything.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Gardening Tips From Someone Learning On The Job

When I was a little girl in California my mother had a lovely garden. When we moved to Arizona, not so much. In fact, most of the time we lived in a house with a desert landscape that required nothing other than a little weed pulling. When I was in junior high we moved to the fertile Ohio lands and my mother really started gardening again.

Of course as a detatched and sometimes moronic teenager, I never had much interest in gardening, but I still managed to pick some things up by osmosis -- things that stuck with me until we finally got our own house a few years ago.

And so here are a few tips I've picked up.

(1) If you don't know plants, find a friend or neighbor to help you figure out what is planted in your yard. When we first moved in, a friend came over and asked if we were going to cut down all the "short trees with big leaves." It's true they were overgrown and needed trimming, but fortunately, I knew they were dogwoods.

(2) Look at your neighbors' yards ON YOUR SIDE OF THE STREET to figure out what will work best in your yard (and condition of shadiness). My front yard has a southern exposure. What works in full sun on my side of the street, doesn't work so well in the shade of my neighbor across the street, whose yard faces north and has a large maple.

(3) From looking at other people's yards and wandering through nurseries, you can find out what plants work in what kinds of light, which is important in the next point.

(4) Shop your yard. When we moved in, our yard and few flower beds were mostly weeds. However, we had two giant hostas planted in full sun (they needed shade) and some lovely coreopsis (a sun lover) planted in shade under a dogwood. We also had some beautiful day lilies growing under the fence between our yard and our neighbors and a few growing at random almost inside a bush. The flower beds we had were brick lined. Before buying more bricks for new flower beds, we discovered that one of the old beds had two layers of bricks and there were bricks stacked around our shed. We even dug up the partial remnants of a brick path under 5 inches of top soil. We've found enough bricks to line two small beds and two large beds.

(5) Shop at your friends' and neighbors. We brought a car full of pink, yellow and purple day lilies home from a trip to visit my husband's grandmother. My neighbor down the street gave us all the hollyhock seeds we wanted. Almost anyone is willing to hand over a cutting or two. Lots of plants need to be divided and no one wants to toss the extras.

(6) Don't be intimidated into liking something you hate. I'm not a big fan of most shrubbery. The hollies and boxwoods in front of my house were taken out as soon as I could get my hands on them. Everyone raves about the expense and beauty of boxwoods, but they were not for me. Oddly enough, for all I hear about people loving them, I couldn't find a single person who wanted any of the ones I removed. So, if you hate the colors the previous owner planted or think their expensive rock garden is ugly, take it out. You don't have to live with a garden that isn't you.

I've learned many more lessons -- like zinnias survive breaking only inches from the ground, anemones and freesia hate me, dahlias never look as pretty as the pictures, and that in the late summer everying needs watering -- but those are things to figure out for one's self too. In the meantime, I need to go back and practice with some new plants to see what I like and what hates me.

Miss Me?

Between my birthday, a visit from my mother, super-sizing a flower bed and planting the 18 million plants that I got for birthday presents, I have been very, very busy. Especially, because it isn't like my children stopped being themselves.

The older two fight and The Girl keeps wetting her pants when I don't take her to the bathroom fast enough. The Baby has been getting more grass than any other form of solids and despite sunscreen we're all getting awesome farmer's tans.

My garden is looking pretty super at the moment, although I still have a lot to plant. We put in tomatoes, okra and zucchini today and I planted pots of basil and oregano to go along with the pots of blueberries and strawberries that I planted last week.

Now that the expanded flower bed is finished, amended and tilled, I have some hydrangeas, a couple astilbe and a bleeding heart (the only one you'll find around this house) to plant. I also plan to put some of the bajillion hostas that I took out of the bed back in, but I need to divide and pot most of them, until we do the planned path down the side of our house.

Photos will probably be coming soon.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's almost the end of a busy day, but I decided to pop over and mention that I am now entering a new decade -- unless of course one wants to get pendantic about how to count it up -- but none-the-less, I am now a thirty year old and have left my twenties behind.

While I'm not terribly bothered by that fact, it also seems a bit strange and hard to believe. Do I have to be a grown-up now or may I still whine like a toddler now and then?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Bears, Oh My!

Chris has a story of why one sometimes needs to distrust, but verify. Yikes.

They're Even Cute in Hospital Gowns

When The Boy decided to get really enraged and throw himself with great force off my shoulders at the age of 17 months, he incurred a skull fracture and a nasty concussion. He spent two nights in the Phoenix Children's Hospital -- in part because he couldn't keep anything down, got dehydrated and for the longest time no one would give him an IV. But even through all that misery and worry, I remember how adorable he looked in his little hospital gown and finally after he got his IV how cute he was pushing the cart around calling it his "car."

And now seeing Angie's pictures, I can once again say, kids are cute in hospital gowns, even though seeing them in one is not something I ever hope for.

But the good news is that Lydia's home. Hooray!

Little Birdies

Today was such a lovely spring day that the kids asked if we could have a picnic outside. The Boy decreed it too sunny out on the grass, so we put a blanket on the shady part of the porch and proceed to dine al fresco.

And then from one side of the yard, in flew the Mama Robin. Then from the other direction Daddy Robin arrived. And there were worms for the baby robins' lunches. Yum. And sure enough as the kids and I watch, little head with wide open beaks poked out of the nest and scarfed down all the food their parents had brought.

How cool. It makes me feel rather guilty that I even tried to discourage the birds from nesting on the porch, but I was afraid they'd lay their eggs and then be scared off by us and abandon their babies. I'm glad to know robins don't scare so easily.

Strawberries

In a fit of optimism and having a coupon for free plants, I ordered a bunch of everbearing strawberry plants to grow in a strawberry pot. I researched (Yea! for Google) and discovered that the recommended method is to take a length of PVC pipe, drill holes in it, fill it full of rocks and thus provide an irrigation channel down the center of the pot. All that was easy enough and I got to show my son that mommy knows how to use a hack saw and a drill just like daddy.

What I did not find out and am as baffled about now as before I undertook planting my little strawberry plants is how exactly one keeps from pouring expensive potting soil out of all the holes in a strawberry pot and thereby looking like a complete moron. Fortunately for my ego, I don't think any of my neighbors were out watching.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Home Tour

After the convenience of living close to work, church, stores and all that, one of the things I like best about my neighborhood is how neighborly it is. I know almost everyone on my block and several people up and down all the surrounding streets. We wave. We chat. We stop by and visit.

All this friendliness is facilitated by our voluntary neighborhood association. It is through being part of our association that we have met our neighbors and joined in neighborhood progressive dinners, clean-ups, play groups and all sorts of other activities. Now it is almost time for one of the two biggest activities our neighborhood association does -- a neighborhood tour.

Thanks to a grant from the Mayor's office last year, we were able to pull off a tour and raise enough funds to continue having tours and to do more neighborhood projects along the way. So here comes the second annual tour.

I think it's a cool way to get a peek into some of the houses I haven't seen the insides of, but it is also nifty to work together as a neighborhood and be able to say "We're growing, rejuvenating and bringing life back to a old area that had fallen way, way down. Come see!"

You won't find my house on the tour, but I'll be working at someone else's home in the morning. If anyone happens to be in Nashville on April 23, buy a ticket -- they are only $5 -- come tour my neighborhood and say hello. You won't be disappointed

Not Exactly Crawling

I don't know if I can say The Baby is crawling, but if you put something she wants 4 or 5 feet in front of her, she'll drag herself with her arms and shove off with her toes until she gets to it. She's definitely not an immobile lump any more.

Current favorite things to chase include magazines and shoe laces. She's sort of like a kitten. Fortunately, neither magazines nor shoe laces sit around in her reach all that often. I'm trying to warn the older kids about the dangers to books left unattended and I'm policing the area for small toys more regularly.

Beatrix trying to get the camera.jpg


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Baby Birds

My porch visitor's little ones have arrived. Last night we all sat out on the front porch for the opening of ice cream sandwich season and the robin flew away. We decided to get the step ladder out to peek at the eggs. Only the eggs weren't there. We have three featherless and quite ugly babies instead. I'm sure their parents think they are beautiful though.

babybirds.jpg


Monday, April 11, 2005

If Dirt Is a Measure of Happiness

I must have two of the happiest children on the planet. Here's how they spent their Saturday afternoon:
mud dancing.jpg

muddyboy.jpg

muddygirl.jpg


Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Thursday Three's First Anniversary

The first anniversary Thursday Three is also the very first ever Thursday Three in Terry's new mu.nu home. To make sure everyone understands the randomness of these questions and probably because Jim forgot to send him anything, we have an extra, especially random set this week.

#1) If there was one thing you could change about the way you look, what would it be?
Like so many other people, I'd dump the gut and the related stretch marks that came with child-bearing. I never knew how good my stomach was until it was gone. Sigh.

#2) In your house, right now, what is your favorite piece of artwork that you have displayed? I'm actually not sure what my favorite piece is. I have a lot of things I painted myself and a few other neat things that I like. But since I was just chatting about this with friends, I do happen to have a little tour of various pieces of art in my home, that I won't worry too much about anyone coming in to steal, because none of them are worth much. Link removed to tour of "art" in my house. E-mail me if you want to see it.

#3) What person living now would you most like to meet?
Terry, of course. If you mean famous people, I don't really know who I'd have much interest in meeting although I do think some of the writers for National Review would be great to know. I'd love to walk dogs with Jonah Goldberg and I'd like to have dinner with Jay Nordlinger, although I think I'd feel like an uneducated rube if I tried to talk with him. I'm sure he'd be very polite about it though.

Nur-Nur and Bottles

I own one baby bottle for the very few times I've had to be away from my babies. The Boy drank out of it once. The Girl used it once or twice. The Baby has actually been away from me more than either of her siblings. She may have actually gotten five or six bottles. I'm putting that expensive Medela breast pump to good use, let me tell you!

I hate baby bottles. I hate the thought of anyone feeding my baby other than me. I'm selfish that way. Fortunately, my husband and I worked out a deal with the first baby that I fill them up and he cleans them up on the other end. I get more of the baby spit up, but that's a price that I'm willing to pay.

So as a breastfeeding, sling-using mama, I think I'm modelling for my children what I hope they too will support some day. The Boy asked for his own sling when The Girl was a baby and he still carries stuffed animals around in it once in a while. The Girl converts blankets, spit up rags and other things into baby slings. Between times when she tosses dolls across the room or steps on them, she's there taking care of them, comforting the babies and feeding them. But she's quite the literalist too.

If you tell her she's a good little mama, she quickly denies that these are her children. She's not mama, she says, she's just taking care of them. And she never nurses her babies. She finds a cup or the one lone doll bottle that I haven't thrown out and feeds them. I asked her why she didn't give her babies nur-nur (our family word for nursing). She quickly responded, "But I don't have some nur-nurs. Do you want to feed my dolls some nur-nur?"

I do hope that one day, when she's all grown up, she won't throw her children across the room or step on them and that when she has nur-nurs of her own, she'll use them. Until then, I guess she's right. She isn't actually a mama and she doesn't have any nur-nur in there.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

It's Raining

There is something about a grey, rainy day that brings out the baker in me. Today is one of those days, so I enlisted The Girl's help to do something I've never done before -- bake brownies from scratch. I make almost everything else from scratch, but I really like brownie mixes, so why create more work for myself? Except I don't have any brownie mixes in the house and I wanted to make brownies. I also didn't have any unsweetened chocolate, but I did have unsweetened

Sick Blogging

I thought we had it bad around here, but a three year old with a burst appendix is much, much worse.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

We Interrupt This Whining

to point you to Terry's new home in the Mu.Nu collective. Although, I suppose all of my readers probably already knew that he had moved.

<img alt="Quarantine.jpg" src="http://curmudgeonry.mu.nu/images/Quarantine.jpg" width="150" height="75" border="0" />

The whole family, with the exception perhaps of the baby, is diseased. I have pink eye and a head cold with a really painful sore throat. The Boy threw up all over my bed this morning. The Girl still has pink eye and my husband just got over four days of fever and chills and pink eye, but still has pain in his ears and a general feeling of nastiness. I feel like posting a quarantine sign on the door.

If you don't hear from me for a while, I'm probably lying down somewhere whining.

Monday, April 04, 2005

If You Can Call Watery Rice Cereal Food...

Then The Baby has now eaten her first solids. She's been trying to grab everything off our plates for a while and so I finally broke down and offered her some cereal on Saturday night. She loved it. I'm not sure what's to love, but she gobbled it up.

The Baby turned five months old last Friday, started solids on Saturday and started rolling over without much effort from her back to her tummy on Sunday. She's been rolling from her tummy to her back for a while now. She's also getting good at getting her knees under her and propelling herself at things she wants to reach.

She's getting so big.

Look!

Up in the corner by the webpage address. I got myself an icon. Inspired by a question over at Dr. Weevil's site, I decided I needed an icon. Not that I had anything good to make into an icon, but I had to try it anyway. I used AWicon Lite to make my icon. It seemed to work fine for the assigned task.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Dental Spa?

My dentist is nice enough for a dentist, but I want to find a dental spa.

The Carnival of the Recipes

TexasBestGrok has put together a great looking Carnival of the Recipes.

Reading

Since I'm in a photo sharing mood, here's a picture of the kids reading on the front porch in while waiting in anticipation for their dad to come home from work. By the way, The Boy is reading Asterix, SkinnyDan.

reading on the porch.jpg


In the Garden

Here's what is blooming now.

red tulips.jpg inside a tulip.jpg


purple tulip.jpgpink daffodils.jpg


white daffodils.jpg yellow and orange daffodil.jpg
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Of course, this is what I have the most of:
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A Visitor

Someone has moved onto my front porch.
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Update: My husband informs me that I need to provide more pictoral context for where our birdie visitor is living.
frontdoor.jpg closertobird.jpg


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