Friday, December 5, 2014

The Night They Drive Old Dixie Carter Down

A lot of things happened today so I have more stories, but my recollections of Designing Women through a bottle of wine and some Pie Hole will have to do. I'm not there yet. Sebaceous glands are involved in my earlier stories and you don't need that involved until I can be eloquent of such a subject.

So one night I downloaded sixty-ish episodes of Designing Women from Logo and my sister and I have been trying to whittle it down before the husby cracks and has to delete everything to make room for another recording of Running Scared starring Billy Crystal and Gregory Heins.

Side note: I'm pretty sure the new under cabinet lights I bought are cool white, OK I KNOW they are cool white, but I'm pretty sure the others are soft white and, believe it or not, there is a difference. And before you write me off as a stupid white bitch, I own a new build, but it's made of graham crackers, so chill.

So I watched a couple Designing Womens the other night and the first one was about Julia Sugarbaker's house being a Civil War landmark and Mary Joe was thinking about marrying her best guy friend based on a pact they made when they were 27. Of course, they didn't get married and OF COURSE, Julia was not happy about the parade of homes that came through her house between the smokers, flip flop wearers, and fictional gossip, not to mention her mammy and Southern Belle outfits that I have no idea how anyone could afford them knowing how much authentic costuming can cost you when you don't make it yourself, but then again, I am not from the South in my own design firm. So basically, the episode that I have no name for is amazing. And I love that even though now it seems like an old fashioned message with a girl having a friend that she only has friend feelings for but is really close to and can't marry just for the sake of marrying, it's a message that was in the mainstream when I was a kid. Even if everyone in France was living it tenfold, it changed the way all of us Disney-loving princesses thought about men, love, and friendship. So it's a cool thing to watch for what it is and also enjoy Julia Sugarbaker kicking shitty Big Gulp ruffians out of her home.

The second episode was one of their later preachy episodes. I can still appreciate these ones because they have their comedic moments, like the last scene of this episode with everyone slow dancing, including Mary Joe and Julia dressed in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane garb. BUT it's mostly a soapbox for the Clarence Thomas case and I commend them for bringing a balanced but heartily feminist perspective in the middle of primetime while tying in some of the scariest and most influential and poignant references for women with the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane stuff.

So tonight my sister and I watched two episodes. The first one was about domestic violence. While this one is heartwarming and totally full of all the emotion and depth AND comedy that was unrivaled at the time with primetime sitcoms, not to mention being a female-centric show (***BTDUBS was this a primetime show? I refuse to do research, so this is either on you guys to accept my BS or look it up and keep it to yourself). It still has its soap opera moments with the jittery close ups and pained looks and knowing nods with bruised eyes and sunglasses, but they found a way to make it relatable, so, bravo. Especially the black face Supremes number that starts with Julia wanting to kill Suzanne and ends with Charlene reinvigorated with her friend running away. I totally get it. I give it a-many kisses.

That's enough of that. It was emotional and beautiful and you just have to watch it because I don't have time for shit. Also, Beer for My Horses sounds like someone admitting to negligent horse ownership and I'm sure no one will do anything about it, but that's the way it goes, right? Celebrities...

So the next episode we watched was about Charlene being pregnant on NYE and about to go see Steel Magnolias with the gals, and Bill (if you have never watched, he is the impossibly handsome but gently ditzy man who made me want to get married to a Marine so I could have swords at my wedding), while Anthony is obviously but subtly dating a hooker, which, I know he is an ex-convict and all, but it still feels unnatural. I never noticed how much they harp on him. Poor Anthony is the best character of all. I'm glad he gets jokes in but FUCK THESE BITCHES BE OBLIVIOUS WITHOUT REMORSE.

Well anyway, Delta Burke keeps getting put in circus tent wear because until two minutes ago plus sized women were relegated to whatever they could find, not actually thought of as people who ALSO wanted to be in style. "Bitch, your titty is bigger than a B so FUCK YOU." is what I hear in my mind. But Dolly Parton was also in this episode and everything that Charlene said to her, I will memorize and say exactly. Because I will not be able to say anything if I ever meet Dolly because I will be so starstruck, so I will need a script, and Charlene just about covers all of it. I might need a videographer for rehearsals and live moments, so I'll let you know if I need you.

And that's all I have for you. I'm going to sleep to trucker hits and/or some movie on Netflix but LOVE TO DESIGNING WOMEN AND WOMEN WHO CAN SPELL. OR SPELL DESIGNING. OR JUST ALL OF IT!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

On Reading "The Awakening"

I’m sure I scared my mother-in-law when I explained what The Awakening was about and then started getting my allergic reaction to my wedding ring. I assure you, this is no Freudian symptom of an aversion to marriage, although there could be a great HuffPost article in it for me if I really wanted to take that angle. Nah.

I bought The Awakening at a plantation my friends and I visited on our way into New Orleans. This trip at the beginning of May was the first break I had since my husband’s grandmother got sick at the end of last October. In the time since, we had to provide around-the-clock care for his mom and grandpa while his grandma was shuffled to and from the hospital, her home, and a nursing home, eventually receiving personal hospice care from Kam, my sister, and I. After she passed on Christmas Eve, we moved his mom and grandpa into our house, then moved his grandpa to memory care, and finally, I agreed to become a full time caregiver to my mother-in-law. In the meantime, we have to work on selling his family’s things and home. So while I was at the end of an emotional journey, it was only one phase of it with a brief respite before we embark on a new phase. Which will be followed by another phase. And another.

My trip was important. I’d felt cut off for months but could tell that I was changing as a person. Going to New Orleans, a city I have often and long dreamt about, I was testing out this new person that I wasn’t certain could hack it in the real world. Sure, you can be the master of your home and the people who rely on you, creating schedules, checking things off lists, but can you go to a big city and feel every moment, take in every encounter, every experience and just enjoy the break, no matter how brief you know it is before you must go back to slogging? Can you be fully alive? I didn’t want to be worse off than I was before. I didn’t want to be afraid of the world and of the risks I knew I needed to take to make my fate something I could be proud of.

The Awakening is a Victorian tale of Edna Pontellier, a woman who meets a young man, Robert Lebrun, on Grand Isle and realizes she is not happy with the life she has been mechanically pursuing for everyone but herself. Their meeting taps in to her sexuality and her desire to be independent of not only her husband and children, but of societal pressures to conform. She takes her painting seriously, moves in to a smaller home around the corner from her own in New Orleans, and even takes a lover while Robert is gone in Mexico. When he returns, she is dismayed that he does not share in her awakening; he still feels a fidelity to societal expectations. Being fully conscious only makes her more miserable when she realizes she is a bird with wings but she is still trapped in a cage, unable to truly live the life she dreams of with the one she truly loves.

The Awakening doesn’t have a happy ending, but somehow I still found hope. She gets to take herself seriously and she is brave enough to question life, even when everyone around her laughs or shrugs it off out of fear. She lives her dream, even if just for a moment. Just because Robert, her inspiration, isn’t brave enough to take the world by storm with her and forge a path of love while belonging to themselves, it doesn’t mean the dream is dead. She was ahead of her time, but she obviously wasn’t the only one.

I had always been ashamed and sometimes resentful of my choice to get married when I was just 22. Our lives were ruled by family, with my sister moving in months after we were married, and then my mother-in-law’s stroke shortly after my sister moved out. We were tethered to Oklahoma more than ever and grew tired of watching over a future with an indefinite start date. It crushed us both. We spread our time between our nine-to-fives, his family, and eating fast food at 10PM before crashing late and starting the whole process over. When I dreamt of graduating college, I dreamt of all the possibilities, and this new post-grad grind seemed void of any. I felt foolish for thinking I could find love so young and not let it ruin my future. We no longer live in Victorian times, so isn’t it our duty as women to go out and live the lives that many of these women only fantasized about? We need a life outside our relationships and our children, if we choose to have any. We need to exercise the choices we have and keep pushing forward, because while things have gotten better we aren’t out of the woods yet.

For three years we kept up our grueling schedule. I worried that the only importance I had to my husband was to act as another set of hands to transfer his mother. Everyone around me, especially in the buckle of the Bible Belt, seemed to have the idea I was doing what I was supposed to do, what was expected of me. This is what marriage is and you should have thought about that before you jumped in so young. Told you so… It seemed I had a choice, so surely I am better off than Victorians, but I felt doomed to a choice I thought I could avoid. All along I was harassed about having children when all I could think about were my lost twenties. I was working clerical positions with daunting commutes and with people who found me too strange to get to know. I looked the part of a young newly married twentysomething but I wasn’t happy and no one wants to deal with that, no one wants to question institutions they firmly believe in like family, marriage, children, and religion. They want to go with the status quo because it’s easier but I never wanted to be part of the status quo.

The fault in my resentment, that I was not aware of until recently, was that while those around me may have seen nothing amiss, that was not the case with my husband. I finally realized that this is not what he wanted, for me, himself, or even his family. He just wanted to make sure everyone was taken care of, but he would have loved if his grandparents and mother had gotten all the big stuff figured out and made things easier on him. He didn’t want us to have a typical marriage. He still doesn’t. He wants to have kids, but when we have had some years of freedom together first. My success is as important to him as his own is. He didn’t want to marry a housewife, so he was my number one supporter when I realized that writing is what I truly want to do.

Over the years, a part of me died, but it was necessary if I were going to become the person I really want to be. Not the person my dad or my mom or my extended family – even what a younger me – wanted me to be.  I’ve seen what I am capable of and what the love I share with my husband is capable of if I stop accusing it and taking it for granted.

Just as Edna Pontellier’s soul awakens to new possibilities, so did mine. As I walked around New Orleans I felt at peace. I felt strong and found myself unworried about what other people think. I embraced my taste and allowed myself to finally dress the way I always want to because I finally felt young enough to pull it off. I talked to all sorts of people who could see I belonged there with my smile that consumed me. I ate and drank like a queen and found that place you can get to when you meditate or do yoga, but without my prayer beads or mat on hand. That trip pulled me out of my head and allowed me to see my progress. The sculpture is in no way done, but it’s taking shape and I like what I see.

Unlike Edna, I have found the love that stays behind at the pigeon house, waiting to embark on a fresh adventure, but more importantly, I know that I am tough and talented enough to stay at the pigeon house by myself. I made the choice to get married and I made the choice to stay by my husband’s side through his worst nightmares. But I also have the privilege to choose, whether all of society is on board or not. I choose to make time for myself, my work, and the life that I want; the life I own and choose to merge with my husband’s. While I empathize with Edna’s struggle to find herself as a woman and artist, I can also take heart that I don’t have to send my naked body to sea, that I can sit on the shore awhile and enjoy my freshly awakened soul.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

"The Bachelor" and the Problem with No Name

Leave it to me to simultaneously become enthralled with the current season of The Bachelor and The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. My mother-in-law is to thank for my new addiction to The Bachelor. I have seen a few episodes here and there throughout the years, but never got invested in a full season. The idea of a bunch of women clawing their way to one man that is chosen for them and they barely know seemed a little too medieval for my taste. I made myself let go so I could indulge in some mother-in-law bonding time until Betty Friedan made the feminist in me furious for Sharleen Joynt, the opera singer.

 As anyone who’s anyone knows, Sharleen decides to leave after a season of deliberation, despite Juan Pablo’s interest. All the girls on the show have been confounded by their connection and when I read blogs covering this season everyone seems to think she is the weirdo that should have left after the first night if she wasn’t instantly obsessed with Juan Pablo.

I liked her immediately. You can tell she is a very intelligent and serious person from having worked at a very formal singing tradition most of her life. She has also lived and traveled around the world, but still geeked out when she went to a cocktail party in Middleton while in New Zealand. She also processed the experience as I imagine I would, making me relate to a contestant for once. She rocks.

While I thought she might be a little intense for him, I also saw why they were attracted to one another. She and Juan Pablo were able to share in the experience of leaving home, not just for another state, but an entirely different country and culture. I think she signed up for it because she was single, was interested in a new adventure, thought that Juan Pablo was cute and maybe she’d make a love connection. If nothing else, she walks away with a bizarre, one-of-a-kind experience and perhaps a new audience for her music. But going through all of that, spending time with so many women that are so drastically different from who she is and what she values, and watching them have these same strong connections with Juan Pablo, of course it made her pause.

I’ll admit that even I was starting to get tired of her hemming and hawing, though. I can see why the other girls would be frustrated as well. They are all there for the ring and children and a fairy tale ending. But just as I started to slip into a vapid rabbit hole with the audience and contestants, I also finished the first chapter of The Feminine Mystique. As I am reading about women trapped in the role of wife/mother/homemaker, everything that bothers me about The Bachelor and the Sharleen begrudgers comes to light.

The women that refuse to see the show for what it is or to question if Juan Pablo is the right fit for them are the crazy ones. Yes, you sign up for a show, but does that mean you shut off your brain? Does that mean you don’t examine this man and what it would realistically make your future look like?  Just like everyone else, all of her fears are coming out. While some women show that their fear is not being the prettiest or the best liked or the center of attention, her fears are based in questions of what she wants and if she can have it all. On top of that, she feels guilty for bothering to question. She says it herself, “I wish I were dumber.” I understand completely. She shouldn’t feel bad. At the heart of her questioning is a very real concern. If you are going to get a proposal, move to another country, limit your career considerably by settling down (at least from what everyone keeps saying), and become a stepmother, I would hope you are seriously thinking about it. We all know it’s a hoax for the most part, that the people that meet on the show generally do not work out, but Sharleen has every reason to feel apprehensive.

Part of me worried whether I was making the right choice falling in love and getting engaged at twenty and married at twenty-two. Some of it was about my husband and whether I thought he would respect and encourage me to have my own life and experiences. Too many men want to control the woman that they are with and want her to focus on them and their family and stop worrying about all that other stuff, even in this day and age. I didn't want to grow and change and find that he didn't want me to. More than that, I worried about fulfilling the promises I made to myself. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of marriage and kids being my only aspirations. I have always wanted to travel, learn, meet new, different people and have interesting conversations, read books that change me at my core, and find my personal way to be part of the world. I eventually got over my jitters. My husband proved how much he cares about me living a fulfilling life of my own and I never stopped being a part of the world and learning. I’d be lying if I said that it’s been easy to maintain the balance between self and marriage. It’s a very real struggle to honor oneself while being with someone no matter how attractive or wealthy or perfect.

Back to Sharleen: Here is a woman, with a career she has focused on and has kept her traveling and performing for many years and she is starting to feel a connection with a man that is tied to Miami for his job and family. It seems like everyone on the show assumes that whomever Juan Pablo picks is obligated to drop everything and move to him. Is that a rule? Is there no room for discussion? No room for compromise? That was the question I hoped Sharleen would ask. Yes, she says she is up for change. But is she? Should she have to be? The very thing that makes her stand out among the other girls, her worldliness and maturity, seems the thing making everyone assume she is unsuitable for Juan Pablo. 

Even Juan Pablo sees and understands her struggle but never tries to convince her that he would make it work for the both of them. To be fair, maybe they have that conversation and we don’t see it, but that’s a problem. We need to see that talk. It’s important and realistic and even if this is all for fun, let’s acknowledge the reality of women and their dreams today. Let’s not brush her off and assume she lacks what it takes to be a real woman that someone as special as Juan Pablo deserves. She's pretty damn special too. I understand this is a show about him and for him, but why are we trying to convince this woman or the young women and girls watching that this New Woman, as Friedan named the independent career women of the twenties through forties, is someone to fear, to repel against? Haven’t we covered this all ready? What was all that work for if she gives it up to be stranded in Miami with a guy she barely knows? The hardest part about finding someone is figuring out how to make it all work, but if you are equally committed to each other's happiness and success, you can figure it out. Unfortunately there are plenty of people who still don't think of this as an option, let alone what they aspire to have. 

In Friedan’s book, excerpts from interviews with women of various education levels and locations explain how they all feel trapped, they all feel useless, and they all wonder if this is all life has to offer. They feel like they are in the wrong because they should be overjoyed to have so many devices and luxuries and children and a husband at their disposal. When I started the book, I thought it would help me see how far we have come and why, but when I watch The Bachelor and the way that the other contestants, the audience, and even the host view Sharleen’s hot and cold feelings for Juan Pablo, I know the fight isn’t over. I never thought it was over, living in the middle of a rape culture, but I guess I hoped we were making some strides when it came to our views on straight marriage (let alone GAY marriage) and the expectations we place on women.

 While careers are at the forefront of women today, we are still trapped in the details of our future wedding day(s), a point made obvious by the women signing up in droves for The Bachelor and watching each season with bated breath. Many women have their wedding day planned out but no relationship. When they get into a relationship you feel them rushing it into marriage so they can have their wedding, buy that house, have those kids. Shouldn’t the goal in life be living a life that fulfills you in every aspect, a goal that may happen with or without a man? I believe this can happen even when you are married, that you can be the well rounded person you want to be, but why does marriage seem to still hold a key for so many women?

I can tell you from personal experience that marriage itself does not bring you happiness. If anything, it brings more unhappiness. You enter into a marriage accepting that you will take on the joy of your partner, but you also take on all of their hardships as well. You nod your head, thinking you understand what this means, but remember, when you aren’t having hardships and the other person is, you can’t just brush them off and go have fun. That’s when they need you most. My husband and I have been through hell and back our entire relationship, taking care of his grandparents through dementia and cancer, as well as his mother who suffered a stroke three and a half years ago. I was in college when we met and dealt with these questions and troubles while I was figuring out who I wanted to be. But it’s our connection, the fun that he brings to my life even when we are going through hard times that keeps me there. The present and the future shine so brightly with both of us fighting for each other and ourselves to not settle, to go for what and who we want to be. We complement and encourage our shared and separate happiness. Our wedding was one day, our marriage is our everyday.

Yes, times have changed. Yes, women have careers. But in the case of this particular bachelorette, she is losing a lot if she decides to go on with Juan Pablo under the assumed conditions of The Bachelor. It’s only a television show, but when young women and girls watch another woman get shitty comments and looks because she is weighing whether or not a man is the right fit for her and the life she has chosen up to this point, I can’t help but turn my brain back on and go, “WHAT THE FUCK?” All I can think about are all the women who were and still are shamed to sit lifeless at the kitchen counter, waiting for their family to dictate their days and wondering, “Is this it? What do I really want?”

Passing something off as “just TV” is a slippery slope. When we accept a public image, even if it ventures from what we know is reality, it eventually becomes our truth. It’s what happened after men returned from World War II. The New Women of the 1940s, who had taken over most of the writing and editing of women’s magazines and advertising, suddenly found themselves sent home. The men were back. They weren’t here for the rebirth of women and the ones that were assumed it was temporary, a phase. As Friedan said, the men back from war were full of nostalgia for the old way of domestic life. Suddenly these writers, poets, baseball players, psychologists, nurses, were being sent home to pop out kids and starch their husband’s suit. Thanks for holding down the fort, but go back where you know you really thrive, where you can achieve real happiness. Because you’re a woman, it’s your destiny.

Maybe you enjoy the drama; to sit around and judge these women for having to be whomever this season’s bachelor wants them to be. Maybe it’s all in good fun. Maybe I need to get out more and not make such a big deal over a small plot point on a silly reality show. Maybe it’s easier to find the ideal shade for your wedding day mani-pedi and rip apart women, like Sharleen, who are just trying to figure who and what they want to be and how/if a suitor fits in. Maybe it’s easier to accept traditional ideas and stereotypes and make them our own, to stick to the path of least resistance. Or maybe we should give ourselves more credit than that.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

Apocalypse Later

Shit. You're mad, aren't you? I don't blame you. I totally proved that all dreams are, in fact, lies. I didn't finish the AFI Top 100 before the end of 2012, so of course, neither did any of you. Well, you better not have. So that's it. Everyone go home. Party's over. I threw up in the punch bowl and someone's slow dancing with a coat rack. Or does that mean the REAL party is just getting started? Confused? I don't blame you. But you really need to learn to focus, you know that, don't you? Anyways, let's get it all sorted.
I'd be honored to throw up in this.
At the beginning of 2012, I decided I was going to write for one hour each day. I had this blog, became a Yelp Elite member, and carried a list of at least 10-15 ideas that could be written, some even filmed, and eventually sent off to various festivals and competitions. Alas, 2012 was a year of wayward commitment (to put it kindly). Distractions came and went, but they remained just that - distractions. I've been a big baby filled with excuses that are charged by self-pity, insecurity, fear, and laziness. Who am I kidding? I'm still that big baby, but I'm working at it. Time to suck it up and be happy because everything will be OK and that's all there is to it. Well, not all, but you get it.

Now what? Along with last year's projects, I will also be contributing to Girl Town, another blog started by a couple friends, that you should totally check out. Joining this blog forced me to get my shit together and create a writing schedule since I will be on a schedule for them. They aren't strict, but I have to have rules or I'll just drink tea from my bunny mug without pants while I watch Murder, She Wrote. I also figured out that various & sundry is going to be where I get personal and geeky. Obviously my AFI Top 100 journey fits in perfectly here.

Maybe this proclamation is not very important to you. In fact, you might be comatose by now. I can dig that. BUT it was important for me to get it on here so I can come to this blog almost every Sunday (hey, old habits like procrastination and laziness die hard) and know what type of content I'm going for. Stressing over that question has caused me to procrastinate far too much so THIS ENDS NOW. I wish I had a Gandalf staff and a windy New Zealand mountain top to shout that from. Although, a walking stick and a big fan would give it just as much drama.
Effective proclamation sans Gandalf staff or dramatic winds.
Anyways, join me Sunday where I will discuss my experience watching Apocalypse Now for the first time since I was eight. Yes, you read that correctly. Eight years old. Oh yeah, baby, I got some yarns to spin for ya. At some point, we'll get back on the AFI train, but we'll get to it when we get to it. We have schedules, but this is neither Nazi Germany, nor present day, non-Nazi Germany train station scheduling, so chill out.

flowers & sunshine & proclamations,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Soup's On!: Duck Soup

Before we get rolling onto the next installment of my AFI journey, let's start things off with some honesty: 1) This is NOT being posted one week after the last Butch Cassidy post 2) At this rate I am never going to make my resolution by the end of the year aka all dreams are lies. So I'm going to be way better about this if that is cool with you. Bon apetit!

Duck Soup (1933)

Director: Leo McCarey
Writers: Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, Arthur Sheekman, Nat Perrin
Main Actors: The Four Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, Chico & Zeppo)
Synopsis: Rufus T. Firefly is named president of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania to win the love (and money) of Mrs. Teasdale.
AFI #60

Kneejerk Reaction: I giggled and guffawed the whole way through. I realized I probably saw this movie as a kid since my parents were huge Marx Brothers fans, only this time I was able to catch the satire. Although I'm certain my dad explained it all to two-year old me at the time which explains a lot about who I am. Anyways, the movie was clever, it was fun and nobody rattles off a fast, deadpan one-liner like Groucho.

High Points: The movie switches between Groucho & Zeppo, the president and his straight man secretary, and Chico & Harpo, the spies. It's a perfect balance between the steady stream of jokes and slapstick, with the running gags getting funnier every time. Whenever Chico and Harpo meet a new character, like the ambassador or the merchant, I die. When Groucho is looking in the "mirror"? Holy crap. This is comedy gold, people! Gold! 

Why I Think It's On the Top 100: The Marx Brothers had a huge impact on comedy and this film in particular is so smart in its criticism of government and people that it is not your run-of-the-mill comedy filled with cheap laughs. Well, there are cheap laughs, but they move from joke to joke so seamlessly that the movie is a masterpiece even without the social commentary.

Geek-Out Scale: I'd say you could be at about a 5 on the Geek-Out Scale (1 = From Justin to Kelly is your favorite movie and 10 = you watched Intolerance everyday for a week and then gave a Power Point to your nearest and dearest. For fun.) If you love comedy this is a great place to see where a lot of your contemporary favorites got inspired but you will also be in for a treat if you love The Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy or Abbott and Costello. If you haven't seen any of them, then there really is no hope for you, is there? 

When Will I See You Again?: I have been putting this movie on every time I sit down to write this post and just had to pause it because I kept getting distracted and wanting to watch it instead of write. So..... soon? Also, I just realized I fit my description of a 10 on the Geek-Out Scale (although Duck Soup is MUCH easier to swallow than Intolerance, am I right?! "No one else cares about Intolerance," you say? "Sit down, geek," you say? But wait, you WILL care about Intolerance if you keep reading my AFI posts muhahaha!!)

All right, lassies and lads. Hope you enjoyed this snack about Duck Soup. Let me know if you watch it and what you think, what you want me to watch next, etc. Please feel free to keep track of my progress on the Top 100 here. And make sure to throw virtual tomatoes if I make you wait too long for the next one. I am going to be in Mexico next week so expect the next post the second week of October!

soupy sales & flowers & sunshine,