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Archive for the ‘Younger men’ Category

Victoria's "Gift"

On yet another day that sees the news filled with horror stories and images of destruction, I hunt for a bit of diversion from the real-life world that shakes and screams and hurts and hates, something to let my head go in directions necessary to make progress on present work. In other words, to lift the clouds of gloom and feel the sunshine with little nagging guilt over just how bloody easy I have it at the moment.

History can provide quite the perspective, so finding this story on Queen Victoria’s much younger man has caused quite the reroute in thinking on world reports through the mirror of time and more than a little sweetness.

Mr Karim was just 24 when he arrived in England from Agra to wait at table during Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee in 1887 – four years after Mr Brown’s death. He was given to her as a “gift from India”.

Within a year, the young Muslim was established as a powerful figure in court, becoming the queen’s teacher – or munshi – and instructing her in Urdu and Indian affairs.

Mr Karim was to have a profound influence on Queen Victoria’s life – like Mr Brown becoming one of her closest confidants – but unlike him, was promoted well beyond servant status.

“In letters to him over the years between his arrival in the UK and her death in 1901, the queen signed letters to him as ‘your loving mother’ and ‘your closest friend’,” author Shrabani Basu told the BBC.

“On some occasions, she even signed off her letters with a flurry of kisses – a highly unusual thing to do at that time.

“It was unquestionably a passionate relationship – a relationship which I think operated on many different layers in addition to the mother-and-son ties between a young Indian man and a woman who at the time was over 60 years old.”

Ah, the advantages being Empress brings a girl, heh? (And just in case anyone is wondering what to get me for my birthday in July, such a “gift from India” would not be scorned!)

Apparently, Karim was not on the Top Ten list with the rest of the clan, as he was given the royal boot out the palace doors within just a few hours of Victoria’s funeral, but although attempts were made to wipe the castle clean of all reference to him he had spent ten years with the woman, and he did keep diaries.

Those diaries are on their way to becoming a book, and a fascinating read it’s bound to be. Not only do we have that cougar thing going, but the fact that the Supreme Governor of the Church of England was taking daily advice from a Muslim back in the days India was still part of the Empire is very interesting.

No doubt, Victoria was one smart monarchial cookie, as under Karim’s tutelage she learned to speak, read and write both Urdu and Hindi, and I enjoy imagining the range and depth of conversations they conducted as they shared days, traveled the world and passed time in her remote highland cottage in Scotland.

He was, of course, not the first younger man the “Widow of Windsor” had a thing for, the Scotsman, John Brown, having been her “personal servant” from shortly after Prince Albert’s death until the time of his.

Victoria’s children and ministers resented the high regard she had for Brown, and, inevitably, stories circulated that there was something improper about their relationship. The Queen’s daughters joked that Brown was “Mama’s Lover,” while Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby wrote in his diary that Brown and Victoria slept in adjoining rooms “contrary to etiquette and even decency.”

Well, what the hell? If you’re the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India, you’re going to pay attention to what others have to say about where your boyfriend beds down? I don’t think so … at least not in the days before tabloids and Twitter.

I’d never considered Queen Victoria a woman I’d relate well to, but seems I’ve found some commoner ground, and although I know it’s not only more than 100 years too late, but also something she would never have registered on her radar, I’d still like to say:
YOU ROCK, GIRL!

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I began the day thinking a soft post on life in Seychelles might be a good weekend time-filler, especially after all the attention yesterday’s post got, thanks to WordPress sending readers my way by the thousands. I even started putting one together, a little ditty about how somethings translate here, specifically the fact that many Seychellois think the terror on the high seas in our neck of the Indian Ocean is perpetuated by “smiley pirates”, but that will have to wait.

Yet again something shiny fluttered by … ooooh, pretty … and I’m tripping after it with some hope of figuring out what it’s all about.

Okay. Maybe Julian Assange isn’t everyone’s idea of pretty fluff … or anyone’s, for that matter … but we have already established that I think he’s cute and have extended a blogitty invite to share my view.

Turns out such an eventuality could get me in BIG trouble.

No doubt I’m right pissed off that the US Homeland Secutiry Committee could be messing with my chance for a date for New Year’s Eve, but that unwrapping an Assange under my Christmas tree would see me prosecuted under the Patriot Act! WTF?

It took this from Tom Hayden to make that point in a letter he wrote to Rep. Peter King:

I am hoping you will reconsider your call to place WikiLeaks on the list of foreign terrorist organizations. I would hope that as chair of the Homeland Security Committee you would take a more responsible approach than many of your Republican and conservative colleagues who are calling for the assassination of Julian Assange.

You and I remember the time a few short years ago when there were extreme voices opposed to a visa for Gerry Adams and calling for the designation of Sinn Fein as a terrorist organization. And you and a bipartisan coalition were willing to take a risk for peace and conflict resolution, a process that is still ongoing and regarded as a great success.

The comparison, you may say, is incorrect. In one respect, there is a huge difference, which only strengthens my point: Sinn Fein was leading a republican movement that included years of armed struggle, with thousands of British and Irish casualties. WikiLeaks is a nonviolent whistleblower organization whose only weapon is the Internet. Despite weeks of dire warnings, the WikiLeaks disclosures have caused no deaths or suffering so far, nor provoked any terrorist attacks anywhere. The organization, and its media intermediaries, have made conscious efforts to redact any references to individuals which might cause harm.

The current controversy is less about national security than about securing the official reputations of officials conducting secret warfare. As a result of the WikiLeaks documents, the American public has learned, for example, that:

* our government is deceiving the public and Congress by denying our secret bombing of Yemen;
* our Special Forces are in Pakistan;
* the CIA has directed a secret army in Afghanistan;
* there is a secret Task Force 373 conducting assassinations in Afghanistan.

These revelations do no damage to our national security. Instead, they helpfully add to public and Congressional awareness of improper and arguably illegal behavior undertaken under the cover of secrecy.

If your proposal to list WikiLeaks as a terrorist group is adopted, my understanding is that anyone offering nonviolent “material support” to WikiLeaks could be prosecuted under the Patriot Act. As you told MSNBC on Nov. 28, “we’d be able to stop anyone from helping them in any way, whether it’s making contributions, giving free legal advice, or whatever.”

Do you remember when you stood up again and again for lawyers in Northern Ireland trying to defend republicans in court? Do you remember those lawyers like Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson being assassinated as a result of their brave legal advocacy? Are you seriously recommending that any American lawyers “giving free legal advice” to Julian Assange should be prosecuted?

The New York Times has provided page upon page of coverage of the WikiLeaks materials over a period of months. Is the Times “assisting in terrorist activity” because the information is “being used by Al Qaeda”, as you put it?

Where does this end? If thousands of Americans join in the legal defense of Julian Assange or WikiLeaks will they be defined as accessories to terrorism?

I urge that you and your colleagues not overreact, not turn to scapegoating, not contribute to a climate of violence, but instead respect freedom of the press, freedom of dissent, and the right to due process under a system of law. We all need more light shed on our secret policies, not greater limitations on the public’s right to know.

Sincerely,

TOM HAYDEN 

Bravo, Tom, and I’m happy to see he’s still around even though I lost track of him way back when. Seems those years with Jane keeps him mindful of how a girl likes the idea of a date now and then without the threat of treason hanging around … or maybe his point is a bit broader. Yeah … we’ll go with that thought.

I know I’m by far not the only one appalled by the reaction to Wikileak’s latest offerings … thank the gods for that! … but although outrage is wending its way around the globe and popping up in a lot of reasonable publications, I subscribe to the Arlo Guthrie theory that says: If ya wanna end war and stuff, ya gotta sing loud.

La, la, la, la LA!

Here’s another voice, hopefully preaching to more than the choir, James Moore:

Secrecy tends to lead to disaster and there are several object lessons to study as a result of American adventures abroad. Saddam Hussein was Donald Rumsfeld’s and Ronald Reagan’s secret friend as long as he was bombing and gassing Iranians to the east. Secrecy led to Iran-Contra and back door dealing in arms to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, who did not have the support of the country’s population and were eventually defeated. There are, of course, countless other examples ranging from the Gulf of Tonkin to the Bay of Pigs and the information contained in the Pentagon Papers, and, uh, of course, the lies about WMD that propagated our current misadventure in Iraq. Democracy ought not be bribing and lying in the name of democracy.

The horror over WikiLeaks, which is being expressed mostly by inept diplomats, is disingenuous in the extreme. The consistent claims that lives are being endangered by the information borders on the hilarious. How many lives have been lost to erroneous, yet secret information that led to our invasion of Iraq? If WikiLeaks had been around in 2003 the public might have been well armed with information to create political resistance to W’s folly in the ancient deserts. It is, of course, of equal absurdity to suggest there is no need for clandestine operations. But taxpayers and voters tend to acquire their information after the consequences of secret government endeavors, and, obviously, that is a bit late to be of preventive value.

This debate on Democracy Now over whether or not Julian is a hero is an interesting exchange between Steven Aftergood from the “Secrecy News” and constitutional and civil rights litigator Glenn Greenwald that illustrates how even those touting transparency decide to fog the glass when it comes to Julian Assange.

The hunt is on for the man, his website is under attack, anyone helping him in any way may end up facing grave consequences … and what has he done to set the dogs on him as or more assiduously than the hounds of Bin Laden? Words. He did words. Not his words, but those written by people in positions of power now embarressed too have them read.

From the presenter of the debate:

University students are being warned about WikiLeaks. An email from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, that we read in headlines, reads—I want to do it again—quote, “Hi students,

“We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

“The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

“Regards, Office of Career Services.”

… and …

Democracy Now! has obtained the text of a memo that’s been sent to employees at USAID. This is to thousands of employees, about reading the recently released WikiLeaks documents, and it comes from the Department of State. They have also warned their own employees. This memo reads, quote, “Any classified information that may have been unlawfully disclosed and released on the Wikileaks web site was not ‘declassified’ by an appopriate authority and therefore requires continued classification and protection as such from government personnel… Accessing the Wikileaks web site from any computer may be viewed as a violation of the SF-312 agreement… Any discussions concerning the legitimacy of any documents or whether or not they are classified must be conducted within controlled access areas (overseas) or within restricted areas (USAID/Washington)… The documents should not be viewed, downloaded, or stored on your USAID unclassified network computer or home computer; they should not be printed or retransmitted in any fashion.”

That was the memo that went out to thousands of employees at USAID. The State Department has warned all their employees, you are not to access WikiLeaks, not only at the State Department, which they’ve blocked, by the way, WikiLeaks, but even on your home computers. Even if you’ve written a cable yourself, one of these cables that are in the trove of the documents, you cannot put your name in to see if that is one of the cables that has been released. This warning is going out throughout not only the government, as we see, but to prospective employees all over the country, even on their home computers.

If nothing else about the persecution of Assange scares the shit out of you, that should. ANYONE can be a target. And what directs the aim? Words.

As Captain Jack Sparrow said: Sticks and stones, Luv.

Or … for a bit more gravitas, how about this:

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Julian Assange … pallid and silver-haired … ‘shiny’ and New Year’s Eve go so well together, and before that he’d look great under my tree!

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A discussion over on Café Philos serves up blog fodder this morning, resulting from a jab-in-jest meant for someone else sideswiping me.

Okay. Okay. I’d had a not-great day, so assumed a snarky posture … one of my best looks, actually … from which I lobbed a few grenades, but — really now! — would anyone knowing me at all not have expected a bitch-slap out of this:

… Sandra. You belong to Paul Sunstone’s harem and I always respect male friends.

Hold the phone!

Yeah, I spat a few nails … good thing I have a plank floor and thereby avoid the ricochet … gave a bit of thought to why this comment grated, took some ideas out for a spin, then came up with this comment:

Excuse the interruption here, guys … but I’m not part of anyone’s harem and, quite frankly, I find the whole idea insulting and arrogant.

Not to take this too far off the path, but I do think there needs to be some reality check going on. I have come to the thought that one reason so many of the men in my life have been significantly younger has a lot to do with a certain mindset that seems to solidify in men of a certain age that pigeonholes women in ways they’re not aware of … an arrogance, as it were. I don’t think it’s intentional … in fact I’m guessing backlash against comes as quite a shock, since most think themselves quite “liberated” in their thinking, but I’ve seen this time and time again.

Any idea how tedious it gets having guys expressing apparent surprise that I’m smart and funny, and how fucking condescending it is to hear congratulations on the fact that I have the capacity to think circles around them?

This isn’t a shocker to men under 40 for some reason … not that they don’t have their own issues.

It seems a bad habit, this mindset, dudes … and something worth examining.

There’s been dialog since, both on Paul’s blog and in my life, so I’m processing as I compose today, checking the vaults of my memory’s bank for interest on deposits and wondering if I should make a withdrawal.

The fact that younger men have always been a feature in my love life doesn’t play into today’s focus; after all, I started that proclivity early and celebrating four 21st birthdays with guys I dated when I was 28 made no cross-generational statements, nor were there any revelations.

It wasn’t noticeable even when my now-ex-husband and I got together … he at 26, and me 41 … a relationship that thrived for a long time and brought us two great kids.

No, it’s only been the last few years that I’ve come up against the challenge presented by men over 50, my chronological peers ostensibly sharing boat space on the sea of singledom.

Finding myself newly single in my 50s came as a surprise, it’s true, sneaking up on me, then leaping from the clear blue without any time to prep, and although I had grown accustomed to sharing life with a 30-something, I was under the impression that age range was now behind me and my future would have a couple more decades under a belt.

I set my heading toward what seemed to be the more settled, but kept running aground on shoals more newly formed. (Yes, there was one 50-something guy who showed up for a while, but he was as close to lifeless as someone still drawing breath can get, so didn’t last more than a few weeks. I think I made him dizzy, and he bored the shit out of me and was terrified of bugs. Sheesh!)

Surprisingly, it’s been the 30-somethings that have wooed me and won.

Why the wooing? No idea.

Why the winning?

As mentioned in my comment response, younger men are neither shocked at the way my mind works, nor do they begrudge vacating the teacher’s chair and letting the class run amok. The very fact that I am older appeals and perhaps makes it easier to accept that along with the years of experience comes knowledge and wisdom and a perspective that may be different.

There’s a give-and-take, mutual learning, that is effortless over broad territory, and although maleness does rear its testosterone-powered head when it comes to who drives and washes dishes and such, few assumptions are made in discourse.

This seems to present quite the challenge to men over 50, and I’m trying to figure out why. Is it arrogance that prompts guys to mention they notice I’m smart and expect me to be flattered … swept off my feet, even … go all girly and ooze gratitude? Habit? Genuine surprise? Detritus of previous relationships?

If it is arrogance, fuck ’em. If habit, someone needs to start busting their chops and get them to give that one up for Lent. Genuine surprise can be overcome by spending more time with smart women. Baggage could be set aside.

A question I’ve posed has to do with the changes to families that happened between the generations, the increase in the percentage of moms who work outside the home and the number of single moms. Does having a doting mother whose entire life revolves around her children produce a different man than one whose female model heads into the world daily, has her own money and often runs the whole shebang? And does this go anywhere near explaining why men of a certain age have a harder time not being sent into apoplexy when presented with a woman who can kick their ass in Scrabble?

I mention Scrabble because of the frequency of “HEY! you’re a smart cookie/sweetie/dolly” moments. I play online when my brain needs a rest, and the number of times I’ve heard some version of that is astounding. It usually comes 4 or 5 goes in, often after a series of questions on my life … Where do you live? How long ago was that photo of you taken? Will you friend me on facebook so we can chat? … and just before I pass along the information that I don’t give out any part of my life story to anyone until they beat me by 100 points. (So far, I’ve given out not even one detail.)

So, what is the deal? Will 30-somethings eventually morph into the shock-and-ahhhh generation? Is it a loss of flexibility, the impact of society during formative years, an inevitable response to women dumbing-down in hopes of getting a date? (I have seen that happen, yes.)

Processing. Processing.

Feel free to discuss, and if anyone should choose to flatter me … it’s okay to mention I have great tits.

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Me younger

After having some 20-something-Eastern-European-wannabe-porn-queen-facebook-crawler point out to me that I’m older than Ernesto, apparently thinking attempts to reveal her skanky bits on webcam will win his heart … good luck with that, Bitch … I cast my mind back to a time when I was really bloody cute — pretty much most of the years between 13 and sometime last week — remembering the effect youthful beauty can have. (Not that she’s a beauty, but she is young and has a decent enough body she exhibits indiscriminately, although with the chest of a 12-year-old boy and destined to be terminally hag-like before she’s 45 … but that’s her problem. And it’s amazing, and pitiful, how many of these sleazy bags are insistently chatty with their cyber heros).

I have no problem being who, what and how old I am; conversely, I’m rather proud of all that stuff. I am not young, and although the world is full of girls who still are, their days are numbered. I’m not saying there’s any great advantage in age, simply that it happens, as does life in the process.

As Yoda said: Luminous beings are we; not this crude matter.

Crude matter that begins to decay immediately, is subject to stresses and toxins and gravity, the effects of which have more to do with our genes than we yet understand. (“Crude” being also otherwise definable, however, we can be happy enough with our matter a lot of the time. I’m a big fan of crude between consenting adults.)

It’s true, however, that the Sandra I am now doesn’t look as much like the Sandra I once was as I might like.

Recently a story popped up that reminded me again of what it’s like to be young and beautiful … as opposed to not-so-young and beautiful.

The setting is Disney land, and the story is about a 27-year-old woman not one bit happy after Donald Duck grabbed her boob.

“Who are the strange people in the furry costumes at Disney World, and are they pervs?

I’m not clear on how boob grabbing happens with the sort of mitts a Donald impersonator must wear to pull off the look, and I’m pretty sure it takes a certain je ne sais quack to opt for walking around in a duck suit for a living. I’m also not getting why this chick is being so fowl about the whole thing, unless the fact that he never wears pants has her freaked.

But this isn’t about the Romanian tramp, the Disneyland babe, or even about ducks … it’s about me and Goofy, some guys in stripes … and a monster.

It was a while back, for sure, as my gorgeous nephew, Colin, was about 4 at the time, and I was in L.A. doing the fam viz thing. Keeping to the tradition of the day, we headed to the Happiest Place on Earth, home to Mickey and Minnie, for a day of getting nauseous in teacups and going to hell with Mr. Toad.

It was far from the realm of my personal Fantasy Land, but somewhere near the border where Frontier Land meets New Orleans Square I was accosted by Goofy. He took me in his somewhat floppy arms, shoved his gigantic plastic nose toward my chest and started mumbling something that sounded … well … goofy.

My nephew was not pleased, thinking that he should be the one with such a photo op, so we soon moved along toward the frozen banana stand. A few minutes later, Goofy joined us on the bench, moved, maybe, by the sight of me eating a chocolate-covered banana on a stick. We eventually gave him the shake at Autopia where Colin outraced me, hands down.

Eventually, it was time for our day of the Diz to end, so we headed down Main Street where my brother did nothing to defend my honor when I was grabbed by the strolling Barbershop Quartet, plopped on the knee of the tenor and had “Baby Face” belted out around me… in four part harmony … as a crowd gathered, my brother snickered and I blushed.

And you know what? I wasn’t angry. I didn’t contemplate a lawsuit. In fact, I considered the day excellent in every way.

Two days later, it was Universal Studios for us all, and there things got a bit scarier … for my nephew. Every time we got off a tram or exited from an attraction, Frankenstein was there … pawing at me … growling in his mask. For a four-year-old, this wasn’t funny, and the sight of his auntie being monster-mashed had him in enough of a panic to send us scurrying for lunch.

I’d not thought of those adventures in a while, but even though over the years there have been plenty of men who’ve pursued me … some successfully … there’s something special knowing I’ve been desired by sweaty guys in costume.

So …

My thoughts on getting groped by a Disney character? Be happy Daisy didn’t slap the shit out of you.

My advice to slimy bitches slithering around the web, thinking that youth wins out? I don’t have any. Instead, I have my memories …

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With the following two vids and the music in them, I don’t need to say a word today. They say it all …

“Lucky” Official Video With Colbie Caillat

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Life is a funny old thing, isn’t it?

Ups.

Downs.

In between ups and downs.

Way up ups and way down downs and everything in between, like a perpetual elevator ride with a lunatic at the controls.

From sub-sub-basement (heartbreak, betrayal, misery, pain) to penthouse (rapture, joy, dizzy love with icing on top), we traverse at the whim of the insane controller up and down the shaft … often getting it as we do.

All I can say is … THANK GAWD FOR ELEVATOR MUSIC!!!

A few months back, when my lift was just beginning to emerge from the depths far beneath the earth’s surface, my dear friend Tisha put a CD together, and posted it to me. She titled it “Lowdown, Cheatin’, Lyin’ Man Music”, and included on it 18 songs specially selected for their capacity to either commiserate with my pain or prompt a new search for my own bootstraps.

Carrie Underwood’s, Before He Cheats is one in the latter category, and playing it full blast in MY new car … emphasis on MY … and singing along at the top of my lungs still makes me smile every time.

My great bud from back in high school days, Virginia, with whom I’ve had the amazing good fortune to reconnect after 30-something years, today sent me lyrics to a tune from “Phantom of the Opera” that she knew I’d find poignant this week:

Child of the wilderness,

Born into emptiness,

Learn to be lonely,

Learn to find your way in darkness……

Who will be there for you?

Comfort and care for you?

Learn to be lonely….

Learn to be your one companion.

Ever dreamed….out in the world,

There are arms to hold you?

You’ve always known,

You’re heart was on its own.

So laugh in your loneliness,

Child of the wilderness,

Learn to be lonely,

Learn how to love…

Life that is lived alone.

Learn to be lonely,

Life can be lived,

Life can be loved…..alone.

I’ve already posted the vid of my theme song when I start doing the Country show on Paradise FM next year … a song I listen to often that makes me laugh every time, and I can’t tell you how good that feels.

There are penthouse songs, too, of course, but I’m not quite there right now, although when my friend and co-worker on Adoption Under One Roof, Julie, sent me this link to an ASL version of “So Are You To Me” by Eastmountainsouth today during a long chat, I felt a jolt upwards.

As Bette Davis said in “All About Eve” …

Hold on!

We’re in for a bumpy ride …

This trip we’re on may not always be fun, but at least we can sing.

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This is, I promise, the last post on what should have been the mundane job of leveling the road that leads to my house in the bush, but ended up providing blog fodder for days.

That’s the thing about island life; you just never know the entertainment value of a day until you’ve lived it since so much can go wrong or HiLarryUS or climb to the pinnacle of WTF without one whit of warning.

You’ve already read about the Magnar in my life and how handy he is when a girl needs a Norwegian nag … or road work … and seen the photos of the work. You’ve also read of my preference in lawn ornamentation.

So what can possibly be left to this tale? My utter and complete humiliation, of course.

You see, although I didn’t have to fork out any cash for the amazing amount of work done resulting in my drive now being flat and negotiable, rather than a rutted goat track that caused any car not an SUV to bottom out numerous times on the way up and on the way down to my house, there was a price to pay: I had to dress up in stilettos and hot pants … a la Daisy Duke … and drive the bloody excavator.

To be fair, I really did want to swing that big sucka around a bit, fondle the knobs and feel the power of a huge hunk of MAN STUFF at my fingertips, but in yellow polka dot 4-inch heels and with my skinny legs dangling?

Not what I had in mind.

Unfortunately for me, that was EXACTLY the picture that came immediately to Magnar’s mind … I should’ve predicted such an image dawning, knowing him as well as I do .

So, for all you readers who are needing a good chuckle today, here are some photos. (There’s a video on my facebook page if you really want a laugh … ) Please, be kind in your comments. (Remember, I do moderate … )

(By the way, the kids are with Mark this week, so not subject to the trauma of seeing their mother being so incredibly silly. They won’t read this blog for a while, so I’m hoping they’ll be prepared by the time they do.)

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