Tag Archives: Nanowrimo blog

4 Days of Labour, 3+ Months Premature and 2 Miracle Babies!…in 1974

17 Sep

The Story of my Miraculous Birth

{ My mother holding my twin brother. ( He was allowed to be held eventually ). Note the size of her hand compared to the size of my twin • Ottawa Civic hospital • Oct 1974 }
•••

“Mr.Flood? I’m going to have to ask you to leave the room now please,” said the doctor to my father after my brother had been born. I was still hanging out in my ‘womb. My chance of survival was low.  Living would take a miracle…

Would you like a little brother or a sister?” my mother asked my 6 year old brother. “Both” he said with confidence. I imagine the universe at that moment coming and saying, “And both you shall have!” I also imagine the 32 year old part of my mother saying,  “I don’t know if I could handle two more…then again, kill two birds with one stone…have ’em both a once and the other part of her saying to my brother, “You got it Pontiac!”

And so she did. They did. My father and mother. Eventually after one of the ultrasounds they were told they were having twins! I have no idea what my 34 year old father was thinking at the time! And this was all natural. They did not know however know the sex of their twins or if they would be identical or fraternal.

Fast forward to October 1974. My mother was only near the end her second trimester. She was only six months pregnant. Three more to go. My father and her designed a beautiful home that was to be finished in time for our birth…in January. She was now standing in our big beautiful white kitchen on the red and burnt orange checkered linoleum floor hanging out with my older brother. And what happened next would turn into a very long 4 days. “Mommy! Why did you pee on the floor?” Obviously my mother had not peed on the floor. Her water broke. Three months early. It wasn’t time. It really wasn’t time. There were twins in there. It really really wasn’t time. As the story has been described to me over the years my mother did say she was panicked. She knew it was way to early. She was also at the house in the country alone with my brother. I’m not sure if they had a second vehicle then, but even if they had, would she had been able to drive herself to the hospital? I know she was also worried for her little 7 year old son in front of her. Trying to contain her panic. She called my father at his office and I don’t know how that conversation went, but I was told that my father drove like a bat out of hell to make the ~ 20 minute drive to get to her. And then again once she was in the van to bring her to the hospital. I’m sure my father wished he still had his 67 Stingray that day to burn his way to the hospital.

I don’t know very many details of the hours that turned into days that followed of course even though I was there! I only know the things my mother always shared with me. I know that she was in labour for 4 days. I know that there was much confusion because of this situation. I know that there were many, many nurses and doctors there trying to save the twins trying to be born 3 months to early. I know that there were even more doctors and nurses because Ottawa’s best hospital, the Ottawa Civic is also a teaching hospital and there were many residents wanting to watch and participate. On the fourth day at 9:00pm,  my twin brother was born.

This is what I know of what followed. My father was there for my brother’s birth. Once my twin was born, the doctors placed him  in a mechanical ventilator to help his breathing.  I learned once that the lungs do not fully mature until the 3rd trimester. My twin, for now, was safe. I on the other hand, was not coming out. No way, no how. Not moving. I was tucked up way high and not coming out. The doctors had a very difficult time reaching me. There was quite a lot pf panic in the room, numerous doctors and specialists trying to figure out what to do with me. I think they contemplated leaving me in at one point…you know to bake for another 3 months kind of thing. This was a passing thought. Not possible! Then, the doctors turned to my father and said, “Mr.Flood, we’re going to have to ask you to leave the room now.” My mother used to say at this point she was just pleading, “Save my babies, save my babies!” to the doctors. I believe my younger brother was outside of the room for some of this time. Could not have been very reassuring for  a seven year old. When my mother would recount this story to me I asked her why they asked my father  to leave the room. She told me, “Katie, the doctors, we, had no idea if  you were going to make it or not. They would not want your father to see if you came out alive or dead.

To be continued…
Kate

{ If I get any more details or clarifications from my father I will add accordingly.}
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Listening to: Bruce Springsteen
Locale: Ottawa by the canal.
• State of mind: Happy to be out of a crux.

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NaNoWriMo Day 1: Fem 007 Bond Digs Deeper: Mono & Syncronicities

3 Nov

Last excerpt where I left off:

And then I looked on the date I was to be discharged:

October 22, 1974

Holy Shit. I stared at the date. My hands began to shake. The world around me became incredibly still, the sounds around me disappeared and became background noise.

October 22, 1974. You have got to be kidding me.
That’s the same date as the car accident. At Queens. In the Porsche. Will Alex. The exact same date. Of all the days of the year, you mean to tell me the day I was going to go home to be in my mothers arms who I had been crying for 3 weeks for, and the nurse finds a hear murmur and I”m being transferred to another hospital is the SAME day as a my first major car accident where I almost died?

This is not a coincidence. It isn’t anymore. It can’t be. I flumped into my crossed legs on the living room floor with the papers spread all around me. Then I jumped up sending the papers flying.

“FINE! I believe it! I Believe it! I believe it’s all connected! I yelled out loud into the living room to no one but myself.

“Now what?”…
•••

{ continued…. }

I plugged this new found exact date into the chart I had made that was outlining all the major events of trauma in my life – the surgeries and illnesses. For example, I had already had mononucleosis 3 times and Epstein Bar syndrome.  Called the kissing disease, this was not how I first contracted it! I was only twelve years old the first time I got it in Gr.7. Hadn’t so much as hugged a boy yet! It was the beginning of my junior year. Hell, sure may have wanted to, but it hadn’t happened yet. Let me retract that statement. I had been going to school with the same boys and girls since kindergarten, so actually no there wasn’t a boy I wanted to kiss yet, but maybe, maybe he was around the grade 7 hall. I’m not sure, I maybe I wasn’t kissing material. I still remember playing spin the bottle and a girlfriend’s 10 bathroom mansion in the basement and being called into the closet with one of the long blond banged boys. I hadn’t kissed a boy yet and certainly this really wasn’t how I envisioned it going down! I still remember him saying to me, “Hey Kate, do you mind if we don’t actually kiss, but just stay in here long enough to make it seem like we had?”

Heart-drop now.

Talk about crush’n a pre-teen’s heart raging with self-esteem fitting-in peer issues! ‘Just the same, i didn’t want it, but that kinda stung too. Little confusing too.

I got mono from just being around my mom who had picked it up in the air at an arts course she was talking at a community college. Good Morning Grade seven! I missed the first three months of school. ‘Watched a lot of spiderman and the Flintstones at Noon, Y & R at 4pm and slept. Don’t worry the school passed me regardless. ‘Said, I would have “gotten all” that  I missed anyways and was an A-student. Gotta like that.

I plugged in the date the heart murmur was found on my just 6 month premature, alive 3 weeks body into the chart. I sat there staring. What does this all mean? What does this tell me? Why has all this stuff happened to me? It cannot be a coincidence. It can’t.

What am I missing?

I waited for something to come to me.

I remembered another car accident I had been in. Shit. That’s five car accidents I have been in. Geezuz.

Is someone trying to kill me?

I keep surviving. ‘Not mean’t to die. But why? This has got to stop. What am I not getting?

I made or added other columns. I put in what had happened to me in the accident or illness or surgery. There was consistency to those too.

It was getting clearer, but not completely crystal clear. The accidents – I almost die. My life flashes before my eyes. I’m going to die, but I make it.
Spinning – out of control – turning – twisting – my neck – impact – bridges – plummet to death – fear – soft landings…..

I would look at the end of the chart where the accident was and trace back. What happened before that? And before that? And before that? What’s the first thing that happened where there was trauma?

My birth. My miraculous premature birth.

So?

I survived. What. Hmm, Are they’re any other similarities with what happened to me over these 30 years?

Car Accidents. A bunch of them. Why? Maybe there is something about what happens in them….

What’s the same about the car accidents? People always say, “Shit, you must be a bad driver.”

Nope. I’m never the driver. Never have been. Always a passenger.

Hmm….There is something in that…

I revisited all the accidents.

5 years old – Hit by a Nun – In a Van – Mom’s driving. My twin and I are in the van.

16 – “Head for the Clear” Van flip into the snowbank – Dad’s driving. My twin and I are in the van.

16 – Garbage Dump Road Van Flip at camp – A fellow staff friend is driving – 2 other staff friends and I.

21 – Porsche 911 Accident  – My first puppylove is Driving – We dropped off my roommate at home – Only I am in the car with him.

29 – Christmas Accident – My Dad is driving. My twin and I our in the van.

Weird. I’m close right.

3/5 of those accidents I’m with my parents.  Once with my mom driving. It was the Nun’s fault. My mother taught me how to drive in Fitzroy Provincial park across from the Quyon ferry that her family owned and operated and she spent her cherished summers. She was a good driver as much as I knew. The other two my father was driving. All of them were in vans.

My twin was in 3/5 of them. That seems significant. He’s also reasonably ok. So is everyone. Most of them, only I seem to bear the brunt of the accident and have injuries and have physical consequences.

There were two other interesting things my Bond mind pieced together. Funny, you don;t really see James Bond piecing things together, he just does it. Goes there. Dawns an Armani suit, skis down the mountain side onto a boat, kills the bad guy where he knew he was and gets the girl. Here I am trying to piece the pieces of my life together to make sense of the puzzle.

There was another accident that I’m not sure whether to include in this count.  Something did happen, it was a close call. What was interesting, was it was in van, my father was driving and my twin had a little mishap. We were visiting my relatives in London, Ontario. I think we were about 8-10 years old, somewhere in there and my father was driving. Out of know where a cyclist tried to duck out on the road in front of my Dad. My father slammed on the brakes and my twin went flying forward. His tiny chest was bare with only his swim trunks on and SMACK he hit the front of the big console on the van. Poor little guy. I remember how red his chest was. I also remember how angry he was as he leaned out the window and screamed every exploitive an 8 year-old knows at the cyclist.

“You stupid – poohead – dumb-dumb turkey!” { Turkey derived from my father’s normal choice of expletives at bad driving. Well, at least while the kids were in the car.

My father understablly let him have it! Adding after the trail was finished and his 8 yearold voice started cracking….

“Yah! Turkey!”

The other accident? The other accident? There was synchronicity in that one too…and it didn’t involve my parents. Directly that is.

{ to be continued… }

I’m getting closer…

007 Fem Bond,
Kate

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fingerprintLocale: Chocolate Leather Club Chair { ‘could use some distressing }, Starbucks, Toronto
On Deck: Mirrors by Emma Louise
Mood: Mercury in retrograde is kicking my literary web butt.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

The Limp, A Hemorrhagic Cyst and Moving West

30 Nov

The Limp. The limp that brought me into the hospital that saturday morning. I spent the day having various tests done – blood work – x-rays – ultrasounds. All coming back negative. Until. Until. The pelvic ultrasound. Oh what a joy that is ladies? By this time I was in pain and hurdle over moaning and groaning. Then the doctors want you to fill your bladder with water so they can the ultrasound imaging properly. I feel like I’m going to explode and you want me to drink 2 litres of water and hold it?…while you stick a plastic wrapped plastic probe up my hoo haw? Hilarious. But we do it right ladies? The result?

“Katherine , you have what’s called a hemorrhagic cyst on your left ovary and it’s ruptured. That’s why you are in so much discomfort.”
The docs gave me pain killers and said I just had to wait it off. That it would settle down on it’s own and there wasn’t much they could do on their end as it is quite normal and the ovary is not twisting or causing other harm.

I was in the hospital a couple of days and sent home with bed rest. “Are you in a particularly stressful situation in your life right now?” he asked.
“School. It’s a pretty tough program. 30+ hours of class, weekly assignments, 0 tolerance for absenteeism etc.”

“Well I don’t want you going back there for 2 weeks. Stay at home and take it easy please.”

I stayed home a week. I called my school director the day I went into the hospital. Funny timing was that the our directors just switched over the break. So I had never met this new director. Car Accident, hospitalization or death of a loved one were the only acceptable excuses for absenteeism. Clearly I fell under hospitalization.

I just stayed the week and returned the following. Too much missed school and I was feeling better.

The new director handed back my mid report card. It had a big fat 0 on it. I called him. ‘Excuse me Mr., could you explain why I have a zero?”

You didn’t hand in your assignments for a whole week.

“Mr. I was in the hospital. I called you on day 1 and informed you of this.”

“Oh well. You still didn’t hand them in.”

“I couldn’t Mr. Excuse me, but it is in our program that this is an acceptable reason.”

“Oh. Well, ok sorry. I’ll fix that.”

“Yes, thank you.”

That was 1999. I seemed fine until year end. I had wanted to do my coop placement in New York City, having always wanted to live there. I had collected a massive book and photocopied every single design, communications and branding agency in New York city from the small mom and pop shops to the big organizations. I can’t really remember why – maybe the tight urn around deadline – but I ended up doing  placement at a local supposed reputable firm. While I was at work one day I suddenly out of nowhere had the most excruciating pain. Livid pain.I’m sure working where I worked didn’t help. My boss was a yeller. He yelled at me, the kind of yelling where a person yells so much they’re spitting on you – yah that was him. One time he even raised his arm at me to swat me – I shied away and he brought his hand back behind his back. Geez! His office was a pigsty. I’d always had a knack for cleaning, sorting, organizing and decorating – got that from my mom. I reorganized the office completely – did a layout of the floor plan and everything. When he wasn’t given me assignments – shy of my skill level – I found other productive things to do (so I thought). Organizing his book shelf, clients lists, files on the computer. One day he lost it on me and said why was I wasting my time doing nothing – why wasn’t I looking through magazine for inspiration? Pardon?

It was only 2 months of work. They had hired me on after the placement and received a government subsidy for hiring a student straight from school. I could tell business was slow from the drop in incoming calls and jobs going out. I got called into the office one day with his main designer who was also a graduate of the program the year prior. Really nice guy too. The two of them were staring at me and not saying anything. I say there smiling. My boss tried to speak, but couldn’t. He looked over his my colleague, “Archie, can you…you?”

“What?” I said. “What. You have to get rid of me?”

My boss went wide eyed. My colleague smiled relieved. “Ugh, how, how on earth did you know that?”

“Doesn’t take much to see there’s not a lot of work coming in here.”

I did my two weeks and you know what that boss did? When I went to file my taxes, they had no T4, no record of any employment there so I couldn’t file. You go to be kidding me. I had to go and file forms with the government giving them permission to look for this business. They had changed their name once or twice but then disappeared. I was able to track down a fax of proving that he paid me as he would request the subsidy from the government every two weeks. And that rascal, he paid me with personal cheques, but had hand written the deductions on each one, but never submitted them. Nice. Even cheaper labour.

That was on Monday. On friday my 2nd love, dumped me on the phone. 1 week after celebrating our 1 year anniversary and I had bought him an expensive dress watch. Nice. Thanks.

I’m leaving! I’m moving out west…
——-

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Go west, Go west…. { the Petshop Boys }
Kate
———-


Locale:  Starbucks. Why have some Starbuck’s taken those away?
On Deck: Slave to Love by Roxy (I have a wide assortment of music let me tell yah!)
State of Being: It’s starting to feel like Christmas.

Ice Storm: A Limp, A Gimp and a Tree – Timber!

29 Nov

I looked at his blue skivvies and probably blushed seeing his parents standing there in my peripheral vision. (No, no Mrs.Lloyd I’m thinking to myself, what are those, I’ve never seen those before). My eyes moved so slow up his legs, somehow some part of me did not want to look at his arm. My eyes continued upward and it was impossible not to see his arm. It was completely split open.

Kate?”

“Yes, Ms.Renem?”

“Are you ok?”

“Yes, why?”

“Your limping. Why are you limping?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t realize that I was.”

“Maybe you  should go get that checked out honey afer school.”

“Yes. Well it’s no bothering me that much right now, but I will if it gets worse.”

Every day that week, the limping got worse, but I did not seem to be in pain anywhere.”

I went to the doctor and he examined me ans told me my abdomen was swollen, and this could be my appendix. He advised me to drink liquids, go easy on the food and possibly be prepared for a trip to an ER next week.”

“I said alright doc” and went home.

Friday passed and I was staying over at my boyfriend Lloyd’s at the time.

Saturday morning I woke up ran to the washroom, was sick as a dog for seemingly no reason rapidly. I was throwing up, sweating buckets, felt hot, weak and dizzy. I knew something was more serious was wrong because the symptoms all came on rather out of the blue and I wasn’t “feeling” very sick, but had these symptoms.

“Take me to the hospital Lloyd. Something’s wrong.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. Something’s not right. This isn’t a flu or stomach. I don’t really feel sick anywhere, but my body is doing this and I’ve got a fever so it’s trying to tell me something.” My mother taught me that. Fever is there for a reason.

Lloyd took me to the hospital. By this time, I was limping and stooped right over clenching my belly.

Lloyd and I had our share of hospital trips. A story to digress to because it’s a hell of a one. In the winter of 1998 Ottawa got hit with the biggest ice storm. If you lived there you remember it. Haunting and gorgeous to see mother nature reek havoc on a city. I was fortunate, we lost cable for a few days and that was it. I was working at the high end sport retailer and most places of businesses did not make it mandatory to come into work on account of the damage to the city streets etc. There were electric wires down in front of my apartment all over the street, but you could carefully navigate them if you had to. I went to work. My boyfriend Lloyd also worked fulltime at the retailer. There was actually about 6 couples who all met at this place and were all dating. Quite seriously I might add, they all are married to this day, Lloyd and I the only ones who didn’t marry. I had exploring and traveling I wanted to do.
On this particular day, Lloyd was working at a neighbouring farm cutting down trees with a friend. Around 2in the afternoon I was paged to answer a call.

“Kate, Line 1, Kate phone call on Line 1”

I went to the phone thinking it was a fellow peer at another location wanting soft goods help. You know, do you have this in size 10 kinda thing.

“Kate? It’s Mrs.Lloyd calling.”

I felt nauseous immediately without even being old anything. It’s funny – our bodies know when something is up. The background sound of the store around me petered out in the distance. I stared down a my feet.

“Yes. Hi Mrs.Lloyd.”

“Kate, Shawn’s been in an accident.”

I swallowed. The heat rose up through my chest.

“He’s ok. I mean, he’s alive. They’re going to be doing emergency surgery. I thought you should know. We’re at..”

“What happened? I mean, was he in a car? Why surgery?”

“No,no. He was hit by a tree. Badly. He was out cutting down trees in the back 40 and the Swinson’s lot with their son Jack. And he, he, God I told him, his father told, him, he knows. I don’t know what happened exactly or how it happened.”

“Oh my God, Mrs.Lloyd. I’m so sorry. I’m sure he’ll be ok. Everything will be ok.”

“Kate, he has some prescriptions to pick up. Can I ask you to pick them up and bring to the hospital?” Of course, of course. I’m leaving right away.”

“They just air lifted him from the Kemptville hospital after they saw the extent of what happened; they’re not equipped for this kind of surgery.”

I told my manager I was leaving, I had to go, that Lloyd had been in an accident. It was serious. I still remember this particularly manager wining to me that I couldn’t leave. I had already gone up to the owners upstairs and had their ok.

“I’m outa here!”

She actually ran out the door after me and told me I couldn’t leave. Hilarious.

When I got to the hospital. I was so worried and scared for Lloyd. The ER doctors took me the room he was in and I’ll never forget this, I swung around the corner and first I see poor Lloyd in his blue skivies. They size and height of the tree coming down on Lloyd actually split his clothes and then the doctors tore them off to get to him. Hell, I found out then they believed it probably hit him in his head because of the proximity to the arm.

When they were out there cutting the trees down there are rules they follow. You are supposed to yell out to where you’re partner is so they know where you are and where the tree is going down. Jack yelled out,

“3-2-1 TIMBER”

(They actually do yell Timber? I thought that was a lumberjack cartoon thing of the past)

No response. The tree came down. After that tree came down, Jack couldn’t hear the sound of the other chainsaw running. He looked to where the tree went down. No Lloyd. And he wasn’t there when it went down, so where was he. He looked back. No Lloyd. Something wasn’t right. They’re in the back 40 with acres of snow filled fields and trees. Shawn should stick out like a sore thumb. He decided to go back to his last cut. He saw Lloyd’s snowmobile, but no Shawn which meant he had to have been here…somewhere.

I can’t remember what he saw first, but there was Lloyd under the tree. Out cold. He was unconscious. The tree grazed his head and smashed his arm. From what I know, I think Jack was able to get Lloyd out from the tree on his own or the adrenaline from the shock can kick in like when a mother can lift a car off of a baby, and he put Lloyd on one of the snowmobiles and brought him back to the farm. I don’t think cellphones were as a staple as they are today yet, so he would have had to wait until he could get to a phone to call 911.

By the time I got to him he had regained conciousness. I looked at his blue skivvies and probably blushed seeing his parents standing there in my peripheral vision. (No, no Mrs.Lloyd I’m thinking to myself, what are those, I’ve never seen those before). My eyes moved so slow up his legs, somehow some part of me did not want to look at his arm. My eyes continued upward and it was impossible not to see his arm. It was completely split open. It was awful. Looked like a complex roadmap of red lines and white highways – think downtown Montreal. My eyes could not stay there. I turned slowly to Lloyd’s facing being careful to keep a straight face and slight smile. It’s really hard to hide, “Holy Shit Your fucking arm is split right open honey!”. I think I did a good job. Either that or he was unfazed because he seemed pretty happy.

“They’ve got him pretty souped upon morphine.” Said Mrs.Lloyd.

“Ahh,” I said.

“I Lloydy. Oh honey. How are you doing?”

“Ummm…..” he just smiled glassy eyed.

I smiled back at him and gave him I care about you grin.

I gotta say, it was pretty surreal having a conversation with his parents over him and this split open arm in your face and nothing going on.

“They’re bringing him for surgery soon. They had to get in another specialist.” Said Mrs.Lloyd.

Just then a doctor came in and explained the procedure to us. He spoke a little and then he motioned us to leave the room with him, I guess so Lloyd could not hear. Not that he’d remember.

“Shawn’s arm is pretty serious, but we have excellent doctors here. The surgery should be done around midnight.”

Shawn went in for this surgery. I stayed with Mr and Mrs.Lloyd. Midnight came, no doctors. 12:30am. 1:00am. God, I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who’s had this experience of watching the clock while waiting for a loved one to come out from surgery. Amazing how minutes seem like hours. 130am. 200am. Finally just after 2am the doctors came out to us.  He didn’t look very happy for someone just having come from surgery. In fact he looked really sad.

“The surgery went mostly well.”

“Mostly doc?”

“We were able to save Shawn’s arm. We put the bones back in place for them to heal.”

“And?”

“Well. There it was quite a mess in there. I’m sorry, but the most important part was putting the bones back. There’s been nerve damage. It was unavoidable. I’m sorry.”

“What does that mean?”

“Well, it’s too soon to tell, but some of Shawn’s muscle will not be working properly because of this. For now, his fingers. He has no use of his fingers at all.”

“Oh my God. But doc he’s a rock climber, a carpenter, a ski tech, he works on farm. He’s a bike rider.”

“We know. Which actually fares well for his recovery. We don’t know how long it will take. We’ve implemented an apparatus on this cast that will help rejuvenate this fingers. Nerves repair themselves. This is the good time. We just don’t know how long it will take. It could take a year. Shawn is not awake yet. He doesn’t know this yet. Leave that to us ok?”

“Sure doc, yes of course.” (Like anyone would want to break that news to him).

Shawn returned home eventually. He had a massive full cast and this odd looking contraption made of metal spokes that jutted out from his elbow on an angle and then had these elastic bands that dropped down at 90 degrees over his hand attaching themselves to each of Shawn’s fingers. Geez. Let me tell you, fun between the sheets! Not so much. I moved temporarily into Shawn’s place to help him out. It was hard to even make a meal with only the use of one hand. Sleeping beside him was a mild nightmare trying to avoid the side his contraption was on and any odd random mid night swinging arm landings! The sports shop kept him on working the floor instead of the shop. He couldn’t bike or climb, so it was quite a bummer for an incredibly active 25 year old. He did it though. Month and months went by and there was still no movement from his fingers. Quite scary really.

A year almost to the date, Lloyd’s fingers started work again. He biked again and he climbed again. I don’t know if he’s every cut a tree again…

I full story within a digression. It was a good one though no?

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I’m getting to the limp next,
Kate

p.s. Hellos to you Llyod where ever you are. Grapevine says you moved West, but no one has heard from you since.
———-


Locale: Cushy Leather chair @ Starbucks. Why have some Starbuck’s taken those away?
On Deck: Happy Cycling by Boards of Canada
{I’m beginning to think my shuffle ituned is somehow magically linked to my stories!}
State of Being: Hungry.

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