Archive for the ‘Family’ Tag

If you don’t have a plan…how would you know what you should have been?   16 comments

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I am famous for the five year plan that runs into a huge snag about five minutes after its conception. In truth, I am not much of planner at all. I consider myself more of a proactive reactor, which basically means that I lightly pencil things in and when that doesn’t happen, I just bounce. It’s been working so far and as I always say if it ain’t broke ….it ain’t mine.

So where am I going with this?

Recently, I was listening/eavesdropping to a conversation between two moms at the mall. One of the ladies was talking about her son who is twenty-two and will be graduating from university next year. She said he had a very firm plan for the next ten years. He would get a job, buy a house, get married and have at least two children by the time he turned thirty. She said all this with great pride and without even the tiniest bit of hesitation.

I thought of my own life and could not help but wonder if a life could actually be lived with such efficiency?

Not my life obviously.

You see, at twenty-two I had a plan too. Not quite that structured but I definitely had a few core ideas that I was going to run with. First off, I was never going to get married or have any kids. I was going to be a journalist and travel the world. I was going to be fluent in at least three languages and live with two cats. My life would never be boring, and I would be the envy of all….other cat ladies.

So let’s reflect on how that plan fleshed out.

I am married with four children. I do remember telling my husband I wanted four cats, which is usually man repellant, but we were in a loud bar at the time, so I guess he misheard me and thought I said kids? I speak one language and can swear in three others. I have never traveled the world but I have Google Earth so that’s sort of the same. I never wrote a big story but I can write a heck of a grocery list. I live with one cat and three cat/dogs. My life is definitely not boring so I guess that worked out but as for being the envy of all, I think I would say, that I am more of a cautionary tale.

So was there a defining moment where my life plan took a u turn and ended up in opposite land? Probably. Does it matter? Probably not.

You see, the one thing I can always plan on, is that any plan I make usually ends up resembling a Picasso painting version of the original idea. That’s okay though, as I have never been a destination kind of a girl. I am all about the detours and roadblocks and I firmly believe that any life worth living should always be under construction or deconstruction depending on the day…which sort of explains a few of my other posts.

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Posted October 15, 2014 by janyceresh in Uncategorized

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The turtle people are coming   22 comments

 

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The turtle people are coming.  They are arriving en mass to partake in the annual ritual known as camping. I call them turtle people because they tow their houses, children, pets, cars, boats, and various other things, to places far and wide to commune with nature.

 

I often find myself trapped behind caravans of them as they travel the highways at a pace that can only be described as a meander. Good for them that they have nothing but time to cruise at the speed of a glacier ice melt. Not so good for me when I am stuck in a parade devoid of marching bands, clowns or balloons.

 

The thing that I don’t understand is the need or desire to live outdoors. I’ve camped before and, quite frankly, I can see why mankind chose to climb up the evolutionary ladder. I would also hazard a guess, and say, if Neanderthals could see us trying to devolve and be one with nature again they would probably be very confused. After all their hard work and sacrifice to better themselves! I’m pretty certain chasing the wooly mammoth and discovering fire was no day at the beach for them. Yet here we are thumbing our noses at convection ovens and flushing toilets and blatantly turning our backs on progress to embrace the same archaic behavior that made their entire species extinct. It’s a bit of puzzler.

 

The last time I went camping was the last time I’ll ever go camping. With only two weeks off a year, the very idea of spending it in the woods, devoid of any convenience is tantamount to torture.

 

How do I hate camping? Let me count the ways…

 

1. Waking up in the middle of the night and playing deal or no deal with your bladder because the very idea of using an outhouse that has been host to more asses than Parliament Hill is too horrifying to comprehend. This, of course, does not even begin to describe the odour that emanates from within and I’m pretty convinced it’s what Hell itself must smell like.

 

2. The bugs … do I really need to elaborate? Okay, I will. I generally look like I have small pox after one or two very passionate and committed mosquitoes have dined on my life’s blood all night long. The good news is that I now reek of sticky bug repellent, and the lineup for the community showers is longer than my last cue for a ride on Space Mountain.

 

3. Dirt. It’s everywhere in nature. Which is why I live indoors. I really have nothing more to say about that.

 

4. Cooking on a campfire is ridiculous. People have died for less. Nothing about camping is food safe. The whole idea should be prohibited by law. Roasting wieners on sticks until they are charred and caked with embers is carcinogenic … there is actual scientific research to back this up, and yet the turtle people dine on them with reckless abandon. If you take nothing else from this, please make a mental note that 1.6 people in North America die from choking on hot dogs every year. I’m not sure how the .6 person made the statistic or what .6 of a person would look like, but it’s obvious to me that wieners are not the fun food that Oscar Meyer makes them out to be.

 

4. The weather. I could be camping in a desert that has been devoid of moisture for the better part of forever, but if I pitch a tent it’s pretty well guaranteed that six inches of rain will fall overnight. The second to last time I was one with Mother Nature, she decided a simple rainstorm was a little generic … so she brought forth an actual tornado. Gotta love camping in central Alberta! Not.

 

So to all you turtle people I say this: go forth and convene with the vast uncharted wilderness, channel your inner caveperson and throw caution and convenience to the wind. I may not understand your customs nor wish to partake in them, but I applaud your spirit. If you ever want to find me on my vacation, however, I’ll be relaxing poolside at an all-inclusive resort sipping margaritas and basking in the afterglow of my morning at the spa. I like to believe it’s how the Neanderthals would have vacationed had they survived the climate change. So I guess in a way I do it for them.

“Mistaekes” happen   19 comments

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I have a tendency to make the occasional mistake. Ok, it’s out there, I’m not perfect. I hope I have not disillusioned anyone too much…take a breath…this next one might come as a shock ….I’m human. Just writing that down feels freeing because I have had more than one person question my lineage. No worries I’ve had blood work and to my knowledge nothing has been deemed unusual or extraterrestrial in any way.

 

Getting back to my over share….

 

Sometimes I err on the side of caution…although that is rare and really shouldn’t bare mentioning. Of course I will mention it because you might need a frame of reference for later. Your welcome.

 

For me to err on the side of caution would be something like not eating a chilli dog at a gas station when the next bathroom is 75km away and always wearing make up. The latter is mostly so I don’t scare small children and unsuspecting pets. The former should be a rule of thumb for everyone because you never want to be the star of that cautionary tale.

 

There is also erring by omission. It’s pretty safe to say that I’ve done that on more than one occasion. Who hasn’t? For example I have stared into the mouth of someone with spinach stuck in their teeth while they chit chat away totally oblivious to the fact they resemble a pirate. That is a though one because it’s quite distracting and I often find myself transfixed and losing track of what they are talking about. I imagine them with an eye patch and a peg leg and or a hook sailing the seven seas searching for things to pillage.

 

Those mistakes or errors I consider misdemeanour offences. Not earth shattering or life altering and certainly not cause to lose sleep over. Then there are the times that I have made slightly larger mistakes that require me to pause and contemplate the error of my ways. These tend to primarily be behavioural and for the most part can be chalked up to lesson learned don’t repeat.

 

Sadly If I were to be tested on some of these I would fail miserably and be forced to go to summer school on the special bus. These are usually things that seem like a good idea at the time but in the light of day not so much. I would elaborate but at the risk of incriminating myself will have to plead the fifth. Not sure we have a fifth amendment in Canada because I made the mistake of not going to law school, but whatever you get the point.

 

Then there are the big kahunas. These ones are what I like to call the game changers. There I was just skipping along living la vida loco and for what ever reason I zigged instead of zagged and in an instant everything changed. I’ve had a few of these and let me tell you they can be earth shattering, gut wrenching, we have a flag on the play, kind of moments.

 

They have been the ones that altered my path in life. They have led me to where and who I am today. I sometimes think back to these moments when my life changed because of something I did or didn’t do, and thank God I screwed up.

 

These days I live a life open to the possibility that while I may not be perfect I am the sum total of every missed call, missed bus, misstep, misdemeanour mistake that I have made and I’m okay with that because every once in awhile through no fault of my own I get something right.

 

 

 

 

 

                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted June 1, 2014 by janyceresh in Uncategorized

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The Weekend technology forgot   32 comments

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Sometimes I think to myself, ‘now that’s a great idea. I should totally do that. In fact I can’t wait to do that because it is going to be the start of something amazing.’ These ideas usually come to me around 3 am, which is slightly inconvenient because I do tend to be asleep at that time. However, given the sheer genius of these epiphanies I am not prepared to tell them to make an appointment.
That is, until last week. When I forgot to not remember an idea that came to me mid slumber.
I further exasperated the fact by mentioning it to my husband, who thought that it may be the greatest idea since sliced bread. So we decided to share it with the kids over breakfast.
The meal started light and fun; my youngest showing his siblings YouTube videos and my eldest taking selfies and posting them to snap chat. It was just your average breakfast with the family since technology put down roots in our home.
My husband and I looked at each other and knew that this was as good a time as any to share the good news. No, we weren’t becoming Jehovah’s witnesses; it was something with way more shock value than that.
We were going to take away all the electronics for the entire weekend.
I’ve heard silence before, but that was rare and entirely foreign in my home and while it was in this instance brief, it was none the less quite breathtaking. Of course, that was just the calm before the storm. The subsequent squall that ensued was only slightly less intense than a baby daddy reveal on the Jerry Springer show.
It seemed that the children were a little hesitant to jump aboard and embrace the days of yore, when technology was a tv with 13 channels and no remote. Our phones were tied to walls and if we wanted to watch a movie we had to rent one at the video store and make sure we remembered to rewind it. Our music played on record players and the pictures we shot took a whole week to develop.
We told them more stories of our own childhoods, explained the freedom and joy of being outside, building forts and riding bikes. We couldn’t wait to be free of the confines of our homes and rarely would appear back unless hunger overtook us or it was too dark to play capture the flag.
They stared the stare of great sadness as they came to terms with their impending loss. They realized it was fruitless to argue. We had made up our minds. They asked a few questions.
How would they cope without Netflix?
… What would this new existence feel like if it couldn’t be shared on Instagram?
Also, my favorite … If a tree falls in the forest and no one tweets about it … does anybody #care?
We gathered up the devices and the experiment began.
It was without a doubt the longest, most painful weekend I can remember in quite some time. It rained every day and every night. They couldn’t play outside, they didn’t ride their bikes, or climb trees, or play kick the can. They just stayed inside. They fought, and argued, and tortured each other to the point that I almost ran away from home. I’ve never been a huge fan of Mondays, but last week I was very pleased to see it arrive.
You see, it was my fault. I had failed to teach the fun of being stuck inside on a rainy day, of playing board games and baking cookies and building forts inside. I tried at one point, but I was met with little enthusiasm and I think one of them might have growled at me. So I just backed away slowly.
Next time I will have weather contingency plans. Yes, there will be a next time, because I want my kids to be free and unplugged and able to communicate ideas in real time and not just by text. Technology has made itself quite at home in the twenty first century, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pack it up and send it camping from time to time.

Dear St Valentine   41 comments

 

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Dear St. Valentine

Thank you for all the sacrifices you made ( not the least of which the loss of your head). Imagine putting your very life in jeopardy so that lovers of non sanctioned religions could be joined in holy matrimony until death or divorce proceedings.

I’m sure if you had realized how long people would eventually live you might have re thought the whole until death do us part portion of the vows. It seems as though some folks over the years have taken that piece a little more literally than perhaps it was intended.

Regardless of all that, I do have some rather pressing questions that I wish you could clear up for me? I realize you have long since passed and may not have foreseen all of the strange traditions that have evolved over the centuries…but you did cure the blind daughter of your jailer so responding from beyond the grave might just be in your wheel house.

Anyway just in case you’re bored here are a few thoughts and ponderings that have troubled me over the years.

1. Why do we celebrate this as a holiday and yet receive no Stat pay or day off in lieu of? I for one think it more than worthy of a day off so that we could spend ttime pondering the significance of your sacrifice to married people everywhere.

I would also think that a day spending time pondering the exclusivity of the people allowed to partake in wedded bliss might also have some merit. If you truly were such a champion of love it does beg the question which side of that little powder keg you might find yourself on.

2. Why do flowers cost 40% more in the week leading up to Valentines day and die 50% faster? I told my husband very early on in our relationship that should he ever waste our hard earned money on flowers as a gesture of romance he will find himself experiencing some alone time in the time out corner. Not that he has ever been particularly romantic ….although for our 6 month anniversary he did buy me a 12 gauge shot gun. Which I thought was rather brave of him..until I realized he hadn’t bought me any shells. Story for another time.

3. Why do we stand fixated in front of a sea of greeting cards in a desperate search to find just the right words that truly depict the depth of our love and devotion to our significant others? Isn’t it enough that we don’t kill them in their sleep? I think that speaks volumes.

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4. A diaper wearing bald baby shooting at people with arrows?  I can’t even begin to phrase the myriad of questions I have  on this disturbing piece of imagery

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5. Why do we have to send our kids to school from the age of kindergarten with 30 valentines cards written to each and every kid in their class including their teachers? I’m all for kids playing the field and keeping their options open but I don’t think I’m comfortable with the idea of my third grader sending love notes to their 47 year old teacher. That kind of logic got Mary Jane Laterno in a whole world of legal trouble and I for one think we should have seen that one coming.

6. Sexy lingerie WTF? Costs a fortune and ends up on the floor in the first 30 seconds. And let’s be honest when a man gives the gift of lingerie it’s really not so much a gift but a bit of a race to see how fast we as women can get Jenny Craig on the phone to somehow bridge the gap between what size our husbands thinks we wear and the reality of our Hagan Daz ice cream loving ass.

Anyway in the off chance you can somehow shine a light on any of my ponderings I would be forever grateful. You don’t have to be all burning bush fancy, a simple hand made card would suffice. Perhaps in the shape of heart?

Respectfully yours
Janyce Resh

Ps no questions need answered on the obligatory valentine chocolate box. That is a no brainer…..

Posted February 10, 2014 by janyceresh in Uncategorized

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THE TRUTH IS……IS I CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH   29 comments

One of things I like to do to relax is watch TV. I would like to sound more cerebral and say in my spare time I enjoy reading Proust and listening to foreign language tapes. But that would be a lie and I try not to lie unless I’m discussing my age or my weight.

I’ve just realized that I’m going to have to Google Proust before I submit this because I have no idea how to spell his name or who he is or even if he is actually a he. I also have no idea why reading him/her is supposed to make me seem intelligent. Now it looks like I’ll probably have to go on Wikipedia to figure that one out. This is starting to sound like more work than I have time for at the moment. I may need a nap.

Now where was I? Oh yes watching the boob tube.

My life philosophy up until that point was never to over think after 8pm. Much like eating after 7 pm it’s just ill advised. That’s why I love TV. It’s simple predictable and generally requires little to no thought.

So there I was all curled up cozy waiting for my favorite sitcom to seduce me into believing it was funny when the most unimaginable thing happened. No, it wasn’t preempted and replaced with a state of union address. It was much worse. I had lost my remote and I was instantly transformed into crisis mode. You see, if I couldn’t locate the remote I would have to……..watch commercials.

I know you feel my pain and can empathize. It’s probably happened to most everyone at some time or another and I do recall a time when we had no choice but to just push through it. However now that I’ve been sampled on this blissful new technology that allows me to control when and what I watch…it’s simply unfathomable to be forced back to the dark days of yore.

So I had a decision to make. I could get up and root around in the dark like a desperate raccoon putting my hands into the deep recesses of couches and finding things that should remain lost. Or I could pull up my big girl panties and brave the insipid onslaught of shameless advertising. Seeing as I wasn’t sure if my tetanus shot was up to date I decided on the latter.

My show began and 9 minutes later we paused for our first commercial break. It started innocently enough. Your average run of the mill cell service providers, a friendly accommodating insurance company ( that one actually made me laugh at the irony) and so on. A mere 2 1/2 minutes later I was returned back to the sweet soothing sounds of canned laughter. I felt ok and I thought I was coping well with this archaic remoteless experience.

Then it took a wee turn.

The ad started out with some poor woman tossing and turning. The commentators voice spoke soothingly to assure me that there was hope for her restless nights. I was feeling good and hopeful that this woman’s suffering would soon end. She sounded so lovely and caring. There were butterfly’s and everyone was smiling. And then….

This same blissful lovingly calm voice started reciting the laundry list of side effects that could potentially occur. It was quite simply horrifying. Her melodic tone told tale of the increased risk of violent episodes, irrational thoughts, suicidal thoughts, anaphylactic shock, heart attack or stroke, liver damage and death just to name a few. All of these things could occur while using this drug that the FDA in its infinite wisdom had approved for joe public. This was madness. Who needs sleep so bad that after listening to this thinks to themselves: ‘I’m just going to roll the dice.’

This seemed unconscionable. I called to my husband and started ranting about the absurdity of it all. I went on and on and felt I was on the verge of writing a strongly worded letter to someone. He just nodded and politely agreed. He asked how I had heard of this drug and I told him I’d seen a commercial. His eyes grew wide with shock and he asked why on earth I would do such a thing? I told him I lost the remote and how it all just fell apart after that.

He told me to calm down, that we would find the remote and attach it to a cinder block and it would never leave us again. I felt better. Not fluttering blue butterfly better but better none the less. I guess I’m just one of those people who can’t handle the truth in advertising…even when it’s sugar coated with pretty flying insects. Now throw in a cute kitten playing by a rainbow and all bets are off. Oh no…have I said too much?

PS. I just googled Proust and feel slightly more intelligent.

 

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Posted January 30, 2014 by janyceresh in Uncategorized

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DID I JUST SAY THAT OUT LOUD?   16 comments

 

Have you ever opened your mouth and had words spill out that made you literally pause and question does that really require speech?

I can say with complete honesty that with the exception of the one day last spring when I got laryngitis I say things like that every day. The kind of things that for all intents and purposes should never require thought let alone conversation. I have often fantasized that I descended from royalty but never imagined living a life that required me to be queen of the obvious.

Put your hand up if you think this rant has something to do with my kids. Ok put your hand down. People are staring.

This is my reality. I feel as though I am constantly being punked by small people so much so, that I have been known to check for cameras and tiny microphones in and around my home. Ok maybe I’m being paranoid but there are days that I live,that would make for a great “How Not To ( fill in the blank) “video.

So let me paint you a picture of a day in the life. It’s a perfect summer day. The sun is shining and the smell of fresh cut grass means someone has found the lawn mower and probably some other stuff we keep hidden underneath the grass between mowings. I have just arrived home to hear the pleasant sounds of children’s laughter emanating from our backyard. I am drawn toward their revelry and joy because my day has been chaotic and stressful.

So I throw down my briefcase and kick off my shoes and find my way to back door to join in the fun. But as I approach the yard I see something that makes no sense. It’s one of those moments where your eye and brain appear to pulling a fast one on you…aka a mirage moment.

There in the middle of our yard is our trampoline with 2 children playing on it……and 2 children playing “in” it. Yes, I did say in it.

You see one of my little boys thought it would be fun to slice a hole in the trampoline ….and?….well I think that’s where his idea lost a little momentum because upon interrogating ( I mean questioning of course…) him he was unable to explain the logic of it all.

I found myself saying things that started with and ended with ” I have no words” and for a writer who can rant about just about anything that is saying something.

And then I said “but why would you cut a hole in the trampoline?” so many times that I actually considered making it my new meditation mantra.

There have been many times before and since that incident that I have stopped myself in mid sentence and thought ” did I really just say that out loud? Did something just occur in my life that required me to put those particular words together and form that sentence? Where did the logic go and can it be located on a map so that I might go and live there once again?

I used to have a life where common sense was well common. And then a miracle happened well 4 to be exact. My wonderful children. They are my reason for living and sometimes the reason for a quick trip to the pharmacy to pick up my meds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Not Invisible….Am I?   28 comments

 

My life is loud. I have one husband, 4 children, 3 dogs, and a cat. We also have two fish named Ethel and Fred and an algae eater named Oscar but they are generally pretty quiet. Most days my house literally vibrates from dawn until around 10pm. It is probably still loud after 10 o’ clock, however, I am usually sound asleep by then and would probably sleep through a zombie apocalypse.

Our kids range in age from 10 to 18 years and they have been making noise since about 5 minutes after conception. Our only daughter is the eldest and then we have 3 boys. I don’t know what she did in a past life to deserve them sometimes, but if I had to guess, I would say either she was a slum lord or a very unscrupulous used car salesperson. A little lesson for you…. Karma is apparently forever and quite unforgiving. But I digress.

Being part of a fairly large family, by today’s standards, it is sometimes challenging to control the volume of our existence. To be honest I’m not entirely sure we would even be capable of locating our mute button. Much like unicorns and ogopogos the entire concept of indoor voices and silence seems almost mythical.

So between dogs barking, music blaring, unwatched televisions blasting endless laugh tracks, my husbands air compressor ( which will inexplicably turn itself on for no apparent reason…usually between 2am and 4 am) my sons screaming at their xbox and my yelling for everyone to turn it all down. We are the very definition of a life lived on full blast and in stereo.

I blame myself. Why wouldn’t I? I set the tone. Unfortunately the tone is set at ten. My excuse is simple. My family is incapable of hearing the sound of my voice. I am essentially white noise, elevator music, a sad pantomime in the middle of a dark theater. My regular voice, that ironically is quite audible to those to whom I am not related, to my children, is completely ineffectual.

Now I should qualify that. If I was to say ” who wants their allowance?” In a voice so low that it would barely register to the human ear they will magically appear at my side before I even have time to complete my next thought. However if I was to say “whose turn is it to take out the garbage?” In my regular voice to 4 children within 3 feet of my person, I will generally receive the blank looks usually reserved for those speaking to them in a foreign language.

So how do I respond? Simple. I raise the level of my voice…not right away of course. I try and practice self control. After all we do have neighbours. But there is that limit, that line in the sand that once it has been breached there is no going back. So after I feel there has been a reasonable period of time (usually 1-2 minutes) between request and response and I have received nothing. I feel compelled on an almost cellular level to raise the decibel of my voice to its maximum vocal capacity. This is more commonly known as a yell or a scream depending on the seriousness of the situation.

Am I proud of this? Of course not. Do I live in a constant shame spiral of parenting despair? Sure I do. Do I anticipate Dr. Phil’s producers to approach me to come on his show to stage an intervention. Every single day. Is my voice sometimes so hoarse I talk like I have a 2 pack a day smoking habit? Yes. But what is the solution?

I LIVE A LIFE THAT REQUIRES ALL CAPS COMMUNICATION.

I know in my heart of hearts I am not the only parent in the known universe that fails to censure themselves in the heat of the moment. I have heard the quiet whispers at mommy and me classes that speak of stories similar to mine. I’ve been to Walmart and I’ve dined at McDonald’s. I’ve seen and bared witness to parents whose children have exposed their last nerve and laughed gleefully while doing so. I’m not saying children are bad I’m just saying they seem to casually push our buttons like they are playing with Wii remotes.

So if you are a parent that has experienced the pain and disillusionment that comes from years and years of unrequited validation. I, for one, would like to take this opportunity to validate you. I heard you. I understand. I know you said it in your Barney voice 17 times before you lost your mind and screamed it out in a voice usually reserved for air craft carrier landing strips. I can appreciate how soul sucking it can be to live in a house where unless you are handing out food or money you are about as noticed as a ghost. I get it and I am on your side.

Now I am sure there are psychologists who can present me a litany of useful tools that can equip me with more positive coping strategies. I know these will emphasize the importance of patience and positive reinforcement when dealing with children who are listening challenged. I understand all this. I’ve read the books and I am familiar with Oprah. It’s just that in my house if you aren’t living out loud in techno colour crazy you may get mistaken for a potted plant that never gets watered because some kid says and I quote ” I never heard you ask me to do that.”

 

Posted December 27, 2013 by janyceresh in Uncategorized

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The Lab Report

Fake pet news. Follow us on Twitter @hellolabreport

Tea first, panic later.

One girl's story of fighting mental illness in the big city