Category Archives: Personal Life

Back. Again. Finally. Also: CRANE!

Guys. The crane is done at last, at last. I apologize for my long absence. The last few weeks have contained an abundance of work and I’ve had little time to commit to writing of any sort– fact (blog) or fiction. I hope the cat pictures on Mondays have been keeping you all company.

The big show is behind us (finally!) and the next show is just gearing up. Until it really gets going, I have a few extra hours to my evenings. I had been spending them cleaning (not enough) and cooking (definitely not enough) and cuddling with the husband (can there be enough), BUT tonight Kyle is off learning about how economies develop at NYU or some such and I’m on my own.

So here I am, updating the blog. Hip, hip, hoorah!

First of all, because I know you’ve all been waiting: the crane is complete! It looks pretty freaking cool. Everyone’s happy. SUCH a fun project.

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Brother Crane Contains: Foss Shape, Buckram, Millinery Wire, Leather, Acrylic Hair, Silk, Plastic Gems, Acrylic Paint, Super 88, Spackle, Gold Leaf Foil, Sharpie, Jessi’s Blood, Sweat and Tears… and one other sort of thermoplastic which I can’t remember the name of

Secondly, keep your eyes peeled because I have a couple of big blog posts coming. One (or maybe two) on inspiration, one on my Mutti’s Grand Opening celebration, maybe one on the editing process for the short story.

And…that’s pretty much it. Goodnight, all.

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Kyle’s 30th

Today is my husband’s birthday. His 30th birthday. The first Big Birthday he’s had in 9 years and the last one he’ll before heading over that proverbial hill into the dreaded Middle Ages.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve made a lot of jokes that last few months about us dreading turning 30 (I’ll follow in his footsteps in another couple months), but actually, I’m really, really looking forward to our next decade. Our 20s have been hard and while I don’t expect the nature of life to change any and it all to suddenly become breezy, I do think some really amazing things are down the road just a bit.

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We’re not doing anything really for his big day, which he seems to be fine with. Hopefully we can find a place for him to watch the first Wing’s game of the season (nicely scheduled guys!) and he can eat an obscenely large cheeseburger. We’re trying to save up for a nice trip somewhere fun and new this year as the Big Celebration. Hence, no party.

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But I can tell the interwebs how much I love his face and how happy I am that we found each other early in life so that even at the young age of 30, we’ve gotten to experience the whole of a decade with each other.

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Happy Birthday, Love of Mine. I wish you all the very, very best in the world. May your year be filled with blessings bigger and better than any of it’s sorrows and lots of hockey. Also, puppies. Just for good measure.

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Labor Day…and cookies.

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Abi is unsure about these cookie things, but is willing to try them if you need a taste tester…

Yesterday around 1p we made it back to NJ after an unplanned and whirlwind trip home to Michigan. We unpacked the car (because apparently it is completely impossible to go home and NOT come back with the car full of stuff).

In case you were wondering the contents of the car, we pulled out:

– 5 starts of raspberry bushes

– 1 apple spice cake

– 3 bushels of apples/pears

– 1 tall fan

– wooden filing cabinet

– lbs of ground beef

– gigantic bag o’ blueberries

– 3 cases of Vernor’s

– a box of canned peaches and pears

Since most of it’s consumable, and all of it was free, it’s not a bad haul.

It was raining when we got home, so we couldn’t plant the raspberry bushes immediately. Instead I decided we should tackle the house, which between the old roommate moving out and the new roommates moving in, into a different room (more on that later in the week!)– the house is a bit of a disaster.

The first step was to paint. So yesterday after a busy weekend at home and a long car drive back, we painted.

And then we went for sushi for dinner.

And then we finished painting.

And then I collapsed and read for a little while and fell asleep around 10p.

Kyle, who had made promises (when the day was young and his wife was upset), baked. For the first time in his whole life (I think). Because he is lovely and wanted to follow through despite the late hour.

So I woke up to cinnamon chocolate chip cookies the size of my head and a house that smells divine. It’s not a bad way to start tech.

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A bit of this and that… and a cool crane hat!

So I’ve had a hard time lately finding the energy and drive to do much. Not entirely sure what that’s about, but it’s meant my writing output (both here on the blog and in fiction world) has been nill.

In other news:

I joined the Codex Writers’ Group, an online community of professional writers. You have to meet certain criteria to get in, so that’s kinda cool. I haven’t introduced myself yet, but I’m thinking I’ll do that this morning.

Kyle and I started the Couch to 5K program. I thought it would be good to do something together and I’ve been awful about going to the gym. It’s been a good experience so far (for that one whole week). We go to a local park to run/walk and there are always deer and rabbits. Yesterday we saw a fawn nursing like 10′ away.

We painted the office this past weekend. Finally! It’s now a cool grey and once I get the new shelving we bought off of Craigslist and things moved in, I’ll post the “after” pictures.

A good friend of mine recently took a job at the theatre I work for. She arrived in town this week with her boyfriend, who I hadn’t met yet. We’ve had a nice few days getting to know him and exploring and cooking together.

I made monster cookies the other week.

…I really don’t have much to share…

Oh! Except: I get to do this super cool project at work. I’ve never done anything like it, so this week I get to make little mock-ups to test out different products. I’m ridiculously excited.

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As it is, the head is too heavy, so it’s straining the actress’s neck muscles, so the goal is to make it lighter. I’m going to be doing a foam version with various coatings and a moldable heat-sheet version with other coatings to see which will suit us best.

These sorts of projects are why I do what I do. I love the problem solving. I love that it’s different and weird. And I extra love that the milliner didn’t want it, so that I (usually just the painter-dyer) could do it. Although, she’s often cool about sharing the fun/pretty craft projects with me.

I’ll try to remember to take pictures of the process of building the small versions.

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Stress Dreams

Do you guys have stress dreams? I do. A lot. .Though they’re generally during tech of a show or when I’m insanely busy. Sometimes they’re even helpful because I will be patterning or how to put something together in my dream and it’ll actually be a good solution. Often the dream itself doesn’t make me feel stress, I just know I’m having them because I am stressed.

But I don’t generally have them when not much is going on like, say, last night.

Last night I dreamt I was back at Literary Boot Camp and I had to write a second short story. Only this time around, I didn’t have the day off to do it. I only had the evenings; a few hours here and there. This was on top of the first story and during the same week. I woke up nearly panicked.

But then I took a breath, got up and read my emails, where one of my fellow boot campers had replied with feedback to a story I had sent him. It began with praise for my dialogue (and a request for more), which was a much nicer beginning to the day.

Now off to work…today I get to reorganize and clean shoe storage! My life is so glamourous.

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Utah Day Three: Final Day of Esplorin’

As I write this, Kyle has just landed in New York, and our days of being footloose and fancy free in Utah are over. Bootcamp starts in 3.5 hrs for me and work in even less time for him.

We took yesterday a little bit easier than the other two days, but we still did a lot. And had a really grand time.

After a quick swim in the hotel pool and breakfast, we headed out around 9a for a scenic Sunday drive. Extra appropriate around here because NOTHING IS OPEN ON SUNDAYS. Seriously. Nothing.

We took the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway/Backway and it was gorgeous. Breathtaking. We took a lot of pictures (as you’re about to see). We made a lot of stops and intended to go on a long hike at the end of which there is a huge cave with tours, but the timing didn’t work out, so we moved along.

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More squinting pictures, hoorah!

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At the very end of the drive was Sundance (apparently a ski resort and also where the Sundance Film Festival is held). They have their ski lift going in the summer and we decided to take it up the mountain.

The camera died halfway there (of course) so I don’t have many pictures of it all, but it was like an really slow and not very steady half-hour long rollercoaster. You’re really high. Apparently they also do full moon nighttime rides. If you live in/near Utah, I am jealous that you can go on one of these. If you don’t go, you’re very silly. (Unless you have a fear of heights or questionably safe guard rails. Then you’re smarter than I am.)

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Our morning full of driving adventures, we went hunting for lunch. And hunting it took. As I mentioned above, there was nothing open. Nothing. We eventually found a SmashBurger (a chain similar to 5 Guys or Bobby Flay’s). It was good. Not terribly earth shattering, but good.

We took quick naps in the afternoon, trying to get me on the later schedule and Kyle ready for his late-night flight. It worked a bit. I slept until 5a (instead of 4a).

After nap-time we headed down to a little local art museum and crashed a massive birthday party. Really, we were only there to see an exhibit of local quilters’ work, but I’m fairly certain we were the only people there that were not guests of Phyllis’. The quilts were pretty, though I was sad there were hardly any hand quilted works. I mean, I get it. It’s a ton of work and they can do such pretty things on the machines, but I don’t think there were any.

Still the piecework was often gorgeous.

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This one was a commissioned work by a woman who had saved all of her daughter’s baby clothes. It’ll be given to her daughter on the upcoming birth of her child. An awesome sentiment, and what a great quilt to have!

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Also: bonus! There were great found object statues throughout the museum and a garden with “regular” statues. I’m fairly certain if we had more of a disposable income at our, well, disposal, we would totally be the proud owners of a little pieced together metal statue.

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After the quilt show we had a few hours to kill and I was getting nervous, so we went to a movie. We saw the Wolverine flick, which was good enough. It did the job of keeping me distracted and it had A  LOT of gratuitous half-naked Hugh Jackman which was pleasant. Mostly I liked the theatre. Our tickets were super cheap, our seats were assigned and they had a crazy computerized candy machine.

Needless to say we had popcorn, RootBeer and chewy SweetTarts for dinner.

And finally, finally we came back to the hotel.

My stomach was in knots and the butterflies were dancing some sort of killing dance on top of them.

Kathleen, OSC’s awesome assistant, was in the lobby and I had to check in. It was completely…uneventful. I said my name, she handed me a packet of info and asked if I had any questions. All of the questions I’d had swirling around in my head all morning disappeared. I blew fish kisses at her, not coming up with anything, squeaked a “no” and walked away. It was awkward, you can ask Kyle. He witnessed it.

We headed up to the room, got him packed up and made a quick trip to WalMart for foodstuffs for me for the week. Unlike Kyle, I cannot live on Wendy’s across the parking lot alone, so instead I have soup and lunchmeat. I plan to supplement with yogurts and other easily steal-able things from the morning’s breakfast buffet.

And then he headed out to the airport and his overnight flight back east. Our adventures are over and now my work begins.

Allons-y!

 

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Utah day 2: Esplorin’ Some More

So yesterday was another amazing day in Utah.

We started it off with a small, pleasant hike. It had a couple of challenging parts, but it was mostly just a somewhat steep walk up a hill to a waterfall. The temperature hovered around 80*, which around here feels perfect. We had a few little raindrops land on our heads, but nothing much. The landscape was beautiful, all rocky, scrub-brush covered mountains and we had a great view of the valley where Orem sits once we got high enough. It was a lovely start to the day.

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Us with the Utah Valley (sometimes called Happy Valley…maybe derisively?) in the background.

 

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Victory is ours. (At this point Kyle was sad that he didn’t have on watershoes, so he couldn’t get on the rocks right up next to the little waterfall.)

From there, we drove immediately West for about 2 hours. When Kyle was in grad school out in CA he made the drive through the Salt Flats many, many times but never in daylight. We figured we were so close and we had the time, we should make the drive. So. Worth. It.

They were unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in my whole life. Gorgeous and alien at the same time. Also, bright. The sky was totally overcast yesterday and thank goodness. I think we would’ve gone blind had it been clear and sunny. We squinted a lot as it was.

We also took a lot of pictures.

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I love how the cloudy sky and the mountain silhouette’s and the salt flats all blend into one another.

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These people drove off the road (on purpose) and were stuck. We passed a lot of people like this. We never passed anyone who had driven off onto the flats and weren’t stuck. You’d think that would mean something.

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It’s…so…bright…

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For lunch, I did a quick Yelp search again and, based solely on good reviews, we hesitantly tried a mexican place/ truck stop. I wish I had taken a picture of where this place was located, because it’s in the middle of nowhere. Literally. All you can see around it is mountains and salt desert.

And yet, amazing food. Fresh. Homemade. Huge portions. I ate about half of this:

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Full and happy, we headed back to the hotel for showers and a quick nap that I’m regretting this morning. I needed it at the time, but it didn’t help me get used to the time zone and so I was up at 4am. It’s going to make tonight rough.

Anyhow…more about yesterday’s adventures. In the evening we headed over to the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. Kyle wanted to see the dinosaurs and I was game. I’m so glad we went because it was great. Some of their exhibits rivaled the Smithsonian’s in DC or the American Museum of Natural History in NY. Not bad for a little museum in a little suburb town of Salt Lake City.

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The hand stamp was an ancient bug. I am less okay with that than you can imagine.

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Afterward we had dinner at a little Thai place back in Orem and called it an early night.

All-in-all: another great day. It’s so breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful out here.

Today is the last day for adventures because boot camp starts tomorrow. I’m incredibly nervous and excited.

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Utah: Day 1. Esplorin’

Guys. Yesterday. So. Much.Fun.

On the airplane about 6:30a. Do we look tired?!

On the airplane about 6:30a. Do we look tired?!

We started our day at about 3:30a EST in order to catch our flight from JFK at 7a. I’m so glad we were cautious and left a little earlier than we thought we needed to– even without hitting any road delays or any hitches at the airport, we got to our gate as they started boarding. The flight was good. Uneventful. It was a beautiful, not super-cloudy day, and watching most of the country go by beneath us was kind of awesome, especially once we hit the more western states.

I think I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but just in case I haven’t: I haven’t ever spent any time in this part of the country, so it’s all completely new to me. Other than a quick, 3-day trip to northern California when Kyle was in grad school out there, I haven’t been west of Illinois.

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The Salt Lake City temple took over 40 years to build, from the 1850s through the 1890s. On the very top is an angel, heralding the second coming of Christ.

After landing at 10a Utah time we decided we should take advantage of being in Salt Lake City for a bit, so we went and found temple square. The temple is gorgeous. I joked that it looked like a fairy princess’s house (I know, I know not very culturally or religiously sensitive). The grounds were also gorgeous, full of flowers that I’ve never seen.

There were also two visitors centers, set up like sort-of museums. They were really neat, though we didn’t spend a lot of time in those buildings because there were A LOT of LDS missionaries mingling and we didn’t want to get caught up in a conversation.

For lunch we found a little place nearby (thanks to Yelp!) that was perfect called Em’s. It was cute, tucked away in adorable neighborhood on top of a big hill, and the food was amazing. All homemade, all perfectly done. I had an herb, cheese filled crepe and Kyle had a turkey, avocado and bacon sandwich on ciabatta that he won’t stop talking about.

For dessert? We had little scoops of artisanal ice cream. Mine was bourbon pecan.

For dessert? We had little scoops of artisanal ice cream. Mine was bourbon pecan.

After lunch we headed down to Orem to see where I would spend the next week of my life. The hotel is nice. Simple, nothing fancy. We explored the area a little bit and hit up Walmart for things we forgot to pack (of course). The thing that has struck me, especially in Orem is the amount of babies and pregnant women. They’re everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. You can really see how the LDS church supports and encourages families.

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Our big event yesterday was sailing. I can’t really put into words just how amazing and fun it was. Our guide, Dale, was sweet and informative without being know-it-all-y and the other couple that was with us, Buck and Anna, were funny and down to earth. The day was perfect, slightly more windy than average; warm without being hot. There weren’t any bugs, the sunset was gorgeous. Seriously, we couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Also, surprising, I wasn’t nervous at all. At 27′ it was big enough to not fall in my “small boats are terrifying” world. Instead, my love of the water took over and I was in heaven. Is there anything better than the smell of the lake? It’s always the same– in Michigan or halfway across the country in Utah. It reminds me of home and family and good, happy times.

Here’s a ton of pictures (some of which Anna took with our camera. She’s a photographer, so they’re the ones that look better than all of the rest).

Just sitting there and smiling is pretty much what I did the entire trip out on the water.

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Kyle “drove” a lot. For never having done it before, he was really good at it!

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Anna caught us taking a selfie on the very front of the boat. It was so peaceful up there. I can see where people spend a lifetime sailing every chance they can get.

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And to cap off the day:

My first time at an In-n-Out. I thought they were only in California, but apparently they’ve been expanding east. Kyle was beyond thrilled and I’ve been wanting to try them after seeing all of my CA friends posting delicious looking pictures.

The obligatory delicious looking food picture.

The obligatory delicious looking food picture.

It was good and the perfect greasy end to a pretty much perfect (20.5 hr) day.

 

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Big Stresses, Small Joys

Friends-

I have a bit of a confession: I’ve been a little wallow-y the last few days. I had been doing relatively well at focusing on the positive, but life has gotten stressful and I reverted to old habits. I seem to be particularly bad at just letting things happen when they happen. Instead I focus on them, twirl them around in my mind (over and over and over) until I can’t stand it. I get sad, moppy, worried.

This past weekend my family was here. I worried they weren’t having a good time. I worried they were bored, or that we pushed my Grandmother too hard, or that my house wasn’t up to snuff.

And then the fridge broke. Like, it dead. Seriously, this is what it looks like right now:

When I wrote "clean out fridge" on my to-do list last week, this was not what I had in mind.

When I wrote “clean out fridge” on my to-do list last week, this was not what I had in mind.

As you can imagine if you’ve ever rented from, well, anyone– it’s been a job getting it replaced. The new fridge will be here tomorrow. Probably a few hours after we leave for Utah.

I’m trying to finish up my costume designs for Hamlet a full week ahead of schedule. There is a lot of paperwork to get done and I’m super worried about how much will change over the next week when I’ll be away and preoccupied and will have very little attention to pay to those nightly rehearsal reports.

And last, but not least, we leave for Utah tomorrow for a fun-filled romantic weekend. I’m trying to squeeze 100 million different outfits into a carry-on and trying to not think about next week and all of the fears and scary monsters that await THAT endeavor…

So yeah.

This is where I’ve been mentally. This, in fact, is the cleaned up snippet of where I’ve been mentally. It’s not pretty. It’s not fun. And it’s stealing all of the pretty and the fun from everything else.

And then, this afternoon, I took a break to read the newsletter from the Literacy Center where my Mutti works. They have a little section where their learners, many of them ESL adults, have written little stories.

 

A Father’s Joy

by AM

I am proud of my daughter. She was the Student of the Month in the second grade at M— Elementary School.

Our family went to a meeting at the school. The principal gave her the certificate and everyone clapped.

The teacher ran into the school yard to stop us. She said, “I am proud of Dulce. She did her homework and then she wrote a prayer on the back. I never had a student do that before.”

Everyone in the family was happy. The little one did so well!

 

I don’t know exactly why this story affected me, but it did. I love it. I think it’s beautiful and sweet and his pride and joy at his daughter’s accomplishment is so raw and lovely.

And for whatever reason, it flipped a switch in me. I’m not quite so wallow-y. The darker thoughts have made room for some happier ones. My outlook is better. Because guys, seriously, life is hard but there is some really cool stuff happening.

Least important: I’m getting a new fridge. That’s amazing. And I have awesome neighbors who let me put my stuff in their fridge so at least I didn’t lose everything. Biggest perk of getting a new fridge while I’m gone? I don’t have to move all of it back over from the neighbors (that’ll be Kyle’s job). Smaller perk: I don’t have to figure out how to change the water filter in the fridge now for another 9 months or so. That angry little red light was getting annoying.

Other good things:

My family was just here. And from all accounts, had a great time. We got to see the US Mint in Philly which was really cool, and I got to show my Grandma and brother where we live and what it’s like here. That was fun. My Mutti cooked for us a lot, which was delicious.

Hamlet is shaping up to be amazing. I love, love, love the design. I’ve had extra money in the budget to hire a friend to help me out next week while I’m gone (good for her wallet and my lack of time), and I’ve had a volunteer assistant through the whole project. Bonuses: the rest of the team is really great and the high schoolers/actors have been amazing.

And last but not least: I get to spend a whole weekend away from the stress of home with my husband. We get to explore a whole new part of the world that I’ve never been to. We’re going sailing, and to the salt flats and we’ll see the LDS temple. And sure, it’s all part of the US of A, but it’s a completely different geographical area than I’ve ever been in. I. Cannot. Wait. Also– I fit everything I wanted into my carry on. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to LIFT it, but it’s all in.

I am beyond grateful to AM for sharing his joy with me. It’s such a little, simple story, but it’s been a huge gift.

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T- 1 week

One week until we head out to Utah. I can’t wait. Thankfully, I have a lot to keep me busy and distracted.

Right now my family is in town. They got in last night and will leave Sunday evening. It should be a busy, fun weekend. We celebrated their arrival in NJ by getting pizza and Halo Farms ice cream. Then, because none of them know how to sit still we worked on cleaning the basement (because what else do you do but work when your family travels a thousand miles to visit?).

Earlier in the summer when I was home I was sent back to NJ with a car full of my childhood. Boxes of my American girl dolls and their clothes, stuffed animals and Barbies. They all got shoved in the basement here and ignored for a month or so.

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Which meant that they stunk like damp basement. Fail.

Everything that was in the stuffed animal box had to be washed. So all of the softgoods got dunked in the sink and all of the plastic bits got a good scrub down. They’re now scattered around the living room drying.

It was fun to go through everything. I was particularly happy to find my Polly Pockets which are as bright and fun as they were when I was little. I’m considering pulling out of storage and putting on a shelf in my new office. But that’s a project for after bootcamp.

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