Consolation Prize

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 2:33 PM

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I know: instead of a treat to celebrate my 14th day of good spirits, I think I'll just have the kind of day that reminds me why I felt the need to publicly declare when I *didn't* feel like this for 36 consecutive hours.

My jaw is clenched, I've been crying all day, my throat is sore from yelling, my muscles are tired, my kids are oppressive, the wind is blowing in my face, and I just want to crawl into a cave and hide from everyone.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Thanksgiving Headlines

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 at 7:34 AM

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Cousins are wonderful. I have so many memories of playing for hours upon hours with my cousins as a child: dressing up as a medieval village, hunting for various creatures in the woods, making "potions" with the contents of my mom's spice cupboard. This weekend, all the Dixon cousins were together and we got a photo to prove it! (This required three adults, two basketballs, and one Indian princess costume.) I think it's fabulous.



In related news, the members of my immediate family were also photographed together (thank you Heidi!) The shocking proof:



While we were dressed, and before we got pie on our faces (literally), I got some shots of the kids too:













Other weekend notables include:

- Devlin attending a car show and Suns game with his father

- Devlin prematurely initiating our kitchen remodel plans by shattering a panel of our fluorescent light box with his souvenir basketball from said Suns game

- Girls night out (and in) for me and Eve, including shopping, seeing Tangled with my families, and mani/pedis all around

- Iris dumping out half a bottle of gold glitter nail polish all over the floor at CVS, my tights, my shoes, and herself

- David and I agreeing to perform in yet another wonderful Christmas musical event, and realizing that we need babysitting for 11 out of the first 21 days in December (that's just the days we are *both* committed)

- Me realizing, after 6 months, that just taking the start knob off the trash compacter entirely is much easier than trying to keep Iris from playing with it. What, you don't have a trash compacter? You're just jealous.

- Waking up this morning at 7:30 to the realization that *all three* of my children were still asleep. Devlin has school at 7:45. I made an executive decision to let them all sleep as long as they wanted, to shower alone at my leisure, and just be fashionably late

- My little sister Holly is having a boutique selling her darling hair adornments on December 7th. Hello, stocking stuffers. I'll see you there!

- The smell of nail polish would be enough to deter most children from using it at lipstick, but not Iris. I was so relieved that she wasn't poisoned/she didn't paint the rest of my bathroom that I forgot to take a picture

- I'm going to be an aunt again! My sister Emily is pregnant. Life is amazing.

P.S. I am still on my happy streak, but I had one really bad morning last Wednesday, and I'm not exactly sure how to tally my days anymore. 13.5? I think I will get myself a little present to celebrate 2 weeks tomorrow.

Give Thanks

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 9:32 AM

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I'm actually really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.

Living in the same city as both my parents and my in-laws is truly a wonderful blessing, and I am very deeply grateful for it. But one of the downsides is spending holidays either running frantically back and forth from one house to another, trying to contribute to (and consume!) two holiday dinners, or else choosing sides and feeling guilty about not stopping in on the other family's festivities a mere 5 minutes away.

This year, I get to do the Dixon Thanksgiving today, and the Dalton Thanksgiving tomorrow. I'm a flexible kind of gal, and really however it works out is fine with me, but I'm excited to try it this way. So far, at 10:37 Thanksgiving morning, it already feels much more relaxed. The baby is down for an early nap, the big kids are making key lime pie with their daddy, and I'm getting ready to prep vegetables for roasting and plate the massive quantities of fruit demanded by dinner with 25 of my favorite people.



We made "thankful lists" this morning. I won't tell you who contributed what, but I will put them in order so you can see where our priorities evidently lie:

Bananas
Friends and family
Poofy Pancake
Health
Cousins
Cousins at Thanksgiving
Coloring
Daddy
Fruit
Fall weather
The minivan
Being nice
Our home
The library
Dresses
Money to buy Christmas presents for our cousins
Parents
Backyard toys
Swimming pool
Big tree in our backyard
Summer
Green grass
Music
Flowers
Living close to relatives
Dollies
Preschool
Mom
Devlin, Eve, and Iris

(I saved the best for last).

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Maybe your days be peaceful, abundant, and full of the people who matter most.

You're All My Favorites

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 9:18 PM

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Once upon a time, there was a mother bear, a father bear, and three baby bears.

A first baby bear,



a second baby bear,



and a third baby bear.



And their Mommy Bear loved them so much that she took 20 minutes to compose this tiny little post, because she kept scrolling up and staring at their beautiful faces.

(Today was the eighth happy day. I wonder how many days it will take before I am not surprised, delighted, and grateful to the very soles of my feet to feel this way?)

Day 7

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 at 6:46 PM

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Yes, it's true.

I have, for an entire week, kept a positive attitude and really felt *happy*.

My life is the same, but I have been able to laugh when I find Iris playing in her daddy's car like it is an arcade game, scattering cinnamon sugar all over the laundry room floor, dismantling my painstakingly assembled heirloom art project, or removing all of the Harry Potter #5 and 6 audiobook CDs from their cases (there are 40, by the way) - and that was just this morning.

I don't know why. But every day it gets easier and more instinctive. It's like I'm learning new habits, I'm training my emotions just like I train my voice, to be agile and flexible and focused. I used to be a really fun, happy person, all the time. I always wanted to be, even when I wasn't, and I could always pretend to be if I needed to. But it has been a long, hard battle for the last two years. I don't want to imply that I won't slip back into anger, sadness, and discouragement, or that anyone who finds themselves struggling should be able to snap out of it one day by reading a book or reciting a mantra. But I am so grateful for this week that I've had to look through a clear window, to see my life and my children for the unimaginable joys that they are.

I always knew it, but I didn't always feel it.

This week, I have felt it. And I am counting these happy days because they are far more precious than gold to me. I hope you'll indulge me, and maybe join with me in counting some of your own.

P.S. Wouldn't it be nice to celebrate by winning something? If you're local and you don't follow this blog yet, then you must not listen to a word I say, honestly. Go! It's great.

Something Good

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 8:56 PM

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(By the way, if anyone is still counting, today was Day 5).

It occurs to me this evening that even though sometimes my shortcomings as a mother loom large in my mind, and there is so much I wish I did better - when I look at my fridge, it is papered from top to bottom with my childrens' artwork.

And what they draw, over and over, is our family.

I think we must be doing enough things right.

Balbert

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010 at 7:25 AM

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I have been blogging much more for me lately, for my writing and my own indulgence, and posting fewer pictures of the kids.

That's all well and good, but then one day your baby looks like this, and, well, you just have to take a picture.



Her curls just get longer, and fuller, and curlier, and more incredible. I hate to tame them at all - it pains me to force them into rubber bands, or clip them off to the side. I like them wild and free and in-your-face.

David calls her Albert with this hairstyle. (Don't see it? I'll post another picture after she wakes up from her nap.) She has claimed this epithet for her own cause, and now proudly proclaims herself, chortling, to be "Balbert".

I know she'll probably hate those curls when she gets older. That will make my heart ache. I never want her to say her hair is ugly, or her thighs are too dimpled, or her nose is too big.



I want her just the way she is now, not knowing that flat shiny hair is the fashion, not knowing that she's supposed to tear herself down for the sake of fitting in. I want her to know that its okay to be too smart, too passionate, too juicy, too much.

Plenty of flat-ironed, photoshopped, watered-down, milktoast people in this world already.

Let your curly flag fly, Iris.

Third time's the charm

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 8:00 PM

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I had a good day today. And yesterday. And the day before.

That makes three good, happy, joyful days in a row. No yelling. No tears. Just happy.

I can honestly say I don't remember the last time I had a streak like this. I have lots of one-offs, and sometimes I get lucky and get a double shot. But three? It's been awhile.

I LOVE IT.

I've taken a power nap each of those days. (Coincidence?) And I've been reading a little out of this book every morning. I don't know for sure what is doing it, but I'm thinking I might just try to Groundhog Day along until my luck changes. If it ain't broke...

Some of you may not see why this is worth celebrating. I hope most of you don't. But if this sounds familiar, then jump up off the grumpy couch and do a little dance with me!

Crossing my fingers for lucky #4 tomorrow. It's Friday I'm in love!

Trash to treasure

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 7:44 PM

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I've been very busy this last week, picking everyone's proverbial dumpster. Although I don't always have very good luck thrifting (I know what I want, and I know a deal when I see one, but I am picky picky picky), the Trash Gods have smiled upon me this time.

I figured I'd do one post for the entire haul, and get it over with (or allow those of my readers who enjoy this sort of thing to glut themselves properly all in one shot!)

1. Last weekend, the Fraser Fields Swap was a good time all around. Looks like Jeni is planning another one in February, so start planning to attend now, and no excuses! You've got plenty of time. I brought six items, so I took home six items (total: $0):

A bread box! I've been wanting one, and they go for ridiculous prices on Etsy or eBay. Ridiculous. And this one isn't made of oak or festooned with doves, ribbons, or intertwined hearts:



A sweet vintage lamp (yellow - can you even find it in the absolute sea of sunshine that is my girls' room?)



And by my third trip through the Swap-O-Matic, the good stuff was pretty much gone and we were picking through each others' honest-to-goodness castoffs. But that's okay, because I am resourceful and came home with three picture frames and a dirty old Buddha (I collect them). I cleaned him off and painted him gold and isn't he just the cutest thing now? The kids love him.





2. Also last weekend, I attended a "garage sale" that was really well edited (not a term you would typically apply to a garage sale - more of a boutique, really). I came home with the mirror (which has since been painted, of course) and chair I had requested in advance and only *one* teeny weeny impulse purchase (total: $35):





(By the way, I will be back in a bit for advice on painting and upholstering that little chair. Santa says he wants to bring it to Devlin for Christmas, along with the desk he had me purchase off Craigslist a couple of weeks ago, but evidently Santa's elves outsource their furniture rehab).

This set of 6 green glasses just *had* to come home with me. David says they look like his grandmother's. I say they look fabulous:



3. Random garage sales last weekend (sheesh, did I do anything else at all last weekend?) yielded a lovely little piles of books for the children, 2 very, very sparkly Barbie dresses, a necklace for Iris (which has since been reduced to a broken string and a pile of "diamonds"), and the world's biggest, ugliest wreath (no, REALLY) which has now been stripped of diseased flowers and twisty ties and painted gold - because that way I can leave it up ALL YEAR. Brilliant! (Total, including the spray paint: $6.50):



4. Today, I was on the road before the library opened, and, well, there's a Goodwill *right there*. I got an (allegedly) real snakeskin belt, a pair of roller skates, and a globe which, although plucked from the bowels of a thrift store, does post-date the fall of the Iron Curtain. Yes, I checked. (Total: $8.37):





It's really hard to take a picture of your own waist in a bathroom mirror.



5. And my crowning achievement: I, completely by myself, purchased supplies and reupholstered this item.



I love it. The fabric is perfect, I did a great job, and it is a totally easy, very DIY-able project. For once, something was actually as simple as I thought it would be!



And now, at the end of this very wonderfully busy day, all the laundry is done and I know my bed is waiting for me, with fresh clean heaven-scented sheets. If you want to smell like me (and I promise, you do) go here and pick yourself up something in the karma scent. You won't be sorry.

Letters

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 4:52 PM

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Dear Mesa Sales and Supply,

Massive product selection, bare bones aesthetic, and surly staff notwithstanding, I have at last overcome my crippling phobia of your establishment by purchasing all my re-upholstering supplies (including the absolute *perfect* fabric) this morning. I'm almost done with the project, and now I feel like a really truly grown-up!

I'm a big kid now,

Almost-30-year-old Mother of Three

* * * * *

Dear Backyardigans,

I love you. I can't say that I would have stumbled upon your multicultural, musical sweetness-and-light if I didn't have children, but I can honestly say that you appeal to me even as an adult . You're not too loud (Dora), not too quiet (Blue's Clues, zzzzzzzzz), you don't teach my kids fart jokes or to kick each other or to adopt a speech impediment (Ling-Ling, seriously, you're adorable, but it was getting old). Just a little bossa nova, a little polka, a little reggae, a little klezmer, and just the right amount of auto tune. I caught myself singing the mermaid lullaby from "Viking Voyage" in the grocery store this morning, and I wasn't even embarrassed.

Maybe I should have been.

- Young at Heart

* * * * *

Dear God, Great Spirit, Mother Earth, Father Time, Voodoo Man, High Priestess, Prince of Darkness, Al Qaeda, or the Son of Sam,

Tonight before dinner, Devlin wrote Eve a note telling her she is a great sister and he loves when she dresses up and runs in to show him her outfit. He attached a "diamond" in a Ziploc baggie. Then after dinner he, of his own accord, helped her very patiently with her preschool homework. This is a MIRACLE. A miracle, I say, and any person or organization who comes forward to take credit for this absolutely shocking display of sibling tenderness will have my abject worship, servitude, and heartfelt gratitude until my dying day.

Because I know it wasn't me.

Not looking a gift horse in the mouth,

Mother of the Year

The Parable of the Pears

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 6:51 PM

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(It's been a long time since I was in school for this kind of thing, so I'm not sure if it's technically a parable, or an allegory, or a metaphor, or just self-indulgent drivel. I'm calling it a parable because I like the alliteration. At least I do remember what that is!)

Last week, I bought 6 pears at the produce market. This particular market is known mainly for its exceptionally high snowbird concentration, and secondly for being cheap.

Surely those two things are not unrelated.

Anyway, so my point is that the emphasis at this particular retail establishment is on value, which sometimes means you get a great deal on whatever is in season, and sometimes means you get a cartload of dirt cheap strawberries - which you then open to find 3 beautiful juicy specimens on top, and 15 blue furry soggy ones hidden underneath.

So I bought 6 pears. Buying pears is a leap of faith at the best of times, you know. If they're ripe at the store when you put them in your cart, by the time you get them home they're a mealy, mushy mess. If you bring them home to ripen, you either jump the gun and bite into a crunchy if-I-had-wanted-an-apple-I-would-have-just-eaten-an-apple, or else you wait (too) patiently and don't remember to dig in until you're reminded by the flies buzzing around the fruit bowl.

Fraught with peril, it is, pear shopping.

My fickle fruit sat in a yellow bowl on my counter for 7 days, and sure enough I forgot all about it until Eve spied them Friday morning. At her eager insistence, and noting the absence of fruit flies, we pressed gently on the flesh to see if it gave appropriately.

It did.

We chose the most promising example, cut it into eight pieces, and sat down at the table to try our luck. And it was perfect. It was a perfect pear. Not sandy, crunchy, mealy, bitter, tangy, or soggy. Just perfect.

So we ate all six of them because, you know, why stand on ceremony when we're talking about a gastronomic experience that comes along once in a lifetime? We ate and ate and ate, until the bowl was empty and our bellies were full. It was marvelous.

Our lives can be fraught with peril, too, if we choose to see them that way. Crunchy when we want them to be soft, busy when we want them to be calm, lonely when we wish for company. We want what we cannot have.

Some of us ache for children that do not come.

Some of us have children and fondly remember the days when our lives were really ours.

Some of us wish for more time and means to serve others.

Some of us curse the circumstances that put us in a position to accept service.

Some of us are afraid if we gain our fondest desire, we will still be unsatisfied.

We cry for time to ourselves, then feel guilty and frozen when it is upon us. We can't recognize the hand of Providence, giving us what we need, when we need it. Like ungrateful children, we are offered a trip to the park and a candy bar, and want to know why we aren't going to Disneyland.

Every day bears its own fruit. If we don't forget and leave it sitting on the counter to rot, we may realize that the chance to partake of the experience that today - and only today - can offer, will never come again. There's no point in leaving a beautiful pear in the bowl, thinking it will still be just as good tomorrow.

It won't.

So grab a napkin. Life is juicy.

I came, I swapped, now I'm tired

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010 at 8:30 PM

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This is me before I left. I decided to go with a newsboy hat instead of a cloche, and my socks are striped (not argyle). But still, you have to admit, overall a winner, no?

I looked pretty much the same when I got home, only full of AMAZING white chicken chili and hot chocolate, and with a bread box, three chunky picture frames, and darling vintage yellow lamp. Seriously, I spent $30 today at various people's driveways and you would not *believe* all the great stuff I got!

Don't worry, you'll hear all about it.

Later.

Good night!

Duly noted

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 4:08 PM

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You all had some excellent advice yesterday on my latest design dilemma. I think a mirror over the chair/table will be just the thing.

To wit, I have put this beautiful item on hold and I'm picking it up on Friday from this nice lady. She's having a big tag sale, and I'm hoping to scope out some more goodies too.

You might want to check it out if you're local, it looks like a good one!

Next up: the mirror will be painted a fun color, to be decided once I settle on the upholstery for the little chair. Hmmmmmm...

Inspiration

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 6:42 PM

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When we were moving, there were a few niggly requests on my wish list that were maybe just a little out of the ordinary/random/stubborn-little-wifey type of things.

- a front porch (an unshaded front door in Arizona is one of the most un-welcoming things I can imagine, like the surface of Mars)

- a lovely climbing tree somewhere

- "character" (but not to preempt "safe neighborhood" and "good schools" - I'm still a born-and-raised suburbanite, so let's not put on airs)

- a window over the kitchen sink, so I could watch my kids play in the front yard while I tidy up, or bake cookies in high heels, or whatever I was doing in my daydream

- a real, proper entryway (our last house, dear as it was, had a gracious two square feet of tile when you walked in, and from there you had a choice to quickly round the corner and go up the stairs or somersault onto the couch)

Firstly, can I just say that I got everything on that list? This house is perfect.

And now that I have my entryway, I have set about doing it up right. I painted (couple of times, actually), scrubbed the amber glass until it shines, and now I've begun the real decorating process.

Behold, my first acquisition! Thank you, craigslist, once again. $25:



I went back and forth: bench, chair, dresser, desk? And I sort of got everything in one. Technically it's a "telephone table". It's in good shape, but it sadly appears to have been upholstered with a laminated fast food napkin so that's the first thing to go. I'm not planning to paint it.

I have has this fabric laying around for at *least* 7 or 8 years. It's beautiful, love the mustard color and bold floral, but I don't know if it's right for this project. I think maybe it looks kind of sad. What do you think?



I'm thinking one of these rugs, or something similar:





And here's a shot of the entry, for your further contemplation. I'm thinking a mirror or art arrangement above the table, and maybe a coat rack to the right of it. And then I'll need a little something on the opposite wall to balance it, of course! Shelves? A tall dresser? Help!



Whew. I'm tired just thinking about it! Maybe I'll find the perfect finishing touches at the swap this weekend...

Grief

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, November 8, 2010 at 2:20 PM

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Two weeks ago, a student at Devlin's school was riding her bike with her family. Her father, then her younger sister, then she, in a row. She was struck by a teenager in a white truck, who didn't know the car in front of him had stopped at the little side street to let the family go by, and couldn't wait long enough to find out.

She died instantly. She was 11. She was in sixth grade.

I found out when I rode to the pedestrian crossing behind the school the next afternoon, the girls in the trailer behind me. A parent yelled at me from the safety of their car, through the window, that I should be more careful at the crosswalk. I was in the right, and baffled by the attack. The crossing guard explained that parents were on edge because a girl had died on her bike the night before.

I went from feeling indignant at the driver, to horrified shock, to desperate sadness, back to indignance, to worry for my cycling family, to relief that I had determined not to let him ride alone to school this year, all in about 5 seconds.

I settled on a numb, hollow loss, and have been there ever since.

Today when I picked up my son, the trees in the schoolyard were draped with blue ribbons. Devlin skipped cheerfully out and announced they were "for Alison".

Blue was her favorite color.

Her family doesn't read my blog. I have no idea who they are, have never met them. But I have a little girl who can be completely, thoroughly summoned to life by a mere color, and this afternoon those blue ribbons grabbed me by the hair and shoved my face in the fact that our time together is so precious and so fleeting. We cannot grasp it in our fingers; we try, and it has already gone. We cross each others' lives in ways that we cannot predict and don't understand, often are not even aware of.

Her family doesn't know it, but Alison has made me a better mother today.

Promise me, all my readers, that you will go hug your kids right now. And keep your eyes open for bicycles on the road tonight.

I think I've seen enough ribbons.

We have a winner!

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, November 5, 2010 at 8:18 PM

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And it's ME! I won I won I won!

I have been informed by these fine people (who, by the way, are hosting the darn thing - I mistakenly did not give credit properly in my original post) that I am now the very proud owner of two free tickets to the Fraser Fields Swap, coming to a neighborhood near me next weekend.

(Too lazy to click? Don't unnerstand what those fancy underlined words do? Basically, you come dressed to impress for a darling tweedy/Britain in the fall of 1931 theme. It's $10 for a yummy dinner, good conversation, and fancy friends. You bring as many home decor/furniture items as you like to donate to the swap, and take home an equal number from the treasures available - sort of white elephant exchange style, only I am assured no one gets stuck with a Big Mouth Billy Bass).

So, I get to take a friend, because it just wouldn't be fun alone.(If you think it should be you, feel free to make your case now!) I'm warning you, though, if you're likely to be embarrassed by a redheaded companion in a cloche and argyle knee socks, then I suggest you attend with someone else - because I love to dress up and I'm not going to let anyone spoil my fun.

Hope to see you there!

The Girl and the Bard

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 7:53 PM

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When I was a little girl, I was a strange little girl.

Some of my favorite things were:

- reading the encyclopedia
- Chopin
- Cyrano de Bergerac (the play *and* the old black-and-white movie starring Jose Ferrer)
- Turandot
- my dad's medical textbooks

and Romeo and Juliet. I remembering mystifying more than one babysitter by insisting on it for a bedtime movie. I was embarrassed at how funny they thought it was. They laughed, and asked if I was sure, and so I sat under the kitchen table and watched my favorite story, over and over, where I didn't have to see their faces looking at me, questioning.

Because I was definitely sure.

I loved it, and I still love it, and I've loved it every moment in between. I know literature snobs say there is much better Shakespeare to be had, and I don't begrudge them their opinion. But for me, Shakespeare, passion, poetry, true love, and everything fine in this world begin and end in fair Verona.

Today, Eve sat next to me and we watched it for the first time.

And she adored it.

And I absolutely cannot wipe the stupid grin off my face.

Personal Best

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on at 1:10 PM

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I blogged more in October than in any other month since I began this blog 3 years ago.

For my prize, I think I'll have a nap and a small pile of Halloween candy.

I've been very busy so far this week (Christmas stuff, already!) but the worst is over so I'll be back very soon with more blogging goodness.

If I want to beat my record this month, I've got to get cracking!