Monday, August 18, 2014

Abbotts go West Part 1: Bloomington to Utah

So we said goodbye to our friends...

... painted our walls (remember when we first moved in?) ...

... packed up our things ...

... and hit the road!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Silver Lining

A few weeks ago Ben and I taught a workshop for the local youth of our church at their annual youth conference. The conference was held about an hour and a half south of Bloomington and was in the midst of our packing, working, and hosting my mom, but we were looking forward to the event and discussing a topic we feel passionate about: people feeling like they don't belong, specifically at church.

The workshop went really well and it felt great to have a fairly large thing crossed off our list (another big thing was speaking at church that weekend... it was a really busy weekend). The kids seemed to enjoy the discussion and they got a really big kick out of Ben (he's pretty great). Free lunch was consumed, great conversation was had, and we left for home to work on the many things we had to work on.

Then, twenty minutes into our drive, our rear breaks blew up. We knew they needed work and we even had an appointment to take the car in the following Thursday (this was Friday...) which was the soonest the mechanic could see us. Nevertheless, the breaks decided that specific moment was their time to go. We pulled into a Wal-Mart parking lot, learned we were in Washington, Indiana, and desperately searched for a mechanic that could squeeze us in. We drove a short distance and found ourselves "downtown" about two blocks away from Main Street. Washington is a seriously small town with seemingly little to offer; nevertheless, we decided to explore on foot while our car was getting repaired.

Almost immediately upon turning onto Main (only really a few blocks long) we stumbled upon the local museum. It didn't look like much, certainly only one, maybe two, rooms with handful of artifacts from town locals. Little did we know we were in for a treat!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book to Movie Challenge: Vampire Academy

The first book available from the library was Vampire Academy - not surprisingly, it had the shortest waiting list. I don't blame anyone as this is the book I was also least excited to read.  In fact, the only reason I decided to read it at all was because it was the first book available and I was anxious to get started (I also wanted something I could easily read during the semester).


A synopsis from the Buzzfeed article:
St. Vladimir’s Academy is a school for dhampirs, vampire-human hybrids who serve as guardians, and Moroi, “good” vampires with an ability to use magic from one of the four elements (water, fire, air, and earth). Vampire princess Lissa Dragomir and dhampir Rose Hathaway are best friends, connected through a special bond that they can’t quite explain. After escaping school for two years, the girls are brought back to the academy and are faced with Lissa’s mystery element (or lack thereof?) and the danger it brings.

First impression: the girl on the cover looks like Angelina Jolie... which didn't work for me.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Midnight Dinner

It is time for an actual update!

Rather than try to play catch up I figured I'd focus on what happened this past week. We (the folks working in the costume shop for the summer plus spouses and a few inter-departmental friends) held a Midnight Dinner!

What is a Midnight Dinner?
A Midnight Dinner is inspired by the book, The Night Circus, in which a group of characters meet together at midnight to feast and plan the inception of a magical Night Circus. The first course of dinner is served at the stroke of midnight.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book Review: I Am No Bird

A friend of mine published her first book, I Am No Bird! I promised her I would write a review when I finished, which was technically about two months ago, but now that school is over I could actually fulfill my promise. I am constantly amazed at what talented friends I have, and Kayleen is no exception. Enjoy the review, and if you can, check out her book!

I Am No Bird, by Kayleen Barlow is a book about self-discovery, overcoming great loss, and the impact books can on your life. London, one of the two main characters, is a high school English teacher who is short and often confused for being a Freshman. She has a fierce, almost obsessive love for books which also act as her closest friends after a terrible loss earlier in her life keeps her from getting too close to those around her. When a romantic interest enters the scene, she has to learn to take her nose out of her books and open herself up to possible hurt.

Marie, the second character, is a high school student who is orphaned after her mother commits suicide. She lives with her boyfriend, who is borderline abusive, and has no dreams for her life beyond finishing high school and working in the repair shop with her guy. When Marie finds Jane Eyre, the book her mother read over and over again in her final days, Marie opens its pages in search of finding the answer to her mother's death. As a result, Marie discovers a love for books, self-respect, and a desire to seek out a future for herself.
The chapters oscillate between London and Marie as they slowly grow and move out of their comfort zones. Because the chapters go back and forth like that, it took a little while for me to settle into the story but I was soon drawn into the opposite yet similar struggles that each character faced. Kayleen did an excellent job crafting the chapters to work almost like pairs, so the experiences or actions of Marie complimented those of London.

London was a difficult character for me because she seemed especially pathetic. This is probably due in part because the abuse she encountered in the hallways at school for being short (and therefore confused for a freshman? There are short seniors in the world. Why is this school so biased against short people???) seemed over dramatized and unlike anything I've ever heard of. She might be short, but she is a teacher and there must be some students out there who recognize her. On the other hand, I quite admired Marie and her journey. She very noticeably grew and changed as the book progressed.

The book ends with a brilliant surprise that I absolutely did not see coming; however, in trying to keep the twist a surprise, a couple points along the way were confusing and a little frustrating. Despite any problems, it was a fantastic idea that, when revealed, added a new layer of meaning to the book as a whole.

I appreciated that, to me, the story seemed to express something that so many happily-ever-after stories forget to mention: that life goes on and often the things we've leaned on to help us through a difficult time can, if we aren't careful, turn into a crutch that can cause a different kind of harm that we then have to work our way through. All the while, we learn and grow. It may not be happily-ever-after, but there is hope.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book to Movie Challenge: The Fault in Our Stars

At the beginning of the year, I read a Buzzfeed article titled "16 Books To Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year" and it got me thinking: maybe I should read all of these books before they hit movies this year! Challenge accepted! Granted, four of the movies were released before February 14th, so I completely missed their releases and now have to wait until they are out on DVD (which all of them now are). Therefore, these reviews won't be posted in order of reading but rather in order of when I can finish both the move and the film.  Of the seven movies released so far, I've read three of the books, one is in progress, and I've only seen one movie, which brings me to my first complete review of:

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

Here's the Buzzfeed synopsis:
A tumor-shrinking medical miracle bought Hazel a few years of time, but she’s a terminal time bomb, suffering from stage IV cancer. At a support group for her illness, she meets fellow cancer survivor Augustus Waters, a boy who pretends to smoke cigarettes and has a prosthetic leg. With a shared obsession for the novel An Imperial Affliction and a similar sense of sarcasm, the two fall in love, despite their inevitable fate. John Green’s story is honest and hilarious, exposing the fear, anger, and sadness that accompanies a terminal illness

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sprint to the Finish

An apt description of my life for the next five weeks.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

An Apology to My Future Children For Inevitably Ruining Their Lives

Dear Future Son(s) and/or Daughter(s),

Hello from the past.  It’s your dad writing to you from 2014.  I’m 29, and I don’t know how long it will be before the first of you shows up, but your mother and I are excited about it.  We know that you will fundamentally change our lives—lives which, frankly, we really enjoy.  You’re going to be a huge challenge financially, and we’ll be giving up a lot of comfort and freedom once you arrive.  None of that is your fault, mind; it’s just the way it is.  But even though we haven’t even met you yet, we know that you are totally worth it. 

When I was very young I would have “arguments” with my parents about who loved whom more.  (Thinking back, that may have been a cognitive exercise in visualizing comparative size and distance.  “I love you all the way to the moon!  All the way to Mars,” etc.) But your grandpa would always trump me saying, “I love you more than it’s possible for you to love me because I loved you before you were born, so I had a head start.”  That annoyed me because I felt like I was losing the “argument,” but as your mom and I think practically about bringing you into the world I’m starting to belatedly concede his point.  Also it annoyed me less when a friend in high school told me about how her conversations with her mom usually went.  (“I hate you!”  “I hate you more!  You ruined my life,” etc.  Yeesh, right?)  So right off the bat I want to tell you I love you, your mom loves you, and your mom and I love each other.  In fact, we love each other so much that it’s just more than two people can handle on their own, so we have to bring you in to help carry it all.  That essentially is where babies come from.  You are the physical manifestation of your parents’ love; we love each other so much it actually creates another human being.  (We’ll get into more specifics another time.)

Having said all of that, this is a letter of apology.  Not necessarily for my blatant screw-ups, the arguments we’ll have, or the things that’ll drive you nuts about me.  I should tell you up front that I don’t really care that I embarrass you.  Well, maybe I should hedge a bit: I care about you and I care about your feelings, but I already know I’m going to embarrass you, and I hate to say it but that’s kind of going to be your problem, not mine.  I went through caring what kids thought of me when I was in middle school, and having left that horribleness behind, I’m never going back.  My life got infinitely better the day I stopped caring if other kids thought I was cool, and so will yours.  Also, the things I remember embarrassing me about my dad are now things I’m totally grateful for.  I always hated, for example, walking into the kitchen and seeing my parents—your grandparents—totally making out!  I know, right?  Then in high school when so many of my friends’ parents started getting divorced, or just blatantly hating each other, I’d see my parents kissing in the kitchen and I’d think, carry on you two.  

So no, I’m not apologizing for the things I’ll undoubtedly do that will make you roll your eyes.  I’m apologizing for straight up ruining your life. 

Of course, I don’t want to ruin your life.  I want you to have a fantastic life!  I want you to have a wide range of experiences, and I want you to grow up happy, healthy, and successful.  I want you to have love in your life.  I also want you to be a good person.  I want you to have empathy, and to care for and about others.  I want—ok you know what, this could go on forever, but you get the gist right?  I’m not going to ruin your life because I want to.  I’m going to ruin your life because apparently it’s inevitable.  It’s like a Greek tragedy: the harder I try to prevent it, the more certain it is that it will happen. 

It wasn’t always inevitable.  I don’t think my parents ruined me, for example.  Nor do I think they would say theirs ruined them.  And keep in mind, everything I read now about history and society and parenting says that they should have.  Now you might say, great, our family has a pretty good track record.  Maybe I’ll luck out too!  But you’d be wrong.  I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you haven’t got a chance. 

You see now that it’s 2014, we know so much better about everything than our parents and our parents’ parents did.  All they had to go on was the examples their parents, communities and cultures set for them.  Fools!  Today we’ve evolved beyond that.  Today we have Yahoo News, click-bait articles, blogs, and parenting books—so many parenting books!  It’s truly a wonderful time because we now know that everything parents have done and are doing is completely wrong.  Unless it was something they didn’t do consciously that has changed since.  In those cases, we know to lament those bygone days.  The best part is that we can constantly tell each other how wrong the parenting that’s going on is.  Constantly.  And the more angry and/or self righteous it makes parents feel the more “viral” it becomes.  “Viral” is a word that I hope is no longer in use by the time you read this, but it basically means: “Something that you cannot escape from and are forced to have an opinion about.” 

And that’s what brings us to today.  Everything I know about parenting is wrong.  Everything.  And unfortunately the fact that I know that doesn’t help because every new thing I learn to replace those wrong things will be shown to be wrong within a few weeks.  Now, some people might say, “just use common sense,” and that might seem appealing.  But I went to UC Berkeley.  I know there’s no such thing as “common sense.”  Everything we think of as “common sense” is a just a societal construct, probably designed to keep someone down…man.  Besides, a new study will probably come out saying that something that seems like common sense is actually the worst thing you could possibly do for your child.  Then a week later, another study will be plastered all over the internet attacking the first study for being nothing more than stay-at-home-parent/working-parent-shaming, and that really the only good thing to do is such-and-such because that’s what the indigenous people of Iceland do, or something.

Now, no one knows where these “studies” come from.  But we assume it’s like the Bible: even if we’re not entirely sure who wrote it, what the context was, what the original intent behind it was, what the actual principal is, or which things might not translate directly into our own language and culture, it’s on the Internet so it must be taken literally, definitively, and as gospel.  (You may be confused about why I’ve taken you to church all these years.  Don’t be.  I’m not dissing the Bible, I’m dissing a certain type of attitude towards it, but that’s another letter.  You can’t use this as an excuse not to go to church.)

I wish I could give you some comfort, but unfortunately the jury is still out on whether that would help prepare you for the real world or saddle you with crippling disadvantages later in life.  The world is changing, and it’s changing fast.  The things that were mantras when I was growing up would get me burned at the stake today.  Hopefully by the time you’re having children (if you’re not already in prison or something) things will be worked out a little better. Maybe it’s just that the Internet has given all of us the chance to talk directly at each other for the first time in a way no society has ever been able to before.  And maybe this initial cacophony and confusion will work itself out and evolve into something beautiful beyond our dreams.  Or maybe not, who knows.  The point is, I’m probably going to do things as a parent that everyone will know was idiotic by the time you’re old enough to read this, and according to the flood of blog posts that accompany the aforementioned “studies,” your life will be ruined as a result.

There’s a scene in an Arthur Miller play where a dad wants his son to be a great pitcher, so he has him practice pitching year round—even in the basement in the winter.  He does become a great pitcher with an amazing fastball and technical skill, but when the talent scout comes to see him, the verdict is that he’ll never be recruited professionally.  He pitches great when no one’s on base, but when the bases are loaded he completely falls apart.  He doesn’t know how to handle the pressure of having a runner stand behind him because he honed his skills in private in the basement.  The very thing his father did to help him become a great pitcher turned out to be his complete undoing.  So, jokes aside, there’s a real chance that might happen.  And I’m sorry about that. 

But hey, let’s not just focus on the doom and inevitable ruining of your life!  Let’s have some good times too!  Your mom and I have had a great time exploring a few things in the world, and we’re excited to show you some of the cool stuff we’ve found, and to discover some brand new ones together with you.  Even though it’s just the two of us right now, we have a pretty great time at our place.  It will be a different place when you get here, and there will probably be a few different places after that, but it will still be our place, and we’ll always have some great times.  You’re gonna love the music and dancing and cooking—both the stuff we make you eat and the stuff that we only let you eat sometimes—the kitchen’s a happening place.  There are some great books and book series we can’t wait to read together, and we’re excited to see the books and movies and music that don’t even exist yet that you’ll introduce us to.  And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the cool knowledge, and art, and humor, and games that we’ll learn and play and do—more stuff than I could ever write out.  Then when you get older and get out there a little there’s lots of great gross-sounding stuff like flirting and kissing and dating and such!  Of course there’s also pain, and heartache, and frustration and all that, but even that's stuff you look back on and wouldn’t want to trade.  All in all, this whole life thing is a pretty awesome adventure, and your mom and I can’t wait for you to come so we can really get the party started.  Just remember I apologized ahead of time about the whole ruining your life thing.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

three long weeks

Ben has been performing his show in New York City at the Frigid Fringe Festival!  It is going really well! You can read about his experience so far here.  He's also seeing shows on Broadway and making Patrick Stewart laugh.  He's networking and getting inspired to do more exciting projects.

But for real.  He's been gone for two weeks. And there's still one more to go.

(get it? because I'm home alone) 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

hitting the ground running.

If January is indicative of how the rest of the year is going to unfold, it will be productive, busy, fun, and fairly successful.  However, I won't get much reading done...

Ben has been working hard on Questions of the Heart.  Mid-month he performed the show at our church building as a fireside.  Ben wrote a great post about it on his website.  The discussion afterwards was incredible.  In fact, the whole evening was rather surreal, especially for Ben.  He's had several productive discussions with the Bishop and a handful of others about what would make it an even better fireside in the future, for various types of wards.  Through this fireside, Ben has made some incredible connections and received encouragement to add ways to donate to the show.  We also have two additional performances in Bloomington lined up, one before, and one after the Frigid Fringe Festival in NYC.

The Primary Room transformed into a performance space.

Along with assisting Ben with his show stuff I opened my thesis production, Woyzeck. The show is known as the "first working-class tragedy" or the "first modern tragedy" and is about a poor man trying to make it as best he can but is ultimately driven to insanity and violence.  It's pretty strange (the playwright died before it was finished) and dark, but I love it!  I chose it because the story is fascinating (it was based on the crime that used the first "insanity plea") and it lends itself to being highly stylized, which I hadn't done yet and, frankly, slightly terrified me.  It has been an incredible experience and I have loved working with the director (who I worked with on Waiting for Lefty) and design team.  With the production up and running I will have my thesis defense in a couple weeks and can focus on writing the accompanying paper about the process of designing the show.  That will be due towards the end of the semester, so I'll be chipping away at it over the next couple months.

Three of the Woyzeck renderings

Because this is my thesis, they displayed a good portion of my work from my time at IU.

Happy to have gotten to this point

 Some sneak preview photos from photocall.

Oh, and I suppose I also have those classes I need to finish...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Beginning of the End

Last week marked the beginning of my final semester of school.  I must admit that I didn't have a great attitude about it.  Towards the end of Christmas break I was ready to get back into a routine, but not ready for that routine to be school.  I wasn't excited about my classes and I was feeling overwhelmed by the thought of getting back to working on my thesis.  I may or may not have had some real anxiety about it.


Once things got started I quickly realized that there is potential for this to be a great semester.  In fact, this might be the perfect semester on which to end.  I am taking good, fun classes: period understructures (corsets and a crinoline), masks, and thesis credits*.  Getting organized also helped me feel hugely better - it's so amazing how that works.  I was able to look at my schedule and - since my thesis credits aren't a concrete class, but rather something I have to schedule on my own - I set aside time each week to work on writing that as well as chipping away at my portfolio (we have a portfolio review at the end of each academic year.)

In addition, I will be assisting my mentor and professor, Linda Pisano, in her design for La Traviata.  Linda is an incredible designer and I am very excited to be working with her.  The designs are quite exciting!

The only downside is that I seem to have developed tendinitis in my right wrist/arm... but I suppose it's better to learn to deal with it now while I have a student health center a short walk away.

Other than that slight hiccup, I am feeling optimistic about the upcoming months.  I may just finish this thing after all!

*My thesis is designing IU's production of Woyzeck.  Once the production is over (it opens February 7th!), I meet with my committee and discuss the final product.  After that I have to write roughly 30-50 pages about the production and design process that I will turn in with all my paper work and renderings.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Nimbus 2000, eat your heart out!

Tomorrow is the first day back to school for my final semester of grad school.

But I don't want to talk about it because I am in denial (can't grad school just be over already?)

Instead I thought I would spend this week's post remembering a lovely trip we took to Nashville, IN over Fall break in October.  We have some gorgeous photos and had a unique experience learning about handmade brooms when we stumbled upon one of about 12 remaining broom artisans in the United States. The pictures didn't quite fit a Facebook album (what are those even used for anymore?) but I wanted to share them, and I wanted to do something to acknowledge last semester without doing a year-in-review post.  I hope you enjoy!

How can you turn down an adventure on a day like this?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

RESPONSE: 23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23

The blog post, 23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You're 23 was going around last week and I couldn't help but have feelings about it.  After all, I was engaged AND married when I was 23 (yes, our engagement lasted six weeks - deal with it) and, having attended a religious college, I know plenty of people who have entered into matrimony before or around the age of 23 who are not only still married, but going strong.  And even though couples who get married in high school are statistically more likely to get divorced, I know a few who got married near the end of or immediately following high school who are still doing quite well.  The key to the success of these young marriages?  Maturity and realistic expectations.

After reading the post in its entirety I found that I agree with what seems to be the author's point: don't get married until you're ready for marriage.  It's pretty clear, however, that the author is naive about marriage and relationships in general, and what she prescribes are not experiences that will necessarily result in meaningful self-discovery or maturity.  In one excellent response post, after posting statistics about how people are actually marrying later and yet the divorce rate is higher, Baleigh Scott writes: "We don’t need to be marrying later, we need to be maturing earlier."

I really shouldn't have let "23 Things" get to me (the post is difficult to get through without steaming out the ears a bit); nevertheless, I had so many thoughts.  The first was how the real problem with young marriage is the focus on having a huge wedding and losing site of the actual marriage.  There is also a TED Talk that came to mind titled "Why 30 is Not the New 20" that I would have shown this girl had she been a friend of mine.  Finally, I wanted to ask her if she thought marriages were arranged?  Because she writes as though people marry strangers they hate and have to go through life with new, assigned interests, rather than getting to spend time with someone they like.

Feeling frustrated and expecting the worst, I was surprised to find the most comforting responses in the comment section (I know! The normally dreaded comment section).   Here's one of the best comments, from the user, Devon:
I’m 21, I live abroad, I’ve traveled to places like China, Hungary and now my current country France. I’m doing things like kissing strangers, and learning about the world around me as I travel. My parents married young, then divorced (for my mother, divorced twice) AND YET I still cannot help but cringe at your naïveté and self-righteousness. Your idea of marriage is entirely what would doom you to an unfulfilling union. I don’t care what age I am when I meet the person I want to spend my life with because I know if it’s the right person the adventure would never stop. Furthermore, you completely lost any validity to your point when you said you’ve experienced more in 23 years by travelling than people who have been married for a lifetime. Ugh, stop giving the other generations more fodder to hate us with.
With that I will leave you with my answers to the (highly ridiculous) list she provided of things I was suppose to do before getting married if I didn't want my life to be considered limited and meaningless:
1. Get a passport.

I did this when I was 19 and not only did I use it before getting married, but I've used it several times since getting married - both on my own and with my husband.

2. Find your “thing.”

I suppose my "thing" is costume design and construction; however, there are also several things I love doing outside of my profession.  Once again, I am able to work on these in spite of the great burden of being married.  I hope that the "thing" that I consider mine now will change and evolve as I get older and continue to learn about myself and the world (because one hopefully continues to grow into old age).

Oh, not to mention that there are "things" I get to have with my husband.

3. Make out with a stranger.

Done (not right now, I mean, I'm married! but once upon a time it happened).  It wasn't that awesome, but I suppose if that's something deemed an accomplishment, then go me!

4. Adopt a pet.

Pets have never been my thing.

5. Start a band.

To say I never wanted to start a band would be a lie; however, I was in choir and still sing, so I've had ample opportunity to make incredible music.  Plus, my husband owns a keyboard and we plan to learn to play.  Look at us, making goals and learning despite being married!

6. Make a cake. Make a second cake. Have your cake and eat it too.

I have made more cake being married than I ever did before.  I find it so much more fun to have someone to cook for.  Now before you get onto me about being forced into a "traditional gender role, bla, bla, bla" let me throw this at you: my husband cooks and bakes for me while I finish grad school. His cake is way better than my cake anyway.

7. Get a tattoo. It’s more permanent than a marriage.

I have two.  They can be removed.  They're also a lot less fun than hanging out with my best friend.

8. Explore a new religion.

 I'm pretty sure I can check this off my list.

9. Start a small business.

I don't want to?

10.Cut your hair.

Because you can't get your haircut after your married?  If you're that into cutting your hair then when you get married you have double the heads of hair to cut...

11. Date two people at once and see how long it takes to blow up in your face.

Ew, really? This is how you like to spend your time?  I have never, ever wanted this.

12. Build something with your hands.

Every. Single. Day.

13. Accomplish a Pinterest project.

Pinterest was barely coming around when I got married, but I am to happy to say that in spite of being married, I (and Ben) manage to make Pinterest projects happen.

14. Join the Peace Corps.

Like the band thing, I would be lying to say  I never thought about doing this. Do I regret not doing it? No because I find other ways to make a difference (as much as a married woman can, I suppose)

15. Disappoint your parents.

Hopefully you were able to do this WELL before 23... like any time in the ages between 12- wait, are you ever too old or committed to disappoint your parents?  That being said, hopefully you are past the phase of wanting to disappoint your parents, because that's how teenagers behave.

16. Watch GIRLS, over and over again.

I may not be interested in Girls, but I have other shows.

17. Eat a jar of Nutella in one sitting.

I like Nutella as much as the next person, but thinking about this gives me a stomach ache. I have, however, had my fair share of pints of ice cream.

18. Make strangers feel uncomfortable in public places.

I don't like making people uncomfortable?  Would you settle for enjoying conversation with a complete stranger?  Sharing a moment with a stranger?  This doesn't have to stop with marriage.  My husband does let me look at and talk with other people.

19. Sign up for CrossFit.

Really? No.  I do have a workout buddy (not my husband, again, he does allow me to interact with others) and I enjoy exercise.  That is surely enough.

20. Hangout naked in front of a window.

I spend more time naked now than I did before, even when I had the apartment to myself.

21. Write your feelings down in a blog.

Does this count?  However, one should really be careful about this seeing as how the internet is forever (longer than some marriages... or is that the point?  Like the tattoo thing?)

22. Be selfish.

As an only child, I think it is well beyond time for me to move on to the non-selfish stage in my life.

23. Come with me to the Philippines for Chinese New Year.

I would love to!  So would Ben.  Can we come together?
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