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Archive for June, 2009

Well, we had one crazy news week last week, huh?!

First, Gov. Sanford and his antics.  Crazy, and a story that just keeps giving.  Thank you for paying for your jaunt to Argentina to visit with your lover with state funds.  Because that story might have been eclipsed by events later last week.  Phew!

BTW, do you think Sanford and his lover had this type of interaction:

Then Farrah Fawcett died.

WHAT?!

Okay, that was sorta expected.  Farrah had been battling cancer for years and was, by all accounts, getting close to the end.  No less sad, of course.  We are talking about Farrah Fawcett here.  Farrah, as I tweeted about you last week, thank you for being a part of the Charlie’s Angels lour… and for having perfect hair.

Can we just stop here for one second?  Good G-d, I fucking loved that show.  LOVED!  I mean, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, and Farrah Fawcett?  As police women turned PIs?  Weilding guns and tennis rackets?  Karate chopping and race car driving?  What?!  Yeah, so good.  And not to take anything away from Cheryl Ladd, who was also great – but the original trio?  Amazing.

And that hair?!  Oh my goodness.  Seriously, Farrah had perfect hair.  Jaclyn Smith has pretty fantastic hair as well.  Just tune into an episode of Sheer Genius to see how those locks kept up. And while I’ve never actually put a swim cap on my head, I’m a 100% certain that my hair would not look a tenth as fantastic as Jaclyn Smith’s hair from the intro.  But Farrah’s hair?  No comparison, folks.  No comparison.  And I don’t care for blondes.

But then, after spending 45 minutes trying to explain to the 23 year old in my office the genius of Farrah Fawcett, Charlie’s Angels – he’s even too young for the movies to be meaningful as a point of reference – that hair, etc. – the most shocking news arrived.

MICHAEL JACKSON DIED?!?!?

Okay, so I think we all probably knew that, like other iconic stars who made it a habit to fly a little too close to the sun, Michael likely would meet an untimely and tragic death.  But still, shocking.  I mean, shocking!

We celebrated MJ’s life on Friday by listening to some of the early Michael hits the Jackson Five, Off the Wall, and Thriller.  Luckily, due to Republican shenanigans, we had plenty of time for a mini dance party in the front office.

Well, all this makes me remember two things.

One, while I have pop-culture-ish fascination and heartbreak about these events, there are families out there who lost loved ones – be it through death or deception.  There are young kids who are waking up today without a mom or a dad.  Or they are waking up with the knowledge – a lesson they are almost certainly too young to learn – that their parent is flawed beyond their comprehension.  And that really sucks.

Second, life it too fucking short.  We have very little time in this stage of existence.  Folks, it’s time to cut out the bullshit, to cut out all the noise that distracts us from being the people we want to be and from living the lives we want to live.  Sure, easier said than done.  But it can be done.

Now if I can only figure out how to do that without flipping any tables…

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Sanford (and sun?)

My, my, my, Governor Sanford.  You really do have a flair for the dramatics.  I mean, you took a difficult situation and amp’ed it into something that rivals the antics of my beloved housewives from the great state of New Jersey.

I have no words.  Whatever.  So he cheated.  I sorta can’t bring myself to care some much about that.  But flying so far out of control that you go missing for several days – over Fathers’ Day – and your cover story is that you went hiking to recharge your battery?  What?!  Working in a line from Evita in your presser?  WHAT?!  Good lord.

Anyway, one of my favorite people wrote this piece on the Sanford issue.  As always, she is right on.  (G-d damn it!  Why can’t I write like this?!)

Resolved: Mark Sanford is a Human Being

by Alicia Menendez

Yesterday we watched Governor Mark Sanford stand behind a podium and wait as long as possible before saying what everyone had come to hear—that he had cheated on his wife. As we all know, this spectacle has become mind-bogglingly common in American political life. It’s almost trite now, something we expect to see every few months like the changing seasons or the emergence of a new GOP 2012 hopeful. But still, we can’t look away when these scandals break. The Sanford story has all the makings of a daytime soap: sex, lies, ambition, betrayal, shame, and human suffering. He lied to his staff. He hurt his wife and sons. All of this from a man who told gay Americans that marriage is “between one man and one woman,” then couldn’t get the math right himself. He is a liar, a philanderer, and a hypocrite.

And the guy’s human. Which is where it gets tricky.

The last three decades have placed a premium on the authenticity of politicians. We say we want elected officials to be real—someone we could have a beer with—and yet it is only in these painful public admissions of failure that they feel like actual people. This isn’t windsurfing or eating a fried pork chop at the Iowa State Fair—it’s love, lust, and heartache. This is as real as it gets, people.

Those raw emotions are what draw us in—the husband’s embarrassment, the wife’s humiliation, the kids’ confusion. Many of us have been on one side of infidelity. We can identify with the cheater, the cheatee, the fling, or all three. Suddenly the governor of South Carolina isn’t someone special, he’s just another human struggling with lofty, intertwined notions of faith and fidelity. He’s just some dude deeply torn between what he wants and what he’s committed to.

But when that veneer cracks and we glimpse the humanness we thought we wanted to see, it’s not exactly comfy. The pundits throws stones and cross their fingers that nobody discovers their own transgressions. The cable news correspondents, who during campaigns beg for honesty from candidates, find themselves ill-equipped to grapple with the range of emotions that course through these pressers. So they move from the discomfort of a broken family to the one thing that makes this conversation clean, neat, and arguably newsworthy: 2012.

But this moment, like Ensign’s, isn’t about 2012. That’s what we tell ourselves to legitimize our interest. It isn’t about the way in which we all found out, ridiculous as it was. It’s about a moment of connection that manifests itself in disgust or empathy, but a rare moment of recognition all the same.

Politicians grapple with the most human elements of society: our reproductive rights, our marriage rights, our health care rights. But somehow it’s almost impossible to think of them as human. They wield tremendous power over our lives, and that can be frustrating, especially when they make judgments about who we love and who we lust after, what we can and can’t do with our own bodies. Many smother us with their own concepts of morality, and so we feel vindicated when they themselves cannot live up to their own standards.

The hypocrisy is enraging. But so is our own.

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Why I drink…

I suffer daily indignities at work.  You’d think that, with this statement, I was being dramatic.  No, not dramatic so much as I work for the United States Congress.  And each and every day I have to sit down with a lobbyist who seems to be trying to “read” me, but who only misses the boat entirely, causing me to want to rip my hair out of my head or finally figure out how to open our window so I can jump.

Case in point.

Today, I had a follow up meeting with a lobbyist and his client.  They were coming in to meet with my boss.  Now, in the original meeting, all the lobbyist could tell me was, “Do A.  We need you to do A.  And if you don’t do A, you’re stupid.”  Okay, it wasn’t that crazy, but it was crazy.  Like CRAZY.  He hushed and hurried his client, he pushed me off questions I had in the way that a gentleman of a certain age does to a woman who he thinks is a certain younger age, and he offered me nothing that his Plan A.

Well, folks, let me tell it to you straight – this is the U.S. Congress.  You had better have a Plan B.  Because chances are, you’re not going to get Plan A.  Plan A is a pipe dream.  Plan A is the Holy Grail.  Plan A doesn’t exist.  So that means you had better have thought out a reasonable and plausible Plan B.

At the time of our first meeting, this lobbyist and his client were all doe-eyed and strident about what they wanted and when they would get it.  Three weeks later, they are back, now on Plan D.  At least there’s been progress.

So, initially, a meeting I was dreading – DREADING – was going pretty darn well.  Instead of coming to me with an unworkable and unreasonable plan, they came with a little humility and the desire to talk – to actually talk about their problem, what they know isn’t politically feasible, how they’d like to fix this moving forward.  Gone was his sense of entitlement.  Gone was his condescending tone and bully-ish attitude.

Or so I thought.

We’re sitting there with my boss, whom I’ve already brought up to date on this company, their problems, and the problems with their Plan A.  So now we were just listening to what they’ve learned and what next steps we can take.  Great.  Then it happens.  The meeting is winding down.  I’m trying to get my boss out of the meeting so he can vote and I can go to my next meeting (which was even more of a fucking awkward nightmare, but I can’t go into it on the blog), and we’re doing those goodbye pleasentries.  That’s when the lobbyist says the following to me in front of my boss and his client, “I have to say, I’m really impressed with you.  The last time I saw you, you were brand new to the office.  And I have to say, I was a little worried that you didn’t get it.  But you have come a long way.  You’ve really impressed me.”

WHAT?!?!

WHAT?!?!

I controlled myself and said nothing.  Just kept looking ahead and smiling, hoping beyond hope that it would end soon.  I mean, it had to, right?  Votes were being called.

Nope.  Not done yet.

Then he turns to my boss and says, “She’s a smart one.  I’m serious, I was worried.  But she really gets it.”  My boss said something awkward like, “Oh, yeah.  She’s a smart one.”  Then the client chimed in.  “Oh, she’s a very smart lawyer.”

WHAT?!?!

WHAT?!?!

Wow.  I mean, what the fuck?  Seriously.  What the fuck was that?  I may never know.   But I do know this – I know that this is why I drink…Well, one of the reasons, at least.

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Annoying Article

Okay, I have a lot of catching up to do.  With this past weekend alone, I have a lot of catching up to do.  But for now, I’m going to have to leave you with just this.

I tune into CNN.com everyday.  Not because of their amazing new reporting, but because of the other nonsense they cover.  For example, there often are these little pieces on the seven things you should never do at work, followed by the seven things we should always do at work, articles on relationships, friendships, etc.  This is the type of puff piece I really enjoy in the middle of the day.

While eating lunch today, I found this article.  Normally, The Frisky is something I enjoy.  Again, it’s not changing the world or anything.  But it’s the mindless silliness that frequently touches on interesting topics like how to break up with a boyfriend and how to know if your boyfriend is crazy.

Today’s piece, unfortunately, was not the candy I’m used to or wanted.  Instead, I am so fucking pissed at the woman who wrote this piece that I’m actually considering sending her an email.

Okay, I’ll put it in here so you can read it for yourself.

Mourning the death of single-girl friendship

By Wendy Atterberry

(The Frisky) — I’m getting married in a little over two months, and though this is a happy, exciting time in my life, there’s a bittersweetness. It started when I moved to New York a year and a half ago to be with my boyfriend.

Up until then, our relationship had been long-distance; he was in Manhattan, and I was in Chicago. Through daily phone calls and frequent trips back and forth, we fell in love while still maintaining solo lives in our respective cities.

It was a unique experience to be in a fully committed relationship, but continue living the same single-girl life I’d known since my last serious relationship (minus all the unsuccessful dating, of course).

When I wasn’t in New York or hosting my boyfriend in Chicago, my weekends were filled cultivating other relationships — those with my closest friends. Life was filled with wine-drenched, late-night talks, long bike rides along the lake, picnics in the park, afternoon shopping frenzies, potlucks, brunches, and impromptu sleep-overs — all with my single friends. The Frisky: From set-up to making the move

Now that I’m fully immersed in “coupled life,” I realize I’ll probably never have friendships like those again. The Frisky: Getting through friendship breakup

It’s not that I haven’t tried to cultivate new friendships here — I have, and I think I’ve been pretty successful. There’s the group of girls I get together with for brunch every other week or so, and the handful of old college friends I stay connected to with the occasional dinner party or happy hour meet-up. My boyfriend’s friends have also embraced me and I’ve managed to form individual relationships with some of them, friendships that have become quite meaningful to me. The Frisky: His friends are hateable

But the days of “romancing” my friends — of luxuriating in their company all weekend long and most weekday evenings is over. Given the choice — which, thankfully, I have now that my relationship is not a long-distance one — I’d rather spend most of my free time with my fiance.

And soon that fiance will be my husband, and one day he’ll be the father of my children, and as we continue building a life and home together, I’ll have even less time to devote to other relationships.

I still plan to maintain my own friendships, of course, bonds I hope will help guide me through various transitions my life is bound to make, but I’d be fooling myself if I thought those friendships could ever be like the ones I made when I was single.

There’s a freedom that comes when you’re unattached to any one person, a kind of freedom that seems to be almost magnetic. Other singletons and I found each other in a way that doesn’t seem to exist among those of us who are coupled. There’s a kind of kindred spirit-ness among single women (and gay men) that I haven’t found anywhere else. The Frisky: When does a couple become a family?

It’s a romance, really, that only fully blooms in the absence of a romantic relationship. It’s a romance I’d never trade my fiance for, but a romance I think part of me will always yearn for just a little bit.

WHAT?!?!

Now, I absolutely appreciate her use of words like “cultivate” and “romancing” when talking about a close friendship.  Anyone who has had a close friendship knows exactly what she’s talking about.  Finding a person you have a connection with, cultivating that connection, spending time truly getting to know and understand each other – it is closer to romance than not.

But is it that this woman’s view is that marriage means that you and your spouse do everything together every single day and that all that togetherness doesn’t leave time for you to make close friendships?  Because that’s alarming and really problematic.

I get the time issue.  Your partner (and then kids) takes up a lot of your time – and that’s (hopefully) a good thing.  And I get that you can’t spend everything night and every weekend with a friend (not that I think that’s healthy regardless… cause it isn’t).  However, it baffles the mind to think that, just because this woman is now getting married, she can all but forget about making another close friendship.

Granted, I’m not married – a point that was used time and again this weekend to remind me that somehow my relationship is different from my married friends.  (No, I have no idea what this means or why people take such an interest in my marital status, but I plan to blog about this more later.)  But I have been in a relationship with the same person – continuously – for the past 10 years.  I have friendships – very strong, important ones that I rely on daily – that predate this relationship.  But some of the most important friendships I’ve made in my life have come after HC and I started dating.  Hell, some came after HC and I lived together for years. And while the idea of making a new friend right now is not something I’m feeling particularly open to, I can’t imagine the possiblity that I might not meet someone in the future who I connect with.  Just can’t be.

And I am personally offended by these notions of “couple life” and what it means for your own life.  Being in a relationship does not mean that you can’t spend time – significant and meaningful time – with friends.  It also does not mean that you always have to do everything with your partner OR that your partner should do everything with you.  Okay, so you might be more inclined to hang out with couples than you might have before.  But just because there’s another twosome for you to hang out with does not mean that you actually like these people and want to spend time with them.  I mean, couples are annoying.  Really annoying.  I swear, there I people who I love who I love a little less either because of how they are around their partner or because of how their partner is around my friend.

At its root tho, this woman’s view – that marriage equals the end of close friendships – seems to come more from a bridal magazine’s description of marriage is than from reality.  Life is about choices.  You can choose to surround yourself with family AND friends.  Or you can choose to throw yourself into your romantic relationship at the expense of all others.  You get to choose.  Just make it a choice you can live with.

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AED’s status on gmail just read as follows:

[AED] is putting together a summer reading list.  What are your top 2 favorite novels of all time?

Hmmmm.  Two favorite novels of all time?  That is a tough one.  I didn’t want to rush to respond, but I went with my two favorite reads as an adult – both of which were recommended by ALJ in law school and I read back-to-back – Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

(P.S. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you liked Middlesex, you’d like Virgin Suicides.  Because you probably won’t.  Not that it’s anywhere close to a fair comparison.  I mean, Middlesex made me want to go to Detroit.  In the late 1960s.  That’s a powerful book.)

AED has already read Middlesex, so I got another vote.  “Fun or brainy,” I asked.  Fun was the response.  So I went with Heat by Bill Buford.

But, surely, these are not my favorite novels of all-time.  I mean, all-time is like all-time.  That’s huge.  So let’s think this through a little.

Book that most changed me:  I was in an interview a year or so ago and the tool interviewing me asked what book most changed my life and/or had the greatest impact on me.  I wanted to say, “You know, it’s tool-ish questions like that one that make me know that I simply won’t work for a d-bag like you.”  Instead, I went with I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.  Because it was an honest answer ,and I am a terrible liar.

Favorite high school reads:  I (was forced to) read many really good books in high school.  To Kill a Mockingbird, Red Badge of Courage, A Separate Peace, A Man For All Seasons.  But my favorite high school reads were Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.  Apparently, I’ve always liked the dark stuff.

Least favorite high school read:  I also (was forced to) read some horrendously bad stuff in high school.  But the book I hated most – seriously, most – was Cantebury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.  WTF?!  That was the fucking worst.

Favorite legal book:  HC believes that a book is the perfect gift for all occasions.  When he turned 35 – 35! – just a few short months ago, I asked  him what he wanted.  I mean, this is a big birthday so I should get you something.  Even if it’s just dinner.  His response?  “A book.”  Whatever, I did not give him a book.  But a book given as a gift can be a good one.  It was through a gift book from HC that I found my favorite legal book – The Buffalo Creek Disaster by Gerald Stern.

Favorite food book:  I like food books.  I can’t help it.  Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain?  Good.  I Like You by Amy Sedaris?  Good.  Mostly because of all the amazing – AMAZING – pictures, but good nonetheless.  The one that most made me want to cook and grow stuff and move to Italy?  Kitchen Confidential by Bill Buford.

Book that made me want to blog:  C’mon – this is an easy one.  Julia and Julie by Julie Powell.

So what are your favorites?  Send them along.  This is making me think I should read more.  If for no other reason – to get new material.

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Well, rumor has it that Whitney Houston will be releasing a new album – with new material! – this September 1.  Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Honey, we heard Miss Thing was releasing a new album THREE YEARS ago… I’ll believe it when I see it.”  Fine.  There is the chance that this is just rampant speculation, mixed with a lot of hope, on the part of Whitney, her producers, and her fans around the world.

But – and I know, very unlike me – I am feel like this is it.  This September we might actually get some NEW Whitney.  And Lord, I gotta tell you, GT and I really need this to happen.  Because we just continue to listen to the same Whitney on YouTube over and over and over and over and over again.

In preparation for the new album (stop rolling your eyes and/or screaming “IT’S CALLED A CD” at the computer; it’s unbecoming), I thought it might be fun to share with you some of my favorite Whitney songs via YouTube.  Folks, sit back and get ready to be BLOWN AWAY.

I Will Always Love You. This is from Divas Live 1999, which I watched in, you  know, 1999.  Pretty much all of Divas Live is amazing, but this is the single best version of I Will Always Love You that I’ve ever heard:

Where Do Broken Hearts Go.  This is my favorite Whitney song.  I know it’s kinda lame, and this is not live, but I love it.  I can’t help it.  I remember being about 10 or 12 years old and thinking that I knew exactly what Whitney was singing about.  Clearly, I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  But I did somehow.  I also knew that I did not have as much hope as Ms. Houston seemed to.  Still don’t.

A few years back, I had a conversation with a friend who was going through a tough break up.  She was really upset and was having a hard time figuring out how you can love someone so deeply and then just stop.  She wanted to know if that’s the way it was supposed to work.  Well, let’s listen to Whitney’s take.

Didn’t We Almost Have It All.  This is GT’s favorite Whitney song.  And ALJ’s favorite song.  And it’s one of my favorites too.  It is a great song and this is an incredible performance.

All The Man I Need.  I’ve listened to a lot of Whitney on YouTube.  Not as much as GT, clearly.  But a lot nonetheless.  This performance is off the hook.  Seriously, OFF THE FUCKING HOOK.  I can’t tell you how much I love this song, how much I love this performance, how much I love her voice.  And I love watching these sailors (0r whatever branch of the military they are) watching Whitney in awe.  Amazing.

I sent out a few emails to friends to see what Whitney songs other folks love.  You know, because I firmly believe that your favorite Whitney sounds says something about you.  Everyone came back with something different.  For MJ, it’s Greatest Love of All. ( Duh, she said.)  AM went with How Will I Know.  And SC picked Whitney’s remake of Chaka Kahn’s I’m Every Woman.

What’s your favorite Whitney song?  C’mon, you know you have one.

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Tough Day

Today has been a tough day.  Not really sure why.  But perhaps the two below stories can shed some light.

  • The Gym

I made it to the gym today.  Victory!  I even managed not to get a ticket on my car because the credit card payment machine was actually working.  For those of you not in DC, you may not immediately understand that this is nothing short of a fucking miracle.

Anyway, so my new gym routine requires me to shower at the gym.  It’s not as bad as I thought it would be.  But I am reminded daily that, perhaps, I’m more prudish than I thought.  Because, unlike me, many of these ladies – of all different shapes and sizes – just walk around the locker room sans clothes.

Just the other day, I had an entire conversation with a woman who did not have a top on.  Well, to be fair, she didn’t have a bottom on either.  But she, at least, had the courtesy to have a towel around her lower half.  The top part – not so much.

Turns out, I am a little uncomfortable talking to a woman without a top on.  I mean, it was fine.  I dazzled her with my wit and intellect, to be sure.  But I would be lying if I said I was totally comfortable.

But let me get back on track.

So I have to pull together work clothes before I leave the house.  And, once I leave the house, I’m sorta stuck with whatever I put together.  Because AM has regaled me with tales of wrinkles and popping buttons, I am usually good about making sure that the clothes I pick for work actually, you know, work.

Not so much today.  Nope.  Today, in my early morning frenzy to make it to the gym AND be on time for a 9am meeting (who the fuck schedules a 9am meeting… on a Friday, no less?!), I clearly did not give my work attire the thought and consideration it deserves.  Because what I ended up with was this:

– A light gray and off-white striped thin sweater.

– Navy blue pants.  (Which is not an easy thing for me.  Navy blue is like brown for me.  I never know what goes with it or what shoes to wear.  Now that I get dressed at the gym, HC’s not there to talk me through a disaster.  This is why the other day I was profoundly brown.  A brown suit and the same color brown shoes.  But for my white shirt, you wouldn’t know where the jacket started and the shoes ended.)

– Light gray Puma kicks.

– A black bra.

Perhaps you’re already seeing the problems.  Because there were many.

First, the sweater is a light color and thin.  Put another way, it’s sorta see through.  So this black bra is out there for the whole world to see.

Second, the gray Pumas are the EXACT SAME COLOR as the gray in the sweater.  So it looks like I intentionally tried to match my sneakers to my sweater.  Which, I will have you know, is something I DO NOT do.  Ever.  I take my sneakers – like my t-shirts – very seriously.  I wouldn’t try to be all matchy-matchy.  That’s just weird.

Third – and this really was the worst part of it:  all put together – the striped sweater, the navy pants, the gray pumas – I looked like a sailor.  Now, I love a sailor; I support the troops and all.  But seriously, I looked like I was headed for Nantucket, or something equally snooty, getting ready to get on a schooner or some other nautical thing.  I couldn’t believe it.  I looked at myself in the mirror and didn’t know what to do.  I just needed a little Popeye hat and saying “Ahoy, Matey” really would be necessary.

When I got to the office – after 9am and I still had to get myself to the meeting, which was happening in another office – I took off the sneakers and went with black shoes instead.  Somehow, the gray-blue-black situation seemed better than the gray-blue-gray situation.  Just seemed less boat-hand to me.  Nothing to do about the breasts tho.  They were out.

Which brings me to…

  • My Breast

Earlier today, I went to a health care reform briefing.  I knew about it for a while and was really looking forward to it.  Look, I don’t go to many briefings, but every once in a while one comes up that you just don’t want to miss.  This briefing was one of those.  It was an interesting topic with an interesting panel and I couldn’t wait.

So I get there and the room is packed, because, as I said, it promised to be a good briefing.  I didn’t think a seat was possible and tried to come to terms with the fact that I was going to have to stand for the next hour and a half.  Then someone told me that there were seats on the other side of the room.  Normally, I would just stand in this instance.  But my back has been a real issue these days, so I thought sitting was a good idea.

So I walked in front of the panel – which had already started speaking because, you know, I was late, because, you know, I couldn’t find my stupid ID for this ID-required briefing – and headed to where I was told the seats were.  I don’t know if they were expecting children to attend this briefing, but the seats were crazy close to each other.  Like touching each other.  And the space between one row of seats and the next was so close as to be ridiculous.  Oh, and g-d forbid someone should actually allow you to walk through!

Whatever.  I won’t be deterred.  I’m staying and I know I need a seat.

So I start walking in the row.  I had to bypass six people to get to the open seat.  I started out okay, but the damn shoes I had on were a little slippery (I just had to go and take off those Pumas, didn’t I?!) and I slipped a little, causing my right breast to bump into a the head of a woman in the row in front of the row I was walking in.

Jesus!

Well, things haven’t much improved since then.  But it’s Friday and it’s almost quitting time.  Maybe the weekend will be better.  Maybe…

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