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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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By the time I woke up on Sunday morning, it was technically almost not-morning anymore and Jason had been up for hours. He'd already made a run to the hardware and gardening stores, done a bunch of yardwork, re-potted or transplanted dozens of seedlings and plants, and also brought this disaster waiting to happen into our lives: So industrious, that husband of mine. It was almost exactly 48 hours later, as I stood in the kitchen in my pajamas this morning, blearily making coffee, when the ladybugs -- first moved precipitously towards the counter's edge by Noah to make room for the toaster -- were sent flying off by the brute vibrating force of the nearby coffee grinder. And I watched in horror-movie slow motion as the lid flew off and an absolutely plague-like number of ladybugs spilled out. I am not proud to admit it, but every single bad word I have ever uttered on this website came out of my mouth in that moment, loud and clear and in front of my children. I ran around in a panic, looking for something to...scoop them up with? Something to help me get as many of them back into the... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at amalah . com
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Another reason to perma-love this time of year: It's pet adoption anniversary season!! AKA any excuse to spoil the animals while also eating human cake. Beau's officially been with us for just over a year now, and now that he's fully settled in I swear he's pretty much the dictionary definition of A Good Boy. "Who is a good boy?" I ask Google. "Beau is a good boy," says the search results. (While Alexa chimes in her agreement from across the room.) I still sometimes wish we had more solid information about his life before us, although when I think about some of the behaviors he had initially I realize it was all probably pretty damn bleak and we're better off not knowing the details. (Besides his HASHTAGRUNNING and defensiveness around food and sleeping children, we also had to carefully ration his water. If he saw a full water dish he would desperately and rapidly drink every drop, and then promptly throw it all back up. He wasn't used to having enough water. I'm so sorry, little doggo. That will never happen to you again.) (He's fine with his water dish now, and doesn't have an aggressive or nippy bone... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at amalah . com
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This morning I had my first big kick-off meeting with my newest freelancing gig, which once again highlighted that after a decade of working from home, there is nothing harder in the world than waking up, showering, putting on actual proper clothing, and getting my ass out the door on time anytime before noon. Which, I know is exactly what literal bajillions of people manage to do just fine every morning, and really: Color me genuinely impressed. Like serious props, guys. I don't know how you do it, because I'm terrible at it. The main issue this morning was the completely self-inflicted crisis of not having much in the way of a Professional Wardrobe anymore. I have one nice black suit, a couple okay dresses, a bunch of really, reallllllllly old separates that scream "business casual circa early 2000s" and absolutely zero office-appropriate shoes to pair with any of it. And yet I never, ever remember how limited my options are until I have a meeting to be at in like, an hour. The office I was visiting is business casual so the suit felt like overkill (not to mention my black footwear choices are either sandals/flip flops or stilettos/fuck-me... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by NxN. A few years ago, I showed up at a client's office for a meeting and was immediately asked if I was feeling okay. Because (groan groan groooooan guys don't ever say this to people) I "looked really tired." I felt fine, and had actually slept very well the night before. What happened is that I forgot to put on any foundation or concealer, and -- GASP -- had inadvertently revealed my actual human face to my coworkers. This weekend, on the other hand, I went out on a date night with my husband and very much deliberately left the foundation (and concealer and bronzer and highlighter and all that other jazz) at home. Nobody said I looked tired, and instead Jason told me several times that I looked pretty. Yes, he's biased. THAT SAID, my skin! Look at my actual human face skin right now. It's 39 years old and it is happy. So let's talk a bit more about my skin, because this is a blog and that's what we do here: It is technically combination, though probably more on the oily side overall. Other than the occasional hormonal breakout, I've outgrown the... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at amalah . com
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Jason: At store. Need anything? Amy: Deodorant plz. Jason: oh god what kind there are four million kinds. Amy: Dunno an invisible solid of some kind. Jason: Degree? Dove? Secret? Clinical? Motion activated? Amy: OMG it's all the same shit. Just get whatever is on sale. (Later...) Amy: What the hell is all this? ' Jason: Yeah I didn't know whether you wanted to smell like Shower Clean or Sexy Intrigue. Amy: And what's this third one? Jason: That's Black & White Pure Clean. No idea what that smells like but it promises not to leave stains or marks on your clothes! That seemed cool. Amy: Just how long were you there reading the labels on women's' deodorants? Jason: Wait. Are you judging me for spending an excessive amount of time pondering the nuances of deodorant marketing? You? Really? Amy: Touche. (I'm a Shower Clean girl and he damn well knows that, by the way.) Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at amalah . com
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Jason was lucky enough to take a couple days off this week, and spent them either 1) getting at least one of the two children responsible for most of the screaming/tattling/HE'S BREATHING MY AIR sort of hullaballoo out of my hair, or 2) spending quality one-on-one time with our middle and youngest children, reinforcing good positive attention behaviors with a side of spoiling and all that jazz. Technically a bit of both, I suppose. Both days involved the aquarium and copious amounts of dessert. Jason also sent the following photo as evidence of Ezra's Scrabble prowess, but in doing so revealed himself to be a dirty cheat who plays acronyms and two-letter words the second I'm not around to challenge that shit. (Note: Jason won't play Scrabble with me anymore.) Last night it was my turn to treat a kid to a special time out, and I landed either the best or worst assignment, depending on how you look at it. I took him to see DanTDM Live at the Baltimore Hippodrome. Who is DanTDM, you might ask? A perfectly reasonable question that I'm still not sure I can answer. DanTDM is a small and highly energetic British human who... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at amalah . com
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Last night a friend of ours came over for dinner and brought his two (2!!!) sweet and friendly Labrador Retrievers. Beau thought it was the best! dinner! party! ever! and not just because Jason fed him some of the chicken. He was just SO happy and excited to have those other dogs here. But now today I can't shake the feeling that my Beau Bear is sad, and misses his new friends. All morning he kept whining and begging to go outside to see if they were out there, somewhere. He seems to realize now that they are not. Maybe it was all just a dream -- a wonderful, waggy-tailed dream. AND YET, DESPITE ALL THIS EVIDENCE THAT BEAU NEEDS A BIG-DOG FRIEND, negotiations with my husband have stalled, because he won't even have them with me. (Although Rey's all, I SEE UR INNERNET HISTORY AND THINK U SHOULD CHILLZ, WOOMAN.) Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at amalah . com
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This morning Ike walked into the living room and placed a small box on the coffee table. "Don't move that," he told me. "It's what I'm taking to college." I'll admit it; I was a little scared to open the box. But turns out... It's just Sandwich the Cat, better known around here as Alive Max. Okay then! At least he's prepared? Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's Spring Break! And it's shaping up to be a disaster. Well, disaster-ish. That hysterical blind-to-privilege mommyblogger definition of disaster. The children have no camps! No activities! They are all just HERE. In the HOUSE. With ME and EACH OTHER and my DEADLINES. I did this to myself, yes, entirely. My new contract gig still hasn't set a start date so I didn't want to plunder our flexible spending account just yet for childcare expenses. I figured I could get away with reducing my hours across existing clients a bit this week, maybe just work half days if possible. But then this morning the news came in that my background check is done and lo, I am not a criminal unworthy of writing web site copy, and they have like a hundred and four projects they want me to work on immediately once the final rubber-stamp comes down. Okay. This could get interesting, very quickly. I sat down with the kids this morning and went over the day's schedule and some detailed instructions. No screen time or TV until chores are done. You will play outside as much as possible, I mean it, you will not mimic your mother's pale,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Weekly Tasting. If anyone were to ask Jason and I what the secrets are to our long and happy marriage -- hypothetically, anyway, as absolutely zero people have actually asked us that question -- we'd probably list the following: 1) Regular date nights 2) A similar sense of humor 3) A mutual ability/willingness to apologize for being an idiot sometimes And personally, I'd probably add: 4) The occasional night away from each other 5) Wine Amazingly, for this post, I got to experience both #4 and #5 at the same time. So a couple times a month, Jason and I give the other person the night "off." Jason goes out to attend a sportsball exhibition of some kind, then the next week it's my turn to hang out with friends, see a movie, or just LEAVE THE DANG HOUSE for a change. Although as nice as it is to get out and socialize with other humans on a more regular basis, I kinda have to admit that I almost enjoy the nights in alone just as much. I make something fun/easy for the kids' dinner, then order take-out, assume total control of the TV remote,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2017 at amalah . com
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IT'S ROSÉ WEATHER, MOTHERFUCKERS. (Or, if you're my fruit-and-vegetable-texture-adverse child, it's purplish-brownish yogurt/spinach/frozen-berry-blend smoothie weather, which admittedly isn't as pretty, but he swears is delicious and solves quite a few nutritional/digestive concerns. Plus it puts the stupid-expensive blender Jason bought me last Mother's Day to good use.) I always spend this time of year in half slack-jawed amazement at how happy and mentally healthy this sort of weather makes me, and half in scrunched-forehead confusion at the idea that there are places with this sort of weather ALL THE TIME, places were I could hypothetically live and feel like this year round, because? I don't know. I like to babble bullshit about "liking having different seasons" when honestly, at least two out of four of our seasons can probably go fuck themselves. We met with the middle school's special education team yesterday to officially plan Noah's transition. It went well. I had to push to keep a few goals and accommodations in place because technically he's achieved said goals and doesn't currently use those accommodations, but given our history with rocky starts to new school years (and how hard the transition to a new school turned out to be last... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at amalah . com
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This weekend the calendar ticked over into April, and lo, there was much rejoicing in Amy's brain. There was also the simple pleasure of watching a five-year-old pretend to be a cat for several hours, complete with his revolutionary costume of the day: (BTW, officially on the hunt for a drama camp/afterschool program for my smallest biggest ham. Anyone local have any recommendations? Not looking for anything stage mother-y/next great child star-ish, just want to get this kiddo an outlet for his raging LOOK AT MEEEE performing-and-pratfall-itis.) Cats. Also in full-on LOOK AT MEEEEEEE mode. On Saturday night Jason and I saw Rent, Again, For the Sixth And Probably Not Final Time. Although at this point we know the show so thoroughly well we notice when the conductor is pacing the show a half-beat too quickly, and have detailed best-to-worst rankings for every Mark/Roger/Mimi/Collins/Angel/Joanne/Maureen/Benny/Joanne-Understudy-Who-Gets-the-Big-Seasons-of-Love-Solo we've ever seen and, in summary, are probably incredibly annoying and tedious about the whole thing. And now we have matching shirts! We are THE WORST. On Sunday we spent the entire day tackling garden and yardwork crap. Jason got the vegetable garden ready out back while I hauled in many, many bags of mulch to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2017 at amalah . com
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We've been home almost as long as we were gone in the first place, and yet the post-travel chaos continues. Only one suitcase is unpacked (and the toiletry bag really only moved from Point A to Point B(athroom), so only partial credit there), I'm still doing laundry and we have yet to restock the fridge or pantry. The kids all came running into our room this morning in a mass panic because there was no cereal. NO CEREAL. What are you even DOING, adults? You have ONE JOB and it is to PROCURE A STAGGERING AMOUNT OF CEREAL FOR OUR FACES. (Nevermind all the waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, fruit and eggs. No cereal = breakfast is a pile of garbage.) But oh! Speaking of jobs. I am (fingers crossed) about to start a big brand-new work project with a big brand-new client. I say fingers crossed because I got my resume in front of them well over six months ago for this project and eventually sort of gave up on it actually happening, but now it is. (No, it's not Amalah/Internet/Jackass/Funtime related, it's part of my secret identity/side hustle as a Capable Adult Human who gets shit done and knows how... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2017 at amalah . com
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We survived, both the drive and the trip itself. Post-road-trip/mini-vacation crash aside, today is kind of a rough day over here. So forgive the lazy mass posting of photos without much storytelling. (NOT PICTURED: AMALAH, THE GIANT CHICKEN GIRL WHO DOES NOT ROLL WITH THIS SKIING NONSENSE.) (That's Jason's niece on the left, also known as Ike's Favorite Person.) (She made him a pom pom puppy, now known as Ike's Most Treasured Possession.) What is it with vacation homes that suddenly make board games so attractive, by the way? We have a huge stack of dusty games that no one ever wants to play, that get taken out maybe once a year just long enough for an essential piece or two to go missing. But whenever we go on a trip it's like the goddamn National Chutes & Ladders Tournament and Operation Invitational. It's so old-fashionedly wholesome. (Ike cheats at Candyland something terrible, though.) Post-skiing entertainment at the lodge was a bit more their usual speed. Netflix cartoons, hot chocolate and chicken wings. "I did awesome at skeeting. My favorite part was when I fell in the snow on my belly." Ezra spent the weekend bargaining with us over what... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Best Fiends. By the time you read this, I will be visiting family in Killington, VT, having (hopefully) survived a seven-hour road trip with my children...and (even more hopefully) with my sanity intact. I'm not worried about the kids, by the way. The secret to traveling with kids is actually pretty simple: 1) Get a car with a DVD player in it. Procure many DVDs. And that's it. You're pretty much done. I mean, you'll also want some headphones for them, snacks and drinks but not too many drinks, because then you'll have a kid who needs to pee exactly five minutes after you leave the rest stop where he refused to even get out of the car (but I didn't have to go then!!!) and yet it's already at EMERGENCY LEVELS and then something unspeakable happens in an empty water bottle but hey that's an unexpected perk of having boys I guess. Okay, so there's also 2) Pack an empty water bottle, just in case. So my kids will happily spend all seven hours watching movie after movie while I slowly die of boredom in the front seat. Jason is a...bit of a control... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2017 at amalah . com
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Tuesday night I came down with what I initially thought was a stomach virus, but has since turned out to be a mild case of food poisoning. And while I'm still not back to 100% (can drink water just fine but can't eat anything without disastrous consequences), once I realized it was NOT something that would ping-pong around the entire household, resulting in a week or more of bodily fluid hell, I was downright relieved. So I ate some bad chicken at a restaurant over the weekend! The kids all ordered pancakes off the brunch menu! Jason got a steak salad! It's just me! Everybody else is gonna be fine! THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER! Or more accurately, this is the most Mom I've ever Mommed. I am celebrating my own wretched but non-contagious food poisoning. We have hit Peak Mom and surprise! It's DISGUSTING. Tonight we're supposed to get in the car and drive seven hours to Vermont. I should be better by then, right? Or at least super skinny? Shit. This is probably gonna suck. Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2017 at amalah . com
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My husband is awesome. And apparently I am too. I would never in a million years advise or recommend that anyone be as naively stupid as we were when we got married so young, but damn am I ever happy I snagged this guy first. Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2017 at amalah . com
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Happy Monday! Today I am best visually represented by this photo: Which is to say fat, cozy and in no mood to extricate myself from this couch groove. Mostly because of this, which Jason made on Friday night. (I helped! I made rice and prepped stuff and also kept his drink glass filled.) Homemade saag paneer and rotis. Enough to feed an army, or at least all of us throughout the entire weekend and again for me, for lunch today. (We made the cheese using this super easy DIY kit, the saag is a bit of a mash-up of these two recipes, and this is the bread.) Saturday morning I went to the YMCA to work out, then promptly came home and shoved another bowl of it in my face. Goals! We also took the kids out for some local exploring. Our poor little downtown continues to steadily recover from the flood, and the boys' favorite vintage toy store has finally reopened. (You might remember the owner as the hero dude from this video.) (The sidewalks aren't as pretty as they used to be, but I'll take this over GIANT GAPING DOOM CHASMS.) The kids were SUPER excited to see... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2017 at amalah . com
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After the insanity of last winter, our next-door neighbor and fellow long-ass driveway-haver had the sense to procure a snow thrower in time for this year. We did not, because we are cheapskates with the memories of goldfish...but then it didn't really snow at ALL so we were happy to have procrastinated on the expense. Then boom! March mini-blizzard, because of course. Jason has back issues, though, so shoveling us out was going to be All Me. So imagine my delight when I looked outside and saw that our neighbor, SUPER STOKED to finally break out that bad boy, had already cleared our driveway for us. (The bottoms of our driveways are shared, but he went above and beyond and came almost all the way up to our garage.) I opened the door to yell our thanks; he just shrugged and waved, then spun around with a gleeful look on his face as he went up the sidewalk to go help another house of people who were miserably dealing with the heavy, slushy, icy snow the old-fashioned way. The suburbs! What a country. I shoveled out the last few remaining feet and it damn near killed me -- every shovelful... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2017 at amalah . com
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This was last Thursday: Outside in t-shirts, flush from playing basketball, waiting for Jason to arrive for back-to-back-to-back parent/teacher conferences. The weather was warm, the sun was shining, the most perfect sibling shot only slightly marred by some aggressively unfortunate pencil placement. This is today: (No, we didn't lose Noah. He's playing outside now too, but just wasn't in a picture-taking mood today or Thursday. My camera roll is chock-full of him posing next to a whole bunch of Very Important Lego builds, though.) We didn't get nearly as much as predicted, at least, and after last year's mega-blizzard this is a fairly tame-ass storm. But it's March. Marrrrrrch. So close and yet so far/cold/damp. Beau is not a fan, as evidenced by the muddy/slushy LET ME BACK IN THE WORLD IS BROKEN OUT HERE footprints all over the door. He later worked up the nerve to frolic outside with the boys and their sleds, then came back in and made a soggy beeline for my pillow. The cats spent part of the morning looking out the window while whimpering in wide-eyed panic but seem to have calmed down since. Definitely ready for spring to get sprung, tho. Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2017 at amalah . com
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So there's some stuff I haven't written about, for no real reason other than it's All Very Unpleasant, and I'm Very Tired of All This Unpleasantness, and would really, truly rather tell you guys nothing but funny stories about my kids and post pictures of cats like a proper blogger stereotype. But at this point I'm straight-up omitting a bit of narrative here, so let me get you caught up. My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's. Awhile ago, actually. I'd noticed the hand tremors but was quick to write them off as something similar to mine, but they were getting noticiably worse from visit to visit. It's why she didn't come here for Christmas -- the symptoms have progressed to the point that travel is super difficult and (so far) her treatments have led to far more negative side effects than positive results. She's seeing a new specialist next month, so I'm hoping she'll get some better options. It's been a very different experience than my father's many illnesses, which were always punctuated by specific "OH SHIT WHAT NOW" moments of disaster and hospitalization. Every time I'd drop everything and get in the car, there was this dark cloud of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at amalah . com
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In lieu of typing out one (OF THE MANY!) furious political rants I've been yelling at the walls over the past month week 24-hour news cycle, I'll tell you a more happy story. A blog reader FB messaged me with a note of thanks after seeing my photos from the protest again the Muslim ban. We chatted back and forth for a bit -- like sooooooo many of the readers I've gotten to know over the years, she was funny and friendly, a fellow mom with a creative streak, generous and kind. She was also, you know, a Muslim. And obviously not having the best day. She asked if she could send the boys a little gift from her Etsy shop, and since handmade gifts from readers have always been and always will be my favorite thing in the world (other than say, a bunch of Sephora gift cards in the wake of the Zombie Pinkeye Makeup Drawer-pocalypse), I said yes! Please! Gimme dat swag. She specifically insisted no plug or pimpage was needed, but nahhhhh, sorry Farah. Her shop is LittleMuslimDolls. Naturally Ike immediately turned them into flying superhero ninjas. Ezra simply paired them up as mommies and daddies.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2017 at amalah . com
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This weekend we started work on Big Serious-Ass Vegetable Garden 2.0... By setting up the world's lamest grow operation ever in the basement. We're planning once again on two jam-packed raised beds and about a half-dozen containers. It's a lot. Please note my use of the word "we," which is a lie. I helped clear out some boxes and assorted junk and Jason did everything else. I went back upstairs, poured a glass of wine and took pictures of my pets. Weekend productivity: NAILED IT. Last year none of our seedlings grew and we ended up buying plants instead. We started them too late, I think, and didn't account for colder temperatures in this basement vs. our old one. So in addition to the starter trays and grow light, a heat mat and digital thermostat have joined the setup. We're going with SLIGHTLY fewer tomato plants this year, but probably still too many. Summertime visitors to Yellow House should once again expect to have large bags of tomatoes hurled politely handed to you, no really, I insist, come on, you're not leaving until you take some, Jason, block the door, they're trying to escape without taking any tomatoes, etc. Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2017 at amalah . com
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Further evidence that Marrch is the worrrrrst*: A friendly reminder that it's time to renew Ceiba's animal license! Right on the one-year anniversary of her wild adventure of wandering two whole lawns over, then getting herself carted to the shelter, where I first paid for the license (and a fine for not having the license in the first place whooooops), and also got the news that oh yeah ur dog is peeing blood now, might wanna get that checked out. At least she lived out her final couple weeks as a fully legal dog, although perhaps under the new administration the citation for being off leash on her record would qualify her for dog criminal deportation. Either way, love my option here for explaining why I'm not paying for this anymore: THAT'S ONE WAY OF PUTTING IT I GUESS. I still vividly remember the panicked, clammy, heartsick feeling I had that entire night, and the CRUSHING GUILT that it was all our fault -- the gate/no collar/no microchip/the letting-the-dog-out-and-just-plain-not-noticing-she-wasn't-let-back-in. My brain kept circling back to the possibility of "that's it, this is it, she's gone and something terrible is going to happen and you'll never know what happened, but ohhhhhh... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2017 at amalah . com
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The rr key on my keyboarrd is sticking. Not every time, so I keep forgetting about it, and then rrealize a second too late that I've just sent an email or article or blog post into the worrld with a bunch of r-rrelated typos. It's great. Rreally grreat. Luckily this dump doesn't really care for stuff like "editorial standards" or "prroofreading" or "grammarr that doesn't fold and collapse in on itself under the weight of the seventh line of a single run-on sentence" or "CAPS LOCK IS LAZY AND SHOUTY," so I should be okay. rr. r. rrrrrrrrrrrr. (STOP IT, ASSHOLE KEY. ARRRRRGH.) Anyway. How's everybody's week? Mine is boring, although I'm trying to pretend it's not March because March is a very bad, not rreally grreat month for me, historically speaking, what with it being long and cold and grey and oh right, the month where everybody and everything I love dies. Not to be dramatic, but well, March can suck it. Rey was making some vomit/heaving noises this morning and I was like, DON'T YOU EVEN START WITH THAT I CANNOT. (It was a hairrball.) Last night we trried to make falafel pita sandwiches and something went very,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2017 at amalah . com
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