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I told you it was coming, but none of us believed me.
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Thurs. Feb 17, 2011
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Check out the new website!
I told you it was coming, but none of us believed me.
If you've got the old direct Typepad link bookmarked, please update your bookmark to plain old girlbomb.com. Plain, fancy, old, new girlbomb.com. See you there!
Shane Bieber, a.k.a. Vanessa Moyer
Because of the books, I get to meet some very intriguing and inspiring young women, ones who I think are destined to blow up (in a good way). So I've decided to feature a bombgirl of the week, so that you can get to meet some of them too.
I met our first bombgirl through Facebook, and became an instant fan of her art form, which is impersonating the much beloved human kitten known as Justin Bieber. Friends, please meet Shane Bieber (a.k.a. Vanessa Moyer).
So how did you become a Justin Bieber impersonator?
It all started out when I first found out about Justin back in 2008 and I said to myself "OMG! This kid is sooo awesome, he's GOING to be famous one day, and when he is I'm going to be his impersonator." No joke, a year later or so, there he was! And I've been his fan since day one. I met him in November '09 when he came to my city (Edmonton, Alberta) and I was wearing the same outfit he wore in the One Time video and these Justin Bieber fans came up to me while I was standing in line and asked if they could take a picture of with me. It was an unbelievable experience, seriously, this kid was so famous already and had such great music. When I'm out and about people stare and whisper "Justin Bieber."
I have a facebook fanpage for my services, a kijijji ad, and buisness cards. When the Never Say Never 3D movie came out I went to see it in theaters with my girlfriend and I was wearing the same outfit he wore for his MyWord Tour, and again I got asked for pictures and such. I also gave out buisness cards -- it was fun. When I perform Justin's songs in front of an audience, it feels sooo great -- I can't explain in words how great it makes me feel and how right it feels to be up on that stage impersonating my idol. He is my idol and my inspiration -- he came from a small town in Canada with BIG dreams and a HUGE voice, and was raised by a single mother and lived below the poverty line. He is such a HUGE inspiration to every kid from a small town with big dreams. This may sound corny, but I use the saying "Never Say Never" all the time, in and out of school. People may think his songs have no meaning, but everyone is different and they are entitled to their own opinion. They just like diferent music, not the same type of genre.
Besides Justin Bieber, who are your favorite people and why?
My favorite people are my longtime girlfriend Hayley, my guidance counselor, and my older sister. The first person, Hayley, is self-explanatory. I love her very much, she's my other half. We have been dating for almost two years, since March 24th, 2009.
My guidance counselor, Mrs. Yusepchuck is very encouraging and helpful. Ever since grade 10 she's been there for me, through all the bad times that I had with family conflicts and school dilemmas. There were times when I just wanted to self-destruct and drop out of school and such, but she was always there for me no matter what. Same goes for Hayley. They are both very supportive of me and my interests, and help get me through things when I'm not strong enough.
My older sister is one of my favorites because she raised me for most of my teenage life, since I was thirteen or fourteen. (I'm eighteen now, she's 25.) I mean, you have to give props to the woman -- it's not easy raising a teenager when you're just still growing up yourself. She's accepting of me and my lifestyle and my sexual orientation. She is amazing. She's my hero -- she's been through everything, and she's strong.
How did you find my book? Is there anything about it that reminded you of yourself?
I was at my school library a couple of days ago, and I was just walking past this book display that displays the best books that have been reviewed by students, and I read the description of Have You Found Her, and I just started reading page after page!
There's tons of stuff that remind me of myself. I used to be a runaway, until one day I just asked myself, "What am I running from? I have a great family and a loving mother." I think that's when I had my epiphany (LOL). I think the reason I ran away multiple times was because I wanted to grow up fast
and be independent like an adult. I didn't want to be a kid anymore. You know when you're just turning into a teen and you want to figure things out for yourself and make your own mistakes? That was me. Also, I got into trouble for basically being myself a lot of the time, and I was tired of it. So instead of facing the music, I thought I could just run from my problems and they would go away.
Unfortunately, that's not how it goes. It just makes it worse, or stays the same and doesn't get any better. Now that I am older, I understand the things my family did for me, and I understand why they disciplined me the way they did. I was once grounded for 3 months!
What other books do you like?
I like Far from Xanadu, Rage, and Keeping You A Secret. all by Julie-Anne Peters. I like books about teenage and family hardships. Especially Ellen Hopkins! And the House of Night series by Kirsten and P.C. Cast. PROPS!
August, 1986. Our third date. I am newly seventeen and he is twenty three. We are on ecstasy. Not just the drug, either; the real thing. I am, anyway. For the first time, I have someone who is mine, someone who is as intense and weird as I am, and who loves me, me more than anybody. This is the feeling I've been craving my entire life. This has made all the shit that came before it worthwhile.
Also, this is the best drug that was ever made. Seriously, I do not want to do anything else in the world besides take ecstasy, and as far as I'm concerned, there is no reason for us to spend money or time doing anything else. He likes it well enough, but he wants to spend money on pot. Why? This is one of the very few things we will ever disagree about, which drugs to take, and for a while it will end with both of us getting our way.
It feels good to breathe. I can't breathe deeply enough, it feels so good, the stretch in my solar plexus unknotted at last. My succulent tongue locked into the roof of my mouth, tasting like tequila, and the summer air in Boerum Hill has never smelled so musky and green. Smoke smells good. I french inhale all my cigarettes and joints so I can taste them everywhere at once. How much of it is love and how much of it is drugs and how much of it is relief, frankly, from the constant barrage of terrible thoughts I suffer most of the time: terrible thoughts about myself, terrible fears of everyone else. Meanwhile everything is dying, I'm just on the cusp of realizing this again, the way I did when I was five and I actually grasped the concept of death for the first time. I was horrified: You mean you die and there's no more you, and you never come back? Does everybody know about this? Well then why aren't we doing anything about it? We should have our best people working on this around the clock! I am becoming a scientist as soon as I grow up, and I am going to work on a cure for death, because maybe you guys are okay with the idea of eternal non-existence, but I'm really not.
So far, I have not become a scientist; then again, I have not yet become a high school senior, so I still have some time. Not much, though, as I am convinced I'm going to be dead by the time I'm eighteen. "I don't know why," I tell people. "I just always had this feeling I'm going to die young." It seems like a good idea, dying young; there's nothing else to do, all the adults I know are so miserable, nobody has any fun at all. I imagine eighteen as the edge of the flat earth, like I'll be sailing along on my galleon and I can't see the horizon for all the fog and I'm just going to fall right over the edge. And die.
Which is fine, maybe, I guess, but not yet, not tonight, when I'm in my friend's kitchen with the girls and the boys and a bunch of drugs and booze as usual except tonight I have my own boy, I don't have to trade off with anyone tonight. I feel fantastic, I feel alive, curling my sweaty fingers into a fist -- look at the way this hand does exactly what I want it to; it's a fucking miracle. Crazier things have happened, for instance: I'm in love with a guy, with a drug, with my life -- for what feels like the first time, I have something to live for. This is the cure for death.
“Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Undearneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit—Life!”
-- Emily Dickinson
I’ll admit it; it’s an ungainly sight to see me squeezing into a fire engine red plastic chair at the Cardiology Department waiting room at Children’s Hospital Boston. There is just this egregiously comic juxtaposition on so many levels. If I stand up I could easily affix the chair to my ass. I am the only patient here filling out her own medical history. I am the only patient here who can sign her own authorization and consent papers, as I know how to write in cursive. Ironically, the other patients, who are sucked into the unnerving gyrations of The Wiggles on the overhead television, are braver than I am now or could ever be.
Seventeen years ago, when I was two, I was here. In this hospital. My head bopped along eagerly to the theme song of Darkwing Duck. The doctor showed my mother a diagram. I looked over and saw her in hysterics. Immediately I snapped out the rapture of animated juvenilia. My mother was crying. Like, really crying. Shit had just gotten real.
The tumor, which he called, a “mask”, reminded me of the Jim Carrey movie of the same name. Was it green? Did it stretch and contort cartoonishly in opportune situations? Did it spell my demise or would it land me into mischievous social sparring with cops and Cameron Diaz? I wasn’t exactly sure what all the fuss was about. My mother had brought along my brother. We exchanged glances and siphoned our nervousness into what was going on the television screen.
At home, I heard my mother explaining to various family members that I had some kind of “tumor” in my “aorta”, pronouncing the words in her unmistakable New Jersey accent. The tumor would turn out to be benign and I came home from the hospital with a snuggly koala bear. I also bore a pulpy vine of raised fleshed intertwined with what looked like black gimp. I ran my fingers down it from time to time. The paradox of textures would often peak my curiosity. Slick plastic stitches and malleable flesh were were somehow creeping me together.
I eventually got the stitches taken out. I was left with a vertical scar winding down my chest like the Nile on a map of Egypt. The dermatologist I consulted with promised my mother it would fade away after a few weeks. It never did. My mother tried applying Mederma after seeing it work wonders in television commercials. I hated the smell and instantly became cranky. Even after losing my snuggly koala bear, my brother four years later, and my mother about a decade later—the scar still remains. In my developmental years it became my identifying niche. Yeah, I had cheated death. I was a real textbook baby. Tank tops never fell to the way side in the summers of my girlhood and by the time I was thirteen, there were other things on my chest people were staring at and asking about.
Now, at age nineteen, I am here for my routine bill of health; after the appointment, I will go up to the receptionist’s desk and schedule another appointment two years from now. Out of sight, out of mind…seal up the chest and give it a rest.
But this time, something is not right. Dr. Levine says that there is a part of heart she hears that’s moving slower than the rest.
And instantly, I go from scarred to scared. The scar is no longer a bad-ass emblem of the second chance I got at life. It’s a line of demarcation of my dizzying waltz with mortality. My mother isn’t here to spend the night with me in my hospital bed, cuddle with me, sing me songs, coo away with insomnia with her never-fail rendition of “Jesus Loves Me”. My brother isn’t here to be the brave middleman, for my mom and me. And that snuggly little koala bear doesn’t mean shit now.
If I could have my way, somebody would just put me under, cut me open, fiddle around, remove a mass, and tell me everything was alright.
The heart. It’s a funny thing.
(To be continued...)
Jewish Child Care Agency, 1985. I hand-cut this t-shirt so it draped as seen; the skirt too was made from a t-shirt. I also wore a lot of slips that year, and once when I was introduced to a boyfriend's mother I realized, "I'm wearing underwear in public." But she was a nice woman. She painted pictures of porches, successfully, meaning that her pictures of porches sold well, also that it was remarkable how well she captured things like the folds on a flag, the stamen of a flower, light diffusing through a half-open screen door.
Genteel. I had no place there. He went away for the summer and when he came back he'd fallen in love with someone else. I'd bought him a pocket watch. I was so excited to give him this beautiful pocket watch that I'd got from a second-hand store near the group home; I'd been winding it for days, so much so that I wasn't sure, by the time I got it into the box and wrapped, if it was still working. I had broken up with the guy I'd been dating for the summer while waiting for my boyfriend to return; I'd been counting down the days until we'd see each other again. Then he called and said he was back and I could come downtown to see him the next day. I was stunned -- the next day? Not right now, after the ten weeks we'd been apart? He didn't sound right, and I asked if something had happened, and he said he was tired and we'd talk more tomorrow.
When I got to his apartment the next day, his mother opened the door, cheerful. I hadn't been expecting her there -- how were we going to have sex if his mother was home? And how was I going to convince him to stay with me, as I was starting to suspect was going to be necessary, if we couldn't have sex? I was wearing something even more inappropriate than usual, my red bra showing through my white shirt, garters visible from under my skirt. He came out of his room and greeted me with a hug. I pressed against him hard, but I could feel him pulling away. We went into his room to talk.
The Tom Petty video was playing on the TV in his bedroom, "Don't Come Around Here No More." It was a coincidence, that video was always playing that year, but it sounded like Tom Petty knew what was coming. My boyfriend had a TV with cable at the foot of his bed; I'd spent good hours laying there in complete comfort watching videos and fooling around and eating ravenously whatever was brought to me. This was the warm and happy room where I'd napped in someone's arms, had them kiss my neck and tell me I was beautiful. My princess, he sometimes called me, and I'd rolled my eyes at first, but confidentially I'd grown to relish it.
I gave him the watch. He opened it and looked surprised by it, said wow, this is really cool. This is really cool of you, Janice. You're a cool girl. Then he looked sad.
At least he broke up with me in person. Or broke mostly up -- he said he needed to "think," and I took that to mean that I still had a shot, so I left without incident. I must have left his room with a crushed expression on my face, but his mother didn't seem to notice any more than she seemed to notice my egregious lack of clothing. "Bye, dear," she said, and smiled at me, as I passed through her kitchen for the last time.
Was this photo supposed to lure him back? No, this had been taken before the summer's separation -- something to remember me by. That broken-necked, victimized look -- that's supposed to be sexy. The submissive posture with the challenging look. The only reason I have this photo is because once I realized I was doomed, I made him give me the pictures back. And my letters, I said, and my notes. And the pocket watch.
Okay, he said, sounding hurt. He wanted the remnants of me, the sentiment of having loved and somehow lost it. With me, it was all of me or none of me, that's what you got. But I hung onto his letters, and the gifts he'd given me; a hand-hammered locket on a tangled metal chain. I found them recently, along with this picture, in a shoebox in a plastic tub in the closet. He'd brought all my things to school with him when we went back the week after Labor Day, including the watch.
It didn't even work, he said.
Friends, if you know anything about me, it's that I'm super duper hip and cool. Besides using words like "super duper" and "hip" and "cool," you can tell I'm hip and cool because I know about all the most hip and cool music, such as that made by my new favorite band, the Suspicious Packages. As a matter of fact, they've been referred to as "hipsters" themselves. I don't know what that is, but I want to be one too!
Let's learn more about the Suspicious Packages, shall we?
So are you two related, or a couple, or both, or what?
Delia: Devin and I are lovers, partners, boyfriend/girlfriend, whatever bourgeois term you feel most comfortable with. So no, we are not related. (To Devin) Although, it would be kind of cool to be the Williamsburg version of Donny and Marie. Devin is a little alt-country, I’m a little bit pop-rock and roll.
Devin: Nice. I think someone found our next cover! And our next role-playing scenario.
How did you decide to start working together?
Delia: Well, when we started dating we discovered that we both share an ironic love and respect for pop music. I mean, irony is my middle name. Seriously, I legally changed it to Irony. It used to be Susan.
Devin: Your name is not Susan. Anybody...?
Delia: Wow, nice obscure Whitnet Houston reference babe.
Devin: Aside from making passionate love, making music together is the most intimate and intense bond two people can share. We do both with fervor and panache.
How do you choose the songs you interpret, and who does the arranging?
Delia: When it comes to choosing songs, it’s definitely a collaborative effort. If I hear a song that is effing deck, I tell Devin and vice versa. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. (To Devin) Remember that klezmer version of November Rain we tried? Oy, that was effing traif. I do most of the arranging, because I’m the guitarist. Devin is a sick auxiliary percussionist though. Have you seen his sexy ass with an egg shaker?
Devin: Thanks, babe. I'm gonna shake your eggs later. When we first started performing together, there was an almost endless supply of pop music material at our fingertips. It was just a matter of finding the songs that were the most ironic to cover. Unfortunately since the advent of that ishtar karaoke tripe called "Glee," our choices are more limited. We'd rather be caught shopping at The Gap than have people think we were copying "Glee." "Glee" is so midtown. When we find the right song, though, it's effing magic...kismet, really. Delia usually works out the arrangement...I come up with a lot of the harmonies. I was briefly a voice major at Oberlin, so you know, it's kind of my thing.
Do you see yourselves as a "cover band," or is that a label you eschew?
Devin: I consider us "pop music re-interpreters."
Delia: As a couple we find the process of writing our own material too emotionally draining. One time Devin wrote a song inspired by those Sarah McClauglin ASPCA commercials. You try rhyming “mutilated puppies” with something. He was really depressed.
Devin: That was a dark period.
What do you do when there's an artistic conflict between you? A personal conflict?
Delia: Basically, we handle both the same way. I lock myself in the bathroom, and scream “you are just like my fucking fathers," while Devin drinks his weight in Makers Mark and drunkenly rides his fixie through Bushwick. It seems to work for us.
Devin: We've yet to encounter a problem that bourbon and an angry shag can't cure.
So Devin, you're a male feminist. How does that work?
Devin: Well, before my dad came out of the closet and left my mom and the coven back in St. Paul, I was exposed to a lot of strong Wiccan women and feminine energy. I was in tune with the Goddess long before I flicked my willie. Plus, let's be honest: women run the world, so I figure if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Delia, are you a feminist too? Or are you a heinous, disgusting gender traitor?
Delia: I was raised by two gay men. They worshipped strong women. Literally, we had a small alter dedicated to Cher in our rec room. I don’t think I had any other option than to be a feminist. How many other 8 year olds do you know were dressed as Emma Goldman for Halloween?
What are your other hobbies and interests?
Delia: I enjoy baking vegan cupcakes. Regular cupcakes are filled with too much whimsy and preservatives. Right now, I’m into knitting. All the feminist mags said it was hot, so…Oh! and I’m creating a line of hand knitted stroller cozies to market to all the lesbian moms in Park Slope. It’s called Gaybee Steps. Look for it on Etsy.
Devin: I spend most of my time following Delia around and watching her do her various activities. When she gets sick of me and sends me away, I like to ride my fixie to the organic coffee shop and pretend to write in my journal. I also enjoy spending time grooming my beard...oh, and tending to our plot in the community garden. My azaleas have really been thriving.
I heard you were supposed to play at Otto's Shrunken Head, and then the place burned down. How much did that suck?
Devin: We were most disappointed for our fans. They deserve to enjoy a flaming drink served in a fishbowl while listening to our deck tunes.
Delia: At first, I thought we were being sabotaged by our rival band, “The Misfits." Those tassels and their evil manager Eric are always trying to get a hold of my magical earrings.
Devin: Dels, I think that is actually the plot to the cartoon Jem.
Delia: I’m sorry, I have no idea what you are talking about. Anyway, I think it turned out to be accidental. They are back in business now, which is deck.
What's next for you?
Something I wrote a few years ago about my mid-twenties:
Since I couldn’t be fixed, I wanted to be dead. Every day was misery: wake up, smoke a joint, go to work at the newspaper I’d conned into hiring me. Smoke another joint at lunch, under a leaking scaffold on a side street; get back to answering phones and entering data. Deflect a phone call from my mother, checking in about lunch that weekend; wait for a phone call from my boyfriend, to no avail. Go home, feed the cats, smoke another joint. Call the boyfriend. Have him blow me off. Try to write a poem. Fail. Suck my thumb. Hit myself. Cry. Have some dinner. Smoke another joint, and another, until I fall asleep. Dream about being the victim of a violent crime. Wake up and do it again.
Winter 1987. On our way to score some coke at Max's apartment in Battery Park City, which in those days was a wasteland of construction debris with a few very tall buildings poking out. We were taking a cab, because that's how much we wanted our drugs immediately. This is when drugs were still fun, and the look on my face is one of impending satisfaction. This is when Max still lived at Battery Park.
Max was going to be a millionaire very soon. He had a company that made 3D animations, so most of the time while we were doing coke off a glass table through the hollow barrel of a ballpoint pen, we were watching a loop on the TV of an animated red ball bouncing against a black and white checkerboard floor, shiny and shadowed like life, but so unreal. Max also owned some footage of Jim Morrison taken a few weeks before his death where he's walking by the side of a rural road and muttering for something like six hours. Between the two of these assets, Max was going to be very rich, so rich that he was going to have his office in the top of the Chrysler Building, unless he decided to move the business to St. Croix.
I wanted Max to be real, in the same way that I wanted myself to be real, I wanted to have an identity that was always me, not to be shifting and changing and ruined before it began. I wanted to know what I was capable of and what I wasn't. I wanted to know it for sure, so I could stop testing. Every night new things were possible, new betrayals of faith; every day I spent looking for the monsters that had melted back under the beds, knowing they'd be out again when the sun fell, as did crumbs of coke sometimes, so it wouldn't hurt to get down on your hands and knees on the parquet floor and see if there's anything there.
I remember Max passing off fake twenties at El Sombrero, one of the few places on the Lower East Side that's hung on to this day; he was entertaining a group of Europeans who ignored me for the whole meal, then demanded of me when the check came, "Where can we go dancing?" It was 1 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon. I didn't pass the test. I should have suggested Save the Robots, which was probably jumping at one on a Sunday. I want to go back and tell them, all these men in boxy suits, women who've only gotten taller in my mind as years go by: I finally know where to go.
This is an anecdote from November, I think. I was at a party for a friend, and I saw someone I know, someone who put out a book last year. We started to chat. Out of generalized social anxiety and lack of anything else to say, I asked a question I don't much like to be asked, especially at parties: "So, are you working on another book?"
"Nope," he said, grinning. He bent at the knees and made a sweeping motion, an umpire calling an out. "That's it, I'm done."
I gaped at him, awed. What a perfect answer, and with what glee he delivered it. No, I'm not writing another book. I already wrote a book. Leave me alone, I'm tired.
"That's brilliant," I said. "I'm going to start saying that too. 'Nope, I'm not writing another book. Just reread the two I already wrote.'"
"Exactly," he said. "'You want another book, go write your own.'"
"I know that people mean well when they ask," I demurred. "I meant well when I asked you."
He laughed. "No you didn't."
Well, I thought I meant well. Turns out I don't know what I meant. But I know what he meant. The minute you get something on the shelves, everyone says, "Oh great! Ten or twenty years of your life, concentrated into book form! So, what else you got?" Like, "All right, so you managed to write a book once, twice maybe, but can you do it again, anytime you want, on command? Right away?"
This must be how men feel after sex.
So, inspired by my acquaintance, my new answer to the dreaded question is NO. I'm not working on another book. Unless you mean the book of crossword puzzles next to the toilet. In which case, I'm really close to finishing it. Two, three poops at most. I'll let you know when it's done!
Blah blah 2011 blah. I'm waiting for the wonderful web designers who created my current site to transform it into a Girlbomb group blog, something I've been nattering about since the summer but have not yet executed due to: severe tendonitis in both arms, emotional stumble into depression, exhaustion as a side effect of anti-depressants, and to be fair a certain amount of laziness and indolence, on top of Certain Interpersonal Communication Issues ("CICI") between me and people who are not me, which group seems to be comprised of the whole lot of you. Anyway, the relaunch is officially imminent, to coincide with the fifth anniversary of Girlbomb's publication, for which I'm having a big reading/party at Bowery Poetry Club on March 11, and I'm excited to expand the online empire, as soon as I get around to doing everything I need to do on my end to make it happen (note to self: get on that).
I don't know what to tell you. I've been practicing meditation since the new year, though I can only go for maybe three-quarters of a full breath before I interrupt myself with some completely superficial train of thought, and I can only keep trying for five or six minutes at a time before I surrender to the tyranny of my brain's chatter. But I've decided that I'm going to keep trying, because it's not making things worse. I know that part of the relief I've felt from anger and anxiety is due to the meds, but I'd like to believe some of it is due to, like, pseudo-Buddhist meditation.
Wellbutrin makes my gums taste bad. But you know what makes them taste good? Surrender. Reading this book about metta meditation; it says you can't control anything, and life's not fair, and the sooner you accept this, the happier you will be. Life sucks and then you die, and nobody should have ever promised you otherwise, but in the meantime, you can think of the things you would really like -- May I have physical happiness, may I have mental happiness, may I live free of danger, may I love my life -- then move on to direct those thoughts at other people, a close friend, a neutral acquaintance, then a person you dislike, then all beings, at which point you are a total master of your emotions and nothing can knock you off your square, even if you aren't on meds. I'm building up to all that. I have a hard time starting with myself; I'm always tempted to jump ahead to "all beings" or "a close friend." But I am going back to the beginning, and when I can meditate on the first phrase for longer than half a full inhale, I will consider myself almost ready to move on to the second.
Bush-wah. Girlbomb sells out, goes all organic-white-linen-sheaths and chunky natural rock necklaces that weigh a ton, a Stonehenge of jewelry. The red hair whites and frizzes as she sits in full lotus in a time-lapse montage of a sunbeam shifting position from one part of the wall over her shoulder to the other. Or she stays "punk," which at her stage of life is...a little Hot Topic. A little Fluevogs-and-Liz-Phair. It's a little bit too pigtails for 40 plus. No, I'm already okay with nagging my friends to do what I do and eat real oatmeal for breakfast every morning because it lowered my cholesterol and provides a lot of fiber; I am only weeks away from doing water aerobics and taking Boniva. All I need to do is go to Pier One and get a standing waterfall sculpture. and I can start modeling for the covers of tri-fold bank flyers about your "investment options."
What? Yeah, I don't know either. I just wanted to say hello, thanks for reading and commenting while I was away. I'm back and if you're reading this then you are here too, and welcome, or welcome back. With any luck, there's more to come.