Category Archives: Awards

A whinge, a whine, a whimper, and a wine

“Whinge” is such a good word that I thought I’d use it. This posting is a slight departure from the norm; hence, I haven’t given it a sequential number as per usual.

Whinge: Am I the only one on Word Press who has to log in MANY A TIME in order to give a like or a comment? It’s driving me crazy – and in fact stops me from liking and commenting. It’s not everyone’s site that does it, just some. What an annoying thing! What is its meaning? It’s only fairly recently begun to do this. I’ve cut down on the number of blogs I read, like, and comment on daily to save time and frustration.

Whine: I’ve almost finished my aim for 2019: to compose 153 pieces for the piano. I chose 153 because that’s the number of piano pieces in Béla Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. Of course, they’re not exactly up to Bartok’s standard, but I still dunnit. Despite some helpful and kind suggestions from a couple of readers, I still don’t know what to do with them. I hate to foist 153 piano pieces on my unsuspecting half dozen or so faithful followers. Even if a piano piece was surreptitiously snuck into a posting once a week it would take 3 years, by which time I’ll possibly be in a hole in Kopuatama. (Kopuatama, for those not well-read, is the name of the local cemetery). So I’m going to post the music in blocks of fifteen now and again, provided no one feels compelled to listen to them out of a sense of friendship and loyalty. Relatively low self-esteem was always one of my finer hallmarks – which probably accounts for the fact that I’ve only once sent my brilliant post-modern novel manuscript to a publisher. (I think the publisher has since died, and can only hope that my MS was the cause of it).

One of these is Bartók

Whimper: Last Spring (it’s a cold Autumn here in New Zealand now) I was unable to find any globe artichoke plants in any plant shop. Being particularly partial to artichokes, and given the exorbitant expense of buying canned artichoke hearts, I planted a packet of artichoke seeds. Artichokes require a coldish winter. I had 32 seeds germinate, and planted then around the garden. They are a lovely structural plant anyway with gorgeous thistle-like edible purple flowers. The artichokes have flourished. Each single plant takes up several square yards. I’ve never had them so big. Imagine 32 gigantic plants. There’s no room even for a humble carrot, and I haven’t the heart to pull any out! Roll on Spring with its promised feast! I’ll just nip out now and get you a photo!

Here is one of 32!

Wine: My car died just on 12 months ago. Death came suddenly and in the middle of a busy highway. I phoned the Automobile Association and in an effort to ascertain where exactly I was I opened the car door and the dog leaped out onto the road. Picture, if you will, me on the phone (the only time I’ve ever used my mobile) dashing between roaring articulated trucks and trailers in an effort to catch the dog. We are both lucky to be alive. The whinge part however, is that I haven’t yet been able to replace the car! I was to be paid for months of work this past week, but the money has not yet arrived. Getting a car is top of my list, as I’ve been borrowing an old truck every time I run out of wine groceries. Contemporary used cars seem to come in 50 shades of grey – I will certainly be looking for something more titivating than 50 shades of grey (colour being the only thing I know about automobiles).

My dead car being taken away

That concludes this collection of whinges, whines, whimpers, and wine. Thank you for reading, and please feel welcome to leave comments – whether sharp or blunt.

Award 20: The Terrible Poetry Contest

This is not an award as such but the writer of this blog has won the Terrible Poetry Contest three times. My special thanks to Chelsea who initiated and manages such a fabulous event.

Each time the poems seems to get badder and worser. Such inspiring brilliance emanating from my writing device perhaps stems from an anonymous poem which was my favourite in my teens (and possibly still is):

What a wonderful bird the frog are
When he walk he fly almost
When he sing he cry almost
He ain’t got no tail hardly either.
He sit on what he ain’t got almost.

Being thrice the winner of such a notable thing as the Terrible Poetry Contest has prompted me to reflect upon other highly successful moments in my life of seventy years. There have been so many fabulous successes that I barely know where to start.

1. Rugby coach. Many years ago, when I coached rugby, the team had won every game in the rugby-playing season. There was only one game left to play to make it an “unbeaten season”. We arrived at the playing field to compete against Newlands College. My team came to me and protested: “They’ve stacked their team with better players who are not in their usual team.”

“Don’t worry,” says I. “Just beat them. Victory will be so much sweeter.”

After a very long game no points had been scored. And then in the last minute, Newlands College scored some points. Have you ever driven a bus home with 20 or so eighteen year old men bawling their eyes out? “Don’t be silly,” says I, “it’s just a game.” But on arrival home I shut the door and had a good cry myself.

2. Just recently my local village ran a competition. The village is called “Stratford” so every street is named after something from Shakespeare: Prospero Place, Romeo Road, Ariel Street, and so on. Four new streets were waiting to be named. There was a monetary reward for the person who came up with the best suggestion. Not only, the blurb said, should the name be connected with Shakespeare, but it should also if possible have something to do with the history of the village.

I came up with the perfect suggestion! In fact, it was so perfect that I spent the reward money on firewood ahead of the winning announcement.

My suggestion was “Arden Street”. Not only was Mary Arden William Shakespeare’s mother’s name, but “As You Like it” was set in the Forest of Arden, and a hitherto unknown-authored play – “Arden of Faversham” – had just been declared as “now known with certitude to have been written by the Bard”. On the local front, an early settler in the village here was Joseph Arden whose landscape paintings hang in galleries up and down the country.

I had certainly thought up a winner. Anyway the local town council chose Midsummer Street. Thank goodness I’m not a bad loser. They can shove their stupid midsummer pile of crap up their noses for all I care, the bat-poo infested, snot-ridden creeps.

3. Around about 1957 the local rural schools of the area held a combined festival. There were all sorts of categories that the primary school students could be involved in. I chose the event “Design a carpet pattern”. I drew on paper around several things from my school bag and coloured them in. And there! On exhibition day! The twenty or so entered carpet designs were pinned on a large display board. There was 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place – with two “Highly Commended” designs. Mine was highly commended!! I never saw that they made a carpet out of it but I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

Years later, when I lived in St-Victor, Quebec, a number of my friends worked as fabric designers for curtains, bedspreads, and so on. I never told them they were talking to an award-winning carpet designer. They would’ve been so jealous.

That about takes care of all my successes in life. Thanks again to Chelsea for initiating and keeping the Terrible Poetry Contest. Do visit.

And as an Addendum: If you have sort of enjoyed reading this, don’t hesitate to nominate me for any Blogging Award that comes your way, deserved or not. Despite the naming of Midsummer Street, it seems to be raining here a good deal of the time and I’m stuck inside with little to do other than create terrible poems and compose award acceptance blogs such as this.

I hope your days are as filled with stunning accomplishments as mine.

Award 19: Liebster Award right Herr

The Liebster Award seems to be one of the most enduring blog awards. I was delighted to receive it from Chelsea Ann Owens. Chelsea’s blog covers many aspects. My favourite bit of her blog however is the weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The “terrible” applies to the poetry and not to the award! It’s great fun to enter and to read some purposely intended bad poetry. Some people don’t have to try very hard.

There are five questions to answer when accepting this award. So without further ado I shall oblige.

1. Would you rather sleep in on Sunday, and would a cat sitting on your face change that answer?

That’s two questions! Quite frankly, I hate sleeping in on any day. I get out of bed every morning between 3 and 4 o’clock, so come breakfast time (around 8) there’s already 4 to 5 hours of “work” under my belt. It’s as if those morning hours are free – others sleep while I forge ahead. Early rising stems from a lifetime of having to get up to “milk the cows”. There’s no cows to milk now, but the habit of a lifetime remains. The cows however still hover near my fence.

Regarding the cat… the cat is 13 years old and for thirteen years has slept on my head. In fact, 13 years ago, when just a kitten, she would creep over from the neighbours at night and snuggle up in my bed. I was drastically poor at the time and rented as cheap a house as I could find. The house had no insulation and no source of heating. I’m sure I would have perished from cold if the cat hadn’t nightly snuggled up. When I left that wretched house the cat came too. Together, since then, we have moved 8 times. She goes for a walk with the dog every day, and complains loudly all the way.

One thing we don’t need to use in New Zealand are cat harnesses. There are no wolves, coyotes, snakes, mountain lions, or any form of cat-eater. So my cat goes in and out the cat door at whim. She covers a territory of several square miles. AND she has the wonderfully creative name of… Pussy Cat.

2. Given an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters, how soon before they realise typewriters are outdated and they’ll need to learn sign language?

Living in Djibouti we had a monkey, called Arthur. He was orphaned when his mother was run over by an army truck. He would sleep in a baby’s bassinet (I think some countries call it a cradle?) under the blankets with his little head poking out – just like a human.

Not Arthur

He was a quick learner. Noticing that we took our shoes off before entering the house and carrying them inside to place in a closet, he soon helped by taking the shoes at the door and putting them away. Whenever visitors came to leave they would discover their shoes were missing. Aha! They were always arranged in neat little rows in the closet!

When Arthur came with us to town he would ride on the back of the dog, like a noble horseman. He loved being the centre of the much attention he caused.

Sadly, Arthur couldn’t use a typewriter so the question remains unanswered.

3. What is the best paper aeroplane design?

Whenever I taught secondary school students I would hold an annual paper dart competition to see whose dart would fly the greatest distance. Of course I organised it because I knew I would always win! The secret of a good dart is not sleekness and speed; rather it’s being able to float quietly through the air without turning a corner. A gentle throw of the right design will go an enormous distance. It’s festina lente in another guise.

I’m more than aware that a wordy description of the design (without diagrams) is what is called for. It is almost an impossibility! That is why in the paper-dart teaching days, the students were challenged to write down their dart-making instructions WITHOUT pictures. Some did rather well. I’m not going to try.

Ok – specially made just for you

Years and years ago I wrote a pretty successful play called Balloons (it was so long ago that I had to look the title up just now). It involved sequences of Churchill’s and Hitler’s war time speeches while a HUGE number of paper darts were thrown in all directions. It always took a long time to clean up the mess.

4. Who would win in a duel: chocolate volcano cake or bananas foster?

I had to look up both chocolate volcano cake and bananas foster. That shows the sort of childhood I had. One would hope these days that in a duel they’d both knock each other out.

Only yesterday I got all experimental in the kitchen and said I was going to make a dessert I’d never tried before. There’s this huge tome of recipes The Australian Women’s Weekly Recipe Book. Every recipe in it seems excellent. So it was with a great deal of excitement that I ventured to create this tart. Well, what a disaster. I may as well have served up cardboard. Thank goodness for ice cream. It’s times like these one would wish for a chocolate volcano cake or a bananas foster.

5. If you could choose one magical power, what powers would everyone else have?

I must admit that I don’t really understand the question, so as a departure from my usual stance I shall briefly prattle on about nothing. There’s no such thing as Magic, of course. You oft hear it said that if you believe something it will happen. It’s to do with motivation. It’s to do with oomph. Well I’d just like to say that fat people are no good at the pole vault no matter how much they believe in themselves. Having said that, I’ve never made it past the first 20 pages of any Harry Potter book. I find it boring, wordy, and asphyxiating!

To sum up: a favourite quotation is from Napoleon Bonaparte: If you want to take Vienna, take Vienna.

Magic! 

Incidentally (and apparently it’s true) there was a time in France when it was illegal to hang a picture above the fireplace of Napoleon. Hence, to get around it, the shape of the mantle clock is the shape of Napoleon’s hat.

 

Now to nominate a couple of others. Here lies the crunch: I don’t nominate. But what I do is to point out some blogs I like so that those who haven’t discovered them already may wish to do so. Many blogs are award-free – hence I’m not nominating – just pointing out. I’m not going to mention “old” friends so don’t feel bad and left out…

1. Ryan Impink – Ryan labours away writing these stories for not a huge expanse of the world’s population. I find his stories riveting and excellent and generally short.

2. River Dixon – River knows how to write a good poem that cuts to the quick.

I’ve just realised how few friends I have! Oh well…

Thanks for taking the time to ruminate.

Award 18: Noble Pries for Littering

With the shocking dearth of awards going around on WordPress, that is, the shocking plenitude of awards NOT going around, I have decided to once again nominate myself for a worthy accolade. Congratulations to myself on receiving the Noble Pries for Littering. I am not worthy, surely.

I am indeed honoured and humbled by this award, which unfortunately carries no monetary value.

There are a number of very strict rules when accepting this award.
1. You must NOT nominate anyone else.
2. If you have recently moved house, you must post pictures of where you live for the gratification of those who have not the slightest interest in your living arrangements.
3. Feel free to blather on about nothing.

So here goes:
1. (Done!)

2. As can be seen from these photos, if I were to be reincarnated I would definitely come back as a solipsist. In fact I might even establish a Solipsist Society and invite like people to join.

Here is my view to the north:

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Here is my view to the south:

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Here is my view to the east:

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Here is my view to the west:

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Here is a photograph of my mail box:

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As you can see, tourists to the area who are looking for the nearest volcano are told to “Just keep driving once you pass Bruce Goodman’s red mail box.”

Here is a view of my house, lest you think I live in a tent:

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Whoops! Wrong one! Here is the right one. You may have deduced: I am not a town person.

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3. I have nothing to blather on about, more’s the pity. What an interesting phrase is “more’s the pity”! It’s worth a goggle gloggle giggle gliggle gloogle google. Have a lovely day!

 

AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

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I can deal (at times) with all sorts of computer languages, but I can’t see how to re-blog on WordPress! Anyway, when one is all nervous and shaky and excited, how is it possible to calmly find a re-blog button? The truth of the matter is:

MY NOVEL HAS BEEN REVIEWED!!!! HERE!!!

The review is worth a read just to savour the wondrous writing skills of the reviewer: Uma Shankar. His blog is well-worth savouring – he writes stories, poems, reviews, and translates into English poetry from Hindi. It’s a delight to read a review composed with more aplomb than that being reviewed!!

So I’m posting this connection to his blog not only by way of thanks for the review, but to give others the opportunity to experience and enjoy his considerable literary skills!

Thank you, Uma.

Award 17: The Best Award-Free Blog

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It’s quite some time since I received an award for my blog, so I was delighted to see I had awarded myself the Self-Gifted Accolade for the Best Award-Free Blog. To make things doubly pleasurable, my blog is not actually an award-free blog. I accept awards with a passion. Strictly speaking this blog is not able to receive the Self-Gifted Accolade for the Best Award-Free Blog. But I accept it humbly nonetheless, and without a murmur, in a matter similar to an American citizen receiving an honorary knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England. Congratulations to me!

There are a number of requirements that must be done in order to receive this award:

a). Wish everyone a nice day.

b). Answer a series of questions (I have omitted a good number of the questions because of their overly intimate nature).

c). Give a link to your novel if you have one and if it’s online. (If you haven’t written one then conceivably it will not be online.)

Requirement a):

Have a nice day! Everyone!

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Requirement b):

Question 1: Who invented the steam engine that operates on the principle of a pressure difference created by a vacuum on one side of the piston to push the steam piston down with the cylinder remaining hot at all times with valves permitting the steam to flow into a separate condenser and then condensate and get pumped along with any gases using the air pump?

Answer 1 (to be said aloud): What? (Get it?)

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Question 272: If you had all the money in the world, what coloured car would you drive around in?

Answer 272 (this may be said silently to save embarrassment): You couldn’t buy a car and have all the money in the world, silly. You wouldn’t have all the money in the world because the used car salesman would have some as well.

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Question 3082 (this is the final question thank goodness): Where are you going to hang this award?

Answer 3082: Hang on a minute.

Requirement c):

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My novel is called A Passing Shower. It is free to read. Two or three people have read it and said they liked it. (No doubt there are others who have read it and didn’t like it but they’re not saying). Ten years ago I sent it to a prestigious New York publisher who phoned me three times about it and said he had kept it on his desk for 8 weeks and constantly reread it, unsure what to do because he thought it “extraordinary” and that it should be published. In the end it was not published, but he said I wouldn’t have any trouble finding a willing publisher. I was so excited that I never sent it to anyone else.  I did try here in New Zealand to find a publisher to send it to, but they all asked the same question: who is your agent? When I tried to get an agent they all asked the same question: who is your publisher? One New Zealand agent did answer in an enthusiastic manner: “I suspect your novel would annoy the shit out of me”. Bewildered, I posted the novel online. It might be worth digging into to see if it “annoys the shit” out of you!

It’s rather frustrating because had the novel been published I would have written another! And another! And I would probably have the Nobel Prize for Literature by now, instead of this crumby Self-Gifted Accolade for the Best Award-Free Blog! A pox on this award which I accept from myself with a great deal of reluctance. The novel can be found HERE!

Award 16: LIEing BaSTERd AWARD

Award 16: LIEing BaSTERd AWARD

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Alex Raphael has nominated me for the LIEBSTER AWARD. Thank you, Alex. I am always delighted to be awarded an award. Alex’s blog is an entertainment, travel and lifestyle blog. Do visit!

And now for the answers to the eleven questions:

1. Which landmark do you wish was near you?

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I’ve always wanted to live in a Thomas Kinkade painting; perhaps one with a babbling brook and not too many mountains. And with ducks or geese splashing about, and flowers in the garden. Of course, the house would have to be warm, and I wouldn’t want too many bugs living in the thatched roof.

2. What was the last song you listened to, and which album have you listened to most in your lifetime?

This question is really two questions!

a. The last song I listened to was the Spanglish version of The Ketchup Song; the 2002 hit from the Spanish pop group Las Ketchup. This song is bright, breezy, and cheerful. And even though I distain ketchup as a sauce in real life, I enjoyed this song for its happy blob of life. (Incidentally, if you want something saucy, try my homemade Watermelon Rind Pickle).

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b. The album I would have listened to most in my lifetime would be the 1984 Talking Heads’ album, Stop Making Sense – especially Burning Down the House (hopefully not my thatched house in the Kinkade painting above).

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3. Which artist/band which is no longer possible to see live would you most want to have seen?

The artist whose concert I would most like to see would be Jacques Brel. For those who don’t know him, he was French, lived his later years in the Pacific’s Marquesas Islands, and is now dead. If you click on no other link in your lifetime, you must click on the Jacques Brel link above!

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4. Sentimentally speaking, which is your most prized possession

My favourite possession is a glass bowl. I use it for fruit salad and stuff like that.

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In 1937, my father was engaged to my mother. He thought he’d better introduce his fiancée to Great-Aunt Maggie Molloy. Great-Aunt Maggie took down this bowl from a shelf, wiped it on her apron, and said, here’s your engagement present.

She was married to Patrick Molloy. In 1869 Patrick was a trooper in the colonial forces. This was during the New Zealand Wars. Yes! New Zealand had civil war between 1845 and 1872.

Mickey Rogan was ordered to deliver a message a hundred miles away. His horse was lame, so they sent Patrick Molloy instead. When he returned, Patrick’s entire cavalry detachment had been slaughtered.

I always think of Mickey Rogan’s lame horse whenever I chop up stuff for a fruit salad.

5. What’s one surprising thing about yourself most people don’t know?

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If I had my life again, I would like to set up an insect zoo. It would be open to the public and be educational.

6. If you could only choose one food/drink and make it healthy, what would it be?

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Pork sausages. I love pork sausages. They are mostly (I suspect) made from bits of pork and fat that fell off the butcher’s chopping block and gets swept off the floor at the end of the day and stuffed into a sausage skin. But I still love them, and wish (how I wish!) they were healthy enough to have every day. I would eat them cold like a banana. Or hot with runny fried eggs and fatty bacon for lunch! And fried with mashed potato and peas for dinner. And as a snack mid-morning or afternoon and before bed. Yum!

7. If you could choose your own nickname, what would you want it to be?

At boarding school, all my brothers were known as Rangi. It was short for orangutan, because they were hairy! Upon my arrival, the nickname fell into abeyance for reasons of non-hirsuticalness. It’s not that I desired to be shaggy – after all I was like a marble statue of a Greek god – but I always felt that having a nickname was a mark of affection. I was simply known by everyone, as was the manner in those days, as Goodman.

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8. Is there a quote that has special significance for you?

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Flannery O’Connor is one of my literary heroes. I think she has the irony of a Jane Austen and the style of … of… a Flannery O’Connor. And she always has something worth saying. Quite my favourite American author. So I give three quotations which, at least for today, are my favourite quotations.

a. When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.

b. Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.

c. When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God’s business.

9. If you own any painting in the world, which one would it be?

I’m going to opt for a painting by an American artist called Dale Nichols, and it’s this one:

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It’s called The Last Load. It’s elemental, rustic, tempestuous, dramatic, distant, the sky! the space! the apparent simplicity of labour… The complexity of my response could keep tumbling out all day. Yes, I’ll accept it as a gift from whoever owns it! I shall hang it in my dining room!

10. Which Olympic event would you most want to be good at?

I think curling would suit me. It’s icy and involves a broomstick. And I like the pants.

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11. Which TV character would you most want to hang out with in real life?

To my shame, I think I’d like to hang out with the Cartwright family in Bonaza. If you’re not old enough, here is a who’s who:

Bonanza chronicled the weekly adventures of the Cartwright family, headed by the thrice-widowed patriarch Ben Cartwright. He had three sons, each by a different wife: the eldest was the urbane architect Adam Cartwright who built the ranch house; the second was the warm and lovable giant Eric “Hoss” Cartwright; and the youngest was the hotheaded and impetuous Joseph or “Little Joe”.

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Yee haw!

Further Nominations

As many of you know (and this is a little unfair perhaps) I don’t do nominations. But I like to recommend to others, other bloggers. It fulfils the intention of the Awards System anyway; sharing the insights of others with others… Here then are the six most recent bloggers who have begun to follow my blog. If they wish to accept this as a nominations and respond with the same questions, they are more than welcome! Thank you again Alex Raphael for the nomination.

Pinkiebag
A dairy/lactose free person who loves to eat and drink tea

Rob Powell Writes
Let’s see where this goes, starting with some short stories and flash fiction.

Rustic Recluse
A history buff, unrepentant foodie and a wandering traveller in search of great culture and freedom.

Polomi
Tales-Food-Life

The Lightning and the Fire
Let it come to life

Kelly Elizabeth Hatley
Having fun with my boys and sneezing out other snippets