Category Archives: “Other people”

Advice From Old Guys

The other day B and I went for a walk on the levee. Since then the weather has taken a turn for the rainy, so I’m glad we spent the last week getting outside every day.

I’ve been sticking to pretty flat routes for walks – but I decided the other day that we were going to tackle the stairs at the end of the levee that head up the hill. I meant to count the stairs but I forgot, because I was too busy stopping three times to catch my breath. It’s from being out of shape practice…I don’t think I can blame the 10 pound baby strapped to the front of me.

Every time I stopped, I would turn around and look at the view, so just in case anyone was watching (and judging), perhaps they would think I just wanted to admire the ocean and the pier and the beach. On my last pause, I noticed a person starting up the stairs behind me, and I decided I was going to get to the top before them.

I got to the top and paused again (you know, for the view), and eventually the guy caught up to me. He was older and friendly, and asked me about the baby. I showed him off a little bit, and we talked about the guy’s son (who is 21 now) and how when he was a newborn, he would take his son for walks at Pleasanton Ridge all the time, and he thinks it helped turn his son into an athlete. Finally, he told me how cute B is, and good job for taking him out, and have a great day before the rain starts. A very pleasant interaction. I love when people are nice.

Although, I’ve gotten kind of paranoid, so I definitely stayed out in the open, away from the point, and where I could see other people.

levee 2

We made our way back down the hill and were heading back home, when another older guy, walking the opposite direction, said

“You look happy…do you have a baby in there??”

“Yeah,” I said.

“He’s so little!”

“Yeah, he’s still just a little guy.”

Then he came out with, “I hope you’re married.”

Um… “I am.”

“Good…I mean, I hope you’re happy.”

“I am.” Okay, thanks, bye.

I liked the first guy better.

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Filed under "Other people", Baby, Exercise, Nature, Nonfiction

Tips on tips

The other day Drew and I were at Safeway, and the woman ahead of us was taking a long time to get through the line. She was dressed kind of like I always picture Jen Lancaster – black capris, slides with a heel, some kind of top, and then a lime green scarf thrown over one shoulder. (Just over one shoulder, like a purse strap.) When the cashier asked pseudo-Jen if she would like some help out, she said, “Yes, actually,” and then the bagger finished loading her groceries into her cart and they began to leave the store.

After Drew and I had paid for our 2 or 3 items, we started to leave, except we couldn’t because she was kind of blocking the whole aisle while she clasped some other cashier’s hand and told her how she’d been thinking about her. I’m sure this was a lovely gesture to the clasped woman, but I don’t think the customer waiting enjoyed it as much. Pseudo-Jen then proceeded out of the store, followed by the bagger pushing her shopping cart.

They got to pseudo-Jen’s SUV, and she just stood by while the other girl loaded her 4 or 5 bags of groceries into the back of her car. By this time, we were pretty much back in our car and headed out of the parking lot, but I still tried to watch what was going on. I wanted to see pseudo-Jen give the bagger a tip.

I just thought this was weird. I know you never know people’s stories. But it seems like “help out” should be reserved for people who really NEED help out, not just anyone who doesn’t feel like pushing a shopping cart 250 feet to their car. Also, if the store offers help and you accept it, should you tip the person who helps you? It seems like you should. But then what’s an appropriate tip? A couple dollars? That would make sense if the store employee was spending all day helping people out, and they could then collect, like, $15 over the course of a day. But how often does that happen? If it only happens once, then a couple dollars seems cheap. But $5 seems like too much, and patronizing or weird.

This is why I just carry my own stuff to the car. If I can’t get it to the car, I shouldn’t have purchased it in the first place. Also, I can really use the three bucks.

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Filed under "Other people", Being a girl, Dollars, Drew, Nonfiction

Childbirth preparation – ALL DAY

On Saturday, Drew and I got up at 6:30am and headed to Stockton for a childbirth preparation class. Reasons for going all the way to Stockton?
1. We could attend the class with Liz and Bill, which was a kind of fun thing to do for two couples who never do anything together as couples, and
2. This hospital offers all their classes free of charge, whereas it would have been something like $125 to take the class at our hospital.

We found some good seats and went through the massive amount of available paper resources while we waited for the class to start.

The class consisted of a slideshow presentation, interspersed with videos and some real-life practicing. The woman leading the class was amusing but also over the top, and laughed at all of her own jokes, but I liked her. About an hour into the class we had our first break, and afterwards we got to get down on the floor and practice things like relaxing breathing and massage and using a focal point. I liked this because I got to lie in a pile of pillows, pretending to focus on a “lovely sensation” blowing over me, while Drew rubbed my back. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

But a true thing is that two people on the floor in a pile of pillows takes up a lot more space than two people sitting in two chairs, so it got a little crowded. There was a guy sitting directly in front of me, and I became a lot more acquainted with his bare back (his shirt kept riding up, like, majorly) and his extremely dirty socks than I ever wanted to be. Liz said after her relaxing floor massage, she opened her eyes to see that the couple right behind her was kind of looming over her watching them. That’s pretty awful. And not relaxing. And not the delivery experience you want to have.

We did some other exercises, like swaying and vocalizing and stuff, which was all interesting, but also kind of intimate. When we started doing the swaying stuff, Susie (our teacher) put on some music, which happened to be “The Way You Look Tonight,” and one girl who looked like this pregnancy might be sort of accidental (and who was there with her mom) blurted out “This is the song I got pregnant to!” How are you not supposed to laugh at that? (She and her mom were also cracking up.) (After lunch her husband showed up and the four of us were all happy for them.)

But it was kind of strange to sit in a room full of couples, and practice things like massage and speaking quietly and encouragingly to each other. And know that everyone did something intimate to get into that room, and now we’re all practicing doing something else that’s very intimate (in a different way) with our partner, with whom we’re going to go through yet another experience that’s incredibly personal and (to me at least) somewhat private. It’s kind of like, I had to just block out that there were other people there who might be looking at me or listening to me, and focus on what I needed to learn to get through (what I’ve been told can be) a harrowing experience.

After lunch, we talked about epidurals and analgesics, and c-sections and all the fun medical stuff. Sitting on the floor started to get kind of uncomfortable. Then we did some more practice vocalizing to get through the pain, and she told us how to push without holding your breath. (Something I’ve never really thought about before, but it totally makes sense, and I will definitely keep that in mind.) She went over postpartum depression and how it’s really important to watch for it and treat it. We ended up getting out early, which was definitely nice since we had the entire drive back home.

Overall, I liked the class and I’m glad we went. It was definitely nice to get all the info laid out for us, and to see some videos of different people’s birth experiences. Also I do feel like I learned about some techniques of getting through this things sans epidural. There wasn’t any information in the class that was brand new (thanks to the internet and the last 8 months of one-track thinking), but it was still nice to hear it all in order. I am glad we didn’t pay full price for that same class here, though.

Last night I ordered a second car seat base from Target. The weird thing is, that’s kind of the last thing we “need.” Which means that, I guess we’re ready at this point. I mean, “ready.” Whatever that means…

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Filed under "Other people", Drew, Friends, Memoir, Nonfiction, Pregnancy, Travel

You and I

I keep getting all worked up about this, and thinking furiously, I should use my blog to have my say! Then I let some time go by and I calm down and I end up not saying anything.

But this just needs to be said: My biggest grammar pet peeve (and in my top 3 total pet peeves) is when people incorrectly use “and I,” when “and me” is actually correct.

I just feel like I’ve been seeing it EVERYWHERE lately, and I don’t know why that is – but people are constantly doing it on TV and I don’t know how to reach all those people to correct them. Sarah and Vinnie (Alice 97.3’s morning radio show) do it sometimes and I have honestly thought about texting in and telling them they’re wrong. (I have NOT actually done that though.) (Yet.) I see it all over Facebook and oh. em. gee. (Although, I haven’t gone so far as to make my first ever comment to some high school acquaintance, “IT’S MCKAYLA AND ME.”) (Yet.)

I don’t know why, it just grates on my nerves, like no other grammar mistake.

In case you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s the breakdown: When you say, “Ramona invited the Countess and I over for brunch,” that’s wrong. You wouldn’t say “Ramona invited I over for brunch.” That’s all there is to it. Take the other person (or people) out of it, and then it’s easy to hear whether “I” or “me” is correct.

Probably you know what I’m talking about and just don’t stress about it. That’s fine. Everyone’s got their thing and this might just be my thing. I’m sure that I respect you as a person, and/or like you as a friend. But this societal increase in things like, “Mom sent a care package to Dan and I” makes me cringe, and maybe want to punch something…it depends on what kind of day I’m having. I’m just saying.

This has been a grammar PSA. Next week: The most irritating spelling error: why are people still doing this?? (Hint: It’s lose/loose.)

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Filed under "Other people", Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Self improvement

Oh brave new world: Babies on the internet

I have a dilemma. And I know it will be one that people have differing opinions on. But I’m trying to figure out how I feel about it, precisely.

You (maybe) know how on your Facebook timeline, you can scroll all the way back to “born 1983,” and you have blank years between, say, 1983 and 2006, when you actually set up your account. But at some point in the not-so-distant future, there is going to be a wave of teenagers with every single year of their lives filled out, thanks to their overenthusiastic parents.

And I guess no one really knows what this is going to mean for the future. And maybe I’m giving Facebook (or whatever comes after Facebook) too much credit. But I think it’s a pretty safe guess that things aren’t going to start turning backward. Everything’s going online.

When Drew and I got married, we got into a small scuffle or two with friends over the fact that we preferred that people not post tons of pictures of the wedding, particularly if they’re, you know, sitting in the back and taking pictures on their phone. Ultimately, yes, some pictures got posted, and it didn’t really bother either of us. But the other day, I saw that a (far-flung) friend of mine had posted 300 pictures into an album called “Wedding,” and my first thought was, “Oh wow, I didn’t even know she was getting married!” and then when I looked at the pictures I realized it was just a wedding that she attended. (I don’t even think she was in it…just a guest. Which seems extreme to me.)

But at least those people are all over 18. Lately, I can’t stop worrying about the whole phenomenon of posting a million pictures of your baby on your Facebook page. Let me just admit, I don’t think I will be able to resist that, for a couple reasons.

1) How can you not show off something like that? How cute would an Instagramed baby be? Am I right?
2) I’m pretty sure that I’m still like halfway in the closet with this whole “being pregnant” thing, and if I post a couple pictures of me and Drew holding an infant, it’s going to make it a lot clearer.

(There’s also a whole other side issue of the “attention wanted” posts, versus the “for entertainment purposes” posts, versus the “for the family members” posts.)

It’s not just the possibility that one day this kid will want to be the president (ha, yeah right), and won’t want pictures of himself or herself naked in a bathtub. It’s also a safety thing. Drew pointed out there are people on Facebook, who we don’t really know in real life…but we know EVERYTHING about their (very young) children. Like, we could probably use the knowledge we have, to kidnap said children. And we would never do that, because we’re cool, but there are people out there who would totally do that.

I can’t claim to be particularly good at staying anonymous – I’m sure that I’ve accidentally let slip too many details here. Things that I didn’t mean to say, but “oops” happens.

And even if I can resist putting a bunch of pictures – there are still all these other people running around with cameras and phones and wanting to post stuff.

I can be kind of private about some things. And delivery is going to be one of those things. I’m good having our parents in and out during labor, and hanging out…but when it comes down to business, it’s really important to me that it’s me and Drew (and I guess some doctors or something). It fits with our whole “we’re a team” thing.

So I’m going to be pretty bummed if I come home two days later and find out that it’s already on Facebook, because someone jumped the gun – purely out of excitement, I’m sure. But how do you put that out there, without sounding like a total bitch? It’s just gotten too hard to put restrictions on things like that.

Friend anecdotes: one friend was very strict about things early on. She didn’t want her kid posted anywhere linked with his name, or with the names of her or her husband. I think she was thinking about safety. But eventually she’s posted more and more pictures and videos of him on her Facebook, which I’m sure has the highest security settings.

Another friend has been strict the whole time, and her kid is 3 years old. She’s also told family members to take things down because she doesn’t want them just floating out there. She also told us a story about a relative posting a video online with the caption, “[Name]’s first steps!!” And all the family members were commenting and loving it, and she had to say, “Hey, listen, she had her first steps a week ago and her father and I were there you can’t just take that away from us.”

I guess that’s my fear. My long-winded fear. I just don’t want this to get away from us. I want the two of us – Drew and me – to be the keepers of the milestones and the reveals. That’s all. I guess. Luckily, none of our parents are really into Facebook, so they won’t go crazy. Other friends and relatives…might be harder to rein in.

Silver lining, which I keep reminding myself: I am so grateful that this kid is arriving into a world of people excited and happy to meet him or her.

PS. He or she has been kicking the whole time I’ve been writing this – perhaps as if to say, “Moooo-oom, you’re embarrassing me” ?

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Filed under "Other people", Beginnings, Being a girl, Children, Drew, Family, Fashion, Friends, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction, Parents, Pregnancy

Dads: The New Suffragettes

Just to perseverate on my post about the imbalance between recognizing moms and dads for their contributions…

Commercials are a terrible perpetrators of this phenomenon. How many commercials feature a dad and a small child making some kind of mess, and then looking sheepish until the mom comes in, smiling, and cleans everything up? Or the commercial where the dad builds a slanted table and the mom has to save the day with Eggo cinnamon toast waffle sticks? In commercials, dads look like helpless slobs who can’t get their kid through the day to save their life, and the moms sweep in and fix everything in a second.

P&G is currently running a series of ads focused on the Olympics. You’ve probably seen them. There are three or four, and each one features a mother getting a young child out of bed, taking him or her to some early morning practice, cheering on the child, driving the child around, doing dishes, doing laundry, feeding the child, taking care of the house, etc. (There is no sign of a day job for any of these moms.) The child grows up and then we see them at the Olympics, doing their best and sticking that landing, winning that race, etc. And then the mom is in the stands crying, and the kid hugs the mom, or blows her a kiss through the TV, and it’s so happy and sweet, and the tagline at the end of the commercial is “The hardest job in the world is the best job in the world. Thank you, Mom.”

Here’s the long version (it incorporates all the different moms/kids), if you want to feel really good. I’m not going to lie, I just watched it and teared up a little.

I just saw that P&G has an entire Facebook page called “Thank you, Mom by P&G,” where they post things like this video and other little tidbits that make moms cry. I mean, let’s face it, some large percentage of Facebook is probably moms, and moms love stuff like this. Even just moms-to-be. Even people who just like kids. Or seeing people succeed.

Here, try this one if the first commercial didn’t push you over the edge.

Who am I kidding? Everyone loves stuff like this. Drew just eats this ish up, and he’s the kind of guy who will willingly watch videos of people falling down.

And I don’t have anything against these commercials, or this Facebook page, or their entire campaign. It’s smart. And it’s so sweet. They take that overwhelming Olympics feeling, like the world comes together in these feel-good games, and people work so hard for this…and they juxtapose that with the intimacy of watching someone grow up and achieve something on a personal level. So smart.

BUT. I just have to point out…where are the dads in all this?

That’s it. Just sayin’. Why can’t it be, “The hardest job in the world is the best job in the world. THANKS, MOM AND DAD.”

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Filed under "Other people", Being a girl, Children, Drew, Family, Games, Parents, Sentiment

In this case, E stands for “erroneous”

Stuff like this drives me crazy.

I realize this is just one little e-card. It’s not even a physical thing – it just exists as a jpeg. (And however things on the internet exist.)

This was probably a Mother’s Day card at one point. But I just saw it today, because this “your ecards” thing has somehow merged with Facebook and George Takei to create the unholy trinity that I like to call, “Why is my news feed now composed entirely of semi-funny, oft-shared pictures??”

Anyway. “9 times out of 10 children get their awesomeness from their mother.” What’s being said here? Why are we leaving out the fathers?

I’ve been running into a lot of father-bashing (or father-ignoring) on all the pregnancy boards to which I am now addicted. A common occurrence is that a woman will start a thread about being upset with her husband about a specific incident, and then comments will quickly pile up about how “it’s different for the men” and “they don’t understand” and how “they’re not interested in the pregnancy.”

Based on this and similar stories, Drew and I started a running “joke” about how much more important mothers are than fathers, which is basically us just repeating how the baby doesn’t even know who the father is until they’re 3 years old, 7 years old, 10 years old. (We just keep exaggerating because that’s what humor is.)

But this morning, I had to stop and say, “We’re both just kidding…right?” because it’s kind of getting to me. Enough is enough. Dads love their children too, and contribute to their health and well-being and yes, even to their awesomeness.

Maybe I just grew up in a very lucky kind of household, where my parents shared responsibilities and were around us equal amounts of time. I would say I get 50% of my awesomeness from my mom and 50% from my dad. And I would say that with a totally straight face.

It’s possible I’m overreacting to a stupid Facebook share. I mean, such things happen. (Some time last year, a WP blog post about bullying made the FB rounds, and everyone yelled about how their kid is such a special snowflake, and they would kill anyone who said anything mean to their perfect and sensitive child. I’m sure my coworkers enjoyed my attitude that day.)

On the other hand, maybe we’ve seen enough of FB e-cards, and enough of comments under-appreciating fathers. Hmm?

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Filed under "Other people", Being a girl, Children, Drew, Family, Fashion, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Parents, Writing

It’s not rocket science; or, “Sandwiches Snadwiches”

Yesterday I found myself back at the Safeway in Mill Valley, which has given me great stories in the past.

I stopped in there to pick up a sandwich for lunch before the final 2 performances of God of Carnage at MTC. Sandwiches are great, and probably on my favorite things list, even though I’ve been eschewing turkey (and that’s just one of several things) because of potential harmful effects during pregnancy.

So I just wanted to stop by and get a cheddar, avocado, and veggie sandwich on sliced sourdough.

A good sign: there was no one in line when I walked in. So I went straight up to the counter, where a super polite young man said, “I’ll be right with you.” Then, he went on to say, “Good afternoon, what may I get you?”

Wow, such service. I started explaining what I wanted.

“So you want a veggie sandwich – would you like me to describe the veggie sandwich to you?”

“Um, that’s okay,” I said, “What I want is actually a “California Dreamin'” without the turkey and bacon.”

“The “California Dreamin'” now goes by the name “Turkey Bacon Avocado,” he said.

“Okay.”

He began to assemble the sandwich. Kind of sloppily. I don’t understand why sandwich-makers at Safeway don’t know how to make a sandwich. They always pile everything on the center of the bread. Don’t you know you have to spread the avocado to the edges? And you shouldn’t just stack all the tomatoes in the center? It’s not rocket science, people. Make the type of sandwich that you would want to eat.

And it’s not just Mill Valley Safeway. It was in Mountain View that I watched a guy squirt mustard on one slice of bread, and then pick up both slices, one in each hand, and stare at them, puzzled, until he slowly smashed them together and rubbed the mustard around.

Wow.

When Mill Valley guy was finishing up (having just placed a large pile of pickles in two square inches), he said, “Now, our policy dictates that I charge you an extra fifty cents.” For avocado, I assume? “But I’m debating in my head whether or not to charge you that. That policy is in place to deter people from ordering sandwiches like this. But I don’t think we’ll suffer any damages – any long-term damages, that is – because I don’t think many people will order sandwiches like this.”

“Um…okay.”

WTF? For the record, here is the part of the menu that makes me think that it’s acceptable – nay, encouraged – for you to actually order what you want to eat, rather than just choosing from the 8 pre-designed options.

The key word here is “choose”…

Finally he handed it over. And I walked 10 feet away, found the voice memo application on my phone, and dictated what he had just said, because I was worried I’d forget part of it.

Then I called Drew and told him about it.

When I got to the theater, I found he didn’t even cut it in half for me. Which is kind of the most annoying part. I mean, who wants to pick up an entire sandwich?

Apparently the bane of Safeway’s existence – a product of theirs that someone ordered and paid for.

First world problems, am I right?

When the actors started arriving, one of them (with whom I had just bonded over orchids the prior day – I’m starting to think we might be some kind of soulmates or something) started telling a story about how he’d just stopped to pick up a sandwich at Safeway. We then went on to bond over our annoyance at the crazy people working there, and how in New York, you can just order food and then get it and then get out in record time, but here it seems to take people forever to get anything done.

Yeah, we were those people.

Anyway, the sandwich was okay, the shows went great, I was home by 10:30 and in bed by 11:15, and I got to sleep in until 8:30 this morning. So overall…life is good.

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Filed under "Other people", Food, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Pregnancy, Theatre, Tomato, Work

Solstice and singing

So, as I understand it, yesterday was the first day of summer. I basically say my favorite season is whatever season we’re currently in (with a slight bias toward spring and fall), but seriously, summer is great. We left Drew’s parents’ house the other day just after 9pm, and it was still sort of light outside. I just freaking love that.

From here on out, the nights are going to start getting longer again. This is bittersweet. On the one hand, I’m enjoying the relative heat (for the most part) and the looooong days. On the other hand, this means we’re on the downhill slope into fall, which I’m looking forward to for a variety of reasons.

To celebrate the beginning of the decline of the summer, we were serenaded last night at 4am. Well, I was. Drew slept through it, thank goodness.

This same thing happened a couple weeks ago. That night, I also woke up at 4am, not sure if it was the music that woke me up or if it started after I was awake. (I wake up a lot in the middle of the night, and usually just fall back asleep.) But there was this vague instrumental music, and I thought, Is the TV on? But it seemed to be out the back window, so maybe it was coming from the house behind us? That night, it played through that instrumental song, then the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You,” then “That’ll Be The Day” by Buddy Holly, then something I can’t remember, and then we were on “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon when it finally switched off.

I assume it’s someone’s clock radio going off, and it just takes them 15 minutes to turn it off. But that time a couple weeks ago, when it also woke up Drew, he sort of freaked out, and then spent the next two hours unable to fall back to sleep, and then had to get up for work.

So last night I tried to ignore it the best I could, and to fall back asleep, although it didn’t happen until it was finally quiet again. The only song I remember was “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5. I’m still not sure if it’s from the house behind us, or from our neighbor. Either way, I’m just really glad it didn’t disturb Drew, and that I wasn’t awake longer than about 20 minutes altogether.

Happy summer! Here’s to sleeping through the night tonight!

6/22 EDIT: I jinxed us! The radio went off again last night, and I got to hear Buddy Holly again, and also “I Can See Clearly Now,” and also about 4 other songs. It woke up Drew this time, and he walked around trying to figure out where it was coming from. He reported that you can hear it best in our room, leading me to believe it’s either our upstairs neighbor or the house out back.

He even opened the window to try and pinpoint it. When the music went off a minute after that, he said loudly, “Thank you.” Which I found hilarious.

The only upside is that this morning I heard what the station number is. So, Dad, it’s 103.7, which appears to be KOSF.  You can listen to it online here. I mean, it’s annoying at 4am, but it does seem like a good station overall. It’s not the station’s fault.

How many times do I let this happen before I start doing some investigating/conversing with neighbors?

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Filed under "Other people", Awesome, Drew, Memoir, Music, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Sentiment

Calendar tricks

Tonight we were at the mall, and I was like, “Hey, let’s swing by Barnes and Noble and pick up my book for book club, and also a calendar.” There is a lot of stuff happening in the rest of 2012 and we’ve been talking about needing a wall calendar to keep track of it all.

B&N had zero 2012 calendars – they’re all 2013 – but the guy at the information desk said that they’re 16 month calendars so they cover the rest of this year. (Which doesn’t really make sense since, counting June, there are 7 months left in 2012.) But we liked this Where’s Waldo calendar, and they didn’t have the book I wanted in stock, so the calendar came home with us. (Please note on the cover where it says “16 month calendar.”)

Most of the pages are great and I look forward to being able to use this calendar. I also look forward to studying every month for a long time, not finding any of the characters, then having Drew find them all in about 30 seconds.

However, I can’t use this calendar for 7 more months, because the Barnes and Noble information desk guy tricked me. Having one little add-on page like below, should NOT count as a “16 month calendar.”

For shame, Barnes and Noble! Now I have to go find somewhere that’s still selling 2012 calendars. Also, I have to not forget where I put this one, so I can use it come January.

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Filed under "Other people", Books, Children, Drew, Games, Not awesome