Loveable Labels giveaway heads-up


Lovable Labels is giving away a huge Back To School Label Pack. Lovable Labels are dishwasher, microwave, and laundry safe. How amazing is that? And how totally useful. My little girl is starting kindergarten this year, and the supply list is miles long. Each item (including the paper towel rolls!) has to be labeled.

The Back To School label pack is available in red, blue, black and mixed berry. The pack includes 15 sticker labels, 60 slimline labels, 48 Press n’ Stick Clothing DOTS, 16 shoe labels, 2 mini-metal tags, and 5 book/binder stickers.

To enter, go to the LoveToLabel.com blog. There will be three winners, and the contest ends August 11, 2009 so hurry up!
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Yay! It's Ashram time!

I am so very happy that we'll be heading to the Sierra Nevada mountains shortly. We'll be attending the Sierra Christian Ashram at Camp Sierra in Big Creek, California. It's an amazing week of learning, fellowship, fun, and spiritual growth, and the food is pretty good, too!

Some of you may know already that I'm one of "those" Christians. Kinda subversive, actually. I'm a genuine believer, but I'm not willing to jump on the christian zealot bandwagon. I love my God enough to know that the people involved in the church love their God in a different way. I'm not calling it a good or bad thing, so much as a unique set of circumstances. We come to him as individuals, right?

My favorite thing about the ashram experience is that we come from different churches, sects, cities, flavors, circumstances, backgrounds, you name it. All individuals, all ready to come that much closer to our Lord.



I wish all of my readers could come and experience this with us, but I know it's not easy to drop everything. We had to make our plans in February in order to make sure that it all goes through! Getting two adults, one pre-schooler and one toddler cross-country is sooooo not a last-minute happening.

If you're interested in what a "Christian Ashram" is all about, please take a look at the Sierra Christian Ashram site. I think you'll be intrigued...

At any rate, I'll be out of touch for a bit, so there will be lots of guest articles, and pre-posts. I still love you, though, and I'll try to get at least a couple of updates (with pictures!) for you guys while I'm gone...
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Greening My Laundry Winner!

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the Greening My Laundry Giveaway, sponsored by Ecostore USA.

More thanks to Random.org for choosing entry #56,

Kelly F. whose comment: I learned that "By simply changing to the genuinely clean and green ecostore products, people were experiencing surprising and unexpected improvements in their health". That is pretty awesome!

earned her a $25 gift certificate.

Woo-hoo, Kelly! I hope you get something awesome. (I'm pulling for the lemongrass soap, myself...)

Again I thank all you participants, it was a great giveaway; and I hope to have more coming to you soon...
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just for laughs








Pssst... Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to Ecostore USA!
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Gramps' 70th Birthday

In celebration of my grandfather's birthday, where he will become an septuagenarian (now, that's a kick-ass word!) I'm posting this smattering of info about 1939 for ya'll.
For info about another year, check out The People History!
And have an awesome birthday Gramps!

In 1939:

January 1 – The Hewlett-Packard Company is founded.
February 27 – Sit-down strikes are outlawed by the Supreme Court of the United States.
March 3 – In Bombay, Mohandas Gandhi begins to fast in protest of the autocratic rule in India.
April 30 – The 1939 New York World's Fair opens.
May 2Major League Baseball's Lou Gehrig, the legendary Yankee first baseman known as "The Iron Horse", ends his 2,130 consecutive games played streak after contracting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The record stands for 56 years before Cal Ripken, Jr. plays 2,131 consecutive games.
June 12 – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is officially dedicated in Cooperstown, New York.
July 6 – The last remaining Jewish enterprises in Germany are closed by the Nazis.
August 2Albert Einstein writes to President Franklin Roosevelt about developing the atomic bomb using uranium. This leads to the creation of the Manhattan Project.
September 1World War II: Nazi Germany invades Poland, beginning World War II in Europe.
October 24Nylon stockings go on sale for the first time anywhere in Wilmington, Delaware.
November 16Al Capone is released from Alcatraz.
December 2La Guardia Airport opens for business in New York City.

The price of things:

Average cost of new house; $3,800.00
Average wages per year; $1,730.00
Cost of a gallon of gas; $ .10
Average cost for house rent; $28.00 per month
A loaf of bread; $ .08
A pound of ground beef $ .14
Average price for new car $700.00
Toaster $16.00

Some famous 70 year olds:

January 17Maury Povich, American talk show host
March 13Neil Sedaka, American singer
April 7Francis Ford Coppola, American film director
April 23Lee Majors, American actor
May 25Dixie Carter, American actress
September 18Fred Willard, American comedian
November 26Tina Turner, American singer
December 2Harry Reid, American politician and U.S. Senate Majority Leader

What Americans watched and listened to:

Popular Films
Gone with the Wind
The Wizard of Oz
Stagecoach
Of Mice and Men
The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Popular Music
Glen Miller has a series of hits including Moonlight Serenade, Moon Love, Over the Rainbow with Judy Garland and Stairway to the Stars.
Address Unknown by the Inkspots
When The Saints Go Marching In by Louis Armstrong
And The Angels Sing by Benny Goodman
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Greening up my laundry, a review & giveaway

Well, no, my laundry isn't "green". DH would have a field day with that.


I'm talking about Ecostore USA's incredible "No Nasty Chemicals" promise and their line of eco-friendly household products. When the lovely folk at Ecostore USA contacted me about a review, the timing could not have been better.

I know that part of the reason why the laundry can be so overwhelming is because there's just so much of it, and if you know me, you aren't at all surprised that I feel guilty about the water use, and the nasty soap scum pumping into the sea (more or less.) So I was totally stoked to find out about Ecostore USA's laundry products.

The amazing thing about the Super Concentrated, Plant Based Laundry Powder is that you only use about a tablespoonful for a complete load of wash. (Which not only makes it earth-friendly, but wallet-friendly, as well!) Since Ecostore USA's Laundry Powder is plant based there won't be anything scary dumped into our sewer system, either.

Read the ingredient list:
  • Palm and coconut based non-ionic and anionic surfactants
  • Silicates and carbonates (simple mineral salts)
  • Citrates (from citrus)
  • Cellulose (plant based)
  • Sodium percarbonate (oxygen producing whitener)
  • Natural lemon verbena oil

I followed up with Ecostore USA's Pure Oxygen Whitener. Can I say wow?! This is an amazing product. I washed a load of whites (which I like really, really bright) and though I was a little wary, didn't use any bleach. Um, as of this posting, I may not need it ever again. That's how great it worked. And even better, you can use it on colors, too. Here's the ingredient list for the Whitener:
  • Carbonates (simple mineral salts)
  • Sodium percarbonate (oxygen producing whitener)
  • Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • Citrates (from citrus)
  • Highly biodegradable surfactant
  • Natural citrus oil


I ran a soak on some of Lil' Man's outfits, (oh, those terrrible twos!) and the combination of the two products rendered his clothes utterly stain-free. Greasy, dirty, dust stuff, people!

To top it all off, the entire line of products come in genuinely attractive packaging and they're fully recyclable. I love this store! One great way to learn more about and get updates about new products, etc. is to check out their blog, or their Facebook page, (I'm a fan!) As a bonus, you can even enter the Ecostore USA Facebook 30 Second Video Contest for a $500 Visa Card!

*************************GIVEAWAY*************************************************

I'm a believer, and to help you become one, too the amazing people behind Ecostore USA are willing to give one lucky O'Joy reader a $25 gift certificate! How great is that?


All you have to do is go to Ecostore USA's website, and sign up for the "No Nasty Chemicals" newsletter *and* then come back here and leave a comment about something you learned from them. Hint: the About Us, and What is Green? pages are an excellent place to start!

For extra entries:
  • subscribe to my rss, or by email
  • blog about this giveaway and link to O'Joy of my life... and EcoStore USA
  • follow me on blogger, or at Facebook
  • follow Ecostore USA on Facebook
  • grab the O'Joy of my life... badge and put it in your sidebar
and be sure to leave a separate comment WITH A WORKING EMAIL ADDRESS for each. Comments without a valid email address will be disqualified. To avoid spambots, you can use this format: ojoyofmylife [at] mail [dot] com

Entry Period ends Thursday, July 23rd 11:59pm. Winner will be chosen by random integer...

Now get to it! And good luck!
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Guest Article, 'cause I looooooove coffee!


The Gourmet Coffee Lover’s Guide to the Recession By: R.L. Fielding

You may have heard of the "Latte Factor”, a term made famous by best selling author David Bach. The thought behind the Latte Factor is that each day a person spends a small amount of money on a cup of coffee or latte. While the money spent on this small indulgence does not seem like much at the time, over several weeks or months this miniscule expenditure can turn into a large expense. Some gourmet coffee stores charge nearly two dollars per 20 ounce cup of coffee. Making that purchase just five days a week can add up to $40 per month and $480 per year. And if your spouse or partner has the same coffee habit, you could be spending nearly $1000 a year on coffee outside of the home.

In tough economic times it becomes important to cut corners and save every penny possible. Treats like a daily stop at the neighborhood café are among the first expenses to land on the chopping block. Yet if you switch to making gourmet coffee for yourself at home, you can enjoy your daily treat and still save money.

The biggest drawback most people imagine when switching to home-brewed coffee is a loss of convenience. Having to set up and clean a coffee pot can be a hassle that only adds stress to an already hectic daily routine. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With today’s most modern coffee makers (a Keurig coffee maker, for instance, can brew a single cup of coffee at a time with virtually no set up or clean up), and a few other ideas to help you save money on coffee, you can cheaply and easily keep or add gourmet coffee as part of your daily routine.

Find a coffee maker that works for you

With the wide variety of coffee makers available in today’s marketplace from traditional 12-cup drip coffee makers to single cup brewing machines, there really is something available for everyone. Is time an issue? Single-cup coffee makers, which use individually packaged coffee pods, can brew a cup of coffee in less than a minute. Many drip coffee makers now include clocks that will start the brewing process while you are still snoring through your last few minutes of sleep.

While you can peruse weekly store circulars and visit stores to find the machine that is right for you, many prefer the convenience of shopping online. In addition to being able to compare the various features of each machine side-by-side, you can also read reviews from other customers, and search around for the best price. Concerned about paying extra shipping charges? Many sites offer free shipping or special discounts for loyal shoppers.
Keep your coffee fresh so you waste less

While purchasing a coffee maker that uses individual pods to brew single servings is a great way to get the freshest gourmet coffee at home, there are other alternatives that can help you keep your coffee tasting great, right down to the last bean. Contrary to what you may have heard, storing your coffee in the refrigerator or freezer does not help keep your coffee fresher over time. The refrigerator can expose your coffee to excess moisture and the freezer will only make your coffee very, very cold. The best solution is to store your ground coffee or coffee beans in a container that keeps as much air and light out as possible.

Invest in Accessories

Another idea that will help keep your coffee fresh is to invest in a bean grinder. If you grind just the beans you need each day, you will be able to keep the coffee fresher than you would if you purchased pre-ground coffee. Again, air exposure is a critical factor. The less your coffee is exposed to air, the longer it will remain fresh.

Before you start brewing, there are two things to consider that will keep you from wasting extra coffee. First, estimate how much you and your family will actually be able to drink. Brew only what you will drink in one sitting. Once the coffee has finished brewing, pour everyone a cup and immediately transfer the remaining coffee from the pot to an insulated carafe. The carafe will keep the coffee hot and fresh over the next several hours. Sometimes, when you leave the brewed coffee in the pot for an extended period of time, the coffee can acquire a burnt” taste that will make drinking it less enjoyable. You can also side-step this issue entirely by brewing single servings using a one-cup coffee maker.
Keep an eye out for sales and specials on your favorite coffee

To save money on coffee beans and coffee pods, keep an eye out for sales. Not only will local retailers occasionally offer special savings, you can watch for sales at online coffee vendors as well. These sites may offer special promotions on specific types of coffee, or all-out sales at certain times of the year such as Christmas. Sign up for e-mail updates from your favorite online retailers to be sure that you’re among the first to hear about the latest discounts on your favorite gourmet brands.

No time to brew at home? Downsize!

You might not always have time to brew fresh coffee at home, but that does not mean you have to forego coffee altogether. To save money during the recession and beyond, consider ordering your coffee in a smaller cup. Over time, you will be able to save a significant amount of money by downsizing from a large to a medium coffee or from a medium to a small coffee.

You should also consider investigating alternative coffee shops. While you may have fallen into the routine of visiting a particular café, others in your area may offer great tasting coffee at a lower price point. Some shops may offer special discounts to frequent coffee drinkers. You can also try switching to an every-other-day routine. By brewing coffee at home or drinking free coffee at your office every other day of the week, you will ultimately save money.

As you can see, enjoying gourmet coffee has the potential to be both convenient and cost-effective in addition to being delicious. By making some sensible changes to your gourmet coffee routine, you can easily save money without having to sacrifice your daily coffee fix.


About R.L. Fielding:

R.L. Fielding has been a freelance writer for 10 years, offering her expertise and skills to a variety of major organizations in the education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing industries.

Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com

About the Author:
About CoffeeCow.com

CoffeeCow.com goes to great lengths to provide the highest quality products, the fastest service, and the deepest discount prices you will find on Keurig K-Cups, coffee pods, and a wide selection of related coffee supplies for your home or office. Visit www.coffeecow.com for more information.

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Barefoot Books Freebie

I'm a huge fan of Barefoot Books. I love the commitment to beautiful artwork, global connection, and community. Did I mention that these are children's books?


To celebrate the new, improved website, Barefoot Books is giving away a free mp3, "If You're Happy and You Know It..." sung by Susan Reed.

Go, download, sing with your kids. You'll love Barefoot Books as much as I do, I just know it!
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Beatlemania never really goes away


If you aren't a fan of the Beatles, well... I just don't know you anymore.

No really, you cannot deny their incredible, indelible mark on pop music. Paul McCartney is a musical genius, 'nuff said. Anyhoo, I just wanted to fill in the people who care (which should be you!) that an excerpt from the new mini-documentary about the making of the album Revolver is available over at thebeatles.com

The documentary is actually 13 short films, divided into particular albums, each one discussing the making of the corresponding album and they are narrated by Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul & Sir George Martin.

BTW, last month iTunes released "Let it roll: Songs by George Harrison," which I highly recommend, mostly because Eric Clapton would, and well, if you don't like Eric Clapton, then we are really gonna have a problem!

(Also, did you know about the new Beatles Rock Band video game? I really have to get that Guitar Hero!)
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Book recommendation

Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World is a book about orphans
in Swaziland.

The book's author and publishers are giving away the full length
digital copy in the hope that you will be compelled to purchase hard
copies of the book because the author hopes to raise $1 million for
the childrens' education.

To get the electronic copy you will need to enter the names of three
friends to help spread the word about this promotion. They will only
receive a one time copy of the email and will not entered into any
mailing list. For details and to get your copy, visit this page. But hurry,
this promotion will only be available until July 15th!

This post was contributed by Lynette Chandler from
MomsGadgets.com.
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Some goodies out there in blogland

You all know that I love to enter giveaways. I'd kinda backed off for a bit, mostly because of the move, but they are still out there, and summertime giveaways are especially awesome! Here are a few that I eyeballed (and entered, of course!) today:

Sweeps4bloggers (which is a one-stop-shop for goodies, btw) is running one for Eureka kids sleeping bags. My daughter loves her Lightning Bug bag with it's special pocket, but my son sure could use the Minnow bag!

Another one of my fave sites, The Giveaway, is hosting one for the Keurig Platinum Brewing System. Very fancy, and I love the fact that there are soooooo many beverage options. It's so fast and perfect for entertaining.

Steals & Deals
is giving away a Joey Junior Purse organizer, and in a separate giveaway, a Timi & Leslie bag. A diaper bag that does double duty as a trendy purse? Love it!

A new find is the very intriguing Ascending Butterfly, where the current giveaway is for Tres Sleek's compression garments, either the Bradigy Cami, or the Shrinx. (Um shrink me, please, please!)

Another fun giveaway, (and blog, too!) is A Hook...A Line... and A Girl...'s Organizer giveaway. These super-cute cash/coupon pocket organizers with the incredible fabric covers from Crunchy Cute are pretty awesome.

I'm all about ways to prevent waste, and help our Mama Earth, and I'm very intrigued by The Mom Buzz's giveaway for EcoTouch's Waterless Car Wash. Saving 100 gallons of water is more than reason enough!

Darlin's there are always more, but Blogger is being funky today, so I'ma take a break, lol. Have a lovely Sunday, & go for some goodies.
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This bike is soooooo cool!

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes


Have you seen the bad-a** Madsen Cycle? They call it an Urban Utility Vehicle. I can dig that. Wait until you see this video of some dude carrying his queen size bed!




The bike comes in two styles, Bucket or Rack and three colors; black, cream and blue.



It's awesome and amazing and I want, want, want one! (The bucket in blue, please. Thank You!) C'mon, how adorable will the kidlings look in this? I can take them to the library, or down the boardwalk. Or even go to the exchange all by myself. Help me out, friends, and head over to Madsen Cycles by clicking on the banner above. Love you guys!
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Independance, A Celebration...

I hope you all had fun on the Fab Fourth! As you know, my little family was re-assigned and we are no longer attending B-More festivities. But Staten Island didn't disappoint! The best part? Everything was free! (yay, free!)

We had an amazing time at the Travis Parade, one of the country's oldest, consecutive neighborhood parades. They haven't missed a year since 1911. Impressive, yes? The kids really loved it, especially the Feathered Band, and the fire engines. Here are some pics:DH & the kidlings. Notice the cotton candy? The Travis Parade gives out free cotton candy, popcorn and sno-cones. Awesome, right? (I promise that she ate less than half of that giant thing!)

Here are those Feathered Guys!



Our Meggie holding Lil'Man. He looooooves those fire engines! (I couldn't get him to look at me and smile, he was too enthralled with the siren...)

After a nice long walk back to our car, and then home for naptime (yay, naptime!) I packed up a picnic of sandwiches and sangria (yay, sangria!) and headed over to the Alice Austen House to be serenaded by the Staten Island Philharmonic.


They were magnificent, and we loved the program.

We parked our chairs right on the water and waited for the Macy's Fireworks show to begin.

Here's DH with NYC behind him.


At last the sun has set. Why yes, we'll buy some glow-necklaces from you!

And finally...

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The Way We Get By, a documentary

On July 17th a new film is premiering here in New York... and I strongly urge you to check it out, either here or when it comes to a city near you.

The Way We Get By, an award winning documentary about the military greeters at the Bangor, Maine airport features three senior citizens who wait at the tiny airport in order to greet every arriving soldier, and their stories make for an incredible, moving, inspiring glimpse into a little known aspect of American life.

The Way We Get By - Trailer from The Way We Get By on Vimeo.


When I think about Bangor, I can only call up that it's cold, and the hometown of Stephen King (one of my very favorite authors.) I heard once that it's a major stop-off for troops coming home from the Middle East, but that's really all. Watching this video made my heart constrict, and a greater appreciation for those folk in chilly Maine. I hope it does to you as well.

According to the director, Aron Gaudet the film is "an inspirational story of how these three seniors use a simple handshake to change their lives, and the lives of the 800,000+ troops they've greeted."

If you do attend the premiere in New York, (at the IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street from Friday July 17th, 10:00am running through Thursday July 23rd, 11:55pm) there are two great promotions, Bring A Vet, where a military veteran can receive a free ticket, or Battle Buddy, where a senior citizen (65+) can receive a free ticket.
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That new craze: The Summer Staycation

You've heard it on the morning talk shows, bandied about near the coffeepot at work ('cause hello, who even hangs out by the Sparkletts bottle, am I right?) discussed at length at those playdates, etc, etc.

The current push for American families to conserve their resources, both financial and global has resulted in a new buzzword. The Staycation. It's a nice way to think about staying at home and saving some dough.

But you and I know what that really means. With everyone home all summer long, you're looking at way more in-house time. (It's not like the old days, where your parents would toss you out at first light and you stayed out all day, possibly grabbing a bologna sandwich around lunchtime, and coming home at dusk, 90+ degrees outside, with no hat, sunscreen, or personal electronics!)

More home-time means more clean-time (groan.) According to a recent Clorox survey, over 60 percent of the Moms surveyed reported an increase in cleaning around the house as their families now spend more time at home.
(Told ya.)

But the folks at MommyDocs and MomCentral (I love them!) got together to help us out with some Summer Staycation Safety and Savings Tips. You ready?


Staying Safe at BBQs. According to a recent survey, 70 percent of Moms are cooking more at home and many are likely switching up their meal routine with an outdoor BBQ. Make sure your kids have a safe BBQ experience by keeping them away from the flames and any sharp knives. Also, don't forget to check that your child's hamburger is fully cooked. Always keep a thermometer on hand to be sure all food has reached the appropriate inside temperature.

Keep the Pool Cool and Clean. If your kids love to spend hot afternoons in kiddie pools, you know the importance of cleaning the pool area. Dump out water after each session, and keep the pool clean by disinfecting it with a solution of ¾ cup bleach* to one gallon of water. Don't forget to rinse well and dry thoroughly after each cleaning (never leave any water in the pool). Be sure to always supervise children when they are in or around any water. (* Always remember to read and follow precautions and usage directions before using cleaning products)

Staying Healthy and Hydrated. Spending time in the heat means kids will be more prone to becoming dehydrated. Remind kids to take frequent rest/drink breaks in the shade when playing outside and try to avoid activity during peak sun hours. Encourage fluids before, during, and after outside activities.

Having Peace of Mind at Playgrounds. Sometimes just getting out of the house is the best way to keep it clean, but before letting kids loose at the playground, ensure the safety of the equipment. Swing seats and slides can really heat up in the sun – test them out before your kids hop on to avoid burns. Be sure the playground surface is composed of a soft material to help prevent injury. All playground equipment should be routinely checked for any broken or loose parts. As always, adult supervision is a must at all times!

Saving on Spills. Spending extra time around the house, especially with kids, often means more spills to clean up. Synthetic sponges and kitchen cloths can start to smell and carry bacteria, but you don't have to toss them out after a few uses. One option to reduce bacteria is to sanitize sponges and dishrags by soaking them in a bleach solution (¾ cup of bleach* to a gallon of water) for 5 minutes in the sink. Don't forget to rinse and dry when done. A wet sponge can also be microwaved to get rid of bacteria. (* Always remember to read and follow precautions and usage directions before using cleaning products)

Well, now. Don't you feel all informed? Stay home. Save some money, play with your kidlings. But do it safely, alright?


For more Warm Weather Tips, check out this info packed pdf from the MommyDocs.
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How about no, nuh-uh, not me?


Chicago's Sears Tower is premiering it's newest tourist draw, The Ledge today. It's more or less a glass box that juts out 4 feet from the main building, 1,350 feet above the street (one thousand! gah!) and purportedly able to withstand 50 tons of mass.


Hah! I've seen that movie , and let me tell you, there just isn't enough money in the world to make me stand on some glass that high up in the air. So I will repeat: No. Nuh-Uh and Not Me. You on the other hand may find this thrilling, perhaps you say, "Oh wow! How cool," or some other less-dated slang word for, uh, cool. I assert that you are out of your mind. I hope you will still be my friends, but folks, just looking at this picture makes my knees quiver, my stomach churn and my jaw to tingle (that's from the clenching.)

Maybe you've guessed some new factoid about me. That's right, I've got a wee bit of height vertigo (it's a real term! she says defensively.)

If you're planning a trip to The Windy City, you may want to check it out, just remember that you're completely bananas. Just saying.
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