Life, Insights and Observations Through Writing and Art
Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting our local zoo. The Brookfield Zoo.
I was first introduced to this fantastic place when I started dating my hubs. It’s large and spread out and set in the middle of a wooded suburb southwest of Chicago. Ahhh, I have such fond memories of this great place. My hubs LOVES the zoo. And, for that reason, I’ve learned to love it as well.
We became members years ago because it was always a fun spot to take the kids. We took our boys there often when they were young. Over the years, we just kept our membership active. Even so, I only manage to get there once or twice every few years. It had been a long, long time since my last visit. Yesterday was the day I’d finally get back! It was perfect timing. School was back in session and the weather was beautiful. I was with one of my sons and we’d practically have the place to ourselves!
But, we didn’t. The place was packed. The line to get in was long. It was moving slow. There was a little hut that everyone was waiting in line to get through. It reminded me of a toll booth. The cashier, who was cleverly dressed in park ranger attire, sat inside collecting entrance fees and handing out zoo maps.
As we sat in the long line waiting for our turn to gain entrance, I glanced over at the parking lot. I was shocked! It looked filled to capacity. Where did all of those cars and people come from? Good grief, were there that many families with toddlers and preschoolers out for a play date today? Didn’t anybody nap anymore? Now wasn’t that just my luck. It looked like everyone and their neighbor decided to visit the zoo the same day as we did.
I looked away from the crowded parking lot and back at the line we were sitting in. Our car was moving again. We were inching forward! Hurray! It was finally our turn in line to pull up to the tiny, brown cashier’s booth. We paid and passed through the gate. Then, we were stopped again. Standing right in front of us a few feet through the gate stood a parking lot attendant. We were being directed away from the normal parking lot. Huh?? But the zoo was that way. We were being sent to the overflow lot. This was about a block away on a dirt field in the back of a high school. There were all kinds of volunteers wearing bright orange sashes and waving flashlights with red plastic covers directing the cars. We followed the line of cars through the ‘good’ parking lot and into no-man’s land. It was as if we were at a major sporting event. Their was a young man holding two flashlights at the end of the line. He directed us with precision into our parking spot. He waved his flashlights in stiff, official movements. Like a ramp agent on the tarmac directing a 500 seat passenger plane at the airport.
Eventually we parked and headed back in the direction of the zoo. It seemed miles away. After making our way past the arched stone entrance, I noticed that not much had changed since years ago when I first visited the zoo. The map showed that they still housed bears and lions, elephants and giraffes. And, all of the wild, exotic animals that you look forward to seeing. Many of the exhibits were in different locations but for the most part, it was just as I had remembered it from long ago.
On our way to our first exhibit, I spotted the tram. It had been in service there for as long as I can remember. It’s a slow-moving, multi row vehicle that travels all over the paved paths leading from one exhibit to the next. The outside of it is painted like a an exotic animal. On board, there’s a zoo guide dressed from head to toe in khaki. He wears a hat similar to one you’d see on Harrison Ford portraying Indiana Jones. It sits jauntily on his head. As the safari vehicle crawls along, the guide speaks through a microphone which muffles his voice. He tells you interesting facts about the animals as you pass by them. You move at a snail’s pace. Something I remembered all too well. We rode on that tram a few times with the kids when they were young. It was always nerve-wracking to my hubs and me. My boys liked speed. And, action. Riding on that turtle paced vehicle with the muffled sounding guide was always like sitting on a time bomb. I always imagined it was only been a matter of time before my boys would try to jump off. Or, rush the zoo guide. Or, something.
The zoo was as packed as the parking lot. We weaved our way through the crowds. We headed towards the bears first. They always thrilled the masses. This day was no different. It really doesn’t matter if they’re just lying around idle or if they’re jumping in their pools of water; they’re majestic to see. Such amazing creatures. We moved along from exhibit to exhibit. We saw the lions and giraffes and zebras. We walked through the Tropic World – a huge, open concept building which made you feel as tho you were hiking through the jungles of Africa and rain forests of Asia. We saw dolphins and seals swimming and jumping and diving. And, baby wolves. And, tigers. And, aardvarks and otters.
As we made our way from one exhibit to the other, I looked around and realized that it was not only the zoo that had remained the same, but the people visiting the zoo, also. I saw a lot of moms with strollers. There were a few preschool groups. And, young families with toddlers. You could tell if the adults accompanying the children were their parents or grandparents by the looks on their faces. Grandparents were delighted to be there. Parents were a bit overwhelmed and frazzled.
Overall, the zoo was filled with the same kind of visitors as it always had been. There were young mom’s trying to soothe crying babies. There were young siblings who were fighting one moment and suddenly amazed at what they were looking at the next. There were overly tired kids that looked sweaty and tired. They were whining and pleading for candy and soda and souvenirs. Young children scurried from animal to animal while frantic parents tried to keep count of everyone. Nothing had changed. Except, me. I was no longer that young mom with three, energetic boys in tow. It no longer took the team of both parents to make the zoo outing a success. I was middle-aged now. My boys were grown. I no longer had to worry about temper tantrums or squabbling siblings. It was a bittersweet moment looking around and seeing how time had stolen those early days from me.
I looked over at my son walking next to me and saw the little boy from 25 years ago that used to hold my hand and skip along. He had grown up and was now taller than I was. I thought back on my sweet memories fondly but knew without a doubt that I was glad to be exactly where I was in life. I was glad not to be riding that tram. Not for the same reasons as years ago, but because walking the zoo felt good. It was wonderful to be enjoying the same grounds I wandered years ago. This time with my son who was now grown. We enjoyed it on a different level and for different reasons. We celebrated the wonder of the animals and the places from which they originated. For several hours we walked the grounds of the zoo enjoying the great weather. Each others company. And, the animals.
When growing up, the summers felt long and drawn out. Those warm, sticky months of school vacation felt like they would never end. You spent long, lazy days being outdoors from morning until night, often only coming home for meals and then rushing back outside again to meet back up with your pals. You spent your days peddling your bikes up to the near-by strip malls to wander through the five and dimes with your friends. Or, swimming at the neighborhood public pools. Usually riding your Schwinn bike with the banana seat there or walking barefoot on the heated sidewalks. Your pool towel draped over your shoulders and your swimming cap, pool pass and flip-flops in hand. Time felt as though it stood still.
As an adult, you see the summer months differently. They’re hectic and busy. The laundry loads seem to quadruple. The fridge is always bare. There’s more activity and traffic throughout your home. But, you love everyone being around and the true gift of having no routine or busy schedules. One day you head to the grocery store at what you consider to be the beginning of summer. You’re doing your weekly shopping and you suddenly notice the signs on the seasonal aisle have changed from “welcome summer” to “back to school.” And, It’s only the second week of July! The 4th of July has barely become a memory and all of a sudden you are bombarded with back to school specials. Good grief! Talk about rushing the season.
You walk through a department store in June and the fall clothes are out. You walk through that same store in September and the Christmas trees are up. If you want to purchase a new outfit that is seasonal, good luck! You have to think ahead 3-6 months to be prepared for the season that’s around the corner. I was walking through one of my favorite stores in July looking for something summery to wear and the winter coats and sweaters were on display. It was the heat of the day. It felt like an oven outside. Between those unbearable temperatures and being in menopause, I immediately started to sweat just looking at all that wool. It was summer for goodness sake. Where were the shorts and t-shirts!
When did rushing the season become so trendy? Has it always been that way? As a kid in the 70’s, did we just not notice it because we were outside from morning until night? Material goods didn’t seem to matter as much back then. Retailers didn’t seem to push their goods on us so hard. The pressure on the consumer to buy, buy, buy seemed to be non-existent.
Or, was it? Interpretation of the seasons through the eyes of children are much different than adults. As kids, we savored each moment and lived in the present. We didn’t think ahead to what we would be doing or what we needed to have three or four months ahead of time. It was simple. Live each day as it comes. Enjoy each moment. Even tho time seemed to stand still as we were growing up, it wasn’t. Time flies. Why rush it? It goes fast enough on its own.
Throughout the long lazy days and weeks of my summer hiatus from BeingMargaret, I created several blog outlines to be finished and published at later dates. This post was one of those drafts. At the time of publication – this morning – while drinking coffee, writing and enjoying the quiet peacefulness of my house, the loud sounds coming from outside the front window of my abode did not fall on deaf ears. At first I reacted to it as normal background noise, not really paying much attention to it. Then I heard the same oddly familiar sound several times again. I got up and walked over to the window. Pulling back the drapes and looking out, my jaw dropped open. I saw the tell-tale sign of the end of summer. The big, yellow school buses were rolling down the street and past my home.
Good Grief! Where did summer go? How could it be that students all over the country were back in school already? It wasn’t even officially the middle of August yet. I tried to think back to the time when I was in school. Didn’t we always go back after Labor Day? Wasn’t that holiday the official end of summer? How could it be that schools now started 1 or 2 weeks into August? It felt so, so…wrong. So rushed.
And just like that – in the blink of an eye – that familiar, bittersweet ‘change of seasons’ feeling came over me. A topic that deserves a blog post of its own because I just know we can all relate to that. (stay tuned!!)
We have turned into a society that rushes through the events of our lives. Even the beginning of the school year for students everywhere seems to arrive prematurely. Maybe we should all just take a step back, meditate on the important things in life and slowwww dowwwwn. Time Flies. Let’s not help it along.
Today is Clark’s Birthday. Hurray!! He’s my fabulous Hubs! Happy Birthday, Clark!!
It’s easy to remember his birthday because, well, I’ve known him for about 35 years. I’m also pretty good at remembering birthdays. Sending out cards is another story. I tend to either send them out late or not at all. I’ve had an ongoing deal with myself for longer than I can remember to work on that personal flaw. Each year when the New Year rolls around I challenge myself to not only send every single person I know and love a birthday card but to also send it to them on time. And, each year I break that vow. Not on purpose, but because I tend to be a bit unorganized. (A sign of creativity I’ve been told – *probably by my mother*)
When I woke up this morning, I put on my robe, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed towards our basement. I walked down the stairs into the messy, cluttered, musty space under the first floor of our home. I needed a picture of Clark. I needed a picture ~ or two ~ of him to post on Facebook. It’s been a longtime tradition of mine – along with everyone in the universe – to start our loved ones birthdays off on the right foot by publicly posting old, forgotten pictures of them and attaching some sort of sentimental blurb under it. We plaster these Jpgs (pronounced Jaaayyy-pegs) out onto the World Wide Web and into cyberspace for the whole world to see. Well, I exaggerate. But if you’ve Googled your name recently you’ll find I’m not too far off on my statement
At the bottom of my basement stairs, I walked back through a slim, cluttered hallway and towards what was once a working darkroom that Clark and I had built in a cut off, private section down there. I passed up stacks of stored once treasured objects laying everywhere that had once held coveted spots in the rooms upstairs. I got to the door of the old photo room, opened it and carefully stepped into what now looked like a cluttered room where most of our accumulated treasures from 30 years of marriage had landed. I looked around and thought to myself, good grief, we’ve become hoarders…
There were boxes and boxes of photos in that room which were saved in their original envelopes and stuffed into drawers. Jammed drawers that you could barely open up because there were heavy stacks of boxes upon boxes filled with junk and memorabilia crammed all over the place. The walls were also filled with cabinets that held a bonanza of old photo albums. Eventually, I got down to work and started searching for a few pictures that were Facebook worthy.
Not too far into my task I became unfocused as I sifted through what seemed like a million unorganized photos. It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re looking at a photogenic history of your life. The sentimentality of the task pulled at my heartstrings. I started to examine the content of the piles of photos I was sifting through rather than finding photos of my hubs. Photography sure had changed…..
After a few hours of walking down memory lane, I had finally found a handful of pictures that would work as a tribute to my Hubs. They were awesome photos and during a time when we first met and started dating. His hair was long and he sported a thick, full mustache. He wore t-shirts with pictures of rock bands on them and cut off, frayed jean shorts. He drove a convertible and had a wild streak in him that caught my eye right away. These days he’s traded in that youthful attire and look for work slacks, ties and weekend golf shirts.
It was odd-looking back at those old photos. It’s odd how you don’t realize how much you age and mature from year to year until you look back. It hit’s you then and you think solemnly to yourself, wow, I’ve aged…. You wonder where the time went. How did thirty years fly by so fast. And, were the memories recorded in those old, treasured photo’s really as glorious as our minds would love to convince us they were? Or, is it true what they say; that it’s fun to remember the way things used to be, but the way things used to be probably could never live up to how we recall them. We tend to glorify the past with fabulous stories and timeless photo’s that make you think ‘all the world’s a sunny day…’
My routine has changed. My once typical morning of coffee, working out and writing has recently morphed into a whirlwind of chaos and fly by the seat of your pants activities, chores and running around chasing a tail. Literally, because I’ve got a new Puppy!!
Duncan, my lovable new sidekick, has permanently joined our family and there’s suddenly not a single shred of “routine or calm” in my day-to-day life. And, I could not be happier or more in love with this adorable, blonde, big brown-eyed Puggle weighing in at eleven lbs and standing one foot tall. Who doesn’t love a puppy?
I simply can’t.get.enough of him! My cup runneth over!! My heart is about to burst!! Hooray!!! I’m in puppy love!!!
Ohh, the big decision to adopt him was not something I arrived at lightly. It’s something I’d been thinking about for a long time. Something that my boys had been pleading for, well, for as long as I can remember. Clark? – well, his mantra for the past few years since I really started getting serious about getting a dog has been….. “Have you lost your ever-lovin’ mind? NO, Absolutely not…we are not getting a dog!”
So I did what any red-blooded American, empty nester female would do. I went out all by myself, searched high and low and not only found Duncan, but brought him home. “Ohh honey, I’m home!!…..Surpriseeee!!
I knew that the moment my Hubs saw the little guy skittishly romping and skidding across the kitchen floor towards him, that it would be love at first sight. He’d agree that I was right all along about adding this new little bundle of joy to our family. Annnnnd, it didn’t take Clark long to lose his heart forever to this perfect example of Man’s Best Friend. It didn’t take long for this tiny, mischievous, energetic pup and my hubs to become best buds.
Is it ironic that my decision to take the plunge and adopt this feisty, fireball of fur coincided with my boys arriving at young adulthood and living basically on their own and out of the house?? (*ehem*…I use the phrase ‘out of the house’ lightly) Nah, my friends and family all assure me that it is just my way of reacting to my mid-life crisis. But *I* say… there’s simply no time like the present!!
So, in the past month or so my routine has not only done a total 360, but my world has been opened up to life with a puppy. I’ve been diligently working to train and groom this sweet little canine into a well-disciplined member of the family. Some days are simple. Others, a great challenge.
Here are a few bridges we’ve crossed and things I’ve learned since his arrival into his new home and his permanent place into our family and our hearts…
What you learn when you live life with a puppy
Puppies care about your health!! They’ll go out of their way to get you up and outside with them. Often! The backdoor in now their personal scratching pad when they decide it’s time for you to get out and play with them. If that does not get your attention, their high-pitched squeak/bark will get your attention. Arrffff Arrrffff..
They don’t judge. They aren’t particular about what outfit you happen to hastily toss on when you notice they’ve squeezed through the backyard fence. They also don’t make judgements about what your hair looks like or that you’re in your bathrobe while chasing them down the block when they decide to take off after a midnight potty break.
They love to play games…like Hide and Seek. They pick the object and hide it somewhere you’d never think of looking for it. And you get to go seek it. FUN!
You’ll quickly get used to being mistaken for a human pin cushion. They use your arms and legs for teething. If you’re not stern enough, they’ll also use the legs of your funiture. Thank Goodness for the distressed wood fad that’s been in fashion in recent years. Let’s hope it’s here to stay for a while……
Pet insurance – their premiums may be higher than yours. This so-called “safeguard” is an evil necessity because let’s face it, who wants to get stuck with a $2000 vet bill for Physical therapy, thyroid conditions or God forbid, therapy sessions when they’re feeling blue. Right?
Puppies help you hone your time management skills. Want to run your usual day long errands? Not so fast, mister… You learn quickly to do 5 hours of activities and errands, in a zippy hour and twenty-two minutes. These these short hourly increments of free time are what you’re now allotted ~ at least while your sweet pooch learns the fine art of potty training.
They’re like babies. Suddenly you’re talking about poop and pee again, a lot. They make you feel absurdly proud. When you’re in public and see total strangers looking and smiling at your puppy, it’s hard not to smile and feel a sense of pride, which is somewhat ridiculous because you aren’t responsible for the existence of this creature, you paid too much money for it, in fact.
Puppy Proofing is essential. Puppies try to kill themselves everyday, all day, and in creative ways. Like… by chewing through electrical chords and eating scissors. Anything dropped on the floor is fair game if you can’t quickly lunge for it before they get to it.
Puppies increase the need for vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and tidying, in general. You’re house has never looked so clean! You’ve never been more organized as when you have a puppy around. Mainly out of necessity. Get it done now or don’t get it done!
The universe revolves around puppies. Suddenly you become dog-centric against your will. Your puppy is the topic of every conversation, and when it isn’t you find ways to steer the conversation back to your puppy.
Puppies disrupt sleep; Suddenly, we’re drawing straws on Saturday morning about who gets up with the puppy. Suddenly, you’re drawing straws each night about who takes puppy to the bathroom at midnight. I’ve caught myself feigning sleep in the wee hours, hoping my husband will jump at that task.
Ok, that being said – The trials and tribulations of training a young puppy will never measure up to the love you’ll have for your dog, or the love he brings you. You’ll never have a better or more loyal friend than this amazing, wonderful creature. They eagerly greet you, tail wagging and rump squirming, when you walk through the door at the end of a hard day. They’re ALWAYS happy to see you. Their affection towards you is the definition of unconditional love. They are the only thing on earth than loves you more than they love themself. He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”
In Honor of St Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share some tips on how to celebrate the day if you were not lucky enough to be born Irish, as I was. I thought about it and researched and wrote my thoughts down. Then, having the luck of the Irish on my side, I ran into this article. I could not have said it better my self. So to you, I share with you these words of wisdom which i stumbled upon and decided were just too good to pass up.
Happy St Patrick’s Day……..
Gone are the days when you can just celebrate the day with your Irish friends while submerging yourself in the culture, knowing full well you have no Irish blood whatsoever. No. Literally everyone, on this day, has a long lost cousin somewhere in a far distant shire.
It can’t be stopped. Not in a million years. So in an attempt to at least try and make things easier when you’re undercover out there, here are a few tips that may actually get you through a full day as a fake Irishman…
You have absolutely no Irish blood in you, or if you do, it’s extremely faint and almost nonexistent. But that won’t stop you. Exaggerate the sh*t out of it. Your beloved Irish nanny (who is actually called Barbara and has never even been to an Irish bar) dropped your mam on the docks of the Mersey herself and is an icon in your family.
You’re going to need to hate the English for what they did to your people. Don’t go too deep with this – that’s an absolute no go. You don’t have enough time to learn the history. The best thing you can do in this situation is learn a few rebel songs and blurt them out if someone engages with you about a conflict you know absolutely piss all about.
If you decide to wear the Irish flag as a cape on St Patrick’s Day, you may as well run around screaming “I’m English” all day. Just don’t do it. This is one of the main ways I identify the English people every year. Granted, you will get the odd Irish person wearing one, but the majority of Irish men and women respect their flag enough not to sweat into it all day, sit on it then use it as a means to wipe up green vomit later on.
Feel free to kiss this person. On the lips. With your fist. If you thought the cape was bad, and a great identifier for the English, then this is a homing beacon. There is no doubt in my mind that whatever damage you inflict on a person wearing this t-shirt, they already deserve it. However, I will at this point say that it’s not a good idea to assault someone, and while that will probably be happening wherever you look tonight, don’t actually punch people in the lips with your fist. Just laugh at them, instead.
There’s no doubt you’re going to be knocking back the fluid as consistently as possible, in order to keep up with your cohorts, who are much better drinkers than you. But you don’t NEED to drink the green stuff. It doesn’t make you more Irish. What it does, however, is waits. And waits. Until it’s ready to exit your body and make your bathroom look like that 2009 Maga’ foam party.
Or do, if you want to blow your cover as a real Irish person. I would prefer you actually did this one, if I’m honest. As early on in the night as possible.
If you don’t know this Irish banger word for word, you’re going to feel like a black sheep. Sorry, you’re going to feel even more like the black sheep that you already are. There will never be a point in the day when everyone will just spontaneously burst into song with this – in most cases it will just be an older guy in the corner, on his own after one too many. But if you really want to impress, that guy could be you.
You’re going to want to turn up for work tomorrow, too. Your boss knows full well you’re not even the slightest bit Irish and he won’t be pleased when he finds out you just went for a midweek piss up. Your Irish colleagues will probably get the benefit of the doubt. It means something to them – even if ‘something’ just means getting shitfacewankered with their actual Irish family all day. They still have more of a reason to not make it into work the next day.
This afternoon while skimming through Facebook, I ran across a link that directed me to a blog post which was written by a talented young lady, Kristin. She just happens to be the younger sister of my beautiful Daughter-in-Law. Kristin is traveling and studying overseas in Spain. She’s enrolled in one of those student/class exchange programs from the college she attends. You know, those amazing programs where you get to travel the world while taking classes at an institution that is affiliated with the college that you are attending. And, she takes full advantage of traveling the world on her weekends while living temporarily abroad.
When I was her age and in college, these programs were not as popular nor taken advantage of nearly as much as they are today. Things have changed. The world seems to have become smaller. Or, perhaps it’s just that the young adults of today’s world have more opportunities laid at their feet and are far more likely to follow through will well thought out plans because of their fierce independence and higher education.
I like this. I have adapted to the way the world has changed since I was a twenty-something. I encourage my kids (all twenty-somethings) to travel. It not only opens your eyes to new experiences and different cultures, but it also opens your world to new possibilities.
After reading through some of Kristin’s posts, especially the one that I am introducing to you here, I am more convinced than ever that through the experience of travel & education, young adults grow and mature in ways that benefit not only themselves but also society. The beauty of all of this is that you don’t have to travel across the ocean to experience the blessings of travel. Your world could be opened up simply going ten miles from where you live, crossing a state line – or traveling to the village closest to you.
I am writing this after 20 minutes checking myself out on social media. See this past weekend I went to Morocco and got amazing pictures so I naturallyyyy posted one to Instagram right away (go give me a like if you get the chance;)). BUT WAIT- that was just an addition to the ones I was tagged in on Facebook. There was also the new profile pic I updated of my bestie and myself last week- that’s when this continuous clicking happened and the self-stalking binge started. These twenty minutes consisted of checking who liked what, guessing how people perceived the pics, and even assessing myself for many reasons but mostly to see how I came across and what people might think of me.
…………………LIKE WHAT??? I reread this sadly true paragraph and can’t help but feel shame for how narcissistic and self-centered the last 20 minutes of my life were. Twenty minutes of my life I will never get back. Twenty minutes of my life that could have been spent doing something way more productive or meaningful or touching. From conversations with friends and observations around me I can bet that MANY other people have been in this same situation.
We take selfies, have personal agendas, and feel an overwhelming need not only to talk about ourselves but also somehow bring us into any aspect of conversation. The selfie stick, deemed “the wand of narcissism,” has become so popular that museums across the country (for example the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the MFA in Houston) have banned its presence.
While listening to a sermon about spiritual maturity, a point that was made really stood out to me- “We are all born narcissists and learning to grow out of that is at the heart of our spirituality.” What exactly does this mean? Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that everyone needs their own personal time and space- it’s vital to one’s sanity and something I am a strong advocate for. But when 20 minutes of my day consists of looking at myself on social media, something’s wrong.
Confidence is cool and self-love is a must. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with loving yourself- everyone should! When we love ourselves we can notice the God given gifts we have. However when we use this realization for self-promotion, narcissism and self-centeredness take over.
When we learn to grow out of our narcissism, our spirituality can flourish. When we lose that blinding interest in ourselves, we start make room for an interest in others.This also happens when we liberate ourselves from our selfishness sometimes even just by becoming aware of it. There’s a quote I love that says, “Love is to reveal the beauty of someone to himself or herself.” When we stop obsessing over our own beauty and vanity, we have room to love and appreciate others. This promotes change and in comes Buddha:
Realizing these self-obsessing habits is the first step for a narcissist. It’s something I struggle with and am trying to work on day by day. So next time I find myself beginning a self stalking binge on social media I’ll click my home page and go give some likes or a genuine comment. It’s all about baby steps…
In the meantime, here are some pictures of Morocco, including a selfie with a camel:
reblogged from JOY by KristenBuehler11