scribbles tagged ‘being wendy’

crackling on the phone

Saturday, July 19th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

I love my mum

She’s 78. I’m banned from mentioning aging. She moans about her 93 year old sister being ‘needy’ wanting mum to come with her on weekend coach tour breaks. Apparently, even if they have separate rooms her elder sister is an insufferable talker who’s deaf. Hmmmmm…..   it’s been remarked that I take after this maternal aunt. Must remember to listen, even when I’m deaf.

Mum and I chat a couple of times a week. This is a new thing. It started when I was made redundant in 2009 and I nominated mum as responsible for knowing that I was ok on a day to day basis. Having no regular schedule, there was no one to ‘miss’ me. I called mum at 7pm each day and she had instructions and neighbours numbers to follow up with if I didn’t call and didn’t return her ‘why haven’t you called’ calls.  Obviously all this safety infrastructure was not put into emergency action. What it did do was it gave me an excuse to call mum every day, for no real reason. We’d chat if something occurred to us, or just share hello’s if not. A nice habit. One I’ve kept up on a weekly basis since then. A habit that’s been easy to increase since dad died.

Since dad died our calls have been more light hearted and chatty. I’ve enjoyed them much more.  They make me love mum even more.

Over the last year the quality of her voice over the phone has changed. I can’t tell if this is my expectations and fears or an actual change. She is still a quick thinker but the ‘crackle’ that I associated with old people dominates what I hear. I hear what she says, but the voice is not the her voice of my youth, and later adulthood. It’s the voice of a delicate old lady.

I love my mum

 


1 wonderful musing »

estimating the odds

Monday, June 30th, 2014 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Seattle, 2006, I’m 43. A weekend phone call home. Dad always triages the phone calls. One phone is next to his computer. He doesn’t chat, but I’m prepared with a question primed by my annual medical check-up

“Dad, how old was mum when she started the menopause?”

“56 and we’re still suffering!” She was 66 at the time

I was still giggling when mum picked up the extension line…


1 wonderful musing »

door stop

Saturday, June 28th, 2014 | tags:  |

Door to mazeA crowd of people are about to leave the canteen as I approach for my late lunch.

I heave the heavy fire door open and hold it for the escaping lunchtime throng. Many pass without eye contact, talking chirpily to each other or striding into the heart of the building. A few catch my eye, silently nodding their head or muttering a thank you. Toward the end of the crowd a fellow offers to take the door holding role. I accept.

People not acknowledging my small gesture had enhanced the power of my invisibility cloak and my urge to drop the door and walk into the canteen leaving them to battle the door one by one. This fellow’s xray vision confirmed he too was a superhero.


3 bits of fabulous banter »

out of synch

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

Tonight is my first wide awake night since the 1980′s

I don’t know why, though going to bed, sleep, at 9pm last night probably led to waking at 3am, feeling bouncy and full of energy. 6 hours continuous deep sleep seems like a good dose. I’m not bemoaning my current wakefulness. It seems I’m just slightly out of synch with the majority of people living in this time zone. In the 1980s I used my wakefulness to go clubbing, read prolifically, socialise with local nocturnal misfits and drink copious amounts of tea. Good times brought to an end by my first serious romance. A healthy sex life definitely aides deep and long sleeps.

Today, a gentle pre-sunrise has seen me sort a pile of paper mail into 4 neat piles including a huge one that’s gone straight into the recycling bin. Gosh, I’m way too organised this morning! Freshly laundered sheets don the bed, waiting for my tomorrow night’s flop into the world of sleep.  Sampo doesn’t seem the slightest bit disturbed by my pottering around the house. I love how she adapts easily to my changing ways.


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genie

Monday, June 16th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

I don’t spend much tome looking at myself in the mirror. I catch a glimpse when brushing my teeth, or a fuzzy glimpse after I bathe as I throw my towel around trying to wrap myself in dryness.

Zultanite ringBut my hands are almost always there, tapping on the keyboard, gathering food, lifting a glass. I see my hands many times a day. They show my age. I still remember the smooth skin of their youth and notice the miniscule mosaic shapes of age emerging. They get enough attention, I don’t care to draw the attention of others to my hands. Until I saw a little light magic in a Turkish gemstone. Zultanite.

Zultanite ringThe stone changes colour depending on the light source. Captivated by the magic of perception reflected in this gem, on my Turkish holiday I purchased a ring. Green in fluorescent light, strawberry pink in sunlight and Topaz coloured in another light who’s source I’ve yet to identify. Mixed reflection when mixed light sources are nearby. It makes catching a glimpse of my hands more joyous.

I fancy there is a genie of the ring and maybe there’s more magic that will change the colours in my life. I’ll rub it and see…


1 wonderful musing »

Out of State

Monday, May 19th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

Surface power adapter exploded – sparks everywhere.  Just before I went to the airport for a long, long trip. A quick l;ook online shows that these power adapters are getting poor customer reviews for lasting, like mine, under 1 year. Tush and Pah!

Dixons at LHR doesn’t sell Surface power adapters. At Atlanta airport, none of the 4 technology outlets sold surface power adapters. It’s still covered by a warrantly but all my documentation is at home so that’s no use to me. I’ve ordered one online for delivery to the hotel. 1-3 days. I hope it arrives before I leave for my next destination. Amazon’s tracking service makes it look likely :-)

TrackingI suspect a dearth of posts for about 3 weeks, but dont worry, my camera is working overtime and the stories are flooding in …


4 bits of fabulous banter »

scared

Monday, May 12th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

I’m scared that my life is on a road that will make it stylishly bleak, like a rest break in Guggenheim museum

LA


2 bits of fabulous banter »

remembering to remember

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

Watching a mellow, slim, attractive man saunter along the sidewalk.

Briefly glimpsing a reminder of those intense, happy feelings that accompany falling in love.

I’d forgotten that I’d forgotten that unique, addictive high.

A fleeting insight too quickly lost.

 


2 bits of fabulous banter »

seasonal crop

Sunday, May 4th, 2014 | tags:  |

Summer CropSummer is coming. It might be unseasonably hot (for the UK). Climate change. Meanwhile, Minneapolis has hair-static overload. Together these natural forces make shorter hair an attractive option. Like well sown fields, I’ve got a fresh crop.  It’s got a swirly bit at my crown. Crown, how very British.

No hair dye. At 50yrs those are my natural silver streaks. Looks like I’ll have to wait at least another decade for the ‘arctic blonde’ look.


3 bits of fabulous banter »

Need to know gender for buying a house energy certificate?

Friday, May 2nd, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

No-one should need to classify my gender in the process lf my purchasing an energy certificate for my home. How annoying. I won’t be using this service

gender options for home emergy certificate


1 wonderful musing »

Sated sofa search

Saturday, April 26th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

sofaI bought my first sofa aged 31 in 1994. At £899.00 it was a BIG purchase. Only the house and car cost more. We visited many sofa shops, we asked friends, we searched online. I saved up for a year and we used interest free credit for 3 years. It was a cast iron frame, hand made, sofa bed. I loved that sofa, it was so comfortable, in forest green, mustard and rust colours. The sofa moved several houses with me and eventually went to Seattle.

After 10 years of intensive use, in 2004, it looked its age. The arms had faded, the pattern was dated. It was still awesome to sit and sleep on, but I’d tired of it. I tried selling it on Craigslist as an imported, handmade classic British sofa. But even for $50.00, there were no takers. Eventually I got to a point where I was grateful that someone just took it away. It left to adorn a nice fellow’s mountain cabin porch where his Great Dane would enjoy lounging on it.

I’ve procrastinated on buying another sofa since then. 10 years of procrastinating, that deserves some kind of award. Close friends have pointed out that a front room without a comfortable sofa is not really good enough. I’ve got individual chairs, I’ve got a 17th century ‘Settle’, I’ve got a love seat. There are places to ‘sit’ comfortably. But a sofa seems a social necessity.

sofaSince moving back to the UK I’ve been searching. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to my search for a sofa. I’ve sat and bounced on sofa’s in stores, on my own and with friends. This has helped me to refine my awareness of my sofa purchase criteria to:

  • Enough room for a cat to run underneath it
  • Enough room for a vacuum cleaner to run underneath it
  • Classic or innovative design
  • A  tight proportion of seat-space to sofa-size. No big arms or areas not used for sitting-on
  • Plush, something that says ‘luxury’
  • I can fall asleep on it (sat-upright and lying down)
  • It can fit through my cottage front door and round the immediate hallway corner
  • Must tone in with my golden and orange Persian rug

Finally I took my credit card to Bright of Nettlebed and commissioned a 2.5 seated Coleridge with claw and ball mahogany legs, feather seat cushions. The photograph was taken in the Nettlebed showroom. I’ve placed my choice of fabric over the back.  The gold is a thick thread that has a delicate pattern as part of the weave using different textures. The orange thread is thick, like a dense chenille. It reminds me of the

  • Designs of Charles Rene Macintosh
  • Warmth of fire
  • Symmetry of Japanese designs
  • Gentle curves of nature.

The sofa will arrive in August… …when they’ve made it.


3 bits of fabulous banter »

come and see this

Saturday, April 12th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

Mumzie just phoned to find out what TV programme I was watching and suggest that I change channels. Then she hung up. Do I need to get a life? Or is there something strangely comforting about the informality and brevity of the conversation, as-if mum had just called me from another room. Yes, I like that call from a virtual room emotionally nearby


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key purse

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

Microsoft Card KeyChecking my bag, have I got everything that I need, before I leave the Wendy House for the big scary world outside?

No key card.

Without my key card I can’t get into the safe, secure, place that is ‘work’. An hour searching the finite, small, tidied through previous searching, Wendy House, didn’t uncover the key card. Sigh. I’ll have to cancel this one and arrange a replacement. A photograph of my looking harassed and bedraggled will adorn my key card until the next time I lose it. Why can’t I put my favourite selfie on my key card? Resigned to the dull, administrative, overhead, I wander out to Thomas and open his door

On the drivers seat is my key card

Relief


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t’ ryst

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

watches as jewelleryI remembered picking up my watch from my bedside table before my bath.

Between then and my clean, sparkling-self dressing it appeared to have vanished of the face of the earth. I spent an hour searching the small finite spaces of the Wendy House, but nothing. Sigh. My watch has great sentimental value. Easy to replace at a functional level, but this loss left me saddened as I faced my daily jungle trek

After an outstandingly enjoyable jungle trek, de-robing  for bed, I noticed my watch wrapped around my right wrist, not it’s usual left wrist

Sweet surprise


2 bits of fabulous banter »

7 year itch

Friday, February 28th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

Based on a light weight trend analysis, I suspect I might be moving home this year.

  • 86-93 home in Loughborough (including a year living in Edinburgh with my Mortgage, weekend place, in Loughborough).
  • 93-20 home in Hampshire (Southsea then Warblington).
  • 00-07 home in Seattle (Redmond, I meant to move downtown but somehow never got round to it).
  • 07 -14 home in Reading town (intending to stay here for a while yet, but the trend suggests otherwise).

 

 


3 bits of fabulous banter »

Laundry ship set to sail

Sunday, February 16th, 2014 | tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,  |

Laundry ShipAnother stormy weekend chez Wendy House.

A temporary break in the flood production system. No rain this morning.

Laundry to be washed and dried. No modern tumble-drier accessories. My laundry its catching some rare sun rays in the Wendy House wind-swept garden.

Extra ballast had been added to the ‘airer’ to prevent it attempting a take-off garden tour. Bricks.

The ships that carried lumber from Seattle to San Francisco, to build the beautiful houses there, carried stone back to Seattle as ballast to weight the ships appropriately on the return journey. The stone was used to build many of the Historic buildings in the Pioneer square area of Seattle. Awesome.

Sampo stretchSampo is staying in.

The RSPCA has warned that cats are likely to take-off in these strong winds. Despite her own substantial personal ballast, Sampo’s a cautious cat.

Sampo’s not risking any unplanned flights.

 


7 bits of fabulous banter »

OS measurementation of what?

Saturday, January 25th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

what's this for?One of the joys of working for an engineering company is learning the new language, the language of Engineering

For example, this item raised a smirk from me and so many questions. What is this? What does it do? Who would buy it? How would they use it? Does it come with any attachments? Does OS mean ‘Operating System’? Should I buy one in case of emergencies?

What do you think?

 

 

 


5 bits of fabulous banter »

unselfconscious

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

Reflecting on this unselfconscious body language, I suspect my wearing my kilt is a risky event for anyone in eyeshot
listening, talking, note-taking


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building myths

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Boiler on fullPseudo Shakespearian, myth-making, coincidences emerge. For example, my boiler broke in

  • February 2013, the morning my mother had her first stroke. insurance fixed it by replacing the fan, mother recovered.
  • November 2013, the morning my father died. Insurance fixed it by replacing a valve.

Just in case the myth created by coincidence has any basis in reality I thought I’d head-off the proximity of the next boiler breakdown by paying for a thorough overhaul and upgrading a few elderly components. I didn’t replace the boiler because all the Heating Engineers I’ve seen have said that it is an excellent, well designed boiler that should last for decades yet. Evidently “they don’t make them like that anymore“. Like my parents.


2 bits of fabulous banter »

who are you?

Sunday, December 8th, 2013 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Wake attendee: Are you (mum’s name)’s sister?

Mum’s only sister is more than 40 years older than me, I was a bit thrown by the question and thinking of myself in relation to Dad:

Wendy: I’m (Dad’s name)’s youngest daughter

Wake attendee: But he’s only got one daughter

Wendy: that’s me, youngest and oldest daughter, at the same time

Many of the people at the funeral remembered me, from when I’d baby-sat their kids, or some other event that my memory had filed somewhere too dusty for me to find. Mainly the guests seemed like strangers to me. They enjoyed the PowerPoint slide deck we’d put together illustrating Dad’s different passions, it prompted conversations across club members as the Gloucester Richard the III society started talking the Retired Professional Engineers Club (Bristol) members about history.


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mourning of the funeral

Friday, December 6th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , , , ,  |

Poppy checks funeral detailsDad’s funeral was just right for him. The funeral directors were excellent. A man from the funeral directors in a top hat with a silver-tipped long cane walked in front of the hearse as it approached the crematorium. Something wonderfully reverent, respectful, about this little show. I couldn’t deal with the physical presence of Dad’s body. Being in the same room as the body that no longer hosted the dad I knew was overwhelming. From the moment the hearse pulled out in front of our cortege car I was in full mucus-soaked tears, unable to pull words together.

Despite dearly wanting to say some words at the ceremony, I opted put, unable. I hadn’t anticipated being the blubbiest of the family though I was well prepared with multiple thick white cotton handkerchiefs. Everything went smoothly. The funeral was a very traditional, Christian, event. The archaically expressed Christianity didn’t speak to me, the sentiments and shared respectful kind words were good to hear in the company of so many people who’s lives he’d touched. My brother’s tribute was spot-on, as was Dad’s ex-boss’s.

I didn’t wear a hat (Mum’s request), I didn’t wear black. Mum requested that I wear my new dark-blue tailored suit, she wanted me to look good and talk bout my new job with the guests. Only a couple of people wore hats, they looked good.

I wonder how the funeral process will change over time? Live twitter feeds with hashtags projected on the wall relaying condolences from those who can’t be present? Live camera shot of the coffin moving to the incinerator?

The wake made much more sense than the funeral. It was good for me and I hope for the guests. More emphasis on the wake please.

 

 


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morning of the funeral

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

 

Portishead, BristolNo-one slept well that night. All awake and dressed before the alarms chimed.

I took mum to the hairdressers and wandered around town trying to think of Christmas,  stay warm, share the apparent normality of the other pedestrians.

No rush, everything sorted, I just wanted to get it over with. I think we all expected the funeral and wake to bring a closure that might release deep sleep and remove what feels like a physical hangover as if mild alcohol poisoning were running through my blood, amplifying noises, emotions and bringing a feeling of physical sickness.

Mum’s hair looked good. Later she showed me dad’s tie collection. Did I want any? I wanted them all, I wanted to look at them and imagine him wearing them, I wanted to tease him about his taste in ties.

Wendy:  “No, I don’t think I’ll wear them and I don’t know anyone who wears ties. That one’s nice

Mum: “It was your dad’s favourite

Ties If mum hasn’t given them to charity by the next time I visit, I think I will take some and wear them. Clearly we have a similar tie-design sensibility…


2 bits of fabulous banter »

restless energy

Saturday, November 30th, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

Sleeplessness

energy saving bulb and cloudsI expected to have difficulty sleeping. 3 nights of gaining consciousness every 90 minutes, looking at the clock then falling back asleep. Only 3 nights?!

There’s a sense of guilt about not being sufficiently disrupted. Tired from reduced sleep,  yet I seem to have so much more energy than normal. Energy that is helpful for thinking through what needs to happen, double checking things after being easily distracted, making arrangements, making lists.

This energy seems to be swept along and shaped by what’s happening around me. My family, and work, are calm so this energy is mainly good but it could easily go off track.

Anger

While driving to work I sang along with Joe Jackson’s “Is she really going out with him?”. My emotions so quickly got wrapped up in the anger of the song. I’m not really angry, but I wouldn’t recommend including me in religious or political discussions for a while…


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mental autocorrect tantrum

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Bristol back lanewendy: my parents live down a small country lane...

As soon as the phrase ‘parents live’ left my mouth a mental autocorrect screached ‘WRONG! should be – mum lives - mum, mum, just MUM, you don’t have parents now’. I just continued without adjusting my mistake, hoping that I was the only one who noticed this inaccuracy. Mental autocorrect is overreacting slightly.  It should be a bit kinder in it’s correction message, I’m not deaf or stupid, just prone to a comfortable, life-long used reference habit.

I’ve noticed mum using the current tense, talking about ‘we‘ in contexts where ‘I’ would now be more accurate. I hope her mental autocorrect is kinder than mine.


3 bits of fabulous banter »

I’m more aware of your presense now

Sunday, November 24th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Stickers on the back of Dad's carI take out the bins at the Wendy house, I think of dad because he always took out the bins at home, it was his job. Not an activity that prompted this thought during his life.

I go to the local Chinese take-away for some lovely food, I think of Dad because he liked to treat mum to a Chinese take-away meal on Friday night. I smile. Not an activity that prompted this thought during his life.

Goodness, so many things prompt thoughts that affirm who dad was, things he did. I notice the way I stand when I’m listening to a story, I stand like dad. I’d never noticed before. I hear my voice as I laugh and I hear the faint echo of his intonation. I never noticed while he was alive.

I welcome these spontaneously intrusive thoughts, they are beautiful intrusions, it’s as if my mind is trying to let me know how alike we are, how together we’ll always be. It’s saying,

“don’t worry, you have always been together and you always will be. He’s part of you”

The thoughts often arrive when I’m in the company of others. I say nothing and let the thought roll. I suspect my continually adding “My dad used to…..” to conversations would upset and begin to bore the people I’m talking with. With family it’s different, mumsie happily chatters about dad which I find comforting and I happily join in. My brothers are relatively silent on the topic, their silence makes me suspect they are finding the experience more painful than I.


3 bits of fabulous banter »

butterfly baggage

Thursday, November 7th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

Red AdmiralI haven’t gotten to almost 50 without learning a thing or two light-weight, easy, yet stylish travel packing:

  1. Avoid buying new shoes before, or while on holiday. I like to do a lot of walking when on holiday and this can lead to new-shoe breaking in blisters….
  2. Never buy new clothes in advance of travelling (except shoes)
  3. Pack stuff that you know you won’t bring back like teabags, sanitary towels, gifts for friends – this gives you space to bring-back different things without overpacking for the return journey
  4. Pack your tatty old underwear, wear it, chuck it.  Buy new underwear while on holiday. Always an entertaining experience, especially if there’re significant language barriers and sizing differences
  5. Under pack on ‘nice’ clothes and pick yourself a treat while you’re there, as a holiday memento. If you’re travelling outside of the UK it’s likely to result in cheaper, better quality and much more interesting clothing additions
  6. Only take one pair of spectacles and one hat (I normally fail at doing this)

I managed to get all my gear (technology and chargers included) for my 3 week 50th birthday USA tour into one bag, hand luggage size. There was some sitting on the case involved.  Will the case survive the journey… …will it get a friend?


1 wonderful musing »

cinderella cupboard complete

Sunday, October 13th, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

cupboard complete!A little space in my entrance hall is aching for a cupboard. I carried a tape-measure in my pocket for 5 years, diligently measuring every small cupboard I encountered. Like Goldilocks uncovering non-conformity problems:

  • Too tall - block the hall window light
  • Too deep – block the kitchen door opening
  • Too wide – block the front door opening

I learned to see ‘wrong size’ at a distance, I stopped measuring and hope gradually dwindled. The space in my hall gradually attracted stacks of practical boxes. As I walked by them I thought ‘crazy box woman’ and sighed. I suspect I’m not alone in feeling a disproportionate pleasure from finding durable, functional, beautiful home storage solutions.

Then while off to buy some food I walked passed this in a shop window display.

It looked right. I got excited as I slipped out my tape-measure to check I wasn’t fantasizing. Yes! It fits just right. It’s sturdy, the colour compliments the room. Purchase made, delivery arranged. What I didn’t check was whether it was self assembly or not, but that’s another 4 hour story….


6 bits of fabulous banter »

cat cuddles

Friday, October 11th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

ghostly catWendy: I’ll need some quality time with my cat because she won’t understand why I’ve been away for a month

Colleague: Do you know how that sounds?

Wendy: yes (giggles)

Colleague: (giggles)


1 wonderful musing »

bayonets are so ‘not in’

Saturday, October 5th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

used lightsWhile having a bath the last bulb in my light fitting blew. Darkness.

The next morning I fought procrastination and took a trip to buy some bulbs. At the store I realised that I didn’t know what size or fitting to buy. I plumped for the ‘common’ size and bayonet fitting.

I found a screwdriver to open the sealed bathroom light fitting and a bar stool to stand on, then started fiddling. I managed to open the fitting without breaking the glass cover, remove the blown bulbs, then notice the bulbs were the unusually small screw fittings – not what I’d bought. A quick scout around the house uncovered a couple of small screw fitting bulbs in my bedside table lamps. Phew. Easier to go to bed in the dark than bathe in the dark. Screw fit bulbs in place and bathroom light fitting reconstituted.

Just call me capable. Even without the aid of power tools.


6 bits of fabulous banter »

oh my

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Parents home DiningroomThe ‘ownership’ implied by the word ‘my’ has always fascinated me. People interpret what is meant by ‘my’ in very different ways depending on what is being referred to and other parameters.

Dutch colleague: Where do you live in England?

Wendy: Reading town

Dutch colleague: and your family?

Wendy: No, they live in Bristol (notices the look of shock, or horror, on the Dutch native’s face). My family are mainly my parents

Statistically speaking a girl of my age is likely to have been married at least once and given birth at least once. ‘My family’ has changed in the mind of my peers from primarily being parents and siblings to primarily being partner and children. I’ve been a bit slow to catch-up on this shift because for me my family has remain relatively (pause to appreciate double meaning) static as everyone’s parents and siblings, plus the nieces…..

Statistics are often a poor way to make assumptions about individual cases…..anticipating variance and diversity is rewarding….


1 wonderful musing »