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Guys, I caught up on Big Love yesterday and I have a big "meh" growing, even though there are some good things happening. 1) it feels reeeeaally forced in a lot of ways and 2) it seems like it is a midget practicing witchcraft away from being Passions. Oh, that there was a magical midget on this show. And of course the religious stuff they got wrong (or off in places) just bugged the hell out of me.

Lemme 'splain. (And for new folks since the last season of Big Love, I am a former Mormon, my ex worked for Merril Jessop - he runs the YFZ Ranch in Texas, and my family was one of the first "out" polygamous familiess of SLC under the leadership of Brigham Young. Hit my "polygamy" tag for further reading, if you're interested.)

I was really glad they showed all of the various polygamous factions in Bill's Capitol Hill Meeting, although I lol'd at one of the poorest looking groups saying they were from The Avenues. That's THE Neighborhood in SLC, where houses are some of the most expensive and it's all been gentrified over the past several decades and is a short walk from one end to Temple Square, the Capitol building, Millennium Park, and University of Utah at the other. Note: I lived on 2nd and B street, so I know of which I speak. We were kicked out when rent quadrupled as gentrification hit our block. We were super sad because the HOTTEST GUYS shopped at the Smith's on 5th street, the local grocery store.

Anyway, they did a good job of hitting up all of the major players, and there are several factions of polygamists, the FLDS is just the most notorious and most numerous.

Sunstone: First off, my dad is a member of the Sunstone Symposium. My dad is a "radical" Mormon, and anyone that knows my dad would laugh, because he's so Mormon it's not even funny. But see, he likes to question things, just for the sake of questioning them. Ultimately he believes in Mormonism, but hey, he gets to feel like he's all intellectual, and stuff. And that's what Sunstone is: a MAGAZINE. Where people write in articles, run forums online, maybe have a traveling program that local Mormons can attend, and ask questions, and then all ultimately agree that Mormonism is true. This whole membership thing they presented it as on the show, as if it's a club? Uh... never heard of that one. You get the magazine, you attend the lectures/symposiums, or you submit articles for either, there's not a "get me a foot into this fraternity" thing Barb was presenting.

ALSO. Sunstone is thought of as a bunch of dissenters and naysayers. It's not DESIRABLE for a good Mormon to be involved/subscribe to Sunstone. Why? Because in Mormonism you accept whatever you are told by your leaders as truth, period. There is NO questioning, there is NO dissension, that leads the way to being an apostate. Oh, some Mormon might tell you that it's all free choice, but that's because they're so deep into it they can't see the forest for the trees. So Barb's mother, who is an upstanding LDS member to be so heavily involved with them? Uh uh. ESPECIALLY if she had gotten burned all those years ago with the ERA (more on that in a bit) and was chastened by the leadership for it. She'd be toeing the line, without question.

That sort of lack of understanding of the culture bugs me, but eh, what are you going to do. But I will say that all of the Sunstone panel people cracked me up, because that's EXACTLY what they look like: dark hair (good Mormons are blonde, lol) librarian-style glasses, tweed coats... all the trappings of an "intellectual," in other words. With their leather-bound and monogrammed Quads. (All four LDS scriptures in one binding)

ERA vs. Mormon Church I hope you all know that the Mormon Church is THE reason why the ERA didn't pass way back in 1982. That's not hyperbole. I can remember clearly a blue mimeographed notice on the bulletin board outside the chapel telling everyone that they had better not support the evil and wicked "equal rights" amendment. The prophet himself told us all that to support that bill would mean a support of Satan himself, and that families would be torn asunder, and I hope you all have learned by now that nothing is more important to Mormons than family.

Oh, the church has all sorts of things about how men and women are TOTALLY equal, we just have different responsibilities: guys have the priesthood (women NEVER will, never. Not ever.) and women have motherhood. End of discussion. They're both super important, you guys, and God, in His wisdom, gave us each our appropriate jobs so we wouldn't get overburdened. *cough* And if you're a women that doesn't have kids, it's your duty to help other mothers, btw. Even to this DAY the church says that two of the three greatest enemies of the church are feminists and intellectuals. Well, they're right. (The third should be obvious, homosexuality.)

So the fact that ep. 3 dealt almost solely with the struggle to accept these two roles was a nice touch, I'll give them that.

HOWEVER. Priesthood and Barb Barb trying to give a blessing? Those that may have read my Mormon missionary story might remember a "blessing with anointed oil" moment. There is no way in HELL that Barb would attempt that in the first place (there would need to be a MAJOR schism in her beliefs to get there, and trust me, these few moments of drinking a little wine aren't enough, TRUST ME ON THIS ONE) there is no way she would have used olive oil and not have sneaked and gotten Bill's little bullet-shaped vial of anointed oil (it has to have a blessing with someone in Authority to be considered "anointed.") There's just no way.

Also, she didn't even pronounce "Melchizedek" correctly, and there isn't a Utahn alive (LDS) that doesn't know how to pronounce that. It would be like a Catholic pronouncing it "Pap" instead of Pope. So that irritated the shit out of me. Bill said it during church, and said it correctly. And when Ben started blessing the sacrament (and I'm sorry, but the two of them would have been doing that together since Ben was 12, another thing that bugged me) I instinctively bowed my head and closed my eyes and mouthed along, lol. INGRAINED PRAYER IS INGRAINED. People in the Mormon faith don't keep their eyes open during prayer, either. I wish they would have sat in on a Sacrament Service in preparation, because no matter where in the world you go, the prayer is intoned in the exact same way. I'm not exaggerating. it's comforting in a way, and really really creepy in another.

Whatevs, it's little details that make it real or take me out of it.

Barb and Her First Taste of Wine She just sipped that RED wine like it was grape juice, huh? Guess what? When you've NEVER had anything alcoholic before, wine tastes like dirty socks. You make a face, you shiver, you REACT to the difference, and Jeanne Tripplehorn just failed as an actress on this one. I can remember the VERY first time I had an alcoholic beverage. (For newbies: I was as devout a Mormon as it comes.) It took so much courage to take a sip, you just don't know. I felt that my entire salvation hinged on that sip, so it's not just "rebelling" it's knowing - I mean, to the bone knowing- that you are no longer going to heaven and that you'll be cast out as a result. It's really that serious. (Ditto for coffee, by the way, but alcohol is way more offensive to a Mormon.)

Did you notice the State Liquor Store? That's the only way you can buy booze in Utah, these weird little stores and sometimes they send members from various wards to sneak out there and write down license plates to see if any members are there. It's a HUGE deal to step foot in one as a member. (Barb identifies as a fundamentalist Mormon, let's not forget that.) Isn't that shitty? How fucking controlling is that state. You have to fill out a card to be on government file to get a beer/cocktail/glass of wine in a restaurant, too. "Membership cards" they're called. Some places in the south still do that, too, in "dry counties."

Nicky is becoming more and more like an uptight Mormon and not the uptight polygamist she originally was, and I don't know how I feel about it. It feels weird, but maybe they're trying to make her character assume Barb's role. That's my thought anyway.

And the fact that Margene is STILL not up on the faith? I so totally have to call bullshit on that, as I have since Season 1. I'm sorry, but this is all about their RELIGIOUS FAITH, and she isn't aware of what a "Priesthood blessing" is? Nuh uh. She doesn't know what the scriptures are? Laughable. They don't have her in garments? NO WAY.

I know this is meaningless to most of you, but to those from the cloth, it's just a sign of them using this as a platform to entice people who wonder what it is. That's what gets Mormons so mad, when people don't get what the religion is. And hahaha, they also don't really want people to know what the religion is, but that's the subject of my book. :)

Ok, enough of that malarkey. I made the hands-down best chicken enchiladas with a sour cream and salsa verde sauce of my LIFE. For Texans: they beat Chuy's Enchiladas Suizas, imo. They are the benchmark for that style of enchilada in this house.

Stoney's Enchiladas Suizas

1 whole chicken, cut up, skinned, cooked, shredded and seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin
(Can use 4 breasts, or 2 breasts and 2 thighs, whatever. I used the backbone and wings for stock and didn't cook/shred them)
1 small onion, diced
Monterrey Jack cheese (or other Mexican cheese) - a bunch of it? Lol

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, cored, seeded, minced (or if you want really spicy, 2 Serrano chiles minced)
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
2 C chicken broth/stock
2 C sour cream
1 tsp. cumin (I add a heaping because I love me some cumin)
8 fresh tomatillos, husked, halved, roasted, chopped
dash of cayenne
salt and pepper as needed

24 corn tortillas (I prefer white corn)
some canola oil
the stuff you just made above
BIIIIIG casserole dish (or two small ones) you're making 2 dozen, so judge accordingly from your own stuff

To Make
Cut tomatillos in half, don't worry about the core, and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Broil right under the heating element until they start to char - that's flavor country, folks. Dump them AND THE JUICE into a blender or food processor to cool while you work on the next step.

Heat up the butter in a pot and add the poblano (or Serrano chiles) and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for a minute, sprinkle the flour over this and stir to get everything coated and so the flour starts to turn golden. Pour the broth in, whisking constantly until everything has thickened just to the point of being a custard (not that thick.) It should take a good 5 minutes and you can crank the flame up to pretty high to achieve this. Add in sour cream, turn off heat, and stir it in with the cayenne and cumin. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 F.

In large skillet, heat up some canola oil and lay a tortilla in the oil for a few seconds, rest on a plate with a towel over it (oil side down, or you'll get oil all over your nice tea towel.) Do this with all of them - this keeps the tortillas from cracking when you fill and roll them. Microwaving them will NOT work, I promise. Other methods if you don't want to do the oil: dip one side of the tortillas in the sauce, but just know this is going to make a tremendous mess you'll have to clean up. Up to you. (Or you could substitute flour tortillas and make a super heavy dish that won't have a real, authentic taste. But hey, it would be easier?)

Add the sour cream mix to the tomatillos and blend until relatively smooth. (I have a 10 C Cuisinart, and there was plenty of space for this, btw.)

Get your assembly line ready: tortillas, chicken, onion, cheese, sauce and casserole dish, in a row. Spread a little sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish, like you're greasing a pan with it.

Tortilla in your hand, run a line of chicken down the middle, top with a good pinch of onion and cheese, roll into a cigar and place in pan, seam side down. The sauce should help anchor it so it won't unravel, but maybe you get a helper in there to hold it in place with their finger if you're worried. Continue to do this and make all 24 in one big dish, or however you can configure it. I have a casserole pan that's 12 x 16 and can get two long rows of 9 down the length and have 6 left over for a little pan.

Cover with sauce (I usually have a cup left over to use when you reheat leftovers) but don't drown them. You want all of the corn tortillas covered, but you don't want them swimming in sauce. Top with any leftover onion and cheese and pop in the oven for 25 minutes or until the edges are browned and the sauce is bubbling.

OM NOM accordingly.

People that aren't me might put cilantro in the sauce or top the enchiladas with some cilantro, but I hate everything about that herb as it tastes like soap so I don't use it. But if you want me to hate you, go right ahead.

We have a snow day today, and maybe tomorrow, too. I might need to create some projects for these knuckle heads to keep them out of my hair. (We have ice outside, not snow, so it's not like it's fun out there with the 40mph winds. BOO.)


( 74 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 1st, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the religious perspective. I'm in it for the drama, but it's really good to hear from a Mormon-knowledgable perspective as well.

The thing that is nitpicking at me is that polygamy/bigamy is illegal in Utah. It doesn't matter if you're only legally wed to one spouse, if you say you have more than one wife, they can legally prosecute you. And here we have Bill being open about being a polygamist and he's going to be in Senate? NUH UH.
Feb. 1st, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
I have a Big Love tag where I've been giving the religious score card per ep since the beginning, if you're interested.

Oh, polygamy is illegal, yeah. And? Look up Short Creek Raid, 1954. That's why it's not prosecuted. Anyone from Capital Hill that's gone after them has been kicked out of office next vote cycle, too. They're not interested in going after those people. (And you'd be surprised at how high up some polygamists go in govt. It's not far fetched that Bill's in the senate. The US had a Utah Senator that was an out polygamist in the 1900s, actually.)
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Feb. 1st, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Best moment of comedy in the most recent episode was Bill standing in the hallway pleading with God asking why he was testing his family.

Erm, Bill. I'm pretty sure that it wasn't God making all of your shitty, selfish decisions! I kind of wanted God to answer, "Because you're an asshole, Bill." :)
Feb. 1st, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
Ahahahaha, yep, BILL: YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW, DUDE. I was waiting for him to ask his Heavenly Father if he (bill) was just ignoring that God was punishing him for being a dick.
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Feb. 1st, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
The wind and the cedar are both conspiring to keep me from going on a walk this afternoon. At least we don't have ice or kids to contend with!

The Enchiladas Suizas recipe looks delicious *bookmarks*
Feb. 1st, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
Ugh, my sister in law has been complaining about the horrid cedar lately. My sympathies.

They turned out FABULOUS. And the little bit of sauce left over went on the leftovers for my lunch the next day and made them taste like they were fresh from the oven. YUM!
Feb. 1st, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the background info! I had no idea that the Mormons were in any way involved with the ERA not passing so I guess that's one more for my disappointed list. And it's a little disappointing that the show would stretch the purpose of the Sunstone that much but I guess they figured most of their viewing audiences is folks like me who have never heard of it.

In slight defense of Barb's reaction to drinking the wine I got the impression that this was not the first time she's done so. I don't think we're going to find out that Barb has some sort of alcoholic past but it seemed to me that this is a comfort she's secretly turned to before. Which still seems very out of character but I've given up on the show on that level and several others.

I'm just hoping for as many crazy Albie scenes as we can get because that character defines love to hate for me and I think the actor who plays him is hands down the best actor left on the show.
Feb. 1st, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, they were TOTALLY mobilized against the ERA. Think Prop 8, but go back a few decades. That's why they were so succefull with Prop 8 - they'd had a lot of practice.

I'm not buying Barb having drank before, she made too much of a big deal about cooking with it, staring at the bottle, making that mental choice to pour it. Also, EVERYONE would have known she'd gone to the State Store for booze before. I'm not joking when I say they have spies that report back to the church.

I would much rather watch the Alby/Juniper Creek folks, because they NAIL IT with their stories. They're essentially lifting actual stories and changing names, truly. You watch, the "purification" he's talking about is going to be them going to "Kansas" - what they were alluding to with Nicky's ex husband.
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Feb. 1st, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's awesome. And so true. And not ONCE have I seen them mix apple juice and gingerale for fancy punch, COME ON.

Nor have I seen a side dish of Jell-o salad. SHENANIGANS.

I can't believe they let Mel-chez-i-dek slide.
(Deleted comment)
... - stoney321 - Feb. 1st, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - veracity - Feb. 2nd, 2011 06:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 1st, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
This is what I love about your LJ, Stoney. I learn a lot, I laugh a lot and I get good recipes to try. How much moe awesome can it get?
Feb. 1st, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
Not much more, not much more. Hee.
Feb. 1st, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
I laughed at your description of the intellectuals. The Ward I attend is very proud of its intellectual demeanor -- and they all have the leather bound monogrammed quads. The color of the leather might be blue, black, or dark red, but they all have them -- even most of the Elders. Lots of glasses, but there are few with dark hair (though there are many people of color in attendance), and you can tell the ones who are visiting from Utah at 30 paces. The hair is blonder; the demeanor is both superior and brassier, and when they speak a testimony it's a lot more rote.

Feb. 1st, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC)
So you're going to the ward now, huh? The missionaries worked their magic on you? Watch out, they'll get you in the water and paying a tithe in no time. ;)

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Feb. 1st, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU FOR THIS. I WAS SO LOST. I was so confused about why it was such a ZOMG SHOCK that Barb was trying to give Margene a blessing and I guess now I know.

I'm also not liking how Nikki is becoming, NEW CLOTHES DOESN'T GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO BE A BITCH, LADY. Like what she said to Barb about Sarah? So uncalled for. I also agree about Margene. I can let the garments slide since it looks like NOBODY on the show wears them (an aside, did you see the wank a few weeks ago about a post secret using pictures of the garments? hoo boy, hilarious), but she can't be that dumb, right? I mean, she married Bill, and knowing how into the religion he is, he didn't give her a primer?

I'm glad Ben is back-- I felt like lately they couldn't get t he actor to play Ben so they had a dude who looks sorta like him stand in and hope nobody noticed.

Feb. 1st, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, there is NO WAY a good LDS woman would dare try to give a blessing. Pray with? Yes. Blessing with anointed (or fake) oil? No way. That's one step away from branching off the religion. Just ask Sandra Turner (google her, she's kind of awesome.)

Bill wears them, and Barb has had them on, too, not the plyg ones like Nicky's mom, but standard ones. you can see them through most clothing (the outline of the sleeve and neckline) so you wear them in Utah, because everyone is judging every one else. And no, I didn't see the post secret wank, I'll have to go dig it up!

I'm not a fan of the Ben actor, so I'm not that jazzed about him. He grosses me out, lol.

Feb. 1st, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
With all the shows I'm trying to keep up with, I haven't started watching Big Love. I'm reading your reviews anyway, though, because I'm not too worried about being spoiled. I'll forget everything by the time I do get to watch it.

My mom used to drive a school bus and she had a little boy who was Mormon that would sit up at the front and talk to her. He didn't understand that it was coffee they couldn't drink and informed her he wasn't allowed to drink any hot drinks. He was adorable.

Washington State still has state run liquor stores. That's one of the things I'm LOVING about CA. I can buy my booze with my groceries.

I will be using that enchilada recipe. YUM.
Feb. 1st, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
Well, specifically in the scriptures it says "hot drinks" but modern mormons defined that as coffee and tea. Hot cocoa is apparently a-ok.

I hate the whole conceit behind a state run liquor store. Quit oppressing me, religious types! I want to buy wine on Sunday, dammit!
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Feb. 1st, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
I don't know, I kind of got the impression that Barb's mom was a bit like your dad: willing to color a little out of the lines, but not *too* far. Organizations like Sunstone seem subversively intended to capture people who like to think of themselves as fringe, no matter how mainstream they really are, and provide them a fairly safe outlet for their supposed heterodoxy without pushing them entirely out of the fold. I was raised Catholic, and we had a lot of these sorts of organizations. Snooty intellectual Jesuit kinds would join them and debate the fine points of Anselm to convince themselves that they weren't just sheeple like everyone else--even if they did talk to their imaginary friend in the sky every night. Probably the most recognizable member of this type is Ross Douthat, the NYTimes' token conservative.
Feb. 1st, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC)
I got the idea that in this week's ep they were trying to paint Barbs mom with that brush, but it's out of character for the whole of the series, imo. She's super LDS, Barb's sister is MAJOR LDS and her husband works for the Church in the headquarters, and if you have stray family members, that's pretty much verbotin. (Which was why it was such a big deal when Barb made her polygamy known to more than the family, which was why her mother had to essentially cut her off. That's what the church expects of you.)

And yep, that's exactly what Sunstone is, a way to pretend you're putting intellectual thought into it and SURPRISE! coming up with the same conclusion as the blind followers. Whatever.
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Feb. 1st, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
I feel kinda awkward writing this . . . .

I had to let a friendship slide when I realized that she basically saw me as her "pet ex-Mormon": any time she had a question about ANYTHING, no matter how painful she knew it was for me to talk about it then, she asked me.

So reading this -- I'm nodding and snort-laughing, but flinching away at the same time. Which means that's good writing, there, missy!
Feb. 1st, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)
If you ever want to talk about being a member with someone that gets it, feel free. :)
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Feb. 1st, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC)
Possible Spoilers
Long time reader, first time commenter, pretty new Big Love fanatic (watched all 4 seasons in like 1 week this summer).

So as of Sunday's episode, it has been absolutely revealed for a fact that Bill is a huge, huge creeper (I never did the math before—Margene was supposedly just barely legal when they got married?!?!?!). I always thought that Margene wasn't raised in the faith, and by the time they got married, they just never got around to building the whole LDS foundation for her, which Barb and Nicki would have had ingrained in them. It seems like Margene came into the family to kind of just a baby-machine for Bill, who seems to cherry-pick elements of the LDS faith.

At least, that's my mostly-outsider's perspective. (My credentials are: Colorado native, lots of ex-Mormon and Gentile Utahn friends, Mormon high school classmates and the Krakauer book.)
Feb. 1st, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Possible Spoilers

And nope, turns out Margene WASN'T legal when they married, although I'm going to have to double check that, because I thought the age of consent in Utah WAS 16. But yeah, they thought she was just legal when Bill married her. Ick. But not uncommon for an 18 year old to get married there, truthfully. And also nope (you're correct) that Margene wasn't Mormon at all, didn't know much about it (which is weird, because everyone in Utah knows about Mormonism by virtue of it being the culture.)

Bill doesn't strike me as someone who cherry-picks the faith, that's what modern Mormons do. Bill is going off of the old school Original Utahn Mormonism (i.e.: Brigham Young, John Taylor Utah of the 1800s.)
Feb. 1st, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC)
I have giant delicious afternoon tea food coma right now so will have to return to read the smart parts of this. THE ENCHILADAS HOWEVER, YES THANK YOU.
Feb. 1st, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
I would like to be sharing your food coma. I just realized that I've not even had lunch, WHAT IS THIS TOM FOOLERY?!

Dude, the enchiladas are the best of San Antonio/DFW style combined. Om nom nom!
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Feb. 1st, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
My Husband's cuz lives in Dallas and that whole city has shut down.

Those enchiladas sound might tasty.
Feb. 1st, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
"that whole city has shut down" You don't say? ;)

I'm on the outskirts and we got even more ice than Dallas - I shoveled my walkway earlier and I had sheets that were almost 3" thick of solid ice. Not really any snow, boo. Cold and nasty, we know how to welcome the Steelers. :D

The enchiladas are fantastic, if I do say so myself.
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Feb. 1st, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
Mmm, those enchiladas sound good!

I need to find a good tex-mex place in Lubbock. I've found a place with pretty good Chinese, but I haven't gone looking for Mexican yet.
Feb. 1st, 2011 10:48 pm (UTC)
It should be easier to find Tex-Mex in Lubbock than Chinese! Just got to get a hankerin' for some chalupas or chile rellenos, I guess. :)
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( 74 comments — Leave a comment )


Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

Time Wot It Is

April 2017
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