Archive for February, 2014

I’ve always had an over active imagination and that’s been reflected in the content of my dreams (and nightmares). I often dream about the events of the day combined with the storyline of my favorite movie being portrayed by the main character in the book I’m reading, my dreams are haphazard to say the least. I tried to start a ‘Dream Journal’ to document my dreams as I wake up (I always remember them funnily enough) yet the minute I started, I’d forgotten most of my dreams before waking.

A recurring dream I’ve had my whole life still stands out in my mind, never having been interpreted by a professional but a few friends have attempted it, feel free to have a go at this dream’s interpretation.

A quaint little cottage, reminding me of an inedible Hansel and Gretal house, stands in in what appears to be a moist green meadow. In the front garden of this cottage stands a concrete block on top of which a shallow stone bath rests. My mom and dad, still very young wearing the suit and dress I think I remember they got married in (based on photos I’ve seen) are standing next to each other, between the cottage and bath, facing the stone bath. In the stone bath is a young girl, approximately an 8 year old me, laying in a shallow pool of water in this bath. I’m laying on my back in an almost sleeping position, hands across my chest, looking upward. My hair is sprayed out in tight brown curls around my face, I’m dressed in an emerald green velvet dress with white lace collar and waistband paired with thick white opaque stockings and black Mary Jane pumps. I remember looking around and seeing my parents and then suddenly they’re gone and the scene has changed. I’m now sitting on the edge of a concrete embankment, water flowing through a canal quite rapidly at times and slowing down to almost stagnant at others. I’m dressed in the same clothes as I was in the bath, with my feet dangling off of the edge, staring into my reflection in the water noticing someone beside me. When I look up, next to me in the same outfit is another girl, she has all the same characteristics and her hair is even curled the same way staring down into the same body of water. When she looks up to face me, her face isn’t there, she has no facial features. Where her mouth, nose, eyes and cheekbones should be is taut flushed skin, as if you were looking at a back with hair. When I realize the ‘faceless girl’ is the spitting image of me, I wake up knowing that it is me, without my face.

This dream comes back to haunt me once or twice a year, never to be made sense of, it’s almost time for the next one.

Daily Prompt: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
by Krista on February 26, 2014
What is the best dream you’ve ever had? Recount it for us in all its ethereal glory. If no dream stands out in your memory, recount your worst nightmare. Leave no frightening detail out.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us IMAGINARY.

Shevy

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It takes a little while to process the emotion and shock of actually falling pregnant. It is a time that no one understands what you are going through, you burst into tears for no reason and you struggle to fit into your non-pregnancy pants, for as long as humanly possible. At some stage, you hope the crying stops but it doesn’t and the only way you can wear those pants is by leaving the top button undone and pairing them with a long loose top. This is about the time you have no choice but to adjust to and accept being pregnant.

When I was pregnant I received mixed reviews about what the next few months of my life would be like. Contrary to what MANY people told me, I did not glow with either pregnancy. Any glowing was caused by severe internal heat sending messages to my sweat glands, just like any other person suffering from an almost spontaneous combustion. Some told me that it would be the most beautiful experience of my life while others told me how much they hated it. I loved and hated both of my pregnancies, despite realising that a pregnancy was not like in the movies, I didn’t always look beautiful and for the rare moments I could keep my eyes open, my spare time was spent eating to feed the little being growing inside of me.

Coming to terms with a being growing inside of you is a pretty amazing thing. Sometimes, it feels like you are harbouring an alien from another planet that finds joy in kicking the crap out of you from the inside and other times, all you can think about is that this is a little person, a person that has not yet been influenced in any way, a blank canvas, a clean slate and a new start… a second chance. There was nothing better with either baby than to feel her kick…in the beginning. I remember early in both pregnancies wondering when these babes would start kicking and all I wanted was for someone to feel it, for someone to confirm what I was feeling. What nobody tells you is that once they start kicking and frolicking and learning how to waltz inside of you, all you want is for them to stop. A decent night’s sleep is no more, a quiet dinner out cannot happen, a comfortable cinema movie a distant memory. That little baby is going to kick the being out of you, get used to it and while they take pleasure in mommy abuse, the minute anyone else lays a hand on your belly to get a feel it’s as if you have never been pregnant… I can hear the little voice in their ‘in utero’ heads saying ‘PSYCHE’!

Wave good bye to sleep… not just for a few months but for a few years. If you are lucky, you have a baby that sleeps through or a husband that enjoys all the night feeds but up until the baby is born there is no one who can share in the insomnia, you are on your own with Google (Try not to if you can avoid it). I was tired all of the time, purely because I had a being inside of me whom I loved dearly but was sucking the life lovingly out of me. I have heard of women that do regain their energy after the morning sickness subsides but sadly, there was no energy in my corner. Once I finally laid my head down and was sure I would get some sleep, little feet began running hurdles and before I had a chance to fall into deep sleep I was up and entertaining myself.

The hunger never subsided. Doctors, health professionals and women with children who did it and wished they didn’t, will all tell you not to eat for two. The women who have not yet had children will encourage you to eat for two and will probably buy you food. I did my best, when possible, to eat healthy but I could eat constantly. I would eat the strangest things at the strangest times, thankfully my husband did not deny me and often made a midnight trip to the garage for Coca-Cola and strawberry milkshake, what do you do?

You are going to, at this point, hear about every food that you should not be eating. While I know for certain that there are legitimate reasons for each and every foodstuff and why you should not be ingesting it, I did not listen at all. I was good in terms of habits, I quit smoking for both pregnancies the moment I found out I was pregnant and also stopped drinking any form of alcohol. I did however, continue to eat / drink exactly what I wanted. While I know it is considered ‘dangerous’, I still ate Sushi and biltong and everything the health books tell you. My rationale? Women have been having babies for hundreds of years, our parents were not given the list of what to’s and what not’s and we turned out just fine, right? Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating being a naughty eater but what I am trying to say is go with your gut. You don’t become a mother when the baby has been born, you are already a mother when the baby is forming inside of you. With being a mother comes a mothering instinct and a gut feel that never goes away. The only advice I would like to give is go with YOUR gut. You will know when it is right or wrong to eat, you will know what activities are right or wrong, you will know when it’s time to call the doctor or not and you will know when you want your baby daddy to make the midnight trip. You just KNOW.

Whatever your circumstances, be prepared for judgement, good and bad. With my first pregnancy, I was young and not very well established in a career, I did not have a big house and did not have a lot of money so I was not the ideal mother material. I remember getting a lot of looks or stares when out at shops, while pregnant and once I had my daughter. I remember getting a lot of questions like ‘How old are you’, ‘should you be pregnant’ and ‘are you not married’? I was not married with either baby and you know what? So what. With the second pregnancy, I had a career and a house and a stable (though brief) relationship with my then boyfriend (now husband) and still I got a lot of judgement for being a ‘modified’ mom. I fell pregnant covered in tattoos and piercings, I can assure you that it has no bearing on the health of your baby nor did it damage either of my children in either way.

Now I am going to briefly mention baby daddy. You did not make this baby alone and whether you are with baby daddy or not, he is going to want to play a part in your pregnancy (You hope) and bringing the baby into the world. That said, don’t expect them to be overly interested in every little detail and how in this week the babies heart has formed etc… be prepared for him to switch off. With my own husband, I remember being so frustrated with him. I signed him up for all the babycenter mails to get the weekly updates on the baby’s development only to see him delete without reading. I bought him a ‘Father’s first year’ book which he never even read, much to my annoyance and he was not too keen on watching any tv shows on babies either. That said, he did come with me to every doctor’s appointment and was at my side the whole way through the birth J

If you are pregnant and reading this, now is a good time to take your third pee break. Try not to giggle either, you may not make it to the toilet in time. Working when pregnant was a little bit of a nightmare for my bladder habits, I was getting up to go to the toilet every half an hour. My bladder shrunk to that of a walnut and any joke had to be told with care to avoid unwanted ‘accidents’. With my second pregnancy, D had a hand in squashing my kidneys and giving me a UTI (Possibly kidney stones) and put me in hospital before I even knew what she looked like. Do not HOLD in anything, if you need to go and pee, you go and pee! It is your right as a pregnant woman, do it.

Something I wanted to add in was learning (Or being surprised) by the sex of your baby. While you may be a planner and want to know if you are adding to the world’s male or female population, the baba may have other ideas and you don’t get to see at all. I was fortunate, I had two daughters and both were quite open to showing us their bits very early on in the pregnancy even though both of them chose to hide their faces for the all important 4D scans. Don’t be disappointed, it’s a matter of time before you get to see them in person!

There are a few things that you do need to look at while you are pregnant, you have a few months to sort them out but a checklist is helpful. I was extremely forgetful and made lists for everything, do the same if it makes it easier to remember everything J

  • Pick and choose a hospital, preferably close by.
  • Get a birth plan in place – Do you want to have a C-Section? Will you be going natural? If you go natural, are you going to have any drugs? Things to think about and make your birthing partners aware of.
  • Start sorting out where you would like your baby to sleep when he/she arrives
  • Start making baby shower wish lists
  • If you are working, it is a good time to start thinking about maternity leave and claiming UIF. I went through a company called Life’s Miracles and they were very helpful.
  • Start stocking up on nappies, toiletries and formula – These things will never go to waste.
  • Start thinking of girl’s and boy’s names that you like
  • You can never pack your hospital bags too early
  • I was an over achiever and tried to be very involved in my baby shower – Try not to be. This can be very frustrating for those planning it J Friends and family will generally plan the baby shower for you and it is really a fun day to share stories, spend time with friends and family and allow your baby to be spoilt!

 

Now enjoy the next few months, this is the easy part.

Shevy

Next up… So you think you can procreate – The birth.

I don’t work to win awards, I win awards because I work… That’s how I like to think of if anyway. I don’t try to get the awards, though it’s pretty amazing when it happens.

In 2012 I won the Top Senior Travel Consultant award in our division, in 2013 I won the American Express Pacesetter award and went to Las Vegas for a few days on conference, in the same year I won the Top Team Leader award in our division and in our business overall. In 2014, I have now been nominated for an ASATA (Association of South African Travel Agents) Diners Club award for Corporate Consultant and I could not be more excited.

The list of nominees has been released and I truly do have some stiff competition, cream of the crop, creme de la creme of the travel industry. I don’t know if I am going to win, in my category alone out of the 6 nominees, 5 are employed by the company I work for (Just goes to show!), but even if I don’t, to say that I was nominated for one of this countries most prestigious travel awards is award enough. Definitely a feather in my cap and a notch on my CV.

Good luck to all the nominees, see you next week for the awards evening – I cannot wait!!!

List of nominees.

When I put out the request for a Guest Blogger, I never expected to have one of my favorite bloggers contact me for a guest appearance on the blog of well, ‘lil ol me’.

I am truly honored and excited to introduce to you, The Tattooed Lady!
The Tattooed Lady is not only a lady with tattoos but rather a woman with deep, meaningful and personal insight into the world of tattoo artwork. I’ve had first hand sightings of her amazing tattoos and love reading her well researched and extremely interesting blogs on the history of skin art and body modification.

Here she is, The Tattooed Lady

The Guest Blogger profile – The Tattooed Lady.

Tell us a about yourself in 5 words?
Irrationally cautious, curious Googler with an obsession with tattoos.

If technology was taken away from you for a day, how would you pass the time?
I’d reestablish the writing callus on my finger and use a pen for a change, I’d read outside under the shade of a tree and probably teach my son the value of chucking a clay lat at someone while covered in vlei mud.

If you could have dinner with the deceased, who would it be and why?
I hope that there isn’t a limit; I’d have my gran and my father around – there is a lot that needs to be said that we always forget about when the fear of never being able to isn’t prevalent. I’d like to have dinner with Jim Morrison, although from what I’ve read about him; keeping him focused on conversation would be difficult – but man! Wouldn’t that be an amazing experience?
Norman Collins, AKA Sailor Jerry; I’d like to speak to him about his life. I am mildly obsessed with him, so it would be euphoric for me!

What is your favorite book?
I can’t decide on just one book; that is a terrible injustice to the beauty of literature. The book that I have read often though would be Mario Puzo’s The Godfather.

If you had the opportunity to change one thing about the world, what would it be?
For people to be kinder to each other. There is so much discrimination and hatred in the world, wouldn’t it be great if people just stopped the hate and started treating people the way they want to be treated?

Do you have a favorite tattoo on your body and would you like to share the significance?
My favourite tattoo is the bumble bee tattoo that my son did for me. It doesn’t have any meaning, but it was the most emotional tattoo that I have ever had done, simply because my 7 year old designed it, tattooed it and is exceptionally proud of it and so am I.

Blog name and link:
The Tattooed Lady – http://thetattooedbettie.wordpress.com

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Don’t Ruin The Kids.

I am a mom. I like to open up with that statement because of all of my achievements that is the one that I am the proudest of. No, I didn’t apply to mom school and win an award, quite the contrary; I have stumbled over the responsibility for the past 7 years but somehow I’ve managed to keep my son in one piece. I am heavily tattooed. I usually don’t have to tell people this; it’s quite obvious when you first meet me that I am on the edge of what society considers “uniquely modified” although it really is just tattoos and a bit of wild hair. That point needed to be brought up though because it affects how I parent so much more than people actually assume.

You see, when you are a modified couple with a different view on raising children than the normal folks have, you’re in for a really tough challenge on your hands. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not discriminating against the non-tattooed, clean cut Joe and Jill Soaps of the world; I think that it is safe to say though that there are generally more critical of what we do as a family than if I were barren.

Allow me to explain.

If you were to see my son, you would see a blond, blue eyed kid with a typical little boy tendencies. He likes to play soccer with his friends and run around making “Pew Pew” noises in the garden; he loves riding his bike and mastering tricks on his skateboard. In addition to that, he is quite the budding artist who simply loves spending time drawing. That was until recently though, we have noticed a steady decline in his artistic ability and I found out that it was because he was told Not to draw monsters anymore.

This new found fear that he has about what he can and cannot draw is seriously distressing to me, because as creatives; we want our son to express himself however he sees fit. If that means drawing exceptionally detailed monsters, then that is okay by me.

He does have it a little tougher than most kids as well though. Being the only child of a tattooed family makes for interesting misconceptions when it comes to him as a little person, and an awful lot of unfair pressure is placed on him by his peers. Parent’s tend to forget that when they talk, their kids are listening and while you might have an awful lot to say about the out there tattooed parents of the little blonde boy; leaving your kids with that negativity leads to one miserable kid.

Yes, my protector of the weak, sensitive artist child has been singled out and is frequently subject to the nastiest verbal slurs that anyone could be exposed to – let alone a group of 7 year olds. It’s extremely difficult for me as a mom to intervene when I know that the sad truth is that he’ll be subject to this behaviour his entire life. Why is that the norm?

Why is it okay to judge people based on their appearance and force that level of judgement onto children? Why is it a big deal that there is a child at school whose parent’s look a little bit different to what you consider normal?
Why is who we love and associate with such a thin line in order for it to be considered acceptable?

Growing up in South Africa taught me that I as a white person had more rights than someone of colour, even though I know better (and thankfully, I have always been a pretty strong willed individual who fought the system even as a young ‘un); it was still imprinted on us all. My argument is that we’ve moved on from that, yet parents are still teaching their children to be prejudice and that is ruining children!
You are ruining your children with narrow-minded and dare I say, insecure issues that you feel the need to teach your kids, because you’re the parent right?

We are all responsible for the people that we create in our children, and when you think about it – having that much of an impact on the future is a pretty big deal. So when expressing your discontempt about the same sex couple in the park; the tattooed family in the shops; the interracial couple at your school or anyone that doesn’t fit your idea of socially acceptable… we think that you’re pretty boring, but we don’t mind being nice to you anyway!

I have token side notes in all of my blog posts, my side note for this blog is that although these are my opinions and expressions, you are welcome to disagree with me! I personally don’t see anything disagreeable about being a nice person though!
~The Tattooed Lady

The Daily Prompt calls for a photo blog today. With a day off, no responsibilities and duties, here is what I’d get up to in no particular order.

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Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time
Posted by Krista
Imagine that tomorrow, all of your duties and obligations evaporate for the day. You get the day all to yourself, to do anything you please. What types of fun activities would make your day?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us FUN.

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So you think you can procreate – Am I really pregnant?

You can spot her (Or what was me, twice) a mile away. The unplanned pregnancy scare versus the woman who has been trying repeatedly and now excitedly stands in the feminine products aisle, perusing the various gender accurate pregnancy tests with a menstruation calendar in hand. The scare victim is the petrified looking female grabbing as many inexpensive, pink boxed pregnancy tests as she can fit in her basket in the hopes that no one she knows will see her, all the while pondering whether or not to run straight out of the pharmacy and into the public toilet or wait the extra ten minutes to get home before locking herself in the bathroom for as long as it takes.

You may or may not have had a clue up until this point but if you’re anything like me, you experienced being both clueless and clairvoyant due to two very different pregnancy experiences. Women are funny creatures, admittedly not the smartest creatures in moments of weakness and so I still listen in shock when women tell me that they couldn’t or wouldn’t use protection and were still surprised when they discovered that they were in fact ‘with child’. What’s even funnier to me is imagining the late night chemist rush for the little stick on which to pee. For those ladies that have been a little more prepared than the rest of us, planning a baby and family expansion, I doubt that the emotional experience was very different. Nothing prepares you, whether planned or not, for that road trip and the roller coaster of emotions that follows thereafter.

I was young, naive and very confused when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. Due to various menstrual cycle irregularities (Yes boys, that’s a period), the months leading up to the big reveal didn’t hold anything different for me. I was on the pill at the time so thought I’d taken the preventative measures I needed but alas, the universe had other plans. It was over a family holiday that eyebrows started raising at my expanding waistline, I was daft and thought I’d just eaten really well over the time away. I remember my daughters gran commenting on my weight gain which I’d barely noticed myself. When we got back from holiday, a niggling feeling within me pushed me to go and get the test. A few days later, Mother’s Day, I got a call from a friend wishing me a ‘Happy Mothers Day’ even though I wasn’t a mother. Little did he know that the test had been done and those lines were strong and pink, test said I was pregnant. Freak out. A visit to the lab the following day saw blood tests and an hour wait before a phone call to confirm that I was in fact already nearly 3 months pregnant and I barely sensed a thing. I considered all sorts of options, including the not so nice ones, and night after night I sat and cried about the difficult choices I was faced with. I was a 20 year old, unmarried, pregnant girl without a clue in the world. I’m so grateful for the morning I woke up knowing that I had accepted my pregnancy, was putting all of my energies into being a mother and despite many odds ahead have an intelligent, beautiful 8 year old daughter today.

Deep thoughts aside, there is something about confirming a pregnancy that suddenly causes your non existent belly to ‘drop’ and your appetite to rival that of a rugby team. Almost instantly, you begin to exhibit every possible pregnancy ‘symptom’ and spend hours thinking about how you’re going to share impending fatherhood with baby daddy as well as coming out of the pregnancy ‘closet’ to the world. The awkward “I’m not getting fat but I can’t yet tell you I’m preggers stage’. It’s become more acceptable to wait until after 12 weeks before sharing the news with friends and family, though I don’t recommend waiting that long to tell Daddy either. Thankfully, pregnancy number 1 saw the 1st trimester behind me without me even realizing it had happened and H’s dad was very excited, happy and accepting of our family news.

My second pregnancy was a very different experience from the first. I’d had some time alone with my first daughter up until the age of 4, I’d met my then boyfriend (now husband) and we’d just started dating and I was, yet again, on the pill. A week or so after my birthday I’d already started feeling ‘ill’ and knew something was not quite right, I did not experience morning sickness (or what in my case became all day sickness) with my oldest child and so had no point of reference. A week after that, I knew, I was in panic mode and became that woman in Clicks buying a pregnancy test and racing to the loo. I did 3 home pregnancy tests in that week and they’d all come back negative, I refused to believe it. My head, my heart, my gut and every inch of my body exhibiting every sign of pregnancy all knew otherwise. By the 4th week after my birthday, I’d quit smoking and couldn’t face tea or coffee, I decided to try one last time and in my lunch hour took a walk to pick n pay, bought yet another test and took a walk back to the public loo, I couldn’t wait to do it at home. Ten minutes later, I had two very dark pink lines and hit panic mode yet again. A moment of impulse saw me taking a photo and sending it to soon-to-be-first-time-daddy with the caption ‘Two lines says yes’. Three hours later I heard back from a Daddy who had been in a meeting all afternoon (Though I assumed I was about to be a single mother of two daughters from two different fathers) who was shocked but then very excited. I’ve never been one to do anything by the book and so, here I went again, my second trip around the motherhood universe. Another lab trip, blood test and hour wait later, it was confirmed that I was 4 weeks pregnant – Hence all my negative home pregnancy tests.

So, what were the tell tale signs that I had either ignored or put down to a pregnancy without blinking an eye?

~D gave me the worst all day illness, thankfully H was a bit kinder and I never hugged a toilet bowl that I could remember.
~Ratty. Ratty. Ratty, oh and ratty. Being pregnant put me in a mood, I won’t be doing that again.
~Oh the cravings! Avocado pear, strawberry milkshake, ice cream, Coca Cola…
~And the turn offs! I couldn’t handle the smell of cigarette smoke, tea, coffee or petrol.
~Aches and pains cropped up everywhere. What didn’t hurt, didn’t work.
~The obvious, a little bit of a weight gain and a whole lot of breast expansion.
~Insomnia. I did not sleep for the full 10 months.
~I was tired, all the time.
~I was hungry all the time.

Some points to note for when you suspect a pregnancy.
* Urine pregnancy tests are not always accurate, especially early on. Blood test is best.
* Make an appointment with a doctor / gynae as soon as possible.
* Tell the gynae you are pregnant when making the appointment, they will often be fully booked for months but always make space for the pregnant ladies.
* A gynae based at the hospital makes for convenience and is much easier later on for booking the bed etc.
* Take at least 2-3 hours off of work for your gynae appointments, you end up waiting, a while.
* Go with your gut, while there are quite a few aches and pains with all the body stretching, if you are nervous rather err on the side of caution and call your doctor.
* You decide when to tell friends and family but waiting for the first trimester to pass safely is generally a good idea (If you can hold in the news that long)
* Stay hydrated, eat healthy, continue to work out (lightly and with your doctor or gynae’s approval) and get plenty of rest.
* Don’t be a google doctor.
* Invest in a book or two to help you along the way with your pregnancy.
* I subscribed to baby centre online and received weekly baby development emails which were pretty interesting.
* Be nice to your future baby daddy, being moody is acceptable, being a bitch is not.
* Enjoy your beautiful baby carrying body – you will never look as gorgeous as you do now!

Congratulations, you’re having a baby! Spend a few weeks processing, taking it all in and just enjoying being centre of attention for a while. I’m apologizing in advance on behalf of all the people awkwardly touching your chubby belly, they do it with love.

Coming next… You’re pregnant, now what?

Shevy

Daily Prompt: Never Gonna Give You Up

You. We know *you* are vice-free, dear Daily Post reader. But, or perhaps we should say, “butt,” others around you and in your life are riddled with vices: they smoke; they eat too much celery; they hog the covers; they can’t keep their hands out of the office candy bowl. Which vice or bad habit can you simply not abide in others?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us VICE.

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No forward necessary.

1. Stupidity – While I can forgive ignorance and pride myself on education, plain stupidity is unforgivable. We are all gifted at birth with an astounding brain capable of things we’ve yet to scratch the surface of and yet majority of humanity walk around and act as if they are newly evolved. Leaders are figureheads, puppets on a string. Relaxation for me requires limitation of my own IQ to keep up with the masses. No, I’m not a genius, I’m just not stupid.

2. Sloth – No, not the marsupial nor Sid, the Ice Age character. The act of pure uncleanliness and untidiness, personal hygiene and surroundings. I’ve learnt to accept others and their way of life however, my level of my own intolerance in my own household is unbearable. I have OCD, there is no getting around it. Keep clean, stay in line. It’s not difficult.

3. Interruption – I spent a good 30 minutes on the phone to a client this afternoon and didn’t manage to get a word in edge ways. I’m quite interesting to listen to if you’d shut up for a minute, or 5.

4. Don’t call me – From the other room. In fact, I’d rather you pick up your phone and call me to speak to me instead of shouting to me out of earshot from the other room. Annoyance level 7.

5. Fork bite = Food fight – If you chew the cutlery over chewing the food, I may be inclined to throw the food at you instead of continue listening to
your savagery.

I could carry on but I wouldn’t know when to stop if I didn’t stop now…
I’m rather easy going, believe it or not ;)

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