The Tape

July 23, 2014

This is embarrassing.

A lot of my blogs are embarrassing (usually for me, sometimes for others) but this one gives you a real glimpse into the little weirdo pervert that I was as a teenager (obviously not now… as I’m definitely a mature, fully grown, adult woman).

I love Pearl Jam. That’s no secret. In fact, it’s the furthest thing from a secret. I have all their albums, I have seen them in concert at least a dozen times, I have an assortment of Pearl Jam t-shirts that I wear regularly, my radio is tuned to Pearl Jam radio almost exclusively, and there’s a stipulation in my marriage contract that says if I ever meet Eddie Vedder and we happen to start making-out, the husband can’t get mad.

My love of Pearl Jam goes back to 1992, when my sister was playing “Ten” and I was like, “what?”

I had never heard anything like it… (in fact, all I had heard up to that point was contemporary Christian pop music. It was a very sad life – made sadder by the fact that I thought contemporary Christian pop music was all there was.)

I digress.

I heard “Ten” and I was very taken by the music… the energy, the guitar-heavy rock, the mellifluousness, and of course – that voice… Eddie’s voice. Sigh.

For those of you who don’t know Pearl Jam, Eddie is very “impassioned”. Very impassioned. Very.

Very (very).

Really, very impassioned. Unusually. Wonderfully. Profoundly.

He’s also fairly easy on the eyes:

Vedder

When Eddie Vedder sings, something happens in my body… Something slightly inappropriate.

When I was about 12 or 13, I took the “Ten” album (on cassette) and I recorded all of the particularly passionate parts of “Ten”… the growly, passionate howls, roars, wails and bellows… onto another cassette.

What can I say? I really (really, really) enjoyed his growls, howls, roars, wails and bellows. Plus, he looked like this:

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And he was very impassioned. Very.

Oh, and (obviously) it was also because of all of his charitable work.

On a recent road trip we were listening to Pearl Jam radio and I was singing along, and I started laughing… as I was reminded of my “special tape”. I told my husband about the tape and (strangely) he was not at all surprised.

I don’t know what happened to the tape. I went through the last of my stuff at my parent’s house last week and it was nowhere to be found… I was really, really hoping that I’d find it.

It was probably sold at a garage sale many moons ago. Someone probably bought the tape, took it home, had a little listen… and obviously, fell in love with Eddie Vedder.

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The Fortnight

July 14, 2014

I went on vacation for a fortnight (hence – not posting a blog for a fortnight).

I know what you’re thinking… “Kim’s whole life is one big vacation because she lives in California, and doesn’t have a real paying job, and also she probably just sits around watching The Golden Girls all day.”

To that I would say, “Rude.”

First of all, my life is not one big vacation. Yes, California is a very popular vacation destination and has gorgeous, sandy beaches and averages 257 sunny days a year… And yes, we all wear flip flops everyday and say “dude”… And yes, we always drink our cocktails with little umbrellas… it doesn’t mean we’re not working (unless we’re not working).

Secondly, I may not have a “real paying job” but I treat my writing practice like an actual job… which means that I sit at a desk and drink coffee and write stuff and occasionally take breaks to check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Thirdly, The Golden Girls is only on from 8 – 10am on The Hallmark channel.

So there!

Anyway… I went on vacation for a fortnight.

For those of you who don’t know (and to you I’d say – read a book)… “fortnight” is a British term for a period of two weeks (seriously, there’s no excuse). The word derives from the Olde English “fourteen nights” (may I suggest going to Barnes & Noble or a visit to your local library) and is a commonly used term in England (unless of course you can’t read… and if that’s the case, I apologize), where wages and salary are paid on a bi-weekly basis (I was hasty in my reaction, and now I feel bad). 

Anyway, I went on vacation for a “fortnight”… two weeks, 14 days (I’d be happy to teach you to read. Text me).

I went to Canada (what am I thinking? If you can’t read, then you definitely can’t text me. Call me instead).

Canada is always fun. I know, because I’m from Canada and P.S. I’m also very fun.

Canada is very “Canada” and the people are very “Canadian”.

Example:

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That’s so Canada.

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So Canadian, right? With the bear and the wide eyes and the photo being taken in some sort of log structure. Totally Canada.

I spent most of the fortnight drinking Tim Horton’s coffee, watching hockey, eating poutine, hunting for moose, shovelling snow, curling, wearing plaid, saying “eh”, tapping for maple syrup, and apologizing.

It was really great, but I’m really glad to be home in California. Back to flip flops, umbrella drinks and hard work.

(Okay, just realised that if you can’t read… you can’t text me, and you probably can’t read that bit about calling me instead, and you definitely can’t read any of this blog post… I’m sure you get the “Is” and “thes” sprinkled throughout, but I don’t want to assume… I’ll call you instead, ok?). 

The Fan

June 25, 2014

I’m not talking about the kind that winnows grain, or the instrument used to produce a current of air, or even the movement of a peacock’s feathers to reveal his impressive plumage.

I’m talking about the enthusiastic kind of person that really, really loves a band or a musician or a sports team or a TV show or, in my case… a clever, winsome, geriatric* Jew**.

You might be thinking, “But there are a lot of clever, winsome, geriatric Jews, so which one are you referring to specifically?”

First of all, you’re right. There is no shortage of clever, winsome, geriatric Jews: Al Franken. Jerry Seinfeld. Rick Moranis. Harold Ramis. Jeff Goldblum, David Cross. Albert Brooks. Mel Brooks. Lewis Black. Paul Reiser. Paul Ruebens (Pee Wee). Don Rickles. The list goes on and on.

Second of all, I think you need to learn patience (and I’m not the only one who thinks so). Obviously, I was going to tell you who the clever, winsome, geriatric Jew was eventually. I didn’t mention it just to play games with you (or your heart). I mentioned it because I was introducing my subject, and sometimes when people introduce their subjects, they don’t immediately reveal who they’re talking about… they segue into their subject very subtly and skilfully…

Anyway, I’m talking about Larry David.

You know… the actor, writer, comedian and producer from such beloved television programs as Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Saturday Night Live, and Clear History.

You know… this guy:

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I’ve been a big fan (not the kind that winnows grain) of Larry David and his “oeuvre” for a very, very long time*** so when I heard my favourite clever, winsome, geriatric Jew was going to be at an event in Beverly Hills last Thursday, I did what any fan (again, not referring to the instrument used to produce a current of air) would do… I purchased a ticket in advance and waited.

On the day of the show I went into my DVD collection and picked out Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 6****, hoping that I might get Larry David to sign it. I arrived early and found a seat in the second row.

Eventually, Larry David and Carol Leifer (another clever, winsome Jew that I happen to love, and who has written a great book called “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying”) walked out, sat down, talked, took sips from their bottled waters, talked a little more, made the audience laugh, and then it was all over.

I turned to my husband and said, “I’m going” and I walked right over to Larry David. I was nervous (he’s very clever and winsome) so I mumbled something about loving him, wearing the same shoes as him (Campers) and then I asked him to sign my DVD, which he did.

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Like the best foreplay, it was over in about 30 seconds.

Now I don’t know why fans feel the need to profess or demonstrate their love for their favourite band, musician, sports team, TV show or, in my case… a clever, winsome, geriatric Jew… but I felt the need.

Sometimes I wonder if Larry David was equally excited to meet and interact with me? And then I think, “no… probably not.”

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He does look interested though, doesn’t he?

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* The term “geriatric” might have negative connotations for some, but for me it means: seasoned, mature, wise, practiced, and eligible for discounts!

** Yes, I’m mentioning that he’s a Jew. There’s nothing wrong with mentioning his religious and cultural affiliation (in my opinion). Also, because I might possibly be Jewish, I feel like it makes it extra okay.

*** 16 years

**** I choose Season 6 because bringing Season 6 sends Larry a message, and the message is this: “I’m a true fan (again, not referring to the movement of a peacock’s feathers to reveal his impressive plumage) because I have all 8 seasons on DVD and I know that you know that and admit it, you’re impressed.”

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The Beatles

June 18, 2014

Note: I just wanted to note that when I wrote this blog post I had a terrible headache. I’m not making excuses, and yet I am… because the headache made it almost* impossible to be funny.

*almost, not quite.

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I was 12 when I discovered The Beatles.

It was an accident really. A happy one, which involved stumbling upon some LPs at a garage sale and purchasing them without my parents consent.

Until that time the only music I was “allowed” to listen to was Contemporary Christian Pop (Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patty). My parents (God bless them!) tried to keep our “worldliness” to a minimum, which in theory is a great idea… but in practice, it makes the “world” very intriguing indeed!

My mother grew up in an ultra-religious home, with even stricter rules about music. If music wasn’t explicitly “Christian”, it was a no-go. In those days (60s), it was really black and white… (literally, the TV shows were in black and white). You were either a “Christian” or “not”… If you were a “Christian”, you were a follower of Christ and you did “Christian” things like: donate to charity, love thy neighbor, read the bible and pray. If you were “not”, you did things like: take the Lord’s name in vain, commit adultery, bear false witness against thy neighbor, kill, steal, worship satan, etc.

In the 80s it became a little more gray. You could be a “Christian” and still enjoy parts of the “world” (like, Washington State, for instance), and if you were “not” you could still enjoy a sunset (also known as: God’s paintbrush).

I was vaguely aware of The Beatles. I knew that they were of the “world” (England, specifically), so when I went to that garage sale and saw several Beatles albums for 25¢ each, I bought the lot of them. I didn’t tell my parents. I covered them with an afghan and played them when my parents weren’t home.

I don’t think I knew what I was in for. It metaphorically blew my mind.

Every album was more beautiful and magical and melodic than the next. Every song was a masterpiece… a tour de force, a chef d’oeuvre, a gem.

Norwegian Wood.

Hey Jude.

The Long and Winding Road.

The Fool on the Hill. 

Across the Universe.

Hello Goodbye. 

A Day in the Life.

The Beatles spoke to my soul and my brain and my heart…

I became a tiny bit obsessed. I would go to the library and scour the Encyclopedia Britannicas for more Beatles info. I learned that George Harrison was a follower of Hinduism, I learned that Ringo Starr was born Richard Starkey, I learned that Paul McCartney was married (to Linda McCartney), and I also learned that John Lennon was dead… which was disappointing to say the least.

My parents found the albums (they were just under an afghan, so it wasn’t a huge surprise) and surprisingly (this was a huge surprise) they were okay with it… Sort of. They thought it was better for me to be into old-fashioned music than new-fashioned music, which was (obviously) evil.

I remember being angry that I only found out about The Beatles when I was 12. Why had no one told me about The Beatles? I had wasted 12 years of my life not knowing about The Beatles… and not having The Beatles in my life! I equated it to finding out you’ve been adopted and that your biological parents have been open to having a relationship the whole time and they didn’t really give you up, it was actually just a misunderstanding, and also: they own a chocolate factory! So, basically – you could have been having unlimited chocolate all this time?! Seriously.

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I don’t believe in “love at first sight”.

You might think I’m not a romantic. I am. Big time. I like champagne and roses and tonsil hockey and being whisked away to Santa Babs for a long weekend. Of course I do… WHO WOULDN’T?

I believe in LOVE. Big time! I just don’t believe that it can happen at first sight.

I believe that you can be attracted to someone at first sight… You can think that person is really good-looking at first sight… You might want to grab their bum or stick your tongue down their throat, or even get to know them better… at first sight. But trust me, it’s not “love” (if anything, it’s probably high quality lust*).

Love does not enter into the equation at first sight.

Love is much bigger than “like” or “affection” or “fondness” or “I’d do anything to bone them” (including get married)…

Love is kissing them goodnight when they are sick and their nose is running, even though you know that it means that you will definitely get sick… Love is folding all the laundry the way they like it to be folded, even though it’s not your preferred method… Love is cooking a steak for them, even when you’re a vegetarian and you hate handling meat… Love is listening intently when they’re reading an excerpt aloud from the New Yorker, again… Love is building the IKEA furniture as soon as you get it home from IKEA because you know that they can’t wait until tomorrow… Love is watching The Real Housewives of Orange County even though the Stanley Cup playoffs are on… Love is not getting upset when you were supposed to be somewhere at 7pm and it’s 7:15pm and they are still deciding on an appropriate outfit… Love is brushing their disgusting mouthguard when they’ve cut their thumb on a serrated knife and don’t have the dexterity or wherewithal… Love is letting them have the rest of the sweet potato tots…

It takes a very long time for love like that to develop.

Love like that only happens after ten years.

Yes, ten.

The first ten years are more of a “getting to know you” phase… You like the person, you feel high quality lust* for the person, you want to be with the person, you are with the person more frequently, they don’t annoy you, they slightly annoy you, you get over it, you like them anyway, you commit to the person, you become more intimate with the person, you start to say “we” instead of “me”, you become more vulnerable with the person, you tell them your secrets, you spend every waking moment with the person and you still like them (a lot), you miss them when they’re not around, you realize that their happiness means more to you than your own…

And then, after all that… it’s love.

Happy 10-year Anniversary Lloydster.

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*There’s lust and then there is high quality lust. Which would you rather have?

The Stress

June 4, 2014

I am stressed, apparently.

Apparently, I’m having a physiological response to an environmental condition or stimulus.

A few weeks ago I was eating breakfast and looking (lovingly) at my super duper husband when his face started to look funny. To be clear, he wasn’t making a funny face. That would have been funny. This wasn’t funny… When I looked at his face there were zig-zag lines across it. Then everything had zig-zag lines, then everything went hazy and then everything went very bright and spotty. I didn’t know what was going on… so yeah, I had a “physiological response”… I freaked out a little bit.

(Freaking out is a perfectly normal “physiological response” to stress, and it’s one that I personally enjoy.)

My husband drove me to the emergency room and after several hours, the doctor assessed me. She said that it could be a tumor pressing on my ocular nerve… but more likely, an ocular migraine brought on by stress.

She told me to avoid stress.

The weird thing is, I don’t feel very stressed.

I don’t have a lot to be stressed out about. I have a happy life. I have wonderful friends and family, and a super duper husband. I’m doing what I love to do… (writing) and I certainly have a lot to be thankful for.

I mean, yes… there are things and situations that cause me to have a “physiological response”… such as LA traffic, the Real Housewives of Orange County, stupid people, large medical bills (for said emergency visit), spraying olive oil in my eye (last night), and cutting off my thumb tip and part of my thumb nail with a serrated knife (also last night).

And yes, sometimes I “freak out”… and not in the Chic, “Le Freak” old school kind of way.

Some people deal with stress the old-fashioned (and fun) way: pills, alcohol, smoking, sleeping, eating… I just get a little worked up occasionally.

My doctor suggested that when I have a “physiological response” brought on by an environmental condition or stimulus, I should practice deep breathing, mindfulness, and watch comedic television programs. She specifically said, “like Modern Family”.

She also said that I should tend to a zen garden… I don’t really have a green thumb. And, since the serrated knife incident… I don’t really have much of a thumb at all.

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The 1980s

May 28, 2014

Oh, the 1980s…

Of all the decades I’ve lived in (five!), the 1980s is lower on the list than say, the 2010s… but higher on the list than the 1970s, which was pretty dismal to be honest. The Bay City Rollers do not cut my mustard.

I lived through the entire decade, so I feel qualified to give an opinion…

It was okay.

There were some good things about the 1980s.

Like the music… Prince. Michael Jackson. 

And the movies… Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Pretty in Pink. E.T.

And the TV shows… Pee Wee’s Playhouse. The Love Boat. Alf.

That pretty much covers it.

Oh, and Star Wars.

That’s about all that was good about growing up in the 1980s.

In the 1980s parents didn’t really know how to be parents. There was one book on parenting, but nobody actually read it. Parents just crossed their fingers, spanked their children’s bottoms, and hoped for the best.

For instance, when my mom had to go grocery shopping… rather than chase us around the store and tell us why we couldn’t buy the Bill Cosby brand of chocolate pudding again… she left us in the car with the window cracked.

Thankfully, she recognized that children need air. Sadly, not all parents knew this.

In the 1980s we had to make our own “fun”…

We didn’t have iPads, peanut allergies, Furbys or “personal” watermelons (we would be lucky to share a watermelon!)… We had sticks. We had rocks. Sometimes we were given a piece of twine.

We would read. We would run around. Occasionally, we would chase each other.

We would clip out the ad in the back of Archie Comics and send away for Sea Monkeys. Then we would wait 8-12 weeks. But, when those Sea Monkeys finally arrived… wow! (Who knew dehydrated brine shrimp arriving in the post could bring so much joy to one little girl?)

We had to get creative. We had to open our eyes to the world around us.

And we found… excitement and adventure.

And a Jukebox at a neighbors’s garage sale.

And an old hippy commune all the way at the end of Dragon Lake Road.

And a time machine that took us back to 1968.

And snakes… Lots of snakes.

So, yeah… actually… in fact, the 1980s were pretty awesome.

The Project

May 21, 2014

I was feeling a bit grumpy earlier this year (approximately 46 days ago).

There was no legitimate reason for my grumpiness.

I was just a little bummed out. You know… that feeling where everything kind of sucks, and you try to put on a brave face for the world, but inside you’re wondering why you got a Fine Arts degree (and then added insult to injury with a Masters degree), and also… why you didn’t go into dentistry? You like teeth.

I was also a little stressed out. You know… that feeling where everything kind of puts you on edge, and even small tasks seem gargantuan and unrealistic, and you look at your calendar and have to breathe into a paper bag.

I was also feeling a little burned out. You know… that feeling where everything is an effort, and you’re still tired even though you slept for 11.5 hours, and instead of making breakfast, lunch or dinner you just nibble on a Pillsbury cookie dough tube all day, and when the mailman knocks on your door you don’t answer because you fear his judgment. Metaphorically speaking, if you were a steam train, you’d be stuck in the station… because you are out of steam.

I was just a bit bummed out, stressed out, burned out… and also, a bit grumpy. I really needed a week on any of the Italian Riviera’s… but I was stuck here in sunny California.

So, approximately 46 days ago… I started what I like to call the #positivityproject on Instagram. I thought that if I sought out something that made me happy, or laugh, or feel something “positive”… and took a picture of it… then maybe I’d be less bummed out, stressed out, burned out, and generally a less grumpy person.

It’s working.

I’m less grumpy. Ask anyone*.

And I’ve realized that I have a lot of things to be thankful for. Lots (tons).

I’m listing them here (for your convenience… and my convenience) in no particular order:

- my super duper husband

- my wonderful friends

- my loving and supportive parents

- my sister and brother-in-law (both very kindhearted)

- my wise and wonderful Gramps

- my sweet nieces and nephew

- pannekoeks (savory)

- my espresso machine

- my cruise group fake cousins

- my real cousins (by blood)

- trees

- flowers

- nature (all of it)

- Grumpy Cat

- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (the movie)

- Amazon Prime

- Christmas

- Cuckoo clocks

- The beach

- Waffles

- Gin & Tonics

- Portlandia (the TV show)

- California (the state)

- pets

- Neil Young

- sunsets

If you want to keep up with my #positivityproject (or better yet – join me!), follow me on Instagram: kimberlymanky

 

*Except certain individuals, religious groups, and corporations.

The Card

May 14, 2014

So, I’ve just gone ahead and done something incredibly thoughtful.

I do that. I’m thoughtful. I think about others and then I do thoughtful things for them. People always say, “Kim, you’re so thoughtful.” And they’re not wrong. It’s the number one compliment I get after, “You have perfectly straight hair”.

(In case you’re wondering… number three is, “Your fingernails look healthy.”)

So, I’m thoughtful. Yes. I do thoughtful things. All the time (twice a week, on average). I think about people… and then I think about what I can do for them.

Like sending them a card, for instance.

Sending a card sends a message. It says: ” I was thinking about you. So then I went to this store and bought you this card – which is really just a folded piece of paper, but if you turn to the back you’ll see that it cost me approximately $2.99 (or more). Then I wrote a thoughtful, personalized message inside, just for you. You’re special to me.”

And believe me… the message is personalized! I do not recycle messages, ever! Also, as a writer I sometimes (…rarely, if ever) make money from my writing… so the fact that I am doing work for you makes it extra special, thoughtful, meaningful, etc.

So, after I have gone to a store and hand-selected (is there another way to do it… without hands?) the perfect card for that particular person, and after I have written a personalized message (in cursive!)… I then walk to the post office (20 minutes… each way!) and then I wait in line, buy a stamp and then I post the card.

That’s a lot of effort.

I hope the recipients of said cards enjoy said cards. I hope said recipients realize the amount if effort it takes. No, it’s not at all like sending an email (or worse, a text!)…

It is worth much, much more (at least $2.99 plus tax, and the cost of a stamp… often an international stamp, which is $1.10!), and those receiving said cards should feel very special indeed.

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I said it before, and I’ll say it again…

If my husband asks… the “Best Day Ever” was definitely our wedding day… the day we got married, and expressed our love and lifelong commitment to each other by exchanging vows and rings in the presence of friends, family and our MAKER.

Uh huh.

Sure.

And, if my husband asks… the “Second Best Day Ever” was definitely Roald Dahl Day… when I went to Roald Dahl’s Gispy house (!!!), and I toured the grounds, and I peeked inside his writing hut (!!!), and I held his ball of solid candy wrappers (!!!), and I went inside INSIDE Danny’s caravan (!!!), and I sat in the Wonkamobile (!!!), and I met Roald’s son Theo and his widow Liccy (!!!), and then I purchased some first-edition books from his private collection (!!!), which Liccy signed for me (!!!).

I have let my husband continue to think that our wedding day is in the top spot, but we all know the truth… The “Best Day Ever” was definitely Roald Dahl Day, and our wedding day is a close (yet very distant) second.

The “Third Best Day Ever” has been up for grabs for a long time now. It was a close call… between weddings, vacations, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, the birth of our nieces and nephew…

Today… it has been decided (after mulling it over for at least 20 minutes)!

[cue music]

And the award for the “Third Best Day Ever” goes to…

[drum roll] …if you insist.

[opening envelope]

Gruyères!

 

You know who you are… you wonderfully Swiss, medieval mountain town in the canton of Fribourg… known for your cheese and the Battle of Morat!

Going medeival on your asses.

Gruyères has been awarded the coveted award for “Third Best Day Ever” (aka, “the Oscar of days”) because of it’s lasting impression!

We visited Gruyères in November 2012 with my parents. We knew it would be great… but I don’t think any of us realized that it would be that great.

There were fun and amusing cut-outs with which to take fun (and amusing) photos with!

Love!

There was a factory that made Gruyères cheese! We went on a tour and we were given samples!

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There was fondue (moitié-moitié) that was quite simply put, “off the chain”.

Moitie-moitie... Vacherin and Grueyeres!

There was a beautiful castle… which was the site of the Battle of Morat and a pretty sweet fortification!

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There were quaint little shops and cobble stone streets.

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There was a rainbow!

Rainbow!

There were snow-capped mountains!

Possibly my favourite picture ever.

There was a vending machine that sold Gruyères cheese!!!!!

We were like, “WHAT.” and the vending machine was like, “YEAH.”

Cheese machine.

And that’s why…Gruyères is the “Second Best Day Ever”… which unfortunately displaces our wedding day.

Just so we’re all clear…

BEST DAYS EVER:

1. Roald Dahl Day.

2. Gruyères (Gruyères “came up the rear” to claim the second spot… Sorry “wedding day”).

3. Wedding Day*.

*Unless my husband asks…

 

 

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