Tag Archives: love this life

Promises, tears, and magic

Remember back when I won a book on Goodreads and it led to me accidentally working with an author?

On May 13th, that manuscript, the one I got to read and puzzle over and love – it was published.

Suzy (I call her that cuz we’re tight, remember?) and I probably shot pieces of this book back and forth over the course of four or five months? Let’s call it six because that makes it sound like we did half a year’s worth of hard work and let me tell you, writing is hard work. She’s a total hack-n-slasher; she’ll remove entire sections, if necessary, in order to make her story go the right way. It’s like she is all the forces of nature wreaking havoc upon her poor characters but the result is amazing. In turn, her early readers are like FEMA workers in that they have to see what the lay of the land looks like after the restructuring. We’re responsible for testing the new spots, making sure everything fits together, sometimes reading the same thing over and over again. It’s a lot of work and I don’t think I’ve enjoyed or taken as seriously any other project in my entire grown-up life.

Anyhow, when time was up and she had to relinquish her baby to the publishing house, she told me I’d been a big help. I don’t know how much I believed her – my opinions are only opinions, after all – but it was nice to hear nonetheless. She reaffirmed she was going to put me in the acknowledgements, something she’d said a million times already, but this time she said I would be first. Again, I don’t know that I fully believed her because I know I get overly-enthusiastic about stuff from time to time and make promises only to forget them later. She asked me how I wanted my name to appear and if I wanted her to say anything specific. I said I wanted my full name because I’m vain and no one would be able to doubt it was me she was acknowledging but, otherwise, she could say whatever she wanted. Then I promptly forgot about all of this. Well, not forgot but it sort of went to my background consciousness.

As the publication date drew closer, I started hyping the book to co-workers, friends, and family, using the “You should buy this book because I’ll be in the acknowledgements” line but even then, I don’t think I really knew what that meant until April 18th when Suzy announced on Facebook that the pre-order was live and that if you went to Amazon and did the “Look inside!” trick, you’d see the people she’d tagged in the acknowledgements. I did as instructed and then died.

Talk about making good on promises.

People, when you say you’re going to do something, do it big like Suzanne Palmieri. I cannot tell you what this did to me (but I’m going to anyway).

Here’s the book:

Go get this book. If this isn't your kind of story, buy it as a gift for someone else. Just go get it.

Go get this book. If this isn’t your kind of story, buy it as a gift for someone else. Just go get it.

And here’s the Acknowledgements page which is right at the beginning:

Yes. That's me. The very first acknowledgement, just as promised.

Yes. That’s me. The very first acknowledgement, just as promised.

Not only am I first, but I have my own sentence. Two of them, actually. If you read the book, you’ll appreciate the sweetness of “shine,” too.

When I saw this, I cried. Not pretty little tears trickling down my cheek at a beautiful pace. No, it was the out-n-out snotty nose, puffy eyes cry, the Ugly Cry. You would think ugly-crying would not be the proper response to finding out you were mentioned with gratitude in a book and got a place of honor surrounded by swirly, lovely words but the thing is, not only had I not been expecting something this big, this special, but about ten days earlier, I had found out my mom has cancer and I’d been in a bad place ever since. So seeing this was a gift, a hug, a bit of love on the wind coming to give me comfort during a turbulent bit of life. Yes, of course, part of my joy was centered around my vanity – who doesn’t want to see her name in print, right? But it was more than that, two things more, to be precise.

One: My mother was going to be able to see this before she dies. I owe her and her mother, ZZ, credit for my reading addiction. Because they showed me how to love words, my name gets to live with words. My mom always wanted to be a novelist but never got around to it. I think she has the same hope for me but even if I never make it, this is close. I loved seeing her smile when I gave her this book and she read those words. I can keep that with me forever.

Two: Praise is a wonderful thing but, for me, it’s what’s behind the praise that means the most. I know that I helped Suzy, that I gave her a piece of me and she was able to weave my thoughts and suggestions into her story, that she was able to take what we all gave her and she made something that was already good into something absolutely…well…magical.

I feel the shine. Can’t you?

The Witch of Belladonna Bay is available at Barnes & Noble, Target, Amazon, and other fine book retailers or you can order it through your local bookstore. Can’t buy it? Try the library!


Filed under Adventures, My journey to writerhood, My Opinions on STUFF

The glue that binds. Well, sticks. And is messy.

Ugh. It’s the time of year again in which I feel obliged to acknowledge my stupid husband.

Fitting that this day falls upon April 1st, isn’t it?

Every once in awhile, I think about Gabe and not in the context of smothering him in his sleep or poisoning his food. Sometimes, I reminisce on how we got together (and what I could have done to avoid it) and chuckle.

Today, I was thinking about the moment he fell in love with me.

Now, if you ask Gabe, he’ll say that he’d been in love with me for years but that would be a lie. Gabe’s a sappy romantic and makes up crap because he thinks it’s sweet. It’s not, it’s nauseating.

Back to the In Love moment: We were driving along, just friends who were going on some adventure or another (Gabe could probably tell you what we were doing because he always remembers that stuff. Reason: see above)

He was being all snobbish about how great he is, talking about movies and doing that thing where he throws out titles no one else has ever heard of so that he looks all artsy and hipsterish. I don’t remember exactly what he said, though I am sure he does, referencing an esoteric little piece and I, having seen and loved the movie he was quoting, started singing this:

Gabe’s jaw fell from his head and landed in his lap. He just stared at me. It is true that I felt pretty smug inside for besting him at his own snotty little game.

He whispered, “I’ve never met anyone else who knows that movie,” and I knew he’d just been struck by Cupid’s damned arrow.

And now look. We’re old married people and the only thing I look forward to is putting him into his grave.

But you know what? We’re a pretty good couple.

One heart, one song…but there is no ONE – Happy It-All-Started-Today Anniversary, HusbandFace.



Filed under My Dearly Beloveds

What was I doing while I wasn’t here?

I took a blog break between mid-December and mid-February and I had planned to return with this big, ol’ list of exciting things I did while I was not here. I mean, despite there being no proof on the internet, I was still living and breathing during that time. In fact, I did a lot of stuff! I wanted to tell everyone about it and planned to have it all up on February 19th! And then I never did. However, I have pictures I want to share so you’re getting the condensed version of what would have originally been an awesome post but is now really just filler with fun snapshots.

Yeah, you’re welcome.

To pick up where I’d left off last year:

1) I got my Christmas spirit back and just in time. Thanks to the magic of my old friend, Jack Frost, I was swept up in a winter wonderland the Friday before Christmas and as the day wore on, I became infused with festive tidings. It was awesome.

Seriously, I was going nuts running around town after work, taking pictures, squealing. It was just so beautiful!

2) Gabe & I met up with Susan&Elizabeth, our Best Couple Friends who aren’t a couple (they’re best friends and there are two of them so they are like a couple and we make them do couple things with us because they are our favorite couple friends you know what? Just go with it and let’s move on, ok?) to run amok in the cold! We went to see Denver Botanic Gardens’ Trail of Lights and it was phenomenal!  Then we all went out for drinks and fancy pizza, afterward. Man, we are good at being delightful.

So bright, so happy!

This was my favorite tree

Even the barn is participating!

3) I had holidays. It was all fun and games, per usual, until Noelle got our dad reminiscing about a terrible part of his life and he started getting emotional and Noelle LEFT THE ROOM, abandoning the rest of us to Dad’s tales of woe. Chris felt horrible that Dad had to relive all that, Gabe was alarmed because he had never heard any of it, and I’m pretty sure Chris’ wife was wondering why the hell she agreed to be part of this family. Come to think of it, I was wondering that, too. I owe Noelle a punch in the face for that one. Gah!

a) Gabe and I got each other presents this year because guess what? Gabe is employed now! It is an exciting time in our house!

These are my presents from Gabe. They probably seem odd to everyone else, but these are things I had marked in a catalog many months ago and he remembered! Now I have a cricket for my hearth and two apple bakers (plus the apple corer – SO much easier!) and I was really, super, weirdly excited about these gifts. PS – those apple bakers? They make phenomenal baked apples.

b) I also got presents from my GoodReads BFF in a land far away (New York City, folks!) You can see why we’re friends, right? Because she is AWESOME and gives great gifts. Obviously.

No, the bunnies are not playing LeapFrog, but yes, that explanation works well for the under-12 set. This is my official Easter Sweater now, so I’ll be wearing it again, soon!
Thank you, karen. This has brought and will continue to bring great joy to so many!

c) We had an adventure in which we tried the Dryck Julmust we found at IKEA. I’m still not sure what that was all about.

Behold! The festive Dryck Julmust

Gabe drinks more carbonated beverages than do I so he wasn’t quite as weirded out by this.

What the hell is in this??

d) I used the Christmas Ham to make our annual Ham and Beans for dinner on January 1st. It was an excellent batch this year, thank goodness. Not like that tragic swill I made a few years back.

Super close up shot of the beans, which had soaked for 24 hours by this time, onions, carrots, spices, etc. The ham is hidden under this pile of goodness.

4) And on January 2nd, as our Family Christmas Present To Ourselves, we got all the internets installed in our house. That means I now create and post these blog entries AT HOME! We were internet-free (mostly…sometimes we stole it from the neighbors) for two and a half years. It’s been amazing, fabulous, and convenient but also stressful to be back in the connected world as it brings its own kind of worry: I feel like I should check email before bed. I have monsters that sing and I have to gather their money and make sure they’re singing every day. Then there are all the sites we feel compelled to visit at all hours of the day and it gets a bit silly. This pressure to be tuned in everywhere kicked in immediately, the day we went live, and I did not like that. Yes, of course, it’s easy to think, “So just don’t check email, just don’t play games, just don’t…” but you know what? It’s easier to do than not to do. Because I’m re-addicted and stuck to a screen, I don’t read as much as I did before the internet. My house isn’t as clean (ok, that’s actually because Gabe is at work, now, and while I can still leave him threatening messages to mop the floor, I know it’s not going to get done because he won’t be there to read said messages) I’m not doing all the simple, pleasant things I did while we were living the off-grid lifestyle and that makes me feel shallow and a bit hollow. Not enough to stop staring at a monitor for hours on end, mind you, just enough to write about it in a blog post.

5) I took the first week of the New Year off again and got a lot done, mostly cleaning. That’s when I took all my pictures for the How To Oil Wood post from last week. Hooray.

I did other things, as well, but so much time has passed. I should have had this story up as soon as I got back to my blog but I didn’t and now it’s sort of a lame duck of a post. However, I wanted to share all my lovely pictures so I am doing just that and none of us will ever know what I was doing between January 2nd and February 5th. It shall hereforth remain a mystery. Or you can just make up some story in the comments below; that works, too.


Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, Out & about or abroad

Here’s what I’m thinking about Final Fantasy XIV so far

This post is about online video games. It’s probably a post that should be ignored unless you are someone who likes to read what other people think about online video games, especially the one called Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV)

I feel like I should post some credentials here before I start flinging my opinions around. I mean, I am happy to share my thoughts but maybe I should let my readers know my background and how I came to my opinions or something?

I am not a hardcore gamer. I don’t identify as a geek, though some would argue that point (Gabe) However, I do like games. Board games, card games (NOT card games like Magic: The Gathering because who came UP with that? Talk about a lot of work for little reward, at least in my case), running-around-in-the-yard games, video games. As long as there is an element of fun (per Mary Poppins), I’m in.

I’m an old lady (middle-aged female) and have been around the ol’ online gaming block a time or two. I started with a MUD back in my college days and have since dabbled in the end of Diablo II where you could get online with other players (that was weird),  Star Wars Galaxies, Elder Scrolls…Morrowind? Maybe it was Daggerfall. I don’t remember now because I didn’t even last a day. I got bored waaaay too fast, World of Warcraft, Club Penguin (I have nieces and nephews, ok?), Guild Wars, WarHammer, City of Heroes/Villains and others that I have forgotten by now.

The point is that I have some basis for comparison among online games but probably can’t give a review like some woman who actually schedules time for raid nights and has maxed out every character she’s ever rolled. I guess I’m saying this is more than an apprentice review but less than master-level.

  • Good: It’s pretty

I don’t think I’ve come across many games in the past several years that don’t have this aspect down pat. You kind of have to, now, to make an impact. It’s important to be visually appealing in all markets (that’s a broad generalization, by the way) and this one is no exception.


See? There are even sunspots and sunrises. It is charming.

  • Good: Storyline 

It appears there is one long storyline, something like you’d find in a standalone console game. While this is mostly kind of true for other online games, this story is obvious and it builds up, offering glimpses into your progress via cut scenes. I don’t remember any of the other online games being so story-driven.  According to Gabe, there are pieces of the previous Final Fantasy games spread all throughout and it seems this storyline is loosely based on the demise of the online FF game that preceded this one. Cool!

  • OK: Character creation

So here’s something neat this game does: Your starting area is not determined by your race but by your class. All pugilists, regardless of being littles, cat people, elves, humans, or green dudes, start in the same place and run the same beginning quests. Ditto the lancers, the thaumaturges, the arcanists, the marauders, so on and so forth. I rather enjoy that.

The creation engine is decent. It’s better than WoW but not as good as Star Wars: Galaxies or even City of Heroes/Villains. When you get out into the world, not everyone looks exactly the same, which is refreshing, but there’s not so much variety that you see anything unique, either. I do like that you can choose your vocal stylings, again like a console game, but I wish there were more size and shape options for all the body parts. Most of the cat people and the littles look the same while the humans and green dudes seem to come in a wider variety of appearances.


Here’s my elfy arcanist. She’s very pretty.


This one’s my favorite. Not only do I like how she looks but I like how she fights. I enjoy playing her the most so far.


Ruby Smidget, my highest level character at this time. She’s a lancer, has run the training dungeons, and is on the third page of her hunting log. This is mostly because I run her with Gabe’s little person.

  • Bad: The game mechanics are clunky

From trading items to crafting, there are so many unnecessary little steps. When you’re turning in a quest item, you can’t just click on the quest giver and have all transactions happen in the background. Oh, no. Your inventory opens up to the bag of quest items (which is quite nice, really – a whole bag for just quest items! Brilliant!) and you have to select the item you’re going to turn it. But just selecting it doesn’t work. You select it, then choose to turn it in. Another little window pops up and the item you’re turning in shows up there and then you have to press the little button underneath that says “Hand Over.” Seriously. You have to go through all of that to give a quest item to the quest giver. What a waste of time!

Crafting isn’t much better. It’s cute that you get a little mobile crafting station to work at. If you’re learning to cook, you get a tiny little campstove-type thing. If you’re making jewelry, you get a little bench. But when you learn to craft, usually after level 12, I believe, you have to replace whatever weapon you’ve got equipped with the crafting implement, be it a saw, a frying pan, a fishing pole (not technically crafting but just go with it) and then all your clothing falls off and you’re left standing in underwear and sandals. You have to re-dress yourself in low-level gear or complete the first crafting quest in order to obtain a hempen robe to wear while you learn your trade. This happens because while you might be a level 16 pugilist, when you learn to craft, you start over at ground zero. You’re level 1 at that craft and cannot, therefore, wearing clothing of a level higher than 1. So that level 14 tunic you love? It falls off. Same goes for your boots and gloves, belt, wristcuffs, earrings, pretty much everything but the ring you got at the beginning of the game.

Then you actually start crafting. You have to buy all the pieces you need if you don’t already have them in your inventory, and let’s face it, you probably don’t. You equip your crafting implement, go to the crafting journal, choose the craft you’re going to work on and a window pops up. You choose the item you are going to craft from the window and hit the “Synthesize” button and THEN you have to hit the action button on your action bar so you can make ONE THING. Once that one thing is made, you synthesize it again and action button it again and you do this until you run out of the materials you need to craft the item.


Ruby learns woodworking. This is what crafting looks like.

Granted, I’ve only been playing this for a few weeks and I’m running 3 characters simultaneously, leveling them by fives (get everyone to level 5 then 10 then 15, etc), and am learning slowly, as a result. I have no doubt I’ll find the faster way to get this all done once I’ve played awhile longer, made friends, learned cheats, but for now? This is a ridiculous way to craft, especially after WoW or Star Wars Galaxies (the only other games in which I took a crafting interest)

  • Bad: This party ain’t no party

This game is not party-friendly. Gabe and I, we tend to run together in games. Sometimes we even hang out with friends, though not right now because I don’t think any of our friends are here. We’re good at the in-game party lifestyle and let me tell you, this particular game seems to hate people hanging out together. We started noticing problems when we’d get double-pull while grouped, meaning we’d be out gathering Little Ladybugs, as requested, and every time one of us shot one, two monsters would come running. It always pulls two because, I am assuming, there are two of us? That gets irritating when all we need are a couple of moles so he goes after one and I go after a different one and suddenly, we’re swarmed in attacking creatures. Then there are the instances and cut scenes. Even if you’re in the exact same spot on the exact same quest line, there are things you cannot do together. You cannot have a cut scene together. You cannot do certain instances (little, personal mini-fights) together. You have to leave the party to continue in your quest and then you regroup when the solo moment is over. So there we are, sitting side-by-side, watching the same action on each other’s computers because we can’t play it together in-game. Why? WHY? It’s quite unfriendly and it makes me sad.


Gabe and me. A funny thing? Gabe’s the human girl and he based her on me. She’s got two different colored eyes and her name is Librerica which is my Twitter handle. She’s an arcanist and will grow up to be a scholar. Sweet, right? I think so.

  • Frustrating: Dungeons

I’ve only run the training dungeons, so far, the three beginning ones that teach you how to use the duty finder and play nicely with others. For me, these have been an exercise in frustration and here’s why: This set of dungeons is part of the quest line. While I’m sure you can bypass it and not come to harm, it is part of the main storyline so probably you want to see what it’s all about, especially on your first character. So, in essence, you have to run these practice dungeons. When you get to the first one, you find out that you can’t run the dungeon until you have a party of four – 1 tank, 1 healer, and 2 damage-per-second players (in layman’s terms: a thug, a doctor, and two knife-wielding stabbers). Looking around, you notice a lot of NPCs loitering about, tanks, healers and DPSers. It makes sense that there would be a way to hire these people to help you run this dungeon, right? That’s what I thought. Only that’s not how it’s done. These characters who are hanging around, talking about going through the dungeon, they’re not available for hire. They don’t even interact with you. No. You have to go to the duty finder, select the dungeon you want to go through, and then wait until others who have done the same thing round out your team. You could wait for half an hour or more for a healer to show up and be assigned to your party. Then you and these strangers are all dumped into the dungeon together and you just hope for the best. Thankfully, I’ve run all the dungeons with Gabe, so far, and the other two members of each party have been capable and not-mean. But this isn’t fun for me! I don’t like being forced to play with people I don’t know if I don’t want to but unless you have already made your own group, that’s really your only choice. I am not a fan.


Ruby in a dungeon with strangers…not Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
It was uncomfortable but we got through it and no one died so…yay.

  • Best thing EVER: All the little pets

More than likely, this is what will keep my interest: collecting the pets. WoW just implemented something similar and it is just as delightful though maybe in a different fashion. Here in FFXIV, you can collect little dudes to follow you around. They don’t do anything but look cute, as far as I can tell, but that’s good enough for me! These pets can be collected by anyone and they can be won, purchased, or come as a result of a quest or an event, and who knows what else because I don’t have anyone higher than level 22, so far, so don’t know how else to gather pets. Right now, I have a tiny golem (sandstone, from the look of him), kittens, wolf pups, little flying ships, a mammet (robot), and a hatchling chocobo. Every one of my little people has pets, all available to be summoned in order to traipse along with me throughout the lands. This appeals to my love of collecting weird things as well as my love of having cuteness following me everywhere.


Ruby is barely bigger than her coeurl kitten (no, I don’t know what a coeurl is. I mean, I do, I’ve seen them in the game, but they mean nothing to me because they’re just…cats with long whiskers that are in this game)

  • And the rest

The music doesn’t do anything for me. I see the soundtrack is available and I have no desire to buy it. It’s not like the Diablo II soundtrack (I wish I owned that) or the WoW soundtrack (I do own it); the music isn’t evocative nor even memorable, at least not for me. I will probably turn it off altogether.

The cities…oh good grief, they’re all crazy and winding around and you can’t just get from one place to another but, instead, have to pass through gates. Not gates…I don’t know what they are. There are blue dots that separate one part of the city from another and when you go past these dots, you get a black screen while the new part of the city loads, and then you’re back in. Why did they do that? It’s neither fun nor efficient.

The other players are nice enough, so far. There aren’t too many gold farming shouts yet, though they do exist. Gabe and I both get bombarded to join guilds (which are not called guilds here) regularly but no one pressures us.

So, to sum it up: I keep reminding myself that the game is still new, probably an elementary-schooler right now. I am new to this new game, as well. We’re all working out bugs. I don’t know whether or not I will stick with it, yet. My free trial period ends in a little over a week and I’ll probably renew in April (I won’t have time to play in March) but I don’t think this is my new WoW. I’m still looking for that place.


Filed under Adventures, My Opinions on STUFF

A profound compliment

Compliments are funny things. Some people want them, seek them, love and need them while others shun them and are flustered by them. I ride that line. I like praise and even seek it but only when I feel I deserve it, otherwise it freaks me out. I’ve found that when someone says something nice to me, I have one of two reactions, neither of which are “Thank you.”  If I agree with the sentiment, I tell a story. For instance, if someone says, “That’s a darling outfit,” I say, “I know, right? I got the skirt at the thrift store and the shoes were on sale and the top was a hand me down and my great grandmother made the sweater during the blizzard of ’43.” It’s like I need to explain why the praise is true even if my explanation has nothing to do with the original compliment. If I don’t agree with the sentiment, I argue. I’ll act all demure with a, “Oh, that’s so nice, but I had nothing to do with it,” or “It just happened this way,” or something equally vague and somewhat insulting to the praise-giver. I know I’m just supposed to smile, accept the compliment and move on. According to childhood lessons in etiquette, I should return a compliment but that’s even worse than accepting one. A forced compliment is hollow, isn’t it?

There was one compliment, though, an off-hand remark that had nothing to do with anything I did but that left me speechless, nonetheless. It was, and remains, the best compliment I have ever received in my life.

Back during our early high school days, my BFF, T, began to conserve her syllables both, I think, as a matter of communication efficiency and also maybe a little due to verbal laziness. During the school day, we had a lot to say, so much so that every moment in the hallway was spent chattering over each other at our lockers and when we were apart in separate classrooms, we wrote notes to one another. When we finished our homework in the evenings, we’d call each other. This was back in the days when the house had a main phone because cell phones were a thing of science fiction; we’d tie up the line for hours. I still don’t know why our parents let us do that but I suppose it was a good way to keep telemarketers from disturbing the peace. So knowing there was a lot to be said in a short amount of time (because, really, we probably only had 4-5 actual hours per school day to express our thoughts), T started shorthanding her speech and, as a result, my name lost two syllables and simply became “Er” (as in Eyre, Jane Eyre) This easy-to-say new name stuck and I am still “Er” to T and a few others, including my Longest Running Friend, April. April’s been calling me Er since T coined it so by the time she and I got to Korea, it was my default name. I don’t think she could have added the “ica” if forced.

South Korea was my first legitimate trip out of the country. It was scary and culture shocky for the first month or two but we eventually found our places in the environment and functioned appropriately as young twenty-somethings abroad. So one night midway through our year there, we were out with our co-workers/friends and were the only non-Koreans in the group. I was walking out of the bar with Michelle (real name: Sae Kyung), April and Julie (I don’t remember her real name) right behind us. I heard Julie ask April, “Why do you call her ‘Er’? Is it because as your friend, she is so important to you, like the air you breathe?” I think we laughed, April and I; Julie’s logic seemed hilarious. April explained the shortening of words for the ease of communication. Obviously, the name had nothing to do with anything I’d done, nothing to do with me at all, really. It was just a question based on linguistics and the desire to understand our tradition of nicknames but it hit me hard and has stuck with me all these years, the thought that I could be as important as the air someone breathes, I could be that necessary in a life and that my necessity was apparent to another individual. What a wonderful thought, this gift of belief in the worthiness of one single regular human being and her potential impact upon another. I’d like to say I try to live each day with this beautiful sentiment in mind, that I try to be as important as air, but I don’t. I don’t believe that’s how life works, that any one person is truly irreplaceable. We can’t be; there’s no guarantee any of us will be here tomorrow unlike the air which will most likely be here for all of our tomorrows and probably our great-great grandchildren’s tomorrow if we don’t jack things up too badly. No, of course, our air won’t last forever, either, but we know we’re transient and the air, in comparison, is probably more permanent. Also, I never had a child, probably the only instance in which that statement of importantce is true or as close to true as possible. So, no. I am not as important as the air we breathe. I just have friends who don’t speak my full name. And yet, that is the best compliment, the most meaningful sentiment, I’ve ever received.


Filed under Adventures, In someone else's backyard, My Dearly Beloveds