California Wineries



Temecula sounds like a city in Transylvania, but it’s actually a city north of Rancho Bernardo by about 45 minutes (so about 1.5 hours north of downtown).  My coworker Steve and his family live there because the houses are less expensive and the school district is great.  I was a little hesitant to accept his invite to go wine tasting there, because I’d never heard of the city before.  How great can it be if I’ve never heard of it?  I mean, I’m a pretty big wino, and I know everything, right?  Uh, no.

Eva, Steve’s wife, handed me a pamphlet and told me to pick one.  I was overwhelmed!  There were at least 25 wineries!!

“What you’re favorite?” I asked.

“Lioness,” Eva answered immediately.  “They have great fries and a beautiful view.”

So we started there.  Steve was designated driver (DD), because, “I don’t like wine.  I drink beer.”

I don’t understand it, but that’s what he said, and we had a DD, so I went with it.  He sipped his Sprite while Eva and I enjoyed flights.  A “flight” is composed of 5 glasses with a different type of wine in each.  When presented all at once, wineries (or bars) serve them on cards or in special holders.  These simple, elegant holders were the best that I’ve seen; the spiral metal spine connected rings that held the glasses.  They were so pretty, I almost didn’t want to drink the wine.

Ha!  As if I could resist!

The fries were covered in truffle oil and parmesan.  The view was of mountains and vineyards.  The company was hilarious.


Steve drove us to Daniel’s, which was little more than a tasting room and gift shop.  We weren’t impressed with the wine or the ambiance.

Wilson Creek, however, was another slice of heaven.  From the fountain out front to the little bridge over a creek, to the huge gift shop and tasting room, it was an amazing experience.

“People pay to have prom pictures taken here,” Eva informed me.  I believe it!

We ran into some penguins.  Well, they were people dressed in penguin costumes.  Why?  Why not?!

Then I found a wine purse.  What an ingenious invention!  It is a cylindrical carrier with a corkscrew tucked into an interior pocket.  It is just the right size to carry a bottle of wine, and has a convenient handle to carry it.  I had to have it.

Then Eva had to buy a matching one.

So now we’re Wine Purse Buddies!

When we returned to her house and showed her teenage daughter, I thought that the girl might pass out from her huge eye roll.  She just doesn’t understand how cool a Wine Purse is!  Especially MATCHING wine purses!

And, ok, we were a little drunk, and may have been a bit enthusiastic about our purchases.  STILL, a WINE PURSE!  Genius!


Random Penguins


Rancho Bernardo


“After you get your glass of wine, you walk down the sidewalk to the confectionary, where the proprietor will give you a piece of chocolate which pairs with the wine,” the sommelier told us.

Dad, my Stepmom, and I said, “Ahhhh!” at the same time.  Chocolate and wine?!  This place was heaven!

“This place” was the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo, California (north of San Diego but still in San Diego County, i.e. “North County” in local parlance).  There were several buildings grouped together like a small town.  All were very rustic, made of old wood and decorated with rusting tools.  Dad and I made a game out of naming the tools and what they might do.  Stepmom enjoyed looking at the flora and trying to name them; she lamented that she would like to be a landscape designer.  There were old tractors, covered wagons, and even a small museum.

We rather enjoyed the coffee shop, where we bought a cheese and cracker plate, where they had gluten free bread for me!  Then we checked out the purse shop, the clothes shop, the housewares shop, all while sipping on wine.  These places must sell a lot of merchandise!  Think about it: pair women with wine, lure them to the shops strategically placed between them and the free chocolate, and convince them to walk the gauntlet several times – and not all the women had Dad to keep them from buying anything.  I can see where this would be a fun (and expensive!) place for a girls’ night!

In a courtyard, workers were busy setting up for a wedding.  California is so beautiful that I have seen many proposals, weddings, and places set up for weddings.  I feel like I’m living in a vacation resort!

We also checked out the restaurant.  The food was good, not great, but the ambiance was priceless.  Sitting on the patio, sharing wine, sitting in the shade and watching the people walk by – wedding guests all dressed up, couples dressed nicely for dates, and tourists like ourselves in jeans and t-shirts – this was a great day.




Ramona is a city east of Rancho Bernardo, nestled in the foothills of the mountains.  The houses cost about the same as in RB, but come with land.  Some of them come with 2 acres, some more.  Some residents own horses and dogs.  While this may sound like my native Texas, it has a California feel: there are wineries, for example.  We met our friends in Ramona and drove north to Escondido, down a winding road, through beautiful country, to get to the wineries.  Thank God I don’t get car sick.

Cordiano Winery was just as beautiful, though distinct from, the previously mentioned wineries.  We sat on a patio overlooking the mountains, eating gluten free pizza and sipping wine.  My friends were charming.  A light breeze blew.  And I thought to myself – I am blessed.

Highland Hills Winery had just a small tasting room and was family run.  An independent film, “Beyond the Impact,” was being filmed there by Jeff Patton and his crew.  The proprietor said that they used drones to film some of the footage.  How cool is it to sip wine while watching a movie being filmed?!  Ok, so it wasn’t the first time for me; I did that in Tucson while at a work conference (Jim from the Office was there!  and again in Houston (I was in the film).  STILL, it’s pretty darn cool to think that we might be watching the scene on Netflix one day.


Back to the winery.  I love that we drove through the vineyard to get to the tasting room, and that the barrels of wines were behind a window on one wall of the tasting room.

Then we went for ice cream.  How’s that for a perfect day?  Wine, friends, AND ice cream?!

My new friend Marcy Millar re-purposes corks to decorate picture frames, tables, etc.  She also used pennies, alternating dark and bright, to create a design on her armoire.  I took many pictures!  [Marcy can be reached at if you are interested in commissioning a piece.]

“I found Stu Pedasso wine,” Marcy told me, “And thought it was just the funniest thing ever!  So I bought cases of it for family and friends for Christmas.  Unfortunately, the wine isn’t that good.  People called me and said, ‘Uh, Marcy, I hate to tell you, but I didn’t really like the wine.’  Well, DUH!  It wasn’t about the wine!  It was about the name!


I laughed so hard that I almost fell off my chair.  Marcy’s a hoot.  Her art is impressive, too; gives me inspiration.  She said that I could bring her some corks and she’d make me a trivet.  I LOVE TRIVETS!!


Marcy’s Dining Room Table.  The center pattern is composed of horse shoes.



The lessons learned here are many, including:

  • All wineries are different.
  • If you have a chance to try a new winery, do it!
  • Don’t judge a winery by its location. Even if the city name sounds strange, the experience may be amazing!
  • Corks can and should be up-cycled.

Texas has wineries, too.  I regret that I never visited the ones in Grapevine (near DFW airport) or Llano (though I’ve drank many a bottle of Llano wine!).


I have a new friend named Mike.  Yes, another one!  I’ve dated Mike the Plumber, Mayor Mike (also known as Mustang Mike, before he took office), The Great Mike M., the other Mike M., another Mike M.—all three have birthdays in the month of May, Mike B., and…I’m *pretty sure* that’s all of them.


So Sally sent me this video: “Stop Naming Your Children Mike.”

I shared all this with the new Mike, who shall henceforth be known as Mike the DM, because he is the Dungeon Master in a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign.  My last D&D adventure was approximately 20 years ago.  I quit playing because Alan (my husband at the time) played an obnoxious barbarian who specialized in belching and farting.  I decided that I could either play D&D with him or continue to sleep with him.  I chose the marriage (at the time).

D&D aside, Mike the DM answered the video with LOLs and the comment, “I think you’ve dated more Mike’s than the total number of Julie’s I’ve known.  There’s one at roller derby, a buyer at an old job, and a girl I had a crush on in 5th grade.”

I answered, “LOL, you should have gone to school with me!  There was Julie Ann, Julie Nan, Julie Eileen, and Julie Maxine!  Plus, one Julie who wouldn’t reveal her middle name.”

Mike and I met through work.  We were both on the same conference call; he works in a different building.  He sent me an instant message (IM) about a D&D Campaign—get a few nerds in a conference call, and gaming comes up eventually—and before I knew it, we were IM’ing regularly.  Then we moved to text.  And I had no idea what this guy looked like.

“Can people be best friends without ever having met?  Too late, we already are,” I texted him on Friday.

“It happens,” he replied.

We’re having lunch on Tuesday.  Don’t expect a love connection; I suspect that he’s half my age, based on the discussion around D&D.  I’m ok with that; I can always use another friend.

Even if he is named Mike.




Birthday Breakup



Mike broke up with me on my birthday.  Not just any birthday, either—my 30th.  HE BROKE UP WITH ME ON MY 30TH BIRTHDAY!

It’s a wonder I ever dated a guy named Mike after that.  But I did.  Once or twice or…

But I digress.

He wasn’t even a man about it; he was a wuss.  A big, fat, wuss!  He told me, “I’m going to hang out with Frank tonight.  We’re going to smoke a joint and play video games.”

“It’s my birthday,” I responded.  “I thought we’d go out to dinner, maybe go dancing.  The kids are at their dad’s house, so it’s just you and me.”  I ignored the drug reference; he liked to say outrageous things to see people’s reactions.

“Like I said, I’m hanging with Frank,” Mike the Plumber answered.

“Sounds like you want to break up,” I answered, trying not to let the disappointment and hurt affect my voice.  Birthdays should be special.  In my world, the Birthday Girl should be treated like a queen and her every whim indulged, like a bride on her wedding day.  Only, without the outrageous dress and all the relatives.  To hear the very opposite from a man who claimed to love me…well, that was unthinkable.

“You said it, not me,” the Asshole answered.

“Actions speak louder than words.  Come and get your stuff,” I answered, hanging up the phone.  Ian McGee had forced me to break up with him in high school, then played the pity card to get close to the girl he liked, so I was familiar with the Forced Break Up tactic.  Unfortunately.

I didn’t wait for him to show up; instead, I pulled empty boxes out of the garage and upstairs to my closet, depositing in them the clothes that had been hung there the week before.  Though we’d only been dating three months, we had clicked well, and I had been happy to have him move in.  Now I saw the move as a ploy to make me break up with him: moving too fast was one way to freak a girl out.  Especially a divorcee.  And especially especially a divorcee single mom.  Why hadn’t I seen it before?  And why hadn’t I noticed that he had tried picking a hundred little fights with me?

I went to the kitchen and pulled out the coffee mug that I had bought him the month before, and put it on top of his clothes.  I didn’t need any reminders of his sorry ass or an excuse for him to call me.

He was there and gone in minutes.  I waved and smiled at him and Frank when they pulled out of the driveway.  The men gave me confused smiles back.  They obviously thought that I should be in tears, yelling, or—well, something other than cheerful.

I wouldn’t give the bastards the satisfaction of seeing me cry.  Fuck ‘em, this is MY BIRTHDAY—MY THIRDIETH BIRTHDAY—and they could kiss my ass if they thought I was going to sit home and pout.

I picked up the phone and dialed my ex-boyfriend, Pirate Boy.  He earned the name by wearing bandanas in his hair to class, where we had met.  About ten years younger than me, about average height and build, his stunning intelligence and charming words had won me over.

“Hey, Pretty Lady!” Pirate Boy said brightly.  “To what do I owe the pleasure of your call?”

I took a deep breath.  I had broken up with Pirate Boy because he liked to piss me off, fight, then be the good guy who made everything better.  Kinda like a pirate who fired the cannons, then rescued the fair maiden from the sinking ship; it was nice of him to perform the rescue, but not really since it was his fault the ship was scuttled in the first place.  I had tried in vain to teach him that smooth waters made me happier; but he thrived on the fight and strong emotions that conflicts and resolutions entailed (e.g. make up sex).  We were on again, off again for a couple of years.

But I’d be damned if I was going to sit home alone on my freakin’ 30th birthday.

So I say, “It’s my birthday, let’s go dancing.”

“I would do anything for the pleasure of your fine company,” Pirate Boy answered in his peculiar way.  “I am, regretfully, promised to go to my parents’ house for dinner.  You can join me or I can meet you afterward, sometime after 9 p.m.”

“My house, 10 p.m.,” I say without hesitation.  Dinner with his parents was always awkward, since he had a love/hate relationship with them and—HELLO!—I had broken up with him 4 months prior.  I can just imagine the dinner conversation:

“Are y’all back together?”  his mom would ask.

“Nope, just having birthday sex,” I’d answer.

Uh, let’s pass on that one, shall we?

Next, I called Reggie and Portia, who were only too happy to meet me at Cool River to celebrate.  Portia’s boyfriend Jay had set me up with Mike (aka the bastard who broke up with me on my birthday), and he was more distraught than I was.

“He seemed like such a nice guy,” Jay told me, “I’m really sorry that he did this to you.  But hey, you got some free plumbing work out of it!”

Portia agreed.  “Yep, you needed your shower re-tiled, and he helped with that.  Saved you a couple hundred bucks.  Now, let’s get the Birthday Girl a shot!”

“I’ll drink to that!” I said loudly, over the cover band.  Then I turned to Reggie and said, “Let’s dance!”

I had never danced with Reggie before, and I was reminded of how tall he was, as we moved on the crowded dance floor.  At 6’4”, he was a full foot taller than me.  When the next song came on, it was a slow song.  I moved to go sit down, but he pulled me into his arms and we swayed to the music.  I loved him more than ever; he had dropped everything to come out with me, even though he hated dancing and loud bars, but here he was, holding me close, supporting me literally and figuratively.  In that moment, I wished that I hadn’t called Pirate Boy.

But I didn’t have a cell phone to call Pirate Boy, so my course was set.  At 9:30 p.m., I told Portia with a wink, “I’ve gotta go!  Meeting Pirate Boy at my house!”

Surprised, she covered her shock with a laugh and answered, “You go girl!”

Jay gave me a hug and I left with Reggie, my designated driver.  On the way home, I sang loudly to the radio, enjoying the buzz and really glad that I hadn’t driven myself.

Reggie parked the car in my driveway and I hugged him.  “Thank you.  I didn’t want to spend my birthday alone, and you came to my rescue.  I really appreciate that.”

“Do you want me to come in?” he asked.

I hesitated.  Did you think that I’d trip walking up the shallow stairs to my door?  Or did he mean something more?  We’d been friends for a couple of years, but I had been dating Pirate Boy and then Mike; this was the first time that I’d been single.  Had he been waiting for a chance?

Before I could answer, a car pulled into the driveway beside us.  I told Reggie, “Pirate Boy is here.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow, ok?”

In the dim light, I couldn’t tell if he was disappointed or surprised.  I climbed out of the car and was immediately swept up in Pirate Boy’s embrace.  “Hey Pretty Lady!” he said.  “Happy birthday!”

Reggie left while we were kissing hello.  Pirate Boy was as handsome as ever: shoulder-length brown hair, sparkling brown eyes, and strong shoulders.  My passionate, loving Pirate who knew how I liked to be touched where I liked to be kissed.  “I missed you,” he whispered in my ear, and once were inside, he showed me just how much.

The next week I summed up my weekend as, “My boyfriend broke up with me, so I snapped my fingers and an ex-boyfriend came running.  Happy birthday to me!”

That’s right, Mike – you lose, I win.  And trust me, I was a winner all.  Night.  Long.


This flashback was brought to you by My Birthday! And the Committee for Hopeless Romantics.

P.S. Pirate Boy and I were on again/off again for another year after that.  The sex was great. #WorthIt

Photo credit:

Match Update: May, Cont’d: Michael

Honey that Reggie bought me at the Honey Farm

Honey that Reggie bought me at the Honey Farm

“WHY?!  Wherefore art thou Michael?  Deny thy father and refute thy name…” I began, slipping easily into the role of Juliet.

My son interrupted my monologue.  “You can date him, you know.”

I looked at him.  “Really?  You’re giving me permission to date someone named Michael?”

He rolled his eyes.  “I don’t have that power.  It’s just—you shouldn’t discriminate based on a name.”

I laughed.  “But, I’ve dated so many Mikes!  I can certainly say, ‘Sorry, can’t date you, unless you change your name.’  I also won’t date someone with your father’s name.”

Jack frowned.  “How about a guy named Jack?  Would you date him?”

I shuddered.  “That would be weird.  I almost did, you know.  I flirted with the guy, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go out with him.”

“Go out with Michael,” Jack said.

I called Reggie, expecting him to scold me for even thinking about dating a Michael.

“Sure, go out with him.  He’s a Michael, not a Mike,” Reggie told me.

I was floored!  Didn’t this man know that the two names were one and the same?  Like “Reggie” and “Reginald?”  Like “Jules” and “Julie?”  Like “Julie” and “Julia?”  Ok, not that last one.  “Julie” is on my birth certificate; don’t call me “jewel-ya” or “jew-lee-uh.”  That’s just not me.

“Um, really?” I asked.

“Absolutely.  Now let me tell you about my date last night.  It was her birthday, but she paid.  That threw me off.  Then we went to her place…” he began.

“Bow chica bow wow!” I interjected.

“No.  We went to her place, ate cake and ice cream, she shook my hand and said goodnight.  I don’t know what to do with that,” Reggie said.

I didn’t, either, because I don’t know the woman.

So back to Michael.  Let’s TRY to name all the Mikes that I’ve dated, shall we?

Mayor Mike

Mike the Plumber

Mike the IT Guy

Mike from High School, better known as Dopey (he has large ears) (and yes, he did drugs)

Mike the Workaholic (his birthday was in May)

Mike the guy from work that Edna set me up with (his birthday was in May, too)

Mike from work that I didn’t really date, but kinda sorta did (his birthday was in May, too, and like the above two guys, he turned 30 the same month that they did.  Yes, very weird, but true!)

Mike the Married Guy.  Ok, I didn’t date him, but he hit on me.

I feel like I’m leaving someone out.  Damn it.  “To all the Mikes I’ve loved, before…that traveled in and out, my door…I’m glad you came along, I dedicate this song, to all the Mikes I’ve loved, before!”

Michael (not Mike!) and I texted all morning.  I told him about the TARDIS, and how I’m a Time Lord.  I mentioned my Halloween costume, and he said, “I would totally fan girl all over you if you were the exploding TARDIS!!”

I’m crushing hard!  So I went for it.  I texted, “We need to meet soon.  Coffee or drinks?”

He answered, “I’d love to.”

Perfect.  Don’t even specify which one; just agree.  AWESOME.

I texted, “Tomorrow night?”

“Tomorrow night sounds fantastic,” he said.

YAY!!!  FANTASTIC!  None of that wishy washy “good” or “fine” stuff, no siree!  It’s FANTASTIC!!

I’ll let you know how it goes.  In the meanwhile, my friend Mike (!) is going to pick me up soon to get drinks.  Don’t worry, we’re just friends.


I’m Glad That I Didn’t Set You Up With Mike!

“I’m glad that I didn’t set you up with Mike Jones!” Daniel told me.

I was a little shocked. This was the guy that had set me up with Billy Ray. He hadn’t set me up with anyone before or since. I had been the one to joke about Daniel setting me up with Mike, because he was a good looking guy. It was a joke because Mike is about 15 years younger than me. Still… “Mike is one of your best friends. What the hell did he do?” I asked.

“Oh, let’s just say that I have three kids. I don’t need one more!” he answered.

Hmm, cryptic. Why can’t people just answer questions straight up? “What happened?! Mike kept your two older kids while your third child was born! What happened?”

“Let’s just say, he thinks that there’s a conspiracy to get him kicked off the program,” he said. Then he whispered, “And he thinks that I’m the leader!”

Frustrated, I could tell that Daniel wasn’t going to tell me any details. I’d have to get with his wife later to learn what actually happened. “Wow, sounds bad!” I said. “Are you going to bring the kids by on Friday, to Trick or Treat?”

“I meant to talk to you about that! If you don’t mind, I know the kids would love to see you…” he said.

I snorted. “I asked Elizabeth to bring the kids over! Yes, please!”

“Ok, not to spoil the surprise, but expect a ninja, and I think Cleopatra…”

I interrupted. “And your wife will be a black angel, and your youngest an angel. I saw the suits on hangers, but not on them. Looking forward to it!”

We said our goodbyes.

Of course, I wouldn’t date Mike Jones. He’s too young for me by 5 to 10 years. And God knows that I’ve dated enough Mikes!

<Queue Garth Brooks, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talkin’, to the Man Upstairs, that just because he may not answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.”>

I second the sentiment – Thank God that Daniel didn’t set me up with Mike!


PS Zach and I are still very happy together.  Stories like this one, make me hope that I never have to date again!

You Know You’ve Dated Too Much When…

Julie and Allen 2000

Allen and I, 2000.

  1. You’ve dated at least 10 guys named, “Mike.”  Two had the same middle name.
  2. You freak out because your date has the same birthday as your ex.  November 4: TC, SRM, and Benny; and the next day, Brad.  Oct 17: Alan and one of the Mikes.
  3. After 1 date, you can predict why you might break up.  For example, there was one guy, that if he had said, “Dad said…” one more time, I would have screamed!  Ok, so I still dated him for 3 months.  He was hot.
  4. You feel like you’ve been on that date before, even though it’s the first date.  For example, the guy that complained, “Match doesn’t give me good matches.”  Hello!  I’m right in front of you!  You only need ONE good match!  And the other guy who made the same complaint.  And the other…
  5. There had better be alcohol on this date, or I’m not make it an hour!  Wait, I’ve got wine at home.  I’m outta here!
  6. He doesn’t show up, and you’re relieved!
  7. Your friends EXPECT a story the next day!
  8. You tell a story about last night’s date, and your friend says, “That sound familiar!”
  9. Your friend confuses your current boyfriend with the last one.  “He’s a software programmer, right?  No, that was the last one.  So this one has an eight-year-old daughter, right? Oh, that was the one before the last one.”



10. At a party, you introduce your boyfriend Nathaniel, the software programmer, to your ex-boyfriend, Nathaniel, the programmer.  Both are brunettes.  They get along great.  (Of course, Nathaniel thinks he’s smarter.)

11. You go thru your list of exes after a breakup.  Because sometimes the devil you know, is better than the jerk that you just broke up with.

12. Your online profile needs to be updated because it’s too old.  Actual profile seen: The text stated, “I’m turning 21 this weekend!”  But the website calculated his age as 24.

13. You’re used to being home by 9 so that you can watch your favorite TV show.  Even though the date seems to be going great, you’re annoyed that you’re not home in time.

14. You date so much that you get your guys confused.  You have to review his online profile/emails/texts before you go out with him, and hope that you don’t need the notes in your purse.

15. A specific hobby reminds you of an ex.  My ex-husband had salt water aquariums.  I freaked out a little the first time I visited a boyfriend’s house and saw a fish tank.  “It’s ok—lots of people have fish.  This doesn’t mean that he’s an asshole,” I told myself, and took deep breaths.  (For the record, he was an ass.  I remain optimistic that some fish owners are perfectly nice, datable people.)

16. Your girlfriends ask you to review their matches before they go out on a date.  You know, just in case you’ve already gone out with him.  Ex.  This is a quick summary of the conversation that I had with Nick on OK Cupid, “Do you date Asian guys?  Really?  Because most Texas girls are racist.  Wait, give me another chance!”  We tripped out when he showed up on LoLo’s list of matches!!

17. You actually consider asking a guy for his number while you’re on a date with someone else.  Sure, it’s tacky.  But a date with that guy might be more fun.  (Wait ‘til your date goes to the bathroom!)

18. You don’t know whether to dread your next date or look forward to it.

19. Your friends argue about whether “you’re high maintenance,” “you’re too picky,” or “you just seem to attract the wrong guys.”

20. Your well-intentioned friends set you up on dates (ex. Billy Ray).  What were they thinking?!  Love you guys!  But for real—you shouldn’t have!

21. Conversations with relatives go like this:

“Do you ever talk to your ex? The one that drove the BMW?” my brother asked me.

“Uh, no, I broke up with him over two years ago,” I answered.

“I’m glad. He was an asshole,” my brother replied.

Ok, then why did you ask? I wondered.

“What about the guy that took you to Costa Rica?” He asked.

“Broke up with him last September – over a year ago,” I answered.

“Good, he was weird. He wasn’t good enough for you,” he said, nodding.

Again—why did you ask?!

22. You know the pros, cons, and relative cost of every dating website and app available (ex. Online Dating).

23. You compulsively try every new dating website and app anyway.  (Tinder is so yesterday!)

24. Years are associated with who you were dating at the time.

“Let’s see, I was with Mike that year, so that was between 2006-2008,” I said.

“I thought that you dated Mike in 2010?” Lilly Peach said.

“That was a different Mike, 2010-2012. Between the two was…” I replied.


Sally and I sandwiched between two Mikes.  NASA, Johnson Space Center, May 2010.

25. You have enough dating stories to fill a book.  Or two or three.  And a blog.  Plus status updates.

Thanks to Allie Apple for the help. Working on this over drinks was a blast!


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