Confessions of a Lazy Cook

 December 17, 2017

In one of my other lives I taught Home Economics in a small west Texas town. Of course being able to cook and eat drew boys to my classes. Through the years, many young men came through my classes who were amazing cooks. I took being able to cook for granted since it was in my DNA. My mother and grandmother both were the best southern cooks and I learned at their apron strings at a young age. Eating out was rare in my family and fast food was unheard of during my childhood.

My love of cooking has only grown over the years and I love creating recipes. I have a website (much neglected) where I post kitchen hacks and quick and easy recipes anyone can be successful preparing.

My new passion is developing recipes for my two power pressure cookers … a 6 quart and 3 quart that I call my Mini. Neither is the hot name brand, but they serve my purposes perfectly. So today I am posting a couple of recipes I created for my newest Lazy Cook passion.

Sausage Gravy Egg Bites

My take on those little gems from Starbucks that can be made in no time using a power pressure cooker. This was my breakfast yesterday … a definite keeper!

Sausage Gravy Egg Bites in my Mini … Serves 1-2

1 egg, heaping spoonful of both cottage cheese & My Greek Yogurt, S&P to taste, about a teaspoon of whey and a teaspoon of gravy mix, small handful of grated cheese and cooked and drained sausage. Used my silicone egg poachers resting on canning rings, 1 cup water, 8 minutes on steam, NPR and QR after 10 minutes … made two cups … perfect for 1 serving

Shown over toast with my Hatch Pepper Jelly … yummmmmm

Sausage and Gravy
Source: Annie’s Images

The next recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I have used many times and changed every time I make it. It is easy stove top, no fuss in a crockpot … but even better in my Mini!

December 10, 2017

December Moon
Source: We Heart It

Winter’s Veil

A weak winter sun

struggles to break

through a veil of

high clouds

The moon …

waiting for

the light and

strength of the

Sun to provide it

A will

A power

to shine

on

this

Full Moon

Night

© 2017 Annie

Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.

As Ever, Annie

December 3, 2017

Autumn Rain

Leaves falling

the North wind making them sound

like rain as they fall

There is a sadness

in that sound

The sound of endings

The sound of souls departing

The earth weeps

Now as the season turns

And …

The Universe

is slowing dying

While …

My heart breaks …

© 2017 Annie

Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.

As Ever, Annie

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November 26, 2017

I found this on FaceBook a few days before Thanksgiving … I think it is something to be shared during the holiday season.

IMG_2988

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November 19, 2017

JFK - Fat Grannie

Fat Grannie

Remembering JFK

 

This morning I walked a different direction and found myself staring at an empty field where a house from my childhood once stood. Missing was the house where my friend’s grandmother lived out her final years.

Looking at the emptiness I realized there are now huge gaps in my memory from that time. The house stood between my friend’s childhood home and her father’s carpentry shop. For the life of me I can’t remember if the house had been there before Fat Grannie moved to town … or if it was moved onto property my friend’s family owned which divided their house from the shop. Regardless, she lived in a cute little white cottage to be near her family when she became of an age to no longer live on her own in the country.

So many memories, yet so many black holes with many missing pieces. Even though I cannot remember the history of her house, I do unfortunately remember that horrible time in November when President Kennedy was killed in Dallas. Unbelievable … our young, handsome, vibrant President gunned down in cold blood in our own state.

During that time, our mothers were working as they did every year packing mistletoe to be shipped nation-wide for holiday sales. Our little rural town was the home of the only place (to my knowledge) in the US that sold mistletoe – a parasite to local ranchers – yet, a booming business during the Christmas season.

Most mothers in town did not work, but this annual seasonal job was a way for stay-at-home moms to earn their

‘Christmas Money’. As I stood looking where Fat Grannie’s house once stood, the sadness of that horrible November flooded my soul. As an adult, I couldn’t help but wonder if our country would be different had he lived.

With the mothers working and school cancelled for the days of national mourning, my friend, her older sister and I spent those days with Fat Grannie. The name didn’t do her justice. She was a portly woman not fat at all, but that was the name her numerous grand and great-grandchildren called her and by extension so did I. Her given name was Ella, but I never heard anyone call her anything but Fat Grannie.

During those horrible cold gray November days following the death of John F. Kennedy we sat glued to the little Black and White TV set watching the events unfold still not believing the tragedy forced upon our nation. I remember crying a lot … for the family, but especially for Caroline and John John. Watching their bravery as the world watched their grief ripped out my ten-year-old heart. I cried because I was afraid for the first time in my life. Since that day in November, I have been afraid in varying degrees to this day … and that fear has ramped up to the highest degree ever felt in my life due to the crazed National Election this year.

Another black hole in my memory were the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis the year before … I knew President Kennedy averted war with the Communists, but the impact was nothing like the horror of his murder. Little did I know or anyone else for that matter, his death was just the beginning of many deaths by a crazed shooter … with the shootings growing more and more violent from that day until now.

However, during that cold gray week of horror, Fat Grannie made sure we were loved and safe in her warm little cottage. We talked very little about what was unfolding before our eyes each day until the funeral. I’m not sure anyone had words to describe what we felt, our fears, and the uncertainty of the future for us personally and the country or even the world as a whole. At our ages, we didn’t have the words to ask those questions that now flash in my mind as I stood before that empty lot.

Fat Grannie kept us safe in the only way grandmothers have done for centuries … she fed us. She fed us our favorite comfort foods and let us mourn. Today, trying to remember the interior of that safe little place, I can see the living room and kitchen as one big room in the middle of the house. To the right of the kitchen was her bedroom filled with natural light streaming through windows on two walls. A left turn took you to an attached small bathroom. Nothing fancy here, but functional. I don’t remember any rooms but those three. Try as I might there is nothing there … another black hole.

Outside stood a wooden garage, unused, because she didn’t own a car and never learned to drive. This memory tends to make be think the house, garage and small shed were all there originally, so the house must have been there too. I vaguely remember exploring that garage and seeing rusty garden tools hanging on the walls and old tires stacked here and there. The shed was turned into our playhouse at some point. My friend and I decorated it as best we could so we had our own little hideaway. But, when did we do that … before or after the world was turned upside down.

During that horrible week/weekend, Fat Grannie’s warm little cottage was our safe haven … a place our moms knew we needed to be as they worked to earn money for Christmas gifts we didn’t need, but they were determined to get for us anyway. So, during that horrible time, we were loved and spoiled by Fat Grannie as they sorted, clipped, trimmed and packed our local parasite so people in other states could hang a little foam bell with a sprig inside, a foam ball covered ready for hanging from an attached red ribbon in some doorway, or a sprig tied with red ribbon to wear pinned to coat lapel. They also packed small cellophane bags with random pieces to be used at will by people from New York to LA.

One thing I do know is now we never see packaged fresh mistletoe at Christmas. Another memory hole is when it was no longer packed and sold from our rural Central Texas town. I do remember the time when the owner of Schuster’s of Texas was on the TV program What’s My Line. That time, the panel was stumped and the owner won because no one could guess his LINE.

Turning toward home, I am amazed by the memories and the many holes in my memory that are triggered by a simple neighborhood walk. With my choices of directions, I am expecting more memories and even more black holes that will be found along the way.

© 2016 Annie

Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.

As Ever, Annie

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November 12, 2017

Today a story and a poem … both were written in 2015 but give me pause due to the current state of our country.

Prologue: Not long ago I was asked to write a piece about the world should our worst nightmare be realized and another war, a nuclear war, a war that most could not survive would reveal. The following is that piece. I have come back to it several times, added to it, taken away from it and edited it until this is the resulting version for you to read this week.

Always …

Annie

The Last Raven
Source: We Heart It

The Last Raven

April showers bring May flowers, at least, that’s what my old Grams used to tell me. She was the last of a long line of Wise Women … someone who would be called a “green witch” today. A person who could make anything grow and flourish. The one who taught me how to live off the land when times got bad.

I didn’t get her wise woman genes – they skip a generation. Since I am unwed with no biological child to carry her gene forward, that talent dies with me. I did get her green thumb and can talk almost anything into growing at my will…my only survival skill now, along with wild crafting in the woods. There has been no edible protein for nearly all my life. I do remember eating eggs from the chickens she raised, but when those fowl were gone that was the last of the protein. It has been almost 50 years since that time.

That bad time came, as she predicted. People survived the last war, just barely, but radiation levels were too intense for most animals and birds. Those that didn’t die out right or from the following radiation poisoning were too damaged to live. There were months of bonfires burning the carcasses of those poor things. Not even fish escaped because the water was poisoned.

But … one day I found a fledgling Raven in the woods. A tiny little thing trying to teach itself to fly. He seemed unaffected by any of the remaining radiation killing everything else. We bonded immediately and he seemed to know I was his last hope and maybe he was mine. The two of us escaped the horrors of radiation leveled against every living thing by callous men having nothing better to do than to blow one another off the face of the planet. We had each other and that made things better for us both.

No one knew what the future would bring. Survival was so precarious I was concerned someone one would find him, wring his sleek black neck and eat him raw if he wasn’t protected. Starving people do desperate things. There was a hidden cave near where I found him and that became his home. Protected and dark. I would go to him daily, twice a day if possible and take him tidbits and morsels to keep him fed. Also, take him outside in a protected circle of trees so he could feel the sun on his feathers, preen grandly, breathe fresh air, fly low to the ground and for a few minutes be the beautiful bird he was meant to be.

Soon it will be my time to select an oak in the forest, dig a hole and lie down for my last breath. Covering myself entirely save a tiny air hole until I breathe no more. At that time, I will once again be one with the earth. Returned to the cradle of our Mother Gaia’s loving arms. Hopefully, then a healing…a renewal can begin. Until that time, the daily struggle continues.

That is why I had to murder my only companion, the only thing I loved and loved me in return, my familiar, and my spirit guide, the last Black Raven of our Planet. In death he would be protected from a world alone and unable to fend for himself. He would not be able to go on alone after my death.

© 2015 Annie Original Fiction

Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.

As Ever, Annie

 

Peace
Source: We Heart It

 Peace …

 The universe spoke to me tonight

Looking into the wide expanse of

stars and planets spread across

the deep black sky…

I felt first …

Then heard …

Our Mother …

Gaia …

Lift me up

Wrap a web of stars

around me like a

comforting blanket

And …

took me in her peaceful

arms … rocking gently …

tenderly …

taking away the horrors

that haunt me

whispering gently…

softly…

as I relaxed for the

first time in weeks enfolded

in her sheltering arms

A weight melted away

And …

peace surrounded me

 

The last thing  I remember

was the sound of her voice,

“Rest, little one, I have you.”

“Things will be fine soon.”

 

Copyright © 2015 Annie – Original Poetry

Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.

As Ever, Annie

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November 6, 2017

petrichor
Source: We Heart It

PETRICHOR

Petrichor (n.)

The smell of earth after rain.

The country girl

in me looks for

the simple joys

in life …

Tempting smells

of supper cooking

Honeysuckle drifting

on a spring breeze

But …

What is the very best …

The smell that

takes me back

to Childhood

is that crisp

clean smell of

rain washed earth

and air after

a gentle Spring Rain …

Copyright © 2017 Annie
Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
As Ever, Annie

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October 29, 2017 – Rant

Where will you be when they come for you? Stand up for your rights and the rights of others.

The Final Roundup

 I really thought … but that is what I get for logical rational thinking … that our lesson had been learned. World War II … Nazi Concentration Camps all over Europe murdering millions because of their race … Japanese Interment Camps on our own soil because of their race … and now rounding up anyone with a different race, religion, or name than the ones considered the correct ones. Hundreds of immigrants denied entry to America because of race, religion, ancestry, name and even at times their country of origin. Arbitrary discrimination. Horror stories of immigrants who have been legal green card carrying citizens for decades being deported on a whim, refused reentry at airports after family vacations or business trips, had their home raided and dragged off by ICE in the middle of the night like something out of Nazi Germany. Most recently a young girl with cerebral palsy removed from the hospital after emergency surgery and taken to the current version of a Concentration Camp in our own country. Hundreds, thousands of individuals denied their basic human rights because they do not meet the current administration’s requirement to live in America. All the while living in our White House is a woman of questionable immigration status who barely speaks recognizable English and her Communist parents with totally unknown immigration status. Is this how it began in Europe … how Hitler murdered millions … Jews, Gypsies, and others who did not meet his criteria of a perfect race?

 White on black hate crimes are on the rise because they are convinced it is their right with the current administration. More and more groups affiliated with the KKK, White Supremacist and other hate groups openly threatening, marching, screaming ‘blood & soil’ as they terrorize cities.

 Just this week a friend … blue eyed, red hair and freckles … the ultimate Irish beauty … was almost denied reentry after a vacation cruise. The reason … she couldn’t prove she was who all her documents said she was … birth name was not used on any documents … only the nickname she has used her entire life without issue until now. Are we now reduced to carrying our birth certificate, passport, driver’s license or other state issued ID with us at all times? There are certain states that refuse to let you fly ANYWHERE with only your state issued driver’s license or ID … you must have a passport to travel within the United States … how have we as Americans allowed ourselves be reduced to such unbelievable consequences? Will we see border check points spring up everywhere along borders between states? Will we not be allowed to travel freely in our own country? I am not only embarrassed but appalled…we are definitely the UGLY AMERICANS in our own country.

Copyright © 2017 Annie
Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
As Ever, Annie

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October 22, 2017

faith
Source: We Heart It

FAITH

For me …

FAITH has

nothing to do

with religion

And…

everything to do

with TRUST

If trust isn’t there

There is no foundation

for faith

My personal beliefs

are spiritual …

not religious

Trust is the base

Faith comes after

that base is built

Trust must be established first

Should TRUST be broken

Faith …

disappears

And …

Spirituality remains

in hopes of

Rebuilding

TRUST …

Copyright © 2017 Annie
Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
As Ever, Annie

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October 15, 2017 – Today’s selection is in honor of my father and grandfather – my grandfather a WWI Vet and my father a WWII Vet

Two Soldiers

Hanging above the fireplace in my den are two portraits. On the left, my grandfather who died before I was born, and on the right my father. Each man is dressed in Army Fatigues. My grandfather serious faced and standing ramrod straight in his WWI Dough Boy flat brimmed hat. My father, smiling with his handsome wicked good looks on display. His picture is just a bust shot in his WWII uniform.

Both portraits were created by the same company and have a raised domed glass covering and carved military insignia along the edges of each frame. My grandfather’s frame is curved at the top with a squared bottom. My father’s has a curved top and bottom.  Different frame styles for different wars? That is the unanswered question.

I don’t know the circumstances of my grandfather’s war experience. Did he enlist, was he drafted, was he married when he served, etc.?  My father enlisted because he was too old for the draft. He and my mother were married, but I don’t know for how many years when he enlisted. My dad spent most of WWII on Guam in the South Pacific building glider planes from balsa wood and canvas. His doctors believed the liver cancer that killed him in his 76th year was a result of exposure to whatever was being used as weapons of mass destruction in that war theater. No cancer in his family, least of all liver.

When my grandfather had the stroke that ultimately caused his death during his middle 40s, my father applied for a hardship Army discharge to help my mother and grandmother take care of him. This request was denied. My mother knew nothing of this request until after his death when we were going through his military paperwork … there it was. She nearly lost it when she read that request.

 TWO SOLDIERS*

 Two soldiers look down from above

Two soldiers serving the land they loved

The one to the left — WWI — my Grandfather

The one to the right — WWII — my Father

 

Each fought for our freedom in their own way

My grandfather I never knew

My father I miss every day

Copyright © Annie

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October 8, 2017

My story this week is from a series of short stories I am writing about a dog named MAX and his human friends John and Joe … The first MAX story can be found in the anthology from Centum Press – One Hundred Voices Volume III – Amazon.com

Maggie
Source: We Heart It

Maggie

For several weeks John had been talking to MAX about finding the perfect dog for their friend Joe. MAX was especially excited about this possibility and danced around John’s study every time the idea was brought up. Of course MAX would be involved with the choice since this dog for Joe would be a new friend for all of them. MAX understood the dog for Joe would live at Joe’s house and he and John would visit, include Joe and his dog in their morning and evening walks, and would be a new member of their family that developed during the past several months.

Joe is their special friend who lives up the lane from MAX and John. He has spent over a year recovering from an accident where he was severely injured and took the lives of his wife and daughter. His physical injuries healed and Joe was even working again. However, his emotional healing from the horror and loss office family is ongoing. His therapist is wonderful and has become friends with MAX and John during the past months. MAX became Joe’s self-appointed therapy dog along the way to recover and had made a huge difference … even Joe’s therapist who has seen MAX in action with him is amazed at their bond. For MAX, he just wants his human Joe to feel better and be happy more days than sad … but, on the sad days MAX refuses to leave Joe’s side, even going to work and therapy sessions at these times to give all of his magical canine support.

John had been planting seeds for the past couple of months to begin a search for Joe’s own special dog. MAX knew this dog wouldn’t replace him in Joe’s life but would enrich all of their lives. John decided to talk with Joe’s therapist about this idea and she was all for finding Joe his own dog. She even said it was something she should have thought of months ago.

Everyone agreed that Joe has a difficult time with attachments. Survivor Guilt his therapist calls it and the fear of losing someone or something he loves. That is why his friendship with MAX and John was a successful step in his overall recovery.

MAX can even sense when Joe is having recurring nightmares or what Joe calls Remembrance Dreams about his wife and daughter. When these dreams take place, MAX goes to him immediately if at all possible. No one knows how MAX senses the dreams, but he has even figured out how to let himself into Joe’s house so he can snuggle up to him and be there when the dreams wake Joe screaming and shaking. MAX always knows and is always there for Joe before the dream ends and he wakes up.

John figured out what MAX was doing but decided not to discuss the secret visits until Joe brought up the subject. He finally did during one of their evening walks. He asked John if he knew MAX would sneak into his house in the middle of the night to cuddle with him as he slept. John told him he knew MAX was visiting and accepted it as another of the special things MAX did because he was … well, MAX. No more discussion, no questions, only acceptance that MAX knew best. John wondered if Joe remembered the dreams and with MAX there he didn’t even know what had happened.

After that, the dog talk began. MAX and John decided the dog for Joe needed to be a rescue and about MAX’s size or would grow to that size. John began looking at dogs in local shelters and rescue facilities on their websites. When he saw a possible dog MAX got to see the picture and hear the dog’s story read to him. There were a few possibilities but none of them made MAX dance.

That is … until one night, there she was. A cattle dog mix with a gray and white body but the black and tan face of some other breed. That face was unforgettable. MAX saw her and fell in love immediately. He licked that sweet face on the computer screen and danced all over the house. John knew the match had been made even before MAX saw Maggie’s picture. She was perfect to complete their family.

Maggie it was and John immediately called the rescue facility. Maggie was available and the adoption was put into motion over the phone. They could come tomorrow and finalize the paperwork so Maggie could be in her new forever home before bedtime tomorrow.

Of course MAX wanted to get her right then. John explained the process and MAX being MAX understood. Even Joe picked up on something going on during their walk that night. John only said that MAX has a big secret! Neither of them slept much that night.

The next morning MAX and John went to get Maggie. Paperwork was signed and the people loved the surprise after hearing Joe’s story. John assured them that if things didn’t work out for Joe and Maggie she had a home with them and MAX barked his agreement.

When Maggie came into the room, she took one look at MAX and ran to him like seeing a long-lost friend. Yes, dogs can hug – both of them were on their hind legs with fore legs round each other … then the kisses started. Maggie saw John and made the immediate connection he was the reason for her leaving the rescue. She actually jumped into his arms and gave him the bear hug only a happy dog can give a special human.

Maggie’s few possessions were gathered and she and MAX walked side-by-side to the car. No one had to tell Maggie to ‘load up’ … she followed MAX and made her place beside him.

It was decided the next stop was a shopping trip to get Maggie a new collar, leash, toys, bed … basically anything she wanted and picked out. MAX on his best behavior led Maggie through the pet store. We let her choose everything she wanted. Her new collar and leash were purple, which actually fit her personality perfectly. She picked out a couple of cuddly squeaky toys, a ball, a rope for tug of war, and rawhide bone … or five or six … also, she wanted a rug not a new bed. Of course her bed from the rescue was her comfort zone.

John picked out food and water dishes, a doggie place mat, and the recommended dog food – wet and dry. MAX picked out the treats … his favorites of course … for when he visited. Before heading for home, John called Joe to invite him for dinner before their evening walk. This was something that happened regularly so Joe wouldn’t expect something out of the ordinary. Joe always jumped at the chance of a home cooked meal and knew whatever John cooked would be a feast compared to his choices of frozen dinners.

John started dinner as MAX helped Maggie settle in. He gave her a tour of the house and they both curled up side by side in the kitchen hoping for John to drop a goodie as he cooked. Spaghetti was the order of the evening and each dog had a tiny bite of raw hamburger before John cooked it to go in the sauce.

MAX heard Joe before he even stepped onto their porch. Running to the door he could not contain his excitement. John stayed in the kitchen with Maggie. MAX walked Joe down the hall holding his right hand in his mouth as they walked today the kitchen and Joe’s surprise.

John was holding Maggie’s collar when MAX brought Joe into the room. Maggie looked up at John with knowing eyes. MAX brought Joe to Maggie and released his hand … Maggie took it in her mouth as MAX had done. The look on Joe’s face was beyond priceless. The smile started in his eyes and spread to a wide grin and belly laugh. Maggie did her thing and jumped into Joe’s arms to give him her bear hug and doggie kisses.

John introduced them and the bond was immediately sealed right in the middle of the kitchen …

Over dinner, John told the story of Maggie and how she was found with MAX’s help and approval. Joe was still in disbelief that Maggie was really his and was excited about the obvious love Maggie had not only for MAX but the two men.

The evening walk was a celebration and the beginning of a new journey for the two dogs and their humans. Maggie followed MAX’s lead and knew what was expected during this first walk for the four of them as a new blended family.

Back at John’s, they loaded all of Maggie’s gear into Joe’s car. MAX looked at both men and got the OK he needed to go with Maggie and Joe to help them settle into her new home.

Closing the door, John knew MAX would spend the night and join him the next morning when the four of them took their first morning walk … smiling he thought … ‘Let the new journey begin …’

Copyright © 2017 Annie

Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.

As Ever, Annie

NOTE: Maggie was added to this little family after I met my friend’s dog Maggie at the Farmer’s Market this summer. The above picture is not she, but is almost her twin. She is an amazing 8-month-old girl who has a heart as big as Texas and is going through all sorts of puppy training. She loves her human – my friend’s husband – just as MAX loves John. After seeing the two together I knew it was time for Joe to have his own special dog and Maggie was my role model for this new story in the series of MAX, John and Joe.

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October 1, 2017

summers-backdoor
Source: We Heart It

Summer’s Backdoor

The early morning

breeze has a freshness

hinting of change

That cool crisp feeling

smelling of Autumn

Late evening breezes echo

this feeling …

this cool crispness

the coming change

Summer is holding tight

to each day …

late afternoons

warm a sunlit …

Autumn is sneaking

in Summer’s Backdoor

making its presence felt

as Summer tries

desperately to hold on

One More Day …

Copyright © 2017 Annie
Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
As Ever, Annie

 

 

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1 thought on “Confessions of a Lazy Cook”

  1. I agree about faith…how can one have faith in something that can’t be proven? I put my faith in science because it tests ideas over time…can even be reversed when better ideas come along.

    Like

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