Daily Commute

That air of difference, the sense of it, never really leaves you. It works its way out to the surface in ways you won’t even see ’til one day you’re discussing it all with your hypothetical future therapist/healer/priest/take your pick. Sometimes you can still save the memory, if that happens. You can gloss over the prickly bits, change a detail, tell the story that suits you. And of course in dreams the strangest things make sense anyway: you could be having a perfectly ordinary conversation with, say, your long lost cousin who happens for no discernible reason to be a pair of scissors.

Transport BLOG - 1

Obviously I’m on the Tube with a bunch of commuters, two anime girls, and a rogue.

Obviously, I’m on the Tube with a bunch of commuters, two anime girls, and a rogue. Because that’s just the way things are. All the usual rules of rush hour commuting apply: in the priority seat there’s a white guy in a business suit, aggressively reading a newspaper in case someone disabled gets on. The pregnant woman across from him is more likely to give up her seat. Women sit with their knees crossed together, taking up as little space as possible; men need to air out the crotch and provide standing passengers with obstacles to make their daily trek less boring.

Transport BLOG - 2

“That man is staring at us”

“That man is staring at us,” says Anime Girl With Black Hair. “It makes me uncomfortable.

I can feel the rogue and I roll our eyes in concert. “They always stare, sister,” says the rogue.

Anime Girl fans herself with her fingers.

“You’d best get used to it, sister,” the rogue continues. “Especially when you go around being all different.”

There is a collective intake of breath. All the signs say London enforces diversity. All of them say that. But newspaper man is ruffling his tabloid in a way designed to call attention to itself and not the fact that he can’t take his eyes off any of us, and super tall guy pointedly looks away, as does repressed white lady in black tank dress. Pregnant lady is the only one who’s really not paying us any mind: she’s asleep. Lady in pink looks like she’s going to pretend she must get off at the next stop, even though it’s probably nowhere near home.

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It’s not going to rub off, you know!

And maybe it’s the heat; maybe it’s some kind of post-experience editing, but I can’t take it any more.

I flick my hair behind my shoulder, giving newspaper man’s defensive shield a thump with my nail in the process. “It’s not going to rub off, you know,” I say, in a voice pitched to carry. Nobody is going to wake up with demon horns or pointy ears or an unfortunate proclivity to change into an adorable kitten who also kicks ass on some kind of otherworld battlefield tomorrow just because they had the misfortune to end up on the Central Line with more than the usual complement of weirdos.”

People are pointedly not looking at me. I’m definitely making an impression.

The rogue half-smiles; I wouldn’t be able to tell if it weren’t the way all rogues smile in fantasy novels. Anime Girl in blue turns around and blows a raspberry at tall guy, then prances toward the train exit. The other Anime Girl brings her delicate fingertips to her perfect, cherry lips. “Oh! You are so brave!” she exclaims, then blushes furiously, apparently because she spoke.

I pull a paperback out of my back pocket. Now that I’ve said my piece, I feel like I can get back into this fascinating bit of chick lit I’m reading.

Back when I was in postgraduate school, I used to be good at making connections. In some ways, I still am. The dream of that girl in the jungle, though—the was and wasn’t me one—that one threw me. And then the next dream came and I got an inkling.

But really, subconscious: I already bought into the many worlds hypotheses. I did. You don’t have to keep hammering me over the head.

Anime Girl and the rogue get off at the next stop. Anime girl hides her face as they exit; the rogue turns back to me to indicate that they are absolutely not together, then hands me a rolly and a business card with her name and mobile number written on the back.

Score.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Romina (Available ON 1 AUGUST at The Mesh Body Addicts Fair!)
Nails: Cazimi, BOtM Dan’s Metallics and Glitters (Available NOW at the Cazimi Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Magic Pixie Ears
Eyes: Musa, Apatite Eyes
Clothes:
Blouse: The Annex, Maria Top: Available NOW at The Annex Main Store!)
Jeans: Fame Femme, Terry Jeans, Black
Shoes: Illi, Nana Canvas Sneakers
Rings: Yummy, Unicorn Ring Set (Available NOW at Uber!)
Hair: Lamb, Ari (Available NOW at Uber!)

Environment: Fox City, Destination London

Short Stories

Fog and the Garden

Some mornings are just full of possibility. You rise, you dress (And what a dress! Those miracle workers at Silvan Moon Designs have done it again!), you meet an owl along the substantial walk from the castle to the Garden, and you consider.

“Do you think I should move the Garden closer to the castle?” I mused. “It seems an awfully long walk to come here every morning to pay my respects, and Court days will feel interminable.”

“I think that’s a foolish idea, Your Majesty.” Oh, great. That talking cat was back in the Garden. Where was Dyisi when I needed her? The owl was no help (they never are), and I’m pretty sure the cat just wanted a piece of the dress (but who wouldn’t?) There were two bunny rabbits and a faunicorn wandering around with me as well. I”m pretty sure the dogs were just planning on sleeping til the cat came down from its perch (which was of course never going to happen).

I sighed. “Why’s that, Your Cheshireness?” I tried to sound distantly pleasant.

“Because this way you have to look at everything—well, most everything—at least once a day, sometimes twice,” it reasoned. “And you wouldn’t want to miss anything, would you?”

“No, I suppose not,” I said with a frown.

“Smart lady,” said the cat, but just then his scruffier ginger relative finally jumped up to get a piece of that dress. I’m lucky it comes in an assortment of colours.

Late Journey

Coming home so late, you’d think I would be more worried about stalkers and drunkards than I would be about the decision I’m currently making. And despite the relative wittiness of London tube adverts, I really do have more important things on my mind.

Escalator, or steps? Hm… The thing is, if I lost this costume, I’d have to reimburse the club. And the club, conveniently, had nowhere to store it that seemed safe. And I, not-so-conveniently, didn’t exactly carry peacock-costume-sized garment bags with me when I left home for rehearsal this afternoon.

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I’m so tired. All the dancing, fifteen girls just like me in identical costumes, struggling to make sure our feathers don’t touch. So much easier to take the moving steps. But the tail feathers and the train…. it was hard enough knowing I couldn’t sit down on the Tube. But now, two long flights of stairs, and then more stairs to my second floor flat, seems almost more than I can bear.

But I’m young, and I know I can bear it. I will bear it. I do bear it.

With a last look at the train-eating escalator, I turn to walk slowly down the stairs and into the dark.

The Awakening of Silence

No light except the Lantern Tree, and far above, the moon. I am here again, helping the organic growth of Awenia along, suggesting a house, a tree, a path, a fountain.

There was a time when I’d have said, “This is too much for one person.” I’d have been glad of Faermorn, of Saone. Now, I welcome this stillness, the silent waiting that is January, secure in the knowledge of Imbolg, so soon now, and the promise of spring in the womb of the world.

Oh, great mother, guide my hands; guide my heart. Help me see what the Land wants to be.

I used to wonder, are you there? I used to wonder about a lot of things.

Now, I stare in wonder at the moon, the dark sky sparked with flickers from the Lantern Tree, and I watch as fragrant blue flowers spring from my fingers.

There are few times in our little or long lives when we are not waiting for something. Now, I sink into the silence. I think of my Land, Awenia, and how lucky I am to have this influence I do, this ability to shape it.

A long winter’s night. An incandescent moon. Silence is the womb of the world.

Short Stories 3 - 3

Style Cards:

“Fog and the Garden”
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Clarity (Available NOW at Ultra!)
Eyes: Izzie’s, Winter Eyes
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Daphne of Mistborn Gown (Available on 4th February at We ❤ RP!)
Hair: Truth, Teanna (January 2018 VIP Group Gift! Why aren’t you a member of the Truth VIP Group?)

Location: Awenia, Faerie Garden
Cheshire Cat Tree: HEXtraordinary, The Cat’s Favourite Tree
Sleeping Huskies: Jian, Sleeping Husky Gift
Norwegian Forest Cat: Jian, Forest Cat Static—Catch
White and Brown Bunny Rabbits: UnRepentant, Twitchy Bun
Owl: HEXtraordinary, Snowy Owl, Flying
Faunicorn: Jinx, Faunicorn 3
Ground Cover: The Looking Glass, Dawn’s Promise Blue Flowers
Birch Trees: The Little Branch, White Birch Cluster, Mystic Birch Cluster

“Late Journey”
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Clarity (Available NOW at Ultra!)
Eyes: Mesange, Argos Eyes
Clothes: The Annex, Shake Your Tail Feather (Available at Pocket Gacha! [link is to HUD on SL Marketplace])
Hair: Truth, Apple

Photo Set: Mesh India, Mi Bon Voyage Escalator Background (Available NOW at Limit8!)

“The Awakening of Silence”
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Clarity (Available NOW at Ultra!)
Eyes: Izzie’s, Winter Eyes
Hair: Argrace, Sayo (NEW at the Argrace Main Store!)
Jacket and Sweater: Fame Femme, Leather Jacket and Sweater, Brown
Trousers: The Muses, Ariane Legging Pant
Boots: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Gypsy Boots
Circlet: Lightstar, Celtic Trinity Knot Silver

Location: Awenia, Faerie Dwellings
The Lantern Tree: The Looking Glass, The Lantern Tree
Poses: Argrace, Sayo (NEW at the Argrace Main Store!)

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Works in Progress….

New Blog Headers - 9

Gwyneth:

So, yeah. You know how it is. The seasons turn, Yule comes and goes, the mortal world is celebrating the beginning of a new year, and you’re pacing around on your sim platform, trying to think of a series of evocative photographs that’ll get you through Certain Things Yet To Be Announced, not to mention your Visionaire graduation, which is coming up sooner than you’d like to admit. And you look around yourself, and you go, ‘Well, sweet goddess; why am I building and tearing down all these photo sets on a temporary looking platform? I have a whole effing sim to play with!’

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Well, OK, maybe it’s not exactly that story for everybody.

Well, OK, maybe it’s not exactly that story for everybody. But we’ve all had that revelation when we realise we’d been making something more complicated than it had to be, yeah? Some of the best things in the world are simple. Take this new hair from Wasabi Pills. It’s called Isla, and it’ll be at Fameshed on the first of January, unless they open late because of the holiday. I love it, because it is marvellously, stunningly, simple. Like the solution to my problem.

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And so, my lovelies, I present to you some works in progress.

And so, my lovelies, I present to you some works in progress. First of all, I’m still experimenting with finding the perfect shape for Gwyneth’s Catwa Catya Bento mesh head, which I still love to pieces. Just the eye animations keep me rapt, because Gwyneth’s eyes seem to move naturally in their sockets, rather than kind of sliding beneath the sockets on a static mesh head. In fact, I’ve changed her face shape slightly since shooting these photographs; I became unhappy with a detail about the way her cheek met the hollows beneath her eyes and spent a while playing with that this morning before starting this post. I’ll shoot a couple of special photos so you can see what I mean before I finish this post, so please don’t mind me if I yammer on for a bit here.

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Out of the mist…

But getting back to what I was talking about before I got distracted by my hair…. I began thinking, even though the ground area of my sim is covered by the beautiful Pacific Northwest Rainforest that Dyisi Oppewall has created for our roleplaying group, there are still all these (extra!) prims left over, and so why didn’t I just make a sim-sized sky platform with a great surround so that it felt like there was a horizon?

And thus, out of the mist, was this idea born. It doesn’t have a name yet. What you see in the photo above are the bare beginnings of it; there’s a rez platform over on the left, even. As with most of my changing SL homes since the 2016 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, the first and central object placed is my glorious Last Hope statue, a one-of-a-kind (well, two-of-a-kind!) item created by the geniuses at Death Row Designs. Some of you know I lost my beloved husband to cancer at the beginning of 2016. Some of you also know that in another life, I’m a semiprofessional harper. To me, this statue is me playing a lament for my beloved. The dove is hope itself, or possibly Joe’s immortal spirit, come to listen. I knew at the time I wanted a circular path around the statue and four of Elicio Ember (the personable, nice, and downright sexy mastermind behind Cerridwen’s Cauldron)’s stunning Fae Waystones placed at cardinal points round the statue. I wanted paths running toward the surround edge in all four directions.

The skybox surround is from Landscapes Unlimited, and aside from having to build an invisible floor underneath it, I am 100% satisfied with it, as I can change it to many different looks depending on the season of the year or whether or not I want to live on Mars. 😉

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A few more things have now been added….

A few more things have now been added in this photo, but importantly you can see Gwyneth’s whole outfit, so I can talk about the clothes! The dress and boots are both from Zenith, the Autumn Sweater with Skirt in Rose, and the Leather Boots with Lace Socks, also in Rose. You can get the boots at Uber. If you noticed the necklace and earrings, they’re from Empyrean Forge, the Levity necklace and earrings.

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Ohh, but that skin!

Ohh, but that skin! It’s a new Catwa applier from Pink FuelSabine, formerly available only as a Lelutka applier. This was just released yesterday, and yes, I was part of the yammering glom-mob that descended on the Pink Fuel Main Store to pick it up, both in my favourite shades (Porcelain and Crystal—you see Porcelain above) and in their yummy new shade Brulée, which is available at a special price for now. Pink Fuel has long been one of my favourite skin creators, up there with Lumae7 Deadly s{K}ins, and DeeTaleZ (though, yes, my heart will also belong to Curio if she comes back to us) as some of the most beautiful skins you can get in Second Life, in my opinion. Pink Fuel also distinguishes itself by offering a dizzying array of body styles, particularly suited to those of us on the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. These are the Lionsong eyes from Mesange. I’m wearing Mesange eyes almost exclusively these days because they’re available as Omega appliers and I simply can’t be arsed with correctly positioning dozens of different mesh eyes to suit whatever head I’m wearing. And seriously, I’m a bit of a perfectionist about these things. I even tell other people when they’re posing for me and wearing mesh eyes to fix that cross-eyed thing right now; I’ll help you; no, really, it’s important; I’ll wait.The ears are the Swallow High Definition Elf Ears, and Gwyneth, as almost always, is wearing the Maitreya Lara body. Behind her, you can see more of Cerridwen’s Cauldron‘s lovely plants, including the Challis Flower, which is just about my favourite thing ever at the moment, and some of Elicio‘s beautiful Fungal Undergrowth. You can pick up both these and the Fae Waystones referenced above at the Cerridwen’s Cauldron Main Store in world or on the SL Marketplace if you fancy shopping from your couch.

So, what follows are some fairly rough shots of the still-unfinished and in the very beginning stages of my new home in Awenia.

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First, an aerial view, so you can get your bearings.

First, an aerial view, so you can get your bearings.

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8f8’s Cottage Cairn and Windmill

The first two buildings I put down were 8f8‘s lovely Cottage Cairn and Windmill, both from the New Beginnings set, from a past Arcade Gacha. One of the best things about having a sim-sized place to decorate is getting to put out all these beautiful buildings I’ve acquired at this or that gacha event over the years.

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Then, I decided I wanted a little commercial district.

Then, I decided I wanted a little commercial district. So here we have from right to left Ex Machina‘s Chelsea, which reminds Gwyneth enough of London that she won’t have to visit too often, then Death Row Designs‘ The Joint coffeeshop, followed by The Magick Shoppe, also by Death Row Designs. These shops border what will become a park/village green of sorts, across which you’ll find some nice places to eat.

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Across the park.

Across the park, from left to right, there’s the lovely Hideki Bakery, next door to which is another Vintage Bakery by Dustbunny, though I’ll probably turn it into a pastry shop or a restaurant, and then there’s the whimsical Tea Shop from Tentacio. Then you have Tarte‘s Grinder’s Cafe, which might or might not stay where it is; I’m not sure.

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Just so you can have a sense of the space I’m allowing for the park.

Just so you can have a sense of the space I’m allowing for the park/village green, here’s a more zoomed-out shot where both shop rows are visible.

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Rez Platform Number One.

Here’s Rez Platform Number One, where you can see some tasty things that might or might not make it onto the finished build; and

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Rez Platform Number Two, plus buildings I’m holding out for consideration.

Rez Platform Number Two, plus buildings I’m holding out for consideration. And I have some amazing new ideas that just came into my head today!

All this is going to keep me busy on what promises to be a long and lonely New Year’s Eve, the first I’ve spent without Joe since New Year’s Eve 2003/04, which was the night we met.

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I guess now everybody knows I’m a tree-hugger!

On another note, The Guardians opens tomorrow, the first of January, 2017 (!), and there is much, much cool stuff to be had there.  BananaN has done a book gacha that I’m so so very fond of: you can see several pieces of it in the background of this photo. The tree I’m hugging is the Young Maple from The Little Branch, and I’m wearing the Fame Femme Amelli Sweater, which is turning out to be a real favourite for casual wear this season. The boots are the Gypsy Boots from Wicca’s Wardrobe, and the hair! Oh, yes, the hair!

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Amazing hair from Analog Dog (as if AD made anything other than amazing hair, right?)

This is amazing hair from Analog Dog, as if Queue Marlowe ever made anything other than amazing hair, right? It’s called Lei, and it’s the Gift of the Guardians that you’ll receive if you play Analog Dog‘s gacha fifteen times at The Guardians event. I should mention the necklace, now that you can see it: it’s Minimal‘s Camera Necklace, and I bought one for myself and two friends at The Project Se7en today. And the rings are from  Absolut Vendetta, the Hydra Rings for Vista Bento Hands. Yes, I now have Bento hands, and I’m so glad I got them! I’ll tell you more about them anon.

The Lei hairstyle is an obvious tribute to the gargantuan talent that was Carrie Fisher, and it seems a fitting note on which to end this, my last big blog post of 2016. I might shoot you a couple of teasers as it’s going to be a long night for me, but this is the wordiest I’ll get, I promise. Carrie Fisher was only 60 years old. That’s the same age my husband Joe was when he died on the 29th of January, 2016. Star Wars was the last film I saw with my father in the cinema before he died at the age of 46. I was twelve. When I took my primary-school-aged son to see it during the ramp up to the second trilogy of Star Wars films, it was all I could do not to weep through the film as I remembered sitting in the cinema with my dad: I would have been eleven.

Tonight, wherever you are, somebody is going to go down a list of the people who’ve died this year, and it’s a long one. That somebody might even be you. If you can, I want you to consider doing two things. One of them is for yourself. The other, selfishly, is for me. Remember that on the worst day of your life, someone else is having the best day of theirs. That one’s for you. No matter how bad a day you’re having, someone else is experiencing the greatest joy ever. Imagine that. Now here’s the one for me. When the somebody (who might be you) is going down that list of people who’ve left us this year, please, for me, whisper, or shout, or say, ‘James Joseph Raftery’. Let my beloved’s name be spoken on the same wind as all those other names, and let his bright, love-giving, life-saving spirit be woven into that song. Say it: ‘James Joseph Raftery’. He hung the moon. He lit the stars. He took my broken heart and put it back together, and even though my heart has been breaking every single day of this long, long year, it’ll never be as broken as it was before Joe, because Joe knew how to mend things. He hugged me and loved me and believed in me so hard he made me Real. ‘James Joseph Raftery’. Say his name for me.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never build new homes without it!

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Tranquility, Temporary

New Blog Headers - 9

Gwyneth:

I don’t think there’s a word that really means “the calm after a storm”. Someone suggested “lull” to me, but that sounds like a quiet bit inside a storm to me, not the calm that comes after it.

Anyway, I am enjoying that temporary tranquility today. I just threw on some jeans and a jumper (sweater, Americans!) and headed for a Realm where I knew it was all right to be me, and I brought a book.

I brought a book because even after all this time in Faerie, I still like to read. Stop laughing. Besides, it’s just past midwinter, which means I have to re-read Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising and I have to talk about to anybody who will listen. It’s a tradition.

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I was greeted by the Queen of the Field Mice, who invited me to read to her friends.

I was greeted by the Queen of the Field Mice, who invited me to read to her friends. They’re a lively bunch, and they are good about not chiming in with questions until I’ve got to a point where I’m taking a breath at least. Though some of them were not very happy about Susan Cooper’s treatment of foxes in the texts (these would mostly be the foxes themselves; nobody else seemed all that bothered).

Aside from a bunch of cats who mostly just seemed to want to sleep, everyone seemed interested in the story.

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They’ve asked me to come back and read again tomorrow.

They’ve asked me to come back again and read tomorrow, which I gather is quite an honour, or so Her Majesty told me.

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‘You know, I think I will come back tomorrow’, I said to the Queen.

‘You know, I think I will come back tomorrow’, I said to the Queen. ‘I think I would enjoy that very much.’

She replied that I was always welcome in her Realm, that they didn’t get too many two-legged visitors these days and that particularly someone who would read to them is always in demand.

It was a great way to spend a quiet few hours, winding down from the fever-pitch of Midwinter and all the responsibilities that fall to me during that time. For the first time in months, I felt truly calm.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head (NEW at the Catwa Main Store!)
Hair: Wasabi Pills,  Nyssa (Available NOW at Uber!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Iclyn (Omega head and body appliers) (NEW at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Jumper (Sweater, Americans!): Fame Femme, Amelli Sweater, Dark Rose (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Jeans: Zhora Designs, High Waist Jeans
Necklace: RealEvil Industries, Noelle Necklace (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Wings: FATEplay, Bento Wings. Wing Appliers by Blush
Boots: Zenith, Leather Boots with Lace Socks

Scene:
Setting: Apt B, Forgotten Corner, Setup (Rare)
Lights: Art Named Capering {a.n.c.} Limited, In the Rain Drop Lamps
Bench: Rivendale, Bench (Atrium Gacha)
Book: Rivendale, Mystic Woods Book

Animals: (clockwise)
White Dogs: Art Named Capering {a.n.c.} Limited, Flotantte Puppy, Milk
Goat: Jian, Chester the Goat
White-Tailed Deer and Fawn: Jian, White-Tailed Deer Family
Fennec Foxes: Half Deer, Fennec Foxes
Red Foxes: Jian, Red Fox Family
Raccoons: Jian, Raccoon Collection
Faunicorn: Jinx, Faunicorns, Chill
Bunnies: Art Named Capering {a.n.c.} Limited, Cotton Bunny Cappuccino
Book on wall: Random Matter,  Book of Sorrows

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never have Gwyneth read Susan Cooper to animals without it!

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