Stage 41842

Melly Durham * official artist

Spring is here!

Spring is finally here! Though winter had a couple last gasps with a few days of snow (really unusual for Oregon). I'm preparing for some new huge things starting in my life, which feels timely with all the flowers blooming on the tree outside my window. I can't wait to share more when I have details and further aspects nailed down. Until then... Ok, so I'm a little", ok *A LOT late to the party, but I had to say I've become a fan of Tim Tebow. While I'm honestly more into collegiate football usually, he's a great all-around guy between his talent and character. Now if only "March Madness" would hurry and get over, can't wait for USC football season to start again!  Only 5 more months... sigh~God bless!

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Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year to all my AnD friends!

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Celebrating my 30th! Birthday west coast swing dance video!

As I celebrated my 30th birthday in April, the phrase that comes to mind is that "God is so good!"  My sister threw me a birthday party and it turned out to be a surprisingly beautiful sunny day in Oregon.  We got to sit outside and enjoy the awesome weather and hanging out!  It's funny, because my sister threw another birthday milestone party for me back when I was 10 years old.  Funny how things can come back full circle!

Here are a few photos from our backyard potluck birthday party that my sister threw for me:

My friend Megan from church, whose a professional chef, helped hand-prepare tons of fresh strawberries with hand-made fresh whip cream.  It was AMAZING!!!

My sister's cat D'Argo, loves to sit outside in his harness, so he joined us for the festivities!

I'm so happy, a little piece of "California home!" My friend Katrina moved up here to finish her residency with her husband at OHSU.  We both were in Christian Challenge at University of Southern California.  "Fight on!!"

My "dance mom" Trudy!  She's a teacher and judge at West Coast Swing dance competitions and events.  Also happens to be a great friend for several years.

My highschool "siblings". I always joked how I wanted more siblings growing up and I used to "adopt" my friends.  On far left, Jason was my original friend of the bunch, his current girlfriend Elizabeth, then to the right Tanith my "little sister" and her husband Keenan.

My real family, parents and my sister Melinda!  Of course, Talon as well!

For my actual "birth-day", I went with a couple of friends to a restaurant in Portland, Oregon called "Poor Richard's".  I remembered this restaurant growing up as one of my favorite places, especially for their hearty beef stew.  I was not disappointed!!!  It was amazing!

Then, of course, what else would I do for my birthday but go swing dancing! Just a couple (before/after) of the pictures are below, and the rest are in the new photo album I added. 

What women look like before swing dancing:

What we look like AFTER swing dancing:

Birthday west coast swing dance video!

For those who have wanted to see me dance for quite a while, you now have your chance.  Unfortunately, it's not very exciting. The footage is of my "birthday dance".  It's where the birthday person stands in the middle of the dance room and appropriate partners (in this case leaders/guys) line up to jump in during one song.  Since you are randomly switching partners as guys grab you approximately every two 8-count measures, you have to do pretty basic footwork.  Still, at least you'll get a somewhat good idea of the west coast swing basic!  You can see it at my Portland Dance Examiner article: " Celebrate your birthday swing dance style."  Enjoy!

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Changing Personality

So, I've taken the Myers-Briggs personality test 4 times over the last 8 years or so.  I think it's funny that I've gotten different answers almost every time.  First time was ENFP, second was ENTJ, then ENFJ, and again I just got ENFJ.  I think that's the order of what I got.  I think it's interesting, though I try to be careful letting tests like pigeon-hole me into being a certain way.  I think it's a good moderate evaluater of how you're currently working.  I know sometimes situations, circumstances or relationships have made me a certain way.  I used to be almost 100% extrovert (meaning being around lots of people energize you versus the introvert drainage).  Now I'm down to 78%, which doesn't surprise me.  I've valued a lot more since graduating college my "alone" time.  Anyways, if you're interested you can take a free version (that's similar) at: Human Metrics.

In case you were remotely interested in what my type means, feel free to read below.  I put my comments in red.


**ENFJ

Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Judging**

Even more than the other Idealists, Teachers have a natural talent for leading students or trainees toward learning, or as Idealists like to think of it, they are capable of calling forth each learner's potentials. Teachers (around two percent of the population) are able - effortlessly, it seems, and almost endlessly-to dream up fascinating learning activities for their students to engage in. In some Teachers, this ability to fire the imagination can amount to a kind of genius which other types find hard to emulate. But perhaps their greatest strength lies in their belief in their students. Teachers look for the best in their students, and communicate clearly that each one has untold potential, and this confidence can inspire their students to grow and develop more than they ever thought possible. (I've found I like one-on-one training, like in language development or training in a program, but I don't like classroom or dictation settings.  Plus, I prefer adults...)

In whatever field they choose, Teachers consider people their highest priority, and they instinctively communicate personal concern and a willingness to become involved. Warmly outgoing, and perhaps the most expressive of all the types, Teachers are remarkably good with language, especially when communicating in speech, face to face. And they do not hesitate to speak out and let their feelings be known. Bubbling with enthusiasm, Teachers will voice their passions with dramatic flourish, and can, with practice, become charismatic public speakers. This verbal ability gives Teachers a good deal of influence in groups, and they are often asked to take a leadership role. (yeah, yeah, I've gotten called bubbly quite often, no big surprise...though, I actually prefer 2nd in command roles - like First Officer if I was in Star Trek ).

Teachers like things settled and organized, and will schedule their work hours and social engagements well ahead of time-and they are absolutely trustworthy in honoring these commitments. Valuing as they do interpersonal cooperation and harmonious relations, Teachers are extraordinarily tolerant of others, are easy to get along with, and are usually popular wherever they are. (While I'm human and mess this up too, I admit that people flaking on commitments REALLY annoy me.  It's a waste of my time and VERY disrespectful in my opinion...)

Teachers are highly sensitive to others, which is to say their intuition tends to be well developed. Certainly their insight into themselves and others is unparalleled. Without a doubt, they know what is going on inside themselves, and they can read other people with uncanny accuracy. Teachers also identify with others quite easily, and will actually find themselves picking up the characteristics, emotions, and beliefs of those around them. Because they slip almost unconsciously into other people's skin in this way, Teachers feel closely connected with those around them, and thus show a sincere interest in the joys and problems of their employees, colleagues, students, clients, and loved ones. (I have noticed picking up some people's habits/mannerisms, but thought that was normal, lol... I do feel I've been gifted in "Intuition", but not in a way that I act like them as this implies...)

Oh goodie, my example: Oprah Winfrey.... she's done some good, but no thanks...

All Idealists (NFs) share the following core characteristics:*Idealists are enthusiastic, they trust their intuition, yearn for romance, seek their true self, prize meaningful relationships, and dream of attaining wisdom. *Idealists pride themselves on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic. *Idealists tend to be giving, trusting, spiritual, and they are focused on personal journeys and human potentials. *Idealists make intense mates, nurturing parents, and inspirational leaders.

Idealists, as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self -- always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. And they want to help others make the journey. Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials.

Idealists are sure that friendly cooperation is the best way for people to achieve their goals. Conflict and confrontation upset them because they seem to put up angry barriers between people. Idealists dream of creating harmonious, even caring personal relations, and they have a unique talent for helping people get along with each other and work together for the good of all. Such interpersonal harmony might be a romantic ideal, but then Idealists are incurable romantics who prefer to focus on what might be, rather than what is. The real, practical world is only a starting place for Idealists; they believe that life is filled with possibilities waiting to be realized, rich with meanings calling out to be understood. This idea of a mystical or spiritual dimension to life, the "not visible" or the "not yet" that can only be known through intuition or by a leap of faith, is far more important to Idealists than the world of material things.Highly ethical in their actions, Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity. They must be true to themselves and to others, and they can be quite hard on themselves when they are dishonest, or when they are false or insincere. More often, however, Idealists are the very soul of kindness. Particularly in their personal relationships, Idealists are without question filled with love and good will. They believe in giving of themselves to help others; they cherish a few warm, sensitive friendships; they strive for a special rapport with their children; and in marriage they wish to find a "soulmate," someone with whom they can bond emotionally and spiritually, sharing their deepest feelings and their complex inner worlds.Idealists are relatively rare, making up no more than 15 to 20 percent of the population. But their ability to inspire people with their enthusiasm and their idealism has given them influence far beyond their numbers.

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Huzzah - Birthday Celebration Part 2

The continuation of birthday festivities, though I'm going a little out of chronological order.  I'll post the party at my house in the 3rd segment.

Huzzah! - The Southern California Renaissance Faire!

This was actually my 5th year going, though not in a row.  I absolutely love going, for it's like being a kid again with your imagination coming to life!  I'm trying to get a group every year now to go for my birthday.  It's a grand old time with shows, interactive characters, variety of food, and a rompin' good time!  Some of the highlights in pictures below with captions to capture the moment!  The rest will be in a photo album.  Enjoy!

First part, was the Queen's Guard.  They escort the queen and ladies, woo the women and provide a gentlemanly (usually) fun time.  They do a show and tell of how to woo a lady every year.  Well, my friends volunteered me since it was my birthday.  Since it was my birthday, they modified it a little.  First they had me sit at the guards' table to the left of the Captain.  Then we watched one of the guards, Eric, perform a skit with 3 volunteers (two my friends).  Considering he'd made it up during lunch, a backwards tale of "The 3 Bears", was pretty good!  Then, the Captain led me out to be wooed.  Drawing the line the men could not cross, they first threw their hats at my feet.  Then, as I was sitting on one of the guard's knees, all the guards behind the line tried to grab or touch my hands as they shouted out all together their poetry and wooing lines.  It was quite loud and I couldn't hear a line any of 'em said, lol!  Captain asked if I could pick, and I shook my hear "no".  Pulling me up, the Captain had me watch as they picked my roomie and tried with her.  Still, I couldn't decide when the Captain asked.  Going for another shot, this old guy sat down!  Lol, quite hilarious.  Still couldn't decide, so the captain sat me back down and had the guys go again.  Well, I always say go for the unexpected.  So after all the guards blasted endearments, the Captain asked one last time if I'd pick.  I nodded my head "yes", and he said to raise the hand of the victor.  So, I quickly reached out and grabbed the Captain's hand, much to his blushing surprise.  Hee hee .  He hadn't been one of 'em and it got quite a big laugh from all the guards and audience.  Considering I'm thinking of volunteering to work it full-time next year as a character, I consider it good practice of improv.

Eric, far right and the 3 girl volunteers to be the "bears".

Eric hamming it as my friends Erica (L) and Natalia (R) have lots of fun!

Enjoying my view!

The guards lining up to prepare to woo me.

Hats thrown, though one went over the line and another one landed on my foot.  The captain proceeded to stomp on both of them, lol...

The wooing commences!  Soooo loud!

Guards trying again on Christine to see if I could pick...still no victor

Finally, I choose the Captain, so he does his own wooing address.  Probably to fit my costume, it was very weird but funny.... All I remember was a reference to "pig's bladder"... yeah...lol

Captain, my Victor of "wooing", see my rose in my hand?

Jack Sparrow and I, Melly Swann (Cousin of Elizabeth Swann )

Poor Kim, when the guys found out she was married, they all tried to woo her, lol!

Eric and I - hilarious guy and good actor.  Turns out my friend Pascual already knew him, so we talked for a bit.

Eric and Pascual

Lol, this guard at the beginning of the wooing kept trying to sneak in behind me.  I joked with him he was trying to get wooed himself and steal my men.  So, I jokingly got down on one knee for him to sit on instead  (He'd been the guard's knee I sat on during the wooing)

Sigh... what girl doesn't love this? Unless the guy has slimy hands and bad breath, which Eric didn't...

I love this shot!!!  Eric was wooing Erica, and he said some line about "Just one touch from you...would save my life...etc". So, she pulled her hand out of his grasp, and with one finger tapped his hand and said "Touch".  He broke character and cracked up so hard with the rest of us...

My friend Ian wooing my roomie (his girlfriend) Mandy.  He thought his own lines up and they were awesome! Was the best wooing job than any of the guards!

Queen Elizabeth!

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Birthday Treats - Part 1

What a great birthday this year, and the festivities have just started!  I'm really blessed and grateful to everyone whose wished me a "happy birthday".  Thanks for taking the time to brighten my day!

Second, is the wonderfully fabulous MissScarlett , who did a marvelous blog just for me.  I've got avatars galore for special occasions now, including the one I'm using right now. 

AND, as always, she was up to her cooking madness and has mailed me a handmade treat.  DEAHTH-HUG!

 

I also got to go out to lunch with some of my coworkers to Applebees.  GREAT food!  Had the 7oz sirloin steak, with sauted garlic mushrooms and shrimp with parmesean cheese.  It was delicious!  My coworkers that went are a fun bunch, and I'm glad to work with them!

As tradition, my parents left a voicemail on my cellphone singing me "Happy Birthday".  Since I haven't been home during my birthday since I was 18, they started the tradition.  Very lovely indeed.

What's a birthday without goodies?!

First, I finally got an AnD hat!

Second, I got to splurge and finally buy 3 things on my "want" list.  All of 'em happen to have our AnD's star Philip Ngin them.  He's waited patiently on my list for quite awhile.

House of Fury

Invisible Target (Starring Nicholas Tse)

and our in-da-face-action-man showing his comedic side...

The parties aren't over yet!  My roomie is throwing me a party this Friday night at our place.  A low-key shinding guaranteed to be a cheesy good time.  Last, my much anticipated annual birthday-group to the Southern California Renaissance Faire this weekend.  It's my 5th year going and it's tons of fun.  I'm actually pretty much done with my costume this year, very early this time!  Pictures sure to follow later.

Thank you again everyone for the birthday wishes and support.  HUGS!!!

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Happy Easter!

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. It stands for hope after despair, life after death, and joy after mourning. 

Romans 6:23 (NIV)

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Matthew 16:15 (NIV)

"Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'"

John 3:16 (NIV)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Matthew 28:5-7 (NIV)

"The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you.""

Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

Happy Resurrection!

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Dance, dance, dance!

Went to a dance convention/competition this last weekend called LAPD Classic (Los Angeles Premier Dance Classic).  I was really excited about going, since I usually don't get to go to them.  It's a couple hundred just to go to the event, cost money to compete per event, then you have to get a hotel room, pay for parking (an outrageous $12 supposed discount PLUS tax), and then buy expensive food since you don't want to leave and have to pay parking again.  I was blessed to get to help setup and tear down for it, which covered entry fee. Then, a wonderful couple from my church let me crash on their couch, since they were only around 10 miles away versus my hour and a half drive each way if I'd commuted.

I competed in only two comps, both Jack & Jills (meaning your partner is unknown and drawn at the time), but didn't place.  I'm ok with it, since I had great partners, we had a lot of fun, and I didn't make any major mistakes.  I'll admit I was surprised that I didn't make finals, but a friend whose been doing it for 14 years (and awesome - she won Advanced!) and others talked about "face-time".  Even if I have skills, I don't normally do comps.  So the judges don't recognize/know me, and with some many people to judge they often go with more familiar unless you're exotic somehow.  Since I've placed in my last two normal monthly progressives category (and S. Cal is literally considered the premiere/highest-advanced dance scene in all levels for West Coast swing in the world), so I know I'm not THAT bad, lol... So, chalking it up to a fun learning experience, and hoping to work (ie - get in for free) and go to more comps.  We'll see, as long as I have fun, that's what's more important.

I had LOTS of great dances with some of my friends and new people.  I also danced with one of the judges (I actually didn't know when I asked, lol), who was great!  There were of course the All-Star and Champion dancers/couples there who did some amazing workshops.  That's a great thing about comps.  MOST (not all of them), have workshops by the Champions, where you work in groups on anything from technique to styling.  It's not individualized, but it can make a difference in your dancing after a while.  While Michael Kielbasa (see previous blog) is still one of my favorite individual dancers, a couple Jordan Frisbee and Tatiana Mollmanwere there who are my favorite "couple".  Went to all 3 of their day workshops and got to talk to Jordan a little.  Funny thing he is, I meant him once before at a competition a couple years ago because he's the cousin of one of my old coworkers.  I had just gotten into west coast swing dancing and was talking with her at work about it.  She was like, "Oh, my cousin does west coast swing, he was on "Star Search".  I was like, "Who is he?"  [Insert my jaw dropping at finding out who he was]  Anyways, he remembered me this weekend when I reintroduced myself from a couple years ago, after mentioning his cousin.  Very nice, friendly, down to earth guy.  They're both really great people.  If I was to take private lessons at all (super-expensive), it would be from them.  They have great style and technique, and I'd really like my goal-dancing style to be like Tatiana's.

Overall, great time!  There's another one in May in San Diego that I'm hoping to go to.  However, I have to wait to find out if my hours were accepted to volunteer and get in free.  I sent my hours request back the day they released the schedule.  We shall see!!  It's one of the most expensive comps though.  If I go, and can save up the money, I might try to take a one-hour private lesson with Jordan and Tatiana.  If I do, there's a tiny possibility (if he said yes), that I could compete with Jordan in the Pro-Am west coast comp.  There's where a Professional dancer (like Jordan) dances with an Amateur to compete.  However, normally it's student/teacher partnerships.  We'll see ;)

Hope you enjoy some of the pictures below, and I'll put more in an album!

My friend Tracy, who started out with ballroom dancing.  Lucky girl, her form technique comes really easy for her!

See, in dancing, it's all about trust.  Especially when it's an improv-ed dance (not choreographed) and you never know what your partner might do...

The lovely Rachel, whose a big sweetie!  Her and her mom are BOTH Advanced west coast swing dancers!

"The Girls" - (P.s. - Christina in the middle, won the Advance (1 level below Champion) with her Jack & Jill competition!!!)

"Poor" Bob getting mauled by The Girls...

Show-offs  ;)

Look, he's wearing my birthday as his number, April 14th!  yeaaaah...

You also have to have the ability to haul yourself back up if you do this kinda move...

Yay, it's the fabulous Jordan Frisbee!  He was doing a Jack & Jill (random partner drawing), so I don't know who the girl is...

Anyone know the name Benji Schwimmer, winner of  "So You Think You Can Dance"?  Here are some pictures of his Jack & Jill competition.  They were a riot, he puts on quite a show...

Benji being silly...

Still silly and NEVER living this photo/dance down...

Here's the old trust and haul-yourself up factor needed...

Or just trust and hope he catches you... These guys won the Intermediate division (2 below level of Champions, or next up from Novice), good job!!

All the Champion level dancers starting the group song off with a swing-out...

The friendly Sam!  Came all the way from England for the comp, and took 1st place in Novice Jack & Jill!

And of course, the dashing Jordan Frisbee and I :)  Though he has a much better smile than this...

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Recuperating

Sorry if I've been a little quieter lately folks.  I know there's some comments that people have left, and I'll try my best to get back to them in reply.  I travelled last Monday and Tuesday for work again, and then got hit with a bad case of the flu Wed night.  It's possible that I was exposed to it before I went on my trip, since there is an incubation period I was told.  Started off with bad fever and I thought it broke that night early in the morning.  So, I went in to work Thursday still because I wasn't sure if there was this huge meeting to happen.  When I mean huge, I mean I'm the most important person to be there because it's training that I have to learn and then go to teach to others.  Thankfully it wasn't that day, but I was trying to stick the day out since I knew I had Friday off (in order to work my one Sat a month shift).  Well, my fever got so bad that I was wearing both of my fleece jackets, a blanket on my lap and open-finger glovers, and still freezing.  I was so cold my fingernails were turning the blueish-purple.  I made it to lunch, and have a quick 15 min drive to get my lunch (had been too sick to make it), I sat in my car on the hot day with barely any air conditioning on to try and warm up.  I never ate but spent the entire time trying not to throw up.  Yeah, I finally called my work from the parking lot and told them I'd have to go home unless they wanted me throwing up in the office. 

So, with a high temp and other wacky symptoms, my roomie drove me to urgent care, since my doctor's office walk-ins for any test results would have taken too long.  We find my urgent care, they took one look at me and sent me to the ER.  They said I might IV fluids for dehydration and all that stuff and thought it best I go to ER.  Great....

Make a long story short, after freezing my butt off in one of their gowns waiting for them to watch my fever go down after giving me tylenol, it was diagnosed as bad case of flu.  Duh.   One of the bad things about the flu though was that it turned my chronic back pain into excruciating torture.  I know I can handle pain usually, but this made me wanna cry.  So, they gave the old flank pain shot, which by the way hurts ALMOST as much as the darn pain does.  Took it awhile, but after a couple hours it went down from a 10 on pain scale to a 6, and then couple hours later just around a 2.  So, they gave me other meds and sent me home.  Oh, and I learned (maybe old news for others) that when you have a fever, you're pretty much supposed to strip down as much as possible and let your fever sweat it out.  You're NOT supposed to cover up with ever cloth you can find to try and make yourself feel warm again (like I was doing).  Turns out that makes it worse.  Sigh...

Quick side note, for the first time ever I actually had a really cute guy doctor.  I always get so annoyed at those tv shows where these handsome model doctors are everywhere you look instead of normal people.  Well, this guy was very cute and very nice (and very married).  I'm just grateful I didn't have the stomach flu and puke all over him....

So, still on the recuperation.  I have a friend from church whose been a nurse for a long time and she updated me that this string of the flu has been having about a 4-day fever run.  Mine last edabout 3 days, but not sure if I had it before Wed.  I was struggling not feeling greatest Mon either and had been so cold I took a hot bath in the hotel.

I feel weak as a kitten, but thankfully I'm off the super-duper hardcore drugs they gave me.  I don't like staying on those things long.  Still, they worked and I'm grateful.  Now, just have to take it easy and make sure I'm rested and completely healthy in time for the dance convention coming up this next weekend!

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Frankly My Dear, Have a Wonderful Birthday

Our favorite beloved MissScarlett is celebrating her birthday today!  How do we love her, let us spell it out...

M - Is for the mischief that she so innocently and good-naturedly starts... Never a dull moment with Kelly.

I - Is for the ingenius solutions she comes up with to the weirdest, random and difficult problems.

S - Is for her sensitive side, a heart of gold with a soft spot for people.

S - Is for how strikingly beautiful she is, inside and out!


 

S - is for how stands by her friends through thick and thin, a better friend is hard to find.

C- is for how she cares about the big and little things going on in your life, and remembers them too!!!

A- is for how awesomely artistic she is in so many ways!  Just when you think you have her figured out she pulls out another talent...

R - is for all the reasons she comes up with that always makes sense!

L - is for all the love she shares! [Have you seen her cooking masterpieces that she does out of love for people??]

E - is for her seemingly boundless energy, even when she says she's sick or needing more coffee... Also, her encouragement that she's so ready and willing to share.

T - is for her love of Truth, this girl doesn't cut corners or spare you what you need to hear, but still does it in love when she's saying it. 

T- is the abudance of Talent that she uses to bless and make all of us laugh and smile!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KELLY!

We love you and hope you have the best tiggerific superific stupendous wonderful awesome day ever!!!

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Melly Durham * official artist

Actor, Dancer, Author

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To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak. Derrick - Suwaima - Davis, Hopi-Chocktaw Indian "Love God. Love people." The Bible ...Read more

Gender female
Traditional Chinese Name 美麗
Interested In friends
Languages Spoken english