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You wanted way too many photos of me? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

September 22nd, 2016 · 13 Comments · Daily

On September 19 I celebrated my 15 year anniversary at Fluid Pudding. Oh, but let’s get something clear. A quinceañera, there was not. In fact, I didn’t even realize that it was the anniversary until the anniversary date had passed. No parades. No cake. No “Oh, the places we’ve been” post.

I *did* downloaded a free makeup app on the 19th. It’s called MakeupPlus and it started off innocently enough, as most things do. (Brows! Lashes! Weird shade of pink on my lips!)

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It didn’t take long for me to peek over the edge of Mount Going Too Far.

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Long story shortened: Here I am with a beard.
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Also, I drank a drink for the first time in two and a half years over the weekend. The following photo is a huge exaggeration.

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(Reality: I don’t believe I finished half of the bottle, and I drank it out of what Meredith called “a Jesus glass,” because we are Team Lord’s Supper 24/7 around here.)

On Tuesday night, my yoga partner and I decided to skip yoga in favor of supporting local businesses. In other words: Out for drinks at VB Chocolate Bar, which is about a ten minute drive from my house!

This is an ice cream float made with homemade salted caramel ice cream and O’Fallon Vanilla Pumpkin Beer. (I had two, because I tend to lose control when I’m skipping yoga and shooting breezes.)

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Let’s see. What else? Jeff and I went to a Tuesday morning showing of the latest Blair Witch! (Wait a second. Is that a PERSON in what I thought was an empty photo?! Who IS that?! Could it be THE BLAIR WITCH?!?!?!)

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((It’s not the Blair Witch.))
As you can probably imagine, the theater was not crowded.

I’ve signed on (nothing was actually signed) for NaBloPoMo in November, but would you rather I do it in October? You tell me.

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Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.

September 14th, 2016 · 9 Comments · Daily

Disappointing: Finding out that three students from your girls’ middle school brought BB guns into the building today, which was also the day of the active shooter drill. (Let me repeat that. Today was the active shooter drill, where the following announcement is made to the students: “Attention. Attention. This is an active shooter drill. Take immediate action. Lockdown. Lockdown. Lockdown. Again, this is a drill. Please assume your lockdown positions.”) As I was sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee and writing e-mails, my kids were pretending that a shooter was in the building, while three POTENTIAL shooters WERE in the building. (With BB guns. I know.)

Also Disappointing: Our school probably won’t make the BB gun kids go through “three minutes alone in a small room with some of the meaner parents whose kids go to that middle school” as a punishment. Also, there will be no Shirley Jackson “The Lottery” reenactment with the BB gun kids playing the role of Tessie Hutchinson.

Clarification: I’m the least violent person you sort of know. I don’t really buy into the eye for an eye thing. Not a big fan of the death penalty. This morning I spent 45 minutes trying to coax a fly out of an open window because he seemed slow and I wanted him to get some fresh air.

Jeff: Did they taze the offenders?
Me: I’m sort of hoping they shot them in the kneecaps with their own BB guns. (But not really. But sort of.)

I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

As of last night, my Yoga for a Happy Life class is halfway over. And that’s just fine because sometimes it feels more like Twister than yoga. “Get into a low lunge with your left leg back. Now lift that back leg.” (Try it. It’s impossible. Also impossible? My ability to not laugh when asked to do something like lifting my back leg when I’m in a low lunge.)

This is happening right now.

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This was finished while watching CNN and drinking coffee this morning.

Icy Tiller

This is next.

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I need to come around here more often. By the way, the fly DID make it out the window. (Some of you were wondering. I just know it.)

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Fragmented ideas are nothing to be embarrassed about.

September 3rd, 2016 · 7 Comments · Daily

As I drank my coffee and ate my Larabar this morning, I realized that I’m interested in buying a set of the breathing Fruit of the Loom boy shorts. (I’m pulling out all the stops over here. I’m also pulling out all of the underpant parts that are currently not breathing.) I tell you this information only because I want to know if you’ve tried them and like them (breathing underpants!), and also: Are we boycotting Fruit of the Loom? The Honduras thing was a really long time ago, right? (Question: Where is Google when you need it? Answer: It’s the third tab on the top of my screen, but I’m so tired.)

This is my new favorite shirt.

Stranger Things, Winona...

It arrived on Tuesday and the seam on the bottom ripped out on Wednesday. I don’t mind the ripped seam. (I purposefully ordered the green version so it looks like I’m bedecked for Christmas when December rolls around.)

(My other Christmas shirt:

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I wore it to clean up pancake messes during a Breakfast with Santa event, which is something I hope to never do again. I can eat 4,392 pancakes without dripping syrup onto the floor. Apparently, not many people in my town share this ability. Sticky-faced dribbling monsters.)

You want more photos of stuff? Oh! Okay!

This is the book I’m reading right now:

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It’s by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and I was told that she writes like me (or that I write like her) and if that’s true, my heart just grew three sizes because I am enjoying the heck out of this book.

Why I Want to be Friends with Amy Krouse Rosenthal:

1. One of the very first people mentioned in the book is Sei Shonagon. I am obsessed with Sei Shonagon because in my (tiny) mind, she was the original mish-mash writer, which is what I consider myself to be. Zuihitsu! (God bless you!)

2. Amy Krouse Rosenthal (AKR) shares a birthday with Meredith.

3. AKR has a birthmark shaped like Africa. SO DO I.

4. AKR makes me want to write more, because with this book she has taught me that it’s okay to not be able to write a short story. (Wait. I’m positive *she* can write a short story.)

One more thing.
Do you remember when I chased this receipt around a parking lot?

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I wonder what ever happened to that guy. I hope everything turned out okay.

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It’s Tuesday night and I’m on a mountain!

August 25th, 2016 · 8 Comments · Daily

Less than two hours before Tuesday night’s yoga class, I decided to pull up the class info to check on the location. It was then that I discovered that the class is called Yoga For A Happy Life.

I was fully prepared for the Yoga part, but I suppose I had overlooked For A Happy Life when I signed up.

1. Dear God, please don’t let the yoga teacher put us in a circle and talk about what makes us happy. I know without a doubt that I will mutter something ridiculous about the perfect bean burrito with a hefty serving of guacamole and then the next person will wipe a tiny tear and say, “I’m so happy I was able to hold my precious Aunt Edith’s hand and tell her that I love her as her soul traveled from her body to Heaven with grace this morning.” and I’ll stare at my feet and feel embarrassed about my burrito for the next few years because that’s what I do.

2. Dear God, please don’t make the class be one of those things where we have to hold hands and pass a secret squeeze to our neighbors. I have never liked that because the secret squeeze always makes me think of touching raw hamburger and not today. Not today.

My friend (let’s call her Kim) and I arrived at the class a little too early and class began a little too late. We down dogged. We did a little Nadi Shodhana, which is one of my very favorite anxiety/headache/relaxation exercises. We held a plank for three seconds. (I know.) We did a few forward folds.

Instructor: Let’s get on our hands and knees. That’s right. Very nice. Now pretend someone has just punched you in the stomach. Shape yourself as if you’ve just received the punch and are saying, “Oomph.” Very good. Now release. Inhale. As you exhale, once again, pretend that you’ve been punched in the stomach.

Me (to myself, obviously): Sucker punch. And ANOTHER sucker punch. Yoga for a happy life.

The class was a little too crowded for me, but I absolutely loved it until it was time for Shavasana and meditation. The lights went down. Everyone went flat to the floor. We took deep breaths. In. And out.

In.

And out.

The instructor told us that she was going to play a guided meditation CD. Suddenly we were greeted by the (slightly too loud) voice of a lovely British woman who told us to find our happy place.

Bang! I went to the top of Mount Rendezvous in Jackson, Wyoming. It’s cold. Lots of snow. I’m drinking a beer. I’m eating a hot waffle. It looked a little something like this:

It has taken forty years for me to be able to say, "I drank a beer and ate a waffle on the top of a snowy mountain in Wyoming!"

Lovely British Woman: YOU ARE IN A RAINFOREST! LISTEN TO THE INSECTS CHIRPING!

Me (to myself): No. I’m still on my mountain and I’m wearing a silk scarf and appropriate shoes and the sky goes on forever and there are little fluffy clouds and they move down and they are long and clear…

Lovely British Woman: YOU ARE NOW NEAR A POOL. SWIM OR DIP YOUR FINGERS IN. WHATEVER MAKES YOU COMFORTABLE.

If you know me at all, you know that my happy place is never near a pool. (It’s a long story. I’ll keep it.)

Me (to myself): Damnit! Where’s my mountain? Um, let no sadness come to this heart, let no trouble come to these arms, let no conflict come to these eyes, et cetera, damnit to hell.

The class ran about thirty minutes over. We had a little trouble finding the car afterwards. I woke up yesterday morning feeling stretched and clear. I can’t wait to go back.

Namaste.

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It’s a good day for a Wednesday.

August 17th, 2016 · 10 Comments · Daily

I’ve been feeling like the girl who just found out that she was elected Happy Club President and she was never interested in joining the Happy Club, much less leading the damn thing and maybe her t-shirt smells a little sour and perhaps she has dried blood on her sock for no apparent reason. Unpleasant eyeliner. Scowl facial fault lines that appear to be sinking deeper. Sudden intolerance to bread that came on less than an hour ago and is leading her to walk at half mast. Oh, it’s definitely a great night for open house at the middle school. Bonus: Open house for Harper is tonight. Open house for Meredith is tomorrow. Two open houses in two days!

The good news? I’ve been knitting every one of my emotions into this sweater (Like Water for Chocolate!), and I’m 1.75 sleeves away from finishing it. It smells like vinegar, and it might be my favorite handknit cardigan ever. (Knitters: It’s the Dark and Stormy.)

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Also, I’m working on a Rainbow Warrior that will eventually be named Dorian Gray is a Sexy MF, because the yarn I’m using is Three Irish Girls “Dorian Gray” and “Sexy MF” and you know what they say about fixing things that aren’t broken. Don’t!

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My freelance project was supposed to begin on August 1 and I’m still (mostly patiently) waiting for it. This is good because: KNITTING! This is bad because: Happy Club President refreshes her e-mail 3,291 times each day to see if there is work to be done!

What else is new? I’ve decided to maybe think about giving myself a manicure. I’m enjoying Heroes of the Frontier but reading it way too slowly. A friend and I are going to take a yoga class and it starts next week and I purchased a tie-dyed tank top to celebrate my Yoga in Public burst of courage. Didn’t Matt Damon say something or other about finding twenty seconds of courage? Maybe in the movie about buying a zoo? Anyway, yes. Twenty seconds of courage, give or take 75 minutes every Tuesday for the next eight weeks. I haven’t had any sort of alcoholic beverage in 2.5 years, and my headaches really aren’t that much better so a post-mayurasana martini might be the best idea I’ve had since last Thursday.

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Tell me what you eat. I might cook for you.

August 7th, 2016 · 10 Comments · Daily

If I was the type of person who invited people over, I would invite each and every one of you to my house right now and if you are interested, I will put together some sort of chocolate drink with a Ding Dong hanging off the side and maybe we will have five different kinds of burritos and we will sit and throw our heads back with laughter and I will diffuse something citrusy into the air and This Will Be Our Year will play on repeat.

All of this is to thank you for reaching out after the news I shared last week.

Things are moving along and Jeff is patient, Jeff is kind, Jeff does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud. Jeff always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (Paul could have hung a poster of Jeff in the Corinthian church with a Post-It that said, “Be like this guy.”)

The past week was full of Good. It included Meredith’s final shift as a summer reading volunteer and a clandestine parking lot meeting during which I was handed a box of doughnuts. Jeff and the girls went to a Twenty One Pilots show. I helped one of my very favorite people cut vinyl for her classroom wall. Harper attended a transition day at school to practice walking her schedule and opening her locker. We ate burritos with friends. I joined Tempe and my mom for our annual trip to Stitches Midwest in Chicago.

Let’s stay there for a moment, shall we?

This was our eighth trip to Stitches Midwest, and it continues to be one of my very favorite traditions. Picture a convention center filled with yarn and fiber and sweater and sock samples and a flock of mostly happy knitters.

(It looks a little something like this, with my mom playing the role of the mostly happy knitter.)

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I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning smelling yarn and rubbing it against my neck and saying things like “Oooh!” and encouraging strangers to purchase scarf kits and encouraging Tempe and my mom to purchase shawl kits and it’s just all so dreamy and perfect.

The very first thing I touched was the very first thing I purchased. It called to me from across the aisle and when I saw its name, I knew it was meant to be.

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It is one of the four Three Irish Girls colorways inspired by Prince, and it is lovely. (This morning I decided to pair it with the Three Irish Girls Dorian Gray colorway to knit a Rainbow Warrier.)

Next up? I fell in love with this sweater.

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It’s called Irish Coffee and it will eventually be this color and will be worn with faded jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt while I drink something hot. And maybe it’s snowing. And life is back to normal. And perhaps I’m reading The Mirror Thief. And my hair continues to grow.

I also fell in love with this sweater.

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It’s the Simple Tee by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. I touched it. I said “Oooh.” (It’s made of linen and recycled silk!) I mentioned that it’s the sort of thing I want to wear every single day. I held it up in front of a mirror to see if my eyes looked like they were in love. They did.

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(It will be Christmas gift from my mom who is always up for early Christmas shopping. I continue to be the luckiest.)

Fast forward through cheesecake and salads and a bit of a migraine and strawberry oatmeal and raunchy jokes with Tempe and my mom and lots of laughs and huge yarn love moments and suddenly we were back on the road and I had only one regret, and that was NOT purchasing the yarn to make this cowl.

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It’s perfect. It’s just so perfect, and it will be my Someday.

We drove home yesterday afternoon because I was the liturgist at church this morning. When I read at church, I’m always feeling a figurative hiccup because I often have to say things like “I am a virgin.” or “I am naked.” This morning my only hiccup was the pronunciation of the name Eliezar. After doing a bit of research online, Jeff told me that it’s almost like someone named Ella is a member of Weezer. Ella-EE-zer. AND, done. The sermon this morning was about mental health issues and at times I thought it was written just for me. My favorite moment was hearing everyone reading the following words together: “Create in us a tenderness to the needs of all, an openness to everyone’s gifts, and a commitment to the struggle for justice.” Every time I go to church I’m reminded of why I go to THIS church.

After the service, we bolted to the mall for Tax Free Weekend. As we stood at the Hot Topic register so Meredith could purchase a shirt with a tombstone and a bad apostrophe, a woman introduced herself to me and told me that she reads Fluid Pudding and what an amazing surprise that was! I’ve been smiling about it all day. All day.

So many good things.

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Be the change.

July 30th, 2016 · 26 Comments · Daily

A few people have contacted me to see if everything is okay with our family, and it made me realize that some of us have been friends for at least 15 years and perhaps it’s not appropriate for me to toss unsettling hints at you.
I apologize for that.
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The truth is this. Jeff’s position at work was eliminated. His last day was yesterday. He has worked there for twenty years and he loves what the company does and he appreciates and respects everyone he worked with while he was there. He left on good terms. There are no hard feelings.
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And, yes. It’s scary. BUT, we know that it could be so much worse.
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Jeff is smart and creative and dependable and he doesn’t punch people and he’s an amazing writer and he gets along well with others and he’s a great public speaker and he doesn’t complain when I say things like, “Let’s go get burritos!” when he’s really not in the mood for burritos.
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He will find another company who needs him, and he will develop the same passion for them that he had for the other company.
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This unexpected hiccup will find me clipping coupons again and using the Crock pot more often and controlling my eagerness to try new skincare products. (Have I told you about my newfound love for Andalou? The Willow Bark Pure Pore Serum is like new boyfriend magic.) All of these shifts are positive.
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2016 has been a rough year for many people (PRINCE died!), and I guess it would be easy for all of us to fall into a deep vat of chattering Woe is Me/I’m So Angry plastic teeth.
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Instead, I’ve decided to be contagiously positive. (I’m fairly good at it, and the world needs it.)
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(During an appointment last week, I rode an elevator with an older woman who complimented my clothes. When I smiled at her, she said, “It’s good that you can laugh at yourself.” I have no idea what she was trying to say, but I loved her for saying it. (I was wearing a black tunic with black leggings and a diffuser necklace, which is sort of my uniform these days.))
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My new freelance project will be starting up this week. School starts the week after that. (My migraine preventative doubles as an anti-anxiety agent!) We will find a new flow.
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Thank you so much for your kindness and your support and your friendship.
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Everything will be fine. For all of us!
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Fritter and waste the hours, Pink Floyd.

July 29th, 2016 · 4 Comments · Daily

I finished one more skein for Tour de Fleece. It’s four ounces of Cormo, and the fiber was full of vegetation and a bit nubby and it felt greasy and I had no idea how it would turn out, but it’s possibly my favorite skein ever.

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In other words: This Cormo taught me all about not judging books by their covers and everything has beauty and diamonds and pearls and when they go low, we go high.

Yes. We have a lot going on behind the scenes in our house (more on that maybe next week?) and our overall balance has been thrown off more than bit. (Once again: Oceans of obscurantism! Don’t you hate it?) Anyway, I spent the past four evenings watching the Democratic National Convention, and I know quite a few of you are supporting Donald Trump, but you know what? I’m not. (You and I can still be friends.) I’m not going to go all Third Party on everyone because I learned a hard lesson when I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. Although I’m behind Bernie Sanders, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton.

Confession: I haven’t been terribly proud to be an American for quite some time, and I know that sounds HORRIBLE, but it’s also very true. (I could probably tell you a lot of horrible things that are true. Please refer to the second sentence of the previous paragraph! Argh! I KNOW!) After seeing what I saw and hearing what I heard at the DNC, I felt fired up. Fired up is good.

My dad gave me a box full of tomatoes and zucchini from his garden. As I type these words to you, I’m eating zucchini fritters and tomatoes and I’m fired up and I’m a little scared and sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed/ruffled/charged the best thing to do is hang out in the closet dressed like a disguised 011 from Stranger Things.

And then I smell the jasmine on our back porch.

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And then I refer to 1985.

(I wasn’t kidding about the tomatoes and fritters.)

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Thanks for being here.

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What dreams may come before I’m woken by alarms?

July 21st, 2016 · 9 Comments · Daily

The Tour de Fleece is winding down, and it has been a fairly successful one.

Black Rainbow is a 50-50 Black Alpaca/Silk blend chain plied into a light worsted weight.

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Bayberry is a 60-20-20 Merino/Baby Camel/Silk blend that is now a 2-ply chunky skein with cowl potential.
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Jumbleberry is a 50-50 Merino/Tencel blend fractal spun into something that might just be sock weight.
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My next freelance gig starts in a week, which means I have about seven days to finish The Clasp and get started on Heroes of the Frontier. I’ll finish the Cormo wool that’s currently on my wheel. I’ll head to Chicago to smell yarn for a few days. I’ll make sure the girls have everything ready to start school on August 9.

I’ve mentioned several times that I share only 17% of my world with you. I believe the 17/83 formula has worked fairly well for the past 15 years. Oh, but please know that Shit is going DOWN in the 83, and I would totally appreciate it if you would raise your right hand toward St. Louis right now for a supportive high five. (I never say things like “Shit is going DOWN.” We’re still friends, right?)

Biggers. Betters. Raging against the dying of the light. More vague annoying references that have nothing to do with your day.

Last week the girls did some of this and I learned the difference between cranes and egrets.

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(Cranes have shorter straight necks and egrets tend to hold their necks in an S shape. (I graduated from Physical Therapy on Tuesday, so I’m now more of a crane than an egret. And that’s good, because life is FULL of egrets!))

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Medicate, liberate, fabricate, reinstate, et cetera.

July 10th, 2016 · 5 Comments · Daily

The air is turned down a bit lower than it should be, the bean soup is boiling on the stove, and I’m drinking the hottest of coffee. I vacuumed the floor, I folded some laundry, and I balled up (another) watermelon. I’ve had a migraine on and off for the past several days and I’m trying to not think about the migraine that lasted nearly half of last year’s summer, although something very good came out of that migraine and that something was this pair of shoes:

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(I haven’t worn them since September, and I believe I will change that status before the month is over.)

Noteworthy: This particular migraine is making my fingertips especially sensitive to textures like towels, bed sheets, Henry the dog, and paper. If you were in the same room with me right now, you would probably be thinking, “Hrm. I wish I wasn’t in the same room with her right now.” Permission to leave? Granted! I hold no prisoners here, but I do feel the need to remind you that we’re going to be having bean soup. You might want to stick around.

I saw this in the parking lot at the gas station, and it’s been bothering me for days because I know exactly how someone out there feels right now:
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Sometimes it’s raining and Henry the dog won’t stop barking and I pull up my Photo Booth app to capture my feelings photographically and I don’t really mind the filter that the most recent person was using, yet all of a sudden I look like I’m bleeding out of the corner of my eye, but it doesn’t bother me because I think bloody eyes (and the absence of eyebrows) don’t matter when skin is bright and green. (My hair is so long! It will be cut on Wednesday and then it will look even longer because I know a lady named Erin who is a wizard! Have I told you that it (meaning my hair) actually blows in the wind now? It blows in the wind along with The Answer, my friend! How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died, Bob Dylan?!)

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My FB feed has been filled with racist sentiments from some surprising (but mostly not so surprising) people over the past week and I might could partially blame my migraine on my own inability to understand why people say and do what they say and do. (“Might could” is a phrase I learned while living in Nashville. I hate it, but I mostly love it.) This morning one of my imaginary friends posted something particularly insensitive and disgusting. Their post was followed by a post from a woman in my Tour de Fleece group:

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The yarn is lovely, and the final sentence of her status update was perfect in so many ways.

The bean soup? It is ready.

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