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Also, the Alabama thing should not have been so close. So much work to do.

December 13th, 2017 · 4 Comments · Daily

This week has been a sulky weirdo. Monday was the fourth anniversary of the death of my friend Joan. Yesterday was the third anniversary of the death of Ramona Quimby. The house where I grew up was demolished sometime in the past few days. (I miss my friend and my cat and I knew the house thing was going to happen. Individually, each of these things might bring a tight-lipped sigh through the nose and a brief staring contest with my shoes. Together? Let’s just say I’ve been eating a lot of cookies.)

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Ah, but not everything is gloomy! I spent the day with my mom yesterday and while we were out I restocked my underpants and purchased a metallic Sharpie! Tomorrow morning I’ll be writing with a friend and on Friday? Breakfast with Tempe before a quick trip to visit my sister for the weekend.

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I’ve had those frog pants since something like 1997 and Henry notices when I’m full of damnits and knows exactly how to erase them.

I’m one skein in on my boxy sweater.

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Our family lit the advent candle at church last weekend, and I was able to read two lessons during the Lessons and Carols service, and as we strolled around before the service I noticed that these things are hanging on the wall and the least important item is the one that points toward the restroom. Even if it’s an emergency.

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Finally, I had my tubes tied in 2011. I had a hysterectomy in 2014. I’ve been taking birth control pills off and on (mostly on) since 1992 to keep my migraines under control. Last week my doctor took me off of the pill and put me on a low dose of estrogen and I think my brain is missing the progesterone and is punishing me by making me feel all Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down.

I would ask you to tell me a joke, but I would hate for someone to bring up Hitler.

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Saturday!

December 9th, 2017 · 4 Comments · Daily

This morning after dropping Harper off for her ACT, I killed an hour at one of my favorite coffee dumps. (For the curious: I had hot Earl Grey and a copy of Sing, Unburied, Sing.) The couple seated behind me talked about one of the most recent school shootings. The man in the comfy chair next to me drank from his coffee mug, ate a bite of peanut butter cookie, and then stood up and walked to the piano where he played a middle C. He would then return to the chair, sit down, and repeat the process. When he first started this routine, I was sort of annoyed. It didn’t take long before I was totally fine with the drink/eat/C, and annoyed with the people who looked annoyed with the drink/eat/C. Hell, if you have to drink/eat/C to feel level, I say drink/eat/C. Personally, I knit/nap/stare at my shoes. We all have our stuff.

Speaking of school shootings and how I’m not very good at segues, Meredith’s history teacher was shot on a trail near the high school a few weeks back. The bullet traveled into him and out of him, yet he somehow managed to keep moving so he could flag down a car and get a lift back to the high school. He was worried the shooter (who was caught the next day) was headed toward the school, so he wanted to save the kids because he’s a freaking hero with a Beastie Boys poster on his wall. (I made a mental note to like him at Curriculum Night all because of a Beastie Boys poster. I should perform the entire Licensed to Ill album for you sometime, but I probably won’t because I’m 47 and I should be knitting or napping or staring at my shoes.) The teacher was released from the hospital on the evening of the shooting and is currently recovering at home.

All of this to say: We’re all just a trail walk (where “trail walk” is probably a metaphor) away from something that creates a Before and an After. I’m sure the teacher will now refer to events in terms of “Before I Was Shot” and “After I Was Shot.” I have a few before/after events: College, Marriage, Kids. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my friends and family and their Befores and Afters.

Speaking of college and how that segue thing doesn’t seem to be improving, after the adventure at the coffee dump, I drove myself over to a craft show to wander around and do the whole “I could make that!” thing. As I stood rifling (no gun pun intended because Dear God with the guns already) around in a bucket of mittens, the mitten lady mentioned that she had only one pair of Mizzou mittens. The woman next to me said, “Oh. I’m not a fan of Mizzou.”

Me (clearly joking): WHAT?!

Woman Next to Me (WNtM): Mizzou is a party school.

Me (defending my beloved (?) university): It doesn’t HAVE to be.

WNtM: I suppose you could get an education there. A SEX EDUCATION.

She laughed and laughed until I grabbed her coat hood, lifted her up, and swung her three times above my head before flinging her into the side of the kettle corn truck while screaming, “MY MIZZOU-EARNED MASTER’S DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY IS TELLING ME THAT YOU SMELL LIKE NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER!”

(My master’s degree is actually a bachelor’s degree with an inflated sense of self-worth. Also, I did my fair share of party-as-a-verb while at Mizzou, but I also learned music theory and how I didn’t want to be an elementary school teacher.)

Speaking of Beyoncé, I made a shirt.
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So much. So little.

December 4th, 2017 · 7 Comments · Daily

It’s December 4th, and what have I learned? When I am using the internet to figure out how to make hash, I should specify that I’m talking about root vegetable hash. Along with the Russian hookers who won’t stop spamming my comments, I’m now receiving subtle hints that I should probably get some cannabis and a mechanical drum.

It’s simply impossible for me to succeed at NaNoWriMo while I’m taking a 4-week writing class, and it’s simply impossible for me to take a 4-week writing class without enjoying a beer with my friends in the community college parking lot before class starts, and it’s simply impossible for me to enjoy a beer with my friends in the community college parking lot before class starts if the bottles don’t twist and I don’t have an opener. But wait! My genius friend Sarah figured out that you can open your car door and locate a metal door hook thingie and it is the exact size and shape of a bottle opener. A car is just a big fast bottle opener, you guys! After sacrificing one bottle by accidentally breaking off the top, we had success! So, I did NOT write a novel last month, but I now know how to open a bottle of beer with my car, so: Successful November. (Disclaimer: I realize that the ability to open beer bottles with my car is not a skill I should brag about or even USE. You don’t have to shake your head at me. I am so much wiser than I make myself out to be. Have I mentioned that I know how to make hash?)

I wrote a short story for class, and it’s about a girl who sets her house on fire and then skips town with her floppy-haired friend who shares her love for Nutter Butters and Code Red Mountain Dew. I used Thelma and Louise as a verb. I almost brought an oven mitt to life. I referenced Peggy Lee. I used the F word (twice!) and the phrase “about to make love.” Most importantly, I learned that Huygen gnomes are much different than Hawaiian gnomes and DO NOT CONFUSE THE TWO.

I finished my Dress Like an Author celebration on November 30th by dressing like Erin Morgenstern, who wrote my favorite book from the past decade: The Night Circus.

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(I was flying away from the house where David Foster Wallace finished Infinite Jest.)

I was Roxane Gay.
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I became Harper Lee.
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(I had a bundle of sage left over from when I smudged the house in 2014.)

I really should compile all of the author photos from my Dress Like an Author Month, but I know myself well enough to know that I probably won’t.

You and I haven’t talked in a long time, so now I’m doing the fast typing “oh! Oh! OH! One more thing!” thing. At age 47, I finally have my first pair of Doc Martens boots.

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Also, my sister sent the best sweatshirt to me.

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Christmas is coming and I’m not ready. I’ve missed you.

(I’m still moderating comments. Russian Hookers are sticking to me like something sticky.)

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Of the seven dwarfs, the only one who shaved was Dopey.

November 16th, 2017 · 4 Comments · Daily

How long will it take for the Russian hookers to stop spamming my comments? I haven’t said Yes to one Russian hooker, yet they continue to linger. Persistent little buggers. (The hookers have been following me around for two months, and I lack the energy to do anything about it. Also, I think it’s okay for me to call them hookers because they call themselves hookers. Even though *I* am not a hooker, I really do think it’s okay. Right? Right.)

Last week I saw a play at the high school and I told at least five people that it was called Kiss Me Deadly. This morning I found the program on the floor of my car and noticed that it was really called Kill Me Deadly. Uh-huh. It ain’t no big thing.

The difference between anthropomorphism and personification is subtle. When an oven mitt becomes the smartest guy in the room, it’s anthropomorphism. My novel isn’t going as well as I wanted, yet it holds an anthropomorphic oven mitt, so that’s something. I’m also scheming up a way to add some scatterbrained Necco wafers. I am so high right now. (I’m not really high right now.)

This afternoon Meredith and I turned on the radio just in time to hear Wham singing “Last Christmas.”

Me: Oh! What?! Wait!

Meredith: What?!

Me (after doing a tiny bit of research on my phone): George Michael DIED last year on Christmas! And it says he had dilated cardiomyopathy and myocarditis! LAST CHRISTMAS HE GAVE US HIS HEART!!!

We sat in silence until Mariah Carey started singing All I Want for Christmas is You and I started singing horrible things about Love Actually. (I watch it every time it’s on, yet ugh!)

Right at this very moment, as I type these words for you, I’m listening to the Carpenters sing Sleigh Ride. Karen Carpenter. Everyone has a story, don’t they?

I’m still doing the author thing.

I was Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

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I was Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

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I was Tom Robbins.

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(Tom Robbins gave me the oven mitt idea. Read Skinny Legs and All to fall in love with a spoon, a dirty sock, and a can of beans.)

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Stay tuned, because you know Harper Lee will make an appearance.

November 9th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Daily

So, here it is. November 9th.

Have I been full on participating in NaNoWriMo? Of course not, because 4,000 words each day is impossible for someone as sleepy as me. BUT, I have been writing, and I’m now enrolled in a writing class and I haven’t loss focus, so: Success!

The best part of NaNoWriMo for me? I’ve been dressing like an author every day this month.

I was Dorothy Parker.

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I was Salman Rushdie.

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I was Marcel Proust.

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Also, Vladimir Nabokov.

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It’s like Halloween, but less scary. BUT no one gives me candy. BUT I’m also not going door to door asking for candy, or anything else for that matter. “Hello. I am Vladimir Nabokov and I would really like some roasted sweet potatoes.”

Right now I’m listening to (while in the car) and reading (while not in the car) a book that is helping me focus on what really matters.

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I have a limited amount of ones to give before I have to nap on the couch for three days.

(Comments are still being moderated because I am currently being propositioned by Russian prostitutes, and no one wants to see that.)

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Not NaBloPoMo: Day 1

November 1st, 2017 · 4 Comments · Daily

This is about as far as I go for Halloween.

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Have I told you about those socks? The artist dyes them so that if you knit at gauge, ghosts appear. So much magic in this world.

Speaking of magic, I finished this self-confidence hat last week to wear during my seven hour pizza booth shift at our high school’s marching band invitational. Surprisingly, I made it through the day with minimal social anxiety! (Obviously, the hat had some help from my little buddy Celexa.)

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Doesn’t the hat make me look like someone who might say, “Hi there! What can I get for you?” THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I SAID AT LEAST 4,392 TIMES ON SATURDAY! (Clearly, I was born to work the pizza booth.)

A few weeks ago I fell in love with this woman’s ear, and that sounds weird, but it really isn’t.

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Anyway, Tempe and I hit the highway for a bit last week, and we returned home filled with Lebanese food and new holes.

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Did it hurt? It did! Does it hurt now? Not at all! Is that really a gigantic photo of my ear? IT IS. It’s the holiday season, you know! Were the Lebanese nachos good? Oh, friend. Yes. (Clearly, I was born to eat Lebanese nachos.)

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Not unless I see you first.

October 24th, 2017 · 7 Comments · Daily

I finished this book and I finished this shawl.

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Jeff and I celebrated our 16th anniversary by sharing a pretzel at a high school football game.

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Henry is practicing a new smile—one that puts his bottom teeth on display.

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Meredith will be receiving her first pair of Dr. Martens for Christmas.

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Harper is just happy to pretend that her legs are being eaten by sharks.

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Last week was fall break, so we took the girls to a bar to see John K. Samson and Craig Finn.

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I bought a shirt that displays the flags of the eight countries affected by the travel ban.

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Also: I signed up to take a writing class in November and I won’t be doing NaBloPoMo here (I know!), but I WILL be doing NaNoWriMo. Because I’m going to try and write a book. (You know I won’t REALLY write a book. I know myself enough to know that there is an 83% chance of project abandonment.)

You know what, though? I’ll try to check in here at least once each week, which is a heck of a lot more than I’ve been doing lately. Our couch. It reclines.

Now that Meredith has Dr. Martens, I feel the need to try once again to break these guys in. (I don’t have the grit/pain tolerance that I had in my 20s. Perhaps I should start drinking dark beer again.)

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My comments are still being hacked, so I’m still moderating like a true moderator.

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This is my rock and roll love letter to you.

October 12th, 2017 · 6 Comments · Daily

This is where I would go to beat my head against the floor when I was three years old. (I stopped beating my head against the floor after accidentally ramming my eye into my fancy patent leather shoe. The black eye forced me to find a new way to throw tantrums.)

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This is where my sister accidentally threw Hungarian goulash against the wall during one of our family dinners. (We would sit at the table in this room and eat dinner every single night.) This is also where I (at age eighteen) stuck my tongue into a bowl of M&M’s [sic] so that no one else would eat them. Age eighteen. I had a car and a job and could have gone up the road to buy my own M&M’s [sic]. But I didn’t.

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This is where I would stand above the sink and eat bagels covered in cream cheese and butter. I cut Jim Dallas’s hair in this room. Every day I would set the timer over the oven to 45 minutes before sitting down to practice the piano.

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One day in high school a trumpet player passed a note to me. When I opened it, it simply said, “I am going to kill you in the woods behind your house.” These are the woods he was talking about. When I was in elementary school, my dad took my sister and I into the woods to collect thick sticks for whittling. (We had to purchase pocket knives for Girl Scouts, and he wanted us to know how to use a knife before we went camping.)

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Do you see the naked woman and her butt? This was a crack in our shower wall, and I would often tell myself that a camera was taking still shots of me in the shower and then projecting the outline in the form of wall cracks. (That was back when I was paranoid about being killed in the woods. I was a little jumpy back then.)

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This is where I cut four of my fingers on the lid of a can of Strongheart dog food. After I used the can opener, the lid slipped down into the food so I stuck my fingers into the can and grabbed the lid—twisting my hand as I pulled it up. It probably didn’t make a sound, but in my mind the sharp edge of the lid cutting my fingers created a high pitched scream that resembled Mariah Carey doing an impression of a Mustang’s squealing tires.

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This is where my sister and I watched KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park back in 1978 while wearing the slacks and blouses my mom sewed for us. My slacks (SLACKS!) had tiny dogs sewn around the bottom of the pants because my mom was a wizard with a sewing machine.

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This is where I slept, where I stared at the ceiling while listening to records, where I filled journal after journal with my junior high and high school deep thoughts, where I talked to my friends on the phone, where I watched Hunter on my black and white television, and where I typed out programs from HotCoCo magazine onto my TRS-80. (Beyond those windows? The woods behind my house. Also, the back yard—where Digger and Thumper lived. They loved Strongheart dog food.)

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This is where we buried Toby (our parakeet) when I was in the second grade. He died on October 31, 1977, which just so happens to be the first time I cursed in front of my parents. After my mom threatened to take away all of my Judy Blume books, she sent me to my room where I watched Three’s Company on my black and white television. I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that the yard stick shown in this photo may have been one of the yard sticks used to spank my sister and me after we refused to stop pretending to be the Bay City Rollers late at night when my mom was trying to watch Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

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This is where my sister and I would play Bay City Rollers. The tour bus was leaving, you see, and I was the tour manager. I had to wake up those Rollers! When all Rollers (every Roller role played by my sister, obviously) were awake, we would dance on her bed until my mom marched in and asked us if we were having fun. Our answer was always “No.” We were most definitely NOT having fun dancing on the bed while pretending to be the Bay City Rollers.

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This is where I practiced the piano while my mom was holding ceramic classes in our basement. Those poor women were trying to paint sparkling eyes on rabbits while I pounded (POUNDED!) away on Bach Inventions and Beethoven Sonatas. If any of you are still alive, I am so sorry.

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The train came by at least three times each day, and the only time it upset me was when I was trying to record myself singing into a tape recorder on the back porch. (I recorded my part and then put that cassette into another tape recorder to play while I recorded myself singing with my singing. I kept going until I had a tape of me performing four-part harmony to a song titled “What’s More American?” That was back in the Jimmy Carter days when we could sing about Corn Flakes and bingo and ice cream as being representative of America and there were no verses containing terms like mass shootings and systemic racism and travel bans and Puerto Ricans dying in the streets while our leader laughs and tosses paper towels and I don’t think I need to go on, do I? Anyway. The train.

My parents built our house 47 years ago and they left it for the last time four days ago.

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The house was purchased (and will be demolished) by the electric company, and I guess I should be sad, but I’m not. A house is a box, and I still have the memories—along with my old books that my parents found stashed away in the basement. (The basement where my dad kept the clown painting that was attached to the record player he made. It was also where I splotched the gizzies, but that’s a story for another day.) ((I’m still being spammed by the spammers, so I’m still moderating comments.))

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(I’m still being spammed by the spammers, so I’m still moderating comments.)

((Wait. Are those gigantic CROCS in the video? Nice work, 70s!))

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The marching band refused to yield.

September 27th, 2017 · 11 Comments · Daily

All of my friends from college spent time with me on the football field.

Marching Mizzou Mellophone

I know I’ve mentioned my Marching Mizzou career at least once. (I just used the word Career. To me, the word Career is like the word Woman. Have we ever talked about the adult words that I’m not yet ready to embrace even though I’m technically an adult?) I ate sushi for the first time with my band friends. I did laundry in the middle of the night with my band friends. I ate a Thanksgiving turkey on the roof of a house with my band friends. I wrote bad poetry with my band friends. I did a lot of things that I won’t even mention here with my band friends. I tried to bake a turkey in a microwave FOR my band friends. These people were everything to me. They were my family. They are my family.

Why am I singing songs about this when nearly 30 years have passed and I can’t even remember the last time I held a mellophone?

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You guys, it’s because Meredith joined the marching band and she currently plays vibraphone and suddenly I have that marching band feeling again, but this time there is no drill to learn. All I have to do is sit in the stands and cheer (and volunteer to donate cookies and bottles of water and time). I’m loving it.

I shot this video more than a month ago. That’s Meredith playing the vibraphone on the far right. Her hands. They fly.

The next several Saturdays will be filled with competitions and funnel cakes and award ceremonies and hoodies and clogs and band kids and band parents and halftime shows and hot chocolate and nothing but goodness.

I’ve been waiting for this.

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(Also, I’m moderating my comments now because the deluge of spam is already a pain in the ass for me, and I don’t want it to become a pain in the ass for you. I would take a knee for you, you know.)

((I would. I would take a knee.))

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Acting funny, but I don’t know why.

September 14th, 2017 · 6 Comments · Daily

Things are happening on this end. First off, I believe my comments are being hacked by Russians, and that probably isn’t true at all, but I *am* getting entirely too many meaningless comments and links from someone whose name looks Russian and I’m not even going to use the word collusion here because even seeing that word ruffles my feathers, and I would rather stay peacockian. (I recently read that peacock feathers represent a pure soul. You should hang out with me sometime. My pure soul is a gift I like to share.)

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But enough about the Russians! (Somewhere in Russia is a person (or many people) with whom I could hang out and eat food and drink whatevers and talk about music and books. I hate that I will probably never meet that person.)

My parents are moving into a house that is approximately 12 minutes away from my house. Because they currently live 47 minutes away, the 70 minutes I’ll soon be saving on the back and forth can be applied to something else—like the creative writing class I’ll be taking in November! The class description holds the word Unleashed, so God only knows where we’ll be two months from now.

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Finally, if you’re local: Please know that I’m selling local honey. A local farm ships their honey to a friend in Springfield. Said friend infuses the honey with amazing herbs and fruits and whatnots and then I sell it out of my house. Flavors include: Bee Raw (it has pollen floating in it, which is just weird and crazy good), Show Me State (it’s barbecue honey and tastes amazing on roasted vegetables), LaZENder (it holds chai spices and lavender, and I have the honey version AND the maple syrup version), and Purple Haze (lemon peel and lavender and vanilla extract and a single hair from the arm of Jimi Hendrix). ((I’m kidding about the hair.)) Anyway, if you’re interested, I can hook you up. Just shoot a message my way. (I’m a horrible salesperson. Just know that this is good stuff. The best stuff. The stuff I’ve been addicted to for the past two years.) I am Oprah Winfrey, and this honey is my favorite thing. My pure soul would not deceive you.

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