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If we lived forever, maybe nothing would seem important.

March 23rd, 2018 · 13 Comments · Daily

Limited Menu: Fear or Faith

Last Friday I drove three hours to spend two days quilting at a missionary training center. The campus was beautiful (lakes and birds and gravel roads!), the company was lovely (Tempe, her mother-in-law, and her cousin-in-law!), and when it was time to load up the car, I was able to sit next to a hedgehog that didn’t exist last week at this time. (I had a LOT of help with the H-hog. In fact, at one point I thought I had screwed her up beyond repair. Suddenly, three pro quilters jumped in with seam rippers and irons, and within 10 minutes all was well. Magic.)

Hell-en.

We trade in our terrors for more age-appropriate models.

After quilting for most of the day on Saturday, we decided to make our way into town to eat at a local restaurant. I ordered a veggie plate and was told that most of the veggies held meat. (Not a big deal. It happens all the time.) Pictured below are the four veggies that did NOT hold meat. (Mashed potatoes, carrots, fried okra, and fried pickles. I am definitely not complaining, although my stomach was wondering where my mind had gone.)

Veggie Plate

I won’t let my faith be criticized, and I won’t criticize your faith.

I left the quilting weekend early so I could drive 90 minutes to a UCC church in Jefferson City to hear John Pavlovitz’s sermon. I ended up arriving at the church way too early, so I wandered around town until I found caffeine. When I returned to the church, only one person was sitting in the sanctuary—a charming 85-year-old man who introduced himself to me more than once, telling me each time that he has Alzheimer’s and that we’ve probably met before.

You can control your inner weather.

It was a cool sunny morning, at least ten people introduced themselves to me, I had tubed some Ritz crackers in the car, the stained glass windows were jazzing me so hard, I was wearing one of my favorite outfits, there was a violin solo, I had recently given birth (figuratively) to a hedgehog, I was able to introduce myself to John Pavlovitz and thank him for coming to town…nothing but a perfect vibe going on. (Tubing Ritz crackers on a road trip. Do it sometime. Warning: Make sure you have water in case your crackers choose Trachea instead of Esophagus.)

Central UCC

It’s a small move between being despised and despising yourself.

John Pavlovitz’s words high-fived me throughout the entire sermon. I’m trying to control my use of “here’s the thing,” but here’s the thing: Quite a few people I know judge my faith and make weird assumptions about the church I attend. Quite a few people I know completely disagree with my social and political views. Here’s the thing about the thing: If you know me at all (AT ALL), you know that all I want is to be nice and helpful while being totally down with Jesus. All I want is to protect people who are feeling powerless. All I want is to appreciate and promote diversity. All I want is to learn as much as I can from everyone. Did you know that nearly 9,000 people fell to the ground together in 2007 to make snow angels in North Dakota? Did you know that I’ve started a collection of door knockers to hang on the wall by our staircase? Did you know that some tarantulas are cobalt blue? WE ALL HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN. (This week Harper learned how to make origami butterflies!)

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Be sure to right-size your fears and storms.

Yesterday I met a high school security guard who lost his hearing for seven months after an explosion in Somalia. He told me that he sings a lot better now than he did when he was deaf. He also said that he has developed a new appreciation for people’s voices. Today I’ve been thinking about the little things that I’ve learned to appreciate: Slices of Swiss cheese that are more hole than cheese, how the grocery store smells like my grandma’s house, ponytail holders hanging in our air vents because the cats were playing hockey with them, and sentences like “We all get batshit brain boners for this kind of crazy love.”

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Don’t be overwhelmed by what you see and forgetful of what you know.

The woman next to me in the high school parking lot couldn’t get her car to start, so I told her that I have jumper cables but no idea how to use them. She called her friend who was in the building, and he came out to hook us up. Everything fell into place and she was off the lot in less than five minutes. Nearly an hour later I couldn’t get my key out of the ignition in the library parking lot. I tried to get the car to start, and nothing happened. I freaked out and immediately blamed the woman at the high school who had borrowed my power. I was so quick to blame her, yet I HAD TURNED THE CAR OFF WHILE IT WAS STILL IN DRIVE. A car won’t start while it is in Drive. Also, the key can’t be removed if the car is in Drive and: Lesson Learned. Sometimes I’m a jerk.

Are you going to be a fear bringer or a peace giver?

All of the italicized lines in this post were notes I took during the Pavlovitz sermon. He’ll be at our church for three days in June, and I’ve already cleared my calendar.

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(I purchased the t-shirt from him after the Q&A session. By the way, the Q&A session pretty much became a support group for people who have lost contact with friends and family members because of religious or political views. Tears were shed by people who had been “abandoned” by siblings. One woman confessed that she prayed for a baby to get colic because the baby’s dad is an outspoken Republican. What in the ever-loving hell is happening to all of us?! We’re all going crazy in so many directions, and it’s sort of disgusting how we all treat each other.) Give peace. Give peace. Give peace. Repeat and repeat and repeat.

Be sure to balance information with rest.

Do me a favor right now and take the biggest breath you’ve taken all day.

Inspire.

Release.

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Let’s get in formation.

March 14th, 2018 · 5 Comments · Daily

Both of my kids are participating in the student walkouts this morning. Yes, I encouraged them, but I also encouraged them to go with how they feel and protest only if they are able to say what they are protesting and why. (In my world, it’s unacceptable to walk out of class simply for the sake of walking out of class.) The school district is allowing the walkout. BUT, if the school district decided to hand out some sort of punishment for the protesters, I would still encourage my girls to go with their hearts knowing I would support them completely.

One of Harper’s friends said that she will be protesting to exercise her Second Amendment rights. (She was confused.)

I’m heading out of town this weekend to quilt.

I just used the word Quilt as a verb.

Here is my very first experience with quilting.
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I got a sewing machine for Christmas, and the damned thing has been sitting on the floor next to the couch for the past two and a half months because She Is Scary.

Sewing Machine (muffled, because she’s in the box): Hey there! Hey! Take me out of here! I can thread your needle FOR YOU! Hell, you don’t even have to use the pedal thing! You can pretty much just say, “Make me a tunic!” and I’ll be like, “That’s what I was born to do!”

Me: I think I should eat more chocolate cake and maybe sew tomorrow. Or the day after.

Anyway. Quilting Weekend with Tempe! I took the machine out of the box yesterday afternoon! Let’s see what happens!

Also, I’ll be getting up from Quilting Weekend super early on Sunday morning so I can continue my JOURNEY in order to see this guy preach.

It’s going to be good.

I finished my Worsted Boxy.

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Also, this had been written backwards from the inside of a high school library window, and I hope they never fix it.

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(I’m not quite sure what they were trying to promote, but it doesn’t really matter because Beyoncé.)

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The Cars disbanded in 1988.

March 4th, 2018 · 7 Comments · Daily

Because my 30th high school reunion is next month, I’ve been (once again) trying to figure out how 30 years have changed me.

1. I now know what the definition of crepey skin is, and I don’t want to talk about it. Aging. It’s happening in so many ways. It has affected my eyesight, my hearing, my memory, the texture of my hair, my bones, my sleep habits, my wit, and my ability to eat sweet potato pancakes with abandon.

2. I’m no longer hermetically sealed, yet I don’t reveal my inner sparkle to many, and that sounds a bit dirtier than I intended. Unneighborly on the outside with an unexpected devilish nougat on the inside! Pair with soft pretzels and goopy cheese! Better yet? Lebanese nachos.

3. I have eight more holes in my head than I did back then. Luckily, none of these holes were received involuntarily. (Have I mentioned lately that I’m incapable of owning a gun? Not because of background checks, but because I KNOW MYSELF. I’m way too squirrelly.)

4. I have super powers that are currently being restrained by a faulty transverse and descending colon.
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5. I dress differently now. In 1988 I was all about cardigans and long button up shirts with rolled jeans and oh shit you guys.

6. I don’t play the piano as well as I used to, and the French horn hasn’t been out of its case since 2014. BUT I have a flute playing daughter and a marimba playing daughter, so that part of my heart is still full.

7. My high school memory book says that I wanted to grow up to be a record reviewer for Rolling Stone. That didn’t happen, but I DO come by here to tell you what I’m eating and thinking! That’s something, right?

8. I never went to prom or homecoming, not because I was a “I won’t dance, don’t ask me” Baptist, but because I was a “guilty feet have got no rhythm” introvert. I’m still a “guilty feet have got no rhythm” introvert, but I’m learning that I don’t necessarily HAVE to use my feet, and dancing in the carwash is a simple pleasure that nobody can deny.

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When I hear about a random pig sighting, I have no idea how to feel.

February 20th, 2018 · 15 Comments · Daily

I know I’m sort of a bad American. I’m not sure I’ve EVER been a GOOD American, really. I mean, I’ve done the research and voted in every single presidential election since 1988, but I don’t sing the National Anthem just like I don’t sing the theme song from Happy Days. (I will and do sing Air Supply songs. Air Supply. Australian?) I didn’t call the police when someone left a bag of dog poop in our front yard, but I DID call the police when someone stabbed John Green. I feed my dogs fish-based food because of Henry’s allergies, but I don’t personally eat fish. (Or chicken or cow or kangaroo. (Remind me to tell you the story of the kangaroo.) No buffalo. No on goat and lamb. I’m all over cauliflower.) I think I just veered into the wrong lane.

I’m not a fan of the man who was elected president, but I’m also not really a fan of fast food pasta. I’ve eaten goopy nachos at baseball games, but I prefer to eat the Lebanese nachos by the tattoo shop in the city. When someone says “God bless the USA” I tend to end it in my head with “…but not JUST the USA.” When I watch figure skating during the Olympics, I cheer for the people whose outfits I like the most—even if they need a translator to get through an interview with Lester Holt.

When I hear people saying the pledge of allegiance, I try not to roll my eyes at the part about “indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” (I know. Read the first sentence of the first paragraph. I’m not keeping any secrets over here.)

Tempe mentioned that she would like to write out the Constitution by hand, and I think that’s such a fine idea because What a Great Way to Visit It Again.

Meredith wore this shirt to school last week, and some guy called her on it and then spent the entire class period making snide remarks to his friends.

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I made this shirt yesterday morning, and I know it’s not designed well and I also know a shirt doesn’t really change the fact that sometimes kids go to school worrying about a math test when they should probably be worried about being shot in the face.

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I’m reading three books right now, and tomorrow I’m going to return them all (unfinished) to the library and pick up Lincoln in the Bardo in hardback and CD. I’m not reading/listening to it because of the American president reference. I’m reading/listening to it because it has ghosts and David Sedaris is one of the narrators and he’s no Ari Fliakos, but I still love him.

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Jeff proposed 17 years ago today.

February 13th, 2018 · 3 Comments · Daily

I went to Comic Con with Tempe a few weeks back, and I honestly had no idea what to expect. Ah, but I DO expect to go back next year, and I suspect I’ll be dressed like Amélie.

I wishlisted a gnome. (I’ve had a surprising number of gnomes in my life lately. Story gnomes. Conversational gnomes. Gnomes on posters in bars. It has to mean something, unless it doesn’t.) I have plans for a red dress and clunky shoes or boots with socks.

This morning I jumped over to Amazon to do a little army green jacket searching, and I found one for ten bucks that will work perfectly.

When I ordered the jacket, I was “presented” with a coupon that said something like, “Buy two more things from our store, and we’ll give you such and such percentage off of your purchase!” I clicked over to the store, where I was greeted by these pants.

Okay. This woman has pulled her pants down to display the fact that they are lined with fleece. Isn’t there a better way to showcase that feature? Because you know what? She is defecating.

Finally, and perhaps the point of this entire post: If the Amélie thing doesn’t work out I might put some effort into Tootsie Pop Nose Spooky Clown. (The character is currently in development, but I’m thinking her tragic flaw is spending a little too much time in the middle school parent pick-up line.)

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Yentl is a 1983 film that questions the appropriateness of sexist gender roles. Starring Barbra Streisand!

January 31st, 2018 · 13 Comments · Daily

The last time we talked, I mentioned that I was tossing pickles and crackers into a bowl of lentils and calling it comfort food. More than one person has asked for a recipe, so let’s talk lentils! (I was trying to come up with a word that rhymed with lentil for the title of today’s post, and the first thing that came to mind was Yentl. Now that I’m sitting here with a dog on my lap, I’m realizing we have dental, gentle, mental, rental, and fentanyl, which doesn’t really rhyme at all, but what good am I if I’m not current on the opioid epidemic in America?)

Recipe for Comfort Lentils:

  1. Make a cup or so of brown lentils. (I normally dump a little more than a cup of dry lentils into my Instant Pot and then cover them with about two cups of vegetable broth. Cook for 16 minutes, and then let the pot sit (unreleased) for about 10 more minutes. Release the pressure. You now have perfect lentils.)
  2. Cut up a few pickles. (I go with Claussen whole dills because they’re firm, and floppy pickles are bullshit.) Throw those cut up pickles into your lentils.
  3. Grab some crackers. I use saltines, but I can see where Ritz might be better because Ritz are always better. Crush them in your right hand and let the crumbs fall into the lentils. You are a superhero.
  4. Stir and eat. Try not to think about the government. See if you can remember all of the lyrics to Miss Saigon. (You can’t, but it’s fun to try.)

If you have a little more time to prepare something even better, then make the lentils my brother-in-law makes every week. He made them at Christmas and I couldn’t get enough, so now *I* make them every week. It’s like that hair commercial where you tell a friend and they tell a friend and so on, and eventually everyone in the world has great hair. Ah, but instead of great hair, we all have great lentils.

Okay.

Recipe for Bob’s Lentils:

  1. In a small bowl, mix 2T of Dijon mustard, 2T of olive oil, 2T of apple cider vinegar, 1T of maple syrup, and 1t of salt. (T = Tablespoon. t = teaspoon.) Whip and whip and whip until it’s all mixed together. Go ahead and add pepper and garlic if you want. I never do.
  2. Cook up about a cup and a half of green lentils. (They’re a bit firmer than brown.) See my Instant Pot instructions above if you need a reminder.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, cut up about 1/4 cup (or more. I do more.) of carrots, pickles, celery, and cauliflower. I always forget the cauliflower.
  4. When the lentils are done, throw them into a big bowl with the vegetables. THEN, dump the dressing on top and mix it up. Dear Lord. Maybe put it over rice if you want. I don’t. I’m also thinking cutting up an apple and throwing it in might be fun. If you do that, let me know how it goes.

Here is a photo of today’s cut up vegetables. Once again, I forgot the cauliflower.

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Here is a photo of the completed lentil salad. The salad is so much better than this photo makes it out to be. Trust me.

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Try not to think about the government.

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Woe is me! But also? Whoa is me!

January 28th, 2018 · 6 Comments · Daily

Let’s see.

I fell face first into the bushes while trying to adjust the outdoor lighting.

But also? I went to a party that didn’t end until a woman was tied up and blindfolded! (She volunteered.)

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I migrained the past three days away and was unable to attend a concert with my sister—a concert I’ve been looking forward to for months.

But also? This evening I went to a guided meditation session with a new friend and it was exactly what I wanted and needed.

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I discovered that my new favorite comfort food is lentils with pickles and crackers.

But also? I discovered that my new favorite comfort food is lentils with pickles and crackers!

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The past week has been a bit of a jerk. This week will be better because it will include a waffle and a haircut.

I will never sing like Patti Lupone. I will never sing like Lil Uzi Vert. I will never be an Olympian. (Have I ever told you about the time I competed in the Beer Olympics? My event involved lapping beer from a frisbee like a dog. I did not earn medals or respect that night.)

I’ve been writing a short story about a girl who may have had a little too much gin while hanging out in a stable on Christmas night. (It is not autobiographical.)

I’ll try to be back soon.

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I’m coming out of my cage, and I’ve been doing just fine, Brandon Flowers.

January 19th, 2018 · 8 Comments · Daily

I never look forward to meetings, and I never expect meetings to be enjoyable and wahoo-inducing. Last night’s band booster meeting did NOT pleasantly surprise me, but as I sat and listened to people speaking in volumes higher than 6 (I rarely go above a 4.), I came up with an idea for a new way to lace my sneakers AND an amazingly genius idea about the potential rights of meeting participation. The idea? If you have volunteered at four events (or have attended four previous meetings), you are handed five tickets at the beginning of the meeting. Each ticket allows you to speak out one time. If you have not volunteered or attended any previous meetings, you may speak up only one time and then you must sit quietly (head nods and shakes are allowed) and rest assured knowing that you will get TWO tickets at the next meeting. Use your tickets wisely.

Oh, I know. Democracy and freedom of speech and God gave us a larynx for a reason, but still. Last night’s meeting went on for two hours and my anxiety reached the “dripping from my ears” level as we discussed the prevention of potential non-conformity and maybe I should just stay home from these things, but I never will. Why? Because I care, and because I want to be the first in line if there is a bread pudding tasting. (So far? No bread pudding. Yet, I will continue to dream because the dream of bread pudding is better than no chance of bread pudding. The dream of bread pudding is what gets me off of the couch.)

It has been a high-anxiety week at the House of Pudding. I’m blaming it on a few things that are definitely not blame-worthy (no cauliflower for my lentils, dog hair on my pants), and I’m slowly doing a fairly good job of crawling out of my overly-charged funk.

The reason for no cauliflower for my lentils: I forgot to buy cauliflower when I was at the store.

The reason for dog hair on my pants:
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This is the thing that is currently giving me joy:
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I’m at the bakery again, and I know the thing in the circle has something to do with making bread, but to me it is a duck who is feeling a little out of place. (I am someone who has fed lots of bread to lots of ducks. I’m positive that like me, this duck will come around.)

Last week I cleaned out my craft closet and I bagged up all my wool. (Insert Baa, Baa, Black Sheep reference. Be reminded once again that Baa, Baa, Black Sheep has the same melody as The Alphabet Song and also Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.)

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This evening I’ll be knitting at the house while Meredith does the pep band thing at the high school. Jeff and Harper are going to see The Killers and I have glitter on my clavicle.

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To me, the plural of bus will always be busses.

January 11th, 2018 · 11 Comments · Daily

The high school released a dress code reminder that included information regarding the prohibition of pillows and blankets in the classroom. A student in Meredith’s health class, when asked for a sore throat remedy, answered “Put a little bit of Fireball in your coffee.” Well, the names have all changed since you hung around, but those dreams have remained and they’ve turned around…

I replaced the handle and flapper in our downstairs toilet last week, and our flush is now 82% more efficient. At least 82%, actually. Immediate feedback on the handle with no toilet running throughout the night. I’m building my skillset.

Because Meredith is now a vegetarian, I have become an even better vegetarian. Also, I’ve practiced yoga for the past ten days. I had signed up for a guided meditation practice last night, but my stomach wouldn’t allow me to go. Ah, but go I will.

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Jeff and I went to a party last weekend and I didn’t freak out and stare into a pan of noodles for most of the night. Anti-Anxiety Pills + White Russian(s) + Sparklepants = Even Steven. I believe my only regrettable moment was the false confession that I occasionally wear my sparklepants when I’m prostituting. These folks don’t know me very well, and sometimes my nervous jokes are more damaging than funny. (This is my truth: I have never prostituted, I am not currently prostituting, and although none of us know what the future might hold, I think it’s safe to say that I will not prostitute in the years to come.)

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My ear is all gross and I’ve been pouring Hot Chocolate honey into my coffee every morning. These two items are not related, but I stuck them together because neither needs elaboration.

My 30th high school reunion is taking place sometime in April. Do you remember when you helped me choose my outfit for the 20th reunion? That was super fun until Gloria (comment #49) told me that my outfits are boring and I look older than I probably am. (I do hope that Gloria is having a nice day today. We’re all doing our best, aren’t we?)

I just want to say #NOprah. Yes, I think she’s great at getting us all stirred and HellYeah’ed, but I would rather see Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker in the White House. This is just my opinion.

The Artist’s Way. I’m in. (I haven’t read it since 2003 when I was pregnant with Meredith and eating enough friend bologna to make my appendix explode.) Fifteen years have passed and I need a refresher.Untitled

I’m listening to this in the car. My favorite two quotes so far?

  1. The Universe is totally freaking out about how awesome you are.
  2. There’s nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fuck-yeah.

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Welcome to my garden of earthly delights.

January 3rd, 2018 · 8 Comments · Daily

Jeff gave me an Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker for Christmas and it scares the crap out of me so I’ve been doing all kinds of research because I need to be armed with information before I take the thing out of the box.

Due to the legalization of recreational marijuana in California, my television is blowing up with pot news. This morning I watched a segment about a team in San Francisco who is incorporating cannabis into meals, like a vegetable. The woman uses A PRECISION COOKER to simmer crushed cannabis. (They work under the name Sous Weed, and that’s both convenient and brilliant.) I had never seen a precision cooker before last week, and I’m now on high precision cooker alert, so they’re popping up everywhere—even in cannabis kitchens. Cosmic rhymes.

One of my dreams (dreams? goals? plans?) is to see Niagara Falls iced up. This morning Today was covering the weather from Niagara Falls, and would you just look at the face on the magnifier? Apparently, I was not the only person to notice it, but notice it I did and it delighted me for probably seven entire minutes.

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Would you like to know the other two things that delighted me today? (It was a triple delight day, which is Bald Eagle Eating a Tomato Sandwich While Perched on My Arm rare.)

This morning we took the girls out to Companion to celebrate the final day of winter break. This guy was tubbing up dough and I couldn’t get enough. I also couldn’t get enough of the bread pudding muffins. You know how I am.

 

Delight Number Three is coming up right now!

Jeff and I have been invited to an ugly sweater party this weekend, and I scoured (scoured!) the internet for the perfect sweater before deciding to make my own using some felt and an iPad (and a pre-made sweater, obviously). Ah, but I soon realized my limited skills so I ended up saying Screw It before ordering a dress sort of thing and some silver tights. Silver tights. SILVER TIGHTS.

This afternoon I received a text that my tights had been delivered. I ran out to the mailbox (mainly because the temperatures are below freezing), grabbed the package, ripped it open, and take a look at these.

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These are not silver tights. These are sparklepants in the front and fake black leather in the back. I initially felt disappointment (this is NOT what I ORDERED), but then it occurred to me that perhaps the universe knows me better than I know myself because: HELL YES, SPARKLEPANTS. They are a bit too small, but you know what? I’m willing to drop a few pounds for my sparklepants. (They’ve lived with us for less than five hours, and do you see how they’re already putting thoughts into my head? Bossy sparklepants.)

The power they’re supplying is electrifying.

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