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Forever Young was a single released by Rod Stewart in 1988.

April 14th, 2018 · 3 Comments · Daily

It has been 30 years since I graduated from high school, and tonight is our reunion. To put it into perspective (because I’m mad for perspective), if I had given birth to J.K. Rowling on the night of my high school graduation, she would currently be finishing up on the first Harry Potter manuscript. Also, Adele is 30. Rhianna? 30.

Do you know who isn’t 30? I’m not. I’m just a few weeks shy of 48 and I’m no longer giving birth to anyone, mainly because I paid someone named Cory to remove Uterus and The Endometriosis-Dipped Fallopian Brothers nearly four years ago. (That event is still going strong on my Top Five Best Decisions list.)

This is a photo taken at my 20 year reunion.

Ah, Bud Light.

I didn’t yet need glasses or daily medication. The wrinkles around my eyes had nothing to do with aging and everything to do with Carefree Whimsy, as evidenced by the fact that I was going sleeveless in a Here’s My Cleavage dress and not looking the least bit sober.

Last weekend I turned to one of my more ridiculous apps to see if I could gain some inspiration for this evening’s look.

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Hhhhhhhhh.

This morning I realized that I forgot to break in the shoes I purchased for this evening. They are flat canvas mary janes because I am as clumsy now as I was 30 years ago. Remember last week when I fell down and ripped my knee up in the high school parking lot? A similar thing happened 32 years ago, but the fall involved stairs and me looking something like this.

Anyway, I have the shoes on right now, both of my legs are asleep from my feet to my knees, and here’s hoping this sentence isn’t going to serve as foreshadowing.

Along with breaking in shoes, here are the other things I forgot to do:

1. Lose those damned 10 pounds that everyone talks about losing before events that involve seeing people you may not ever see again so who really cares? (I really care. Actually, I just sort of care. I 17% care.) ((I 28% care.))

2. Write a novel that served as a ticket for meeting Willie Geist, Salman Rushdie, and John Irving. How can I mention that “I just finished up my book tour.” if there is no book with which to tour?

3. Med school.

Welcome to Masterpiece Theater

I am watching The Pioneer Women as she smashes the hell out of a chicken while declaring, “I am a big fan of chicken skin, I have to say.” Could this be the metaphor I was waiting for? Let’s say Yes.

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I think that you shall never see a scab like the one on my knee.

April 8th, 2018 · 10 Comments · Daily

Once upon a time back in July of 2016, Jeff’s job was eliminated and somewhere a child finished the fourth Harry Potter book and a bird sang a song that sounded a little bit like the theme from Sanford and Son and a lost earring went unnoticed on a staircase. Everything kept happening and happening.

In March of 2018, Jeff started a full time job with a company he really likes and the tilts and hiccups from the previous eighteen months were sorted out and a baby horse took his first steps and someone spilled a bowl of cream of asparagus soup and a streetlight went out and then came back on again and Jeff scored tickets for the four of us to see Hamilton at the Fox Theatre on Wednesday night.

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Either you’ve seen it or you haven’t and you will or you won’t. Just know that although I’m physically incapable of crying, I teared up during The Story of Tonight because there we were.

On Thursday, I was able to meet a few friends for martinis and flatbread before hustling over to the monthly band booster meeting where imaginary punches were thrown and Jesus flipped the tables of the moneychangers and I tried to write a song in my head about how embarrassing it is to be human.

(This is the s’more martini I enjoyed with my flatbread. It wasn’t as good as Hamilton, but it was better than the Gilmore Girls revival.)

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The parking lot was completely dark when the meeting was over, so I took the opportunity to joke with a friend about the electrical cuts our school district is making as a result of the tax levy that failed a few days earlier. (I won’t talk about that here because I’m trying to not say The F Word.) AND that’s when I slipped and slammed myself to the ground and although I was able to preserve the integrity of my phone and my glasses, I was not able to save my leggings BECAUSE MY KNEE STARTED BLEEDING THROUGH THEM. Yet, I strode on with the dignity of a woman who was not losing blood and feeling rattled.

The lights on the lot put out nary a lumen.
Sometimes it’s embarrassing to be human.

On Friday, I took off my shirt and participated in a mammogram before driving 216 miles from my town to my sister’s town where I ate curried couscous, we played Scrabble with my nephew and his girlfriend, I bought a jacket, we ate burritos, we watched Meredith’s drumline compete at an MCCGA competition, we ate cereal, and then I packed up the car and drove the 216 miles back—stopping once in Bourbon, Missouri for a veggie sandwich at Planet Sub.

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And tomorrow kicks off a new week, because I choose to go Monday to Sunday.

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With my feet in the air and my head on the ground…

April 2nd, 2018 · 11 Comments · Daily

Do you know what sucks? A lot of things. (Raisins, taking down Christmas decorations, gas prices, the death of Betty White…) ((I know. It’s just that I want this post to stay current throughout the rest of time.))

Now that I have you here, I want to talk about my brain, because it’s another thing that sucks. I used to consider myself smart. Witty. Able to learn things quickly. Someone who can drive a car while listening to a book. Lately, though? I’ve been messing up.

  1. I checked out The Breakfast Club at the library on Thursday night, and when we all sat down to watch it on Friday, we found that I hadn’t unlocked the box before leaving the library.
  2. I tried to print out some Amazon gift cards yesterday. The computer kept telling me that the printer was offline. I muttered a few damnits and a few shits and I stomped around a bit and hit several buttons before Jeff noticed that the printer wasn’t plugged in. (I did NOT retract my damnits and shits. Sometimes you just have to let them float.)
  3. If I want to use the DVD player, I hit a bunch of random things on the remote and pray that magic happens. There have been times that I’ve given up on watching a DVD just because I couldn’t turn the thing on and life is hard.
  4. Last week I tried to say something really passionate about Dayton (Imagine!) and I accidentally yelled Denver and suddenly I disqualified myself from the conversation.
  5. More than once in the past three months I’ve said, “Hey! I’ll bring you some lentils!” and then I packed up some lentils and put them on the counter and walked out to the car and drove away without the lentils.
  6. Let’s take a break from this list for a second because I bought a shirt that I love and here it is. It is shipping from China and I think my order squeaked by right before the escalation of the trade wars. When the shirt arrives, I plan on showing it a very good time that may or may not include some Lebanese nachos. I also bought this because sometimes I want to look like my legs are coming out of a tulip.
  7. I will often say things like, “Put the soda back in the dishwasher.” When a cartoon animal is dressed up like another animal I can never tell what part is the animal and what part is the costume. I have no idea how to go to my sister’s house, and I’ve been there multiple times.
  8. Twice today I did something on Facebook that made me look like an idiot. Yesterday I typed IF instead of OF on a Facebook post and it sat there for over an hour without being fixed and I’M SUPPOSED TO BE AN EDITOR. I used to poke fun (in a very sensitive way, obviously) of people who made the same mistakes that I’m now making.

Because I really should balance discouraging with good: Here is a good thing that I did.

dress

I bought some alphabet fabric and a pattern last week and now a dress exists where before there was none. And I actually like it, which is unusual.

(Here is the pattern photo and the fabric. It’s Simplicity 6340. I’m on the fence about the pockets.)

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Finally, I would show you our annual Easter family photo, but Meredith was flashing a gang sign and I don’t want her to end up on a list somewhere. (You might think I’m kidding.) Instead, here is the photo from 2010.

Annual Pudding Easter Photo

Please don’t talk to me about hormones and aging and crossword puzzles.

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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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