When Did THAT Happen?

February 27, 2013 at 11:24 am | Posted in Horses, Kids, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Lately, I’ve been stumbling across various situations that remind me of my age and stage in life. I wouldn’t call it a mid-life crisis exactly, but I’m definitely in a contemplative mood these days. Here are just a few of the nagging questions that have been on my mind:

When did I go from…

Oh, FX35, how I miss thee...

Oh, FX35, how I miss thee…

Racing around in a hotrod to carting around a carload of kids?

Styling my hair with texturizing mousse to detecting the distinct aroma of Eau de Playdough in it?

Wearing high heels every day to wearing out a pair of sneakers every three months?

Being applauded for increasing clients’ product sales to being reprimanded by a 3-year-old for forgetting to buy applesauce?

MMmmmmm.

MMmmmmm.

Choosing a restaurant for their marvelous martini menu to choosing one based on their mac & cheese magic?

The 5:45 a.m. spin class to the 5:45 a.m. wet-bed-sheet-stripping workout? (The kids’ of course, not mine. I’m not that old yet!)

 

And for that matter, when did I go from…

“I’ll call you when I get there” (from a payphone, which you can’t find anymore) to thinking it’s not ok to leave the house for 10 minutes without a phone? (Remember when phones had cords… and “dialing” actually meant the phone had a dial??)

Being one of that group of girls at the bar (you know, the ones who dance on it) to being one of that group of middle-aged ladies (you know, the ones who are passing around a single pair of

Not actually us (just for the record)

Not actually us (just for the record)

reading glasses because some idiot printed the menu in mouse type and it’s too dimly lit to read anyway. Also, if we don’t get some food to go with these drinks soon there’s going to be some serious heartburn to deal with in the middle of the night. Where are those 12-year-olds who work here, anyway??) Goodbye crazy times…

Sleeping ‘til noon on Sunday to thinking it’s so cool that I can get up at 5:30 before everyone else and get so much done? (Is cleaning the toilets before anyone else is awake really that fulfilling? Maybe it’s the pre-dawn cat-licking [see So Crazy Right Now] that I am attracted to…)

Being a hot mama to having hot flashes?

 

And finally, when did I go from…

Galloping the length of the beach on my hotrod horse to thinking a nice easy trot down a

Going sideways is pretty slow.

Going sideways is pretty slow.

familiar trail (without any bucks or bolts) would be just fine?

Hopping up and riding bareback in from the paddock to carefully picking out the best footing for my 26-year-old gelding while I stumble through snow drifts and glide across glare ice?

20-mile trail rides to 20-minute tail brushing sessions?

 

But most importantly, I’m glad I’ve recently gone from…

Caring so much about products, businesspeople and price points to realizing the only truly important things in life are your babies, your buddies and your boyfriend (otherwise known as my husband!). Let’s try to keep it all in perspective, shall we?

xo

So Crazy Right Now

February 9, 2013 at 8:23 am | Posted in Kids, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Do I have to get slapped in the face with crazy the second I wake up?

“Oh, Michelle, you’re not crazy. Don’t say that about yourself!”

It’s not me I’m talking about, people.

Let’s start with the first thing I see/hear if I make the mistake of not getting up before everyone else in the house does: Monty the licker. Don’t get too excited. Monty is a CAT. He’s a crazy, obsessive-compulsive, over-bearing, hyper-demanding CAT who will come into my bedroom first thing in the morning screaming like a banshee and start LICKING… me, the comforter, the sheets, the pillows… anything he can get his tongue on. I have no idea why he does this and I have never met a cat like him. He came from the shelter as a “stray” (although after years of having him we’re pretty sure someone dropped his nutty ass off) and now he lives with us. Lucky, lucky us.

That’s crazy #1 to start my day.iPhone Download 2012 057

Next comes a whole heap of hooey from number-one son, who leaps into my bed (risking a severe licking from said cat) ranting about the dream he just had. You know, the one about the talking buffalo from Bugaboo Creek (I can’t believe I was stupid enough to take him there. I thought it would be fun. I thought he would get a kick out of it. [I certainly didn’t go for the gourmet food, although I’m still fantasizing about the 10,000 lb. chocolate cake we had for dessert.] I must have forgotten for 5 1/2 seconds that kids with Asberger’s Syndrome are anxious and literal and the first questions he would ask about the giant talking buffalo head on the wall was, “Can he get out of there? Is he going to come over here? Can he see me? Is he talking to me? When is he going to talk again? Does he know my name? How did he get up there? Where’s his owner? When can we go home?” And that a trip to the bathroom would entail hands clapped over ears [even though the buffalo was not talking] and a 20-minutes-out-of-our-way walk to successfully circumnavigate said buffalo without a chance encounter.). And so, of course, the mania about the talking buffalo continued on the 30-minute car ride home and then right into the night, where Brady insisted he had spent his dream time wandering the house trying to save himself and our family from it. And all this because “Trick”, his giant stuffed horse (whom he regularly pretends is a stuffed cat even though he has 26 stuffed cats), was pretending to be a giant talking Buffalo all night long and continually bamboolzing Brady with his shenanigans.

And that, my friends, was crazy #2 to start my day.Brady Michael Buck Teeth

Then, number-two son, being fascinated and flummoxed by all things big brother, picks up on Brady’s train of thought (if you can call it that) and is high-tailing it through the house shrieking that there’s a buffalo in their room and we should head for the hills. Brady screams back that it is only TRICK (the giant stuffed horse/cat) PRETENDING to be a buffalo, and so a bellowing fight ensues between the boy in my bed and the boy in the hall. This goes on until Michael can be convinced to join us and take his licking like a man. Meanwhile, I’m still just trying to wipe the sleep out of my eyes and shake off the dream I had about frozen margaritas at a swim-up bar in Cozumel. As if.

That was crazy #3.Michael Kissing

And so eventually we all stumble downstairs, where my wound-just-a-little-too-tight husband is insisting that there’s a strange red light on in the back-up power generator and since there’s a BLIZZARD coming (Or maybe it’s just 4 inches of snow, I never know for sure with his overreactive nature. Also, have you ever noticed how men over-call the number of inches something is? Like snow or… other stuff? That’s a topic for another day.) I’d better cancel all my plans and hunker down to wait for the generator company to make an emergency service call. Now. Today. Before it’s too late.

Come on. Red wine keeps. Is it really an emergency if the power goes out?

Hello, crazy #4.Boys2Men

And finally, the chaos in my own mind, whirling and swirling about what needs to get done today, what can’t possibly get done today, and how much Advil it’s going to take to get me through the day. And, course, what color eye shadow I am going to wear. Priorities, people.

So now you see why I always try to get up before everyone else. A mother’s work is never done, but at least she can fend off the crazy a little better when fortified by a cup of tea and a few minutes of pre-dawn silence. Here’s to 5:30 a.m. May it arrive free of wet beds and bad dreams. Those are for 6:10 a.m.

xo

Bedazzled

October 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Beauty, Kids, The Real Housewives | 6 Comments
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I wore sparkly, bedazzled jeans to school drop-off, gymnastics, karate, and the grocery store today.

I know they were completely out of place in those venues. I realize they might have been a bit over-the-top. Even 6-year-old Brady, after rubbing my bejeweled butt for a minute, proclaimed them to be “weird”. But I just got them and I love them, so shut UP!

I also love make-up and hairspray (raised in the 80s, anyone?), and those things are hard to love here in Maine. There’s a whole juggernaut of plain-Janes running around. A regulation-sized soccer field full of Sporty Spices. Hey, I’m sporty. I mountain bike. I ride horses, and that is a dirty-ass sporty sport! But I still like spangled jeans and sparkly eye shadow.

This is probably an ongoing surprise to my Mom, who had to fight me into every dress I ever wore as a little girl. They were mostly reserved for Sundays at church, and I can still remember asking her why God cared if we were dressed up or not. Could He even see us? “Of course He can,” she replied, “It’s HIS HOUSE!” And now I’m appalled at what I see in church – spaghetti-strap tank tops that show your titty tattoos and short-shorts that would make Daisy Duke blush (are you even wearing underwear??).

But I digress.

The thing is just that… I love BEAUTY and everything that goes with it! Putting on make-up every day is like my own personal art project. Can I wear green eye shadow with this purple top? Does this shade of lipstick make my skin look grey? Will I ever be brave enough to wear those false eyelashes out in public?

I guess the real question is: How much is too much for a stay-at-home mom?

This is probably very dependent on where you live. Those babes on The Real Housewives of Orange County/Beverly Hills/NYC/New Jersey are always dripping with double-decker glam. Whether it be for a trip to the opera or a quick jaunt to the grocery store (as if they actually EAT), it seems sequins and 5-inch heels are never off limits. How do they tend to their kids in those get-ups? With small children, I have to bend over constantly, and this is no small feat in low-slung jeans (hello, butt-crack), short skirts (um, other crack) or low-cut tops (that’s technically not a crack). And try doing that while maintaining your composure (and dignity and modesty) while wearing platform wedges! Of course, if you’re lucky, your kid will throw a fit in whatever public place you happen to be and you’ll have to pick up all 38 pounds of whirling, writhing, screaming child in your razor-thin stilettos and carry him out. Meanwhile, you were wondering if those shoes could actually hold YOUR post-baby poundage, never mind you plus the butterball that is your 3-year-old. Good luck with that.

It’s tough being a Mom who still wants to look hot. Or at least human. I was recently at a 5-year-old’s birthday party that was held at a gym. I thought I looked cute and somewhat appropriate in my embroidered sleeveless top and white capris. Then in walked a mother ‘from away’ (Mainer talk for ‘you don’t live here’) wearing a tight black top and jeans with carefully placed rips all up and down the front of them. And in the rips were…. wait for it… GOLD BEADS!!! Rows and rows of them!! I scoffed and turned away. Clearly this woman did not know what to wear to a child’s birthday party! But on the inside, I died a little. I wanted to wear jeans like that and get away with it!!

So how to marry the two? Here is what I propose:

– The false eyelashes and red patent-leather handbag make the cut when you’re going out to dinner, not to the soccer field.

– Save the heavy glitter eye make-up and over-the-top lipliner for drinks with the girls, but don’t be afraid to dust on a little shimmer here and there on a daily basis.

– If you’re going to wear high heels of any type with your kids in tow, make sure you have the hubs with you to handle any “Pick me UUUPPPP!!!!”s that come your way.

– Bouffe (I think I made that word up) up your hair like crazy for weddings, evening parties and trips to the big city, but let’s keep it casual for the girls’ softball team, ok?

– And never, ever, under any circumstances does mascara make your butt look big. So slather it on, girls. Every day, all the time.

xo

Perfection

September 26, 2012 at 10:24 am | Posted in Horses, Kids | 2 Comments
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I’m watching my son try to become “king of the hill” in his karate class. They’re practicing Jujitsu wrestling, so this means he has to find a way to disengage and flip the kid on top of him over, then hold him down for a few seconds. I’m watching calmly, nodding and smiling at Brady and the Sensei, while my inner narrative goes something like this, “Come ON, Brady!! Get him! Just trap that arm – TRAP IT! Now bridge… BRIDGE!! You can flip him! You can win! You can be the best!!!” Meanwhile, I’m talking to a dad standing next to me about how it’s ok for our boys to not do it perfectly, and he’s telling me how hard it is for his wife to watch the class because she gets so frustrated when their son doesn’t do exactly what he’s supposed to do. I share this feeling and cringe inwardly all the time – especially with a child like Brady who doesn’t always go with the flow.

What is all this pressure, desire, demand to be perfect? Where does it come from, and why do we try so hard to achieve it and want it so badly for our kids?

I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist in that down-to-every-last-detail sort of way. That would be my husband. I strive for things to be very well done, but they don’t have to be perfect. Such as, I’ll make the bed because it looks nice and is lovely to slide into at the end of the day, but every sheet corner doesn’t have to be tucked in and the comforter doesn’t have to be flawlessly smooth. Of course, I do feel guilty if the bed isn’t made (bad mother, wife, housekeeper!).

My husband, on the other hand, will not even begin a task unless he can see it through to ultimate completion. Every single tiny cobweb must be off the exterior of the house, every flake of snow removed from the walkway/driveway/deck, every speck of dirt lifted from the interior of his car (Oh, you should SEE his car!! It’s 6 years old with over 100k miles on it and it looks and smells brand new! The man is super-human.).

So what of my boys?

Brady and I see a behavioral therapist once/week who has helped us immensely with his anxiety and other difficult aspects of Asperger’s Syndrome. Her philosophy is “We play games to have fun, not to win. Who cares who wins?” Who cares who wins?? I care!! What is that? It doesn’t matter who wins? Isn’t that half the fun of playing? Winning? And if I teach my kids that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose (I know, I know, ‘it’s how you play the game’ – I agree, that’s important, too), will they be slovenly couch potatoes with no drive? Is this something that comes from personality or programming? So many questions about perfection…

Back in the days when I used to show my horses, I started out wanting to win every class and getting really upset if I didn’t get a trophy or at least place. Over time, I realized that the important thing was that I had the best possible ride. If the judge didn’t see us or didn’t like my horse, I couldn’t really help that. I could only control what and how we did in the ring. But the important distinction here is that I still went in with the intention to win. I trained and practiced and hoped for it. I TRIED to win. And working that hard made me a better rider. What changed was my attitude. I learned to pet my horse on the neck, thank him for the great ride, and smile on my way through the outgate because my equine companion gave me everything I wanted, even if the judge didn’t.

I can see when Brady is practicing karate that he’s a lover, not a fighter. After wrestling for a few minutes, he’ll lie there and pat the kids’ head with whom he’s practicing. I can tell now by the way he glances at me as they play “king of the hill” that he’s trying to win for me, because he knows I want him to, not because he wants to. Maybe he’s just not that competitive. So what I’ve told him is that he doesn’t have to be the best, he just has to give it his best. Try his hardest. I suppose that’s all we can ask from any of us. I’m still going to try to win. But I don’t have to be perfect. And neither do my boys.

xo

What’s the Point?

June 29, 2012 at 9:13 am | Posted in Horses | 2 Comments
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Recently, I was lucky enough to have a hot stone massage. The therapist came into the room and kindly asked me if I had any “trouble areas” that I would like her to work on. Enter “deer in the headlights” look from me. Any “trouble areas”? Lady, I have horses! My entire body is a trouble area! I’ve had my bell rung more times than most football players! In fact, I fell off my 26-year-old gelding just a few weeks ago :0. One minute we were standing there regarding a new trail, the next minute I was launched to the left, twisted in mid-air, and dumped on my back as he threw one of those down-low-and-to-the-right mega-spooks. Usually I can stay with him when he does that – just not that time.

Recently, I was reading about a new syndrome they’ve discovered that occurs from having your brain slap against your skull a few too many times. It usually starts in your 50’s with symptoms like mild loss of balance and vertigo, then progresses to complete and total dementia. When I saw this article, I copied it and handed it to my husband. The conversation went something like this:

“Here. You might want to read this in case I start to exhibit any of these symptoms in the next 10 years.”

“What?”

“Well, I’ve fallen off the horses a lot over the years. Plus I’ve been knocked out a few other times playing as a kid. Isn’t it awful when you get knocked out?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you ‘don’t know’”?

“I’ve never been knocked out.”

What???!!!” (What kind of a namby-pamby wimp did I marry??) “You’ve never been knocked out?? Didn’t you play football?? Ride your bike?? Swing on a rope swing?”

“Yeah. But I’ve never been knocked out!”

“Ok, Nancy-pants, well, if I start to get inexplicably dizzy in my early 50’s, take me to the doctor before I forget your name, all right?”

“Um, ok, I guess.”

At this point, I’m thinking he’s probably just going to point and laugh if I start stumbling around on the stone walkway. Heck, he probably threw that article away and is just waiting for the day I come downstairs in the morning, stare at the microwave, and ask when we put a TV in the kitchen. I probably deserve it anyway.

So here I am in the massage therapist’s room, thinking about my ailments. I told her to work on my shoulder or something, but as I was lying on the table I began to make a mental list of all the injuries and insults to my body over the years. It went something like this:

Head:  Whacked, thumped and given a concussion numerous times, due to horse falls, mountain biking flips and a childhood rope swing mishap (perhaps we shouldn’t have hung that rope swing over a 15-foot drop in the woods?).

Neck: Whiplash #1 occurred in a car accident in my 20’s. I actually wore one of those neck braces for over a month – you know, the one the guy wore on the Brady Bunch when he was trying to say Carol crunched his car in the parking lot? Just like that. My poor neck has also suffered a number of bonks along with my head in my many horse falls.

Collarbone: This lovely area of my anatomy was partially separated on one side when my horse Locky decided to separate himself from me during a mount-up. I never got my weight centered or my right foot in the stirrup, and Locky took off like a shot. Don’t remember the fall, and my collarbone has apparently forgotten how to re-locate to my sternum.

Lower Back: Any horse person knows that pretty much every time you hit your head falling off, your back takes a blow as well. Add ‘em up. My most recent favorite fall was last winter, when I rode Locky around the frozen driveway in my heavy gear and high-backed trail saddle. When I began to dismount, I caught my thick winter boot on the back of the saddle. Apparently the force of my launching myself off made me flip my entire body over in the air and land, POW, on my back on the rock-hard ground. Great job, hotshot. You’ve only dismounted, what, 800,492 times in your life??

Right Hip: This is an old one from my 20’s as well. I had just bought hot little Diablo and of course, being 23, was feeling invincible. I decided it would be a good idea to canter home along the side of the road (mistake #1) and to practice riding with no stirrups as well. Duh. Of course a giant, horse-eating bird flew out of a bush right in front of us, resulting in a huge spook to the left. And, having no stirrups and nothing to brace against, my body went hard-right. I can still remember clinging to his side as he galloped down the road thinking, “There is no way I can get myself back into the saddle or my feet under me. Guess I’ve got to let go now.” WHAM! went right hip onto hard pavement. CHICA-BOOM, CHICA-BOOM, CHICA-BOOM went horse’s feet as he galloped home. Some nice people in a minivan peeled me off the road and drove me to the barn. Mom drove me to the hospital, all the while complaining that she “thought these days were over now that I was grown up”. Sorry, Mom, in my 40’s and still getting driven to the hospital because of the horses. Sometimes in an ambulance. Ouch.

Pelvis: Here is an injury actually not caused my horses or sports. The delivery of my first son, Brady, resulted in a separated pelvis, which meant I was unable to walk or support my weight without a walker or crutches for about 3 months. 38-year-old woman with a walker – beautiful sight! Thank God I found my amazing D.O. after 6 months to get the pain in check. And thank God for C-sections for baby #2!

Tailbone: This interesting piece of anatomy also suffered in the “bolting fall” off of Locky. I must have landed flat on my head/shoulders/back as all three suffered. Still don’t remember, but my bruised tailbone remembered for about 6 weeks after that one!

Feet: Been stepped on numerous times by those big lugs who don’t know where their giant feet are landing at any given time. Or maybe they do….

So, what should I have told that poor massage therapist? She would have passed out if I’d started spewing this litany of complaints! So I picked the thing that was plaguing me most at the moment and sounded legit: my right shoulder and a little bit of sciatica. The massage was nice, the therapist was excellent, and I’m going riding today. Let’s hope I stay in the saddle. That is, after all, the point.

xo

Age vs. Beauty

June 16, 2012 at 6:45 am | Posted in Beauty, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Someone please explain this to me:

Men get better looking as they get older.

Women start looking like old hags. (I include myself in this description.)

Case in point: When men get salt & pepper hair, it is somehow both fitting and sexy. A few crinkles around the eyes are disarming and still attractive (think George Clooney on both of these accounts). When older men get deep tans (from golfing, boating, bird-watching, etc.), it makes them look even better. Even a slight paunch on an older man is easy to ignore and doesn’t really affect his overall look.

Now let’s take a look at the situation for women:

The second a woman gets even one gray hair, it ages her by about 10 years. Salt and pepper makes a 40-year-old look 60. And I don’t even want to go into the “all gray” look.

Our “crinkles” are called “crow’s feet” (where did THAT attractive saying come from?) and a crow might as well have pooped on our face for all the damage those do. “She looks pretty young until she smiles and you see all those wrinkles around her eyes!” No wonder those pre-Botox society ladies held their faces so stock still and never smiled! They didn’t want to make or show any more crow’s feet!!

And natural (not spray) deep tans on older women just look, well, gross. Their skin looks leathery (why is it that men’s skin seems to look smoother and more glowy when they get tan??), the already-present age spots and extra freckles show up even more, and they simply look like they’re trying too hard.

Don’t even get me started on what 2 extra pounds do to us women over 40. No “paunch” is acceptable, nor are the spreading hips or saggy upper arms. You have to remain a stick (I recently read that a young starlet is on a 1200 calorie-per-day diet. 1200 CALORIES PER DAY!!! I can eat 1200 calories in one sitting and not even feel full!!). We all know staying that thin is nearly impossible, especially as you get a little older. Except for that g-d Sarah Jessica Parker, who is at least starting to look a bit haggard in all her skinny-ness.

What type of nasty trick is Mother Nature playing on us? Or perhaps I should call he/she FATHER Nature!

So now we are supposed to hold onto our men when they keep getting better looking, and we’re stuck slathering ourselves with creams and potions, hair tints and spray tans. And of course there are so many young cuties walking around, flaunting their cellulite-free legs, fake boobs and flat tummies.

So, in the spirit of sisterhood, here are a few of my tips on how age beautifully and gracefully, all while keeping your ever-better-looking man interested and engaged:

  • Never let your hair go gray. Ever. Not even one tiny little strand! Sorry, girls, but this is the cold hard truth. Love it or leave it.
  • Dress the part. By now we know what looks good on our body types. We also know what looks good on teenagers and that ne’er the two shall meet. You got it, flaunt it, but do it tastefully and age-appropriately. (Last night I saw a woman out dancing who had to be at best in her mid-60’s. Despite the frighteningly-obvious pulled-tight plastic surgery and the lithe body, she looked ridiculous in her midriff-baring sparkly top, 14 bracelets on each arm, spiky-hair rocker ‘do, right arm tattoo and I-don’t-know-how-many earrings and ear clips in each ear. Face it, honey, you are an older woman, and you DON’T look good in the latest Jeffrey Sebelia designs!)
  • Never let ‘em see you sweat. Confidence, ladies. If there’s one thing I learned in my 30s and (still early) 40s it’s that I’ve got it going on in so many more ways than one. I know who I am, what I stand for, and what I want in life. This is very sexy. Trust me.
  • Be as sweet as nine-layer pie (Mmmm, I want me some of that. Oh, but the hips). You know your man better than anyone, and you can always out-sweet those nasty, spoiled, immature little floozies.
  • And whatever you do, don’t try to be something you’re not. Your man, friends, family and everyone else in your life loves you for you. So be the fabulous, amazing, gray-hair-hiding woman that you are. I love you that way, and so do they.

xo

Things I Love

June 1, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Posted in Horses, Kids, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Things I love about my husband:

He leaves me a glass of wine when he takes the boys outside to play while I make dinner.

He looks sexy even in a t-shirt & jeans.

He cleans my car – of snow, dirt, kids’ debris – whatever.

He listens to and knows a lot about classical music.

He listens to and knows a lot about classic jazz.

He listens to and knows a lot about Pearl Jam.

He knows a lot about a lot of things (ok, this can be annoying sometimes).

He smells good.

He treats me like a princess.

Things I love about my boys:

They help me look at things in ways I haven’t before.

They encourage me to slow down and study the grass, bugs, flowers, car tires, sky, dirt, leaves and so much more.

They are creative and funny.

They find a construction site in a plate of food.

They find a plate of food in the sandbox.

They teach me something new nearly every day.

They are both just a little bit crazy.

 

 

Things I love about my horses:

The way they look.

The way they smell.

The way they sound.

The way they feel.

 

 

Things I love in general:

The softness of my cats.

The smell of the outdoors.

A fast car.

A slow meal.

That first cup of tea in the morning.

That last kiss on the cheeks of my two sleeping boys.

Oh, and gossip. Sweet, sweet gossip.

xo

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