You’re Only As Old as You Feel. Or something.

Linking up with my happy place today over at Five Minute Friday!

The theme?

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It’s my birthday today. I’m forty eight. Which is impossible. I kinda feel like that “Sunrise, Sunset” song, only all that sweet nostalgia is not about my children growing up. I’m all… “Is this the little girl I carried… Is this the little boy at play?”

NO. NOT IT’S NOT. IT’S ABOUT ME AND I AM REALLY OLD AND I CAN’T CARRY ANYTHING IT’S MY BIRTHDAY.

I walked to class this morning and the sun was all crisp and cut, coming through the trees, and it was so cold. It was the perfect winter day. And THEN a small deer came out of the woods and waved and a bird came and alighted on my shoulder and sang to me. A chipmunk handed me a gift card.

Not doing drugs on my birthday, I promise. This really is just how I am.

I arrived at my classroom, and one of my friends came in, singing happy birthday to me. (No, she really did. She was real.) And then, she told me this:

“You know you’re only as old as you feel.”

“But, what if you feel sixty-seven? Like… I have things on my body heading south. Things on my body are traveling to places where they are not supposed to go. There is sagging. Sagging is not good.”

“Well. Just keep looking up. That’s all that matters.”

(This was not the exact conversation. I don’t remember it exactly because I’m too old, and your memory’s the first thing to go.)

Here are my top ten reasons why it is a happy birthday:

I REALLY NEED TO EMPHASIZE THESE ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.

1. Larry, Moe, and… Bob.

Note: The image of Bob in this picture is not actual. I didn’t want to go search her paranoid little furry self out, and so there you go. Also, I would like to note that Steve and Vader are giving kisses in this pic because they are preshus woodum coodums.

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2. This morning, Red greeted me with one open eye from his top bunk, and said: ‘Happy birthday mommah” then rolled deeper into his blankie.

3. From the bottom bunk, Blonde swung his hand out and hit me right in the crotch, meaning to spank me, I guess? So, you know. Love is painful. But I thank you for Blonde, and, I thank you that my crotch is still ok.

4. Did you know, if you write “crotch” more than once in a few sentences, you start to get really obsessed with that word and it starts to sound all weird? And it’s just an awful word anyway? So from hereon, I will now refer to it as The Honorable Lady Fagina.

5. Don’t really know what #4 was all about but let’s keep moving. I am ALSO grateful for the fact that I woke up this morning. Boom.

6. My book. The second one. I am editing it right now which is kinda like having a hang nail and then pulling it off so your finger starts weeping blood all over and then you try to put a bandaid on it but that just gets soggy and then you accidentally spill a bottle of lemon juice on your hand and you get the idea.

I realize that doesn’t sound very grateful. But, it’s always darkest before the dawn. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Also, when God shuts a door somewhere he opens a window?

Cannot you just SEE how I got a book deal in the first place?

Anyhow, the book is all about perfectionism and so of course editing it is going REALLY well. Irony is just coming up and bludgeoning me over the head with this whole thing. “HA!” says Irony. “You gotta perfect a book about being PERFECT!” *SMACK!*

And then Irony snaps and sashays away. Such a jerk.

7. My husband. I was gonna post his as #5 but that seemed weird. I love it that he gets me. That I can bed-shame him (no, it’s not what you think).

This morning, I came upon the bed looking like this, and so I did what I had to do. I texted him about it:

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And then, later we had this conversation:

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He gets me. Which is so very necessary because otherwise I don’t think we woulda made it past date #1. And then, there would be NO Blonde, or Red… and I would probably be living in a van down by the river.

Whoa. This is so very It’s a Wonderful Life. This will be a future post, I promise. I bet you can’t wait.

8. A Muppet Christmas Carol

Although, the first time I tried to watch this movie with the boys Red was about three and he took one look at the opening number and ran, kind of bleating, from the room. I never really got it out of him, what terrified him so. I think somehow he still thinks that this whole real people/ muppet people universe is really out there, just waiting for him to happen upon it, and he is so creeped out. I have tried for FIVE years straight to watch it with him, and each time he sort of shudders and avoids looking at the dvd, like its a portal to the netherworld. Who knew that Fozzie could cause such stress?

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9. I forgot the rest. I feel the need to go lie down and watch Golden Girls for a few hours. Maybe drink some Ensure.

10. You guys. I just love you.

In the span of I don’t know how many years now, I have gained so many readers, written for all sorts of magazines, published a book, am working on a second one, and a partridge in a pear tree. None of this (maybe excepting the partridge – debatable) would have been remotely possible without you.

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Not a lot of depth, whole lotta shimmy and shake.

I used to think that reality television was so lame, y’all. I mean, who would want to watch some mom try to feed her eight children while learning her new dance routine while losing weight and also picking fights with everyone?

Who would wanna watch that?

ME, THAT’S WHO.

Ok. I am not into a ton of reality shows. I have my favorites. They usually involve food and anything with Paul Hollywood, and I tell you, true. Paul Hollywood could butter toast and it would be done with a steely, blue eyed stare and he wouldn’t even have to touch the butter with a knife: HIS EYES WOULD MELT THE BUTTER. LIKE MELT IT, RIGHT ON THAT TOAST.

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But I digress. My POINT is that I wonder sometimes… do you guys really wanna read about my life? Like… watch me do some laundry and then put it away? Like… that really makes good reading? For reals?

Well, if the Kardashians can do it, so can I.

Scratch that. I kinda have to think that the Kardashians have someone ELSE do their laundry. They mainly seem to sit around on huge, fluffy couches a lot and then do yoga in impossibly tight and misappropriated yoga clothing.

Anyhow. I am telling you all of this, to basically say:

This post is about nuthin. Well, almost nothing. It’s like on the cusp of nothing.

Like every reality show, in the history of ever, there’s not a lot going on here, but there’s a whole lotta shimmy and shake.

So, we got back from Thankgsiving. We were gone for three days. It was like a non stop buffet of really good food (I tried to be good but at one point I think I might have actually taken the entire “take home for the family” plate of pie upstairs in bed. My husband found me gnawing on it like a guilty chipmunk, and then Brian walked toward me, and I had a mouth full of pecan pie and I tried to have a totally normal conversation with him. It was pathetic. I relinquished the pie plate, sorrowfully, after that. It was like Intervention, only with pastry.)

So, after we got back home, I looked around.

It was like my house got mad at me while we were gone. It was a MESS.

There are levels of mess in every house’s life. Some levels are just cluttered. Some are disheveled.

This house looks like it partied in Vegas all weekend.

I texted the husband:

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He responded with his oh-so-usual caring: I’ll help, don’t worry, it’s not so bad nonsense. But I knew, I KNEW, that if I did not deal with that house they would never find me. I would be buried under forty loads of Batman underwear and dirty dishes that learned to procreate on their own.

Of course, while I was cleaning I did have a helper.

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This is Dog. He has some sort of device implanted in his brain that makes him follow me closely wherever I go. Also, I do know I have the beigest hall in the history of halls. It’s a sad little hallway.

So, I would walk down beige hall to put laundry away.

Dog: OH MY GOODNESS I WILL GO TOO! WE WILL GO TOGETHER! WE ARE ONE AND I JUST CANNOT STOP STARING AT YOU BECAUSE YOU SMELL SO GOOD AND I LOVE YOU. THIS HALLWAY REALLY COULD USE A SPLASH OF COLOR!

Then, I walk back the other way, same beige hallway.

Dog: OH NOW WE’RE GOING TO GO ANOTHER WAY?? I THINK THAT’S THE BEST IDEA EVER! YOU ARE SO SMART AND CLEVER HOW YOU WALK BACK AND FORTHING WITH THE PILES OF THINGS! I LOVE YOU!

Then, I go down the stairs. Beige is done.

Dog: Oh HO! THIS IS SO EXCITING! DOWNSTAIRS! I LOVE THAT PLACE! I LOVE THE DOWNSTAIRS WALKING!

And so on.

Dog: AND I LOVE YOU.

Enough, dog.

So, after about four hours of washing clothes I was done. (How did so many clothes HAPPEN? I will give away all the clothes. That’s what I’ll do.)

(Should make for an interesting, albeit chilly, winter.)

And that is my post. It is basically about me doing laundry, but there is also this:

As I was walking back and forth, to the endless delight of Dog, I got a great idea for a story. I needed to write it down, so I grabbed my little notebook. Then, I looked for a place to store the notebook, because as every good writer knows, ones notebook must go back and forthing with you, everywhere, because you never know when the good ideas are gonna strike.

I didn’t have on a bra. That is how I clean. I refuse to be constrained. I might need to clean something up high, and my bra could accidentally snap and strangle me, and I would be found, later, by my husband, snagged by a bra strap, with the cats hungrily circling me.

It could happen.

Also: bras are just a pain.

So, I couldn’t tuck the notebook into my bra. Instead, I tucked it inside my pants. Logical. Sorta weird, but logical.

And then I kinda forgot it was there, until I went to the store and as I was walking down an aisle I laid a notebook.

Undeterred, I said, “Ta DA!” and picked it up and went in search of applesauce.

Dog: I STILL LOVE YOU.

The end.

 

 

 

“I would eventually have to tell.”

Let me show you how God works.

In my case, God does not work in mysterious ways. He knows, with me, he has to be a lot more CLEAR. He has to be, because I am, well, stubborn.

Y’all. Seriously. I’m “stubborn” like Richard Simmons is “Sassy.” We work it.

Anyhow… A few years ago I lost my mind. I drowned myself in a lot of wine, on a daily basis, and then, when the wine was over my head and I was choking for sanity, I grabbed onto more bottles and just sank even lower.

God worked: He got me out of there. He helped me out, dried me off, and we keep walking together. In fact, I am stuck to Him like really needy and sober GLUE until I get to meet him personally.

God worked. He got me writing gigs to keep me busy, and He asked me to start talking about the near-drowning stuff. He said, “Now. You need to tell.”

I now have a gig writing with Nazarene Publishing House. A column, for The Community, a blog that “provides content, insight, training, and conversations that inspire spiritual growth.”

I am totally freaked out that I am writing a column for anything that involved “training” and “spiritual growth.” I’m the one who used Richard Simmons earlier in this post, as a sort of analogous mentor, remember?

But yet, I’m a part of their crew. Ok, God does work in mysterious ways.

Now, I don’t usually do this, but I’m gonna ask you a favor. If you would, go peruse? Maybe subscribe? Follow on facebook, twitter, you know the drill. Perhaps I am biased, but there is some really good writing on there.

If you want to see my article, click here. Then, take a look around. It’s a good community.

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This is MY Netflix shirt.

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You guys.

I have told you about my fabulous gig with Netflix, haven’t I?

Yep. I post monthly on various shows that I love or my kids love or even the hubs (but his cue is all full of documentaries about World War II, so his options are a bit more… grim). Netflix took me on for this gig over two years ago, and the bonus was that I receive a free membership for my blogs.

It all seemed a perfect fit. I love Netflix. I love free. Voila! We were meant for each other!

And then. You guys.

They started sending me stuff.

Like, toys for the kids. And a charger thing-ie for my laptop (I don’t know what it is, but the husband does and says it’s awesome, so there).

And, and yes. JUST A TELEVISION.

But this latest little giftie? It’s the best. THE BEST.

LOOKIT!

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My PRESHUSSSSSSS.

I don’t have to share it. It is mine. Know why it’s mine? BECAUSE IT SAYS IT RIGHT THERE ON THE SHIRT.

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It’s all soft and comfy, my Netflix shirt. It completes me.

And, just recently, I actually WATCHED Netflix, whilst wearing MY shirt. And my head nearly blew off. From the coolness and meta-ness (yes that’s a word) of it all. And also because I was on my seventh hour of House of Cards. That show is intense.

Ok, so today’s post is about sharing. ‘Cuz sharing is caring, after all. But here’s the thing:

I don’t wanna share.

Moms so have to share all the time. Their food. Their boobs. Their breathing space, for Pete’s sake. So, this is all about the Netflix shows that I JUST DON’T WANNA SHARE ANYMORE!

What I mean is, I watch these lovelies all alone because they are probably not ok for little eyeballs, and to me, that’s not sharing. I realize it is kinda a wonky definition, but let’s face it. My ideas of sharing were pretty much blown out of the water when the little ones first took up residence in my uterus. Sweet little parasites.

Did she just say that? Did she just say her preshus angels were parasites?

Which brings me to my first show:

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I really don’t need to explain, do I? He has, like, a bunch of kids. He makes fun of parenting. And not once does he drop the F bomb. ‘Nuff said.

And then:

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There are days, my friends, where I need to dial up my pink taffeta prom dress memories. I had puffy sleeves the size of watermelons, y’all. And I worked it.

 

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So, this is kind of a veer from cute and pink, but you guys. I LOVE this show. It’s just so good. And, as it is British, it makes it extra good. The accents, you know.

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Yes. I know. Back to the cuteness. It’s total southern stuff. It’s got cuteness and fluff written all over it, and by tarnation, I LIKE IT.

Mainly, I like it because I spend the majority of the show coveting Lemon Breeland’s (played by Jaime King) wardrobe. Just her WARDROBE could have a show of its own, you read me?

I mean, just LOOK:

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If you google, ‘Lemon outfits” google already knows. She is just that fabulous. Well, first you will get a slew of actual lemon outfits because the internet tries so hard, but eventually Miss Breeland shows up with her sparkles!

Sharing is caring. I know. But sometimes? Momma needs her couch and a blanket and NO ONE ELSE IN THE ROOM while she watches her Netflix.  And if someone could find me a cardigan like the one pictured above, perfection.

But for now, I’ll settle for some sweet tea and my, MY Netflix shirt.

A Favorite Hero.

Guys guys guys!

I just found a total gem on The Great and Mighty Netflix that I wanted to share with you.

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Ohhhhh my. How I loved this. It’s my FAVORITE. Here’s why:

  1. I grew up on Siskel and Ebert. I LOVE movies. But, as a kid who didn’t get out much – I LOVED watching Siskel and Ebert’s show ABOUT movies even more. I absolutely loved it when they got grumpy with each other. It was affectionate and intense and reminded me of home. 🙂
  2. Ebert wrote a book called Your Movie Sucks. He really really REALLY hated a lot of movies, and his scathing, hilarious reviews of them ended up as a best seller.

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I mean. Look at that FACE.

Here is an example of such prose, when reviewing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:

“[The movie] is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys.”

I LOVE HIM. MY FAVORITE.

3. The director of this documentary, Steve James, also directed one of my all time best, most favorite, winner of all things films: Hoop Dreams.

4. It’s a documentary. Documentaries are my favorite films because they are real. They capture things that are real. I kinda like real. But only when it leaves me with hope and maybe after crying. This did both. I had hope, and I cried. Documentaries can do that, and this one does it well.

5. He fought cancer with dignity and bravery and humor. He is my courageous favorite.

6. And, finally, Ebert is in my special group. He’s one of us. He was in recovery, for over thirty years. This makes him simply more awesome, in every way.

Here is an article that he wrote about his sobriety. It’s also my favorite. It’s awesome and honest and heartfelt and accomplished and has that painfully clear edge to it that so many writers have… It’s my favorite favorite.

My Name is Roger Ebert, and I’m an Alcoholic

So. Did you get the feeling that he might have been one of my favorites?

He was.

Watch Life Itself. If you do, you’re my favorite.

Mr. Ebert, you are my favorite. I give you two thumbs up.

As a Netflix Streamteam blogger, Netflix asks me to watch their fabulousness and them chatter about it. It's a great gig.

As a Netflix Streamteam blogger, Netflix asks me to watch their fabulousness and them chatter about it. It’s a great gig.

How to do a Book Signing. By: A Very Important Person

How to Do a Book Signing

By: Someone so Famous I Almost Can’t Stand It

1. Find out about book signing months in advance. Feel a warm glow of anticipation. Like looking forward to Christmas. Or when the next Star Wars movie comes out.

2. Time passes. Realize you have one week until you leave. Start scheduling the freaking out to occur with regularity from hereon.

3. Arrange childcare, pack, make meals because they will all starve and die without you, pack some more, freak out on regular intervals. Wake up at 2 am a lot and then freak out about freaking out. YOU ARE SO NEUROTIC STOP IT.

4. Drive to airport. Get lost a little, right NEXT to the airport. You can see the planes. You just. Can’t. Get to the planes. Start muttering “da plane! da plane!” in a weird Fantasy Island moment, while gripping onto the steering wheel and what’s left of your sanity.  Get a grip and finally force yourself to take on google maps. OH HOLY ADULTS,  YOU ARE SO GROWN UP.

5. Get through the metal detector thing without losing your pants. Make weird eye contact with guy while putting belt back on pants. Awkward.

6. Someone on plane is wearing your high school boyfriend’s cologne which is confusing. You suddenly want to listen to Spandau Ballet.

7. Turbulence on plane makes everyone in your row start up impromptu bible study. You start humming, “I’ll Fly Away” and “Nearer My God to Thee” as comedic relief. Jesus humor is not well received.

8. Get to hotel. Twelve year old model checks you in. You want to offer her a granola bar and ask her why she’s out so late. She upgrades your room. You love her!

9. Get to room on the 27th floor. You can’t figure out how to use the keyless key thing. You are smarter than this. You nearly dismantle the keyless thingie until you realize, while holding the plastic thingie in your TEETH as you are searching, Lord, help please, PLEASE I am finally HERE just let me in the damn door, that you just need to hold it in FRONT of the keyless thingie. There is no swiping. You feel like a complete idiot and know that somewhere, someone in the concierge office is laughing his arse off. You don’t care because

10. HOLY COW YOUR ROOM IS BIGGER THAN YOUR FIRST FLOOR OF YOUR HOUSE AND YOU HAVE TWO BATHROOMS. TO YOURSELF. ALL TO YOURSELF. TWO BATHROOMS. I REPEAT. TWO. but

11. You can’t figure out how to turn on the lights. Everything is chic and automated. Therefore, it is hard. You start to wonder if you should just go home. But, there’s two bathrooms. You can’t leave them.

12. WOW. Bam! You found button for lights and blinds! You got this! You can see now! The button says, “Welcome!” and when you push it the whole room just comes to life! All for you! It might be possible your ego cannot handle this hotel room.

13. The view from the room almost makes you burst into tears.

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14. The television says, “Welcome Dana Bowman, author.” You almost, ALMOST burst into tears.

15. You watch Real Housewives until two am because your brain is going to freak out anyway, so you frost it over with blonde highlights, drama, and boobs that smoosh upwards in clothing. You wrap yourself in the big, white, fluffy robe that the hotel provided, and realize, you can so relate to all those women. They are fraught, fraught, I tell you, with the struggle. Except to the boob part. You can’t really relate to that part.

16. You wake up at 5 am. The coffee is sublime. You dress in your “Ima author! Here is my all grownup book signing” outfit and wait for your Cali friends to show up. You feel like it’s your first day of school.

17. Friends show up. They take you on BART and amidst the Gay Pride parade which is kinda, well, overwhelming. Evidently it is rather a big deal. It just makes you very, very distracted. It is just too early for all that leather.

18. You end up by the water, and slurp down the best latte you have ever had in your entire life. It almost makes you burst into tears.

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Adorable Cali friends.

19. Sweet friends walk you to conference center, give you a kiss, and send you off. Your editor takes you to your booth.

20. You see your book, a stack of them actually, waiting for you to sign.

21. And finally. Finally. You burst into tears.

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Bad, teary pic. Happy author.

Postscript: Your editor hands you a tissue and exclaims, “There is NO crying! There’s no crying at book signings! Our authors do NOT cry! Hold it together, woman!”

And, later, you met the author of Lemony Snicket! Squee!!

 

The end.

 

 

Gift or Gurney

So recently, I had an article published in my church’s magazine, The Covenant Companion.

Y’all. God is so totally hilarious.

Why? you ask? Well, I would now like to describe for you how my brain works. Stay with me because this might get a bit complicated.

Momsie’s brain: Huh! I had an article accepted for The Covenant Companion! That’s awesome! It’s a great magazine with like, thousands of readers. So cool!

Wait for it…

Momsie’s Brain: I am just gonna flip through the pages here… Can’t wait to see the article! Ima writer! Ina magazine! This is wonderful and amazi- WHOA WAIT A MINUTE. HOLD UP. JUST WOW. WOW.

And lo, here was the article:

Screenshot 2015-05-28 10.01.51HOLY HUGE FACE, BATMAN.

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So, allow me for a minute to plonk down my neuroses right smack into the middle of this post, and try to explain the tangled muddle that is known as:

How Momsie Thinks

Or:

Hop on Board the Crazy Train

As some of you know… I am an alcoholic. Yep. This realization came to me about some four years ago, and I’ve been on the lovely and freaking hard journey ever since, climbing the big, fat mountain of recovery.

Don’t get me wrong, the mountain is great. It’s got good views. Nice clear skies. Lotsa fluffy clouds. Intense discussions with Jesus. It’s awesome.

But some days it still just really kicks me in the ass.

So. While alllll this was happening, I, for some weird reason, was writing a lot. Yes, I KNOW you therapists out there are probably able to give me lots of deep and psychological reasons why my creative synapses started shooting sparks when all this went down, but I just like to chalk it up to the fact that when I wrote I didn’t feel so miserable and nutty, and thank you, Jesus, for that. Nobody needs to be nutty, like ALL the time. Unless you’re a Kardashian, I guess.

Well, all the people I kept writing for kept saying this:

“Oh, you want to write about parenting? Or, knitting? Or how to teach your cat to fetch? Interesting. But really, we’d like you to write about your big number, your show stopper, you know, the one where you drank a lot and now don’t? Please write about that!”

And then. The Covenant Companion said, “Yes! Write about that drinking thing! It’s important and you will be helping people!”

Let me now interject again with Momsie’s brain.

Momsie’s Brain: Well, sure. I’ll do that. And somehow, no one will REALLY know it’s me that wrote the article, and so therefore… my church friends won’t, uh, KNOW know. I mean, they might kinda know… but not REALLY really know. That I’m. you know.

I know. My brain works in mysterious ways. Sometimes I just have to stop and take a breath and thank the good Lord I don’t have to operate heavy machinery on a daily basis.

The article was about how people in the church who are dealing with addiction need to be able to talk bout it, in the open, all honest and healthy and stuff.

And I do get the irony, y’all. I’m a writer. We do irony.

Sigh.

So, on that fateful morning, when I found my magazine in my post office, I pawed throught it, and:

WHAMMO. BIG FAT DANA FACE HOLY COW.

And that’s when God said, “I love you girl. But this is a wee bit funny, don’t you think?”

Good one, God.  Sometimes our best gifts can be a gurney, if we’re not careful.

And now, I’m gonna go give myself a facial. My pores need work.

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STOPPIT.

This post was brought to you by:

humility

And also this:

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