We’ve come a long way, Barbie

I haven’t played with Barbies in roughly 40 years, but my friends, I sense that is about to change.

Mattel, who is not paying me for this epic endorsement, just released 17 new Barbie dolls honoring “historic and modern day role models from around the world.”

These dolls were introduced this week ahead of International Women’s Day,  which is today – YAY US!

I have to tell you, I was a huge Barbie and Company groupie. I had them all – Barbie, Ken, Skipper, a couple of babies Skipper was in charge of babysitting, and Skipper’s second cousin from her mother’s side – all of whom were blonde and quite tan.

Because Mattel didn’t make a slightly-spastic with reddish-brown hair Barbie, who also wouldn’t tan and preferred jeans, I didn’t identify with my dolls as most of you can imagine accurately.

Mattel is releasing as part of its SHERO program (hold on to your tiny plastic pumps) dolls including famed pilot Amelia Earhart; Frida Kahlo – an incredible artist and the one somebody better get me for Christmas; Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician; Olympic Athlete Chloe Kim and boxer Nicola Adams, among many more.

This is huge, y’all.

This beautiful news comes at a time when Photoshop, Kardashians and “Full Beat Makeup” (read: perfectly applied) are placing unreasonable and unreachable expectations on young women who are already beautiful in their own rights.

And it’s hard to feel beatufiul when you are looking to achieve a perfection that only exists inside a computer program, or in the life of people with their own makeup artist.

I knew precisely one girl growing up who truly looked like Barbie, and she was gorgeous. She still is. But most of us don’t look like Barbie, we look like us.

And Mattel can’t cover us all, but they are getting closer.

So thank you, Mattel. It’s about time and it is appreciated that all girls can have a doll that meets their standards rather than trying to meet the doll’s standards.

Did I mention I really want these Barbies for Christmas?

We’ve come a long way, Barbie.

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Christmas is on the radar (Also, this *is* your card)

It was my favorite Christmas growing up.

It was in 1971, and I was six years old. Our parents let us stay up late to watch the weather on KFDX because they had the Santa Claus tracker on radar. The radar in those days looked like a record album with a straight-line laser circling it and it blinked red when it detected Rudolph, who we all knew was leading the team of Christmas joy.

This particular Christmas at around 10:15 p.m., the local authority on such things was the meteorologist, known to me at the time as the weatherman.  He told us that Rudolph was taking off from Chicago, which meant he was in the country and on his way to the greater Wichita Falls area.

I knew enough to know that Santa wouldn’t stop at my house if I was awake, so I willed myself to be tired. Like super tired, only I wasn’t.

I shared a room with my three older sisters, and I had the top bunk so  I crawled up the ladder and got in bed with my stuffed gingerbread man, Clyde. Normal six-year-olds slept with teddy bears. I slept with a large gingerbread man … named Clyde.

The fabulous television program about the lovable and caring doctor, Marcus Welby, M.D., was on the TV and the last thing I remember was him talking to a patient with a concerned, yet caring look on his face.

The next thing I remember was I woke up and it was daylight. My only hope was that Santa didn’t show up before the unfortunate diagnosis the night before.

A glorious blue quilted-side baby carriage under the Christmas tree told me I had maintained a six-year streak of falling asleep before Santa made it to Texas.  I also received a blue and green plaid poncho that year, the perfect accessory for the new six-year-old mother of a plastic baby.

A lot of Chistmases have passed since then, but the local TV stations are still the go-to place to locate the exact whereabouts of the jolly one, only with more advanced radars.

It’s a tradition that I’m happy to see has stuck around, and also I hear that ponchos are making a comeback.

I no longer have a poncho or a baby carriage, but I still check on Santa’s whereabouts every year.

I love traditions, and even with people I love in different locations, I try to observe as many as I can.

Every year, I bake Christmas cookies, which I consider to be my spiritual Xanax. I bake them, I ice them and I take pictures of them to text to my daughter. Twenty years ago, I would have had to send her a letter after the film was processed.

We used to bake together every year, now we bake in different states. Same tradition, modified execution.

And there are some traditions I’m just bad at, like sending Christmas cards (or if I’m being honest, cards in general). Exhibit A:  this is your Christmas card and it has been for close to 20 years. I suppose this in itself is a tradition, which means I don’t totally suck at it.

But while we are on the subject, Merry Christmas. I truly wish for you a beautiful Christmas filled with traditions, old and new.

So turn off the TV and get some sleep. I hear Santa Claus is coming to town

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I need pantsuits and pink Nikes

It’s December in the news biz, and congruent thoughts are hard to come by right now, at least for me.

So, this week I hope you forgive me for sharing the random thoughts I had while trying to think of a good topic to write about, instead of writing an actual blog. It’s an accidental invitation into what my brain looks like on the daily.

This happens occasionally, and on this occasion, I’m blaming it on Bossanova.

If I get a sweet pair of these for Christmas, I might run … for office.

• I don’t own enough pantsuits or pink Nikes to run for public office.

• If it becomes illegal to drive and eat fast food burritos, I will feel partially responsible.

• Equanimous is my new word of the week. It means calm and composed. It is also my goal of the week.

• Every day on my way to work, I pass by a commercial softball field that sits off the road a bit. It was built just a couple years ago, I believe. (If I make any mistakes in this thought, don’t send angry letters\emails, I only go to ballgames to be entertained by the drunks in the right field stands.)

Monday I noticed a big “For Sale” sign in front of it, and my first thought was “who would be in the market to buy a giant softball field?” After ticking off a list of potential buyers – a semi-pro softball team is the only thing that came to mind – I realized that I would think about buying it if I had 10 or more children. We could be our own league.

Or I might buy it if I was a budding bull fighter in north Texas, or had dreams of a dog park with spectator seating and indoor bathrooms.

• Men sometimes have ridiculous expectations. A man told me this week that he likes it when a woman has painted fingernails because, “it looks like she cares.” I looked at my plain fingernails and said, “Oh, I care. Just not about painting my nails.”

• My dog, Erma, has serious boundary issues. As I type this, her nose is a quarter inch from my face, and she is staring at me without blinking or changing facial expressions. It’s creepy and unsettling.

I am trying to remain equanimous.

May your week be good, your Christmas preparations equanimous, and your thoughts congruent.

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Drivel and quips

I can’t lie.

(OK, I can lie, but I won’t.)

I got nothing.

There is nothing more painful, to me anyway, than sitting at a keyboard – we writers call it showing up on the page – for several days in a row and having snippets of drivel and clever quips to type as I think of them, but nothing solidly hilarious or mind-bending.

That’s where I’m at – riddled with snippets and quips instead of sentences and paragraphs.

A friend diagnosed me with a post holiday creativity hangover that prevents me from having a congruent thought long enough to write about it.

If there is a cure, I’m sure pharmaceutical companies will make a fortune in 2017 and beyond, but not from me unless they put it in chocolate.

I was whining to this friend about how a lot happened during the holidays that were funny, heart-warming and/or mind-bending, but like with booze, too much of this stuff can fog my brain.

The Christmas holidays were quite literally a two-week event in my world, having attended parties and get-togethers with close friends and family before going to South Carolina to spend the actual day with our grandson and children.

Upon return, we had a three-day New Year’s weekend slumber party at a friend’s house where I was thrown from a Big Wheel in  their garage, which is precisely when I think all of my writing talent left my body.

Still, every minute was a bliss that I apparently can no longer find the words to describe.

Instead you get a few quips and some drivel, taken from conversations I can remember the entirety of.

Many of you know I love to sing, although rumor has it that I cannot and probably should not.

The fact that I do not care about this rumor is the reason my mother gave me the funniest line thus far of 2017 on Monday, January 2. I was in the bathroom at work, singing Ave Maria, when my mother asked, “Are you singing Ave Maria in the bathroom?”

I answered, “Yes, and I’m sorry. I thought I was at Target.”

My husband does this funny little thing when I sing in the car. One day when we were going down the road, Seven Bridges Road by the Eagles came on and I proceeded to become the fifth harmony. My husband asked me very sincerely, “Who sings this song?”

This bothered me for two reasons: 1. He loves the Eagles and why would he be asking me this question unless he was having a serious memory lapse?, and 2. I had to stop singing to answer.

When I answered “The Eagles,” Mr. Fun Vacuum said, “Yeah, and you should probably let them.”

Our son flew in from Madison, WI, the Friday before Christmas, where the high temperature that day was 27 degrees. Prior to that, there were a few days where the high was below zero.

That night in South Carolina, the temperature was dropping and had hit around 40 degrees, and we were all sitting outside visiting around a propane heater while rubbing our hands together like we were experiencing the last warmth earth was going to offer before the sun burned out.

After a pause, my son looked at us thoughtfully and said, “I think it’s cute how y’all think it’s cold.”

During the same trip, I was brought to near complete exhaustion by an 18-month-old, and found that I can sing the Mickey Mouse Club Hot Diggity Dog Song with a knee pop, even in my sleep.

We played Cards Against Humanity, ate copious amounts of every food group plus Chex Party Mix. I marveled at my kids’ generosity in spirit and love; and at the amazing tiny creature who with his eyes, could convince me to hang out in the hall closet with him for kicks.

Also, I kept still in the moments he would just sit with me on the couch and let me marvel at him. We visited Santa, and sat on the potty and speed-read through a hundred books that were upside down.

And for efficiency, the last paragraph is applicable for the New Year’s weekend slumber party with my friends.

I’ll be back next week, and the one after that, hopefully with my thoughts aligned in such a way that you are not forced to endure my brand of attention deficit disorder.

Until then, look up as often as you can in 2017. Sing in the bathroom and in the car. Eat the good food and spend as much time as you can in the moment appreciating the family and friends in your life.

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This *is* my Christmas card


Because Christmas is now only four days away, I am writing a thank you note to all you kind and organized people who sent me Christmas cards through the actual postal service.

And since I am not so kind and organized as you beautiful creatures, this will serve as a combination thank you note/Christmas card back to each and every person who sent me one.

First, thank you to the eight thoughtful human beings who still send out Christmas cards.

It gives me happiness  – joy, even – to receive a Christmas card. I just have not shifted that joy to the actual act of me sending some out. There’s always next year to meet that goal, I’ve told myself the past 15 years.

Almost every card I’ve gotten this year have had pictures of families, grandkids and pets…it’s just wonderful.

I just show people pictures on my phone when I see them at the grocery store, and it saves postage and stuff.

Also, the Christmas greetings came with news of the best kinds – engagements, new babies, good grades and new jobs. Those are called Christmas missives, I think.

Last night, after I got home and read through two more, I wondered to myself, “Kari, how would you summarize your year if you actually got off your butt and became organized and stuff like normal people?”

So, I got off my butt and became organized for an hour, to write a Christmas missive and appear somewhat normal:

Hello all! Whew…what a year, and one I never hope to see again. (Which I won’t because a year has never repeated itself. Thank God).

My husband and I didn’t have a baby this year (at 52 years old, that would have been the mother of all Christmas miracles, by the way), but we did spend the year staring at an iPad every day while watching our toddler grandson play in South Carolina. It’s not creepy, it’s what I call remote grandparenting.

Twice this year, I attempted to cook. The first time was a big batch of bone broth I cooked up back in March to cure anything that ailed my husband, as directed by Pinterest. What ailed my sweet husband, ultimately, was the smell of the bone broth simmering. The broth was buried at the landfill, unceremoniously.

Then, sometime back in October, I actually cooked a meal. And it was a real one that required heat and a stove, and suggested measuring utensils  – a vast departure from the way I usually cook at fast food restaurants.

It was horrible, and took two days to get the smell of burned rubber out of the house, although rubber was not on the list of ingredients. I do love a good mystery.

They did mention the next day that they had missed my presence in the drive-through lane, and I was grateful.

My guardian angel, Grace, stepped out twice for a smoke break this year, and I fell in public. The first fall – in front of my office – mortally damaged my pride and a Route 44 sweet tea.

The second one, on an asphalt stage at Petco, shortened my spine by half an inch and took what was left of my battered pride.

My college football team didn’t win enough games to get a bowl, so I don’t really want to talk about football. But since we’re on the subject, I don’t know one thing about effective defense but I am certain my team doesn’t recruit for that.

My grandson turned one in June, and I was able to spend his birthday with him in South Carolina, which was a highlight of my year. Next time I see you at the store, I will no doubt whip out my phone so you can see just how precious he is.

Anyway, that trip led to a three week long battle with the people at the rental car place, and gave me an opportunity to put my word usage skills to work in what I call creative emails to corporate.

I won.

Lastly, I’ve watched A Christmas Carol (the one with George C. Scott) around 20 times this year alone, four of those in the past week.

With that in mind, I will end with this: Even if you don’t send out Christmas cards and missives, keep Christmas in your heart every day. The spirit is not meant to be kept one day a year, but to sustain us throughout the days when we are sprawled out on the asphalt, or making our homes smell like the ghosts of death and regret have moved in.

If we can’t find something beautiful or funny somewhere in the midst of our problems, we are destined to become much like Ebeneezer Scrooge before the intervention.

Be a blessing to someone, and laugh through your tears.

God bless us, everyone. We all need it.

Note: I will be in South Carolina this year, living with the ghost of Christmas present

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Give Love This December

What you will read below is a column I ran in my hometown’s newspaper this week, the Iowa Park Leader, and speaks specifically to giving locally to worthy causes. Since my readers are from all over the United States and the world, I urge you to give locally, particularly if you live in a small town.

In larger cities, many corporations take on food banks and children’s Christmas funds as a project and this is wonderful. But in small towns, it is up to the residents to help people out for the most part. So, please give what you can of your time and money locally, and if you still want to give some more, the causes I wrote about below would love to receive your help. Write me and I’ll tell you where to send the checks!

Have a blessed and generous Christmas season from all of us at One Funny Broad.

Kari Lynn

If November was about the act of giving thanks, then surely December should be about the act of giving love.

That’s what I’m going with, anyway.

The Christmas season looks a lot different to me than it used to, and this is a good thing.

I spend a lot more time these days at the end of the year thinking about people who have made this year beautiful, and that even when it felt like 2016 has been the worst year ever, they always remind me that pity parties are the worst kind to throw. Nobody gets pumped up for those parties.

It’s time to throw a love party.

It’s my turn to remind you that no matter how crappy your year has been, many people would trade with you in a heartbeat.

So I’m asking you to give something to someone with less than you have this month, with love in your heart and no expectation of any return.

It can be money, it can be time and it can be a shoulder, but it can be done.

Locally, I would ask that you give what you can to our families who are in need, by donating to the Iowa Park Food Pantry and to the Kidz Christmas Program.

Or, if furry friends are your passion, the Iowa Park Animal Control can always use help keeping the animals safe that come into their care.

Food Pantry

As shocking as it may seem that in a country where there is plenty of everything, there are still hungry people in this world – in this town. You can help by donating canned or boxed foods to the Iowa Park Food Pantry organized through First United Methodist Church.

As part of our community mission, the Iowa Park Leader is giving free new subscriptions to anyone who renews and brings in at least 10 cans of food during the month of December. This means you can give two gifts at Christmas – food for people who are hungry and keeping people informed.

Kidz Christmas

The Iowa Park Volunteer Fire Department is continuing their Kidz Christmas, which has been providing Christmas gifts to needy children for close to three decades.

Due to inclement weather last Saturday, the IPVFD was unable to have their major fundraiser, which was a “fill-the-boot” in order to raise cash to fill the wishes of the children on their list.

If you have it in your heart and bank account, consider writing a check to them for this worthy project, or drop a new toy by the fire department.

Animal Reclaim Center

The Iowa Park Animal Reclaim Center is always in need of items to help care for animals in their care, including food, blankets, collars, treats and cash donations.

All kinds of other things

This month is the perfect time to visit our nursing home residents, deliver Meals on Wheels for the Iowa Park Friendly Door Senior Citizens Center, or volunteer at our amazing Tom Burnett Memorial Library.

The best Christmas gift you can give, or receive, this year is doing something for someone else. It’s called love, and Iowa Park has lots of it.

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Giving thanks in a year that will be remembered as one to forget

We are nearing the end of the month of thankfulness, as if there is a season designated specifically for that.

Still, social media is full of people giving their daily lists of all the things they are thankful for, and I read them all.

It is not at all disingenuous, to take the time every day to remind ourselves what we’re thankful for at a time when I and many others I know feel like 2016 will be remembered as one to forget.

I don’t participate in social media’s daily thankfulness because 1) I’m very undependable in that area; and 2) sometimes it’s just nobody’s business what I’m thankful for and would just clue you into my neurosis that you always suspected but have now confirmed.

Why 2016 has sucked for me is probably no different in essence than why it sucked for many people, which is what connects us all. But seriously, 2016 –  Bye, Felicia.

Two years ago, for Christmas, my son bought for me a five year diary that has just a few lines a day to write in. The same days each year are stacked atop the later ones for comparison, I suppose. I made, and kept,  a commitment to write in it daily.

As I said earlier, the past year has not been a fun one for me. Where I used to just write in that journal the mundane bull to remind myself that some things don’t change, I began to remind myself of what I was thankful for.

Sometimes it is easy-breezy. That’s when I know it is a good day. Other days, it appears I have scrawled something desperately hopeful on the page to continue in my glass-is-better-than-half-full mentality, even if it was statistically unlikely the glass was even moist. It has become a daily practice.

What is written within those pages are, for the most part, nobody’s business. But what re-appears daily, is something I don’t mind sharing and something I think I have in common with many of you and Thanksgiving is a good time to mention it.

Group of people hugging outdoors; sunset

I am thankful every day for family and friends – and by family, I mean my beautiful and natural dysfunctional one, as well as my in-laws who accept this outlaw, and those I have chosen and been chosen by as sisters. There are many of those.

Every one of you have made days bearable, and made me laugh until the tears could do nothing but run down my leg.

I can only hope I have returned the favor and unconditional love in some way to someone else.

You have helped me survive and reminded me that no matter what, life is meant to be lived – and with immense joy.

And without a doubt, I am thankful for everyone who reads what I write and indulges this thing I love.

I hope on this day of thanks we all recognize those people and things that make our life wonderful and richer.

Blessings to each of you.

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The Christmas Miracles are rolling in

If you didn’t believe in Christmas miracles before, you should probably believe in them now.

Because, against all odds, I am writing a blog and I’m classifying it as a Christmas miracle.

Over the last two weeks, my daughter, son-in-law and grandson came in from South Carolina and my son flew in from Wisconsin to spend Christmas with us.

This is where the Christmas miracle comes in.

I have done precious little for two weeks besides adore a six-month-old baby I don’t know how I’ve lived my life without. Oh, and my kids are pretty nice, too.

I haven’t written since they’ve been here, I’ve barely found time to shower and brush my teeth, and I haven’t made it to work less than an hour late.

And although I’m dangerously close to losing my job, the Christmas miracles just keep rolling in.

My grandson, Eli, thinks I’m a terrific singer and I haven’t even busted out my best songs. So far, he’s only heard me sing “Stayin’ Alive,” “Working 9 to 5” and “Lovin’ You” and he loves it. I have another week and a half to introduce him to my versions of “Black Dog” and “I Will Survive.”


What we do.

He likes the way I dance and he thinks I’m funny – both pretty large miracles in light of the fact that a consensus is rarely reached on any of those points.

Also, I cooked. And it wasn’t soup, it was a real meal with frying and baking stuff and using the dining room table.

I find myself asking every day, “Will the miracles ever end?”

And when I sit down at the end of the day and sing a Led Zeppelin classic to my grandson while he dances in my lap and everyone else flees the house, I know they never will.

Merry Christmas to each one of you. May your life and your home be as richly blessed as I have found mine to be.


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Ironing it out

My daughter, Karilea, and grandson, Eli,  are flying in to Texas  – or “The Motherland” as she calls it – today for the Christmas holidays. Next week, her husband, Branden, and my son, Tom, will join her and my family will all be on hallowed Texas ground together … at least for a little while.

In other words, everything I asked Santa for this year will begin arriving today.

So many special things happen at this time of the year. Plans are made, parties are held and families – both blood and chosen – celebrate each other.

Although my daughter and I talk almost every day, there is something even more thoughtful and special about our plans for her to come home with Eli.

I was talking on the phone to her this week making plans for her arrival when she asked if I had Christmas pajamas she could borrow.

She explained that while she’s in town her girlfriends are having a Christmas slumber party and she doesn’t have time to go shopping for Christmas pjs.

I happen to have some, and before  I knew what had come out of my mouth I said these words: “I’ll get ‘em ironed for you.”

This, my friends, is what happens when you get caught up in the moment.

Those words came out of the mouth of a woman whose definition of ironing is 20 minutes on the high setting on the dryer. But I was still totally going to iron a flannel sleepshirt so my daughter would look all proper at a sleepover.

That is some Christmas love coming from me.

Also, it was in that instant I realized I had become my mother, one of whose many talents include actual ironing.

This did not escape my daughter who said after several seconds of confused silence, “Nanny, is that you?”

My mother is that famous for her mad ironing skills.

And in a way, Karilea was right, because that is exactly what my sweet mother would have said. It just made no sense at all that I said it given my track record of having rarely  ironed on purpose.

The reason why is when I was young, all the girls in my family were taught to iron starting with handkerchiefs, then on to pillow cases. Luckily for me I was a quick learner with an aversion to iron burns.

After pillow cases, I graduated on up to bed sheets and I’m here to tell you to never ask a seven year-old to iron a fitted sheet unless you want it mentioned during therapy sessions decades later.

I developed a bitterness for ironing in general and the geometrical makeup of an ironing board never made much sense to me anyway. Maybe it’s because I’m left-handed, or maybe because I shouldn’t be ironing at all. Either way, the dryer became my tool of choice for wrinkled clothes.


My mother, though, has made an art-form out of ironing that leaves me in awe.

That woman irons like it’s paying her money, but it’s not. After watching her iron for years growing up, and noting that her pajamas do, in fact, appear to be ironed I have come to believe that is her time of prayer and meditation – of literally ironing out her problems with heat, starch and a cotton setting.

And I don’t mind being like my mother, who introduced me to Erma Bombeck, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers and Frank Sinatra … and who all of the sudden reminds me that all life’s problems can be ironed out.

I plan to spend this holiday season celebrating the people I love, and considering all of the lessons my mother taught me that I am just now learning.

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Do I have chocolate on my face or am I just happy to see you?


I had a great Christmas, surrounded by people I love and as the recipient of many thoughtful and beautiful gifts which is proof  I don’t have an elf on the shelf watching over me or it would have been coal and underwear all the way.

Our niece Mandi got me a candy cane full of Reece’s Pieces for Christmas, and against all odds nobody found me hiding in a corner Christmas night, with doe-like eyes and chocolate and peanut butter smeared shamefully around my mouth.

A model of self-restraint,  I put the candy cane on the desk in my home office and had a stand-off with it for nine straight days in which I would sit down at my desk to work and feel them looking at me in a way that only a chocolate and peanut butter candy can look at a woman who is trying to lose a few pounds.

Saturday night toward the end of an all-day Law & Order marathon binge, I broke. Dick Cheney was not present.

And that was the precise moment that everything lady-like and classy about me ceased to exist.

Have you ever tried to open one of those candy canes? Seriously, I didn’t wait nine whole days to eat them so I could open that candy cane at a leisurely pace. I wanted in there five minutes ago.

First I went for the top of the candy cane. No dice. It seems that the label that covers the stopper on top is made from the same material that is covering a CD I still haven’t gotten open from Christmas 2011.

I turned it over finding a weird little lid on the bottom, and thought, “a ha!”. But, no. Trying to open it was roughly equivalent to prying apart wet highball glasses. This route would only end in injury.

MacGyver would’ve used a blow torch made out of matches and a personal fan to get into this thing, with questionable results.

Being without a makeshift blow torch, I did what any starving, desperate lady would do at 9 p.m.: I crushed the plastic body of that candy cane and ripped it open because in the end, all classy ladies lose their cool and feed the beast. Or at least they do now.


My handiwork. I think that candy makes my hand look fat, though.

It’s just that most classy ladies don’t eat the entire candy cane of Reece’s Pieces. I felt gross in the aftermath, but victorious and nearly clear of conscience.

Then I cleaned my mouth and went to bed.

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