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Childhood

Three Hundred Sixty Six.

I know what you’re thinking.

Nope. I still don’t have any answers. And I still don’t feel like a grown up. Maybe slightly closer, but I still don’t even want to have to take care of a houseplant.

SIDENOTE: Somehow I manage to keep my dogs alive and happy. I don’t know how that works. Life Math is weird.

…Maybe I’m just not a green thumb.

Anyway.

My BFF Jo texted me yesterday and said, “It’s your last day as a 26 year old.”

At first I kind of panicked. Holy shitballs. 26. It’s over. I feel like it just started. I know it sounds like a super cliche, but in some ways, it really was like the blink of an eye.

I started this blog a year ago as a challenge to myself as a writer. Early in 2012, I kind of lost faith in myself. I hit a major rough patch and thought wow, maybe I’m actually a terrible writer. Maybe I have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe I don’t want to ever write again. Of course, I eventually came around and realized that writing is the thing I love the most. And in the same vein, I knew that if I wanted to be a writer, I’d have to write.

But I was kind of scared.

So I promised myself I would write something every day.

I wasn’t really expecting that forcing myself to write a blog post every day – a story that somehow led to me learning a life lesson, no matter how small – would help me be happy. I saw it as much more of an exercise than anything else. And an opportunity to maybe be funny. But I have to say, writing this blog has given me a completely different outlook on my entire life. It’s helped me understand how my past has made me who I am. It’s helped me work through a lot of difficult times and put a positive spin on things I would have never otherwise laughed at. It’s helped me approach life in a much more open, accepting way.

Like, happen to me, life: I’m ready to learn from you.

That was a disaster. Oh well, next time will be better!

I can’t believe that just happened. I am mortified. Also, that was hilarious. I can’t wait to tell people.

I did it! Someone pat me on the fucking back!

I hate everything right now. Surely someone will understand.

I am hurting. I need to know it’s going to be okay.

This is weird. Does everyone feel this way?

Did that just happen? SRSLY?!

At the same time, I had come to a bit of a crossroads with myself. I had hit a self-love low. I was feeling depressed, defeated, discouraged, you name it. I decided enough was enough: it was time to make the active decision to be happy.

I also discovered that Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks. And my world was turned upside down. In a good way.

To quote myself (is that totally pretentious? I’m trying to recap, shut up.):

Jayne Mansfield, the American actress, singer, Playboy playmate, and all around drop-dead gorgeous bombshell, was flawed in a way that has been the root of much of my self-consciousness for all of my teenage and adult life.

So…all of that got me here.

SIDENOTE: It’s really hard writing the last post of a 365-day blog.

It’s going to be difficult to let this blog go. I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and my first thought is going to be, “What can I write about today?” or, “Oh shit! I still have to blog today!”

But I’m looking forward to channelling my creative energy into a number of other projects that I’ve already either started or am about to. So I guess what I’m saying is I’m not going anywhere. Maybe there will be another blog. Maybe not. But I promise there will be something.

I was trying to think of a fun way to commemorate the end of this blog.

Here’s what I came up with.

Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks.

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And so do I.

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xA

P.S. It’s hilariously ironic that in the majority of the pin-up photos I took, my stretchmarks aren’t that visible. Because they’re everywhere.

But I guess there’s a life lesson in that, isn’t there?

I’m probably the only one who really notices them.

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P.P.S. Things I meant to write but forgot: Happy Birthday to me! Also, here’s to 27! I’m crazy excited for it!

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Three Hundred Sixty Five.

I know this is a 365-day blog, but this is technically the penultimate post, because it’s a birthday to birthday thing. And tomorrow’s my birthday!

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SIDENOTE: Have you bought me a birthday present yet? We can’t be friends if you didn’t because all I care about is material possessions.

Anyway, I thought what better way to spend the second-last day of my crazy year-long blog than looking back on some of its best moments?

SIDENOTE: Maybe that should say best/”best”…

Think of this, if you will, as a flashback episode of your favourite TV sitcom. With the help of a couple friends, I’ve compiled some categories I think you’ll enjoy.

Without further ado…

Top 5 Stupid Kid Moments

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Oh boy. Where to even start with this one?! Well, okay…

1. Pressing buttons was (OKAY, STILL IS) a thing I loved doing. See examples A and B.

2. Of course, there was the time I electrocuted myself

3. The day I put scissors through my finger

4. Setting fire to things is never a good idea.

5. Neither is writing a hate letter to your childhood friend.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give honourable mention to the day I learned that “bastard” is a bad word. Oh, and also to the combination of shaving off my eyebrows and getting hair extensions.

And guess what?! It’s your lucky day. I found a photo of teenage Andrea with hair extensions and no eyebrows. And apparently I have no shame because I’m gonna post it on the Internet.

Extensions

Boy oh boy oh boy.

Moving on!

Top 5 Most Awkward Moments

If you haven’t deduced by now, I am the QUEEN OF AWKWARD. This is quite the random assortment, but I feel it encompasses who I am pretty well…

1. The day a goat ate my t-shirt. (Enough said.) (Stupid goats.) (Seriously, why would she do that to me?!) (Ugh.) (I fucking loved that t-shirt.) (SOB.)

2. The day I learned about orgasms in sex ed. (Is anyone else craving cake?!)

3. Barrel-chested. That is all.

4. The day the National Poet of Scotland called me stupid. Which I really should add to my resume.

5. My elementary school “boobies” moment.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

There are so, so many, but I feel like my Pilates FAIL and my Zumba BARF moments were pretty grand.

Top 5 “SRSLY?!” Moments

You know those moments. The ones that make you go, “what the fucking?!”

1. People and my tattoos. Why are people so weird about my tattoos?

2. That time a guy threw a book at my face. No big deal.

3. NO I DON’T WANT TO TAN.

4. Nothing says “what the fuck?” like getting pepper sprayed!

5. Also charming: when people tell you how to pronounce your own name

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give myself a shout out for fucking up my neck by making fun of someone on a Zumba DVD. Because who the fuck does that? This girl, right here.

But the greatest honourable mention in this category goes to Glasgow, Scotland, where I experienced so many WTF things, including…

Finding a tooth in an ATM.

Finding a used tampon on a bus.

And buses in general.

Among so many others. I fucking love you, Glasgow. I really do.

Top 5 Workplace Blunders

It’s a wonder I still have my job. It really is. It’s also a wonder I still have any self-confidence after all of the stupid humbling things that have happened to me at work…

1. My friends still bring up the day I parked on the sidewalk.

2. Also charming: locking yourself in a stairwell on your first day of work.

3. Or, you know, getting caught dancing in the bathroom.

4. Similarly, walking in on your coworkers in the bathroom.

5. Or traumatizing them with your hair colour.

BONUS PHOTO:

Getting caught taking a selfie at work.

Work selfie

At least I know my office mate loves me and doesn’t judge me.

Top 5 Relationship/Sex Fails

Look. I’d prefer we don’t dwell on how much I suck at relationships, okay? OKAY?!

1. I have been known to throw myself at guys I like.

2. I’ve learned the hard way that spin the bottle will only break your heart.

3. So will going after guys who don’t care that you exist. (But you can keep trying to shout “LOVE ME! LOOOOOVE MEEEE!” at them. Trust me. Guys SUPER love that.)

4. I’m good at ending up in awkward sex situations.

5. And awkward kissing situations, sometimes.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS AND A BONUS PHOTO:

Okay, well, first of all, heartbreak, right?

I think I also screwed it up with this guy, because he was clearly paying me a compliment.

Let’s not forget all of my failed marriages. Sigh.

And the time a MONSTER RASH ruined my potential Scottish boyfriend.

And hey, since I’ve already shown you how great I looked with hair extensions as an eyebrowless wonder, here’s a photo of me in the midst of the MONSTER RASH attack. This was after I managed to get my eyes open, because they were swollen shut.

Photo 130

Good lord…

Top 5 Accomplishments

I didn’t screw up everything, though. I’ve done some stuff. Yeah. I do things! I TCB every once in a while!

1. I’ve gotten over a lot of fear to become a Zumba instructor.

2. Then I stuck with it for a year and changed my life.

3. I grew back my eyebrows, guys. I fucking did it!

4. I got over some serious “I can’t!” bullshit and also tried wall climbing.

5. Oh, hey, I also learned how to embrace myself sometimes. I think that’s pretty huge.

HONOURABLE MENTION:

I BLOGGED EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 365 FUCKING DAYS.

A year, guys. A YEAR.

I’m excited to celebrate my birthday with you all tomorrow.

xA

P.S. I know what you’re thinking. There totally should have been some sort of crazy travel category. But I just couldn’t narrow that shit down. So you’ll just have to re-read my entire blog to enjoy.

Three Hundred Sixty Three.

A lot of my friends say I have wicked fashion sense.

You know what I say?

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photo(1)

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Clearly it’s just a God-given gift.

Lesson learned: When you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

xA

Three Hundred Sixty Two.

Well, it took over a year as a fitness instructor, but it finally happened.

I had to throw away my shoes because they STANK.

SIDENOTE: They also exploded – like, almost ripped in half – but still, they stank.

It technically only took about six months, because prior to that, I wore all sorts of unsupportive shoes and switched them up every day. But then I crashed hard and was forced to cave and buy expensive – but oh so comfortable – real sneakers for real activity.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, because I wear my workout shoes at least seven times a week, if not more on days I have more than one workout.

But still, yuck.

I know that everyone probably has an aversion to stinky shoes, but I feel like my aversion is also a paranoia.

You see, when I was in junior high and my brother was in high school, he had a girlfriend and she had the smelliest feet ever.

You’re probably thinking, “They couldn’t have been that bad.” But you’re so wrong.

If you’re all sitting around in the living room and you can smell someone’s feet from across the room, that’s too much.

If you flop onto the couch hours later and bury your face into a pillow only to recoil instantly from the horrendous, lingering stench and you recoil with such ferocity that you fall off the couch, that’s way too much.

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If as soon as someone leaves your house, you need to Febreeze the shit out of everything including your face because you feel like all you can smell is feet, that’s ridiculously too much. It’s so too much that it becomes nothing at all again.

SIDENOTE: That doesn’t make sense. I’m okay with that.

I feel bad saying all of this, because it was probably this girl’s awkward teenage “thing,” and I certainly dealt with lots of things myself, but still, it was kind of the worst.

What have I learned?

When you’re teaching Zumba and you can smell your own shoes, it’s time for new shoes.

(Thank goodness it’s just a one-pair-of-shoes issue.)

xA

P.S. I’m sorry for sounding like a judgemental twat about my brother’s high school girlfriend’s feet. It’s actually pretty hilarious when you think about it. Plus I was a kid. Plus it’s gross. And funny. And gross.

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P.P.S. I love American Horror Story. And I LOVE JESSICA LANGE.

Three Hundred Fifty Seven.

I realized yesterday that my most prominent scar has also been on my body the longest, and that’s kind of unusual.

Even the scar from the day I put scissors through my finger has faded, and I was around six or seven when that happened. And I’ve sustained many injuries I thought for sure would leave me with bad scars that never did.

One day, when I was just under two years old, I was chasing my brother around the house. This was not unusual, which you should know by now since my brother is the coolest and I like him a lot. Also, the apartment we lived in at the time was laid out in such a way that you could run a full loop between the living room and kitchen, so that was fun. Lots of opportunity to pick up speed with each lap.

SIDENOTE: Remember when you were a little kid and when you ran, you always felt like you were running THE FASTEST EVER? And it was amazing and magical? Almost like you were flying? I miss that feeling. I love that feeling.

Anyway.

I bite my lip a lot. I don’t really have an explanation aside from the fact that it’s there so I bite it, but it’s just something I do. I bite it when I’m thinking. I bite it when I laugh. I bite it when I’m listening. I bite it when sexy times are approaching. (Sorry, Mom.) I bite it subconsciously. And apparently, it’s something I’ve always done.

SIDENOTE: If I lived in 50 Shades of Grey, I’d be in soooooo much trouble.

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SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: If you haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey and therefore do not get that reference, GOOD FOR YOU. You think you’re better than me? I rage read the entire fucking trilogy just so that I could make educated (maybe not the best word choice considering the subject matter) judgements of it and yes, they’re one of the worst things my brain has ever had to experience. So CONGRATS for not giving in, because they’re as bad as you think. And then some. JERK.

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BARF.

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: How was that for dramatic, right? I’m here all week. (Actually, just barely over a week! Wah!)

ANYWAY.

So there I was, chasing my brother around the apartment and biting my lip, I imagine because I was laughing and smiling really hard.

And then I fell.

And then my teeth went through my bottom lip.

Whenever I tell that story, people go, “OMG OUCH!” and I nod and agree with them, but also, I have no recollection of this moment in my life because I wasn’t even two, so I guess it’s no big deal.

Almost 25 years later, though, I still have the scar to show for it:

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(Can you see it? It’s hard to photograph scars, which is maybe a good thing for people who have scars and are worried about them.)

Other things I still have scars from:

The day I got run over by a bike.

The day I removed my own stitches.

Scars. You might not like them (I don’t mind any of mine, but I get it if you have a scar you hate), but hey, at least you’ve got stories to tell, right?

Kind of like when you think about if you were in Back to the Future, what would you change? And then you decide maybe you wouldn’t change anything, because even though you’ve been through some shit – and maybe you’ve gone through A LOT of shit – it’s all just a part of what makes you who you are today?

SIDENOTE: ……do you not think about that?

……me neither!

xA

P.S. Total FALSE ALARM on thinking I had Internet at home yesterday. It’s still down! It’s like living in the past! And it BLOWS.

P.P.S. So I blogged from work today. Don’t tell my boss.

 

Three Hundred Fifty Two.

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You know what’s crazy when you think about it? (See: crazy when I think about it.)

I have never known a world without my brother.

I mean, he was already around when I was born.  So I have never existed without him.

Just in case you don’t have a big brother, let me tell you what they’re good for.

Toys

buckyblinky

SIDENOTE: Who remembers Bucky O’Hare?! Love.

Since they’ve been on earth for longer than you, big brothers have a larger stock of toys. Whether they tell you so or not, those toys are at your disposal. Just try not to break them.

CORRECTION: Try to figure out a really cute, cool way to tell your brother when you break them.

SIDENOTE: Or just don’t tell him, and then pretend you have no idea what he’s talking about when he finds out.

Candy

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Similarly, older kids are better at rationing things out – like, say, Halloween candy.

This is not at your disposal, but you can probably justify helping yourself anyway.

SIDENOTE: You will think you’re being stealthy about this, but you are not. Make sure whatever you eat is worth being yelled at later. Always leave the caramels.

Crushes

Your big brother’s friends will be your first crushes. He will not like this. But it’s good for you!

SIDENOTE: Until you make an ass out of yourself. Then it’s a valuable life learning experience!

Keeping You Humble

Fresh-Prince-of-Bel-Air

You may think you’re top notch in the cool department. Your big brother will always be there to knock you down a peg or two. He’s way better at the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air rap than you, for example. You can try to keep up, but he’s just so swag.

SIDENOTE: Did I use “swag” correctly?

Business Ventures

When you think of a creative endeavour that will potentially get you world famous, your big brother is like a built-in business partner. Also, he knows how to do more stuff than you because he’s older and wiser, so let him press the buttons.

SIDENOTE: Even though you REALLY WANT TO.

Being Your Hero

This story. That is all. (The poor thing.)

But Seriously…

A big brother is a support system. A partner in crime. Protection from bullies. Company when you need someone to play with. A shoulder to cry on when you’re upset. They can give you fairly unbiased boy advice, and when it comes to boys who aren’t right for you, they’ve always got your back. They have been around your whole life. They know where you’re coming from. And they want the best for where you’re going. Plus, they’re getting there before you. Your big brother is there to set the bar for life. To ask all the questions that plague you, like, “Do you feel like an adult yet? Do you have your shit together?” Sometimes they set the bar so high, you feel like you’ll never live up to it, but the beautiful thing about a high bar is it pushes you to be the best you can be, every day, all the time.

And if you’re ridiculously, stupidly, wonderfully lucky like me, your big brother is your best friend.

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Lesson learned: Big brothers are the best. Happy 30th Birthday to mine. I love you, Bryan!

xA

Three Hundred Forty Seven.

A couple weeks ago, I went out to the movies with a friend of mine and then we grabbed a bite to eat.

Oh, actually, now that I think of it, it was this night, AKA the night I ATE ALL THE FOOD.

Anyway, when I got home at the end of the night, I went to wash my face and noticed I had a bunch of black pepper in my teeth. My first thought was, “Why the fuck didn’t he say something?!”

SIDENOTE: It’s possible he didn’t notice. I would have had to smile pretty darn big for it to be visible. But still.

You see, I’m a person who will ALWAYS tell you if you’ve got “something” going on – if you have food in your teeth, if you have a strand of hair sticking out the wrong way, if your hanger strap or clothing tag is hanging out. I’m your girl. It’s not because I’m critical or anything. I’m not. I’m like, the least judgemental person. It’s because I would want to know if any of that were going on with me.

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But as I was thinking about that, I was reminded of one of many hilarious moments I had as a teen.

In case you’ve forgotten, I was a goth when I was a teenager. A Marilyn Manson-obsessed, eyeliner-loving, eyebrow-shaving goth. So I wore a lot of makeup. I didn’t do anything too crazy – I didn’t like, wear black eyeliner tears dripping down my face or anything (no offense or judgement to anyone who did/does – you do your thing). But I was…creative?

There was one day that I was going out to run some errands with my mom and I was sporting some particularly interesting mascara and eyeliner. I had applied both as usual, but then I decided that I wanted like, eyeliner dots coming out from the corner of my eye toward the side of my face.

I really wish I had a photo to illustrate this. But I don’t. But imagine some cat eye eyeliner:

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Only imagine it much messier and comprised of dots.

SIDENOTE: I don’t know what I was thinking. I was 13. Who cares? I was “finding myself.”*

So anyway, I was out with my mom and I remember specifically that we were at Future Shop and we couldn’t find what we were looking for, so we found a sales associate to ask for help.

We had been chatting with him about our needs for a few minutes when a natural silence fell upon the conversation. It was at that point that the sales associate turned to me, and very quietly said, “Uh…I think you have a little something…” and pointed to his eye/eyebrow region.

Being the super self-conscious, nerdy kid that I was, I tried to laugh it off.

“Ha ha!” I giggled nervously, “No, it’s supposed to be there.”

“Oh, okay.” The sales guy cleared his throat anxiously.

And then we all felt awkward.

People wear a lot of crazy shit these days. Like, how many times a day are you walking behind a girl in leggings or yoga pants when you realize you can clearly see her bum/underwear/thong?

SIDENOTE: I work both on campus and as a fitness instructor, so maybe my percentages are higher. Okay, they definitely are. But like, a MILLION TIMES A DAY it happens.

Hell, just last night I was out and saw a dude wearing gold spandex pants and it was like, junk-central. He might as well have been pantsless. It was all out there.

SIDNEOTE: Pretty sure it’s the look he was going for, because shortly after I spotted him, he started doing lunges, so good on him.

Um. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I understand why some people would hesitate to point out if “something” is going on, but:

(A) If the person is your friend, POINT IT OUT ANYWAY. Be tactful. But just in case. Do it.

(B) If it’s something in someone’s teeth, no exceptions. TELL THEM.**

xA

*I’m nearly 27 and I feel like only NOW am I actually finding myself.

**Unless you hate the person. Then I guess do whatever.

Three Hundred Forty Five.

Yesterday at work, I had to phone Air Canada for my boss.

They have this dumb rule where if you cancel a flight, you can only use your credit if you book over the phone. What? Yeah. It’s one of a number of bizarre rules and exceptions they place on this particular situation.

Anyway.

Phoning an airline. Great.

I was on hold for approximately 20 minutes. I stopped counting because I was on hold so long that I passed through the “Oh, I’ll just wait and listen carefully for when somebody picks up” phase and well into the “Fuck it, I’m working, I’m talking to other people, I’m busy, and when they pick up, they’d better say ‘HELLO’ very clearly because ain’t nobody got time for this shit” phase.

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Also, I stopped counting because the phone was hurting my ear. Like, within minutes. And because of the position of the phone on my desk, I couldn’t really switch ears. So I tried to keep myself distracted.

So I finally got through, and of course the conversation wasn’t a quick one. I’m not going to bore you to death with all of the details. What you need to know is that all in, I was on the phone for about 45 minutes yesterday.

45 minutes!!

Let me tell you about today.

Today, it feels like I got punched in the ear. Yes, that’s right, my left ear is so sore from the stupid phone that it kind of hurts when I adjust my hair.

And when I woke up this morning, I noticed that my neck and shoulder felt really weird. It only occurred to me much, much later that that’s the result of my craned-neck multitasking – holding the phone onto my shoulder with my chin while I continued to work.

WHAT THE HELL?

When I was in my pre-teens and teens, I used to talk on the phone for hours at a time.

Is this evolution?

Guys, this is it.

It’s the future.

Talking on the phone isn’t glamorous like this anymore:

VintageWomanOnPhone

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend  the day with my head tilted the other way to try to even this shit out.

xA

Three Hundred Forty Four.

I don’t know, this is just random thought I had this morning, but when I was a kid, I ate some weird shit.

Here are three things I distinctly remember. I’m sure my mom could chime in with like, 87 more.

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French Fries and Ice Cream

Any time we went to McDonald’s as kids, my brother and I (maybe he didn’t participate in this, but I could swear he did) would get an ice cream cone and an order of fries and we would dip our fries into the ice cream and eat them. It was the whole salty sweet thing. But of course, I would rotate between dipping my fries in ice cream and dipping them in ketchup. Ugh.

Ketchup Chips

Speaking of ketchup, one day, I was so desperate for ketchup chips that I decided that dipping regular old potato chips into actual ketchup would be just as delicious.

It wasn’t.

But I still ate a lot of them. I remember it being very…greasy and tomato-y and overwhelming.

Dill Dip

When I was in grade five, one of my friends was like, “Oh, I know the best homemade dip!” All it consisted of was a TON of mayonnaise (which I was never a fan of to begin with) with a TON of dried dill mixed into it. So when she came over, we made this dip and ate probably half a cup of it each. With carrots. And chips, I think. And then my stomach hurt for like a week.

Despite the pain, I would go on to make that dip a few more times before it made me feel barfy enough that I stopped. Just thinking about it now makes my stomach twitch.

Lesson learned: I swear kids are born with iron stomachs. Some people keep those iron stomachs until they die. Good for them, I say.

I mixed a lot of crazy foods in my belly when I was little that would make me barf as an adult. How about you?

xA

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