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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.

jayne

And so do I.

Image2

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.

Image7_2

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!

600px-US_27.svg

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

photo(1)

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 Four.

I had this job once. Right when I moved back from Scotland. In theory, it should have been a great job, but it actually turned into the job from hell because my boss was really mean to me. It took me somewhere between six and 12 months to gain back any ounce of self-confidence after that job. I was scared to even write emails in fear I’d do it wrong. That should give you an idea of how awesome I was treated.

So you can imagine how much I’d love to talk to that boss again.

Anyway, one day I was in the car with my parents and my two dogs, taking my dogs out for a long drive. They absolutely love being in the car, so when I have the time, it’s something we do. It’s a nice, casual way to spend a Sunday or something. Family quality time!

Bts 2

SIDENOTE: Okay, they’re not IN the car in that photo, but they’re out and about and that’s just as exciting.

I was sitting in the back seat covered in dogs. That’s the way life goes when you have Boston Terriers – they have to be TOUCHING YOU ALWAYS. Sometimes it drives me crazy because I just want them to be excited about the drive and give me a few minutes of peace.

Bts 1

On this particular day, though, I was enjoying the puppy pile. I mean, look at them: they’re ridiculous. So I turned up my puppy voice and I gave them a good cuddle.

Now, I totally get that talking to dogs in stupid voices can be sooooo annoying, but also, sometimes life just calls for it. And I happen to do character voices for each of my dogs that crack me the fuck up. Because I’m HILARIOUS.

SIDENOTE: And humble!

I had been stupid-talking my dogs for approximately four and a half minutes when I decided wheeeew, that was exhausting and I need a little break. I pulled out my phone to check if I had any texts.

And there it was.

I was on a call with my ex-boss.

And I was leaving her a dog-talk voicemail.

FOR FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES.

After what felt like an eternity of me staring in complete shock at my iPhone – HOW THE FUCK DO YOU POCKET DIAL FROM A TOUCH SCREEN?! – I hung up the phone.

I spent the next month waiting to hear from her and feeling like an idiot.

Eventually I forgot about it.

Okay, I didn’t completely forget about it – a part of me EXTREMELY hopes that she had deleted my phone number so that the voicemail came from a vaguely familiar-looking number and not from “Andrea Beça.” But the rest of me knows that of course she didn’t and of course it did come from “Andrea Beça.”

Because that was the day I learned that the OF COURSE stuff always happens. Always. Murphy’s Law, is it?

xA

P.S. But seriously, HOW DO YOU POCKET DIAL FROM AN IPHONE?! GAAAAH.

P.P.S. Speaking of pocket dials, remember this one?

Three Hundred Thirty Three.

Let me tell you a little bit about iron…

Actually, let me tell you what the all-knowing WebMD has to say about iron:

Iron is an essential mineral. The major reason we need it is that it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body. Hemoglobin represents about two-thirds of the body’s iron. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia.

Without healthy red blood cells, your body can’t get enough oxygen. If you’re not getting sufficient oxygen in the body, you’re going to become fatigued. That exhaustion can affect everything from your brain function to your immune system’s ability to fight off infections.

These are red blood cells. I think they look like some sort of delicious candy...
These are red blood cells. I think they look like some sort of delicious candy…

Low iron runs in my family. It’s something I struggled with a lot as a teenager. I basically spent a chunk of life rotating between being on and off iron supplements after a bunch of fainting and feeling terrible. But it hasn’t bothered me for years. Years.

About a month ago, I thought I had the flu. I was getting bad headaches and feeling really tired and generally blah. I stayed in bed for a weekend and it kind of went away. I still had headaches and light-headedness, but I ignored them because I’m a busy (see: stupid and stubborn sometimes) lady.

In the back of my mind I thought, “Hmmm. I never get headaches. I wonder if my iron levels have dropped.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was scheduled to donate blood for the first time in my life. I was crazy excited to do so, because Canada is experiencing a severe shortage right now, and for the first time since I turned 18, I’ve had a long enough gap between getting tattoos to be eligible.

I got to the clinic and filled out the appropriate paperwork. My name got called and I sat down in front of a nurse.

“Okay,” she said, “We just need to do a quick finger prick test to make sure your iron levels are high enough to donate. You need to be at 125 or higher.”

Oh, shit,” I thought, mentally willing my blood to come out dark and juicy.

Finger prick.

Test.

“Hmm,” she wrinkled her nose, “You’re only at 120.”

“Oh, of course,” I rolled my eyes at myself, “Ugh, I have a tendency for low iron.”

“Well, sometimes the first test is low. Would you like to try again?”

“Sure, go for it.”

I upped my mental powers as much as I could.

Finger prick.

This time she squeezed a lot of blood out of my finger before testing. Getting deeper? I dunno.

“It’s better, but not good enough,” she sighed, “122. You’re going to have to up your iron before you can donate.”

I felt like such a failure.

I know it’s silly to feel like a failure about my own blood, but I totally did. I was so ready to help people who needed blood and my blood wasn’t…rich(?) enough!

So I immediately upped my intake of iron-rich foods, which isn’t difficult because I eat a lot of iron-rich foods anyway. Lentils and greens are staple foods in my world.

I was starting to feel a bit more normal until this week hit. This week that I started my six-days-a-week teaching schedule, with lots of practice and prep time necessary.

I guess I really depleted myself because yesterday, I had a full-on CRASH.

I woke up and could barely, barely drag my ass out of bed. I blamed not sleeping enough, and all the construction that is going on all around my house (living on a corner sucks when they’re re-paving sidewalks and streets…). My head felt like it was going to explode, but I had a ton on my agenda for the day, so I ignored it.

The fact that taking my dogs to the vet was first on my agenda didn’t help, because my dogs are so embarrassing at the vet. They bark and freak out. A lot. It takes them a long time to settle down and then if a new dog or person walks into the room, they start all over again. My patience was wearing thin and my headache was really starting to get to me.

I started to feel really sad.

I got my dogs home and got ready for the next thing on my agenda: lunch with a friend.

I had a spinach salad, which I guess was a good headstart on pumping some iron into my day, but of course it wasn’t enough. I started to notice that I was having a really hard time concentrating and forming sentences. My head was pounding even though I was drinking lots of water and had eaten plenty. I was starting to feel like I was spiraling down a sadness well.

Uh oh.

“I have to go buy iron supplements like, now.” I said to my friend as we parted ways.

And boy, was I right. By the time I got to the natural foods store, I was shaking. I felt like I could barely grip the steering wheel of my car. As I walked through the parking lot, I worried about collapsing or tripping over my own feet, which felt like they couldn’t move. I fought back the very intense desire to burst into tears. Everything seemed hopeless and slow-motion.

I knew that taking a single iron supplement was not going to make me feel any better, so I took one, and then also pumped my body full of sugar. I managed to get home without crying – though I did freak out via text with a couple friends – I laid down, had a 20-minute nap, and then I had to teach a Zumba class.

SIDENOTE: Oh boy. That was hard. And a little scary. But I survived!

So, here’s hoping that in a week or so, I’m back to normal Andrea. Because low-iron-Andrea is more than a bit of a weirdo. And not nearly as fun as usual.

Iron, man, it can really, really mess with you if you don’t have enough of it. I thought I was done learning that the hard way, but I guess I needed one more reminder. Never again!

xA

Three Hundred Twenty Eight.

Remember my post about Life Math and punctuality?

Let’s keep going with that for a second…

OTHER TYPES OF LIFE MATH I DON’T GET

SIDENOTE: Am still struggling with punctuality a lot of days, but have realized it’s mostly my dogs’ fault. (I know, what an excuse, but seriously.)

1. Toothpaste vs. Foam

Look, I know that some people are able to like, brush their teeth while they walk around the house and get ready for the day. (My BFF Mags does it and it totally confounds me.) But I am not one of those people. I don’t understand how my pea-sized dab of toothpaste always becomes FOAM EVERYWHERE. All over. Everywhere. Like this, which I’m sure you’ve all seen, but I love it anyway:

BFf5pJnCMAAlGBt

It just doesn’t add up!

2. Dogs vs. Bed

My dogs are small dogs. They’re not teacup dogs, but they’re small. And while I may not have a giant, hotel-style king-sized bed (I FUCKING WISH), I do have a nice, normal queen-sized bed. So how, how, HOW is it that when my two small dogs get into bed with me, I have NO ROOM?

on_bed_1024_263614k

Even that guy looks like he has more sleeping space than I get when Oscar and Lucy are in bed with me.

Maybe it’s because they sleep horizontally or wherever the fuck they please, while I’m left trying to push them out of the way for a tiny sliver of mattress space…

SIDENOTE: As I was writing this blog post, I looked up and caught my dogs hanging out like this:

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 10.25.45

AHHHHHHH! Heart exploded.

3. Tears vs. Water

This is sort of like the feeding a baby vs. the amount they vomit question. As I’m sure you may have gathered from some of my posts a few weeks ago, I’ve been doing a bit of crying. Specifically, I’d say I cried a LOT over the course of say, two to three days.

And then I was dehydrated for like, a week and a half.

No, seriously.

I couldn’t stop drinking water. My mouth was dry, my throat was sticking. It was like being stuck in a weird stereotypical movie about someone stranded in the desert. I felt like I was full of sand and I couldn’t get enough hydration. Surely I didn’t cry that much. So what the fuck, body?

Lesson learned: I’ll never get an ‘A’ in Life Math. (Or any math after like, grade six math, based on past experience…)

What are your biggest Life Math struggles/puzzles?

xA

Three Hundred Twelve.

Your heart can leave you immobilized even when your head tells you to push through and keep moving.

Your dogs will love you no matter what.

Screen shot 2013-08-24 at 12.11.33

Thank goodness.

xA

Two Hundred Ninety Six.

A little known fact about me (only because you haven’t asked): I love wax museums.

LOVE THEM.

If we were in some random, small, creepy town and there were a wax museum, I’d totally go anyway.

I spent like, half a day at Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam.

So when I was in Dublin with my mom, there was no question: we had to hit up the National Wax Museum.

It was totally great!

Until I saw Oscar Wilde.

I don’t know if I have talked enough about Oscar Wilde on this blog. Basically, you just need to know that I love him. I’ve loved his writing since I was young – like 12 or so. I’ve named one of my dogs after him. My entire Master’s thesis was inspired by his work. I know it sounds a little weird, but I am 100% convinced that in a past life, I lived in Dublin and knew him. (I should blog about that…)

To the two of you who are still reading this (okay, maybe there are five of you, because three of you are going, “Oscar WHO?”), thanks for staying with me.

There I was at the National Wax Museum, staring down a wax sculpture of Oscar Wilde. I wouldn’t even call it an amazing likeness. It was fairly good. I felt like the hair semi-concealing his face was a bit of a cop out. But it was good.

But being next to it freaked me right out.

Oscar 1

“Get in there!” my mom waved me in excitedly, “I’m gonna take a photo!”

I took a step toward the sculpture and stopped.

I turned toward it.

Stared it down.

“What’s wrong?”

“I dunno,” I said, “It’s freaking me out.”

“Get in there! I’ll take a picture. GET IN THERE!”

(My mom gets really excited sometimes.)

I took another step toward the sculpture and sort of leaned in. I don’t feel like I can properly convey just how uncomfortable I was, guys. I felt like I was intensely close to the sculpture. I felt like it was basically breathing on me. My blood pressure was up. I was nervous.

Basically I thought it was going to come to life and kill me or something.

(I have no idea why.)

This is how close I was:

With Oscar

So…not close AT ALL.

As you can also tell, I had a hard time staying still because I just wanted to GET THE HELL AWAY from the sculpture.

I thought that I was developing some irrational fear of Oscar Wilde or wax sculptures. But how could that be possible? I had never felt that way about them before. And when I was at Madame Tussauds a few months later, I took photos with all sorts of wax sculptures (I basically made out with the David Bowie one), so what the hell, right?

Fast forward to the Cultural Centre of Belém in Portugal, where I came across this fucking guy:

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I turned the corner and there he was. I stopped dead in my tracks.

Was he real?

I waited a few moments and he didn’t move.

I took another photo:

66656_10150308536065370_2411076_n

I coughed. I cleared my throat.

Nothing.

It was an installation.

And I COULD NOT GET NEAR IT.

That’s when all the pieces came together, flashing before my eyes.

Lesson learned: I still love wax sculptures. I just fear any sculpture that is leaning forward just so, making their face not entirely visible. Because I think they will come to life and kill me. (Obviously.)

Can you blame me?

xA

Two Hundred Seventy Nine.

I love that I’m about to post this on the Internet. I can’t wait for you all to judge me.

(Oh, wait…it’s day 279. I’m used to it.)

Okay, so today I was running some errands, and I had to stop at a pet store to re-stock on some treats/snacks for Oscar and Lucy.

Did you forget about my dogs, Oscar Wilde and Lucille Ball Beça? I sure hope not.

Some recent cuddles, to refresh your memory…

Oscar is my nurse on sick days.
Oscar is my nurse on sick days.
Cuddle Monster.
Cuddle Monster Lucy.

Anyway, there I was at the pet store when I saw another Boston Terrier! How exciting! I adore meeting other Boston Terriers, because they’re so sweet and funny. I like seeing how a lot of personality traits are inherent in the breed.

So there I am, petting this adorable little Boston, and what thought pops into my mind?

Well, in all fairness, my first thought was, “Aww, I can’t wait to get home and smooch my pups!

But my second thought was, “My dogs are cuter.”

WHAT!

I know, it’s rude. It’s weird. It’s like, not even relevant.

But don’t pretend you haven’t done it.

FLASHBACK TO:

A couple months ago, one of my co-workers was puppysitting his childhood dog while one of his parents was out of town. The dog doesn’t live with him full time, so he was super excited about it. He came into my office and started showing me photos on his phone.

“He’s adorable!” I said. (And I was being honest! I think basically every dog is adorable. Or cat. Or bird. Or anything. I think we’ve discussed how I love animals way too much but not too much because how is that possible, and I right?!)

Anyway, my co-worker is weird (all of my co-workers are weird, it’s why I love them so much), so he looked up at a photo of my dogs on my bulletin board and he said, “Your dogs are really cute…but mine is way cuter. I mean, just look at his face!”

Speaking of rude and weird and irrelevant…

I laughed out loud. I LOLed IRL. (Whoa.) Not because I disagreed (I did), but because…well, okay, maybe because I disagreed, but also just because he said it. Who says shit like that out loud? Save it for your blog, buddy!

SIDENOTE: Do people do this with their children, too?

Today, as I relived this thought process at the pet store, I learned two things:

(A) Clearly love is blinding (and I think that’s an awesome and beautiful thing), and

(B) We’re all snobs.*

xA

P.S. Just for the record, if I’m friends with you and your pets, I think they’re the cutest in the world, too, and basically that we’re all related. Like I refer to my BFFs as my dogs’ aunties, etc.

P.P.S. I may need professional help.

*Or I suppose the people who read this and go, “Oh yeah, I do that, too.” are snobs along with me.**

**No, you know what? If you read this and go, “WTF? Who is this girl?” then you’re lying. WE’RE ALL SNOBS.***

***We’re all snobs because love is blinding. See? The world is so fucking beautiful. Happy sigh.

Two Hundred Sixty Nine.

They like to snuggle them.

They like to smush their faces into them.

They like to sit on top of them, or between them, or just anywhere near them.

They like to lick them (which can get weird).

On the flip side, though…

They like to kick them. (Especially when you’re trying to sleep.)

They like to jump on them.

They like to headbutt them.

And that sucks. Especially because they always find the sweet (see: most painful) spot.

What am I talking about? What have I spent my whole life learning?

DOGS + BOOBS, y’all. Dogs + boobs.

(And kids, too.)

xA

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