Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie and...Why Am I In The Kitchen?




Okay, here is the question: Why is it I can remember every episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show from 1963 but cannot for the life of me remember why I walked into my kitchen? I can still remember the tune to "Hazel," (Major crush on Mr. B, by the way.)  Yet, I am literally standing in here, staring at my coffeemaker as it stares back at me like, "Dude. What the hell?"  I go down my mental list, am I thirsty? No. Am I hungry? Nooo, but as long as I'm in the kitchen...As I walk away with a handful of pita chips it occurs to me...this is why women gain weight after menopause. We don't remember why we are in the kitchen, but what the hell, as long as we walked all the way in here...just a little nosh.

All this has nothing to do with what I am writing about today. What I wanted to talk about today is a fun experience I recently had. I went to a major league baseball game and it was awesome...plus I gained somewhere in the neighborhood of five pounds. They have tacos now. Tacos. At a baseball game.

So, my son calls me and says "Would you and M like to go to the game, dad gave me his tickets and he can't go,"  and I'm like "Sure." The day arrives and  son and girlfriend pick us up. As we drive away, I think, "Shoot I meant to bring binoculars," because I think baseball players have the cutest butts of all the athletes and I wanted to get a good look. Also, I wore tennis shoes because I knew that the walk from the parking lot to the stadium, puts the 3 day breast cancer walk to shame.  But wait, what? My son is turning into a parking lot that is about six inches away from the front door of the stadium. He takes out a pass and the guard waves him through as if we are the Presidential Motorcade. WTF?

Then we walk up to the gate, show our tickets and make our way into the stadium. We begin to make our way to the seats and we are not walking up into the stands, we are walking DOWN towards the field. We keep going further and further down until finally my son waves us into a row. A row that is like six feet from home plate. As I go to sit down I notice that my ex's name is on the seats! There is a little silver plaque with this name on it! Plus, not only did I not need binoculars, I had to ask several players, "Do you mind? You're standing on my foot," as they took a few practice swings before getting up to bat.

Okay, what am I getting at, you are probably asking. Three things: 1. Menopause sucks, but I can't remember why 2. Hazel put up with a lot of stuff from Mr. B. when she should have just quit and filed for unemployment, and 3. Eating tacos while staring at baseball players butts makes for a pretty nice afternoon.








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Monday, March 28, 2016

Remember Above All...DIGNITY


The other day I was reading People Magazine about how great Jen and Ben Affleck are getting along these days after the whole gambling, alleged sex with the nanny and all around dickiness that Ben engaged in. (He was great in Argo,I have to give him that) And I started thinking about my situation because as a writer I’m very narcissistic. I think all writers are because we write things thinking OMG I am so interesting EVERYONE is going to want to read THIS. Then when people DON’T want to read it, we retire to our beds, start looking on Craigslist for openings at Starbucks, and think to ourselves, “I suck and I’m never writing again.” Then we wake up the next day and start a blog, a story, a poem, a book because the words are floating around in our heads and we just know, people are really going to want to read THIS.

Anyway, as I was reading the article I realized it’s been almost 5 years since my divorce was final. That doesn’t include the two years leading up to it when I was dealing with the fact that my husband had fallen in love with someone else. FALLEN IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE ELSE. MY HUSBAND. Easy to say now, but then? The pain of it, Good God. The absolute searing agony of it. The “I cannot go on but I have to make dinner for my kids and how am I going to get from my bedroom into the kitchen” of it. I was out of my mind with the pain.

I have to admit to you that I acted like one crazy bitch during that time in my life. In fact, I have very few regrets about the life I have led up til now, but my biggest regret, what I wish I could go back and change is how I conducted myself during those years. (Other regrets include not wearing a slip under the black net mini dress I wore this past New Years Eve. An unfortunate choice that ruined not only my night but that of those around me as well. I also regret not finishing college. Pretty much good with everything else) Now, I am going to say something here about someone and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with politics. NOTHING. Hilary Clinton’s husband made a HUGE ass out of himself in front of the entire world, and she conducted herself with dignity through that whole farce. Jennifer Garner is also a class act with how she has handled herself through this whole thing. Now I know you’re thinking “Sure, it’s easy to be calm and classy when you can just throw yourself back into your multi million dollar acting career,”  but it still had to be hard. I mean people were sitting down with their morning coffee reading about these women’s lives and still these gals were going about their business, apparently showering, getting themselves dressed etc. Me? Not so much.

So, I want women going through it now, to learn from my mistakes. I want those women to know that I KNOW the pain is unbearable, you feel you may die from it but YOU WON’T. And maybe this is the one instance where the passing of time is your friend, because time WILL pass, you WILL heal, and you WILL be okay. Here are a few do’s and don’ts  that I learned the hard way:

DON’T

1.      Sit at your friend’s kitchen table, drink a bottle of Pinot Noir by yourself and start sending your husband emails with the word MOTHER FUCKER in the subject line. I know, it seems like a great idea at that moment.  This'll show him! Please. Don’t put anything out on the internet because it will come back to haunt you when you decide to run for county commissioner or something.
2.       Drive up to the other woman’s home, park in her driveway, leave the car running and bang on her door screaming “I know you’re in there open this door!” She will open the door looking calm cool and collected and you look like a raving lunatic, plus your car is running.
3.     Listen when people tell you while looking at you as if you’re a child who just fell down and got a boo boo, “I saw them out last night…I mean it’s just awful, can’t believe he is doing this to you.” These are not your friends, they are people who are thinking “Better you than me.” Don’t ask what did she look like, what was she wearing because they WILL tell you and it WILL hurt.
4.     Tell the kids, “Your father has left us for a fucking whore.” Please, the kids will be going through enough. I know for a moment you want them to hate him for what he’s done to YOU, but he is their father and they need to believe he’s a good guy and let’s hope he IS a good father.
5.     Make yourself a victim, dig deep and find the strength that is in you. People will begin avoiding you after a while if you don’t start pulling yourself out of the depths of your misery. Don’t surround yourself with others who act as victims either. Choose your support groups very carefully. You don’t want to sit around and commiserate, you want to heal and move on.

DO:

1.     Take back your bed! You know that flowered quilt you have always loved from Anthropologie but couldn’t have because your husband hates yellow? Go get it. And sleep in the middle of the bed. It’s all yours, enjoy every inch of it.
2.     Find a role model. When I was dealing with my break up Christie Brinkley was also going through a hideous divorce and hers was REALLY out there, what with her husband sending penis pics all over the place.  There was a photo in a magazine of her dressed in a pink cardigan and gray pencil skirt walking into court that caught my eye. How elegant, I thought. How classy. I cut it out and put it on my mirror and every day would tell myself, act like a lady, just like Christie.
3.     Seek out a trusted therapist, counselor, support group who will give you strength and support while helping you move forward. Your friends will want to help you but in my case they were all happily married and I actually resented their help. They may say, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through,” and guess what, they REALLY can’t.
4.  Focus on your children. Focus on your children Focus on your children. Can I say that enough? No, I don’t think I can. Your children need you right now.
5.  Above all and if you take nothing else from this post, remember this: Act with dignity. DIGNITY. Oh how I wish I could go back and erase the screaming fits I had when my husband would come home to get a piece of clothing he had forgotten. The horror and sadness in my kid’s eyes. How I wish I could erase the way I behaved at my mediation sessions when I was literally told if I didn’t calm down, the police would be called.  And the emails? OMG. Somewhere out there is an Icloud full of  “fucking liar” “I hope you die” ”I hope she dies” etc. Horrible and now so very embarrassing.

In closing, I know how you feel. I DO. But trust me, you want to look back at this time as a period when you put your children before yourself, and dug deep inside to find your inner strength. Because it’s there, ready for you to tap into it.

Remember, above all… your children and your DIGNITY.  No regrets! To that end you may want to invest in a short black slip…just saying…


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Friday, March 18, 2016

You Made Your Bed



M and I have been together for a few years now and this year we have a lot to celebrate. My son is graduating college, his daughter is getting her Master's and we finally got new patio furniture. Also, this year M celebrated a very big birthday and I wanted to make it special. Even more special than when I invited everyone to the Melting Pot for fondue, which I thought would be a hoot, and found out that most people do not consider sitting around a table sticking raw meat into recycled corn oil a hoot. As M's mother so elegantly put it, "What? We go to a restaurant and have to cook our OWN food?" Luckily for me, the Melting Pot has a full bar and I found that dirty martinis complement raw chicken chunks doused in hot cheese very well. So, there's that.

Anyway, this year I decided I wanted to really go all out, and remembered that years ago he had mentioned that he has always wanted to stay at the Delano Hotel in South Beach. This was it! I would take him to the Delano for a weekend and make it a birthday he would always remember. Though his birthday is in March, I actually had this great idea in December, so for Christmas I presented him with a certificate that said Delano Hotel Birthday Weekend March 4-6!!. Then I called to make reservations. Then I called my bank to take out a loan. Then I told M this was his Christmas/Birthday present for the years 2016-2020. The Delano folks are pretty, pretty proud of their hotel.

The weekend finally arrived and we packed our bags and took the 35 minute flight to Ft. Lauderdale and then the 40 minute Uber ride to South Beach. We stood outside the airport watching people get picked up by town cars and limos. Finally Javier' rolled up in his Silver Elantra, salsa music blaring from the windows. "I can't stop here!" he yelled and pointed to a sign that said "Cabs only" so we had to sort of run to keep up with him til he got to the area where pick ups in Elantras were allowed.

40 minutes later we rolled up in front of the Delano and it was all that you would imagine. White billowy curtains hang from the ceiling, the sea breeze rustling them gently. Odd pieces of furniture are strewn about, chairs made out of clear plastic and one out of gold, a see through grand piano, a giant chartreuse chair that looks like it came from the PeeWee Herman show. It all works though, like being in a weird dream with cocktail service. And everywhere, beautiful people. BEAUTIFUL. YOUNG. PEOPLE.

We get up to our room and quickly get ready for the pool. You'd think living in Florida, we would not be too excited about a pool but the thing about Floridians is we LOVE our pools from inside. We don't actually GO in them. Like we go about our days, I don't come home from the grocery store and think "Okay time for a swim." I may glance outside and think."Ew someone needs to get that dead lizard out of the pool," but go in it? No.

So when we go to a hotel we cannot wait to get to the pool and this is mainly because there is bottle service and you can order food and to me there's something about eating and drinking poolside that is a vacay in itself. So I put on my new tropical print one piece with an appropriate cover up and we get to the pool where we are greeted by a young girl in short white shorts with a belt and a white tshirt. "Can I help you"? she asks sort of eyeing us suspiciously. "Oh yes, M answers, "We are staying at the hotel and we would like 2 chairs." "Wait here please, Soledad will be with you in a moment." And I'm thinking I just want a freaking lounge chair, not a front seat at the Oscars. WTF?

The beautiful Soledad approaches us with a clipboard. She is perfectly tanned, long brown hair brushing her back, in a little white shift with lots of sideboob, but the good kind, not the kind where you are afraid one wrong move and you may see something you will never be able to forget. She is kind and friendly, "M and Amy, isn't it beautiful today? We find you a perfect spot. In fact the people who were supposed to have this cabana have not showed up, and we have a nice bed here that you can use. Would you be happy with a bed?"

Would I be happy with a bed? I would be happy if I could conduct my whole life from my bed. I live for my bed, so yes I would be happy with a bed. "Carlos!" she yells to a beautiful young man standing a few feet away, "Please make up the bed for Amy and M." "Of course, " he says, his white chiclets catching the sun. And he makes up this bed with pillows, and towels and sheets and I climb on and he says "Diego is your server and I will send him right over," and I close my eyes and think "I never want to leave this bed by this pool."

Diego takes our order of bloody mary's and something called a bento box which has chinese dumplings and 2 sushi rolls and edamame and I settle in mouth watering, and take a look around. There is a group of people in the pool each drinking from a tall glass of champagne. The woman is surrounded by several Channing Tatums and  has stylish short blonde hair and a blue cut out one piece that shows off her perfect bod and even though her hair is wet you can't see any bald spots, so I hate her. In front of me two young women are floating on a raft drinking rose', their massive heads of hair up in touseled buns. I want to stand up take my cover up off and pull my bathing suit out of my butt crack a little but I do not want to call attention to myself. I am in the land of beautiful people and I am afraid someone will come up to me and say "There's been a mistake, the white trash pool is over there," and I will end up sitting on a plastic dining chair." Definitely keeping a low profile.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I see a line of young women heading our way, the leader wearing a tiny bikini and a wedding veil. I close my eyes and try to ignore them, but of course, I know. This is THEIR cabana! They decided to show up after all. Bachleorette Bitches. So they gather round whispering behind us, and poor Soledad comes running and I can't totally make out what is being said, but I do hear, "Well are you going to change the towels on it because THEY'VE been laying on them." and I assume she means our old wrinkly bodies have been laying on HER CABANA BED.

Then Soledad leans down to us and says "M and Amy I'm so very sorry but we are going to have to ask you to get up but don't worry, Carlos is bringing 2 lounge chairs from the beach for you." And we stand up just as Diego arrives with our drinks and bento box. So we are standing there like 2 idiots holding our bento box while Soledad asks people to please move over and make room as Carlos places 2 canvas lounge chairs covered in sand next to the bed of my dreams.

And the girls all pile on to the bed after giving us dirty looks while Carlos tries to brush the sand off our chairs, and I keep the bento box covered so as not to find my California roll grainy with it. And EVERYONE is staring at us thinking, "In a place like this, I can't believe there are people who would actually try to steal someone's cabana." So much for keeping a low profile.

We finally got settled on our chaises, downed our bloody's and devoured the bento box. You haven't lived until you have eaten sushi with chopsticks poolside, whether on a cabana bed or a plastic chaise, with a spoiled brat in a wedding veil next to you. Anyway, it's not whether you're on a cabana bed or a chaise lounge, it's whose ass is next to yours on it. It was an amazing weekend. Happy birthday M!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It Takes A Village, And Maybe My Ex's Girlfriend



There are two kinds of people in this world: up people and down people. Up people wake up and think "Yay! Another day for me to forge new horizons, try new things, meet new people!" Down people wake up and say, "Oh MY GOD, it can't possibly be another day already." Up people go to the grocery store and upon finding an empty spot where their favorite cereal is supposed to be say, "Oh that's okay. Now is the perfect time for me to try this new gluten free granola!" because up people also tend to eat healthy. Down people react differently to this situation, "What? What kind of store runs out of Cap'n Crunch? Why ME? What have I done to deserve THIS?"

Guess which one I am. Ordinarily I wake up and ask myself why. Why did I have to eat those buffalo pretzel nubs at 10:30 pm? WHY? Why can't I be one of those skinny midlife women who can exist on arugula salads sprinkled with lemon juice and can tuck their shirts in and wear a belt? ORDINARILY. But these days I wake up happy, energetic, thrilled even. Something wonderful is about to happen in my life and I don't mean Season 2 of Better Call Saul, (although that certainly is another high point.)  My youngest son is graduating college in May. Graduating college! The cap, the gown, the degree!! The whole thing.

He is my youngest of four and the only one to take the route of traditional college. I don't need to tell you that this is going to be a big day for him and for me.  Beyond that, I haven't really thought it out. My ex said, "We should probably get rooms," as the graduation is several hours away. "Oh yeah, we probably should," I said,  which as he knows, means..."You better take care of that."

"I'll book a block," he answered.

One hour later I get an email addressed to the entire extended family from my ex's girlfriend:

SUBJECT:   WOO HOO!! J's Graduation

Hi all, I have booked a block of rooms for the graduation and can't wait to see everyone! All are suites! H, I have made arrangements for your dog, they will be expecting him. J, I have made sure that they have the special lemongrass water you like stocked up in the mini fridge. B, don't worry about bringing your special body pillow, I have requested one for you.  D, I told them about your eczema and they will have 100% Egyptian cotton sheets washed in hypo allergenic, hypersensitive detergent on the bed. Can't wait to see everyone! If you have any other requests let me know,

Love, GIRLFRIEND

Um...??

After reading this I had to think for a moment: "Wait, I thought I was J's mother. Did I dream that?" I mean I remember pushing and everything...

For a moment I was outraged, angry, aghast! Who is SHE to take over my son's graduation? And then I was like, wait, what is the date of that again? and went to find the announcement I had received in the mail, which I know I had laid on my office desk that is now covered with Weight Watchers crock pot recipes. After searching for an hour, I found it in my bill pile. Then it hit me—Thank Goodness for girlfriend. Because if it wasn't for girlfriend, we would all be sleeping in our cars after graduation as there now is not a room to be had within a 50 mile radius.

When I first was divorced, the idea of my kids spending ANY TIME with another woman literally made my stomach seize up. They are mine! mine! mine! More importantly, what if they like HER better? What if they truly connect with her, I mean what if she, you know, "gets" them? This woman, GIRLFRIEND, is beautiful, thin, blonde, hip, a lovely woman, but she is not their mother. I AM and you know what? My kids know it.

I am no longer threatened by another woman spending time with my kids, nor should you be. As they get older your bond becomes deeper, the love you have for each other steady, strong, true and unbreakable and most of all constant.  There is nothing my kids could do that would make me love them less, and nothing I could do that would cause them to turn away from me. (Even that time I got tipsy at M's birthday party and started singing Flo Rida's "Apple Bottom Jeans" while dancing alone by my chair.)

So, I look forward to sitting with my children as we watch our J graduate college, all of us so proud of his accomplishment, remembering him as that tow headed little kid who use to race our car up the block, his little feet pumping away. Also, you will be glad to know I now have the graduation date firmly on my calendar. Just waiting to hear back from Girlfriend on attire.


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Friday, January 22, 2016

The Lowdown On the Download



The first book I ever felt the need to hide while reading was Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks. Now this is going back over 40 years, but if I remember correctly it was about a girl who smokes a joint and then becomes a raging slut and heroine addict, which as we know, is what happens to people after they take a hit of pot. (Side note, 20 odd years later I sat down with my daughter, then 13 and gave her the book hoping for a deep mother and daughter discussion. She took one look at it started laughing, and went back to watching Intervention, where I believe a crack addict mother of 4 was preparing to go to rehab.)  Anyway, we passed that book around in 7th grade each of us taking a turn reading it at night away from our parents prying eyes. I of course took it to heart and assumed there were drug "pushers" on every corner just waiting to get me hooked on marijuana. Who knew the first drug connect I would have would be a Jewish psychiatrist in her mid fifties, my hook up for Ambien. But, that's another story...

The next book I felt that I needed to read in secret was called Coffee, Tea or Me, a book about stewardesses and pilots and though I didn't TOTALLY get what was going on, I knew I wanted IN! I also knew my mother probably didn't want me reading about people having sex on planes so, that was read at night, with doors shut, and the sound of the TV droning on from my parent's bedroom.

Through the years there were others read in secret such as: The G Spot, Good Vibrations, Living With An EMO Kid, The Emotional Eater's Repair Manual and finally, Deep Breathing Through Divorce. Yes, we've come full circle. Now, however, my reading life has changed drastically. With the advent of the kindle I can be sitting on the beach with friends reading about the benefits of liposuction vs. exercise and no one will be the wiser!

My point is, you can now read whatever you want and no one needs to know. You don't even NEED a kindle, you can download books onto your PC if you want. Which brings me to my book, "There's Been A Change Of Plans."  A friend of mine bought it as a kindness to me, and her son got quite concerned seeing mom reading a book on divorce. Dude, KINDLE! I can totally understand that some people don't want to ride the subway, sit at little league games, or wait for the dye to cover the gray at the salon, holding a book about divorce which they feel is another way of yelling "MY LIFE IS IMPLODING!"

 I personally don't see it like that. I see reading a book on divorce as telling the world, "I am trying to understand the process by which some woman half my age is going to get all my stuff and I am going to be living in a one bedroom condo with a cat named Mr. Meow." I think it is very proactive. Still, if you are not totally comfortable with it...DOWNLOAD!

Not to mention, downloading a Kindle book is usually a third of the price of the hard copy. Then when you are done, it disappears into your cloud, which, I have no idea what that is, (does ANYBODY really understand the cloud?) but I know it's better than stacking them up on your nightstand until your bedroom resembles a Hoarders episode minus the rat carcasses.

Anyway, do yourself a favor and learn to download books. Right now I am going back and forth on my iPad between Eat Yourself Skinny, Complete Idiot's Guide to Menopause and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, titles all telling you how full my life is right now.  Thanks to my Kindle, I will soon be a  skinny menopausal woman with a very clean house.
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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Doesn't Play Well With Others


Today I was privy to a phone conversation that has left me in a complete state of amazement, I mean talk about shock and awe. You tell me what YOU think...Much to my dismay at 7:30 M's phone rings. Yes 7:30. This Morning. On my day off. Apparently it was his friend confirming that there was a foursome ready to go for a 9 am tee time. This is what I heard:

M: Yes we are meeting at 9. B and H are playing with us, you've never met them, but they're great guys, it will be fun.

See? I am still in total disbelief. Is this guy really committing to a 4 hour golf game, plus lunch and a scotch or 2 with two guys he's never met? Ladies, correct me if I'm wrong but crazy right?

If this was me, and I called my friend to see if we were still on for a day of, let's say shopping as opposed to a physical activity, because she works out like a fiend but I only do Pilates twice a week, and by Pilates, I mean I lay on the reformer and move my legs around in between sips from my coffee cup, and she said "Oh, my friend Lisa will be joining us, you will love her she's really fun," intense panic would ensue.

Thought process:  What? Lisa? Who is Lisa? How did you meet her? Do you like her better than me? Is she fatter than me? OMG Is she skinnier than me? What kind of hair does she have, long, short, thick, thinning? (please thinning, please thinning) Is she going to wear makeup? Does that mean I have to wear makeup now? OMG, will she be wearing skinny jeans and  boots with heels? You know my arches have been killing me and I am only wearing flats right now. Does she accessorize? Will she be carrying a Louis Vuitton purse or a Kate Spade while I shlep through the mall with my fake leather FOSSIL? Necklaces? Bracelets? Those trendy double rings that the cool kids wear? What about an infinity scarf casually tossed around her neck looking like it belongs there? (Last time I wore an infinity scarf I chose an unfortunate beige gauze one and apparently I had it a little too tightly wrapped because a woman  I hadn't seen in a while ran up to me and said, "Oh  my God, what happened to you?" thinking I had either been in a car wreck, or had my thyroid operated on.)

Is she married? What does her husband do? How long have they been married? Are they happy? Do they do stuff together and take romantic anniversary trips that she's going to tell us about and I have to appear interested in? Do I HAVE to pretend to be interested in the wineries they visited in Napa?Do they hold hands in public? How did they meet, UGH don't tell me they're high school sweethearts.
Where do they live? Does she have one of those homes where everything looks effortlessly in place? Vases with LIVE flowers? Photos artistically framed and actually HUNG on the wall as opposed to buried under takeout menus in the kitchen junk drawer?

Does she have kids? Where are they? Girls, boys? Are they in MENSA? Training for the Olympics? Working in fabulous jobs in huge exciting cities? Harvard grads?

Why, why? Why does SHE have to come?

I know it sounds like I'm a little insecure, and in reality I did have an experience in 7th grade that left a mark on me. See I had a best friend from school, Rachel and a best friend from Temple Sunday School, Susie, and one time I made the drastic mistake of introducing the two at my birthday party at Shakey's Pizza. Before I knew it, neither one was answering my phone calls and Susie was taking summer vacations with Rachel's family, while I spent MY summer watching the Mike Douglas show in the morning and eating Now and Laters all day long. That's why I try not to introduce my friends to each other as I know they will end up spending the day eating Cobb salads and browsing through Nordstrom's together while I'm at home playing Candy Crush and wondering where the hell IS everyone?

Anyway, I just wanted to share this phone call with you because I know we're all on the same page here. I guess it just boils down to the fact that men are so weird, right?






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Thursday, December 17, 2015

ex wife new life: Don't Quit Your Day Job

ex wife new life: Don't Quit Your Day Job: Well I did it. I wrote a book. I sold a book. I am a published author. The day my book came out was one of the highlights of my life. My ...
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