Not Acting my Age

The other day, I strapped on my backpack, which was mostly empty, but I made sure I had a full water bottle.

With my mask on, I went out for a walking adventure, doing my best to avoid people. Not an easy feat in Massachusetts. Whether in the US, UK, or Ireland, I’d always gone for long walks, with no particular destination in mind. But recent events have stifled me.

Since it’s September, I enjoyed the crispness in the air and the fresh smell. There’s something special about the way autumn smells. The leaves are starting to turn. Also, the clouds occasionally parted, giving glimpses of the deep blue sky overhead.

This is one of my favorite seasons, and even though this particular one is not the typical fall in New England, I want to do my damnedest to enjoy life. Safely.

So, there I was, out enjoying the day, when I neared a street I had to traverse, and there stood a crossing guard with a face mask. I’m getting used to seeing people in masks, but I was fairly certain the woman would mistake me for a school kid.

The backpack I had on was massive. It’s the one I use for travel when I don’t want to pack a normal bag. It was the only one that was empty (I haven’t been traveling) when I decided to go for my walkabout, and I know it makes me look like I’m wearing my dad’s backpack.

Also, for as long as I can remember, people have thought I’m much younger than I actually am.

I’m sure my Curious George T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops didn’t help my cause.

As I stood on the corner opposite the woman, I was certain she would step out into the road with her stop sign to assist me across safely. I understand this is her job, but it’s always been a slight embarrassment that so many think I’m still a kid. Sure, I act like one, but that doesn’t mean I am one.

Since I have a knack for getting into impossible situations, the better half probably appreciates those who keep an eye out for me.

When the light turned, sure enough, the crossing guard boldly stepped out and greeted me with a cheery hello.

I returned it with my own happy greeting, remembering that many of us have been isolated for months. Maybe she didn’t think I was a kid and simply wanted to have human interaction.

Although, she did say she wished I didn’t have too much homework for the weekend. Surely, she says that to all the adults.

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of Heart of Ice, an ice-queen romance, Miranda MacLeod and I have put together a giveaway. Click here to enter.

There will be 3 prizes. The grand-prize includes a signed paperback copy of Heart of Ice and a $50 Amazon gift card. Two other winners will each receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

What happens when the one person who makes your heart sing is also the one person who could destroy everything you’ve worked for?

Laurie “the Hatchet” Emerson is a ruthless leader in Boston finance who’s rumoured to have a block of ice where her heart should be. If only. Recently widowed, Laurie fears she’s broken beyond repair, until a once-in-a-lifetime business deal reignites her passion for work and gives her a shot at proving to the world she still has some life left in her.

Jack Kennedy is a young portfolio manager who aspires to greatness. Unfortunately, she’s so many rungs down the corporate ladder she can’t even scrape up enough money to move out of her mother’s apartment. Her luck changes when her work ethic is finally rewarded with the job opportunity of her dreams.

A blizzard forces their worlds to collide, but what was meant to be a no-strings night of passion becomes more complicated when they both arrive at the office the next morning to discover they each spent the night with the one person in the city who could crush their futures.

Together, they just might hold the keys to everything they’ve ever wanted, but the difference in their ages and positions could spell the end of their careers. Will the ice queen and the protégé find happiness together or lose everything?

Best-selling lesbian fiction authors TB Markinson & Miranda MacLeod have written a scorching ice queen romance about love striking twice. Read it today!

 

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The Wedding Speech I Don’t Remember

Many, many years ago, I was maid of honor for my best friend’s wedding.

I’d never been the maid of honor before, and I think it took some time for it to sink in that I would have to give a speech at the wedding. Public speaking and I are enemies. In college, I took an entire year of French to meet my public speaking requirement instead of one semester of speech.

However, I couldn’t get out of the obligation at the wedding. I mean how does one say, “Pass” to their best friend on their most important day?

The entire day leading up to the speech, I was a nervous wreck.

The event took place on a vineyard, and before the late afternoon ceremony, the wedding party had a wine tasting. I’m not much of a drinker, so I only took tiny sips to avoid getting plastered and doing something horrendous like puking during the vows.

For the most part, I succeeded in not getting tipsy.

After the vows were exchanged, we sat down for dinner, and I realized I’d been signed up for a vegetarian meal. At the time, I didn’t eat much meat, but here’s the kicker. I hate veggies. My idea of a vegetarian diet consists of beans, rice, and cheese.

The caterer had prepared a gorgeous tower of colorful vegetables that was too pretty to eat. Since I hated nearly everything else on my plate, I didn’t touch it.

When I’m nervous, my throat gets dry. The only drink on the table was wine. I mean, we were on a vineyard, so this shouldn’t have been a surprise. I started drinking my wine on a completely empty stomach. The staff kept filling my glass. I continued sipping it so I could eventually speak when my time came.

The speeches started, and I noticed something that had never entered my head. Everyone had a prepared speech written out, and they read from a paper.

I hadn’t prepared at all. Remember, I never took public speaking 101.

And, I was now drunk.

It was finally my turn, and I remember standing to speak. That’s pretty much the only thing I can recall, aside from my knees knocking together.

After I spoke, I returned to my seat and downed another glass of wine.

The follow morning, I woke on the vineyard, and the entire wedding party planned to hit up some other vineyards in the area before we all scattered to our flights back home.

I was nervous to go to breakfast because I thought I’d flubbed my speech. I winged it when others had probably struggled for days finding the right words.

Not so confidently, I entered the dining area, and the mother of the bride told me how nice my speech was. I’d known her for years, and I chalked it up to her being kind. But, as the day progressed, everyone confided in me that I had given the best speech.

When we sat down on the plane, I turned to my partner and said, “What exactly did I say in my speech?”

“I can’t remember, but it made me cry.”

I still don’t know what I said, but I’m counting it as a win. It was also the last time I was maid of honor. I can’t handle the pressure.

 

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of Heart of Ice, an ice-queen romance, Miranda MacLeod and I have put together a giveaway. Click here to enter.

There will be 3 prizes. The grand-prize includes a signed paperback copy of Heart of Ice and a $50 Amazon gift card. Two other winners will each receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

What happens when the one person who makes your heart sing is also the one person who could destroy everything you’ve worked for?

Laurie “the Hatchet” Emerson is a ruthless leader in Boston finance who’s rumoured to have a block of ice where her heart should be. If only. Recently widowed, Laurie fears she’s broken beyond repair, until a once-in-a-lifetime business deal reignites her passion for work and gives her a shot at proving to the world she still has some life left in her.

Jack Kennedy is a young portfolio manager who aspires to greatness. Unfortunately, she’s so many rungs down the corporate ladder she can’t even scrape up enough money to move out of her mother’s apartment. Her luck changes when her work ethic is finally rewarded with the job opportunity of her dreams.

A blizzard forces their worlds to collide, but what was meant to be a no-strings night of passion becomes more complicated when they both arrive at the office the next morning to discover they each spent the night with the one person in the city who could crush their futures.

Together, they just might hold the keys to everything they’ve ever wanted, but the difference in their ages and positions could spell the end of their careers. Will the ice queen and the protégé find happiness together or lose everything?

Best-selling lesbian fiction authors TB Markinson & Miranda MacLeod have written a scorching ice queen romance about love striking twice. Read it today!

 

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The Trials and Tribulations of Having an Odd Head

I have an odd head. There’s no breaking that news gently. Trust me, many have, especially people who cut my hair. They try to gently say I have terrible hair to style and not to expect a miracle.

What’s odd about it?

First, it’s tiny. While I purchase adult-sized baseball hats (I might have an addiction to them), I could get away with buying child-sized ones if it weren’t for the bill being shorter. One of the reasons I wear hats is to protect my eyes and face from the sun. A shorter bill doesn’t quite cut it, which is a shame since kid’s hats are cheaper sometimes.

Second, I have many cowlicks, and I like to keep my hair short. This poses endless problems. When a stylist is trimming my hair, many minutes are spent trying to tame the cowlicks, which love to poof out. My current stylist has said I have the worst hair to cut. Period. I actually took pride in the statement because if I’m going to have terrible hair, I might as well be number one in that category.

Third, on one side, there’s a protrusion of some sort. I suspect that at some point during my early days, I was dropped on my head, although no one has fessed up to this. Since my head is covered with hair, I’ve never been able to see how much damage there is. And, I’ve always been tempted to shave my head to see the weirdness, but given my tiny head, I don’t think I can pull off the shaved look.

Four, my hair is very thin and scraggly. Back in the 90s, when perms and curls were all the rage, many stylists attempted to curl my hair. It never worked out. For about five minutes, it’d look decent, but then one side would lose all the curl, and soon enough, so did the other.

Over the past six months, I didn’t get a haircut because of the pandemic. Another thing about my hair: I hate it when it touches my neck, which it was doing a lot during the last few months. At one point, I took the cat trimmer to the back of my head, getting the fluffy bits off my neck. A couple of months later, the better half took the scissors and hacked off the hair on my neck. A blunt cut, but since I couldn’t see it, I didn’t care.

Recently, I finally got a professional haircut, and I went super short because who knows when I’ll be able to get it cut again. My current do is giving me fantastic bedhead. Every morning I look in the mirror and chuckle. When you have terrible hair like mine, you have to have a sense of humor. Which is why I’m going to share some pictures to prove I have an odd head.

 

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of Heart of Ice, an ice-queen romance, Miranda MacLeod and I have put together a giveaway. Click here to enter.

There will be 3 prizes. The grand-prize includes a signed paperback copy of Heart of Ice and a $50 Amazon gift card. Two other winners will each receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

What happens when the one person who makes your heart sing is also the one person who could destroy everything you’ve worked for?

Laurie “the Hatchet” Emerson is a ruthless leader in Boston finance who’s rumoured to have a block of ice where her heart should be. If only. Recently widowed, Laurie fears she’s broken beyond repair, until a once-in-a-lifetime business deal reignites her passion for work and gives her a shot at proving to the world she still has some life left in her.

Jack Kennedy is a young portfolio manager who aspires to greatness. Unfortunately, she’s so many rungs down the corporate ladder she can’t even scrape up enough money to move out of her mother’s apartment. Her luck changes when her work ethic is finally rewarded with the job opportunity of her dreams.

A blizzard forces their worlds to collide, but what was meant to be a no-strings night of passion becomes more complicated when they both arrive at the office the next morning to discover they each spent the night with the one person in the city who could crush their futures.

Together, they just might hold the keys to everything they’ve ever wanted, but the difference in their ages and positions could spell the end of their careers. Will the ice queen and the protégé find happiness together or lose everything?

Best-selling lesbian fiction authors TB Markinson & Miranda MacLeod have written a scorching ice queen romance about love striking twice. Read it today!

 

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A Day for Celebration

When Miranda and I published Holly and Ivy, we treated ourselves to a day at the spa.

With COVID, that wasn’t an option this time around. However, neither of us wanted to skip celebrating the release of Heart of Ice, our second cowrite. Getting a novel over the finish line shouldn’t skip by without raising a glass.

So, Miranda recommended heading to a Shaker village, roughly an hour and a half drive from Boston.

I know nothing about the Shakers, but I’m always up for a bit of a historical adventure, and I gladly accepted the offer.

Again, due to COVID, there weren’t tours available, but we knew this ahead of time and I didn’t mind. It was a lovely late summer day, and the temperature hovered near 80 without much humidity, a true blessing after a scorching July in Boston. We checked out some of the buildings from the outside, but my favorite part was wandering the grounds.

There was a short walking trail, and I spied many dragonflies, frogs, stunning flowers, and a quaint pond.

We brought food and iced tea for a picnic and camped out at a table for a safe chat. Our only interaction with strangers was an adorable ginger kitty, who conned Miranda out of a slice of turkey. To protect our pussy friend, I didn’t take a photo (code for I was enjoying the food so much I plum forgot to get a snap of the scrappy cat).

On the way home, we stopped at a vineyard since Miranda is doing research for her next lesbian romance. Who doesn’t love research involving drinking wine outside and indulging in dessert?

All it all, it was a fantastic day.

And, Miranda, if you need a research buddy for more vineyard trips, all you need to do is ask.

To celebrate the release of Heart of Ice, an ice-queen romance, Miranda MacLeod and I have put together a giveaway. Click here to enter.

There will be 3 prizes. The grand-prize includes a signed paperback copy of Heart of Ice and a $50 Amazon gift card. Two other winners will each receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

What happens when the one person who makes your heart sing is also the one person who could destroy everything you’ve worked for?

Laurie “the Hatchet” Emerson is a ruthless leader in Boston finance who’s rumoured to have a block of ice where her heart should be. If only. Recently widowed, Laurie fears she’s broken beyond repair, until a once-in-a-lifetime business deal reignites her passion for work and gives her a shot at proving to the world she still has some life left in her.

Jack Kennedy is a young portfolio manager who aspires to greatness. Unfortunately, she’s so many rungs down the corporate ladder she can’t even scrape up enough money to move out of her mother’s apartment. Her luck changes when her work ethic is finally rewarded with the job opportunity of her dreams.

A blizzard forces their worlds to collide, but what was meant to be a no-strings night of passion becomes more complicated when they both arrive at the office the next morning to discover they each spent the night with the one person in the city who could crush their futures.

Together, they just might hold the keys to everything they’ve ever wanted, but the difference in their ages and positions could spell the end of their careers. Will the ice queen and the protégé find happiness together or lose everything?

Best-selling lesbian fiction authors TB Markinson & Miranda MacLeod have written a scorching ice queen romance about love striking twice. Read it today!

 

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Is This Your Forever Home?

One of the questions I get asked a lot is where I get my ideas from.

My answer is always disappointing to some, because I get them from everywhere, all of the time. There’s no special sauce, which I think many want to know the recipe for. I’m sure there are times when I don’t even realize I’m being influenced by something.

However, the concept of a forever place sticks out in my head, and I used it in One Golden Summer.

When I moved back to Massachusetts from Britain, it was a complete surprise. We’d recently received five-year visas when the chatter about recalling American employees started. I was on my partner’s work visa, but the uncertainty of Brexit was making a lot of American companies skittish.

So, less than a year of arriving in Britain, after a year and a half break in Ireland (another weird aspect of our first British visas), I was on a plane heading home.

Yet, America didn’t feel like home anymore. I’d been away for nearly eight years, and much had changed in my absence.

The fact that I didn’t have a choice in the matter also rankled.

Back in the US, I was in charge of getting the apartment set up, while my partner closed up shop in Britain.

About a week into unpacking boxes and buying furniture (we no longer had any basics like a bed, couch, or even a camp chair), I was taking out the rubbish (why is there always so much trash when you move?), when my new neighbor flagged me down.

We introduced ourselves, and her young son asked me if the new apartment was my forever home.

He’s an adorable, sweet boy, and the way he spoke touched my heart.

It also struck a nerve since at that moment in time, I felt rudderless.

When it came time to craft Saffron’s backstory, the concept of her never feeling like she had a home spoke to me, and I remembered my young neighbor with his wide, honest eyes asking me that question. It became one of the main themes for Saffron.

Now, over a year after my move, the world is even more terrifying than when I returned. I wonder how long it will take me to feel like I’m finally home in my forever place.

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The New Reality

When Clare and I started planning our research trip to Whitstable for One Golden Summer, our cowrite, neither of us had an inkling how quickly world events would change.

In February, I started reading stories about the virus plaguing China. I found the news troubling, but I had no idea how bad it would get. Then, the news out of Italy was terrible.

By the time I got on the plane early in March, in Boston heading to London, the news was becoming more alarming, but neither the British nor American governments were offering a lot of guidance. What they did say was to wash your hands a lot and thoroughly. I’ve always been a compulsive handwasher, so I felt like I had a handle on that part.

Halfway through my time in London, the WHO declared the virus a pandemic.

The shite was getting real.

Still, though, it seemed like something that wasn’t impacting the US or UK. Of course, it was, but neither government was offering a lot of practical advice.

Then Trump declared he wasn’t going to allow travelers from Europe into the country. This caused a lot of panic, and as it turned out, he wasn’t banning American citizens from arriving in the US.

I looked into rebooking my flight for earlier, but the prices were astronomical, and there were Americans who didn’t already have a way home.

Throughout all of this, Clare and her wife tried to keep me calm. We all did our best to enjoy the time we had, which involved watching a lot of telly. Turns out, Clare’s a good cook. I didn’t know that before.

On the day of my scheduled flight home, I was exhausted from all the stress. The trip from London to Boston, one I’d done a few times before, was one of the longest days ever. It was also the first time I had to fill out a health certificate in order to get on a plane.

The flight home was weird. Only a handful of people wore masks (at the time, we were still being told not to buy masks so healthcare workers would have access). Quite a few people on the flight had a cough. The woman sitting two seats over didn’t look like she felt well.

I tried to keep my head down and continued using wet wipes to clean my hands, still the only practical advice either government was issuing.

By the time I landed at Logan Airport, I just wanted to get home to my apartment for my fourteen-day quarantine. Yet, another first.

I got home on March 17th.

On March 23rd, Britain locked down, and on the same day, the governor of Massachusetts issued a stay-at-home order. Even now, it’s still hard for me to wrap my head around everything that’s happened since.

A few days later, I became sick. At the time, tests weren’t readily available in the US, and I never got ill enough to go to the hospital. But whatever I had still hasn’t gone away completely, and comes and goes in waves.

Before February, if you told me any of this was a possibility, I would have thought you a conspiracy nut. Now, I cringe over my naivety.

Also, I have several face masks, and whenever I leave the house, I have one in my pocket and another in my bag.

We’re living in a new world, and I’m still not used to it.

 

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of One Golden Summer, cowritten with Clare Lydon, we’ve put together a giveaway. The grand prize includes a signed copy of One Golden Summer and a $50 Amazon gift card. Two other winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Click here to enter. 

One Golden Summer:

Would you trade fame for love?

Saffron Oliver is the golden girl. Golden hair. Golden skin. Golden movie career.

Only one problem: she hates it.

She flees to her sister’s seaside town – where she meets the confident & charming Kirsty McBride.

Kirsty is everything Saffron wants to be. Perhaps also, everything she wants.

But Saffron can’t have it all. So now, she has to decide: does she crave Kirsty enough to blow up her golden life?

Best-selling lesbian romance authors Clare Lydon & TB Markinson have written a sizzling lesbian love story about not being afraid and going after what you really want.

 

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How do you say…?

Sometimes cowriting with an author, even one who is a good friend, presents awkward moments.

For those of you who listen to the Lesbians Who Write podcast, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m terribly shy when it comes to sex scenes.

As it turns out, I’m also extremely timid when it comes to giving praise after reading a coauthor’s sex scene. Honestly, there’s a sentence I never fathomed penning.

Before I get to the sex bit (sorry), I think I should outline our cowriting process. Since Clare lives in London, which is five hours ahead, every day she’d write her chapter and add it to our shared doc. I would read it first thing in the morning, and then I’d write my chapter. When finished, I added it for Clare to read the following day.

In One Golden Summer, Clare had the pleasure (or torture) of writing the first sex scene.

On sex day, when I clocked into the office (aka my apartment, but office sounds fancier), I opened the document and read the scene. I thought it was hot, but I didn’t know how to text good sex today without sounding creepy. Even just writing good job today seemed over-the-top to me, the American prude.

So, I did what I normally do when I don’t know how to react. Nothing. I didn’t say a peep.

The next time we spoke on Skype, Clare asked me (she’s not shy when it comes to these things) what I thought about the sex scene. I’m sure my face went up in flames, but I did muster the courage to apologize for not speaking sooner. She’s seen me squirm when discussing it on the podcast, so she understood.

Now, I need to recover from reliving this episode.

To celebrate the release of One Golden Summer, cowritten with Clare Lydon, we’ve put together a giveaway. The grand prize includes a signed copy of One Golden Summer and a $50 Amazon gift card. Two other winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Click here to enter. 

One Golden Summer:

Would you trade fame for love?

Saffron Oliver is the golden girl. Golden hair. Golden skin. Golden movie career.

Only one problem: she hates it.

She flees to her sister’s seaside town – where she meets the confident & charming Kirsty McBride.

Kirsty is everything Saffron wants to be. Perhaps also, everything she wants.

But Saffron can’t have it all. So now, she has to decide: does she crave Kirsty enough to blow up her golden life?

Best-selling lesbian romance authors Clare Lydon & TB Markinson have written a sizzling lesbian love story about not being afraid and going after what you really want.

 

Posted in A Writer's Life | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The things I do for work

I’m not adventurous when it comes to food.

There are two types of food I usually despise: vegetables and seafood.

Having said that, I should mention I do try things when traveling, but it’s rare for me to say, “Oh, I actually like that.” Usually, I take an itsy-bitsy bite, make a face, and guzzle a beverage to eradicate the taste.

So, when Clare Lydon and I were in Whitstable to research One Golden Summer, I naturally had to eat an oyster. Whitstable is known for them.

I’d eaten them before, since my partner is a seafood fan. She also loves veggies, including brussel sprouts. I will never understand that, but I’m getting off track.

In the past, I haven’t puked up an oyster, which for me is a feat. And, I do like some seafood, such as fried shrimp, crab cheese wontons, and fried haddock. I know none of them is all that adventuresome, and I fully admit the preparation for these items masks the seafood-y aspect I don’t like.

There’s not a lot of masking when it comes to eating a fresh oyster.

When we ordered the oysters, we ended up with half a dozen, even though I’m sure I ordered fewer. I only had the intention of eating one for a photo op. I’m admitting that right now. This was for a photo op.

The oysters arrived at the table, and there were a few large and some not so small ones. I ended up with a large one and added Tabasco, because I normally do.

Then I held it in my hand, while Clare readied for the shot.

As you can see from the photo, I wasn’t super thrilled, but I will report the oyster was extremely fresh. A plus. But not enough for me to eat more. I got my photo. Mission accomplished.

The fish and chips were much more to my liking, so I didn’t starve for the night.

In the book, my character wasn’t an oyster hater, but Clare’s was. I wonder if witnessing my reaction influenced her at all.

To celebrate the release of One Golden Summer, cowritten with Clare Lydon, we’ve put together a giveaway. The grand prize includes a signed copy of One Golden Summer and a $50 Amazon gift card. Two other winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Click here to enter. 

One Golden Summer:

Would you trade fame for love?

Saffron Oliver is the golden girl. Golden hair. Golden skin. Golden movie career.

Only one problem: she hates it.

She flees to her sister’s seaside town – where she meets the confident & charming Kirsty McBride.

Kirsty is everything Saffron wants to be. Perhaps also, everything she wants.

But Saffron can’t have it all. So now, she has to decide: does she crave Kirsty enough to blow up her golden life?

Best-selling lesbian romance authors Clare Lydon & TB Markinson have written a sizzling lesbian love story about not being afraid and going after what you really want.

 

Posted in A Writer's Life | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

I think 2020 hates me

When I promised to share my triumphs and failures during the course of 2020, I had hoped I’d have more good shiz than setbacks to report, but so far, this year has my number.

Okay, I’m going to dive in.

On the writing front:

I haven’t published a book yet, so I’m zero for five for my 2020 goals. But I knew I wouldn’t be publishing until late March. I’m still hopeful to hit that mark.

I’m in the midst of two writing projects and had hoped to be further along, but an illness set me back. More on that below.

On the business side of being an author:

One of my goals was to prepare blog posts and newsletters in advance, and for the most part, I’ve succeeded during the month of February. A tick for the win column!

As for revamping my author website, I still haven’t touched it…

On the health front:

My overall yearly goal was to exercise more, eat better, and all the other shite they tell you to actualize a healthier you.

After a hit-or-miss January, I started February off strong, hitting my 10K step goal every day. Then the flu from hell hit me. I stripped the fitbit off my wrist and crashed on the couch for days.

The good news: I’m heading to London to visit friends. I’m hoping some time away from work and the laptop will help me center my chi. I’m not really sure what that means, but it has to be better than sleeping in my soup-stained T-shirt because I don’t have the will to shower.

Fingers crossed my March report will be cheerier.

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