Just like a movie star, who gets burned in a three-way script

I’ve been obsessed with a game.

I’m not a game person. I kind of hate games, actually, and for this, I blame my childhood. My mother used to have this game night, see, with her friends.

My whole life, as far back as I can recall–and I can recall being in my crib*, so it goes a ways–my mother has had friends. Not like one friend who we all call “Aunt” or whatever, no. Like, seven thousand friends.

(*I can remember my Uncle Jim leaning over my crib with this scary mask on his face, part of my parents’ official collection of World’s Most Disturbing Art®.)

Her friendships–my mother’s, not the scary African mask’s–are always a result of Whatever She’s Into Right Now, whether it’s her church or her hobbies or her political meetings, like the kind Frank Kennedy and Rhett and Doc Meade and foppy Ashley went to.

(Now, see, that’s funny if you know from Gone With the Wind, because that political meeting was a KKK meeting, and right now my mother is pursing her lips disapprovingly.)

Anyway, Whatever She’s Into Right Now means there are eight thousand new friends of hers calling and popping in and wanting to hug me. If I’m visiting nowadays, and the phone rings–which it does 7,000 times a day there–and I answer, the friends always start off with, “Pam?” because we sound exactly alike. And then I’m the bitch who has to start off every conversation with, “No. This is June.” It always feels so unfriendly to be all, “No.”

They’re always outgoing, these friends of my mother’s. And while people think I’m gregarious and an extrovert just because I’m funny, mostly my days are spent trying to have as much time to brood alone on the couch as possible. It’s always been my goal: If I’ve had a day where I got to spend a good five hours alone brooding on the couch, I give that day one of those stupid 100 emojis.

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What the fuck with those?

Anyway, at some point in my childhood, maybe when I was 7 or 8, my mother started having game night, usually on a Friday, where she’d make popcorn and get out the Gallo Hearty Burgundy, and her outgoing friends would all come over, as would my outgoing Uncle Leo, dragging my Aunt Kathy, who likes to be in bed by 7:30.

Then all night, they’d lounge across my brooding couch and laugh and shout over each other and eat popcorn while they enjoyed them some rousing games of Jeopardy or 10,000 Pyramid. Or Password.

Often, my Aunt Kathy would fall asleep in a spare bed, like a toddler.

I remember being roped into these games occasionally, and sometimes I’d have to be moderator for Jeopardy. I was Alex Trebec and call.

Later, in my teen years, I remember coming home to some of the game nights, and having to pretend I wasn’t drunk as a skunk after a kegger. I’ve no idea if I pulled it off. Also, why did we all stop having keggers?

(Several of my mother’s outgoing friends are my Facebook friends, and I plan to tag them on this particular post, and I ask them: Did I pull it off? Did you have no idea I’d done 16 Miller Lite beer bongs?)

Anyway. Since I associate games with fun and frolic and friends, naturally it doesn’t appeal to me. Millennials seem to be big into games, and back when people at at work liked me, I was constantly being asked to game nights with them, and I’d always say no so I can brood on the couch.

But that’s just what I was doing the other day when I got some sort of targeted ad on my phone. You know how you’re on social media, and you swear you just THOUGHT, only THOUGHT, about how you wish they had high heels for swans, and then you’re scrolling and there’s an ad for Swan Slingbacks or whatever?

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Jesus Christ, really? I just Googled high heels for swans and this came up.

Anyway, I’ve no idea, really, why they targeted me for a game, but maybe they’ve been watching me since childhood, when I was moderating Jeopardy. But anyway, they lured me in by saying, “Play this game to increase your brain power here” and I did, and then I was hooked and I think I paid four dollars for this app, called Peak, that allegedly makes your brain work better, and as you can see from this not-at-all-disjointed post that it’s working like a charm. And also by the fact that I parted with four dollars.

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The game that really got me is called Word Fresh, and they give you some set amount of minutes to make as many words as you can, from a sheet of letters.

This game is perfect for me. I like words, and I like the Mission Impossible pressed-for-time challenge, and plus, I don’t have to talk to or smile at anybody. It can be played at home, by myself, on my couch of sorrows! With zero hugs!

At this point, even my kittens are sick of it.

I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever been involved in a game, and the first person who tries to make it social gets glared at by me. The first person who says, Oooo, June, they have a Word Fresh night at Moose Parts Brew Pub or Oooo, June, we all play it together on this one website with a chat room, the first person who does that is the victim of my next political meeting.

Anyway, I know you’ll be irritated with me if I just talk about that and don’t show you any kittens. I’m going over to Ned’s tonight to see Nancy, and I just can’t wait. I wonder if she’d like to play Word Fresh with me?

Here are the kittens. Edsel and Matt are peas and carrots, man.

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73 thoughts on “Just like a movie star, who gets burned in a three-way script

  1. Oh, those pictures! Love. Also, I don’t know the game of which you speak, but I play one called Spellbound. You’d like it. You try to make as many words as possible out of the scrambled letters they give you in the time allotted. You can find it on the AARP/Games website. Don’t ask.

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  2. I have the opposite problem as you do, I love a good game night but never get invited. My husband and I got invited to one game night and we RULED, maybe that is why we don’t get invited back?

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  3. Oh my god, I LOVE that picture with the kitten necklace on you! A close second is the one where she (I think that is Lexi?) is grabbing her own foot … they are all so cute and Edsel is in his happy place! I played a game like your Word Fresh as a child. Remember Boggle? I think I still have it in a closet somewhere. I liked playing it by myself more because then I didn’t have to worry about losing to someone else.

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    1. My daughter KILLS me at Boggle now–we got it out during the holidays. It was better for my self-esteem when she was 7 and we let her use words with two letters so she could keep up. But then my sister was KILLING me at Boggle during those holidays.

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  4. That Stack-o-Kittens right there would sell well on Amazon!

    Also too my parents used to have Bridge Nights. Some nights it was all women and some nights it was couples. We loved it because there was always peanuts and M&Ms we could filch and lots and lots of almost-but-not-quite-empty mixed drinks we could finish off. Parents paid zero attention back in my childhood days – it was great.

    And the “I just thought about that one thing and there it is on my Facebook/Instagram feed is sooooo creepy. Like things I never ever search for show up, just because I was talking about it with someone. I’m pretty convinced they listen to us through our phones. Ooooooooeeeeeee!

    So pretty June! I’m off to check out Word Flesh. I mean Fresh. Although Flesh would be interesting, too. I imagine that as “how many misspelled tattoos can you find on Facebook” since that seems to be the thing right now.

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  5. Now I want foster kittens. I actually had a dream last night in which, apparently, one of my kids had filled a guest bedroom with foster kittens and neglected to mention it to us, and so hey, surprise, kittens. Actually, that’s not too far from how we got our last set of kittens. They lived here for a couple of days before I caught on to it.

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    1. That would be the best mom surprise ever, and may switch me over to deciding to have kids. Except this one time, Ned’s mom didn’t know that Ned and his brother had a shit ton of lizards in the car, till one crawled on her. So. Okay, back to barren.

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      1. Kittens, lizards, a small snake, various turtles, and once, a set of almost-feral rabbits. All in my house without my knowledge for up to thirty-six hours. Oh, and the time I was checking on my youngest as she was drifting off to sleep — “Don’t tell mom about George”. George was a huge snail. He was living in the sink in the laundry room. I was actually a good parent and a decent housekeeper, I swear. I have raging ADD and a reputation for being a push-over, so the kids took advantage. We’ve also been convinced to take in stray humans — three times. The animals were easier.

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          1. My nephew, as a teenager, actually lived in the cupboard under our stairs, just like Harry Potter, for a month before we found out. All 4 of my kids were complicit in that one.

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  6. My mother had card club with her friends once a month. It was exciting when she had it at our house because they had chips and chocolate covered candies. I love Boggle! My mom and I used to play a game called Perquackey that we played together mostly in the winter. I have never known anyone else who has heard of this game. Anytime I mention it people look at me like I’m Perquackey!

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    1. OMG, I had, and possibly still have, Perquackey! My closeted gay cousin gave it to me, back in the 60s when the closets were still quite full and firmly shut. He was considerably older than I and his parents were in full denial. Oh, the memories that are rushing back no!!. Fun fact: He was named after his most distinguished father, Milton, but went by the nickname Bucky.

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      1. Here’s the “w” that got lost in my comment. Oh, and years later, when Bucky was an out-and proud distinguished gay gentleman, he was in an unusual car accident. He was getting something out of the trunk of his car and another car plowed into him, breaking both of his legs. My father, practically the prototype for Archie Bunker, got tremendous enjoyment from telling everyone how Bucky had been rear-ended.

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        1. HA, not that your cousin was injured, but the fact your father was a prototype or Archie Bunker. We used to call my husband parents Archie and Edith.

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  7. I play Words with Friends (Scrabble, basically) and Boggle on my phone. They may have dropped the “with friends” moniker. Word games are my favorites — I love coming up with a word in the Scrabble-type game that I haven’t thought of in 87654 years.

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  8. When we lived in Austin, we had game night once a month. Sometimes just the ladies, sometimes a bunch of couples. Now that we are in the DC area, maybe twice in the 7 years we’ve been here. I believe demographics plays a large part. Man, I miss Austin!

    June, you’re very pretty with your kitty necklace and Eds looks serene as he watches over his pride.

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  9. OK, the kitten pictures are making me ache for one and now my husband yells, “NO!” every time he hears me say “Ohhhhhh look!” because he knows I’m looking at your pictures. Sigh.

    When I was growing up, we played a lot of games, mostly because we did not have TV until I was around 12, I think. I haven’t played many games in years but Cards Against Humanity got me. I have diligently tried to avoid phone/iPad/electronic games as I feel I stare at a screen enough already.

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  10. OH my gosh. CANNOT take it with the Matt and Edsel pics. Are you SO HAPPY to come home every day and get to see those little kitten muffinheads?! I don’t ever want them to leave!!

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  11. Love the kitty necklace. I think this is the prescription for a bad day.

    Games are not so much me. I went to Bingo once. I wanted to talk. Socialize, like. For my brain the two did not mix. I chose socializing. Board games, no. Oh, when the kids lived at home we played poker. For the life of me I could not remember what beat what. I actually put down all red cards and thought I won the hand.

    Most introverts have a big outside personality. But only for a short time. Then it’s back to brooding on the couch.

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  12. THANK YOU. I’ve been desperate for a new word game. This reminded me of when we played Scattergories with the four of us plus my son’s girlfriend (at the time)(she’s ancient history now)(the slut). OMG, We were making lists after lists and she was like, um, pretzel? Cher? Giraffe? Clearly my son was not dating her for her smarts.

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      1. None of my son’s sluts have lived with us. I question his choices and God help the first one of you who says a son looks for a woman like his mother!! His taste seems to be the cheaper and easier, the better. Eyeliner put on with a broom? He’s down. Hair treated with Clorox? Love at first sight. Potty mouth and a Marlboro hanging from her lip? Book the wedding.

        He is currently single, ladies, so if any of you fit the bill, PM me. (eyeroll)

        My daughter’s boyfriend frequently stays with us. He’s going to school (still)(forever)(omg) to become a radiolog…no, that’s not right. Wait. The person that operates the MRI and ultrasound whoosits. Not a radiologist; I think that’s an actual medical degree and, um, he’s a nice guy and all, but that’s not going to happen.

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        1. Oh, the DAUGHTER’s boyfriend. Okay. I knew there was a love interest who was there a lot.

          I have a relative, I won’t say who, who had been into blousy blondes. All his women, blousy. Then he moved away and years later I met one of his sons and his wife. Guess what. Blousy.

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        2. Oooh, I have the perfect woman for him, JP! OK, she’s probably too old for him, but she fits all the other criteria. She was at my nail place last night while I was there for my appt., and I was seriously judging her. OH YES I WAS!

          Her hair was bleached so harshly, that it was yellow and almost colorless. She had tons of eyeliner around top and bottom, Looked like a raccoon. Potty mouth. Didn’t see the cig hanging from her lips, but I would bet she could do it. I begged my friend who does my nails (she is not known for her brain to mouth screen) to tell this lady next time that that hair color is not found anywhere in nature. I hope she does this woman a favor and says it.

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  13. Edsel and Matt would make adorable calendar pictures. The one with Matt’s head in Edsel’s mouth could be March. “Come’s in like a lion…”

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    1. Now we need a picture of Edsel’s head in that Irish Wolfhound’s mouth. It could be like the big fish eating the medium fish who’s eating the little fish who’s eating the teeny tiny fish . . .

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  14. I used to have Hoyle Word Games on an old Windows XP machine. You’d try to make words out of jumbled letters (like Boggle) but if you made a typo these skulls would mock you. It was like cannibal themed or something which sounds weird but that is why there were skulls.

    Edsel is going to miss Matt when he leaves.

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  15. Yep I am right there with you on the couch. I am not a competitive person, therefore, games are meh.
    When I was in elementary school I was at my friend’s house to spend the night. Her parents were having a party. A party with a goldfish bowl which was marked for keys. We were instructed to stay in the game room and watch TV. We didn’t. I will never forget the sight of Mr. Smith making out with Mrs Jones in the hall outside the powder room.

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  16. I love game night. I wish someone would invite me to one. I could never host my own because my house is a mess, but I want to come to your house and play games!

    I also love the kittens. The pic with all four of them looking bright eyed and adorable is almost too much cuteness for one picture. Edsel and Matt look pretty tight. You sure you don’t have room for one more kitten?

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    1. Come to my house on March 24th. We are having a game night then. One couple wants to play Train – I have no clue what that is, but they love it. Another couple wants Charades, and we want Cards Against Humanity. So, it’s either going to be a busy night, or we will just settle on one game. I plan on having my house clean by then, so, come on over!

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  17. Hilarious post. Growing up we, meaning all the kids on our street, played games, because we weren’t allowed to sit in front of the TV, once we got one or lounge inside if weather permitted. We had to be outside, so we would spread a blanket under the oak trees across the street and play our games for hours.

    Those photos are priceless. The one of Matt and Edsel should be on a pet photo calendar.

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  18. I’m none too swift but I just realized that Queen Edz plus loyal subject on the dog bed also features Blu as a scepter. No wonder he’s so possessive. That’s part of his crown jewels and he’d like his tiara back. Mom. Really I am pre-pitying him for the upcoming loss if his little fluffy minions. I love Words with Friends but I only play Solo or my husband. Stuck in 2012.

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    1. Wait! There’s a solo WWF?!? That would take away the guilt I get for beating the crap out of my friends. And don’t put a timer on me. I get twitchy. Lovely post. Of course.

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  19. *clutching own heart overcome with cuteness from kittensedseljune*

    No, I do not want to play Words with Friends with anybody. Nobody. Never. Ever. Stop asking. Can’t you see my glazed over eyes when your mouth begins to make the sound “W…”

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  20. I love that kitten pyramid picture. I cannot figure out how you did that. No games on my phone, because yes I am on here all the time as it is. We do game nights about once a week, and I like it as long as I’m not roped into some stupid game that has ten rounds or something. I get antsy after playing the same thing for an hour.

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  21. Oh and about the ads reading your mind- my boyfriend texted me a “WTF?” message this morning with a screenshot of an Amazon ad that showed up on his Facebook page today. The ad was for a pink bucket. I told him over the weekend that I wanted to buy a pink bucket to collect trash that I pick up when I walk on the beach. We still have no idea how that ad ended up on his Facebook, but it is creepy as hell.

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    1. DO you have an Alexa? They are always listening….. I have heard similar things from people with Alexa. We have Alexa but I am not on the book of face.

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  22. How are you getting such incredible photos? Later this year if you keep doing the kitten foster thing, you need to save 12 and sell a kitten calendar for 2019!

    Enjoy your game, hope Nancy is feeling social!

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    1. I seem to be anonymous these days but I’m really one of the Shannon’s.

      Unless the calendar suggestion could be construed as advice, then I’m anon!

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  23. Am I the only person who thought it looked like the kittens were nursing your neck?

    I used to play Boogle with a friend who ALWAYS beat me. Bruised my ego because I thought I was good with words and puzzles.

    Love your Edz and Matt (?) pictures. Your mad photog skills really show now with the new phone.

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  24. Our over-50 folks at church have a monthly game night where we also bring snacks. Now the 20 and 30 somethings are wanting to join in. My personal favorite is Rumi Kube but I have learned a few card games. I refuse to play with my mom though…she is such a competitor and feels like she has to win. I just enjoy the company.

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    1. My mom was a cutthroat game player as well, and it has rubbed off on me. So, to maintain my friendships, I mostly play cooperative games where the players work toward a common goal, usually not dying. Pandemic and its different versions are a lot of fun to play. I also like Forbidden Island. Don’t do Forbidden Desert unless you like dying a lot. We have played that around 20 times and have only won once. Ooh, maybe June could link to some of the games. 🙂

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  25. I go in spurts with games. I like them, and then I can’t be bothered, then I like them again. The kitten pictures, however, I never tire of. I am thrilled we get another week and a half of them!

    Lovely post, lovely June!

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  26. My boyfriend of 4+ years broke up with me the summer before my senior year of college in 1998. I was heartbroken. My friends helpfully decided to keep me inebriated for a day or several. During this time, I drunkenly prank called my own mother (as “Bovina Clairton”) and asked her two questions: “What is the amount of cats in your home?” And “Does your dog show any homosexual tendencies?”
    Strangely, she called me bright and early the next morning and asked how I was feeling.

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  27. I am not a game person either because I hate how cut throat it gets. I am not one who enjoys competitive people. And cards? Hell no, I stink at the maths (TM June). My friends and I bought a Sexual Trivial Pursuit Game in an adult bookstore once. I expected to win by a landslide because I was the best read in the smut department. I knew the weird stuff like tribidism (ty, Hite Report) but two of my friends were nursing students and they kicked ass on anatomy.
    I did enjoy Rufus Snackdown and Zombie Weiners when I first got online. They helped my mouse skills improve and Zombie Weiners was a good memory enhancer game. I loved the chain saw sound too, and playing solo.

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  28. It comforts me to know there are others who remember their parents’ card parties because there were great snacks we got to filch.

    I cannot get over the Matt Edsel brotherhood! All the feels!

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  29. I love games, all games. Except Risk. Card games, check. Board games, check. Jigsaw puzzle, check.
    I play Mah Jongg twice a month with a group.

    And June? Alex Trebek and call! Genius, that’s what you are.
    P. S. I record Jeopardy every day and tell at the losers who don’t know the answers.

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  30. I think all our cell phones listen to us. I really had fun on those game nights and miss them. We laughed a lot. I wish you could keep that kitten for Edsel. Make him get a paper route to pay for the kitty food. He’d do it.

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  31. If you want to play that word game on your computer, it’s called Word Wipe on Washington Post and it’s free! The game, not Washington Post but a subscription to it is so cheap it might as well be – if you have a Prime membership the 6 month trial is free and then after than it’s $4/month.

    Back to the game, I am addicted to finding words within the letters (no groups, chats, teams, etc!)

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  32. I’m weird. I like social games – but only certain ones played with certain people – mainly because usually, I’d rather be alone. As for “virtual games”, I have no interest – BUT words games always suck me in – mainly because I can play them by myself.

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  33. It’s a good thing this is my day off; I spent hours catching up on the last few days, looking at kitten pictures and swan heels and clicking on World’s Most Disturbing Art and reading all the fabulous comments from that post. Best part of the week so far.

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  34. Thanks for the laughs and the trip down memory lane! Made me remember my folks inviting over another couple or two for cake and coffee and cards. A bunch of them had moved out from South Dakota to California around the same time, and stayed in close touch, keeping the old midwestern way of life alive, laughing and kidding around. They used to talk about when they were all young married couples back in Brookings (right near De Smet, June!) and they’d go to “the show” (movies) together and then all go over to one of the houses for scrambled eggs or oyster stew and play cards till the wee hours. It sounded kind of fun and cozy, even to a hermit like me.

    Edsel looks so peaceful with his baby. I agree with you, I hope it doesn’t stress the home pets out too much when they feel a bond with a foster and then the foster disappears. Must be confusing for them.

    Okay, I have to ask you, as someone who always felt claustrophobic in turtlenecks… when did those big wide starched-looking dog collars come into fashion?

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