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Lots of Good Reads

My leisuring has increased recently and therefore so has my book reading. I’m sure there will be even more reading now that school just ended for the summer (yay!). What am I going to do with myself without constant homework? (Answer: nothing)  Here are the books I’ve read recently:

14 by Peter Clines

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“14” is about an apartment building with something weird going on inside that the tenants are trying to figure out. I can honestly say this is the only book that I’ve ever read that gave me chills. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on at first so my imagination was doing the work, but once I started to figure things out, the chills stopped. That was kind of disappointing but I still really liked it and it was a super fast read. Comparing this book to Lost is a pretty accurate assessment, except that everything is explained. I would recommend it if you dig science fiction mysteries.

The Apprentice (Rizzoli and Isles #2) by Tess Gerritsen

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Look guys! It’s a real book with pages and everything! I would have never read this one except my friend basically shoved the book in my hands and told me to read it. I read the first book in the series, The Surgeon, and thought it was good but not great. So I wasn’t really interested in reading more. I’m not a big fan of CSI-type shows and that’s how these books read. With that said, I liked this one much better than the first one. It’s a little maddening how consumed Rizzoli is with what men think of her, but other than that constant annoyance, the case itself was really interesting and unraveled well.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

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Without giving much away, this one is about a girl that’s about to get married that has something secret in her past. I almost quit this one 50 pages in. The main character, Ani, is wrought with so many insecurities that make her insufferable. I. hated. her. I really didn’t know if I could read anymore. I decided to give it 50 more pages and man, I’m glad I did. As the book progresses, you find out why Ani is how she is and somehow that makes her much more tolerable. After that initial 50 pages, I couldn’t put it down and really enjoyed the rest of it.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

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This one was recommended to me by DC Melissa and it did not disappoint. The book is about a man and a woman who meet on a plane and conspire to kill the man’s wife. At first, I thought, “Really? Come on. No stranger would help another stranger like this.” But it all plays out really well and I *loved* the ending. My only complaint is the last quarter of the book was a little repetitive where a few things were explained twice for no reason. While it’s not my favorite book of all time, I read it faster than any book in recent memory so I must have liked it more than I thought. I’d definitely recommend this one.

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

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I stalked Leigh’s Goodreads for this recommendation since we seem to have the same taste and ratings in books. (Thanks, Leigh!) I like it, but it was different than I expected. I guess I thought it was going to be a story about finding out the details of a crime but it was more about finding out what happened to a family in the aftermath of a crime. It’s still a mystery, it’s just not nail-biting. I don’t know that I would recommend this one, but I did enjoy it.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

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This was recommended by my friend, Lindsey. This book is so cute and funny, and it was a nice change from all the murder mysteries I’ve been reading. It’s about a computer security guy that reads the emails of two co-workers and falls for one of them sight unseen.  I found myself giggling out loud a lot and I’m really picky about humor. I feel like a lot of books/shows/movies try too hard to be funny and they’re just not. Also, I hate humor that is similar to my sense of humor which makes no sense so hear me out on this: I think I’m pretty damn funny, but if someone makes a joke that I’m pretty sure I could have come up with myself, I don’t think it’s funny. So basically I hold all humor to a higher standard than my own. I think this book does a good job of that. I’d definitely recommend it.

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Last Race of the Season

I finally ran my last race of the season – the Storm the Campus 10 miler at UCF (that’s where I’m going to school by the way).

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Now I’m free at last!

For some reason the race wasn’t terrible like I thought it would be and I actually loved running through campus because I get all nostalgic about my time as an undergrad. Then I actually came in 5th in my age group which is as good as it’s going to get for me and “placing.” There were 23 in my age group, not 5 like most of you are probably wondering. I finished in 1:34:52, much faster than I expected and only three minutes slower than when I ran the race two years ago.

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Of course, my running love was there as well so that makes every race better.

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And we ran into several friends.

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The one thing I was looking forward to most about this race is the medal. The race started three years ago and each year the medal has been a letter in “UCF.” So I proudly “earned that F.”

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I did not run the race last year to get the C medal, however, and I’m OK with that. I got the important letters.

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Now I can take a little long-distance running break. School is out in three weeks and then I’ll really have to figure out what to do with myself. So far, I have several concerts planned, tickets to MegaCon, a visit from DC Melissa (yay!), a girl’s weekend in Savannah, and a trip to San Diego to visit my mama. It’s shaping up to be a pretty good summer. 🙂

 

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By the Numbers

I was reminded today that I haven’t done a by the numbers post in awhile. I totally forgot about those and they are my favorite to write, so here it goes.

1. My last race of the season is at UCF on Sunday.

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I ran this race two years ago and loved it. I’m looking forward to it but I’m also looking forward to a break from running after the race is over. I’ll probably still run once a week, but I am so over the constant training schedule of *having* to run to train for a race. I should probably mention that I registered for another race. So now I’m registered for Best Damn Race Jacksonville and Orlando. I realize this is counter intuitive to my non-running plan, but at least both races aren’t until next year so I don’t really have to run until October. So the plan is less running and then once school is out for summer at the end of April, I’m going to leisure so hard that my couch isn’t going to know what hit it.

2. I tweaked my back on Sunday…while eating lunch on the couch.

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I have no idea how it happened but hubs said that only I could manage to throw my back out while eating on a couch. Now I can’t bend over very well. This has happened before and I usually feel better in a couple days. I just wish I had a cooler story to tell.

3. I finished season 2 of Daredevil. MY GOD how can anyone expect me to wait another year for another season? It’s just so, so good and waiting is so unfair.

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People try to fill the Daredevil hole in my heart by telling me Luke Cake will be out in six months. Yes, it will be and I will watch it and I’m sure it will be entertaining, but it is no Daredevil. Just like Jessica Jones was inferior, Luke Cage will be inferior. #DaredevilForever

4. My current favorite song, Destruction by Joywave. (Somebody New is also awesome.)

I’m a horrible whistler yet somehow I gravitate toward songs with whistling. Hubs loves it when I whistle this in the house like a dying bird.

5. While Melissa was in town three weeks ago, we went to a country bar in Sanford. While we were there, hubs bought me this awesome hat because of course they have a store in the bar. Now, I’m not really into the country scene but I do feel the need to wear this hat at all times.

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I may even be coerced into going to a country concert just to wear it again.

6. Pants has her own Instagram now. Her Instagram should be helpful for those of you that like her but don’t really care for me.

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She hates our love. Someone send me a rabbit that loves to be picked up and snuggled, please.

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An Update and a Race

A few things…

Thanks for all your kind comments on FB and the blog about Ron. I’m so sad to tell you that he passed away a few hours after I published the post about him. So, it’s been a rough week. A lot of little things remind me of him so I feel like I’m constantly thinking about how he’s not around anymore.  It still feels like he’s going to show up at my desk to chat. Anyway, his memorial service was this past weekend. I didn’t really want to go because I wasn’t sure I could hold it together, but I did go (and mostly held it together) and I’m glad I did because I got to hear a bunch of stories about Ron from all the people that loved him and I got to meet some of his friends I’ve been hearing about for years.

I’m also happy to see his GoFundMe is doing well. If you donated, thank you. I know his family appreciates it.

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In lighter news, for the past several months, I have been convinced that I was going to quit running forever. I’m hating it and I haven’t been looking forward to any of my races. I was registered for Best Damn Race and just wanted it over with. Then I ran it and actually had a good time, which annoyed me because that wasn’t supposed to happen. The good time could have had something to do with my little weekend visitor.

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Or all my running homies. <3

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The good time apparently clouded my judgement because I registered for the Jacksonville Best Damn Race shortly after, which also wasn’t supposed to happen seeing as how I was quitting running forever and all.

So anyway, the race was fun and had a great course, the weather was nice, and the medal is cute. Can’t ask for much more than that.

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I also got one of my favorite race pictures ever because of that chick in the pink shoes behind me.

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That’s the best race face I’ve ever seen. It gets funnier the longer you stare at her. I highly recommend enlarging that picture to get a better look.

I finished in 2:10:36, which is over 8 minutes off my PR but was my fastest race this season so I’ll take it.

So I guess the plan for now is to take a running break. I have one more race left this season – a 10 miler in a couple weeks. Then nothing until January 2017. I can not run at all or add a race to my schedule if I feel like it. Either way, I’ll be happy for a break.

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My Friend

Two weeks ago, my good friend, Ron, suffered a brain aneurysm.

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He’s been in the hospital since and his doctor’s say he has a slim to zero chance of regaining consciousness. This is still all so unbelievable to me. I mean, he’s 36 years old.

I’ve known Ron for over eight years. We’ve worked together at three different companies and talk daily. He has a wife and an eight year old son that he adores. Ron was in the Navy. He is working on his Master’s degree and taught himself German by watching episodes of Family Guy in German, no less. He is one of the most patient, easy going, and funniest guys I’ve ever met.

One day at work, Ron put up a flyer at work asking for free tacos.

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A couple days later, when someone took the flyer down, he put up a missing flyer flyer.

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Another day, he bought a cake and balloons and left them in the kitchen. When the cake was almost completely eaten, he sent a company-wide email thanking everyone for their donations and said they could check out the cake and balloons that will be delivered to the orphanage in the kitchen. He’s just so naturally funny and everyone that meets him, likes him. This world will be a worse place without him in it.

I can’t imagine the hospital and other expenses his family will have to face. There’s a GoFundMe in Ron’s name. The page says “in memory of” which is upsetting to me because he’s not gone yet. I still have hope for him and I miss my friend.

If you have a few dollars and would like to make a donation, I know his family will be grateful.

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Things I Read

I was about the write about my race last weekend when I found this half written post about books. Now even more have piled up since I started it, so here’s what I’ve read since – well, I have no idea. Maybe last September? I’m surprised there are so many because I took a decent break from reading.

1. Armada by Ernest Cline (Goodreads link)

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This book wasn’t what I expected. I thought it was a sequel to Ready Player One and not just the second novel from the author. Had I know that in advance (or in this case paid attention to the book summary), I probably wouldn’t have read it. I loved RPO but I don’t usually follow authors. So anyway, this is a whole new story and is similar to RPO in that it’s an adventure based on playing video games. At first, I was bored, then it got better, and then the ending really screwed the pooch. Overall, I liked it because the good part was long enough to warrant a “like,” but I wouldn’t recommend it.

2. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (Goodreads link)

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I read this one on a recommendation from Michelle and really liked it. The story starts out with a bunch of bad decisions from the main character, and if you can get past those, it’s a really good mystery with a great ending that doesn’t go overboard. I feel like a lot of books have endings that are so crazy that they don’t match the rest of the story and this one stayed pretty nicely consistent.

3. Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore (Goodreads link)

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I read this one because of a friend that pretty much gave every book from this author five stars on Goodreads and curiosity got the best of me. It’s about a guy that gets unwittingly involved with a vampire and the mishaps that happen around their relationship and the vampire’s maker. I really liked it. It’s really funny and light and fluffy, which was what I needed after In a Dark Dark Wood. If you’re looking for something with those qualities, I would recommend it.

4. You Suck by Christopher Moore (Goodreads link)

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This is the second book to Bloodsucking Fiends. I liked the beginning, I liked the end, but somewhere in the middle it lost me and then took me forever to finish. I think I mostly had a problem with Abby’s character. She’s so annoying and I hated reading her parts, and didn’t find them funny even though they were supposed to be. From the description of the third book, it seems like Abby is a main character, so I’ll probably pass on that one for that reason only.

5. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (Goodreads link)

I really liked this book. I liked it so much that I bought it for my best friend for Christmas and I never buy books for other people. It’s about a girl that’s kidnapped and the parents that are trying to find her. The book goes back and forth to past and present, so you know from the beginning that the kidnapped girl is found; it’s about finding out the details of what happened while she was kidnapped. Out of all the books in this post, I’d recommend reading this one the most.

6. You by Caroline Kepnes (Goodreads link)

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You is about a guy that works at a book store who starts stalking one of his customers. I find it really surprising that this was written by a woman, but I guess if it was written by a guy, it would seem even creepier. Anyway, I liked the first half so much that I was blowing through the pages but then, something happened. I still liked the book as a whole, but it became disconcerting to read from the viewpoint of a stalker. He had no redeeming qualities so I just felt uncomfortable after awhile. There’s a second book in this series, but I don’t think reading from that viewpoint is for me.

7. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (Goodreads link)

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I have a few friends that loved this one so I thought I’d check it out. It’s about a girl that may have died from suicide or she may have been killed. The girl’s mom reconstructs what happened to her by talking to people she knew, and through her texts and emails. I thought the book was alright. I didn’t love the writing because things were over-explained and too simplified, but my main issue was that I never really cared what happened to Amelia. As I discovered what happened, I’m like, who cares? There was no basis for an attachment to the character so I didn’t care how anything ended.

8. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Goodreads link)

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This book was on some Buzzfeed list of books to read and is going to be a movie later this year, so I was pretty excited to read it. It’s about a teenager named Jacob that tries to uncover his grandfather’s mysterious past. This is another book that started off great, but lost steam once it got to the meat of the story. The end is a cliffhanger that I didn’t give a rat’s ass about, so I won’t be reading the next book. I’m not saying it’s a bad book. It’s a cute adventure, kind of like a kid’s X-Men, but something was missing for me.

9. Never, Never Part 3 (Goodreads link)

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The story is about a guy and a girl that lose their memories at the same time and have to figure out what is going on and how they’re connected to each other. It’s kind of like Memento with a love story. I really loved these books but it was one book divided into three parts. Really dumb. Each part is less than 100 pages. Had I known, I would have waited to read it when all three parts were out because I couldn’t remember some stuff by the time part three was released. I definitely recommend this one and now is a good time to read it so you don’t get annoyed by how it was split up.

Whew. Ok, that’s it.

Right now, I’m half way through “14” by Peter Clines. At the rate I’m going, I’ll post about that one in 2017.

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3M Half Marathon 2016

If you run a race and don’t blog about it, did it really happen?

I’ve been swamped with homework and general life happenings the past couple weeks, so this post is coming at cha a couple weeks late. Long story short: I ran the 3M Half Marathon at the last minute because YOLO. While I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I will YOLO more this year. And YOLO I did.

The week of the race started off with little food poisoning on Wednesday from (most likely) a mahi sandwich the day before. By Thursday, I was feeling 70% better, which left me 30% dumb enough to book a flight to Austin on Friday morning for the 3M Half Marathon on Sunday. Online registration closed on Wednesday, so I had to wait for registration to open back up at the Expo and hope it didn’t sell out by the time I got there. So I basically ran the most expensive half ever by paying double because I registered late and by booking a flight two days in advance. But it was worth it, cuz this girl.

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That was Friday night. My plane landed and I literally Ubered to a bar to meet Melissa and her co-workers. I also had the best Uber driver because he asked me if I wanted to plug my music into his stereo to “get the party started.” How did he KNOW?

Anyway, it took my stomach a few days to recover from the food poisoning. Any time I ate, I didn’t feel so hot afterwards.  Luckily that cleared up on Saturday, right in time for this.

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My race day eve burger from The Silo on 7th. Which might change to a race day eve white rice and saltine cracker because…race morning, I woke up feeling OK but it didn’t take long for my stomach to decide otherwise. I made it to the start but the tummy trouble made it impossible for me to eat OR DRINK during the race. Thankfully it was cool out that morning or I probably would have died trying to make it to a banana at the finish.

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Overall, the race OK. There were no emergency runs to the bathroom so I’ll call that a win any day. My stomach definitely affected my speed. The faster I ran, the worse I felt which was such a bummer because I kept thinking about how MAGICAL my race was last time I ran 3M. Still, I’ve felt and done worse so I’m ok with it.

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I finished and that’s what counts. My medal glows in the dark, which also counts for something.

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I finished in 2:17:25. Six minutes slower than my race the week before.

Post race consisted of a delightful brunch at Jack Allen’s (minus the woman who licked her fingers and then touched the serving spoon *shudder*), many mimosas and Deep Eddy peach/sweet tea drinks, and then sadness because I had to fly home. Because let’s face it, I was in Austin for the company more than anything else.

I have one more half this season coming up on March 5, which Melissa will also be running. I swear I have seen her more in the past 8 months than I have seen some friends that live in town. Not that I’m complaining!

Plan for the next race: I have no idea. I’m upping speed training and hoping it’s not to late for it to affect my race time for a race that’s in 3 weeks.

 

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Shark Bite Half Marathon

Sunday I ran the Shark Bite Half Marathon. Before I get to the race, I should mention that I kept with my pre-race tradition of drinking like a fish on Friday night (no pictures) and then eating a delicious burger for lunch on Saturday.

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Mac and Cheese Burger from Hamburger Mary’s. Add bacon. Always add bacon.

Race morning started off a little choppy. We were having some nasty thunderstorms in Central Florida including tornado warnings. We got a notice the night prior from the race director that the race would start, even if it had to be postponed. And postponed it was. Every time I woke up, I had a new text from Michelle that basically told me to go back to bed.

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Also, don’t send me funny pictures unless you want them to be your picture in my phone.

I finally woke up for real at 6:30 and met Michelle at her house by 7:30. Then we picked up her running friends and headed to New Smyrna Beach (about 45 minutes from Orlando). Parking was easy, but then again I wasn’t driving, so it was really easy for me. Once we arrived, we met up with a few co-workers who were also running the race and got our picture on.

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The race finally started at 9:30. Thankfully temperatures were on the cooler side and the sky was overcast for most of the race, because it would have been miserable running until almost noon if it wasn’t.

The race was surprisingly great considering we got hit with pelting rain during the first mile and gusty wind for the entire race. I have never been so unaware of a race course in my life. Ninety percent of the time, I was running with my head down to keep my hat from flying off. So, like this:

Or moseying. I might be moseying there.

There were a few bridges we ran over that were like mini-tornados and I thought my bib was going to be ripped off my shirt. For miles 9 and 10, we ran into a crazy headwind that really slowed me down. But other than that, I ran a really consistent race and besides some tired legs, felt good the whole time.

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My finish time was 2:11:26. Not a PR, but still 15 minutes faster than my last half so I’ll take it.

Overall, I thought the race was really well organized. The course was great (even with two bridges) and they had a giant medal that was so heavy that we all had to take it off because it was hurting our old lady/man necks.

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I had a great time and definitely plan to run it again next year. And I don’t say that about a lot of races. Apparently the endorphins of this race have caused me to book a flight to Austin to run the 3M Half Marathon on Sunday with Melissa. So as long as my flight doesn’t keep getting delayed (ugh), I’ll be doing that.

 

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Things

New Year’s Eve weekend was probably the best ever. Two days before NYE, I begged my Austin Lover to fly in for our party. And she did!
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Sucker.

We proceeded to do all the leisuring and all the drinking and all the eating all weekend. It was magical. Leisuring included not showering until 7:00pm on New Year’s Day and watching 10 straight hours of the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy (my fave!). New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday. It’s the only day of the year where I can do absolutely nothing all day and have no regret. That night, we went to see Sisters and thought it was cute. By we, I mean hubs and I because Melissa fell asleep and snored loud enough that I got the stink eye from the girl sitting in front of her.

Eating included a trip to the Willow Tree in Sanford for the best German food in our area.

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We ate sausages, spaetzle, potato pancakes, and a giant pretzel. I only got a picture of the pretzel, so hopefully your imagination can run wild with that one because I’m not posting it. I will post this picture of Melissa hydrating, all without taking her hand off her adult beverage.

And this opportunity that could not be passed up.

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We also took Melissa to Kasa. Kasa is a mostly tapas restaurant downtown and it’s our new favorite. They have THE BEST dessert: an apple pie roll. It’s basically a deep fried apple pie “sushi” roll with salted caramel ice cream.

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I don’t like fruit in my desserts and it is probably the best dessert I’ve ever had. Hubs even said after he took a bite that he would be OK with dying because life can only go downhill from here.

Drinking included a trip the The Barn in Sanford. The Barn is a country club and not a place I would normally go, but we decided to stop by for an hour before we went home because Melissa is from Texas and loves her country music.

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(That’s our friend Jen on the left. Also, not a country fan.)

Four hours later, we were closing the place down, so I’m thinking we had a good time. Good enough for the gift shop to sucker Melissa into this gem of a hat.

And that ended her trip. It was short and sweet. She left the next morning and we were sad to see her go because our weekend of fun was over. We literally mourned fun on Monday morning. It was awful to be back to work.

Since Melissa left, I have been trying to do some adulting. School started on Monday and that’s about as adulting as I can get. This semester I’m taking two classes instead of one so I can take the summer off. Taking classes in Spring, Summer, and Fall last year almost threw me over the edge. This year, I will enjoy keeping my sanity, thankyou.

I’ve also been doing this.

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I’m not going in order and some items don’t apply to me, so I’ve been substituting them. Like, kid’s clothes for socks and the mudroom for my extra home in the Hamptons. But man, I can’t wait to get home every night and add to my Goodwill pile. It’s so liberating!

I finished season 1 of Jessica Jones. Hubs and I liked it, but JJ made too many bad decisions that started to get annoying. Also, I like how she’s super strong when she’s fighting Nick Cage, but then she gets KTFO by someone who doesn’t even know how to fight. Too much inconsistency going on. And to my friend (who doesn’t read my blog) that said Jessica Jones is better than Daredevil: YOU ARE INCORRECT.

Apparently, season 5 of Homeland began and ended without my knowledge. So we are currently watching that. It started a little slowly but it’s getting pretty good now.

And that’s it for now. I’m running the Shark Bite half on Sunday, so hopefully I don’t pooch that race like that last one. Stay tuned.

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The Holidays

Christmas has come and gone. Santa was good to me and I got to spend time with family and friends. It was nice. We spent Christmas Eve at hub’s cousin Pauline’s house.

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We dressed up and looked like respectable adults and ate a potluck dinner that was really good. I made some fast friends with a plate of Oreo truffles. #noregret. After dinner, Pauline hosted her usual white elephant gift exchange and this year was more hilarious than usual. There was a 12 year old girl in the exchange and the first gift she picked was an air compressor for tires (she can’t drive), then someone stole that gift and she picked up some beer mugs (she can’t drink), and then someone stole those and she picked a men’s shaving kit. It was hilarious and I was highly entertained by her reactions to the gifts.

Hubs and I didn’t get home until 1:00am, so our tradition of exchanging gifts at midnight went a little late. We always put on the Swingerhead Christmas CD (seriously, why is that thing $44?), open gifts, and watch a Christmas movie. We made it half way through Christmas Vacation until we decided to call it a night.

Christmas Day, hubs and I went over to our friend Jamie’s house for dinner with her family and a few friends. We spent last Christmas with her family too and it’s always a good time.

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I made fast friends with the eclair cake (also, #noregrets) which we have all named the Calorie Wreath.

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This year, the Calorie Wreath was specifically requested and it was just as good as I remembered.

For Jamie’s birthday in November, I got her a sexy Jeff Goldblum coffee mug because that’s what good friends do. Then randomly, her step mom (next to me above) got her the SAME mug for Christmas.

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We could not get over how she could possibly get such a random gift from two different people. We know all good things come in threes, so we’re waiting for someone to unwittingly gift her the third mug.

After stuffing ourselves silly, we sat by the fire.

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Then we watched Ted 2, which was so much better than I expected it to be. I guess Rotten Tomatoes and I will have to agree to disagree on that one.

That pretty much wraps up my holidays. I hope everyone has a happy and safe new year. Tis the season for the Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy!

 

 

 

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