Travel planning problems, and it’s my Friday!

I work for a college, and I travel each fall to recruit students, basically.  I’ve been travelling for years and really dislike junky hotels.  Is junky a word?  I always search for new hotels opening in the areas I will be travelling so that I don’t feel like I’m sleeping in someone else’s sweat (sorry, I realize it’s gross, but that’s why I don’t like hotels!).  Oh, and the hair. But anyway, that’s beside the point.  This will be my 15th travel season split between 2 schools, and I know, at this point, exactly what I want from a hotel stay.  Comfort, a kitchen, clean, clean, clean, and a glass shower door that’s curved.  It’s that simple.  Throw in a treadmills and I’m happy as a clam.  I’m having trouble finding a hotel that I like in the county I want to stay in.  I know, life could be worse, but I spend over 6 weeks on the road, so it’s important to me.

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I ran 4.7 miles this morning, and the weather was just WOW!@&(*+  FANTASTIC.  Perfect running weather has descended on Long Island and I’m thriving on it.  After the humidity of the past few weeks, this cool, crisp air is so welcome.  I was up at 5:45 AM and out the door by 6:10 AM, and that hasn’t happened in a few weeks, no months.  Getting up and out is the hardest part.  Once I’m on the road I can get the workout done and move on with my day.  The plan is 4 miles tomorrow after Iron Yoga, then yoga and spin on Saturday, followed by 9 miles on Sunday.  Part of me wants to do 10 on Sunday just to take advantage of the weather forecast, but I don’t want to jinx myself and end up injured.

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This March half-marathon (Sunday, March 24, 2014) may be my next spring half.  I’m trying to plan ahead so that I don’t have a lapse in training and conditioning like I did this year.  I’m also looking at making it a mini-vacation.  I’d also like to run a December half closer to home, but I’m not sure if the Brooklyn Holiday Half in December is a good fit for me.  If the weather is really rotten I would be so disappointed.  On the bright side, Georgia in March seems like a great time, and I could get their Friday and leave Tuesday, maybe.

 

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Running = good. Eating = bad.

My long run is at 9 miles, right on target for my half-marathon training.  My weekly mileage is creeping up.  But so is my snacking.  Uugghh.  I can’t stop eating!  This didn’t happen to me during my first 2 half marathons.  I was disciplined with my meals, and very focused on meal preparation and moderate healthy snacks.  Lately I’ve been extra hungry between meals.  Wish me self control! LOL

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I was finally able to download “Orange is the New Black” for my kindle.  I wait to get the library version in case I don’t like the book.  I was on the waiting list at spot 252, and it only took 10 days to get a copy.  I’m 10% through with the book (something I would never have said if it was a paper copy of the book) and I’m enjoying it.  It’s a little weird so far, but very interesting, and unlike anything I’ve read before.  

 

Fun weekend! Good food, great friends.

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Monday Night Date Night with my love 🙂 – Monday, 8/5/13

Last night Matt took me to Cowfish in Hampton Bays for dinner.  It’s so close to our home, but we haven’t been there since last summer.  It was definitely worth it.  We went early, basically right after we got home from the beach.  We got a seat right away on one of the upstairs decks.  By the time we left there was a 30 minute (and growing) wait to be seated.

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Matt ordered (and devoured) two lobster dinners.  They came complete with 2 sets of side dishes which I thought was so funny (and great, cause I got to eat one of them!).  For some reason I didn’t order fish, but went with the roast beef sandwich.  It was very good, but once I got my meal I decided I really wanted fish.  Next time I’ll have to remember that what I think I want, and what I really want, are not the same things sometimes!

We had a yummy guacamole appetizer, but that was gone before I thought about taking a picture.  🙂

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We had a nice view of the marina and canal.  And for a few minutes we were the only ones there!  But then they got really busy.  We had a great time on one of my last Monday’s off this summer.

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We had water and iced tea, and they are served in these cute ball jars which I love

LSD – Sunday, 8/5/13

This weekend I got back on track with my half marathon training.  I ran 8.6 miles on Sunday.  Doing the long slow distance (LSD) run really gave me a confidence boost.  I was worried that with my missing the last 2 longer distance runs that were scheduled that I might be really far behind.  I’m slower, but not out of the race, so to speak.  This week I have some speed work, and I’m going to follow the plan as closely as possible until October 6.

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We went to the beach every day this weekend, and on Monday is was very windy (and delightful!).  This was a photo of a woman who may not have realized that her umbrella was basically useless because of the wind.  It was funny until everybody started losing umbrella’s up and down the beach as they went flying.

TRAIL RUN FUN – Friday, 8/2/13

I hadn’t been back to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge for a run in a year, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I was jogging along on the soft pine needles.  The trail is easy to follow (a must for me since I don’t really want to be lost in the pine barrens), and while it’s not hilly, it’s still a challenge with a small ‘hill’ and lots of roots and what-not.  Running it requires constant attention to where your feet are landing. There are some soft sandy areas, some hard-packed dirt areas, and lots of pine needles.  The air is warm inside the pine barrens, and the pines block most of the breeze, however the low trees provide just enough shade to keep it cooler than it would be out on the pavement.  Since I wear my iphone for my nike app and music, I didn’t take any pictures this time.  I’ll be able to make this a weekly trail run now because at least 2 of my scheduled runs are 4 or 5 mile ‘easy’ runs.  Easy refers to pace, not necessarily how I feel about the run!!  🙂

A GREAT NIGHT OUT (2) Sunday, 9/4/13

I’m all over the place here, but Sunday night we had a fun, fun night out with friends that we basically just met.  This July we took a trip to visit family in New Hampshire for a graduate/birthday party, and we met a really nice couple.  During our chat we found out they would be in our town for a weeks vacation in August with their friends.  We exchanged numbers and were able to meet up for a Sunday beach day (with the kids), and a Sunday night out (without the kids!).  They came to our house at 6:30 PM and we had a glass of wine on the deck.  After we talked for a bit we decided to walk down the hill to Rumba, a restaurant with basically no parking lot, and no street parking.  They have a ‘bus’ that will shuttle you from a local Marina’s parking lot, but we live close enough to walk.  Rumba had a 90-minute wait, so we stood at the bar and drank rum punch until our table was ready at around 9-something-or-other!  I know I had 2 rum punches, and they are yummy.  We ate dinner by 10-something, then stumbled, JOKING! walked back up the PITCH BLACK hill (no lights… on my road), to the house.  We said good night and they were off to pay the baby sitter.  We laughed and had a fantastic time!  Wish they lived closer, but they will all be back in CT and NH by the end of the week.  It’s so fun to meet great people.

The first week of the TV experiment is going so great!  A full report shortly.

What’s on my mind

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After Matt finished the half-bath remodel I was able to decorate!  Matched the paint color for the shelf with the towels.  Added some beachy items.  Done.

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Also added a jar for cotton balls.

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Here’s a photo I found of my kitchen pre-renovation!  Check out the blue counter tops.

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Here’s the same kitchen now.  And my current accent color on the bench.

 

 

Is it possible that tomorrow is the first day of August?

Thoughts about August

Mixed feelings.  Love the cooler morning air and warm afternoons.  Feel apprehensive about the ‘end of summer’ approaching.  This August will be about training and relaxing.  I’m feeling more focused with my workouts this week, and am excited that I am 2 months away from my 3rd half marathon.  I’m trying not be let the nagging thought keep pestering me–that if I’d just kept up my training from last fall I’d be set up to run a much faster half this year.  I know that the less I think about it, the better it will be, and the easier to keep my head ‘in the game’. We have no guests coming, and haven’t planned any more trips, so I’m looking forward to ‘staying put’.

Here’s a blast from the past photo:

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Photo: August 2009 when I was a blond! West side of Shinnecock Canal, Hampton Bays, NY

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And the darker hair (not sure which is natural since my darker hair grows in lighter and I have to have it died dark

Weekly workout plan and action

So far the last week of July and first week of August have been productive for workouts.  Sunday was a rest day.  Monday was a 4 mile run and a 90 minute yoga class.  Tuesday was 3-miles of speed work on the treadmill at the gym after work.  

Plan

Wednesday: 5 mile run outside

Thursday: Weights and spin class at the gym

Friday: 4 mile run & iron yoga class at the gym

Saturday: yoga / rest cross train

Sunday: 7 mile LSD

Product Review

My good friend has been talking about this nail polish top coat that she loves.  I finally saw it at Target and picked it up.  To be completely honest I have no idea how much it cost.  It wasn’t listed on the box, and I couldn’t find the price on the shelf.  It was the last one!  And I forgot to check the receipt.  I Googled it and it’s usually between $8.00 and $10.00 per bottle.

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I decided about 2 weeks ago that I will just get pedicures for the rest of the summer, and save some money by not getting manicures.  My nails go through so much with the gardening, and spending time at the beach.  I had been using my old clear polish, but after hearing my friend talk about the essie good to go top coat, I figured I’d give it a try.  It’s been great so far.  The BEST thing about it was that it dried in about 30 seconds.  I’m notorious for smudging polish if I do my own nails.  That’s one of the reasons I only ever buy clear polish any more.  Any color would get all over and end up looking like a 4 year old applied it.  THIS stuff is GREAT!  It dried quickly, went on thick, and is a very hard surface which doesn’t seem to nick or scratch.  I plan to apply one coat every few days to see how the nails grow with them.  I’ll probably take all the polish off for one day just to let my nails breath. 

eXpErImEnT!

I just suspended my television service for a month.  This is something I’ve talked about doing, but never actually put into action.  In the summertime, when the days are longer and there is so much to do outside it always seemed like a waste of time to be sitting in front of the boob-tube.  Yet sit I would!  And don’t get me wrong… I love the TV.  Watching Big Brother is my summertime guilty pleasure so it will be interesting to see if I go through withdrawal.

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Thankfully DirecTV makes it very easy to temporarily suspend service.  You can suspend their service from 30 days to 60 months, and it extends your contract with them for the same amount of time.  I’ll save over $100 this month on this bill, at a time when I shouldn’t be sitting on my butt watching shows (in my opinion!!!!).

I have a number of goals for this month without TV.

1.  Spend more time reading (next on my list: Orange is the New Black)

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2. Evening workouts (gym, yoga studio, short runs, track work, home workout routines)

3. Clean up and organize my office (I finally made an office area in my family room, but it’s a wreck since I’ve been spending all my evenings working out or sitting in front of the TV!)

4. Cooking, food prep, cleaning 

5. Yard work (mowing, weeding, edging, pruning) – why save it all for the weekends, right?

6. Walks or bike rides with Matt (I’ll probably move this up to #1)

7. Sitting on the deck or by the outdoor fire pit with a glass of wine and my honey 🙂 

8. Going to be earlier so I can get up earlier for longer runs.  I call TV the time-sucker.  Before I know it 3 hours went by and I’m exhausted, and it’s past my bedtime.  

Things I will miss about the TV

Big Brother (I’m obsessed and would actually LIKE to be ON THE SHOW! What motivation that would be to get my butt in shape, right?)

Baseball (Even thought I haven’t been watching as much baseball as I used to, I will miss it as a possibility… especially now that Jeter is back at short)

Below Deck (a reality show like Jersey Shore or The Real World but on a boat)

The weather/news & Live with Kelly and Michael Strahan

THAT’S IT!  At least that’s all I can think of besides an assortment of home improvement shows.

Hhhmmmm…. what else can I get rid of!?  One thing at a time, right?

 

 

How re-joining my gym is going, and a nice family weekend

I ‘unfroze’ my gym membership and started going last Wednesday.  I haven’t posted a blog in a week because we had a really busy weekend, and I’ve been feeling a little down on myself.  I’ve tried to do some stuff to get myself back up! but it’s a slow process.

The gym schedule, thankfully, has changed a little since I was there last.  They added a few more classes, and offer some better times for spin classes.  I noticed a huge difference in the yoga class at the gym in comparison to the yoga studio I joined near my house.  The instructor is great, but I definitely noticed that she doesn’t spend nearly as much time correcting form, giving breathing suggestions, or even helping the class (actually, she didn’t spend any time on it).  I do remember that when I started taking yoga at the gym YEARS ago, she definitely did give feedback about our practice.  I really missed that when I took her class Wednesday morning.  Also, her class is 60 minutes, and feels a little rushed compared to the 90-minute classes with lots of instruction at the studio.

I went to yoga, body sculpt, and spin classes last week, and hope to do the same this week with more time at the gym this weekend.  Last weekend we had Matt’s family stay with us, and it was easier to go for a run than spend 2 hours at the gym away from the house.

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Matt was so happy to have his family with us, and that made me really happy!  We went to the beach, had a nice dinner at my parents house, relaxed on the back deck and talked, and Matt went fishing with his dad which was great even though they didn’t catch anything.

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We have a least 50 tomatoes on our 1 tomato plant.  None of them are red yet, so I’m getting ready to make sauce as soon as they start to turn!  We can’t possibly eat as many tomatoes as are on this bush.  Last week Matt made a delicious broiled tomato dish which we ate with sprinkled Parmesan cheese (it was so good!).

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Found this ugly bug on my pretty flowering hibiscus bush. I think it’s some kind of long horn beetle, but after searching for a few minutes on Google I’m thoroughly grossed out and feel itchy, so you’ll have to identify the beetle yourself if you’re interested! 🙂

The yard looks so great!  The lawn is green, the hydrangea plants and flowers are lovely, and the garden has lots of green beans and tomatoes.  Next year we will probably plant fewer green pepper plants, and try the broccoli again.  And I’ve made a few of my favorite English Muffin pizza’s with the basil and oregano plants and our homemade sauce.

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From my Runner’s World e-newsletter I get a few times a week

These are my 2 favorites from the top things runners wish would be invented.  It points out that, yes, we always want betters shoes and running watches, but these would be pretty great, too!  My 2 favoirites: #5, the “ClimaBubbble”, and #9, the “Carrot”:

5. ClimaBubble: Who wouldn’t run every day if it were always 62 degrees with 30% humidity? The upfront cost of the ClimaBubble is easily earned back by not having to buy running gear for all weather conditions.

9. The Carrot: From the makers of The Stick comes this low-tech means of motivation. The headband-mounted rod allows you to dangle whatever will best help you keep on keepin’ on.

Who wouldn’t run for a cupcake!?

pink hydrangea

My pink hydrangea in the front garden are starting to wilt, but luckily there are some new buds like this pretty pink one.  Matt was awesome (as usual) on Monday, and helped me weed the front beds for at least a hour.  We were sweating bullets in the hot sun, but it was worth it to see the beautiful weeded beds when we were through.  An outdoor shower and a movie were a great way to spend the rest of the afternoon with him.  Love him 😉

My Monday ‘day off’ workout was a double.  I ran 4 in the morning (they lied when the weather report said the humidity was ‘low’… maybe they said ‘lower’ and I heard ‘low’ but either way it was still really humid).  They we did the gardening, and after we watched a movie I went to my 90-min yoga class.  I love the Monday night instructor who I had for the first time last week.  The dilemma was that there is  a class at my gym ‘for free’ or at least part of my membership fee, at the same time.  I only have a few of the 20 classes left… May be time to buy some more.

 

 

 

I need a running motivation intervention, and I think it’s right around the corner.

Long, lazy days of summer.  That’s what’s been happening to me!  Lazy, sloth, sluggish, blah. I need a cool breeze, a kick in the butt, and some internal fire to get me moving.  I’ve got no running updates to report because there has been no running.  I’m blaming the weather, but it’s really getting to me.  I need to get up and go.  Just do it.  Get out there.  

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The fire pit is finished, and it is awesome!

We had a very successful summer party.   It was so hot, but we pulled it off and ended the night (at 11:30 PM!) with a fire and sparklers. We had a fantastic night, and were so happy that so many of our friends could come and hang out with us and celebrate summertime.  The kids had a blast, and I have to give a shout-out to the Christmas Tree Shop.  Who knew (I’d never been there before since it’s not around here) there were such great deals to be found!  We got a blow up pool for $19.99, 5×8, and filled it up.  It kept all 10 of the kids busy, and cool.  Then I used it on Monday to cool down while sitting on the deck in the sun.

The food was fantastic.  Our menu included farm-stand tomatoes with fresh mozzarella from BJ’s, home made guacamole with scoops and salsa, ribs, chicken, burgers/cheese burgers, veggie burgers, dogs, veggie skewers with mushrooms, zucchini, red onion, green pepper, pineapple, slaw, beans, bacon (for the burgers), and smores for dessert!  I must say we love the Morning Star veggie burgers from BJ’s.  They are so good, and I’m just hoping I don’t hear some horrible report on the news about how awful they are for you, because I eat them every other day.

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Some of the kids with the ‘pool’ in the background

I’m going back to the gym tomorrow.  I’ll take spin and yoga tomorrow, then just try to make it a habit again.  It has to be my top priority.  I feel so much better and healthier when I am working out all the time.  When I don’t it really gets me down.  I still have some yoga classes left on my class card for the local studio, but with the gym I can get back into Spin classes, and they are offering Insanity and some other fitness classes that they didn’t used to offer.  Maybe something different will keep me there.

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Summer fun!

Frustrated blogger and runner

Last week I wrote a blog post, edited it, and it wouldn’t save, or post. I copied it, saved it, and left the office! I’m posting it here now, enjoy:

Not as exciting as it sounds.  Fact.  I have to work.  Fact.  I wish I didn’t!  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I wish I could work a few days a week, and spend the rest of the time doing what I want, like working out more, cooking, biking, running, yoga, spin classes, the beach!  It’s not happening, so I’m workin’ it.  I work as a College Admissions Counselor, and my title is Assistant Director.  I’ve been in this field since 1998, and it’s nice to work in a field where you aren’t doing the same thing all the time.  For example, we have 4 seasons in Admissions recruitment.  Season 1, fall, is travel season.  Season 2, winter, is application reading season. Season 3, spring, is event and mini-travel season.  Season 4, summer, is planning for fall travel, hosting students on campus (which we do all the time anyway), and final enrollment for students.  There’s a lot more to it, but that’s it in it’s stripped down version.

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In the summer at work it’s very easy to say, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” and then do it next week. I’ve been very focused this summer because I’m only working a few days a week, and using my vacation time to have nice, long, extended weekends.  When I’m only at my desk for 3 days at a time, and when I’m on ‘phones’ or seeing walk-in students, the time gets away from me.  I have actually planned my travel out for the fall, and am just waiting to hear back from schools to finalize the schedule.  Luckily we get lots of calls each day, so while we are the one on phones there’s really not much down time.  I like to stay busy – it makes the work day seem shorter.

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found this online… Pinterest probably, and I want it so bad!

Are there things that you really want, but you know you probably will never get?  I have lists and lists of those things.  It’s nice to have dreams, wants and wishes.  Sometimes it’s discouraging, but most of the time it’s just nice to see what’s out there.  This glass-bottom kayak, if it’s real, is just the coolest thing.  I’d also get another bulldog.. I really miss my Shockey.  He was the dog love-of-my-life  I know I’ll never feel that way about a dog again, but I miss having a dog around the house.  I’d only get another one if I could stay home at least 5 days per week.  And have a cleaning person on a weekly basis.  And have them groom the dog weekly.  It’s a long way off, that’s all I’m saying!  I’d love a new car, too.  Or a truck.

Running
It was just too hot this morning.  I couldn’t make it happen.  I’m going for at least 5 mile tomorrow, and I may have to drop off ice water along the route beforehand.  Carrying the water if fine, but it gets hot, and then it’s lethal.  I’d rather know that at mile 2 there’s a cold bottle waiting for me.  No yoga tonight, no workout.  We have to finish shopping for the party.  There’s a great Friday night yoga class that I’ll take.  Saturday I’ll do a 2 mile run and maybe yoga.  Sunday is my long run day and I may try a new route. I’m getting tired of the same streets.  Problem is, I prefer to know what dogs/obstacles are coming up during my run.  I don’t really like surprise loose dogs!  Not while I’m running, and hot, and tired, and feeling dehydrated.

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Kisses – we miss you sooo much Shockey 🙂

Welcome, weekend!

When you get just what you needed

Don’t you love it when you get a package in the mail? I do!  Remember sleep away camp when you’d get a package!?  It was awesome.  When I get a bright orange box in the mail I know I’ll have a smile on my face for days.

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Tuesday night’s yoga class, which I looked forward to all 3 days of my long weekend away, was exactly what I needed, and so much more than I anticipated.  The studio is always hot, even though it’s not hot yoga, per se.  After my 4-mile morning run (or slog, which is what it felt like!), I sat in my freezing cold office.  I know it’s not fair to complain when not everyone has A/C or is even remotely cool here in the northeast.  I’m not exactly complaining, because I’d always rather be cold than hot.  It’s just cold enough here at work that many people wear sweaters, and one of my colleagues wraps herself in a blanket.  Yes, a blanket.  In July.  It’s that cold in here.

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The classroom was hot, and even with the window’s cracked and a fan on, we were all like melting puddles of ice cream.  Luckily for the group of 8, our yoga teacher for the class was very kind to us.  We started the class lying down, warmed up very quickly, and did quite a lot of hip openers, back stretches, and twists.  My favorite, the tree pose, with some variations, like closing our eyes, added more challenges without adding too much heat.  By the end of the 90 minutes I was truly feeling calm, cool and collected.

You know what also always makes me smile?  Matt!  I’m very lucky to have met such a fantastic person.  He’s hard working, happy-go-lucky, and so fun to be around.  He has helped me tremendously with our meal plans, and meal prep.  He is very dedicated to it, and that’s awesome.

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Matt with a big smile, those beautiful blue eyes, and I love him even though I really don’t like his shirt. LOL

Weekend Update

It may rain for my summer backyard BBQ this weekend.  We are ready for the party (outside, anyway!) thanks to Matt.  I don’t care if it’s really hot and humid as long as it’s not thunder storms.  We have lots of food to be grilled, and drinks to be drank, and chairs to be sat in.  After the party I’m going on mental vacation.  No more planning.  No more trips.  No more parties.  At least not until the fall.  The rest of the summer will be dedicated to race training, beach days, and rest!

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Garden

The garden is awesome, but too small.  We have string beans (yummy), and we will have lots of tomatoes soon.  The strawberries are sour.  We totally missed the broccoli. Oops.  The peppers aren’t growing well, and I think it’s because they aren’t getting enough sun in the afternoon.  The cucumbers never even took.  The lettuce was fantastic, and it’s almost gone.  Lesson learned!  Find more sun. I think 🙂

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Here’s a before shot of the garden. I”ll post another of what it looks like this week.

Last night Matt made scallops and broccoli for dinner (not from our garden).  It was so good!  And I got our wireless speaker.  This will be awesome for both the party and for just listening to music around the house.  I don’t have a stereo system, and so I’m really exited about this.

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Here’s my ‘relaxing time’ last night.  Dinner, charging and trying out my new speaker, drinking an enormous ice water in my Bubba 32 oz, and watching TV (you can’t see the TV but it’s above the wood stove.  I can’t believe in just 5 or 6 months we will be using the woods stove.

Peace, love and sunshine.