jeez-o-petes

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Valentine’s Day has never done much for me. When I was young enough to be excited about it, I didn’t have a boyfriend and felt left out when my friends got flowers or candy or cheap, gross perfume from the boys they were “going with.” By seventh grade, I was bashing it for the Hallmark holiday it was.

Once I found myself as part of a couple, though, my attitude didn’t really change. I think I might’ve gotten some flowers, but they just felt like a token. Almost like a “no thank you” serving — you know, when someone makes something you don’t like but you take just enough to push around on your plate and make it look like you ate some. I felt like I received flowers because that’s what was supposed to happen. And it didn’t feel special.

That hasn’t changed. It’s not that I don’t want to receive gifts, because I do. I really, really like flowers and don’t let anyone tell you differently. But I’d rather get a card or flowers or something because someone’s thinking of me, or because Jared knows I’ve had a crappy day, or because I’m celebrating something meaningful.

But! With all that being said, a little something did change for me at the beginning of this year. I still don’t want flowers on Friday, but I’m done bashing the holiday itself.

See, it seems to have become seriously uncool to set New Year’s resolutions. I feel like, everywhere I turned at the beginning of 2014, every time I asked someone whether they set any, they sort of scoffed and said, “Oh, no. No, I don’t set New Year’s resolutions. I don’t believe in it. Why should I change things just because it’s January 1?”

I get that, but each time I heard that remark in its various forms, it dug a little further under my skin even though I know no one meant it as an attack. I like resolutions. I don’t think everyone needs to set them, of course, but I like the feeling of a January 1 clean slate. I mean, I try to live a reasonably healthy lifestyle and be the person I want to be, you know, most of the time, but that brand new year inspires me to look at how I can improve, and why I want to improve. And then I set goals and make plans and work toward becoming that person I want to be.

I don’t set “I want to lose 10 pounds” types of resolutions, but I might set an intention to cook a little more at home, use more fresh produce, focus more on nutrition, etc. Scoff if you want, but every year, by making these resolutions, I get better and better at things like this — things that are important to me.

Just because I don’t get sappy over Valentine’s Day, that doesn’t mean I’m not all for celebrating love. If February 14 kindles your romantic fires, then you know what? That’s awesome, and I’m honestly happy for you and I hope you have an amazing holiday. Really. (But, of course, make sure you show your special someone how much you care on other days, too. Just a little pearl of wisdom from someone who’s been happily married for about a decade.)

As for me, I’m happy to spend my Valentine’s Day with Jared and/or with friends. Maybe I’ll even cook (because I do that now) and drink a little wine and enjoy the love and friendship that’s in my life. So I guess maybe I do celebrate Valentine’s Day a bit; just in my own way.

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My lack of posting might lead you to believe that there’s not a whole heck of a lot going on, but sir, you would be mistaken. I’ve been to New York for the Westminster Dog Show, volunteered at a marathon (because you KNOW I wasn’t running it this time!), gone to Global Pet Expo in Orlando, and been down to the Keys for the wedding of a very close friend. And I’m sure I’ll catch you up on all of that soon (shut up and stop laughing), but in the meantime, I thought I’d snag this from Sarah.

1. Two shows you watch every week: Seriously, I have to choose just two? Umm, okay, let’s go with White Collar (even though it’s off until summer now) and NCIS (take your pick of original or extra crispy Los Angeles. I’ll take an extra side of LL Cool J, please!)

2. Top three places on your must-visit list: Hawaii, Greece, Australia

3. Current favorite decorating color combo: Red, orange and turquoise

4. Do you use the snooze button on your alarm? No. I used to, but I just get more and more sleepy. Of course, I don’t usually wake up to an alarm at all anymore, so that might be part of the difference.

5. Oldest, middle, or youngest: Only!

6. Do you collect anything? Not on purpose, although I’m certainly not a minimalist. But no, I don’t have a collection of anything in particular.

7. What is your middle name? Originally, Lynn, but now it’s my maiden name (Green).

8. What did you want to be when you grew up? A dancer, an actress, a professional basketball player, a lawyer, an astrophysicist, a dog trainer — I had a lot of dreams. But the biggest was to be a writer, and hey, what do you know!

9a. Are you city or country? I’m pretty good at standing with one foot in the shit and one on the carpet, as my dad likes to say, so I guess both. I grew up in the country and have no desire to ever live in the sticks again, but I’m perfectly comfortable there. I love being in the city, but don’t think I could live in, say, New York with my dogs. I’d love to have the convenience of great restaurants and bars and groceries within walking distance, but still have a guest room or two and a backyard for the dogs.

9b. Tomboy or girly girl? Both. I love hair and makeup and shoes and clothes, but there’s nothing girly about the way I watch basketball. Or play basketball, for that matter.

9c. Talker or listener? Apparently I’m just indecisive, because I feel like I’m both here, too. I can talk for ages, but I try to be a good listener. I don’t know, maybe I’m giving myself a little too much credit there.

10. Fancy label for your decorating style? Evolving eclectic. I truly hope that, by the time I’m a Real Grown Up, my home will truly reflect my/our taste and our lifestyle, but it’s certainly a process to get there.

11a. What would your friends and family say is your best quality? Ummm … I don’t really know, so I just asked Jared, and he said I’m caring, easy to talk to, and funny. So, that.

11b. Your worst? I’m kind of hyperorganized about certain things, and I can be a bit of an ass about it, to be honest. I don’t mean to be, and I usually back off when called out on it, but I can be pretty bossy when I think I need to take charge. This is good if you need me to get shit done. It is less good if you need me to be charming to your mother-in-law and she’s in my way.

Your turn! If you do this on your blog, leave me a link!

Something happened. Something bad. It was a few weeks ago, but I couldn’t write about it right away. The terror was too fresh, too real. But now that it’s all relegated to the occasional ‘Nam-esque flashbacks and night terrors, I think I’m ready to relive it. After all, writing is a good form of therapy, right?

So, here it is.

Ready?

You guys? I … I tried …

Dammit, I can’t do this. (Yes you can. Be strong. You never know when your story might help someone else.)

Ugh, fine.

I tried on Mom jeans.

It started innocently enough. I was shopping for some new jeans — something straight, or maybe even skinny, but definitely not with a flare. Between the cruise earlier in December and the holidays, I wasn’t really wanting to shop in the Junior sections. You see, when you’re a size 10 or 12 in Regular People clothes, that equates to different kinds of numbers in the Junior section, and I wasn’t emotionally prepared to try on a size 19 or something … and not be able to button it. And so, to the Grown Up Ladies section I went.

I was optimistic, and with good reason. Macy’s and I tend to get along very, very well. I have several beautiful dresses from the Grown Up Ladies section that I got on wicked sale and couldn’t be more pleased with. And it’s a department store, for god’s sake. They should have a little of everything, right? Including hip but not Juniors-sized pants.

I saw the denim section and approached without hesitation. Hanging on the wall there were numerous styles, and they were even displayed in such a way that I could tell what was happening at the bottom. Flare, bootcut, bootcut, “slimming” bootcut, and, there they were. Straight. And not a million dollars, which was my other issue. The wash looked good, the price was right, and they appeared to be slim enough to tuck into my new boots. Into the dressing room I went.

It’s funny how you often receive NO WARNING that your life is about to change.

I pulled them on, pleased with the softness of the denim. I may have even congratulated myself a bit for navigating away from the elastic waist jeggings and trouser jeans with rhinestone-studded back pockets. Hahaha, I’m so smart, I thought.

But then it happened. I buttoned them, and my heart began to race. As I zipped them, I felt like I was in a Guy Ritchie movie, with everything slowing waaaaay down so that I could hear and see everything. I heard the laughter of a mother and daughter shopping for a Christmas dress two doors down, and a subtle grunt from another woman trying on a bandage dress that probably should have been a size larger. I could see the particles of dust falling from the fluorescent lights above me.

And then, I looked in the mirror. And there they were.

Mom jeans.

It was awful. I couldn’t look away. The waistband easily came up to my bellybutton, and the back — oh, the back! Let’s just say that I’ll never use the term “long-ass” (as in,  “Man, that is a long-ass drive!) without thinking of how my butt appeared to be the height of an encyclopedia in those jeans. *shudder*

As I unzipped and stepped out of the high-waisted catastrophe, my terror began to turn to confusion, with a touch of rage. How could this happen to me? Why weren’t they clearly marked? This isn’t right!

I speedwalked out of the dressing room, grabbing Jared by the arm and dragging him away. “Take me someplace stylish, right now,” I begged. And, as he looked into my eyes, he understood the trauma I had gone through. Well, after I explained what the innocent looking pants I’d taken into the dressing room did to me, he understood, at least. And so, arm in arm, we walked directly to Banana Republic and never looked back.

 

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About a million years ago (or, I don’t know, maybe more like 7?), I ran a half marathon with my BFF Jami. I didn’t exactly follow a training plan, but I ran all the time leading up to the race, which, I assumed, would equate to the race being a piece of cake. For the record, it was actually my first race of any length, ever. And, in case you didn’t already guess this, it was not a piece of cake.

It was hard. It hurt. Somehow, my extra tight IT bands irritated my stomach and required us to stop at just about every rest area on the three-hour drive home.

Right after crossing the finish line, cup-half-full-Jami started talking about how great that was and how we should sign up for another one. Meanwhile, I dragged myself, Army-crawl-style, over to the bagels, and lamented my stupidity in ever signing up for a race of that length and vowing to never, ever do something so idiotic again.

You know where this is going, right?

So, January 29, I’m running in the ING Miami Half Marathon. I have a few friends who are also running it, albeit much faster than I plan to run, and for the most part, I’m really looking forward to having a good time. But, there’s still a part of me that remembers the post-race limping and gastrointestinal, umm, excitement that followed my previous 13.1 mile journey, and, well, I’m a little nervous.

Fine, a lot nervous.

I’m sure I’ll talk a lot about this over at Fit Bottomed Girls (I’m doing a weekly blog post over there these days — you should check it out!), but the thing that’s keeping me from freaking out too much is that I actually know what the hell I’m doing now. I’m following a training plan that will (hopefully) keep my knees and plantar fasciia and all that stuff healthy and still help me keep close to a 10 min/mile pace (which is about a minute per mile faster than I did my first half, for those keeping score at home).

I understand that drinking Gatorade and eating Gu is actually super duper helpful when I start feeling like I don’t have anything left, and that not drinking/eating things during a long run like that isn’t actually beneficial in the weight loss department. And I’ve got a lot of friends who are running the same distance on or close to that date, so I’ll have plenty of people who will fully understand my bitching.

So, yeah. Four days after I turn 32, I’ll run 13.1 miles. Happy freaking birthday to me, right?

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The idea behind NaBloPoMo is that you write a post every day for the entire month. Turns out that’s a difficult task to accomplish when you forget that it’s November 1 until it’s 11 pm and you’ve been drinking copious amounts of wine with a neighbor for four hours.

Ahem.

So, I’m going with NaBloPoMo -1. I’m hopeful that this will get me back in the habit of writing more frequently and not saving everything up until it’s just too much, so I don’t write anything. So, you’ll probably see some dog photos, some workouts, a few conversations, hell, maybe I’ll even try to write a short story or two.

That being said, if there’s anything anybody would LIKE for me to write about, I’m all ears. So, got a question? Ask away, either here or on Twitter or however you feel like tracking me down. And I’m going to start crossing my fingers that this is fun.

 

Hi! Remember me?

Right. So, I have a million drafts saved and will eventually publish SOMETHING, honest, but in the meantime, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon of this accent vlog and share a quick video. Because god knows that’s easier than writing something I think you might actually want to read right now.

For the record, I’m posting this without watching, because, well, if I watch it, I’m going to find a million things wrong and then this will also live indefinitely in draft. So, please ignore any awkward pauses or crazy eyes. Or call me out on it, I guess. It’s not like anybody forced me to do this …
(Also, good grief, does anyone know how to change the screenshot that’s showing below, like, before the video starts? You know, so I don’t look like a deranged fish or something? Gah.)

Kristen’s accent vlog from Kristen Seymour on Vimeo.

Oh! And if you’ve done this (or are going to do this, or whatever), leave a link in the comments so I can see how funny you sound!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this here before, but once upon a time, I was a deejay. I worked at weddings, mostly, with the occasional birthday party or prom thrown in to mix it up. Like any job, there were things to love about it (getting to play music at parties, a nice little extra paycheck) and things to hate about it (lugging heavy equipment on a hot summer day, and terrible hours for someone who sees nothing wrong with being in bed at 10 p.m.).

Whenever I’m at a wedding, I feel a little wave of nostalgia for the days when I ran the party, but in general, I don’t miss it. In fact, until this past weekend, I don’t think I really grasped what I missed about it, but now, I’ve got it. It’s the moments the photographer misses.

Now, if you’re a photographer at a wedding, you’re focusing on the big shots and hoping to grab some of the fun stuff as well, but you can’t be everywhere at once, you know? And if you’re a member of the family or the bridal party, you’re pretty focused on the bride or groom or your dress. If you’re a really close friend of the couple in question, you might be paying a lot of attention to the details you helped them choose, or the other members of your tight-knit group.

But when you’re a bit of an outsider, like the deejay is, you see it all for what it is. You see the emotion flood across the bride’s face as she steps onto the dance floor with her new husband, and you see the way that changes when she dances with her father and then, her friends. You see the way the mother of the bride glows (or glares, in the case of some of the divorced parents I saw) as the father/daughter dance takes place. You see people letting loose with the dance moves, both good and bad. You see a groomsman working up the nerve to ask the bride’s sister to dance. You see the boy dance a song with his grandma and allow her to hold him close for a moment after the song finishes.

Last weekend, we were in upstate New York for Jared’s cousin’s wedding, which was gorgeous. And I didn’t bring my camera, since I wasn’t checking bags and had no room, so, naturally, the venue would have been exquisite for some great shots. Next time, I guess.

But, since I only really knew a small handful of people there, it was easy for me to sort of revert to my old deejay ways and really, really people watch. Man, I missed it. I caught those moments that maybe nobody else did, and while I don’t have the pictures, I remember them vividly enough that many days later, they’re still making my heart smile.

And it made me realize that it’s not only at weddings when those moments occur (although there are plenty more there than at, say, the movie theater). They’re all around us, all the time. And if they make you feel happy the way they make me feel happy, I hope you take the time to notice them.

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So, I’ve had some difficulty getting back in my training groove since St. Anthony’s which was … oh god, two months ago? UGH.

Don’t get me wrong — I’ve been running and swimming, but the bike hasn’t gotten much attention, and I haven’t been putting the effort forth that I was earlier in the year. And that needs to change, because I’ve signed up for another Olympic length tri in October. So, yeah, the training needs to pick back up.

And what better way to get back in the saddle than to sign up for a sprint triathlon! For which I’m not at all prepared! But who cares, it’s “just a sprint”! And it’s happening on Saturday! Hahahahahaohsweetjebus.

Truthfully, I’m doing it because a really good friend had already signed up (hi Patrick!), and he’s moving away, and I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to do another race with him. Plus, really, it is a good way to get my ass back in gear. Also, the run for this is actually under three miles, and since I did a 3 mile race Monday and kept just under a 10-minute mile, I honestly think I’ll be able to handle the run, which, as we know, is totally the scary part.

Still, I have a feeling I’m going to be hurting something fierce come Saturday afternoon. I suppose that’s just a little extra (okay, a LOT) motivation to pick the training back up so I’m ready for my October Olympic, right?

I’ll get y’all a race report asap. Probably not many pictures, on account of the fact that the only other person I know there will be, you know, racing. Which is probably for the best, because this whole slacking on training thing hasn’t been as kind to the waistline as one might foolishly hope …

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A few months ago, I came across Cassie Boorn and her Letter to My 20-Something Self idea. I loved it — I love the idea of looking back on who I was and seeing what I would have changed. And I love the idea that maybe, possibly, the advice I would give myself could help someone who’s currently that age.

Teal jeans with a color coordinated t-shirt from Northern Reflections, if I'm not mistaken. Probably safe to assume this is smack dab in the middle of the awkward phase.

But then it hit me — at 20, I had a lot of stuff figured out. I mean, sure, I overused my credit cards, which is something I’m still dealing with 11 years later, and I could have been more diligent about using sunscreen. But overall, I’m okay with 20-year-old Kristen. 20-year-old Kristen packed up her mom’s Grand Cherokee and drove from Michigan to Florida to start a new life. She made mistakes, but she’s okay in my book.

No, I didn’t need Future Kristen’s help at 20. I needed Future Kristen to step in years before that. God, did I need her to step in. (Not that I would’ve listened to her, because did I, as a teenager, think anybody knew better than I did? Oh hell no.)

I’ve become incredibly interested in this idea of figuring out when people would go back to their younger selves to offer advice. After asking around, I’ve gotten answers ranging from early childhood, 8 or 9, anywhere within the teen years, and into the 20s. And the reasons are equally varied — some wish they’d worn more sunscreen to avoid damage or cancer, some wish they could go back and spend more time with family or friends who are no longer with us, and many people wish they had realized that they should’ve had more confidence, stayed out of the drama, or just handled circumstances differently.

For me, I think the ideal time would’ve been at the start of my freshman year of high school. I’d had a number of really awkward years prior to that, but I love the idea of a fresh start (see: packing up and moving to Florida), and high school should’ve been that for me. So, below is my letter to 14-year-old Kristen. I’d love to hear from you in the comments, though, on at what age you’d like to give yourself advice and why!

***

First day of high school. That is one snazzy vest.

Dear Kristen,

It’s the morning of your first day of high school, and your nervous smile is winning the battle over the sparkle of excitement in your eyes. Yes, you’re going to be surrounded by hundreds of kids who are older than you are and who already know where their classes are. Yes, there are going to be cute boys (boys who are taller than you, even!) and there are going to be mean girls. But you don’t need to worry so much about them. Just focus on you for right now.

On Blending In and Fitting In

I know that, despite your carefully planned outfit of a knit vest over a tee and khaki shorts (very stylish in 1994), you’re hoping to blend in. Don’t. You’re not very good at blending in. You’ve got a big smile and a bigger personality. Do not waste your first two years of high school looking down and frowning, even though grunge is in and it seems like being pissed off at life is cool. Smile at people. Make eye contact. And when you walk down Junior Hall with all those boys who make your heart jump into your throat, don’t you dare try to avoid being noticed. Trust me when I say that confidence is pretty much the coolest trait you can possess right now.

Sure, not everyone gets all of your jokes, but you’re actually really, really funny, and if you’re making yourself laugh, someone else is going to join in. And you know what? If they find you funny, chances are great you’re going to enjoy their sense of humor as well. It really doesn’t matter if they’re on your basketball or volleyball team, or if they’re in drama or newspaper or band. When you let down your guard (and you will, believe me), you’ll find that you’re so much happier when you surround yourself with all kinds of people rather than limiting your friendships to people you have almost everything in common with. Even though those people you have loads in common with can be pretty amazing, too.

On Friends

Speaking of friends — don’t take them for granted. Some of these girls are going to be your best friends well into adulthood, so when you get a boyfriend (yes, I promise, you end up with a boyfriend or two), don’t stop making time for them. You’re not going to keep in touch with your exes (no matter how much you think you love them right now, they’re going to be exes, I guarantee it), but some of these girls will be in your wedding.

On Boys

And, speaking of those boyfriends — don’t settle. And don’t sit around and wait to be noticed. If you like a boy, muster up some nerve and say hello or flash him a smile. I promise it isn’t as horrific as it seems. Worst case scenario, he figures out you’re interested and doesn’t reciprocate. Best case, he figures out you’re interested and asks you on a date. And seriously, do you want to look back on your high school years and think about all the cute boys you never talked to? Trust me, the answer is no.

On Gossip

There are going to be times when you’re tempted to say nasty things about people, even about people you like. Don’t do it. Gossip sucks. It hurts people and it leaves you wondering, first, whether somebody knows what you said about them, and second, what everyone else is saying about you. It’s a waste of energy, and even if it makes you feel like you fit in for a moment, you’ll carry an icky feeling in your stomach for far longer than you carried that little spark of elation. When people start spewing lies and meanness, step away and chat with someone else.

When in doubt, be kind. Even if not in doubt, you know what? Be kind. I’m not saying you have to kiss anyone’s ass; far from it. If someone gives you a hard time, stand up for yourself, your friends, and what you believe in. Don’t waste your time trying to become best buddies with someone who you clearly do not get along with. But smile and say hello to the weird guy in the back of the class who looks like he’s having a really bad day,. If you see someone getting pushed around, step in to help. Lend an ear, a shoulder, or a hand when you can.

On Self Confidence

A couple of other things to keep in mind: You’re smart. This is an important part of your personality and is going to be sort of important as you get older with that whole “working for a living” thing. You don’t need to hide it in order to seem cooler or more interesting.

Seek out opportunities to excel in the things you love — this is the time to attend writing conferences and enter contests, because now, it’s free (or at least Mom and Dad will pay for it). Things get more complicated when you’re on your own for those things, believe me.

Other Important Stuff

Run, don’t walk from the tanning bed. I know your friends might do it, but it’s bad for you. You would never smoke (and good for you!), but this is equally dangerous, especially since it turns out that you’re at high risk for skin cancer. If you keep it up, you’re going to end up with some big, ugly scars, and let’s hope that’s as bad as it gets. Stick to the sunless tanning lotion, please.

Hug your your dog Lacey. She’s already old, and she’s a bigger part of your life than you realize. You don’t understand how much it’s going to hurt to lose her.

Sit and talk to Grandma. I know, I know, she’s repeating herself and tells the same stories over and over, but there will be a time when she can’t even remember those stories. Go through pictures and ask her questions about the people in them. Tell her about what’s going on in your life. It doesn’t have to be interesting; she just wants to be involved. And be sure to thank her for picking you up from school so you don’t have to ride the stupid bus. She doesn’t have to do that, you know.

Be a little nicer to Mom and Dad. Here’s a newsflash — everybody has parents. And everybody your age feels a little embarrassed about the fact that their folks have to drive them around. But you know what’s stupid? Being embarrassed that Dad’s dropping you off with the boat on the trailer behind the truck. Why would you be embarrassed that your family has a boat? Because it makes you different? Honey, you are different. In a lot of good ways. The sooner you embrace that, the sooner you’ll start having fun. And you really don’t need to worry about everyone knowing you as Earl’s Daughter. For one thing, it could be way worse. And besides, you’ll make a name for yourself in that small town soon enough. And then you’ll leave, and when you look back, you’ll feel only pride at how many people recognized and admired your folks.

I don’t think I need to tell you this, because, from where I’m sitting (here in the fuuuutuuuuurrrrre), you figured this out on your own, but it bears repeating — take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Follow signs — they’re real and they take you places. Good places.

Oh, and also? When the idea strikes you to become a brunette after years and years of highlights, get thee to a salon.

Love,

Future Kristen

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I’ve probably used this analogy here before, but sometimes I feel like blogging is a lot like keeping in touch with a friend who lives far away. When you make a point to talk on the phone frequently, it’s really easy to just dial her up and tell her about the latest, stupid little thing that’s happened. But, when you haven’t talked to her in a while, you can’t just call her up and be all, “Oh my god you would not believe the size of the ball of ear wax that just came out of my ear!” because first you have to catch up on all the big things that are going on and by the time you’ve heard about how she’s selling her house and they’ve adopted a Romanian orphan, the news of your ear wax ball, impressive though it surely is, seems to pale a little in comparison.

But! Since I get to talk first, you get to hear all about my metaphorical (and maybe literal) ear wax balls before you get to tell me about your new orphan. God I love blogging.

I quit my job. You know, the job writing and editing for Paw Nation (and also writing for other AOL properties) which I’ve done for the last few years and  LOVED. I don’t really want to go into details right here, right now — it just doesn’t seem cool — but let me just say that I’m a big believer in signs, and this time, the universe made it really clear that it was time for me to move on, and so I have. I’m still figuring out exactly what I’m going to do, but I’m planning to use the opportunity (yes, I’m totally considering it an opportunity) to follow my heart and get some exciting new experiences under my belt. It’s all good, I promise.

I did a (practice) tri. My big race, the Olympic length St. Anthony’s tri, is Sunday (as in, like, a few days away), but a little over a week ago I did a sprint distance tri (about half the length) in Jacksonville to warm up, along with my friend Jodi (who took first place in our age group — I took third). Overall, it left me feeling pretty excited for the race, and only somewhat nervous. Maybe a little more than somewhat, but I’m definitely not freaking out. Well, not much, anyway. Most of the time.

I threw a killer party. The animal rescue I volunteer with, Puppy Hill Farm, had its biggest fundraiser of the year on Friday night, and I sort of headed up the committee for the event. It was pretty major and incredibly stressful but, overall, I think it was a pretty big success, and I’m already brimming with ideas for next year. Because clearly I’m insane. (Although one of the main ideas is GET MORE HELP. I think that’ll make a huge difference.) Still, it’s a huge weight off my shoulders to have this over — I’ve been working on it in some way for the last five months, and when I woke up Saturday and knew there was nothing I needed to do, well, I almost wept with relief.

I had an emotional surprise. After the Puppy Hill gala, we had loads of flower centerpieces left over, and one of the women there suggested taking some to a nursing home. I was planning on doing a bike/run brick out in Trenton (you remember this trail, right?), which is where the nursing home where my grandma lived for several years is located. I figured since I’d be in the area, I’d stop in, drop flowers off, thank the nurses for all they did, and be on my way. Well, I got no further than saying, “My grandmother lived here for quite a while,” before the nurses all said, “Oh, you’re Sara’s granddaughter! We just loved her so much.” And then I sobbed. This was not at all expected. I mean, Grandma Sara died over a year ago, and I was pretty prepared for it even then. Why this hit me so hard, I couldn’t tell you, but I’m extremely touched that these nurses cared enough about Grandma to not only remember her, but even remember her granddaughter.

Okay, you’re all caught up on me, I think. (I’ll save the ear wax ball story for another time.) Now what’s new with you all? Anybody moving, having babies, getting a new hair cut?

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