the end of the beginning

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Where oh where did 2012 go?? This past year really put 2011 to shame...it seriously
 flew by and was packed with awesome...a year worth remembering for sure. So, coming hard on the heels of my super-creative Christmas Recap I now give you...

Mini's Best of 2012

In April, a girl's cruise to Mexico...chock full of shopping, margaritas and neon and...margaritas.



In May, my bachelorette party: more margaritas, a mechanical bull, and the most embarrassing checklist ever. I got spanked by a stranger, you guys!


In June, our Vegas wedding! We were completely spoiled with a week of relaxation and celebration with our closest family and friends (Elvis not included.)



In July, of course...the honeymoon!



In September I conquered the Tough Mudder for the second year in a row with a group of friends from work...rock on Muddy Badgers!



And in October I met a huge goal completing my first half marathon.

Seriously, 2013 is going to have to work pretty hard to live up to it's predecessor. But I can't wait to see what the next year has in store! Our first adventure of the New Year is planned for next weekend.
Stay tuned!

And now...if 2012 wasn't your year, well, you're not alone. Courtesy of Reuters and the
 Huffington Post, I bring you

 My favorite headlines of 2012:

In Germany: Drunk Munich Partygoer Finds Car...2 Years Later
actually, maybe this guy is having a good year...

In Africa: Cash-strapped Swaziland Urged To Hike Witch Doctor Tax
and I thought California sales tax was bad...

In Great Britain: UK Man Gives Cocaine To Trick Or Treaters By Mistake
woopsies...

And in the good old U.S. of A.:
-Unwanted Cheese Sparks McDonald's Attack
-Mother-Daughter Porn Duo Aim To Be Filthy Rich
and
-Public Swearing Outlawed in Massachusetts Town
way to keep it classy 'Merica!

Happy New Years everybody!!

This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. It is, instead, the end of the beginning. ~ Winston Churchill

Aaaand done!

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...with Christmas that is. The last of our holiday celebrations are officially over. It was wonderful
to have so many opportunities to celebrate with friends and family, but I'm really looking forward to things settling down a little bit around here. (And to no longer having a giant fir tree in our
smallish living room and piles of sweets in the kitchen!)

In addition to all the good times, I kind of made out like a bandit this Christmas: a pretty silver purse, a gorgeous luggage set and some new running gear (I think Santa was trying to tell me something...the old hypocrite! I'm clearly not the only one with a cookie problem!)

And so, without further ado, I present my Christmas Recap. If you just groaned and thought to yourself "Please, God, not another Christmas post! I seriously can't take it!" It's okay. I'll keep it short-ish, and I promise we'll still be friends if you skip this one!

Christmas lunch with my bestie and her adorable Little...is there anything cuter than watching a baby open presents??




Last night's Christmas with the in-laws included a great dinner and approximately 4 bottles of good
wine
(We're in wine country! It's practically mandatory!) 



My mother-in-law has a knack for finding...unusual gifts that you would never even have known existed. This year's find: fancy fur-mitt ice-scrapers.






Today we spent some time with my family...(notice the game in the background...go Niners!)





And there you have it! That wasn't too painful was it??

Merry Belated!

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Merry Christmas chickadees!!

I know, I know. I'm a little late with the holiday wishes but it has been one crazy, long work week from...that really hot place down south. And I'm not talking about Cabo!

So just as all you lovelies are preparing to take down your lights and haul your Christmas tree out to the curb we're going full festive mode up in herrr. In fact, the first of two family celebrations this weekend starts in an hour and I happen to still be in PJs looking an awful lot like something the cat dragged in. (On the bright side, I've got some yummy looking appetizers in the oven...Pinterest saves the day yet again!)

 Before I go, I just wanted to say 'Welcome' to a few folks new to these parts! And to those of you who have stuck with me for awhile, Thank You! You guys are the best! It's been some time since I mentioned it, but if any of you all have blogs that I haven't had a chance to visit please leave me your link so I can come say Hi :-)

Lastly, I'm sponsoring over at The Life of the Wife this month so make sure you go on over and check out Jenna's awesome blog and enter her ginormous group giveaway! You can never have too much swag, right? ( I've added my fave hair product of all time--Keratin Complex vanilla bean deep conditioner--yum!)

 Merry (belated) Christmas ladies!

Apocalypse fail and Betty Crocker

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Hello gorgeous readers!
It has been one busy week-before-Christmas!
First, I got this news...




The constant whining and complaining eating, sleeping and obsessing Physio apparently
 paid off. Nailed it! Then, there was some last minute Christmas shopping. Nothing gets me in a holiday
mood like packing into the local mall for a little relaxation with 120 million of my closest
friends and neighbors...


source

And you all know what Friday was...end of the world, duh! Travis and I bought season 1 of Walking Dead last week and had an epic zombie marathon. So I was ready for 12-21 to get cray-cray. Ha! I'll let the muppets sum up my feelings on this one:




Since the world was still turning on Saturday, and not having to fight for survival left me with some time on my hands, I  made it to the annual girl's Christmas lunch/gift exchange...7 girls, way too much food, peach martinis and lots of prezzies made for a pretty awesome apocalypse after-party.




Then, the first of 3 family get togethers gave me the perfect excuse to get my Martha
Stewart on. (Okay, more like my Betty Crocker brownie mix. But at least they turned out pretty!)



I can't believe Christmas is hours away! Happy Holidays everybody :-)

Me, Myself & I

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You guys!! I took my Physio final yesterday, which means that School. Is. Out! Finally! I am so
 looking forward to letting my brain recuperate for the next month. In fact, I'm seriously planning on using it as little as possible. I'm blonde, so it shouldn't be too hard...right? I kid...kind of. Anyhoo, what better way to celebrate 3.5 weeks of semi-freedom than with one of my fave link-ups??
 
Me, Myself & I (part...3ish?)
 
 
1. What was your favorite gift give given to you as a child?
When I was six, the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a Barbie dollhouse. I needed a Barbie dollhouse. (Hey, her swanky pink and green living room set had to go somewhere!) My parents couldn't afford the pricetag on the Dreamhouse, so Dad spent hours with nails and scrap wood to build  Barbie a 5 story bachelorette pad. I call that winning!
 
2. What is that one Christmas song you could listen to on repeat?
I'm usually not much of a fan of Christmas music...as a matter of fact, this year I decorated our tree to Eminen Takeover on the Fuse channel. (Nothing says holiday spirit like an angry blonde rapper talking crap about his mom...) That being said, if I do bust out the holiday tunes I tend to get obsessed with Josh Grobin's Ave Maria. I guess that makes me...a complete dork ecclectic?
 
3. What are a few of the items on your Christmas list this year?
I never did get around to making a list, although I did find a cute silver Coach purse on sale and may or may not have sent a pic to the hubby (guys need help!) Lol

4. Do you and your family have any special holiday traditions?
Growing up we had one Christmas tradition. One weird Christmas tradition. Each year, a few days after Thanksgiving, my Dad would pull out the ladder and haul a giant yellow, dust-covered refrigerator box down from the garage rafters...I can still picture it with the green Mayflower logo on the side and silver duct-tape flapping off the end. We would put on Bing Crosby and proceed to build the Christmas tree. One piece at a time, we painstakingly fitted each branch into its color-coded hole until our tree stood proud in all its questionable faux-pine glory. (Really, mom and dad??) I never could figure out why we didn't just snag ourselves a Douglas Fir from the corner lot...it probably goes without saying that Travis and I have not carried on the tradition of building a Christmas tree.

5. Which do you prefer, wrapping paper or gift bags?
Oh wrapping paper for sure. There's something so satisfying about ripping into it and making a huge mess. But I will admit to being lazy and gift-bagging more than my share of presents...

6 days, 10 hours...

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Tis the season...for Christmas parties! This weekend we had our
work bash at a little local Italian restaurant. Thanks to my friend Chris
(hottie in green) for taking some pictures, and thanks to Sean the Bartender
for introducing me to my new BFF: the Tangerine Dream. Cheers!





Those are some scary eyes! Told you it was a good drink!


Wait. What am I looking at?!




Now it's time to buckle down and study my butt off for next week's Physio final. Which is especially hard because not only am I distracted by blogging (and Tangerine Dreams. Must. Figure. Out. Recipe!) I'm also obsessing on a marathon of "Ink Masters" and a show I found the other day called "My Shopping Addiction." It's like "Intervention" for shoppers. I know, I know...I watch some weird TV.

But anyway, doesn't this look like fun? Only 3 or 4...hundred cards to go over. Aaaargh! So ready
for Christmas break. 6 days, 10 hours you guys! But who's counting, right?



Anybody else have finals coming up??

Bring on Christmas!

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Finally getting our Christmas on...better late then never!




I love the idea of going out to a tree farm and cutting our own tree down. Maybe someday when we have kids...but for now we're taking the easy way out.



I love putting on the ornaments. Hate stringing the lights. No wonder, because I always have to do it 2 or 3 times before it comes out right! Fortunately I had help. Or at least...moral support. Thanks Ella!



Does anything say Festive Christmas like a red and white striped candy-cane sweater?? I think not.
Travis helpfully pointed out that my "socks are showing!" I know babe. That's a thing.




End result? A tree that looks remarkably similar to last year's. But that's okay, I love it! Bring on Christmas!!



Are you ready for the holidays?

Rain, Rain Go Away...

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Well the rainy season is in full swing here in Northern California: flash flood warnings,
trees falling on roads, cars, powerlines and what have you.

Let me start by saying, I am thankful for the rain. I'm also thankful for my job. But storms
and ambulance work just don't mix in the same beautiful way as, oh...say...vodka and orange juice. Or vodka and cranberry. Or vodka and...jello? You get the idea.

Top 5 reasons I hate love working in the rain

5. This work issued rain gear. Isn't it snazzy? I'm so glad the boss got the memo about neon being on-trend. I'd hate to be stuck in boring basic black like the police and fire departments.



4. At some point in the shift, water inevitably leaks into my boots. The resulting prune feet are a fun flashback to childhood bathtime...minus the rubber ducky.

3. The 20- and 30-somethings who call 911 during a thunderstorm for the flu or a simple cold and are astonished that we lack the ability to teleport them dryly to the emergency room. "I'm getting wet!" Yes. Yes I know. I actually asked God to make it rain on you, because it makes it makes my job so much easier.

2. Spend long enough onscene of a car crash and your hair becomes saturated. Your uniform becomes saturated. Every last bit of makeup washes away. That freshly showered feeling in the middle of a 12 (or 24) hour workday? Priceless. (But I've got you now Mother Nature...I'm wearing waterproof mascara. Ha!)

1. Okay, okay. enough sarcasm. There is one benefit to working in the rain...I'd never see sights like this curled up in front of the fireplace!


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A little Monday WTS...

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Happy Monday, all! On a completely-not-serious note today
I wanted to share with you just a few of the things that have made me say,
"What the shiz??" recently....

  • Non-prescription eyeglasses as accessories. I can't help but give this a WTS because I grew up blind as a bat and haaaaated my glasses...I couldn't imagine wearing them for fun. Maybe some day I'll 'get it' but for now I agree with the hubby who thinks this trend is way too hipster to be ok.
My last pair of pre-Lasik specs....I was thisclose to being legally blind before the surgery.
  • WTS? Cece hasn't been voted off The X-Factor yet? Are you kidding me? I admire her spirit. And her abs! (She can really pull off a crop top...) But I agree with Simon: time to pack up your suitcase -and your leopard spots- and hit the road.
  • Can someone please tell me what is the point of jacking up a minivan with 20" rims, tinting the windows and adding a few "NorCal" and "Famous" stickers?? I don't blame a guy for trying, but you are not going to make that ride look cool. It's a minivan. WTS.
  • My 2 little fur-babies are normally healthy as horses. But between Eddy's skin rash and Ella's abdominal infection, I've spent $800 at the vet this month. They're both on the mend, but WTS? As if Christmas wasn't hard enough on the wallet...

x-rays, bloodwork and antiobiotic shot = sad face!

And some WTS in the news...

  • According to Yahoo, a small town in Louisiana was just evacuated after 6 million pounds of explosives were found illegally stored on a company's property. 6 million pounds. Did they think no one would notice half the state going up in a fireball? That's a serious "what the shiz?!"
  • An AOL headline this week: "Zombies a Factor in Gun Sales Increase, Gun Rights Advocate Says.."  Oh my. No words for that one.
  • According to my local paper The Press Democrat, a guy here in Sonoma County has apparently just come up with a helpful new iPhone app called iSplit Divorce.  A divorce app. Thanks technology, now I think I've seen everything. How come getting married wasn't that easy?!
Has anything made you say WTS lately??

Friday's Letters

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Happy Friday, all! I'm excited to be linking up with Ashley
at Adventures of Newlyweds for Friday's Letters. It's been while!

Dear Amazon,
You know the other day when I clicked over on my Kindle to check out my queue of personalized book recommendations? And the only book you thought I should buy was "The Unwanted Wife?" Yeah...thanks for that.

Dear Hubby,
Thank you so much for signing up for a weekend shift for your next work rotation. I know it wasn't your first choice, but I'm glad we'll have our days off together :-)
Love, "Wanted Wife"
P.S. Could you try not to be so serious all the dang time?




Dear Neighbors,
I really appreciated your jack o' lanterns and Halloween decorations. Last month. I think it's time to move on and, you know, deck the halls.

Dear TLC,
After catching a few minutes of your new show "Extreme Cougar Wives" featuring a fiesty 76 y/o grandmother hooking up with 18 y/o boys men...I must admit that I'm torn between "Ewwww" and "You go, girl!" Lol.


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 Dear Pinterest,
You've really been saving my bacon (and my time) lately with your super easy/super awesome crockpot recipes. Like this Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff. Yum!! It goes a long way toward making up for what a non-crafty loser I feel like after looking at your DIY page ;-)


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Conflicted

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You guys, I'm conflicted here.
I have a dilemma.
Are you ready?
Ke$ha.
Yep, you heard right.
Here's the thing: I think her voice is absolutely
nails-on-a-chalkboard hideous.
But "Die Young"?
Literally, can not get it out of my head.
Painful.



In(f)erior Decorating

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Well, Happy Cyber Monday ladies and gentlemen!  Have you scored any fantabulous deals today?!
I missed Black Friday this year due to that silly little job-thing, but thanks to the ever-loving internet I've managed to get a bit of Christmas shopping done anyway. And for other people, no less! (Insert pat on the back here, as my usual MO is more of the one-for-you-two-for-me variety.)




So, I'm pretty darn good at spending money. Working on getting a little less good at that particular
skill, if you know what I mean. 

You know what I'm not good at? (Besides math and gardening, that is...) Decorating. My lack of ability for festive arranging is never more apparent than during Christmas time. If I can manage to put up a tree and toss on some ribbons and a few ornaments, I usually call it good. If I'm really making an effort, maybe I put out a glass dish of Christmas candy. Like I said, I'm not exactly a whiz-bang at this stuff.


2011...Hey, at least I got the tree up!

This year, the in-laws are doing Christmas at our place and I need to spice things up! I need to make
more of an effort! I stopped at TJ Maxx on the way home from Phyiology today, figuring that if I was going to start exercising my inferior (notice that's an f, not a t) decorating skills I'd better start off someplace budget-friendly.

I decided to sort of ease into it. You know, by checking out all the shoes (nothing exciting there) and sweaters (a cashmere Cynthia Rowley shawl sweater just about jumped into my shopping cart, but I managed to fend it off, suffering only minor emotional trauma...) Eventually I made my way to the back of
the store, to **Christmas.**

And promptly had a panic attack.

Okay, not really, but I was darn close. The profusion of garlands, ornaments, wreaths, holiday dishes, stuffed Santas, wicker reindeer, glittery snowflakes, and stacks and stacks of pinecones and tiny trees had my head spinning. What are you supposed to do with all that stuff?! I couldn't pick out A. Single. Thing.

Clearly, I need help. Clearly it's time to regroup and do some strategizing. Therefore, my current mission is  to scour all your lovely blogs in search of Christmas decorating tips, amazing ideas and how-to's before I wade back into the fray for round 2.

Have you written any decorating posts or read a great one recently? If you leave a link below I'd love to visit (and be forever grateful!) Please do share! :-)

Friends, family and...Magic Mike?

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I actually sat down today intending to write a funny turkey-day post. But funny is just
 not what was on my mind apparently! I hope you'll stick with me anyway...

I have a confession to make: I haven't always looked forward to the holiday season...haven't always appreciated the purpose of Thanksgiving or the spirit of Christmas. There have been years when,
in my heart of hearts I felt like a downright Scrooge.

My early 20s were rough in some ways. I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, had just ended a long-term relationship, and my parents were in the middle of a divorce from which my mom chose to make a permanent exit from my life. For a couple years, the holiday season with all it's happy family festivities and easy couple-y togetherness felt kind of like a personal affront. At the time, indifference seemed like the best defence: claiming that Thanksgiving wasn't really "my thing," and that Christmas was overrated. Really, it was just loneliness talking.

Since then, I've grown up a little bit. I've come to realize that sometimes water is thicker than blood, and that friends can be family too. I met Travis, and gained a whole secondary family in the bargain.

Things have changed for the better, and these days I look forward to the season from a happy, comfortable vantage point. But I haven't forgotten what that awkward loneliness was like or how it felt to be the odd man out, making excuses so no one would know I was spending the day holed up with a Lean Cuisine and a stack of DVDs. If you happen to be in that place now, please know that it won't be forever and you're not really alone, no matter how much it may feel that way! I've got your back on this one.

So today I'm giving thanks for family (old and new, in all its imperfect forms) friends, fresh starts, and the love of my life. And of course I'm thankful for all you gorgeous readers! I truly hope I never take any of this for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving!
XoXo


Something about Fall...

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There's just something about this time of year.
The cold weather.
The comfort foods (homemade roasted cauliflower and cheddar soup...mmm)
The baked goods everywhere
The endless wardrobe layering possibilites...sweaters, blazers, cute little jackets...
It all adds up to me feeling like I can overindulge. Pretty much constantly.
And it's so easy to ignore the exercise that I should be doing and curl up by the fire with warm chocolate chip cookies...
Nobody's going to notice a few extra pounds under my tank/tee/sweater/scarf combo...right?

At the end of October I ran my first half-marathon (the very small, very local Cloverdale Harvest Half, as a matter of fact.) That was a big goal for me! My longest run up to that point maxed out at 10 miles, and this particular race course was slightly mis-measured for a total of 13.6. Fortunately, they were beautiful miles: along a creek, and through trees and vineyards as the sun rose. The experience was exhausting, exhilirating, exciting. Not exciting in a "I kicked this half-marathon's butt" kinda way, but more like, "I made it, I didn't give up and that totally rocks." The ever-supportive hubby took a few pics along the course from which I learned that I am possibly the most ridiculous looking runner on the planet. I'll save the worst for later, in case I decide to do another 'awkward photo' post...




As fabulous as the race-experience was, can you guess what I've been doing for exercise since then? How many great runs I've gone on? Nothing and none, respectively. (Reference beginning of blog post.) But I think I'm ready to jump back on the fitness-wagon. It's cheaper than buying bigger clothes, ya know? To that end I've downloaded a training program from Runner's World called "Break your 2:30 Half Marathon." Which I'm planning to start next week. I know, I know...but it's Thanksgiving you guys, and the mashed potatoes and sourdough rolls are literally calling my name. Anyhow...

Wish me luck? 
Are you staying in shape for the holidays?

Me, Myself & I [back in business]

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Since I'm still trying to get back into the swing of this whole blogging-thing, what better way to jump back in than the Me, Myself & I link-up hosted by Breanna at My Beautiful Crazy Life? Cause girrrrl, you know I love me some link-ups! And... action!

1. What are your top 5 favorite movies to watch during the holidays?
     I have 3, actually: A Charlie Brown Christmas...It's been my all-time favorite since I was knee-high  
     to a grasshopper (what exactly does that mean, anyway??), A Christmas Story...I hated this movie
     initally, but it's endless holiday cycle on Turner Classic Movies eventually wore me down and I now
     consider it a staple ("You'll shoot your eye out kid!"), and The Holiday (Jack Black for humor/Jude
     Law for hotness. 'Nuff said.)

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2. It's the month of giving thanks, what are you most thankful for?
     Friends. Family. Health. Lindt Intense Orange dark chocolate. Actually, this question deserves a whole
     post (wheels turning...).

3. If there was a quote or verse to describe your life, what would it be?

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4. Who in your family are you most like?
     I can see little bits of myself in all the members of my family. The one I'd most like to be like is my  
     little brother: he's brave (Iraq veteran), a great father, hilarious and creative (built an electric motorcycle
     for fun, and sewed my nephew a fur dog suit for Halloween...say what?)




5. What is your favorite drink at Starbucks?
     Tall skinny vanilla latte. No, no that's a lie...my real fave is a grande cinnamon dolce latte with whole
     milk and whip cream. There. I said it. But for special occasions only :-)

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Monday!


                                                                 

No "Dog Shaming" here, folks!

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Whew! Do I ever have some things to catch up on around here...a half marathon, a world series game, a girl's weekend in Tahoe...Halloween for crying out loud!

Problem is, aside from work, school and the fun stuff, I've been neglecting my blog recently because I've been on a straight-up book bender. Oh yes, I just said that. Books are my 'crack' and I've been devouring them, one after another, the way I most kids gobble Halloween candy. I blame it on my Kindle, the worst possible enabler for a book junkie. (Does it get any easier than 'One Click' purchasing and wi-fi downloads?! And hellooo, Kindle deals!)

In any event, it's been bad enough the past couple weeks that the hubby, who doesn't actually read my blog (finding The Chive far more appealing, apparently...maybe I should incorporate some boobs and/or "dog shaming" here? Nah...) actually scolded me the other day for my blog-laziness. I hate to admit it, but he's right: I need to put the books (and the newspapers and the Glamour magazines) down for a hot minute, get out of my creative-rut and make this little blog a priority again!

So, while I get some photos together for upcoming posts, I'll leave you with a few weird and wonderful Physio-facts, and a short list of some of the books I've been reading...just in case you'd like to crack-out too :-)

Weird Fact #1: A stick of dry spaghetti burns as well as a match. Okay, I'm taking my instructor's word on this one, as I'm a little hesitant about lighting fires in the pantry. I'm not totally ruling it out for a rainy Saturday though....

Weird Fact #2: Neurons produce enough electrical voltage that 20 could run an iPod. Hmm...That's some serious brain power...

Weird Fact #3: For every pound of fat you put on, your body also adds 200 miles worth of new blood vessels. Which means by the time Thanksgivings over, my insides should look like a Thomas Guide...

And now for the books:

Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See: Loved this novel about friendship, family, and traditional Chinese culture.Given that I love everything Amy Tan's ever written, I wasn't surprised by how much I enjoyed Lisa See's similar writing style and subject matter.

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: Hated it. Not so much because it was completely different than the movie, which it was. But my main issue was that I waited and waited for some climactic moment, as the suspense built, and then...it just sort of petered out to kind of a sad, blah ending. Boooo.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Loved, loved, loved: suspenseful, thrilling, unexpected and a little twisted. But what I love most is Flynn's colorful vocabulary: it feels rich and...satisfying somehow. As soon as I finished I immediately had to read her other two books: Sharp Objects and Dark Places. Loved.

City of Women by David Gillham: A little bit of a heavier read, this is a book about an oblivious German housewife who becomes a reluctant participant in the hiding and rescuing of Jews during WWII. I really enjoyed the main character's mental and emotional journey toward becoming a more open and aware person. And I'm a sucker for any kind of historical novel anyway...so...win!

Well, that's all for now folks! Any weird facts or book recommendations you'd care to share? I'd love to hear!

Physiology: 1, Jenn: 0

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Hello?

Anybody out there?

Holy crap you guys! It's been 3 weeks since my last blog post and I'm practically in withdrawls. Of course 3 weeks is nothing, IRL. But in blog-years...it's kind of forever.

So how is everybody and what's new?? I have so much to catch up on!

And where have I been for the last 3 weeks you may ask?

Studying. Pretty much nonstop. Hello, boooring! Right? But seriously, my instructor's expectations are a little on the high side (he likes to encourage us with statements such as: "I'd put my 'A students' up against a UC Berkeley science major any day." To which I say, "Sweetie, if I had the mental aptitude to be a student at Cal, I'd be at Cal. Not the friggin JC. So take it easy.") Ha. At any event, blogging has had to take a serious backseat recently, as I'm working my butt off to maintain a High C/low B (yuck) and forming coherent sentences not related to Physiology is becoming really difficult. Since I figured you guys probably -going out on a limb here- probably have no interest in hearing about Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors or the subtleties of the Tyrosine-Kinase Mechanism (am I right?? Lol)...well, I figured I'd better just lay low for awhile.  But...now Midterms are officially complete (can I get a woot-woot!) and I can relax (sort of...until next week's quiz.)

All this is not to imply that I haven't had any fun recently. There was my beautiful cousin-in-law's bridal shower, where I got to guzzle delicately sip champagne punch and outfit my lovely sister-in-law in a fabulous toilet paper ensemble...that was a win.




And last week I went to my first ever pro football game. The Niners didn't play very well against New York (ok, so it was their worst game in 2 years...) but...I still love you Vernon Davis!!




Last but not least, yesterday I ran my very first half-marathon. So painful, and yet so amazingly awesomely fun! But more on that later. I want to know what's up with you guys!

School making anybody else crazy this semester?? Anybody having any fun? :-)

What would Simon say?

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Have you ever been in one of those relationships with a good guy -a great guy even- but you find yourself looking for something different, wanting a change, wanting to end things and just move on already?

Well, that's kinda how I'm feeling right now. No, I'm not talking about dumping the hubby, I'm talking about The Weather. If the analogy seems a little odd, well, put it down to the fact that it's October and yesterday topped out at 105 degrees. (Say what??) And just to clarify, I am not blogging from sub-Saharan Africa, but from 50 miles north of San Francisco where it oughta be about 30 degrees cooler than blast-furnace.

Sooo...summer I have to say, I love you, I really do. We had some great moments...made some great memories. But...it is time to break up! This girl is ready for Fall!

But enough about the weather. What I really want to do is tell you about this awesome hidden talent of mine. (How's that for a segue?)  This little skill is not exactly a display that would dazzle America or Sharon Osbourne (no dancing doggies here, folks.) But it's pretty cool nonetheless. Are you ready for this? My hidden talent debut?

My secret skill is...dun dun dunnnnn...

Building furniture. You know, the kind that comes in a box? Hey, don't mock! It's a really good, really handy talent. Especially when you tend to randomly pick up end-tables and bookshelves at places like Ikea and Target. (Too bad my secret talent has to reveal me as a complete furniture-cheapskate, right??)

But anyway. This weekend I was on a mission called: Getting Our Bedroom Somewhat Organized. See, while the rest of our house actually looks like it's occupied by a couple of respectable grownups, our bedroom, sadly, has not progressed past a sort of really messy, mis-matched collage dorm look. Pathetic. But, it's now a work in progress, and the first steps were a storage chest and a little thing I like to call a Get My Husband's Random Crap Off The Floor And Hold The Alarm Clock'er, which you may know as A Nightstand.


"before"...

...and viola...the glorious "after."

So ladies and gentlemen, there you have it! Proof that I'm not just another working girl-slash-wannabe-blogger. I've got something. The "it" factor. 4 yeses! Or maybe I've just been watching too much X-Factor. Either way, what's your secret talent? Do tell...

Not your average mud-run...

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Kids are lucky. For a lot of reasons, really, but one in particular I've been thinking about recently. As kids we constantly face and overcome challenges showing  how cool we are:  getting an A on a tough spelling test. Learning to tie our shoes. Kicking an amazing soccer goal. Remembering to do all our chores. There are literally a never-ending supply of moments where kids get to be rock-your-socks-off awesome. And then we grow up, life becomes a little more of a grind, and those moments of being the best become rare, precious things. Unless we're really, really lucky, no one tells us how badass we are for putting in a 12 hour work day, doing the laundry, the grocery shopping or any of the other mundane necessities that keep our lives running smoothly. It's kind of sad if you think about it! We all still have that awsomeness inside, but as adults we have to look for special opportunites and work so much harder to feel it...to get the kind of validation kids take for granted. That, my friends, is one of my favorite things about Tough Mudder: it takes you right out of the daily grind and lets you be awesome again.

Mud runs are getting to be pretty darn popular these days, so there's a good chance you've already heard about Tough Mudder (I mentioned it briefly last year in a post here) or maybe you've even done it yourself! If so, I raise my orange headband in salute (and would love to hear about your experience!) If not, well then...let me just tell you! First of all, Tough Mudder is not your typical mud-run. Averaging 10-12 miles (13 last year at the Squaw Valley event) and  including 25 or so military-inspired obstacles (including plenty of...you guessed it...mud) for most of us it's not about winning. It's about the comaraderie, overcoming obstacles through teamwork and pushing past your pain (cuts, scrapes, bruises, aching muscles) and your fear (heights? dark, enclosed spaces? hypothermia-inducing, ice-cold water? Yep. I'm pretty much scared of them all...and well, TM has them all) to complete the course. And when you finish, when your determination pays off -no matter how long it takes- you get a chance to relive that magical feeling you got when you were a kid, a chance to say, "Holy crap! I am awesome!"

This past weekend I participated in my second Mudder event, teamed up with some of the same folks from last year as well as a few new faces...


Meet the Muddy Badgers (my neon yellow shorts didn't stay that way for long...)

The first of the NorCal events was held at the Tahoe Northstar resort. Logistically, it was as well-organized as last year, from parking to registration to the water/banana/Sharkies stations along the course. And costumes were even better: lots of tutus, super heroes, guys in underoos (remember those?? I had to crawl through the Boa Constrictor behind one...eek!), gladiators, hula dancers and one very brave girl wearing nothing but strategically placed duct tape and a hard hat. At a mere 11 miles, the course itself was a bit shorter than Squaw Valley but no less of a good time. And with the added benefit that I could actually walk the next day. They changed up some of the obstacles to keep things fresh, adding a second electro-shock obstacle (I got away with only 2 shocks...others were not so lucky) and keeping Walk the Plank (my least fave since it incorporates heights and ice-cold water.)

It took our team over 4 hours to complete the entire race, but there is nothing like that feeling at the end when you are drenched in sweat and mud and they hand you your orange headband and an ice-cold beer that tastes like victory...

Of course if you're me, one ice-cold beer on an empty stomach is enough to cause the kind of buzz that promptly makes you jump on the wrong parking shuttle and take a 20 minute ride to nowhere. But I digress.



Where was I? Oh yes. Added to all the fun, I think you may be interested in knowing that Tough Mudder has donated over 3 million dollars to the very-worthy Wounded Warrior Project over the last 2 years, which means...ladies and gentlemen...I think we have ourselves a winner!

Okay, have I convinced you to sign up yet?? Cause chances are good that big Mudder will be visiting your state this year. If you need a little more persuading, check out the Official NorCal 2011 video here... and see exactly what I'm talking about. Then get yourself registered!

And remember... "If you have to sign a Death Waiver, it's probably worth doing!"


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