Jul 302014
 

Another activity crossed off the summer bucket list!

My day started with a run. It was going to be a nice day, and a hot one, but I was out early enough that it wasn’t terrible. I laced up my shoes, slathered on the sunscreen, and walked to the neighborhood school track. There were three other runners out there with me that morning. It was quiet and peaceful and I have to admit–it was kind of nice to just run and not have a goal. Training for my 5k was fun and I was so happy I was able to do it, but every run that I did the closer I got to the date, added pressure to myself. I just couldn’t enjoy it like I used to because all I could think about was how I hadn’t trained ENOUGH, or I wasn’t fast enough, or there’s NO WAY I could run the 5k without having to walk…

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In the end, I really hadn’t trained enough, I was slow –who cares?– and I did have to take walk breaks. But I still finished my 5k and RECOVERED from it, too. So I’m happy about that. And now when I run, there’s no pressure and no expectations. I just ran until I felt like I needed a walk break, then I ran some more. It was a really nice run!

After that I got cleaned up and Michael and I packed up some provisions before heading out for our day. The plan: meeting friends at Kelley Point Park!

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We got sandwiches from New Seasons on the way to the park and met our friends at a picnic table to eat. I was famished after my run. I devoured that sandwich! They make amazing sandwiches there. So freakin’ good.

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After we were done eating we headed down to the beach area. It was supposed to get to 90 degrees that day. Last time we were there with my friends Erika and Charles, I regretted not bringing enough water. This time I packed tons. I filled our insulated growler with ice water, plus two water bottles, one bottle of Powerade (just in case) and a soda for Michael and I. I brought Bella’s water dish and made her drink throughout the afternoon, which she sometimes stubbornly refuses to do. I put on more sunscreen (another goal for this summer–be better about sunscreen). We spread out blankets in the sand and just chilled.

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I had been apprehensive about taking Bella there. Part of me was excited to show her something new and exciting that I knew she’d LOVE. But part of me was nervous about a lot of things. First, there were going to be a lot of people there (she gets nervous around strangers) and second I knew there would be tons of off-leash dogs. I also worried about Bella running away if we let her off the leash. But in the end, she’s usually pretty good with her recall and I just wanted her to have fun so I let her off the leash.

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The second she was off the leash she was in the water! I’ve never seen her more excited!!! She had the biggest, goofiest look on her face! She splashed around in the waves a bit and then started jumping over the waves and jumping into the water. I took a very hilarious and adorable video and posted it on my Instagram, if you want to check it out.

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At one point we threw the ball in the water and she jumped in to go get it but I think she realized she was out a little too far and couldn’t get the ball so she just turned around and paddled back to shore. Charles waded into the water and grabbed her ball. LOL Look at her tongue!

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She also made a friend! There was a little dog with some people next to us who was chasing a tennis ball and retrieving it from the river. Bella ran next to her up and down the beach. It was so cute to watch! They’d throw the ball for their dog and both dogs would run after it but Bella is never interested in any ball but HER OWN and so she never tried to take the other dog’s ball. She just wanted a partner to run with on the beach!!

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I have to tell you, there is no other feeling better than the pure joy of watching a dog have fun! It’s such an amazing feeling seeing her experience things for the first time and just experience JOY. How often as adults to we take pleasure in new things and feel JOY? Rarely. Not often enough, for sure. Bell was having a BLAST. She was racing up and down the beach, flopping and rolling around in the sand, and swimming in the river.

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I wish we had had more time to spend out there. Alas, after about 2.5 hours we had to pack up and head out. I had plans to meet my friend Star for a very needed pedicure and desperately needed to shower off the sand beforehand. And you better believe Little Miss had a bath that night! She was covered in sand. ;)

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I think I spent too much time in the sun over the weekend. I had a dull headache for both Saturday and Sunday evenings, despite trying to drink a ton of water and using sunscreen. My shoulders, neck, biceps and deltoids were positively WRECKED from kayaking–I was SO sore (and really, running was the only thing I could physical do that next day–no way was I weight lifting or swimming). Despite that, the weekend was superb and I am happy with the memories AND crossing things off my summer list!

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Jul 162014
 

My book club recently met for a lovely summer dinner, potluck style. The host grilled up some chicken and beef kebobs, had fresh watermelon and a green salad. I made a caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, black olives, cherry tomatoes and salami with balsamic and oil). There was a potato salad and an amazing orzo salad. There was even homemade Syrah. Everything was so tasty! One person made watermelon cupcakes–like they actually tasted like watermelon bubble gum. It was kind of crazy.

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My friend’s house was a lovely oasis. She’s clearly worked really hard on her garden. Her house is on an acre and there’s trees and beautiful pathways winding through the garden. It was absolutely gorgeous! They even have wild peacocks roaming around their neighborhood!

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How crazy is that? Her cute cats were meandering around the yard while we chatted about our book.

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Unfortunately the book we read for the month was NOT my favorite. I hated it and actually couldn’t finish reading it. We chose “Silas Marner” by George Eliot. I like a lot of the Classics–Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite authors and Wuthering Heights is in my top 5 list. However, Silas Marner was so hard to read. It was a combination of writing style and format (humongous, long paragraphs that were often pages long, and dialogue that didn’t seem to move the story forward in any way). Despite not liking the book we still found topics to talk about for three hours!

Here are some good books I’ve read lately:

1. Dead Scared by SJ Bolton

This is the second book in the Lacey Flint series. The series takes place in London and I love the characters. This second book was even better than the first and the story premise was chilling! My only complaint was that I hated the last chapter and how it left off. I felt like it needed another chapter to wrap things up and explain a few things!

2. Lost by SJ Bolton

This is the third book in the Lacey Flint series and while I hated how the 2nd book ended, this book picked up where it left off and explained a little bit of what I felt was missing in the other one. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time!

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3. Second Watch by JA Jance

I’m always wary of books that have flashbacks or several timelines going on at once. It’s rarely done well and just feels forced or clunky. This wasn’t the case. The flow was nice and it never felt awkward. I was equally interested in all three time periods that were telling the story. The mystery unfolded in a nice way. Good book!

4. Blood Harvest by SJ Bolton

I’m currently catching up on all her books. This one is probably one of my favorites of her books. The books that aren’t part of the Lacey Flint series are stand-alone books and usually take place on English/Welsh Moors. There is nothing creepier for a setting. It makes me think of Wuthering Heights; but it’s still a great setting for creating anxiety and dread in a horror book. This book in particular was VERY VERY dark. The last few chapters were so gripping and so crazy I couldn’t put the book down.

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5. An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer

This book is about Edward, recently widowed, dealing with the grief and trying to move on. Despite the topic, it wasn’t a depressing book at all. The general mood was of sadness, but in a healing way. His adult step-kids decide after a year and a half that he needs to meet someone new so they put out a personal ad for him. The book is about his journey to find out who he is without his wife, coming to terms with the grief and meeting new people. It was such a charming, uplifting book and I was 100% satisfied with the story and the characters! Loved it!

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I hope you enjoy some of these books I’ve recommended. Several were good, fun “summer” reads.

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