Bienvenida a 2016!

2016 is here, and I’m determined to have a productive year! (Remind me of that in March or September if I’ve gotten off track!)

I have lots of things on my plate so it will be interesting to see what survives or at least what I manage to do consistently.

Without further delay, let’s jump into some of those things:

  • To start, I’m participating in Apartment Therapy’s The Cure, which is basically a way to get your house in order during the month of January. My first task is 75% complete. It’s to clean all the floors. I’ve done all the vacuuming, now to the scrubbing. (Can you tell I’m thrilled?)
  • I’ve also decided I want to consistently art journal this year. Last yearNo_Excuses_art I purchased No Excuses Art Journaling. I loved the ideas and suggestions, but never managed to implement them for more than a couple of days in a row. Here’s a link to Gina’s website if your interested.
  • I just set-up my 2016 Reading Challenge on Goodreads. I kept it the same as last year: 75 books. I didn’t make my goal in 2015—I was 5 books shy—so I’m going to try and do better in 2016.
  • I’d also like to get back to writing more consistently. Do you hear that Ms. Muse?? Thanks to my friend Dawn, I’ve ordered 2 writing books to improve my craft and get me free writing. The books are Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers and Spellbinding Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Achieving Excellence and Captivating Readers
  • On the health and fitness front, I’ve set some lofty goals. I’d like to train for and run a half marathon this spring/early summer. If my knee can take that training, I’m going to try for a fall marathon. I’m not excited about training in the heat of summer, but with any luck, I will get a lot of biking in, which should help.
  • If you noticed the title of my post, I’ve been learning Spanish. It’s come in handy in my job. I plan to continue with my studies and hopefully can be fluent (well, as fluent as an American living in the US can be!)
  • And speaking of studies, I’m all set to start grad school in March. I will be registering for classes at some point this month. Mercyhurst University best look out!

I’ve probably overlooked a goal, but right now, I’m drawing a blank. Willow (the ever grumpy cat who doesn’t like being photographed) and I wish you a healthy and happy New Year! May you get to read, write, and relax until your heart’s content!

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Still Alive, Just Away from the Blog

I’m still here…just haven’t made the time to post to my blog. I’m sorry for neglecting it, but it’s been a rather eventful week.

Work was absolutely crazy! I earned my pay and then some! I really hope this week is a bit more laid back than last.

On a better note, I got good news. Woohoo! (Insert happy dance) I found out that I’ve been accepted to Mercyhurst MercyhurstUniversity’s Graduate Certificate Program in Applied Intelligence Analysis. If you aren’t familiar with the program, here’s a link to it. Now, my fingers and toes are crossed that I get some financial aid. Grad school isn’t cheap! I’m going to start in the spring, and it looks like my first class will be Intelligence Theories and Applications.

So what else have I been doing with myself, you ask?? Not writing (sadly). I’ve been working on my Spanish. Thanks to Duolingo, I’m almost 50% fluent. My hope is to finish up Spanish and start Arabic. Yeah, that one’s going to be quite the challenge! If anyone can recommend a good online program/app, I’m all ears.  Continue reading “Still Alive, Just Away from the Blog”

Running on the Canal

It’s been an outdoorsy weekend for me. Yesterday was hiking the Pole Steeple circuit in Michaux State Forest. Today was catching up on a run on the C&O Canal. Unfortunately, I was overdressed for my run, and if I have to admit it, I was a tad sore from the hike. My planned 4 mile run turned into a pathetic 2.5 mile plod. Nope, nothing fast about it. At least I got out, right? That has to count for something…I hope!

At least during my cool down, I noticed a particularly nice reflection and snapped a picture. I hope you enjoy it. I’d have to say it was the best part of my workout!

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Marine Corps 10K

The_Liaison_Room_ReflectionI had a fun, yet rushed weekend in Washington D.C. I’m going to share some of my photos from the short trip. I went down Saturday afternoon, checked into The Liaison on Capitol Hill, and picked up my packet from the spacious runner’s expo at the D.C. Armory – lots of vendors and goodies to look at *grins*. Dinner was at La Tasca, a tapas restaurant in Chinatown (you know from my previous adventures, how entertaining Chinatown can be. It didn’t disappoint this time!). Unfortunately my fav restaurant, Graffiato, was packed. The food at La Tasca was great and worked perfectly for a pre-race meal.La_Tasca

Oh, I forgot to mention that I saw my “dream” car at the hotel. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of it. You know, to remember it by since I will never own one! What do you think? Does this car make your “win the lottery car purchase”? In case you can’t see the symbol on the hood, it’s a Bentley. An oh so beautiful Bentley.

Bentley

Sunday was a crazy mess! We gave ourselves an hour to get from the hotel to the race. The Metro chart said it would take 15 minutes on the train to get to the race start. Surely an hour would be long enough, even with the single tracking on the Red Line. Nothing like being wrong. We waited 32 minutes for the Red Line Metro. As we exited the Metro station, the Marine at the top kindly reminded us that the start of the race was imminent. Of course, I needed to pee (sorry, if that’s TMI), and the lines at the few port-a-johns were long. As in very long. Ugh. With a minute to race time, I made the decision I would find a place to pee on the course. Well, that minute passed by super quickly, and I found myself dashing to catch-up with the walkers at the back of the race pack.

Post-race selfie
Post-race selfie

That first mile was a challenge. The streets were clogged with walkers and slower runners. It took me some time to make my way through them. I will spare you the details of the 6.2 mile course. Suffice to say, I didn’t get to pee until after I finished (oh, it was painful!), and I didn’t like the steep uphill finish. The Marines along the course – oorah! It was such a good feeling! When the Marine placed the Finisher’s medal on my neck, I was both proud and honored.

Overall, I’m glad I did the race. My time was decent, and given the complications of the morning, I’ll take it. I ran the race in 58:14. Since it sounds cool, I’ll share that I placed 75th out of 571 runners in my age group.

If you have the chance to do the race, I’d recommend it. The Marathon always has a huge draw. Unfortunately a knee injury will never allow me to run a full marathon. At least I got to feel the excitement of the 10K.

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Last, but not least by any means: I’m dedicating my run to one of my coworkers, who is in ICU and not doing well. This one was for you, Charlie!

Vacation Week in Review

So, you may have noticed that I’ve been oddly silent this week. Well, there’s a very good reason for that – Vacation!! Whoo hoo!!

IMG_20140805_154640I managed to find a backwoods spot where there is no cell service in the town (as least my provider has no towers in the area). That was not a bad thing at all. I didn’t miss not being able to make phone calls. Now, I shouldn’t make it sound like I was completely disconnected. The B&B where I stayed had WiFi so I did manage to check social media and text.

Are you ready for the Review??

Monday: I arrived in Marlinton, West Virginia. I quickly learned there were basically 2 restaurants in town (not counting Dairy Queen). I also learned that the local IGA grocery store was poorly stocked and expensive – try $2.59 for a QUART of milk. I explored the Greenbrier River Trail on foot and saw lots of wildlife.

Tuesday: Cycling! The ride was just over 25 miles from Cass back to Marlinton. The rail trail was in good shape and Mother Nature sprinkled some rain, but thankfully no thunderstorms or heavy downpours.IMG_20140806_165215

Wednesday: More riding. This time almost 33 miles. There was some backtracking involved to ride through the Droop Mountain tunnel, but all in all it was a good day. The trail wasn’t crowded either day, and the scenery was fabulous!

Thursday: Time to head home, but first . . . a stop at Beartown State Park to see the awesome rock formations, then a trip to the Cranberry Glades to see the bogs, and finally a hike to the Falls of Hills Creek (the thunderstorms must not have hit this area as the falls weren’t as impressive as I expected).

Friday: Laundry and recovery!! Until the evening when I ran a local 5K. I have to admit that I had an awesome race. I really pushed myself. I’ve never been a fast runner, but I’m trying now that my knee won’t allow me to tackle half marathons. My first mile in this race was at an 8:20 pace. I ended up finishing in 27:21. Almost to my goal of a sub 27 minute 5K.

So, in between all the exercise, I have been reading. I finished Darkness Rises (Immortal Guardians #4) by Dianne Duvall and Running Wild (Havoc, #1) by S.E. Jakes.

Darkness Rises is a PNR, and I awarded it 4.5 stars out of 5. I am completely hooked on the Immortal Guardians.

Running Wild is an m-m romance filled with bad boys and motorcycles. I awarded it 3.5 stars out of 5. While I liked Sean and Ryker, Prophet and Tommy still hold my heart captive.

What’s in store for the rest of the weekend, you ask? Well, trying to get myself back on a “work” sleep schedule in addition to writing and maybe some biking (yes, my legs are going to completely hate me soon!).

One more picture to end the post!

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Easter Weekend Wrap

Well, the holiday is nearly over, and I finally have time to take a breath – and sit down at the computer! It has been a busy but beautiful weekend!

I’m going to set-up this post like the previous “Wrap” posts. I hope you enjoy catching up on me (and taking a break from the book reviews).

Word to describe the weekend: I’m going with gorgeous because of the sunny, mostly mild days we had. Granted, they started off chilly, but the afternoons were very pleasant. It made for nice traveling weather.

Books: I just finished reading Chloe Neill’s book, Wild Things (Chicagoland Vampires #9). I have to say I really enjoyed it – even gave it 5 stars. Now, I can get started on J.R. Ward’s The King. Yay!! I’m so looking forward to that one!

Exercise: It is harder and harder to get to the gym. With Spring finally here, I want to be outside. I did go for a run Friday morning on the Rail Trail. I did about 3 miles in 27:44. My goal is to run a 5K in 27 flat. I’m not a fast runner (never have been), but since my knees won’t let me run half marathons anymore, I’m going to work on my 5K time. I did squeeze in a quick workout at Planet Fitness with my cousin on Saturday. I just love the ab coaster! I know, I’m weird. It works so well that I wish my gym would invest in one.

TV/ Movies: I’m still watching Arrow. Since I don’t get the CW, I watch it on Thursday on my iPad. It is a nice almost-end-of-the-week treat.Burn_Notice_Season1 In this past week’s episode, Felicity had some awesome lines – you go, girl!! My current Netflix obsession is Burn Notice. I just love Michael and Fiona. Sam cracks me up, and Maddie is a force all on her own!! I like the addition of Jesse to the cast. My one wish is that Michael and Fiona would be a couple again. They are so perfect for each other! Oh, and have I mentioned how much I like Michael’s sunglasses?? Doesn’t hurt that he’s always eating yogurt either.

Writing: The writing front is stalled. The zombie story was rocking; now, I just need time to get back to it. I reworked the beginning to up the tension, and I think it ties in better with the ending. One of these days…

I think that about covers it! Back to laundry for me. Then, I will be cracking open The King. Enjoy!

 

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