Monday, December 31, 2012

I Don’t Recognize Myself

Okay, you can stop sending me emails asking where I am. Well, at least one of you was nice enough to do that.

Yes, I’ve taken over a week off from blogging and running. There I said it. Sue me. Chastise me. In the 3+ years I’ve had this blog I’ve never done either one of those things, let alone both of them at the same time. Maybe this is what the Mayans had in mind.

Lest you feel I’ve been cheating on you by writing another secret blog (Shut Up and Make Crafts with Cat Hair!) or taken up a substitute hobby like naked badminton (oh my God – is it really spelled that way? For 45 years I had no clue that badminton had an “n” in it. Thought it was badmitton), rest assured the only action around here has been this:

I’m pretty sure the video’s not contagious. Please tell me we are not the only family who spent the holidays puking, hacking, shaking with chills, popping Motrin, sipping Ginger Ale and watching so much bad TV you constantly sound like your grandmother who asks, “What is this world coming to?” (Sexting in Suburbia on Lifetime was really good, by the way).

One fine thing that came out of this was I read more books than I almost have all year. And, I unplugged from Facebook, Twitter and most blog reading. I told you I’d be doing more of this!!

I started with this one:

One Breath Away

What the hell was I thinking? I had no clue when I got his from the library a few weeks ago what it was about. A potential shooting in an elementary school. I almost put it down, not wanting to immerse myself anymore in the horror of that world than I have to, but I read on. I read on mostly because I got hooked into the story and soon figured out it was contrived enough that it didn’t upset me. The writing was just so-so and the story was pretty blah. Not one I’d highly recommend.

Then I moved to this one.

Now that’s more like it. I loved this book, even if there was only one time she discussed pooping on the trail (although you know she must have done it almost daily  - 90 times or so? – details please!)

There were so many unintended parallels to running in this book . Pushing through pain. Not quitting when you want so desperately to do just that. Enduring the highs and lows of the experience. The best part was that the writer, Cheryl Strayed (yes, she did change her name to that), was not trying to be profound or to teach the reader something. She was merely relaying her personal experience, and somehow that translated into major life lessons for me.

Yes, this book is about the author’s quest for healing by hiking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, but it is so much more than that. From the day she first puts on her heavy pack (you never learn exactly how much it weighed – my guess is 60-70 lbs.) and trekked into the wilderness to her bleeding and blistered feet that left her so injured she could only hobble, I was hooked. The beauty of this book was truly in the authenticity of the writing and the humble and real nature of the author. Read it!!

Next up was this book:

I’ve got to admit, that after the adventure of Wild, I had a hard time getting into the flow of  this book.  For sure, Jurek’s story is a good one with all the elements of overcoming adversity, pushing oneself to one’s limits and going for and achieving goals one never thought possible.  He has done this all while on a vegan diet that he swears by (sorry to end with a preposition. Would “by which he swears” sound better?). 

I’m not vegan and while I’m pretty open minded,  I just don’t envision myself making my own rice milk and using it to mix up pancakes with 6 different types of flour. I know there are many of you who live this way and are probably much healthier than I am (and I do know being vegan doesn’t have to be “hard”), but it is all I can do to just get dinner on the damn table some nights, let alone milk my own cow. Yes, I’m sure like with anything if I devoted myself to it, I could do it and do it well. Just not feeling the motivation at this point in time. Prime rib anyone?

Overall, an inspiring story by an incredible endurance runner (and on sale right now on Amazon Kindle for $3.99). This dude is unstoppable.

 

Read any good books lately? I’m always looking for new stuff. I am about to start Life After Death, which seems like a compelling read.

Are you vegan or vegetarian? No and no.

Have you or your family been sick? Give me the gory details – make me feel better.

Got any big plans for New Year’s? Yes. My couch and heated blanket with a glass of wine.

SUAR

63 comments:

  1. My son has been constipated most of Christmas break... does that make you feel any better?

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    1. Not really. My daugther had the worst time with that too. I had to mix Miralax with cool whip.

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    2. My 3 year old is chronically constipated. We mix Miralax in her yogurt several times a week.

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  2. I too spent the holidays feeling under the weather and read some good books (one of which was Scott Jurek's). The other one I highly recommend, Finding Ultra by Rich Roll. Similar to Jurek's in that it talks about Vegan diets, but I found it a more interesting read.

    Happy Holidays...and get well soon. :)

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    1. Yes, I did read Roll's book as well. Did like it better than Jurek's.

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  3. haha! I read Wild this year too, and never realized that she doesn't reveal the weight of that first pack, or any other! I thought it was great, too. Oh, and yes, we've been sick off and on all December. At least it kept me from gaining a ton of weight with all of the cookie consumption...

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  4. Have you read The Long Run (the story of the NY Firefighter (and runner) who got hit by a bus and recovered) or Touching the Void (about the guy who falls into a crevasse with a broken leg and is left for dead)? Both are amazing survival stories. Another good one is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. So, if you are in survival story mode, particularly stories about coming back from the edge of death, these are 3 excellent ones!
    I'm going to check out Wild.

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    1. Yes, I've read the Long Run and Unbroken, but definitely need to get Touching the Void. Thanks!

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  5. Welcome back! I was really sad yesterday because I lost my "crap in the woods" virginity and there was absolutely no where to share it. My facebook friends would have recoiled in horror - but on SUAR, I feel accepted and loved!

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    1. I am so proud of you!! Such a milestone.

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  6. I so want to read Wild...I've heard so many great things about it. If you haven't read The Happiness Project, it's so great! Not a vegan and not a vegetarian. Sorry you are so sick. Get to feeling better and have an awesome start to 2013!

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  7. Stiff: The curious lives of human cadavers by Mary Roach. It's so funny and good, check it out!

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    1. It really is - definitely recommend!

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  8. Im glad you are resting. I'm a vegetarian and have been for over 15 years. I eat healthy but mixing 6 flours is obsession, you know? I work in a library and just read the young adult novel called the good braider, about a Sudanese refugee who moves to Maine. I loved it. Feel better!

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  9. We've all been healthy. Must be those six different types of flour in our pancakes.

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  10. I had been thinking, "That wench Beth snuck off for some fabulous Mexican tropical holiday getaway and didn't have the decency to tell her loyal followers!". Hmmm, feel kinda bad now. Hope y'all are feeling better and playing badminton ASAP!

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  11. OMG....We have been soooo sick. Just about the same thing you have. It started out as the flu but then it turns into an upper repiratory infection.

    Santa gave me 50 Shades of Gray. I haven't started reading it yet. Do you think Santa is trying to give me a hint?

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  12. Ugh! I am just now recovering from the flu. It was awful! I wish I got some good reading in but my head hurt too much to stare at the pages.

    I just did my best of 2012 list and Wild definitely made the list. I love her writing. I just finished one of Cheryl Strayed's older novels, Torch. It is about grief, loss and family, and much harder to get through, but the writing is just as good. I love her. If you wrote Wild, there would be a lot more poop details, that's for sure.

    Good for you for unplugging. I hope it was nice, minus the sickness.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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  13. You said you were taking a break in your last blog, so I don't know why people were e-mailing you. Stalkers.

    My mother has been in the hospital since day one of the Hurricane. Yes that's 2 months now. She's doing better and will hopefully be home this week. Other than that, no family cooties to report.

    I have been a vegetarian for 22 years and am now transitioning to vegan for 2013. It's not as hard as I thought. A bit of an assache, but no one is making me do it, I want to.

    Already on my couch this NYE, and don't plan to move much, until my drink needs filling.

    Sorry you're still sick. Hope you & the family recover asap. Happy New Year! :)

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  14. So glad you're back at blogging. No other blogs compare to yours. I recently read "the accidental athlete" by John Bingham. Hilarious and inspiring! Currently reading "you are an ironman" and it is stories of normal people who decided to sign up for the Arizona ironman in 2009 and follows them thru their year of training and living life. Very inspiring except they all get injuries throughout the year and I wonder if it's worth that.

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  15. Hi! My fiancee and I spent collectively $900 to fly to Minnesota, have 2 nice days with my parents, and then get miserably sick the rest of the time. We decided to look at it as, we paid 900 to have my parents take care of us and not have to chase our cats off when we're sick.... This cough is a real abs workout, I have to say.

    Happy new year!

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  16. I loved Wild and remember recommending it when you were looking for things to read, I am so glad you liked it!! I am currently reading "Honey, Do You Need a Ride? Confessions of a Fat Runner". I am enjoying it, it is pretty funny, lots of short stories, glimpses into her life. She "talks" to PRE and says he is her coach. I thought it was funny at first, but the more I read, it slightly creeps me out. I am not done with it but it is a very quick read. Glad to have you back, get well soon!! -Stephanie

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  17. ah crap....so sorry you were all so sick. it sucks big time. did not happen this year but a couple years ago I missed everything...boooo
    books: Gone Girl. A must read. it is really good.
    also A train in the Winter very good...that is not a novel
    Those who saved us...also good
    Rest of my good of 2012 are in French...do you read Francais?!

    Happy healthy 2013 to you and your family Beth!

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  18. I haven't read any of those, I'm still yawning my way through 'The Maffetone Method', which I can't seem to get past page 18. Next year maybe I'll read more. But I doubt it.

    I'm sitting here trying to get caught up on blogs for NYE - I'm so exciting!

    Miss ya!! Hope you're feeling better soon - we have a trail date soon!!!

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  19. I really liked "Finding Ultra" by Rich Roll. Sorry that you are sick! I was only home for half of Christmas but we were all well. I'm not a vegan or vegetarian and recently read "Why we get fat" which is a real detailed book that supports everything I believe about nutrition, so why not love it?? I'm with you. Couch, heating blanket (best invention EVER) and some cheap champagne because I was late to the liquor store and Utahns LOVE their booze!

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  20. I just finished Little Bee by Chris Cleave, which was so amazing. Such an awful topic but the main character was amazing. The writing was beautiful and lyrical. And, it was filled with humor, which was so surprising. I loved it.

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  21. I have been reading like crazy lately: I loved Before I go To Sleep--about a woman who has amnesia and wakes up every day not knowing who she is--if you liked Gone Girl, you will love this one! I also liked Faith, about a priest accused of the unfathomable. I've read a few other books that I am loathe to recommend. Oh, and I've been taking care of a ton of kids with the same affliction you and your family are recovering from...my new PR was 31 patients last Friday....

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  22. YVR ate my comments. But now I'm home and there is NO ESCAPING the horror.
    No and no. But the buddy I was visiting is a raw food vegan. A real one, not a high maintenance princess. Her husband was sick while we were visiting. The good news is we didn't get it. The bad news is he was sick, hacking and coughing, spitting and gurgling, and all sorts of disgusting noises in the night sick. Didn't bother me, if I'm tired I can sleep through anything.
    You might enjoy reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

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  23. We ALL got sick at my mom's in Missouri (after having to drive there with the kids because our outbound flight was cancelled), and I'm still snorting out snot--blech. I want a Christmas do-over because it didn't feel like a holiday at all. I'm celebrating the New Year by....going to bed right after I type this comment.

    I hope you feel 100% soon!

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  24. I've just read a great book - The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. It was one of those books that you didn't want to finish because it felt like you were losing friends.

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  25. I hope y'all are all better ASAP. Being sick sucks. I recently read the Hunger Games books...they went fast. And World Without End was fun. I'm neither vegan nor vegetarian but do need to keep my diet free of gluten, dairy, eggs and soy (to some degree). It is only hard when I need to find food on the go. This right here is my big NYE party :) Happy New Year!

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  26. Just got done reading 2 Nicky Sparks books back to back...ha. Safe Haven was pretty awesome, and w/ Josh Duhamel being the leading man in the movie come Feb, I was in.

    Pretty much vegetarian these days. Huge change over my lifestyle a year ago!

    Sick: Yes...Been hacking, taking Dayquil and sucking on an inhaler for 2 weeks. We went to see fam for a late Christmas and my son starts puking. Thankfully it only lasted a day.

    We are spending New Years at our cabin in N Georgia w/ my folks and kids...watched a couple good movies (Machine Gun Preacher/Pitch Perfect) while feasting on cheese and blush sparkling grape juice. Hot tubbed it today and ran 4 and 1/2 miles.

    Cheers to you and yours this New Year! Love your blog, but it's good to take a break! Be blessed!

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  27. I've been a vegetarian since I was 13, so over 20 years now (yikes am I really that old??). Dealing with an injured piriformis, then hikes the Grand Canyon & tore up my feet badly (actually required a visit to urgent care 3 days later, I had a blister UNDER my big toenail apparently, the pain just got worse & worse. The np fired up a paper clip, stabbed it into my toenail and ohhh sweet relief) and now some hacky, achey, phlegm fueled existence... With my first 1/2 marathon in 20 days and I've been laid up the majority of December :(
    Yes, badminton... Made me laugh because my nursing school classmates had a huge fight over the pronunciation (there were only 12 of us in an accelerated program, we were with each other for 12 hours a day without reprieve). Currently I am reading East of Eden, oldie but a goody. What Is The What is an excellent book and you should read Life of Pi in case the movie ruins it...

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  28. I know so many people that have been sick over this winter break. So far I have avoided it. I just finished "A Dog's Purpose." I didn't think I would like this book. but my brother-in-law highly recommended it. My son (13) and I read it together. I LOVED IT!!! I think it would be an especially meaningful book for you as you are dealing with the sadness of the death of your dog. Let me know what you think of it if you decide to read it.
    Happy New Year and glad to see you are back!

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  29. I've had a head cold. Last night I asked my ultra-runner friend, "Sick above the neck run, below the neck (chest cold) rest, right?" He said, "No, always run. You always feel better after you run." Then I heard the story about when he ran a marathon with a migraine including running the first half with his eyes mostly closed. geesh!

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  30. Christmas night, I was awoked from my holiday slumber by the sound of my beloved husband being turned inside out by the dreaded stomach bug. I had a less dramatic sinus infection. "Tis the season!

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  32. Yes, I'm a vegetarian. I have a niece who's a vegan -- she's crazy!! I'm getting caught up on the classics right now, like Catch 22, Jane Eyre and such. I throw in a couple running type books here and there to keep it light! Happy New Year!

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  33. Happy New Year SUAR! Hope you are all healthy very soon. I managed to get thru all of November and December without getting sick....a miracle? I am grateful! Haven't run in 2 weeks, pulled my calf. Feeling much better, should be good to go this weekend. I am quite late to this party, but am reading the Harry Potter books and really enjoying them. Unbroken is one of the best books I have ever read.

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  34. Feel better! Love Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Tea for immune support! Happy New Year!

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  35. Hey, cool. I read Jurek's book to this holiday. Loved it. And am inspired to eat a lot less meat in 2013.

    Hope you feel better soon. We've missed you. But of course you should take breaks now and again when you need to. A little less SUAR is better than no SUAR.

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  36. yah...I haven't been running or blogging much either..but I've got pregnancy brain, boobs, belly and booty to blame for it! ;-)

    Happy New Year Friend!

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  37. I love your blog and I've never commented before - I'm sorry! And I live in Denver, so I really feel like I should comment to let you know that I'm reading. Somehow I feel creepy anonymously reading about your running life when you live so close and we've run the same races.

    ANYWAY. I recently finished _The Snow Child_ by Eowyn Ivey and am currently reading _Sweet Tooth_ by Ian Mcewan. Both are excellent.

    Happy New Year!

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  38. I have read Eat and Run and found it very interesting. He is way more extreme that I. I am vegetarian. My family has thankfully been healthy and on NYE I went to bed at 10pm. Party animal.

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  39. I am vegetarian. I wear a tee-shirt on marathon day that says "Runs on Plants". I get a lot of questions from curious runners... "you mean you really only eat plants? ... Yup. "Where do you get your protein?" ... Well, plants of course. I'm just now reading Amby Burfoot's "The Runners Guide to the Meaning of Life". Burfoot won the 1968 Boston Marathon and he has a few pearls of wisdom to share about running. Hope you're feeling better.

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    1. I think the protein question is a funny one - just shows how much people associate protein with MEAT and not other sources. Good for you making these great changes!

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    2. I think many vegetarians get more protein than meat eater because you're so conscious of what you're taking in. I think it's great!

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  40. Oh, Wild was soooo good! I loved Eat and Run. I thought Rich Roll's book was far too preachy, though. Have you ever read Art of Racing in the Rain? Oh so sad and so good. I hope your 2013 is off to a great start! Thanks for being a source of laughter and inspiration this past year!

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  41. Wild was definitely the best book I read in 2012. Check out The Perfect Mile for a good running book. And The Glass Castle for a crazy memoir in the style of Wild.

    Since you are apparently wanting stories about shit... I went on a 10 miler yesterday and I had it in for a good 3 miles, but then realized I wasn't gonna make it back to the house in time. I headed for the woods, fearing both the crazy Virginia farmers who undoubtedly have loaded rifles AND the fact that all the leaves were crispy. It really sucks having to squat in the woods in winter because (in addition to the crispy leaves situation) bare trees are insufficient for providing a privacy curtain. (Un)Fortunately, I was wearing a bright green vest, so I was visible for miles. But my milk white ass probably blinded any on-lookers anyway. The plus side: it was so cold that my shit didn't even stink! I'll take it!

    Happy New Year!

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  42. In spite of all the sickness in your house, I'm glad you were able to spend time with your family and relax and read! Nothing better than sitting down with a good book, in my opinion :-)

    I'm not vegan...i like cheese too much. I eat mostly vegetarian, but if I want a burger, nothing's going to get in my way!

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  43. Atta girl! Thank you for blogging today. I hope yall are feeling better soon.

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  44. The stomach bug went through our family of 4 the week before Christmas - while on a Disney cruise. My husband had it the worst of all of us and went to the medical center on ship. Consequently, he was confined to the stateroom for 24 hours. A great time was had by all, seriously.

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  45. Gotta go with "Once a Runner". If you make it through the whole book without at least once thinking "What am I doing reading???? I need to go out and run repeats" then you're not a runner.

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  46. Well deserved rest! Ha, have to totally agree with the above comment about "Once a Runner". I'm about to read "A Life Without Limits" by Ironman champ Chrissie Wellington but can't recommend it just yet. I have a feeling it is going to make me feel like an out of shape wimp unless I ride a minimum of 50 miles or run a minimum of 10 miles. Motivation maybe?

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  47. Wow. I can’t seem to get away from Cheryl Strayed. I reluctantly started looking at her other book “Tiny Beautiful Things” because a friend was a fan, and I read half of it in the first sitting, and ordered “Wild” the next day. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for reinforcing that decision. And yes, I would like some prime rib. Happy new year.

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  48. Happy to see you back - everyone needs a break from time to time. Hope that everyone is feeling better! Thankfully, only my husband got the flu right before Christmas and the rest of us were spared. Not sure how I would have gotten things done if the sickies had hit me. I've been on the waitlist for Wild and Eat n Run for a while now. Just finished reading a quick fun book from the Cupcake Club and started the 2d one. Then onto something else. Hard time going vegetarian here as my husband n kids would go nuts. They are all so picky and we have a nut allergy here to work around. I did kick off the year with 3 miles to start my half training. :-) Have a great week!

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  49. Sorry the crud hit your family--I feel like everyone I know is down with something. My kids both had it over the break and they caught it from me first.

    So glad you liked Wild! It was an awesome read, I thought. I want to be more like Cheryl--she's far braver than I ever would be.

    Happy new year and welcome back!

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  50. Almost my whole entire family that spent Christmas together got sick. Except me and 3 others (out of like 15). I was thinking I had totally escaped but my nose is a bit stuffy today. Hope that's not a bad sign.

    Details: My niece apparently projectile vomited so much she whiped out their English Mastiff who was laying on the floor next to the couch. Puke covered 200 pound dog anyone?

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  51. $3.99 for Scott Jurek's book on Kindle!? I've been wanting it so badly, but it's $17.99 on Kobo.. For that price it better read itself to me and make me look 10 pounds skinner. Now I'm mad I don't have a Kindle (but ironically, 2 Kobos..)

    You're making me really want to read a book again! Haha I haven't been very tempted to touch one (except virtual Eat and Run) since I finished university.

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  52. Well sorry to hear you all are under the weather.....we have had the upper respitory junk but thankfully not puking.
    I'm not much of a reader, sad to say....makes me too sleepy.
    Vegan or vegetarian have been on my mind to try but do not know if i could stick with it. I love a good burger now and then.
    Happy New Year

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  53. My toddler had hand, foot and mouth disease, the rest of though fortunately were unscathed by winter illnesses after spending the month of October puking, crapping, coughing, and looking like phlegm monsters.

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  54. In 5th grade I was in a spelling bee. "Badminton" was my demise; the woman totally pronounced it "badmitten" so that's how I spelled it. Ironically, not long before the spelling bee, I had actually played badminton--well, was introduced to it, but I had no idea what it was called.

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