Monthly Archives: May 2013

#SorryNotSorry

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Hellooooo, blends! Greetings from Duck, North Carolina! For the past week, Ian and his family and I have been basking in the glory of the Outer Banks.

I wish I had a series of really cool sunsets or a stingray catches or romantic-artsy pictures to show you, but really I’m just quickly checking in before dinner. I’m just not one of those people who remembers to carry a camera everywhere, or who is quick enough on the draw to capture every memory-worthy moment (#sorrynotsorry).

I apologize that I have been MIA from SWASOV for the past seven days (#sorrynotsorry), but OBX has been calling my name — and I have been answering big time!

I also wish that I had some behemoth healthy-living-while-on-vacation saga to share with you, but what I have really had are endless crab legs swimming in melted butter, maple Duck Donuts, steaks the size of Mini Coopers, local ciders, and a host of other foods that make my normal “diet” shudder with delight.

What I do have to share are a few self-surprises. For starters, Ian — who is beginning a 5k training program for a potential 5k in the fall — and I have run three mornings this week, and I have run four. Truly, before this vacation, I can honestly say I never would have pictured myself (1) setting an alarm to (2) get up early to (3) run (4) on purpose (5) during a beach vacation. Nevertheless, I could not be more proud of him for putting in 30-45 minutes each morning he ran… even if he was cussing and fussing, and I was yelling at him like a Nazi track coach.

Secondly, I have surprised myself by making instinctively healthy breakfast and lunch choices. I have chosen Chobani over a second doughnut, milk over coffee creamer, Quaker Oatmeal Squares over Apple Jacks, salad and hummus over leftover burgers, and (sometimes) baby carrots and celery sticks over endless chips and salsa. I can’t say the same about dinner, especially when fresh seafood was an option 😉

Next, I have surprised myself by reading on the beach for hours a day. Normally, I tend to let the sound of the waves and the warmth of the sun lull me to sleep. No problem there, except that I burn faster than a steak on the grill, and I drowsily sleep the whole beach day away. This week, though, I’ve been reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult, which thus far is absolutely phenomenal. I want to strike that perfect balance between reading as much as possible about a subject that interests me (autism) without growing tired of reading about it (I’m not sure that’s possible).

Lastly, I have surprised myself by being excited about setting an alarm each morning to maximize my day and my time on the beach. Dad, as someone who believes “daylight’s burnin’,” I know you’ll appreciate this one! I literally never would have pegged myself for being someone who would enjoy setting an alarm on vacation…

Anyway, I just wanted to stop by briefly to thank you for stickin’ around while I’ve been gettin’ my tan on, drinking homemade pina coladas on the beach, and (for once) reading for pleasure! After this week, my summer gets crazily busy, but regular posting should resume. Ta ta!

Looking Too Far Forward

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Confession: Recently, I’ve been having a bit of trouble seeing the forest through the trees with regard to my fiance and our future.

I’ll think to myself (read: stage-whisper with contempt), If he doesn’t like eating quinoa now, he never will. 

If he doesn’t start running this summer, he’s never going to train for that 5k.

If he doesn’t make time to look at rehearsal dinner venues, we’ll never find one.

[It’s all very dramatic. Obviously.]

What it really boils down to is this: Somehow, through all my “drunk soapboxes,” low-blood-sugar-fueled-bitch-fests, and fits of frustration and selfishness, I have somehow held on to a guy who thinks I hang the moon. He’s patient, he’s thoughtful, he makes me laugh every single day, and I believe he would literally do anything for me.

So what’s the problem??

Instead of fretting that he’s a meat-and-potatoes guy who prefers French fries to quinoa, the world (most likely) isn’t going to stop turning if our carbs come from different sources.

If running isn’t Ian’s thing and his profession demands that he study from 8:00-6:00, it doesn’t affect my running schedule.

Just because we haven’t found a rehearsal dinner venue 16 months in advance yet doesn’t mean that everything is booked up. I should be thanking my lucky stars that I have a fiance who is interested in the planning, who renders legitimate and realistic opinions, and who is so much more than the stereotypical “Whatever you want, Dear” wedding-planning type.

Recently, I’ve been so focused on The Future and all of the difficult decisions and life changes it encompasses that I’ve completely forgotten to simply slow down and enjoy the moment with Ian, as cliché as it sounds.

I’ve been much more wrapped up in the “what-ifs” and the unplanned aspects of our wedding than I have the fact that we are blessed enough to have families who get along splendidly with each other; the fact that we have parents who support our life decisions and our choices; and the fact that we are lucky enough to have hard-working families who are willing to give us the dream wedding we envision.

I’ve been concentrating so much on the next time I’ll see Ian that it causes petty disputes and unnecessary bickering that sometimes ruins the few hours we are spending with each other now.

I’ve been so caught up in my own head with decisions like Rent vs. Buy and Farmer’s Market vs. Whole Foods that sometimes I literally forget that I have another year of grad school — plus that all-too-important factor called GETTING A JOB — before any of this comes into play.

I need to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. This is my wake-up call to myself.

The point is, I need to focus on what we do have instead of what we don’t; the time we can spend together as opposed to the time we can’t; the aspects of our wedding we have planned as opposed to the minute details which can wait; and the positive, the good, and the fortune I have in my life as opposed to the things which, quite frankly, don’t matter.

I’m still a work in progress, but hey, it’s a start.

“The future depends on what you do today.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Praying for Moore

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I don’t even know what to think as I scan Twitter updates, watch news blips, read newspaper interviews, and scour Instagram photos of the destruction Monday’s tornado left in its wake in Moore, Oklahoma. It literally makes me feel sick that children perished due to a force of nature. It seems that somewhere in our nation, people are constantly trying to rebuild and restart from the destruction a natural disaster has left behind, when another one comes along and throws another town, city, or state into panic and devastation.

I literally cannot imagine.

The closest I have ever come to experiencing a tornado was when this storm was filmed just weeks before I graduated from college. My sorority sisters captured this clip that was later featured on the local news:

This tornado tore across Virginia and parts of neighboring states, causing damage at random. I was home alone, and I was crouched in my living room two apartment buildings closer to the storm than where the video was taken. My apartment was on the first floor of the building, but elevated about six feet off the ground. I considered taking my roommate’s cat to wait out the storm in my bathtub after golf ball-sized hail pounded the cars and porches surrounding me, and a clap of thunder occurred so loudly and so suddenly I thought our glass porch doors were going to shatter. In the end, I waited out the storm in our living room, clutching the cat for dear life and praying that the storm wasn’t as severe as it sounded. Because the windows and the porch of our apartment faced the building across from it and away from where the tornado was forming, I couldn’t have known the storm was as intense as it was. I should have known that danger was imminent when I turned on the television to check the local weather report, but all that greeted me was static on every channel. The fear that I experienced that day and the uncertainty of what was happening were the closest I have ever come to a tornado.

As I think back now to the prayers I said for my family and friends, and as I discussed the event later with my friends and sorority sisters, I truly cannot imagine the fear and the sadness that the residents of Moore are experiencing now. I read in the newspaper this morning that the mother of six-year-old twins who survived the tornado was quoted as saying, “If you don’t believe in God before something like this happens, you sure do after.” Truer words were never spoken. My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to those individuals, families, students, teachers, rescue workers, paramedics, school staff, and relatives of those grappling with what has happened to Moore. While so many across the nation are asking themselves, How could God let something like this happen?, I am trying to focus on the bravery of the search-and-rescue teams who have worked tirelessly for two days; the families who may be living out of shelters but who have a positive outlook for their future; the teachers whose courage and quick thinking saved the lives of countless children; the strangers who have banded together to form impromptu communities of survivors; and those whose thoughts and actions spared the lives of others, even if their own were not saved.

Please, even if you are not a religious or spiritual person, take a moment today to think about Moore, Oklahoma, and all that we are blessed to have and that we take for granted each and every day.

Mini Cheesecakes and a Mega Weekend

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I never meant to wait this long between posts. We got Internet back five days ago, but the past few days have been a very, very busy blur. Please pardon my extra-long post in advance…

Friday was Ian’s birthday, as well as the end of his first year of medical school, as well as the day my sister and her boyfriend flew in from a week visiting his grandparents in Florida. In addition to helping Ruth whip the house into tip-top shape for the weekend, we ran approximately 3.7 million errands. Friday afternoon, Ian and I drove all the way down to Once Upon a Vine downtown for a specially created four-pack of craft beers, Ian’s choice. I knew I could’ve picked out 4 beers for him to try and he would’ve probably loved them, but his favorite part of Once Upon a Vine is the experience 😉

Friday evening, Ruth and Ian and I met Mike, Caroline and Rob (the boyfriend) at Kobe in downtown Richmond for the most delicious hibachi I’ve ever tasted. (Granted, the only other time I’ve ever eaten hibachi-style Japanese food was on a field trip in Kindergarten.)

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For his birthday “party” and end-of-M1 celebration, Ian chose to sit around the fire pit at my parents’ house with a few friends and sip his $4-apiece craft beers. Hey, that’s easy. I’m down!

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Saturday was all work and all play! My family hosted an engagement party for a friend I have literally known all my life, whom our mothers refer to as each other’s “first friend,” and his lovely fiancée. I love an excuse to experiment in the kitchen. Culinary whiz that I am I somehow managed to create a spicy cheese ring accented by strawberry jelly and toasted pecans; fudgy brownies with a secret ingredient (sour cream!); chopped, sliced and diced veggie and fruit trays; and miniature cheesecakes with impromptu garnishes. (By strawberry leaves* I mean the cut-off top of each strawberry, carefully removed so that each ring of leaves is still in an intact circle.) Here is the recipe I used:

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 3 hours, 20 minutes (including refrigerating)
Makes 18 servings

What You’ll Need
1 C graham cracker crumbs
3/4 C + 2 tbsp sugar, divided
4 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 C Cool Whip
1 C blueberries
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 C diced strawberries + strawberry leaves*
handful mini chocolate chips

What You’ll Do
– Preheat oven to 325°.
– Mix graham cracker crumbs, 2 tbsp sugar and butter until blended; press onto bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin pan cups.
– Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crusts.
– Bake 25-30 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 2 hours.
– Top cheesecakes with a dollop of Cool Whip.
– Garnish half of cheesecakes with diced strawberries, strawberry leaf, and chocolate chip. Garnish other half with blueberries and lemon zest.

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They sure as heck were delicious, but I never promised they’d be healthy! While cooking, I refrained from BLTs (bites, licks, and tastes).

My mom truly is an incredible cook, and she created this lavish spread for Scott’s and Chelsea’s guests. At this point, I didn’t refrain from sampling anything 😉

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Sunday morning, Ian, Caroline, Rob and I were up early to head to King’s Dominion. The high for the day was supposed to be in the low 80s and there was a 40-50% chance of rain all day, but we decided to take our chances. The park was open 10:30-8:00, the public schools weren’t out for the summer yet, it was an overcast day, the water park wasn’t open yet, and it was a Sunday. With the odds stacked in our favor, we set out at 8:45.

We arrived well before the park opened, parked so close to the gates it was almost ridiculous, and blazed through security. In exchange for a 30-minute wait by the Eiffel Tower, we were able to ride in the front row of every coaster with a maximum of a 15-minute wait for any given ride. I think we rode the Volcano twice, Outer Limits once, Intimidator 305 twice, Backlot Stunt Coaster three times, the Ricochet once, the Avalanche once, the Dominator three times,

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and even a few smaller rides, like the Triple Spin and the Flying Eagle — all in just 6 hours. With so few people in the park, the lines were ridiculously short. Even though I was sweating like a crackhead because of the humidity, I cannot emphasize enough how perfectly we planned our trip yesterday. For four adrenaline junkies, we rode coasters until we literally couldn’t ride them anymore.

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And today, I finally got to sleep in, and I finally got a chance to blog. This weekend was a surreal blur, but it was completely perfect. And with that, I’m off to help prepare chicken fajitas and margs!

What were you up to over the weekend?!

Just Because I Can

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Guys… I have Internet. For the first time in 12 days. Twelve.

Somehow, our home computer contracted a Trojan which affected the entire shebang, modem and Wifi included. The computer was repaired almost a week ago, but we weren’t able to get someone out here to fix the wireless Internet until today. The poor guy was here for almost three hours, but he fixed everything!

I can blog, I can check my email (for real), I can at long last conduct wedding business, I can obsessively check my grades… Life is good 😉

So I’m blogging at 8:30 on a Wednesday night, just because I can.

Rather than try to tell you everything that’s been going on — because honestly, it hasn’t been much — I figured I’d show you.

Monday night, Mom and I made my version of “spaghetti” with meat sauce, consisting simply of minced fresh garlic, EVOO, sautéed onion, browned lean beef, diced tomatoes, and spaghetti squash.

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On Tuesday, I won’t say whom, but Dad someone was walking around the kitchen not-so-quietly, so I was hopelessly awake at 6:15 a.m. Since I hadn’t been feeling my best on Monday, I decided to be productive Tuesday morning. I snuck out of the house, trying not to wake anyone, but stopped short when I saw that it was sub-40 degrees outside. I actually had to use my ice scraper to clear my windshields and windows before I could drive!

I kicked my own ass at the gym by accomplishing a mind-boggling PDR: seven miles!

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I planned to break my run down like so: run 1 mile, walk 30 seconds, run 2 miles, walk 30 seconds, REPEAT until I reached 7 miles… completely forgetting that the treadmills at this Y automatically throw the user into cool-down mode at 45 minutes. I had to alter my run a bit, including completely stopping and restarting the machine. All in all, I ran 7.34 miles (warm-up, running portions, walking portions, a 3-minute stop, and cool-down) in ~91 minutes.

My legs felt like jelly when I finally stepped off the treadmill, but I felt incredible. Those 13.1 miles are looking less and less daunting with each new PDR! 😉

This morning, I awoke to a (literally) answered prayer:

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Y’all… THE BACKSTREET BOYS ARE DOING A REUNION TOUR!!!

Finally. Nick, A.J., Brian, Howie, and Kevin [#notweirdatallthatistillknowtheirnames] have heard my prayers, and they’re even cruising with fans. AND, it’s the Millennium album. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Except that the cruise is in October. And I’m not 11 anymore. And probably everyone who is 11 and would actually be interested and available to go on this cruise is like, The Whatstreet Boys? Who?!

*Sigh.*

I guess Nick Carter really isn’t ever going to serenade me… even though now, he could serenade me while I sip a marg!

In other more realistic news, Dad and I signed up for our second 5k-a-month-all-summer 5k: the Richmond Firefighters Beat the Heat 5k in Shockoe Bottom.

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In glancing over last year’s results, it looks as though only about 350 people participate in this event annually. I’m completely fine with that, because we are looking to improve our time and just get out there and move. I ain’t lookin’ to make friends, ya dig? 

I kid.

Lastly, I finally satisfied my week-long craving for my favorite Tropical Smoothie smoothie, Mango Magic. I’ve been running errands with Mom all week, and we haven’t been anywhere near a Trop-Smooth. Today, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, so I indulged. Mmm, mmm, mmmm!

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In all honesty, I thought I deserved a little treat for having eaten so cleanly this week, kicking ass on my run yesterday, and cross-training today by swimming 40 laps in 30 minutes. That half-marathon is not gonna know what hit it!

That’s about all that’s been happening around these parts. Thanks for hangin’ around Sarcasm while my little old blog was out of commission, and welcome to those of you who are new!

Question: What have you been up to this week?!

Susan G. Komen 5k ‘13 Race Recap + Weekend

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Well, blends, nothing too exciting has been going on over here with the Lew Crew. We still do not have Internet; I am penning this post on Saturday afternoon, which marks our eighth day sans Web. I apologize for my prolonged blogging absence – because I’m just sure you’ve missed me terribly – but there hasn’t been much I could do. It’s been weird being able to access social media via my iPhone but not being able to blog. I’m sure some of my more tech-savvy counterparts would find a way, but I’m just not that hardcore 😉 I’m not sure when this will be published, but I wanted to write about a few subjects today.

No. 1: The First Week Home

Whenever I come home (Richmond, VA) for an extended stay, the first week home is always the most difficult “adjusting” week. By this I mean, there are many, many opportunities for me to make healthy choices… and I almost never do. Sweet Frog? Sure! Chick-Fil-A salad? Haven’t had one in awhile. Late-night Taco Bell on a whim? It is hard to resist those DLTs…

Truly needless to say, I haven’t made choices I’m proud of this week. My sister Caroline and I went to the gym both Monday and Tuesday and I ran about 6 miles total, but Wednesday and Thursday were flops. Caroline’s boyfriend Rob is visiting, and we’ve more than taken advantage of his presence as an excuse not to get out and move. I can’t and won’t deny that I am soaking up every minute of lazy relaxation before my summer gets can’t-stop-for-one-minute hectic, but I don’t feel good about myself when I look back on this week. (Two cups of coffee a morning, real Coke, French fries, Woodchuck, and cupcakes don’t exactly make an aspiring half-marathoner feel like a rock star.)

Of course, Friday I had planned to rest, so rest I did. I got up early, did some stuff around the house, sipped coffee and discussed wedding biz with Mama Lew, and caught up on a few episodes of The Office and Parks & Rec. Friday night was my dad’s final team party with the high school golf team he coaches, so we all went to support him. This party was at least the fourth one I’ve attended, and I love to hear the stories Coach tells about his golfers and the awards he presents. The food ain’t half bad, either 😉 Of course, there was the obligatory froyo trip afterward – contributing nothing but guilt to my week-long binge of crap.

Allow me to insert here that I made some healthy choices this week. I did run two days in preparation for the 5k and in the spirit of training for the half. I also ate breakfasts consisting of whole-grain cereal, Chobani, and fresh fruit. The dinners we ate at home consisted mostly of vegetables and lean meats, including a variation on quinoa bowls one night!

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[Shredded lettuce bed, parmesan couscous, black beans, steamed corn cut off the cob, sauteed green pepper and yellow onion, Jack’s Special Salsa, and fat-free sour cream]

In general, though, next week needs to look (and feel) a helluva lot better. Which brings me to…

No. 2: Race Recap

Saturday morning was in the low 70s and partly cloudy here in RVA. Perfect running weather, if you ask me. I was up and at ‘em at the ungodly hour of 7:00, but eight solid hours of shut-eye didn’t hurt. I was too excited to hydrate much, but I downed a Chobani, a bowl of Banana Nut Cheerios, and a few sips of coffee before our half-asleep troupe spilled out the door.

We got downtown and found parking a bit later than we would have liked, but there was still plenty of time to use those oh-so-fresh-and-clean “restrooms,” stretch, and find a place toward the front of the pack.

My dad’s and my goal was to complete the race in 34 minutes or under. Our goals have almost always been 35 minutes for 5ks, so I decided we needed to challenge ourselves a bit more.

We started off strong, barreling downhill, weaving around women with strollers and walkers who had decided to start in the first few waves. The first mile passed before I even knew what was happening in just 10:15 – our fastest mile time to date!

The second mile felt as if it dragged on for centuries. As my sister put it, I “wear the watch in this relationship” (i.e. I keep the time, and Dad is happy with knowing or not knowing). This was where I began to feel the full brunt of those French fries, the lack of water, and the heaviness of the food I had been consuming. I had a small stitch in one side as we crossed some uphill sections, but nothing that required stopping (read: I absolutely wanted to stop, but I refused to let myself). Just past the 2-mile marker, I finally conceded to taking a drink, but I didn’t stop running.

The third mile breezed by even more quickly than the first. I knew we needed to haul ass on an uphill stretch, then book it down a steep section, round the final corner, and sprint to the finish. When I saw that we had just 4 minutes left to complete our goal but I could not see the steep downhill segment, I wasn’t sure we would make it. Then, we began descending, and I felt almost as if my body and my rubber-legs were propelling themselves.

As we rounded the final corner, I said to Dad, “We have 30 seconds. We can do this. We can DO this!”

And do it, we did. We kicked it into high gear, full-tilt sprinting past my mom, who was snapping pictures on my iPhone as fast as she could.

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The finish line was in sight and no one was blocking my way as I pulled away from Dad. I crossed in 34:12 and he in 34:15, just shy of our goal. The victory was sweet finishing that closely to our goal, but not as sweet as if we had crossed the finish line together. He did not care that I pulled away and finished ahead of him, but there is something so much more rewarding to me about finishing with my running buddy.

We collected our pink medals and bottles of water and sat down in some shaded grass to stretch out and to rest. After a few minutes, we joined mom about 50 yards from the finish line to watch Caroline and Rob finish. She, too, pulled away, and they ran across the finish line one-and-two. Great sisters run alike, I suppose 😉

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After we hydrated thoroughly and took too many smiley pictures displaying our medals,

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we walked to a local favorite, Third Street Diner, for brunch.

 It’s always strange to me to have accomplished so much and be ready for another meal by 10 a.m. on race days. I was too hungry to snap pictures, but I chowed down on a tri-veggie omelette, an English muffin, fried apples, and OJ.

Well, I guess it’s about time I wrapped this up and ran a few errands. Hopefully we’ll talk soon, blends! Thanks for stickin’ around Sarcasm while I’ve been away!

Busy, Busy, Busy

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Good morning, blends!

I’m penning this post on Tuesday morning, though I’m not sure when I’ll be able to publish it. We have not had Internet since Friday afternoon, hence my accidental hiatus from Sarcasm. But let me back up a bit…

On Thursday, I took my two final exams(!); afterward, a bunch of my classmates and I went out for margs and bottomless chips and salsa. I was so excited to come home, I could barely sleep. In fact, I woke up at 7:00 Friday morning, already packed and rarin’ to go.

Friday evening, Ian, my sister Caroline, and I went out to dinner at one of my all-time favorites to celebrate: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro!

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Probably no one out there is totally Chang’s-obsessed like I am, but I have literally dreamt about the Ma Po Tofu, the spring rolls, and the lettuce wraps.

Then, we celebrated a little more. A few of my favorite ladies from college came over to Ian’s apartment, toting Bitch Bubbly and PBR.

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I downed more moscato than I care to admit; if it’s in the name of celebrating the end of one’s second year of grad school, it doesn’t count, right? 😉

Saturday we slept in until the very great hour of 9:00 (ha!) before heading to my house to help my parents put the finishing touches on their Kentucky Derby party. This was one of my dad’s Bucket List items, complete with an electronic spreadsheet betting system, enormous hats, and tables laden with fancy finger food.

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I placed $1 bets on Overanalyze (true to my nature) and Orb (not just saying that because he won!), respectively, and won $16.40! By the start of the race I believe there was over $220 in the pot. The big winner was one of my neighbors, who won $82 on Orb. I’m not a gambler, typically, but I could easily see how this behavior becomes addictive…

It was early to bed for all of us after a long but exciting weekend.

Sunday, it was cool and breezy downright freezing here in Richmond, but we decided to hit Arts in the Park at Dogwood Dell anyway, and we dragged Ian along. I always enjoy seeing all the different vendors’ wares, like homemade soaps and candles, handspun pottery, local artists’ tapestries, and jewelry made from natural Virginia materials.

We ate an early snacky dinner from leftover picnic and party food, and crashed in front of Myrtle Manor. Have you seen that show?!

Yesterday, we had a bit of a incredibly lazy slow start, but we (my mom, my sister and I) finally made it to the gym. I had planned to run a light 5k in preparation for the Susan Komen 5k on Saturday, but I started cramping so badly around one mile that I only made it through two. Perhaps a do-over is in order.

Well, blends, I guess that’s what I’m off to do. Hopefully you’ll be reading this soon. Ta ta!