Thursday Things

1. I was all ready to kick off this post complaining about how I seem to have come down with a case of plantar fasciitis, but now I’m not so sure anymore.

I started to get heel pain in my right foot last Tuesday, but I told myself it was nothing (mostly because I had had heel pain in my left foot on Monday, and it disappeared overnight). But then the pain was still there Wednesday, and by Thursday, walking in shoes without decent cushioning had become quite unpleasant. Things were particularly bad in the morning, and it mostly felt fine when I’d run. All classic PF symptoms, right?

My foot really hurt Sunday, so I slept in my night splint from a previous bout with PF. I felt a lot better on Monday, but I figured that was due to not running on Sunday. But then I still felt fine this past Tuesday, even though I ran five miles on Monday?? Who knows. I may or may not have plantar fasciitis, I guess. But I did have a ton of heel pain last week, so I figure better safe than sorry, and I may as well treat it as if it is plantar fasciitis to be on the safe side.

Regardless of whether or not its my plantar fascia causing my foot woes, it’s a frustrating situation. I’m just trying to have a good training cycle 😦 Why do so many things seem to be conspiring to keep that from happening? I suppose this one is my fault–I decided to run more frequently than normal, after all–but it’s not like running four days per week is some groundbreaking idea. Hopefully it can hold up through this for another…six and a half weeks. Good thing this week is a cutback week.

2. I saw this (shown below) on a BuzzFeed roundup of “tweets about books only ’90s and ’00s teens will understand,” and WHAAAAAAAT!

WHAAAAAAAT!

That tweet is nearly a year old, so I guess I’ve been living under a rock, but this was MINDBLOWING INFORMATION to me. Hope Hicks was Jenny Humphrey?!

The whole roundup really spoke to me, honestly. I was a voracious YA lit reader in my teens, and I could not get enough of anything in the Gossip Girl wheelhouse: Gossip Girl, The It Girl, The A-List: I gobbled those books up. If I wasn’t reading one of those books, I was reading Sarah Dessen novels. Those books got me my driver’s license, I swear. I needed to get my permit driving hours in, so I went to the library–a 20 minute drive each way–at least once a week (though I think it was every four days?). I also cleaned up in the library’s summer reading game, in case you were wondering *brushes shoulder off*

It’d be so nice to have nothing but time to read again! I’m currently working my way through The Goldfinch (which is amazing so far), and it’s taking for.ev.er. I started it three weeks ago, have been reading it for 13 hours, and I’m STILL not even two-thirds of the way through O.O This is easily one of the longest books I’ve read in awhile. It usually takes me more like six to eight hours to get through a Libby book. They’re also usually in the 600 page range on Libby, while this one is 1100+. Good thing it’s a great read!

3. Speaking of the 2000s.

A couple weeks ago in dance, my teacher played a song I recognized from a previous session during our warmup. I went back through my old videos and found it in our routine from January/February 2013: six years worth of sessions ago.

I lose track of how long I’ve been in dance and often have a hard time wrapping my head around how long I’ve been in class. It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been six years. I don’t know that six years even sounds that long?

So for whatever reason, I translated that amount of time into the 2000s: 2003 to 2009. When I realized the same amount of time passed between 2003 and 2009 and 2013 and 2019, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. February 2003 was the second semester of seventh grade. February of 2009 was second semester of my freshman year of college. That sounds like such a long time! That FEELS like such a long time! It felt like a long time then, it it stills feel like a long time to remember it now. But somehow February 2013-February 2019 doesn’t feel like nearly as much time?

I guess it’s because not quite as much has changed between 2013 and 2019 as it did between 2003 and 2009? I mean, I suppose if I think about it, a lot has–I have different friends, I live in a different apartment, I have a different job–but a LOT more changed between 2003 and 2009. The general day-to-day of my life (get up, go to work, exercise, go to bed, rinse, repeat) hasn’t really changed at all since 2013, even if some of the details have. There’s a pretty big difference between being 12, in seventh grade, living with your parents and being 18, in college, living on your own. I assume that’s part of why the past six years have felt like a second, while the six years between 2003 and 2009 felt like a lifetime. But it was still weird to realize that!

 

 

Thursday Things

Florida trip recap edition! I had hoped to get this up last week, but I was super busy after I got home, so you get to hear all about my time in the magical land of livable conditions in February today.

1. I went to Florida during the first weekend in February with a few friends. One of them had a conference in Orlando, and we all decided that was as good of an excuse as any to escape the frozen wasteland that is Chicago for a couple days. It took us a bit longer to get to Orlando than any of us anticipated: some of us were on one flight while the rest of us were on another, and both of our flights were delayed by over two hours due to mechanical issues on the planes that were supposed to take us to Orlando. But our planes got us there safe and sound very late Friday night/very early Saturday morning, and after…definitely not eight hours of sleep, we made our way to Universal!

I had never been to Universal before, but all of us are Harry Potter fans, so stopping by both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure was a must. Another must: getting breakfast at Voodoo Donuts before going into Universal Studios. Not feeling up to going to Voodoo Donuts in Eugene was easily the second-biggest disappointment I had when I was there for five hours last summer–the first being missing NCAAs at Hayward Field–so I was not about to miss my chance again!

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Once we got to Universal Studios, we made a beeline for Diagon Alley and immediately got in line for Escape From Gringotts, the main ride in Diagon Alley. It was the right level of scary and I, a non-roller coaster person, really enjoyed it!

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We wandered Diagon Alley for a bit, then got on the Hogwarts Express to travel to Hogsmeade inside Islands of Adventure.

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Getting on the ride inside Hogwarts, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, was once again our top priority, so we headed straight to the castle to get in line. I loved this ride, too! Again, just the right level of scary to be thrilling without ramping up my anxiety (ahem, Space Mountain). I also LOVED waiting in line. The inside of the castle is just like in the movie! They even have talking pictures. Really. It was AWESOME.

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We were all hungry after getting off the ride, so we went over to Jurassic Park for lunch, but not before stopping for an all-important Butterbeer.

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We also got pumpkin juice, which, like the rides, surprised me by how much I liked it. It’s made with apple juice and definitely tasted more apple-y than pumpkin-y, which was fine with me.

We spent a fair amount of time walking around Islands of Adventure. Everyone else went on the Jurassic Park River Adventure ride, but I didn’t want to risk getting wet so I hung back. We returned to Diagon Alley after that to get ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s, where they had sticky toffee pudding ice cream. WHAT. Sticky toffee pudding is my favorite dessert, so I obviously got that flavor. We got kicked out of the park soon after finishing our ice cream since it closed at 6 p.m. that night for a music festival, so we got dinner on the CityWalk and then returned to our hotels to rest up for Disney the next day.

2. On Sunday, we started our Disney adventures at Magic Kingdom!

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I haven’t been to Disney World (or Florida at all, for that matter) since spring break 2001, so needless to say, it’s been awhile. I was really excited to go back and experience it at 28 vs. 10!

We started at Splash Mountain, which I’m pretty sure scared me more at this age than it did when I was 10, ha. We got breakfast at a cart afterwards, and naturally, I spent my entire meal staring at a White Ibis hanging out nearby:

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UGH, what a beautiful bird! Its pale blue eyes are just stunning. Seeing ibises was easily one of the highlights of Disney for me. #onbrand

We went to the Hall of Presidents, rode Pirates of the Caribbean, and climbed through the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse before heading to Tomorrowland for lunch. We wandered that side of Magic Kingdom for awhile, killing time before our Space Mountain FastPass+ time rolled around. We went on “it’s a small world”:

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and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which was…maybe not worth the 45 minute wait, in my not-preschooler opinion. Ha. But then we went on Space Mountain which I swear I liked at 10, but scared me so much at 28 that I had a hard time breathing when I got off from all the anxiety that dumb roller coaster provoked, so there’s that. It all balances out, I suppose 😛

We finished our rides for the day with Under the Sea, and then half the group went shopping while the rest of us went to dinner at The Plaza. Those of us at dinner left the park a little after 6 p.m. to head back to the Ticket and Transportation Center, because we had tickets to Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise.

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I had read a couple reviews on Disney blogs that suggested the cruise wasn’t worth the price of admission, and meh. Maybe that’s true. The smoke from the fireworks kept us from seeing the projections on Cinderella’s Castle, and the desserts were definitely deficient in the chocolate department in my opinion. I thought it was a cool experience regardless, and I’m glad we did it.

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I made sure to get my money’s worth of dessert, don’t you worry. This was plate #1 of…three? I think? Eventually I stopped filling my plate and just shoveling what I wanted into my mouth. Ha. What half marathon goals? 😛

3. The last day of the trip, we went to Epcot. I loved Epcot when I was a kid, even though it’s more “adult-y” (though, story of my life, haha. Pretty sure I was born 45 years old.), and I’ve wanted to go back for years and experience it as an actual adult. Ironically, my favorite part of going to Epcot in 2001 was visiting the countries, and this time, it was visiting the Disney characters. Apparently I’m reverse maturing.

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We started the day at Soarin’, then had (what turned out to be) a totally unnecessary breakfast before hitting up a bunch of character spots, where we met Vanellope and Ralph from Wreck-It Ralph, Joy and Sadness from Inside Out, and Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. (We also later met Donald in Mexico, Mulan in China, and Tigger randomly in the United Kingdom.)

Real talk: I 100 percent get that it sounds silly to meet characters as a grown up. I know that there’s a normal person inside that costume–a normal person who’s almost certainly younger than I am–and you’d think that would kind of ruin the magic of it all. But man, it was so fun! The people who play the characters go above and beyond to make you feel special, even if you’re a grownup with no kids in tow. I was wearing my shirt from the Life Time 5K in 2016, and when Minnie saw it, she “asked” if I’m a runner (by mimicking running and then pointing to my shirt). When I told Sadness I was SO excited to meet her (…which I was), she traced a single tear down her cheek. When I told Donald it was nice to meet him, he pretended to kiss my hand, like I was, you know, a Disney princess. I MEAN, COME ON. I know it sounds so stupid, but they just make you feel like it’s a big deal that they’re meeting you rather than the other way around, and I don’t think it matters how old you are: it feels awfully nice to be treated like that.

We went to Epcot during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, which included a thrice-nightly Disney on Broadway concert. Obviously I was interested in that, so we ended up making a reservation at Rose & Crown in the United Kingdom for lunch that came with reserved tickets to the 6:45 p.m. Disney on Broadway show. Unbeknownst to us, the reservation was for a three course prix fixe lunch, so we ended up getting way more food than anticipated (hence why breakfast was unnecessary). It was all super delicious, though, especially the sticky toffee pudding I got (in non-ice cream form) for dessert. Nomz.

We wandered through the countries all afternoon. I saw my first anhinga in Italy:

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All about adding birds to my life list.

Then at 6:45, it was time for our Disney on Broadway show, featuring Gavin Lee and Heidi Blickenstaff!

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Both were in various Disney shows on Broadway in the past: Lee was Bert from Mary Poppins (though more recently he was Squidward in SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, which is why I wanted go. When SpongeBob performed its song for being a Tony nominee for Best Musical last year, the song performed was basically a Squidward solo. I figured if this guy was good enough to get to do that–especially when there had been a lot of hype about Ethan Slater, who played SpongeBob–he must be worth seeing live) and Blickenstaff was Ursula in The Little Mermaid. I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed by the show, mostly because it only lasted 30 minutes, but it was a really great 30 minutes of entertainment. Lee and Blickenstaff were both insanely good, and it was quite the treat to see them live (and from the second row, no less!).

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We got dinner in France, popped by The Seas to visit Nemo and Marlin:

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before settling in to watch IllumiNations:

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It was quite the show, and a great end to a fantastic trip to Florida 🙂

epcotball

Thursday Things

1. Greetings from the tundra!

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I’m sure it’s not breaking news to anyone that it’s been polar cold in Chicago recently. I haven’t left the house since Tuesday and don’t have plans to until tomorrow. It’s so cold we even had to close the windows in my house! That’s how you know it’s serious 😛

My office seemed to be the only one in Chicago that didn’t close for the weather, but I at least have the ability to work from home. That’s especially beneficial at this particular moment in time for me, not just to avoid frostbite/hypothermia, but because I managed to lose my Ventra card sometime between leaving the office and arriving home on Tuesday. Not just my Ventra card, actually – the entire wallet I kept it in *headdesk* Fortunately it was just my repurposed student ID wallet from college, so there wasn’t much important in there (just my Ventra card, the card from my old gym that I was too nostalgic to get rid of, and some of the old, pre-Ventra CTA passes that don’t even work anymore). I’ve reported it lost and ordered a new card, but it’ll be at least a week until that arrives, so getting around town is going to be a bit of a headache in the mean time. Plus, I need to find a new ID wallet to hold my card. Sigh.

2. Losing my Ventra card has really thrown a monkey wrench into my workout hopes/dreams this week. I had zero intention of going to the gym on Wednesday, even though my training schedule called for intervals that day. This is only a three-run week for me instead of a four-run week, so I had a bit more flexibility and could swap Thursday’s cross training for Wednesday’s run, which was a lot easier to get done at home.

But of course swapping Thursday’s cross training for Wednesday’s run implies that I’d be doing Wednesday’s run on Thursday. And I could do that. But I don’t want to do that. I mean, I want to get my run in, but I don’t want to go outside to get to a gym where I could do it. I could cut my losses and skip the run entirely, but I have a feeling I’m going to be doing  a lot of loss-cutting over the next several days. I’m supposed to be escaping to warmer climes on Friday, and while I certainly intend to try to get in all my scheduled workouts, I have some serious doubts that everything will go as planned. It’s one thing to bail on one run; it’s another to bail on three runs and a cross training session. Under normal circumstances I’d get over it, but I really want to take this training cycle seriously to, at the very least, be able to feel like I put in the work necessary to run a sub-2:00 half, even if I don’t end up running a sub-2:00 half. Blah.

3. I don’t think I have ever been more excited for a trip than I am for the one I have scheduled for this weekend. I want to get OUT. OF. HERE. I just hope everything at the airport sorts itself out by the time I’m scheduled to depart on Friday. All the cancelled flights over the past few days have made me nervous about what kind of trickle-down implications that could have for my flight Friday, but hopefully I’ll be able to get out on time. Fingers crossed.

Thursday Things

1. Whose bright idea was it to train for a goal half marathon during the winter? Seriously, what was I thinking?

I assume I was thinking something along the lines of, “You run faster when it’s cold outside, so you should train for a race that will likely be cold.” I was also probably thinking something along the lines of, “This will keep me engaged and interested during the winter,” or, “You got your PR at this race in 2014, so it seems like as good of a race as any to try to PR again.”

Regardless, I definitely did not consider how difficult it would be to do all the training I wanted/planned to do when the sidewalks are anywhere between glazed with ice and buried under inches of snow. I mean, I can get my running done on a treadmill. I just wish I didn’t have to do so much of it on the treadmill. I think, when I put this training plan together, I had it in my mind that the only obstacle I’d face would be cold and darkness. I guess I forgot that it snows during the winter? The apparent impossibility of clearing sidewalks in my neighborhood is going to turn me into the sort of runner who longs for summer. Out of the six runs I’ve done in training thus far, a whopping two of them have even had the option of being outside. Gross.

I know things will get better as the cycle goes on, because presumably, it won’t stay in the single digits/teens forever. (Right?) But unless there’s a dramatic change in the forecast, I’m staring down a treadmill PDR next week, which, ugh. That certainly wasn’t a record I hoped to set as a result of this training. (Though hey, if I don’t PR my half, I guess I’ll have something else I can say I accomplished for the first time! Haha.)

All that being said, the last time I came within spitting distance of my half PR (F3 in 2016), I did most of my training on the treadmill, so perhaps I shouldn’t whine about this so much.

2. I had my annual physical on Tuesday, including the biometric screening I have to get done for work to avoid paying through the nose for my premium. That biometric screening requires a blood draw (boo), and that blood draw requires fasting ahead of time (boo x2).

I waited too long to schedule my physical this year, which meant I couldn’t get an appointment any earlier in the day than 11 a.m. As someone who is usually famished by the time I get around to breakfast at 8 a.m. or so, the idea of not eating until after my 11:00 appointment was concerning, especially since I usually have dinner at 7 p.m.

So, Tuesday morning, I did what any normal person would do: I set an alarm for 1:30 a.m., got up, and had a snack before my eight hour window closed. Ha. It felt weird getting up at 1:30 in the morning just to eat pretzels and almonds, and certainly didn’t do me any favors in the sleep department, but at least I wasn’t starving when I woke up!

I got (most of) my numbers back yesterday, and my cholesterol continues to be too high. My doctor recommended I “exercise regularly.” Guess the six days/week, including three two-a-days/week, doesn’t count as “regularly.” Or maybe it’s the brown rice, black beans, and fresh veggies I eat for lunch literally every week day that are the culprit? *rolls eyes forever*

I don’t have a family history of high cholesterol, so I will admit that it’s a bit out of left field for me to have mine, but I really, really don’t think that my lifestyle choices are to blame here. I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat as if I were one probably 80 percent of the time, and I’d guess that when I do eat meat, 95 percent of that is chicken. I’m not a “cheeseburger every week” sort of person. I’m more like a “cheeseburger every quarter” sort of person. So all of this “exercise more and eat red meat less” stuff is…unhelpful, to say the least.

3. We don’t control the heat in my apartment, and sometimes, I really like that! We don’t get charged for it, and it’s not up to any of us to decide how warm or cold it should be, so that eliminates the possibility of thermostat wars. Other times, though…

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Yikes. If it were that warm during the summer, that would be enough for us to turn the air conditioning on. “Air conditioning” this time of year just means cracking the windows, but it really seems like that shouldn’t be necessary in, you know, January.

Thursday Things

1. I went to Milwaukee for the first time in…like 20 years, I think? on Saturday. One of my friends lived in Milwaukee for a little bit after college, and a few of her friends were going to the Yule Ball at Turner Hall on Saturday, so a couple of us from Chicago made the trek up, too. I wasn’t raised on Harry Potter like a lot of people in my age group, but I’ve read all the books and seen all the movies since becoming an adult, so I thought it sounded like it could be a good time.

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BOY was it ever!

To be honest, I really had no idea what to expect, other than a Harry Potter Yule Ball-themed event. I was there for maybe .2 seconds before I declared it my favorite party I’ve ever attended, and I still stand by that claim.

First of all, Turner Hall was everything I want in a building. Old? Check. Beautiful? Check. Full of character? Check. Bonus points for signs of age (uneven floors, missing paint, etc.)? CHECK. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen so instantly in love with a building as I did with the ballroom at Turner Hall. It was one of those places I knew I would IMMEDIATELY Google as soon as I left to learn more about it (the National Historic Landmark nomination form has, unsurprisingly, a solid history of the building, in case you’re interested).

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UGH THAT CEILING. YES.

Second of all, the party was pretty much everything I want in a party. There was the perfect amount of people there: not so many that it felt crowded, but not so few that it felt empty and sad. They had a DJ playing music you would expect to appeal to the sorts of people who would show up at a Harry Potter themed party–i.e., music primarily from the 2000s, with some Harry Potter soundtrack pieces thrown in. It was never too loud. There were plenty of places to hang out other than the dance floor. There were vendors selling all sorts of Harry Potter-themed paraphernalia–pillows, wall art, sculptures, candy, etc.–on the balcony. It was AWESOME.

I really hope they do it on a different weekend next year, because I have a non-negotiable wedding to attend that weekend in 2020, but I also really want to go to next year’s Yule Ball! Especially because I’d bet that at least 75 percent of the girls there were wearing floor length dresses and I was so jealous. I didn’t realize it was going to be such a fancy occasion! I’ve been looking for an excuse to wear a floor length dress for ages, and I’m super bummed I had one and didn’t realize it! Oh well.

2. I spent the night in Milwaukee after the Yule Ball, and then went to Brunch the next morning for, you know, brunch.

If I the Yule Ball was the best event I’ve ever attended, then brunch the next morning was the best breakfast I’ve ever had.

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I can’t get over how good this meal was. I would legitimately go to Milwaukee just to eat at Brunch again. I had an omelette with a side of a cinnamon roll pancake (I KNOW) and an apple cider mimosa (I KNOW AGAIN), and the whole thing was stupidly delicious.

3. I wanted to put up a post on Tuesday as a kickoff to my sub-2:00 half marathon training, but work continues to be nuts, so that didn’t happen. Instead, you get this!

I’m really excited to be training for a big goal again. While I obviously loved getting my (sub!) 4:45 marathon last October, I also loved taking training seriously. Having a big goal motivated me to work a lot harder than my usual get-most-of-my-runs-in-and-hope-I-somehow-magically-get-faster-in-the-process method of training. While it wasn’t easy to drag myself out of bed almost an hour earlier than normal three days a week to strength train or do 800s when it was 80+ degrees outside, knowing that I didn’t stand a chance of running a 4:45 if I didn’t put in the work to make that happen made it easier to do those things.

What really mattered to me with the marathon–and what really matters to me with this half marathon–is that I get to the start line knowing I’ve done everything I could to set myself up for success. Sometimes the stars just don’t align on race day, and if that’s the case, so be it. But I don’t want the stars to not align because I phoned it in on my training. The process is as important to me as the outcome. I’m glad to be starting the process again!

 

Thursday Things

1. I do not like this time of year at work. Is it a ~thing~ that work is always bonkers in January in the corporate world? I thought this was just something that happened at my previous job, because I always had a major project due in mid-February, but it happened last year at my current job and it’s happening again this year. Everything’s breaking, everyone needs something, four million things still outstanding from 2018 need wrapping up. Good thing I planned to blog about my half marathon training so I only have to come up with something else to write once a week 😛

2. In my ongoing quest to do ALL OF THE CHICAGO THINGS before moving to the suburbs later this year, I went to ZooLights last weekend.

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I’ve gone to ZooLights some time during December almost every winter I’ve lived here, and what a mistake that was! Going in January was so much more pleasant! Sure, it felt a little weird to do something clearly Christmas-y after December 25, but it was way less crowded.

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This was also the first time I’ve gone to ZooLights and see all the ice sculptures fully sculpted, rather than in the process of being sculpted. The penguin, obviously, was my favorite ❤

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3. I’ve sung the praises of the Libby app plenty of times since I downloaded it last summer. It’s made reading so much easier and convenient for me, and thanks to it, I read more in 2018 than I had read in who knows how long.

Right now, I’m reading Native Son by Richard Wright, which somehow I was never required to read at any point in my education. I’m not all that far into it yet, but it’s been impactful, to put it mildly. Anyway, I’m not here to offer up my thoughts on Native Son right now. Instead, I would like to offer up my thoughts on Libby’s time-to-finish estimator.

When I first discovered this tool in Libby (where it tracks how long you’ve been reading and estimates how long it’ll take you to finish based on how long it’s been since you initially downloaded the book), I thought it was awesome! I’ve never kept track of how much time I spend reading, so that seemed cool, and having an estimate for how long it would take me to finish was both helpful and challenging. It’s helpful, because I can gauge whether or not I’ll finish the book before it’s due when I have an estimate for how long it’ll take me to finish reading it, and it’s challenging, because it makes me want to read faster than Libby thinks I can.

For Native Son, however, it hasn’t been particularly useful.

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Cool.

The major flaw in Libby’s time-to-finish estimator is that it bases its estimate off how long it’s been since you first downloaded the book. The problem with that is that if you have a book on hold, it’ll automatically download (if you’re on WiFi) to your device as soon as it becomes available, whether you’re ready for it or not. I placed a hold on Native Son when I first downloaded the app on August 8, and it became available on Sept. 28. I was reading another book at the time and didn’t finish it in time to start (and finish) Native Son before it was due, and on Oct. 19, the book automatically returned. I put another hold on it on Nov. 11, and on Dec. 25, I got it back (though I was reading Look Alive Out There at the time, so once I again, I didn’t start it right away). I didn’t actually start reading it until last week. But because I first downloaded the book 13 weeks ago and have only been reading for a few hours, Libby thinks it’s going to take me nearly a year to finish. I sure hope not! The book’s due in five days, so I really need to buckle down and find 11 spare hours to read (less than that now, fortunately, since this screenshot is from Tuesday afternoon), unless I want to lose the book and wait another six to seven weeks to get it back! (I don’t.)

Thursday Things

1. How was everyone’s Christmas/end of the year? Mine was terrible! Yay!

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I suppose my Christmas itself, as in the 25th of December, was just fine–nice, even. We had 100 percent family attendance at Grandma’s house for the first time since 2013! But the trip home that constituted “Christmas” in my mind was not, courtesy of a bug that swept through my family, taking no survivors. My parents had been sick the week before Christmas but felt better 48 hours or so before my siblings and I started to arrive home and Lysoled the place from floor to ceiling to make sure none of us got what they had. Despite their admirable efforts, all three of us got sick: first, my sister the morning of Christmas Eve, followed by my brother the day after Christmas, followed by me on the 28th. At least it was moderately predictable?

It took me for.ev.er. to recover. I was supposed to come back to Chicago on Friday but cancelled my train trip home due to my unwillingness to get out of bed that morning. I made it back Saturday and posted up on the couch for the remainder of that day. I stayed in bed all day Sunday (I slept for 11 hours on Sunday O.O) as well, and finally woke up fever-free and feeling moderately human on New Year’s Eve. I definitely didn’t feel good enough to go to the party I had planned to attend at some friends’ house in the suburbs (or run the three miles I wanted to run that day, boo 😦 ), though. I rang in 2019 on–where else?–the couch, with a very exciting glass of ginger ale. I felt fully human again on New Year’s Day and did incredible feats of strength like not blowing my nose every .2 seconds and eating food other than toast and saltines (because this joy of an illness impacted both my stomach and my sinuses. What a gem!).

I don’t know what on earth we all had, but it was unpleasant, to say the least. What was far more unpleasant, though, was how much it impacted the family time I had really looked forward to enjoying during the week I was home. I expected a solid week of quality time with my parents and siblings all together, and instead got a whopping one dinner of it. It left me feeling very homesick and missing all of them a lot as soon as I got home. I wish we could all have a do-over on the entire week. Since the five of us now live in four different states, Christmas is really the only time we’re all physically together, and it was a huge bummer to not have that pan out the way I hoped it would this year.

2. On a more upbeat note, I got a surprise Christmas present that will likely live on in Bethany lore as one of the best presents ever.

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Those, dear readers, are wooden shoe shaped, Dutch orange, Mizuno slippers. *all of the heart-eyed emojis*

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In October, my aunt, uncle, cousin, and cousin-in-law traveled to our ancestral homeland, the Netherlands, for the Amsterdam Marathon, which my uncle, cousin, and cousin-in-law all ran. While at the expo, they discovered that Mizuno was giving away these slippers with the purchase of a pair of shoes, but would also sell you the slippers on their own if you didn’t buy any Mizunos. Now, I am admittedly a ride-or-die Asics girl, but I’m more than happy to abandon my shoe brand loyalties for the sake of WOODEN SHOE SLIPPERS *more heart-eyed emojis* They check off an impressive number of Bethany’s Interests boxes for being but a humble piece of footwear (Dutch themed: check. Running themed: check. Tendency to ask for slippers for Christmas: check.), and I’ve worn them almost nonstop since Christmas. Obsessed. High five to you, Mizuno, and an even higher five to my family for thinking of me when they saw them and getting them for me.

3. Frustrated with myself by what I felt was an overconsumption of social media, I decided that I would abstain entirely from Facebook and Twitter from the time I left my apartment for Christmas until I returned to Chicago on Friday. I ended up breaking that when I stayed home an extra day, but I found the experience to be eye-opening in multiple ways.

For one thing, I was shocked by how easy it was to give up Twitter. I actually haven’t spent any “meaningful” (by which I really mean time-wasting) time on Twitter since I left for Christmas. I’ve only checked it to make sure I knew how the CTA was behaving before leaving for work, in case I’d need to alter my plans accordingly. Facebook has proved to be a harder cord to cut, but I haven’t even been tempted to scroll through Twitter, which blows my mind. I guess I’m not even half as invested in it as I thought I was.

For another thing, I was surprised to find how…boring, honestly…my phone became when I no longer allowed myself to get on Facebook and Twitter. I’d check my email, check the news, and then be like, “…well, now what can I do on here?” I think I read more of the Washington Post over Christmas than I have at any time since I started subscribing, haha. It became clear to me how much time I waste on my phone when I didn’t have access to my primary ways of wasting time. It also made it much easier to read my most recent library book (Look Alive Out There, a collection of essays by Sloane Crosley. 10/10, would recommend. It had me crying-on-the-train laughing on the way back to Chicago.)!

Based on that experience, one of my 2019 resolutions is to only use Facebook and Twitter on the weekends, unless I have a valid reason to be on there on a weekday (“valid reason” being along the lines of “a crisis is unfolding that I need to stay updated about for my own safety and well-being.” “I’m commuting” or “I’m sitting on the couch” is not a valid reason 😛 ). I’ve tried to be a lot more thoughtful about how I spend/consume things recently, and this seems to fit well into my overarching goal to be less wasteful and more conscientious.

How was your Christmas?
Did you make any resolutions for 2019?