March Read: “The Mistaken Wife”- finished!

Finished March’s Book of the Month- “The Mistaken Wife,” by Rose Melikan. If you like historical fiction that you can set down, go to the computer, brush up on your world history, then continue reading when you’ve satisfied your curiosity about the facts behind the fiction, this series is for you. None of that is necessary, of course, but sometimes you want a book that entertains and provides the opportunity to educate as well. The three books of this series are all packed with lots interesting sleuthing around, all based on historical facts of the period.

from http://rosemelikan.com/ click the photo to take you to her site- great background info to each book there!
Photo from http://rosemelikan.com/
click the photo to take you to her site- great background info to each book there!

In this third novel, Miss Mary Finch is recruited to carry out a mission to sabotage American and French relations during the close of the 18th Century. The author provides a very short, two page summary of international relations between France, England and America at the end of the book- I’d recommend reading that if you want a quick intro to Western history circa the Napoleonic era. No spoilers if you read these back-of-the-book pages, I promise.

This is not a steamy romance- next to none at all, it’s just not that kind of book… but we do see our heroine and hero headed at their own pace toward matrimony.

Like more historical fiction with a strong heroine, detailed events and accurate period culture? I’d also recommend the Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexader.

Big Goal Reached- First 5K is the Hot Chocolate Run!

Me peeking into the photo, about to run...
Me peeking into the photo, about to run…
Why wouldn't you learn to run if at your first 5K they hand out chocolate at the halfway mark?!?
Why wouldn’t you learn to run if at your first 5K they hand out chocolate at the halfway mark?!?

Holy cow, this was fabulous! Especially since my Official-Running-Coach-turned-Official-Chauffeur joined me… can’t beat that at 5:30 in the (fill in your preferred explicative) morning. “Yes, dear. Drive me to Padre Stadium at the crack of dawn, thank you.”

A supportive spectator along the way is WordPress blogger and Jubi Kitty teileifortunes.wordpress.com. Hi and thanks for the kind words!
A supportive spectator along the way is WordPress blogger and Jubi Kitty teileifortunes.wordpress.com. Hi and thanks for the kind words!
More awesome supporters, cheering on family and more..
More awesome supporters, cheering on family and more..

There were all kinds of people running or walking the San Diego Hot Chocolate 15/5K– I loved seeing the kids and parents! The DJ pumping up the crowd at the start line tried his best to keep up with congratulating children running their first race. My favorite thing (besides the chocolate) was the comments I overheard. Overall winner- the guy who asked volunteers handing out water “No thanks, I’m looking for the Chardonnay!” Close Second to the couple calling out to other volunteers and supporters with the bells and noisemakers, “Needs more cowbell!” Honorable Mention to the college girls who couldn’t believe they were there at 6:30, “That’s it, walk time, we are so not even running this!” Makes you wonder if they were just ending a long night without any sleep! You know why teen girls don’t go out in groups of three, five or seven? Because they can’t even. Ha!

Forget the goodie bag, here's the goodie bowl!
Forget the goodie bag, here’s the goodie bowl!
Ready for snarfing down hot chocolate and a banana to dip into really good chocolate...
Ready for snarfing down hot chocolate and a banana to dip into really good chocolate..

I’ve been using my family’s activities for an excuse not to do much for myself. Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE the organizations, projects and competitions that my children and husband have chosen to challenge themselves. The teachers who led The Boy’s Academic Decathlon? Gold standard. Our community’s Rec Soccer? The best parents and coach. Don’t get me started on The Girl’s high school, I have several posts lined up on this blog for them alone. And The Husband’s work and biking friends? I thank God for them in particular. I just enjoy going along with everyone else’s plans and needs. You need a Helper Bee and not another leader? I’m there, just ask.

But, along with the theme of this blog, it is time to start branching out and learn new tricks for me. I wonder what next month’s project will be and where it will lead me? :oD

Happy day to you all, and thanks for reading!

Why Challenge Yourself? (Book and Project of the Month Pep Talk)

March Read: The Mistaken Wife

March Project: 5K and The Only Two Reasons I Run

The month is halfway over. I am more than halfway through my book, but failing at this running challenge. I won’t give up, though. I have friends who have gone back to college and set far higher fitness goals than I have- out of respect for them, and myself, I’ll keep plugging away. They truly inspire me!

Need a reason to challenge yourself with new projects, plays, and books, recipes, etc.? Go online, look up “neural plasticity” and follow links on reputable websites. (here’s some!) Even better, enter “neural plasticity” into the search bar on Pinterest… now sit back, and start reading. In a nutshell: when you experience new things your brain is energized.

Doing something new every day and going out on a limb is my way to help get over years of anxiety.

If I also end up expanding my cognitive abilities, broaden my perspectives and become more creative, even better!

“Creativity is just connecting things.
When you ask creative people how they did something,
they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it,
they just saw something.
It seemed obvious to them after a while.
That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had
and synthesize new things.
And the reason they were able to do that was that
they’ve had more experiences
or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.
Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity.
A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences.
So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions
without a broad perspective on the problem.
The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”
Steve Jobs

Read the whole WIRED interview here: http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/4.02/jobs_pr.html

New Run- Makes the Old Run Look Like a Kinderwalk…

I found out how to make a two mile run super easy- replace it with another run, a little longer with REAL hills.

Ouch.

The Running Coach/Husband is now introducing me to the foam roller. I hear that I’ll hate it, and love it at the same time. Sounds kind of like running? However, I understand that this 5K that I signed up for at the end of the month for my March Project has a bunch of hills. Yeesh. Hills.

At one point this summer, this guy was faster than me.
At one point this summer, this guy was faster than me.

The new run kicks my butt bad. How bad? So bad that I feel like I’m back to walking with this guy again:

Torrey Pines State Preserve... a nice place to run. Nice and FLAT.
Torrey Pines State Preserve… a nice place to run. Nice and FLAT.

It makes the recent triumph of running those two miles, straight through, like a stroll on the beach… When I make it to the top of that hill, about a half mile long, I’m running the next day on the beach. Barefoot.

Wish me luck!

March Read: Abby Picks Historical Fiction…. “The Mistaken Wife” or “Hild”

It is time to choose a new Book of the Month! Today, Abby the Labby gets to pick, and she’s quite excited… because we are bribing her with a treat to keep her sitting down and posing for this photo. What’s it gonna be? She knows I don’t want another edjoo-ma-cative read after January’s “The Happiness Project” and  February’s “Nikon D3300 for Dummies.” She also knows that I am fond of historical fiction, and have picked up two recently.

Hild,” is book number one by Nicola Griffith, who, through much research created a novel about what 7th century Britain would be like for the woman who would be later known as Saint Hilda. This book came highly recommended by staff at a favorite small bookstore. Book number two is “The Mistaken Wife,” third in a series including “The Blackstone Key” and “The Counterfeit Guest,” all by Rose Melikan.

Abby during the discernment process:

Sure looks like she is leaning toward "Hild," and check out all the wine we won at the school's raffle! We've NEVER won anything like that, WOO HOO!!!
Sure looks like she is leaning toward “Hild,” and check out all the wine we won at the school’s raffle! We’ve NEVER won anything like that, WOO HOO!!
Is Abby choosing "Hild?" Is she in a 7th century Britain mood? Hmmm...
Is Abby choosing “Hild?” Is she in a 7th century Britain mood? Hmmm…

So what is Abby going to choose for me? It’s…

IT’S “THE MISTAKEN WIFE!” But, how do we know which one Abby chose? It came down to which book she drooled on, honestly. Remember, we had treats for her, and she was quite aware of it. Maybe she also knew that I already read Melikan’s first two stories about Mary Finch, reluctant heiress and even more reluctant spy during the close of the 1700’s. Either book presented a win-win situation for me- I’m a sucker for well researched historical fiction,  And Harry Potter. If you ever feel like discussing the minutiae of that universe, I’m your Potterverse Pal.

March Project: A 5K and The Only Two Reasons Why I Run

#1. I want to have seconds on taco night, and to be able to drink wine every night.
#2. My gramma and her husband taught me two keys to a healthy, long life: Moderation and Be Active.

The Great Gramma and The Girl
The Great Gramma and The Girl

Gramma is 98 this year, by the way. She also taught me to drink the good wine, and enjoy Happy Hour- not just on Fridays. My grandmother and her husband did things that I have sworn to do as I grow older: they are the poster children for caloric restriction and eating with moderation (everything they want, but in moderation), and they had always been active. Always. Dancing, walking, aerobics, swimming, traveling. ANYTHING.

Don't ANYONE show this picture to Betty Gene! I mean it, mom and Amie, DON'T!
Don’t ANYONE show this picture to Betty Gene! I mean it, mom and Amie, DON’T!
John, in all his magical glory.
John, in all his magical glory.

At 96 she was still driving, cooking for her husband, taking care of her home, and for anyone visiting. A couple of years ago I was visiting my gramma and honestly, there was nothing that she had lined up for me to help do for her. She made me salmon for dinner and the most I could do was clear the table and help put things away.

I started running recently and have gone from hating this form of exercise to… well, not hating it. I’m logging two miles about every other day and at the end of March I’m signed up to run a 5K. Whew. A big goal for me. This month I am adding on some hills and lengthening the run to three miles. But honestly? I run because my gramma taught me that I need to move it or lose it. And I will!

Don’t ANYBODY show these photos to Betty Gene, she will KILL me, do you hear me, mom?