Maybe wearing one earring will become popular again

By , January 29, 2015 12:52 pm

When I lived in Rome, it was trendy for females to wear only one earring. I saw many other trends during my time there that eventually made it to the US, but never the one earring thing. I could use that, now. 

Do you ever do something and feel like a very obvious life lesson is the outcome of it?

That was me, yesterday. In the morning, I grabbed the earrings I wanted to wear and saw they didn’t have backs on them (to keep them on my ears). “Eh, I will be fine,” I thought.

Yeah, you know I came home with only one earring. Sigh.

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Many possible lessons out of this one: take care of your stuff, follow your instinct (to put backs on), don’t be in a rush and make stupid mistakes, and don’t get upset and act surprised when your choice with a potentially bad outcome, well, had the bad outcome.

Ahh, that last one. As soon as I realized it was gone (and not stuck in my collar or scarf as I had hoped), I was disappointed for sentimental reasons*, but had to laugh at myself. It was MY stupidity that got it lost! I should always wear backs to my earrings, but especially if I am going to be wearing a bulky scarf, taking a hat on and off throughout the day, and be using headphones! Derrrr.

It’s weirded me out lately, the things that bother me, and the things that don’t. My phone crashing and two pictures randomly deleting themselves (only to reappear 6 days later)? So very pissed. A super major issue at work? Eh. My computer operating slow and not letting me update google docs? OMG I COULD STAB SOMETHING. Train’s late? Oh well. My ride is late? WTF?!?!?!

Ha ha, so I really shouldn’t be patting myself for not sweating the small stuff that was my “fault.” I’ve always been good at that. I’ve always been very easy on myself, and not really let my “failures” get me down. It’s the small stuff that I have no control over, that I need to work on! Probably just like everyone else…

*I got these at an Egyptian exhibit in London. I didn’t wear them often at all, but they reminded me of good times visiting there.

Frozen Zucchini 5K Snowshoe Adventure 2015

By , January 28, 2015 5:07 am

Without the snowshoes, ha ha. 

Ahh, first race of the year is DONE! Woo hoo!

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Oh my gosh that picture makes me laugh!

I like starting my year off with a January race… because I like the idea of doing one race a month! I’ve only achieved that once – in 2011. Maybe I will again this year?

Anyone else aiming for the one race a month this year? (or maybe that is waaaay too easy for ya!)

This is actually the only race I’ve ever done in January (in 2011 and 2014)! And I plan to keep doing it in the future, if I am in town (although I may wait to sign up only if there is enough snow to snowshoe).

I first signed up for this race because the concept of running in snowshoes blew my mind so hard I had to try it out. And… I found out it’s super challenging. Really, the most intense kind of racing I’ve ever done. I love the way it pushes me, so I have been back for more. And bonus, the group, Smart Farm, that puts on this race is hella cool – they run an “educational” garden so people in the community can learn about “their agricultural heritage, organic gardening, the slow food movement, and best practices for living ‘green,’ sustainable lives. ” Hence, the title, Frozen Zucchini. Cute, no?

And man, they have some of the best swag ever!

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I mentioned how awesome their swag is at packet pickup, and the lady giving me my packet said “I have never heard that word before, but you are the third person to say it today!” Ha ha.

Okay, on to the race! The course is two loops that make up a 5K. As you know, no snowshoes were allowed. We were warned that there was a lot of ice on the trail, and heavily encouraged to use Yaxtrax, but a failed experience with them several years back has made me doubtful of their usefulness* on straight-up ice, so I just wore my trail shoes. And was fine. But probably only because we got a light dusting of snow the night before, which made the ice more manageable to run on. The course was very well marked with orange spray paint, and there were a lot of volunteers out there, warning us about really icy spots.

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It ended up being more like a cross-country race – we were on and off snow-dusted grass, to icy and snow-dusted paved trail, to sometimes (rarely) dry trail. It was still really challenging, especially with 20 mile per hour winds, and snow sometimes blowing in our faces. But it was FUN. I found myself wishing I would be out there longer.  Rachel was visiting to do the race with me, and, well… she’s my ultra buddy! Running “only” 3.1 miles with her just isn’t enough! Although, I did tell her during that run that my maximum on a course like that would probably be 5-6 miles. And while I was warm enough when we were running, I was very happy to change after the race! Ha ha ha.

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Seen at the finish line!

We ended up averaging 11 minute miles. Which, during and after the fact, I think is very good, but is not what I was expecting going in to the race. The race wasn’t chip-timed, so we lined up near the front, and thought we’d be able to go pretty quickly, since we’ve done trails before. Ha ha! Not so much! People were flying by us! I was impressed by how fast they were going on that course!

After the race, a photographer asked us for our names, and said he took our photo and planned to run it in the Daily Herald (our local paper). Our photo didn’t end up in the print copy, but we were in the digital one (and the same article, with a quote from me, was in both). Fun! It pays to wear goofy outfits, guys!

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Also, this caption says that Smart Farm (well, “Fun,” a typo, ha ha) grows their produce for local pantries. Cool!

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit bummed I didn’t get to race in snowshoes. Especially because I really wanted Rachel to experience it (she had actually been training in them… unlike me!)! But, that is a risk with this race – you don’t know if there will be enough snow. I didn’t do it one year for that reason (and missed the other year because I was out of town). Maybe next year we’ll have snow again. Or maybe I will try one of these snowshoe races in the Madison-area that Rachel has been telling me about! We’re so awesome at falling on the trails, Rachel needs to try it on the snow, too, ha ha (surprisingly, neither of us bit it during this race).

With or without snowshoes, it was a fun race, and a great way to kick off the racing year! And it made me even more stoked about the (longer) races Rachel and I will be doing together in the upcoming months!

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*Although I do wonder if the newer model with spikes would be better

Still knitting

By , January 27, 2015 6:26 am

Guys! I haven’t given up on knitting yet! I am actually, gasp, enjoying it, and finding it to be a soothing hobby (and especially like that it keeps my hands off my phone, and also out of my mouth, while I sit around, doing it)!

I worked a little on my washcloth, day by day, until the final class to finish it last Thursday. Even though it had a lot of errors, and looked pretty wonky, I was impressed by myself, that I actually made something, because I am so NOT crafty. Not one bit.

I immediately started another, because I wanted to keep working on the skills I learned, and finished that one in one night! Can you tell which below is the first one, and which is the second? Ha ha, I hope so!

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After I was through with the blue skein of yarn, I moved back over to the one in the knitting kit Mica sent me, and yes, kept going with the same pattern, just adding a few rows. After Data modeled it for me, I kind of wished I was knitting him a bonnet. Muah ha ha, that time will come, Data.

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(And why not knit him one? He doesn’t seem to mind having things on his head or around his neck! Check out the schweet lumber sexual hat that Rachel‘s cats, Soxie and Leo, got him. They said they thought maybe he got sick because he wasn’t staying warm enough, and thought the hat would help. Awww.)

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Anyways. I am finding myself greatly looking forward to doing a bit of knitting here and there, most days, and am really pleased by that. I didn’t think I was someone who could enjoy making things, or be self-motivated to do so, after all my years in college of being forced to draw, draft and build models. Whenever someone’s suggested I take up a craft as a hobby before, I’ve always felt panicked by the thought of it. This… gives me hope. I really want to continue with it, hopefully taking some classes, but also looking up patterns and ideas on my own (I have a few, already!). I tend to be really lazy with research, so actually doing some would be good for me.

Do you enjoy “making” things?

Two underwear tales

By , January 26, 2015 6:15 am

(that both involve my snister*)

This summer, my snister, Christina, gifted me a pair of boy cut Brooks running shorts that she picked up at a sidewalk sale. How sweet that she thought of me!

But when I saw the shorts I only thought one thing – I can’t wear booty shorts! I’m an 7″ inseam gal. I need more fabric than that (to keep skin from rubbing together).

Christina asked me a few times if I’d tried them on and I kept saying no. I felt bad for not using them.

Then, this winter, I had an idea – I could use them to keep my buns warm in really cold runs. Yeah! Brilliant!

So I grabbed them, and went to remove the tag (hadn’t even done that yet) and noticed it said “thermo boy short,” and read the description:

The ultimate baselayer for cold-weather runs. Stay toasty and comfortable by slipping these super-soft thermal boy shorts on underneath your favorite running pants, tights, or shorts.

Wait a second! These aren’t even shorts! They’re basically underwear! FOR cold weather running.

Oh my gosh, I’m such a derpitty for not even reading the tag until four months after she gave them to me. Derr derr derr. There was never any reason to be afraid of them! How silly that I let one look make me think they weren’t for me, before investigating further.

Now I use them whenever it’s 15° or below (or if I’m wearing tights I think might burst like at Sunday’s race) and I LOVE them. Which is odd – I never wear underwear when I workout… unless it’s cold, I guess! I think I might order a few more pairs!


Buah ha ha. And this story. My snister and her husband bought a new home and we visited over New Year’s and had a great time! Right before the trip I was complaining to Christina about Target jeans (don’t buy them!) and how the dye is rubbing off on my hands and coat (seriously, I had to get the coat dry cleaned) and it’s MAKING ME CRAZY.

So we’re sitting on her brand new beige couches and she’s like “um… are those the awful Target pants?” (that I had on). I told her yes and she asked “can you please take them off?”

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One of the horrible pairs of Target pants (yes, I have two pairs… sigh). Oops.

I immediately went upstairs to take them off. I felt bad I sat there at all! What was I thinking? I didn’t want to ruin her new furniture!

Then I came back downstairs. Without any pants on. Christina didn’t see me enter the room but she saw me after I sat down.

Oh my gosh, the look on her face! Ha ha ha! I don’t think she was expecting me to come back with NO pants. We both laughed. Then she gave me sweat pants to wear. And explained the rules of who gets to go pant-less in the house (I guess you have to live there).

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Dexter doesn’t have to wear pants since she lives there. Lucky.

Ha ha. I still laugh now when I think of the look on her face!!!

It seems pretty obvious but neither Brooks nor Target sponsored this post.

*for newer readers, “snister” is the pet name my sister and I call one another

Training Week 275

By , January 25, 2015 5:52 pm

Highlight of the Week: Running my first race of the year with Rachel!

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Monday | January 19, 2015: 14 m run (first 5 w/Kelly) + teaching strength class
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 23°/26°, Time: 2:23:36, Pace: 10:15 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, underdressed
Strength: ankle/hand resistance bands, Difficulty: medium, Felt: great/excited about the new workout
Tuesday | January 20, 2015: 6.5 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 31°/32°, Time: 1:04:33, Pace: 9:56 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: sleepy tired, overdressed
Wednesday | January 21, 2015: rest
Thursday | January 22, 2015: 7.2 m run (incl. up/down ladder)
Loc: hood, Temp: 33°/32°, Time: 1:00:46, Pace: 8:27 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: really good
Friday | January 23, 2015: teaching strength class + 6 m run (w/Dawn)
Strength: ankle/hand resistance bands, Difficulty: easy (mostly observing), Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 28°/28°, Time: 1:01:44, Pace: 10:17, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, finally dressed right
Saturday | January 24, 2015: 16 m run
Loc: Around Round Lake, Temp: 30°/39°, Time: 2:50:59, Pace: 10:41 avg, Difficulty: easy (except for ice), Felt: good
Sunday | January 25, 2015: Frozen Zucchini 5K Snowshoe Adventure (w/Rachel) + 15 m bike
Loc: Citizen’s Park, Barrington, Temp: 29°/29°, Time: 33:27, Pace: 11:00 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Bike Time: 1:05:55, Pace: 13.7 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: laaaazy

Notes:

  • I didn’t run indoors at all this week, and I didn’t feel sore at all this week, either. And that was with a mileage increase (since I did last week’s long run on Monday)! So maybe my body doesn’t dig the indoor track… or maybe it was just getting used to starting speed work again. I will pay attention to how my body feels if I hit up the indoor track again.
  • Speedwork this week was one of my most dreaded workouts – the up/down ladder – 400 m, 800 m, 1200 m, 1600 m up… then back down, 1200 m, 800 m and 400 m. Starting out fast, getting slower for the mile, then speeding back up. It went surprisingly well. Yay!
  • When Rachel was visiting she reminded me that the RAGBRAI route announcement was yesterday. AHHH!!!! GUYS! They are stopping in Cedar Falls this year! That is super close to my hometown, which means I bet I can get Dad to do a leg again, and hopefully Will (my brother-in-law) can join this year, since he had to back out last year (to go to a wedding). YAY!!!!!
  • Rachel and I really enjoyed the race! Of course, it was a bit of a letdown not to use our snowshoes, but I know we will have more opportunities this year, and, dang, it was still challenging on the snow dusted grass and ice!!!
  • While Rachel was here we signed up for our Michigan ultra and booked our hotel. Woo hoo! I am signed up for races in two new to me states this year (MN and MI) and have two girls’ weekends planned out of it!
  • Next weekend I am teaching at Efit both days – cycling on Saturday and fitness boxing on Sunday. I am looking forward to my first cycling class of the year! The workout is really heavily music based (I use it as a tempo guide) and I am excited to work on my playlist!

Link to Training Week 274

At least they saw me

By , January 24, 2015 11:56 am

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s warmed up enough here to melt some of the snow and ice, so I decided to see how clear the trails were for my long run today. I knew there’d be snowy/icy spots where there’s tree coverage (there was) and that it would slow me down (oh, it did), but it was worth it for the change of scenery (there are only so many miles I can take running through my hood) and to get off the roads.

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I don’t feel safe running on the roads (and to an extent, sidewalks), especially alone. It may seem counter intuitive that I feel safer on a potentially secluded trail, but you know what’s (usually) not on trails? Vehicles. Distracted drivers. People furious you’re using “their” road.

So I really enjoyed running on the trails and being able to daydream a bit, and not be so super observant, during the run. But there were a few road spots.

So few that I’m surprised this even happened. I was running on the shoulder, in to traffic, on a quiet road, when I see a car pull out of a neighborhood up ahead. They come my way so I make sure I’m far from the road. I notice the passenger has his arm out the window. That seems odd – it’s not that warm out!

Oh. They have their arm out the window so they can flip me off. Nice.

For a split second I was super pissed – “I’m not even in the road! I’m running against traffic! I’m getting off this road soon.”

But then I immediately snapped to “at least they saw me.” And “at least they didn’t try to run me off the road,” “or throw anything at me” (that happened to me and Bobbi once).

If someone needs to flip me off to let me know they’re mad I’m running in the street, it’s certainly better than them texting while driving and not seeing me and hitting me. Or getting close to me and pushing me farther in to the shoulder.

It alarms me how much I notice people not paying attention when they drive (while I am running for the point of this post, but also, when I am driving). So many are looking down (at their phones?), or not looking at all. Do you ever notice how people backing up their cars out of their driveways only tend to look at the direction of traffic coming at them, to see if it’s clear? Apparently “look both ways” (and “use turn signals,” in general, but we won’t get in to that), isn’t a thing for people.

I was running this week when I stopped in the street because a driver was about to back up and come toward me, and never looked my way. I don’t think anything of stopping anymore, but he actually rolled down his window and apologized! Wow!

Anyway. I just wanted to vent. I know this is what this time of year is like, and it’s like this every year (two years ago, it was the ad flyer guy trying to run me off the street). People aren’t gonna change. We just have to continue to be on watch. And to expect to be flipped off from time to time, it seems.

Not enough snow

By , January 23, 2015 7:24 am

I think I am the only one a bit sad it looks like this out my office window:

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and not this:

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Eh, I just thought I was going to get to do this, this weekend:

The organizers of the snowshoe race sent out an email this week that the race is now officially a trail race. No snowshoes. Darn!

It’s all good. It’s my first race of the year, I get to run it with Rachel (!!!) and, I was disappointed in my lack of trail racing last year – this gets the year off to a good start!

Have you ever signed up for a race then had part of it change before race date (location, date, type of race, distance, whatever)?

Ha, maybe it’s me and Rachel. The trail ultra we are planning to do moved weekends. We noticed it way in advance, but were both surprised by it, because we had already marked our calendars!

And I remember last year, a local race I didn’t do switched locations (from one suburban city to another) the week of the race. I bet I would be kind of annoyed if the new location was much farther away!

Mind your own time

By , January 22, 2015 6:21 am

I’ve recently received conflicting commentary on how I spend my time. It’s ranged from “you must have time for that, since you don’t have kids,” to “you’re so busy, Kim, how do you have time for anything?!”

Well, which is it? Ha ha. Do I have all the time in the world or not?!

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It’s always a bit of a shock when you’re reminded other people are thinking about how you spend your time (why do they care?!), and mostly likely, how they’d spend your time, if they were you.

I’m certainly not immune to it. When you study to become a certified personal trainer, you learn a lot about the reasons people don’t exercise, and ways to encourage them to do so. The number one reason people give is that they don’t have enough time. So, yes, when people tell me they don’t have time to exercise, my brain automatically thinks “I bet you do!” and tries to come up with solutions to “fit it in.”

But you know what? I never share those solutions unless asked. And I feel guilty for thinking of them, at all. Because I very much believe we should all do whatever we want with our time, however our lives are set up. We all get the same amount of hours in the day, do what you can with them! (Just, please, don’t act surprised when you don’t get the results you’d like because you didn’t spend your time in the manner to get them.)

Are you surprised when people comment on how you spend your time? Do you get a range of comments about it?

I wrote about this almost two years ago, and feel that I have gotten much better at not filling all my free time with things to do, and at not caring (mostly, at all) what people do with theirs, since then. I’ve gone through a cycle. After college, when I was getting used to working full time, I was exhausted most nights and just wanted to stay in. Then one night we went out for a movie on a weeknight, and it didn’t kill me so I realized weeknights could be for social activities, too! So then I started scheduling more of them… hence getting to having too much (for me) going on. Now I have a pretty decent balance. We have something going on most weekends, and I am out of the house two weeknights, working, but I really try to protect my “down” time at home, with the boys, because I know it keeps me sane.

Why the Hallmark hate?

By , January 21, 2015 3:32 pm

Awhile ago, me and a few people were all buying (individual) greeting cards for the same person. We were discussing if anyone had bought or sent their card yet – no one had done either. In fact, I had plans to stop at Hallmark that day to get mine. Good thing I didn’t mention it! By name, anyway…

“I am getting mine today, but NOT at Hallmark. Their cards are so impersonal and tacky,” said one person.

Um… they are? I didn’t think so… I have found cards there that say exactly what I want to say to someone, only better. I have also found beautiful blank cards, where I can write whatever silly thing comes to mind. I have found great cards other places. I have spent under a dollar on a card. I have spent $10. I have had cards custom made! I thought… gosh, I thought it was the thought that counts. The intention and content, not the brand. I have loved a homemade card as much as I have loved a note sprawled on a sheet of ripped out spiral-bound paper. A card (or note, whatever), to me, in a digital time (har de har har me so old) is just so thoughtful and deliberate. I’m not getting bent out of shape over where it’s from.

The way this person reacted made me think they would be offended if they received a Hallmark card. Sigh. Everyone is entitled to their opinions on products/brands, but the amount of disgust over Hallmark simply shocked me.

And now is the point in the post where I’m not sure where to take this. Because while I think “it’s the thought that counts” for a (sincerely, of course) sent card, I don’t feel that way about every material gift. And I don’t feel like it would be fair for me to publish this without mentioning that (even though they are two separate arenas).

There are people I wish wouldn’t buy me things, and would get to know me, instead.  I have received completely thoughtless (in my opinion) gifts that did make me feel offended. I have been upset, when I told someone over and over “I don’t like that,” and “I don’t want that,” and they still gave it to me. I have been frustrated when I’ve asked someone to stop buying me things in general, yet, they still do.

Ha. You thought the Hallmark-hater was the bad guy in this post? It seems like it’s really me! Why can’t I just be grateful for generosity? Why do I have to question it?

Don’t worry – I am not like that all the time. I am not like that often. I am a grateful person. And, I know I have been on the other end, too. I am sure I have given people things and they are thinking “Another xyz from Kim?!” I have wished I knew someone better and was spending time with them instead of buying them something.  I know I have given thoughtless gifts.

But I hope I’ve never given a thoughtless card. And I hope no one has ever been disappointed I sent them one from Hallmark!

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One thing at a time

By , January 19, 2015 11:10 am

If I had a mantra for the year, that would be it – one thing at a time. 

You know how people have that thing they talk about all the time without realizing it? But when they get started you are thinking “here they go again!” or “give it a rest, already!!!”? Ha ha. That is going to be me, this year, with talking about wanting to focus on one thing at a time, and doing it by disconnecting (online) a bit more.

I have run across a few articles talking about this being a trendy resolution for the year – people trying to get away from technology. I don’t want to do that 100%, per se – I love the internetz, blogging, and connecting with people online. What I don’t love, however, is how freakin’ distracted I am, and most of the time now – online and sometimes in person.

It’s kind of sad that the only time I can truly focus is when I am on a run. I had all weekend to write my workout for strength class tonight. When could I focus on planning it out? In my head, on my long run this am. I do have my phone with me when I run, for safety and photos, but that’s all I want to use it for. Running is basically the only time I can be alone with my thoughts without distraction (self-inflicted or otherwise). A few people have told me how cool it is that the new Garmin watch will show you incoming texts. Um… that is fantastic, but would really distract me if I had it.

And that is the thing – I wonder how much of this is in my control? Can I work toward becoming less distracted or is it hopeless? Ha ha. Of course it isn’t! But I have to be mindful about it, and that is the thing I am struggling with to start with – mindfulness!

As I mentioned last week, I am reading a book about this subject (hence me going on and on and on about it…). One section of the book mentioned how we get online and start doing so many things, and eventually get used to that state of “continuous partial attention.” Um, yeah, that describes me, a lot of the time (online and not, unfortunately). And how about this blurb, describing how that state makes us feel?

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Um, yes. All that communication coming at you is addictive, and to use Dr. Small’s word, “irresistible.” It excites me, to have so many things going on at once. But to what cost is it? I am NOT a supertasker. I do my best focusing on one thing at a time. Why do I keep trying otherwise? Why, why, why?

So I have been trying really hard to get better at this. It’s stupid stuff, like when the phone rang when I was writing this, I got up and talked on it in a different room, instead of playing on the computer while on the phone. I turned my phone text notification off so I could focus on writing. I made sure I wasn’t doing anything in any other tabs. There were emails I wanted to write and people I wanted to gchat, but I held off on it.

It’s silly I have to be so mindful about it! But I feel better when I am!

Anyone else feel like they get caught in a state of “continuous partial attention”? What do you do to get out of it?


I wanted to make sure to give you an update on Data! I think it’s safe to say he’s on the road to recovery (although we need to see if he needs follow-up bloodwork, still). He felt well enough to attack me while I was knitting last week, and to let me know he wanted to be fed… by biting me. He’s eaten his normal amount of food this weekend, plus some! Yay! My little sh*t is back!

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