Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Training to Hike Grand Canyon R2R2R

For those who don't know later this Spring, I will be heading out on an epic adventure in the Grand Canyon. Hiking Rim to Rim, then back Rim to Rim aka R2R2R.
Most would tell you this is highly not recommended, but for those who enjoy marathons and who train and prepare and are already accustom to distances it's an incredible experience (or so they tell me, but I believe them!)

For any who have wondered how one goes about training for hiking the R2R2R of the Grand Canyon, I thought I'd share my training plan.

I am not new to distance hiking, nor am I new to desert heat hiking. So because of so much past experience I have a little bit more knowledge on what I need to do for myself to prepare correctly so I can have the best time ever hiking and doing this bucket list item!


Train the legs and feet with training same as one would for a back to back marathon. So I will work up to running 18-20 miles. Then when I have at least 4 under my belt.
I will then work up to running two 18 milers two days in a row.


Just like training for a marathon you should never work on speed and distance together to stay injury free. Well for hiking you should never work on distance building and incline building together.
Once I hit certain mileage markers I'll back off on any distance building and work in incline training.
Fortunately, I live near Zion National Park and I have trails with inclines just like those I will do in the Grand Canyon, the difference is I may only have 1-3 miles of straight climbing in Zion instead of double that. But that won't matter much, it will still help significantly.

So for instance, on an easy 10 miler running day, I'll finish it up with 3-8 hours of hiking and try to get half of each of those hours on inclines and declines only. I'll mostly avoid flat hiking. (In other words, it's going to be a lot of fun!)


While up on the rims it may still be in the 50-80's, once we make the decent the time of year we are going we are very likely going to hit 100-115 degree temperatures for most of the 12-15 hour hiking days.So it is highly important to get fully hydrated in advance.

While I can practice this often over the next several months, about 1 month leading in I will spend 3 weeks working up to making sure I am drinking half my body weight in water each day, in addition to any workout water loss.
Doing it this way slowly will keep me from having to take way too many trips to the bathroom.
The week leading into the trip, I should be drinking perfectly and be fully hydrated come trip day!


I'll be working on this throughout, to be honest I'd like to shed 40-50 pounds before the trip.
I'm one of those people who is fit, but that doesn't mean I am actually in shape or a size 4! (I'm sure some of you can relate) This is something I've already been working on, and I'm already 16 pounds into my goal!
Regardless of how much I am able to lose, it will all be less weight I have to carry for 54-60 miles!


If you don't know I have near ZERO cushion in my lower back in my L5 and S1 facet joints (spinal discs). So I am bone on bone and I struggle carrying and lifting things.  This was something that I was diagnosed with about a year ago and unfortunately, no current cures other than keeping active will be best for me in life.

Carrying the pack will be my biggest struggle so I will practice starting with 10, 20 then 35-pound weights in my backpack. While out on 6-10 hour hikes.
Once I hit certain mileage builds, and then incline builds I will gradually increase the backpack weight.

Originally, I had hoped to only carry 25 pounds. But with going back to school I am not rich enough to spend a few extra hundred right now on a new tent. So I am borrowing a smaller one from my dad, but with the tent and the 2 gallons of water and light supplies, I've not been able to pack it yet under 33 pounds. So this is why I am going to plan on training for 35 pounds.


Granted I could likely pull it off with a bit less on some aspects of the training, but...

R2R day 1 of my hike I will be going approx 30 miles with detours. These are NOT flat hiking miles the are descents and climbing mountainous rims and others I have talked to have told me if we are fast we may finish in 12 hours, but if we struggle in the heat it could take 15 hours of hiking for this day. That is a lot of stress and workout on the body in not to mention very hot temps!

R2R Return trip Day 2 will only be about 23-24 miles. However, our bodies will already be exhausted so this is another 12-15 hour hiking day with a major climb up the north side, it will be climbing 5,700 feet on tired legs for the last 8 miles. It doesn't flatten out it's a constant climb with every step. This day we can go a little slower, but regardless we have to make it up the rim before too late into the night, so we still have our work cut out for us!

MOSTLY, the better trained, the easier it will be on my body and the more I will enjoy the hiking and sights. 

Not to mention the better time we will make as we decent and ascend through the rims.
I want this trip to be super fun and a once in a life time great experience. So heck ya I am going to train well and properly for it!

If your wondering, everyone coming will be doing their own version of the same type of training. For those who don't have the luxury of hiking inclines to train with. Treadmills set at 8-10% inclines for 1-5 hours will work with a mix of outdoor bleacher repetitions of 1-3 hours will be used instead of hiking hills. (Which may be me some weeks too.)

I've talked to several people who have done this before, or who do this often and based on my own opinion and their recommendations are how I determined what training needs to go into it to have the most ENJOYABLE trip!

Have you hiked R2R before?
Have you hiked R2R2R before?
Or is hiking the Grand Canyon on your bucket list?

Monday, February 13, 2017

I'm Officially Drowning

So yes if you read the title I am drowning, drowning in homework and a class schedule that I may have taken on more than I can handle.

To give ya a brief, between 7am-Noon I am with classes. Starting last week I began taking an hour break at noon to go for a trail run. Then I am back onto the school stuff and doing homework literally for another 6-8 hours each day, even having to use my Saturday's to stay on top.


Well, taking this a year early, I don't regret it. But it is so time consuming. My biggest set back a week ago I finished the first 25 pages of the source gathering and writeups on those sources. Met with my mentor and she asked me to re-write them all with a different thought process.
I wanted to cry,  I had already spent 40 or more hours on that and I still had several more to go...

Well, I did what she asked finished the rest of them and submitted them, and she said I crushed it and gave me a higher grade than possible. It made me feel better about all the work.

But now I have to do the second half of 40 sources, which right no my paper is around 50 pages and I still haven't edited it.... That section is due this Sunday so guess what I'll be doing all week.


I'm getting there, we had a stupid comic strip project, the instructor said it would take 8 hours. But I am quickly learning it takes me double or triple as long as he says. While I am starting to get the functions down better, I am still a little behind and a little slower on this, but at least small progress is good!


I'm doing a little better in this class, the assignment I was given to insert myself into a photo from history and get all the shading correctly was supposed to take 4 hours and I pulled it off in 2 and it looks pretty good. I'll show it to you as soon as I save it in a smaller file. It's historical and of course I chose a running related photo to use!

However, originally I thought as soon as I learned how to use Illustrator and Photoshop well I'd make all these amazing images on my blog and photoshop all my photos and make them look FAB. Well, it takes freaking forever to do stuff like that, so sorry to say other than a rare occasion I don't plan on using those any time in the near future to make my pictures and images on my blog better!

ART in the Era of VIETNAM

Well, I mentioned this one a while back that it was way more artsy than I thought. I still have zero idea what's going on.
But Google, well she knows all. So I quite often google what something means (especially paintings and poems) in class when no one is paying attention to me to find something profound to say and sound as smart as the rest of them, even though I have no idea what I'm really saying.
Happy to report this method has been working great!

Of course, I couldn't take this with me to do tests. But I scored 100% on my first big test on that class and I'll tell you what I did. I B.S. my entire way through it. I memorized titles, artists and dates and what was going on during that year in history and basically B.S my way through it by pure guess on what the hidden meanings where, and well it worked LOL I was the only one in the class to score 100%.


I absolutely LOVE this class, it's so informative and we are going into the details on the business start up behind it. We have amazing speakers come in.
Last week was a guy who is the owner of a company who hosts all the Half Marathon's in the different National Parks around the country.
Thanks to him, I got my idea for my senior thesis project that I believe I am going to do next semester, I have to get it approved but it was really an idea that came off something he said entirely.
I'll have to share more on these adventure sport, and running speakers sometime, I've taken notes that I think would make great blog posts, if I ever get the time!

Boring I know, but that has been my life lately!
The only reason I have time to do this is because I showed up for my first class and their computers crashed, so class was cancelled,. I figured I'd write a quick post and jump around and visit a few blogs today with the little extra time!

It's spring here, and the temps have been FABULOUS! My favorite hour of the day now is the one where I break from everything and go for a run, I seriously think it's the only thing keeping me sane right now!

Hope everyone's been doing great! I hate missing out on what's going on with my blog friends, so tell me something I missed over the two weeks that you've done!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Year New Goals, or Not

I know what you're thinking, I am posting this nearly a month late, LOL
You are right!
Truth is, I wrote this in December, and just realized yesterday that I hadn't posted it.... So better late than never since I took the time to write it originally, right!

So if you've read my blog through the years you already know I don't set New Years Resolutions because only 8% of people actually keep a resolution and I figured why put myself into the possible 92% failure rate.

Instead, I always have ongoing goals, most I don't bring up on the blog much. However, with a new year beginning it's always nice to reflect on those and share a few you may not know about.


Last year, I had a goal to work on becoming a better listener. I made a conscious effort to do this, can't say I have mastered it. But I am significantly better than I was. This is something I am going to continue to work on. It's a good personal growth thing that can only better myself by improving upon, so why not!


This year I am going to set a goal to read 30 novels. I know for myself this is a small number. But with college it might actually be a tough number to hit, as most my reading time is done while I am doing my laundry, LOL


I won't get into specifics, but now that I am finally healed from the work injury, the past few months I've been working on convincing my parents to travel with me and possibly begin knocking off a few more states on my 50-state and D.C. marathon goal. I've got 19 left. They are up for it, so it may just happen.
Why do the parents need to come? To be honest, I'm on a tight budget so if they come it will cost me only the race entry, LOL I am terrible I know! But on the plus side, my parents love to travel lots so this is a win-win for all of us!

Additionally, I'm going to register for at least one more marathon this year. It's not much, but like I said, I'm on a budget so it may be all I can afford!  I hate living on a budget, but the less debt if any I can go into while I finish school the better and smarter of me!


I have a bucket list of items in the Southern Utah and Northern Arizona as well as a few in the Nevada and Southern California area's that I'd like to do while I am living here. So I will keep on doing them while I am getting in shape and working on incline hiking to get reading for R2R2R at the Grand Canyon in late spring!


Okay, I won't beat myself up about it if I don't. But I'm going to work hard and see if I can't pull off more straight A's and who knows maybe attempt another 4.0 Spring Semester too?
That might be a little too presumptuous, especially now that I am actually into the classes but hey why not shoot high, right!


1 I've been thinking and working on some plans the past few months. Blogging 3-4 times a week is no longer an option for me. I could do it if I stopped visiting my favorite bloggers, but that isn't going to happen I'd miss them too much. I already miss a lot only going onto blogs 1-2 days a week.

2 Back in October, I set a goal to work on getting my Twitter following over 10K and I also determined I wanted to get my Instagram following up around 5K. I have no set date, but I'm hoping I can get the Twitter goal by March since I am much closer to that one.
These are the two forms of social media I use for my blog the most and the ones I am the most active on, so logically they are the most beneficial to grow.

3 I really want to pick up my Travel Tuesday series again, I have so many saved up to showcase, I just need time to finish putting them all together.  Plus this one seems to be the favorite of most of my readers, I always get 10X's the page views on them versus my other posts.

I'm likely switching my Me Monday's to the In the Life of a Returned College student on a more permanent basis.

I'm also going to start sharing some of my thesis research with you, at least the parts that may apply to those of you interested in the influencer jobs within blogging.

Additionally, I have so many fitness and recreation posts I half created with my class assignments last semester, I hope to get them finished and start putting them out, I think many of my readers will enjoy them and find them beneficial.

4 I'm still working on my schedule to see if I will have time to host some Giveaway Hops and Grow Your Blog Hops later this year.

5 Link-ups, I have a hard time with this as I absolutely love to participate in them and I have some amazing blogger friends who host some great ones. But I am not one who just links up to link up, link-ups have a purpose and that is to grow or get to know others and share the views and comments. If I don't have time to visit at least 3 blogs and the hosts in the hop I don't link up, mostly just on my own principles, LOL

I hope to link up with some throughout the year, but mostly I will probably stick to my own posts and things until Summer when I will have a bit more time on my hands to link up! So if any of you are wondering why I haven't or don't link up much anymore, trust me it's not because I don't want to, I just haven't had the time to fully participate!


If you don't know one of the (let's call it a double near triple major) I am working on right now is one in Digital Design. I'm still in the learning process, but I am starting to get the hang of it and I am taking another two advanced classes right now and my skills are improving!

When my skill level and confidence has moved up a level, I plan on selling my new design talent. That may sound funny, but I will be needing to begin my portfolio and plan on selling my skills to design logo's, blog headers and digital ads at a much cheaper price than most do just so I can get use them to build me up so by the time I graduate I've got a lot of work to show for it as well.

So later this year if you have things you'd like for your blog or business, definitely consider me! I'll have to showcase my work and stuff more often so you can watch my skill level and design personality grow.

In fact, I'll show you one right now. This is the design project I did for one of my class finals last semester.
We were required to create an effective magazine full page spread ad and I was given the Environmental theme. I got 200/200 and not to toot my horn but it was one of the better ones in class and I am probably the most behind on learning how to use Photoshop, Illustrator and In Design. Hopefully, it's a good sign of things to come, LOL

So that's it, I have many more but if you've actually read this whole post then you are probably already thinking enough is enough, LOL.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ausable Chasm, New York

I've had Travel Tuesday on hold for a little while, which I am sorry about because it's one of my favorite weekly posts to put together. Hopefully, I can get back to being more regular with them all.

For this week's Travel Tuesday adventure, I'd like to show you a gem I found in the middle of the beautiful lush Adirondack Mountains of New York.  This place is called Ausable Chasm and there is a limitless amount of adventure that you can do here. It's definitely a place for adventure seekers!

This is the view you will see from the road itself.  I would like to mention I visited in the spring during an extremely high runoff time, and they were having unusual amounts of flooding.  Normally, these falls are big and beautiful, but not quite as big, powerful and muddy water like you will see in my pictures.

So what can you do in this area beside enjoy and take in the views of the beautiful chasm?

A walk or hike along the 5 miles of trails.  Could make your hike as short at 1 mile, or as long as 5 miles as you get down in and explore this canyon right next to the river.  (Again normally, there are trails that are right aside this river, they are sort of buried in water in my pictures:)

The beautiful rock that you see in this chasm area, was formed about 500 years ago.  There are caves you can explore in the area too.

How about taking a river rafting trip?  Or hoping on an inner tube and floating down the river.  (Not down the falls, sorry daredevils:)

You can also make a family trip of it, and camp in the campgrounds or cabins.  They even have a motel in the area for those who don't enjoy the fun adventure of camping:)


*  Although viewing the chasm and falls do not have a charge.  The trails and facility rentals are privately owned.  So those do have regulations and charges.

*  They also charge for tube and raft rentals.  However, you can save some money by bringing your own water shoes.  However, if you forget them they do have them for purchase in the store.

*  There is a delicious grill at the Chasm, that I ate at and enjoyed, for those who love great grill food!

* Check with their "open hours", they close some of the things down in the evening.

* Nearby spots of interest: Lake Placid, Lake Champlain (NY & VT boarder - as well as near the Canadian boarder) not to mention stunning views and drives through the Adirondacks.

* I actually stayed in Burlington, Vermont when I went and drove my rental car onto the ferry to New York, and drove over to the falls for an afternoon.  It is a beautiful drive and ferry ride!

* For those who like to run races along with checking out stunning places of adventure. I actually visited this chasm on the same trip I ran the Vermont City Marathon, which is a great race for those who enjoy marathons with beautiful scenery. For those interested, you can find my marathon race review HERE.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Day in the life, Selfies, Getting Out of My Comfort Zone and some OMG's

I'm into week two of this new Spring Semester, and I thought it is a great time to share some Day in the Life stories of my first week back!


So my instructor tells us in my advanced Illustrator that we get the opportunity to get in front of the class and teach a new technique to everyone in the form of a tutorial.
He said we can't show anyone anything that we have covered in the class and it needs to be something that isn't exactly easy to do....

WHAT?? I still haven't figured out what all the functions even do, and I haven't used nearly any of them. I use a Windows-based computer, but all the ones in class we use are Mac's and I hate Mac's. I can barely draw simple objects, I haven't even figured out how to round out an object I draw well and I am supposed to get up and teach something technical???  Whatever that means, I mean technical to me is really doing anything after opening the program at this point, LOL

Normally, I like to sign up first on these things, but I signed up for a date in March because I am going to need several months to find out how to learn and teach something "technical" in Illustrator... Oh my, I am not even going to think about it anymore right now!


Okay, so in my Era of Vietnam class, which is actually one of the required classes I need for the Interdisciplinary portion of my degree, otherwise yeah I probably never would have considered it. I am so out of my league in there and it is turning out to be SO different than what I thought it would be.

We do pre-class readings, and then in class so far we listen to music look at paintings and discuss it all more in-depth. (Granted I only caught on after day 3 that this is apparently going to be how he is doing this class.)

Professor: Played about 30 seconds of some "Jazz" music from the early 1900's.
Professor: What did you hear in this music?
Me: (Thinking to myself) A saxophone?
Others: Felt the artist taking me on a journey of his life and his upbringing.
Others: It reminded me of (artist) and (artist) and physical hardships and movements...
*From student to student come these analysis that I have no clue on how they came up with it.*
Me: (Thinking to myself) Is my hearing off, I only heard a saxophone playing the same chords over and over and over...

So this went on for an entire class.

Then the next class date we were looking at different artist pictures from the 1940's
Professor: What do you think the artist is expressing in this?
Me: (Thinking to myself) Nothing it looks like a paintbrush dribbled onto paper.
Others: He's expressing his spontaneity and refusal to conform to public standards.
Others: I see chaos and movement reminding me of blah blah blah
*Again pretty much everyone but me says something so profound and over the top analysis.*
Me: (Thinking) do I need glasses? I still only see paint drippings.

Okay, so you get the picture. I am either the ONLY sane person in the class or I am the ONLY CLUELESS person in the class.
I have purposely not said anything yet in class, which is so not me! But seriously, I have nothing to add that wouldn't be in the form of a first graders type of answer... Granted if I am clueless I probably shouldn't put down a first grader, I'll have to ask my nephew what he thinks of the painting, LOL

Yup, I'm in trouble in this class! It's also okay if your laughing at me and agreeing that I am seriously clueless!


I literally can't figure out how I want to write this up, and it's due tomorrow. I am hoping that this is one of those times if I leave it until the last minute I will get this brilliant idea and all these profound ways to describe it will come out of my brain and flow easily and I'll knock it out like it was nothing a few hours before it is due.

Yup, I'm dreaming again!

That and I'm sitting here writing a blog post when I should be working on it, my priorities are a little wack right now!


So in my photoshop class you know you're surrounded by millennials and an instructor who gets them when we get our 2nd big assignment and he tells us. "Great news, you get to use your selfie skills for your next project, you need 20 of them..."

Now for those of you who know me well from my blog, you know I am the worst at selfies.
It's not that I don't love myself, I do and I can have my vain moments just as good as the next person, probably more so at times than I should admit to, LOL.

Anyhow, one of two things will be happening. I'll either bring pictures of other people tomorrow (which he said we could do if we wanted to. Afterall I have some adorable nieces and nephews.) Or I will attempt to break out the Snapchat filters and see if I can take some better selfies, LOL

Now who wants to guess which route I'll go, LOL


I feel as I have skipped winter here, seriously it's been like 60 degree's each day. Most the college girls haven't skipped a beat wearing their practically nothing's to class (Oh to be young again, LOL)

I'm even sitting at my desk with the doors and windows open today to let the fresh sunny air in!

I hear they had a light bit of snow while I was out of town up north getting several feet of snow, but since I have been back it's been fairly nice other than a little rain here and there.

It's been a funny week, as my sister text me that she had nearly 5 feet of snow from a storm that came Monday, and I live nearly 4 hours down the road and I was sitting in the 60's...  I'm not complaining, but seriously I hope I didn't miss my only chance this year to see snow on palm trees.
Additionally, I'm thinking maybe I didn't need to bring all my winter clothes down here after all!

Of course, I am totally jealous of her snow, I am just dreaming about the forts I could have built in her yard with her kids, I mean seriously they would be EPIC!!!
I text my nephew and told him to make me proud, and he said he's already been working on a fort tunnel system that is pretty sweet, LOL


It's officially been a month since I have been out on a run. I know terrible!
When I headed up north for 3 weeks the snow was so deep and very few "capable" people have the decency these days to actually shovel their sidewalks and since it was in the negatives it was too slippery risky to run on the roads.
Then I caught the flu.
Which on the plus side I am at the tail end of it, feeling better each day!

So what I am getting to is, I NEED to get out running this week and get back at it!!! One because I think it will kick out the last part of this flu bug. But second, I have a very exciting R2R2R hike coming up this summer that is going to require me to be in my best marathon shape.


So yeah, those are a few of my recent Day in the Life of a Return College Student stories and it's only beginning week too, LOL

So I'm curious, for those who may want to be honest with me. Do you like these Day in the Life of a Return College Student posts mixed with my Me Monday? Or would you rather me go back to how I used to do things and less college stuff that might be boring you, and more just other weekly stuff?

Wishing you all a fabulous week!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Day in the Life of a Returned College Student

I am a couple of days into Spring Semester, to be honest I really am just going to take it all one day at a time. I started thinking about how much I have to pull off over the next few months and it was starting to become overwhelming.

What classes am I taking? 

Two of my design classes; I have a more advanced Photoshop class as well as a more advanced Illustrator class.

I've still been coming back from a bad cold and I almost cried the other day in class. My brain just isn't functioning well and in my Photoshop class the instructor spent 30 minutes going step by step to help us with our first assignment. My brain wouldn't work and he was going so fast I got lost on step 1....

Yes, I know pathetic to admit it.
Let's just say it meant a couple of hours with googling tutorials to get it figured out on my own.

The Digital Design portion of my degree I thought originally would be the easiest and it's clearly turning out to be the most difficult for me! But I'll get it, eventually!

I am also taking Commercial and Travel Recreation Planning. (I'm also a Recreation management degree student.) After hearing about the outline of the class I am very excited. I will get to speak with the guy who runs a lot of the national park half marathons around the country and I am excited for that day!

I'm also taking a Humanities class about the Era of Vietnam, so far I am so lost in it I can't figure out where the instructor is going with it. We spent all of today talking about and listening to black history music between 1910-1950. I couldn't figure out how this could possibly fit with Vietnam, but I called my dad and he had a much better guess that makes sense, LOL Like I said my brain is just not working best with this cold, and I'm going to wait until it is before I go embarres myself with the instructor about questions regarding the class!

Check out this fabulous reading material for the course, LOL this is much heavier book reading than I enjoy doing!

Last, I convinced them to let me into my Senior Thesis project for my Interdisciplinary Program even though I am not yet quite a senior. I did this to help me graduate on time!
What is a senior thesis, well pretty much it's half a masters degree, at least that is my interpretation of it based on everything they've told me.

This semester I will be doing all my thesis research and I found out yesterday writing half of my 40-60 research paper... Uggghhhh...
Next semester I will start the project portion. I have a week to decide all I want to do, and while I have an idea I'm having trouble writing it all up for them to present it to get approval on...

My idea: While I am still working on the logistics and correct wording. I am actually looking at researching the effects of influencer based advertising and the current digital design trends that are working best for the recreational industry and where and what may be the best ways to market to recreational based clientele going forward....
Ya, a mouthful, LOL

Other than that, I bought half my books. Why half? Well I am not sure if the other instructors will actually end up using them. So I figured I'd wait and see what happens and buy them later if they are actually needed.

I've got my color coded calendar started. This may sound funny but colleges use Canvas now and in it you can colorize each class on the online dashboard, I match it up to the colors on my dry erase calendar and keep track of all assignments and cross them off after I've turned them in. Last semester I found this was the easiest way to not miss anything and to work ahead at times when I could, so that's why I do it! I also have this baby hanging up on the wall right on the back of my computer desk so it's in full view anytime I am at my desk.

I have also decided not to take on a job right now. This semester is going to be crazy I am pretty sure a part-time job would just make me get behind at times and I can't have that right now especially beginning my thesis this semester!  So, yes social media/blogging is how I am going to afford to eat again this semester, LOL

So that's pretty much it, so far so good, I just wish I could shake off this cold in its entirety and get all my brain cells working full time again, LOL

What things do you do to keep organized in life?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Job that Won't Accept My Resignation, Snow, Wedding & Weight Loss, Car Issues and The Best Parents Ever - How's that for a Mouth Full of a Post Title!

I thought I'd give a little re-cap of what I have been up to in the past 3 weeks.

Right after my last final in December, literally left from the parking lot of it to take a 5-hour drive north so I could get ready for that holiday wedding I booked.

Lucky me, got to drive a trailer in a blizzard and pack it up for a wedding in one heck of a storm...  That lucky part is sarcastic, LOL

Did all my wedding prep work in 8 hours, probably the fastest rush job ever!  Then took a drive to beat out a storm so I could arrive to set up for the wedding early

The storm that was supposed to hit didn't, just a nice 5 degree's out that morning. It froze the locks on my trailer, thankfully I am full of hot air, LOL and was able to blow into them enough to get them to unfreeze and unlock.
The rest of the day went perfectly, we were rushed but it was some of our better work and we did it in record time, I was thrilled!  My team that helps is incredible!!!!

The bride and her family all loved it and were more than happy without work, so it was a great day!

Spent the night for a slumber party with my niece and nephew. We attempted to make cupcakes with her new baking tools.
Apparently, it did not go so well, I guess you can't bake the frosting mixed into the cake batter, LOL LOL

Since I was coming up north and my old library job, well they apparently never accepted my resignation so I decided why not make more money while I am here and pick up a few shifts. A few turned into many and before I knew it they asked me to pick up 44 hours.

So yeah, that first two weeks was a little more work than play, but that was okay. I got to get together with past co-workers and catch up. Great times!

Christmas Eve my dad and I took a drive up the mountains to pick something up at my sisters, and then hit up a new gun store and target range, because well that's what we red-blooded Americans do on Christmas Eve, LOL.

Christmas was wonderful. We woke up to 14 inches of fresh snow, so we definitely got our white Christmas! Had so much fun chilling with the family and playing!

My sister won in the gift department, she saw these awesome boxes. HILARIOUS 
Makes the receiver think that is actually what is in it, and she gave it to my pregnant sister. Inside was a gift card, but it was fun and laughs.

Took a night and went and slept over and played for a day with one of my sisters kids who live up in the mountains. Truthfully, we in the valley were in a yucky inversion. So I enjoyed getting up to the mountains for a day where the skies were blue and the temps were a little warmer than the valley!

The kids loved tearing it up with the snowmobile in the back yard for sure!

Between working, I had a great time hanging out with friends and family and catching up! I also got my fill of snow, all together it snowed over two feet in the series of storms we had. So fun!

Last time I wrote I mentioned I was planning on sticking to my weight loss goals for December. Well I forgot that I would be up with people who haven't seen me in many months and I couldn't even tell you how many restaurants I visited for lunches and dinners those first two weeks.

I know I could have turned the offers down, but I may not get so see them again for a while so that would just be rude. So I am avoiding the scale and enjoying all the food and fun chats!

However, although I wasn't even trying and the loss was due in no part to actually trying, I still managed to drop 2 pounds during the month. Nothing to give a shout out to, but that brings my total to date now to 16 pounds lost.

My final week home up north, I had no plans to work and millions of plans to do fun things with family and friends.
But as luck would have it on New Years Eve I came down with a terrible horrible cold/flu, I pretty much didn't even get out of bed for a week.
It's been horrible and I am more bummed because of all the people I wasn't able to see, and all the plans I had to cancel, when I don't know when I'll be back up to see them all again.

During my week of sickness, I did make it out once to drop my car off at the dealership (same problem as all 6 times before that the other dealerships haven't been able to fix.) Turns out my Warranty was to expire 12 days after I dropped it off.

They diagnosed the problem and finally had a mechanic who was a specialist and had seen it before and knows exactly how to fix it. Problem, the part they need is on National backorder and will be taking two weeks to get.
I had no choice because if I took the vehicle from the dealership while I waited for my warranty would expire. But keeping it there meant it was an open case and even though it will be fixed after the expiration, because it is still in shop it still counts as the day I brought it in.
So yes, my car is staying there for a few weeks.

(I am finally hopeful that maybe these mechanics have more experience and might actually fix it!)

Problem was, I needed to drive back to my home down south and I didn't have a car. So my parents who are amazing gave me their car to take back.

Top it off, my mom knew I was sick and wouldn't be up for grocery shopping when I got home. So she went to the store and filled the trunk with groceries for me. No worries on keeping them cold, it was -11 to highs of 5 degree's, LOL
By the time I arrived back in the 40's in the desert where it's a little warmer they were fine.

In addition, since I have been so sick and they were worried about me driving, they even drove me half way so I could sleep more and have less of a drive alone.  So sweet of them!

I am still sick, but I'm finally starting to feel like I may be on the turnaround!  Which is great because I started classes today, I had my first two this morning, and I will start my next three tomorrow.

This is going to be an insanely busy semester, not only am I taking 15 credits, but I am beginning my Senior Thesis (early yes) the research phase.
What is a senior thesis? Well, I'll probably tell you more about it another time, but basically it's about half the work of a Masters Degree. So as you can see I have my work cut out for me!

On a side note, now that I am back, I am hoping it will snow down south. Ever since I moved back here I have been looking forward to seeing snow on palm tree's, don't ask me why I just am!