Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

It's Marathon Weekend! If all goes as planned, I'll officially be a marathoner 48 hours from now. I hope to cross the finish line right around 10:45 on Sunday morning. Look at your clocks and think of me!

I'm heading off to the marathon expo with Mary the Bear in tow.

Mary the Bear comes from the brilliant mind of Little Miss Runshine, a running blogger that I stumbled across a few months ago. She is being shipped off to first-time marathoners as a good luck charm, in exchange for pictures of Mary out and about at the Marathon festivities and a write-up of the race in Mary's Running Passport. How cool is that?

Toddler Charlie is telling lies. A few weeks ago, I went to pick him up at school and his teacher asked me if I was looking forward to our trip. Ummm, what trip? Apparently Charlie had been telling everyone that he was going to go to New York on an airplane that weekend. News to me! Yesterday, they told me that he mentioned that we were moving to Tennessee. There are a lot of places that I'd love to be moving to, but Tennessee isn't one of them!

I'm absolutely in love with my color Nook. It's been less than a week and I'm already taking it everywhere I go. It won't completely replace paper books for me, but now I see what all the hype was about.

Last night's episode of The Office marked the end of an era! Michael Scott is no longer at the helm of Dunder-Mifflin, Scranton. I was concerned that this episode was going to be nothing more than a longer version of the disappointment that we've experienced so far this season, but I have to say that I enjoyed it.

My favorite quote came right at the end, when Michael is at the airport getting ready to leave Scranton, and he takes off his microphone pack that the film crew was using for their "documentary" for the last time.

Hey, will you guys let me know if this ever airs?

So very meta of them!

Unfortunately, I still feel like the show is dead in the water.

Did you watch the Royal Wedding? I really had no interest, but when I went downstairs at 5:30 this morning (couldn't sleep anymore because of the nerves!) it was on pretty much every channel. I ended up watching it, and it was actually somewhat neat to see. The costumes and hats were just amazing. I felt like I was watching a Disney movie.

I have FOUR days off! Aunt and Grandma are coming to town this evening so that they can watch me run the race on Sunday. So excited to see them!

I'm feeling rather shallow today, thanks to my brain being preoccupied with running-related things. Nota put the mindset into words better than I possibly could at this point! Everything is pretty much mush. I would be useless at work, anyway :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


OMG OMG OMG OMG - we got our Flying Pig bib number emails last night!

1542 - finally, I get an even number. Even better, it's a nice arithmetic number: 1+5=4+2. It's the simple things :)

I'm trying really hard not to look at the weather forecast that's telling us about the rain and storms we're going to get that morning. Trying, and failing miserably, because I check for updates every few hours.

My good friend (and former P90X coach!) Lynn sent me a super cute turtle bag to commemorate my first marathon. She packed it full of gatorade, too. It's so nice to have the support of my peeps.

My running buddy is volunteering with an organization that's helping with the Pig, so she'll be out on the course somewhere around mile 14 - I can't wait to see her!

I'm just hoping that the rain stays away so that my family can come down to watch. Due to a series of unfortunate events, I haven't had anyone able to watch either of my two races, and it would be really nice to have someone waiting for me at the finish line. Of course, it was much colder then, and I wouldn't have wanted Husband and Toddler Charlies to be standing out in the cold and rain for two hours waiting for me, anyway. My BFF is running on a relay team, but there's no guarantee that she'll be back to the finish line in time to meet me. It will be nice to see her after the race!

I'm trying to maintain my sanity by making lists, as fellow Pig runner Nota suggested. Between the lists, the t-shirts that I have to finish for Team Rachel (I have a hot date with the iron and some transfers tonight), and my Nook, I have some decent distractions.

My Nook? Yes, I joined the ranks of the evil e-readers. I have good reasons for taking that path, but that's a post for another day. The first book I borrowed from the Ohio library system was Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. It's absolutely delightful.

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So pretty. I'm going to turn it into a Tablet.

Monday, April 25, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Week 4

Welcome to Week Four of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "A Song That Makes you Happy."

Missed the earlier posts? It's not too late to join in! Come catch up on week one, week two, and week three.

I had a really hard time deciding between three different songs. I have happy feelings associated with each one, so I queued each one up on my playlist to see which one was most suitable. As soon as I heard the opening notes of this one, it was absolutely not a question that Ants Marching by the Dave Matthews Band HAD to be my song for the week.

This song was actually my first introduction to DMB. I never went completely off-the-deep-end crazy about the band - I never followed them around on tour, never had posters in my room, never bought every album that they ever released, but they do have a pretty heavy presence in my MP3 collection, and this song is still one of my all-time favorites. It was super popular in the springtime of my freshman year of high school. I was always an early riser, especially on school days, and I always listened to the radio while I was getting ready to start my day. I sang along to this song more times than I can count, and I will forever associate it with warm spring mornings, waiting at the bus stop, certain illegal activities that don't need to be internet-detailed, teenage naivete, and carefree living.

That spring was the lead-in to the best summer of my adolescent life. Everything changed for me that fall, when my parents divorce finally started rolling along. Things got off track, people moved in different directions, and life in my family and circle of friends would never be the same. But just for that summer, that one, glorious summer, we were free to do as we pleased. We were teenagers who knew everything, we would be bestest friends forever, and we were unfreakingstoppable. Or we were just really stupid, depending on how you look at it :)

In case it's not obvious, that's me on the left with the green shirt. Two girls to my right is my high school best friend. We lost touch after we graduated, and I miss her dearly. Two more girls over is Kate, who I'm still friends with. We thought fate had brought us together. And of course, the boy that I'm standing next to was my boyfriend at the time. We were going to be together 4-eva. Oh, to be 15 again. Sigh.

Thanks for playing! As long as all goes as planned, next Monday I will be a Marathoner! In honor of the cheesiness littering my running playlist, the theme for next week is A Song that is a Guilty Pleasure.

* Please don't forget to include your link on the link list! I know there were two of you who played along and didn't add your blog.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Fragments - Shoutout to my Peeps!

Happy Just OK Friday! (how's that for some cheesy secular humor?)

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

While my mind is too focused on marathon running to post about anything serious or relevant (and I've got a ton of stuff on my "list of things I want to blog about," I just can't be disciplined enough to get it together), I'm going to enjoy a mindless Friday morning and frag about Peeps. Yes, Peeps. That (supposedly) marvelous marshmallowy delight that used to come around only once a year during the Easter season but has suddenly morphed into a year-round culinary option.

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I think I'm probably the only person in the world who doesn't like Peeps. I've just never been a big fan. Partly, I'm sure, because they're shaped like animals. I don't eat things shaped like animals. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy them from a pop-culture phenomenon perspective, though!

I also love to use the word "Peeps" to refer to my homies, mostly just because I'm really too old to be throwing around terms like that and I like to make my teenage cousin roll her eyes at me.

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Let's start at the beginning. Did you know that Peeps have been around since the 1950s? True story. They used to be individually hand-shaped, but the process was automated once the Just Born candy company took over. Ever wonder how Peeps are actually made? The Chicago Tribune put together a neat slide-show that takes you through the process step-by-step.

That's a lot of peeps! (Getty Images)

If you're feeling adventurous, try making your own. My friend over at Beantown Baker did it, so you can, too. Or don't, just click over to admire her awesome Peepiness.

Peep Show!
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What would happen if you used these little marshmallow creatures to re-create Star Wars, Episode IV? Apparently this was a burning question for some, because now you can find out.

Perhaps the most classic of fun Peeps sites, Peep Research documents a variety of experiments designed to test the resilience of our marshmallow friends. (Caution, graphic images may not be suitable for children who worry about the well-being of the chicks)

While we usually think of Peeps as pleasant little colorful peace-loving beings, there are counter-cultures within the Peep society that enjoy a good jousting tournament every now and then. Only the strong survive.

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Think Peeps are only good as Marshmallow treats? Serious Eats begs to differ. They have an entire collection of Peep recipes, including Peepshi, Peepza, and Deep Fried Peeps - because everything is better fried.

And, of course, for the most irreverent among us, The Passion of the Peeps. (Only including a link to this one so as not to inadvertently offend anyone.)

Happy wonderful glorious FRIDAY! Marathon is a week away. Excuse me while I die of anxiety.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And For My Next Trick....

Sticking with the BeachBody gang, but changing it up from P90X. Very excited to get started! Thinking of giving myself a whole week of doing nothing post-marathon.

The books that came with the plan are providing me with plenty of reading material to keep my mind on things other than running, running shoes, running shorts, running bag, transportation to the starting line, checking my bag, getting into the right Pig Pen, proper fueling, chipotle, re-organizing my marathon playlist, obsessing (and I mean obsessing) over the marathon route, hydration, Team Rachel t-shirt disaster, how to not actually stop at water stops, whether I should try for a sub 4-hour run or stick with my 4:08 goal, what a tool I looked like in the clip they showed of me running during my interview, how Charlie is going to get Charlie V2, my grandma, and my aunt down to the finish line to watch me cross, what the weather will be like, when I should go to the expo, how bad the "taper period" sucks, where I'm going to find time to fit in long runs for the fall marathon I want to do, missing my running buddy, toenails, girl issues (may end up POAS just to remove all doubts), whether to buy a new shirt, what to iron on the back of my shirt for race day, why did Saturday's run suck so bad, what happens if the actual race sucks the way Saturday's run did, Gilbert Ave and Eden Park, Columbia Parkway, cheering stations, text updates, reading the race packet over and over again, the finisher's medal, the Afterparty.............................

Monday, April 18, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Week 3

Welcome to Week Three of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "Your Favorite Cover Song."

Missed the earlier posts? It's not too late to join in! Come catch up on week one and week two.

I knew what song I was going to use for this topic since day one. Don't get me wrong, I have a long list of cover songs that I love to listen to, including The Mighty Mighty Bosstones version of "Enter Sandman" and the Dead Kennedy's "I Fought the Law," but most of the cover songs that I enjoy are still just musical novelties. Except for one. Goldfinger's cover of 99 Luftballons has a permanent spot on my everyday playlist. I love Nena's original German version - it tells a story of a bunch of balloons being mistaken for UFOs and setting off total global destruction. The English version keeps the same story, but the balloons are mistaken for incoming attack crafts from another country. The end result is the same - the complete destruction of the planet. There's something about this story that just seems a little bit too possible, especially in post-9/11 America when we were at threat level orange for decades - the fear and paranoia were almost tangible for a while there.

Anyway, now that I've gone off on a tangent, I almost prefer the cover song to the original. It's catchy, it's Goldfinger, and it's got a political message, which I believe is something that's completely lacking in today's popular music. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Thanks for playing! The theme for next week is A Song that Makes you Happy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Television Debut

I'll be making my television debut* on a local sports show on Sunday night. A long time ago, one of the coaches in my running group announced that they were looking for people to tell their stories as part of the "Pig Tales" series that the local news station runs every year in the weeks leading up to the Flying Pig. I decided to go ahead and submit my name, and promptly forgot about it. Until Wednesday night, when I got an email from the local sports reporter asking me if I had time for an interview the next day.

Holy cow. You mean I'm going to be on TV?

So we set up the interview for yesterday afternoon. I met him at a local park and we talked for about 20 minutes, chatting about when I first got the idea to run a marathon (my high school psychology teacher ran in the inaugural race back in 1999, and the idea has stuck with me ever since), how I felt about the training group (stellar!), whether I was actually a runner (I admitted that I tried to run track in 8th grade and was a miserable failure), and what I was feeling now that there are only 2ish weeks left until race day (anxious, excited, chomping at the bit to get out there and get it over with!). Then he let me talk about Team Rachel, and how I decided that it would be a good way to raise funds for her cause, and who she is and what she means and why we're doing it. (Of course, the Sociologist in me had to go and mention the fact that our society undervalues and underpays care workers. Who gets all academic in the middle of a SPORTS interview??) And I also forgot how old she was in my moment of glory and I think I said she was 22. How embarrassing. Sorry, Rachel!

After the chatting was over, they had me run laps around the pavilion so that they could get some footage of me "training" for the run. It was 70+ degrees and sunny, so of course there were a million people out at the park, watching me run in circles like an idiot. It felt super awkward. Plus, I was wearing shorts. So I'm not only going to be on television, but I'm going to be on television IN SHORTS. Running shorts. What was I thinking?

Luckily, the segment that I'll be featured in won't come on until 11:45 on Sunday night, while everyone is sleeping. Unfortunately, we've got this wonderful piece of technology called the DVR, which means that everyone and their mother will be able to record it and watch it the next day. I'll probably force myself to stay up to watch it. Just one more thing to be anxious about :)

If the clip ends up online, I'll be sure to share it with the blogosphere.

*Technically, my official television debut came at age 4, when we were somehow had the privilege of being the "visiting guests" on Miss Molly's Romper Room. All I remember is that I got to walk on the balance beam and my little sister got to sit IN MISS MOLLY'S LAP, and hold the Magic Mirror. This isn't our episode, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Update on Team Rachel

A.Nota.Potamus requested an update on my friend Rachel's cancer treatments. I'm more than happy to oblige!

Rachel had her final IV treatment last Monday. The hardest part is over and she says that she's feeling better, although now she's doing a series of self-injections. She'll still be out of work for another month, due to her compromised immune system. I just chatted with her over the weekend to give her an update on our fund-raising efforts - we have raised $676!! That's just from my own marathon miles and the fund-raising I've done at the school. There are also 20-something other members of Team Rachel, so I'm sure our final tally will be pretty incredible. I hope it is, anyway, have you seen the cost of health care lately??

So, big thanks to everyone who donated to our cause. The response was truly more that I ever imagined. I'll check in with Rachel to see if she's got some time to write a real guest post to give you the full story.

19 Days and Counting

Holy sheet, we're under 20 days until the Flying Pig!

We had our last super long run on Saturday - 22 miles. So now I'm going into the actual marathon having passed the 20 mile mark twice. It's very good for my confidence, especially because at the end of the 22 miles I felt like I could do more. Not that the miles would be easy, just that I could do them. My last 6 miles were also among my fastest, with a few 9:06 minute miles stuck in there for an overall average pace of 9:23. If I can maintain that pace on race day, I'll finish in about 4:06. That would make me very, very happy.

I hope the next 19 days fly right by. I feel like a kid waiting for christmas!

Monday, April 11, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Week 2

Welcome to Week Two of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "A Song from your Childhood."

Missed last week's post? Come catch up!

All week long, I planned on featuring Supertramp's Goodbye, Stranger in this post. It was a big favorite of ours growing up and conjures up memories of sunny Sunday mornings spent hanging out barefoot on the deck enjoying chocolate milk and sunny-side-up eggs while the 'rents enjoyed their morning coffee and cigarettes. It was like a tradition, dad would break out the record (yes, RECORD) and we would hang outside for a bit before it was time to really start the day. The Breakfast in America album always reminds me of lazy Sunday mornings. (side note: How sad is it that one of my students didn't believe me when I told him that Gym Class Heroes' "Take a Look at my Girlfriend" wasn't really an original song? He thought I was making stuff up.) It was also how we learned about Kippers and Eggs. So that was going to be my song. But then this morning, I sat down to write the post on this sunny Sunday morning (85 freaking degrees, but who really needs spring, anyway?), and suddenly I realized that I was heading down the wrong path.

The song that best reminds me of childhood has to be Cool for Cats, by Squeeze. I'm really just replacing one British rock band with another. What's the difference, anyway? We had the Squeeze albums AND a Squeeze VHS tape. We watched the tape a ridiculous number of times, and Cool for Cats was, by far, the favorite. We used to absolutely rock out to that song, dancing around the living room, pretending to be those super cool girls with the awesome 70s sunglasses in the video. (Truth be told, sometimes we still do.) I think I had a pre-teen crush on Chris Difford, just because of this song.

I did manage to unearth the actual video that we used to watch (YouTube is amazing, isn't it?). You'll see the Squeeze jackets and the giant red sunglasses that we thought were just so freaking cool. The VHS tape is still around, I believe currently in the possession of little sister, but none of us even own a VCR anymore.

And OMG, I just learned that this is a Rock Band song. So what friend of mine has Rock Band and wants to have me over??

Just in case you'd like to hear the Supertramp song, here's a video of them performing it live, including some super 70s stylin'. Check out the glasses on these guys.

To give you adequate time to prepare, next week's theme will be Your Favorite Cover Song.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

Big Happy Birthday to my friend Katie! I almost didn't make it to fragments (again, what's up with that?), but I knew she'd be super disappointed if I didn't make a fragment post, and I couldn't let her down on her birthday.

Yankees are off to a nice start this year - red sox, not so much :)

First season series between the two starts today! I don't know who decided to make the start time 2:05 PM, but I'm already trying to scheme my way out of work so I can watch.

We're serious about the rivalry in our house.

If you haven't already participated in my 30 Day Song Challenge, you still have time to link up! Come on, it's going to be a good time.

We're hosting a couples Euchre night tomorrow. Can't wait! Partly because I love playing Euchre, and partly because it gives me a good excuse to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes, courtesy of Beantown Baker. They won't be nearly as pretty as hers, but I hope they'll still be tasty.

We don't need to talk about how much cookie dough I ate last night.

I've decided that my least favorite household task is unloading the dishwasher. I think that the best part of Charlie working from home is that he does 99% of the unloading.

Part of what I hate is that the tupperware and small Charlie cups always flip upside down and fill up with water. I hate getting my hands wet.

Remember Vince from Slapchop? He's being sued in a "Love Slave Scandal." Guess she didn't love his nuts.

Don't remember Vince? Check out my favorite remix.

We are three weeks and two days away from the Flying Pig Marathon! We have our last long run tomorrow, the second 20-miler. After that, we taper things off and have a nice, relaxing week leading up to the big race. The schedule even suggests that we get a massage. Lucky for me, my mom is a massage therapist.

You know what's annoying? When someone gives you a document and asks you to make edits and "pretty it up" a little bit, and you spend several hours re-designing it to match up with currently acceptable standards, and then you hand it back to them, get to a conference the next day, and they didn't use ANY of your suggestions. Even worse when your #1 suggestion was to GET RID OF THE GIANT BOLD RED COMIC SANS FONT.

Hey, 2001 called - GeoCities wants their template back.

I'm SO GLAD it's Friday! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Me and my Potty Mouth (Rated R for Language)

If you know me in Real Life, or if you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I have a slight problem with cursing too much. I knew that this was going to be an issue from the moment I saw that second pink line.

I've been trying to be good. I try really hard. I curse a lot less than I used to, for sure. But apparently it hasn't been enough of an effort.

Charlie's newest habit is to ask us to say things - "Mom, say 'cell phone tower'" or "Can you say 'grasshopper?'" I'm not really sure why, but it's probably residual from when we used to ask him to say things when he was just starting to talk. Maybe he thinks that's just what people do - walk around asking people to repeat words after them.

Last week, Charlie hung out with some of his friends while the parents went to Zootini. We picked him up around 8:30. He likes to listen to music in the car, so we had the radio on. He was singing along with whatever was on at the moment (of course, I can't remember, being that we were at Zootini that night), and then all of a sudden he stopped and said "What the fuck?"

Dead silence from me and husband C, while we exchanged "OMFG, did he really just say that?" looks.

He continued, "Mom, can you say 'what the fuck?' can you say 'what the fuck,' mom?" And what do you even say to that? I was laughing so hard I almost pissed myself. And of course I was trying not to laugh, and, more importantly, not to let him see me laugh, but it was just too much. It was awful. I'm in tears of laughter just thinking about it.

So, yeah, I guess I need to be more careful. Again.

Monday, April 4, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 1 - Your Favorite Song

Welcome to Week One of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "Your Favorite Song." No conditions, no "favorite song of the decade" or "favorite song of your childhood," just "Favorite Song." Simple enough, right? Apparently not :)

I had to do a lot of thinking on this one. There are a lot of songs that I consider to be favorites, for various reasons - because they remind me of certain times in my life, because they remind me of certain people I've known, because the lyrics speak to me. When I thought "Favorite Song," there was one that instantly popped into my head. But then I started second guessing myself - is that REALLY my favorite song? There are so many others that could hold the title. So many other songs that are in every playlist I put together. So many other bands that would probably make more sense for someone born as recently as 1981. I went back and forth all week long, trying to convince myself that there was another answer somewhere, but when it came down to it, this was the song that always started running through my head - Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road.

Sure, it was written and released before I was even born, but this is a song that I listen to over and over again and never get tired of. Springsteen is an incredibly talented songwriter, and that's not just the Jersey Girl in me talking. He writes beautiful poetry and beautiful music to accompany it, and Thunder Road is the epitome of what makes Spingsteen, Springsteen. It's got everything you could ever ask for - the emotion, the imagery, the soulfulness. Of course, it's also a song that I listened to over and over growing up (in Jersey, would you expect anything less?). When I was younger, I loved the rock and roll version. It was fun to sing along to in the car. Years and years and albums and a live concert later, and my preference has shifted toward the acoustic version of the song. Just so wonderful. So simple, but so wonderful.

So what's your favorite song?

If you want to start thinking ahead for next week, the Week 2 Song Challenge is "A Song from your Childhood."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Opening Day is upon us again, and the Yankees got off to a good start yesterday with a win. Charlie was representing the East Coast well at school, wearing his Yankee hat, jacket, and a Jeter shirt.

I hope this means spring is right around the corner. It's still cold.

Any other Top Chef fans out there? I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch the finale in real time, since I would have spoiled it for myself by reading about the outcome on the interwebs, anyway. I'm so glad Richard won! You would think Mike would have been my favorite, what with the East Coast Italian background and all, but he was just too much of a pompous ass.

I have to go and buy a new pair of running shoes at lunch today. I'm really annoyed, because I was hoping the pair I bought in January would carry me through the Flying Pig (I wanted to start running with minimalist shoes after the big race). I guess 500 miles was a little too optimistic, as we're sitting at 330+ and they're starting to lose their cushiness. Now I'm kicking myself for not snatching up a pair when they were on clearance in February, because I can't find them in my size anywhere :(

Secret Confession: A tiny part of me is almost happy that I can't find them anywhere, because they're kind of fugly. Maybe I can get ones that look a little better.

Did you hear about the Bronx Zoo Cobra that escaped her enclosure? Luckily (for the zoo visitors), they found it yesterday, but the resulting Bronx Zoo Cobra Twitter feed was pretty awesome.

My favorite Tweet:

Got a bagel at H & H Bagels on upper west side. When I ordered I said, "I'll have the snakes on a PLAIN." He did not laugh. Tough crowd.

Have you heard about the McRunner? He ate nothing but McDs for 30 days leading up to the LA Marathon. The thought of that makes my stomach turn, but he ended up running the race in 2:36, which is just under a 6 minute/mile pace. I would be puking for days.

Today is April Fool's Day. I hate April Fool's Day, always having to second guess the real intention behind offerings and announcements of happy or sad news. My co-worker is a big fan of the "holiday," though, so I'm on my guard.

Speaking of happy news, I'm going to be an aunt (again)! My little brother (who I guess isn't so little anymore, as we're all grown up now) and his girlfriend are expecting a baby in December.

New evidence on how High Fructose Corn Syrup really does affect the body in a different way than sugar. Interesting stuff. Read the full journal article or check out the quick summary on Consumerist.

If you missed it, I'm starting a 30 Day Song Challenge on my blog this Monday. Come join in!

Happy Friday!


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