Finding Rainbows in Nature: Runfessions October 2020

Between all the colorful leaves, the lakes/ponds, and grasses, it’s been easy to find my rainbows out in nature these days. Hopefully these memories will help sustain me through the long, cold, dark, dreary Winter. Or maybe I’ll find more beauty in nature this Winter; who knows?

I runfess . . .
During our 3 day power outage our generator powers a lot, but not all, of our house. The microwave, refrigerator, and toaster oven (if you move it to another plug) for instance, but not the stove.

We use a portable light for the bathroom. Because we thought those lights weren’t powered (just like the bedroom lights aren’t). We almost died laughing the day I walked into the bathroom and turned on the lights without thinking about it, and sure enough they went on. One switch. There’s another switch that powers a different light as you walk in that isn’t powered by the generator.

I runfess . . .
I actually think a mostly extended break from hard running this year actually has done my body a lot of good. It’s given me time to try to figure out what the right amount of running for me is. Still not sure, but it has helped me mostly move from “I have to run” to “I get to run“. Most days.

Move more, exercise less

I runfess . . .
I think that you’re really not going to lose a lot of fitness in 2 weeks (if you’re not laid up injured or sick). I didn’t have any DOMs when I started to run again — or lift. I’m sure all the walking/hiking I did instead of running helped, too. Don’t be so afraid to stop running every once in a while — just keep moving!

Bandit: hey, what about me?

I dogfess . . .
Last Sunday I had the dogs in the office with me while Mr. Judy made dinner. All by his lonesome. After dinner he fed Lola and Bandit some leftover steak, as he always does, and we were so happy Lola ate some. Then we sat down to watch some TV. After the first show I realized I had never actually fed poor Bandit dinner!

I runfess . . .
Apparently our hot, humid Summer was good for one thing: colorful Fall leaves. At least that’s what someone commented on a post on FB. Or maybe it was the great Fall weather we enjoyed (until now) — according to this PDF here:

The best weather for brilliant fall foliage is a growing season with ample
moisture followed by a dry, cool and sunny autumn with warm days and cool but frostless nights.

I know we’re still actually in a drought, but we haven’t had a frost — yet — and it’s been relatively sunny and dry this Fall. No matter what, all the colorful leaves makes for some happy walking, hiking, and running.

Do you think Fall has been particularly colorful this year? 

Ever felt a little running break actually helped?

Have you been finding new trails/paths to enjoy?

What do you have to runfess from October? Come join us

Runfessions

I am also linking up with:

Just Respect & Compassion

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Have you seen the memes? The ones about not living your life in fear because of Coronavirus?

This is a highly personal post, and one I put a great deal of thought into. It would be much easier to not to write this post, but in the end, I felt it was important for me to share my feelings.

Fairytales and Fitness

I am not saying you should live your life in fear; of course you should not.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.– Marie Curie

How ironic is the above quote from Marie Curie, who died from her work and her quest to understand more. In fact, her body is actually still considered to be radioactive — but I digress.

Being cautious is not the same as being afraid
Some people equate changing your life because of a virus as living in fear. Everyone has different circumstances, and everyone has different comfort levels. Don’t ever assume you know what is going on in someone else’s life unless they tell you or you ask.

Do you have loved ones with high blood pressure? Diabetes? Cancer? Maybe a combination of several of these illnesses? Ones that are also very elderly? I do. Am I afraid of infecting them? Damn right I am. It is my sincere wish that when my mom passes, it’s not after months of being in and out of the hospital/rehab like my dad, or alone because of a virus.

I am not telling you to stop living your life, but please don’t judge me because I changed my life to protect the people I love. It isn’t easy. I’d like life to be normal, too. I’d like to go on vacation, too. I would love to eat inside a restaurant and be served. I’d like to be running with a group. I’d love to go to the movies.

I’ll tell you what else I’d lovee: to see my mom enjoy the years she has left. To see my other loved ones at higher risk be healthy and have many more years ahead of them. We won’t have to live like this forever. We will, as Marie Curie said, learn more. We already have. There are already better treatments.

Like so many diseases before this, such as pneumonia, polio, and AIDs, there will eventually be vaccines or even better treatments that allow us to get back to more normal living. Until that time, though, I remain cautiously optimistic and just plain cautious.

Final Thoughts
I am not telling you how to live your life, and I appreciate you not telling me how to live mine. All I ask is that you respect my feelings, and show me (and those like me) compassion. Reach out to your friends that don’t feel comfortable getting together in groups, whatever their reasons are. It isn’t easy and it can get lonely, too.

Please, please, please show respect and compassion to those have lost loved ones to this virus. Don’t know anyone who has? I do. I know others that do, as well. I am happy that so far, knock on wood, my loved ones are safe, but there are many people who can’t say the same.

No questions today. It’s all food for thought.

1 Reason I Took a Running Break

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When should you take a break from running? I do think it does a body good once in a while. Any repetitive activity leaves you open to injury. Switching it up and giving your body a break is one way to stay injury free.

Fairytales and Fitness

Pay attention to your RHR (resting heart rate)
The line between pushing yourself and injuring yourself or burning out is so thin it’s almost invisible. This decision was easy for me, because I made it a while ago. Better to be proactive than reactive — I always tell Mr. Judy that about walking the dogs!

When it came time to actually take that break, I had already noticed an upward tick in my RHR. As far as I can deduce, Garmin averages your RHR throughout the day. So sometimes it will autocorrect the lower value a day or two later for me, when I’ve synced that day. That just means that much like a false positive test, sometimes a high RHR turns out to be a bit lower.

In my case, even allowing for time, there was a steady uptick. I actually started my running break a few days earlier than I’d planned to. I felt okay, but my body seemed to be indicating that I wasn’t recovering well. I am not a slave to data — but it’s one hint when something is coming off the rails.

In normal times, if I’d been training for a race or racing a lot as I often do in the Fall, I might have just pushed through it. Sometimes not having running goals can actually be a good thing!

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What I gained
I gained time. Running is time consuming. Making sure I fuel right, have my outfit laid out, making sure I have hydration, foam rolling, pre- and post-stretching: it all adds up. I used that time to walk more. Fall is the perfect time in the Northeast to explore and get out in nature.

Walking more allowed me to slow down. Slowing down allowed me to be more observant to everything around me. We see more on the run than we do driving in a car, right? You also see a lot more walking than you do running.

My RHR came back down into its normal range.

Final Thoughts
You may be able to run hard and many miles without taking breaks. As I wrote in You are an experiment of 1 here, every body is different. As I’ve so often mentioned, even elites take breaks from running. Sometimes long breaks. Yes, running is their job — but they are still wise enough to know that recovery is also their job.

Recovery may not be our job, but being kind to our body is.

Still struggling with whether or not it’s time for a break? Check out Embrace the Taper here for a list of my many posts on rest and recovery.

Are you afraid of losing running fitness if you stop running?

When was the last time you voluntarily took a break from running?

When was the last time you were forced to take a break from running due to illness or injury?

The one with dogs, rabbits, & cows: Tea/coffee Date October 2020

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Pull up a chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me and a bunch of bloggers for the ultimate coffee tea date: I’ll be talking mostly about animals. Wild and domestic!

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If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you I’m happy that the two stroller gals I often see on the sidewalk can get together, but at the same time, they take up the entire sidewalk. Sometimes more than the entire sidewalk as one will angle her stroller towards the street as they’re chatting and wrapping up their stroll.

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If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
Then there was the guy (same sidewalk) walking a Doberman. I have absolutely nothing against Dobermans — any dog, really — it’s all about the training — and this dog clearly had none. His owner’s “he won’t bother you” was so far from the truth as the dog was lunging toward me.

Then recently one of our neighbors was walking her small dog on a flexi leash (the ones that can extend — I hate those things!). The owner was engrossed in her phone. The dog had almost tripped me up before the owner noticed that she’d extended the leash like 6 feet and gotten underfoot. At least she was extremely apologetic.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell we’ve been enjoying the West Wing again on Netflix, and I had pretty much forgotten the long list of celebrities who made guest appearances on it:

  • Laura Dern
  • Christain Slater
  • Mark Harmon
  • Marlee Maitlin
  • Mary Louise Parker
  • Matthew Modine

And many more. You can always tell a popular show by the quality of its guest stars!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you I saw a recommendation for the Almond Cow (you can buy it here — no affiliation!), which led me down the rabbit hole of looking at nut milk makers. I was leaning towards asking for one for our anniversary, even though we’re planning to buy a toaster oven/air fryer.

I like to do my due diligence, though. As I was looking at cheaper models, and reading reviews, I came across one that said that she thought making it in her Vitamix actually made a creamier almond milk. I guess I’m finally going to try to make nut milk in my Vitamix!

These are actually still standing (front yard) but you can see they were nibbled on before we moved them

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
. . . remember those black eyed susans I was worried about on our last coffee/tea date? Oh, the rabbits took care of that problem. Well, Mr. Judy thinks it was the rabbits. He moved one of the plants, which seems to be hanging on, but the other two were completely taken out.

He did research that says rabbits love black eyed susans. My research had the same results as my research on whether or not they were toxic to dogs: some places said rabbits will eat them, others said rabbits won’t. All I know is something ate them.

Have any dog friendly garden flowers you love (that rabbits don’t eat)?

Do you ever rewatch older shows? We actually don’t much (well, Mr. Judy does all the time), but we had come to an impasse on what to watch. I’m really enjoying being able to watch the West Wing without having to wait a week (or weeks) between episodes).

Ever have a “run-in” with a neighborhood dog? 

I am also linking up with:

I am also linking up with the  Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness from Fairytales & Fitness.

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Summer of Hamilton: Runfessions September 2020

Philip Schuyler’s summer home (yup, the Hamiltons spent time there)

Sometimes when I fall, I fall hard! It was all Hamilton, all the time this Summer. Watching the movie like five times. Listening to the soundtrack. Visiting the Schuyler Summer home. Reading Hamilton: The Revolution. Then rereading Gore Vidal’s Burr, which I read a lot as a kid — which is surprising, it was kind of dry reading it as an adult! Interesting, though. Then starting to reread My Dear Hamilton, which I read a couple of Summers ago.

I runfess . . .
We are rewatching the West Wing at the moment. We’re into season three (well, four, now). I’d been watching for the episode with the “mind at work” quote. Lin Manuel Miranda wrote an entire song based on that quote from the show. I thought I’d missed it early on but no! It’s season 3, episode 18 (if you’re curious). I was so excited when I finally heard it. Mr. Judy didn’t quite catch my excitement.

Then the next episode they talked about the Vice President being the craziest VP since Aaron Burr, who shot Hamilton, obviously. We were both highly amused by that. We seem to find Hamilton references everywhere now.

It lasts so much longer in some water!

I runfess . . .
I know that sticking asparagus into water is supposed to keep it fresher longer (did you?), but I never did it. Until this Summer. Guess what? Yup, it stays fresh much longer that way! Why do we resist things?

I runfess . . .
About a month or so I had a very small stye on my eye. They’re usually created from stress. I didn’t feel overly stressed (the last one I had was right about the time Chester passed, and then for sure I was stressed).

There really is no treatment. You can use hot compresses. You shouldn’t wear contacts. Which is why I’m wearing my glasses in one of my Yoga videos (that & the fact that I couldn’t see my whiteboard wearing nothing).

I runfess that I did wear my contacts when I went to visit my mom — then I didn’t want to have to wear glasses all day. And I ran a time or two with just one contact in . . .probably would’ve cleared if more quickly if I hadn’t worn contacts (oh vanity!).

I runfess . . .
Right about the time I had the stye I ordered new contacts. I ordered about 6 months worth. Then the next day I ordered another 6 months worth, mainly because I didn’t want to go to the eye doctor and if I waited too long I would’ve had to. I’m good on contacts for at least a year now.

I runfess . . .
I finally broke up with nasal breathing. A month or so ago. At least temporarily. I actually have someone to contact about it . . . but after months of giving it my best, in the heat I found it almost impossible to do without slowing down to a crawl.

I don’t really care about the pace, but that means longer runs — not at all what I wanted in high heat & humidity.

The other reason was that one of the purposes was to get you into the flow state, only it actually made me feel worse. So we’ll see, maybe I’ll do a consultation, or maybe I’ll revisit it when it’s consistently cooler. I’m enjoying my runs much more. Or maybe that’s just the Fall weather!

What was the last movie/show/book that really caught your interest? 

Discovered any kitchen hacks with being home more?

What have you been resisting lately?

What do you have to runfess from September? Come join us

Runfessions

I am also linking up with:

I Started It: a 40 Day Kriya

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Kriya is a Sanskrit term. Essentially it’s a set of exercises to help move energy throughout the body. Although there is some resemblance to “normal” Yoga asana, it’s quite different too.

Fairytales and Fitness

I am definitely no expert in either Kriyas or Kundalini Yoga, which is the type of Yoga Kriyas are often associated with. I have dabbled a bit, though, taken a course here and there and read a few books. So I am not doing a deep dive here — if your interest is piqued, I will point you to my teacher, Brett Larkin. She has a YouTube channel here (just search Kundalini), and also an app which is amazing, but not free.

Often when you start a Kriya, you do the same set of exercises for 40 days. The exact same exercises in the the exact same order. I did one last December I think. I haven’t done another one since then . . . until the other day when on a whim I picked up one of my books and just did one. I did it the next day, and the next . . .

According to the “rules”, if you skip a day, you have to go back and start from day one until you complete forty days straight. Many Kundalini practitioners practice in the morning — for the same reason many runners run in the morning. Get it done before the day gets away from you!

So it’s sort of like a run streak, except that there are consequences if you skip a day — unlike a run streak, which you can break at any time. Of course you could just stop doing your Kriya; I don’t think you’d be struck down by lightning or anything.

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That’s all my AM Yoga that you see on my weekly run downs!

Kundalini is different
There are many different types of Yoga. Kundalini was shrouded in mystery for centuries. There were few books, and of course way back when no Internet. Generally it was passed down from Guru (teacher) to student. In fact, for thousands of years that’s how all Yoga was taught.

Now we do have Internet, and the veils have been pulled aside. In Kundalini Yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation are all bundled up together. “Regular” Yoga, for instance, has you practice asana, then pranayama, then meditation. Kundalini may have you do asana, pranayama, and meditation all in one pose.

Many poses have movement in them, or involve holding your legs or arms up for fairly long periods of time. It can be very challenging physically, and sometimes triggering mentally. It can also help tone your body all over — especially in areas we don’t get to as much as we should, like our core, lower back, and hamstrings.

Why am I doing a 40 day Kriya?
I didn’t really have that intention when I picked up my book. I guess my intuition guided me to try something different. You can practice Kundalini Yoga without doing a 40 Day Kriya.

I settled on a Kriya for energy. Because I feel as though I’m always lacking energy. You know what? I definitely felt better after I practiced that particular Kriya! That’s why I decided to just keep going with it.

My teacher advises not judging a Kundalini pose/Kriya on how you feel during, but how you feel after (sound familiar, runners?).

Final Thoughts
I don’t really recommend that you just search YouTube for Kundalini videos. You can trust Brett’s videos.

Committing to something — much like running a long distance race — can give you such a sense of accomplishment when you finish. Some days you’ll be excited and some days you really won’t want to do it, but in the end, you just know that you’re going to come away a changed person — in a good way.

Does this just sound really bizarre to you or interesting?

When have you committed to doing something for some amount of time (not running!)?

What did you gain from that commitment?

Playing Cards for Running

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Did you know that there are card decks for all sorts of topics? Yes, I have a few different card decks for Yoga. I have a couple for positive affirmations. Imagine my surprise, though, when I went looking for running card decks and came up empty.

Fairytales and Fitness

So I decided to just make a few running cards. Not a whole deck (maybe someday?), but just a few. Feel free to right click (PC) and save them if you want.

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If you run, you’re a runner
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Celebrate every finish line!
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Find the good in every run/race
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Smile! Your run will feel easier!
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Will run for chocolate!

Enjoy!

Running isn’t always serious!
It’s always good to put a little fun into our running — and into our days! If you had a whole deck, you could pick a card at random every day. Maybe we need a famous runner deck with short bios? That would actually be a fun project.

Do you have any fun decks of cards you use?

What quote would you like on a running card?

How do you put the fun in your running?

Best Swag of 2020!: Tea/coffee Date September 2020

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Pull up a chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me and a bunch of bloggers for the ultimate coffee tea date: My mug was way overdue for an update!

Best swag of 2020 so far

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I would share with you again the cool mug I earned by four hot, sweaty, buggy trail runs in July. Well, three, I caved on the last one because they were mostly so miserable and just folded it into a long run. I do love this mug though, so it’s my new Ultimate “Coffee” mascot.

Do they stay or do they go?

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you that this house was supposed to a be temporary home. It was a temporary appointment for Mr. Judy. That was 12 years ago (he still has 5 years to go to match our temporary move to TX). Landscaping wasn’t a big priority at first, but with all the time at home in 2020 we are trying a little harder. We’ll see what survives Winter.

I’m usually good at looking up which plants are toxic to dogs before we buy, but I didn’t do that with the Black Eye’d Susans. I’m seeing conflicting info. What to do? However, as I was researching that, I did find out that the Aloe plant I bought a few months ago is most definitely highly toxic to dogs. Which is weird, because aloe gel can be very soothing for them. It’s been moved.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you we’re moving into Fall, which means Winter is coming (we watched Game of Thrones this Summer), which means getting in movement is harder and harder.

I’ve finally been motivated to get in some more movement to my days — some days. More solo walks. More walking on my side trips to my mom. I balance that out with some rest days, too, because I know I need that. I don’t have much longer to easily get in that extra movement — not sure why I waited so long.

Oh yeah, hot, humid, buggy Summer!

We have a sunflower “field” in our own neighborhood!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell we’ve been watching these flowers grow all Summer. They tilled 3 rows outside their fenced in yard, which seemed weird. It kind of looks like flowers with herbs planted between rows of flowers. Did they just not want their dogs to eat the flowers? Inquiring minds want to know!

Flowers & herbs?

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you that you already know that I’m constantly losing things. Constantly. Little things. Big things. This one might be the biggest one yet: an entire sheet set.

I’ve been chipping away at the house all year, decluttering, reorganizing . . . and every time I reorganize it seems I can’t remember where I reorganized things. The sheet set was in a different laundry bag. Thanks to running, I have a ton of “laundry bags”.

Have you been ramping it up in Summer, or waiting for cooler days?

Ever had a temporary home that lasted for years? 

Do you use those bags we get as swag as laundry bags? What do you use them for?

I am also linking up with:

I am also linking up with the  Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness from Fairytales & Fitness.

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Running in a Face Shield: Runfessions August 2020

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Ok, no, I’m not running in a face shield. It’s just one of the weird thoughts I had on the run — you’ll have to read on to see what that’s all about. Oh, and have you seen the clear face masks? You can buy them here, btw.  They seem weird and it also seems as if droplets would get out the sides. The things we’ve had to learn this year!

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Bring on Fall . . . Running?

I runfess . . .
I am not sorry to see Summer go. Or I won’t be when it’s finally gone for good. It was a hot, humid, buggy, sweaty mess for much of the summer. Fall is usually my time for #alltheshortlocalraces though. Will I miss them? Or will I just get to enjoy running again?

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Winter — you can stay away! I know that’s not happening, but a girl can dream. Not long after I wrote the above, we began to have mostly Fall-like weather. I do runfess I’m a bit sad that I know that skirt season is coming to a close. Except — the skirt will go on. Did you hear the news? See the graphic above!

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I runfess . . .
I sometimes have the weirdest thoughts on runs. Like thinking I really needed to run in a face shield. No, not because of COVID, because of the damn bugs!

When that clump of leaves is further away . . . it could be a rabbit!

I runfess . . .
My eyesight can’t be corrected to 20-20 even with contacts/glasses. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a clump of leaves ahead of me and thought it was an animal.

I runfess . . .
It’s amazing how many clothes changes I go through some days in the Summer. One outfit to walk the dogs. One outfit to run. Another just kickin’ around at home. Another to film a video. Maybe even changing my top if I end up filming more than one video. Sometimes all on the same day!

I runfess . . .
I am lucky I can often move runs around to go with the better weather. Every time I do my long run on Friday (or Thursday like last week!), I feel as though the weekend started the next day — even when it obviously doesn’t. It totally messes up my sense of days. I further runfess that the linkups actually help me to remember what day it is.

Would you wear a clear mask? 

Does doing your long run on a different day mess you up in some way?

What are you looking forward to in September?

What do you have to runfess from August? Come join us

Runfessions

I am also linking up with:

Finding Good Even in Pandemics

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We can all agree that 2020 has been “interesting”, right? And by interesting I mean the gift that keeps on giving — not in a good way. Or is it?

Of course there is just so much about 2020 to hatedislike, to want to move past, to want to forget. I often spend time thinking about how I can make people feel better with a blog post — if only for a little while. Here’s my rundown of some good things to come out of 2020.

Fairytales and Fitness

Less time on the road
Since I wasn’t working outside the house, I already drove much less than most people. Which is why my car is 20+ years old. For many months I didn’t take Lola to the vet, but now we’re back to regular visits.

I go grocery shopping about once a month (the rest is delivery). Dinner “out” is usually delivery. I spent months not visiting my mom, and I’m back at it twice a month, but unless they start letting us inside, that will come to a halt as it gets cold.

I rarely drive to run these days. Well, you get the picture. It saves wear and tear on the car, saves money on gas, and it helps lower pollution. If you’ve seen those photos of heavily polluted cities — the difference is astounding.

Getting stronger
I wrote my thoughts about why strength training is important here. Ironically I also chose Strong as my word for the year (se why here). It’s still totally appropriate for 2020, for many of the same reasons — although at the same time things changed, too.

I have made the personal choice to run less — some choose to run more, to each their own. With less running I have more time to cross train and strength train, and there is less stress in an already stressful year.

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More time on the phone, more Zooming — who would have ever guessed my mom would Zoom (with a lot of help)

More time with family
Well, more time with Mr. Judy. Not so much with my family. I know some families have had much more time together though. The reason sucks, but spending time connecting is a very good thing in our unconnected world.

Getting creative about get togethers — and other stuff!
I will admit I haven’t been that creative about get togethers, but some people really have! Where there’s a will, there’s a way, as they say. It’s also amazing to see how creative some companies are.

Speaking of getting creative, how about those Blogger Zoom calls?
It was fun to put voices with faces of people you haven’t met. I’ve met some bloggers, but I haven’t been able to make any of the big blogger meetups, so that was nice.

How have you gotten creative this Summer?

Do you feel you’ve gotten closer to your family?

What good can you find in 2020?