Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Happenings

I have lots of random thoughts going through my mind today.   Therefore, I will be sharing them with you.

1. Happy Halloween! I hope you get to eat your favorite candy today! I want some Reese's!

2.  My apartment complex has a new unwelcome visitor.  A skunk.  I've seen him at least 5 times.  The last time I saw him was when I pulled into my parking spot and he was just hanging out between my car and the door.  So I had to hang out in my car to he moseyed about 30 ft away.  Then I sprinted to my door.  Thankfully it was raining and so he didn't hear me.

3.  Now every time I leave my apartment I try to look out the window to see if he is there.  I am so afraid of getting sprayed by a skunk!

4. My brother celebrated his 22nd on the 21st of October. Check out this awesome cake my mom and I made him.  (Okay, all I did was write the stuff on top)

5.  I going to sign up today for the Illinois Marathon and Half-Marathon in Champaign before the price increase at midnight.  I can't decide if I should sign up for the marathon or half-marathon.  And I can't believe I am typing this to all the internet, but I am thinking about doing a full Ironman in 2014 and would like to do a full marathon before then.

6. Someone tell me if I should sign up for the marathon.

7.  Okay somebody slap me.  I'm obviously loosing my mind according to number 5.

8.  I made queso dip for my coworkers.  It was really delicious and just a little bit spicy.  I don't think I've ever made queso before.  They think I'm like this really great cook/baker but all I did was throw a bunch of stuff together in a crock pot and loosely followed a recipe.

9.  I made some butternut squash gnocchi from this Iowa Girl Eat's recipe.  The dough was so sticky so I keep adding more and more flour then I ran out of white flour and had to switch to whole wheat.  I guess that's why mine turned out so brown compared to Kristin's bright orange ones?

Regardless, they were still pretty delicious.

10.  This is how you heat up a bun in your car.  Turn on the defrost.

It was nice and toasty after about 5 minutes.

11. Sending my thoughts and prayers to those on the East Coast and everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thriller in Schiller and the rest of Sunday

After book club on  Saturday I headed home to finish up my costume for the race in the morning.  The Thriller in Schiller was a 5k trail race in Schiller Woods.

Can you guess what my costume is?

A replacement referee!  Why yes, I am still a bit bitter about that poor call at the end of the Packers-Seahawks game.

I ran with a few of my new blogger friends - Lindsay, Kelsey, Emily, and Katie.  

Three coneheads and a runaway bride.  

Also, I held Katie's bouquet while she tied her shoe (or something like that I can't exactly remember) and she said I was her maid of honor.  Obviously I am now the best maid of honor ever! 

When I signed up for this race, I had no idea how much of a trail race it would be.  I ran the run portion of my first triathlon on a trail and so I expected a defined path through some trees.  But this was more of a random path through trees with leaves and branches on the running path.  We had to climb over several fallen trees crossing the path and go under lots of low hanging branches. 

We even had to cross a creek!

We ran as a group for the whole race but it was pretty slow near the obstacles.  We finished with the speed demon time of 37:10.  Record breaking! 

Even though it was different than I expected it was still a great race! There was a small number of runners which I always enjoy in a race and we got a great glass to add to my race glass collection.

I'm thinking about doing the Schiller Chiller in December now!  It will probably be freezing cold by then and the snow could add another exciting element to that race!

After the race, I headed back towards the northwest suburbs to meet Amy for a bike ride.  I've been reading Amy's blog for several months and we finally had the chance to meet up.  It was a little chilly for a bike ride, but once we were moving I wasn't too cold.  By the end my fingers and toes were a little numb, but I was glad I was able to squeeze in another ride before it's too cold for me to ride.  And it was great to finally meet Amy in person!  

Yay for new friends!

After the bike ride, I stopped by the library to pick up the next book for book club The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz.  I even managed to cast my early ballot for the upcoming election.  Now I can tell everyone on Facebook to not post anymore negative political statuses because I already voted.  If only I could figure out a way to get them to actually listen to me. 

This method didn't seem to work for me.

Darn.  This was my first time voting as an Illinois resident so that was exciting.  I will be very happy when the election is over, mostly so we can get back to normal commercials on tv.  I will encourage everyone to vote in the upcoming election! But that is as political as I will get here on the blog.  

Peace out.

Edited to add: Thanks to Lindsay, Kelsey and the Muddy Monk facebook page for the pictures 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Blogger Book Club October - Dark Places

This was the second month I was able to attend blogger book club and again I had a blast.  Diana hosted for October in Oak Park so I made the trek down there for the afternoon.  Oak Park seems like a great neighborhood and I saw a lot of people out walking and running on my drive through.

The food was delicious once again.  Some of my favorites were this great Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa (made by Christina) and a Maple Butternut Squash & Apple Casserole (made by Jeni), but everything was else was delicious too.  

This month, we read Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.


Dark Places is a mystery thriller type of novel and towards the end definitely kept me on the edge of my seat.  Libby Day is the survivor of a murder that left her mother and two older sisters dead.  With the help of some convincing from the police and psychiatrist she fingers her older brother Ben, then age 15, as the murderer.  The story is told from the perspective of Libby 25 years after the murder along with Ben's and her mother's perspective from the day of the murder 25 years ago.  Ben and Patti (the mother) progress the story closer to the time of the murder while Libby digs up more information leading her closer to the truth of what happened that night.  With the help of the Kill Club (a group that researches unsolved murders), Libby hunts down people from her past to learn the full story of her life back then.

Gillian Flynn does an excellent job of foreshadowing without giving away the ending. I found myself saying as the book was concluding, "Oh that's why she mentioned XYZ there." The ending will definitely surprise and disturb you.  I wasn't a huge fan of the characters in this book, but I feel like that was part of the author's ploy.  The author definitely has a dark perspective and this is an unusual book to read in that aspect.  But I am looking forward to reading the author's other books, Sharp Objects and Gone Girl.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tomato Soup

My family was always a Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup kinda gang.  I'm not sure if we ever had the tomato soup version.  I vaguely remember someone complaining that tomato soup tasted like watered down ketchup.  If this one anyone in my family, it was most certainly my dad.

The first time I remember trying tomato soup was when I was babysitting at 13.  I really didn't even know how to make soup back then.  It was paired with grilled cheese.  Probably the most classic soup pairing ever. Campbell's, however, is less than impressive.  And I can understand how it would remind someone of watery ketchup.

Through the years, I've tried some much more tasty options.  Progresso makes a good version of tomato basil and MiaZa's had a great version.  But as with most things, none of these things compare with the homemade version.

I made this version about a week ago.  I froze half of the recipe and it still fed me four times! And it does perfectly pair with a gooey grilled cheese!

The ingredients list is a little long but it is very worth it.

The stars of the show are garden tomatoes stolen from my mom.  

The vegetables are all sauteed with a bit of olive oil.   

It took about 15 minutes to cook all of the vegetables since I had a lot.

Once the veggies are cooked down, add in some chicken broth to give the soup some flavor.

I used 8 cups of tomatoes that I had already boiled and removed the peels from.  

I also added in the rest of my sad looking basil that I pulled from plant.  While I was out there I also gathered some rosemary and oregano.  

Let all those spices marinate and simmer for 40 minutes.  

Now comes the tricky part. Pureeing the soup.  If you like your soup chunky, you could just leave it at this stage but I prefer my tomato soup smooth and creamy.  

Hot soup is hard to blend because it is creating a lot of steam and wants to pop the lid of the blender.  And threatens to splatter everywhere.  So start with a very small amount.  I used about 2 cups in my 8 cup blender.  I transferred my soup from the blender into another container to make sure all the soup went through the blender before transferring the pureed soup back into the pot.  

Tomato soup was splattering everywhere during this process, but it was still worth it.  

To give the soup a little more creaminess, I added about 1 cup of milk (almond because that is all I had).

Serve with a little cracked pepper and a gooey grilled cheese!

Make sure to refill your bowl at least once, minimum.  

Tomato Soup

1 leek
1 shallot
1/2 red onion
1 bell pepper
1 jalapeno
1 other hot pepper (I don't know what kind this is, my dad gave it to me!)
3 cloves garlic
Olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
8 cups tomatoes, boiled and peels removed
basil and herbs, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 cup milk or cream

Chop first 7 ingredients and add to large pot.  Add enough olive oil to saute.  Saute till vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer approximately 40 minutes.  Puree soup and return to pot.  Add in milk or cream.

Serves 8.

Next time I make this I would also consider adding carrots and celery.  Carrots will add a nice sweetness and I enjoy the taste of celery in things.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Remember that time...[ahhh! my finger]

I hate writing titles of these posts because I don't want to give away the whole story but I need a title that is leading enough to remind me of the story when I'm looking at the titles later.  It's really hard to recall the memories I've already written about and which ones I haven't.  I should keep a list, and I did start one in fact, but then I misplaced it.  Figures.  So know every time I go to write one of these posts, I have to look back through my archives.

This memory is a great example of my over-reactive tendencies, but I swear it was still very traumatic.

Remember that time when...I was arguing with my mom in the kitchen about something petty.  Possibly the argument was about the fact that she was burning dinner or having cake for breakfast again.  Or something equally unimportant.  But really Mom, stop eating cake for breakfast.  

I get my very animated talking skills from my mom.  I know this because as we were heatedly discussing our issue she was waving her hands around trying to make her point.  And I was waving my hands around as well.  I was very unprepared for this argument though.

See my mom came prepared with a steak knife.  And like the saying, "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight", don't bring your hand to a knife fight.

As the conversation started picking up speed so did the knife waving.

And before I knew it, the knife was in my finger.  MY OWN MOM STABBED ME! I started freaking out and crying before I realized that the "stab" was more of a poke and the cut was only about an 1/8 inch wide. But that is beside the point, my own mother stabbed me!  The betrayal!

To this day, my brother and I still bring this up to my mom.

"Yeah, well, at least I didn't stab my own child."

Seriously, it was a traumatic experience.  I thought she cut my finger off.  But I'm happy to report that I have full functionality in my finger.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend with my parents

Last weekend my parents came to visit.  It’s been quite a while since their last visit probably almost a year.  When I have visitors, I like to have some activities planned to keep us occupied and that way I get to go out and explore more of the area. 

Although my mom told me they would be arriving by 11, as in typical my mom fashion, they arrived almost an hour late.  Then she tried to blame it on my dad, of course I saw right through that.  We still had time to catch the tail end of the Arlington Heights farmer’s market.  We snacked on some muffins while we bought enough vegetables to feed me for a weeks (no really, there are still some remaining in my fridge). 

I had something planned for Sunday, but we were still looking for something to do on Saturday night.  After some internet searching and debating, I purchased the three of us tickets to an improv show at Laugh Out Loud Theater at Woodfield.  Since it was still pretty early in the afternoon, we headed out to do some shopping first.  My dad requested we go to Marshall’s because he needed new sweatshirts.  With hundreds of stores at our disposal and we chose to go to Marshall’s. I know.  But they have very affordable stuff and I honestly don’t care what I look like at work.  I got an awesome pair of tall brown boots!  We still had some time to waste, so we walked around Woodfield Mall for awhile.  Why is that place always so crowded?

The show we went to was entertaining.  Unfortunately we got tickets to the early show which is the “family friendly” show.  There were quite a few young kids attending so everything was kept very PG.  It was still funny and there was quite a bit of audience involvement.  I would definitely like to go back sometime to see the later show. 

Sunday was the big day to go to the Chicago Botanic Garden.  The weather turned out to be beautiful.  It was a little bit on the chilly side but the sun was shining and as long as we were walking, we stayed warm.

I took about 100 photos, but I won’t bore you with them all!  Although the gardens were gorgeous.  We spent several hours at the gardens and didn't even see all of the grounds.

In the fruit and vegetable garden area, they were hosting a Food Network cooking demonstration with Chef Nell Funk.  Nell made a great vegetable stew from lots of fresh produce she bought at the farmer’s market the day before.  The stew had a great bunch of vegetables including butternut squash, sweet potato, tomatoes, onions, and leeks, and was served over rice.  At the end of the presentation, we each received a sample and a canvas bag with several freebies-magazine, dish soap samples, and a coupon for a free Minute Rice.  I will definitely be trying out a version of this stew this fall. 
We walked around the fruit and vegetable gardens for a while after the presentation.  One of the great things about the garden was they had a lot of informational signs up about how to care for your own garden and interesting facts about the produce. 
Their gardens still some excellent looking produce including this ginormous tomato.
The fruit and vegetable gardens were one of my favorite gardens. 
We also walked through the waterfall gardens.  I’m unsure of how many waterfalls there were in total, but some of them were quite impressive.
I have a feeling that going to the Botanic Garden at different times of the year would result in a different experience each time as things come into and go out of season. 
The flowers were absolutely gorgeous and I enjoyed walking the grounds. 
I loved that many of the exhibits were educational in nature like this vertical garden.
My parents both said they enjoyed the gardens as well.
I can’t wait till I am able to go back and explore more of the exhibits.

It was getting pretty late in the afternoon and my parent’s were getting eager to get back on the road to get back home.  Apparently they don’t like my method of leaving super late and getting home at 11 pm and collapsing into bed without unpacking anything.  But we did squeeze in one last meal at Lou Malnati’s.  I really enjoy a Chicago style pizza but only ever enjoy it when I have company.  We ordered a medium pizza and a salad for the three of us and I had leftovers for two days.  Sweet!

It was a great weekend with great company.  I love having my parent’s visit and can’t wait till they come back again. 

Do you have any great activities for your visitors?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How to answer the annoying question

At each wedding I went to this summer (6 in total, although we were invited to over a dozen*), I was asked at least once the age-old boring question, "So when are you getting married/engaged?"  Or some similar version of this inquiry.

Attention those who ask this: This is the most annoying question ever!  

If you've been with your partner for any length of time, people seemed compelled to ask you this.  I know from personal experience and because I've seen it happen to other people.  Other friends that are or have been in long-term relationships also griped about this question. - Congratulations on sleeping with the same person for the rest of eternity

In full disclosure, I must admit that I, too, have asked this question.  I'd like to think that I've only ask this question in situations where we were speaking candidly about relationships, but that's unlikely.

I often wonder what people really expect me to say when they ask this question.  Oh, in six months.  And do people really plan that out in advance? Like, We will be getting engaged in September of 2012.  Really?!  When someone wants the real answer to the question, I am usually willing to talk about the difficulties of being in a long-term relationship with no plans to stop (heck, I wrote a whole post on it and could write more), but I don't have a short answer. - I'd love to attend your wedding if it wasn't going to put overwhelming pressure on me to have my own.

So if this situation applies for you and you're running out of answers to these questions, I have a solution for you.  I've come up with this super awesome list of responses.  I wish I could say I've exercised each one of these responses, but most I've just said in my own mind.

So get your full snark on and prepare to blow people away with your smarta** remarks.
  1. Never. *laugh hysterically* Or don't laugh at all, an equally good answer.
  2. Oh, didn't you know? I'm already married.  We eloped in Vegas 6 months ago.  Best to have a big ole' fake rock on your hand to say this one.
  3. Why buy the cow, when you get the milk for free! I realize this makes much more sense for a male to say, but it is still funny.
  4. When we have kids.  The Farmer's personal favorite.  To which I respond, And that's not happening.
  5. When are you getting engaged?  Works very well with the male folk and they usually just respond Good point.  
  6. Why ruin a good thing? Would recommend this one on somebody who is recently married.
  7. Actually we broke up.  So I guess it won't be anytime soon.  Great for weddings you are attending without your partner.
  8. When getting married isn't a fad anymore. This is a typical Alyssa non-conformist answer.
  9. When you stop asking me. 
  10. None of your damn business. - The secret to a successful marriage is to let other people do it.

Now these won't help you in every situation, but I think they will be a great start for you.  I will share a recent run-in of the Farmer's with you.

A month ago, we were attending a the wedding of the Farmer's fraternity brother.  Now, there are at least 3 men from his pledge class who are soon-to-be fathers and probably a half a dozen more who are newly married or engaged.  It's like they believe the first thing they must do out of college is get married.  I don't get it.  

The morning after the wedding, many of the wedding guests were enjoying breakfast at the hotel's buffet.  Some were more perky than others that morning (read: some were hungover).  The Farmer went over to chat with some friends that he hadn't had a chance to talk with the night before.  Of course, someone inevitably asked, "So when are you tying the knot?" I'm not quite sure what the Farmer responded, but I sure hope it was from the list above.  

Then this someone (we will call him Mark, for simplicity), shot back, "Well I can hear you every where you go?"

The Farmer, confused, quizzically responded, "Huh?"

Mark with much too much snark of his own, "Yeah, the sound of you dragging your feet." 

The Farmer was so stunned that he couldn't even think of a comeback.  It's probably a good thing that I wasn't with him at the time because I can think of a few good comebacks but they aren't very nice. Including, "Well not everyone needs to rush to get engaged after they've only been dating for a year." But that would not have gone over well and the Farmer would probably have been upset with me.  

The good point to this story is that I remembered a long time ago (like sophomore year of college), making a bet with Mark about who would get engaged first.  He, of course, said it would be me and I said it would be him.  Well guess who happens to be engaged.  Obviously, not me, so that leaves Mark.  I think we bet $20 on this. The next time I see him and he asks that annoying question, I'll just remind him that he owes me $20 and at least I will feel better. 

End anecdote.

If this post applies to you, first off, my sympathy.  Second, I have good news.  Your friends will eventually tire of asking you this question, especially if you respond with awesome sarcasm.  Of course, the questions will probably never end till you actually get engaged or married, but the volume will decrease.

And if you are one of those people that ask this rude, intrusive question, STOP!

*If this makes me a bad friend/person, so be it.  It was exhausting travelling almost every weekend for 3 months for races, weddings, and family events, not to mention expensive.  Especially exhausting, when I was training for my half Ironman for most of the time.  So if I skipped your wedding I'm sorry.  But most of the ones I skipped were friends of the Farmer's, so I don't feel too bad. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blogger Book Club

Two weekends ago I attended my first book club meeting!  The book club is a bunch of Chicago Healthy Living bloggers I met through the facebook group.  (Check it out if you are a local blogger!)  I've never participated in a book club before and I really enjoyed this one.  This was the second meeting (but the first I could attend) of the book club and it was nice to meet a great group of women.

The book chosen for this month was MWF seeking BFF: my yearlong search for a new best friend.  The author, Rachel Bertsche, documents her story of 52 friend dates, one per week for a year. Bertsche moved to Chicago with her new husband after being born and raised in New York.  She quickly realizes that although she loves living with her new husband, she doesn't have any local best friends.  Through many interesting and not-so-ordinary friend dates, from meeting friends at yoga class to paying for a friend date!

This book is very applicable to my life currently.  It has definitely been a struggle to find new friends since moving to the Chicago area.  I love and miss my old friends dearly, but talking on the phone and seeing someone only a few times a year is not the same as meeting up with someone for dinner on the weekend.  Bertsche gives a few tips for meeting a new close friend including reaching out to everyone you know and setting up dates.  And  also you need to follow through with suggestion, "We should meet up again sometime."  The author also signed up for different classes to meet people which I think is a great idea.

Bertsche shared interesting research on friendship--having friends helps one live longer and women are more likely to need friends than men.  

I would definitely recommend this book to someone who is going through a similar situation.  If nothing else it reminds the reader that she is not alone in the friendship search and searching for a friend is nothing to be ashamed of!

I spent several hours chatting with other bloggers at the book club and hope I can convert some of these ladies into friends!

(pictures stolen from Kelsey

Friend date sometime soon?

I can't wait till next month's book club!

Have you struggled to make friends after a move?  
What are your tips for making new friends?

Friday, October 5, 2012

October Goals

I feel like time moves differently now that I am working full-time and no longer in school.  Before the year was broken up with many breaks--Thanksgiving break, long holiday break, spring break, and of course, the whole summer's off thing.  Now, I consider myself lucky to get a three day weekend.  I think that's why it feels like time moves more quickly now.  Summer passed by in a blink of an eye and now September is gone as well.

I think tomorrow I am going to wake up and it will be 2013.

All that to say, it's time to recap the September goals and lay out the October goals!

Goal 1.  Strength train 3 times a week.   CHECK!

I've been going back through my workouts from Best Body Bootcamp and they have been working my muscles! It's also been helping me get my butt to the gym! 

Goal 2.  Clean apartment weekly.   CHECK!

The weekly cleaning marathon usually happened on Saturday, but the apartment was cleaned every week.  I've been trying to make more of an effort to do a little bit of cleaning during the week as well.  That way the tasks don't become overwhelming.  I'm still amazed that I can make so many dishes in one day though!

Goal 3.  Floss regularly.  well....

I can't say I've been flossing every day, but I have been flossing much more often.  Honestly, before I only flossed when I had something stuck in my teeth or the week leading up to a dentist appointment.  So really, any flossing would have been an improvement.  I've been leaving the floss on the bathroom counter so I always see it when I brush my teeth.  The visual reminder helped me because I don't really think about flossing usually.

Goal 4.  Compete in one more triathlon. CHECK!

Finished Iowa's Best Dam Triathlon on September 16! Even if it was super hard, it was a great way to round out the triathlon year.  Now I am enjoying the off-season by doing strength training and taking different classes at the gym.  I'm already thinking about what I want to do next year!

3 out of 4 ain't bad.

Now onto the goals for October!

Goal 1. Budget, budget, budget. And follow that budget.

I did this for several months in a row and the beginning of the year, but then I stopped.  It's likely that I put the kabosh on the budgeting because I wanted to go on a Target shopping binge.  But as much as I hate to admit it, Christmas will be here before I know it so I should start saving up now.  The Farmer and I are also thinking about a ski vacation this winter and this time I would like to not stay in the dumpiest cheapest hotel I can find.  Savings mode.

Goal 2.  Try a new class at the gym.

Last time I made this goal, it took me 6 months to make it happen.  This time I have approximately 26 days.  I would like to try out a yoga, Pilates, or barre class.  Now that I am not training for any races, I have no excuse not to try something else!

Goal 4. Send cards to 4 friends.  

Getting mail is a huge highlight of my day, so I would like to share that joy with others.  I have several cards I've picked up for friends, but they are just sitting in my desk waiting to be sent.

Goal 5. Try a new recipe.  

I hardly ever follow recipes when cooking.  And I tend to eat the same things often-stir fry, pasta, salad, eggs, random mixtures from ingredients in the fridge.  I'm in a little bit of a rut and I need to try something new.  I definitely like to try new things, but sometimes when I am going to be the only one eating it, I just say forget it and eat cereal for dinner.  So this month I will try at least one new-to-me recipe!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Remember that time when...[dressing room incident]

Do you have a recurring dream that you always come back to when you are stressed/thinking/worrying about a certain situation?  One of my recurring dreams is that I show up someplace without clothes on or missing pants or with some other important clothing item missing. It usually occurs when I am going to a new place where I don't know many people, i.e. moving to college, transferring to a different college, starting a new job, meeting a new group of people. All my worrying about what people will think of me or how I will make friends manifests in my dreams as looking like a naked idiot.

All these dreams are fine and usually whatever I am worrying about goes off without a hitch.  I find all my classes okay, I find a friend, and all my coworkers like me because I bring them dessert.

But you know your life is truly awesome when embarrassing things happen in real life.  Don't worry, I didn't show up somewhere without clothes on.

Remember that time when...I was shopping with my mom looking for a dress or dresses for upcoming weddings.  We each picked out a few we liked and some others that were different and unique and fun to try on.  This is how most of my dress-shopping goes down: try on dress -> walk out of dressing room to show Mom -> she doesn't like it/I don't like it/it looks ridiculous/way too much cleavage/it doesn't fit/it's ugly -> go back to dressing room and take off dress.  Repeat 10x 20x.  Then leave without a dress.

Only I wish the trip had gone like that.  Instead it went somewhere along the lines of repeat the above sequence a bunch of times, then try on a dress with a pleated skirt, walk out of dressing room.  Twirl around only to hear the sound of my mom burst out laughing. Turns out the skirt had gotten in my underwear! And I was no showing off my designer crappy, cheap underwear off to the other patrons of the store.  I'm sure they did not expect to see that much of a show at Younkers that day. - I hope there's a support group that can help you overcome the tragedy of your wardrobe.

All I did was laugh because it was too ridiculous to be overly embarrassing.

And that is why my life is so awesome.  

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