2019 St. Patrick’s Day Dash 5k.

Today I got up early (well, early for a weekend), put on my running shoes, and made my way to the Seattle Center for the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Dash 5k.

As you know, one of my goals this year is to participate in one 5k a month. This is my 4th 5k this year, so I am a little bit ahead. Yay!

I signed up to be in the last wave of runners, the group that was untimed. I knew I would be mostly walking the 5k so I didn’t want to get caught in all the runners. Also, my friends were participating in the race as well and had signed up for the last wave so we would be in the same corral together. After the first two waves of runners began, it was our turn and we were off!

We started out on Mercer Street, then went up 4th Ave through downtown Seattle almost to the library. We turned around and went back down 4th Ave back to the Seattle Center. The race ended right near the International Fountain where you could then visit all the vendors set up in the area. There was plenty of food and drinks to snack on, as well as a beer garden for those over the age of 21.

This was a super fun run. Almost everyone had on some sort of green with many people wearing hats and wigs. I saw some people dressed up as leprechauns, people wearing green head to toe, people dressed up as priests, there were a couple of green aliens, and I even saw some dinosaurs running down the street.

This was the 35th year of the St. Patrick’s Day Dash and hopefully, I can attend this race next year. Next time, I will be sure to wear more green so I fit in will all the other participants!

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what I’m reading: there there by tommy orange.

There There was my book club’s latest pick. It’s a story that takes place in the present time about a group of Native Americans all coming together to go to the Big Oakland Powwow.

First, let me say that this book has gotten a lot of praise. The reason my book club read it was because someone had heard about it and had heard many compliments about this book. That being said, I thought it was fine.

There’s not a lot of action in this book. The story revolves around 12 or so characters as they make their way to Oakland or make the decision to go to the powwow. The narrative shifts from each person’s point of view and we learn about each character’s reasons for wanting to attend the powwow. The author does a great job of giving each character their own voice – it was easy to tell that we had switched narrators in each chapter.

There are, however, so many characters that it got to the point where I started writing them down so that I could keep track. It was a little confusing, especially when the narrator on page 200 talks about how he is related to the character you met in the first or second chapter and you have to think to yourself, “Who was that?” This was one time where it was beneficial to read the book in hardback form because it was easy to flip around to reacquaint yourself with characters from previous chapters.

Again, I thought this book was fine. Was I on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen? Not really. I usually read this book in about 20-30 minutes chunks when I was on my lunch break. It turned out to be the perfect amount of time to read since I would just start to find myself getting bored when my lunchtime was over. Also, I was a little disappointed at the ending since I felt like there wasn’t a real conclusion to anything and I was left with many questions.

But don’t take my word for it. This book is a New York Time Bestseller. The novel speaks deeply about what it means to be a Native American in the current time and if that is something you are interested in reading about, you should read this book.

what I’m reading: a vintage affair by isabel wolff.

Vintage clothing lover Phoebe Swift decides to open up her own vintage dress store. Between searching for and mending old clothes, Phoebe’s store allows her forget about her ex-fiancé as well as forget her guilt over the recent death of her best friend. When she is contacted by the elderly Mrs. Bell who wants to sell her entire wardrobe, Phoebe becomes immersed in the narratives behind Mrs. Bell’s clothes. Can Mrs. Bell’s stories help Phoebe to let go of her guilt and move on with her life?

This is a book about friendship and loss and of course, we can’t have a book without a World War II story woven in. I liked Mrs. Bell however when she tells her childhood story it is just pages and pages of text and dialogue. I would have liked it more if it was in some sort of flashback narrative or we saw the action happening rather than just Mrs. Bell telling Phoebe everything.

There is some romance in the book although it is not a large part of the plot. There is a bit of a love triangle (or quadruple?) between Phoebe, the two new guys she meets, and the ex-fiancé who is kind of always lurking in the background. Honestly, I’m not sure I liked any of the guys in the book – none of them seemed right for Phoebe. I also wouldn’t characterize this book as chick-lit or romance. Maybe it should be shelved under the dreaded “women’s fiction”?

Many of the reviews I’ve read for this book have said that they would have liked to see pictures of all the clothes described in the book and I have to agree. All of the clothes are beautifully described and the author seems to have an incredible knowledge of vintage fashion. There was fashion name dropping all over the place and although I only recognized a couple of names, it was clear the author knew what she was talking about. (Side note – I just looked up the author on her website and there is nothing about fashion or her working in fashion. From the detail in the novel I was sure Isabel Wolff used to work in some sort of fashion area but I guess it’s possible she is just a good researcher.)

I really enjoyed Phoebe’s mom. I’m not sure if she was meant to be comical but I always found myself laughing whenever she would call Phoebe. Phoebe’s mother and father separated when her father’s younger mistress became pregnant so Phoebe’s mother is obsessed with youth and calls and talks to Phoebe all the time about all the plastic surgery and facial treatments she wants to get. Again, not sure if it was intentional, but I found her to be great comic relief.

This was a charming book that I enjoyed but I felt like it was missing something. I’m not sure what though. I just kind of had a shruggy feeling when I finished reading the last page and the book ended and thought to myself “okay”.

That being said, vintage clothing enthusiasts will probably love this book just for all the fashion.

what I’m reading: it’s not me, it’s you by mhairi mcfarlane.

This is the second book that I’ve read written by this author. I liked this book, but not as much as the other book by this author that I read. This book took me a while to get into but once I did, I had found to be a fun and pleasant read.

There’s a lot going on in this book:
• Delia Moss has proposed to her boyfriend Paul, who has grudgingly accepted. They go to celebrate and we find out Paul’s been having an affair because he texts his girlfriend, only the text doesn’t go to his girlfriend, it goes to Delia.
• Meanwhile, at Delia’s job, she is tasked with finding out who is leaving nasty comments on their website. Delia kind of finds out who is leaving the messages and strikes up a friendship with the guy. This does not make her boss happy so she quits/is fired.
• With no job and no place to live Delia moves in with her best friend in London.
• Delia gets a new job at a PR firm but is quickly approached by an investigative journalist who tries to blackmail Delia to get dirt on her new boss.
• Paul keeps trying to get Delia back.
• Meanwhile, while staying at her childhood home, Delia finds a comic she started writing when she was younger and begins working on it again.

At times it felt like there was so much happening in this book with all the subplots. The plot went in so many different places that I was not expecting the story to go to. Honestly, I felt like there were a couple too many subplots – I found that the story dragged a bit in some parts. There were a couple of subplots that I thought would have been really interesting if they had been developed more. Additionally, there were a couple of subplots I felt the story could have done without.

This book is very British – there is a lot of British slang and terms and references to British celebrities that I didn’t know who they are. It made me wonder if this is how non-Americans feel when they read American books with all the American pop culture references.

Despite being a bit long, I enjoyed this book. There is a great cast of characters and I will definitely be looking for another one of this author’s books at the library.

what I’m reading: unleashing mr. darcy by teri wilson.

I was looking for something light and fun to read while snowed in this week. This book hit the mark. It’s a fun retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in the present day in the world of competitive dog showing.

When a scandal ruins her teacher career, Elizabeth Scott is offered a temporary job as a dog nanny in England. Elizabeth and her show dog Bliss, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, cross the pond to take care of some terriers making the dog show rounds. There she is dismayed to find her neighbor is none other than Donovan Darcy, sexy billionaire and show dog breeder extraordinaire. Too bad Elizabeth has already run into the snobby dog show judge at a dog show in New Jersey and is determined to dislike the unpleasant man.

I loved all the little throwbacks and references to Pride and Prejudice and I enjoyed reading so many of the classic lines from the novel. There was plenty of witty banter, interfering relatives, and meddling sisters of best friends. Of course, I was rooting for Elizabeth and Donovan and we know how the story ends, but it was fun to see the path the author took them on to get to their happy ending.

There are lots of dogs in this book and I learned a thing or two about competitive dog shows. The only parts I found odd were when Elizabeth and Darcy were flirting with each other at the dog shows – he as the judge and she as the dog handler flirting with each other, presumably as everyone else was watching?? And no one noticed? It just seemed a bit improper and I cringed a bit thinking about the dog show audience.

Despite that, I read this book in one sitting (because of snow). Also, I just found out that there is a Hallmark Channel movie and a sequel based on this book. I’m off to find out a way to watch them!

snowpocalypse 2019.

It’s been snowing in Seattle for the past week or so. This is absolutely the most snow I’ve seen in Seattle since I moved here.

It snowed 2 weekends ago and it snowed again this past weekend. The snow continued today and we are forecasted to get more snow this week and some of it is to be mixed with rain. You know what that means – slush. We had been having such a mild winter and then all of a sudden, snow in February.

I went out this past weekend and took some pictures while I walked around my neighborhood. The city was super quiet, although I was happy and surprised to find a Starbucks open. There were a lot of other people out walking around, but hardly any cars. It was cold, but very peaceful.

what I’m reading: the gone world by tom sweterlitsch.

Shannon Moss is a member of a secret department within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Her current case – solve the murder of a Navy SEAL’s family and find the missing SEAL along with his eldest daughter. Shannon Moss can’t tell anyone, but the missing SEAL was an astronaut stationed aboard a spaceship assumed lost on a classified mission. When the Navy SEAL is found murdered, Shannon Moss is determined to find the missing girl and travels in time to the future hoping that sometime in the intervening years, the case is solved and she can find the evidence she needs to unravel the case.

This book was mind-bending. There are twists and turns, time travel, variable future timelines, lots of suspense, and a looming doomsday that keeps getting closer to the present. This book kept me guessing and I’m not entirely sure of what happened at the end. I mean, I think I know what happened, but I’m not 100% certain.

I really liked the way time and time travel is presented in the book:

First of all, the author does a great job of reminding us what year we are in. The main time period the book takes place in is 1997 and the author is always reminding us when we are in 1997 – there is talk of Dolly the cloned sheep, President Clinton is in the news, and the Hale-Bopp comet is on its way.

Second, time travel is not instantaneous where all of a sudden your DeLorean is electrified by lightning and then you’re in the future. In The Gone World, it takes 3 months to travel one way in time because time travel is accomplished by traveling through a worm hole in space. Shannon Moss regularly spends 6 months to a year in the future, so for her, a trip to the future adds 1-2 years to her life even though she leaves and returns at the same moment in time. She is only 27 years old but because she has time traveled so much and spent so much time in the future, she looks more like 40.

Third, I thought it was interesting that as soon as someone travels to the future, it’s like they are removed from the past timeline. For instance, after Shannon Moss travels to the future and runs into people she knew in 1997, they all ask her where she disappeared to.

There’s so much more I could say about this book but that would give away what happens. It’s definitely a book I had to stop and think about to gather my thoughts and I’m still thinking about it even though I finished reading the book a while ago.