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Colorado Days Five, Six, and Seven

I woke up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in Denver, ready to head back to Boulder for a little trip north. A quick stop for coffee, and I was on my way- I’m definitely fueled by caffeine. I stopped to pick up Aaron, shower and change, and we hit the road for Rocky Mountain National Park.

I made Aaron stop a couple times, when I saw something pretty… and that happens a lot in the mountains!

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Traffic was crazy on the way up- I guess everyone wants to spend their weekends playing outside. We stopped at Kirk’s fly shop in Estes Park, picked up a couple flies…

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…grabbed a sandwich, saw this cool sculpture,

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and finished the trip north.

The drive into the park was pretty smooth, and it was beautiful. I kept watching for wildlife, but I didn’t see much. We looked around as we drove into the park, and speculated about where we thought there would be fish hiding out.

Eventually, we picked a spot, parked, and parted ways. I fished. I caught. Fly fishing does something to me- I cherish the peace and quiet and solitude.

The turbulence of the water was at odds with the peace in my soul, quite possibly my favorite juxtaposition. I love waterfalls.

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By the end of the day, I was tired but jazzed that I got into some trout, and I settled in for the drive back to Aaron’s. Unfortunately, I was too busy gawking out the window at the mountains to look at the map, and we got lost. It was just a couple hours out of the way, we drove through Loveland (such a cute name- it made me homesick!), and by the time we got back, it was pretty late. I love seeing the sunset over the mountains.

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The ride was pretty quiet, since hanger was setting in. Aaron barely survived the wrath of a hungry, tired Heidi. We ordered a pizza, and I fell asleep immediately after dinner. 🙂

Day Six began with a hot run on the Boulder Creek Trail. Six miles on my sixth day.

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This trail intertwines with the creek and the road like a braid, and I saw a variety of scenery!

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Boulder was preparing for their Ironman the following weekend, so I saw signs everywhere letting people know they should plan alternate routes. 🙂

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I was so hot when I finished my run that I jumped right in the stream. I advocate for cold water all over the place, and I know the science behind the water temperature needs of trout, so I KNOW how cold trout streams are… but there is nothing quite like sticking your head in one. I cooled down in a hurry. 🙂

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I started and ended my run at a busy park (Eben G. Fine), so there were two cars waiting for spaces in the small parking lot. It made my usual change-in-the-car routine a little more awkward- struggling to change out of stream-soaked running clothes in a car while you’re being mildly monitored is less than romantic. 😉 After I swapped out spandex for a sundress, I went to grab coffee and lunch at The Cup.

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I made a quick stop at Boulder Running Company to buy a perfectly tourist “Run Colorado” shirt, then I headed back to Aaron’s. A quick shower, a clean dress, and we went to Avery Brewing for dinner and beer

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The food was fabulous, the beer was great, and I was happy to relax. All these adventures were starting to wear me out!

On the way back to the car, I noticed this…

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Boulder: where even the fire hydrants are pretty.

We finished up dinner with frozen yogurt, probably the most innocent of my vices, and before I knew it, I was sleeping soundly.

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Day Seven, my last day in Colorado, started with me driving into Boulder, renting a bike and checking out the city on two wheels.

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My job as an alderperson has changed the way I think about cities, and it makes me extra interested in how other municipalities approach pedestrian and bicycle traffic. I took lots of photos and started formulating new ideas to take home.image6 (1)

I rode past my favorite Boulder fly shop

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…loved this downtown bicycle parking…

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…and returned my bike in time to head over to Celestial Seasonings for a tour of their tea factory. It was a perfect way to wind down my last day- relaxing with some hot tea.

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Since there are no cameras allowed inside the facility, I’ll leave you with this super sexy image of me in a hair net. 🙂

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I headed back to Aaron’s and starting packing everything back into my luggage. It’s amazing how much my clothes multiply while I’m on a trip. I suppose that if I stopped shopping on vacation, the problem would be alleviated. 😉

Day Eight. Coming home. Denver has a pretty cool airport.

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You’ll find me in the airport with my three necessities: my fly rod, my yoga mat, and a tripod. 🙂

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My flights were uneventful, and even with the time change and the three hour drive from the airport, I made it home in time for dinner and a nap. 🙂

More adventures to come- I returned from this trip with lots of photo shoots and meetings to catch up on.

As always, thanks for reading!

Miles this year: 350.3

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Colorado: Days Three and Four

I kicked off day three in Colorado with a little paddleboarding at the reservoir. It was a beautiful morning to spend on the water! Just as I was about to lock the car and head in, one of my October brides called me, reminding me that I’m never actually on vacation, but I can pretend to be. I scheduled a meeting with her for when I got home and tried to put it out of my mind.

This view helped.

I took my brookie for a swim…

This SUP was very different than the wooden beauty that I have at home, but it was a great time. I changed out of my suit into a sundress in the car (mental note: spray Febreeze again to keep that hot car from smelling like the river…), then headed downtown to grab coffee and do a little work.

I love this little shop, The Cup, so I kept coming back. It’s a really popular place, so the lines are usually pretty long. I had almost made it to the front of the line, and the man in front of me was asking the barista all sorts of questions about the prices of coffee, and he dropped a handful of change on the counter and started counting it. He suggested that he’d go to Starbucks since it was cheaper over there. It was obvious to me that he was having a hard time paying for his coffee, so I said, “It’s okay, I’ll give you a buck or two to cover your coffee.” Karma points earned. It was sure a surprise for me when he turned to the barista and said, “In that case, instead of drip coffee, I’d like the Nitro.” It must have been some kind of coffee with nitrogen… so I ended up buying my stranger a $5 cup of coffee. Sure, I’d blown my coffee budget, but at least that guy got a really nice cup of coffee. I stuck with drip, myself.

I typed and edited and read and sorted, then packed up to head to the fly shop to meet Kyle. I’d been virtually introduced to Kyle through my other TU friend from Oregon, also named Kyle. It turns out that TU people are awesome, though that’s really no surprise to me. We met in real life at the shop, grabbed a couple flies, then headed out to Boulder Creek.

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It was a beautiful day to be out on the water.

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(photo credit: random awesome fly angler who walked by)

Kyle caught a couple fish, and I didn’t catch a darn thing. I did have a strike, though… but couldn’t follow through. I was amazed at some of the shallow moving water that was holding fish. I couldn’t believe they were in there! I tried several new casting techniques that I’ve never done before. It was a great learning experience. I just love fishing in other areas and learning more about fish behavior.

We stripped off our wet waders and boots and headed back into town for tacos and beer at Sanitas, and we talked about TU on the drive. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I really love that organization and everything they do for cold water.

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Delicious food, great beer, and fabulous company. Thank you for all your help, Kyle! I really appreciate you taking a chance to get out fishing with a stranger.

I came home to see this smiling face, and I fell sound asleep, dreaming dreams of pretty mountain trout. ❤

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And just like that, I woke up. Solo fishing day.

Don’t get scared now.

After being skunked fishing with Kyle the day before (who certainly knows what he’s doing), I headed out to the stream with low confidence. I knew I needed an attitude adjustment, because embracing a bad mood is no help to anyone, especially myself.

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Once I picked my spot to fish, I grabbed my yoga mat, did a few poses with deep breathing, and strung up my rod.
I walked down to the river, and tried this new spot. No luck.

Another new spot. No luck.

Changed flies. No luck.

Changed flies and went to a new spot, scaring a snake along the way. No luck.

Tried a dropper. Lost both flies in a tree lined with other anglers’ flies.

Tried not to be frustrated, but didn’t know what fly to use. Tried a hopper. No luck.

Caddis? Before I had a chance to cast, I saw a hummingbird flying near me, making the cutest little sound. Took a brave little walk through fast water, holding on to a dead tree for security.
Cast once. Twice. Three times, then a flash and strike. Set the hook!
I pulled in the prettiest brown trout, and burst into tears.. so yeah, I snapped. Lost my shit. It must have been the stress and the pressure… no one wants to fly out to a new state in a new region and come home empty handed. Relief washed over me when I felt the tug at the end of my line. Thank. Goodness. I fooled one.

I caught several more in the next fifteen minutes, including the biggest trout I’ve ever caught while wading. I packed it up and headed back early, leaving on a high note.
This game is certainly about the chase, about feeling independently adequate, trusting yourself and trusting the fish, and being brave on solo adventures. Sometimes it’s harder than I thought it would be, but it’s always worth it.

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I grabbed a quick lunch from a food truck downtown, then headed up to Chautauqua to run my little heart out.

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Trail running: where going down is just as hard as going up. Don’t-fall-don’t-fall-don’t-fall.

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It was an awesome run, and very unlike my flat Central Sands home. There is a beautiful grassy park at Chautauqua where I stretched out and did a little yoga, then headed back to Aaron’s to shower and get ready for “girls’ night out.”

The drive to Denver was pretty short and there wasn’t much traffic, so I got there before Meredith was finished with her kickball game. I stopped in at Starbucks to grab coffee and do a little work until she was ready to hang out. The view from the coffee shop was amazing!

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When I got the “I’m ready!” text, I headed to the park to finally see my friend! I met Meredith when we were in first grade, and the rest is history. I love that the park she was playing in had views of the mountains on one side, and the Denver skyline on the other. So awesome.

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We headed to Meredith’s condo for dinner, catching up, and we got ready to go out. She has a gorgeous view of the skyline from the patio of her Capitol Hill condo.

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I don’t know the names of all the places we went, but we danced, played beer pong, and laughed a lot. Thank you for the fun night, Mere!!!

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All this vacation was wearing me out, and I was so happy to snuggle in on Meredith’s couch for a night of sleep before my upcoming day at Rocky Mountain National Park. That adventure is up next.

Here, fishy fishy…

Miles this year: 347.65

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Chasing Adventure: Colorado, Day One

On Monday morning, all I wanted to do was sleep in. Those campers wore me out… but I brewed some coffee and got my butt in gear. I had to unpack from the camp and repack for Colorado, and I had to review my materials for that evening’s city council meeting.

I downloaded, uploaded, read, notated, washed, dried, folded, rolled, charged, dusted, packed, unpacked, and repacked. I was pretty close to having my luggage packed and ready to leave for the airport, but I had to head out for my council meeting, so I kissed Brian goodbye and left.

This is a perfect bag, in my opinion. Camera gear and fly reels combined make for a fabulous trip!

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Our 7:00 council meeting went a little on the long side… and I got home shortly after midnight. I needed to leave the house at 1:30 to get to the Milwaukee airport on time, and it took me a little while to unwind and finish packing, so I took a 35 minute nap in Brian’s arms on the couch, then headed out to the airport.

That wasn’t enough sleep. It was a rough drive, complete with the eerie quality of an empty interstate at 3:30 am, and my constant desire to stop for donuts, which tested my self control.
I made it to the airport, and as I boarded my plane, rod tube in hand, I heard someone call my name. I looked up and saw my friend, Jon Christiansen!

I was able to sleep (though fitfully) for a couple hours on the plane, and I was woken up by the jostling during landing.
Jon waited for me after we landed, carefully placed a few special flies in my hand, and wished me luck on my Colorado adventure.

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Rainbow warriors… hope you’re magic out there! (Read later posts to hear about my fly fishing successes…)

My luggage was already on the carousel when I arrived at baggage claim, and Aaron was waiting to pick me up, as well!

As soon as we drove out of the Denver airport, I saw the mountains in the distance. They’re just amazing! We stopped at Aaron’s apartment to drop off my gear, then went to drop him off at work. As I dropped him off, he said, “Two rules: don’t kill yourself, and don’t hurt my car.” He then dropped a spare set of keys in my hand and ushered me off for some “Heidi adventures.” I have the BEST friends!

Of course, I was too tired to do anything. I had meant well, when booking that early flight, but I couldn’t have known that I’d be stuck in a five hour meeting and not be able to get any sleep. I wasn’t quite ready to lose my whole first day in Colorado, though, so I grabbed coffee from Starbucks then reclined in the parking lot and slept soundly for a few hours. I’m always running around (at least) just a little tired, and I’m one of those lucky people who can fall asleep pretty much anywhere. Naps are one of my best friends! I felt slightly better after my nap, so I headed down to the pedestrian mall in downtown Boulder. It’s a beautifully designed city! After becoming an alderwoman, I look at cities much differently.

I did a little shopping, since of course I forgot a few things. Their downtown has some of my favorite stores, including Lush, Patagonia, and prAna. Yoga classes, anyone?

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It started raining, so I played in the puddles, ate lunch from a food truck, drank more coffee…

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…and visited a fly shop.

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After asking about good local water, I decided to take a short drive along Boulder Creek to check it out. Winding through mountains following a stream is one of my new favorite things to do.

Boulder: where even the fire hydrants are pretty.

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Before I knew it, I had to head back to pick up Aaron from work. We went to dinner at Southern Sun Pub and Brewery, and after a good Colorado beer, I fell sound asleep around 8 pm!

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Up next? Climbing The Incline, taking photos, and meeting a Boulder friend. 🙂

Miles this year: 339.65

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Two Days At Home = Cramming Summer Fun

After those dusty, hot Lifest days, we recovered with a dip in the Chain of Lakes in Waupaca.

One of the things that I love the most about those Wisconsin lakes is how turquoise/blue they are.

My friend (and our occasional intern) Chris Pruitt, took that photo of my little brookie going for a swim. 🙂 Marl lakes are awesome because the high mineral content of the soil binds extra nutrients, inhibiting the growth of algae. The white muddy bottom also reflects the water in a unique way!

We played with my SUP and Brian’s kayak until we were completely exhausted. I love long summer nights.

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Thanks for the invite, Chris!

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Looking at those photos just reminds me how spoiled I am… Brian built me that wooden SUP and it is absolutely gorgeous- it tracks straight and looks great!

Obviously, we crashed hard on Sunday night, and I woke bright and early for a shoot with these beautiful Collectivo coffee beans. I look at this image and I can practically smell the aroma… I think I’m doing something right. 🙂 Product photography of consumables is supposed to make your mouth water!

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Smelling, drinking, and agonizing over the details of those beans woke me up so I could head over to the KI Mobility ground breaking at their new location. It is so exciting to see a local business growing as quickly as these guys have- and they build some amazing products!

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I haven’t been to many groundbreakings, so it was pretty exciting! The mayor, city staff, and other alderpersons all had the opportunity to participate- I’ve never done that before! Put on a hard hat, and use a golden shovel to scoop some dirt? If only all construction was like that. 😉

A little yoga, a little running, and a lot of laundry…

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…then I was packing to head off for another adventure, as a counselor at the Wisconsin Trout Unlimited Youth Fishing Camp.

That recap is up next! As always, thanks for reading, friends!

Miles this year: 330.05

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Police Department Tour + The Week Before Traveling

I’ve loved being an alderwoman so far- I have the opportunities to meet many of the important people who keep our city running smoothly. One of my favorite tours was of the police department! Growing up with Grampie and all of his police friends has made me a big lover of those who protect and serve, so I was very excited to check out their facility.

Of course, many places in there are pretty secret, so no pictures. I was so busy taking it all in that I didn’t even think about it!

Many thanks to our Interim Police Chief, Mr. Skibba. I loved meeting you and seeing how you guys work to keep us safe. Thank you for everything you do!

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I had one week left at home and in the office before leaving for a couple weeks, so I squeezed in a few headshots and mini sessions for clients before I headed off on Heidi adventures.

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I had one shoot in the studio- gorgeous swirls of cream in coffee…

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…then I hit the road for a haircut. I have been going up to Stef at Kasha in Wausau, and she has been doing a great job! I didn’t want to head to Lifest with crazy hair, since having my face on the Jumbotron makes bad hair look exponentially worse. 🙂

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A little stress led to some required time on the water…

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…and Brian surprised me with a completed project.

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Yes, that’s a trailer for my kayak, pulled by my cruiser bike. I’m so spoiled. SO SO spoiled. It has always bothered me that I have to load my boat or board on my car to drive the three blocks to the river, and now I can just pop it on my bike and pedal off into the sunset! Too cool. ❤ Thanks, baby! Now I just have to remember to make wide turns, since my small craft are 14 and 16 feet long.

As always, thanks for reading, friends! I’m off to pack for twenty days on the road with four days at home in-between.

Up next? Lifest- a team of photographers and videographers working out of a media trailer in the hot July sun, taking open air showers in the cattle building, and capturing concerts and concert-goers nonstop for four days. Love. It.

Miles this year: 317.8

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Spicy soup, a trip to Green Bay, and tying some flies

It was cold. Freeze your face off cold. I love Wisconsin, but we had five days in a row with a high temperature below zero. This girl needs to play outside!

That is the Wisconsin River a couple blocks from my house. I still ventured out in the cold to go to Green Bay TU’s annual banquet. They have the biggest chapter banquet in our state, and their banquet committee is filled with exceptional volunteers. I was even lucky enough to win an air compressor! Brian was absolutely thrilled.

I braved the cold to tie flies with our chapter at one of our free fly tying workshops. We had a great time! We encourage kids to come, and our UWSP Fly Fishing club came out to help, too.

 

Just when I thought I’d had enough ice, I had a photo shoot with some iced coffee. 🙂



I thought briefly about running outside, but then I saw this…



…so I stayed inside, and made some spicy soup.

I love poached eggs.

The weather was scheduled to warm up, so I went outside to play, and my next post will feature a cute snowy shoot with a pup.

Thanks for reading!

Miles this year: 120

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Valentine’s weekend! <3

We started celebrating Valentine’s Day a couple days early by heading down to Chicago to hear one of my favorites, Jason Isbell, play at the Symphony Center. 



It was everything I dreamed it could be. I still don’t exactly understand why I love his music so much- I really can’t relate to most of his subjects. I’ve never been an addict, I’ve never had to cope with the loss of a family member while out on tour, I’ve never served in the military, nor done codeine (I’m allergic!), nor has a shotgun wedding ever occurred to me. Maybe that’s actually why I’m drawn to it- it’s exposing me to another world.

Anyway, we loved the concert, and we crashed hard for the night. Parking in the city always amazes me- we don’t even have parking meters here in Point, so paying $38 for three hours of ramp parking feels just crazy.

The next morning, we headed over to Calumet to trade in all our old camera gear. A couple years ago, we switched completely from Canon to Nikon, but we still had our old camera bodies and lenses sitting around. We also traded in my baby, my first real pro camera, my Nikon D3- affectionately named Shelley. I am upgrading my gear to the Nikon D4, but it was still really hard to leave my cameras behind. There were lots of memories in those cameras- both mine, and those of our clients. I held it together in the store…



…But lost it when we got to the parking lot. I keep reminding myself that the cameras are just a tool, but what can I say? I’m a softie. Anyway, a few pounds lighter and a few thousand dollars richer, we headed home to prepare for my mom’s Valentine’s Day wedding!

It was a very sweet day- I headed to the salon with my mom to get her hair done, then we went to her house to get ready.



My mom has two signs in her house that absolutely crack me up every time I see them, so here they are for your giggling pleasure.





I dont think I’ve ever done my mom’s makeup before, so it was really fun!

The ceremony was at St. Therese, where my Grampie built the altar. It was a sweet and short ceremony.







Everyone in attendance came up and stood around them on the altar, so it was very intimate.









The small reception was held at Bill’s favorite pizza restaurant, and they reserved the back room for us. Their big reception will be this summer.



It was wonderful to see everyone, and it makes me so happy to see my mom in love. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Olson!

We stopped for a quick coffee at Starbucks (love these hearts!!)…



…had a small photo shoot with some brownies…



…and stayed in, cooking steak and shrimp for dinner. We cooked them on the big salt block that B gave me for Christmas, and they cooked perfectly! I made our traditional brownie waffles for dessert, and we crashed hard at 8:30 pm. What a wild life I lead.

Oh, and B surprised me with these.

I’m lucky. ❤

Thanks for reading!

Miles this year: 112

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