Thursday, February 4, 2021

Coffee Talk and January's Book Reviews

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's catch up over coffee! I've got Allegro Organic Hardwired brewing; this bag of coffee benefits the National MS Society through the Team Left Hand's Bike MS Team. Bike MS is the largest fundraising bike series in the world. I do love me a cup of socially conscious coffee! Mine has a splash of half and half and a scoop of GLG Collagen

If we were having coffee... I'd share my excitement that this post is coming to you from my new laptop! After struggling with a stuttering keyboard on my old device, I used my leftover continuing education money from 2020 and bought a new MacBook. I've always been an Apple user--my very first computer was a MacPlus. Remember those boxy little things? The finish on my new device is rose gold and it looks as good as it works. I'm still trying to prep my old laptop for the trade-in; sadly, it's requiring intervention from Apple's engineers...


If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that fixed my blog! You probably didn't even notice that it was broken. After a year of having limited ability to change my blog layout and then recently being unable to access it at all, and getting no help from the Blogger community, I once again dug into the HTML code and finally found the broken link. Talk about looking for a needle in a haystack. I anxiously deleted the offending piece of code hoping I wouldn't delete my whole blog but voila! problem solved. Wow, I felt like I won the lottery! Don't worry, I'm not quitting my day job. See my paragraph above...lol

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that my pup Cocoa is most likely going to need surgery this spring. She has had ear infections since we got her--cocker spaniels are prone to this--and it's become a chronic problem that has lead to her ear canals forming scar tissue. The surgery is a big deal because the procedure involves 'ablating' her ear canals, which means she will be deaf after the procedure. I have been told that dogs do very well after this surgery, but it just breaks my heart at the thought of it. 

After last week's big snow. Nothing fazes her!

If we were having coffee, I'd talk about my struggles to stay positive, especially since the holidays. I am grateful for the change in government. But the pandemic rages on and we are in the midst of a bitter cold spell. With all the snow we've gotten over the past couple of weeks, I haven't been able to run on the trails, which has been my happy place all year. No pity party here--I continually remind myself of all my blessings. I know I am fortunate to have gotten the vaccine, I'm running and training, and that I still have a job. But every day feels like Groundhog Day and I am so ready for things to get better. 


If we were having coffee,
I'd share my list of books from January! I have read a lot of books since our last coffee date. Even though my house is crying for attention, that TBR pile isn't going to read itself! Do you follow me on Goodreads?

  • Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson was on my 'backlist'; it was a fun read about a young woman trying to figure out her life. She meets a 'crazy' aunt at a family wedding who leaves her house to her and continues to connect to her after she dies. It's a fun read and was a great book to kick off the new year. This is available on the Kindle Store for 1.99!
  • The Push by Ashley Audrain was a much heavier read. This is the story of a mother who has difficulty connecting with her infant; the story continues through the girl's childhood. There were flashbacks to her own difficulty connecting with her mother. The reader has to ask: is it the child? Or the mother? The husband is no help, refusing to see the issues. This one was a hard read--motherhood is not easy--but I could not put it down. 
  • The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare was another backlist read, highly recommended by my sister. It's a great book about a Nigerian girl who is sold into marriage but knows there is more for her in the world. A tragedy pushes her out of her marriage and closer to her goal of achieving an education. The story is told in the girl's voice and her accent made it seem even more authentic. A really good book!
  • White Ivy by Susie Yang was on my hold list for 3 months! It was definitely worth the wait. I do love a good coming-of-age story, and this one about a Chinese-American girl trying to assimilate into a typical American life but having to deal with her very traditional parents was somewhat predictable but an excellent read. 
  • Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes is not a new book, but seeing my Peloton loving friends doing the "Year of Yes" workout made me go back and find the book. A million times YES for this one. Shonda Rhimes is the producer/writer of Grey's Anatomy and other TV shows, yet she was insecure about her success and herself. When her sister says to her: You never say yes, Shonda vows that she was going to have a year of yes. This is the story of that transformative year. Saying yes doesn't mean she was a doormat; in fact, she stood up to people who were taking advantage of her. I absolutely loved this book and think everyone should read it. It's only 2.99 at the Kindle Store right now.
  • Yoga Pant Nation by Laurie Gelman will be released on July 13; I received a prerelease copy. Prior to picking this one up, I didn't know that this is book 3 of a series about a mom/grandma/spin class instructor who lives a crazy, chaotic life. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but a fun read nonetheless.
I also read 3! running books this month. Reviews for What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and Bravey can be found on the blog. I Hate Running and You Can Too by Brendan Leonard will be released on March 16 and I'll have a mini-review on the blog coming up soon!

What would you tell me over coffee? Any technological victories? Are you feeling like every day is Groundhog Day? Have you read any good books lately?

I'm linking up with Coco and Deborah for the Ultimate Coffee Date and with the ladies of Fit Five Friday:  DarleneMichelleReneeJenn, and Zenaida !



49 comments :

  1. Thanks for the book recommendations! I already had "The Girl with the Louding Voice". That is so sad about Cocoa. Deaf? Wow. That is awesome about the laptop! I have a MacBook Air and iMac and wish I could take one to school. The one we have is crappy. I had no idea your blog was broken. How about if you switch to WordPress?

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    1. Why would I switch now that i've fixed it? lol I considered moving to WP when I couldn't find the issue, but at this point, I don't want to do that.

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  2. Wasn't Year of Yes so good! I agree I think everyone should read it! I want to check out some of your other recommendations. I'm always impressed by how much you read!

    Glad you were able to fix your blog. Mine is having issues but the thought of digging into the HTML to fix it makes my head spin.

    I'm so sorry about Coco needing surgery - I hope everything goes as smooth as possible.

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    1. I've been trying to fix that error all year! It was weird how after all that time, I finally found the errant code. Thank goodness!

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  3. Wow. You read a lot of books last month! Some of those are on my TBR- especially The Push. i keep reading great things about it.
    Hang in there- I grew up in your part of the country and winters are HARD. So gray and bleak... you'll feel more hopeful when spring comes.

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    1. I know this will pass...I think that combined with the pandemic, not being able to run outside is really the straw that broke my back.

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  4. Oh poor Cocoa. I'm sure she'll do fine but still. I'd sad she'll be deaf. How great you found that broken link. My blog is so overdue for...well...everything. My denial will come back and bite me one of these days.

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    1. I know Cocoa needs the surgery, now to decide where to have it done. I'm going to get a few opinions and prices.

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  5. Congrats on fixing your blog! I am always afraid to mess with the code! Now if you or I just could fix my commenting problems! Sorry to hear about Cocoa. Dogs are resilient though! Thanks for the books recs. I do want to read Girl With The Loudening Voice.

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    1. One of the reasons I didn't switch to WP is because I know the Blogger platform--enough to be dangerous. I think I'm too old to figure out a new one!

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  6. Wow you were a voracious reader this month! I have heard the Push was good and it's on my list. Not sure if it is my kind of book or not. I usually go for a thriller or legal type book these days. Yay for fixing your blog. I am always afraid to try to update things on my own for fear of creating some sort of crisis or deleting important things. Coding stuff is hard!

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    1. The Push was not an easy read--it really gets you in the mom feels department. Who hasn't doubted their mothering abilities? But it was an engrossing book and I read it in 2 days.

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  7. Seriously, when do you sleep?!

    Poor Cocoa. I hope the surgery goes well and I am sure she'll adapt well to loss of hearing. Most animals tend to lose their hearing as they age -- sometimes it seemed like Lola couldn't hear, but mostly it seemed to be selective, LOL.

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    1. It's funny how Cocoa will 'not' hear us but as soon as I get out the cutting board, she's underfoot!

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  8. Hooray on the new laptop. I have an old DELL but I confess since I've been working at home, I use my work laptop ...for everything. For Christmas my hubby got a Chromebook which I may take over too.

    Thanks for the book recommendations. I've recently read My Pace or Yours, one about training for Boston and non-running, I just finished the Vanishing Half and am reading the Winter Sister.s

    Glad your blog is fixed but I still can't comment until I am on a computer. Just you and Kim. :(

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    1. That's a Google issue--I had the same problem, even on my own blog! I figured that one out too, lol

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  9. I'm glad you got your blog fixed! That stuff is overwhelming and having to dig into code scares me to death.

    I'm so sorry to hear about Coco! I had no idea that ear infections could lead to this. I have a couple of older dogs that don't hear well and they do fine (except they seem to ignore me when I call). Dogs don't feel sorry for themselves and to them, it is what it is. I have a couple of blind dogs and they're the same way.

    I am also so ready to be over this pandemic. Things are looking up with the new administration. At least they're taking it seriously. I wish many people around the country would do the same. We'll get through this!

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    1. You are right, dogs don’t feel sorry for themselves! She’s so funny, even with her swollen ears, all she wants to do is chase the ball!

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  10. SOO sorry about your dog's ear problems! how very sad for him to lose his hearing. he's in good loving hands.
    lol on your coding activities!
    wanted to let you know I just got my Trax in the mail - looking forward to trying them out. Thank you for the recommendations!

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  11. Oh poor Cocoa :( Reading that made me sad but the fact that she will feel better is such a positive thing. Like you mentioned, nothing will stop her!

    I didn't notice any issues with your blog but glad that you were able to fix it! Also, hooray for a new laptop! :)

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    1. I’m so excited about my new laptop! It’s so fun to use it!

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  12. Congrats on the new laptop. I have always been an Apple user too. My first Apple was an Apple IIc, way back in the 1980s(?)

    Your poor Cocoa! That would be a tough choice to make. Sending virtual hugs your way!

    I think you are not alone in your struggles to stay positive. The pandemic has taken its toll on a lot of people, including me. I feel much better since the change in administration, though. I am hopeful that we are at least moving in the right direction, getting things done. Groundhog Day is a good way to describe our life these days! I think this spring will be better. At least we have running to help keep us sane!

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    1. Well that’s the thing... we have so much snow that I’m pretty limited to where I can run. I think that’s what pushed me over the top!

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  13. I'm impressed that you were able to fix the code on your blog on your own! Whenever I have issues I contact Bluehost and they've been decent. I don't even know what they are supposed to do vs wordpress but when I have issues with plugins that mess up my blog they've been able to go in and fix it.

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    1. With the Blogger platform, you’re pretty much on your own. I guess you get what you pay for!

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  14. Oh my goodness, Wendy, that's amazing that you could fix your blog yourself!
    I only once dug into the code and fixed a link - but that was with online help from the techie people. I can well imagine how anxious you felt when you deleted that bit of code... Well done!!!

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    1. It’s really the little things in life that mean the most!

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  15. Awww, poor Cocoa. I hope surgery goes well for her, but it is heartbreaking that she will deaf afterward.

    I always get nervous when I have to do behind the scenes stuff to my blog. I'm glad you were able to fix it on your own and without issues. Congrats on your new MacBook!

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    1. I understand that dogs adapt very well, but I agree with you that it will be sad she can't hear! How will she know when I'm chopping up an apple?

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  16. Congratulations on the new laptop! That's such a fun feeling!

    Listen, I just updated my blog's appearance, and I paid someone else to do it. I'm 100% NOT on board with dealing with HTML. I get nervous adding widgets!

    Sweet Cocoa! I think my aunt's cocker spaniels had a similar procedure, and it was all fine. But I do understand the nerves. I mean, I still don't want to take Luna to be fixed because she's so tiny and I can't bear the thought of my baby having a procedure!

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    1. I knew you'd get me! I'm glad to hear your aunt's cockers did well with the procedure. It's hard to see them suffer, tho.

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  17. I'm listening to Bravey on audiobook right now. I'm about halfway and def. recommend. I read Year of Yes a while ago and that was a thumbs up for me as well. Enjoy your new laptop and give Ms. Cocoa an extra hug for me.

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    1. So glad you liked Bravey! I'll definitely give Cocoa a hug from you...

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  18. Oh, poor Cocoa! I Hope all goes well for her. I've only had Max, so my experience is very limited with dogs...but he was such a trooper with his leg surgery. He didn't seem one bit bothered by his "handicap" while the leg was immobile.

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  19. I'm sorry Cocoa has to have surgery. I'm a vet and that surgery can be so beneficial. Once it's all behind her, she will be so much more comfortable, and no more smelly, icky ears. Owners often don't realize how much that chronic infection and discomfort was affecting them, and after surgery they're just much happier and more active. You may find she maintains some response to sound. Maybe it's the vibration, but some dogs can still sense some sound. Wishing Cocoa a smooth surgery and quick recovery!

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    1. Thank you so much for your response! It's great to know how effective the surgery will be.

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  20. Somehow I have read none of the books you did other than I Hate Running. Must fix that. Also had a book heavy January.
    Sorry to hear that Cocoa will be deaf. Hope the surgery goes well. I love how happy she is in the snow.
    It's a toss up between that and my instant pot, but the desktop was a clear sanity saver in work from home. Glad I didn't end up trading in my laptop as it's nice to be portable at times. I never thought I'd go back to a desktop, but the iMac is just so nice

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    1. My husband loves his old iMac! My laptop just throws him off.

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  21. Like you, I'm soooo ready for things to change (for the better). This is exhausting and although I'm grateful for the health of my family and having a job, etc, goodness, can things just change, please! So glad you've been able to get the vaccine. Our Minister of Health announced this week that Botswana will finally be getting vaccines. So maybe (hopefully) implementation will start in March for essential services.

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    1. I'm glad to hear you are finally going to be able to get the vaccine. It's crazy how long it's taking to get it distributed!

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  22. I know it will probably help her in the long run but kind of sad about Cocoa losing her hearing. It will be an adjustment. We think our Nena is losing sight in one eye. We need to get her to the vet next week I think ... maybe also explains why she reacts so strongly when the other cats sneak up on her and try to play.

    Groundhog Day. So mucy yes. Getting so sick of it!

    Did you get a MacAir? I bought mine with the stimulus check... and it's also rose gold! LOVE it!

    I always wanted to ask - how do you read so many books?? I mean you work, you run, you train, you blog. I'm struggling to find time for things like reading. So any tips?

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    1. Yes, I got the MacBook Air! I love it.

      No secret for reading--I read for an hour before bed. Sometimes on my days off, I read in the afternoon. I just love to read. My house is a mess, btw...

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    2. I need to find something to read that really grabs me to get started again I think. I read one book last year :( but I read it in like 2 days!!

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  23. I'm glad you found the broken link! That is one of theeee best feelings, haha. Sending you lots of love for Cocoa. <3 It's so heartbreaking/stressful when our pets get sick! :( I'm trying to stay optimistic too but it's definitely been hard.

    You find so many great books! I'm gonna have to add some of these to my to-read list! <3

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  24. I loved Girl with the Louding Voice SO much and it's really stayed with me. Sorry about Cocoa, that's a really hard decision.

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    1. It's not so much a tough decision as it is managing my sadness that she will lose her hearing. But she would most likely lose it anyway with her chronic infections.

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