Sharing Three Somethings (Plus One)

Welcome to the January edition of Share Four Somethings, hosted by Heather Gerwing. In this monthly series, we discuss things we Loved, Read, Treasured, and something Ahead since our last Four Somethings post.

Something Loved

One cool, clear Tuesday morning this month, Hubby and I traveled to the southwestern edge of our county to meet our youngest son for a run.

We parked near the Enola Low Grade Trail, a crushed-gravel rail trail that hugs the banks of the Susquehanna River.

After stretching our tight quads, we began briskly walking south on the trail, then broke into a jog after about half a mile. We ran to the two-mile marker, then turned around and ran back to our cars.

The company and conversation were so good, I must admit, I missed every single mile marker on the way out. The markers are large wooden posts, each about one foot square and five feet high, located on the trail at each half-mile. I was oblivious.

We had such a good time, we decided to make it a weekly event. I love this addition to our running calendar.

Something Read

The two best books I read this month were Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans and The Searcher by Tana French.

Inspired is Ms. Evans’ account of how she came to a better understanding of exactly what the Bible is and how it is meant to be read. This internal debate and ultimate understanding completely changed her spiritual life.

Her insights are told through first-person midrash-style stories, poems, memoirs, and even a screenplay.

I must admit to having some of the same questions and uneasiness as the author. Some of my questions were answered in the book, but some of them were not. That’s alright with me. Each person must find her own answers and I will find mine.

At the end of this book, I was again saddened that such a vibrant, perceptive voice was stilled far too soon.

My book club elected to read an easy-reading book for this month, considering the turmoil in the country resulting from the pandemic and the aftermath of our election. I had never heard of The Searcher or author Tana French.

I am now a huge fan.

The book was un-put-downable. Is that a word?

I wouldn’t exactly classify this book asΒ  easy-reading. The author told the story of a Chicago cop who retired to the Irish countryside. He subsequently found himself embroiled in an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a young man.

Now, I not only want to read more books by the author, but I also want to visit Ireland.

Something Treasured

What could be more adorable than a little boy and some puppies?

Especially when the boy is my charming grandson and the puppies are Bernese Mountain Dogs, my hubby’s favorite.

The weekend before my son and daughter-in-law’s neighbors began selling the puppies, they invited my grandson over for a romp.

He had a ball until it was time to leave. Realizing the puppies were soon to be taken away from their mother, his empathy kicked in, and tears began to flow. He has a tender heart.

I told my daughter-in-law that I would buy him one of the puppies, but they already have two large dogs in their household. She, in turn, offered to send one of the puppies to me.

I certainly do miss living with a dog, but one day we will be able to travel again. Kenneling a dog for long stretches of time is not ideal, so I sadly turned down her offer.

Something Ahead. Maybe.

In last month’s Four Somethings, I wrote about the uncertain fate of CJ’s Resolution Challenge. CJ’s is a three-hour timed trail race I do most Januaries.

I have since learned that CJ’s is on. It will be happening on the last weekend in January with COVID mitigating procedures in place.

While I am not crazy about the idea of wearing a mask for the entire three-hour race, I definitely understand why this rule will be enforced. The racecourse is a 1.5-mile trail loop that runners circle for the entire three hours.

Last year, I ran 16.5 miles or 11 loops. Bill ran an incredible 10 loops. I say incredible because he was dealing with a kidney stone at the time. When we got home, he passed the kidney stone (painlessly). Our theory was that running 15 miles jiggled the stone loose. Maybe we should write that treatment up in a medical journal for future kidney stone patients.

This year, I have a much more modest goal. My longest recent run has been a road 12-miler. I am hoping to be able to run eight or maybe nine loops in three hours.

I am still not convinced the race will actually take place.

I’ll let you know next month.

You can find the places I link up here.

141 comments

    • I am looking forward to the race. The friend who was supposed to do it with me is now thinking about backing out due to having to wear a mask, but I think if it is a problem, I will take a minute and step off the course to breathe without a mask. I like timed races. I might sign up for another one in May.

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  1. I love the idea of this post. So glad that you are able to make running with your son a weekly event.

    I need to read more, but can’t seem to “find” the time. I guess I just need to motivate myself as I really do love to read. Those books sound amazing.

    I’ve never seen a Bernese Mountain Dog in person, but I have loved them every since I saw one in a dog show. The puppies are so cute. I would have had a hard time leaving them behind. I love that your grandson has such a kind heart.

    I hope the race is a go and that you accomplish your goal. Wearing a mask while running will definitely be a challenge.

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  2. I remember Bill’s kidney stone episode. Wow.
    Great to hear that the race is still on! Running for three hours with a mask is going to be tough. I recently ran a virtual 10k with one, and it got very soggy towards the end.
    If the race does happen, maybe it’s a good idea to take a few masks with you to change during the race. Good luck!

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    • I think I will have to take some breathers where I step off the course and remove my mask for a few seconds. I also think I will take several masks. It is supposed to be cold that day and the masks will get wet. Thanks for the suggestion.

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    • I agree with your assessment of my grandson and the puppies. I may have to plan a few stops during the race to step off the course, remove my mask and breathe for a few minutes!

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  3. I’ve heard of Tana French but never read anything written by her. Will add this book to my list. I can only imagine how difficult it is to plan a run during the time of covid-19. I hope it happens for you. Running in circles around a trail loop for three hours sounds like fun, in a weird *I bet you’ll notice everything* kind of way.

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    • I was in the same boat and so was my sister. Coincidentally, my niece bought her the same book for Christmas and my sister loved it too! I love this race. I do it every year. The people who put it on are so nice and it benefits such a good cause (autism awareness), I feel good about doing it.

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  4. What a awesome thing to do with your son, its like adding extra joy to the joy. Beautiful photo of your sweet treasure of a grandson & pups. Such a shame you couldn’t take a pup but it is full time isn’t it.
    It looks so cold to be jogging does the cold burn your throat or sinuses.
    The books sound like a great read. My favourite Christian author is Max Lucado, he has some beautiful children’s books as well the illustrations are pure perfection. Have a fun run of the rest of the week.

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    • Yes…taking home a puppy is certainly a full-time job. It is very cold to be jogging right now, but we have adapted. It’s worth it. I will have to check out Max Lucado. I have heard of him but never read any of his books. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    • I would love to have a dog. Ours died this past summer and we made a conscious decision not to get another. At some point, we will be able to travel again. Same factors as you considered!

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  5. Maybe your mask will keep your nose warm. I was kind of wishing for a mask on my after work run today. That Rachel Held Evans book sounds cool. It’s exactly the sort of thing I would have read when I was ‘searching’. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just too much trouble to dive back in.

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    • I think my mask will get wet. I am going to bring a change of mask or three. The thing I like about Rachel Held Evans’ philosophy is that it is so inclusive. That’s my philosophy too. Of course, I like to see my ideas reinforced.

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  6. The puppies and your grandson are both adorable. After years of no TV, I am watching “All Creatures Great and Small” on our local PBS station. I read the books when I was younger and saw another TV special based on the books by James Herriot many years ago. Anyway, the weekly show takes place in the Yorkshire Dales, beautiful countryside, very very green and scenic. I imagine it would be wonderful to see it, just like Ireland. Great your race is on the end of January. I am surprised but it’s something to look forward to, even though masked up for that long will be a bit difficult.

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    • Thank you, Linda. My daughter-in-law sent me that photo. I read those books too. I used to love them! Ireland and Scotland are on my list of places I want to visit when the pandemic is over and we can travel again. So many places on my list! I will let you know how the race goes. I was just talking to Bill yesterday. I may have to step off the course occasionally and breathe without a mask for a minute or two.

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      • It’s a sweet photo. I loved those books too. Better practice your brogue before venturing to Ireland and Scotland; it’s easier than learning Portuguese I bet. Yes, running that race in Winter and wearing a mask – do take a breather (pardon the pun) … I’ll look forward to reading the post Laurie.

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      • Ha ha – oh that is funny and I just hopped onto that site and didn’t see Irish, but went to YouTube and they have lots of videos on how to speak with an Irish accent. In the comments, it appears some people went there as actors/actresses and need brogue lessons. πŸ™‚ I think that Stout is fattening and pretty potent I believe.

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      • Ha! So funny! I would love to be able to speak with an Irish accent, but when would I use it? I could listen to someone speaking with an Irish accent all day! I tend to stay away from dark beers, but Bill loves them.

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      • That’s true -the Irish are a fun-lovin’ lot. I could listen to an Irish accent all day as well. I’m still getting used to the Brits’ accent in “All Creatures Great and Small” – they speak fast (in my opinion) and I have to pay attention to decipher what they say sometimes.

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      • Ha! Somehow, I don’t think I will make a video! πŸ™‚ My grandson’s birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day. He is more Dominican than Irish, though! πŸ™‚

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      • Oh – I was looking forward to see it Laurie! I remember that St. Patrick’s Day birthday party complete with the bright green cake. Was that already two years ago or last year? Right at the beginning of the pandemic and restrictions … our first restrictions were on March 16th because they anticipated a lot of drinking for St. Patrick’s Day.

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      • I remember that post … wow, two years already! Time goes by so quickly. I think they timed the restrictions for the crowds on St. Patrick’s Day. Our restaurants opened up for indoor dining today, though limited capacity (25%) and after a 75-day closure. Thinking about your son – did his restaurant he manages open up yet?

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      • Time does go flying by, doesn’t it? Faster all the time. Our restaurants opened for indoor dining in the beginning of January. I think 50%. My son’s restaurant still did not open up. In fact, they told him that they are eliminating his position. He has to look for another job. He has already found something part-time but he will need a full-time position.

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      • Oh, that is sad for your son. They were interviewing some restaurant, bar and deli owners yesterday morning. Some were not re-opening yesterday and will keep having take-out only. Some lost all their help and said it is like starting a new business. I wish your son luck in finding a full-time position.

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      • Yes. The restaurant where he used to work is still closed except for takeout. It’s going to be tough until most of us get our vaccine.

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      • That’s a shame. People here say they were supporting their favorite restaurants by doing takeout to keep them from going under. I don’t know how much it helped or not because having only 25% capacity may mean it’s easier for many restaurants to just continue takeout only to avoid the sanitizing they must do before the next guest arrives – lots of work is involved for in-person dining now. Now that restaurants are open again, we had this bad weather here in Michigan, so I wonder how many people ventured out for dine-in? This morning they said the roads were still slippery and there were accidents galore. They have suggested people watch the Super Bowl at home and not mingle at bars or restaurants. A whole new world.

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      • Chris has started bartending one day a week at a local pub. He makes fantastic tips! I think customers are aware of the plight of restaurants and restaurant workers right now and they are generous. Bill and I are not going out but we do get take-out now and then. Nothing like what we did before the pandemic. Bill and I are watching the Super Bowl at home. Bill is making his famous wings right now!

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      • Well that’s great as the one-day-a-week bartending gig helps defray any losses when the restaurant he managed was totally shut down. Bill is a keeper! Staying home this year is better … the health department here said ‘if you insist on going out, please don’t cheer loudly or exuberantly or just wear a mask; please don’t graze for five hours!”

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      • I remember thinking when you posted about your 42nd anniversary that you two don’t look old enough to be celebrating 42 years together. It’s all the running and exercise that keeps you both fit and feeling good. That is best to stay in … it is worrisome to hear that we are slowly getting COVID-19 under control, but the variant viruses will run rampant by next month.

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      • Thank you, Linda. Bill and I are feeling our years more and more. More aches and pains, more need for stretching, running more slowly all the time…we still do have fun together, though!

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      • That’s the main thing Laurie – to enjoy your time together 24/7 after so many years of working and raising a family and little time to enjoy life. I feel my age too sometimes – just wait until Spring and the first time outside to deal with the yard. I always feel like someone ran over me with a Mack truck. And the time I fell in the snow … I messed my muscles up but good.

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      • I think Bill and I are doing well at enjoying ourselves. Of course, we were doing much better when we could go out to eat and travel. Oh, well. We will do those things again someday. Sorry to hear you injured yourself when you fell in the snow. We don’t heal as fast as we used to either!

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      • Yes, one day you will make that trip to Portugal and Ireland. Just don’t kiss the Blarney Stone when you do go … germs may linger. πŸ™‚ Well that was a dumb move stepping off into air and I’ve still not began the the yoga moves.

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  7. I am not much of a traveler so that’s why I dont mind getting all the dogs πŸ™‚ A good reason to stay home for me too πŸ™‚ but good for you making the best choice for you & the dog once traveling gets to going again.

    I need to find get that Rachel Held Evans book!!! I remember her passing – just devastating. But I’m going to Amazon right now!

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  8. Un-put-down-able IS a word, in my book! Hamnet was that for me. I’ve never read Tana Frenchβ€”and have heard so much goodβ€”I should probably put her on my list…

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  9. You covered the bases with your 3 – of course your grandson with puppies is #1 for me, reading and being outisde are 2 and 3. You found some good reading – thanks for the tips.

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  10. Laurie, I loved this post, especially the boy and his puppies, I’m a sucker for dogs and miss my dear Golda so much these days. BUT I have to say, what a coincidence, if you believe in coincidences, I live in Lancaster County near the Enola trail! Who knew we were that close…..amazing!

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    • Thank you, Donna. I thought it was such a cute photo. We lost our dog this year and I am missing him too, so I am a sucker for dog pictures right now. Even more than usual! Wow! I live in Lititz and my son lives in Millersville. I had no idea we were so close!

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  11. It doesn’t come much cuter than your grandson and the pups. I bet they are so soft and snuggly…all 3 of them!
    I remember your husband running with the kidney stone. That was incredible. My exhusband suffered with stones and he couldn’t move, much less run!!
    I would like to have a puppy, too, but like you, I hope to travel (to Ireland!!) and it isn’t fair to have a pet then abandon it over and over. Maybe once our traveling days are behind us.
    Pinned The Searcher for book club consideration.

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    • There were actually FIVE puppies! They just didn’t all make it into the photo. Hubby and I think maybe we will get a dog once our traveling days are over too, but I hope that isn’t for quite a while!

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  12. Glad to hear that your race is still on. So many things are canceled these days it makes having something to look forward to hard. I need to check out both books and I certainly recommend a trip to Ireland. A very beautiful country. Thanks for linking up and stay well.

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  13. I always love reading your Four Somethings, Laurie. The dogs are adorable, and I can’t believe your husband ran that far with a kidney stone … I’m sure the medical journals would welcome your contribution to the field of kidney stone treatment! πŸ™‚

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  14. Your grandson and those puppies are just too cute. Lots of positives for you in this pist which is great. Fantastic that your big event is on. It’s great to have something to look forward to esp in these times #weekendcoffeeshare

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  15. I heard of Tana French and was going to look for her e-books at my library. Love the photo of your grandson and the puppies.

    BTW, could you update the name of my link up on your list from Wellness Weekend to Weekend Coffee Share? I used to host the Wellness Weekend series then this year I took on the Weekend Coffee Share. Thank you. #weekendcoffeeshare

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    • I really enjoyed the Tana French book. I will read another one of hers. Thank you for reminding me to change the name of your like up. I am going to fix that right now! Thank you for hosting!!!

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  16. Are you planning to run the Enola trail every week or just do a group run weekly? If you manage to run that trail every week props to you… while it’s very scenic with the river I absolutely loathe its flatness. I thought the York Rail Trail was flat until I ran on that. Jason and I ran 7 miles on it once in the rain and I cursed every step on the way back the flatness hurt my hips so much! That said I did actually run a part of it the other week as my dad, Armand and I started there and ran out to the road to pick up the Turkey Hill Country Classic 10k course then came back and finished on the trail to get a full 10 miles. That was a lot more tolerable for me. Jason, Scott and Todd ran the actual trail above the rail trail to get Jason more used to trail running.

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    • I don’t know if we will run the Enola trail every week or switch it up. We have a small group of friends who we do a trail run with every week too. There we go to different places. We ran at Blue Marsh last week and French Creek

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    • *** (accidentally hit the send button!) …the week before. I personally think rail trails can get boring, but it’s a good place to run near my son’s house where we don’t have to worry about traffic. The most boring race I ever ran was a half on the D&L trail. I sang 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall just to pass the time and I got the whole way down to ONE!!! I would love to do the Turkey Hill half sometime. I did the 5K, but that’s the only distance for that race.

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      • Oh that’s nice if you’re changing up locations. Our running group meets every Wed. at John Wright and usually run around Wrightsville or up along the river. Sometimes we meet in Columbia and run through it or on the trail there. It can be tricky due to where people are driving from with work and then in the winter less sunlight so our routes sometimes are the same for awhile. I don’t think I was overly bored running the half on the D&H because it was my first half so it was all so new to me. That said I don’t think I’d be running it again. As much as I enjoyed the Hellbender Half for its swag and how well it was put on I feel the course is a tad too boring for me to repeat… I need my rolling hills! Lol

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  17. I love that you and Bill are able to do a weekly run with a son, that is great. I also think your daughter-in-law has a sense of “turn around is fair play” but you will know when you are ready for another dog. I listen to more books than I read. When I was in seminary, both times it was close to a 3 hour one way drive (I only did that once a week,so not 3 hours and classes and 3 more hours, but I kept myself going with audiobooks. I listened to two or three Tana French books and loved her writing. My only complaint is that by the end of each book I loved her main characters and wanted to hear more about them, but the next book, new hero. A writer named A. J. Jacobs wrote a book called The Year of Living Biblically. Rachel Held Evans wrote a similar book from her perspective as a woman, A Year of Biblical Womanhood…It was the third of her books that I listened to on Audible, and she is the narrator, which makes it that much more poignant. While I can’t say that I am searching for anything at this point, sometimes the search is for a safe place to speak your truth. Loved the post. Blessings, Michele

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    • Oh, I am definitely going to read A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I remember A Year of Living Biblically and I may even have read it but I think I want to re-read it before I read Rachel’s book. I also used to listen to audiobooks when I was traveling to college to get my master’s degree. It was only a 45-minute drive, though. The drive there wasn’t too bad but the drive home, often around 9 p.m. after a full day of teaching and a 3-hour class, was sometimes pretty hairy. Thank you, Michele. Blessings to you!

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  18. Hi Laurie – wonderful read. We may be neighbors. I work just on the other side of the Susquehanna on Front Street – literally off Exit 66, although I live much further south in Franklin County.

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  19. Greetings Laurie. Lovely stuff here. I envy your ability to dash about with family like this. When I was young I felt like I could outrun the wind, but as maturity settled in, I discovered an early inheritance from my father – bad knees and simple one mile runs left me in pain for days. Wen I was young, I had a pure bred German short hair pointer from pup to her passing. Along that path we did 3 litters of puppies and the house was always wild with these miniature joy-bombs running about. Such great memories. . . And for reading. Just this past week I finished my 6th pass through the Bible and found that starting my day with it has been so good for me that I’m going ahead and starting afresh on pass 7. I’m glad you stopped by to share your week and photos. Hope to see you over at my venue. Blessings.

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    • Thank you, Gary. Having litters of puppies around sounds like heaven. And a lot of work! πŸ™‚ I usually end my day with the Bible. I don’t know how many times I have read through it, but this is the first time I have read The Message Version. Heading over to your site now.

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  20. I’ve read one Tana French mystery (and enjoyed it!) and all of Rachel Held Evans books (love them!). It is SO sad to me too to know that we’ve heard the last of her words here. 😦 The picture of your grandson and the puppies is indeed adorable! Our last dog went to live with my daughter and we never replaced her. I do miss having a dog periodically but I LOVE not having to get care for her when we travel. (Of course this past year we’ve not traveled so it wouldn’t have mattered. ha)

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    • Both of the authors are such talented writers. They are such an inspiration to me! Our last dog came to us from my son. We did the opposite as you! πŸ™‚ If it weren’t for travel, I would have another dog in a heartbeat!

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  21. Tana French is well known here in Ireland, and highly regarded. She is actually American (Vermont), but came here to study at Trinity College in Dublln in 1990, and never left! Love the Bermese dogs, and what an adorable picture with your grandson!

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    • She made me want to visit Ireland after the pandemic is over. I didn’t realize she was originally an American. I think the photo is adorable too. Thanks! πŸ™‚

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  22. Great Somethings! I love that you’ll be adding running with your son to the schedule. Also hope the race goes on. Is the autism awareness charity you say it’s for Autism Speaks? I personally hope not, as that organization is loathed by autistic adults, including me, for its lack of support for actually autistic people. In case this is the charity you will be racing for, I hope you’ll do some looking into autistic perspectives on it. I definitely still love you are doing this race, as it will be a great socializing opportunity regardless.

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  23. I loved all of your somethings. I am intrigued by your three hour race. I don’t know if I could run for that long but it might be fun to try. “Inspired” is on my TBR list. I love when a book makes you yearn to visit its location.

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  24. Little boys and puppies are a great match! How sad that he shed tears for the mother, after realising that she will soon be losing her babies. I hope that his compassion stays with him during his lifetime, it’s a wonderful quality to have.

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  25. It sounds like you had a really good run and a great addition to your calendar.
    The books sound so interesting.
    Aww! What a cute photo of your grandson and the puppies. That is a shame you or your daughter in law couldn’t have a puppy. x

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  26. Lovely somethings there. The run with your son sounded fab, lovely that you got to spend some time together.
    And those puppies! I love Burnese mountain dogs. If it wasn’t for living across the pond then I would definitely be wanting one!

    Thanks so much for joining in with #MMBC.

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    • I absolutely love running with my son. He just started less than a year ago. I hope there is a Burmese Mountain dog in your future! πŸ™‚ Thank you for hosting.

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  27. I love Bernese Mountain Dogs. I’m not surprised your grandson felt sad. I don’t know how breeders can ever let them go. I’d be hopeless and fill my house with them. I like the sound of both of your books. The Searcher sounds like one I’d enjoy. It sounds perfect to meet up with your son for a run. Perfect that you didn’t even spot the markers! Hope your race goes ahead. Running in a mask will be different! #mmbc

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    • I think my grandson mostly felt sad about the puppies being separated from their Mom. He is empathetic. My race did happen. The entire course was snow-covered. It was a lot of fun!

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