Anyway, with the exception of me spending Christmas Eve vomiting up my toenails (I haven't been sick like that since I was a kid; thank goodness it only lasted 24 hours), it was a great holiday season; I hope everyone else's was as good. Along with our usual Raleigh activities (my work Christmas party, our own Christmas party, Liz's trip to PA, holiday dinners with family and friends...), we also did the requisite whirlwind trip to Florida for our "second Christmas" with my parents. We really racked up this year -- one flat-screen high-def TV from each set of parents! Apparently great minds really do think alike. (For those who have seen our apartment -- no need to feel sorry for us anymore with that pathetic 15" TV!) I also got a lot of Duke gear, including a sweatshirt, T-shirt, bumper sticker, and coffee mug. (So I officially declined the ECU interview last week... because how could I even contemplate going purple-and-gold after such a "blue" Christmas?! ;))
Next up on the celebration list is my 26th birthday on the 30th. It falls on a weekend this year, which is great. We don't have all the details ironed out yet, but I think we're going to try to take a day trip over to the western part of the state and go snow tubing. I've always wanted to go skiing, but since I've never been before, Liz and I agreed that we really need a whole weekend in order to get that first experience "right" -- apparently skiing is a very "involved" endeavor, especially for newbies. Liz, who grew up in PA, has been skiing many times, so I'm inclined to trust her judgment. Snow tubing, on the other hand, doesn't require any experience -- you go up the mountain, you slide down the mountain; wash, rinse, repeat. For a Floridian, it sounds like tons of fun nevertheless, and since it's only about 3 hours away, we don't even have to worry about a hotel. We'll save the skiing thing until we have more time (and money!).
Speaking of which -- the other big thing on my radar this month is the FAFSA, which I want to get turned in as soon as possible since there are a certain number of $10,000 scholarships available from the Duke PA program for financially needy students. (Granted, 10k is only about one-tenth the total cost of attendance, but hey, it's something.) The catch is that I have to have my taxes done before I can fill out the FAFSA, and I have to have my W-2 in my hot little hands before I can do my taxes. I've been told that I should receive it sometime before the end of the month, so keep your fingers crossed that it's sooner rather than later... I want to be on the top of the pile! :)
And speaking of Duke, we went apartment-hunting again this weekend and have finally well and truly settled on the Southpoint apartments as the best place to live. We've looked into probably 15 other complexes, but areas of Durham closer to the school are just too sketchy and going closer to Chapel Hill pushes one into four-digit rent territory a lot quicker than we'd like. I won't be within biking distance of school, which kind of stinks, but these apartments will be across the street from a SuperTarget and well within walking distance of tons of restaurants and shops, not to mention the mall, the movie theater, a car repair place, and so forth. There's also a great gym, mountain bikes to borrow, a nice pool, and a paved running/biking trail around the complex. In short, the everyday amenities, plus the convenience we'll gain on weekends (since we end up in the Southpoint area about once a week as it is) will make up for the longer commute, I think.
Exercise update: after being sick the entire month of December, first with a weird flulike virus and then with a gastrointestinal bug, I'm finally back to working out in preparation for the breast cancer marathon next month. I ran 9 miles on Friday for my long run, which isn't anywhere near where I should be by this point in the training, but given that it was my first long run since being sick and that the temperature was 30 degrees, I think I did pretty well. I'll bump it up to 12 miles this coming Friday, then 15, then 18, and then start my taper. It's a quicker increase in mileage than the original schedule called for, but I was up to 14 miles before I got sick, so hopefully some of that previous fitness will carry over.
After the marathon, I think I'll be done with the 26.2 distance for a while (though, of course, I did say that last time, too...), but Liz and I have been looking at the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon as a possible race to do together in October. With her hypoglycemia and just her natural body rhythm, she has trouble with early-morning exercise (which, let's face it, constitute 99.9% of the races out there), so this nighttime event would be great for her (and a nice change for yours truly!). We're also planning to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity (or somewhere similar) over the summer and earn a free park ticket that way; that'll cut the weekend cost down even more.
Okay, well, I've killed almost enough time that I can start heading out the door now. Thanks for providing my distraction (as usual), and I promise it won't be a whole month before I update again!