This Week

Friday, December 19th, 2014 | Posted under This Week

The high of my week was all the socializing I did! Saturday was our 4th annual holiday party (although the first in Minnesota) which was so much fun. We had 15 people come and everyone pitched in and brought really yummy foods. Our friend Sarah made a gluten-free 7-layer bar that is just delicious — it has butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and coconut, but it’s made with almond flour so I can eat it! She also brought her homemade caramel corn. I would say Sarah’s food was the high of my week!

The low of my week was needing to go to the chiropractor. I started to get some really severe back pain last week, and I even got two massages in one week hoping it would help! But it didn’t, so I called a chiropractor. The chiropractor X-rayed my back and found that some of my spine is out of alignment, and I’ll need four to six months of adjustments to get it back to normal! Not super happy about that. My neck has been hurting a lot this week because of the tension its causing on my muscles, but on the plus side, my back feels better. So the low is finding out I have a problem, but I suppose it’s also a high in that I’m getting it fixed.

A blog post I loved was probably Nicole’s blog post The $10,000 Method. I thought it was a great reminder of the importance of stating committed to your goals, and that you can make time for anything if it’s important enough to you.

For my workouts, I completed on Monday night, in the rain, I went for a three mile run. It was pretty miserable and slow but I’m glad I got out there! I also went to Orangetheory on Wednesday and Friday. I missed a lot of classes in November because of wacky blood sugars, but I made yet more adjustments and I think things might be mostly okay for now.

The best money I spent was on a pair of gray Nike capris at work. They’re really soft and comfy. I’ve bought a ton of workout tops, but wear the same couple of capris that I’ve had for a long time.

My plans this weekend include flying home to Oregon!!! So excited!!! Wheee!!!

This is a famous sign in Downtown Portland, and they add the red nose every Christmas. It said Made in Oregon for most of my childhood, but the City of Portland acquired ownership of the sign a few years ago, and so that’s what it says now. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a drive over the Burnside Bridge to see this sign.


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A Running Store Associate’s Guide to the Holidays

Monday, December 15th, 2014 | Posted under Health + Fitness

I’ve been working at a running specialty store for about nine months (between two different stores) and so I’ve picked up on a few things that people just love when it comes to running. I wrote about some favorite running items a few months ago, but now I’m back with more!

Here’s my holiday gift guide for shopping for that special runner in your life (or some ideas to put on your own wish list).


1. Brooks Utopia Thermal Hoodie: My mother-in-law bought this for me for Christmas last year after I had been lusting after it at work. It’s a little on the speedy side at $110 but it’s so worth it. I wear it all the time, even casually because it’s so comfy and warm!

2. Swiftwick socks: I was sent a pair of these from the company a few weeks ago and I really like them! They are fitted socks, but they aren’t so tight that they are hard to get on. They’re thin, but not so thin that you feel like your heel is going to rub through the sock. They’re just a really nice, comfy sock!

3. HoneyStingers: I first tried the HoneyStinger waffles at my last store and they are so delicious! Then I tried their gels and they are even better! They taste just like honey, and they aren’t as gooey so they digest a lot better for me. I often got side stitches with GUs, even though I do think they taste pretty good. But the consistently of HoneyStingers are better for running, plus they come with electrolytes and other nutrients. They make a great stocking stuffer!

4. Thermal tights: My pair of choice is the Brooks Utopia Thermal Tights, but I think any thermal tight will work. You want to make sure they are thermal though, because those will keep you the warmest during your winter runs!

5. Reflective accessories: These are the perfect way to keep your favorite runner safe, whether they’re running in the dark mornings of the winter or late at night during the summer (when it’s cool enough to head outside!). There are a lot of options: vests, clips, ankle straps!

6. Garmin Forerunner 15: I have the Garmin Forerunner 10 and although I love using it, I probably don’t use it enough. I tend to rely just on my phone, but that’s annoying because I have to keep getting it in and out when I want to check my time. My Garmin makes it so much easier to see how I’m doing, the connectivity is great, and it’s pretty affordable. The new Forerunner 15 is heart rate monitor capable plus it has a built-in activity tracker too. If you don’t have a Garmin, I highly recommend checking this one out!

7. Footrubz: This is such a popular stocking stuff! Feels great on the arches after a long run.

8. Yurbuds headphones: Headphones are so hard to keep in the ears! But Yurbudz are comfortable and come in pretty cute colors. I haven’t liked most earbuds I’ve had because they usually fall out. Yurbudz are a little spendy compared to others, but they’re worth it.

9. CEP compression socks: I know there is some debate about whether or not compression socks are worth it, but I swear by them. My legs felt great after I work my CEP compressions socks after my half marathon in October. And we just got new merino wool CEP socks which I bet would be perfect after a long winter run or race!


And now, a word about shoes…

Should I buy my special runner a pair of shoes? 


I mean, I get it. Running shoes are expensive and wouldn’t it be nice to help out with that expense? Yes, it would. But unless you know precisely which shoe your special runner wears, and precisely the shoe size, you’re in for some trouble. Running shoes aren’t like regular shoes. Running shoes are all a little different, and if you don’t get the right shoe, it can be uncomfortable or even hurt the runner. Just saying the brand, like Brooks or Nike, isn’t good enough, because they make a lot of different types of shoes. Your best bet is to get a gift card for a local running store. Most shoes run between $120 and $150.

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Goodbye November, Hello December!

Monday, December 8th, 2014 | Posted under Monthly Check-In

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

 B4NkEiyIIAA-8m3Pretty sparkly house!

In November, I…

Worked a ton. We’re talking full-time hours on top of school! That’s pretty much why I’ve been so quiet around here. December is, surprisingly, going to be a much lighter month, mostly because my hours at the running store are going down. Not as many people run in Minnesota during the winter as they do in the summer. Who knew? /sarcasm

Spent Thanksgiving with Erik’s family. We went to one of Erik’s half-brother’s house for Thanksgiving, although another brother and his wife also came unexpectedly and that was fun. The whole Minneapolis contingent of the Nimlos family were there, including the newest addition: baby Elijah! He’s becoming more and more interactive, so it’s really fun to play with him.

Determined that gluten is not for me. After a couple of run ins with gluten pizza, I’ve come to accept that gluten is just not in the cards for me right now. My digestive track is already starting to feel better.

Did well in school. I got an A on my Developmental Psychology midterm, and my professor left a note on my paper asking if I’d considered doing graduate work! Squee! Of course, I haven’t really thought that far ahead, so I don’t have an answer, but that was some nice feedback.


In December, I will… 

Finish school. Technically I’m already done with one class, Statistical Techniques and Research Methods, and I got an A! Woohoo! I turned in my final paper for Developmental Psychology this past Wednesday, and my final paper for Theories of Personality is due tomorrow. I should have my grades in the next couple weeks!

Visit Oregon. First time in two and a half years! We’re planning on doing some Christmas-y stuff, like visiting the Grotto and the Victorian Belle House, which are a couple of my favorite holiday things to do in Portland. Also hoping to do a little shopping on Northwest 23rd, visit Powells (like you do), and get coffee from Peet’s as many times as I can. We’re also making it in time for the annual Candy House party (we call it that because it’s not gingerbread, but graham crackers, and honestly: it’s all about the candy)! I haven’t been to a Candy House party since 2008! And we’re also having lunch with two of my best high school friends.

Bake cookies. I’m on the hunt for a good gluten-free Christmas cookie recipe. Got one? Send it my way. Christmas cookie making is another tradition of mine, but this year, I can’t eat my favorites. Sad face. Unless I find an acceptable substitute for the ingredients! I’m a woman on a mission!

Host our holiday party. Yet another annual tradition! (I’m pretty big on traditions.) We’re hosting it next weekend and we’re going to do our usual white elephant gift exchange, which is always fun. Our holiday party is also the same day as Erik’s and my 6th “date-aversary” but since we’re not in NYC this year, we can’t do our recreate our first date, which we have done every year. Instead, we’re planning on seeing the Klingon Christmas Carol! I can’t wait! I have no idea what to expect, but it sounds awesome.

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I Mustache You Some Questions

Friday, December 5th, 2014 | Posted under About Me

So I’ve seen this meme around town  for a bit and and even though it started off as a tagged meme, it looks like everyone’s jumping on board! So here’s mine:

4Four names people call me, other than my real name:

1. Pretty much just Allison
2. I was Ally for a bit in high school but nobody calls me that now
3. I went by Angel at diabetes camp but, again, nobody actually calls me that now
4. Babe (and other sappy, stomach-churning nicknames), courtesy of my husband (and only him!)

Four jobs I’ve had:

1. Professional blogger
2. PR professional
3. Sales associate
4. Fundraiser for the Annual Giving Program for the University of Oregon

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

1. Clueless
2. Hocus Pocus
3. The Muppet Christmas Carol
4. You’ve Got Mail

Four books I’d recommend:

1. Man’s Search For Meaning
2. The Diary of Anne Frank
3. Life of Pi
4. The Bible

Four places I’ve lived:

1. Eugene, OR
2. Hoboken, NJ
3. New York City, NY
4. Minneapolis, MN

Four places I’ve been:

1. France
2. England
3. Quebec, Canada
4. Ontario, Canada

Four places I’d rather be right now:

1. Mexico! (two more months!)
2. Portland (one more month!)
3. New York City (sigh… no idea when that will happen)
4. Nashville (because I’ve never been and I want to go)

Four things I don’t eat:

1. Brussels sprouts
2. Tomatoes (only in sauce form and occasionally hidden in sandwiches)
3. Gluten as of recently
4. Cheesecake (I’ve tried and it just isn’t my thing)

Four of my favorite foods:

1. Popcorn
2. Sweet potato fries
3. Pineapple
4. Eggplant

Four TV shows that I watch:

1. Vampire Diaries
2. The Originals
3. Walking Dead
4. 19 Kids and Counting

Four things I’m looking forward to in the next 12 months: 

1. Seeing my family for Christmas!
2. Going to Mexico!
3. Turning 30! (Okay, I’m only semi-excited about that, but still, it’s a milestone birthday)
4. Going to one of my best friend’s wedding!

Four things I’m always saying:

1. “Bayyyy-beeeeeee” as a really annoying way of getting my husband’s attention
2. “Have you seen my….” because I’m constantly losing things
3. “What can help you with today?” because I work in retail.
4. “I have to work on my paper” because I’m in grad school.


And with that… I have to work on my paper. (Last one!)


Surviving Finals

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 | Posted under School

Well, I just finished my second final paper out of three. Technically that one paper — for Developmental Psychology — was three individual papers, of four pages each. I did the whole thing — research and writing —  in a little over a week. I’ve also been working a ton, although I thankfully had both Thanksgiving and this past Sunday off from work. So you can see why I ended up not finishing my Week In The Life. I was a little busy.

The last two days of the week were pretty good. I worked 11 hours on Friday (!) between the running store and Pier 1 Imports. That wasn’t super awesome, but the running store was actually very quiet so while I was there, I was able to do some research for my Dev Psych paper. I wasn’t too exhausted when I got to Pier 1, and then that store also ended up being pretty quiet that night. So all in all it was a pretty easy day considering I worked the whole thing! Then on Saturday I worked at the running store, but at a different location. When I came home, one of Erik’s brothers, who is an electrician, came over with his wife and their youngest daughter (who is about 25). Our porch light hasn’t worked at all since we bought it and we weren’t sure what the problem was. Thankfully it is an easy fix. We just need to buy a new light fixture and he will come back to install it. Woohoo! I love having skilled workers in the family.

photo-8I’ve been pretty nose to the keyboard the rest of the week, with just a couple shifts at Pier 1. Like I said, I had three papers to write! And they were all pretty research intensive. Now I’m at a new-to-me coffee shop in Minneapolis, called Bull Run Coffee, for a little bit to do some reading and start working on my third and final paper for class. It has a very Brooklyn feel with the ornate ceiling, brick pillar and chalkboard menu. I swear, trying out new coffee shops and yoga studios might be my new hobby!

Anyway, I have to write a paper on my own personal theory of personality for my Theories of Personality class. I’m drawing my inspiration for the paper from the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking. It’s a fascinating book, although I don’t like how extroverts seem to be getting a bad rap for being obnoxious and shallow. Only some of us are! Can’t I be an extrovert who likes deep conversation? I just don’t understand this whole “either / or” mentality that people have about introversion and extroversion, and of course, I plan to talk a lot about that in my paper!

How are you doing on this hump day?


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Week In My Life: Thursday, November 27

Friday, November 28th, 2014 | Posted under About Me

Did everyone have a nice Thanksgiving?

Morning // I woke up super early Thanksgiving morning but it wasn’t to go to school or work — just Orangetheory! The class was tough, not just because of what we were doing but because my blood sugar went pretty high. It made me feel so gross. I managed to hold on through the class, though, but it was definitely not a great experience. After class, I went over to Whole Foods and picked up a few things for a gluten-free stuffing that I was going to make. Then as I drove home, I realized that I forgot chocolate chips for the pancakes we were making that morning, so I had to go to Cub Foods too. When I finally got home, I changed my insulin pod which had expired while I was out (I don’t have the greatest timing sometimes) and a new continuous glucose sensor to replace the one that had failed yesterday morning. Erik and I had a big breakfast of gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, eggs, and mimosas. Of course, I got full super fast so I only ate about half of what I took! But it was still tasty. After breakfast I took a shower and we watched some TV — the Thanksgiving Day parade and the dog show that comes on after.

Afternoon // I called my mom a little after noon, because of the time difference. Caught up on the latest news with the family. Afterward I got started on cooking. First I made a gluten-free pumpkin pie using a premade crust from Whole Foods and a filling recipe from the back of a can, and then made the stuffing using a recipe on the Whole Foods website. Both were super easy, which was nice. I hate cooking. I find it stressful and messy. I take no pleasure in it. But being gluten-free meant I couldn’t just rely on other people to make food for me. In the late afternoon we went to pick up my mother in law and then drove over to Erik’s half-brother’s house (well, one of them — he has 4 brothers). Turns out one of the other brothers was also in town, so it was a big gathering. There were 15 of us!

Evening // The Thanksgiving dinner was delicious. My contributions turned out pretty good. The stuffing had a bit too much onion which will be easy to fix for next time, and I don’t think the pumpkin pie had the right combination of spices.

photo 2-8

photo 1-8

It just tasted a little off compared to the pumpkin pie I’ve had from Costco. But the crust was good and easy to cut, so I know that I just need to find a different pumpkin filling recipe. It was nice to relax for the whole day, as I didn’t do any homework or actual work the entire day. I was very thankful to have the day off and a great family to spend it with!

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Week In My Life: Wednesday, November 26

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 | Posted under About Me

Morning // I am just not a morning person, and once again, was running late. I managed to grab a quick shower and then headed off to Developmental Psychology. We had a couple presentations and then spent the rest of the class talking about memory loss and Alzheimer’s. Erik’s father passed from it soon after we started dating, as if the topic wasn’t depressing enough as it is. My continuous glucose monitor sensor failed right in the middle of class, so I went the whole day without it. I had just put a new one in the night before, so I was very annoyed. Stupid technology!

Afternoon // After class I made a quick stop at the post office to drop off a Blue Cupcake card. Erica and I have been selling them for two years this month! Crazy. They aren’t quite as popular as I would have liked, but I do get a couple orders a month, and it’s a pretty low maintenance store since most of our inventory is already produced. Instead of working at Run N Fun today, I got someone to cover my shift and instead I babysat a couple of kids, one of whom has diabetes. We decided to get out of the house for the afternoon, and I took them to Chipotle for lunch, then we went over to Whole Foods to get ingredients for a pumpkin pie, and then over to Barnes and Noble to look around. I didn’t end up getting anything, which is probably for the best since I already have a lot of books at home that I want to read! We swung by the house to get their dog and went to the dog park, but it was so cold and snowy that we didn’t stay there for very long!

Evening // Erik and I texted in the late afternoon that he was going to have drinks with some friends while I needed to get some of my Developmental Psych paper finished. So when I left their house, I drove over to Spyhouse Coffee on Hennepin to get some study time in. They have really great chai, and their seats are the most comfortable out of all the locations, in my opinion. But I didn’t realize until I was leaving that they actually have this back room with more tables and booths! I’ll definitely have to head back another time. It seemed like a great place to get work done. I like working in coffeeshops because since everyone’s working, it feels like a team effort while still being independent! I think that’s one of my main personality features: I like being alone, but around other people at the same time. Is that weird? When I got home, Erik was in the middle of making dinner. We had a recipe from a Jamie Oliver cookbook that we really like, but has lots of gluten. The original recipe is fried shrimp with couscous and avocado with a mayo dressing, but obviously can’t eat flour or couscous. So he made the shrimp with coconut flour and quinoa instead. Unfortunately, the coconut flour didn’t have the greatest consistency when fried, and I’m not a huge quinoa fan. So we’ll probably try something else next time. Then we watched Monday’s episode of Originals (Rebekah’s back!) and I spent some time looking up gluten free Thanksgiving recipes because I decided I just had to make gluten-free stuffing.

And with that, Happy Thanksgiving!

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Week In My Life: Tuesday, November 25

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 | Posted under About Me

Morning // I woke up with a low blood sugar, so I got a bit of a late start in getting ready for school. Eventually I felt better, and was only a little late to Theories of Personality. After class, I met with members of my group to talk about our presentation that we have next week. We’re doing a presentation on Robin Williams and analyzing his life using theories from Carl Jung and Evolutionary Psychology (those are two different theories, btw).

Afternoon // The meeting didn’t take as long as I expected, but I still didn’t have a lot of time to go home before work. I decided to go to the Starbucks next to Pier 1 (yep, working there again!) and worked a bit on a freelance assignment and on a paper for Developmental Psychology that’s due next week. Afterwards I went to work, where I found out that my manager wasn’t even expecting me in! Of course, since I did come in, she wanted me to work. Blah. On top of that, my boss gave me a lecture for talking about being tired too much. Yep, apparently I tell people I’m tired too often. She said it sounded like I didn’t really want to work there. What the what? I did some thinking, and talked to a co-worker, and the consensus is that in New York, being tired and busy is like a badge of honor. If you’re not tired and busy, there’s something wrong with you. In Minnesota, if you are tired and busy (or at least, if you talk about it), it means there’s something wrong with you. These cultural differences are hard to deal with. So I was pretty upset (I started tearing up — I’m so emotional!) but the rest of the shift was okay. I had to move a bunch of wall decor around and help put a couch in someone’s truck, which were both super heavy, but I also had a customer tell me that I “seemed pretty sharp” so that was nice to hear. Why are compliments never said in front of the people who need to hear it?!

Evening // I debated going to Orangetheory in the evening, since I missed it this morning, but decided against it. I was tired after all, right? Besides, I needed to work on my paper. Working out might have been good for my body, but it likely would have just stressed me out even more! I made a quick dinner — Amy’s Indian wrap — and then worked for a few hours on homework. Erik had rock climbing with friends and orchestra practice, and then went out to happy hour with his bandmates, which was nice because the house was quiet. All went well, except for a brief period of time when the Internet stopped working on computer. Eventually crashed around 11:30 when Erik came home. I thought about staying up longer to work but, you guessed it, I was tired!


Week In My Life: Monday, November 24

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 | Posted under About Me

Only one month until Christmas! Crazy! Here’s how yesterday went down:

Morning // After my alarm went off a little before 9, I spent a few minutes in bed checking the Internet. It’s how I feel I best wake up and I don’t care if studies say it’s bad! Eventually I tested my blood sugar then crawled out of bed, made breakfast (more gluten-free waffles) and finished my take-home Statistics exam. I realized that since I have a Mac that I probably should wait until I got to school to finish my PowerPoint presentation, because I’ve had issues with exporting Keynote to Powerpoint. I spent the remainder of the morning making a few phone calls — reordered insulin pump supplies and made an orthodontist appointment (yep, still dealing with that) — and then I decided it would be a good time to color my hair! It wasn’t, because it took more time than I realized. But I still managed to get to work on time!

Afternoon // I spent the afternoon working at Pier 1. I realized soon into my shift that I was supposed to work an hour longer than I planned! Eek! But my manager said I could leave early, which means I still had time to get my powerpoint presentation done. About an hour into my shift, my CGM alarmed telling my to calibrate. My blood sugar was a little high because I only did a partial bolus for breakfast, but since I was at work, I knew I didn’t need a full correction this time either. Work was uneventful — kinda slow actually — and at 4:00 I went home. My blood sugar was good, but since I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast I knew I would need to eat something. I had a leftover pork chop from when we went to Haute Dish in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday, a piece of gluten-free toast and a couple of clementines. I grabbed my laptop and headed to school. Terrible traffic, but I managed to get my presentation finished with time to spare! Whew.

Evening // I gave my presentation, and it was probably the worst presentation ever but I don’t really care. I’m so over that class. But I’ve turned in all my assignments, so I pretty much am done! When I got home, Erik and I had a very late dinner — salmon, green beans and sweet potatoes — and then I was starting to feel pretty tired. I was also in a pretty bad mood because we haven’t had a lot of people available to come to our holiday party, which we’ve hosted every year since we got married. It’s just another reminder of how hard it is to move and how we still don’t have a lot of friends. Even though intellectually we know we made the right decision, it’s still really freaking hard sometimes.

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Week In My Life: Sunday, November 23

Monday, November 24th, 2014 | Posted under About Me

I’ve seen several of my blogger friends (er, friends with blogs?) doing this project and it sounded fun so I’m going to play along. I’ll be writing brief synopses of each day between Sunday, November 23 and Saturday, November 28. Enjoy!


Morning // Although my alarm didn’t go off until a little before 9 am (I’m trying out the SleepCycle app), I woke up around six o’clock because of a high blood sugar. I corrected and went to the bathroom, then fell back asleep. When my alarm did go off, I stayed in bed for about an hour (!) because I was still feeling a bit tired. Mostly dorked around on my phone. Finally around 10 o’clock, Erik and I got up and I made breakfast — eggs and gluten-free wildberry frozen waffles. I did some chores, like loading the dishwasher, putting some winter sweaters in my closet and starting the laundry. A little bit before I was about to leave for work, I felt a little low and I was 81 mg/dl. Had a ton of insulin on board, so I drank a juice box and suspended my insulin pump to hopefully keep from going low at work. I also went to Starbucks for coffee (Chestnut Praline, which I’ve decided I’m not a fan of) and a fruit bar (mango + apple), as well as a gluten-free rice krispy bar that I saved for later.

Afternoon // Before arriving at Pier 1, I had to go to CVS to get my passport photo taken (Mexico!!). The printer wasn’t working so I ended up needing to go back later. Work was pretty busy but luckily there weren’t any emergencies, which is always good. About halfway through I noticed my blood sugar was going up, so I stopped into the break room and tested. I was 210 mg/dl, so I corrected. I was supposed to work until 5, plus two hours of “flex” but they only needed me for one of those so I left at six o’clock. I stopped at CVS quickly. As I was leaving, I started feeling a little low, even though my CGM said I was fine, but I went ahead and ate the rice krispy bar and didn’t take any insulin. Big mistake! By dinner time my blood sugar was pretty high. Overdid that one!

photo-7Natasha basically lives on the radiators — this is her as we were going to bed

Evening // When I got home from CVS, I started dinner by marinating the chicken with a Stubbs marinade. Did a little cleaning around the house, like vacuuming and Swiffering the kitchen floor. Erik got home and finished making the chicken along with a bagged salad, just in time for us to watch The Walking Dead. Great episode! After it was done, CGM started alarming and my blood sugar was even higher, so I took another correction. Ugh. I had a several assignments due on Monday in Statistics — a take-home test, a research article critique and a short presentation — so I skipped Talking Dead in favor of being productive.  I worked for about three hours, but couldn’t quite finish everything. I got ready for bed, and just as I got into bed, I saw on my CGM that my blood sugar was now dropping really fast. I drank a juice box and suspended my insulin for an hour, and hoped it wasn’t overkill. But I managed to sleep through the night without any interruptions. Yay!


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