Archive for the ‘Wild’ Category


My word for 2022 is LUSH. It’s the sort of word I feel compelled to type in all caps and use italics for emphasis. I like that. This is gonna be fun. 

According to Merriam-Webster, the word LUSH means…

  1. “…having a lot of full and healthy growth”

I often come to the new year feeling as if I haven’t quite finished exploring the word for the previous one. In a way, this makes sense. Growth is continual, lifelong, etc. I wanted my word for 2022 to acknowledge that. My first thought was “nourish.” I wanted to look forward and continue to grow in all the things I have learned these past few years. I want to continue to have experiences and read books that explore joy, but also that feature hope, wild, alive, lucky, fun, true, and other core values.

But LUSH encompasses my underlying goal better. There is an implied immoderate quality to this word. Not just growth but a lot of growth. An abundance of growth. A fullness. All the growth I can possibly squeeze into this little pocket of time and space. Maybe I should add “rest” to that list above so that I remember that it, too, is important. Overworked and stressed out does not fit in with a lush lifestyle. Healthy is a vital part of the definition.

  1. “…covered with healthy green plants”

I am currently looking for a place in my apartment to put a huge Poinsettia that I bought in honor of my MeMaws for the Christmas season at church and gazing fondly at my faux Christmas tree. I don’t even want to think about what’s happening in the office with The Little Juniper That Could (but if I did want to think of it, I might confess that I fear its days are numbered. RIP, probably). On the porch outside, my briefly successful tomato plant has long given up the ghost (but that’s not my fault – that’s just on account-a it being not summer), but the flowers that died when I was caring for them have resurrected now that I’ve stopped doing anything, which seems unnecessarily petty of them.

When it comes to plants, I have great plans and motivation but little success. I’m going to take this part of the definition literally. My goal? Have a live, thriving plant in each room. Also, flowers on the table make me happy, so I’m going to make more of an effort to do that more often.

Don’t think I didn’t notice that they snuck in “healthy” again. I see what you did there, M-W.

  1. “…having a pleasingly rich quality”

I love this turn of phrase. Yes, I would like this to describe my life. In many ways, it already does. But wouldn’t it be amazing if just about every aspect of my life had a pleasingly rich quality? I think so. Let’s delve deeper into how to make that happen this year.

  1. “…lavishly productive: such as…”

…fertile. NOPE. Unless we’re talking about a fertile bank account. Or garden. Or birthing a book and an album. Otherwise? Nope, nope, nope.

…thriving. That would be lovely. Not just to make it through but to flourish. 

…abundant/plentiful. Are we talking about books? Trips? Friends? Coffee? Peace? Love? Kindness? Cash? To all of the above I say yes.

…prosperous/profitable. I could definitely handle a little prosperity. Let me go submit some more applications and write some more articles. What I would really like? Get paid for the work I already do in my spare time (and that I actually enjoy) so that I can ultimately spend more time doing it and also still have a place to live. #CapitalismIsTrash

…savory/delicious. I’m not sure if this means enjoying more savory and delicious things or recognizing how savory and delicious I am. Either way, I’m on board.

…appealing to the senses. As a sensory sensitive person, this is a welcome goal. Too much of my time and energy are spent having my focus derailed by extraneous, irritating sounds or that smell that NO ONE ELSE CAN SMELL BUT IT’S THERE I’M NOT IMAGINING IT BECAUSE IMAGINARY THINGS DON’T MAKE ME SNEEZE. Finding ways to better navigate (escape?) consistently assaulting environments would be grand.

…exuberant/profuse. With vigor and vitality, and without restraint. There are some areas of my life that could definitely use this treatment.

…opulent/sumptuous. Oh, gosh I love these words. Also known as rich, luxurious, lavish. Splendid. And ostentatiously so. These words make me want to crawl right into a cozy bed with scandalously soft fabrics and pillows of the exact right firmness. Or a warm bubble bath with a glass of wine and some good cheese. 

And finally, speaking of wine…

  1. “…intoxicating liquor” or “…a habitual heavy drinker”

I mean, it’s not a goal, per se (although my limoncello, while mostly delicious, could use some tweaking). But if it happens, it happens. Here’s to enjoying life a little more and worrying about what all could go wrong a little less. Just as long as I remember to hydrate.

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Wild streak

It seemed fitting to end the year of wild with a little heat in my hair.

Other than cosmetically, however, I am not sure how wild the year was. It had its moments. We road-tripped to Virginia and made no real plans for the trip there and back. I ran alone sometimes. I tried new things and spoke out a little more about things that are important to me. I also discovered I’m wilder than I suspected, which is equal parts exciting and scary.

A significant part of the year seemed to be tangled up in trying to balance the wild with safety. This post from my 31 Days series sums up that struggle nicely. Wild is not safe. But wild can be free. It just needs a little room to run. I seem to love (and by “love,” I do mean “thrive in”) the chaos of the wild. I wouldn’t have guessed that.

I’m not through unpacking all of it yet, but that’s okay. The word doesn’t have to end its influence just because the year does.

In other resolution news, I’ve managed to meet at least a little of each one.

  1. Read 100 books. I read 63 books (or, at least, I kept up with 63. A few seem to be missing). I really loved a lot of them. The ones that stand out are Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, Meagan Spooner’s Hunted, Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland series, and all the Fredrik Backman books.
  2. Learn conversational Spanish. I took a Spanish class at work. We only got to things like simple directions around campus, but it’s a start.
  3. Continue to make my home a place that is welcoming and does not hinder the life I create. My office is a madhouse. Everything that is still unpacked is in there, and it’s a lot. I think I met this goal in a way that I didn’t intend, though. Even though there are pockets of mess all around, I still had people over more often. I meant to keep my home in a way that was not a hindrance to hospitality, but what seems to have happened is that I just decided that it wasn’t going to be a hindrance and lived my life anyway. Acceptable.
  4. Continue to improve my health and well-being. This is another goal that morphed. My health is better. My blood pressure is staying down, and my focus has improved. Anxiety is still afoot, but it is the monster in the back of my mind instead of the one staring me down when I open my eyes, so that’s better. I haven’t lost the weight like I intended, but I haven’t gained either, which is something, considering that I didn’t pay much attention to it at all.
  5. Finish at least one manuscript and publish a 2018 calendar. I did not finish a manuscript. But I worked on one more consistently than I did the previous year, so…progress? I didn’t publish a calendar like I meant to, but I did make my own calendar of coffee pictures (currently hanging in my kitchen, and it’s sooo cute). I think I just needed to prove to myself that the printing of the calendar was the easy part if I would just get the pictures together.
  6. Run a 5K. Running is so much harder now than it was 20 years ago. I think I finally accepted that this year. This is a doable goal; it’s just not a quickly doable goal. I have a vague hope that I will run consistently one day, but this is not that day. And tomorrow’s not that day, either. Don’t hold your breath.
  7. Go on a writing retreat. Yay! I did! I went to Andi’s retreat, and I have to finish my Fishbowl rough draft by the time the 2018 retreat rolls around. I may have to insert some solitary retreats in there this year to get this done.
  8. Get paid for writing in some way. I totally did this. I make enough in writing to cover my grocery budget, and my Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify subscriptions. SEO writing is not my calling, but it’s a writing job, and I am happy to have it.
  9. Continue/establish beloved traditions. My traditions that have stuck are my Advent/Christmas rituals and my Hemingway party, and they’re both the newest ones. It seems like each home has its own traditions. The cooking/baking weekends all happened when I had a great kitchen (and Maggie to help). But parties with lots of people and space for a full-sized Christmas tree? That I can do here. I look forward to seeing what else this space might hold for me this year.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Friday Five2

I spent today shopping for future book club books and completing my meal planning, budget, and writing calendars for January, so I am prepped and ready for the new year. I will complete the obligatory year-in-review post on Sunday, but I’m looking forward to the year ahead. Here are some things that resonate with my 2017 and some things I’m excited about in 2018.

  1. I LOOOOVE this piece by Jess Zimmerman on Catapult on claiming your complexity. This sums up a lot of what I have journaled secretly in this year of wild. I’m still picking apart what to let loose and what to keep, if not hidden, then at least secluded.
  2. My favorite food author this year (and easily top five every other year I’ve been reading her) is Joy Wilson. I haven’t done as much cooking this year as in the past (my kitchen and I haven’t quite meshed yet. We have issues.), but her writing has made me remember that I do love it and will find my groove and get back to it someday. I love her blog. I loved both Over Easy (coffee, breakfast, and cocktails) and Homemade Decadence (soooo many desserts – it almost has me convinced I can make a cake and not screw it up).
  3. Modern Mrs. Darcy has her reading challenge for 2018 posted! Yay!
  4. So does Book Riot! Yay!
  5. And the thing I am looking forward to the most next month? The 24in48 Readathon! Good time to get a jump start on those reading challenges. Sign-ups are open. Let me know if you sign up so we can read together. I mean, not together. Separately in our own houses. But at the same time.

What are you looking forward to in the next month?

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This month, I have explored running and the elements that add up to doing it well. I managed a post to match every day except yesterday, which I am happy to call relative success. We have talked about hydrating properly, using food as fuel, getting sufficient rest, and staying safe. I’ve given some information, but I also learned some things myself.

I learned that I have severely fallen out of the habit of good hydration. Getting all the water I need used to be something I just did without having to think twice about it. Having actually paid attention to it this month, I see this is no longer the case. So I’m going to start tracking it again until I work it back into being a habit.

My favorite thing about running is that it makes eating well easier because eating poorly is how we end up with cramps/spasms/nausea. When I say absurd things like “I love running,” I rarely mean that I love the actual running part. Running is the worst. It’s sweaty and tiresome and hard to do indoors, which is where I like most of my life activities to occur. What I usually mean is that I love things that go with running. I love the runner’s high (it really is a thing). I love the general spike in energy I get from being active. I love the way, after a while, running makes my body remember how to move right (aligned, elongated…well, as elongated as I get).  And I love how easy it is to eat foods that fuel me well.

My rest week was illuminating. There was a disconnect between what I was writing, particularly about Sabbath rest, and what was actually happening. It is clear that I need to drop something(s). It’s not that I’m not getting done what I need to get done; I just find it hard to relax. It’s not a matter of good time management. Given all that I do, I have excellent time management, or I would be dead. In time I set aside to rest, though, I am constantly stressed out that I’m not getting anything “productive” done. As if rest itself isn’t productive and necessary. I’m not going to make any rash decisions, but I am going to take a few months to see what needs to be dropped so that when it’s time to rest, I can really rest.

Safety week also revealed some not-like-before trends. I have a real aversion to going out on my own that I didn’t really have a few years ago. Yesterday, for example, I walked by myself in the park, and I definitely had some feelings about it during the portion of the walk that was out of sight of the street. I am less confident that I could defend myself than I used to be. Last time I ran regularly, I was in good enough shape to take on someone who attacked me. Even if I couldn’t win, I could definitely maim and discourage. I don’t have that confidence now. I want it again. Now, I’m not going to add self-defense classes – that would fly in the face of my too-much-on-my-plate problem. But I am going to incorporate more variety into my already established routine to challenge myself to get stronger, and hopefully, the confidence will return along with the strength.

I hope you have learned something this month or at least have been entertained by my chatter. Here’s to running wild!

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Ready for the close-up

This morning, I am full of allergy meds and stuffiness. Ergo, I am also water deficient, because allergy meds aren’t doing their job if they’re not drying you out a little.

This is an example of a day when I need to drink more water than usual.

As I discussed before, I operate best on about 100 ounces of water a day. Today, it’s probably going to be more like 120, although with the way my face feels, I don’t know that “operating best” is a reasonable expectation. Maybe just operating not-worst. That’s the goal for the day.

But I digress.

For this post and the next, we are going to talk about how to make sure you get enough water and what happens when you don’t. While hydration is vital to performing well (as a runner or just as a human in general), I don’t have a lot more to say about it. Your body needs water. How much water varies a little from person to person, but no one is exempt from this need.

We are in the home stretch of this series, and I hope you have enjoyed it. See you later today!


I’m spending 31 days running wild. 




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A key ingredient to running my life

Week 4 Progress:

Miles completed this week: about 6.5
Total miles completed: 19.59 (no, I’m not going to try to go 30 more miles in the next 3 days)
Days of proper hydration: 1/7
Days of good food choices: 4/7

Clearly I am not as far along in this process as I thought I’d be. I am still surprised when I am not able to do things I used to be able to do with ease.

This week, I walked with coworkers and with a friend from one of my book clubs. I’m just going to keep roping other people into going with me.

Because I am not good at going alone. Not right now, anyway. I want to become good at it again. I’m not there, though, and it’s taken me 28 days to fully admit it. I did complete one walk in the park by myself this week, so it’s not totally impossible. There’s hope. However, there’s also difficulty, because today I definitely got completely dressed for a walk, put on shoes and picked up my keys to walk out of the house…and changed my mind.

Part of that is disappointing. I want to have wanted to go. But most of it is recognizing what I need. And I needed to stay home more than I needed to go walking this afternoon. There was no particular pressing matter, other than the looming list of things that I need to get done this weekend that I won’t have time to do tomorrow because it’s Reformation Sunday, and that was stressing me out. So I stayed home and did them at a leisurely pace instead of the more frantic pace I would have adopted if I’d spent an hour walking.

And I made mac and cheese. In the slow cooker. It was glorious. And I ate only one serving with a bucket of peas, so I enjoyed it without overdoing it.

For all my knowledge about food and making healthy choices, I don’t seem to actually make those choices often, at least not on their own. It’s only when I’m making better choices in other areas – activity level, consistent rest, good time management, etc. – that sticking to healthy eating patterns becomes consistent. Being well rested and not being rushed means that I actually follow my meal plan instead of eating whatever I feel like in the moment.

My hope is that one day (and preferably, one day soon-ish) I will be motivated to eat well no matter what manner of chaos is blowing through my life. I’m not there yet, but I see it as a possibility.

In the meantime, I guess I just need to run. That’s acceptable.


I’m spending 31 days running wild.

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Friday Five 4

We’ve been talking about fueling all week, and if you’re like me, you want some answers. What do I eat? What will make me a lean, mean running machine (…along with regular, vigorous training)? Here are five runner-friendly lists of snacks designed to boost energy and/or aid in recovery.

  1. Oatmeal energy balls are delicious little nuggets of energy. I like how this post not only gives variations of the basic recipe but breaks it down into guidelines for substitutions for each ingredient, giving you endless possibilities.
  2. Super easy snacks – you probably have many of these things on hand already or, if not, can stock up without blowing the whole grocery budget.
  3. Cherry gummies – this is brilliant. Not only do they help you recover, they keep you from overeating (practicing a little of that moderation we were talking about earlier).
  4. If you have a hard time getting your water intake, most fruits and vegetables help you re-hydrate as well. Here are a few that are particularly useful in that regard.
  5. Many runners find coffee useful the morning of a race day. I find it useful the morning of a day. I am in favor of anyone who tells me to drink more coffee.

What are some of your favorite snacks to boost energy and recovery?

I’m spending 31 days running wild.

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Day 26 – Moderation

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Cheese is an important thing for me to ingest moderately.

Lest the previous post swing you too far in the direction of culinary chaos, let’s dial it back a little today and remember a good rule to live by – moderation.

I have to be honest. I’m an all-or-nothing, burn-it-to-the-ground sort of gal. Moderation is not naturally in my wheelhouse. It is not my go-to resolution.

It is not my favorite.

I begrudgingly admit that it’s generally the way to go for overall health and wellness, though. I could eat three scoops of Beth Marie’s coconut ice cream with hot fudge on top, or I could have a single scoop in a cone, and that will be just as wonderful without making me want to lie down afterwards.

I still probably don’t need to do that every day, though. Probably.

The problem with using moderation as one’s only guide is that it’s super subjective. While moderation might look like a large waffle cone with coconut ice cream to one person (ahem), it might look like an actual balanced diet, heavy on vegetables and low on high-calorie foods to others who might have better judgment when it comes to eating in a way that supports good health.

Since moderation does vary so much from person to person, the guidelines in this post can be helpful. All musings about ice cream (which – full disclosure – I totally had last night…after a big ass burger and fries…and also beer. Last night’s theme was not moderation, just to be clear.) aside, I try to maintain a 80-20 ratio of healthy food to, erm, less healthy food, even when training isn’t helping me out. And when I do splurge, I wait to do so on a delicious burger and coconut ice cream. If I’m going to be bad, I might as well do it very, very well (little Mae West paraphrase for you).

What tips do you have for eating in moderation?


I’m spending 31 days running wild. 

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Day 25 – Decadence

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Caramel-y, creamy happiness

Lest you think that life on the run is a sad time spent avoiding my favorite foods, do not despair on my behalf. My diet right now is pretty decadent. I am limiting sugar, but I’m not eliminating it. I am watching the carb intake a little less than usual, which means saying yes to a second slice of bread.

Donuts may be a no, but a dash of caramel creamer is a yes.

I am not yet running on the level where a luxurious post-run meal is necessary for recovery after any run I complete, but I look forward to the day when it is. Running experts suggest post-run splurges after a long run or a race (like a marathon). This meal needs to be designed to get all your hormones and immunity back to normal, re-hydrate, pump yourself full of the right ratio of carbs to proteins, repair muscles, and reduce inflammation.

Your body needs recovery after normal runs, too, so go on and be a little decadent about it. A snack with carbs and protein is ideal. The easiest (and let’s just say it – best) thing? Chocolate milk. Specifically, I recommend a nice glass of Trumoo whole chocolate milk. Whole (and yes, by that I do mean full fat. Glory be!) chocolate milk has the perfect ratio of carbs to protein (3:1 or 4:1) that send your body into recovery mode. I have to take a pill to have chocolate milk, though, so I don’t necessarily keep it around.

Vegans, take heart. A beverage gem with which I do not have to take a pill that was recently brought to my attention is Silk’s Chocolate Protein Nutmilk. It has 10g of protein per serving, but only 16g of carbs. Oh, well, I guess that means I just have to turn it into a milkshake by adding a serving-sized scoop of So Delicious Snickerdoodle to balance out that ratio.

The sacrifices I make…

After a run, skip the calorie counting (if you’re into that sort of thing) and give yourself a little treat. Your body will thank you.

What’s your favorite post-workout snack?


I’m spending 31 days running wild.

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Day 24 – What I Avoid

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Oh, donuts – I love you so much. Most of the time. You can tell by the fact that these have been in my apartment for over a week and are still there (as opposed to in my belly) that I have been getting more exercise.

One of my favorite things about running is how easy it makes it for me to eat well.

It’s not that the cravings for all my bad habits magically disappear. It’s that my bad habits make me feel so bad (physically, not emotionally. I don’t do food guilt.) when I run that they’re not even worth the moment of joy they bring.

My food habits tend toward laziness. For most people, this would mean eating emotionally, and I sometimes do that, but for this INTJ, even emotions have reasoning. Decisions about food consumption seem to fall according to a simple benefit/cost ratio. For example, eating more than a tablespoon of cream cheese, even if I take a pill to soothe the lactose intolerance, makes me ill. I have no problem leaving it alone because my hatred of being sick is greater than my love of cream cheese (and oh, how I love it). Losing a little sleep over having coffee too late in the day, though? Totally worth it.

I have a pretty low sugar tolerance most of the time, but when I’m running on a regular basis, I cut way down on sugar because it really messes up…everything. My sleep patterns (which are already not stellar). My focus. My energy level. I’m a mess when I’ve had too much sugar – especially when I add a lot of activity.

I also tend to cut carbonated drinks out, because my body HATES them. I can’t even walk up the minor incline to my car without getting winded when I’ve had soda. Running is already not the easiest thing for me; why would I intentionally make it harder?


Running helps me eat better, and eating better helps me run better. It’s a beautiful cycle.


I’m spending 31 days running wild.

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