Hiking

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Call me crazy, but there’s nothing like a walk in the woods.

Woods tend to look really similar. Trees are trees, no matter where you go. The trails are always different, but they’re all made of dirt, roots, and stone.

But I’ve hiked in so many different places. South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Germany, Croatia…trails all over the world. Nothing difficult or extremely challenging, per se, but always a journey.

Croatian hikes are perhaps my favorite. Perhaps that’s my sentimentality kicking in, since my first hike in Croatia was part of the first journey I took alone.

After the 27th of June, I won’t be taking any journeys alone. None worth mentioning, anyway.

Life has a funny way of being as thematic as a novel.

No wonder novels are so great.

Two Weeks

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So I have this new job.

It’s interesting.

I write a lot of emails. And attend a lot of meetings. And I take a lot of notes. And I drink a lot of coffee.

And I pretend that I know what I’m doing.

It’s been two weeks. On a scale from 1-10, my level of understanding of what my job encompasses is about a 5.

So… not bad.

Like most things in life, I’ve discovered that no matter what my official job title is, a job is only what you make of it.

So I’m going to make a lot of it.

Thursday List

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  1. There are some astonishing things that can be made from leftovers.
  2. When one is about to get married, getting dishes in the mail becomes a regular occurrance.
  3. It’s possible to spend hours on a single email.
  4. I speak fluent English, partial German, and a little Nerd.
  5. It’s the empty walls that get to me the most.
  6. Edward Gorey was a macabre genius.
  7. This 12:300-6:30 sleep schedule won’t do.
  8. Running actually alleviates soreness from previous exercises.
  9. Stretching with cold muscles doesn’t.
  10. My wedding dress is a thing of beauty, and I can’t wait to wear it for real.

Little Boxes

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Moving your life from one location to another one box at a time is an interesting experience.

When you see everything on a shelf, you accept those items as being where they belong. They are no longer individual items with individual importance, but a collective, comforting presence. They are there for no other reason than, at least in your mind, they belong there.

I try to cut back. I really do. But then there are items I find that serve no purpose other than to keep being there, being familiar.

I will have to get rid of things eventually. My husband and I will have to cram our accumulated things (our accumulated history) into one very small apartment and live there, cozily, for the next five years or until God changes the status quo. Life will be tight and tiny. We’ll need to watch what we eat just to make sure the other has room to move.

But when you have to force your life, your history, the things you love, into a tiny box, you have to eliminate everything that isn’t absolutely essential. It’s okay to let go of some things. It’s okay to let go of a lot of things.

We’re only here for a little while, anyway.

Summer Smells

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I know it’s summer when I smell the first cup of coffee that I drink at home on a Sunday morning before church.

I know it’s summer when the air smells like water first thing in the morning; when the early greyness tastes a little bit sweet, like honeysuckle and humidity.

I know it’s summer when there’s a little bit of lemon scent to the sunshine.

I know it’s summer when I smell a bit of adventure, which is a smell I can’t quite define. But it’s the smell of airplanes and airports and long car rides to new places. It’s the smell of a european tarmac. It’s the smell of his jacket when he puts it around your shoulders while you wait in line to board the plane to anywhere.

Summer’s coming. Adventure is coming.

I can smell it.

Dear Fellow Blogger

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Hey, you.

Yes, you.

Why on earth are you up this late, reading a post by a blogger who doesn’t even put a picture of herself in her author profile?

Why are you still awake when you could be sleeping?

If you’re waiting for a jolt of inspiration, you’ll only find it after you’ve written absolute nonsense for hours that you know you’ll have to erase. But it’s the act of writing that gets the job done, so go do it, if you’re up this late for that purpose.

If you’re up late because you’re sad and sleeping sounds scary right now, believe me when i say it’s the best thing you could do for yourself right now, so go give it your best shot. Melatonin helps.

If you’re up this late because you’re plotting a violent takeover of something or some other kind of harm, then shame on you. What would your mother think?

If you’re up late because you’re trying to stretch the day out even longer, then don’t waste it on the internet. Make your extra-long day count by putting something on paper that your proud of, and don’t waste another minute.

There. I said my say.

Good night, dear blogger. Sleep tight.

Adulting

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Well, I think I can honestly say I successfully adulted all week.

Yup, I went to my full-time adult job in my adult car and sat in on adult meetings taking adult notes and set a whole lot of adult emails.

After work I went running in an adult gym and went home to cook adult meals and washed adult dishes and cleaned my little adult kitchen.

I even went to an adult office to sign some adult paperwork to get the keys to my new adult apartment which I will be moving into, adultly, over the course of the next few weeks.

Yes, I have done much adult this week, and I feel fairly successful after my foray into adultness.

So I spent the evening watching Emperor’s New Groove and eating brownies, and I plan on going to bed early and sleeping until noon, please and thank you.

I can only pretend for so long.

How I Diet

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I’m a bit of a health nut. My attitude towards my own health has vacillated over the years. I remember a time when I didn’t care how much I ate, nor what I ate. My favorite food was Doritos.

I weighed as much as a grown woman by the time I was twelve.

Being the pudgy kid in junior high isn’t the slightest bit of fun. Granted, a lot of my own pudginess was the result of my ignorance about my own metabolism and how it related to my appetite. Which, as I recall, was voracious.

Of course, puberty being what puberty is, I started to realize that the boxy clothing marketed for teenage girls was completely unrealistic for my evolving (if oversized) shape. And, silly me, I thought that because I didn’t fit the mold, there must be something wrong with me.

So 15 came along, and I dieted.

I did Weight Watchers. I was a point-counting fiend. I ate all the little pre-wrapped Weight Watchers snacks and lived off of canned soup. And I ran. And lifted weights.

The pounds melted off (20 in one summer). I was scrawny, but still pudgy in places where my weight naturally settles (shopping for jeans was a demoralizing nightmare). Weight Watchers worked, but I developed muscle spasms from vitamin deficiency. Go figure.

That was the last summer I followed a strict diet plan…strictly. I tried Atkins for about a month and missed bread and fruit too much to continue.

I decided to focus more on exercise and less on the quantity of food I was eating. I cut back on snacks, of course, but made sure my meals were filling and vitamin dense. Over time, I learned to love vegetables for what they were without doctoring them too much. I learned about healthy fats and ate plenty. I limited, but did not completely eliminate, my consumption of desserts.

And I ran like crazy. The farthest I’ve managed to get my stubby little legs to go in one stretch was 3.1 miles. But I ran.

After second puberty (a little nightmare that slaps you in the face in your twenties but no one bothers to warn you about), I became very conscious of what I was eating. I discovered the connection between the kind of food I eat and my hormones, my digestion, my metabolism, my blood, my brain, and how they all work together to maintain a healthy system. Fad diets don’t cut it as far as nutritional needs are concerned. Food can be the best medicine. food was intended to be eaten, not avoided.

The girl who once wouldn’t touch anything not labeled “low fat” now reaches for the whole fat yogurt and milk at the grocery store. The girl who wouldn’t touch anything with starch now eats sweet potatoes by the pound (undoctored by brown sugar) because of their vitamin content. I discovered kale. I put spinach in just about everything. I buy flax seeds. I voluntarily eat oatmeal. I believe in eating steak and mashed potatoes. My taste for sweets has diminished with my increasing love of honey. I drink green tea instead of coffee. I use coconut oil for everything. I drink diluted apple cider vinegar. I believe in an apple a day. I dose dark chocolate as carefully as I might take ibuprofen. I eat scrambled eggs for dinner and bananas and peanut butter for dessert. I don’t count a single calorie or worry too much about the numbers on the scale. I’m done with feeling remorse when a certain size doesn’t fit.

My definition of a diet is going out and running 2.5 miles, doing a minute plank and 35 squats, stretching every muscle I can think of, then coming home, baking brownies made out of sweet potatoes, then eating half the pan without a lick of guilt.

I will never look like a supermodel, but I feel fantastic. If the jeans don’t fit now, it’s their own stupid fault, and that’s that.

Moving

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It’s not real until your roommate moves out.

None of the massive changes are really happening. You’re not really done with your first year of grad school. You don’t have a new job. None of it is real. Not until half of your apartment is completely empty.

It’s sad. And strange. And spacious.

And suddenly you remember the beginning of the year when it was just like this. All your stuff was here, but she wasn’t. Or maybe all her stuff was here, but you weren’t just yet. Either way, some pieces were missing.

Now the end is the beginning. So says the emptiness.

Tuesday List

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  1. A pantry full of healthy food, and all I want is M&Ms.
  2. Day Two of the new job, and i still have no idea why they thought I would be good at this.
  3. And don’t ask me what “this” is. I still have no idea.
  4. This apartment is a mess.
  5. I need to sleep more.
  6. Also, write more.
  7. Also, my new office has a map of Middle Earth on the back wall now, so I’d say I’m pretty well settled in.
  8. Just kidding. Party doesn’t start until the unicorn statue makes it onto my desk.
  9. I sat at a desk all day. Then I came home, did yoga, then sat some more. This can’t be good for me.
  10. Three more days. Then weekend. One week closer to the wedding.

Mondays

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Here’s the thing about Mondays:

Nothing looks overly optimistic on a Monday. Even with a fresh start or a new beginning. Even if the sun is shining.

Honestly, you can’t expect too much.

Some days you’re Holly Golightly. Some days you’re Cat. Some days, you’re both.

Every Monday I realize that one of the most twisted results of the fall was that one day men would have to survive not by fighting the thorns in the earth, but by locking himself as far away from the earth and sky and open air as he can for eight hours of every day just so he can afford to eat.

I know there’s a day coming when that won’t be necessary anymore. And that day will last forever.

But the meanwhile can be a Monday sometimes. And the weekend can seem forever away.