2017’s National Park Adventures

When 2017 started, I was in Kuwait. It was the end of my deployment though and by the middle of January I was back in America. I’d spent most of the National Park Service’s centennial year (2016) in foreign lands and I came home determined to make up for my absence.

Two days after being released from the clawed paws of the U.S. Army, I visited my first National Park unit of the year, in New York City, and then spent the rest of the year dreaming of future park visits, driving across Virginia to visit close-to-home parks and generally annoying nearly everyone with my incessant National Park chatter. READ MORE.

Running the Fredericksburg Blue & Gray Half Marathon

When I ran the Patrick Henry Half Marathon back in August, it prompted me to investigate other small, local half marathons. Before that, I’d only run big half marathons, with tens of thousands of runners. But I really liked the smaller race. When a coworker mentioned how much fun he’d had running Fredericksburg’s Blue & Gray Half Marathon, I signed up. I’d already looked at the race, already contemplated it, and his positive review was the last thing I needed to fill out the registration form. READ MORE.

How to Spend 5 Days in Mexico City

In November, I went to Mexico. I’d been hearing about the magic of Mexico City for a while now, and finally planned a trip with a friend and her boyfriend. We tacked on a few days in Playa del Carmen to the end of our adventure, but we spent the bulk of our time in Mexico City, eating, drinking, wandering and, in my case, excitedly pointing out all the dogs walking the streets with their people. READ MORE.

The Five Best Books I Read in 2017

I always start a new year with high hopes of reading ALL THE THINGS. Inevitably, I’ll set myself up for probable failure with Goodreads Reading Challenge, even though I’ve only met my reading goal once in the past five years.

This year, I was smarter. Having started the year bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and full of reading hope, I aimed to read 50 books this year. But, when fall came as I was only in the 20s, I said to myself, fuck failure, and changed the reading goal, knocking it in half, all the way down to 25, a goal I managed to pass in November, thank you very much. READ MORE.

What it is like to float in the Dead Sea

I never mastered the art of swimming. In fact, I can’t swim. That hasn’t stopped me from getting into bodies of water, though. I’ll gladly get in the ocean and I’ll be fine when a wave inevitably smashes into me and flips me upside down in the surf, giving my sinus cavity a nice saline rinse in the process. I’ll get in lakes and rivers and pools, too. I’m not water-adverse, I just can’t swim. READ MORE.

Chasing Ghosts at Fort Union National Monument

When the park ranger at Fort Union National Monument asked me what I thought about the site, I told him it was creepy. He said that was an unusual response, one he didn’t get regularly, but that I was the second person that day to call the place creepy. I tried to qualify the statement. I told him creepy wasn’t exactly the right word. The place felt eerie, maybe, sort of ghostly and maybe even haunted. READ MORE.

Running Richmond’s Turkey Trot 10K

Richmond’s Turkey Trot 10K is one of my most favorite Richmond races. This year, I ran it for the fourth time in five years, missing it last year only because I was in Texas. I ran Houston’s Turkey Trot 10K instead,  which was fine, but mostly it just made me miss Richmond’s trot.

Recently, turkey trots became America’s most popular race, with almost one million runners participating in more than 1,000 turkey trots nationwide. It’s a tradition that apparently dates back to 1896. Maybe that’s the thing that makes it so popular, the whole tradition thing. That, and it’s always nice to knock out some fitness before spending an entire day eating and drinking. READ MORE.

My Grandmother, My Grief & Me

My grandmother died a year ago today but there are still six voicemails from her on my phone, some from as far back as 2014. I haven’t listened to any of them, can’t listen to them, not now, but I can’t delete them either. She’d call and I’d be busy – at work, at play, at the gym – and I’d leave the message unheard on my phone as a reminder to call her back, to answer for sure the next time she called. And mostly I did, except for when I didn’t. READ MORE.

Exploring History at Petroglyph National Monument

In going to New Mexico, I wanted to experience two things: National Parks and really good food. So, upon my arrival in New Mexico, I went straight for the tacos, at Kelly’s Brew Pub, where I met a bartender who shared my name. I took meeting her as a good omen since she was only the second Terra I’d ever met and then I scampered to Petroglyph National Monument, to get my first taste of New Mexico’s national park scene. READ MORE.

My Honey Badger Adulthood

Growing up, I didn’t know what adulthood would be like. I assumed it would have something to do with doing whatever the fuck I felt like doing, like eating cake for breakfast or staying up all night reading a book or watching a movie. LIFE ON MY TERMS, DAMMIT, that’s about all I knew about adulthood. READ MORE.

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