January 2019 Goals

And Ryder gets to be a bird-dog

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I had to get a little creative with this month’s goals cover photo because Ryder had bilateral colorectal hernia surgery (poor boo bear!) and he’s been an absolute pitiful mess ever since his surgery. He’s got a big shaved section of his rear end for the incision sites so he looks like a cross between a poodle and a feather duster and for weeks now he’s been practicing his pitiful expression for an ASPCA commercial audition. I really had no idea what to do for this goals photo - his glum outlook clashed terribly with my festive idea for a big New Year’s glitzy glam photo, and I didn’t really have any back-up options. So I looked at my sad shaved dog. And I looked at my sad muddy yard. And I picked up sticks in frustration to make a pile for the outdoor fire pit. And once I gathered enough sticks, I realized they kinda looked like a nest. A little creative rearranging later and…ta da! A giant dog nest! Add in one pathetic-looking dog, some little wings, and a creatively draped blanket and I’ve got myself a little bird-dog. Get it? Bird-dog. Har har har.

Okay. Bad pun aside, let’s move on to recapping December goals.

December 2018 Goals

We don’t get a whole lot of snow in these parts, so when it snowed recently of course I had to put together a snowy holiday pic of Ryder!

We don’t get a whole lot of snow in these parts, so when it snowed recently of course I had to put together a snowy holiday pic of Ryder!


Post three times a month. I posted twice in December. I knew it was going to be a crazy busy month, so I’m not surprised I was so quiet.

Compile my e-book. lolololololololol


Wrap up photo editing from this fall’s sessions. So many photos to finish up! I finished most of them! There’s a bit more work to be done but I’m whittling away at it.

Plan some interesting winter photos. Bleargh. Brown brown muddy brown. Right now North Carolina is experiencing record wetness with unprecedented rainfall levels from 2018 lingering into 2019. While we’re not flooding per se right now, it kinda feels like we’re drowning in the shallow end of a kiddie pool. It’s like we should be able to get up and walk to safety, but every time we start to stand we slip again and - glub glub glub - we’re back to swallowing water.

Basically…it’s nasty out. And so I haven’t been taking a lot of pictures. OH HI CLIMATE CHANGE, YOU’RE NOT WELCOME HERE.


Run 60 miles! Oh I exceeded this! I did 82.81 miles in December, so I crushed my expectations.

Do a mountain trail training run. I did this too! I did 18 miles on trail in Umstead one weekend and then before we finished out the year I did a runventure at Hanging Rock with friends: 13 miles, 2598 feet elevation gain, not bad!

Put together my spring training plan. Eh, I’ve started on this. I’ve got a draft. It needs some more attention though. But you know what? It’s good enough. I like having a little flexibility in my plans anyways ;)


Go on at least two "Sunday Stroll" hikes. Eeeeeek. Historically the holiday break was always a great time to do some local hiking, but with Ryder’s surgery I was basically under house arrest for two weeks straight. Hiking? Running? Nope! It’s the “clean up after your helpless dog” life for me! So needless to say…I didn’t do this.

Plan my next backpacking trip. I’ve kinda done this? I mean…I’ve got one trip planned for June at least, and I’m polling friends for other backpacking dates this spring. I’m looking forward to it!


Climb at least once a week. I did this! I actually climbed 8 times in December - going once a week for the first two weeks and then going twice a week for the next three weeks (“week” 1 of December being more like two days since I set my workout schedule to be Monday through Sunday). I definitely notice that I feel stronger and more focused when I climb multiple times a week, so I’d like to keep that going.

Keep working 5.9 routes. I’m working hard, gotta hustle, which means I’m pushing myself to climb 5.9 routes. Heck, McCrae even peer pressured me into climbing a 5.10 on our last climb in December. I kinda hated it, kinda loved it, but I made it a goal for me to be climbing 5.10s by the end of this year so we’ll see how it goes.

Keep working V1s and V2s. I haven’t done a lot of bouldering, but when I do I try to do V1s at least.

Other Fitness

Try out a new yoga studio. Haha nope, this will stay on the list though until I get it done!

Get 7 hours of sleep each night. Oh gosh, this is laughable. I basically didn’t sleep a wink the first three days Ryder was home after his surgery, and my sleep patterns are all jacked up now. So nope, this is a giant epic fail. I hadn’t really expected it to be this bad; I figured Ryder would need more care but I certainly didn’t expect him to be as needy as he was. Oh well.


Come up with my wish list of things to see in France! Haha that sounded cool and everything, and then I got distracted by all the hiking options in the Alps! And trying to get tickets to world cup games. So that’s my fun focus now.


Read three books! Ooooh I actually read five books in December! The first was The Lovely Bones* by Alice Sebold, which was an absorbing book with an underwhelming ending. Overall I enjoyed the book, but the ending didn’t pack a punch like the rest of the book did. I’d had this book sitting on my shelf since my mom bought it back in 2003 or so when it first came out and I just finally got around to reading it. So it was pretty good, but not great.

I also “read” China Rich Girlfriend* by Kevin Kwan via audiobook. It’s the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians* which I listened to on audiobook and enjoyed well enough, but the sequel was pretty disappointing. The main characters from the original book were there but were completely passive, and the plot and character development were disappointing. I still got through the book, but it just wasn’t very fun like the first book.

Other books I finished in December included Ill-Mannered Ghosts* by my high school English professor Nicole Sarrocco (this was the sequel to her book Lit by Lightning*) and Icy Sparks* by Gwyn Hyman Rubio. I actually found Icy Sparks very disappointing. It was an Oprah book club selection and it was hyped as “sad, funny and transcendent” but I found it to be none of those things. The premise was interesting: it’s a coming-of-age story about a girl with (undiagnosed) Tourette syndrome in rural Kentucky in the 1950s. However, the character development was poor and I didn’t appreciate the dichotomy of the good golden girl vs. the “bad” tic outbursts. (In fact, it drove me nuts that the protagonist was always described as a sweet girl when there was absolutely no action to support those claims. She was sullen and nasty to everyone all the time.) The setting fell a little flat, the internal conflict wasn’t developed very well, the dialogue was forced, and there were too many unnecessary distractions in the descriptions. Oh and the ending is an absolute cop-out, ugh. I would have not finished the book except…well…I was bored and I wanted the credit for reading the book.

I finished off the year with Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar*. I’d been dragging my feet to finally read this; I don’t usually like advice - solicited or not (lol) - but I do love Cheryl Strayed’s writing, so I finally was in the mood for some life advice this holiday break. All I can say is this: If you haven’t yet read this book, stop what you’re doing right now and go read it. It’s so refreshing to have Strayed’s perspective on the letters she received. She acknowledges the pain and hardship and then addresses many of the letters with her own personal experiences or allegories, so that the book reads partly like a memoir (similar to her bestseller book Wild*) and partly like a series of increasingly clever short stories that all build on each other. Seriously. Go read this book right now.

Fix the roof. Ugh. We haven’t done this yet. Ryder’s surgery took up all my attention.

Come up with a wish list of grad schools. Nope. Work work work work and then Ryder Ryder Ryder Ryder all day every day of December.

Keep tracking expenses and how I spend money. I did alright with this. I knew my expenses would be a little weird in December because of holiday gifts and what-not, so I’m hoping to see better patterns in the coming months.

Survive and thrive at work. I survived. It’s still TBD though if I thrived, ha!

Okay! So what's in store for January?!

January 2019 Goals


Post four times a month. Let’s start small and see what happens.

Write daily. It doesn’t matter if it’s the blog or my journal or creative writing, I just need to make sure I’m in the habit of writing with intention.


Work on some photography classes. While it’s all drab outside I ought to start working on expanding my technical knowledge. Hopefully I can pick up some new techniques that inspire me to play around with shots since this rain isn’t exactly making my creativity flow.


Run 90 miles! It’s time to start ramping up with some serious training again, so I need to build my base a little more.

Race Mill Chill! So there’s this 4 mile race in Rocky Mount called Mill Chill that’s basically a battle of the pub runs, and I’m signed up for one of the local breweries. Can’t wait!

Race South Mountains Marathon. Mountains? Trail race? Marathon? Early January? Good chance of ice and snow? Yup yup and yup. Yuuuuuuuup. LET’S DO THIS!!

Race Little River Trail Run 10 Miler. The week after South Mountains there’s a local trail race called Little River Trail Run. There’s a 7K and 10 miler option and I’m doing the 10 miles, so it will be a recovery fun run for me, not a hard effort race.


Go on at least one "Sunday Stroll" hike. Chop chop! Time to get moving!

Go on four hikes. Hikes…trail runs…I at least want to get on trails at least 4 times this month.


Climb at least once a week. Always a good goal.

Try a couple more 5.10 routes. Ughhhhh these routes are hard. But they’re good for me.

Boulder twice a month. Might as well make sure I do it.

Go to a meetup or clinic or something. Or at the very least bring a friend to the climbing gym. I keep saying I’m going to do this…so I’m going to to do this!

Work on pull-up exercises at least once a week. I’ll only be able to do a pull-up if I practice!

Other Fitness

Do some online yoga videos. If I’m not going to go to a new yoga studio, then I might as well do some yoga at home to work on flexibility.

Strength train once a week. Gotta get RIPPED. Just kidding. Except not really.

Plan the next RhoTREATS outing. Or at least block off a weekend in my calendar for this.


Come up with my wish list of things to see in France! I got a guidebook, so now I need to actually do this.

Come up with a wish list of hikes/climbs in France and/or the Alps. I really want to make sure we do a big outdoorsy activity in Europe this time, so I want to start with a wish list and see what’s feasible.

Get 3 new stamps in my NC State Parks passport. Well…I kinda want to start with a fresh passport and see how many parks I can visit in one year. So the goal is to get a fresh passport (available at any NC state park office) and get 3 stamps this month!


Do initial planning of new blog series with Jill. She’s got a great idea for a series, so we’re going to start working on that.

Catch up on race reports. I’m sooooo behind!!


Read two books! I finished a bunch of books during the holiday break and then I didn’t know what to read next, so for a few days there I wasn’t reading ANY books. So this year got off to a slow start but I think I’m back on track.

Get more quotes for the roof. I should really work on my house, dang.

Come up with a wish list of grad schools. I want to at least have a long list of grad school options by the end of this month.

Figure out which certificate to work on next. It’s so hard to choose!

Keep tracking expenses and how I spend money. I’ve been doing pretty well tracking expenses these last few months, so I’m going to keep at that.

Work on the French Duolingo lessons. I made some great progress, but I need to keep practicing before this summer.

Send some snail mail letters. Aka send my holiday cards, lol.



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