Tag Archives: lifestyle

Urban Jungle

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk, gazing out of the window when I saw a rabbit sitting right smack in the middle of my yard munching on grass. I immediately assumed that the rabbit was a pet gone rogue because I live in the middle of the city. I worried that maybe some asshole had abandoned the little thing and now it was forced to live off of my shitty grass. But, after hours of Googling, I learned that the little bunny with its gray-brown body and white tail is a wild Mountain Cottontail. Apparently, there are loads of them in Utah’s mountains. How it got here, I have no idea. But I like him, a lot.

Things I’ve Learned About Mountain Cottontails:

  • They’re more solitary than other rabbits and typically live alone in little burrows they often find abandoned by other animals.
  • Unlike their gluttonous cousins, the domestic rabbit, cottontails only grow to be about five pounds and they prefer to eat grass and tree bark.
  • Their mating ritual is a lot like the tango: tons of eye contact, hopping and twisting, and at some point the female actually stands on her hind legs facing the male, holding eye contact, and repeatedly boxes him in the face and ears. Yes, she punches the shit out of him and he’s into it.
  • They only live for a year or two because literally, everything eats them, including twitchy ass squirrels (if the rabbit is sick or maimed). I’ll never trust a squirrel again, the crack heads of the urban jungle.

Ever since I first saw him, I’ve become a little obsessed. Every day, I sit at my desk and watch for him. He usually comes hopping out of his house, a shed with a hole in the wall that sits next to my yard on the east side, to engorge himself on foliage around seven a.m. Me, my computer, a latte, and Clark (my husband named him), the bunny, makes for a perfect morning. When he’s not there, I worry about him. When it snowed heavily last week, I put some spinach out so he didn’t go hungry. And, I’ve banned my husband from making smoothies in the morning because “STOP BOTHERING CLARK WITH THE BLENDER.” I mean, he’s got it bad enough being trapped in the urban jungle with the sketchy squirrels, the last thing he needs to wake up to is the screaming Blendtech.

I realize it’s a little, crazy. But I can’t help it.

I’m fascinated with nature and how resilient it is. I mean, for whatever reason, we just keep trying to fight it and it comes back fighting harder, in the shape of vines growing through cement, or rabbits converting old sheds to mansion bunny dens. It’s like nature is shouting at us, “YOU CANNOT STOP ME! I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA.” It has to shout, we don’t listen.

I haven’t seen Clark today, or yesterday. I’ve worried a little but I can see his unique paw prints in the snow, the little front feet, and the longer back feet, almost on top of each other. I’m not sure why his paw prints or comforting or why I look forward to seeing him so much. Maybe it makes me feel closer to the universe or gives me something to look forward to, maybe I’ve become attached to Clark, or to the little hope he gives me every day. Who can say, really?

Maybe I’ll see him tomorrow.



19 Things I Wish I Could Go Back in Time to Tell My Younger Self

I wouldn’t say that I regret any of my adult decisions because my choices made me who I am and I’m pretty okay with myself. With that being said, things could have been a little easier and sometimes I fantasize about what I’d say to younger me if I could go back in time. I think I’d still do the same things, still have dated the same people, for example, but I’d tell younger me to move on the moment I realized that person just wasn’t right for me. I wish that the moment I realized I wanted to be a writer, I’d have sat down and wrote and sent things off for publication. Instead, I studied sociology and researched  things like human sexual fluidity and the social impact of after-school programs because just going for what I really wanted seemed somehow “irresponsible.” That’s not to say I didn’t love doing research, but I’d much rather write about that one time my dad told me that humans are born with 567 bones but when they die they only have 426 bones. Or that time I went to visit my grandma when she was dying from cancer and I walked in to find her smoking a cigarette and drinking whiskey while hooked up to an oxygen machine. I love people and storytelling.

So, if I could go back in time to have a conversation with myself, this is the advice I’d give M.E. Then I’d high-five myself and say something like, “damn girl, red lipstick does look good on you.”

  1. Every relationship doesn’t need to work out. Every date doesn’t need to be destined for marriage or a long-term commitment. Don’t feel bad when a relationship tanks or never gets off the ground because all that means is that person wasn’t right for you. When you meet the dude you’re supposed to marry, you’ll know. Also? He has an accent. Raaaaar.
  2. Follow the 80/20 rule, young M.E. There’s a huge difference between a bad relationship with great moments and a great relationship with bad moments. If your relationship makes you feel like crap most of the time, get out. I promise you, people always upgrade from one relationship to the next and you’ll find someone way better. At the same time, everyone is flawed. Remember that time you broke up with someone because you didn’t like how they chewed? Yeah…
  3. Be careful who you choose to invest time and energy in. Nobody’s perfect and everyone does shit that’s not ideal. But there’s a difference between shit behavior and a person who doesn’t contribute shit. It’s one thing for a friend to get too drunk and puke on your favorite shoes and say something they don’t mean. It’s another thing to have a one-sided friendship, a person who only calls when they need something, for example. Or, someone who tries to one-up you constantly or manipulate you.  Friends who are abusive or manipulative, judgemental or compulsively dishonest, you can do without. Get rid of people who consistently bring you down. You know those friends who get mad at you for studying instead of doing vodka shots with them at the local pub? Yeah, you don’t need that.
  4. It’s okay to tell people what you want or don’t want, like or don’t like. It’s okay to talk about how you feel and to set standards with people in your life, respectfully and with tact. You can do all of this while being nice as hell. You don’t need to be an asshole to be heard. Calm down.
  5. Self-care books aren’t nearly as lame as they sound. Work on yourself, grow, improve, and you’ll be so much happier. I mean, you’ll say douchey things like, “my self-care activity today is,” but you’ll be happy as hell while you do it.
  6. Black is the best choice color for all clothing and you’re on point, babe. Never change that. However, let’s discuss your excessive use of safety pins on t-shirts. You actually look like a sewing kit vomited on you. You’re going for punk rock but you actually look like Frankenstein’s monster.
  7. You don’t need to hang out with the people you’re dating 24/7. It’s a terrible idea. Go on a trip with your female friends, have a standing movie date with a bud, grab wine and sit on a friend’s couch. Don’t neglect your friends or family for your partner, ever, because you need both to be balanced and happy in the long term.
  8. Self-sabotage is a real thing and you need to stop doing it. Stop freaking out about not being good enough. Just write some shit, put it out into the world, and when it’s rejected just pick yourself up and do it again. It’s fine, you’ll survive. Which brings me to #9.
  9. Fail hard, fail often, make it a goal to fail. Failure makes you stronger and it’s the best way to learn and grow. Stop being afraid of it.
  10. You don’t need to be perfect or great. Instead, make it your goal to just show up and do your best.
  11. Stop taking yourself so seriously! Jesus, you’re 22! Laugh about it!
  12. Let go of your anger towards your dad (or anyone). Just sit him down and talk with him about how you feel. TALK ABOUT IT. Tell him you forgive him and move on. It takes a scary amount of energy to be angry with people, way too much energy, and it’s not worth it. Anger won’t protect you, it won’t stop you from getting hurt or keep you safe, it will literally just make one aspect of your life shit. Let it go.
  13. That thing you do where you replay things that happen over and over in your head? That’s called rumination and it’s an anxiety thing. Don’t let yourself do it. Tell yourself, “ah, anxiety,” and do something to distract yourself. Also, stop bottling up your emotions because later in life it causes fun little meltdowns and costs a fortune in therapy.
  14. Your siblings look up to you, a lot. No matter how annoying they are, just try to be there for them. Listen to them, give them advice, and compliment them often. You really don’t know what could happen. And in fact, you lose a brother in your late twenties. Don’t leave room for regret, it hurts too much.
  15. Learn about finances! Go to the library right now and check out a book. Learn how to budget, figure out how to invest, and for the love of the universe, invest in something amazing and open an IRA account. Saving early means the difference between retiring at 55 or 80.
  16. Exercise, you lazy asshole. Put down your Vonnegut novel and go hiking or something. When you decide you actually want to be in shape in your thirties, it’s way harder because you were so goddamn lazy in your twenties. I mean, seriously, how can you sit around so much?
  17. Move out of your hometown earlier. Your twenties will be the most flexible time of your life. You can always go back home but you won’t always have the chance to move to new places. Spend a year in New York, a year in L.A., a year in Charleston. Change is also great for writing, so do more of that. Yes,  you move out of the country at 29 and that was smart, but do it sooner.
  18. Find balance. It’s awesome to care about causes and to strive to make the world a better place, but you can’t do good if you’re depressed all the time from focusing on all the negative things in the world. Do what you can, be informed, but injustice doesn’t need to be your every waking thought. At some point, you’ll burn out. Also? Get off of your soapbox and just listen to other people. Believe what you believe but find middle ground with people who are different than you. Don’t write people off because they’re politics, ideology or worldviews are different. Ask questions and listen. I promise it won’t change who you are but it will help you grow.
  19. Stop getting in your own way, trust your intuition, and believe in yourself. Seriously, you’ve got this.

What would you tell yourself if you had the chance to go back in time and give yourself advice?

Don’t Eat That: Sidewalk Foraging Gone Wrong

For the past two years, I’ve been really into gardening. And why not? It’s pretty easy, food is insanely expensive, and who the hell knows what they’ve sprayed on it by the time you shove it in your mouth. I’ve grown lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, garlic, and even chamomile. I love it. I love eating fresh organic vegetables that cost me like 1/4 of the price it would at Whole Foods (let’s be honest, you have to pledge your first born to afford to shop there). But, sometimes I get a little carried away.

I’ve noticed little chestnuts all over the ground from trees that line my street. Every day I walk Oliver through them and I think, “man, this is super wasteful also because this shit costs like 9 dollars per pound.” So, I started collecting them like I was grocery shopping on my street. On every walk, I’d shove five or so into my pockets and by the end of the week, I had an enormous bowl full. I Googled, “how to roast chestnuts,” and “how to make chestnut butter.”

Sidenote: I partially blame my father-in-law for this. For years I’ve made fun of him for his weird urban foraging, like the time he grabbed fist fulls of rosemary from a hotel vase on the Vegas Strip. Apparently, he’s rubbing off on me. 


On my last urban foraging trek, my neighbor saw me shoving chestnuts into my pockets and he was probably like, what the fuck is that whack job doing, shoving sidewalk nuts into your sweatpants?” So, in my attempt at being normal, after I emptied my pockets at home I meandered outside to where my neighbor was now talking with another neighbor and casually asked, “you don’t mind me picking up your chestnuts, do you?”

“Not at all,” he smiled.

“If you want to take them from my lawn, go for it,” the other neighbor added, “or, if you’d like to help me harass my wife, you can step on them and really work them into the grass so she has to pop them out with a butter knife.”

“That’s just mean,” I laughed. I turned to walk away, “cool, thanks, guys. I’m gonna go roast them.”

“No, no, no!” my neighbor yelled, “you can’t eat those. They’re Horse Chestnuts and they’re not edible.”

“Seriously? I asked. “Like, gross or deadly?”

He shrugged. I thanked him and when home to google it and apparently Horse Chestnuts are useless and poisonous. I sulked for a minute, then went into the kitchen to dump out my giant mixing bowl of chestnuts into the garbage. Then I wondered, why would anyone plant shitty chestnuts instead of the edible ones? I mean, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, we could like live on chestnuts. EXPENSIVE ASS CHESTNUTS.

Now I’m researching how to plant non-deadly chestnut trees because I want one in my yard. Do any of you have nut trees?

Trying To Conceive: An OBGYN I’d Probably Marry

In my last blog post, Just Stare Into My Vagina and Tell Me It Will Be Okay, I wrote about how scared I am to have a baby. Or, how scared I am to try to have a baby, since I’m not actually pregnant, yet. As of then I couldn’t find an OBGYN, with higher ratings than a dominos pizza, that was in-network.

Well, cue the trumpets, I found someone. Two people, actually, and I want both of them to be my best friends. Best friends who have both been elbows deep into my birth canal.

I’m one of those weirdos who Googles everything. Especially healthcare providers and anyone who could potentially kill me or maim me but also pretty much anything because I have entirely too much time on my hands and am addicted to unlimited information. Like six months ago I stumbled on this one OBGYN that has like the highest rating in the state and I was like, I NEED HER. But she was out of network. Well, I checked again recently and she was IN NETWORK! So I made the appointment and was more excited than I’ve ever been to have my cervix aggressively raked. Usually my lady exams are super weird so I’ve written about them way more than a normal person would. Do normal people write about their vagina exams? I don’t know. Anyway.

At the appointment, I was shown to a chair and told to wait for the doctor. After five minutes or so she came flying in, apologized for being late, and proceeded to ask me a zillion questions. But, not in a normal doctor way.

” Do you drink?”

“Yes, wine”

“GOOD! Good for you! And you can continue to do that until your pregnancy test says you’re pregnant. However, that doesn’t mean you can put the test off for eight months.”

Throughout my appointment she was informative and funny. She made jokes about dressing up as a vagina for Halloween. During my pap smear she impersonated Trump, “No, really, nobody respects women more than I do.”

When I told her I was pro-choice she high-fived me and told me I was incredibly badass and responsible. I live in Utah where like 98% of the doctors are Mormon and super republican. And while I have many friends and family who are both of those things, I am neither. And I was pretty excited about having a doctor who I didn’t feel like I had to pretend for. I also really liked her because when I told her about my experience with an Italian gynecologist she said, “That’s horrifying. Do you know how many women are sexually assaulted? That would be traumatic.” She also explained absolutely everything that she was doing, why she was doing it, and gave me a forty minute explanation of why they do a pap smear (cervical cancer screening, caused by the HPV virus). Seriously, it was the most thorough, thoughtful, kind, and hilarious appointment I’d ever had. She’s exactly who I’d want by my side while I pushed a giant baby out of my lady garden.

However. I’d just discovered, the day before, that while she is in my network, the clinic she works in, is not. Therefore, she couldn’t be my OBGYN without my having to shell out a lot of money for the out of network stuff. Sigh. I told her all of this and she listened and said, “Oh, don’t you worry! I’ve got you! One of my best friends is an OBGYN in your network! You’ll love her. She’s super progressive and funny!”


I haven’t met her yet but I have talked with her nurse a few times on the phone and she is amazing. When I told her who referred me she laughed, “Oh, she’s awesome. Yeah, her and Dr. So and So are like best friends. You’re going to love her, she’s so great.” So, I’m actually excited about my doctor now. Sounds super trivial for most of you, I know, but for me it’s a huge relief. Which is good because I can’t be over here chugging entire bottles of wine.

I have no idea what I’m doing. Oh my God what am I doing?