Monthly Round-Up: Rose & Thorns – August 2023

August Rose & Thorns – A monthly recap of the highs and lows experienced each month.

Rose: The Short and Long Game

For me, the most therapeutic activities are exercising and confiding in my best friend about the embarrassing moments I’ve experienced since our last meeting. I have so many mishaps each month that I could write a book about them. Expressing the thoughts that have been occupying my mind to someone who will be honest with me is more valuable than therapy.

We exchanged stories about our experiences over the past month, including questionable relationship strategies, co-workers attempting to recruit us into a cult, and planning a fall weekend getaway. As goal-oriented individuals who enjoy having a clear vision for the future, we began discussing our aspirations. My friend mentioned she just paid off her car, which motivated her to establish personal and financial targets for the next two to five years.


This made me realize that I have a lot of ideas and aspirations swirling around in my mind, but I haven’t organized them into a formal list yet. I opened up my notes app, which serves as a sort of diary containing my aspirations, passwords, addresses, and grocery lists. I started crafting a detailed two and five-year plan to solidify my thoughts and ideas. 

Although I won’t disclose all the specifics, my main priorities are to finish grad school within three years and buy a second property. In order to achieve these goals, I must first apply to grad school, and I have been collecting letters of recommendation and writing my letter of intent for my application throughout this month. Additionally, I am saving money and waiting patiently for the housing market to stabilize, as it is wildly out of control right now. 

I hope this motivates people to reflect on their thoughts and jot down what they truly desire in life. Even if it appears unrealistic or unattainable at the moment, the universe has a way of surprising us. As I reflect on the past five years of my life, I am confident that 29-year-old Karissa would be astounded by my current situation, and I want to continue to make her proud.

A sailboat at sunset.

Thorn: Becoming a Birder

I’ve officially been working in the wildlife department for a whole month. My daily routine leaves enough flexibility for unplanned activities, like an early-season hurricane or unexpected meetings that were supposed to be an hour and somehow turned to three. 

I learn something new every day, but I’ve learned more about myself and where my strengths and weaknesses lie more than anything. Currently, my biggest challenge is identifying birds during our monthly wildlife surveys. Going into this new role, I knew a handful of our most common birds around the airfield. However, each bird can look drastically different depending on its stage of life or the time of year. 

Take my new favorite bird, the Purple Gallinule, as an example. As an adult, it’s a rainbow of colors with a yellow and red beak, deep purple feathers on the body, dark green wings, and yellow legs. It looks like a bird a child would create in art class. Something this distinctive is easy to identify. However, as a juvenile, it’s a pale brown with a light coloring of green on the wing tips. Furthermore, the Purple Gallinule is not to be confused with the Common Gallinule, which is less colorful but has a similar red and yellow beak. 


The Purple Gallinule is just one example of one bird in my survey area. Birds that flock, perch, or sore must also be identified as they fly past the viewing area of my binoculars. I’ve barely learned to identify our resident birds, and now I have to learn about the birds migrating for the fall season. At the end of the monthly surveys, my head is spinning from all the new information.

All of that being said, if it were easy, I would lose interest very quickly. I become more focused and determined to succeed when faced with a difficult task. My current goal is to learn about one new bird during each survey. This includes not only its appearance up close but also every variation of its appearance and its habitat. I want to confidently identify every bird I encounter in the park or on the beach, to the point where others may find it annoying.


August Favorites

Go-to Earrings – I have worn the same pair of goldish disk-shaped stud earrings for over three years. Although they might not be anything special, they make me feel put together, even on days when I’m looking like trash. I rarely take them off because it is difficult to find earrings that do not irritate my sensitive ears. Recently, I thought I had lost one of the earrings. Before retracing my steps, I quickly ordered a replacement. I felt naked for hours before eventually finding the lost earring in my bed. Now, I have a backup pair safely waiting on stand-by if I find myself in a panic in the future. 

Brookes Running Shoes – I am thrilled to have purchased a new pair of running shoes. After running in shoes that I disliked for a long time, I now am back to wearing the Brookes Glycerin 20. These shoes are wonderful, and I cannot praise them enough. They provide ample room for my toes while still being supportive, and they do not cause any blisters on my feet after long runs. I am not only enjoying my daily runs, but I am also excited for the upcoming fall race season.

new running shoes

August Blog Post Recap

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One thought on “Monthly Round-Up: Rose & Thorns – August 2023

  1. I think you are on a good financial track. But one of the things I think all should do is get a financial advisor you trust and start packing money away, a little each month. It builds up.

    Also, I agree with the Brooks shoes. We are on our 16th pair of Brooks Adrenalin GTX shoes logging in over walking 15,000 miles. Great shoes.

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