challenges

Solo Episode 2

Going solo isn’t so bad. On a recent drive I enjoyed my solo time. My time to think without interruption. The party of one time was valued. I don’t always like being solo but I’m ever so capable of standing firm solo. To me there is a subtle difference.

I also caught up with a another person who took a bold solo step in life to see how things were going. A fresh outlook. A newer view on the same horizon. Opportunities were starting to open up that were out of reach while lumped in a crowd. Going solo was a bold move for this girl. She took a chance. She is seeing how a chance can pay off. Going solo wasn’t an easy choice but the choice itself is showing her strength as one.

I then read a post online about a young man. His journey is one of health and fitness. One that requires him to overcome many individual obstacles. He is persevering but can never compare himself to similar athletes as his path is far more complex. He wrote something that stuck with me. Progress not perfection. His solo moves are bold. There is no comparison. He too shows his power and strength as one. Going solo was the right move for this young man.

Now I flip to going solo when it’s not a choice. The one left behind. The kid nobody wants on the kickball team. Chosen last. Feared as the weak link. The isolation of just one left waiting to be swooped up on the team. How can that person show his power as one when already defeated?

Losing your soulmate. Losing you a loved one without notice. So many scenarios of going solo but not by choice. How does one overcome the fear of going solo when it’s not a choice? How does one see their purpose as an individual vs a team or duo? How does one prepare for taking the unplanned solo route. There is no easy answer. Practice would be my best advice.

Go to the store alone. Assert your independence. See how you soar. You may not like going to the store alone but you need to know you can do it. Practice will build confidence.

Take a trip. Plan it alone. Pack for it yourself. Take your path whether it’s the long route or short route. Make the choices. Be okay with whatever comes your way. Being content with what you choose is an important part living solo. Practice will make you stronger. No two scenarios are the same. This experience over time will solidify your party of one strength. 

Practice being solo. The only way to be ready to take on the solo route with confidence is to practice. You are the only one who controls you. The power is all you. Don’t wait for others to include you in the big trip. Don’t wait to be picked last at kickball, show your solo strength. 

Independence can be powerful. If others around you struggle with their independence you might have to model for them. You might have to go solo more to show them it’s possible. Don’t let fear keep you from trying to go solo.

You might even surprise yourself with the benefits of going solo. The path may be just what you were waiting for.

This message can apply to many people in many scenarios. I may write as if it’s about me and my life. It may be or it may be about others. That’s the beauty of this blog. It’s meant to inspire others. If you read this and it seems like it’s for you, it is. 

I see many people in my life. I see many who triumph. I see many who struggle. Some situations are temporary while others seems so permanent. Only you control where you go now and in the future.

Enjoy your next milestone solo. Inspire another to go solo. Make this post infectious.

adventure

Hello Philly

Just a 24 hour pit stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1 full day is what I had but I planned to see and do a ton.

The first stop was to feed my belly of course. A quick stop for cheese steak at the famous corner in Philadelphia where you will find Geno’s and Pat’s. Which would I choose? I opted for Pat’s. I had to learn how to order which was harder than it needed to be. Then off to find a seat to enjoy the foodie treat. My belly was full. Steak, provolone cheese, onions, and peppers were loaded to the max on big hoagie bun.  Maybe not my favorite meal of my trip but overall I can said I had a Philly cheese steak from one of favorite local hot spots. 

Time for the sweet tooth spot. Insomnia cookies for the win. A sampling of sugar, snickerdoodle, macadamia nut, double chocolate, blueberry and chocolate chip cookies went In the box. Nobody needed the cookies, but we all opted to spurge and get the cookies. We all nibbled at each. Sugar was my favorite. Surely we were going to have a sugar overload at any moment after this stop.

On to the city we went, twisting and turning on a million one way streets. Looking up at the magnificent buildings and their architecture on the way to the hotel. Parking in the parking garage was an experience. Super low ceiling, limited turning radius, and very narrow pathways. 
The next adventure after parking was exploring the area by foot and stopping in on the shops that were open late. An Italian dinner in the city streets. Interesting setups by each restaurant to accommodate outdoor seating. An interesting sight to see including the various designs and creativity involved. This was a side of the pandemic I had not yet experienced. I observed the financial cost to set up power outside for lights. Shelter to be built. Weather proofing elements. And one can’t forget the curbside appeal to make people want to stop. Some had fancy chairs while others had old ones that I’d assume wouldn’t matter if they got weathered or stolen. Interesting walk to say the least.

A good night’s sleep nestled high in the sky on the 16th floor was a great experience. The view was amazing and the location was perfect. Early rise to walk to the Liberty Bell. Photo op one was in the books. A walk in the other direction took us to Love park for a photo op. This was slightly disappointing but also sad. Many homeless people were nestled in this park in the morning as they rose. From young to old. Made me wonder about their stories. 

A shift down the road with all the worldly flags was a beautiful sight. It led to the Rocky steps and statue. The one and only Rocky Balboa steps. Of course I ran them multiple times. I took photos. I FaceTimed those who couldn’t be there with me. We even had a virtual run. That was a first for me. But so much fun. We toured ourselves but ran into the walking tour many times thus we felt we did a good job planning our stops.

A little further down the road was boat house row. A picturesque water side view of the row of boat houses and their boats. I enjoyed the waterside view more than the street view but it was a new experience nonetheless. This area was a great place to run, walk or ride a bike. The weather was perfect on this day to tackle a nice flat surface for some light exercise. 

As we circled back many miles and hours later we hit the Reading Market. An interesting place full of vendors. Mostly food options. I grabbed a coffee and some sweets. Not a smart choice of fuel for the body but more a celebration of the city’s offerings. We nibbled on:

A colossal cinnamon bun 

A chunky slice of white cake

A creamy pumpkin roll slice

An enormous crumb cake 

All were full on sugar rushes! All were amazingly good. None of them were finished. All of them were tasted. We tried not to be wasteful but we did opt not to finish our plates. Time to load and go. Off to the airport. One last stop we shall have.

In the last of the 24 hours we hit Chickie’s & Pete’s, a local spot near the airport close to the sporting venue. A massive dining space. An interesting menu. For me it was the lobster roll for my meal. An overstuffed bun toasted to perfection. Slivers of celery, onions and just the right amount of seasoning. A nice treat for the end of a whirlwind 24 hours.

My belly is full as I sit on my flight writing. My heart swells from the memories made. My smile is big daydreaming of my next 24 hours of adventures. Where will I go? What will I see? Who will I meet? Who will I travel with? It’s all a mystery for now. Maybe a story will follow. Maybe it won’t.

I hope you enjoyed my 24 hour summary of Philadelphia. Maybe you will get there one day and choose the same route or travel new route. For now this city is off my list of tourist stops. 

adventure

My Firsts

This week I did some new things or firsts for me. I decided I should log them and put a little entry in here. Then I decided I’d keep doing it here and there to make sure I’m staying fresh or continuing to try new things.

I hung out in a vintage camper. Don’t know the exact year but I got to think about what kind of life this old trailer had. The memories. The miles traveled. The people who shared the journey. A fun little first for me.  Did I mention the camper sat idle while I wondered how it fared on the road in its heyday?

I babysat a Great Dane. More of a horse than a dog. Large in size but more like a mini Dachshund when it comes to measuring its fierceness. Lots of slobber. Some interesting feeding sessions to say the least.

I played tennis with a new partner. Such an experience. We both had to display patience, foster hope, and develop teamwork almost immediately. We struggled in some ways but conquered in others. I’d highly recommend trying something new like this that requires teaming.

I stopped to help an injured animal on the side of the road. It didn’t seem like much but I was comforting the injured animal in his last hours. Not something I’d recommend but I am glad I was able to experience such a moving moment. I certainly hugged my dogs upon my return home. I just knew that puppy’s family was hurting with their recent loss.

I took a group lesson this week. I didn’t have an expectation. I went with the flow and I had so much fun. Getting coached in a weak area is great when you are coachable and I am happy to report that I am coachable. 

I cleaned up poop in record quantity. From smears in the carpet to full blown shit stream down the long hallway. You named a spot and there was most likely a shit gift waiting for you. Oh the smell. Oh the consistency made cleaning a real nightmare. As I scrubbed, wiped, sprayed and cleaned I thought to myself I’m lucky to have a dog so I’ll just clean away. Good thing this doesn’t happen everyday! From now on I will not get the dog flu shot.

I went on a hike with my two dogs. First time for not only me but my puppy. At three months old she did amazing and I surprised myself too. The picture below shows my sassy girls Teddie and Bear. This dynamic duo was great on the hike. They were so tired when we were done. Such a great first with them.

These are just a few of my firsts but I’m sure I’ll have future first posts.

fitness and nutrition, healthy hacks

Ahoy There!

Ahoy there! Chips Ahoy! flavored protein from Ghost is simply amazing. This might actually be my most favorite protein of all time and I really don’t even like most protein powders. 

For starters, most days I struggle to fuel my body with its needed protein level. I know I’m not alone either. Many struggle in this area but it’s a critical piece of my recovery and meal planning. In order to hit my defined goals, I have to use protein to supplement meals. Specialty flavors or hiding protein in something like orange juice helps me a lot.

I’ve added protein to shakes. I’ve added protein to coffee. I’ve purchased salted caramel to watermelon to vanilla and so on. Some taste better than others that’s for sure. I’ve shared protein samples with friends to test out new flavors so I don’t end up with a tub of blah protein. Sometimes I’m lucky sometimes I’m not.

Today I feel like I hit the jackpot. I feel like I’m having cookies and milk but I’m really just having protein and water. It’s a fair compromise since I smell chocolate chips and it even had some grit to its texture. Served over ice makes it smooth.

Just thought I’d write a quick blog about this protein hack in case it can help somebody manage their macros or just offer a new spin on Chips Ahoy! and milk. A much healthier option for sure.
As I sign off, I’m wishing you a happy and healthy day. Hats off to chips ahoy protein makers.

Uncategorized

Day in the Life of a Dress

It hung in my closet for months. I bought it on sale last spring, when I was looking for easy throw-it-on-and-you’re-done dresses. I used to have many of these easy-breezy options, back when LuLaRoe was a thing. Now several sizes smaller, I’ve cleared all those out with little to replace them.

So I saw there was a sale at belk and went in. I couldn’t try it on (ahem, COVID), but it seemed worth a try. Once I got home, it fit well enough so I kept it. And there, on the hanger, it has stayed ever since.

Why not wear it? No matter the occasion, it’s always “too” something. Too colorful. Too long. Too flowy. Too dramatic. What can I say? This dress announces itself. It draws attention (to someone who doesn’t usually like attention.) The cut and the neckline looks pretty good on me, but it’s unconventional for my practical work environment. With COVID and everything else in my life, I don’t have reason to dress up often. It was just never the right fit.

Until last week, when a friend invited me to an event celebrating the life of her lively, colorful Mami. It was out in the woods, so wearing something long made sense. I was bringing colorful flowers at my friend’s request, so I packed it and went.

It’s the kind of dress that makes me stand a little straighter. Walk a little taller. I felt sort of regal in it. I loved wearing it to the service and dinner after.

Then, life threw us curveballs, as it has lately, and I ended up wearing the dress to all kinds of unexpected places. It traveled hundreds of miles. The dress took me out into the middle of a pasture in the late evening darkness. The dress stayed the night in a vintage camper. It helped care for horses in a barn. The dress grabbed coffee at the only open place in town. The dress rolled into Walmart early Sunday morning, messy hair and all. A voice said “what a gorgeous dress!” and I thought to myself, if only you knew what it had been through. It’s been pajamas, overalls, and everything else, it seems.

And then, it finally made its way back over the mountain pass and home again.

After all those months hanging, waiting for its moment, the dress made more than its mark on me. It will be making more appearances soon, now that I’ve seen its versatility and I’ve found the confidence to wear it. Do you have a dress that can take you all kinds of places?