adventure

Relax Was All She Typed

RELAX!

The one word received by text before I left the country for vacation in the beautiful island of St. Maarten. “Relax”

 How that word sat with me on the plane ride to my destination and beyond. Relax. 

How does a high strung, fast moving girl really relax? Is it possible? The questions that ran through my mind. The soul searching that would happen over the next few days as I figured out if I am capable of relaxing and what relaxing really feels like.

Routine went out the window first thing. No up early to workout. This was a first change of routine in over 4 years. Is this relaxing or was I stressed because I was breaking my routine? I did a shoulder shrug to myself repeatedly when I thought about this change.  Instead of working out hard core, I opted for a casual walk to a quaint little bakery kiosk where I was greeted by a bubbly island girl each morning. A creature of habit, I ordered the same thing each day. A plain but buttery croissant and a jug of orange juice. Both of these are not normal items I would have in the morning or in general but this week was about doing things differently. I was choosing to select differently while on vacation. Maybe not the best choice for balancing carbs / fats / proteins, but for this vacation break I was not worrying about what time I was eating and so on. Just like I wasn’t worried about writing on my blog. I was “checked” out on island time.

Island time is interesting. Everything moves slowly. People are extra bubbly and social. It was easy for me to go to bed early and sleep late each day. I had nowhere to rush to. No deadlines to meet. No bosses to answer to.  I enjoyed the sunsets, the spectacular views, the fresh smells and the people of the island I was on. I had no reason to stress over technology, business or life. There was no rushing to sports practice, no to do list, no deadlines to meet, no bosses to answer to. It seemed there were smiles everywhere. Workers smiled and greeted you at every interaction. Guests were cordial even if there was a language barrier. Island life is definitely slow. It seems to take 2-3 hours for a meal. Food is fresh, service is slow but pleasant, atmosphere is always “happy.”

At last a relaxing time of do something, nothing or whatever strikes my fancy. I snorkeled, enjoyed fish and shipwrecks in the waters below, ate many varieties of food, tasted a new drink called “ting,” rode a horse in the ocean, enjoyed a massage, and met many friendly faces. A few notable friends are described below:

New York – A sweet and sassy woman from NY whom I shared giggles with on my snorkeling trip but then found out she stayed at my resort. We bumped into each other multiple times making us new friends. 

Nix – A bus driver that was a bit quirky. He didn’t smile much and had a long face. He said the word “WOW” a lot. His quirkiness was memorable and his driving skills were interesting to say the least.

The New Zealanders – An older couple I met on a tour. A whole day spent with strangers who had a funny accent but enjoyed learning about our cultures as much as we did theirs. They arrived by cruise ship, us by plane. A chance encounter but one that left many memories. I especially enjoyed eating lunch with these new friends while we learned so much about our different countries. Again, a chance encounter that was very insightful.

John – A taxi cab driver turned tour guide. He picked us up in town at random for a ride back to the resort. He shared his cooler of drinks and gave us his card for his side hustle (tour guide). We booked a tour with the kind gentleman and spent another full day learning about the island from him. His charm, his humor, and his knowledge was a big part of our trip memories.

The cookie man – There is a cookie man and he works in a cheese shop. It may sound weird but he serves the freshest almond paste cookies at the cheese shop when you check out. These cookies were so amazing we went back for more a few days later. He was all out but he offered to make a special batch the next day. We couldn’t wait. We went back out of our way to meet the cookie man at the cheese shop to buy tons of cookies to bring home for our families. Do you think any actually made it home?

AJ – The jeweler, the joker, the hard worker. The friendliest jeweler in town. Oh, how he added to my memories this week. AJ was another chance encounter. I met a wonderful older lady on my plane ride to the island. She had been visiting this island for years and mentioned I should visit AJ should I desire any jewelry this trip. Of course I had to check out AJ and see what all the hype was about.

As you can see from the post above, I relaxed and enjoyed my island vacation, but more importantly I met new people. The kind souls that made my memories will be forever cherished. Some I will never see again, while others I hope to see sometime in the future should I make it back to this island. I never set out to meet new people nor did I have a specific goal in mind for my trip. In the end I had a great time and have an awesome memory book of the time spent on St. Maartin.

My travel time was just right. Enough time to enjoy the relaxing life yet not too long to miss out on all that requires my time on the daily on the home front. I am thankful for many things after this week. Too many to list. As thanksgiving has recently past, I will just say I am thankful for the “relax” text as it set The tone for my week. Thank you, Kim, for the one word text! I appreciate you.

My vacation time was spent on the friendly island of St. Maarten. I spent most of my time on the Dutch side, however I did visit the French side as well as visit Anguilla and Prickly Pear on the British side. I highly recommend travel to St. Maarten and I encourage you to fly a big airline vs. a discount airline. If you make it there be sure to visit the beach by the airport to watch the planes land. It is definitely an experience.

I am leaving you with a few snapshots of my trip. It is my hope that you find some peace in the tranquil pictures. They are meant to spur thought of relaxation and happiness.

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adventure, balance, Teddie Aspen

Neglected

Neglected is the word that comes to mind when I think of this blog site in the last 30 days.

As I shake my head in disappointment, I actually remind myself that I was busy making memories and just didn’t have a free moment to share the glimpses of these memories with the world. A temporary state of course, which means I will most likely be posting repeatedly in the coming weeks and months to ensure this blog moves into an elevated status instead of a neglected status.

This blog isn’t always about life but sometimes it is. Life for me is good, but hectic. The holidays are upon us which add chaos to any family, but I definitely had a busy six weeks or so full of personal and professional travel. Stay tuned for updates via the blog.

On top of the above, I welcomed the cutest little bundle of joy to my family. Not a baby, well maybe a baby. My baby. The cutest little Golden Doodle puppy who answers to the fabulous name of Teddie Aspen. Since a picture is worth a thousand words I am going to leave you with a few of my favorite pics of Teddie. I am warning you I will probably post many, many more through the year as I document training and other puppy stuff under the Teddie Aspen header.

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adventure, dare to be different, friendship

PJ Party Surprise!

I absolutely could not wait to write this post. For one, it’s amazing and I haven’t even started writing it yet. Doesn’t the picture below indicate an amazing story is forthcoming?

How can this story be so amazing and I am just about to start it? I lived it. I experienced the fun. The crazy. The spontaneity. The friendships. And now I can’t wait to tell the world about it.

It all started with a simple idea. A PJ party. A onesies PJ party to be exact. That morphed into who will have the funniest onesie. Some borrowed. Some new. Some old ones in the mix. Didn’t matter, they were all unique.

A day late on the party but that didn’t matter. There were 2 dragons, 1 fox, a frog, a giraffe, an elephant, a snowman, and a couple I can’t recall. Doesn’t really matter we all dressed up in onesies for fun. And oh, what fun we would have. Everyone played along. They all dressed up. What a sight.

Amidst it all, a surprise was lurking. A “joke’s on me” kind of surprise. An unexpected event. A KT’s bad idea club. They even had t-shirts made. What in the heck. I can’t make this up. My group of fun, fit and fabulous friends were the best at concocting an epic event that I was completely unaware of. They even had an unveiling party within the PJ party.

This crazy crew said my bad idea (marathon adventure) warranted a club. KT’s Bad Idea Club to be exact. The Bad Idea Club guarantees amazing memories. Ha, it sure did on this adventure.

This crazy crew opted for beach photos in the onesies. That was a sight to see in itself. From the strangers giggling as they took our group photo to the comical poses we created in our onesies. As my friend Sarah said, “if you’ve never been to the beach in a onesie, do it pronto.”

I wish I could tell you everything but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, thus I will leave you with a few pics to close out this post.

You can imagine how awesome our beach/onesie adventure was.

Be sure to read all three posts from my marathon series. They are linked but different. I encourage you to read them all for a full visual of the weekend’s adventures.

adventure, celebrations

Dropping Off the Edge

Historic Banning Mills - 2019-09-01-14-02-50-000-1wfrj

There were always a hundred reasons not to do it.

I’m too busy.

It’s too far away.

But really, the one that held me back was:

I am over the 250-pound weight limit for women.

This is also what kept me from Roller Coasters, Skydiving, Hang Gliding, Canoeing, etc.  (Watch for future posts on these…)

It was only a couple of years ago that I crossed that 250 threshold.  Now I am well under it, no looking back.

So, here I am, making my way through the year of fearless.   How can I embrace it, without having to travel too far? Ziplining at Banning Mills. 

I bought our tickets the night before. Just to be sure I couldn’t chicken out.  I chose the 2 Springs source, since it had fewer bridges (much scarier to me, in thought!)

Made the drive, donned the gear, took the class, then we set out.  No time to be afraid with just the three of us in our group.  We lucked out, the other course had 30 people! Lots of waiting on high platforms.  Lots of time to get worked up.  Not us.

I climbed and my breath quickened – not so much from the tower as from the fear.  Every single time, left hand on the pulley, right on the rope. Watch for the hand signal to slow down.  Then reach your hand around and press on the line.  Careful not to press too hard or you will dislocate your shoulder. Yikes!

I got to the top.  The two teens just soared right off the platform. Effortless. Then it was my turn…. I didn’t jump.  I kind of crouched and leaned forward, forward, forward.  Just barely almost sliding falling off the ledge.  And I just let go and trusted and flew.

The second one was a little bit better, but not much.  Before each of the twenty-something lines, I had to repeat those steps. Left hand, right hand, drop.  And I had to slow down, feeling the glove get hot from the friction was scary.  Feeling my shoulder pull was nerve-wracking.  But I finally got the hang of it.  Finally, up 150 stairs and down at 65 miles per hour over a lake.

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Did we want to do the extra lines at the end of the course?  Sure. Every line had a name and a story – some funny, some likely made up, some sad or puzzling. The line named Secret, one of the last ones we rode, sent us flying high over a beautiful flowing stream. Very few people make it to that line (our guide said he had been on it with guests maybe 5 times over a few years), which explains the name. I was able to relax a little and enjoy the view.  On our last line, our guide even had me jump off the platform backwards.  What a ride.

For so many years, I wore my weight as an excuse. It’s ironic that the bigger you are, the easier it is to hide.  It’s like an invisibility cloak.  It protected me from many things, including some adventures like this.

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Of course, it’s more complicated than that.  Only part of what kept me unhealthy for so long.  But I am determined to embrace reckless, crazy, over-the-top or off-the-edge adventures as often as I can from now on.

Some don’t even make it past the first line, the guides said.  But, I kept following the steps, holding my breath, and stepping off with trust.  I was free and flying and not out of place.  I put all my weight on it and the line still held.  There is value in facing the fear, sitting down into it and just letting go.

 

adventure, family

On the Move

Life is full of adventures. With me, you never know which road I am going to take or which path. That’s what makes me special. Just when you think you know my patterns, I will change things up.

I beat to my own drum, as my Mom would say. I find the road less traveled interesting. What scares some excites me.

I am on the move. Changing my scenery. My front yard. My back yard. The four walls of my home are changing. Going back to the basics. I hear my oldest brother in the background saying “What are you a gypsy? Moving again?” Just living my best life, I reply. I can live big or I can live small or anything in between. Some choose to stay in one fixed place for their life. Not me. I am on the move!

I am trading in the nice house in the prestigious suburban planned community for a more quaint home on a decent-sized plot of land. A little more privacy. A little less home owners association rules. A few more birds chirping. And lot less cleaning to do.

Thank you Zillow for the hours and hours of entertainment from the convenience of my comfy couch. I feel I am an HGTV expert and I know love bathrooms, kitchens, renovations and the endless possibilities of revitalizing the old into the new.

A shock to some. A little peace to me. Happy to have supportive folks around me, crazy enough to ride my waves of change and live the excitement life can offer when you take chances.

Burning the candle at both ends they say. Early morning workouts (can’t miss), long work days (can’t miss) and then move, move, move. Lots of heavy lifting. Lots of shifting. Where to put things? How to re-organize life inside my four walls. Exciting and challenging all at the same time.

I opted to move myself. My family is a well-oiled machine. We band together to get things done when needed. Our time frame. Our labor. Our budget. This process is definitely not easy but I am happy with the progress. My body, on the other hand, is beginning to think I am a bit crazy for the torture it is going through currently, but like all things this phase will soon pass.

Started to add the personal touches to make the house a home. I even did my first DIY project: I chalked a mirror that didn’t fit into my new space as it did in the old one. Pretty fun project. Very simple and cheap ($7 can of spray paint). The outcome was better than expected since I am not super crafty. The cool thing about this piece is its purpose. A welcome board. A sign-in space of sorts. An autograph board. A leave-a-positive-message place. So many uses. One tiny investment. A piece of renewable art within the house that can be forever changing. Need some color pop? Just change the color of the chalk. It’s the little things that make me smile.

Living my best life today. Keeping my perspective fresh. Stay tuned for updates on the dreadful moving process and upcoming DIY projects that are on the horizon. The awful stress of selling a home and having strangers trample through your house is happening at the same time. Not to mention your home is showcased online showing all your personal space.

Oh the comments people make on this or that. When you sell a house that is used, it’s normally lived in. Therefore the process of selling is annoying. Your house is supposed to be perfect yet lived in. Talk about an irony. Add kids, a busy life, and and and…

I figure why not write about it. I am an open book anyway.

Enjoy my rants.

adventure, dare to be different

Black and Badass

I did something I have been thinking about off and on the past year. I bought a beach bike.

It’s black. It’s badass. It’s perfect for me. I call it my Batmobile. Powered by me and only me. My thunder thighs will power that bike for miles upon miles. Of course, my Apple Watch will record the miles for proof.

It’s second hand and I’m cool with that. I had been looking for the perfect bike with gears, handle bars and a vibe I envisioned for a long time. Never really found what I wanted. Then somebody hooked me on the online marketplace experience.

Online shopping from my phone and comfy couch. No annoying salespeople. Where somebody else’s junk becomes your treasure. Well, I saw the girl bikes for weeks. Turquoise and tan. White and purple. They all had stupid baskets and sparkles. Not really my thing.

Then, the Batmobile popped up. I knew the person selling it, ironically. But it’s a boy bike. It has a jock bar. Oh, man, I don’t care it’s solid black. Black tires. Black seat. Black bars. It was sleek. It had gears and 29″ tires. Those had me hooked. Simple yet sophisticated. Check out those beefcake thighs rolling that badass bike along.

I got it. Now I’m gonna ride it. Batgirl in the making. Bike adventures to follow. Stay tuned.

adventure

Riding Topless

Did that title get your attention?

It refers to riding topless in my Jeep for those of you who are wondering. Relaxing, riding topless, and too noisy to talk to be specific! That’s exactly what my auto text responder says when I’m enjoying the beautiful sunshine or night sky traveling by Jeep.

The smell of fresh cut grass, flowers in bloom or just cool crisp morning air. Your senses come alive riding topless in a Jeep. It’s also an opportunity to blast some music and ignore cell phones and the distractions of the busy day.

Riding topless isn’t just limited to the Jeep. You can have the same free feeling on a bike, scooter, motorcycle, boat or jet ski to name a few. Whether on land or water, you can see the sky above, feel the wind in your face, enjoy the scents of a fresh BBQ in the distance, and feeling the heat on your skin can be mood changing moments.

If any of those topless activities seem far fetched for you try a walk. A light casual walk. Listen to the birds chirp, smell today. Settle your mind. Smile and repeat as often as you can.

Get topless!