celebrations, dare to be different

The Extra Bling

What girl doesn’t like bling?

Well apparently the group I travel with is not willing to settle for one medal when they can get another to earn the bonus bling. What’s next….a 5k the morning after!

Sunday was planned to cheer on two of our group running the 5k before we hit the road for our return leg. And then the next not-so-good idea hatched.

The smarty pants of the group read the fine print. The fine print nobody else read because we all focused on the headline….the Marathon. Nope, she read that if you run the smaller race on day two you get a medal for that race and a bonus medal for accepting the challenge.

None of us registered in advance for that. Most of us were sore. Why on earth would we run a 5k? Well, because we are crazy.

Beth, aka Chick 2, sent the email to verify we could register onsite. One by one we agreed this is a very bad idea but we can do it. It’s only 3 miles. That’s a fun run compared to the day before. We pop the Aleve. We whip out the extra set of running clothes. We hydrate again. We giggle.

We have zero preparedness. We grab a quick bite to eat on the way. I got the last bagel at the shop. It wasn’t my favorite flavor but it was a carb and I needed it for fuel. Let’s face it, I needed rocket fuel.

This is us. A group of fit-ish people spending time together making memories. Pain is only temporary, I said to myself. If my calves hurt when it’s time to run I’ll walk. I’ll just keep moving. Isn’t that what life is about? You keep moving through whatever obstacles get in your way.

Port-o-potty time again. Oh, how I hate port-o-potties. They are one of the nastiest places to go voluntarily. You can not unsee what you see inside of them. You can’t not smell the rancid smell that comes with them when the contents are baking for hours in the hot sun. It’s absolutely foul.

Moving on to the race line. The national anthem plays and there is a sense of calm in the air. One by one we line up. We are moved like cattle through the corral. 5-4-3-2-1 time to get this run done.

One mile complete. That wasn’t so bad. 33% complete. The scenery was amazing. A park setting with beautiful trees. Less spectators but off to the streets we go. Houses rich in history. Roundabouts to run. Corners to turn. Mile two was there before you knew it.

Running back to the park you see some running mates. You hear the cheers from friends. The final stretch ends in the minor league stadium. A grand entrance of sorts.

Crowds of people in the stands cheering as run the edge of the field to the finish line. It’s over. We did it. We earned the bonus medals. We didn’t die. Life will continue.

The irony of this story is the bad idea was actually a great idea. The short run loosened us up for the long car ride home. We ran with friends who cheered us on the day before. We did something spontaneous. We made more memories.

The Bad Idea Club is open for membership. Are you ready to join or will you create your own club with likeminded people?

This post series goes out to my tribe. My tribe of strong friends who push through life with me. Thank you for an amazing great story, awesome memories, and adventures to look forward to.

I added some unexpected medals to my collection this weekend. So glad I have friends to remind me to step out of my comfort zone to conquer what seems impossible in the moment. Reflection is key to development. I am always raising my bar to foster my own personal growth.

This post is the third of a series. Be sure to read about the PJ party and the equation post. They go together like peanut butter and jelly.

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.

 

celebrations, friendship

Full-on Festivus Fangirl

One part roadie, one part pit crew, one part media team, one part friend, five parts fangirl.  These were my jobs for the Faded Glory teams at this year’s Festivus Games.

Unlike Chick 1, I didn’t WOD in the sun and fun.  Scheduling and family commitments made competing impossible.  But I still got out and joined in for as long as I could.

My day started at 5am, just like most of the teams.  But, for my first stop I went and got my own workout in first at our home box (burpees over the rower, thrusters, and other fun times). I could have skipped, but even when (especially when!) you’re spending a lot of your time supporting others, you have to keep your own health in line.

Then it was off to the Games, sliding in with my friends to watch them work and support where I could, which led to these moments….

The roadie – Yes, I’ll carry your phone.  I’ll wear your watch. I’ll hold your bracelets.  Of course I’ll keep time for you and count down loud so you know how much you have left to go.

The pit crew – Yup, I’ll charge that dead (phone) battery.  I’ll change your oil (peppermint oil, of course, on sore hamstrings and lower backs).  I’ll drill your muscles with one of those crazy massage guns.  I’m there with your water when your engine overheats.  Creaky joints? Do you prefer Aleve, Advil, or Tylenol?

The media team – The pictures, the videos, the boomerangs. Did I get video of your snatches? Check. Boomerangs of your wall balls? Check. And THE LIFTING FACES!!!  Oh, the lifting faces. Can’t get enough of them.  Capturing the efforts and the agony.  The triumphs and the teamwork.  The small moments, the funny moments, the victories that many people miss – we even miss some of them ourselves!

Send them to each athlete, even send them to their spouses and our friends who couldn’t be there.  Those photos tell amazing stories of a time that will become incredible memories.

 

 

The friend – Just before she starts each event, I’m glancing at my partner, Milagros, and just give her the look.  The “you can do this.  Just breathe and do it” look.  That moment of reassurance between us!

Some of the highlights of the day are listening to pretty much all the competitors talk about their teammate.  In one way or another, each is fighting not to let their partner down.  To do their best, to give their all for that teammate.  This brings back memories of when I competed, and truly is one of the sweetest, most meaningful parts of the experiences.

Finally, the fangirl –  Cheering like crazy for each of them. (And all the videos with my shrill drum major voice!) Clapping from behind the lens.  “Pick it up!” I barked. Encouraging when I saw the looks of exhaustion, of near tears, of hating that stupid box, that idiotic dumbbell, that impossibly irritating kettlebell. And when I saw those fleeting looks of “It’s too hot.”  “It’s so heavy.”  ‘I’m not sure I can do anymore…” I’d get even louder:

YOU GOT THIS! COME ON!  LET’S GO!  And as others finished, they joined in the cheers. Surrounding teammates who had fought through adversity to encourage them to the bitter end.  We are fans of each other.

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What a day and a reason to support and shout for these incredible athletes.

Pushing themselves past the edge of the discomfort zone, some fighting through injuries and illness.  They showed up and WORKED.  All the training, the invisible hours, the practicing, the endless reps, heck even the no reps mattered.  It all adds up to knowing you fought like crazy to compete and give your best that day.

I’ll truly cherish wearing the #Katashi shirt with my honorary (if temporary) tattoo. That takes fangirling to a whole new level.  You’d be hard pressed to find two more fierce or fun competitors. Still gotta work on my booty game, though.

I’ll cherish the hugs and smiles and people laughing and feeling proud as they saw themselves in action. I’ll cherish seeing both first timers and “old” timers get in there to scrap with anyone who dares compete. Better bring your A game. I’ll cherish watching teams work with and for each other, and being on the team for all of them.

 

 

celebrations, fitness and nutrition

Festivus Games Was No Joke

Well, this comp was a little different about 5 minutes after I signed up! Then, when I got to the competition site the crazy level stepped up a bit….the competition was 90% outside. Holy smokes.

Looking back, I somehow stacked 1/2 marathon training, a 45 day bicep/tricep challenge, a physical residence move, a big trip to see family and life on top of comp training and my regular CrossFit and adult life.

What was I thinking? I probably wasn’t thinking until I hit the WODs hard the 2 weeks prior to the event. At that point my body was already sluggish from a physical move and my arms were burning on the daily from the other bicep/tricep challenge and then heck most days my legs were like we don’t need any additional miles today!

Of course there was outfit planning. Tanks and booty shorts. This may be the most fun part of competing because my crazy partner agreed to change outfits four times. Really she had no choice but it’s part of the experience and what sets us apart from others. We beat to our own drum or anthem in many ways. Class act I tell ya!

One week to go and I rip my hand bad. How did that impact the event? Came down with a cold as well a week before so breathing wasn’t 100%. Complaints or excuses? Time to press on and put in work. This is a self note that I am sharing.

The last seven days were focused on eating well, sleeping well and staying healthy. I wasn’t perfect but I made an attempt. Rest being most important since my body is aging.

Last practice session on our weakness was a good showing. Compared to day one it was tremendous growth. Now to wait and see how the big day goes.

Comp day. It starts with the dreadful alarm at 5am, food prep, and carpool ride at 6am. Oh and let me tell you about the ride:

One passenger snoring in the back who wouldn’t share the back seat. Yup, that’s my partner!

One driver kind enough to volunteer to drive knowing the drive home will suck bad. Thank you, CW.

And then me. The sleepy one mesmerized by the cool new truck I was in. Air flowing through the seats and a massaging seat. Yup, just what I needed and I gladly staked my claim for that seat on the way home!

Then the wait for heat one at 9:50am. The morning aches and stiffness were among the bunch as we waited, joked and stretched together. We all prepped differently yet we all did it together.

That’s a lot of idle time for nervous jitters that lead to multiple potty breaks. Fun times all around meeting neighbors in tent city and taking pics as we wait. A group of friends are competing so we will have a blast tailgating and cheering each other on. Of course we are still competing so it’s not all rainbows and lollipops for those in the same division.

Did I mention our team name this time around? 2 Tatted Bitches – ha! Offensive to some but perfect to us! Check out the cool shirts we got compliments of Chick 2’s designing skills. Oh, how the announcer fumbled purposely all day on that name. However, if we made the podium he said he would say the full name prominently. And he did just that!

WOD 1 – my favorite. The deadlift ladder. Easy peasy 205 pounds. We accumulated 75 bonus points with our extra efforts in less than a minute. Took 3rd in this WOD. Feeling good but the worst is yet to come. And the pic below shows one of the good faces. There were many more crazy faces to come.

WOD 2 a and b=death! Add extreme heat outdoors, direct sun and and and….WOD was outside, 90+ degrees and I don’t usually workout outside in direct sunlight. It gave me a new respect for other athletes who compete outside on a regular basis. Body weight movements AKA devil press (named appropriately), weighted box step overs, reverse lunges weighted and a partner row. Part A we scored 4th but Part B was 8th….my no reps for not locking my arms out cost us big time. I was not happy with my judge. Well, we could have given up but this is the time where we kicked it up a notch or attempted to.

WOD 3 – Outside again with a forecast raining wallballs and snatches. Get low, get low, get low…that’s all I would hear for what seemed like an hour. My legs were shot but somehow I was going to have to squat 45 times with a 14-pound wall ball going up down up down. I wanted to puke in the heat was a gross understatement. My practice rounds were timed and my partner was suppose to hold me accountable for a personal best despite the environmental conditions. She did but I wasted breath saying “stop yelling at me.” Big mistake but I made it through by the grace of God. Our time was not our best but we squeezed out 3rd solely with our heart and desire to make up for the WOD before.

WOD 4 – the synchro WOD that I had been dreading since sign up. Not really sure how to explain this other than heavy and weird object being tossed around like a ping pong ball over and over and over again. But it was not a ping pong ball. It was a heavy anchor that bumped and bruised your body and your ego with each movement. It was brutal. And I was focused on this part of the workout making me totally forget about the 100 buy in of knees-to-chest movements. Oh crap! Suck it up buttercup because we had to place high in this round to get on that podium. Thankfully my partner killed this movement and made up for my shortcoming and we were on fire with the synchro piece. Over 100 reps of pure grit and we pulled out 2nd in the event.

It was bittersweet. A podium finish of 3rd. Hard work pays off. Good partner chemistry paid off. Supportive gym mates were the icing on the cake. Not to mention our honorary tatted bitch who donned our shirt and branded herself with Katashi just for us. Was a great friend.

We’re walking away from this event with a medal but it’s not the medal that’s most memorable. It’s the journey. The journey of training that’s years in the making. The fellowship along the way. The learning process of developing skills. The coaching you receive along the way. The commitment required to grind another day when your mind tells you to quit. Mental toughness, tenacity, determination, are all words that come to mind.

I leave you with this message: anyone can commit to changing their environment, their attitude and their perspective. Many will talk about it but won’t follow through because the road along the way is full of big hills, speed bumps and life detours. It is not easy. Surround yourself with a tribe that will challenge you, push you, motivate you and ultimately make you see your own potential. It’s really all about you, just like this post is all about me.

I’m not one to gloat per se, but I am one to share my stories with the world to offer hope to others who have a hard time seeing it in themselves in the mirror.

Happy Sunday, y’all. I’m back to training for my 1/2 marathon in 3, 2, 1….

celebrations, dare to be different

Toasting A Year Without Alcohol

“So, are you going to the party this weekend?”

“I don’t think so…”

“Why not?”

(Pause…stare…long enough to be uncomfortable…finally blurts out)

“Um, I’m taking a break from drinking right now.”

Just one of several moments that stand out in my mind as I’ve worked through a year without alcohol.

A year without alcohol.

I don’t really want to say a year into sobriety. I think of sobriety as something different. A different level of commitment, perhaps. And I do think I’ll drink again someday. So, right now, it’s just been a year of taking a break.

What has it meant?

At first, it was for my weight. Daily beers add up. Or two. Or three. Once in a while, even more.

When I started the keto diet in January 2018, I just wanted to keep my carbs down, so I switched to vodka. Or hard seltzers. Less carbs, but still drinking my calories.

When I started Stronger U in August 2018, where I learned more about calories and alcohol and the effect it had on my body, I decided to try to give it up for a while. Labor Day weekend turned into a month.  Then I figured I would try for Thanksgiving, then join in the customary wine we have at family gatherings… but once I got there, not drinking turned out to be just fine with me.  I only had to turn down wine a few times, then people left me alone about it. Christmas, same.  And so on.  Summer may have been the hardest, with beer and refreshment season in full swing.  But, once I hit about 6 months, I knew a year was an attainable goal and I wanted it.  And now I am here.

I do believe it has played a significant role in my weight loss and body reshaping. I know it has taken a lot of my belly away.

Beyond that, what else has it meant?

I do come from an alcoholic family.

I have “flirted with” or tiptoed on the edge of alcoholism several times throughout my adult years. I’ve always been able to pull myself out of it, sometimes with the help of family and friends.  Still, since I was 21, I’ve never been more than a few weeks without a drink, except when I was pregnant. So a year is satisfying personally, knowing I have some measure of control over consumption.  (And yes, there were plenty of times I craved a beer this year for whatever reason, but decided not to have one).

What about my friends?  I did stumble over my words when I first started sharing it. But for the most part, people have been nice or just nonreactive about it.  A few have even been curious. I’ve found a few people who have used it as a conversation starter, to talk about their own relationship with alcohol.  Some friends who are trying not to drink have looked to me for support at social gatherings.  It’s easier to not drink if you know others are doing the same thing, whatever the reason might be.

What’s been a bit surprising is how few people really care. If people notice or ask, I usually just say I’m taking a break from drinking.  But, most of the time when I was drinking before, it was a beer (or three) by myself at home at night.  Alcohol wasn’t a huge part of my social ties or traditions.  I think people who have after work drinks with friends or other routines and rituals involving alcohol might have a harder time. I’m grateful it has been simple, and has cost me little while I’ve gained insights and energy for new challenges. 

I don’t miss waking up with a hangover.  I don’t miss feeling out of control at times.  I don’t miss wondering if I’ve waited long enough to get behind the wheel of a car. I don’t miss my beer gut.

If and when I drink alcohol again, I hope I look at it just as I would any other indulgence: a treat to be enjoyed once in a while.  Until then, I’ll be toasting with my mocktails, offering to be the designated driver.

If you’re trying to drop some pounds or wonder if you can go without alcohol, I encourage and challenge you to try it for a week or a month.  You might be surprised what you learn.  Share with us in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

celebrations, fitness and nutrition

3-year Anniversary

It’s hard to believe I’ve stuck with CrossFit for three years now. Three long years, but three of the best years. I c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e-d my CrossFiterversary this week. Whoo hoo!

Not only did I get in shape, I got stronger. Physically, mentally and emotionally, all of which are transferable skill sets. Ironically, I repeated my first CrossFit Open WOD, 17.1, this week. What a great way to visualize my progress. This time around I did box jumps instead of step-ups. This time I used 35# weights instead of 20#. This time I did more reps overall. Hard work does pay off. It’s not at all overnight success!

This week I also celebrated friendships. One person in particular I met on day one. We didn’t talk really. I was the newbie, he was the veteran. Time passed. Hard work was put in. Trust was built. Now we work out side by side, joke around daily, and pass time on weekends. That’s the community aspect of CrossFit. Good people working hard, building bonds over time. It definitely isn’t a cult. It is just like-minded people grinding together over and over and over. In time relationships bud and they tend to be solid. You see each other at your best and your worst and everything in between.

My lifting skills make doing yard work easy peasy. Need to put out 124 bags of pine mulch at home? No problem. My back can handle the bending, lifting and twisting. My stamina will keep me going and my energy level is that of a thoroughbred race horse.

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My mental gains are hard to quantify but I will share that my daily workouts which test almost every fiber of my body, mind and spirit give me foresight. The ability to see ahead and know mental strength gets you through the hard times. Mental strength can be developed. You can convince your mind you are capable of whatever task needs to be completed.

The community is like no other. Lawyers or doctors by day. Karate instructors or dancers by night. No matter the occupation most sweat the same. Most battle to complete the workouts. Friendship builds. Trusts builds. Comrades emerge. You can’t find that at a local bar or neighborhood for the most part, as one common denominator is missing. The love of fitness/CrossFit and that crazier-than-ever attitude that goes along with the box community.

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Add in some cool coaches, nice equipment, good programming and you get CrossFit Faded Glory. My home base box.

It’s been a journey for me to say the least. I started pushing PVC pipes before bars and dumbbells. Now I will stack those weights on for a heavy snatch or deadlift.

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I had to learn how to get my eating to complement my training. I had to find my routine. The routine that I could make work over and over again. It took time. Keto, paleo, macros, oh my.

I rise early. Before the sun rises. I fuel my soul for the day before my family even thinks about starting their day.

I get the blood pumping early. I laugh. I giggle. I sweat my ass off. I put in extra work. I get dirty. After it all I’m  ready to conquer whatever crazy comes my way in the day.

And trust me most days of my life involve some sort of crazy. Most I can’t type without offending people, but since my life deals with people there is bound to a mess at some point in each day because people are just messy. Emotional messes. Physically messy. And sometimes even all over place with messy attitudes and emotions. Hence my new vocabulary word: human cRapital…

Thank goodness I found CrossFit. The constantly varied workouts and challenges are a perfect fit for me. The crazier the better.

This past year as I reflected I noted inspiration as a key contributor in my journey. This year I was introduced to a gentleman named Jeremy who modifies his CrossFit workouts. He modifies them because he is in a wheelchair. Talk about amazing. He has brute strength, a big smile and a positive attitude. He grinds just like the rest of us. He sweats just like the rest of us. He doesn’t make excuses. He gets it done. I love watching him workout. It’s a true inspiration.

Then you look another direction and you see Big Brandon. The mammoth lifter in the box but with a heart of gold. Willing to spot you, laugh with you and most importantly teach you to get better. There are so many versions of beefcake Brandon in a box.

There are even the couples who sweat together. The aging couple working on their fitness to preserve themselves for their grandchildren. So inspiring they want to make me set a goal of the senior Olympics when I am older.

You could be the girl who waits a year to even step into the box. Thinking you don’t meet the athletic standard or fit. Then you try it and see success. Before you know it you lose 100 pounds and people want to know how.

Crossfit. Routine. Community. Hard work. Discipline. Again, why CrossFit is my thing.

So many stories that I can’t type them all. But the point is you can do CrossFit, too. No matter your shape or your size. You can start your journey and see where your path takes you.

I can’t wait to hit the five-year mark. Looking to stay injury-free and able to compete a few times a year in the sport I adore.

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Get out and get moving. Try a CrossFit class. Most boxes offer a free trial of some sort. CrossFit gyms are all over the world. And a snatch is same in the US as it is in Tokyo. A jerk is also translated the same from country to country.

As I wrap up this post, I almost didn’t post it. I said “three years is no big deal.” One year was a milestone. Two years equaled consistency. Three years was what?

Three years is the sign of true commitment. Committing to me. My health. My fitness. My achievements. My longevity. I can do more now and I know I have become more youthful. As crazy as that sounds I feel vibrant and young. Heck, I even compete with people in their teens and twenties. And in some instances I can keep up. What an accomplishment that is.

Cheers to another year of CrossFit for this fittish chick!

Can you find me in this sweaty handstand sandwich?

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author moments, celebrations

102, a big THANKS to you!

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Chick 2 chiming in with my own “thank you!” to celebrate our 100-plus-posts milestone.

Gratitude is one of my favorite things, but simply saying thank you doesn’t capture what I want to share.

What has blogging here meant to me?

When I started this journey, I had no idea if people would take the time to read what I had to say.  (I’m not even sure I knew I had much to say in the first place!) Little by little, I see opportunities to write and discover and share all around me. And then, what an amazing experience when one of you…

-shares a quote or snippet from one of our posts,

-tells us that you read our blog and it made you think or giggle,

-asks us a question about what we wrote,

-takes a moment to comment on or like a post,

-gives your time to share in our story,

-or shares how you journaled your story privately…this might be one of my most celebrated accomplishments! See one of our recent favorite journals pictured above…(you can grab your own at the Mincing Mockingbird!)

102 posts later, we are still just getting started.  It’s already been a wild ride of fitness, nutrition, adventures, family trials and tribulations, parenting ins / outs, triumphs, challenges, friendship, business minutiae and all the day-to-day ups and downs that make the 2 Chicks tick.  Who knows what the next hundred posts will bring?

Deepest thanks to everyone reading this for your time and encouragement.  Sharing stories, daydreams, adventures and insights with you motivates me to keep going!