celebrations, family

Whirlwind Weekend

My youngest daughter joined a college club lacrosse team. One of the fun parts of this is travel. First up: an away play day in Nashville that just so happened to be my birthday weekend. That was an easy sell!

It was harder to find a traveling companion. Close family and favorite travel buddies couldn’t make it for one reason or another. I was kinda pouty until just a few days before, when the daughter I was going to watch figured out she could stay with me. We traveled to Nashville separately, but after her games we were able to spend the rest of the weekend together.

It was a whirlwind weekend of packed with fun. I had most of it mapped out before we met up. I started with morning coffee at Dutch Brothers, a perennial fave. Longtime readers know that I love to visit local coffee shops on my travels, but Dutch would be an exception. It’s a national chain, yes, but there isn’t one anywhere near my hometown. I can’t resist their positive energy or their soft top!

Then I found my way to one of the Five Daughters Bakery locations, which happened to be tucked in to a cute local marketplace. Most of the shops were closed at that early hour, but there were still some fun murals and photo opps. A handful of their hundred-layer doughnuts and I was off to the next destination.

After that, a super quick visit to Cheekwood to catch a glimpse of their fall pumpkin festival displays. I was the first one through the gates that morning, and more than likely the first to leave in time to make the start of the lacrosse games. Still, it was soothing and smile-inducing to see the beautiful plants and festive surroundings. I’m sure I could have spent a whole day there, but even just that small sliver of time made me feel lighter and carefree as I welcomed my favorite season of the year.

After lacrosse, we made a quick visit to a Nashville food hall with a close family friend. It had live music and a wide variety of local eateries – something to please everyone. Then we spent Saturday night on a “touristy” thing by visiting the Grand Old Opry. Pretty classic Nashville, but my daughter had never been. It was a great variety show, even if we hadn’t really heard of any of the acts. Wonderful entertainment. (An evening at the Bluebird Cafe is still on my Nashville wish list! Didn’t get tickets this time but I’ll keep trying.)

After the show, we drove about an hour to Cookeville. This brought us close to the next morning’s adventure, a kayak to Burgess Falls. The paddle was low key and not too technical, but it was pretty long. The scenery was pretty and then it was a short hike to the falls since the river waters recede a bit in the autumn months. The bottom of the falls are only reachable by kayak or hike, which made the view all the more sweet.

Time with my youngest becomes more precious each year as she moves through college. Long car rides leave time for us to chat and catch up. We talked this time about how, as time goes on, we’ve learned that we would rather have fewer things and more experiences together.

Just like my older daughter, I can hear that her dreams will take her to live in faraway places in the coming years. This makes these experiences and memories all the more sweet. Time and attention (and shared adventures!) are the best gifts we can give one another.

celebrations, dare to be different

50 and a half

Year fifty has been nifty thus far or maybe shifty or maybe drifty.

I started out with such big plans for my big celebration year. The planning even involved the year leading up to the big 5-0. Some items are crossed off the list. Some are sitting on the sidelines for now. 

No matter what big plans were dreamed up it seems like I’m really just seizing the moments with a new appreciation on life. The not waiting to do. The not wondering what others think. The not finding reasons to not do while I can do. The biggest reflection of that was my summer of 2022.

I planned. I shifted. I completely changed things up. I added. I deleted. I winged it all. I took chances that sometimes I wouldn’t because my stable brain would say no. When I reflect I sigh big and am ever thankful. Summer of 2022 was about new kinds of risks. New to me. Some scary. Some just different.

Appreciative of the the time. The places. The people. The experiences. The spontaneity. The memories. The knowledge. All of it. I grew by leaps and bounds and stretched to new limits. I had to trust and rely on myself more than ever.

From a random concert experience with my 83 year old mom to a cross country trek with my youngest to the Pacific Northwest. I have written about many stories but not all stories. During these glorious days there have also been sad and trying days.

Loss of time with loved ones. Challenges that many will never face emotionally. Financial investments that went down the toilet. Let downs in many forms. Takers trying to suck joy from your being. Balancing work deadlines among the chaos. Also those casting judgment for living my best life. 

The good. The bad. The ugly. Everything in between and tangled in my web of life. Everyday we have a choice to live life to the fullest. Everyday we have a choice to move or sit idle. Everyday we have a choice to do or not do. I may do more than others but it’s always a choice. A choice I make. One day I may be confined to a chair or couch. That day I won’t have a choice. Today I have the choice thus you won’t find me wasting time on the coach wondering about what ifs. I will just be off doing.

As I hit 50 and one half I think I am settled in who I am. Who I will become. Who I won’t be. The quiet confidence of being me is what I enjoy most about flipping the calendar to the year 51 and beyond. I get to choose my adventure. My timelines. My companions.

I get to choose where to spend my money. I get to choose my hobbies. I get to decide what is next for me. I can support the dreams of others if want to. Some may judge. Others may be envious. Some might sit by and watch from their couch. That’s okay. It’s not their story. It’s my story.

I write and live my story in the public eye. That is my choice as well. One day my writings will be all that is left when my story stops being written. But just because the writing stops doesn’t mean the living won’t continue. My stories will continue to breathe life to others. They may even spur an adventure bug in those who read them. My photos. My words. My spirit will be carried on to others virtually.

Purposefully designed. A seed of sorts planted in the World Wide Web. My farming of life online. From seed to flower in my own special way. Fifty has been a great year to reflect, adjust and appreciate where I am. Who I am. What potential is still untapped. 

I’ve paused enough this year to see inside me for who I am. Now the fun will begin. Again. And again. Until the end. Signing off at 50 and a half. Looking forward to years 60-66-72-80-85-90-94-95-99. All of these numbers have significance. Let’s see which ones I hit.

celebrations, challenges, dare to be different

Sidetracked

I got sidetracked today. I was going one place and got stuck in traffic for 2 hours going 7.9 miles. I had enough of not moving. It was kind of shitty but I was riding topless, in my Jeep, making me able to work on my tan while jamming to music and people watching from a slightly perched view.

While waiting patiently, I voiced my frustrations to my co-pilot who clearly didn’t check the map adjustments before we got locked on a highway in gridlock with no exit in sight. I could have continued, but instead of hovering in the annoyed phase my mind drifted to an alternate plan. I got sidetracked. My mind wandered. A new plan was in motion.

A quick picnic in the park. A short hike. A spontaneous visit with grandma. The plan was on a whim but it turned out to be magical. Lots of giggles. A little sweat in the heat. Smiles for hours. Funny photos. Tons of memories.

This is a story of how to turn a lemon of a day into to a sparkling lemonade kind of day. On a whim. On a shoe string budget. All I needed was a little time. A new perspective. A fresh look on the same day. Sometimes U-turns are the best turns to make. 

Sidetracked on a Saturday was one for the record books. It might have been the longest 7.9 miles of my life, in terms of how long it took me to go the distance. It might also be one of my favorite spontaneous excursions mainly because grandma was my co-pilot. The hike was one I have done before but this time I did pushing a wheelchair. I got my exercise for sure but it was a pleasure ride for my sweet passenger.

She smelled the pine trees. She enjoyed the fresh smell of honeysuckle. She saw some deers in the distance. She listened to the stream flow below the embankment. Her change of scenery and enjoyment of nature is one I will remember. Reflecting on how I got sidetracked makes me giggle. I guess I was really meant to go to point b instead point a. It just took a major traffic jam for me to realize this. 2 hours later mind you.

Never underestimate the fun going off course can be. Try the long route some days. If you don’t have a Jeep or a convertible, rent one for a day or a few hours. Riding topless gives you new perspective. The fresh breeze. The smells in the air. The freedom while you move from point a to point b.

I also got ducked in my Jeep today. A little boy ducked me and he was so happy he got to meet me when he ducked me. Another benefit of Jeep life outside of how often I can say I rode topless today.

celebrations, dare to be different

What a Drag Brunch

I recently got invited to attend a Drag Brunch. I couldn’t resist going. I just had to see what it was all about. What to wear was my first question. I couldn’t wait to add this adventure to my “new to me” activities for this year. Off I went with friends. No expectations just prepared for what might be.

Upon arrival there were colorful boas on each table. Great for a quick photo opportunity and some giggles. The feathery accent piece got old real quick for me. It was itchy and left stray feathers all over me. Off that went. Food and mimosas came out while you socialized and listened to music. I’d call this the kill time phase while the queens got into costume.

This was the Drag Queen who managed the show. Her name was Cake. Her introduction says what’s a party without cake? No party is a party without cake. Clever. Funny. Applicable. Cake rolled in at 6 foot four and this Queen left her mark on the audience. From big hair to her fan snapping movement. She even broke a nail in her first act and had to have it reapplied because it’s a much needed accessory.

This queen was a jumping diva. She jumped off chairs and flipped in the air. The pure acrobatics and energy were nothing short of amazing. The hair flips even seemed to match her choreography. The details the divas displayed.

The costumes were very intricate and went with the personalities of the performers. Real showmanship was viewed on this day. I could see such a sense of pride in all they did. It was funny to hear many had real day jobs and this was a weekend gig. Made me think about who is behind the makeup and costumes.

Another fun experience for my record book. Many more to come but I do enjoy sharing this experiences on the blog in case others want to venture off to try something new or for those who won’t they at least get a glimpse from my lens.

Have an amazing week. Be the queen that you are. Embrace your inner diva. This statement may sound sexist but since a drag queen is well a drag queen I’m applying this statement to all genders.

celebrations, challenges

To Do or Ta Da

Most people have a to do list somewhere. Maybe it’s it’s their own. Maybe it’s for their kids or even a spouse. I probably have many to do lists in a given day.

The must do’s

The I don’t want to do’s

The to do eventually 

The to do’s that I never do

And some days I have the ta da’s!

Ta da, I survived a another day!

Ta da, I accomplished something today!

Ta da, I took care of a personal errand today!

Ta da, I made lunch today!

Ta da, I talked to my friend today!

What I have come to realize: I have more ta das to celebrate than to dos off the pending task list. Could this have anything to do with me? Why of course it does. I choose where I focus. I choose the wants tos far more than the need tos. Sad but true.

Some days this can be depleting. While other days it’s therapy. Today I read more and blogged more. I also bought some new notebooks to write my to do and ta da list in. I might have even color coded the books: pure nerd alert right here.

Ta da, I just finished this post. A thought post at that. Are you more a ta da or to do type of person? Do you blow off some tasks just because you want to even though you know you shouldn’t?