family, fitness and nutrition, Uncategorized

A Long Time Coming

The Victory Lap of senior year is marching on.

We are over halfway!

The first big end-of-season celebration recently wrapped. Of course, I’m thinking and looking back at how far she has come.

Over 10 years ago, my little scrapper started flag football in our local church league. The teams were coed. She has always liked playing sports with the boys. She relished the chance to go toe-to-toe with them and loved pulling their flags, dodging their “tackles,” and winning. Football of any kind isn’t usually a girl’s sport, so she may have had one other girl on her teams through those years. When she got to 4th grade or so, that age when bodies and minds start to really realize that girls and boys are different, she was the only girl on those teams. Again, she didn’t care and the boys’ fumbly discomfort around her even made her secretly giggle. She still loved running past them for the touchdown. She just wanted to play.

In high school, things get a little more serious. I remember reading in the paper that flag football would be coming to our county as a grant-funded club sport for girls. How exciting! The transition to high school had been a challenge for her and I thought it would be great. But, the schedule and coaches discouraged her from trying out that first year. She could get injured. She was already playing volleyball. It wouldn’t work.

Thankfully, the sport continued into her sophomore year. Again, a club sport, but after not making the volleyball team, the path was cleared for her to try out for flag football. She made that team and had a ball with a group of (mostly) new friends.

During her junior year, flag football became a varsity-level sport in our state, so she could earn her letter and competition would grow. She was named captain of that team and had a great season (despite COVID quarantine and lots of other ups and downs). And then this year, as a senior captain, she again helped lead her team to the playoffs, and was named to all-county teams on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. She received her 4th scholar athlete award, keeping her grades up all the while.

As she wound down her high school flag football career, she received what is called the Hawk Award from her coaches. Every varsity team at our school has just one of these awards. It is given to the player that excels on and off the field, in the spirit of the Hawks, her school mascot.

Remembering her first year of high school, when I drove her 30 minutes each morning away from home in the icy dark…she would hardly speak. Later she told me she would cry every single day when she arrived at school. I took her from her neighborhood friends, her safe zone, and plopped her into a school that was so different, so huge, so competitive. She had to work hard to achieve. Seek out help when she needed it. It was an honor to be selected for a team, not just a given. But just like my parents had done for me, pulling me from a sinking neighborhood school and taking me across town to a better high school, it has all worked out for the better. She’s grown to appreciate the opportunity and has made the most of it. She’s become a leader, a scholar, and a Hawk. After all those chilly, quiet, traffic-filled mornings, I can look back and know again that the effort was worth it.

And now on to her grande finale, lacrosse season!

challenges, Uncategorized

Christmas, Interrupted

It was just a few days after my daughter’s incredible showing at her first powerlifting competition. My strong girl, seemingly invincible as she deadlifted 403 pounds, was hit hard by runny nose, coughs, and generally feeling crummy. My sister-in-law, who she had stayed with during the competition weekend, was under the weather, too.

Testing results took a few days, but it was the answer we all feared: positive for COVID.

It was Christmas week.

What to do? For as long as I’ve been alive, both in my own family and my family-by-marriage, Christmas Eve has been the heart of Christmas. It’s a huge party full of food, singing, and a sea of presents. My other sister-in-law also has a birthday on Christmas Eve, which kicks off our yearly festivities. In addition, my husband’s family has a formal dinner on Christmas Day. Suddenly, all that was on hold. Seriously, COVID?

What to do? It is unseasonably warm. Could we celebrate outside? With masks on? Should we just celebrate without the people who are sick? All of that was met with a no.

So, we rescheduled. Our family owns a holiday-driven business. We barely take a day off during this busy, busy time. We finally found days in January where we can try to remake Christmas Eve, sort of. Christmas Day’s steak dinner will just have to wait until later in 2022.

On actual Christmas Eve day, I brought my sick daughter a care package of chicken fingers (we have a platter on Christmas Eve each year), the soup she had asked for, a stuffed stocking, a birthday cake, and my mom’s grits casserole, our Christmas morning tradition. I brought a small birthday cake to the other family houses that day as well.

We got together on google meet that night to sing Happy Birthday and Christmas Carols. Far from my usual glitter and shine as the yearly host, I was laying on the couch in my sweatshirt with my granddog on my lap. I got the giggles changing my background on the computer. The singing sounded terrible with the lag online. It was really just kind of a mess. I went to bed at 8:30 instead of refilling drinks and cleaning up and getting ready for Santa’s visit until midnight. We FaceTimed with our sick daughter as we ate Christmas breakfast.

Today, on December 26, all the presents remain unopened. I am a bag of mixed feelings. I always feel a sense of relief when my hosting duties are over. I also like getting back to normal eating and other routines once Christmas ends. I like to have everything packed up before I go back to work. I’m not sure what to try to carry over and what can be put aside until December 2022.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I often try to find meaning or purpose in what happens. Find a lesson. Relate it to the bigger picture.

But today I’m just annoyed. Grouchy. I don’t really see the purpose or the meaning. Just sharing in case anyone else is in this place. You are not alone. Judging from my timeline, I know I am not alone.

I just hope everyone is healthy for the reschedule.

Bah humbug, COVID.


Fresh Air

The date was booked on the calendar. There was a hiccup. The date was taken off the calendar. Then the weather turned around and the hiccup subsided. The date was back on the calendar with a few twists.

Departure time changed. Locations shifted. Time allotment was reduced. Many variables but the plan was about the fresh air. The ride on the motorcycle. Destination unknown. Path was unscripted. The scenic route. Just the way it should be. Carefree ride to nowhere and back amidst the fresh air and hustle of a Saturday on the roadway. Exit suburbia. Enter the countryside. Off the cruisers go.

Cool crisp breeze. Fresh smell of cut grass. Fall leaves starting to show in the breeze. Wind in the face. Revving of engines. Kids waving at stop lights. Some cruising tunes. Some biker attire. Some good pals along side for the ride. Just a quick escape from the daily grind. Away from the blah of daily to dos. Maybe even a little shadow chasing.

2 Motorcyles

2 passengers

2 drivers

2 cameras (passengers of course)

Just making some memories on a weekend. Took in some interesting sights and smells along the way. The pop up bbq stand at the corner gas station. It smelled amazing. Our tummies were full so no stop but the smell was treat in itself. The cyclists on the roadway. One who wanted to hog the whole road but that’s okay. I could have touched when we passed but I opted not to for safety reasons.

A few giggles. A few eye rolls. Another on road adventure in the books for this foursome. Short but sweet. So many cool things to see along the way. From old run down buildings to seeing animals up close on a fence line. The ride in the fresh air always brings new experiences. Opt outside when you can. Take in the new scenery. Enjoy the less traveled path. Spend times with friends. Exit the ordinary to experience the extraordinary.

 How long will it be until we ride again? Where will we go? What will the weather be like? Will we get lost? So many questions. Until the next ride, peace to all.


When It Hits the Fan

Life is being extra lifey these days. I wrote about it recently and how I work to manage it.

Although I try to stay calm, lately there’s been a rant brewing. Here it goes.

I get life being lifey at times. But here’s what I don’t get.

You know the phrase “when the shit hits the fan?” When I used to use that phrase, that basically meant life bring lifey. Challenges. Bad things happen. Wrong decisions come home to roost.

In the past few days, this turn of phrase has come to my mind time and time again. But then I really thought about the image of it. Imagine a box fan whirring whirring whirring around. Then, enter shit, hitting it at top speed. What comes to mind?

Splashes? Spatter? Explosions? Spots? Disgustingness spread indiscriminately?

All. Over. The. Room. All over the people nearby. Just ruining so much. Everywhere. The fallout. Nothing is safe. Gagging and vomiting ensue. And yet, if you’re nearby, you’re affected by the mess and need to help clean it up.

Life being lifey is expected sometimes, but damn if people’s personal decisions don’t just spew shit all over the place lately. Innocent bystanders are left to clean up the mess.

Here’s how that’s looked in my world lately…People doing dumb stuff has left us sheltering mothers and children, taking care of extra dogs for weeks on end, doing the jobs of many others (in addition to our own), chasing other’s abandoned or neglected children, filling holes in life left and right. It’s left us scrambling, unsettled, cleaning up those messes others have made, wasting time and precious energy that is frankly already spoken for and needed elsewhere.

I don’t have a solution, just a suggestion for people to seriously consider foresight when making decisions. As much as some of us are trying to stupid-proof our lives, we are all interdependent. When you make an idiotic decision, very rarely do the impacts just stop with you. Think about it. Yes, most people are overwhelmed and on edge. Spewing shit all over the place doesn’t help matters. Think ahead. Try to keep it together. Prevent those preventable accidents or exposures, whatever it may be.

End rant.


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?