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.

adventure, dare to be different

B is for Burlesque

Today was a new adventure with friends. An introduction to Burlesque dancing. A fun way to get in a little fitness and channel one’s inner dancing queen.

We had boas, gloves and dressed in all black. The first 4 steps seemed easy enough. Then another four. And another four. Would I remember them all? We practiced each segment a few times. Added music. Strung the steps together, until it formed a dance.

Such a fun process. Lots of giggles and plenty of firsts for each girl in the class. The instructor was fun and mixed in well with the group. The music helped the flow of linking the steps or at least it did for me.

We even had an ad lib portion at the end to express yourself any way you like. That ended up being pretty interesting. When the evening began I had no expectation. I was set to embrace the opportunity. It was worth it. I would recommend this adventure to both males/females. Anyone can learn burlesque. Let me say that again or louder for anyone reading this. You can do burlesque. It is for every shape, size, gender person. You just need to embrace the movements.

When you need something fun to do, something out of the ordinary, look for a dance class. Maybe you are more conservative and would like to start with ballroom. Maybe you are more of a hip hop kind of person. Whatever your fancy, take a lesson. See how you fare. 

If you never try, you will never now how much fun you can have. Life is about living. Remember to step outside of your comfort zone to try new things. I for sure never thought I’d be honing my skills as a burlesque dancer, let alone writing a blog about it.

We might have even thrown on a wig or two to add some flair to the big show. Ah, wonder what my next adventure post will entail…

 Until next time.

adventure

Bricks & Alpacas

Bricks remind me of strength. Bricks are the basic foundation for many buildings and / or empires. Bricks would be the last thing I thought about carrying around today yet I am so excited I had such a great opportunity with a brick.

You see, the brick is representative of a challenge from my adventure book. As odd as the instructions appear when read, the more fun that can be had ahead. How one interprets the assignment leads to the adventure itself. We started by naming our bricks. Mine was named Flash as a brick doesn’t move fast. Another was named Richard or Dick for short. Chase was named as well as Ash. Little Ash has a backstory. She could be short for Ashley or Asher making her gender neutral. Also bricks are represented in fireplaces as is ash. Brittani with an I was named in honor of Brittney Spears and the brick she is. Below is the first outing with our brick family as we set out for the day of fun adventures.

The girl gang is loaded with bricks today. A weapon? A stepping stone? An item to build with? For today it’s about the adventure and memories we create with our bricks. A strengthening of our relationships. Our travels start by car so the bricks are packed in a bucket with tissue paper for protection as well as flair. Off to eat brunch we go. Will the restaurant give us a high chair for our little brick family?

The bricks were involved in photos ops and shenanigans as the day progressed. From poses at the restaurant to a visit to an Alpaca farm. There was never a dull moment.

The bricks will find their final resting place in a pasture on our family farm while we head off to make more memories without the weight of the bricks. The giggles will be present for years to come as we pass by the bricks in their new spots on the farm.

As I close out this brick post i’ll now leave you this smiling Alpaca who posed for me on our field trip. This gem of an animal smiled bright with its stained teeth and grass-colored face. It was so funny to share this creative pose. So soft and fluffy yet such a hot mess up close.

What started out as a brick adventure ended up including an educational agri-tourism component allowing me to learn about Alpacas. It was a pretty cool experience and I won’t ruin the surprise by giving away the details of my Alpaca experience but I will share some photos for fun.

Because who doesn’t like a creature with hair as cool as this?

challenges

Food Pong

Most people have heard, observed, or played beer pong at some point in their lives. Some may remember more details than others. I’m also sure there is a kids version of pong but today’s twist is food pong.

Same red solo cups. Same instructions. Only instead of beer there is a mystery snack or something that may have been liquid but is now frozen or jelled. Such a scary game to play when you don’t know what’s in the solo cup. Will you like it? Will you puke? Only time will tell.

First up I got Wickle Pickles. I had to eat a couple of these, but they had a nice zing of spice that lingered. Then came the nacho kale chips that were supposed to taste like Doritos but I’d say it was closer chalky dirt. Up next was vodka-soaked gummies which were pretty self-explanatory but not a good accent to the other items.

A little alcohol-infused gummies didn’t settle my tummy for what was next. Birthday cake flavored peeps. So much sugar sitting in my stomach on top of the mess already loaded in there. If I wasn’t already to quit, out came the wasabi peas. I don’t even eat wasabi with my sushi, making this a hard one to stomach.

Now that I have played food pong or pantry pong, I think I would recommend beer pong every time. It seems more logical to choose the simplicity of beer and get a hangover vs feeling like you want to vomit for the next few hours.

in the end, this was fun, gross, and adventurous all at once. Stay tuned for my next adventure post to see what kind of trouble will lurk on the months and weeks ahead. 

adventure

Mystery Coffee Date

The adventure begins with the drive. Over the bridge, missed exits, over the bridge again and again. The chaos that ensued on the ride to the coffee house in an unknown city was one for the record books. Giggles galore, but we made it!

The Bold Bean was our destination for today’s adventure. The task was to order three coffees selected by the barista with ingredients unknown to us. A complete surprise to uncover the flavors or fail trying. We sipped and sipped. We took notes on our phone for suspected flavors. We snacked a little to cleanse our pallet. We had to sip and sort out the flavors. We failed miserably.

Coffee 1 was a lavender vanilla latte. We thought it had curry. This was a major failure on our part.

Coffee 2 was curry chocolate cappuccino. We got the chocolate right only because of the darker coloring but we really thought the flavor was nutmeg. Wrong again!

Coffee 3 was iced vanilla / honey / cinnamon. We got the cinnamon right only because of the aroma and the residue on the top of the ice. Also we thought this had oat milk but it was whole milk. We are not good at guessing.

This adventure was super fun. 1 hour of sipping, sorting out flavors, snacking on pastries and lots of photos to prove how bold we were today in trying something new to us.

My partner in crime was my pal Kim who traveled miles upon miles with many missed turns, oh shit moments, and too many bridges to count for this experience. It’s a one of kind Saturday morning episode of KT’s Bad Idea Club. She was a willing participant for the most part.

Before I wrap up this post I must also explain the ambiance of the coffee house. It’s an eclectic and calming place. From exposed ceiling beams to the abundance of brick and simplistic furnishings. The patrons are a mixed bag. We have two cyclists nearby breaking from their morning ride. A few couples out on what appears to be a morning date. A few groups of young ladies catching up on life. The strays on their laptop as a big party of one. The dad who is adventuring with his toddler boys to the coffee shop. Soft background music adds to the calm.

And I can’t forget to give a sweet nod to my barista. The fun girl who helped me with the challenge. The one who took a picture of what she made so she wouldn’t forget after she took 50 other orders. And the name for the order was Frances today. For those of you who know me would giggle as I always use an alias at a coffee shop when ordering.