nature, working women

The Old Barn

This old barn sits on a property I frequent. It is old and dumpy to say the least. However I love taking pictures of this old barn. Whether I choose natural light, black and white or some variation thereof, I am happy. Each view is special. Each moment captured tells a story.

Sun rising. Sun setting. Fall or spring. Each season and each time of day makes it look a little different. I don’t know what year it was built and I definitely don’t know of its history. I can tell animals were fed there at some point due to the feeding troughs inside, but that’s about it.

The barn’s aged wood makes for a great photo backdrop. The unfinished look is all the rage for photographers. This still shot is just from my camera roll but it still shows the beauty of its imperfections up close. Even the weeds off to the side add character.

This angle shows the door up close. Once practical but now ornamental. Again a beautiful backdrop but yet so different the the previous shots. Somebody’s junk is always another’s treasure. For this barn is junk to many but it’s a hidden treasure to me.

The silver tone above again highlights the barn a little different. Just the angle makes the size and shape seem a little different. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this little dumpy barn is just a little happy spot for me. I can sit by with my old truck and think about what it once was. I can drift by it while doing my lawn trimming and sigh that it’s all mine.

Not sure how many heavy wind storms it will hold up against but for now I’m enjoying the sight of it. One day I might just have the photos. Time will tell. Just a girl and her red barn story today.

adventure

24 Hours

I had a small window of time to do a lot. Would I get it all in? Should I try to fit it all in? Do I focus on the need to’s or want to’s? I just said fuck it, and rolled with the punches.

I started out solo by car. I was pretty excited so I got up extra early. I totally miscalculated my arrival time as I changed time zones. Oops! First diversion in place unintentionally.

Visited a military installation. That was not a new experience, but something I hadn’t done in 10 years or so. Brief visit was good for me. Grabbed a coffee and snack with a buddy. Did some apartment shopping in the town I was visiting. Interesting to see old vs. new and how one mile one way you get one quality of life and the other way is completely different. Hence the purpose of shopping around.

Took a scenic route to visit the big city by car. Did some walking. Then some window shopping. Popped into a cozy bar for some punch in bucket and some good ole boy music. Not planned and not my normal environment, but in the end the lack of planning was good and so was the the punch bucket. I guess I sucked it from the bucket.

Time to kill before a dinner reservation. Time to sneak into a tattoo shop to get small piece of art to commemorate the 24 hour stint with my buddy. One for me two for the other. Inked up in no time. Feeling a little tired but time to fuel up to endure the time clock.

Refueling station (aka meal time) was again unplanned but a unique experience nonetheless. A supper club with 3 floors and a roof top. We sat on the main floor but could observe everyone coming and going from the main door. This of course made for good people watching while the food was prepped. Smash burger and turkey pastrami sammie for the win. Not five star but maybe a three for the food quality, but the substance was enough to level up in the time category.

Just when I thought I packed in enough we booked tickets to the hockey game. What are we thinking? Already pooped but we made it. A win for the home team and some great drunk people watching. An unexpected/unplanned adventure that exceeded my expectations.

A quick trip to the hotel to crash. Just a few hours to spare for rest. I didn’t want to get up. It was so early the coffee wasn’t even done brewing in the lobby. Such a tragedy. My route back home involved a plane. Solo again. A full flight. A mask which I almost forgot about. I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing over what I just did in a short 24 hour period.

The year of 2022 has brought so much new to me. New ways to look at life. New experiences. New adventures that lack my normal plan– gram style. There are some days where I think life is an absolute shit storm while other days I think are just amazing as they can be.

Sometimes I write to have memories for later. Sometimes I write for therapy. Today I write to say today is a gift and tomorrow is never guaranteed. Take 24 hours and spin it your way. Lose the worry of tomorrow and be present in today.

Tomorrow may look different for you. You never know. Therefore embracing what is today is a true gift. My 24 hours with my buddy was a gift. One I will treasure for years to come. 24 hours. Your gift. Spend those hours your way. Enjoy!

balance

Sunday Breeze

It’s still the hot of summer but today there seems to be a Sunday breeze. Temps have dropped to low 80’s thanks to the cloud cover today. An approaching storm has the trees wrestling. Oh the Sunday breeze today is just right when out in the shade.

A relaxing afternoon. Sitting outside enjoying the cloud cover and breeze. My mind drifts. I think about my plans for the coming days and weeks ahead. As the breeze blows I think about the many things I am thankful today. Life is interesting. Slowing down sometimes helps you appreciate what’s right in front of you.

Today I’m thankful for the Sunday breeze and everything that blows along with it. Riding topless on a day like today is like a dance with the clouds, but many danced today when I was on the road. By dancing I mean dipping and dodging rain drops, clouds and sunshine. Those who ride topless know the fierce dance. Will you get sprinkled on? Will you get soaked? Maybe a Jeep ride today. Maybe a convertible. Maybe even a motorcycle. Whatever method of topless you like, today was a nice day to feel the Sunday breeze. A refreshing feeling in the air today to break from the normal hot summer sun.

If the above isn’t just the cutest cover to a notebook. Today, I decided I needed a new notebook. A place to write my thoughts when another Sunday breeze rolls around. For this cover is peaceful and quirky, yet it reminds me to stretch. Stretching my mind, my body and my goals. For this book will capture new scribbles and thoughts. All of which may unfold into opportunities. Thankful for the cloudy days ahead when I can stretch and use my book.

Enjoy your week.

3Splitz Farm, adventure

Zowie

Zinnias. I’ve shared my affection for them before.

I’ve loved them for years. I still have two huge patches of them at my house that expand every year.

Now I’m a flower farmer. Zinnias are beautiful and fairly easy to grow, so we have many of them this first season. I had done my research on kinds, choosing some Benary’s Giants, Oklahomas, and Queen Red Lime, Orange, and Blush. As I browsed the seed catalogs, several that I hadn’t heard of captured my attention. Seeds aren’t very expensive, so I grabbed a couple of those offbeat varieties just to see how they turned out.

A few months later, I met Zowie! Yellow Flame (seemed a silly silly name) and whew, she took my breath away! I used to roll my eyes when people said they were “obsessed” with a flower, but this one fit the bill.

The yellow flame is a perfect name. Orange and red in the middle part of each petal with a flame yellow tip that just screams “happy!” Then the wondrous crown of stars in the center. But the real surprise is that little whisper of hot pink just on the part of each petal right near the center. What a show this girl puts on. She looks amazing with pretty much anything on her arm! I’m sure you see her front and center in this bunch.

I’ve already started scoping out more unusual zinnias for 3Splitz Farm’s next season. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon anyone? Should be a knockout!

mental health, Uncategorized

Gift of Words

I’ve mentioned the challenges of working in an elementary school during this time of COVID. Telling the kids to spread out. Masks all the time. So. Much. Sanitizer. Constant changes. One of the reasons I wanted to work in an elementary school is honestly because it seemed playful and fun. That hasn’t always proven true, and this fall has been even less fun than usual.

In typical years, the time between Thanksgiving and Winter break at an elementary school is equal parts festive and frantic. We have 15 days to cram in two month’s worth of learning and celebrating. The schools I’ve been in go all out with decorations, which means trees, menorahs, stockings, and so on. It’s also the wrapup of the first half of the year, so we pile tons of tests in there just to add to the excitement (and panic).

This year was different. Widespread testing is postponed or canceled for the most part in elementary schools where I live. And when I got back from Thanksgiving break there were no trees going up, no stockings… maybe just a handful of stars and tinsel in the hallways. The lights and energy of the holidays are usually palpable when you walk through the front door. This year no one would have known it was December.

My job has changed so I am not telling stories to kids anymore right now, so no Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Christmas tales. Last year I made a tree out of ancient textbooks. I also have a little sliver tree with international ornaments. The kids love these touches. This year I didn’t find time with all my other shifting responsibilities.

Every year has also brought a dress up countdown for teachers, 12 Days of Christmas style. We all wear red one day, silver the next, silly socks on Tuesday, crazy hats Thursday. I wore my tacky Christmas sweater on the right day and I was the only one who did! Most of us are so tired and beat up we are just lucky to be dressed and physically present. December, such a special, silly time of celebration and connection, was just more show-up-and-get-it-done days.

The twelve days also bring treats at times. Hot cocoa after school. Cookies in the mailroom. Pancakes from the local breakfast place. I generally skip all that since too much sugar makes me sleepy. But one morning, when I returned from my morning outdoor duty all dressed up in my tacky garb, a piece of paper caught my eye. It was a paper, to me, thanking me for my gift of flexibility. A quote from Picasso about finding your purpose and sharing it. A short explanation of how I have adapted to every role and challenge this year. An appreciation.

It was a simple thing. A word. An acknowledgement. A recognition that in this crazy time, I have played my role as best I can. And what I do matters. Then I noticed that every teacher’s door in the school had a similar paper.

I made excuses the rest of the day to walk around the building, dropping off items or doing other errands. But what I really wanted to do was see other colleague’s notes – what gifts did our administration identify in them? Kindheartedness. Generosity. Passion. Good humor. Creativity. I nodded my head at each one. Maybe not what I would have said is most important about that person, but each one still rang true. Some of them made me laugh since they were gifts I often struggle with. Efficiency. Patience. Productivity. Focus. Again I nodded, but understood why those weren’t top of mind for me.

This has been a year of challenges. My job has changed at least weekly, sometimes daily. Stress levels have brought patience muscles to their breaking point for many, even me. While the cookies and chocolate are sweet, the gift that meant the most to me was just some words and the knowledge that what I am doing is seen.

Who around you needs to be seen? Who can you lift up with a word or two? Who brings a gift to your life just by being in it? I hope you’ll take a minute to let them know this week. Words are precious gifts.