celebrations, family

Last Time for Everything

Country music isn’t necessarily my favorite, but I listen to it pretty often since my youngest daughter is a fan. I have a handful of artists I admire. Miranda, Maren, Dolly, and then there’s Brad. Brad Paisley. He may not have the most soaring lyrical voice, but his lyrics are witty, smart, and insightful.

Just a few weeks ago, my youngest daughter, the country girl, started her farewell tour, her victory lap, her senior year of high school. Tomorrow we will leave on a 10-day road trip bookended by two lacrosse tournaments, sandwiched around reunions with family, roller coasters, beautiful scenery and other adventures. Time with friends, time with each other, time doing new things, time doing what she loves.

It’s her last hurrah of youth. Last summer playing travel lacrosse. It won’t be long until senior year begins with all its fanfare and festivities. College choices will be made. Dreams will turn to plans.

And so begins a season of lasts. Here’s where Brad comes in with Last Time for Everything. It’s a song that plays over and over in my head. Last time hitting the road to the northeast. Last time taking the field. Last Spring Break. Last, last, last…

Some I will see coming. Some will catch me off guard. Some I will be prepared for. Many I won’t even notice until they are gone and done.

Sure, she will always be my baby. Just like the older two, she will always come home and open the refrigerator and look for her favorites. Bring her laundry and her dog. Get some advice on how to fix her car or choose insurance or ask questions about saving money. Maybe she’ll even curl up and take a nap while someone is cooking in the kitchen like I did at my parents’ house. Even after I was long gone, it was a safe place to just relax and be taken care of for a bit.

So I will enjoy each moment with her as she prepares to take a step out on her own. I will try not to overthink it and get ahead of myself, but instead just be in the moment, relishing this last trip around her childhood sun, all her hard work, ups and downs, accomplishments, and celebrations.

May I treasure this sweet season of lasts while it lasts.

fitness and nutrition

Burpees to Burpees

I finished a challenge a few weeks ago. 1-100 burpees. Starting with 1 on day 1, then adding a burpee to the pile every day for 100 days. It took me 102 days, to be exact. There were several times in the challenge when I missed a day for whatever reason. The workout had too many burpees already, my exercise time was already packed, and so on. (We decided workout burpees didn’t count for the challenge. Talk about some rough days!) Those challenge burpees would roll over to the next day. Once I got to the 70s it was too hard to make up days. So, I just decided it was going to take as long as it was going to take.

At the end, I learned that I am capable of enduring. In the 70s my body started to show wear and tear from all the extra movement. A sore left knee was the big challenge. At some point in there I gave up my pride and stopped jumping back and forward on the burpees. Just step back, chest to deck, step forward, and a hop with a clap on the top (often on one foot to protect my knee.)

At the gym, I would sprinkle them in a handful at a time before class, a few in a break between other movements, and so on. At home, the easiest path was just to set a timer and do them EMOM style…Every Minute on the Minute, until I reached the day’s total.

Did I dread them? Yes, especially as the numbers got relentlessly higher. Did I do them? Yes.

Have you ever had the experience of saying a word so many times it stopped making sense? Burpee was that word over this 100 day challenge. I know people were sick of me talking about them. They were as sick of seeing me do them as I was of doing them. Burpees burpees burpees. Who thought this crap up? What does it even mean? I muttered this hundreds of times while waiting for the next minute to begin.

At the same time, I’m planning our first acres of flowers and our second round of vegetables. Walking through a home improvement store to get some mulch, I see the display of little packets…Burpee seeds. It was a day when I hadn’t done my burpees yet. I felt attacked. Could this be? Burpees are everywhere. Relentless.

In the end, I completed it. A mental challenge as much as a physical one. Written in my book, first challenge of the year completed. What’s next is anyone’s guess, but at least one of the challenges will be the seeds! (Hopefully, that one is prettier!) Any ideas?

dare to be different

A Fahn Suhthun Lady

(A follow up to the recent post, Redneck Sweetheart. Check it out!)

I was born in Jawja.

Lived here all my lahf.

Except for that ill-advised detouah to Ohio for a few years round college time. They made fun of me for walking too slow in that infernal endless snow and saying y’all when I shoulda said, ahem, “you guys” all nasal or something else inelegant like that. Suhthun ladies roll sweet and slow off the tongue.

Before I go on, let me translate some of this for y’all, lest you find my Suhthun accent a distraction.

I don’t have a hoop skirt. Sweet tea is not my thing but there is no other soda (pop!?!?) than a Coke. I’m still a Suhthun lady through and through.

I blush at the mention of unmentionables. I am steely and will give you the side eye while saying “bless your haht.” I fan myself when I am flustered. Well I nevah would be so vulgah!

I am polite and don’t show up to a gathering empty-handed. To knock at a door without a casserole or even a simple mason jar filled with fresh picked blooms? Why my dear mother, rest her soul, would have been simply mortified!

I’m not all lace and doilies, mind you. I am gracious and refined at times, but will dig my hands in the dirt and grime. Just be sure I have a proper apron and brimmed hat. My fair Suhthun complexion demands protection from our hahsh climate.

I will bring you a snack when you’re hungry, refreshment when you’re pahched. I can quote the Bible, Flannery O’Connor, and Dolly Parton in the same afternoon chat. I am as well read as my farmily is well fed.

Many times I smile when I am angered. I’ve mastered the gentle art of holding my tongue when others try to ruffle my ruffles. Howevah, do not test my resolve. Do not mistake my quiet for ignorance or lack of passion. Do not confuse my kindness with any sort of weakness. I’m wise enough to realize most irritants are not worth my energy. But poking the bear too many times will bring her roaring to life. On that you can depend.

I will raise my voice at the right time. What comes out of these cultured and cultivated lips will surprise you. I don’t share my sharp and critical mind with just anyone, but if you earn yourself a piece of that mind with your vahl behaviah, well, bless your haht.

Back to minding my own business in my own hospitable way. Smiling politely. With a wink and a twinkle in my eye.

Don’t cross me.

dare to be different

A Day in My Shoes

Flashback to girls night, one of those guessing games…

“Has more than 12 pairs of shoes.” My friends had to go around the circle, guessing yes or no to this fact about me about me. And on this one, most guessed no. I was shocked. Really, people who see me often don’t think I have more than 12 pairs of shoes?

Upon reflection, I’ll admit…I am pretty basic in the shoe department. I’ve never been a shoe fanatic…maybe that’s a byproduct of my size 11 feet. Most of my life my shoe size limited my selections, and I guess I didn’t love drawing attention to my big feet anyway.

The shoes I remember most from my youth were my black patent leather Doc Maartens with steel toes from a very long moody emo phase. And I loved Birkenstocks even as a teen (so don’t call me trendy on that…they’re pretty much the only shoes that support me!) But even then it was simple Arizonas or basic clogs. Keep it low key.

Up until a few years ago, I stuck to mostly brown and black. A pair of each and you can match anything. Even today, I don’t buy new CrossFit shoes every time one comes out. I have three pairs so I might get a new one once a year (and the snazziest one was a gift.) But between sandals and clogs I have at least 12 pairs of Birkenstocks. Maybe my affluence is showing.

This got me thinking about recent changes in my life. My shoe wardrobe has expanded along with my roles and ambitions. This came to me most clearly on a recent Saturday…Here’s a glimpse into a day-in-the-shoe-life of Chick 2.

Morning: Brutal CrossFit class. Wearing: Snazzy Nike CrossFit shoes. Keeping me moving through burpees, jumps, and everything else.

Midday: Planting bulbs. Wearing: Cute Sunflower boots. Keeping me safe from critters and prickers in our burgeoning flower field.

Late afternoon: Short hike on the Appalachian Trail. Breaking in my new Rainbow Merrell Antoras. Keeping me stable over rocks, ice, and leftover snow.

All these colorful shoes are new to me in the past year (and not a Birkenstock in sight!) Each has its purpose and its role in my life. They help me get jobs done with a smidgen of style or at least a bit of a smile. I’ll never be a shoe guru, but a bit of color beyond the neutrals can add variety and spice to life.

balance

My Control Panel

In a challenge right now with a fitness group, we were tasked with thinking daily about what in our lives we can and cannot control. We had to write it down and repeat it to ourselves each day several times. To some this might seem silly, but especially in this time of flux and frustration, I found it useful. Here are some of the things I wrote down this week.

What I cannot control:

-My other family members’ schedules

-Other people’s priorities

-How other people interpret and respond to my choices

-How other people see me

-Many details about my work day – where I work, how I allocate my time, how many meetings I have to attend

-Traffic

-How fast the postal service delivers packages

-The coronavirus pandemic – its length, severity, and impact on people I care about and the world at large

-How others respond to the pandemic…their movements, opinions, responses, precautions (or lack of)

-Whether or not my daughter will have a lacrosse season

-The weather

-Other people’s level of stress and its’ impact on their actions, attitudes, etc.

The list goes on…and I realize I spend a LOT of time spinning my mental and spiritual wheels on the list above. NOTHING I CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT. AT. ALL.

Here’s what I can control.

-My actions

-My choices

-Where I put my energy – writing, reading, recreation, learning, exercise, rest

-Where I direct my attention

-My movement

-What I consume – food, media, etc.

-My hydration

-My attitude toward challenges

Really, it’s a small list, but it’s what I need to focus on. You notice that most of what I can’t control involves other people and most of what I can involves me. When I find myself fretting about the world and all its ups and downs, I remember what I can control and then try to DO something related to these lists.

It seems like a goofy task to say these things several times a day, but I learned that my anxiousness lessens when I consciously remind myself what I can do something about. And then DO one of those things. What’s on your lists? Give it a try and see how you fare.