adventure

Here We Go Again

On the road again. And again. And for a third time because it’s a charm, right?

Northern tip of Florida is stop one from northern tip of Georgia. Just a couple of days for business trip #1. Off to coastal Georgia for a conference. A picturesque landscape but one you won’t enjoy as your schedule consists of inside time spread across a hotel campus for days. Stuffy dress up clothes. Limited outside time. Lack of normal routine. No time to get cozy. Time to head northwest to the land of orange, also known as Tennessee. Stop #3 for next set of business tasks not too far past the Honky Tonk of Nashville. But again not a fun trip just boring business to do’s. 

Three states. Three different business obligations. Seven days on the road, again. I had settled back into my routine after my summer road show of travel.  Now it’s time to hit some other spots even if all business and no pleasure. I suppose money makes the world go round; this girl is off to work to support herself.

First segment on the road was eventful. Major rain storms popped up at random limiting visibility. Minor to major accidents galore. So many cars turned the wrong way after crashes. Ambulances. Fire trucks. Police. I was complaining about delays at first then I realized the delays prevented me from being caught up in the multiple wrecks. How I came to realize I dodged some major bullets on that segment.

The drive was enough for my nerves until I was notified of a boil water advisory upon check in at the hotel. Bottled water only. I had never had this experience at a hotel. Many adjustments only to find all nearby establishments were closed for this reason. No coffee in the morning after a rough evening of travel was not on my agenda for the day. Gas station grapes and crackers for the win on this fine morning. The day didn’t get much better. Restaurants served soda from cans. No water for consumption. The frills we take for granted.

I should have made the water advisory it’s own post as there were so many situations that popped up that made for good stories. On this bright sunny morning, I am enjoying my coffee. Boiled water over 180 degrees according to the server. At this point I don’t care. I’m just happy to have my rocket fuel to start my day. The coast is calling my name at this point in time. Hoping the water is usable on stop two. Fingers crossed. 

Highlight of trip two was a good meal On the coast. Snow country boil was the name. A combination of shrimp, sausage, corn, and snow crabs. A little twist on a favorite meal thanks to the add of the snow crabs. I was extra full that night but it was all delicious.

The highlight for trip three was really a lowlight. A rude awakening of sorts. A meltdown of my mind and spirit. Too much. Too fast. Too tired. All leads to emotional weakness. I caved at the end of the day on my drive. My broken spirit was obvious. That led to overall sadness. I attribute the negative emotions to the last meeting. A shit show in my mind. A train wreck from the get go.

As I rejuvenate my spirit and my mind, I am opting for some physical fitness to get my mind going. Tennis was the sport of choice. Then after a match some crumbl cookies were in order to signify my crumbling the day before. Symbolic in one way and a splurge in another. For today I have some peace as I move forward in a slightly different direction.

Thankfully a long weekend is backing up to this 3 state road trip. Eeek. There are events on the calendar. I guess it was a good thing I flipped my calendar to see what was ahead. Preparations are a must. Hoping to catch my breath on this long weekend before the fall chaos of more travel hits. A spa day would be the perfect match for that extra day off but at the same time doing nothing but watching Netflix in my pjs will probably win.

As I think about the hectic travel schedule I take a deep breath and remind my of my fortune of being able to travel. To see new places. To meet new people. These benefits far outweigh the stress involved in traveling and twisting to get everything done. Palm trees always seem to make you feel like you are on vacation and I saw lots of palm trees in stage one of this trip and two. Maybe that’s why stage three was a dud. No palm trees. Celebrate the small wins in life. Sunshine is never really far off and eat crumbl cookies when your life feels like it’s crumbling. 

These days all seem busy but somehow we manage. Or maybe we aren’t managing at all. Maybe we are just surviving while others are thriving. As I wrote today, I’m sitting outside enjoying the cool breeze before a small storm sets in. The calm before the storm. As I’m reflecting I giggle a little knowing how many blogs I wrote this year about traveling adventures. Funny how life just fuels content most days.

Until next time, enjoy your day and thanks for keeping up with our blog.

anonymous letters

Feedback

Feedback is a general term. Feedback is all around us. It can be good or bad. It can be positive or negative. It can be insightful or misinformed. It can be valuable or trash.

As my dad would say, opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink. But when someone is paying you or has power over you, their opinion holds greater weight. You can’t just dismiss it as meaningless, no matter how short sighted or bewildering it may be. I guess that’s when, for me, it goes beyond just random opinion and becomes feedback.

Everyone likes positive feedback. It’s great when people love you. But what about when it’s negative? I used to spin out over criticism. I took it personally. I would spend days hashing it over in my mind, maybe with a friend I trusted. I’d often want to take my ball and go home and not play in whatever arena it was anymore. Why play if I am not good at it?

Now I try to reframe criticism as feedback. I think to myself, this person is telling me what is important to them. If my boss is unhappy with things lying around my workplace? He is telling me that his priority is how things look. If he takes me out of meetings that are about teaching and learning, he is telling me my priorities should be elsewhere. If he gets excited about special events and pizza parties, that’s where my attention needs to be.

Same holds true in sales. If a customer doesn’t like what I am selling and they tell me, it’s an opportunity to listen and adjust. I can learn what a customer values by listening to their feedback.

I may see things differently. I can argue that I didn’t get into education and earn a PhD to spend hours on clerical work. I can tell them all the things I do to help teachers. I can explain to a customer all the subtleties and value that I believe they missed.

Maybe I’ll change their minds, maybe not. Maybe I care, maybe I don’t. It’s my choice to play in the sandbox or leave. I can adjust my energy and priorities to match what others want or I can do something else.

Deep down I am a people pleaser and I like gold stars. But I have learned that I can control the amount of importance I give to others’ feedback, whether it’s positive or negative or somewhere in between. I can shake my head and keep going and not let it pull me from my path. Take it for what it’s worth and know that it does not determine my personal worth. Full stop.

author moments

Brain Dump #1

As I work through a task-driven book on inspiration in 2022, I am given many reminders or smacks in the face on things I should continue to practice daily/weekly instead of putting them on the back burner.

Keeping with the above statement, reading is one thing that gets pushed aside a lot. However I have found that reading a few pages a day at breakfast is very manageable and self-soothing. Almost giving me a calm balance before my chaotic day begins. Not sure how long I will keep it up but for today it’s working for me.

Another is writing. I write on this blog often but not as often as I have in the past. Maybe life gets too messy and drains me of my creativity. Maybe it’s I feel redundant. Maybe I wonder if anyone is reading my entries. However, my inspiration book has told me I should write a brain dump in the morning that will clear my mind for the rest of the day. Ironically I’ve been reading in the mornings and enjoying it. Instead of a daily brain dump I am offering this post as a compromise to my assignment. Hence the title Brain Dump #1. Obviously the numbering will allowing me to keep up with the task should I desire.

In this blog I will bounce around a bit. I will dump out what’s in my brain. Today. Now. In the moment so to speak. This morning I have already read some. I already had a good breakfast of eggs and a bagel. I chose to wash it down with an Alani Watermelon Wave drink for a sweet treat. I spent a few minutes working on my creative project for 2 Chicks and a Pen. An ongoing practice that will payoff down the road, but for now it’s a creative outlet.

I’ve done my household chores. Some sweeping. A little vacuuming. I made breakfast for two kids and myself. I played with my dogs. I did some research on GWVR for some vehicles. This may sound odd but it was purposeful for me. It was also a learning experience. I went outside and felt the warmth of the air. 

I just gazed at my faithful companion sitting by my side as I blog. She is sleepy from playing outside but never far from me. The most loyal dog and not to mention adorable. 

Just before I snagged this picture she was using all her energy to gaze out the window. She was intently listening to the birds chirp outside. Simply mesmerized by their symphony of sorts. She slowly slid down the high back chair to her resting spot. Ah to live like a dog who has a queen lifestyle.

And then there were two. 

It didn’t take long for the younger sister to notice she was guarding mom. They both moved closer to my feet for their siesta. As I write quietly they rest and protect. The sweetest damn thing you could ever see. And how full my heart is to know my fur babies want to be right there by my side even when I do nothing.

Circling back to what I’m reading currently. It’s the Indra Nooyi Book: My Life in Full. I was given this book to read by my oldest. Intrigued, I picked it up. As it started out I was like he isn’t going to like this book but I kept reading. I picked out a few nuggets along the way that I could relate to. I pondered a few things. I read on. I’m about to wrap up the book and still wonder why he chose to buy this book. I had to ask. For he read a quote from her recently in a newsletter we both read. I missed it. The quote caught his attention and triggered the purchase. 

Now I wondered what did I miss. We are very much alike but maybe I was skimming instead of reading. Which leads back to the beginning of this brain dump. I need to read with focus and intent first thing in the morning. This way I am actively reading or engaged vs skimming and maybe missing the finer details. Simply put, if you slow down a bit sometimes you can see what’s right in front of you. That’s an awakening for me.

I guess that leads to part two of my brain dump which is related to pace. The pace of one’s life or my life. I am going to purposely slow down in some areas at times to rediscover or reacclimate to things I may have overlooked due to speed of life. Not sure if any outcomes will change but I’m going to be purposeful about my time.

As I speak about time, I have had to split my time between people and places of recent to cover things out of need. It hasn’t been fun. It’s been tireless work. It’s also given me a chance to reflect on the why’s. The why not’s. The who gives a shit. The who doesn’t give a fuck. And so on. My time is mine. I use it for my purpose(s). My purpose may include others but it won’t include those who wouldn’t do the same for me. That means if somebody around me is knocked down I will help. However I won’t help those who can’t or won’t help themselves and I won’t help those who won’t ever be around to help me when I need it. That’s a mouthful but true for many.

 For now my brain dump is over as I need to run an errand. I hope you had a glimpse into my early morning hours via my brain dump. Maybe I will provide another dump at a later date. And I do mean brain dump not the other kind of dump.

hustle, mental health

Balls Dropping

The first mistake was a little puzzling. An email I missed. I read it, then forgot about it. The day the task needed completion, my colleague reached out to me to see when she could pick up her request.

A shock went through my body. Suddenly a very full day had a complicated work task dropped in the middle of it. I pushed through and completed it satisfactorily, but maybe not as thoroughly as I would have otherwise.

A couple of days later, my boss emails me to ask if I had made the classroom signs she requested.

The same shock and disbelief followed. Really? I totally forgot a work task again, and this time for my boss?

I won’t bore you with the details…suffice it to say I dropped ball after ball after ball this month. There were loads of things I honestly just forgot. To the point where I was concerned about myself. This is pretty uncharacteristic of me…sure, I may procrastinate at times, but to completely forget again and again?

This leads to the question…what caused this? Could it be menopause? General aging? Stress? Lack of sleep? Loss of focus due to the wearing on of the pandemic? Or maybe it is the family crisis that hit a couple of months ago. Who knows.

It really doesn’t matter. I don’t like the feeling of being incompetent. I don’t like tasks biting me in the butt out of nowhere. So much of my job is supporting others, and I feel physically ill when I let others down.

It’s just a mystery. I’m trying to just observe it, notice it, and not beat myself up over it. Easier said than done, but I am trying.

I’m back to making more lists. Slowing down when I can to read emails and take notes in meetings more carefully. Hopefully this was just a brief episode in life that blows over, and I’ll be back to my usual remembering self from now on. I’m just documenting here to share life’s ups and downs, hoping I’ll look back on this as just another bump in my road.

celebrations, hustle

The List of 49

In 2022 I will hit the big 5-0 birthday. Will I be successful at 49 and blah at 50? It could happen or it could be my perception. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this coming of age in many ways over the past few years. The now is finally here. I’m in the 60-day approach window. A panic time of sorts.

Did I accomplish enough by the time I’m 50? Did I cram too much in as I near 50?  Will the lingering pandemic ruin my big 50 bash? So many questions in my mind. There is obviously no guidebook for hitting 50 or maybe there is and I didn’t read it! In lieu of a fancy book, I’m going for the condensed blog version. Snippets of my fabulous life. The list of 49 idea is in motion or technically has been in motion for years.

As some of you readers may know, each year I write a New Year’s list of sorts. It’s normally in January and dedicated to that month in time. I love re-reading these lists (just 31 days) in upcoming years. This year is special to me thus I opted for a list twist.
This year the list will expand to a recap with a few highlights from the vault to round out my 49 list. It’s dedicated to some things I celebrate or remember over those 49 years or maybe it’s just random facts for those who don’t know me well. The list may seem odd to some but intriguing to others. Without further ado, below you will find my list of 49. In no particular order and each has a longer story but of course you just get the highlights.

  1. I was born of course and had a wonderful childhood. I lived in one family home with married parents and siblings. This in itself can be an oddity based on current day.
  2. I went to public school.
  3. I was a tomboy.
  4. I ziplined.
  5. I traveled internationally. More than once.
  6. I’ve traveled to many states but I haven’t been to Washington state, Hawaii, Oregon, North or South Dakota, Michigan, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
  7. I’ve built businesses from scratch.
  8. I’ve sold or dismantled businesses.
  9. I’ve operated a franchise/multi-units.
  10. I’ve been snow skiing and water skiing.
  11. I’ve wakeboarded, knee-boarded and wake surfed. I prefer water sports.
  12. I’ve ridden a horse in many states and abroad.
  13. I bought a tiny home.
  14. I went snowmobiling and it was fun.
  15. I built a glamping site.
  16. I have many great friends and love meeting new people.
  17. I’ve driven a mini van but I’m more of an SUV girl.
  18. I like vintage cars, muscle cars and basically any ride on wheels with flair.
  19. I’ve ridden on a motorcycle but can’t drive one.
  20. I like and use recreational vehicles such as a jet ski, four wheeler, boat, camper, and dirt bike.
  21. I like soft blankets.
  22. I’m an author.
  23. I’ve played whirly ball, kickball, wiffle ball, and tennis which also has a ball.
  24. I played hockey and like to skate in boy’s skates. The black hockey-style skates.
  25. I enjoy CrossFit.
  26. I have a shoe collection, car fetish, and I am a hair fanatic.
  27. I’m a loyal Starbucks customer.
  28. I like pizza. I like it a lot. Not sauce so much.
  29. I have tattoos and will get more.
  30. I grew up in the north but love living in the south.
  31. I’m looking forward to 2022 and all the year has to offer.
  32. I think gas is expensive.
  33. I have learned a lot about who I am and keep toxic people at bay. This is a requirement for life balance.
  34. I like outdoor activities.
  35. I like temperatures in the 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit over cold.
  36. I am looking to do 50 new things in 2022. Never done by me that is.
  37. I’ve lived in four states.
  38. I’ve lived through a pandemic. Something I never planned for and somehow it keeps resurfacing!
  39. Betty White just died just shy of 100. A true golden girl. Gonna miss that icon.
  40. I’ve held true to my mantra of looking for sunshine in the shittiest of situations.
  41. I played Topgolf and really suck at it.
  42. I’m due for some fresh ink to celebrate 50.
  43. I’ve hit the height as a woman-owned business that many dream of but never achieve. 
  44. I bought a farm and grow things which was never on my bucket list per se.
  45. I focus on learning each day, week, month without question.
  46. I like freshly baked homemade cookies.
  47. I can’t cure stupid no matter how much I try and I may give up after trying for so long.
  48. I don’t like wearing masks. Thanks Covid for an experience I never wished for.
  49. I like blue raspberry slush puppies.

Well there you have my random list of 49. A new list about me to help ring in my upcoming birthday. I’m sure some will giggle when they read this but it’s a true recollection of me at random points in my years lived. Not all-encompassing but tidbits for those who want to get to know me. My life on the web, unveiled. Wink to the one who inspired my thoughts herein.