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5 am Bagel

I’m heading over to your house now he texted. It’s 5 am, nobody is awake I said. But you have bagels and I don’t he exclaimed. 5 minutes later the dogs are barking, the toaster is toasting and bodies are in motion. It’s still dark, it’s still not past 6 am. No school today. A day off work. Why oh why and am I awake?

Time to take the dogs out for the morning when they were perfectly content sleeping in. These little pups have no clue why they were jostled but they go with the flow. They bend and flex. They are loyal to the core whether it’s 5 am or 5 pm. We should model a dog’s resilience and adaptability more times than not.

Days like the one above may seem annoying in the moment, but today it seems like just what the doctor ordered. Nobody really likes a quiet house. They like a lived in house. That means people, laughing, chaos, and so on. This morning was a good example of such.

When I think back to my younger days I had siblings around most days but as the youngest those days thinned out. Less people. Less laughter. Less chaos. I never really thought about those days from my mom’s view until I myself had the shift in my own life.

Days dwindle. The kids go off on their own. College. Marriage. The teen who is always out engrossed in activities. Sometimes it’s just me and the dogs. Idle minds wander. As I reflect on the random visits for laundry, the 5 am pit stop for a bagel, the hi, what’s for dinner tonight randomness is part of what makes a house a home. Unpredictable times.

The family. The community. The chaos. One day this will be gone In the blink of an eye. However, we can all appreciate a reminder to live in today. Appreciate what is front of you. Even if it’s 5 am, the connection of people or sense of community is really what it’s about.

On a recent trip, I was the 6am girl. Are you making coffee I said to my neighbor. She replied yes. Can I come over? She replied yes. I enjoyed my early morning community. I think she did too but was she thinking omg why are you calling me at 6am? I don’t know. I didn’t even think about it then. 5 am, 6 am, 7 am are just time stamps. Open yourself up to the unexpected. Foster community with whomever needs it. You never know when opportunities like this will fade. Seize the moment. Make the coffee. Enjoy the memories.

As I go through phases in life, I see the same things differently. Some days I’m appreciative. Some days I’m annoyed or frustrated. A lot of days I’m tired and overwhelmed. However days like today? I’m thankful that I have life in front of me. As chaotic as some days get, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m not homeless, but many are. I’m not jobless, but some are. I’m not hungry, but some are. Today I shift a little from my normal routine to spoil some around me. Spend time with cherished family members. Live in today, because I can. I’m making that choice. I’m taking that time. There is a spontaneous part of life that we can easily miss with so many have tos on our plate. 

I can’t ever get time back thus I must use my time wisely. 24 hours each day. You choose the path. Work? Family? Friends? Memories? Fitness? The beauty of today’s time is all mine. How I choose to share my hours and minutes is all on me. I plan to make spontaneous choices at random intervals over this year to ensure I am staying true to opportunities even if they appear at 5am.

fitness and nutrition

The Streak Ends

If you’ve read this blog for a bit, you know I love streaks. I’m on streaks with some of my snapchat friends. But the big one for me was closing my move ring on my Apple Watch each day.

First, I wanted to make it to 365 days. Done. Then, I wanted to stretch it to two full years. Recently, I hit that goal. I was trucking along toward my next goal, 1000 straight days, when it finally happened. My watch broke. My luck finally ran out.

My battery on my watch had started to fade. I had to charge it midday. One day I was charging it in my car as I was driving. I had to hop out of the car and my watch hit the ground. The cracks started showing, and a few days later pieces started to chip off. Once I got it wet it was dead. On day 771, my streak ended.

It took a few days to get a new watch. I was surprisingly not all that upset about waiting, or even losing my streak. I took a few days to just think about gratitude. I was grateful that I didn’t lose my streak due to illness or injury…considering that my streak started just as COVID-19 hit the US, that streak took on new meaning. I was grateful that I didn’t lose it due to lack of effort or motivation. I was grateful that the technology gave out before my will did.

I did miss quite a few things about it…I missed looking at my heart rate during workouts. Many of our workouts at our CrossFit gym tell us a percentage of effort we should be putting out. These match up with heart rate info for me. For example, if I am supposed to be giving out 70% percent effort, I’d expect my heart rate to be around 125. I looked at my wrist many times only to find my watch tan line. I also missed seeing my calorie totals as they went up throughout the day. Funny how technology shapes our behavior. Oh yeah, and I missed knowing the time.

Really I also missed the connections to my other fitness friends that I have on my watch. I love to give friends a virtual high five through a watch comment. I just get a kick out of them…some friends get sarcastic ones, some get cheerful ones. Regardless, it makes me feel connected and happy to encourage people when they are working on their health. And I like the little cheers I get in return.

So I got my new watch just after Mother’s Day. I didn’t miss any days of workouts or movement when I didn’t have the watch, but the counter starts over regardless. So, it’s back to day 1 for me. 999 to go.

awareness, challenges

My World Erupted

Shaken to the core.

Abruptly awaken.

All seemed taken.

I blinked. I sighed. I swallowed my pride.

One lonely night a medical emergency hit home. The challenges that go with this situation are taxing to say the least. This wasn’t about me, but it spiraled around me. Time spiraled to the east. Memories spiraled to the west. What if scenarios spiraled to the south. Family spiraled up north. The spirals met and formed a chaos cyclone. A circus show in my brain. Who? What? Where? When? Why? Oh my!

Amidst the chaos another lingering shit show keeps rearing its ugly head. Unfortunately, this one is a one and done meaning the gas tank is empty when it comes to help or support. No mental energy. No funds to spare. No support to give as it all falls to the wayside. The taker in life. The taker in my life. The mental strength it takes to keep the takers at bay is not for the weak. A wall of sorts is built. Carefully crafted to shield all my loved ones from the mayhem. Managing this on top of life and unplanned medical challenges is just wow. No words to really describe today. The now.

When I breathe deeply and let it settle in another blow strikes. This one is hard. Straight to the gut. Straight to the heart. Straight to the mind. All the feels. All at once. The pressure is intense. Every calming mechanism is put into play. Repeatedly.

Bend. Flex. Shift. Rebound. Reset. React. Refresh. Think. Act. Recoup. 

One would think I just played a hard core tennis match, but I didn’t. It was just life. The uncertainty of life. The unplanned chaos that can ensue without notice. Sure there are worse scenarios, but in that moment my life was in disarray. It’s seems unforgiving. Relentless forces striking at once. Repeatedly.

Life is full of wonder. Life is full of surprises. Life is full of happy, sad, ugly, fear and so much more. Life is about living and living means shit happens. When life throws the shit show your way, it’s up to you to see the perspective. Don’t crumble. Don’t let fear stand in your way. Live through the turmoil. Learn from mistakes. Find opportunities in the chaos. Fight for you. Fight for those around you.

Bend. Flex. Shift. Rebound. Reset. React. Refresh. Think. Act. Recoup.

Do it as many times as you need to. Be relentless. Be daring. 

anonymous letters, awareness

Unspeakable

We share a lot on this blog about our lives, our ups and downs, our triumphs and frustrations, our families and friends.

Even with all that we share, there are many experiences and ideas left unspoken for whatever reason. They are too important or too unimportant. Too intimate, too mundane. Too shocking, too boring. To out-of-bounds. Too commonplace.

Then there are those things in a whole different category. The unspeakable. By their very definition, they are beyond words. Beyond understanding. Beyond description. Those jaw-dropping moments that take your breath away. Things that would offend. Things that defy understanding. Things that only happen in the movies or sci fi are suddenly your life or the life of someone close to you.

For the joyful unspeakables, it’s not that hard to tuck them away in my heart. If I didn’t have anyone with me in unspeakable moments, that makes it a bit more challenging…but like that perfect sunset, photos or words do not do it justice. If I am smart I stop trying to capture those unspeakable moments of beauty and joy and just sit in their rarity. But there’s always that urge to share it.

As for the unspeakably gruesome or heartbreaking, the urge to share it is more about having someone to help shoulder it. To process it. To bear witness. This unspeakable weighs on me these days. Gratefully, I do have a few friends who can bear to hear my unspeakable, at least what I can manage to verbalize of it. Those moments can be so challenging. So vulnerable. What will they think of me? Of the person this is happening to? When I really tell the truth about what is happening, who I am, with all my flaws and shortcomings?

More often than not, my dear friends surprise me with connection. With support. With generosity. They often have analogies to their own lives that make me feel less incompetent. Less overwhelmed. Less alone.

Even still, there are things that can only be shared so far. We all still have our lessons and burdens to endure.

challenges

Jail Time Revisited

Recently I had the opportunity to experience a county jail with an added twist. I’ve written about visiting the jail before as a contractor recounting an inside view. I visited the exterior as part of a jail run a few years back that included running the officer obstacle training course (so much fun) and the campus which bordered the barbed wire fences and guard towers. Both experiences were memorable and offered different views of the same place.

Over the past week I had yet another view. An unexpected view. I needed to try to visit an inmate. What started out as a simple endeavor ended up extremely complex. So many things I didn’t know, didn’t expect or just couldn’t wrap my arms around.
the first big blow is no in-person visitors which is the exact opposite of the county website which states visitation Mon-Fri and Sat/Sun for under 18. I guess they are still under Covid protocols even though most other places are not. This was funny in itself as you don’t need a mask to enter the jail but you can’t visit. The next option is a fee- based video visit, but figuring this option out almost requires an IT degree and a lot of patience.

That’s right. Get the app. Download the app. Set up a user ID. Add funds. Upload identification documents to prove who you are. Now wait. Wait until somebody in an office somewhere approves you. This took three days in my case. Once you have access, you can schedule a call. I almost forgot you need to deposit more money for the call and pay more service fees. Just when you think you are at the finish line you have to be patient again. It seems the schedule is not the same day. That means you wait longer and the person inside has no idea how hard you are trying to make contact. Big sigh.

What’s the other option? Send a letter. I was told happy mail is very uplifting. Okay, what’s the address. Well the address you mail to is far away. It has to be sorted to make sure there is no contraband. Well over the holiday, mail delays, etc. would lead me to believe this would be another dead end.

How about a phone call. Can the person make a call? Only if they have money they tell me. How do they get money? Glad you asked. There is a jail ATM. Never seen one of those before. You have to upload your picture, your social security number, address and so much more. Then you can pay money and exorbitant fees. Again, it’s not instant. It takes a day to process and the funds need to be deposited by 8am. That means if you put money in the ATM on Sunday at 4pm the inmate won’t see it until Tuesday after 8am. Delays galore.

Four days it takes to get any form of contact. This provides so much insight into what folks deal with when they are immersed in the jail system. I can’t even imagine if my parent was in jail, how a young adult could handle all the chaos associated with saying hi to somebody who probably needs some extra support during their incarceration.
This experience has taught me I for sure don’t ever want to spend time in jail. I also don’t want to have to visit anyone I know in jail. I like my freedom too much. I like to choose what I do and when I do it. I thought visiting somebody in an assisted living facility was hard in the heart of the pandemic, however I would definitely say visiting a jail is 1000x harder current day. 

With mental health issues challenging society today, it is bothersome to me that inmates lose not only their freedom but their ability to get compassionate care. I define compassion to include communication with willing visitors vs starving them of hope and friendly faces.

In summary, I’d always tell somebody think carefully about actions or inactions that can land one in jail. It’s not a place i’d recommend at all.