celebrations

It’s Finished!

The little project has come to an end.

No more measuring.

No more cutting.

No more blisters.

No more sawdust flying around my face.

The cleanup was pretty quick. Kept some scraps for the next project. Returned extra materials to Home Depot. Emptied the trash. Ran a quick vacuum and packed up the tools. Snapped a few more photos. Finished. 

Time to use the newly updated 120 square feet of space. Finished in the time allotted. Somewhat within budget. Recycled materials were used. Ideas were reworked many times. A little helper provided some labor along the way. Many songs were listened to while jamming and working. Evening and weekends spent hustling in a different way. Rain days got in the way a few times, but not too many.

Two trips to Home Depot. A few cuss words. No emergency room visits was a plus. Some tools were borrowed. A small power saw was purchased but will be reused on another project. Winter will require a small space heater for warmth (see above). Spring and fall will have a nice breeze with windows open. Summer will have a small Room air conditioning unit. Built on a budget. Built to be used. Built by me. Not perfectly designed but it’s perfectly useful. A great experience to learn and see the fruits of my labor. 

As I wrap up this DIY project, I definitely have a new appreciation for the construction industry. I also understand why there are specialized trades such as carpeting, painting, ceiling work, trim work, electrical, plumbing, etc. It’s hard to be good at everything. So many chances to get injured with a momentary lapse in judgment. 

From nothing to something. Building away. Lots of different types. Carpet. Metal. Trim. Walls. Insulation. It sure was a fun experience to knock out this little project. Two more projects to go. One planned. One unplanned. Just the way life goes I supposed. DIY trims the budget and allows one to do more with less. That’s where I am at on these little fix it jobs. Elbow grease and positivity will get you far in these kind of projects. A willing helper goes a long way, too.

I didn’t even mind cleaning at the end. Gave me a sense of completion. Happy 2023 to you!

balance

Dirt Road and Vines

Not all dirt road lead to wineries but on this fall Saturday my dirt road headed right to one of the cool wineries in North Georgia. Cavender Creek is just about an hour or so outside of the city near the college town of Dahlonega. Home to the University of North Georgia. Turning off the main road you drive a short distance on the dusty road as you see the vines in the sunshine.

Just beyond the vines is a little rustic oasis. I went for the sole purpose of sucking on their wine slushy flavor of the day or a swirl if they had more than one flavor while enjoying the ambiance. I was in luck. Pink Starburst and Lime starburst were the flavors to swirl on the sunny weekend afternoon. Perfect presentation with the twisty straw for flair. And it tasted just as good as it looked. One must always be careful not to suck too fast or that pretty slushy will go straight to your head.

Cavender Creek is set off the road a bit. It has an inviting outdoor space for socializing by fire pits and on the lawn. Another deck outside under cover. A back room with long white drapes reflecting the appeal of a sunroom. A cozy group living room in with many special setups of chairs, couches, stools and what not to chat in big or small groups. So much thought was out into making this winery inviting. All the way down to the rocking chair front porch. Such an inviting place with so many spots to unwind and chat.

For today I was at a table for two but with food for 3 or four. Assorted cheeses and meats mixed with some crackers and giant pretzel to soak up some of the wine. A little socializing. A little snacking. Some checkers to play. And I almost forgot about bumping into some folks I hadn’t seen in years. This place has it all from good food to tasty wines to cool vibes with all of their hangout spots.

This day was not planned to include a stop at the winery. It was full of to do’s and times to get to here and there. I opted for the scenic route. A pit stop. Time to breathe the fresh air. Feel the warmth of the sun. Get a little dust on the car. Socialize a bit and of course enjoy the sweetness of the wine slushy.

In the end the cup was empty but the soul was full. The pillow on my chair may have summed it up nice with the phrase:

This

Is

The 

Life

No questions about it. A beautiful day. An amazing destination. Kinship. I felt like one of the lucky ones today. Remember the u-turns in life sometimes yield the best and most unexpected memories. Below is a quirky decoration that was sitting on the vintage table next to me. Too cute not to capture.

Jackass may be the theme in the logo of this winery which adds to its curbside appeal. If in the area you should definitely give it a try.

adventure

Sand For Days

As part of my coastal Oregon series, this particular writing is dedicated to the amazing experience I had on the Oregon Sand Dunes. So much fun that I had to write about it in just one post. All by itself.

I really didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t visualize the beauty of the dunes or the depth of how far the dunes stretched. I did however catch a glimpse of the dunes roadside where there was an enormous hill of sand with a four wheeler going down it. I silently thought to myself no way. That is way too high for me.

We were lucky to get on the ATV tour as that was the best way to see the shore and the dunes in what I called the safest option for our trio to navigate the dunes as first timers. 30-40 mph on the climbs and the descents were so fast I didn’t even check the speedometer. 26 miles we rode round trip. Nobody flipped. Nobody got stuck. It was a success. This Bay Bridge photo is hard to capture in a photo meaning the in person view seems 1,000 times nicer. 

So much beauty. Such a thrill ride. One of travel buddies said this is definitely a top 10 experience. I would have to agree. I will definitely find my way back to this coast to tackle the dunes again. Not sure when but I will make time for sure.

We had a great guide and we even did some bowl rides at the end. It is hard to explain but you ride the dunes sideways up and down like you were in a bowl. You have to hit the right speed and maintain or your could roll! Just an exhilarating experience. This is also very different from the straight up climb to the straight down descent where you actually can’t see what is ahead of you when you then begin this descent.

This adventure covers the dunes and plenty of play time riding. From the natural bumps or jumps on the main road trail to the coolness of passers by. Everyone added flair to their personal rides with cool flags, political flags, neon lights, and so on.  Our adventure also covered the trip to the ocean to ride along the water. This was another breathtaking sight to see. The large ocean waves were just feet away pounding the shore while you zipped by. There was a fog in the air making the visibility low but the air was cool and crisp off the water. 

This adventure comes with a few $$$ on the review but if you take into account gas prices, the equipment used on the terrain and the guide it is well worth it. The family that owned our rental company was super focused on customer service which I also appreciated.

Can’t wait to come back to this coast and hit more spots along the way. Such a beautiful place to spend some time off the grid.

adventure, fitness and nutrition

The Pinellas Trail

It was a sizzling hot summer day in late July. 2 Chicks hit the road on the Pinellas trail in Dunedin, Florida. We hit the pavement by bike. A mode of transportation we enjoy. Today was a good fit and fun adventure.

18 miles were ridden. We might have walked a little funny when done but it was worth it. Recently I wrote about the backside of life on a train ride. Today I again saw the backside of life, but this time a little differently. What I mean is the back of buildings are visible from the trail since its original use was for rail hence the reason it’s called a rail trail. Fast forward to today and the backsides of the buildings are purposeful and used vs left to decay and look like an eye sore.

Keeping with this topic many sections of the towns have eateries or stores that back up to the rail trail. However this view is more aesthetically appealing or inviting. Stores had welcoming signage. Restaurants had patios on the backside. Ice cream shops had spots for pets. Many establishments had bike pumps for courtesy use. Some had sitting areas for those who needed a break. Many offered free water which was so nice on the super sunshiny day we rode.

The backside of life can look different depending how you view it. My perspective here was welcoming and one I will remember. My previous train ride was a little different view of neglect of those backsides many overlook. I often see opportunity in weird places. Some could post fun messages or kind words or advertise on the backside of old buildings for passers by instead of just leaving them to sit idle. Maybe it’s my always on business brain. Maybe it’s my desire for others to see what’s in plain sight or what could be endless possibilities. Clearly I can’t change the world but I can dream of how it could look better or be more useful.

Circling back to now, one of my favorite spots on the trails were the roadway crossings. Some busier than others. Some had stop signs for bikers while others had stop signs for cars. However on the main drags we had red lights and the little bike lights made me smile. I wish every city had a safe pathway like this to enjoy. Many would probably choose to bike to work some days.

Another tiring but beautiful experience was the opportunity to make the climb up a bridge, enjoy a photo at the top and the amazing views and then having the satisfaction of feeling the wind in your face on the way down the decline of the bridge. So many other fascinating tidbits I could share, but I would rather suggest you take a trip to experience this ride for yourself.

Opt outside. Be adventurous. This day was $30 to rent the bike all day. I was able to close my exercise ring for the day. I saw some beautiful street art, great trees, a few parks, and the water was a great backdrop along the way. $30 for a day of memories. 

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.