challenges, mental health

Hungry

It’s 5am on the weekend. I’m hungry. I haven’t been to the grocery store so options are limited. I’ve eaten out too much already this week. I need to go to the gym thus I can’t eat too much.

I am still hungry.

I dozed off. I woke up and my tummy is gurgling. In its own way my stomach is reminding me to eat. I hear it. I feel it. Somehow I decide it’s better to stay snuggled under the covers. 

I am still ever so hungry.

A deep sigh didn’t take the hunger away. My mind is contemplating the chill in the air vs. the hunger in my belly. My mind is also telling my inner brain that 5 more minutes  of sleep is needed over nourishment. I doze off again.

I am hungry.

I can now daydream about my breakfast at my favorite restaurant. It’s helpful but doesn’t satisfy my appetite. I can be rational and think of the protein shake and to-go power bar, but again that isn’t satisfying or remotely motivating to get me out of bed.

The hunger rumbles in my belly as a constant reminder. As I sit hungry. I will imagine my butler service. The service I don’t have making me an omelette of my choosing. Fresh, bedside. Some fresh guacamole on the side ready for some warm toast. A nice hot cup of local coffee to sip on for comfort. It’s then I would rise from bed. I’d remove the covers to take on the day.

I’m still hungry. 

It was all just a dream. I woke up hungry and I don’t have a butler. My brain definitely played a trick on me today:

Time to feed this old belly of mine. For real this time.

adventure, family, fitness and nutrition

Blue With a Hint of White

I see an abundance of blue. A sea of Carolina Blue near and far. Maybe some white but far more blue. University of North Carolina blue. That soft powdery-colored blue that is easily recognizable as the UNC symbolic color. Nestled deep in the heart of Tar Heel territory on the UNC campus, it’s hard to miss the waves of blue everywhere.

I am here for an event which involves the wearing of the university colors and uniforms. Trying to find a needle in a haystack is a good reference for finding my kid in the sea of blue jerseys. My child is one of of 400-500 immersed in an elite field experience for the sport of lacrosse, which she loves. Last college event was big but not this big.

Hundreds of highly skilled athletes looking to standout while improving their individual and teaming skills on such a big stage. Such an experience to live through as both an athlete and a spectator.

My lens is clearly the spectator but obviously I couldn’t be more proud of my athlete. Spending hours on the field for days with new faces and personalities. Determining if a college athlete life is for her or not. Learning how to adapt and overcome while avoiding injury as well. Training on and off the field. Fueling the body for competition. Resting the mind amidst finals and semester-end deadlines. Challenging herself to be a better version of her. It’s all relative. It’s a process. It takes dedication, determination and a bit of badassery.

I’m a copilot of sorts. The errand girl. The roadie. The fan girl. It’s still a hard job. Navigating maps, finding fields, lugging gear, packing sustainable food for energy, being prepared for any weather, traveling to unknown places, finding accommodations and so much more. I’m in the muck of it all. I’ll wipe tears if they are shed. I’ll pull out the bandaids when needed. I will snap the all the photos allowed to capture the memories as well. I even deal with the nasty attitude when fatigue sets in and nobody is watching but me. No shame in my game/role.

It’s also funny to wade through the cemetery of bags, sticks, jackets, coats, sweats and so on. Where else could you experience the awkward smell of stinky feet and body odor in the cool crisp air? These are the memories I will cherish no matter how gross they sound in my writings.

Our crazy schedule is not for the weak at heart. We spend many days on the road. We spend time away from family and friends. We wake up early. We get into bed late. We battle rain, snow, wind, cold and heat. All to chase a dream. Her dream at the moment. A dream many may not ever achieve and many may never attempt. This is our journey or path right now. Our time together. Wherever she ends up she will know I supported her dream.

As I wrap up this post I take a deep sigh. Reflecting on how grateful I am to be able to take this walk with her. To support her. To praise her efforts. It’s a one of a kind opportunity for both of us. I share this post to provide a glimpse to others who may not have the opportunity to see this lens of life. 

Fourteen states she has played competitive lacrosse in. The sport of lacrosse has allowed her to meet people and see new places while mastering her performance as a woman in sports. I’m not sure how many more states will be visited as she narrows down her college wish list. 

adventure

It’s in the Details

A surprise picnic. The weather wasn’t great. We didn’t even really know the area. The option to hike it in would have been too much to carry.

A friend scouted a park with a pavilion. We wandered in tandem with the vague directions we had, then finally stumbled on the spot.

The coolers, tucked in the back of the jeep for hours, and boxes and bags were ported out. Then the spoiling began.

A white tablecloth was the foundation. Topped by a fall-themed tablecloth with muted hues. Draped with care over the metal picnic table. Then, fancy bamboo plates and utensils. Yellow napkins folded at each place. Then, the finishing touches…jewel-colored velvet pumpkins that later doubled as party favors / remembrances for each of the women there. A fall candle bought brand new for the occasion, glowing and sharing a hint of apple scent. A table worthy of special guests. Even out in the middle of the soccer fields and playgrounds. Then, a build-your-own lunch spread courtesy of Trader Joe’s. Nothing too fussy. Just nibbles to try.

In recent years, I have grown to love surprising people…not in the sense of surprise parties, but more about delighting people with over-the-top unique details. Whether it be decorations, unexpected custom cookies that match their party theme, party favors that make people giggle, artist-created invitations, or a meal fit for a queen, it feeds my soul to make people feel special and make occasions memorable. People are worth celebrating.

This also extends to presents I may drop on porches on a random Tuesday. Life is a challenge for many. Why not make people smile?

I hope when they pull out that pumpkin each fall they smile and remember a great day, and someone who cared about them enough to plan something special. Spoil people a little sometimes. They are worth it.

challenges, perspective

Sleepless Shit List

Do you ever have a sleepless night? I do. Sometimes I’m worrying about a kid. Sometimes I’m thinking about a deadline. Sometimes I’m mad. I could even be excited for an upcoming trip. Anxious for a doctor appointment. Any number of reasons.

Today’s reason was just the normal bullshit that built up over the week. Anger would be the feeling or distraction. Wrestling with my kids to find solutions. Planing ahead.

Thinking about rainy day scenarios. Covid blah. Sort of like playing a game of chess with yourself inside your brain. Sounds fun right? Not exactly.

If I don’t sleep good my workout sucks in the morning. If my workout doesn’t flow my morning usually blows. From there the day goes down hill. Add in the crazy of a normal day and everything magnifies.

I am sure there are people in worse situations and that’s why I hit the reset rainbow button in the morning. Training my mind to see the rainbows and sunshine in the day vs focusing on life’s blunders.

Some days this works better than others. Today I decided to make a shit list in my head. Hopefully to tire myself out. Ironically I fueled it. Like gasoline on a fire. Poof. The shit list went from in my head to paper to the white board.

Who is on it? What did they do? How does one get off it? Is it even possible to get off the shit list? So many questions. The point is I have a shit list currently. Funny how my sleepless night turned into a shit list.

I tried to soothe my mind as the weekend approached. I put the AirPods in for a cardio session at the gym. I eased the anger a bit it not enough. I spent time with a loved one. It took the edge off but not enough. I mowed acres of grass. The fresh cut smell of grass was soothing. I found an escape even if temporary.

I circled back to my environment and the shit list was still there. Each of the top three independently made selfish decisions yet again confirming their status on the shit list. How funny to be awake and realizing what I dreamed in my sleep was factual.

So crazy. The shit list remains. Those on it know. Now it’s up to them to get off it. But will they?

dare to be different, fitness and nutrition

Sense of Direction

It’s true, I’m getting older.

As I age, I notice that certain things are starting to deteriorate. Today’s example: my sense of direction.

When I was young, I would read Atlanta’s Creative Loafing newspaper every Thursday or Friday. I’d check out the list of festivals, events, art openings, even new music releases, and make my weekend plans. I’d pull out my mom’s Atlanta road atlas and set on my coordinate spree to map my weekend adventures. From these jaunts week after week, year after year, I got to know my way around Atlanta inside and out.

These days, I can hardly find my way around my little suburb without waze or google maps. If I’m somewhere without service, I get nervous and often guess the wrong direction. Such a change. It may not just be due to aging. Maybe more a combination of getting older and over reliance on technology. Still not a change I like, no matter the cause.

I spent the past week in a confusing condo building. Actually there were two buildings connected by bridges and corridors. There was also a parking garage. None of the connecting floors had the same number. Walk through a hallway from one building’s first floor and suddenly, without stairs or elevators, you’re on another building’s third. The garage was a totally different mess. I felt lost and disoriented much of the week.

After a couple of morning condo workouts, I went to the gym one evening to make sure I could find it from our room. The next morning I spent a half hour with dumbbells in the gym. After I was done, I decided to test myself and make my way back to the condo from the gym using stairs instead of the path I already knew.

I walked into the stairwell. When I opened the door, I was surprised to find an old man, slightly hunched over, standing at the bottom of the stairs. He was short with groomed gray hair. He wore a cotton t-shirt, athletic pants and tennis shoes. He was there to exercise. He smiled at me.

Good morning, I said.

Are you still moving every day? he said,

Yes sir, I replied. I want to be sure I can move for as long as I can, so I try to do it first thing every day.

Good for you, he replied. I do the exact same thing. Keep it up. It’s so important.

And with that, one floor up, I walked out of the stairwell. He kept walking up the stairs. Up. Up. Up. Moving. Ascending.

It was like the (living) ghost of Christmas Future. Letting me know that taking time to move, for me, is what will keep me moving long term. I can feel confident when I get up and make my physical and mental health a priority each day. What others think of it is none of my business. My approval is what is required.

Did I find my way back to the condo? Happily, yes. And taking that different path gave me unexpected landmarks and signs. I’m heading in the right direction. It was a roadmap to the future I am heading toward, nimble and purposeful.