family, Teddie Aspen

Dog Lessons

It wasn’t long ago I was digging through boxes leftover from my childhood home. I ran across an American Kennel Club certificate. Maximillian was his name.

I had heard his name many times in my life, often with a sneer from one of my brothers. They loved their dog, and I was the reason we got rid of him. Maximillian, the prized pooch, couldn’t stop knocking me over as a newly walking toddler. So, he had to go.

All this to say, I didn’t grow up with dogs. I had a cat named Snoopy I treasured but was allergic to (a story for another post), but never a dog. I just didn’t get dogs. Never wanted one. And who knows, maybe I was even a little scared of them from all my hard knocks as a babe.

As an adult, when my family wanted to get a dog, I resisted. We even had a dog live with us for a while that didn’t really work out. We ended up taking him to a new home where he could have the room and attention he needed.

Then Penny came along. My sister-in-law became her unexpectedly permanent foster mom. She needed a place to live and a family to love her. Would we be interested? I didn’t really want this at all. We could take her for a 2-week trial to see if we could handle it.

And she never left. We live together but I wouldn’t say she loves me. Still, my heart softened seeing how much everyone else loved her. She changed our family.

And then came the dog that I really did love. Chester. The unlikely, homely, wiry guy from the pound. The underdog. I didn’t even know why we would ever need 2 dogs. I was just getting used to 1! Then Chester who got scared by sudden movements and noises, Chester who always backed out of the room…Chester came along. He was very shy at first but eventually came around and became sweet, playful Chester. He loves to run and bound through the woods, and his sad eyes will pull at your heart strings every time. Chester changed my heart about dogs.

Now there’s the newest member of the clan named Nash, who I’ve taken a liking to. I even embrace my extended family and friend’s dogs. Heck, I even get to walk dogs and dog sit once in a while. Truthfully, I still don’t know how to act around dogs, and they can tell. It doesn’t come naturally for me and maybe never will. Thankfully, I’ve learned that many dogs are pretty forgiving if you at least try. They teach me about protection, loyalty, priorities and unconditional love. They seem to bring out the best in people just by being there and present in the moment. That bowls me over in the best of ways.

challenges

October Happenings

Wow October 1st seemed to arrive fast. Quicker than I was prepared for. As did the chill in the air and fall foliage. I’m not sad summer is gone for now. Rather I’m looking forward to final chapter of 2020. The fourth quarter. The last three months of the pandemic year. An easy bye Felicia will be coming from my mouth as 2021 arrives.

The final showdown of 2020 happens in these last three months. We all know it’s been a trying year for many. Most notably due to the pandemic. As I turned the page to October on my calendar I thought to myself I should finish the year with as much vim and vigor as I did when I started the year. Goals in hand. A bottomless cup of fuel to knock out all the goals I put to paper.

Time to say good bye to those extra covid pounds sitting on my waistline. My jeans are somehow not fitting like they should. Time to get moving at a higher level for myself in all aspects of life. I need to hit a few goals in a condensed time period to finish the year with a bang. The pandemic isn’t going to sabotage me. It merely sidelined me for a period of the year.

Let’s go. That’s what I’m telling myself. Going to find some new obstacles. Going to make some lasting memories. Going to try a few new things too. I’m going to write my ending to 2020 the way I do life. Dream big. Live large. Smile often.

How will you wrap up 2020? Remember as I’m wrapping up the year I’ve already laid the groundwork for 2021. I’m a plan-o-gram girl. Getting things done but enjoying life, too. It’s a delicate but needed balance.

perspective

Reflections

What do reflections tell us or teach us? If you look at your reflection in the water, the image may be distorted. If you look at your reflection in a mirror it may also be distorted. However if we reflect upon a picture, not much is hidden. A still moment of you. Marked in time.

Photos are often snapped by others. Said photos may show you a side, an angle, or a view of yourself you are not used to seeing. Or maybe it’s a version or portion of yourself you ignore purposely. It may even be a rude awakening of how you really look to others.

When you look at a picture you see you. The good. The bad. The ugly. How you reflect upon the visual image is completely up to you. 

You can focus on the negative or find the positives in any photo of yourself. For me, I have my moments where I look at the aesthetic piece and say ugh… but then I shift to what I can control. My attitude. My desire to improve. My ability to create change.

Can you look at your reflection and do the same? It’s a challenge of sorts. Take the blurred self-image and create the you that you want to see all the time. The look you want others to see of you. 

Maybe you want to smile brighter. Maybe you want to dress sharper. Maybe you want a new hair color. Maybe it’s a fresh haircut. Whatever you reflect on, you can change if you so desire.

My reflection inspired me recently. I won’t bore you with the details as the point of the post is I reflect on myself to improve. I mapped a plan in my mind to execute the improvement.

I did that! I invoked the desire to change. I charted the path. I put the work in. I valued me. I valued my time to change what I wanted to change in my reflection.

My change could be physical but it doesn’t need to be. It could be a spiritual change. A mindset change. It could even be an emotional change.

I noted in a previous post about how others are watching. They may watch whether you strut or walk timidly. That’s right your gait can tell a lot about you. It used to be the handshake in business that defined you but now thanks to corona and the digital arena we live in today we must adapt. Adapt our reflection to meet today’s demands.

I did just that. I asked myself or my reflection how I can up my game. What can I modify within to recreate, repurpose, reposition or redirect to suit my forward-thinking self.

I’m a work in progress. An artist piece that is moldable and remoldable. Never boring. Never stale. Dynamic. A modifiable masterpiece.

My reflection is shifting. Just like life.

business

A Numbers Game

I work in a profession where numbers are king. Pre-post data. Year over year growth. People love numbers. But not me, at least not always.

I have a love-hate relationship with numbers. I like the scale when the numbers go down. I’m not happy when the number goes up. Ever since I started Weight Watchers for the first time at the ripe old age of 12, I’ve watched that number on the scale with trepidation.

In my last round of weight loss, I learned that the scale can sometimes be a damn liar. There are all kinds of reasons for the scale to go up or down, some of which have little to do with what I did or didn’t eat. Maybe it means muscles are growing. Still, sometimes, I forget and get all tied up in what the scale tells me each morning. It becomes more than data and sometimes inches in to my judgment of self-worth.

Perhaps the number I fear the most has a dollar sign in front of it. For a long time, I have held on to a number as a symbol of my security, my prosperity, my future. That number meant a lot to me. So much that I refused to change it except when I was forced to.

It took a push from a dear friend and the universe to finally change that number from something that just appears on a screen to something real. Yup, I doubled down on my dollar sign and transformed that number into grass, soil, and timber. I changed in what I thought was the security of being a passenger and put myself in a driver’s seat.

So, the digits after my dollar sign may be smaller now. It’s what I have always feared. I have to look at it with a deep breath sometimes and remember…instead of disappearing, I am taking that number and transforming it into something new. Betting on my sweat and effort instead of just watching the screen, crossing my fingers and hoping it goes up. I’m taking the reins, moving in new directions, from the ground up.  Using my roots to create something new, beyond numbers.

Watch it grow.

3Splitz Farm, adventure

Go for Launch

 

The final countdown is here.

We have our mission, our flight plans.  We’ve been preparing for months. After assorted detours and delays, we are finally loaded up and ready to launch.

We all know our jobs.  The team is working together. A functioning crew doesn’t need 5 pilots.  We have one pilot.  Then we have people who manage equipment.  People who execute plans.  People who support.  And then there are the people who carry along all the little science experiments. People who clean up the spills.  People who pack the snacks and make us laugh. People who cheerlead.  All have their roles.

We also know we will have to learn and support the mission and each other in unexpected ways as the flight goes on. Roles may change and expand. As Matt Damon says in a great line from The Martian, there will be times we will have to “science the shit” out of issues, situations, etc. Unpredictable things will happen. We are charged up to flex our problem solving muscles and figure some things out.

We are strapped in. Fueled to the hilt. Liftoff may be a little bumpy.  We might see some sparks as we burn through our usual atmosphere.

But how fun will it be to get to weightlessness?  To push through into something we’ve never experienced?  To really reach a new frontier?  To go where no chicks have gone before?

Hold on tight. We are go for launch.