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.

adventure, friendship

The Tale of the Pizza Shop

I was craving pizza. A loaded pizza. Full of amazing toppings. Pepperoni that was crisp and curled. Onions that were cut just right. Green peppers for some color. Mushroom for flair. And I can’t forget the best meatball slices on the planet. That’s the pizza I’m craving. A pizza from a cozy mountain pizza spot named Twisted.

Twisted pizza is such a fitting name. Twisted with any toppings you desire. Twisting your tastebuds as you devour the pizza. Mmmmmm I wish you could smell the cheese and yummy toppings.

Twisted.

Twisted is how this story came about. The twisted tale of the pizza and a coke. A fountain coke no less. Oh the adventures we have. 2 chicks. 2 flipping cokes. A damn pizza and some sticky fingers. That’s all I got. No really, it gets so much better.

My cohort started this nightmarish episode on a frightful October night in a scary part of town that just happens to have the best pizza in town. It’s takeout only because of covid. She asked do I want a drink at the checkout? No I’m taking the pizza to go. We wait in the car for the pizza man to deliver the pizza. It seems like a long time because mountain time is like beach time….Sloooow.

A revelation hits her or she decides to speak about her annoyance. You know we don’t have any coke, she exclaims. If I’m having pizza I need a coke. What? I need a coke. You said no to coke. I really need a coke. Okay let me get a coke. No they only have bottled coke and I don’t drink bottled coke. Is this for real?

Do I need to get a fountain coke for you? Yup! Okay I’m waiting in the car for the pizza so off she goes to the inferior pizza place a few doors down in the same strip center…. yes it’s smart to have two pizza joints fighting for clients within 500 ft of each other, right? That might even sound a bit twisted.

Well the other joint has fountain cokes so there you have it. She is happy. I’m happy. But that’s not where the story ends…

She gets the coke. The lid is not quite the right size. The coke spills all over. Hence the sticky fingers noted above. A millions giggles later, she shakes her head at the price of the Dixie cup full of coke ($4) but that’s because you get free refills… but we don’t get any refills in the parking lot. Again that’s so twisted. 

Then she says geez, that place was a buffet. It’s the place the pandemic forgot. A salad bar with cottage cheese. So many items free for all. And it’s open to the public. Guess they missed the rules memo from covid. I just entered a petri dish of pizza establishments and and and. All for a damn coke she said. I sighed and said a flat ass diet coke at that with zero fizz. What the what.

Did I mention she actually got a diet coke? A flat flat ass, no tasting diet coke. All that effort for such a little return. And so we decided to eat the pizza in the car. It was that kind of night. A parking lot pizza party with no music and lots of chomping and a coke to wash it down.

How the evening ended up of a parking lot pizza party with a coke. Don’t you wished you lived the extravagant and twisted life of two chicks? And had the balls to write about it? I mean the meatballs since we are clearly 2 Chicks with endless ink in our pen.

business, perspective

The Driver’s Seat

What does the driver’s seat look like from the helm/cockpit of a vehicle? What does it look like from the passenger side, also known as the co-pilot seat? What about the view from the back seat or third-row seat?

Do those viewpoints change if you are driving in your best friend’s ride or your spouse’s car, riding with Grandma or maybe you are on a motorcycle? I suppose all passenger seats should look different than the driver’s seat! Maybe the music is different. Maybe the conversation is different. Maybe the aroma in the vehicle is different. Maybe the volume level is different. Maybe the stress level is different. The driver may alter their norm to adjust to the passengers and/or environment. Similarly the view from the passenger vantage point could vary based on occupants or length of time in said seat.

The driver is the captain. The boss. The big cheese. The controlling party. The leader. The responsibility starts and ends with that one person. Making sure one gets from point A to point B responsibly. The critical decisions, the pinpoint turns, the accurate lane changes, and the head-on-a-swivel-at-all-times mentality. I mean if you slack in any of those areas an accident could happen on the roadway. In the blink of an eye.

Could life mirror the driver’s seat if you are the CEO of a company, the branch manager of a bank, the operations manager of a warehouse, and so on? Why yes, it could. Sitting in the passenger side is fun. It comes with no pressure: no gas money needed, no insurance required, and no car payment.  

In business the boss is less likely to call out sick in comparison to a team member or passenger. Anyone can fill the passenger role but in most cases the business driver has a specific skill set. One which is harder to replace in an instant. For instance, the business owner has to make critical decisions that may impact others while a passenger can just provide commentary in most instances. The driver’s decisions must be strategic and sensible.

I know first hand many young adults don’t have their own car because they don’t want the responsibility of a car note, insurance or gas money. It’s far easier in this day and age to ride share with say Uber or bum a ride from a friend who has reliable transportation. Why lead and take responsibility when you can coast as a passenger in life?

In the business world life can be tough for a decision maker. A leader. A driver of any business. The one who has to set the tone. Find the path. Chart the course or route. Engage the resources/passengers. Make decisions on staying open or closed in tough times. This can be hard and a delicate balance at times. Those who never walk in these shoes would find it hard to understand the challenge but be quick to pass a judgement.

A passenger in business could be a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.  An unassuming threat. A slacker of sorts. A clock watcher for both the beginning and ending of their shift. Waiting to prey on the driver/leader etc. to solve their issues. I know other intertwined scenarios where a passenger could struggle with the driver or vice versa. Or maybe a driver is erroneously in a passenger seat; would they attempt to distract or sabotage the driver? Is that a possible outcome?

Is life about compromise? Do we really want natural leaders to compromise or do we want them to do what they do best, lead? Can a passenger grow to lead? Who do you want to be your driver in the car or in life? Are there risks and rewards to each scenario? So many questions.

Just another food for thought post.

friendship

Surprise!

Everyone likes a surprise. Nobody likes secrets. Generally speaking I can’t keep a secret. You shouldn’t tell me anything that wasn’t meant for the world to know. Just a fun fact about me.

Ironically, I picked up the phone one day and was recruited to keep a secret from a special friend in my inner circle. Clearly the requester had no idea how bad I am at this or they wouldn’t have asked, right? Maybe I was the only option? Of course I signed up for the job but it wasn’t going to be easy. I just couldn’t say no.

The person being surprised is a sleuth. A gal with 1 million questions and a memory like no other. I’m going to get caught I just know it. She is going to be so mad at me for being deceitful. How will I overcome this?

Why did I volunteer for this? Who can I can recruit to help me be sneaky? At least if I’m not the only guilty party she can’t be mad for long, right? I got the pack on board. We each played our part. So far so good. Days are turning into hours. We are honing our deceitful skills as we speak. 

While we are being deceitful the suspecting party is catching on. Her latest line of questioning was Kim asked me this weird question and then Sarah asked me this on the same day…. Me: okay, so what are you trying to say? She: I hope they are not being sneaky for my birthday. Me: I doubt it. You are imagining things. Big sigh. She: Who are you talking to about flowers? Me: somebody asking a dumb question. She: Who? Me: my sister. Bad answer she is a master gardener. Oh well, dodged another bullet. I think.

We have been keeping a secret about a surprise birthday gathering of an unsuspecting or maybe inquiring soul for what seems like months. In reality it’s a week. It’s been torture to say the least! I’ve had to make sure I don’t slip up in a text, in person or on the phone. Talk about challenging.

Close call the day before. Somebody said I’m bringing your gift tomorrow. Oh no, did she catch on? Nail biter for sure. I deferred and deflected but not sure sure if she fell for it….

It’s been kind of fun in a way but I’ll be glad when it’s over. At the end of the day the surprise went off without a hitch. Tears of happiness were flowing in abundance and a very special person was recognized by many who appreciate her.

When the surprise can be kept, the outcome is amazing. It makes all the scandalous secret keeping worth it. I’ve had my fix for surprises for a while. I don’t even like to wait for Christmas to see what I got for presents. I like to know now. 

The best part was a virtual birthday card. Pretty proud of the idea. Excited for the unveiling but it will be a gift that she can look back on many times. So many people sent amazing messages. Not sure why I’ve never done a virtual card like this before but it was my favorite part of being sneaky. 

A big thank you to my Miagi who put all the videos together for an amazing end result. More tears. As expected. Time to shift back to honesty is the best policy motto. Have you had the opportunity to surprise one of your close friends? If not, be sure to give it a try. See if you can keep the secret surprise!

3Splitz Farm

Dirt to Dreams

Some folks wonder what dreams are made of. For me my current dream is made of dirt. Or it at least starts with dirt or land but there is a vision behind the layers of dust, dirt, grass, rock and critters.
Today’s dream is agricultural at its roots with the seeds planted for future development over the long haul. It’s hard to explain but to just jot down the CliffsNotes of the vision without giving away the finish line is a great way to show a glimpse to others who maybe can’t see the path on their own. My motto has always been dream big and this is a great example to showcase.
Just a chick on her tractor with her faithful sidekick moving dirt in one way or another. A whole different level of badassery than you see on the weekdays but equally satisfying. How could that be? I’m working on my dream. I’m using my own blood, sweat and tears to build something that matters. The depth and breadth of the project is hard to quantify today but the process in itself of building/assembling the dream is priceless.
The people on the journey near and far who see the value of the dream and even participate in one way or another is magical. Sharing smiles is ever so treasured when on or around my dirt pile I call rustic paradise. This past weekend we had a family gathering. The memories made on the land, in the dirt were irreplaceable. My 80+ years young mom got to share in our country festivities and see a simple side of life. No hustle, no bustle, no TV, but somehow time goes by so fast.
Three generations of women sharing stories, memories, experiences on the dirt / land I incorporate in the big dream. For now this is just one example of the value within the land. There are many more from virtual connections, friend connectivity, farmily traditions and overall growth as people within this environment.
This weekend I dealt with snakes, ducks, rabbits, dogs and other critters. I came out unscathed and enjoyed every last minute. Even the frightful moment dealing with a venomous snake. And the irony of the snake picture is I stopped to get video proof of this snake to identify it. Now it appears to be a copperhead yet last time I wrote about a snake I noted I screamed dramatically. This time I didn’t but probably should have given the type of snake!
The good news is I lived to tell another story and hope that somewhere in the world somebody is enjoy my dream big stories. Signing off as a farm girl for now before I strap on my heels for the day job. Until next time.