adventure

Bricks & Alpacas

Bricks remind me of strength. Bricks are the basic foundation for many buildings and / or empires. Bricks would be the last thing I thought about carrying around today yet I am so excited I had such a great opportunity with a brick.

You see, the brick is representative of a challenge from my adventure book. As odd as the instructions appear when read, the more fun that can be had ahead. How one interprets the assignment leads to the adventure itself. We started by naming our bricks. Mine was named Flash as a brick doesn’t move fast. Another was named Richard or Dick for short. Chase was named as well as Ash. Little Ash has a backstory. She could be short for Ashley or Asher making her gender neutral. Also bricks are represented in fireplaces as is ash. Brittani with an I was named in honor of Brittney Spears and the brick she is. Below is the first outing with our brick family as we set out for the day of fun adventures.

The girl gang is loaded with bricks today. A weapon? A stepping stone? An item to build with? For today it’s about the adventure and memories we create with our bricks. A strengthening of our relationships. Our travels start by car so the bricks are packed in a bucket with tissue paper for protection as well as flair. Off to eat brunch we go. Will the restaurant give us a high chair for our little brick family?

The bricks were involved in photos ops and shenanigans as the day progressed. From poses at the restaurant to a visit to an Alpaca farm. There was never a dull moment.

The bricks will find their final resting place in a pasture on our family farm while we head off to make more memories without the weight of the bricks. The giggles will be present for years to come as we pass by the bricks in their new spots on the farm.

As I close out this brick post i’ll now leave you this smiling Alpaca who posed for me on our field trip. This gem of an animal smiled bright with its stained teeth and grass-colored face. It was so funny to share this creative pose. So soft and fluffy yet such a hot mess up close.

What started out as a brick adventure ended up including an educational agri-tourism component allowing me to learn about Alpacas. It was a pretty cool experience and I won’t ruin the surprise by giving away the details of my Alpaca experience but I will share some photos for fun.

Because who doesn’t like a creature with hair as cool as this?

friendship, giving

Lucky or Unlucky

Was it a lucky book?

Was it an unlucky wooden book?

Perfectly sized to fit the most amazing surprise. A neatly crafted wooden delight. A treasure chest of sorts. A wooden book filled with 50 cash surprises. Scratch. Scream. Sigh. Giggle. The battle of numbers is on. Will there be any winners? Will there be a big winner? Will there be disappointment or celebration? Time will tell. Take a look inside my treasure filled box.

I am in the processes of scratching off 50 scratch cards in honor of my 50th birthday. Such a fun and creative gift I received today.

The lucky number 8 struck after a few duds. Eights across the board as if I hit the jackpot on a slot machine. To my surprise it was just a one dollar win but multiplied by five makes it a whopping $5.00 win. For now I will pause on a high and begin my scratching again later when I may feel a little luckier.

Here I am again. The original scratch yielded $2.00. The second scratch off added $5.00 in wins. Will I make it over the initial investment at the end of the scratching? The shavings pile on the floor is adding up. The next round of scratching was a good one. Five singles doubled for $10.00. Then the next one has a wild card for instant win of $20. Rounding out the total to $37.00. Will I get over $50.00?

I have made it into the positive. Sitting at $55 with a few more scratches to go. My arm is a little cranky from scratching but it’s been a good time passer. Finally I sat down for the last few scratches just after 9pm. I had to move to a butter knife for scratching as my coin seemed worn out. I was hoping for a big win but ended up with just another dollar.

50 cards. $56.00 in winnings. Net result is positive $6.00. Nothing major but it showed me winning is possible even though I don’t make a habit of buying scratch offs unless it’s a holiday or I’m giving a gift of some kind.

Today I decided to pay it forward and bought the meal for a cute elderly couple at a local breakfast shop: 91 and 85 years young the couple was. I made them smile as they did me. My winnings were passed on today. Kindness and karma go hand in hand. I am thankful for my life, my friends and my good fortune. Never lose sight of how valuable it can be to pay it forward in some way.

Lucky or unlucky was the title of this post. This was of course referring to the scratch offs, however over the course of the day I really got a chance to see and feel how lucky I am every day as I sat back and enjoyed a day with some great friends.

Feeling lucky is how I choose to wrap up this post. Until next time….

challenges

Food Pong

Most people have heard, observed, or played beer pong at some point in their lives. Some may remember more details than others. I’m also sure there is a kids version of pong but today’s twist is food pong.

Same red solo cups. Same instructions. Only instead of beer there is a mystery snack or something that may have been liquid but is now frozen or jelled. Such a scary game to play when you don’t know what’s in the solo cup. Will you like it? Will you puke? Only time will tell.

First up I got Wickle Pickles. I had to eat a couple of these, but they had a nice zing of spice that lingered. Then came the nacho kale chips that were supposed to taste like Doritos but I’d say it was closer chalky dirt. Up next was vodka-soaked gummies which were pretty self-explanatory but not a good accent to the other items.

A little alcohol-infused gummies didn’t settle my tummy for what was next. Birthday cake flavored peeps. So much sugar sitting in my stomach on top of the mess already loaded in there. If I wasn’t already to quit, out came the wasabi peas. I don’t even eat wasabi with my sushi, making this a hard one to stomach.

Now that I have played food pong or pantry pong, I think I would recommend beer pong every time. It seems more logical to choose the simplicity of beer and get a hangover vs feeling like you want to vomit for the next few hours.

in the end, this was fun, gross, and adventurous all at once. Stay tuned for my next adventure post to see what kind of trouble will lurk on the months and weeks ahead. 

fitness and nutrition

Leather or Lace

What a title, right? Leather or lace what? Are we talking panties or tennis? Could it ever be both? 

Let’s start with tennis. I picked up a racquet a couple of times as a kid. Maybe at a summer recreation spot to try a new sport. It was meh at best as I never pursued it at that point.

I picked up a racquet again around the age of 20. Played a little. Learned a little but moved on after a very short stint for whatever reason. I maybe picked up a racquet with a friend 8-10 years ago and played a couple of rounds of tennis. Fun. Exercise. Time with a few pals. Nothing fancy but I might have learned to keep score.

Fast forward to sometime this year. I was invited to play pickup tennis on a weeknight. I dusted off the racquet and headed to the court with low expectations. I’m old. I’m rusty. To my surprise I had fun. I was into it. How could that be? I opted to play a short season of tennis with one of my gym competition partners. We weren’t great but we won more than 50% of our games. In the process we got some cute skirts. I bought some new tennis shoes so the fancy tennis ladies were not bugging me about my CrossFit shoes on the court. I was set to play again.

This time it was a team. A whole new element. More to learn. New partners to adjust to. Outfit matching, it is a thing?  More games to fit in the schedule. A new fitness routine that makes me take a day off regular training for tennis. A big mindset shift for me. New racquet this season to be all fancy and a friend got me an accessory for it. The butt sticker! Oh boy did I love the butt sticker gift.

Of course it couldn’t be an ordinary butt sticker. It had to have flair. She found the best one for me. Leather or lace. Now as match begins and the racquet is spun for court decisions, I ask leather or lace. What an ice breaker. A personally intrusive question for the ladies on the other side of the court. Giggles. Eye rolls. Game on ladies. So much fun to set the tone early for the crazy of the matches ahead. Now I haven’t had to spin the racquet for a guy yet but I can’t wait for that response as well. 

Each response is unscripted and so fun to watch. Just like tennis. Unpredictable. Unscripted. Maybe this is what I like most about tennis right now. It’s just a go with the flow game. Sure there is a format and scoring but the court play is dynamic. It’s ever changing. It’s unpredictable. You have to be thinking on your toes. I win. I lose. I sometimes play a tie breaker or go into overtime. It’s all a fun experience for now.

Competition is good for me. Trying new partners is good for me. Making room for tennis in my schedule is good for me now. The real question is am I leather or am I lace? Or maybe nothing as the last lady responded. Absolutely nothing. I’ll let the mic drop there and just say I can’t wait to get the guys responses on my butt sticker.

Just a tennis tidbit for you today.

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.