adventure

Living the Chocolate Life

Only in the great state of Pennsylvania can you be on Chocolate Avenue, turning onto Cocoa Avenue leading to the Chocolate Museum. The sweetest place on earth, they claim. Yes, I am in chocolate heaven in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Home to Hershey chocolates and Hershey Park. A chocolate-themed amusement park.

While here I walk down memory lane from times when I was a child visiting Hershey Park and all its wooden roller coaster memories to times I took my kids when they were little. It’s amazing what scenery can do to trigger your memories. 

My youngest is in tow this trip. She doesn’t remember her last trip here but she likes the country flair of the corn stalks on the roadside for what seems like miles. However, just around the corner there is the vision of old and new coasters. Hearing her dialogue on the old wooden coasters is mesmerizing.

Hop into town and you see light posts designed as chocolate kisses adding to the ambiance. Oh how I love flair and this town has it. From small town ice cream shops to local vendors on the the town square.

My hotel is next to a car museum housing many interesting items. An old-time bus is out front peaking interest from the roadside. A little further up the path is the Hershey Kisses mobile. Three wrapped kisses forming a vehicle. I never saw this until today. Made me think of the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile that I have posed with dozens of times. So much fun to adventure to new places and see what is beyond your normal. It’s also cool to visit a place at different age points. I’m sure my visit here was more candy focused when I was a kid to ride focused when I took my kids to now me taking it all in as a mature adult.

My lens may be the same but my visions are different. Just like the light post above. Each view or angle of the post offers a different perspective.  As I travel I look for unique photo opportunities and try to use my imagination to create lasting memories. The sign below captured my thoughts along the way to Hershey, PA.

O

Off I go to explore in chocolate town. As I explore I know I’m using my imagination to fill in the blanks for my next adventure. Sending you virtual kisses from Hershey, PA.

giving, health

Quarantined

Recently I had a chance to interact with somebody on quarantine. It was an unusual situation.

A child was quarantined from school. Old enough to stay home alone but not really alone for a long time or under stress. Unlike the Home Alone movie, home alone meant digital schooling, meals and staying on task. That’s a lot for young kid on any given day. Today though, this is the world of Corona and everyone adjusts as needed.

For me the need was sitting in the driveway in my car just in case an emergency arose. It was an important job. Mom was in hospital for separate reason. Dad was tending to mom’s emergency. Older sibling had to do finals and handle her life. This was just one day. One interaction. I could bring my laptop and work remote. Not ideal but doable. 

This made me think about how fortunate I have been during Corona. How many obstacles I have dodged. Today my time was for another. I was happy to do it. 

While sitting in the driveway i reminisced about a friend watching my kids over the years. I was thinking how hard it is to get that fill in now when your kid is quarantined aka having cooties where one is faced not only with isolation but fear of the unknown and all the other drama that follows. Now who can you ask to care for your cootie-ridden kid?

How hard it is to ask for help when an unplanned emergency happens? A crisis doesn’t have a timeline. Listen to others who may indirectly show signs of needing help. Don’t assume all is a okay. Ask what you can do to help. Be persistent. Don’t wait for them to ask. They may never have the courage to ask. Be doggedly persistent to show you can help. Kindness is free.
Your offer of goodwill can go a long way. Don’t hesitate to help others.

challenges

Delays

Today I went to my child’s sporting event despite the incoming storm. I saw the grey skies. I smelled the damp air. I looked at the weather app and just had that inkling that we wouldn’t make it through a complete game. 

I normally arrive early but today I pushed the time envelope. Hoping I’d get the cancelled call before wasting my time. That was a big fat NO. As I pulled into the parking lot the lights sparked in the sky. Lightning of course. The strike was within a few miles. The clock starts at 30 minutes for the delay.

Oddly enough the rain stopped. The thunder persisted. About 22 minutes into the delay another lightning bolt illuminated the sky. Big sigh. The clock resets for another 30 minutes. Idle time is not my strong suit. The girl’s room begins to call my name. I wait patiently. Ah, we made it through the 30 minutes.

The game starts. We play for about 17 minutes. The referees call for a time out. It’s an extended time out. The game is tied 3 to 3. The dark clouds are moving in like wild fire. Tick tock. The extended time out runs about 8-9 minutes. Why tonight? they say in the stands. The kids want to play.

Lightning strikes again. The 30 minute clock begins again. The third time is a charm right? Game cancelled is shouted over the loud speaker. No sorry my error. Please continue to wait in your car. No rain. The perfect time to play, but rules say 30 minutes to clear the area for lightning. 25 minutes into the delay the game is officially called off. The heavens opened up.

The storm continued through the night into the morning. Lots and lots of rain, thunder, lightning. Storm damage. 
The day began for me. More delays. A delay at gym. Just about 1 minute but a delay. Picking up at the dog groomer, a delay. This time 15 minutes. No biggie. Just wasted time again. The dog store. Delayed opening for covid hours. Just another 30 minutes. Hmm seems like the last 24 hours I’ve been in delay land. Not my usual 24 hours but I’ll say I enjoyed my delays.

My idle time. The empty unplanned time. I made good use of it. I read a little. I wrote a little. I thought a little. I even did a little of nothing. Just staring into space. 

A delay could be negative but I made it a positive. I found time to giggle. I spent some time with people. I was productive in a very different and unplanned way. That’s my perspective for today on delays. Maybe I will be more purposeful in making delays in the future. 

It’s a good way to slow down your time clock when life revolves around time. Your time.

perspective, Uncategorized

Losers and Jerks

A little kid, just 7 years old, took a long time choosing his book in the library. By the time he decided to come to the checkout, he was last in line.

He reaches out his arm and pushes the little girl in front of him aside, then behind him.

I see it, and politely tell him he can go back to where he was, waiting his turn and practicing his patience. This little guy, who is usually pretty calm and pleasant, flips a switch and yells, “I CANNOT BE LAST. I AM *NOT* LAST!”

In my super-calm unruffled voice, I tell him to go back to the end of the line and wait his turn. I tell him there’s nothing wrong with being last. Everyone takes a turn being last once in a while. (Unless it’s me at CrossFit, where I am last most of the time!)

He explodes.

“I CANNOT be LAST! My MOM says LAST is for JERKS. LAST IS FOR LOSERS! MY MOM SAID!”

I looked at this 7 year old, consumed with rage and fear, screaming in the line at the library.

I was stunned. Shocked. Where does this come from?

And told him, calmly, to take a spot at the end of the line. He scowled at me over his mask, then he went to the back.

After he checked out his dinosaur book, he left the library. He had joined his class line safely in the middle, in his “line order” spot. His tone totally changed. He twittered out of the media center, chatting with friends. Nothing to be mad about if you’re not last.

I stared at the door. What had I just witnessed?

Then I wondered, what had this kid witnessed to make him act this way? Did his Mom or Dad say that to him? To a brother? To a father? An uncle? Was it in a totally different context? Surely whoever said it hadn’t yelled at people for standing in line…

Maybe that person was yelling at the TV. At a NASCAR race…? Who knows.

Whatever it was, this young man took it to heart and head. When push came to shove (literally), he would NOT be last since he is NOT a loser.

So many lessons we can learn from this, out of the mouths of babes. What does this child teach you?

dare to be different

A Fahn Suhthun Lady

(A follow up to the recent post, Redneck Sweetheart. Check it out!)

I was born in Jawja.

Lived here all my lahf.

Except for that ill-advised detouah to Ohio for a few years round college time. They made fun of me for walking too slow in that infernal endless snow and saying y’all when I shoulda said, ahem, “you guys” all nasal or something else inelegant like that. Suhthun ladies roll sweet and slow off the tongue.

Before I go on, let me translate some of this for y’all, lest you find my Suhthun accent a distraction.

I don’t have a hoop skirt. Sweet tea is not my thing but there is no other soda (pop!?!?) than a Coke. I’m still a Suhthun lady through and through.

I blush at the mention of unmentionables. I am steely and will give you the side eye while saying “bless your haht.” I fan myself when I am flustered. Well I nevah would be so vulgah!

I am polite and don’t show up to a gathering empty-handed. To knock at a door without a casserole or even a simple mason jar filled with fresh picked blooms? Why my dear mother, rest her soul, would have been simply mortified!

I’m not all lace and doilies, mind you. I am gracious and refined at times, but will dig my hands in the dirt and grime. Just be sure I have a proper apron and brimmed hat. My fair Suhthun complexion demands protection from our hahsh climate.

I will bring you a snack when you’re hungry, refreshment when you’re pahched. I can quote the Bible, Flannery O’Connor, and Dolly Parton in the same afternoon chat. I am as well read as my farmily is well fed.

Many times I smile when I am angered. I’ve mastered the gentle art of holding my tongue when others try to ruffle my ruffles. Howevah, do not test my resolve. Do not mistake my quiet for ignorance or lack of passion. Do not confuse my kindness with any sort of weakness. I’m wise enough to realize most irritants are not worth my energy. But poking the bear too many times will bring her roaring to life. On that you can depend.

I will raise my voice at the right time. What comes out of these cultured and cultivated lips will surprise you. I don’t share my sharp and critical mind with just anyone, but if you earn yourself a piece of that mind with your vahl behaviah, well, bless your haht.

Back to minding my own business in my own hospitable way. Smiling politely. With a wink and a twinkle in my eye.

Don’t cross me.