adventure

Cruisin’

For the first time in a long time, our family went on a full-fledged vacation together. It took several reschedulings, but we made it out on the Anthem of the Seas this past summer.

I had never been on a cruise. I have friends who swear by cruising as a travel way of life. After making my way around the Caribbean and coming back to land, I will say that cruising is it’s own kind of thing. I can see why people love it, for sure.

Here are some of my ups and downs of cruising:

The biggest plus…It’s all done for you. We come from a restaurant family. When we go on vacation, we generally always pick a place to stay with a kitchen and cook for ourselves. On the cruise, I loved never having to cook or clean up. Just grab a plate, have some food, and away you go. It was an amazing break. It helped us all to actually relax. No laundry to do. Even the bed was made each day. Bonus was ordering coffee to be brought to the room at 6 am each day. Which leads me to my next cruising kudo…

The water, of course. Our cabin had a balcony. I don’t think I would go on a cruise without it. Waking up, rolling out of bed for coffee delivery then taking 10 steps to sit on the balcony and watch the water, the rainbows, the dolphins, all of it. It was soothing at all times of the day and always the perfect view.

Endless entertainment. There was always something going on..usually many things from early morning yoga to late night ballroom dancing. I loaded my app with activities I might be interested in, from trivia at all hours to Elton John tribute performers, to a pretty amazing ice show (yup, an ice rink on a ship!). We played mini-golf and rode the water slide. Even a roving piano player who fit into elevators. I don’t drink, but drinking sure is a way of life on cruises. So was gambling (which I also skipped). And shopping, which didn’t really hold much charm on the ship. But the shows and activities were interesting. You could see the ship was designed to appeal to many different people and interests. (Kids clubs, teen events, adult pools, etc.) There were lots of families on board, and people of all ages. There was also a tour group of about 500 teens from Brazil who were quite busy taking insta-photos most of the time. So, you can customize things as you see fit, doing as much or as little as you like. We went to the gym each day, walked on the deck, grabbed a water for trivia, and just took it all in.

Learning as we go… There are so many little quirks to watch. People who are clearly cruising pros had towel clips to claim their deck chairs first thing in the morning. Cute little magnets for their doors signifying events or celebrations. The carpets in the elevators change to remind you what day it is. All the little lingo things that make cruising unique. It’s interesting as a lifelong learner and observer.

I also love the towel creations. I seriously looked forward to this each day.

As for the downs, there was just one major limitation…

Ports of call. We had a lot of fun doing some excursions. Swimming with the pigs in the Bahamas, kayaking and snorkeling in Haiti, but the strange thing is that I don’t feel like I can say I’ve been to either of those places. Whether it’s for ease of movement or to keep your dollars going to the cruise line, you don’t just get to traipse around the island at your ports. In our case, there was no way to leave the Haitian port of Labadee and the Bahamas stop was the cruise company’s “private island.” Both were nice breaks, but just sort of surprising to a person who likes to go to little local spots when visiting a place. Each spot felt like its own little cruise line amusement park. Not good or bad necessarily, just interesting.

Would I go again? Probably, but I don’t think it would be a regular thing. It was quite the opportunity to relax. I might hop a cruise with a few friends just to get away and have it all taken care of. You can really focus on just chilling and not worrying about pretty much anything. After you book it, the work required is minimal which is a break from the research-intensive part of travel (which I enjoy). I’d love to see what they do on a more upscale cruise line (even Disney!)

Chalk it up in the experience books.

3Splitz Farm

Going to Seed

I knew it was coming. I saw it on the horizon. But still, I was sad when it happened. For so long, I was just hoping and hoping to see the color when I drove around the bend. I was hoping the zinnias would keep going long enough to make the girls’ homecoming flowers. So much holding my breath, watching the weather, wondering if it could be. Until, at last, they made it!

Once they made it, I knew it would be the last time I would harvest them for the season. It was golden hour, the sun slowly slipping behind the mountain. I keep repeating to myself “thank you, thank you, thank you” as I admired their beauty one last time for the year. Their work was done! It was time to let these amazing babies rest and go to seed.

It’s not a pretty process. After months of deadheading, pinching, ripping out and stomping on weeds, trying to make way for the blooms to thrive, now the whole idea is just let the field go wild. Let them turn brown and overgrown. Let all that energy spent blooming just run its course. Let the seeds drop where they may. What was focused and intentional care and maintenance becomes just a reckless field of nature.

Then we hold our collective breath and see if the seeds will take again next season. My home patch of zinnias has doubled each year even though seeds were only planted once. We are hoping for the same abundance to take at the farm. We have faith that what has been so beautiful will return with vigor and abundance when the seasons turn again.

For now, it’s rest time for the zinnias. The dahlias will follow shortly after (but their hibernation is a little more complicated!) And the work of these flower farmers will focus more on paper than dirt, more on dreams than digging. We will rest and restore our energy, getting ready to return next season with renewed joy and color.

anonymous letters, author moments

Hey Ass$&/@!

I wrote a post a while back about you. I sat on it for a while. I edited the post multiple times. Each time downplaying the severity of the situation you have created. Finally I deleted the post knowing no person or persons, especially you, were worth my time. 

The time passed. Days, weeks, months, then a year. I was on and off about this dilemma caused by another. Sometimes silently debating the issues. The subject’s actions were questionable and they also gave me the creeps. Add in some environmental conditions and boom their true colors shined. Asshole traits went off like fireworks. They lit up the sky. I was not the only one to see them.

Here I am again revisiting the subject of the same asshole scenario. I’ve been questioning the gut feeling I had to write my story originally and why I didn’t stick to my gut. I was trying to maintain peace. Take the high road. Overall be an adult and a civil one at that.

Unfortunately the asshole that is in my life has grown to the epic asshole level. How sour does one have to be in their own personal life that they need to rain on your happy-go-lucky life? I ask this question of myself a few different ways. It’s inexplicable to me. However this is real life and this asshole is on me like flies on shit. As nasty as that description is, it is realistic.

Unfortunately, you will have to read the book to find out all the nitty gritty shit I’m knee deep in with this epic asshole. Until the book is published and chapter(s) are identified as asshole moments xyz, I would encourage everyone reading this blog to be nice.

Be nice and / or kind to strangers, neighbors, community servants and leaders, family and so on. You never know when you may need a friendly hand in the future and you never know who knows who or who is related to who. Kindness is a best practice in life. It also keeps you from burning bridges.

For those who are just assholes by default, I will say a prayer for you. I also make note that I believe in karma. If you are not a nice person karma will come bite you when you least expect it. And when karma hits it’s normally a doozie.

For now,  I continue to exercise my patience muscles relating to my asshole and the dumb situations he is creating for himself and others near him. I know that one day he will the get the shit storm in his face as payback for all he has been dishing out as a bully. Bullies do exist in adulthood. I can confirm this. I can also confirm an asshole can be lurking in plain sight. Visible daily. Those may even be the worst kind. Some bullies just have too much ego to let shit go when they should.

I, on the other hand, have no problem ghosting somebody. Heck you could live next door to me or work with me and I could easily ignore you. If you are a ghost to me, never expect anything from me. Not a single thing. 

I actually feel better about the fact that I pulled this post out of the dumpster file and put it in relevant. Life isn’t always a bed of roses so now and again I just need to share the shit show moments. 

Just another random post for our diverse audience from around the world. Today’s post is dedicated to curious folks from Canada and the Netherlands who check us out each month. Sending you a virtual wave from the Peach State.

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Open to Growth

Last week I wrote about making a second attempt at 21.1 in the CrossFit Open. I was tired Monday morning but I told somebody special I would do the workout again with them. We both improved but many lessons were learned.

One lesson was I did better. I improved. I put in the work. I took my time where I needed to. It wasn’t about being the first to finish. It was about endurance for me. The climb on that wall. Over and over. It was a mental and physical challenge.

I needed to do this for me because in other compartments of life there are struggles. Those who take my mental energy without looking beyond themselves. It’s weird how my CrossFit workouts that hit that breaking point lead me to revelations outside in other aspects of life. When you dig deep, you are in a special kind of mindset.

Keeping with this story, my workout bud was struggling with a movement. She opted to halt her own progress by throwing in the towel a little early. She had enough. She wasn’t feeling like she put forth her best effort. She improved. She did amazing given her experience yet the improvement wasn’t enough for her in the moment. Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than we need to be. One can also easily display their frustrations outwardly on others around them which happened with this person. The dirty looks. The sour attitude. The pouty face. The isolation. It was all there. Front and center.

Taking this story to the outside world. Today it’s a door slam. Tomorrow it’s a hole in a wall. The next day it’s hurtful words. It’s always best to learn how to keep emotions in check. One can learn this at any age. The sooner you master your mindset and emotions the better.

Patience. Resilience. Balance. Strength. These words all come to mind when I want to shake someone and say yes you did great. Maybe not your personal best or what you were going for but it’s more than many. Nobody ever gets better if they don’t try. She tried which was a step toward growth. She didn’t see it herself. In moments like this other must help the person see their value when they can’t see it themselves.

We should never compare ourselves to others. We all have our own journey. Take pride in your progress and efforts. They will never be the same as the person to you.

It’s open season. Lots of raw emotions flair up day to day. Sometimes it’s my emotions other days it’s those around me. It’s part of the process. The community. We all support each other in successes and failures.

3Splitz Farm, dare to be different

Target Dress-Up Day

Cousin Sally thought it was a great idea. She made a post on the west coast about a #targetdresschallenge. the super ugly Target dress experience piqued my eye. Of course I bit to represent the southeast.

Off to grab the ugliest Target dress one could find. Settled on the orangey rust colored frumpy dress fit for a polygamy wife. It might have been the only one available. Set the first photo shoot destination at the rustic paradise named 3Splitz Farm in Blairsville, GA. Put the date on the calendar. Wrangled up some friends to join the fun. Dusted off the cowgirl boots. Now I’m ready for the click-click-click of the camera.

Wonder who will join me? Wonder if there will be a second photo location? So much to think about. It was a sunny Saturday after a long rainy week. Three girls and guy made the trek to farm. We laughed, we giggled, we played dress up. Who doesn’t love dress up day? How to wear your hair or the hair was the next big decision. Hat or no hat?

We used the iPhones to snap away as well as the fancy camera. We heard a lot of click click click in between the giggles. We had a barn as a changing room. Playing the role of a super model is a hard job. We might have even gotten a little sweaty. Each individual had their own area on the farm to pose how they wished. Below is a glimpse just for you.

Serious but sexy Kobe. Working girl Beth. Momma Kim calling out supper. Riding caboose was the infamous brunette named Karen. We got a few group shots to add flair and tossed in some black and white photos.

One dress. Four unique individuals. Four different poses. One challenge. This all leads me to the road called perspective. We each have own unique perspectives in life. Sometimes perception seen on the Internet  is not reality. It’s just for fun.

None of us live the frumpy dress life daily. That’s a given. However we love life and opportunities to have fun or poke fun with each other. Judge as you may. We had the best day ever. Dare to be different daily. 

From dress up to dress down this group was all smiles. No matter the outfit, the smiles persisted. This post may have the most photos I’ve ever shared however it’s a photo shoot post which equates to lots and lots of photos. Surround yourself with a group of people who make you smile. Travel to new destinations. Capture the memories. Hit repeat. It’s pretty simple.