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.

fitness and nutrition

5-10-15-20

Counting by fives is easy. You can count quickly with this method. Could counting by fives ever have a negative effect? Can you reverse a negative effect?

Let’s look at a 5-pound fluctuation on the scale. It is not a big deal to many. A scale can fluctuate and 5 pounds is a good cushion for many splurges or environmental issues. I’m in agreement. Up or down five is considered acceptable.

Now let’s just say you were fluctuating on the high side on the scale. You know that but you add 5 more pounds. Technically that’s 10 pounds in total but since you are counting by fives the justification is it’s just five pounds.  Not a big deal, right? 

It happens again. Now that totals 15 pounds but really it was just five pounds, right? What I’m getting at is counting by fives could diminish the big picture number if you look at things a certain way. Like by just 5 here and there. It’s easy to do if you are not paying attention or are choosing to look the other way for whatever reason. That’s why many long term weight loss programs require tracking. Without that measurement stick it’s easy to get off track.

I’m not a big scale person. I mean I don’t like to look at it daily as it becomes a consuming and daunting task. However for those who watch their weight to an extent it’s a needed measurement tool. One of many tools.

For me, I have been off my macro counting for a good bit (over a year).  Wanting to see how I fared eyeballing things. I did well. I could handle it. What I learned when I meticulously watched my macros was instilled in me. A routine. A habit. I was strong and consistent.

However, when I’m not tracking it’s easy to add in an ice cream, a candy, a drink, and other small items that add up in time. The 5, 5, 5 scenario…

Before you know it, five becomes ten, ten become fifteen and so on. For me counting by fives can have a negative connotation. During Corona I counted by five. I counted more than once by five. It added up.

The good news is I didn’t let fives multiply to the point of no return. I shook myself and said let’s get back on track and count macros to reverse by fives. I will use the scale as a tool. I’ll use my measuring tape to monitor inches and I will use myfitnesspal to track my intake daily until I’ve reversed the effects of just 5 pounds. I know how to do it. I just need to buckle down. Take the task on. Own it. 

We all have our own challenges of maintaining the physical / mental balance that’s right for each of us at each stage of life. Pandemic included! For me, I know my happy place on a scale, in inches and in macros. I just need to be diligent in staying the course even when a pandemic hits. Basically eliminate excuses and although a treat is okay here and there. I need to choose what’s worth the indulgence vs. slipping into a 5, 5, 5 scenario.

Another tale of how to saddle up and put in work. Success is something you work for and sometimes you have to work for it multiple times. Trust the process. Learn each time. Counting by fives in reverse. That’s how I got here. That’s how I will get back to my starting point. No big deal. Just need to practice some patience while being consistent.

For some reason I think counting backwards by five is much more difficult than adding by five. What an irony. With all that being said it’s not hard to get started. Just takes a little self motivation.

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.

perspective

Voting

Voting is kind of a big deal to me.

Don’t get me wrong…I hate the politics, the mud slinging, and the animosity. The ads, the flyers in the mail, and all that other garbage isn’t my thing. Still, I get a little choked up when we stand in line and wait our turn to cast our ballots. My parents taught me it was a big deal. I’m not perfect in voting in runoffs and other local things, but I do show up for many voting opportunities.

This time around, we’ve already been inundated with media about long lines and voting issues. I opened the “wait times” webpage for my county on the first day of early voting. The first day had the lines at 7 hours at one polling place! My husband got it in on the third or fourth day. When I saw “15 minutes” one Friday after work, I pointed my car in that direction.

It was a beautiful fall afternoon. A bit of chill and breeze in the air. People waited in a long line that stretched around the fairgrounds. Everyone had masks on. People gave each other space. The man in front of me had scrubs on and had his wife and small kids in tow. People brought lawn chairs just in case. It was peaceful. The line moved along. People of different races, different backgrounds, different experiences and belief systems. We all just waited our turn.

Clipboard man came out with armloads of 10 at a time. Instructions were shouted. People followed along. No drama, no fisticuffs. A sharp contrast from the mutiny and anger we see in the news. I will say there were several armed officers standing by. Hopefully they were not the cause for the calm. An insurance policy I’d hope we would never need.

I waited maybe 30 minutes. We moved through the stations quickly. The poll workers were as diverse as the line waiting. All ages, genders, races. People I wouldn’t envision sitting together at a restaurant table or bar working in concert, communicating, even laughing. Filling a role to keep this democracy thing going.

I got my card and my “voting stylus” – a new pandemic souvenir. I voted. I scanned my ballot, which I don’t remember doing before. I took my sticker. Almost 10,000 votes had already been cast at that one voting place in day 5 of early voting.

I guess I’m just nostalgic, but my chest swells when I think that I get a voice in making these decisions, and my voice is just as important as any other. There are always problems. Voter suppression. Intimidation. I’m not naive enough to think there aren’t people actively trying to undermine something so important, powerful, and influential. But for the moment, I am celebrating the fact that I get to play a role in the process.

If you can, VOTE! And tell the people that matter to you to do it, too.

mental health, perspective

The Web

Can you see the web hidden in the dew and the sunlight? If you can’t it’s okay. I will tell you about it.

The web is masterfully crafted. Many layers. Anchored skillfully. It was a beautiful web. There were spiders to the eye. There were no prey woven in. It was a midnight masterpiece I’m sure. One that a skillful spider crafted while I slept. 

When I awoke it caught my eye in sun. It was hard to get a picture but the dew and the sun made it stunning to admire. Not many can say they found a web stunning but on this day I did.

It’s craftsmanship had me interested. Much like life we live with many tangled layers similar to a web. Carefully crafted relationships. Overlapping work and pleasure lines. Family connections. Friend circles. All interwoven to fit what we call life.

I was drawn to this web today. A simple part of nature. Many won’t see. Many will take for granted or even wipe it a way in an instant. But the beauty of it all is a spider will get back up and craft a different web. Maybe one that can withstand more than just a simple wipe away.

This was a firmly build web. Anchored. Robust. How does your life web compare? Is it flimsy? Can it be wiped away easily? Are you memorable like this web was for me? Can you say your feet are planted firmly in life?

Life is so full of many ups and downs. Sometimes you have to pick yourself off the ground and start fresh to build a better life web. The beauty is we are all capable of doing this. 

Get after your day today. Look at your web. If it’s tangled, worn or flimsy look at options to refresh your web of life. If it’s robust and built sturdy look around and see if you can share your gift of life stability with others. Somebody nearby may need help with their web.

Enjoy your day.