inspire

Writers Block

Lately I’ve felt like I’ve had writer’s block. I have a lot to write but I don’t necessarily want to write as most of it appears negative. However, when I sit back and reflect I think it’s the perfect time to write. Go offload the blah.

When thinking about a picture for this post I immediately thought of my current book passed on to me. The No Asshole Rule is my current read. Although just into it a few pages I thought about the title. It’s meaning. It’s importance. Then I thought about my writings. My audience. My titles. The importance, hence you get today’s joyful rant. Consider this the no asshole zone. Or maybe I am an asshole. Asshat. Arsehole. Assclown.

The system(s) of life can be draining. The political system. The government system. The judicial system. The whole nine yards. Systems are in place to maintain consistency and reduce problems. However, many of our systems are outdated at best. Many systems are broken. What used to work doesn’t. When systems show signs of weakness they should be able to bend and flex, but it doesn’t because it’s a fixed system.

Life is messy. People are messy. Drama is always lurking. Money is the root of all evil in my eyes and ties to most systems, people and problems. The more you have the more you waste. The more money you have, the bigger the target on your back. Politics thrive on money. The government likes to waste money.  Money rules life. Money is a system in itself. A corrupt system because it’s not always fair and consistent among all people.

The judicial system shows different signs of weakness yet its system hasn’t been updated.

I coach one tangled in this system. Most days it’s unkind. Most days money is factor. Money ties to this service. Money means you can’t have this service. Money or cost means you can’t get something you need. Nobody can fix the system because it’s broken and robotic souls manage the chaos. 

The things I’ve seen in 2022 cause me great pause. Influential leaders covering their own ass at the expense of another. Those making examples of this or that instead of doing what’s right. So many people in general taken advantage of. So many trying to beat the system. The proverbial system. The system that sticks out likd a sore thumb.

I like to think I give enough in life to others to know karma is on my side. What about others? Where do they fall on the spectrum? Has the world changed so much in my 50 years that one’s self preservation rules over what’s right? Does money solve problems or create problems?

Each day I seem to walk through the mud of life. Some days the mud seems to be thick and heavy weighing me down. Some days it’s just annoying like a rainy day puddles in a field causing aggravation but not devastation. And then the days that the mud feels like it’s quicksand in disguise. If you don’t move fast enough you will be sucked in. I’m not alone. Many are on the struggle bus at various stages or phases of life.

Kids

Work

People

Family

Money

Politics

Religion 

These are just some of the the words that form a tangled web in which we must coexist. We live in a technology world much like the Jetsons cartoon yet our systems are still built on the foundations of the Wild West. Crazy but in my eyes it’s true.

I still have much more to write but this rant will be paused here. In the muck of it all. May this post allow you to reflect on you and what you do for others, for self, for the system or even how the system impacts you. Heck it was just 2020 when the system dictated everything for us thanks to corona. Did we learn anything? Did we make adjustments?

balance

Dirt Road and Vines

Not all dirt road lead to wineries but on this fall Saturday my dirt road headed right to one of the cool wineries in North Georgia. Cavender Creek is just about an hour or so outside of the city near the college town of Dahlonega. Home to the University of North Georgia. Turning off the main road you drive a short distance on the dusty road as you see the vines in the sunshine.

Just beyond the vines is a little rustic oasis. I went for the sole purpose of sucking on their wine slushy flavor of the day or a swirl if they had more than one flavor while enjoying the ambiance. I was in luck. Pink Starburst and Lime starburst were the flavors to swirl on the sunny weekend afternoon. Perfect presentation with the twisty straw for flair. And it tasted just as good as it looked. One must always be careful not to suck too fast or that pretty slushy will go straight to your head.

Cavender Creek is set off the road a bit. It has an inviting outdoor space for socializing by fire pits and on the lawn. Another deck outside under cover. A back room with long white drapes reflecting the appeal of a sunroom. A cozy group living room in with many special setups of chairs, couches, stools and what not to chat in big or small groups. So much thought was out into making this winery inviting. All the way down to the rocking chair front porch. Such an inviting place with so many spots to unwind and chat.

For today I was at a table for two but with food for 3 or four. Assorted cheeses and meats mixed with some crackers and giant pretzel to soak up some of the wine. A little socializing. A little snacking. Some checkers to play. And I almost forgot about bumping into some folks I hadn’t seen in years. This place has it all from good food to tasty wines to cool vibes with all of their hangout spots.

This day was not planned to include a stop at the winery. It was full of to do’s and times to get to here and there. I opted for the scenic route. A pit stop. Time to breathe the fresh air. Feel the warmth of the sun. Get a little dust on the car. Socialize a bit and of course enjoy the sweetness of the wine slushy.

In the end the cup was empty but the soul was full. The pillow on my chair may have summed it up nice with the phrase:

This

Is

The 

Life

No questions about it. A beautiful day. An amazing destination. Kinship. I felt like one of the lucky ones today. Remember the u-turns in life sometimes yield the best and most unexpected memories. Below is a quirky decoration that was sitting on the vintage table next to me. Too cute not to capture.

Jackass may be the theme in the logo of this winery which adds to its curbside appeal. If in the area you should definitely give it a try.

adventure

Rocky Top

The road trip destination was programmed for the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee on this beautiful weekend. An uneventful drive north from point A to point B. Nestled just outside of Knoxville and close to Dollywood. Another state to add to the list of 2022 RV visits. Documented of course via a sticker on the trusty RV map tucked just inside the RV door.

A big Georgia vs. Tennessee football game on Saturday was a funny coincidence making the camping resort a little bit of a rivalry zone for home fans and visitors from nearby Georgia. Friday night was set for settling into the site. Sitting by the fire. Toasting marshmallows and making big plans for the days ahead. The smell of fire in the air was so peaceful. The chatter amongst the travelers was so much fun. Everyone toasted their marshmallows just a bit differently. Some dark charcoal. Some light. Some full blown s’mores. It was a great first night for many.

We met a few new friends. Saw some cool vehicles that were in tow or for show. A vintage 1950 Chevy truck to a 2010 Stallion trike. Those were the standouts among the normal golf carts, motorcycles, sling shots, electric bikes, scooters, among others. Off to bed to rise early for a hike to Grotto Falls.

This hike was amazing from start to finish. First we had to rise early to guarantee a parking space. A hint we received from locals. Once we began the climb I first noticed the many step formations along the way. Some wood. Some rock. Some sand and leaves. Some water spots with little rocks to step across. It was a good mix with the trail.

Some of the trail was along the water’s edge. Some of the trail we just heard the water rushing in the distance. Another benefit of the early rise was the possibility of seeing the sun rise. It’s was peaking through the clouds and trees. Not enough to say we saw a fantastic sunrise but we did enjoy the chase.

So many picture opportunities along the way. The rock wall formations of varying colors. The large rocks in the water. The falls and everything in between. After we got our fitness in we headed to the town of Gatlinburg to enjoy being tourists.

As we tackled the city a trend arose. We liked to sample things. Alcohol tasting seemed like the midday activity. We tasted flights of local wines. We sampled local moonshine. We even taste tested the local ciders. All was so good. None of us were big drinkers per se but we all purchased our favorites from the samplings. This led to our second fitness journey. Hiking back to the car with gift boxes full of cider, wine and moonshine by the box. Three bottles in each hand was the equivalent of a small kettle bell in each hand for miles. Functional fitness I suppose.

Back to the site we go to chill by the fire again but this time during the prime football games. First up was the big rivalry of Georgia vs Tennessee. That was fun to spectate. The Rocky Flop Tennesee chant was all the buzz by the end of that game. Then we shifted to Alabama vss LSU game. The sole LSU fan was dancing and cheering for her home team. This was amazing in itself. While others not so interested in football gazed at the stars. I learned about a cool app called starwalk where you can use your phone to see what’s lurking up above. Another fun treat by the campsite to mix in with football and marshmallows.

Time to sign off to mingle and eat marshmallows. A solo trip in the books for this RV girl. 

challenges, mental health

A Tragedy

It was spooky season. Fall in the air. Football on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s fall y’all. In the south fall is intertwined with football, cheerleading and tailgates. Fall is fun with friends this time of year. Sometimes too much fun. Sometimes the fun clouds our judgement.

This spooky season tragedy hit too close to home. A beautiful girl. A kind spirit. A smile to light up the room. A friend to many. A good one gone too soon. A community left distraught. So much lost in an instant. One who will never make it to graduation. Such a loss for her family and friends.

One decision ended in tragedy. One momentary lapse in judgment. We all have them but many don’t understand that choices can have devastating consequences. This hits less than a year after another young life was lost in the same community. Different circumstances yet same outcome. A young life was lost. Just barely 16.

Some of the same kids are dealing with grief again. The same school system shocked. The same counselors rallying to support the young lives dealing with the chaos. Social media memory reals. So much to process. All the while life is expected to go on uninterrupted for many. Sadness lurks. Loss is ever so present. Death is not kind.

As you read this post, think of those you love. Cherish the moments. The memories. Take the pictures. Save the voicemails. Record the giggles. Don’t wait. Tomorrow may be too late. Also be aware of how loss lurks and impacts those around you. Check in on others often. Do your part. Ask questions. Be ready to listen and share in the burden of pain.

Make time for others. Choose empathy over sympathy. Be present with those who need support. Remind young lives of the importance of safety in and around vehicles. Seatbelt priorities. Number of kids in one vehicle. Driver experience. The list goes on and on.

Be cautious around holidays when many celebrations take place. Being alert on the roadways can be a life saver. Parents make sure your kids have lifelines to reach out to in case of an emergency. Consider location tracking even if your teen feels it’s a violation of their privacy. Keep communications open.

High school.

College.

Young adulthood.

It’s all the same for parents. A parent will always worry. It’s because just one tragedy could be their life sentence without their loved one. One day at a time is all we really have. Live your life to the fullest. Every day.

Pray for the community, family and friends of this young girl. Now and in the future. Sadness is hovering on my home front. It tears me up but only time can help feelings settle. A new normal. All I can do is support and help process the loss. Not an easy task with a teen.

celebrations, challenges

The Last Hoorah

Every year I take a glance back at that year I’m in around October first. I celebrate. I reminisce. I shake my head. Then I say boom this is what I’m going to accomplish for the remaining days of the year and here is how I’m going to set myself up for success in the upcoming year.

This year is a little different. When I look back I sigh. I celebrate all that has been endured. I shake my head at the insanity. I high five myself for conquering fears and trying new things. I reminisce on this and that. I sigh again and say when is this year over. The shit show has been constantly flowing all damn year. I looked forward to 2022 but now that it’s here I think okay it’s time to go and hit 2023 ever so fast.

Three loose ends dangling in the air. I have to be in limbo until each gets sorted out. Each has its own set of complexities, costs, consequences, and of course risks. The end of year trips are less than exciting. More have to’s than want to’s. Family away for the holidays. I seem to be missing the wow factor to finish out the year. Maybe it’s a new kind shit show that hasn’t hit my radar yet, but hopefully not.

As I take out that calendar for 2023 I see some blah on the horizon in January. A roadblock to maneuver in February. A pivotal decision in March. What I don’t see is the break in the chaos. I see higher expectations. I envision bigger shoes to fill. And then there is taxes. Another thing I love to hate come April.

I guess 2022 didn’t wow me. I’m thinking 2023 won’t wow me as I’ll be recovering from a 2022 hangover. I’m going to have to find some creative mechanism to help shovel the shit for the year ahead because it still looks like shit is going to be around me in droves. Maybe that is just the hint of manure I smell at the farm? As I revisited the post as I do all my writings I thought to myself I don’t really need to post this rant but that’s exactly why I do.

When I began this post I was wallowing in the pitiful mess of life. However reading, revisiting and revising was very beneficial for me. Not only the writing but in life. I allowed myself to be reviewed. I made note of some things I could control and jumped on them.

I added a little sunshine to my end of year. I put a little hope on the horizon. I said no to something I really wanted to show self discipline. As an added bonus others around me became inspired in ways I didn’t see coming. Actions have meanings. We may not always know what or why at the beginning but in the end if you are open to growth you can see. Funny how life works.

In a short 24 hours I saw motivation, action, desire, support, and those around took notice. You do become what you surround yourself with: your environment. Your people. Your motivation. Your success. Each hinges on the other. My final note to you is simple:

Step away. Do something spontaneous. Enjoy the moment. Everything will still be there when you return. You just might see things a little differently to endure the shit show for longer or maybe even find a way out of the rabbit hole.