perspective

I’m Back

I took a writing hiatus. It was just a couple of weeks but that means my funnel is thin. Things could be worse I suppose.

While I was away I was doing a bunch of this, that, the other, and then dealing with some unneeded bullshit. It happens but it sucks when it’s from sources who should just keep their ugliness to themselves.

That statement in itself can be all encompassing.  Unfortunately it’s life. Life has ups and downs. For instance I’ve had some moochers in my life. They have been around for a couple of years now. I’ve exercised patience. I’ve trimmed back on kindness. No matter what olive branch is offered the mooch status remains the same. Take take take. I’m sure after the holidays my patience for ignorance will expire. I can only hope the moochers have a plan. A plan of being self-reliant. Fingers crossed for the moochers.

While I noted moochers above I also deal with a stalker. Not just any stalker. One who creeps. Persistently puts their presence in my path. The sole reason for the stalking is ludicrous at best but I guess I’m that person’s entertainment or fascination. Out of an abundance of caution I change the vehicles I drive. I change my arrival times and locations. I avoid certain places. Hopefully the stalker enjoys my life show but I have no idea why one would be continuing to follow me for so long. It’s a shit show most days but any individual stalking me should know I am well aware of their presence. It’s clear my life is far more interesting than theirs. I’m sure they even read this blog. Oh wait I know they do. Funny, right? Maybe this is a hint to move on. Or more like a subtle nudging to move along.

Oh, my fall travel spots. I’ve hit the cold up north more than once. I headed out west and lived my best ranch girl life. The airports. The car rentals. The hotels. The people in my path. The experiences as a whole were remarkable. I learned. I grew. I laughed. I smiled. I ate way too much. I even shopped til I dropped. No regrets despite being a roadie for many weeks.

Thank goodness for FaceTime. I had many strategic calls but also many puppy chats with my two main ladies. Teddie and Bear were always treated like royalty while I was away and the pet sitters always made times for FaceTime chats. As I sit at the airport waiting on a holiday flight delay I know my girls know I’m on the final leg of my travels and will greet me as soon as I open the door at home. The excitement they will have will be beyond description here. 

Until my next post I will leave you with this tidbit. 2022 is on the horizon. A new year. The pandemic has begun to fade. As the new year rings in I will be shifting my online post writing to pen and paper for my next book series. The muck and crud had us focus more online since early 2020 but as the world shifts so will our brand. Back to the basics. Back to writing. You will still catch a rant here and there online but the bulk will shift to secrecy until you can flip the pages of the next book.

Now the big question is what’s next up? That’s hard to say. Many projects were mid- stream but some sit on the cutting room floor just because they seem so yesterday or pre-pandemic. Or better yet the time before I am the me I am now. 

The me I am today may choose a different creative path than I would have in 2019. A little older.  A little wiser. I little more fascinated about writing for different audiences. Kids books will always hold a sweet spot in my life but so do many other projects. Guess you will have to see what’s next up. Whatever it is it has to fit in with my crazy life that runs on warp speed most days.

mental health

Chad, Again

Last week was Veteran’s Day. It’s become a recent tradition for some in the CrossFit and fitness communities to complete the hero workout Chad. I have done this one once before, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting. That seems like a decade ago in so many ways…work, family, fitness, friendship, life in general.

I skipped it last year but this year it pulled on me over and over again. I finally chimed in to my fitness group to see if anyone wanted to complete it the weekend after Veteran’s Day. I can’t decide if I was surprised or not that some of my friends said yes. In many ways this workout feels like a “one and done” but my friends are also crazy like that. We couldn’t all be there, but we had some cheering for us in spirit.

I was glad I had written about my first experience doing this workout in detail. I went back and reread my thoughts before I started. I remembered it being grueling. I remembered rushing to try to get to work (on my couch). Much of the rest I had just let go of.

This time was different, doing at a gym. This time was different, doing it with a vest…a little lighter than last time, but a weight I would not take off (no matter how much I wanted a break!)

This time was different, though, since I had friends to do it with.

Friends made the experience a bit less challenging. Was it still long and tedious? Absolutely. In fact, it may have taken me 45 minutes longer this time around. Some of that I attribute to a lower level of fitness. But some is just because we chatted between the rounds. I lost count a bunch of times. But I kept going. We were going to finish this.

Friends make hard things a little easier. This was the main lesson I learned this time around. Hard things don’t stop being hard. But the hard path isn’t as lonely. It makes me think about VFWs and other social organizations. Sometimes we need a place where we are truly and deeply understood.

Life has been challenging, lifey, whatever you want to call it lately. Things feel heavy. In some ways, time is moving very slowly. I’m not at all comparing my challenges to veterans, but I knew I had to complete this workout for myself as well. Getting something done is hard these days for me. My mental soundtrack has been less positive.

These and other friends inspire me to just keep going. Keep showing up. Keep moving. Every day won’t feel great or be the best. Some of the challenges will seem unending. But if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will eventually reach the goals I have. Days will get brighter. Get up, show up, never give up.

adventure

Tennis Flop

I had a match to play on a Friday night after a long weekend with my partner. It was a little cooler outside than normal and it was late. I wasn’t really sure if I needed pants or a skirt. Long sleeve or short sleeve. The evening seemed so wishy washy.

I started dressed in layers. I slowly peeled them off. One cheerleader arrived. Then two. Then three. Then four or five. It was overwhelming in a way but good in another. So many folks came to cheer us on. The unfortunate part was we were doing awful. A comedy of errors was leading to poor performance. 

Down by one. By two. By three. Four. Five. And then it was 6-0. Just like that we lost the round. We were stomping our feet. There were some chuckles. Some apologies. Some cursing. Some blaming. Some frustration. Some smack talking. It was still a game so onto round two we go.

It was a bit closer but we just couldn’t seal the deal. Deuce. Add out. Deuce. Add in. Deuce. Down by one. Down by two. Get it together ladies was the theme of the evening. More uh oh moments. More you should have hit that. More why didn’t you move fast enough. Is this really happening? Four to zero. Five to zero. Let’s get this one.

We ended the day with another 6-0 finish. The goose egg. The other team skunked us 6-0 and 6-0.  I am sure it’s a first for me not to have earned a point but as you can see above I still laughed hard. A deep belly laugh. No matter how down in the dumps you are performance wise, you can still laugh it off and be light hearted.
We had so much fun sucking today. We let our friends see us at our worst. We will hit the repeat button again tomorrow as we saddle up for a new match on the same court. Will history repeat itself? I hope not. If it does, I guess I’ll have to take another walk of shame.

Losing is part of competing. Losing gives you a taste of humble pie. Losing gives you opportunity to grow. Learning lessons about loss is important. Every true athlete knows this. In the moment and after the sting subsides. The work starts again. Train harder. Think smarter. Challenge yourself. 

It’s even funnier to lose when you realized you signed up a level higher than you should have. I guess one will see if we can get better playing at a higher level even if a lot prematurely. I have grown to love tennis. It’s an easy way to get some exercise. It has the competition element. It’s fun with friends. It’s cool shoes and cute skirts some days too. 

Speaking of days…enjoy yours!

health

Morning Mind Reader

It’s a yelp. And not a small one. A piercing, booming, where-is-this-coming-from-and-how-can-I-make-it-stop yelp.

Even worse. it’s 5:00 am. My quiet, sanctuary time. I’m happy to see our oldest girl when she rolls down the stairs but when she breaks out into that bark it’s a mad scramble to figure out how to make it stop.

It’s a throwback to parenting a screeching toddler. Do they need a snack? A toy? The blue blanket? The red blanket? The swing? Music? A pacifier? A TV show? A diaper change? Long succession of whatever she might fancy. Anything to get the screech to stop.

Her bark is the same way.

Which means at 5:00 I’m scrambling to figure out what she is asking for. I go from serenity with my candle and reading to here, there, everywhere, filling the water and food bowls, taking walks, scratching her back, swaddling her in a blanket…anything to get the ruckus to stop. This never used to happen.

Life being lifey (including an unexpected new dog) and her old age makes her more likely to be all topsy turvy and persnickety. Old girl wants what she wants. Why can’t pups use telepathy or just speak my language? Where’s a crystal ball when you need one?

Sometimes I get it right, but sometimes I run out of choices and I haven’t solved it. I just keep trying. A couple of times she just wanted her person to wake up. I can’t help that. Sometimes she gives up on trying to make me understand. She must find me so frustrating.

Just another glimpse into the lives of the chicks and our pups.

balance

Life being Lifey

Life is being extra lifey these days. War, weather, mental stresses, financial hardships, on and on and on. It’s everywhere. My work life, my personal life, family friends colleagues acquaintances are all full of it. People are messy in their best times. Now, their messiness is more like a shambles that spills out and spreads all over.

Assume people will get sick, have issues and set backs and not be able to execute. Assume extra tasks, jobs, and responsibilities are coming as a result of the balls that others will drop. It’s just how things are right now. How can I thrive, survive, persist, stay sane in light of these times?

Here’s how I am hanging on for this bumpy ride:

Eat well. There are certain things I don’t farm out to anyone. Nutrition is number one. I own every step of that process from planning it to shopping for it to cooking it to packing it up. I don’t like being off plan and I don’t always make great decisions when it’s left to the last minute, whatever I can get my hands on. I know that eating well makes me feel better and do better. End of story.

Exercise first thing in the morning. The only possible exception is Sundays. Exercise helps me manage stress and gives me a sense of accomplishment and strength right off the bat. Extra boost if I see my friends and get the social sweat aspect of life first thing as well, but this isn’t always possible. Movement always is!

Stay ahead on things, knowing curveballs are coming. Busy season is about to kick up. When I have an idle moment, I try to think about what task I can push one step (or more steps) forward. Throw the laundry in. Clean something. Stock the pantry with two instead of one. Hopefully, when deadlines come or something is needed, I am ready instead of behind the eight ball trying to juggle and patch things together. Being ahead on what I can eases my stress.

Sundays. Sundays are my reset and ready-for-the-week day. I try to protect this if at all possible. It is often the only day I start with an extended coffee time at home. I write. I pull out clothes for the week. I make lists. I try really hard not to drive anywhere further away than 10-15 minutes unless it is a soul-serving adventure. Looking ahead on the calendar, keeping Sundays “sacred” will get harder and harder as fall’s busy-ness kicks in. Even as I write this, my Saturday and Sunday has flipped for this weekend. But I still try to keep one day with fewer commitments. Go-go-go all the time wears me out.

Notice nature. Get out and immerse myself in nature as often as possible, even for a few minutes a day. Flower farming has been amazing for this. I have a couple of hours a week in our field, just cutting flowers, watching bees and butterflies, soaking up the fresh air. I keep our flowers with me at work and home so I see them many times a day. They always make me take a small mental pause and smile.

What could I add? I need to write more often. I need to stretch. I need to meditate. These fall too low on the to-do list right now and I know each of them would help. This paragraph is a challenge to myself!

These last few weeks have been a lot, at times bordering on “too much, I can’t handle it, get me out of here.” There have been times I’ve considered drinking alcohol, which I don’t do. I’ve considered massive carb-and-cheese-laden meals of things I don’t typically eat. These things float through my mind, I notice them, then remind myself what works for me.

“Self care” has been a buzzword over the last couple of years. It comes with these challenging times. Life being lifey just beats many of us down and we need to take care of ourselves. I am a firm believer that you can’t pour from an empty cup, meaning you have to keep yourself cared for before you can care for others. Self care looks different for everyone. For some, it means doing whatever you want, regardless of the craving and what it costs. For me, self care does not mean self indulgence. Sometimes it means reminding myself what my goals are and what makes me feel healthy. A cocktail isn’t self care for me. Or a piece of chocolate cake. Might feel good for a moment, but then I’m left dealing with the fallout from my own impulsiveness.

In the end, I can only try to control my own decisions, my time, and my attention. I have to redirect myself when the decisions others make upset me. Boundaries are ok to set and adhere to. I only have to explain myself to those select few people who warrant it. But for most people, “no” can absolutely be a complete sentence.