adventure

Damn Near Perfect

I was aiming for a damn near perfect day away. Okay is there such a thing? Probably not but I’m going to make today a priority.

I’m going to see if I focus on the day if I can make it damn near perfect. I’m not sure what I will do yet. But I’ll write about it. I also know if it’s not perfect I’m going try again the next day. I’m on vacation. Why not try to aim for a near perfect day. I have time. I have a break from the chaos. I don’t have any have-tos on my list today.

The funny part about thinking about this is I have nothing to model my perfect day after. It’s what I make of it. It’s what I decide is near perfect. No benchmark for this stats girl. I guess I’ll just throw shit on the wall or the mountains and see what happens. 

I was struggling with altitude adjustments in the Rocky Mountains on this day. Too many quirky “offs” to list them all but I was off in many ways. With such a rough start to how I feel today, could I even aim for perfect? 

I hit the local village coffee shop first thing. I wasn’t expecting much as I had never been nor had I previewed the menu. What I did know is I was starting out local. I got a smile just by the name of my drink. Milky Way was a mix of coffee, chocolate and caramel. A hot treat on a cool and drizzly morning. A little local paper tucked in the corner to read while sipping and enjoying the coffee shop vibe.

I was slowly dusting off my morning crud. The tired eyes. The chilled body. The day’s adventure called for an outdoor activity. Miles away by car. Rain rain go away is all I could say in my mind. We were going to raft the Arkansas River and it was raining. Well I guess it wasn’t going to be perfect but I was going to get wet anyway so I wasn’t going to let the rain sour my outlook for the day.

The ride was amazing. More than I could have expected. From fog to clouds to misty air, the scenery was illuminated. A blink of sunshine. A fierce downpour. A spurt of hail. The mountains are full of mystery. So much beauty right in front of me.

Just before the Continental Divide I spotted a mountain camp or town around a factory. It was spray painted and desolate. I wondered about its history. What once lived there. Why did it shut down? Will it ever be reborn? So much to think about for my curious mind.

A quick pit stop in a quaint town with the oldest saloon I ever did see. The floors creaked. There were many old-time artifacts within. The saloon was bustling with locals and tourists. A cool sight to observe. So much fun to shop in the town stores. From the thrift store to the local homemade good store. The experience was one of a kind. New people. New places. Off the beaten path. My kind of perfect. Leadville, CO was the stop. Home of the Leadville 500 race. Another first experience for me. A race across the sky.

The road was empty yet mystical form of nature. My road to nowhere or somewhere. Just around the bend I would land at my destination. This is where I would meet my guide. His name was Joaquin and he was from Chile. His accent was cool and so was he. Joaquin spends his off seasons working in other countries while his homeland isn’t at peak season. Away from his wife and family. So fun to learn about his adventures. He has worked the rivers in California, Chile, Colorado and Italy to name a few. I felt honored to meet him. I enjoyed my time on the raft drifting and exchanging stories. Oh how we laughed. Oh how we paddled hard. Left forward. Right back. Paddle fast. We even rocked and rolled in the harsh rapids. A few rock jumps. Picnic by the waterside. Views of an abandoned railroad on the river side. So much history. A great experience for all.

My day was unknown at the start. My day could have been altered many times. I had a positive outlook amidst the bad weather and other variables. My attitude reflected my outcome.
The road back was another rainy one but we stopped in the towns along the way to catch a glimpse of local life. I’m pretty sure I was in bed by 8pm. I would say this was a near perfect day for me.

family

Small Town USA

On an extended road trip, I had the pleasure of staying in one of my family’s heritage hometowns, Bemus Point, New York. Perched on Lake Chatauqua in western New York state, Bemus Point has a population of about 350 people. This population swells a bit in the summer and drops in the harsh northern winter, I’d suspect. Far removed from my densely populated life in suburban Atlanta.

Small towns are fascinating, so very different from my suburban life. I immediately noticed the banners on every light pole with photos of all the graduates from the local high school. Each student had their own banner, their own celebration. There were maybe 50-60 banners. My daughter’s graduating class is almost 1,000 in number. It was impossible to imagine how many miles of light poles her class would cover! Above each was an American flag.

Little woodchucks scampered everywhere on my morning runs. Numerous deer leaped for cover as I approached. Many of them were just out by the roadway nibbling when I startled them. So many creatures without that many people stirring at all hours. I smiled driving through the country side seeing all the different “heads up” signs for drivers. I’m used to seeing signs to watch for deer, but we also saw signs for tractors, bears, moose or elk (maybe?) and snowmobiles. We were way out in the northern sticks, sharing the road with many other creatures, not just cushy suburban SUVs.

Speaking of sticks, there were so many roadside pickups for firewood just out in people’s front yards. Hand painted signs…$5.00, $4.00, pay what you can. The honor system in full effect. (I also wondered if there was a price war between neighbors!)

My mother once lived in this town, and her parents spent decades living here. My family road tripped here many summers in my youth. Several downtown shops I visited as a child were still there. A local grocery store. A general store turned souvenir shop. The wing place near the dock. Each had a rocky road through the years but made it.

When we went out for dinner, many other parties that came in dropped by to say hello. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Driving around town with my aunt and uncle was a parade of small town dramas. Stories would tumble out as we passed houses of friends and family. Where someone had worked for the summer. Which person had sold their house for too much or too little. Who broke rules that brought them in front of the town council. Who didn’t keep their property up well or planted trees to block someone else’s view of the lake on purpose. Small town charm as well as small-minded petty. Little room to forget when the stories are so narrow and intertwined. Grudges and alliances last across generations.

Small town life has its ups and downs. A pleasant place to visit and remember.

author moments

New Year New Fun

As the new year is upon us, I like to review. For me I took a random look at my blog content for 2020. I reached out and pulled up 3 random postings. Now I will reflect on my review of this in a snapshot since so much change was upon the world in 2020.

Daydreaming 8/26/20

Ah the day dream post. I admire Sara Blakely from afar. If I happen to be on LinkedIn I may catch a daily dose of her sass and awesomeness. I may catch a photo of the vibe in her office from the acquaintance I know who works there. It’s a great glimpse into the dynamic work / life balance of a positive woman in business. Not to mention she has amazing coffee cup poses. Details matter. Not only is she thriving during the pandemic she is still inspiring through her Red Backpack Grant program. Amazing work!

This reflection reminds me to always dream. Always be looking to what’s possible on the horizon. How to be fresh when all else seems ordinary.

This year I drifted to daydream about growth. It’s a widely casted net but it has thus far provided amazing opportunities. Just dream it. Just keep dreaming!

Gift of Words 12/23/20

I read this post and reread it several times. A different view or vantage point as this task pulled random posts.

My two cents is what an amazing post. Just what many needed to read about. However, I thought about words in written form vs. words spoken. How much are people missing that spoken connection?

I used to think we needed to have the verbal interaction however since the world has been digital I see how some deal without those words everyday. Those who are deaf can’t hear the word but they rely on sign language and reading lips. If they already weren’t dealt a raw hand with being deaf, now they have to deal with masks. That may take communication away for those people. Or does it?

We have text. Generally speaking before the pandemic I thought texting was lazy. A way to hide and not face people in person. I never considered the shy person or the person with anxiety who struggles in speaking publicly. Texting is a communication outlet. It’s an option for those who can’t read lips now. 

What about the slow thinkers? They can craft their words in written form until they see perfection vs. having diarrhea of the mouth. These things never carried much weight for me before the pandemic. I thought about you can’t hear emotion. You can’t hear tone. Too much room for misinterpretation. How I missed the big picture.

The gift of words can be spoken, written by hand, texted and any other form some may use of other digital form such as photos, Bitmoji, or icons. Just another slant on the gift of words as I reflect.

One can be capable of reading emotion, intention, pain if they listen to the words in a text vs. focus on the written word in isolation. 

Oops I Did It 9/19/20

Well this is such a funny recap today of all days. It’s about my shoe fetish and my special edition Nike metcons I bought this year. 

I love them to this day. One of my favorite shoe purchases to date. They always get a second look. Some think I have on two different shoes. Nope, but I have done that before. Others think they are custom. Nope. They are a mashups of the year’s hits.

Complex, colorful and just badass. Not made for the basic person. Made for those bold enough to strut around in them. I just love them.

But the real irony is earlier today I was on the nike.com website designing a new pair of custom shoes. I wanted a new pair to launch the new year and nothing on the shelf jumped out at me. That meant I needed to design a bold pair. I have an upcoming competition and definitely need some new shoes to celebrate my competition.

There they are. Check out the colors and the bold design. Dr. Seuss said why fit in when you were born to stand out? I’m choosing to ring in the new year with some flair on my feet. I probably need them to run, jump, bounce and leap around all the obstacles. They will still be lurking as I try to launch an amazing year.

This little reflection exercise was fun and spontaneous. I think I’ll make it an annual project. I hope you can find something fun in your life to do like I just did. 

giving

Cheering People On Who Need It

You never know who it might be.

Maybe it’s the co-worker everyone finds annoying because they seem to be so hypersensitive about the pandemic and germs and social distancing and sanitizer.

Maybe it’s the colleague who shows up on time every day to his job, doesn’t necessarily go above and beyond but quietly and dutifully does what is required.

Maybe it’s the person who is constantly cheering everyone else on. Posting photos with wide smiles. Positive quotes.

I know each of these people. And I know they are each suffering in their own ways. Do you know these people? When you look around, really look, do you see them?

Yes, I have that co-worker who keeps his door closed. Who was afraid to come back to work and still has those fears but needs the income and benefits. Who people roll their eyes about in conversation because he wants his room cleaned multiple times per day.

So what did I do? I wrote him a thank you note. I complimented his work to my boss. I went out of my way to appreciate him. He is not having an easy time.

The person who is always positive? Once in a while she gives a glimpse into her struggles. She drops a hint. But then she keeps on encouraging. I see a bit of myself in her. Or the person I hope to be. I try to tell her often how much she is a light in my life. It reminds me of someone like Robin Williams, among others, who seemed so funny and light and full of life. Sometime there is struggle there. Who might be putting on a brave face?

It’s the “in the middle” or “under the radar” people I have been trying to look out for lately. Those who are just going through the motions. Nothing unusual. No big highs or red flags. Maybe they’re just kind of invisible.

How are they holding up? Are they barely holding it together? I worry about forgetting people. I worry about people feeling alone and forgotten. When I text to check in on someone and it’s been a month since I’ve heard, I know I need to do better.

I have the fatigue that many others do. The whole thing is wearing on me. My gratitude muscles are sort of flabby. They aren’t as strong as they used to be. I need to keep reaching, stretching, and extending them.

Look around you. Do you see any of these people? How can you give them a lift, show appreciation, let them know they are seen?

The holidays will continue. Think of some unique ways you can lift people up in these draggy times.

perspective

Reflections

What do reflections tell us or teach us? If you look at your reflection in the water, the image may be distorted. If you look at your reflection in a mirror it may also be distorted. However if we reflect upon a picture, not much is hidden. A still moment of you. Marked in time.

Photos are often snapped by others. Said photos may show you a side, an angle, or a view of yourself you are not used to seeing. Or maybe it’s a version or portion of yourself you ignore purposely. It may even be a rude awakening of how you really look to others.

When you look at a picture you see you. The good. The bad. The ugly. How you reflect upon the visual image is completely up to you. 

You can focus on the negative or find the positives in any photo of yourself. For me, I have my moments where I look at the aesthetic piece and say ugh… but then I shift to what I can control. My attitude. My desire to improve. My ability to create change.

Can you look at your reflection and do the same? It’s a challenge of sorts. Take the blurred self-image and create the you that you want to see all the time. The look you want others to see of you. 

Maybe you want to smile brighter. Maybe you want to dress sharper. Maybe you want a new hair color. Maybe it’s a fresh haircut. Whatever you reflect on, you can change if you so desire.

My reflection inspired me recently. I won’t bore you with the details as the point of the post is I reflect on myself to improve. I mapped a plan in my mind to execute the improvement.

I did that! I invoked the desire to change. I charted the path. I put the work in. I valued me. I valued my time to change what I wanted to change in my reflection.

My change could be physical but it doesn’t need to be. It could be a spiritual change. A mindset change. It could even be an emotional change.

I noted in a previous post about how others are watching. They may watch whether you strut or walk timidly. That’s right your gait can tell a lot about you. It used to be the handshake in business that defined you but now thanks to corona and the digital arena we live in today we must adapt. Adapt our reflection to meet today’s demands.

I did just that. I asked myself or my reflection how I can up my game. What can I modify within to recreate, repurpose, reposition or redirect to suit my forward-thinking self.

I’m a work in progress. An artist piece that is moldable and remoldable. Never boring. Never stale. Dynamic. A modifiable masterpiece.

My reflection is shifting. Just like life.