It’s so close I can smell the puppy breath in the air. A new doodle is getting ready to join my pack. A doodle trio. 2 golden doodles and 1 labradoodle. I couldn’t be more excited.
Three different shades. Three different personalities. Three different sizes. All evenly separated in ages. I call it planned parenthood. Now it’s time to choose a name. This list is tricky and growing.
Which name will I choose? Which name do you think fits this diva? How excited will the pack be to add another pal? Change is on the horizon. Oh how I’m going to enjoying some puppy snuggles. I have realized that I only have two hands and doodles love attention. How will I snuggle or pet all three at once? Will I ever have any time without a pet bestie by my side?
Pinch me! It’s a few more weeks until this beauty is officially mine to spoil. Blankets are on order. Collar is ready for that tiny stage but then of course I’ll need something more unique to her once she grows some. The anticipation. The smiles. The feels. All of it.
Dogs truly are great companions. Besties. Loyal to the core. Lovable. All of these traits keep me smiling on days that could be overwhelming. What do you think about pets? A fan or not? Do you see the therapeutic value? Do you think one dog is enough?
I actually researched and 1.6 is the average number of dogs per household. However doodles don’t like to be alone thus a pal or pals is a good idea if you can afford the care. The vet bills, grooming and treats can add up but it’s definitely a splurge I don’t mind given the warmth and joy I receive in return. My pups provide unconditional love. I think most do, especially if they sit by your feet when you spend time in the restroom. That might be a little to deep for some but it’s definitely a truth bomb.
New year, new word. New focus to carry me forward.
As usual, I played around with all kinds of possibilities before settling on….(drum roll please…)
Why wellness? Let’s just say I am turning 50 this year and I am feeling it. My weight, my body, my mindset, my spirit, sometimes each one feels like it is in turmoil. Like I am battling. And sometimes losing.
I know I’ve put in a lot of work over the past 5 or so years. I read, I exercise, I try to keep my focus clear. Over the past 5 years I have learned many things, but one is especially present: my wellness is never going to be more important to anyone other than me. And I shouldn’t expect it to be. I am the only one who truly knows how I am feeling. I am the only one who truly knows what makes me feel happy, fulfilled, at peace. I am the only one who can chart my course and embrace my goals. I am the only one who can say how I am, who I am, and what I want. I am in charge of my wellness.
After I wrote the word on the page, I proceeded to think of many things that contribute to my wellness. I picked words that start with the letters in WELLNESS, like an acrostic poem. It was kind of a fun mental exercise to see how many relevant words I could think of. There are feelings and values, nouns, verbs, and adjectives. There are activities and attitudes.
So, this is the word I am carrying with me this year. When faced with a decision, does this contribute to my wellness? If not, it should be a no. I am charting my path.
A friend. A coach. A dad. A family man. A volunteer. One of the good ones. Gone too soon. His life taken selfishly by an angry man. Senseless act of destruction that will wreak havoc near and far.
I don’t have the words to show how much I will miss this guy. His music play lists were always amazing. His love for his wife was always showing. His dedication to his kids was without question. He service to his community was ever so selfless. His smile could be seen all the time. Intelligent. Charismatic. Loyal. Taken away from all who valued his presence. In the blink of an eye.
Our community has been hit by loss. One on top of another. The same small circle of teens are impacted for a third time in less than a year. How much can they take? What kind of world are we living in when people find their solution to their problem is through violence.
I am sad.
I am mad.
I am lost in the world of today.
Is goodbye in the morning the last time you will see your family? Who wants to think about that as reality? Strangely it’s the reality of today. My co-author wrote about the violent murder next door earlier this year. I thought that was crazy. Then the sheriff shot a man with a BB gun next door to my mom’s house a few months later. If either of those things were not just random and close enough to me, yet a another murder happened to a good pal who was a law abiding citizen working at his desk in his office.
This world we live in today is crazy to say the least. I don’t take any day for granted post-corona. No way. I travel. I live life to the fullest. I write the stories of life here and there to share. It is my hope that in your area of the world you are not seeing as much violence as me.
3 murders this year, wow. Just wow.
2 vehicular homicides this year, wow. Just wow.
I’m beginning to think there is a curse floating in the air I breathe to be so close to deaths over and over again. Violent and senseless deaths.
When I travel I take a lot of pictures. Mostly to capture memories. However, sometimes I stumble upon great shots when the photo reel is reviewed later. For this post I decided to post a few of my favorite or special views from near and far over the past several months along with a few quirky shots I’m tossing in for either humor or flair.
This gem came from a recent RV trip in the Tennessee mountains. The glows at different times of day were nothing short of amazing. The rays between the clouds reflected so nicely off the water. The mountains in layers was a great accent to create the overall beautiful view. From high spots to low spots each area we visited highlighted the water, the mountains and the trees just a little differently but so beautiful.
Coffee art. Oh how I am a fan. I have no clue how to make such art but I really can’t refuse some warm cups full of fancy coffee drinks with artistic flair. This gem was compliments of a local coffee shop owned by a friend.
Two pals just horsing around. No pun intended, right? This photo comes straight from 3Splitz Farm in Blairsville, Georgia. I may be a fan of the owners but there is nothing more beautiful than seeing horses enjoy a play day in the pasture. Whether up close like this or viewing from the deck above, the unique views are always a pleasure.
It’s not your basic to do list. As it it’s not on paper or a whiteboard. It’s permanently tattooed on a person’s inner thigh documenting cool milestones they are celebrating. A reminder of strength, courage and resilience. Red indicating complete. Blank showing what’s on the horizon. In this instance the person took out a thin sharpie to note completion of the 50k race since it’s not time to re-ink the tattoo yet. This is a fun one to think about.
My dinner plate. Grilled salmon, broccoli, zucchini and the little lemon for flavor. Folded up in aluminum foil, this is a quick and easy healthy dish to add into your week. So tasty. So filling. Just so happens to be healthy.
This photo is one for the record book. A tourist visit to Voodoo Donuts in Portland, Oregon to see what all the hype was about. Wasn’t I surprised when I was video chatting with my mom on donut selections only to see a donut called Cock N’ Balls! Design no less than a dick or a penis. And yes I did buy one and traveled home by plane with it to show my friends. Yes, that I did.
I’m a sucker for a sunset. I’m a sucker for reflection photos in water. Every second seems so different. The colors change so quick. This was a favorite from a summer trip out west. A beautiful day with friends and family exploring new destinations.
A view from the summer. The reflection of the clouds. The stillness of the morning while the water was idle. The old boardwalk posts sitting there serving no purpose added to the ambience. The still and calm of this photo keeps it as one of my favorites.
On the streets of New Orleans this spring . My Golden friend was earning money flipping people off. This is real life. This photo brings up so many questions for who thinks of this idea? Who puts money on the bucket? Does this person make a living this way? For now I will just think since the person doesn’t flinch. Rather he just flips off the passers by. Would you drop a dollar or two in the bucket?
I’m ending this photo reel on a unicorn note. A colorful collection of sticky notes. An accent pen. All together with a miniature unicorn piñata. A cool gift set I received that brings nothing but giggles when I look at it. I don’t so much use the items for their functionality, rather I use it to decorate a fun office space I have. Just because.
I hope these 10 shots brought you some enjoyment. Maybe they made you curious. Possibly they could cause you to take a trip. Whatever you fancy, I’m happy to have shared these few moments I captured and noted as views. My views.
My youngest daughter joined a college club lacrosse team. One of the fun parts of this is travel. First up: an away play day in Nashville that just so happened to be my birthday weekend. That was an easy sell!
It was harder to find a traveling companion. Close family and favorite travel buddies couldn’t make it for one reason or another. I was kinda pouty until just a few days before, when the daughter I was going to watch figured out she could stay with me. We traveled to Nashville separately, but after her games we were able to spend the rest of the weekend together.
It was a whirlwind weekend of packed with fun. I had most of it mapped out before we met up. I started with morning coffee at Dutch Brothers, a perennial fave. Longtime readers know that I love to visit local coffee shops on my travels, but Dutch would be an exception. It’s a national chain, yes, but there isn’t one anywhere near my hometown. I can’t resist their positive energy or their soft top!
Then I found my way to one of the Five Daughters Bakery locations, which happened to be tucked in to a cute local marketplace. Most of the shops were closed at that early hour, but there were still some fun murals and photo opps. A handful of their hundred-layer doughnuts and I was off to the next destination.
After that, a super quick visit to Cheekwood to catch a glimpse of their fall pumpkin festival displays. I was the first one through the gates that morning, and more than likely the first to leave in time to make the start of the lacrosse games. Still, it was soothing and smile-inducing to see the beautiful plants and festive surroundings. I’m sure I could have spent a whole day there, but even just that small sliver of time made me feel lighter and carefree as I welcomed my favorite season of the year.
After lacrosse, we made a quick visit to a Nashville food hall with a close family friend. It had live music and a wide variety of local eateries – something to please everyone. Then we spent Saturday night on a “touristy” thing by visiting the Grand Old Opry. Pretty classic Nashville, but my daughter had never been. It was a great variety show, even if we hadn’t really heard of any of the acts. Wonderful entertainment. (An evening at the Bluebird Cafe is still on my Nashville wish list! Didn’t get tickets this time but I’ll keep trying.)
After the show, we drove about an hour to Cookeville. This brought us close to the next morning’s adventure, a kayak to Burgess Falls. The paddle was low key and not too technical, but it was pretty long. The scenery was pretty and then it was a short hike to the falls since the river waters recede a bit in the autumn months. The bottom of the falls are only reachable by kayak or hike, which made the view all the more sweet.
Time with my youngest becomes more precious each year as she moves through college. Long car rides leave time for us to chat and catch up. We talked this time about how, as time goes on, we’ve learned that we would rather have fewer things and more experiences together.
Just like my older daughter, I can hear that her dreams will take her to live in faraway places in the coming years. This makes these experiences and memories all the more sweet. Time and attention (and shared adventures!) are the best gifts we can give one another.