adventure

Taking the Scenic Route

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New (or new-to-me) cars don’t happen often in my life.

We usually drive our cars into the ground.  A car purchase is a big deal that comes along only once in a long while.

In my car history, I’ve graduated from sedans to minivans to sedans again.

Every car says a little bit about where I am in life.  Sedans for the independent girl paying for her first vehicle.  Minivans for the Mom of 3 carting kids and their pals and their stuff here and there.  Then sedans for the Mom looking for fuel efficiency, with some kids who can drive themselves.  And finally, as of this year all my kids can drive themselves. What a life change.  My youngest got my last sedan as her starter car.  Now what?

All the cars did have some things in common: gotta have a sunroof and a top-notch stereo.  My Mom was a convertible girl but I remember she always had problems with leaks and the mechanics of the tops in her LeBaron and Sebring.  So I stay with a sunroof.  And if you’ve ridden with me you know I like to sing loudly in the car, so my backup track needs to be high quality.

Anyway, the time came to choose a car and I lingered over the decision, as is my style.  I researched and figured out the exact car I wanted then sought it out for months.  I finally found it and after much waiting, anguish, car rentals, state line crossings, and other extraordinary measures, I bought my shiny red Jeep Compass Trailhawk this spring.

I’ve had it for a while.  I’ve tried to write about it several times but couldn’t seem to finish a post. I wasn’t sure what the story was or why anyone should care. I almost abandoned the idea to the cutting room floor.

But then last week I took her for her first true off-road ride.  I had my youngest and her friends on a weekend trip a few hours away for a lacrosse tournament. Instead of taking the most direct path via the interstate, I decided to chart a path to a waterfall hike.  It was sort of on the way but kinda not really.  It would take us off the beaten path, to a part of my state I had never visited.

I read the reviews of the hike and most of them said things like: be ready for a long off-road drive to get to the trailhead.  You need a 4×4 to get there.

And lo and behold, I have one! Yippee! Put me in, coach! I’m ready for this.

I was a bit nervous since we’ve had a lot of rain, but the road was mostly rock and gravel. We played with the road settings. I took it slow for the most part. The kids laughed as I splashed through muddy puddles.  Got some Georgia red clay on the tires and my flashy paint job. It was a long drive in and out but the hike and the experience were worth it.

I am at the point in life where I’m taking the scenic route more and more. Instead of just saying “I wish I had more time to…” (hike, chase waterfalls, stop at the sights and shops along the way), I am making the time. And no one can do that but me.   I want to see new things.  A little mud, a little rock, whatever obstacles can’t stop me from getting where I want to go.  A little prepared for anything.  I can tow things and have a few friends and our stuff along.  I can see the sun and play my beats stereo loud.

It’s a different, off-road life for me.  A little more dare, a little more fearless, a little more nothing-can-stand-in-my-way. No limits. No barriers. No exclusions.

They say the most difficult roads lead to the most beautiful destinations.  I’m embracing that as a challenge and a reward, for the journey and all that comes with it.

 

 

 

 

family, inspire

Resilience

The ability or capacity to bounce back and/or recover from a negative situation or difficulties in general. Resilience. Mental toughness. Strength.

Learning resilience at an early age is a must. It’s unfortunate when your child has to learn about resilience when they get a put in a crappy situation with adults who have ill intentions, but it happens. Sometimes it happens more than one likes to admit. For me I’m choosing to write about it.

This week I silently observed a male treat a developing/impressionable girl as a mere pawn. A pawn due to his own agenda but nonetheless a pawn. The lowest component in the game of chess, a pawn. Life is much like a chess game. Lots of moving pieces and many who think they are king or queen and like to push around pawns on the daily. This is the reality of life. Different days you may be in different roles on the chess board.

How you bend and flex with the trials and tribulations shows your character. Sometimes it shows grit, growth and resilience. For me this week I observed all of the above.

I watched a beautiful spirit say to herself, you can think I’m a pawn but really I’m a queen. I can let you think you win but in the end I win. I have resilience. I have a bright spirit that can’t be dulled by your ignorance.

I am me. I may be young but I’m versatile. I can do anything I set my mind to and I can do it better and with more conviction if you tell me I can’t, I won’t or I shouldn’t. Others can’t replicate. Many will try but fail.

I will run faster. I will lift heavier. I will push myself to be the best version of me. I will grow. I won’t sit still and be judged. Those who judge are really the pawns in life. One who tries to suppress a true queen is just an insignificant person.

As I hold my head up high, I strut as I walk away. I strut. I will glance over my shoulder with one last farewell. The farewell smirk that is a silent FU to you. Yes that is correct the FU glance that wishes you well in life.

You will need that good luck. I won’t. I have resilience. I have strength. I have courage. I have me. You may wish you did in the end, but you lost access with your insignificant behavior.

My observation was amazing to witness. My ability to watch that person shine through adversity. I’m glowing knowing she prevailed. She did it. She had fun doing it. She overcame.

She is amazing. Simply amazing. Meet my mini me. The shining star that a male tried to put in the corner for their own agenda. Does she look shaken? Absolutely not. She is a fearless girl ready to take on life and all it’s imperfections.

And just when I thought this post was finished the digital age awoke. The poking from the adult again in an online fashion. A cyber-bullying type event. What is wrong with people?

I will say it again and show another glowing picture. You can’t dull this girl’s shine. She is one of a kind. Gentle spirit, kind heart and an all-around athlete. Unfortunately some may be jealous of that and act selfishly. For that adult acting poorly: you have to look in the mirror each day and realize your behavior is a reflection of you and only you. Raise your bar. Don’t try to bring others down to your level.

This is a proud momma post. I adore this beautiful girl and won’t let anyone bully her. This situation is in our rear view where it belongs. Behind us!

family

Loss

Today was a hard day. I had to bury my dad.

His passing during the pandemic did not make saying goodbye easy. In actuality it was far more complicated than I could have imagined.

The delays started with scheduling. Only one funeral a day impacted how many days after death the funeral would actually take place. This was the first oddity.

I am choosing to write about this only because many will never know or experience how the pandemic impacted saying good-bye for me and my mom. Life offers perspective from many viewpoints. For me I thought this was an interesting perspective to share.

There was no wake. No time for folks to come and pay final respects. There was only a small window of time the day of burial for a selected handful of people to pay respects. This alone makes mourning the loss hard. So many didn’t get to see him off as we might have envisioned.

Some couldn’t come because of fear of germs. Some chose not to attend because of riots. Some were not able to attend because of their sheer age and restrictions in the area. This made my mom very sad.

No hugs for loved ones. No special memories shared. And how could I forget those who could come had to wear masks and keep their distance when all everyone really wants to do is give a hug to show your love and support for the loss suffered.

One vivid memory I have of the day was when my cousin stood about 15 feet away, fully masked saying “I’m going stay over here just in case you have corona.” Who wants to feel like they have a disease when burying their spouse. So bizarre but this is how today is.

Despite all of the above, the send off was as beautiful as it could be with current environmental conditions. As we forge ahead in our grieving process we will hold on to the memories made over time. There were many. Choosing to focus on what we had vs. what we lost is how we choose to move ahead.

I will immerse myself in a project to honor my dad. I will find a way to carry his spirit in all I do. I will find a way to let my children know of the values he gave to me.

I hope this funeral perspective let’s you think of how others may have been impacted by loss during corona above and beyond the loss of privilege of toilet paper.

family

Grocery Store Chronicles

When I was close to 10 years old I would go with my Mom every Friday to shop for groceries with my Nana. I didn’t know it then but I learned so many lessons from these Friday trips.

I learned to care for others. I learned that elderly people needed a little help whether it was transportation or help with lifting or even just social time with loved ones to talk. I learned that I liked Fridays with my Nana because she gave me candy, ice cream or even some change for helping out. I was rewarded for being nice. I was the youngest sibling so I was toted along always. I never minded the time spent and when I look back I’m glad I had the opportunity. I also learned math at the register and so many other little tidbits.

I didn’t really notice at the time how independent my Nana was. She always had her own cart. She always paid for her own groceries. She also put up the divider between her order and ours. She was doing what she needed all by herself with just a little support from us. Not financial support but assistance getting to and from and being social.

There were definitely more cash transactions back then and the clerk even knew how to count change for one dollar or a twenty. Today is 95% credit card and most clerks need to read the change back amount on the computer to complete the transaction. Such a shift over time.

It wasn’t too much longer before my Nana passed but I still remember those Friday trips like it was yesterday. Vivid memories yet I can’t ever recall how much time we spent at the store. I’m thinking it was a long time now that I think back.

Now fast forward to today. It’s corona time! Life has slowed on many levels as noted previously in posts like Nature Therapy. A slower style I have been adapting to and enjoying. Not sure how long the slow pace will last but for now I’m enjoying the relaxation.

Today I had the honor of taking my Mom to the grocery store out of the blue. Masked, observing social distance and limiting touch. How different it was from when I was a kid…. I may have licked the pole on the way out back in the day. Talk about how times have changed! The trip awakened many childhood memories of shopping with my Nana. I invited my teen daughter to go along but given corona she opted for a big no which is a good gesture however another indication of change in time. As I noted above as the youngest I was toted along. Nowadays kids seem to get choices.

In my fast-paced hectic life, I’m used to running into the store grabbing what I need and getting the heck out, whether it’s pre-corona or during corona so I don’t catch anything. Anyway this trip was different. My Mom physically moves slower. She likes to look at all her options. She likes to check her coupons. She like to compare pricing to the ad she had for another store. No iPhone to google a price. No rush to be anywhere. No need for speed. How this brings back memories of shopping with my Nana.

I observe and adapt to my surroundings. I go with the flow. The slow flow. And I mean a turtle’s pace to get through the produce section. Then the deli counter where the meat needs to be sliced just right and she needs white American cheese not orange cheese! Then we have to skip the ice cream section because that has to be last so it doesn’t melt. Then if she buys the strawberries she needs the shells to make shortcakes and don’t forget the whipped cream. None of this was in her to buy list by the way. Her time to shop was a field trip of sorts. She needed to get out of the house for a sense of normalcy. She needs to pay for it herself for her sense of independence. She needs to choose what she wants.

The cart started to get heavy but she needs it to rest her weight. She pushes I pull. We must be a comedy show for those crazed folks darting around the store to get what they want as if the place was on fire and here we are puttering around as if time is of no matter. My surroundings didn’t seem to phase me. I was supporting the one I was with. I live life in the driver’s seat yet in this situation I am a passenger. I’m looking out the virtual window to see what’s around.

When you slow down to this pace you observe so much. Some of which can be ugly. For example, a person snagging the last can of green beans off the shelf in their haste and hurry not realizing they just snatched it from the reach of an older person who moves slow. Craziness is what I say to myself but did the person even notice because they were on a mission to get in and out fast. They might not have seen her waiting 6 feet away, waiting for her turn at the shelf when one hurried in snatched and hurried off?

She is in her 80s. She is not phased by corona. She wore a mask so others didn’t judge her but it wasn’t comfortable. It irritated her left eye and moved around causing her to adjust often. She had taken great care to watch a nurse show the proper way to put a mask on in a YouTube video and she said it doesn’t work. I keep touching my face. This is pointless. The nurse video said don’t touch your face. I just shook my head and smiled.

We were in the store close to one hour thirty minutes. Quite possibly my longest trip to the grocery store ever. It was just one cart full. They didn’t have many items she needed and for that I get to get up early and go again in the morning. And she wants to go to make sure I buy the right items.

This is hilarious and awesome all at the same time. One day I won’t have the opportunity to go shopping with my Mom but today I did. Corona didn’t stop her and it didn’t control her tempo, her attitude or her ability to make me giggle. To give you a visual of our shenanigans the photo below is from day 2 of shopping. This visit was Target and I was ever so thankful for the “Caroline cart” designed for special needs folks but my Mom has her own special needs; her limited ability to walk but she doesn’t think she is ready for a wheelchair so this was a great compromise. It also allowed me to zoom through the aisles faster and limit my time to 45 minutes with her all buckled in the seat. She would kill me for posting this but I’m a big fan so it’s an honor for me to share.

In about 40 years time so much has changed about visiting a grocery store. I have my memories and I have today. Now I can’t wait to see what it’s like in another forty years when somebody totes me to the grocery store or maybe they won’t because modern times will send a courier with my groceries.

Do you have any fond memories of grocery shopping? It may seem like a silly question but I hope you have memories like me.

fitness and nutrition, hustle

I Felt the Drop…

It was crushing to say the least when I saw the 20.2 CrossFit Open workout. I felt the drop in the pit of my stomach immediately. If that wasn’t enough, I felt the drop again after my first attempt.

Double unders and toes-to-bars were listed as two of the three movements in 20.2. Both are hated movements by me and I got them both in one workout. How will I ever move past the mental mountain I created for myself?

It started with my normal Friday workout attempt accompanied by hundreds of failures. Not joking!

It took 20 seconds to complete 4 35-pound dumbbell thrusters and then I had 19 minutes plus to keep going. I only needed to get 6 toes to bar to move on. Well I got one toe, one shoe lace, and many feet above the bar but I couldn’t actually get my toes, shoes or any part thereof to hit the bar in unison to count a single rep per the Open standards. Talk about defeat. My hands hurt. My shoulder were fatigued. My lats were achy.

I was a bit ornery for a few hours after. To take my mind off of my poor performance, I watched some videos on strategies. I did some stretches. I thought about if I would try a second attempt. And luckily I had a Jell-O shot with friends that day so my mind maybe forgot about by failures briefly.

I had a weekend away from technology and the gym so I was able to recover and reset my mind. Fast forward to Monday. A redo is a thought but not a definite yes. Let’s see how my body feels in the morning. Met my buddy David at the box and he was going to do the workout again so I decided to give it a go along side him hoping to springboard off his momentum.

It worked. I got my six toes to bar one by one. They weren’t pretty and they were not strung together. Rather it took me 12 minutes to get them. What that meant was I got to proceed to the next movement which was double unders. Which guess what? I couldn’t do those either. Sigh.

Lord help me! I practiced some calming methods that I read about on the internet. I found a focal point and jumped in what seemed like slow motion. It somehow worked.

Lo and behold, I got one double under. Then 2 in a row. Three in a row. Back to one. Up again to 2. Somehow I made it to 24 and that was a personal best. Something to celebrate. I had many whip marks to go along with all the added attempts but who doesn’t appreciate battle scars?

Round 1 was complete. I chipped away at my mental mountain. I completed four more dumbbell reps which were easy for me. Then back it was to toes-to-bar. Can I get a few more?

My minutes were dwindling but every rep counts. I completed 5 more toes to bar. 43 total reps which isn’t a lot but but it was a lot to me. Another RX WOD for this girl.

I felt I was setup to fail by Mr. Castro. I didn’t let failure stand in my way. I fought back with pure devotion, strength and tenacity. I conquered my battle and set my personal bests.

This is what the Open is for me each year. It’s is a way to show my strengths, my weaknesses and my depth as an athlete. My ego hurt a bit this week. My ranking dropped significantly but I still have three more weeks of workouts to battle my way back up in the ranks.

I hope this story shares a level of me with you that some may never see. Some may choose not to see. But for me it showcases the lows and highs. Life is full of ups and downs just like sports. These examples or experiences are part of who I am. Nobody is perfect. What one shares online is optional. You can choose your filter. This story is raw and real. It’s authentic.

This is my Open book. My CrossFit Open story book. Year after year I write and I document my progress, my emotions, my highs, my lows, and my motivation.

One day somebody will be inspired by what they read. Until then, I will keep writing and working hard. I am in the Open. I am 47 and somewhat fit. I enjoy my Open challenges with friends in my gym community. Come on in and see what the fun is all about. You can find a CrossFit box in your area.

#intheopen
#crossfitmom
#fitisthenewfab
#hwpo
#kt247
#1095days