adventure

Foggy Friday

It was Friday night close to midnight. I was catching a late night flight. The fog set in just as we were taking off. The flickering light on the wing had a halo-like glow in the misty air. The southwest colors shined a little brighter on the wing. The simple picture was worth a snap or two. For I just wanted to remember the moment. I would normally share the photos but I unfortunately deleted them in error.

A tropical storm was coming up from the south. Torrential rain was at my destination to the north. The fog of Friday seemed ever so light despite the murky air and wet forecast for my weekend away. This cloudy, misty, miserable state somehow seemed relaxing after the long week leading up to this weekend getaway. So much to think about in the stillness of the foggy air.

I’m not tired yet, but I should be catching a nap. Instead I wrote. I drifted off into the creative space that I find joy in. I had just reviewed an article on oppression. It gave me a moment to pause and think about today’s society in comparison to the slave era. What has changed? What suffering still lurks? Just some banter for myself on this late flight.

Of course I had my adventures in people watching at the airport prior to boarding. This time I played a little game and aimed for people listening in addition to watching. I heard the singers in the air. I heard the couple complaining. I heard young people conversing about school work. I even heard some offensive comments. Maybe not directly spoken at me, but at a class of people I mirror in a way. I thought I’d hear more about the latest elections but not so much. The World Series didn’t seem like a current topic anymore. Just funny to hear what’s around you in the airport.

The mix of people. The mix of where people are from. The mix of where people are going. The tired people. The hyper people. The angry people. The weird people. Not really much to report in this post. Rather it’s just a summary of observations. A look through my lens. The way I see what’s around me. 

Travel is always about adventure. The unknown. The known. The plan. The unplanned. For I just experienced my first unplanned, unwanted, and unlikely scenario on trip. The spill. The spray. The laptop. Oh my. The girl next to me unknowingly opened a Sprite bottle while watching a movie. Her momentary lapse in judgment caused a decent mess. Followed by an “oh shit” moment.

The laptop had a puddle on it. The movie was still going. The bottle was still spraying. She was trapped in the window seat: The awkwardness and chaos hit at the same time. The blank stare. Really. I hit the call button. My call button. Don’t I look stupid now that the bottle had been moved to my tray table to help ease the stress and I asked for the boat load of napkins. I was a bit humiliated in the moment. I ended up looking like the hot mess while I really was just the innocent seat mate in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A little sticky. A little damp. For now I just have to cut this post short to be sure I’m not transferring the sticky goop onto my keyboard. For that would just make me a little aggravated. Off I go to really try to rest this time. And of course avoid any future encounters with exploding Sprite bottles. 

From observations to oppression to perception. This post really went from a-z in no time. That in itself sums up my day to day life in a nutshell.

balance

Busy Season

The other day I was thinking about my busy season. Then I thought about now and said geez, this seems just as busy as what I thought was my busy season. Then the reality hits. It’s always busy season.

Spring, fall, winter, and summer all have shades of color, moments to cherish, weather to live for for, weather to throw out the door, and so much more. Staying busy amidst the chaos of the season gives people reason to forge ahead. I’ve always been told an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. I believe it. When I’m busy I don’t have time to second guess things in life. I don’t have time to worry about so and so’s business. I don’t have time to consume myself online what may appear real vs. reality.

Busy in my mind is a pleasure spot. Away from the chaos others can bring to one’s life. It’s easy to tune out background noise when you are busy yourself. Now, I’m going to throw the big monkey wrench into the equation.

Despite being busy one must always remember to replenish themselves. Sit and have the cup of coffee alone if you need to be with just yourself for a few minutes before starting the day. Sit down at a table and have a snack while burning your favorite candle. Meet a friend for a chat. Go for a run or walk at park. Pet a dog or a cat and if you don’t have one go to the pound or the pet store as they will appreciate your time more than others around you who want to demand your time.

 I most certainly make time for me. Just this week I took a big time out for a massage. I needed it. Was it an expense? Yes. Could it seem extravagant to some? Maybe. Did it push back some work I could have been doing? Absolutely. Was I better for taking that time out? Indeed.

A friend told me the other day I’m self-possessed. I thought about that for a while. I felt it wasn’t something many would just come out and say on an average day. My reveal to myself is: I am definitely self-possessed. I am comfortable with who I am. I am not burdened by others who need validation. This alone may make me seem cold or heartless which is furthest from the truth. I guard myself. I keep my emotions in check when there are days I may want to crumble. I maintain the curbside appeal of a badass while inside I find courage each day to tackle what may seem impossible. I just don’t show that to the world.

One cant fake self-possession. Many will aspire to reach that position. Some may even have one foot in one foot out depending on environmental conditions surrounding them at the time. It happens. Life happens. The sun sets. A new day awakes with the rise of the sun again. We all choose how we tackle our days. 

Todays post goes out to all those struggling with something in life. Take a moment for you. Find joy in today. I found my joy today in my candle jar. Maybe you will find joy in your cup of coffee or mason jar full of flowers. Whatever the joy is for today, cherish the moment even if it’s just that a moment for you. You can reset your mind if you take the time to settle your mind.

Now dust yourself off. Wipe the tears. Hold your head up high and conquer whatever shit storm is in your path. Why? Because I want you to be strong for you. 

While I unwinded with my candle just know I focused on the aroma. I gazed at the wick while it burned. I watched the reflection in the puddle of heated wax. I got lost in the moment. As I blew out the candle I felt it’s warmth but I also smelled the peace of the scents as they circled in the air. If I can find this time in my season so can you. This can be your reset or you can choose another option. I’m just showing you that when you have the will you can find the way. 

mental health

Sincerity

It was a stupid week. Too much going on to even think about, much less write about. Everything was coming at me faster than I could understand. Get up, go to the gym, get dressed, try to accomplish as much as possible at work, errands and events after work, home, reset, repeat. It was a blur.

Finally, Friday. Dragging as I made it to work. The bell rings, another day begins. Hundreds of kids rolling in on the big yellow buses. All the drivers waiting for me to open the front door to the school. The seconds tick. Tasks are unfinished. Everyone looking for me to get it all going. I’m 30 seconds late. Just keep moving. Execute, execute, execute.

The whoosh of the cold hits me and I brace. Before I even get the doors propped open kids are flooding by, behind my back, at a full sprint. I feel like a jammed object in the middle of a flood. Getting in the way of progress as everything rushes by. I wish I could just let go and float along with them all.

But, instead I have to account for all the buses that have arrived and get everyone heading on their way to their next destination. Walk, look, check off, walk, look, check off. Not really in one of my bright, bubbly “good morning!” moods.

I get to the front bus, the daycare bus, and make a point to stop and say hello to Hector. An older man. He is always first in line. He is kind and affable. He made it a point to ask me my name about a month into school. He greets me by name every morning and asks me how I am. This day, on the Friday before Valentine’s, I wave and say “Hello, Hector!” before I’m turning to pivot and head back down the long row of buses. He calls to me by name and I walk back, sort of impatient. He’s standing at his bus door with a box of chocolates.

“Take two of your favorites,” he says, handing me a variety pack of Lindor truffles.

Um, what??!?!?

The productivity part of me says, I don’t have time for this right now. I’m holding up bus drivers who have schedules. Routes. Execute, execute, execute. But then he just talks to me about how much he likes seeing me every morning. How he enjoys our little chats. He wanted me to have something sweet for Valentine’s Day. He was in no rush, despite the masses of kids and tasks that were waiting on him. He looked me in the eyes, genuine. Sincere. I stopped and let those precious seconds sink in. I chose a red wrapper and a blue wrapper (IYKYK) and smiled, handing him back the box. Then he waved, put on his seat belt, and rolled out.

In my life’s flood of fakery and rushing to the next thing, Hector stopped time with this simple gesture. He reminded me how it is possible to just be present and sincere, and how much that means. In my rush to get things done, I miss so much. People don’t need 18 roses or a fireworks display. A simple gesture complete with sincerity can change someone’s whole day. What can you do to stop time and sincerely connect with someone else today?

adventure

Ice Cream

Who wants ice cream? This girl I suppose. I haven’t really beeen a super big ice cream person but in the past few months I’ve been tempted or teased by available options especially when traveling.

I was on trip to Maryland and had a chance to grab an ice cream at a local dairy farm shop. It was delicious. Tons of homemade flavors that were ever so creamy and tasty. This has been my favorite treat this summer and I’d classify it as a must stop again spot.

On another adventure in Colorado I had a different ice cream experience. Here you picked your flavor but you got Mix-ins. I opted for the tasty cream flavor and mixed in some graham crumbles. The little gritty feeling and taste made this one a good choice. On the flip side my kiddo opted for cinnamon ice cream which was good if you tasted it solo but she chose all the crazy fixings like colored sprinkles and others. That dulled the ice cream flavor and left it half eaten or more wasted than eaten. Two similar experiences, two different outcomes. This was good but not great when I consider available options.

I have a spot I hit in the mountains on my travels to the farm. Locally made. Creamy. Limited flavors but the best butter pecan I have ever had. Hours of operation are limited and the lines are long so I don’t stop often. When I do stop, I enjoy the indulgence.

Then I was in the famous area of Hershey, Pennsylvania where I once again landed in an ice cream shop. Here it was Hershey ice cream that was served of course. They had many flavors but not out of this world creations. This was a big disappointment for me. The ice cream seemed like what you would get in the grocery store. A big dud for me.

Now as I got this calendar reminder for ice cream it was yet another sign to see what was out there on my next trip. Cape May, NJ area had a big selection. Funny though I was going to have an afternoon treat before dinner after a day by the ocean. Fate said otherwise. Most shops were closed and don’t open until 4 or 5pm. Had to skip the ice cream as the good rating places were not open during my available time to indulge.

Late night it was for me at the end of the short stay. A trip to Ben and Jerry’s shop on the street. I got two scoops of my favorites smeared on a cookie. No cone for this girl. A soft freshly baked cookie bottom. Such a treat. Maybe the same flavor from the local grocery store but the vibe was present in the locally-owned shop on the stretch of street that folks visited for shopping and dining. This store flavor was different than the Hershey experience above. Kudos to the Ben and Jerry brand for consistency in their deliverables. 

My ice cream adventures surely added to my waistline this summer but it also took me down memory lane. Visits to boardwalks and barn-like shops when I was a kid to get a treat. I even extended the experience to my mom who doesn’t get out as often these days. Taking a pint to go can make for a great delivery to a loved one. It was nice to reciprocate with my kids and share the stories of yesterday when sharing some sweet treats on the road too.

Orange sherbet from the local dairy stand where I grew up will still have my most memorable days of childhood but today I look to add to my list with my kids and savor the flavor of many places in as many new towns as we get the chance to explore.

Travel with an open heart and an eye for adventure but keep Yelp close for a sweet treat stop to fill in a bit of your day. You can skip the calorie or carb count for a few hours!

health

That Cup of Coffee

I like to have a cup of coffee in the morning when certain circumstances arise to put me in the mood for a cup of joe. Sometimes it’s a group coffee event while other times I’m solo or maybe even in a dynamic duo.

I could be at the farm and want to look out at the hillside and smell the fresh air with a cup of coffee in hand. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s hot, cold or something in between. It’s the environment and the coffee seems to be a warm and soothing way to take in all in.

Today I had a cup of coffee by the window in my kitchen. I was sitting solo while others slept in. I just watched the trees with a gentle breeze on a pretty weekend morning. Nothing fancy but a good way to kick start a busy day. Today’s coffee was warm from the keurig with a squirt of sugar free vanilla syrup and a splash of creamer. Just right for me in my cute mug I picked out. It’s funny how sometimes the cup I choose makes me smile as much as the coffee. Simple pleasures.

Somedays it’s a Starbucks kind of morning. If it’s chilly I go for the hot caramel macchiato: if it’s warm outside I’ll take the iced version. When I get the iced coffee it’s all about the presentation. A photo is normally taken by me when it’s just right. The milk about half full. The coffee floating on top. The caramel drizzling sliding down the side. It’s a delightful sight that makes me smile. Some days the field trip to the coffee shop is just the break I need from the chaos of the day.

Then there is the plus one coffee. I may meet a friend for a cup of coffee. I may make a crazy tiktok coffee with my kiddo to test the latest fad coffee. The last one was a hit with almond milk and my frother. I’ve even had a coffee date drive-up style during Corona to keep my 6 feet distance. Sipping side by side in vehicles. Only in a pandemic would that seem normal.

Sometimes I just want to sit outside at a little bistro table and sip away. I could be a party of one or two. I could be at home or out and about. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s the comforting feel of the warm coffee and the environment. The fresh air. The scenery. The smell of fresh brewed coffee. Sometimes the company is good but sometimes the silence is even better.

That cup of coffee. Just one cup. Many thoughts. Many conversations. That cup of coffee is such a sweet addition to my week.