adventure, fitness and nutrition

Stranded

When I started this post I thought I was going to be stranded in a hotel for days due to a snow and ice storm. One bad idea turned into another and chaos followed. All in a matter of 14 hours.

Plane ride 2 hours. Drive time 11 hours. “Let’s beat the storm” I said “and drive.” Much consideration for the party of 5. We go for it. Rent the car. Two back out on the way to the car rental place. No biggie, three will forge ahead.

Or not! Car rental place is sold out of cars despite having a reservation. All other rental places are the same. Guess it’s back to the hotel we go. Good night’s sleep but hotel is booked solid thanks to the weather front fast approaching. One room available but one is not. Maybe there is an option to fly from another airport? Guess we will just figure it out.

Flights cancelled for days on one airline yet another is still functioning. Weird but true. Rebook on another airline at a neighboring airport. 3 go one way. 2 go another way. The race to the finish line is on. 

Group 1 starts out first. Dodging snow and ice via a crazy Uber driver. Group 2 heads to the airport a smidge further away to get on a flight 2 hours later. Delayed. Delayed. Delayed is what’s on the screen for group 1. Group 2 moves on without a hiccup. Both groups used technology to keep up on progress. Both end up eating Whattaburger at their respective gates. The spicy ketchup was cool but everything else was meh.

Snow. Ice. De-ice. Wait. Shuffle seats. Off we go. The wait continues at the gate but this time packed in like sardines. The irony of this is it seemed better than being in the hotel with nothing to do or the unknown of when you could leave.

Being stranded brings up many emotions. Should I stay? Should I attempt to go? Which is right which is wrong? I follow my gut always. Sometimes the path is bumpy but normally I find solid ground at some point.

Part of me was curious about the adventures with friends of doing this that or nothing in the hotel but then I thought for reason xyz it was time to mosey on along. Such a crazy storm passing through at the same time I was passing through town. 

I didn’t get to explore the town like I wanted to due to the weather but I met some interesting people and had a great time with my travel mates even if we were at separate airports on the way back. People watching was extra fun at the airport as some individuals struggled a bit with emotions when delays kept escalating.  

My last 24 hours was a whirlwind to say the least. I enjoyed every last minute of the ups downs and everything in between. Find you some crazy friends to do whimsical things with and just go with the flow.  Plane is about to land so this blog post is going end right here.

perspective

Social Disneying

This was a new term for me this week but apparently it’s all the rage. I went to Disney World on a last minute-trip and boy did I see a lot of 2020 nuances.

Let’s start with the temperature checks. I get it but wow of all the times at Disney this is new and different but definitely expected in 2020. Then there is the mask up rule. Over the mouth and nose at all times. It’s on signs, it’s broadcasted all day on speakers and cast members let you know often.

Only time to remove the mask is when you are actively eating or drinking in a stationary position. No shifting the mask on the move, in line or just for fresh air. Not to mention their mask guidelines are specific. No neck gaiters. Must be two layers. No mask with the vent. Kids over 2 need one. Not just at the park, at Disney Springs and pretty much everywhere. I only felt like I could take a mask break in the bathroom of all places – behind closed doors.

It’s normally a popular fashion statement to have matching Disney shirts, family reunion shirts or special occasions like a newly wed couple or first trip to Disney, but this year the theme was different. Majority of shirts said Socially Disneying or Disney 2020 with toilet paper for the zeroes. Interesting, new and something I didn’t expect.

I also didn’t expect lines to get into retail stores to get a souvenir. One-way traffic when walking. Cow corral type setups at entry points to separate people. Limited food service. Reduced choices all around for snacks. I only found one place that sold my turkey leg that is a normal purchase at Disney. Such a disappointment but with only 30% capacity, I am sure all staff is not working which impacts sales. 

The longest, twisted and turned lines that only an imagineer could have designed! I am an adult I can adjust. Kids over age 5 seemed to do well with masks. Kids 0-4 seems challenged A-Z. Take a look. 

I thought back to taking my kids in the 0-4 years old category, Squirming around in lines. Wanting an ice cream while waiting in lines. They always thoroughly enjoyed character visits and autographs. Guess what visits are at a distance. A far distance!

Parades at Magic Kingdom were interesting. One float – people gathered in closed proximity. The float moves on and people disperse. 20 minutes later another float. Same scenario. What a clever way to still offer a parade while keeping people together less than fifteen minutes. Genius.

Then at Animal Kingdom they put the characters on a pontoon boat and sent them around in a water tour with music and cheers and waves. Seemed to uplift those around even at a distance. Such creative ways to bend and flex on Disney’s part so people can still enjoy a little different Disney experience during the pandemic.

Disney also did a great job with signage. Reminders in lines to be 6 foot apart. Signs to separate. Seating even on walls or resting places by bathrooms had signage showing not available for seating due to 6 ft rules. In addition there were plastic dividers on rides where lines wrapped and people would normally be in close quarters for an extend period of time. Just creative overall.

Although the theme park was at a drastically reduced capacity it still had lines. Mainly because every other seat was empty on rides.

Now that I covered all the steps Disney took to comply with new rules and regulations, let’s talk about judgment. Those who thought I should not go to such a public place. Those who believe social distancing involves becoming a recluse and staying trapped inside your home avoiding people.

Sorry folks that’s not me. I maintain my health and sanity in more than one way. I work out for mental clarity, stress relief and to get out of the four walls of my home. This is a requirement for me but a risk to others. I support local small business because I am a small business owner and I need to go out to stimulate the economy. I can mask up and comply with local rules but I won’t be a prisoner of the pandemic. 

I enjoy fresh air each day. I walk my dog. I go to the park. I ride my bike. I’m sure some particles in the air could get me sick. Particles in the air could have gotten me sick in 2019 before the pandemic too.

Just wrapping up this post with one can socially or physically distance and still be active. Maybe social Disneying is for those who are extreme risk takers but even the most cautious people need to interact with others, breathe fresh air and really just celebrate life. Anything less just isn’t living. I’m not even sure if I’d say it’s surviving. It’s more like being robotic and slavelike. 

Everyone has a right to an opinion. Everyone has the freedom to speak. However one should never judge another unless you walk a day in their shoes. And at Disney that means walking a marathon on most days.

I had a great time in Disney. Made mask memories and saw a side of the country practicing safety measures that I would not have seen otherwise. I may not do it again but I enjoyed my spontaneous trip.

adventure

In the Air

The other day I wrote about my travels in reference to my exposures in the airport mainly. As I reflected I thought maybe I should write about my in-flight experience.

This trip was on Southwest where my last trip was on Delta. The boarding process is different when it comes to how they group people for loading but it’s tolerable. Once on the plane I enjoyed the funny announcements. “No alcohol on this flight. That includes alcohol you may have brought with you. Save it for the after party. After you land that is.” Silly but gave me an under the mask giggle.

Then the mystery snack pack arrived. The little bag labeled with nothing but the logo or that was all I could read in the dark plane. What’s in it? A super secret surprise…

I had to put my flashlight on. It’s a snack and a smile package of deliciousness. First I can take my mask down to eat so guess what I chewed ever so slowly. Savoring each bite. One by one. There were little pretzels with a hint of seasoning of some kind. There were cheez-its or knock off cheez-it. It didn’t matter, both of those are favorite snacks. And the bonus was the round bagel crisps for an extra crunch. Yum. A snack pack made just for me! I even asked for an extra one and the gentleman was so sweet to give me another. Lucky me. Munch munch munch I did.

Got to wash down my snacks with some ice cold water. After being masked up for so long in the airport itself the water seemed extra refreshing. I never usually say I like water but this time I can say I actually did. Huge growth moment.

Flash. Flash. Flicker. Flash again. Flickering blue lights. Lasers. All out of the corner of my eye. Why it’s my travel buddy watching music videos that must be rave-type with strobe lights galore. I had to look away. Too much of a crazy show from a neighboring seat.

When I wasn’t snacking and avoiding the laser show, I was admiring the cute little 12-week-old mini golden doodle that was riding in front of me. So cute. So tiny at just 8 pounds with the wimpy little bark. Tucked inside his momma’s carrying case. He did so good on his first plane ride. Made me miss my little Teddie Aspen a little more. 

Quick flight. Less than two hours. They had WiFi but I just drifted into my own little peaceful state of self and just enjoyed thinking about things. Making plans in my notes on my phone. Recapping some business matters from the day and so on.

No turbulence. A smooth landing and off I go to the new city. Time to unbuckle and navigate my way to see how another city is adjusting to covid. What new rules will I adjust to? Just a day in the crazy world we live these days. 

Adventure awaits.

awareness

Nightfall

It was a Tuesday evening in summer. Not too hot out, maybe 75 degrees. Sitting at a friend’s house in their backyard by their pool. Surprisingly no kids were around, not even in the pool.

No laughter. No whining. No birds chirping. No splashing of water. No dog barks. Nightfall was upon us. A simpler time of day in the yard.

The sounds of the night were so very different from the sounds of the day. What an interesting thought or moment in time to recount in this blog. Nightfall.

Creatures of the night were awake and singing to us. From the grass to the trees sounds were in full force. Crickets for sure were out in full force. Was there one or many? I can’t say for sure but it seems orchestrated or echoed.

A variance of chirps and high pitch zaps and wonky sounds in stereo in the backyard. It was calming. White noise, pink noise or whatever noise this refers to. It’s a peaceful sound. A simple sound of the peace within the environment.

How these sounds differ if the environment was a beach, a farm or a cruise ship. The click of the air conditioner turned on. Clack, buzz and the vibration hum set the background tone. The crickets sing on top of the bass sound. Layered on top are random zaps from a nearby bug zapper. Katydids egg on the crickets with their anthem. It’s a full blown orchestra if you listen.

Don’t let the silence kill you. Enjoy the carefree whispers around you. As a mom those silent times are few and far between. Embrace the silence. Enjoy the whispers from the grass to the trees. Appreciate the calming sense of the sound. If you tune out the chaos of the hustle and bustle of today’s world you will most likely sleep better at night.

If on a farm would I hear bears wrestling at night? Would I hear the moos of cows? Would I hear the sound of grass crackling when a deer passes by? Would I hear the sound of a horse wrestling in the solitude of his barn? Would I hear the sighs of those taking in the stars at night from their back porch? I may just have to research this.

I do know if I am at the beach instead of the backyard the night sounds are distinctively different yet calming in a different way. The rushing of ocean waves. Simple sounds but in a repetitive pattern. Swoosh. It may have a soft finish if the wave hits the sand or a harsh sound if the wave hits the rock. How a storm can change the sound in the backyard, the beach or the farm.

From a distant thunder to shaking of the roof when it draws near. To the sound of rain hitting your roof. And how different the sound is if your roof is metal vs. straw.

Nightfall. The sounds that ensue. Have you slowed down to appreciate the sounds of the night in your part of the world? How do your sounds differ from mine? Sounds are soothing. Enjoy your next nightfall. I know I will enjoy my next nightfall wherever my night falls.

fitness and nutrition

Follow My Lead

I’d been on this mountain many times. I grew up in its shadow. One summer I worked at a restaurant near the foot of it and climbed it every afternoon when I got out off my shift. In peak shape I would scramble up then jog down. My fastest round trip was 28 minutes back then.

I don’t do it nearly as often or as quickly these days. I live 30 minutes away and my life practically never sends me in that direction. But I try to do a long bike ride every Sunday, so I pegged Stone Mountain for today’s ride.

There’s a hilly 5-mile loop popular with bikers that circles the bottom of the mountain. I pushed through that loop more than once before my legs begged me to stop, or at least to make a change.

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I still had time, so then, in a crazy last-second heat-addled decision, I decided to climb just like old times. I had my AirPods in, I was in the zone. A bit slower than I wanted, but I already had some miles on those legs so I wasn’t too mad. Just one foot in front of the other.

It’s not too bad a climb until you hit StairMaster hill. Suddenly the granite just kicks up from manageably rocky to sheer and steep. Like lean-forward-at-a-45-degree-angle-while-you-shuffle-up steep. I passed several people on the hill, taking breaks. My steps were small but I just kept going.

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Maybe 20 yards after the hill I needed a minute to catch my breath. I don’t usually need breaks on the mountain, but I listened to my body and stepped aside well off the trail under some trees for a quick breather.

I turned to look back at the view and was stunned when, instead of hazy skyline, I see 4 people walking directly behind me. They all stopped suddenly and looked up at me. I had never seen any of these people in my life. Two men, two women, staring. But from their pull off the trail and stunned looks, it was clear they had been following my lead. After about 10 seconds of awkwardness, they moved back into the path and continued toward the top of the mountain in two separate pairs.

It’s not surprising that I was oblivious to the people hot on my heels. Music on, mind adrift, solo exercise is my zone-out time. What I couldn’t understand is why? Why follow me? It’s a clear path with dozens of people on it. I do have that nerdy, friendly librarian look where people ask me questions all the time in all kinds of contexts. But this was a no brainer. Just keep going up.

Maybe it was my pace, I thought. Maybe I looked like I knew what I was doing. I will never know.

What stayed with me is that there are times when we are leading but we may not know it.  We may not ask for it.  We may not see ourselves as leaders.  But, at times we are leading nonetheless.  

Maybe it’s not a literal mountain.  Instead, it might be going public with struggles, with triumphs, with progress, with challenges. Just living your life on purpose is leadership. No title needed. A neighbor stopped me the other day to tell me I inspired her to get moving because she sees me out walking the neighborhood. My daughter’s childhood youth group leader recently messaged me from out if the blue to ask about CrossFit, after watching my changes.

The people following you may not know your whole story.  They probably have their own goals, even agendas.  It could be they just like your pace.  Or you look like you know what you’re doing.  

You’re leading even if people don’t tell you. Near and far, people are watching. Think for a moment. What are you leading them to?