author moments

The Doorstep

My doorstep has been an interesting place lately. More traffic than I want. More unique visitors than I ever anticipated. Unexpected. Unwanted. Unsolicited. Just some of the u words that come to mind. Some visitors had two legs while others had four. Oh how life throws you curve balls just to see how you react. 

Below I will give you a sampling of the randomness. Think about how you would react. These scenarios are not in any particular order.

  • The Uber delivery. Yes Uber dropped people at my doorstep. Directly from the airport. Dressed in their cultural attire. Did I mention I am at least 50 minutes from the airport? Limited English spoken. It’s a hot summer day. Sun is beating down. They are so hot. I’m offered water but they nodded no. They may want to rethink my kind gesture but I’m sure they are so nervous. Unknown place. Unknown person. So many stressors.
  • Nobody could pick them up for what seemed like an eternity but it was just an hour. I offered water again. Finally they took it out of desperation. I texted their family members from their phone even though I could not read the language in the text. Arabic maybe or something similar with symbols vs letters. I felt responsible for the cargo left on my doorstep. Complete strangers but dumped at no fault of their own. What would you have done?  Would they know how to tell their family where they were if I didn’t help? What would you do if Uber dropped you in the wrong place. So much to think about. They were understandably nervous. 

Nobody was harmed in the taking of the photo and faces were covered to not embarrass anyone. How many might think this situation could have played out so differently in today’s world? I had to document this bizarre event.

  • The landscape supplies is the next unexpected doorstep instruction. Home Depot was oh so gracious to deliver me a truck load of landscape supplies to my driveway and a few heavy boxes of additional yard items to my doorstep. Everything from heavy landscaping pavers to pesticides to fly catchers. According to the receipt it was worth thousands of dollars. They left a packing slip. I actually inventoried it because I’m that anal retentive. What would you have done if this happened at your place?
  • While verifying the order, I saw the recipient’s phone number and called it. This made for an interesting call. Stranger on other end of phone was wondering why I am calling and why I have his goods and his private information. That’s understandable I suppose. All I wanted was for him to get his stuff off my property so I could leave my driveway. Big sigh. 
  • He drove past my house many times. How could he miss it with me standing outside? I had to stay on the phone to make sure he stopped. He was old. He couldn’t lift the pavers or the heavy boxes. I was already the receiving department. Now I was the shipping department. Off I went to load his car. What would you have done? On a funny note, the delivery ticket clearly stated do not leave without a signature. Guess what? The driver just left it all without a signature. I guess that is contactless deliveries for you.
  • My four-legged friends. One night it was a family of deer passing by and lingering for a bit with their bold eyes. Last night it was two black stray dogs. They started out back then moved to the front. I’m sure they smelled my dogs but geez do I have a sign that says everyone is welcome that translates in multiple languages and across animal sound waves? I shake my head but the more I think about my odd visits, I let out a deep sigh as it’s hard to believe. Of course I can’t make this stuff up. It’s as real as it gets. I’m sure I know plenty of neighbors that wouldn’t be as gracious as me in these scenarios. Some may opt for shoot first ask questions second, unfortunately.
  • I can’t forget the past residents of the home who send a child translator with the mom to pick up her mail repeatedly. This blows my mind when the postal service offers a change of address service. Even the furniture company got it wrong. Their driver delivered a new homeowner’s enormous floor rugs to my doorstep. Those I just left as a large item and said someone can figure out where they got delivered and come get them. They were big enough to see from the road and they lacked packing slip information for me to identify the correct owner.
  • A day later the doorbell rang. The man said I know this sounds strange but I think that’s my set of large floor rugs. Nope, not strange at all.  It’s yours because it’s definitely not mine and they are too heavy to move so I figured somebody would claim them soon enough. 

Most days seem a bit crazy in my world but these weird visits in mass quantities have me thinking I’m good for the rest of the year or maybe two years.

No more random doorstep deliveries for this girl. I guess I need to get a large address sign for the lawn to make it ever so obvious what address one is stopping at. If you have any better ideas drop me a note.

And then…the extra Amazon deliveries. A new trend. Somebody must have moved into a newly build home with the same street number as mine yet the street itself is wrong. Another delivery gone bad and I’m left to do the right thing over and over again.

challenges, fitness and nutrition, health

A Million Little Pieces

I wrote recently about being part of a challenge where I’m cleaning out the clutter in my diet. In addition, there are many other little daily requirements in this challenge that aim to improve healthy habits. Every one had points associated with it. Here are some of the little things that I had to attend to throughout this month.

-Complete at least 4 workouts a week. This included a tester workout at the beginning and end of the challenge. I workout pretty much daily so this was not a big deal to achieve. I improved my score by quite a bit from beginning to end.

-Drink 80 ounces of water per day. Only 12 ounces can be unsweetened seltzer water.

This required more effort than the workouts. Filling up insulated cups daily, cutting fruits into the water to infuse them, it all helped. It’s paying attention and planning, just like the food part. I also set up a water reminder app but I don’t think that part encouraged me much. Just a buzz saying “it’s time to drink water” was too easy to ignore. I need to look into something with different sayings.

-Stretch / do yoga for 20 minutes per week

I embrace working out but stretching is something I do wayyyy too little of. And as a “woman of a certain age” I know stretching would help me in multiple ways. I usually broke this into 2 sessions after morning home workouts.

-Follow a sleep routine every night

There were many of these to choose from – drink herbal tea, meditate, turn off your screens an hour before bed, etc. You just had to pick one and do it daily. I chose reading before bed. I generally read something pretty mindless like a magazine. This was a switch from my usual scrolling of social media. I don’t have trouble falling asleep. Staying asleep doesn’t always happen.

-Limit or eliminate alcohol

As I discussed recently, this was already a part of my life. I will admit there were a few temptations with the stressful end of school chaos as well as more celebrations than usual with a lot of friends drinking. I still just refrained.

-Monitor and log progress

Logging points every week was a task to manage. With a bunch of little checkoffs, I wasn’t always diligent daily. But, I kept up. And I still weigh myself every day. The thing I still stumble over is photos. Why do I hate before and after shots so much? I always wish I took the time to do it but still don’t.

-Work on mindfulness

We had little exercises to think about our goals and our why. I knew cleaning up my act was a big motivator.

-Participate in other goofy activities along the way that keep the mood light and community connected

In the few challenges I’ve done before these are often things I ignore. But I did a couple this time just to stay in the game. One was to bite down on a wedge of lime while doing a farmer’s carry for two minutes to practice breathing through my nose. I’m not quite sure what this taught me but I know for sure that proper breathing is something I need to give more attention to.

Health isn’t just eating or just working out. It’s a whole collection of habits, practices, and choices. There were a million little pieces to this challenge. Many of them are things I know I should be doing but I just don’t. The water and stretching were probably what I needed to work on most aside from the nutrition piece.

So, how did it all turn out? Results to follow soon.

dare to be different

21 Odd Things

Going into 2021 I thought I’d jot down 21 odd things about me. Hoping to have people play along and send in 21 odd things about themselves.

1 – I like peanuts but not peanut butter.

2 – I eat cherry tomatoes but not tomato slices unless they are fried and green.

3 – I like chunk white tuna from a pouch but every other kind of tuna is gross to me.

4 – I like roller coasters that are short and winding but not the ones that have a steep drop that leave my tummy in an uproar.

5 – I like to drink from a plastic straw but hate to use a paper straw.

6 – My workout socks matter. They have to be just the right fit, matched and no holes.

7 – I like to put chalk on my hands at the gym and put the hand prints on the nearest black pants that somebody is wearing.

8 – I also like to use chalk when doing a lot of burpees to decorate the floor and show that I did a lot when I’m done. Very gratifying.

9 – I like to meet new people and ask questions to learn about them but it could be unnerving to others.

10 – I am always planning my next tattoo.

11 – When I order my coffee at a restaurant for breakfast I only order 1/2 cup. The other half is normally for creamer!

12 – When I order an omelette I ask for a sprinkle of shredded cheese. I don’t like a big blob.

13 – I am somebody’s safe word.

14 – I post a lot of pictures online or more so than many my age or so my kids say.

15 – I like to wear different shoes for different kinds of workouts.

16 – I change outfits more than once at a competition.

17 – I order my nuggets extra crispy at Chick-Fil-A. Some people don’t even know it’s an option.

18 – I like thin chicken breasts not plump chicken breasts.

19 – I like soft cooked carrots but not hard carrots.

20 – I use many notebooks for many different tasks and ideas.

21 – I like to drink Shirley Temples and I like extra cherries.

It took a minute to think of 21 and I might have asked a few close friends for help. It was fun to think about.

This was a good way to end 2020 and all its weirdness. We all have our own weirdness about us. Now go make your list. Be bold and share it.

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.

balance, Teddie Aspen

Floating Away

Today I floated in the water at the lake on a boat. Social distancing safely while getting some water therapy as I called it. The calmness of this environment took away all the worries of the world even if for just a few hours.

The sound of the gentle waves hitting the boat were relaxing. A slight rocking motion to compliment the uneasy feeling of life right now was somewhat comforting. A few sound effects from the geese in the area while the radio plays softly in background was a good distraction as well.

It wasn’t super hot rather it was about 70 degrees with a gentle breeze. I had enough time to read a little of a book, rest my eyes, write a little and feel the warmth of the sun on my body. The vitamin D was much needed and so was the change of scenery.

Pollen count was very high where I was but it didn’t seem to bother me in the middle of the water. I got to see a crane at one point and saw a few jumping fish. Might not seem like a big deal but it added to the ambience.

My little puppy Teddie had her first trip on the water. I think she is going to like the boat as much as me this summer. She has the cutest little life jacket but it’s in blue. No cute pink or print was available so she isn’t really stylin’ but she is cute no matter what.

Sometimes we can take things in life for granted but in the midst of this corona virus I can safely say I’m thankful so many things. The sounds that may have seemed annoying before are probably the ones I miss the most right now.

The phone ringing off the hook. The kids screaming at the park. The laughter along with the tears. The competitive sounds at the gym. The giggle of my girls at a coffee date. So much to miss but for now I’m focused on what I have in front of me. A little more time. A little more quiet.

Hope you enjoyed my virtual water therapy with me. It may not be a perfect reflection but maybe it will offer some peaceful thoughts where you are especially if you are cooped up. A little sunshine can help anyone if they let their mind drift into a peaceful place.