author moments

Head and Shoulders

The slower pace of summer leaves more time for conversation.

Long car rides, leisurely coffee klatches, back porch dinners, sun soaking on the pool deck. It’s easy to get lost in our phones or pop in AirPods and retreat to our own little worlds. Somewhere on the long roads of Pennsylvania, my daughter told me we should really talk more on all these remote miles.

I searched “road trip questions,” “questions for moms and daughters” and finally found a long set. Just a few would send us down rabbit holes of stories, ponderings, insights, new opportunities to connect. Once the ball is rolling, it can keep going on and on.

“What’s your favorite body part?”

This question came up around the table with friends. It was one of those rapid-fire sessions, quick answers to “would you rathers” and the sort. I reflexively said the top of my shoulders and biceps. That little spot where the work really shows. There’s lots of things I pick apart about my body, but that is one place that makes me smile when I look in the mirror.

I am a slow thinker. Sometimes after a rapid-fire question session I’ll find myself thinking and rethinking my answers. While I do love my shoulders, really my favorite part of my body is my brain. I love it’s strength and it is the part of me that is truly unique. It can make people laugh and make people wonder. It has my empathy, my vocabulary, my insights. I think I could live without many of my body parts, but my brain is too precious and central to lose. It sees the world like no one else’s.

What’s your favorite body part?

family

Small Town USA

On an extended road trip, I had the pleasure of staying in one of my family’s heritage hometowns, Bemus Point, New York. Perched on Lake Chatauqua in western New York state, Bemus Point has a population of about 350 people. This population swells a bit in the summer and drops in the harsh northern winter, I’d suspect. Far removed from my densely populated life in suburban Atlanta.

Small towns are fascinating, so very different from my suburban life. I immediately noticed the banners on every light pole with photos of all the graduates from the local high school. Each student had their own banner, their own celebration. There were maybe 50-60 banners. My daughter’s graduating class is almost 1,000 in number. It was impossible to imagine how many miles of light poles her class would cover! Above each was an American flag.

Little woodchucks scampered everywhere on my morning runs. Numerous deer leaped for cover as I approached. Many of them were just out by the roadway nibbling when I startled them. So many creatures without that many people stirring at all hours. I smiled driving through the country side seeing all the different “heads up” signs for drivers. I’m used to seeing signs to watch for deer, but we also saw signs for tractors, bears, moose or elk (maybe?) and snowmobiles. We were way out in the northern sticks, sharing the road with many other creatures, not just cushy suburban SUVs.

Speaking of sticks, there were so many roadside pickups for firewood just out in people’s front yards. Hand painted signs…$5.00, $4.00, pay what you can. The honor system in full effect. (I also wondered if there was a price war between neighbors!)

My mother once lived in this town, and her parents spent decades living here. My family road tripped here many summers in my youth. Several downtown shops I visited as a child were still there. A local grocery store. A general store turned souvenir shop. The wing place near the dock. Each had a rocky road through the years but made it.

When we went out for dinner, many other parties that came in dropped by to say hello. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Driving around town with my aunt and uncle was a parade of small town dramas. Stories would tumble out as we passed houses of friends and family. Where someone had worked for the summer. Which person had sold their house for too much or too little. Who broke rules that brought them in front of the town council. Who didn’t keep their property up well or planted trees to block someone else’s view of the lake on purpose. Small town charm as well as small-minded petty. Little room to forget when the stories are so narrow and intertwined. Grudges and alliances last across generations.

Small town life has its ups and downs. A pleasant place to visit and remember.

inspire, perspective

Curiosity

I remember an old saying of curiosity killed the cat. Yet I feel curiosity inspires so much learning.

I often tell people to listen with curiosity. Intentionally listening to others is important. Not in the nosy sense but rather In the loyal and trusting sense when dealing with human interactions.

Listening with curiosity when learning new things is smart. Traveling to new places, one should always listen with curiosity. Maybe it’s a restaurant review or even a tourist stop off the beaten path. Just listening to the sounds around you. Sounds could be peaceful in nature such as bird chirping, cow mooing amongst others. Sounds of a big city may tell a different story. Cars, trucks, buses or even trains are part of city sounds. Listen closely. Listen with a curious ear.

Staying curious in life has helped me so much. Asking why many times. Or maybe asking why not in other situations. Staying curious is a way of life for me.

Curiosity has inspired me many times and I’m sure it will in the future as well.

What are you curious about?

What will you do next to listen with curiosity?

Get inspired. I know I am just writing this.

perspective

Mystery Map

Well for some time my car tells me where I’m going based on my habits. That in itself is creepy!

In the morning it knows my route is the gym. On Fridays it knows my relaxation spot. It knows where home is. It’s smarter than me some days, I think.

Today I sat at the gas station and wondered what the map would tell me. The mystery map. My old home was one direction and my new home was the other direction. Where would my car direct me?

It started out to the old house then as I approached a red light it must have realized my driving path was irregular. It quickly shifted to the new address. Weirdness alert. I don’t think it was labeled as home but it noted a frequent location.

In addition to my mapping by my car let’s talk about my insurance app. The one that also tracks my drives to see if I’m a a safe driver. Does somebody really look at my driving? With so much technology I am beginning to feel like my next move will be calculated.

Good thing I wrote down my strategic plans vs. speaking them. If I spoke them I think my phone would give away all my secrets. What’s next on the tracking radar of life? Who knows!

For now I’ll enjoy anytime I can drop off the grid to know I’m not being tracked!

adventure

91 On Board

My little weekend escape is over or almost over. This afternoon I was on the back of the plane which allowed me to hear the count and recount of passengers manually by the crew before take off. 91 on board. Confirmed 91 on board by the second attendant.

That led me in my idle time on the plane to calculate the percentage occupied to available. Just over 63% was occupied on this flight. I think that’s an upward tick compared to some previous months of hard times for the airlines. How long can airlines hold on with diminished capacity?

I was flying Southwest as mentioned in a previous post. Group boarding but one seat open in between each passenger unless people are family. Another friend was on Delta with the same open seat strategy which I observed on my last Delta flight. Delta includes sanitizing wipes in the on-board sacks. Another was on Spirit and oddly enough there was no breaks in seats and the plane was more full according to a friend. Interesting how each airline adopts their own plans relating to safety and profit.

The airport seemed busy enough on my return leg but not packed. I again enjoyed the people watching aspect including the two women with shower caps, masks and chemistry- type goggles that I saw in line at Starbucks. I really wanted a picture for this post but I couldn’t bring myself to snapping it.

Just another day in the air for this girl. Surprisingly I was super relaxed and just observing for my pre-flight wait, my actual time in air and as I moseyed on out of the airport for the day.

Time to get back into the swing of life for a few days before traveling again. Figuring out my end of year travels. Have to wrap up the cruddy year of 2020 where I seemed firmly planted most days on the homestead. Off to adventure more.

Stay tuned to see where I land next…