“What’s Going On?” Marvin Gaye 1971

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

WOW! I know I have said it before, but WOW what a difference a week makes. This time last week I was trying to wake up from anesthesia. Yep, surgery #3 in the past 11 months. And please, Lord, let this be the last! With the first 2 surgeries (one on each of my knees), I just woke up on my own quickly after surgery. But this time it was different, they had to wake me up. Probably because I was up late the night before and very early morning of surgery to get some reports finished for work. Plus, I just could not sleep.

So what took me to the OR this time? I had half of my thyroid removed. I kept thinking the surgery would be postponed due to COVID-19, but thankfully, it was not. I have been dealing with this since November, when my doctor stated I had some shoddy nodes on my thyroid during my annual exam. What? Shoddy? Geez…. She scheduled an ultrasound of my thyroid and referred me to an endocrinologist. Luckily, I knew and loved this endocrinologist – he had been my neighbor! After reviewing my ultrasound, he decided I should have a biopsy of my thyroid. The results of the biopsy? Indeterminate. Seriously?! So, he referred me to an endocrinology surgeon, warned me that even though he looks like he is 12 (a Doogie Howser), he is the absolute best. One of my dear friends went with me to the surgeon (2 sets of ears are better than 1) to understand what options were available and what the surgeon’s plans would be. Had another ultrasound, this time of my entire neck, mainly to check all the lymph nodes around my thyroid… as long as we were taking out half my thyroid, if any lymph nodes were enlarged, they should come out as well. Luckily, none were. Original surgery date was scheduled for early May so that I could run the 2 races I had planned with my kids – one in March, one in April, plus spend my annual April week at the beach. But once those events were cancelled, I called back to reschedule, and March 25th was the date. Luckily, my younger daughter was up here, so she once again took me for surgery.

“Also highly contagious is – Kindness, Patience, Love, Enthusiasm, and a Positive Attitude. Don’t wait to catch it from others. Be the carrier.”

Let’s face it, because of this impending surgery, I have been very nervous about COVID-19, which is why I decided to work from home as soon as we closed our clubs and things became a bit dicey. So nice and reassuring that the first person we saw at the hospital was a friendly, familiar face asking us the relevant COVID-19 questions before walking us into the hospital. You really cannot go anywhere in Charlottesville and not see someone you know… which I treasure! Surgery was a success, but I have yet to figure out how I went into surgery in a purple gown complete with a heating element, but woke up in a yellow gown. Hmmm… not sure I really want to know! Also went home with just a bandaid on my neck – internal stitches, all in the crease of my neck. Follow up appointment this Friday. No running until next week. And most importantly, the results came back yesterday… BENIGN! WHEW… I admit, I breathed a big sigh of relief when my old neighbor called me to give me the results. Did not realize until that moment how much this has weighed on me since November.

“There’s always something good coming. Remember that.”

Ahhh… the gift of flowers!

Another big difference in a week? What else, more COVID-19 cases, more closings of restaurants and businesses, and here in Virginia: an extension of our Stay At Home Order until June 10th. JUNE 10th y’all! Holy Cow! Foolishly, I thought we might be returning to normal by the middle of May, I mean, my oldest child will be celebrating her birthday in May and I don’t want to miss it! I have never missed her birthday… And I want to go see my sweet Momma in person – I am so afraid she will not know who I am if this goes on too long. Luckily, the sweet caregivers where she is have FaceTimed with my sisters, my nephew’s family, and me all together so she can see us in one place. Plus they post pictures on their facebook page almost daily so we know she is fine. But still…

“I miss you so much more than the miles between us…”

Y’all, can you imagine this happening in the 70’s?!?!  Thank heavens for all of the technology that we have available to us today! I FaceTime with my kids and my sisters. A high school friend is organizing a zoom happy hour this weekend to get some of us together. Another friend is getting us together for a FaceTime happy hour! So thankful for all of these opportunities to connect with people near and far.

“I never thought the comment ‘I wouldn’t touch him/her with a 6 foot pole’ would become a national policy but here we are.”

What have you been doing to pass the time and keep your sanity while being homebound? I’m going out and walking every day, some days meeting up with different friends to walk and talk while practicing physical distancing. Good opportunity to get some exercise and catch up. Jimmy Fallon and I have become very good friends! I have stayed up and watched him every night – I love that his show is coming right from his home, with his kids making all the signs and his sweet wife filming. I have also gotten hooked on Home Town in HGTV! Oh my, as much as I love Chip and Joanna Gaines, I LOVE Ben and Erin! They are redoing homes in their small Mississippi town. And I never watched Grey’s Anatomy, until last year, but now I am going back and watching the old ones. And I have to admit this, my daughter and I binge-watched Tiger King Sunday afternoon. OMG we could not stop watching, honestly. It was addicting. Crazy! And not to give anything away, but Myrtle Beach Safari with big cats is also featured in this documentary. What? Who knew it existed? Not me!

“You’re not stuck at home, you’re safe at home. One word can change your attitude, and one cough can change your life.” Timber Hawkeye

I have also been blessed to have my younger daughter here, who is working every day, as am I. I wear my headphones so as not to talk to her too much during the day! We’ve gotten in a pretty good routine of getting up early enough to walk around my neighborhood before starting to work and taking a few minutes here and there to get up, walk around, and do a couple of exercises from our old personal training days. Plus gives me a chance to talk haha! She has been running in the evenings, I have been walking (until next week when I am released to run again!). The weather has been wonderful, until the cold rain yesterday. We’ve been cooking and baking. My dishwasher has run more in the last 2 weeks than in the last 6 months! But I love it!

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.”  Helen Keller

It has only been 2 weeks working from home, and 2 weeks of our clubs being closed, but it seems almost a lifetime. I cannot imagine this continuing for MONTHS!  Hoping the physical distancing we are practicing will flatten that darn curve. Hoping that people are taking the precautions seriously. I want my normalcy back. I want to hug people, and visit, dress up and go out to dinner. I mean, I have not even put on makeup for 2 weeks! But we have to remember y’all, like my Moravian Star being up during Lent instead of Christmas, this is all temporary.

“When all the dust is settled, and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family, and friends.”  Barbara Bush

Don’t stop taking precautions to prevent the Corona virus from spreading. Hang in there so we can end these limitations to our daily lives and return to some sense of normalcy. Check in on your family and friends, especially those who are alone, every day. Look for ways to be kinder to people and to yourself. I took to heart this week a prayer I read, Slow Me Down, Lord, by Wilferd A. Peterson. The part that spoke the loudest to me was: “Teach me the art of taking minute vacations—of slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read a few lines from a good book. Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.” Slow down, make the most of each and every day, and be thankful for the blessings in your life every day, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS – Today is April Fool’s Day. Don’t you feel like someone is playing an April Fool’s joke on us every day? A bad one?

“April Fool’s Day is cancelled this year as no made up prank could match the unbelievable SH#T happening in the real world right now.”

 

“My Sharona” The Knack 1979

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Or is it “My Corona”? I know…cheesy, but still… How chaotic has your life been this past week? Do you know anyone who has contracted or has been exposed to the coronavirus? So far, that answer is no for me. But I know it is not long until that changes. And I dread that day.

“It’s a delicate walk to balance hope with chaos.” Stacie Martin

Our 12 clubs closed their doors last week and I opted to work from home. Week one of working from home in the books. Gosh I miss my team. I miss our camaraderie, joking around, sharing our lives. I also miss my goldfish snacks and my diet Dr. Pepper. I know, I know, I could buy them for home (unlike toilet paper) but it wouldn’t be the same. Those are my “work snacks”.

“Critical Advisory: 8 pm is the official time to remove your day pajamas and to put your night pajamas on.”

I went to the office last Thursday (Day 2) to pick up a file I needed, and to go for a run downtown. It’s my favorite route and I needed some continuity in my upside-down life. Had a great run in 80 degrees – tank top weather. Met very few people along the way as the university is closed, as are most restaurants and stores, especially those near the university. No students, no business. Our downtown pedestrian mall, which is normally bustling with people, was pretty quiet too, though there were some patrons supporting our restaurants, eating take out in small groups outside. It was, after all, the first day of spring. A very quiet first day of spring.

Friday, Day 3 of working from home, was another beautiful, warm day. Kept my back porch door open and even worked on my porch for part of the day. Hallmark Christmas movie marathon began at noon – nice company to my new, very quiet home office life. Late afternoon, I decided I needed to get out, so I walked from my house to our closest club (which has now been closed for 5 days). 2 miles there, 2 miles back. I was having withdrawal symptoms, missing my club, the place I visited every day, and the people I saw every day. Felt like a relationship break up (experienced that before!) where you are together one day, and the next, all contact cut off. Not a car in the parking lot. Such a sad sight. This is when you have to have faith that life will return to normal, whatever normal is, at some point.

“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”

I am missing my normal, including my normal workouts and classes. Since I am limited to running only 2-3 times a week, I am doing a lot of walking on the other days. Met a friend and walked 5 miles with her, making sure we stayed about 6 feet apart. Funny thing, neither of  us hear very well so we ended up yelling to each other across the sidewalk! Good to catch up with friends during this time, one on one of course. I am also getting a lot more sleep since I am not getting up for those 6 am classes. But I miss them. And my gym teachers and friends. I miss the simple act of hugging. The struggle is real for huggers y’all. I miss dinners out with friends, visits to wineries with wine tastings. I miss being with my family, and so thankful I have one of my kids here with me. I want to see my Momma – I don’t want her to forget who I am.

“That moment when you’re worried about the elderly and realize you are the elderly.”

We are all missing our friends and family, and are trying to find ways to stay connected. My son set up a video chat for my kids and me. It was great to see everyone on the screen and catch up. My nephew facetimes us so that we can see Izzie walking now, and Jack being his fun, sweet self. My sisters and I have a constant text stream going along with phone calls and some facetiming. My Mom’s Assisted Living facetimes us several times a week so that we can see our sweet Momma and talk to her. They also post pictures of the residents on their FB page so we get to see Mom (and her friends) in action. Technology is amazing y’all. So thankful for it.

“Keep in touch with those who matter to you not because it’s convenient, but because they’re worth the extra effort.”

This week our Governor cancelled schools for the rest of this academic year. Parents are discovering how much they appreciate their children’s teachers and schools. This means no prom, no 8th grade dance, no graduation ceremonies, no senior nights for spring sports. My heart breaks for these kids and their parents. Those were all such special times in each of my kids’ lives that they (and I) cherished.

Ok… this was just funny!

“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” Runi

Who knows what our lives are going to be like tomorrow, next week, next month? This weekend I was supposed to run a 5k with my younger daughter in Charlotte, the Get Your Rear in Gear – Charlotte benefitting the Colon Cancer Coalition. We were running in support and honor of a couple of friends who are battling this awful cancer. Needless to say, it has been cancelled. We were very disappointed, but understand. So instead, my younger daughter came to Charlottesville to hang out with her momma. Life goes on and we will run it next year.

“Relax, Recharge and Reflect. Sometimes it’s OK to do nothing.”  Izey Victoria Odiase

Let’s all make the most of this time at home, especially if you are lucky enough to be with family. I am one of the lucky ones. My daughter is working on my kitchen bar and I moved to my dining room table. We each have headphones in, listening to our own music or podcasts while we work from home. Every now and then we see or hear something funny and share it. But I am trying REALLY hard not to drive her crazy, at least until work is done for the day. Then it’s a glass of wine, dinner, and a movie. And talking! Charlotte is shut down for 3 weeks. I plan to make the most of all the time I can get with this child. And continue facetiming with my other kids, my family, and friends. Gonna make the most of this new (hopefully temporary) normal, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Cheers!

Best,

Leslie

PS… Did you know that this week, the 4th week of March, is National Spring Cleaning Week? I kid you not. What a perfect time to clean out cabinets, closets, drawers, you name it, since we are homebound for the foreseeable future. Let the cleaning begin!

 

“Better Days” Supertramp 1985

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

(note: with only 1 outing, this week’s pictures are all from my neighborhood!)

WHOA! We’ve definitely seen better days. Last week this time, Carolina was still playing basketball, having won their first game in the ACC tournament, and were getting ready to take the court for their second game. That game, which we lost, turned out to be the final game of the tournament. Who would have thought that this year Carolina would have played further in March than Duke? (hahaha! Good one, right?) And who would have thought that “March Madness” would be replaced with “March Sadness”? And that not only college basketball, but all college sports, and all professional sports would be over? No basketball, no baseball, no softball, no LAX, no sports. Period. None. Nada. What will ESPN do? What will my son-in-law do?!?!?

And who could ever have imagined that all of our schools, churches, bars, restaurants, gyms, offices, movie theaters, you name it, would be closed? Even my beloved library. Closed. And not a sign of snow anywhere! Instead, a scary virus wreaking havoc on our lives. The coronavirus, aka, covid19. Know where the name comes from? “Co” for corona, “vi” for virus, “d” for disease, and 19 for the year the first case was reported. Creative. Just like this virus.

Last meal out with a friend for who knows how long…but it was a good, fun one!

Are you nervous? I wasn’t… I mean, I probably blew the notion of contracting the virus off, until I went to a presentation at work. Our staff doctor gave a basic, down to earth, simple presentation explaining the coronavirus, including the difference between a viral infection and a bacterial one. I think we all know that the biggest difference is that with a bacterial infection, an antibiotic is prescribed, while there is no medicine for a viral infection. They have to run their course with the help of rest, fluids, and fever reducing aids. What I did not know is that a virus is not a living entity. Covid19 attacks, gets into, and replicates in and with your cells. What was amazing to me was that children up to the age of 19, are not suffering from the coronavirus. If they get it, they are asymptomatic. (Hmmm… is the coronavirus following the legal age for “having a Corona?!”) And those in their 20’s-50’s are getting it, and surviving. That’s when our Doc called out 3 of us in the room (yep, me included), saying we were in the higher risk group. “WHAT? Wait… I am NOT 65 years old yet!” I told him… to which he responded… “the high risk group is over 60.” Uh-oh… ok, that is me. Sorry Doc. I am officially nervous.

So… what was his advice? Wash your hands. Constantly. For 20 seconds. Don’t touch your face, your nose, your mouth, or your eyes. (Do you know how many times you touch your face in an hour? 23+) And practice “social distancing.” Immediately. Of course, at the time we were all jammed into our conference room, but… well…

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.”

Social distancing? Huh? Ever heard of that phrase before last week? Me either. Yes, we should keep a distance of about 6 feet between us and the next person, as droplets from coughs and sneezes can travel up to 6 feet. UVA Professor of Physics, Lou Bloomfield explained that each person infected with the corona virus infects about 2-3 people daily. Then those infect 2-3 each. Exponentially, the number doubles about every couple of days. So… if we practice social distancing, we can slow this number down exponentially! Flatten the curve. Makes sense.

But y’all… I know social distancing is ideal for introverts, but for us extroverts, it is a major struggle. No hugs, no high 5’s, no handshakes, no sharing, no contact. And now, my new normal – working from home. Yep, I did get the nervous bug, and since we are now allowed to have only 10 people working at one time on our floor, I am working from home. Picked up a printer on my way home from work yesterday (curbside delivery service), so I am all set up. Luckily for me, the only basic requirements for my job are a computer and access to the internet. Both of those are available to me at home, and now I have a printer. But who will I talk to?!?

“Life is not always a celebration; so be ready to courageously face disappointments when they come and be sure to grow stronger and wiser from them.” – Edmond Mbiaka

Our schools are closed until the middle of April at the earliest. I’m sure yours are as well. All the fun plans I had for the next 2 months have been cancelled – races, parties, get togethers, trips. Yes, this is real folks. And when I decided I might better stock up on some groceries, seeing that I never have much food in my house, I discovered there was the run on TP. That I did not get – this is a respiratory illness, not a gastro illness! Go figure… And there was not an antibacterial wipe or cleaning supply in sight. This is definitely real. And this is our new normal for the foreseeable future.

“At the end of the day, all you need is Hope and Strength. Hope that it will get better, and Strength to hold on until it does.”

With all the gloom and doom over the coronavirus, can we find anything good in these times? Of course we can! For me, I have been forced to slow down, stay home, and take time for reflection. Parents are appreciating their children’s teachers more and more every day. Neighbors are checking on neighbors. Families checking on loved ones. My mom’s assisted living set up facetiming for the residents this week and I got to “see” and talk to my Momma. Not sure she quite got it all, but maybe she won’t think we abandoned her. (I got a facetime call today and my sweet Momma told me I looked like I had been in a windstorm! What?!? I mean, I am working from home so I am in my comfy clothes, no make up, hair up, but I did not know I looked that bad! Ahhh… out of the mouths of babes and Great G-mas!) Did you see the sweet scene on the national news Tuesday about a NC girl who got engaged and wanted to share her happy news with her grandfather? Only problem was, he is in assisted living with no visitors. So she went outside his window and held up her hand with her new diamond ring and they put their hands together on the glass. Made me cry. I know, doesn’t take much, but that did me in!

“Keep looking up… that’s the secret of life.” – Charlie Brown

And have you seen the quarantined Italians singing out their windows? And quarantined Spaniards exercising on their balconies together? Bright spots. Making the best of a really bad situation. Plus all the kindnesses being shown. As Maria Shriver says, “Perhaps this is a moment to radically come together and practice radical compassion, radical empathy, and radical caring for our fellow human beings.” Let’s be radical y’all. Radical and safe.

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.” Shannon L. Alder

I am missing my family, my friends, and my co-workers, but I am being very careful. I am in touch with my kids and my family daily.  I am missing my gym friends and my classes. I am getting out to walk and go for a run. If I have to go to the grocery store, I am going to go with the “elderly” crowds during their special time the first hour the stores open. I am learning, as I am sure most of you are, that we take a lot for granted in our lives. I want the normalcy back in my life as I am sure y’all do as well. We will get through this, we just don’t know how long it will take. In the meantime, show compassion, practice patience, make smart decisions, and check on your neighbors, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“You do what you have to do, until you can do what you want to do.” – Oprah Winfrey

Best,

Leslie

PS…

“When this is over, may we never again take for granted: A handshake with a stranger, full shelves at the store, conversations with neighbors, a crowded theatre, Friday night out, the taste of communion, a routine checkup, the school rush each morning, coffee with friends, the stadium roaring, each deep breath, a boring Tuesday, life itself. When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be, and may we stay that way – better for each other because of the worst.” – Laura Kelly Fanucci

 

“Time In A Bottle” Jim Croce 1973

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Are you feeling the effects of losing that extra hour of sleep Saturday night? Did you set your alarm and get up to move your clocks back at 2 AM? I mean, who does that?!?! And why is 2 AM the magical hour? I slept very well Saturday night at my older sister’s house, but I always do, it is so comfortable and so comforting. And I got to sleep in Sunday morning, making up for losing that hour of sleep. So, I guess I did not lose an hour. WHEW!

“TIME CHANGE GUIDE: Cell Phone: Leave them alone – they change magically. Kitchen Appliances: Get a masters degree in electrical engineering…or get a hammer. Car Clocks: Not worth it… Wait six months!”

If you could save time in a bottle, what times in your life would you save? Time in a Bottle was sung at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s wedding. What a beautiful song. And what a beautiful thought to be able to capture special times in our life, bottle them up, and bring them out when we need a boost in our life. I can think of right many times I would like to capture in a bottle, including this past weekend.

I left Charlottesville early Saturday morning heading to Winston-Salem to get to The Art Show and Sale, where my sister sold several pieces of her work! Needless to say, she was very pleased. I love the piece in the picture below – based on a picture she took at Shem Creek in Charleston, SC. She and I spent some time there during our trips to Mount Pleasant to see one of our favorite authors and get our books signed!

My beautiful and talented sister!

“Whatever it is you want to do, do it. You only have so many tomorrows.”

I stopped in to see my sweet Momma after the art show. Totally surprised her (as usual) and woke her up from her chair nap (again as usual!). Our visits may only be 30 minutes sometimes, but it is time I truly treasure. Even though Mom won’t remember I was there an hour later, she knew I was there in the moment. And she knew who I was: her favorite daughter. HAHAHA!  My sisters and I always tell her we are her favorite daughter. And of course, I always get a picture with Mom, because, well, you just never know. Seems I never leave Mom without running into high school friends visiting their parents too. Reassuring to know that my sisters and I are not the only ones having to place their parent in a home. Also reassuring to know they trust the care of their parents there as well.

“Memories remind us that nothing lasts forever. Time is precious and should not be wasted. Enjoy life and remember, don’t count the days, make the days count.”

Though Saturday afternoon was a bit chilly, my sister and I decided it was warm enough to sit on her porch, wrapped up in blankets with our slippers on, and enjoy a glass (or 2 or 3) of wine. Sisters (like friends) are never at a loss of words. Or is that just me? I am rarely at a loss of words, as anyone who knows me can attest to. (Especially after having some wine!) And yes, I was drinking red wine for a big change – but it was a really good red wine.

“Spend time with those you love. One of these days you will either say, ‘ I wish I had ’ or ‘ I’m glad I did.’ ” Zig Ziglar

My sweet brother-in-law apologized to me Saturday afternoon – he had made our dinner reservation at 6:30, right during THE game. Told him it was ok, game might be a tad too stressful for me to watch, especially away from the sanctity of my own home. And boy was I right! Our dinner at Spring House Restaurant was wonderful and made up for missing the game (even though I checked the score several times). Plus the restaurant has some history with our sweet momma. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the former Bahnson House. Mom was the personal secretary to one of the Bahnsons for as long as I can remember. We spent lots of time as kids with mom going to deliver or pick up typing and dictation.

“Many things aren’t equal, but everyone gets the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We make time for what we truly want.”

Like I said earlier, I got to sleep in Sunday morning as we had nothing scheduled until the birthday lunch for my younger sister who was turning, well, younger than me (and my older sister!). My older sister fixed her favorite foods and I provided her favorite cake, the one mom used to make special, just for her. And her favorite people were all there – her grandkids, her son and his wife, and of course us! All there to celebrate Ishie’s birthday. Sweet Jack calls my sister Ishie, because he thinks that is her name. His parents would say to him, “Is she here?” “Is she coming?” So Ishie became her name. And it stuck. So sweet!

I couldn’t believe there was still sunlight when I pulled into my driveway Sunday evening at 7:00 pm. It makes losing that hour of sleep worth it! Especially since I had slept in and missed the darker earlier hours. Walked in my house, looked up at my clock and thought, uh-oh, I need to change all of my clocks. And even though I don’t have a masters in engineering, I was able to change the clocks on all of my appliances without getting the manuals out! (Thank heavens my car’s clock changed automatically!)

Four years ago, when my older sister unexpectedly gave up her weekend to help me move into my current house (SOLO), she said I should have the clock that was in our childhood home, because I had the perfect spot for it. She was right! It’s a wall clock that has to be plugged in, and I just happen to have a plug high up on a wall in my family room. This clock is 60+ years old and still running (like me haha!). It was always in a very prominent place in our home, and I am thankful to have it, even if moving the time forward an hour on it was a bit challenging.

“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” – Kevin Arnold

We didn’t necessarily lose an hour of sleep last weekend, we just moved forward in our lives. And we need to keep moving forward. We can never go back, but we can choose to live for today. Make memories every day. My older sister and I talked about this last weekend. Why wait to do the things we want to do? I am doing my darnedest to enjoy my life, be with the people I love, and make new memories. Why wait?  Because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“Don’t waste time on what could have been. Instead, make things happen for you.”

Raymond making up for the lost hour of sleep! Ahhh the life of a dawg…

Best,

Leslie

PS – This week is a crazy one y’all – Started off with moving the clocks back an hour, followed by a full moon Monday, and will end with Friday the 13th. YIKES! Be safe out there and WASH YOUR HANDS!

 

“After The Love Has Gone…” Earth, Wind & Fire 1979

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Two months of 2020 are in the books y’all. Can’t get them back. Honestly, I don’t want them back! I am looking forward to warmer weather and sunnier days. And with Daylight Saving Time arriving this weekend, we’ll have even more hours of daylight. We’ve been blessed with some warmer weather lately… makes it awfully hard to go back to cold days, though I know they are probably coming. Still… I am enjoying the sunny and 65 degree weather today!

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”  Charles Dickens  Great Expectations

What did you do with your “extra day” this year? You know, Saturday, February 29th? A couple of people I know celebrated their actual birthday for a change. What a treat! Hard to imagine being a “leaper” (those born on Feb 29th). Me? I went out for a fabulous dinner Friday night with a friend, where I had a little too much really good wine (is that even possible?), and found myself sleeping in a bit Saturday morning (in my recliner I might add) before going in to work. I know, it may seem boring working on the weekend, but it was month end and I used the extra day to get a head start on the process. I have so many fun plans on my calendar in the next several weeks and I really need to be on top of things. Made sure I was home in time to see my Heels win for the 2nd time in a week! (And the win last night makes it 3 in a row!) WOOHOO! That is a major feat for us this year.

“There’s always something good coming. Remember that.”

This extra day of 2020 found me quickly approaching (like the next day!) the third anniversary of my big “D” (divorce). Always a time for reflection, just like other anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Recently, a dear friend suggested to me: “We cannot choose the times we live in, but we CAN choose how we live in the times we are in.” How true is that!? When something unforeseen in life happens, you can let it make you bitter or better. Thankfully, I chose better. And I do have a choice in how I live my SOLO life. And y’all, I am making the most of this extra shot at life and making up for lost time.

“Just because the past didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you ever imagined!”

That extra day also made it possible for me to go for a good “long” run Sunday afternoon. 5.5 miles! I have not run this route (my favorite through UVA) since December 4, 2018. I am making up for the lost time from injuries and surgeries. So much so that I am heading out in just a few minutes to run this same course in sunny 65 degrees. Finally getting that part of my life back, and it feels so good! And posting early today preparing for next week when we jump ahead and this will be 4 pm.

My older sister is also making the most of her extra shot at life – retirement. She has taken her art to a whole new level. I am happily heading to Winston-Salem this weekend, because my very talented sister is having her art on display and for sale Saturday. She was accepted to participate in the 10th Annual Art Show and Sale benefiting Meals on Wheels, at the Senior Center (for you W-S people). Another great opportunity (and benefit of the SOLO life!) to see my family AND to celebrate my younger sister’s birthday. WIN WIN!

And even though we lose that hour of sleep this Saturday night, the benefit of gaining longer days of light will outweigh it. Right? I mean who doesn’t want it to be lighter in the evenings? It sure makes traveling easier for me – I can leave later in the day and get to my destination before dark. As I have said many times before, my favorite day of the year is the first official day of summer, which this year is Saturday, June 20th (due to leap year) – the longest day of the year.

Sunburst?!?!

“Oh Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on earth.” Roman Payne

Are you struggling with the times you find yourself in? If your life is not going the way you would have chosen, don’t give up hope. Instead, look for the positives in your life and concentrate on them. There are always positives. Yes, sometimes you have to look really hard to find them, but they are there. Choose to make your life a WIN WIN, and do it soon, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“Hope… Sometimes that’s all you have when you have nothing else. If you have it, you have everything.”

Best,

Leslie

PS… Did you know that is it actually Daylight Saving Time and not Daylight Savings Time? And did you know that DST was not started to benefit farmers? As a matter of fact, farmers were against it. According to the History Channel, farmers had to wait an hour for the dew to dry before baling hay, and farmhands worked less because they still left at the same time to get home for dinner. Who knew?!

 

“What’s Love Got To Do With It” Tina Turner 1984

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Last week I was late posting the blog and right many people reached out to make sure I was ok. Warmed my heart! I was working at our club in Baltimore – wanted to see all of our renovations and was totally blown away. In the past year it received some major love and was transformed into a whole new club with a new fitness floor, new equipment, new social space (including fireplace), new café, and new locker rooms. But… I got way behind on the blog. Had a little excitement while I was there. I was working in an office near our front desk when an elderly lady opened the door to say “there’s a dead man in the parking lot!” WHAT!?! I immediately went out with her. Her car was parked at the entrance and she told me to get in. We drove about 8 parking spots (yes 8) from the front door and all I could think was “what is the code for a dead man in our parking lot?” She said she had been blowing her horn and he would not move. I bravely got out of her car (cannot believe I got in a stranger’s car, even if she was 80 and driving a big BMW), walked up to the man’s car window, and yes, he looked dead – head back, mouth open, car running – so I knocked on his window. Startled the S%#T out of him (and me!) and said, “Sir, just making sure you are ok.” Gave our member the thumbs up and went back in the club still shaking from the possibility of finding a dead man in our parking lot. WHEW!

Returned home Wednesday in time to pick up my car (had 2 new tires put on – remember last week’s troubles), finish the blog, do some laundry, and pack up so I could return to Charlotte Thursday evening for the weekend. My younger daughter was having wrist surgery Friday morning and I was going to be with her. So excited to see my kids 2 weekends in a row!

“Sometimes all you need is for someone to just be there, even if they can’t solve your problems. Just knowing there is someone who cares can make all the difference.”

My sweet nephew and his wife often share videos of Jack and Izzie with my sisters and me. (We can never get enough of those 2 sweet children!) Last Wednesday they sent one where Jack was ‘splaining’ how to make it snow. Basically, he said “you get vanilla ice cream and eat it and put the ‘poon’ under your pillow and it will snow.” There was also something about a toilet, but I’ll leave that out… besides, I kinda lost it after he talked about the ‘poon’! Obviously, Jack knew what he was talking about and put his ‘poon’ under his pillow because lo and behold, it snowed Thursday. Naturally, since I was driving back to Charlotte Thursday evening. It was a bit dicey traveling through southern VA and NC. Brought back memories of December 2009 when my son and I were stuck on 29 North for 17 hours coming home from Chapel Hill for his Christmas break. There was a major surprise snow storm that caused us to arrive home at 7:15 AM Saturday morning when we should have been home by 5:30 PM Friday evening! Luckily, the roads were nowhere near as bad this time and I had the 2 new tires. I felt fairly safe and prepared, even though I don’t like driving at night, and really don’t like driving at night in the rain or snow. But I made it to Charlotte safe and sound. And we woke up Friday to a beautiful and very sunny day! I mean, spring has sprung in Charlotte, even though they had some snow showers.

“My favorite part of winter is when it’s over.”

Surgery went well and we spent the weekend together, managing her pain and hanging out binging on Netflix. My son and future daughter-in-law came over for dinner and hung out with us. The weather was beautiful. I even got a good run in Saturday afternoon. My daughter suggested I run down her road to the park where she took my son and his fiancée’s engagement pictures. Had a great 2-mile run down there… and when I got to the park, I realized the whole run had been downhill, which accounted for the good time, and which also meant the 2-mile run back to her apartment would be uphill. But I persevered and made it, and thankfully, was still breathing (barely)!

Sunday was even more beautiful. My daughter and I walked to a cute café and met my son and his fiancée for brunch. And since it was such a beautiful day, we took the LONG way home, walking around another park talking and enjoying the sunshine. I left Charlotte knowing my daughter would be fine, and headed to Winston to see my mom on my way back to Charlottesville.

My younger sister met me at Mom’s with sweet Jack who put his arms around my neck and said “Les, I’ll hold you” (translation: Les, I want you to carry me). My pleasure (and my sister’s, because Jack is getting heavier!). Those sweet arms around my neck melted my heart. He entertained us and all the residents. Oh how the elderly love the sight of a child. We took Mom to the Ice Cream Parlor and while we all had cones of chocolate soft serve, Jack told us all about riding and brushing a “little horsey named Molly” at my sister’s barn. He even had on his barn boots and jeans. What a sweetheart he is! And he made a new girlfriend! No, not one of the “seniors,” but the 3-year-old granddaughter of one of my high school friends, who was there visiting her great-grandfather, who happens to be Mom’s neighbor.

“The soul is healed by being with children.” Fyodor Dostoevsky

Love shows up in so many ways, in so many places. In the very young, and the very old. There are so many types of love, and so many ways love is expressed. My daughter and I were talking about how different people show and receive love. Ever heard of the 5 Love Languages? According to Gary Chapman, the 5 Love Languages are: “Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Gifts, Quality Time, and Acts of Service.” Often, how you give love is how you want to receive love, but not always. The key is to learn how your loved ones prefer to receive love. Some show love with words – phone calls, compliments, texts. (My older daughter calls me twice a day – on her way to work and her way home from work.) Others show love with gifts. Very thoughtful gifts (proving they listen), and also love to receive gifts. Some people don’t like to be hugged, but love to be told they are loved. Some just want your time. You have to find what the other person’s love language is so that they feel the love. My sweet family has shown me love in many ways – words (texts, phone calls), gifts (flowers, famous UNC sweaters, updated wardrobes), service (they have helped me with tasks I cannot do and rescued me with car troubles!), time (getting together, visits), and of course touch (big hugs and kisses!).

“Love can be expressed and received in all five languages. However, if you don’t speak a person’s primary love language, that person will not feel loved, even though you may be speaking the other four.” Gary Chapman

Funny, I think love speaks to me in all 5 languages! I’ve always treasured words of love, but I am also a big hugger! I am not as big a proponent of gifts – I always tell my kids that the gift I want from them is a written letter – at least once a year on Mother’s Day. No gifts, just the letter. I treasure them and keep them with me. And while gifts are not a priority for me, I’ll never turn down the gift of flowers! But I show love with service. My momma was the same way. She always “did” for others – whatever they needed, but hated asking for help. One time she said to my brother-in-law, “do you think I could borrow the chain saw?” What she really meant was, would he please come up and cut down a small tree! Which he did, of course.

“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” Leo Christopher

Family isn’t always blood. I called one of my oldest college friends (and the godmother to my oldest child) while I was traveling home on Sunday just to catch up. When we ended the call, we ended with a “Love You!” Another sweet friend took the time to go with me to an appointment this week. She offered, I took her up on it. The love of friends.

“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile & who love you no matter what.”

Today is the first day of Lent y’all. Are you giving something up? Instead of giving something up, why not find ways to share love with those you love, in the way that works for y’all. Make people feel special with your words, your time, your service, your touch, and your gifts, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Smile Momma!

Best,

Leslie

PS – Happy Leap Year Birthday to all those special people celebrating their true birthday, which only happens every 4 years, this Saturday, February 29th!

 

“Crystal Blue Persuasion” Tommy James and the Shondells

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Forewarning: picture overload today. Apologizing in advance, but oh my, did I have the best weekend y’all! My world righted itself back on its axis last weekend, thanks to time filled with family, friends, love, and so much fun. Not even Carolina’s loss could put a damper on how happy I was/am.

“It’s really nice to wake up in the morning realizing that God has given you another day to live.”

I left Cville early Thursday morning heading to Winston-Salem to meet my sisters for lunch. This was the Christmas present from my older sister to my younger sister and me. No, not just lunch, but lunch AND glass blowing! We went to The Olio in Winston, a furnace glassblowing studio, where they not only make beautiful glassware, but also teach others the craft. It was so much fun. And so interesting! We were each trying to decide what we would make – a bird? a penguin? a seashell? a trinket? Trinket it was! My choice was a trinket in the shape of a seashell. The other ideas would have been a huge undertaking. We got to choose our color of glass – I chose teal, my younger sister pink, and older sister dark blue – and then it was on. One at a time we learned how to hold and twirl the rod that would hold our molten glass. The instructor actually dipped the rods into the molten glass to get a “blob” to work with. We rolled that molten glass into the bowl of broken color glass, then it went back in the oven. We then rolled our “blobs” on a thick steel table to cool the glass and begin to shape it. Then back to the oven once more, all the time twirling the rod, and when it came out, we used big tongs to begin shaping our “trinkets”. I was trying to make a conch shell. Keep that suggestion in mind when you look at my creation below! My sisters and I decided we would do it again in the fall and actually do the glass blowing and make Christmas ornaments. It was so much fun (lots of laughs and jokes), especially with my sisters!

“You and I are sisters. Always remember that if you fall, I’ll pick you up. As soon as I finish laughing!”

Since we were all together, we left there and went to visit Mom to celebrate Valentine’s Day with her (a day early!). She was thrilled to have all of her girls together. We took her to the Ice Cream Parlor where we had balloons, cupcakes, valentines, and of course, ice cream. At one point, my sister was searching in her pocketbook for something when Mom asked if she was looking for Daddy. “What?!?!  Uh… Nope, he’s been laying low lately.” (Like for the past 20 years!) Lots of laughter and reminiscing before taking her back to her room. We left Mom and went to take valentines and balloons to sweet Jack and Izzie in High Point! So happy to see these sweet, loving kids. Plus my sister had a special present for my nephew and his wife (see the portrait of sweet Jack at the beach below). Ended up going out to dinner all together. Such a fun and full Thursday!

Friday was just as full (which I love). Started off with breakfast at Pete’s, the best breakfast place in Clemmons, with a dear friend to catch up. Not only did we have a great breakfast and visit, we felt right YOUNG there (if you know what I mean! Haha!). Then back to visit Mom where she was playing Valentine’s BINGO (and winning!). She said “Oh Les! How did you find me?” Told her I saw her Valentine’s balloon still tied to her wheelchair. “Wonder how that got there.” Hmmm… maybe from my visit Thursday?!? Before I left, I checked in on 2 friends’ mommas to wish them Happy Valentine’s Day. (8 of my childhood friends’ parents are out there now.) Made one more stop in Clemmons to see a dear “old” friend I’ve known since 5th grade, before meeting some other “old” friends for lunch at The Village Tavern in Reynolda Village, beside Wake Forest, some of my old stomping grounds. The bartender knew what they wanted before they ordered! Guessing they have been there before – many times. Great lunch, great time! Loved seeing all of these “old” friends. There’s just something special about being with people who have known you 50+ years, who you share your youth with. Don’t you just love being able to say “remember when”… or “remember so-n-so?” Times to be treasured. Hoping to crash their Friday lunch again soon! Such a fun day, but now it was time to head to Charlotte for drinks and dinner with all of my kids.

 

“Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” H. Jackson Browne, Jr.

 

Left Village Tavern following WAZE directions to get me out of Winston and on the road to Charlotte. Winston-Salem has changed a lot in the 23 years I have been gone, and I was thankful for my phone belting out directions. (How did I ever find my way around back in the day without WAZE and Google Maps?!?!) Once I got on the highway, I called my older daughter, who was already in Charlotte, to coordinate our plans. Told her my car was making a funny noise…either that, or the car behind me had a busted muffler. Nope, it was my car… pulled off the highway, off the shoulder and onto the grass since cars were whizzing by. Got out, still on the phone with my daughter, and said “Oh NO!” Panicked her a bit, but reassured her it was just a flat, shredded tire. How the heck had that happened? Time to call AAA. Only one problem: I had no idea where I was. There were no road signs or mile markers and I wasn’t sure if I was on 52 or 40. I was just mindlessly following the direction of “stay straight for 61 miles to route 77” while talking to my daughter on the phone. Hmmm… what to do… Who has rescued me before? Yep, called my older sister and brother-in-law, who luckily, had just finished a Valentine’s Day lunch and were about 10 minutes away. Their first question?  “Is there water nearby?” “Nope, learned that lesson well!” Following WAZE (same destination I had put in mine), they found me. My patient brother-in-law told me where I was (southbound on 52) and while I called AAA, he called around looking for a replacement tire. Done. Only 2 hours late leaving WS, but luckily would not be late meeting my kids. What would we do without family?!?!  I hope I never find out.

“Family is the life jacket in the stormy sea of life.”

Got to my younger daughter’s apartment in time to Uber to a very unique bar, Farenheit, located on the 21st floor of an uptown building. My kids chose this one to show me the unbelievable view of the Charlotte skyline. It did not disappoint! With a mild night, and 2 outdoor fire pits, we spent some time on their rooftop patio, enjoying the views. Left there for another wonderful restaurant in Charlotte for dinner. What a perfect Valentine’s celebration. Topped with beautiful flowers from my kids. Perfect end to a great day. Flat tire was just a blip on the radar. Nothing could take away from my happiness.

“Live for the moments you can’t put into words.”

But the weekend fun did not end there! Saturday morning, my younger daughter (who I stayed with) and I got up and went for a run together so I could see the route she takes running. It was a brisk but beautiful morning. We then met my older daughter and future daughter-in-law to look at bridesmaids dresses. Color and designer have been chosen, but now it is time to choose styles. So many beautiful styles. We left there and met my son-in-law, son, and many of their friends in town, for lunch. These friends were in town for the engagement party that night. So great to see them all again, and meet the ones I did not know.

And then… the ultimate reason we were all in Charlotte together… an engagement party for my son and his fiancée, given by her parents. All of the people I love most in the world were there, except my sweet momma who just does not travel any more, and sweet Izzie who stayed home with a sitter. Jack came with his parents and my younger sister (since there would be another sweet 3-year-old boy at the party), and my older sister and brother-in-law. My family got to meet all of my future daughter-in-law’s family – aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends, plus the local friends of the engaged couple. It was the best party I have ever been to. Food was fabulous, desserts were wonderful, but best of all was my family meeting my future daughter-in-law’s family. My sisters met her mother’s sisters. All the siblings met. There were cousins galore and beloved friends. And one very, very happy young couple. The wedding is just 8+ months away. We cannot wait!

“Daughter-in-law, created by God, hand chosen by my son, to be cherished and valued as a member of our family.”

I am so very thankful for this past weekend. I have been looking forward to it for a while, and it did not disappoint. I got to spend so much time with my kids and my future daughter-in-law’s family. I am so thankful that not only has my son chosen the perfect girl to spend the rest of  his life with, her family has taken him in, and he loves them as well. My family loves and adores her too. What more could a mother want? So much to be thankful for.

“Life is short…spend it with people who make you laugh and feel loved.”

This past weekend was one of those weekends I live for. There are many more to come. I am so thankful for the special times I get to spend with family and friends. Make the effort, make the plans, take the time, and spend as much time as you can with those you love, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS… I was traveling this week for work, visiting one of our clubs, which is why this is late today! Did you know that tomorrow, February 20, 2020 is Love Your Pet Day? Yep! Go love on your pets folks!

My granddawg… like my pet!