“Baby It’s Cold Outside…” Frank Loesser 1944

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

BRRRR… cold weather has arrived y’all! And I just don’t do cold well. But I am trying! I mean, we had snow showers forecasted up here yesterday! What’s with that?

“Winter is nature’s way of saying UP YOURS!” Robert Byrne

After having “my knee” released from the doctor last week, I decided it was time to get back to my daughter’s 6:15 am cycle class at our Short Pump club. So last Thursday I left home at a chilly and dark 5 am, got my sweat on, and visited with my daughter. As always, it was a great class and I felt great – no knee pain. So thankful. Leaving Richmond, I headed south instead of west. The beach has been calling and I finally answered the call. Plus, leaving from Richmond meant I was already an hour into my trip. Arrived right after lunch and when I got out of the car I was pleasantly surprised by the warm weather. Actually, kinda slapped in the face since I had on Lululemon leggings and a long sleeve shirt. Hurriedly unloaded my car, changed into my bathing suit (yes, I said BATHING SUIT), lotioned up, and hit the beach to grab every bit of warm, sunny natural Vitamin D I could! It was sunny and 78 after all. Ironically, I was reading “Let It Snow” (by Nancy Thayer) while soaking up the sun on the beach. Also napped and actually walked in the ocean surf which was surprisingly mild.

“I’m dreaming of a never ending summer.”

My never ending summer dream ended as I woke up Friday morning to some chilly temps. Though it was sunny, it didn’t warm up to bathing suit weather, but was great for walking on the beach in a sweatshirt. Since my Physical Therapist ordered that I NOT run for another week, I set out for a brisk walk on the beach. Told myself I would NOT look for shells, just walk. Well, that was short-lived. The tide was out and there were lots of shells. I stopped to pick up a favorite shell… then another… and another. Hit pause on my watch and pulled out the doggie bag I grabbed at the beach access. I purposely did NOT bring down my normal red solo cup because I was going to walk, not cluck. (Remember, clucking is the art of searching for shells, in the manner of a chicken searching for food!) I have a problem y’all, an addiction. Seashells! I mean, I have millions of them – on display at home, my office, and of course the beach house, plus, many red solo cups full of shells waiting for… well I don’t know what for! Guess it’s not a bad addiction to have. They are all treasures to me. And collecting them is… very calming. Went back out Friday afternoon when the tide was up and just walked – did not look down. I was determined. And it was so nice, with that chilly breeze that makes your ears cold and causes your nose to run just a bit. Not quite like the hot, humid summer air I love, but still that ocean air that rejuvenates your soul.

“Some people see more in a walk on the beach than others see in a trip around the world.”

The last time I was at the beach was for our “Sisters’ Weekend” in October. This time, it was SOLO time for me. Perfect for catching up on sleep, walks on the beach, and lots of introspection. I know I live alone, but there’s something about being at the beach SOLO that is different. Especially this time of the year. I even did a little Christmas shopping. My older sister and brother-in-law came down Saturday afternoon, and of course we had dinner at Frank’s. Actually ate outside and it was heavenly. Thankful for the wonderful heaters they had set up all around their patio. Earlier in the afternoon, I met my sister on the beach and we walked and caught up. It’s not like I hadn’t talked to her during the week, but sometimes it is different talking in person, especially while walking. Yep… just what the doctor ordered.

“Respect your body when it’s asking for a break. Respect your mind when it’s seeking rest. Honor yourself when you need a moment for yourself.”

It was a short trip, just enough to rejuvenate my soul and make sure the house is ready for winter. I decided to take the circuitous route home and left the beach early Sunday morning, heading first to Charlotte to have brunch with my daughter, son, and his fiancée. Time with my children is so precious to me. They are just plain fun to be around! Yes, I’ll take advantage of any opportunity I can to see them. Plus, my son wanted me to see their apartment all set up and decorated (my future daughter-in-law has that talent!). We walked to brunch and caught up on wedding plans and Charlotte happenings. Gosh I love my kids! And since I was taking the circuitous route back to Charlottesville, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit my mom. Oh my sweet Momma… warms my heart to see her. And I always breathe a huge sigh of relief when she calls out my name and smiles at me. I woke her up from a nap, so to speak, in her wheelchair with all the other nappers around her, and said, “hey, let’s escape to the ice cream parlor.” She was all for that. Me too! They have the best soft serve ice cream! After visiting and showing her all the new pictures of my kids, sweet Jack, and the beach, I took her back to her hall for her afternoon nap and headed back to Charlottesville, Christmas music blaring on my radio. (There are now many Christmas channels on Sirius/XM, though the Hallmark channel is still my favorite!)

“Women’s friendships are like a renewable source of power.”  Jane Fonda

Not only do I have the best kids, I am lucky to have some of the best friends! When you are SOLO in life, friends take on an even more important role. They become our cheerleaders, shoulders to cry on, and proof that we “matter.” My “old” neighbor, who you have heard me refer to a lot, was in town from Kentucky, and stayed with me this week. Talk about somebody with a TON of friends – she has more than anyone I know! Decided to get our old neighborhood friends together at my house for dinner again – much easier to talk and visit at my house instead of a noisy restaurant. Not that my house wasn’t noisy – I mean, there was a lot of talking and laughing going on! Such a fun evening. And this time, I was NOT on crutches and was in a better position to host. Last time I could not even set my table!

“Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.”  Vincent Van Gogh

Trio together again!

Needless to say, my friend and I had a lot to catch up on and stayed up talking late after everyone left. It was truly like a therapy session. And the only payment was wine! Lots of laughs, some tears, many words of wisdom, and clarity to see things in a different light. Heartwarming and validating. I hope all y’all have close friends to celebrate your victories, and comfort you in your losses. And just to “be there” for everyday things. Everyone needs these types of friends.

“If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”  Zig Ziglar

No tailgate this past weekend folks, football had a bye week. There is only one more home game, one last tailgate of the season. And what a fun season it has been! But basketball season kicked off with a big bang. Loving our new team already and really excited about next year’s class in both football and basketball. But trying to keep my focus on the current season of football and basketball. Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on the present as we are always looking ahead to the next this or that, or until we can achieve this or that. Or until the weather warms up and summer arrives again. But what we really should be doing is focusing on the here and now. Every day. I am striving to enjoy something every day, especially as we enter this special Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Feel as if I am succeeding at this. Yes, I do plan things out in the future, but do so, so that I can enjoy something special each and every week. Life has so much to offer us, we just need to open our eyes and hearts to it.

“Happiness, not in another place, but this place… not for another hour, but this hour.” Walt Whitman

Focus on the present, on what you have to be thankful for, and what you have to enjoy in life every day. I have a lot to enjoy this next week as my daughter and son-in-law move in to their new home and we celebrate my younger daughter’s birthday. Plus this time next week is MY BIRTHDAY! Shameless of me, I know! But birthdays, like family and friendships, should be celebrated, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Sunrise… goodbye beach…



PS – Only 42 Sleeps until Christmas y’all! HO HO HO!


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