“Love Is In The Air” John Paul Young 1977

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

“Love is in the air, in the rising of the sun… Love is in the air, when the day is nearly done…”

Are you feeling the love this week? I mean, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Do you have a special Valentine? I have many! Remember as kids in grade school when you decorated those plain white “lunch bags” with paper hearts and cupids? And waited anxiously for valentines to be put in them? Oh and hoped for that special one? I remember taking my kids to get their valentines for school. My son loved the sports themed ones, Power Rangers, and Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. And of course my girls loved anything with Disney Princesses – Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Mulan. This year I only sent one Valentine – to my sweet momma. I wrote special Valentine letters to my children.

Got any fun plans for Valentine’s Day? I am continuing my SOLO traditional Valentine’s Day fun – a movie and dinner with my favorite SOLO person!

“I hope you remember that love isn’t just found in a significant other.”

There is a quote that has resonated with me over the last 3 years: “If someone is stupid enough to walk away from you, be smart enough to let them go.” I was smart enough to let go. Yes, love with a significant other is wonderful if you truly find your soul mate, but there is love and fun to be found in many relationships. This week (and month) always reminds me how much love there is to go around. Family, for one. I am so thankful for my family – my sweet momma for starters. I am blessed with 2 wonderful sisters who I love dearly (and my brother-in-law) and have fun with them every visit. We always have a group text going that keeps us in stitches. And of course Sweet Jack and his parents! And y’all know how crazy I am about my kids, and I believe they feel the same about me. I love being with them as adults. They make me so proud and are great fun to hang out with. Remember last week’s blog centered on the time spent with my older daughter? Well, last weekend it was with my younger daughter, who asked me to go to lunch with her at Three Notch’d Brewery so we could watch the UNC-Miami game together at noon. The host, also a Carolina fan, found us perfect seats at the bar to watch the game. Spread out our bar time, starting with their great pretzel bites, a beer for my daughter and a mule for me (their beers are too “hoppy” for me). Lunch of salads. And a Carolina victory… barely! I needed to work for a few hours so my daughter suggested we get dinner and watch the UVA-Duke game later at my house. And catch a few episodes of Grace and Frankie on Netflix. She brought some little cans of Crose (famous rose wine in a can from King Family Vineyard) and I made sweet potato fries and special hotdogs that a friend sent me from Omaha Steaks. What a perfect day and evening!

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Mother Teresa

But it did not end there y’all. My daughter has wanted to take me to a special winery she visited with a friend, and suggested we go Sunday. I picked her up at 11 and we headed to Gabriele Rausse, a small winery open only on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays to avoid crowds. If you are ever in Charlottesville, you need to visit this quaint winery on a Sunday before 1:00 to experience their wine tasting with food pairing. The food pairing changes weekly and is cooked right there by the winemaker. They paired 6 delicious wines with four small plates and y’all, I cannot tell you how wonderful it was! Warm homemade sourdough bread with olive oil, sweet potato gnocchi, boiled egg with salsa verde, and the best lemon square I have ever put in my mouth. I loved all of their wines, and left with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. Followed this winery with a tasting and a glass of wine at Cunningham Creek Winery. Had the most fun woman handling our tasting – she even slipped us the best dark chocolate with all the reds we tasted. Not yet ready to call it a day, we stopped by one more on our way back to town, Wineworks Extended, for a flight of wine. Also good, but absolutely my limit! Another fun Sunday with one of my loving kids. (By the way, my younger daughter always jokes with her sister and brother that she “has mom now” and they get me in my later years! Well, I think she is joking!)

But what other love is there? So much! Girlfriends for one. Every female needs a “tribe” of friends. When I first found myself SOLO, I thought about moving somewhere besides Charlottesville. But one of my dear girlfriends said I could not leave “my tribe”. She was so right! I am so thankful for my girlfriends, and for their sweet husbands who treat me like family. I am blessed to have girlfriends close by, and far away – distance does not matter. As one of my “far away” girlfriends told me this week, “we are connected at the heart.” So true. And I treasure these relationships. Whether it be a text, phone call, email, lunch, dinner, glass of wine, visit, or just a walk together, you can always count on girlfriends. Distance, nor time between visits, can ever change a relationship with girlfriends.

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – Walter Winchell

So Happy Galentine’s Day TODAY! Wait, what, you ask?  “Oh it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.” Famous words from another blonde Leslie, Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec.

“A best friend is someone who loves you when you forget to love yourself.”

I learned since becoming SOLO that loving yourself is very important. This is the one person you will spend the rest of your life with, so you better be happy with yourself. It’s not the easiest thing to do when life makes you doubt everything you thought was true. Surround yourself with loving people. I had a big group of “cheerleaders”  (figuratively and literally!) making sure I kept my head above water. Don’t wait to lose weight, change jobs, move, or find a mate to love yourself. Look in the mirror. You need to love yourself before you can love someone else. Stop and look at the wonderful people and accomplishments in your life. Look at YOUR special grace, talents, and kindness towards others. Realize your self-worth. BE the person you know you can be. And love yourself and your life, because it is yours. You are blessed!

“Loving yourself starts with liking yourself, which starts with respecting yourself, which starts with thinking of yourself in positive ways.”

So appreciate all the love in your life – your family, your friends, and yourself, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Valentine roses from my favorite man (my wonderful son!) a day early so I can enjoy them longer!

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” Lucille Ball

Best,

Leslie

PS  The Hallmark Channel is having a “LOVE” marathon of movies starting at 2 pm tomorrow (Valentine’s Day). Also, they are showing a Christmas movie EVERY Friday night! WOOHOO! And always a new movie on Saturday night! But if you are NOT feeling the love, I also saw this if you have an ex: “Looking to get yourself a present this Valentine’s Day? The El Paso Zoo has you covered. It will name a cockroach after your ex and then feed it to a meerkat live on camera.”

 

“COLD AS ICE” – Foreigner 1977 “HEAT WAVE” – Linda Ronstadt 1975

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Holy Cow it was “COLD AS ICE” here last week. The “Polar Vortex” extended down to Charlottesville and temperatures plummeted to a low of 7 degrees. Thank heavens not as cold as Chicago where The Today Show said your eyeballs could freeze! A “HEAT WAVE” hit as we warmed up to a balmy 74 degrees yesterday! Amazes me how fast weather can change from one extreme to the other. But I’ll take it! And since Punxsutawney Phil (aka THE Groundhog) did NOT see his shadow, spring should be arriving early. I am discounting the fact that he is wrong 60% of the time, because that means he is right 40% of the time, so come on Spring!

Since the springlike weather had NOT arrived as of Saturday, I decided to stay inside. And what better way than to cozy up in a movie theater! Saw “The Green Book”? Have you seen it? If not, you should. Based on a true story, it took place in 1962 when I was 7 years old (not afraid to reveal my age since my blog title tells it all). It was eye opening for me. Thankful for the changes in our lives since then. Go see it. You won’t be disappointed.

“A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves.” Marcel Proust

Sunday was a springlike day and my older daughter called to see what my plans were and suggested I come visit and go for a good long walk her and my granddawg. My son-in-law was working on a project I’ll share when he finishes. I jumped at the invitation and an hour later I was there. We walked 3.5 miles throughout her neighborhood, talking as fast as our feet walked (I’m not sure who was walking who – us walking the dog or the dog walking us!) and ended up meeting my son-in-law at Sedona Tap House in their neighborhood for a late lunch. Ate outside on the patio, enjoyed the rare warm February afternoon, and basked in all the love and attention shown to my granddawg, Paige, aka the People Magnet. Everyone always wants to pet and love on her. Understandably. After lunch we walked back to their house, soaking up every last minute of warm sunshine, before I left to get home in time for the Super Bowl.

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.”

Speaking of the Super Bowl, what did you think? Were you pulling for the Patriots or the Saints, I mean the Rams? Any traditions? I always make chili in bread bowls for Super Bowl Sunday and this year was no exception. Baked the bread bowls Saturday and put the chili in the crock pot before heading to church Sunday. Came home to a great easy dinner! Watched the whole game which I found a bit boring, quite the opposite of the excitement of the playoff games.

Super Bowl Chili!

“When life brings big winds of change that almost blow you over, close your eyes, hold on tight, and believe.” – Lisa Lieberman-Wang

It has now been 9 weeks of no running for me, which is hard and very disappointing when I was running about 25 miles a week, especially when we have these surprisingly warm days in the winter. I was lamenting this fact, well, complaining actually, when I got a call that there was an opening in Physical Therapy (for my knee). Always helps to work where the best Physical Therapy practice is located (and to have friends there!). Ran over, ok, walked since I am not running, and met with the therapist (the one who did the dry-needling on my hip – success story there!). Long story short, she made my day –  told me to go for two 2-mile runs before my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon next week because he will want to know what hurts after running. Silly as it might sound, I think I might have cried a little. Then told her she had just made my day. Came to the appointment grumbling about not running, so down about my knee, and left knowing I would be running the next day in 73 degree weather. What a turnaround!

“When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.”

Did I run? Yes, but it wasn’t really pretty. I was limited to 2 miles, so I ran 1.5 miles to UVA, walked a mile, then finished up running my last half a mile back to the office. It did hurt a bit but really loosened up that last half mile. And I was able to wear a tank top in February! Go figure. Passed a lot of people wearing no shirts – men of course. 74 heavenly degrees on February 5th!  WOOHOO! Get to repeat it again tomorrow (Thursday) when it will be 71. Then I meet with the surgeon on Monday. Patience is not a virtue I possess, so this has been trying to say the least. But I am thankful it is happening in the winter (even with these warm days) instead of the summer. And I am following the rules and trying very hard to be patient. I mean, I always thought I could do just about anything, but this has forced me to take a huge step back.

“Challenges come before us so that we can discover the magnitude of our inner strength, and without such challenges, we will never really grow stronger.”

I have experienced and learned a lot over these last 3 years. Things can change drastically in a day, a week, a month, a year. Good and bad. As simple as the weather or a sporting event or as life changing as a relationship, your health, your life. But I have also learned that you gotta roll with these changes. You should too, because they’re gonna happen. And nobody hates change more than me, but you know what? I can accept change a lot better than I could 3 years ago! Discovered that not all change is bad. And life rolls on, with or without our cooperation.

“Life is about change. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s beautiful. But most of the time, it’s both.”  Lana Lang

Roll with the changes y’all. Life has a wonderful way of surprising us. Just when we think nothing is going right, it all turns around. I am proof! Remember, every day is a gift, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS 41 days until Spring…just saying!

Life’s a “LaBlast”!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

One of my readers told me she was giving up Facebook for Lent this year (begins March 6th), and was worried she would miss my blogs as she gets them through Facebook. Told her, and now you, that she could sign up to have each new blog post emailed to her weekly. Did you know that? Join the other 200+ followers that have the blog delivered right to their “mailbox” each week by signing up on the right side of this blog. Or just go to soloatsixty.com  to read the current and past posts. Did you know that last week’s blog had readers from 10 different countries! WOW, that blew my mind! How cool is that!?! I never know who is reading the blog, but can track the numbers and the countries where it is read. Also, if you are on Facebook, please “like” the SOLO AT SIXTY page to get a daily (week days only) dose of inspiration.

Speaking of Facebook, you know those “memories” that pop up on your feed, reminding you of posts “on this day”? These memories may be as recent as last year, or from many years ago. Seeing these “memories” pop up reminds me that I have come a l-o-n-g way. Looking into the past used to feel like a stab in the heart, but now I am able to look at those posts and think to myself, “yes, those were good times, but I am so thankful to be where I am today and thankful for the memories I am making now.” I read recently that some good memories are remembered as painful over time due to changes in circumstances. And the reverse as well, some painful memories are later perceived as positive as time goes on. It’s funny about memories, the emotions evoked by old ones and more recent ones. The older ones cause me to go “ohhhh…” while the more recent ones find me thinking “awwww…” And so many recent ones include “old” friends that I have reconnected with these past 3 years which is always a lift. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of posts that I wish would not pop up, but I just move on. That was a part of my life that is now over. On with the new! My favorite posts that pop up? My kids’ birthday “baby pictures” that I post every year on their special day. These always make me smile!

“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.”

The weekend before last, when I met my son and his girlfriend in Winston-Salem to see my mom, he had picked up a quilt I had commissioned for my older daughter from the same wonderful quilter, Ellen Dewey,  in Charlotte who made the quilt for my son last year. This quilt was made from her college sorority t-shirts. Trust me, she had a TON of really cute t-shirts for every sorority event from Rush to Hayride to Lazy Afternoon to Bar Golf plus one for every formal (always at the Carolina Inn). What to do with these memorable shirts? Make a quilt out of them! Since my older daughter could not go with us to Winston-Salem, I decided I would surprise her last Friday when I knew I would see her for my son-in-law’s birthday. Did not want to upstage his special birthday dinner by surprising my daughter with the quilt, so I waited until she came home with me after dinner. She was certainly surprised, and so happy! This quilt tells the memorable and fun story of her college years. She told me about each square (t-shirt) in the quilt. And I happily re-lived these memories with her. Funny thing, so many of the events centered around parties! And alcohol! I think she left that out when she was telling me about these events while she was in college! So many memories …. Oh to be young and in college again!

 

“Life is a beautiful collage of priceless moments and memories, which when pieced all together creates a unique treasured masterpiece.” Melanie M. Koulouris

Speaking of making memories… Sunday afternoon, my older daughter agreed to go to a LaBlast Dance fitness class (“the most fun dance workout you’ll ever do!”) with me at our club in Short Pump (where she lives). Younger daughter said she would pass, but my older daughter said she was game. And we had fun! The class was lead by Louis Van Amstel, one of the dancers for 10 seasons on Dancing with the Stars and the creator of the class. You dance the Cha-Cha, Tango, Hustle, Salsa, all SOLO without even realizing you are dancing! And the class was PACKED. Great workout, though it was a bit hard on my darn knee. But worth it! We went for mani/pedi’s and a late lunch afterwards. Fun memories that I love making!

“The best thing about memories is making them.”

Last week’s blog on being strong really touched people in ways I never imagined! I received many comments and emails (you can also email me at soloatsixty@gmail.com) about their realizations that, hey, they really are strong because they actually looked at what they had survived. And a lot of it was NOT easy. Life is not easy. But it is good, and it’s the only one we have.

So stay strong and when hit with a painful memory, try to remember how you felt at that time. Old memories do not necessarily have to be painful, because maybe they were good at the time. And make new, happier, fun memories every day, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“No matter how much it hurts now, some day you’ll look back and realize your struggles changed your life for the better.”

Best,

Leslie

PS Only 49 days until SPRING!

 

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller…” Kelly Clarkson 2011

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Who doesn’t love Kelly Clarkson?! The first American Idol winner in 2002 at the age of 20. Such a beautiful, strong voice. In our cycle classes, the penultimate song (next to the last song – I have a friend who loves the word “penultimate” and uses it every chance he gets!) is called “the Reflection song” – the instructor cuts all lights off and you are on your own, riding as fast and hard, or as easy and slow, as you want or need. The song is chosen to set your intention for the day, week, month, or year to come. Sunday morning found me at the club early, taking a cycle class from one of my favorite instructors, and the song she chose for our Reflection was Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”. I had a lot on my mind Sunday morning and this song reminded me of how strong we all have to be to make it in this life. Inevitably, life will throw you curveballs and you can either let them hit you, catch them, or hit them out of the ballpark. I prefer to hit them out of the ballpark! And anyone who knows my athletic prowess, especially with softball, knows I mean this figuratively, not literally, as I honestly cannot hit a softball – just ask my boss!

“Life has knocked me down a few times. It has shown me things I never wanted to see, I have experienced sadness and failures. But one thing’s for sure, I always get up.”

What defines us as being strong? If you watched The Bachelor Monday night (after the UNC basketball game!), it was all about physical strength. But that does not define strong in my life (though I wouldn’t mind being stronger physically!). Being strong to me means standing up for myself, and for others. It means looking for the good in life. It means being there for those who need a lift. It means continuously moving forward, no matter how hard it is to put one foot in front of the other. It means being confident and content in my life. It means going for the grace and gusto in life, not wallowing on the sidelines.

Lunch with my old cul-de-sac!

Once you discover your strength, it is easier the next time you are faced with a challenge, because you know you will survive. I wish someone had told me this 3 years ago, so I am telling you now. Know that you are stronger than you ever imagined. I mean, look back at all the obstacles you have overcome in your life – 100% success rate, right? Because here you are, standing tall!

“Being strong doesn’t mean you’ll never get hurt. It means even when you get hurt, you’ll never let it defeat you.”

Last week, I did not let Movie Pass defeat me! I used my Movie Pass (which FINALLY offered a good movie) to go see The Upside with Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston and y’all, it was great. I cried and laughed out loud with the other 2 people in the theater. Based on a true story of a strong, yet unexpected relationship, and what a heartwarming story it is. Go see it. You won’t be disappointed.

And did the temperatures drop in your area? Ok, I am not strong when it comes to cold weather – I am a WIMP and I admit it. Holy cow it was frigid up here! And especially on the night of the Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse. Did you see it? I set my alarm to get up at midnight, bundled up, and went out on my back deck, looked up at the clear, starry night, marveled at the beautiful moon, and texted my kids “if you are awake, go outside and look straight up.” And they did. It was so awesome! And more so, knowing my kids were doing the same thing, at the same time.

“The weather went from 70 to 30 like it saw a state trooper.”  (more like 50 to 10!)

Had a fun Saturday! My younger daughter and I met my son and his girlfriend, and my younger sister and sweet Jack for lunch at The Feedbag, this wonderful hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Mocksville, NC, right down the road from where my sister used to live. When we were choosing a place to meet for lunch that would be near Mom’s, my younger sister suggested The Feedbag, telling me their food is great, atmosphere Southern and homey, and that they had been written up in Southern Living. I was sold! We all had a great and fun lunch before going to visit Mom (one of the strongest women I know). As I have told you, Mom’s Assisted Living has a cute self-serve soft ice cream shop where you can have chocolate, vanilla, or swirled ice cream in a cone or bowl. We treated mom to ice cream and were entertained by Jack and his new tool bench complete with tools, that my sister had just gotten him. What fun Jack had hammering, nailing, and especially using his saw! And what fun mom (and all of us) had visiting and watching Jack. Nothing tops a child’s laughter!

When my sister and Jack headed back to High Point, and my son and his girlfriend to Charlotte, my younger daughter and I decided we would visit a couple of wineries before going home. We started at RayLen and ended up at Medaloni where there was a birthday party complete with snacks, cakes, and live music for all to enjoy. We had a tasting, me with white wines, my daughter with reds, got a glass of wine along with some cheese and crackers (since I was driving us home for 3 ½ hours), and sat in these adorable Adirondack chairs with slats cut as wine glasses and a wine bottle, and just talked. Oh, and people watched.

“You have within you, right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you.” Brian Tracy

My favorite man!

So realize your true strength. Stand tall and proud and strong, knowing who you are. Lift up those around you who are struggling with finding their strength. Have fun, love life, and live it to its fullest with all the grace and gusto you can find, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 

“Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” Dean Martin 1966

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Did you know that the song “Let it Snow!” was written and composed during a HEAT WAVE in July of 1945? It was not written as a Christmas song, though it successfully evolved into one as radio stations began playing it, and artists such as Dean Martin and Tony Bennett (not the good looking UVA coach!) began performing it during the Christmas season.

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” John Steinbeck

So did it snow in your area last weekend? It did here in Charlottesville. Forecast was for 6-12 inches, but thankfully we ended up with around 5 inches. Still, church services were cancelled, kids’ sporting events were cancelled, our clubs opened late and closed early, and of course, school was cancelled. But I had to work – our auditor was in from Chicago all weekend. We discovered over the years (worked with him for 13+ years) that we can get more accomplished working on the weekend without the interruptions of a normal work day. Only problem this weekend was finding a place within walking distance open for lunch due to the snow! Which of course he found hilarious as nothing shuts down in Chicago with only 5 inches of snow. We found ONE restaurant open and trekked to the downtown mall for lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Same place, same good food.

The thing about snow is that it is so peaceful and beautiful when it is falling. And the air feels so right – clean and crisp. Now don’t get me wrong, I prefer summer’s heat and humidity any time, but I do enjoy a beautiful snow. And I mostly love a snow on the weekend when I don’t have to work or worry about driving in it. I mean, I totaled one car last summer (driving it into a flooded roadway), I have no plans to total another driving it in the snow! Luckily our auditor is from Chicago where driving in snow is nothing!

“A lot of people like snow. I find it an unnecessary freezing of water.” Carl Reiner

The city and county, as well as our neighborhood management team, were prepared for this snow, having brined and salted the roads early. Came home Friday evening to an orange stick on either side of my driveway, and every other driveway in my neighborhood. Found it was to mark the edges of my driveway in case we got the 10+ inches forecasted, as my HOA is responsible for scraping our roads and clearing our driveways and sidewalks. Prepared. Unlike the state and counties in December 2009, when snow turned what normally is a 4-hour trip from Chapel Hill into a 17+ hour car ride for my son (coming home from Freshman year for Christmas) and me. Luckily I had filled up my gas tank and gotten my son a HUGE late lunch before leaving Chapel Hill, because for once in my life, I had no food in my car! I was not prepared – planned to be home in time for dinner, picking up a pizza on our way into town, but arrived home at 7:15 am the following morning.

“I prefer my footprints in the sand, not the snow.”

Remember the big snows when you were a kid? I remember some huge snows, but were they so big because we were so little? Or were they really big snows? When it snowed, my dad would put chains on our tires. (Yes, I am dating myself here but with a blog titled SOLO at SIXTY, there is no secret to my age!) The school buses ran with the big chains on their tires as well. And I remember how bad it was with the chains on the tires once the roads were partially cleared – such a rough ride. YIKES! Also, if it snowed during the week and schools were closed, we had to go to school the following SATURDAY. Imagine that! But I also remember my mom making the best snow cream. Of course you could NEVER use the first snow as it was “tainted” according to mom (first snow cleared the pollution out of the air!) and never use any yellow snow (duh), so we waited anxiously for that 2nd big snow. And the sledding… we had a flexible flyer and would put paraffin wax on the runners to make it go faster. Our street was basically a big hill that was great for sledding. The whole neighborhood would meet at the top and everyone sledded together, piling on top of each other on sleds. My mom always worried about us crashing and chipping our teeth! Not breaking bones, just teeth. “Make sure you close your mouth going down the hill!” Which no one did because we were screaming and laughing the whole way down. I never broke any teeth, neither did my sisters.

“Look for what’s good, what’s right, what’s beautiful. . .and that’s what you’ll see more of!”

By the way, last week my younger daughter and I watched the International Space Station fly overhead after an early morning cycle class. The sky was clear, the sun had not yet risen, and it was really cool to stand there looking at the sky marveling that there were people on the ISS and we were watching them fly by. Also marveling that my daughter who is NOT a morning person had already taken a class with me and was standing outside at 7 am. Life is good.

“For one minute walk outside, stand there, in silence, look up at the sky, and contemplate how amazing life is.”

And yes I am taking care of my knee… cycle is allowed. Just no running… which means more trips to Short Pump to take my older daughter’s cycle class, which we did last Thursday!

Looking forward to this weekend! Just hoping the “S” word does not interfere with my fun plans! And I noticed that the orange sticks are still marking the driveways….uh-oh, what does that mean?

I have my mom’s old clock on the wall in my office surrounded by photos of my family. I found myself looking at that clock and those old photos last Friday as I prepared for the weekend of work and snow, and found myself thinking about mom, and thought to myself that as those seconds and minutes ticked away, they were lost. Gone forever. Realized how important life is every minute of every day. So this week, take time each day to marvel at something amazing in life, and be thankful for every minute, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 

GAME ON!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Are y’all getting settled into the new year? I’m still working on accepting that 2018 is in the books. I have to admit, I have written 2018 several times, having to go back and make the 8 a 9! Sometimes I have a hard time letting go! (haha – sometimes?!?) But I think I am getting  there.

I have felt a little “off my game” lately, and not just because of the new year. Probably due to several things: holidays are over and I am missing my kids, Hallmark Christmas movies are GONE (at least until July!), and I am not running (missing that a lot!). Not running has really thrown me for a loop. I love running – it is my stress reliever. So why am I not running? Well, I realized something was wrong when I could no longer sit cross-legged or completely bend my left leg. Turns out I am experiencing some knee trouble. My last runs were on December 2nd and 3rd, knowing my doctor would tell me no more running at my appointment with her on December 4th. And she did. Plus she took x-rays and scheduled an MRI on a Friday night at 7:30. Really? Friday night MRI? Yep! Since it was my knee, I did not have to go all the way in the tube. WHEW! I was asked if I wanted music – “Do you have Christmas music?” “Christmas music it is.” Of course, you can only hear the music when the jackhammer noise is not blasting. And why is it that the minute they say “do not move,” your nose begins to itch and you feel a need to sneeze?!? Luckily, I closed my eyes and got a 30 minute nap, no valium needed. And luckily, the results are a bone bruise, torn meniscus, and screwed up cartilage – no surgery for now, just no running so it can heal. I appreciate that my doctor “gets” me. She has seen me through hamstring and hip issues – all resulting from running (and aging!). So, knowing I cannot be still and that I function better with some type of working out, she said I could cycle and do low-impact workouts. Does this mean I have to start swimming?! I mean, I can swim, but haven’t really since junior high (that’s middle school to some). Oh the joys (and woes) of aging and trying to remain active. So I am not running until the end of February, when I go back to the doctor and hope I am healed and get the green light to slowly start running again. After all, I have a race in March and one in April I don’t want to miss!

“When things get tough just don’t forget that somewhere in the distance you’ll see the sun shining.” Marinela Reka

Another thing knocking me off my game lately? The sun has been AWOL! It finally made an appearance up here last weekend. Enough so that I saw a rainbow, got my car washed, and enjoyed a beautiful Sunday afternoon sitting outside at, you guessed it, King Family Vineyards! My younger daughter was working and told me the new Crose (special rose) had been released and I should come out and try it. I believe this is the best one yet! It is so popular that it sells out by mid-summer each year, during the Polo season. And for the first time, they released some in cans! SO CUTE! It was such a perfect afternoon: sunny and warm (60 degrees), with a slight breeze making the air feel so clean. Carolina blue sky interrupted only with the passing jets’ white trails. So happy to be outside in the sun people-watching with a good glass of wine, some warm bread, and cheese. Do I mind going out there SOLO? Not at all. I often meet friends there, run into people I know, or just enjoy being alone. And there was a lot going on Sunday – a 1-year-old was having a BIG birthday party (go figure – must have been for the parents!), families, couples, and friends were all enjoying being outside on the unusually warm Sunday in January. Just like me!

“The sun is alone too but it still shines.”

So, I need to get back on my game. I had so much going on in November and December that I am having a bit of a time adjusting to a much slower, quieter pace this month. Saturday I even drove an hour to our Short Pump club and met my older daughter to take a Tabata (high intensity interval – oops, what was that about low impact?) class with her. Made my day. My sister and brother-in-law went to the beach last weekend and enjoyed sunny and warm (70’s) weather. OH was I ever jealous. But my time is coming…next month! Just hoping I’ll luck up with a warm weekend. New plan, new outlook. And hoping (and praying) my knee heals and I can get back out there running. Slowly and surely, until race day that is! So hard to have warm days in the winter and not be able to run.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the game.” Randy Pausch

Speaking of games… did you watch the BIG college football game Monday night between Clemson and Alabama? Or did you watch the new season of The Bachelor? I watched the football game (and taped The Bachelor!). Roll Tide? Not this year. Roar Tigers!

Let’s make the most of these winter days, especially the warm, sunny ones, because as we all know none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

Just an FYI…. every Saturday night has a new Winter Hallmark Movie!

 

It’s a Wrap!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Happy New Year! 2019. Did you stay awake long enough to see the ball drop and ring in the new year? Or did you set an alarm to rouse you from the sofa to welcome the new year in? Those poor people in Times Square, waiting all day, in the RAIN! Have to admit, I am glad I was not there!

Last week I could not believe Christmas was over; this week I can’t believe 2018 is over. Once my kids were gone, Christmas officially came to an end for me. So what did I do? Yep, I took my tree and all my decorations down, candles and boughs out of my windows, the netting of lights off my shrubbery, the garland off my light post, and washed and packed up my Christmas sweaters for next year. I did leave my beautiful wreath (the one I made!) on my front door. With Thanksgiving so early this year, my tree had been up since mid-November and was so dry I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to get it out of my house. My younger daughter came over Wednesday night to help me take it out. Once we hoisted it out of the stand, which was a bit of a comedy as it was such a big, DRY tree, we laid it on a sheet to carry out, but it was so dry the branches barely bent inward enough to make it through the door! I was afraid I might need a chainsaw to get it out. Vacuumed up all the pine needles and dog hair (Granddawg also visited over Christmas), moved my furniture back in place, and I was ready for 2019! I always like to start the new year off with my house in order, helps me to feel as if my life is also in order.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt

How did you feel about 2018? Were you glad to see it end? I feel as if I found my way in 2018. Turned a corner, took a right turn. I was finally able to close the book on a lot of hurt, pain, and self-doubt. I concentrated on how blessed I am and lived my life accordingly. Of course, there were some low, hurtful experiences in 2018. But I think after you find yourself unexpectedly SOLO, or experience other life-changing events, you have to know that those instances are going to happen, and you just have to be as prepared as possible, which is never easy. Luckily for me, the good times FAR outweighed the low times, and 2018 was the first in recent years that I truly felt good about the whole year. I had a lot of fun, spent a lot of time with my kids, family, and friends, and traveled to the beach often. I have no regrets about 2018 and I plan to end 2019 with no regrets as well.

“Healing does not mean the damage never existed, it just means the damage no longer controls our lives.”

Speaking of the beach, I am really feeling its pull these days. It has been a long time since I have inhaled that sweet salty air – well over a month! Unfortunately, I’m not sure when I will get back down there – now until mid-February is my busiest time at work, closing the books for 2018 and setting up 2019. Last week alone I visited 4 of our out-of-town clubs, 3 in one day, in 3 different states! Needless to say, it was a long, but very productive day. And Saturday I made a trip to our Short Pump club, took a great class with my older daughter, and talked her into helping me confirm inventory. Finished before the Carolina game at noon! And finally took my office Christmas lights down… so the season has wrapped up for me!

“What is coming is better than what is gone.”

Life is so similar. We are all closing the books on 2018 and opening a new book for 2019, one that includes 365 beautiful, blank pages just waiting for us to write a new story. What will you write on your pages? Will they be filled with happiness? Sorrow? Adventure? Fun? Will there be goodbye letters to some people and welcome letters to new people? You know I don’t believe in coincidences – I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that people enter our lives for a reason, though we may not be able to see it at the time. Becoming SOLO is proof for me. Yes, I said goodbye to some people in my life, but I have said hello and welcome to so many new and wonderful people. And I realized the importance of many people who had taken a back seat in my life. But I digress (imagine that!). We have 365, well now today it is down to 363 blank pages to fill. Let’s fill these pages with kindness, gratitude, happiness, compassion, love, and FUN! Make the most of these 363 days because like the last 2 days, we can never get them back. And if there is a bad page or chapter, just turn the page, knowing there is a bright blank page just waiting for YOU to fill it.

“To be happy in 2019 you must: Let go of what’s gone, be grateful for what remains, and look forward to what’s on the way.”

So that’s a wrap folks! Goodbye 2018, hello 2019!  Make the most of every day, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Happy New Year! It was a Carolina Blue day!

 

Best,

Leslie

PS Saw this and agree totally:  “Christmas is over… I am ready for Summer!”