“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!

“Love Train”… The O’Jays 1972

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY

Not trying to wish my life away, but I cannot wait until this weekend! Four solid days filled with family, friends, fun, and lots of love. Throw Valentine’s Day in the mix, and you’ve got the full Monty! Do you have special plans for Valentine’s Day, or are you SOLO and dreading the day? If you are… don’t. Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love. There are all types of love. Make special plans with someone you just love having in your life. I’ll be in Winston-Salem having lunch with some “old” high school friends (crashing their weekly lunch!) before heading to Charlotte to spend the weekend with my kids. I’m in a really good place this year. And very thankful for it.

“You are not defined by your relationship status or lack thereof. You are defined by how you love. Go out this week, and be love, give love, spread love!”  Maria Shriver

February is the month of Love. Love songs are on the radio, our instructors are making playlists for classes with love songs, and Hallmark is showcasing Love Ever After movies all month. I actually know someone who has written music for some Hallmark movies… my beautiful and talented niece, Natalie Madigan. I am going on the record here (pun intended), she will make it in the music industry. She is a graduate of the music program at MTSU, lives in Nashville, and has performed all over the country. In fact, she was in Richmond last Friday night performing at the Graduate Hotel. How coincidental is that? Could not miss an opportunity to hear her sing. After all, she just released an album! (Do people still buy actual albums?!?!) My older daughter, son-in-law, and I met to see and support her, not to mention be entertained. We weren’t the only ones there to support her! The crowd at this sold-out show also included some local Richmond cousins I hadn’t seen in a while, so it was a mini-family reunion of sorts. Thankful to still have these family relationships, even if I am no longer a “Madigan.” The show was wonderful! Not only does Natalie sing beautifully, she also accompanies herself on the keyboard/piano. She sang several songs, one being the title song from her new album, What It’s Like To Be Known. It was wonderful to see this beautiful girl, who I have known all of her 23 years, as a rock star! OH to be young and traveling around the country singing. Or just to be able to sing! My son-in-law asked me how those family genes skipped his wife! Hmmm… good question!

“Family is a gift that lasts forever.”

It was a rollercoaster weekend – high Friday night, low Saturday night. Have I mentioned in this blog that it is just NOT Carolina’s year in basketball?! Proof positive after Saturday’s overtime loss to Duke (of all teams!). Such a close game with us leading until the bitter end. Close but no cigar made this loss that much more disappointing. Plus the students fell just 4 points shy of getting free biscuits (when the Tar Heels score 100 points – it’s free biscuits!), not to mention a win! We were heartbroken, deflated, crushed. “If onlys” floated all around us. Prior to that game, the last 100 games played between these 2 teams resulted in a record of 50-50. 50 wins for Carolina, 50 wins for Duke. Points scored? 7,746 for Carolina, 7,746 for Duke. You can’t make this up folks. Pretty amazing right? So now the record is Carolina 50, Duke 51. Points? Carolina 7,842 and Duke 7,844. I tried very hard NOT to let that loss steal my joy, but…let’s be realistic here.

“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

UVA also suffered a disappointing loss Saturday after making a pretty remarkable comeback against the #5 team in the nation. Yet Sunday morning their 7+ foot tall player was right there at church. We walked in together, and as he held the door for me, I craned my neck to look up at him (he’s 23 inches taller than me after all) to thank him. Didn’t mention his game… he’s a very sweet boy and probably wanted to blend in with the congregation. HA! NO chance of that – he’s taller than anyone else in Charlottesville!

“Healing is weird. Some days you’re okay and you’re doing just fine. Other days it still hurts like its fresh. It’s a process with no definitive time frame. You just have to keep going and know that when all is said and done, you’re going to be okay.”

After church, I decided I need to put a little more effort into recentering myself, and since my younger daughter had asked me to pick up her Wine Club selections from Afton Mountain Vineyards, I thought that might be the perfect place. Turns out it was. She is a wine club member which meant I got a complimentary glass of wine, which I gladly accepted, found a comfortable rocking chair, enjoyed the wine, the views, and the atmosphere. Central Virginia vineyards are all blessed with breathtaking scenery. As the sign at Afton says, “Grapes don’t grow in ugly places.” So true, so very true. The wine and the mountains helped me realize that what seemed like the end of the world Saturday night (basketball loss), looked much different with the light of the day Sunday.

Also realized with the light of day, that maybe, just maybe, the disappointment I felt with the Carolina loss was tied subconsciously to bigger losses in my life. It’s that time of year when everything and everyone is focused on love. With my son and his beautiful fiancée getting married this year, and us celebrating them this weekend, plus Valentine’s Day looming, the focus on marriage seemed to be in the forefront. That loss will always be in my life. Subtle now, but still there. Thankful to have 4 years behind me and to be where I am these days. Life definitely goes on. And I realize that there are all types of love and people to share love with in so many ways. And luckily for me, I get to take advantage of so many of them this weekend!

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” Marianne Williamson

So, celebrate Valentine’s Day in the best way you can. If you are SOLO this year, celebrate the freedoms, opportunities, and benefits that come with this status. Celebrate all the special people in your life. May surprise you to realize just how many there are. If you are in a relationship, take the opportunity to appreciate what you have, cherish your partner, renew your commitment… because nobody knows better than me that too many relationships dissolve. And, as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS – Can you believe people are expected to spend $27.4 BILLION for Valentine’s Day? That’s an average of $196 for those celebrating the big day! “What’s in your wallet?!?!” Well, $196 less after Friday!

 

“Betcha By Golly, Wow…” The Stylistics 1972

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Hello February! January literally flew by y’all. February promises to be filled with much more than just work for me! Lots of fun and special events are happening in my life this month, many including my kids and family. Yes, I have been looking forward to February for quite a while. And as a plus, we get an extra day since it is Leap Year.

“I am sure the person who put the first R in FebRuary also decided how to spell Wednesday.”

Betcha watched the Super Bowl Sunday… Did your team win?  Any favorite commercials? Did the Google commercial bring tears to your eyes? Obviously, it did for me. And Sam Elliott and Bill Murray put a smile on my face. I read a statistic that said the team that scores first has a 2:1 chance of winning the Super Bowl (has happened in 8 of the last 10 games). Based on that, I figured the 49er’s would win… until the fourth quarter. Though I had no skin in the game, I work with a great guy who played for the Chiefs for 11 years back in the day (he is my age!), and was inducted into their Hall of Fame. So with that connection, I was pulling for the Chiefs, who never gave up, and was very happy for him that his old team became Super Bowl champs. (I think that 2:1 stat is going down!)

“Winning is fun…Sure. But winning is not the point. Wanting to win is the point. Not giving up is the point. Never letting up is the point. Never being satisfied with what you’ve done is the point.” – Pat Summit (University of Tennessee Women’s head coach for 38 years)

This was the first year I veered away from my Super Bowl tradition of making bread bowls and chili to eat while watching the big game. 2020 is going to be a year with some new changes for me. Even one as small as the Super Bowl meal. Baby steps. So what did I do for dinner? Well… I took myself out to dinner, ate at the bar, and watched the first quarter with a lot of other fans. Passed on a glass of wine though…I had already had one when I slipped away from work for an hour or so (hopefully the last weekend at work for a bit) and ventured out to my favorite winery. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, sunny and 62, and King Family Vineyards was debuting their new wine, Verde, described as “light, fresh, and spritzy.” And I can attest that it is! I have to admit, I missed my wine buddy Sunday afternoon, and everyone at KFV told me they missed her too. I got a glass of this new wine, some warm bread and cheese, sat outside and enjoyed a late lunch under a perfect Carolina blue sky. Appropriate, as I was a bit “blue” over my Tar Heels continued scoring woes. But whatcha gonna do? Get a glass of wine, get over it, wait for the next game, and keep cheering. Honestly, with the expectations being pretty low it kinda takes the pressure off, so any win will be HUGE! I left KFV with several bottles of the new wine to take to Charlotte next week for my younger daughter. Part of my February fun plans!

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”  – Nelson Mandela

What was NOT part of my February plans? Another visit to the knee surgeon. But I found myself there last week. After having my best run so far, and venturing back into athletic conditioning classes, my knee (from original surgery) was pretty angry. And swollen. Had to get x-rays (again), with 200 of my closest friends also getting x-rays, but all was clear. Could see the hardware holding my meniscus in place and the “human cement” securing the insufficiency fracture. Got a shot of cortisone in my knee (OUCH!) and permission to continue working out, just need to be mindful of what causes my knee to hurt. He did remind me I am not even 10 months post surgery. Felt encouraged. I am not giving up. And now, my knee feels pretty darn good! Had another good run Monday in 68 degree weather. Gonna be hard to accept when real winter weather arrives. A friend of mine lives in Denver, Colorado where it was 72 Sunday, 25 Monday. Go figure!

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

By the way, how are those New Year resolutions holding up? Need a reset? Nothing wrong with that. Don’t give up, just hit the restart button. Read a great quote recently – “Don’t be afraid to start over. This time you are starting with experience.” Probably was not meant for New Years resolutions, but hey, it’s relevant. Never too late to reset and restart. I’m the first to admit, I got side-tracked with one of mine. I’m not giving up on it though, just got myself back on track this week. Ever heard of the 21/90 Rule? If you commit  to a goal for 21 days, it should become a habit. And if you can do it for 3 weeks, you should be able to continue for 3 months, at which time it becomes a way of life.

“I’ve decided my 2020 will start on February 1st, January is a free trial month.”

I hope y’all have a great week. I hope you find something each day that makes you smile. I hope you don’t give up on your hopes and dreams (or New Years resolutions!). I hope someone is kind to you every day, and I hope you pay that kindness forward, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

More Kobe…

Best,

Leslie

PS … Did you know that today, February 5th, is National Weather Forecaster’s Day? Yep, there’s a day for everything! Show some love to our weather people!

 

“What’s Going On…” Marvin Gaye January 17, 1971

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Can you believe today is January 29th? The first month of 2020 is almost over y’all. Time’s a-flying! January is usually a blur for me – it’s my busiest time of the year at work, finalizing financial statements for 12 clubs, so that means a lot of working through the weekends. Luckily, I like what I do and who I do it with. And usually, January is a frigidly cold month, so being inside working 7 days a week is not the worst thing in the world. But there still needs to be some time for fun, right? I mean, all work and no play… well, we know that is not a good combination.

So, I met a friend at a cute little Italian restaurant last week for dinner. Oh my, the food was wonderful and of course we shared a great bottle of wine. I think I found my new favorite restaurant! We got to talking about life in general and the suggestion was made that I write about adversity this week and finding the bright side, past and present. Like me, this friend has experienced adversity in recent years, but in a much more major way. Started me thinking. When I look around, I realize there is not one single person I know who has not experienced some type of adversity in their life, many facing adversity on a daily basis. It’s how we respond and act in the face of adversity that defines our character.

“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Which leads to “finding the bright side, past and present.” It seems like an impossible task, but trust me, it is possible. I know in my own life, the adversities I have faced opened several doors to new friends and opportunities that would not have happened if my life had not changed so drastically 4 years ago. One big one? This BLOG! I never would have started writing my blog. I wanted to share my path, so that others could see that life goes on no matter what, and it can be good even after life-changing events. My relationships with my family and friends became so much stronger and more important to me. And, I do not take anything for granted anymore. So as hard as the adversity of becoming SOLO was for me, many positives came out of it and continue to appear daily. Same with my knees. As frustrating as dealing with 2 surgeries and recoveries have been, it forced me to slow down a bit, change up my activities, and focus on other forms of working out – one being cycle classes. And as you know, I LOVE to go to my older daughter’s 6:15 am cycle class (which is about 55 minutes away) as often as I can. Made that trip just yesterday morning! This is definitely a perk of not running 5 or 6 days a week – opens up those days for cycle, athletic conditioning, and hot yoga. Of course I am still holding out hope that my knees will heal and heal soon, but I will never be running as often as I was before. And I am ok with that. Think about your own life – when things have been difficult, have you also experienced something positive? A new opportunity? Did someone cross your path that probably would not have otherwise? Maybe you did not realize it at the time, but looking back, do you see any positives?

Here’s a positive I experienced while getting my car washed this week, Rainbow of colors! And good music!

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” Mary Tyler Moore

I see people I know and love get up, dress up, and face the world day in and day out with an attitude of gratitude and purpose, while I know they are struggling on the inside. But they are making that effort to overcome adversity and get through the day successfully. Don’t get me wrong, we all have those days when we just need a good cry or just need to get our B#$%H on. But we can’t park it there for too long. Cry, scream, stomp, whatever it takes to get it out and move on to the next day. The sun will come up tomorrow and you will still have to make that choice once again to be happy. Happiness is not a given, it’s a choice. Look at the bright side of life – that too is a choice. Honestly, I believe there is something good in every situation and in every day, even if we have to look hard for it.

“Character cannot be achieved in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, and success achieved.” Helen Keller

Speaking of adversity, my Tar Heels have faced major adversity this season with injury after injury. Although we did get a BIG win last Saturday – on my son-in-law’s birthday! It was a beautiful day, and not just because of the win. It was 60 degrees, folks! So I was more than happy to take an afternoon break from those weekends of work to head to their new house in Richmond and celebrate with a great lunch and ice cream cake. While we were there, his mom told me they had to cancel many of his birthday parties when he was a child due to snow. That’s a problem with January birthdays. That and the birthday being so close to Christmas. But often he gets to celebrate his “half-birthday” in July, thereby celebrating twice! Hmmm… seems like a positive there! Oh, and our Tar Heels won again Monday night, just to drag out my son-in-law’s birthday celebration!

 

“Everyone goes through adversity in life, but what matters is what you learn from it.” Lou Holtz (I have always loved Lou Holtz, just saying)

On a much more somber note, I cannot end without acknowledging the incredible loss that rocked not only the basketball world but the world in general Sunday, when Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter, plus 7 other people, lost their lives in a helicopter crash. Like everyone else, I could not believe what I was hearing and reading. How could this be? So heartbreaking for his wife to lose her husband and precious daughter instantly. And just as heartbreaking for the families of the other people on that helicopter. What a horrible loss these families have to face and overcome. None of those people woke up Sunday morning with the thought that it could be their last day on this earth. But it was. Let this be a lesson to us all – tell those you love how you feel, and never take a day of life for granted, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

Best,

Leslie

PS – Know what Sunday, February 2nd is? Groundhog Day of course. Wonder if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow or not. Hoping for NOT! I am ready for Spring y’all. OH and Sunday is also SUPERBOWL SUNDAY!  GO ??WHO?? Geez, I don’t have a real preference this year. No pressure!

“Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone….” Bill Withers 1971

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Not sure about the weather where y’all are, but our weather has been so crazy in Charlottesville. We have seen the coldest temperatures of the season AND some fairly mild days. We’ve experienced Winter, then Fool’s Spring (plants started budding), then Second Winter (to kill the buds), and soon it will be Spring of Deception! Just give me SUMMER and those long, warm days filled with sunlight!

Ever listen to the radio and a song comes on that causes you to go “ohhhh… that song reminds me of…..” or “that was ‘so and so’ and my song back in the day.” Your breath quickens, your heart races a little, and for a few seconds you are transported back in time. And if you close your eyes you can remember just how you felt. This happens to me a lot – mainly because I listen to either the 70’s channel or Yacht Rock Radio on Pandora at work and XM Radio when I travel. I’m the first to admit that I am a sucker for the oldies – I mean, that music was the BEST!  Right? And those songs are the ones that “get” me, reminding me of my days in high school and college, of dating, old friends… so much fun, so many memories.

“All it takes is 1 song to bring back 1,000 memories.”

But music is not the only thing that evokes old memories. Reruns of old TV shows also take me back. When I got home Saturday night and turned on the TV, I was pleasantly surprised to see an old episode of Saturday Night Live. One that first aired on January 17, 1976. 1976 y’all! Back when SNL’s stars were Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, Gilda Radnor, and Jane Curtin. Who remembers Weekend Update with Chevy Chase, the Norge Refrigerator Repairman, or Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, chips? Pepsi, no Coke? And Roseanne Roseannadanna? The musical guest on this episode was Bill Withers and of course he sang “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” with all 26 “I knows” sung in a row. Watching that SNL episode transported me back to when I was an 18-year-old high school senior, a cheerleader, and already accepted at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill for the fall. Life was good, life was fun, life was pretty easy.

“Memories are special moments that tell our story.”

What were you doing in 1976? Can you believe that was 44 years ago? Made me stop and look back at the past 44 years. I mean, in January of 1976, I was loving high school, was not nearly as close with my sisters as I am now (one was newly married, other was in 7th grade), had not met my future husband, had not even laid eyes on the campus of UNC (yep, applied there, even though I had never visited!), but I was cheering for UNC basketball! (Still am, even though this is a challenging year, to say the least.)

As good as the 70’s were, so were the 80’s. When my younger daughter was home with me over Christmas, we were talking about a TV quote I often say: “Thank you RAY DON!” This is from one of my favorite 80’s shows – Designing Women, which I think was WAY before its time. So what did we do? My daughter found the old episodes on Hulu and we binge-watched the first season, which included the “RAY DON” episode! I think she loved it too! Brought back lots of memories for me. As much as I loved the 70’s, I also loved the 80’s (though not the music as much). I was a newlywed and then a new momma in the 80’s. Life was good, life was interesting, life was very meaningful.

“A millions feelings. A thousand thoughts. A hundred memories. One person.”

My favorite trip down memory lane is when I search for baby pictures of my kids to post on their birthday. Oh my goodness my kids were the cutest! (I know, every momma says that!) I love going through my many bins of old photos, looking back and remembering their precious childhoods and all of our fun family times. I am always so thankful for each of them. And trust me, I have bins and bins of old pictures! (Similar to my Christmas Sweater bins!)

I’ve been looking back and taking stock of my life lately. Realized that as happy as I am with where I am in my life, there are a lot of things that I will probably never get to do. It was a bit sobering. And I am ok with that. Kinda. Decided I would start my bucket list, which so far, is relatively small and fairly simple (Hawaii, NYC again, one more half-marathon). I have a friend who has an impressive bucket list and is wasting NO time crossing the fun and amazing items off the list. Not sure I’ll ever accomplish the things on my list, but it sure is fun to dream about them.

“Memories take us back, dreams take us forward.”

Do you have a bucket list? Dreams of what you would like to do or see? Things you would like to accomplish? What’s holding you back? Opportunity? Finances? Fear? Honestly, all of these things are holding me back. That and the thought that I will have time later to accomplish some of my dreams. Maybe after I retire? But do we have plenty of time? Why risk it? Why not go for those things now? Mark the fun things off your list. Make those memories. I’m gonna give it a go. Let’s not wait, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Best,

Leslie

PS… “Well, Jane, it just goes to show you. It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”  Roseanne Roseannadanna, SNL

“Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” Chicago 1973

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

How is 2020 treating you so far? Two weeks are in the books, 50 more to enjoy this year. Luckily, we do get one extra day since this is a leap year. Is it just me or does time seem to be flying by? I mean, the older I get, the faster it goes. Which is a great reminder to make the most of each and every day. Once that day is gone, it is gone. No getting it back.

How are those New Year Resolutions going? According to Inc. Magazine, 80% of people drop their resolutions by mid-February. And Strava (a fitness and social app that tracks cycling and running) predicts January 19th is the day most people abandon their resolutions, which is a bit funny, because the busiest day of the year in our clubs is the 3rd Monday of the year, which this year is January 20th, Martin Luther King Day. I can attest to the fact that many people made fitness their 2020 resolution, as our clubs are very busy these days. Classes are full, fitness floor is full, locker rooms are full. Good feeling to see so many people thinking about their health and working on getting fit.

“Imagine yourself in 6 months if you continue working out… Now imagine yourself if you quit.” (borrowed from one of our personal trainer’s FB page)

I have struggled a bit with my knee lately – stiff and swollen after a couple of fairly good runs. Decided I needed a “spa day,” so I scheduled a physical therapy session. Yep, like a spa day for me, especially since my therapist changed part of my treatment from icing to heat (heavenly!). She manipulated my knee, treated it with light therapy (actual light), followed by E-Stem and HEAT. All the time I got to lie down with my knees supported by a bolster. Oh, and I had 2 pillows. So… I took a nap. Yep, right there in the middle of the PT clinic. Told them to nudge me if I snored. Nothing like getting to take a nap in the middle of the day! I was scheduled to run after PT, and was so afraid she would tell me not to, but it was just the opposite. She wanted me to run and see how my knee reacted. Don’t have to tell me twice! Left there feeling like a new person.

“Don’t run from life, run with life to face life.” – Akhil Tharakan

Had a decent run, but had to dodge some remaining snowy spots! Still can’t believe we had snow last week, and then enjoyed a record high of 69 degrees this past Sunday. I am NOT complaining – yet. I’ll be complaining as the cold weather returns this weekend. I could take one big snow, as long as it is on a weekend, where I have no plans. You know, the kind of weekend where you can just hunker down and enjoy doing nothing but being snowed in. One weekend of snow and I am done for the season. I don’t know about y’all, but I really struggle with cold weather these days! I refuse to wish my days away, but I cannot wait for spring and summer.

So struggling with an uncooperative knee and cold weather are pretty mild. But trust me, I have struggled with much more serious matters in my life, especially in the last 4 years. Several of my friends are struggling with many different issues – health, family, financial, personal. Which leads me to say that we never know what people are dealing with. No matter the smiles on faces, the struggles are real. Just be kind. Always.

“Just because you are struggling does not mean you are failing. Every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there.” – Nicky Gumble

Funny, but I really struggled coming up with a blog topic this week. Nothing happened to spark my interest. Probably because this is my busiest time of the year at work, and at work is the only place I have been… including all weekend. I did make it home Saturday in time to watch Carolina’s continuing struggle this season. Maybe I should have stayed at work! Plagued with injury after injury, my Tar Heels are in the struggle of a lifetime. But I still support and love ‘em! It’s a character-building year for sure.

“It doesn’t get easier. You just get stronger.”

I also struggled to stay awake Monday night to watch the battle of the Tigers – Clemson vs LSU, for the football championship. LSU struggled at first, Clemson struggled in the end. Two great teams, 2 unbelievable QB’s, one a Heisman Trophy winner. In the end, LSU prevailed in a big way. Then I really struggled to get up for a 6 am cycle class Tuesday morning. But I did!

So as I said, I really struggled with a topic this week… then I realized that WAS my topic. I looked around me and realized that we all are struggling in big and small ways. How do you handle struggles in your life? Do you pull the covers over your head and hope they go away on their own? Or do you face them head on (maybe after having a pity party)? Life, in general, is a struggle every day, for everyone. Obviously, some days more than others. But we have to continue fighting to succeed every day. Attitude. Fortitude. Gratitude. (Lots of “tudes”!) The struggles are real, so best to accept and overcome your struggles, because life goes on, life is good, and as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

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

Full moon out my back door…

Best,

Leslie

PS – Did you know that today, January 15th, is National Bagel Day? Have to admit, before moving to Charlottesville, I had never eaten a bagel (or even seen one!). We had biscuits in the South, not bagels. Now mind you, that was 23 years ago! Today I LOVE bagels and Charlottesville has the BEST bagel shop – BODO’s Bagels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Beginnings” Chicago 1969

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

First week of 2020 is in the books folks! Did you write 2019 by accident this week? Did you break any of the resolutions you made last week? Have to admit, mine are going pretty well, all things considered. Kept up with them every day – I’ll share details later in the year. And I did not let anything or anyone steal my joy, not even Carolina’s loss to Georgia Tech at home, which has not happened in 10 years. Even found a couple of bright spots in that loss. (Always look for the positives!) Many other things brought me joy this week. Visited my older daughter and son-in-law on New Year’s Day, even though I had just taken her cycle class the day before. (You can never see your kids too much!) Besides, they were helping me with a project. Treated them to lunch as a thank you. And had some good girl-time shopping with my daughter, which we have not done in a long time.

“New year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately, we write it. The choice is ours.”  Alex Morritt

Also found much joy in running this week, in WARM January weather, moving up to 35 minutes. WOOHOO! Amazing how long it takes to get back into running shape, no matter how many cycle classes you have taken. Running is just a totally different workout. And one I have missed. Finally starting to feel more like my “old self” (over a year later!) – running (not worrying about pace or distance, just time) and getting back into the athletic conditioning classes I have sorely missed. Taking good care of my knees – icing and stretching. With a race scheduled the end of March and another one in April, I don’t have that long to get back into running shape. But I will. Determination. I walked these same 2 races last year, one in a brace. This year, I will run them – not setting any personal records, but I will run them.

“Your speed doesn’t matter, forward is forward.”

If you are on Facebook, do you have those memories that pop up from a year, 2 years, even 7 years ago? Kinda like having a diary. You see them and it’s like “Oh… I forgot I was at the beach this time last year” or “Awww… my daughters ran that race with me 5 years ago” or “OH… it snowed today 3 years ago!” My blog is like that in many ways for me. Each week, one of my prior blogs pops up on my FB feed (SOLO at SIXTY has a Facebook page that shares to my personal page). Fun for me to go back and read what I was doing, thinking, and going through same time last year, or the year before. (Blog started in May 2017.) And since I never deleted any of my FB pics from my past, old pictures pop up all the time with the “On This Day “X” Years Ago…”  At one time it was a shock to the heart when these old pics from my past popped up. Now, not so much. I mean, I have been SOLO for almost 4 years. And hindsight is 20/20 after all.

“You know you’re on the right path when you feel good about moving forward and could care less about looking back.” – Kristen Butler

Hindsight is 20/20. Heard that before? Who hasn’t? Who hasn’t said, “well I should not have done that… hindsight is 20/20!”? Meaning, I should have known better. I have had MANY hindsight is 20/20 moments in my life. But honestly, many of those taught me lessons. The biggest? DON’T DRIVE INTO STANDING WATER! Talk about hindsight being 20/20 – I should have turned around! Better yet, I never should have set out for the beach until I knew all the roads were open and safe. Lesson learned. The hardest way. But I did meet a very sweet couple that day!

If you could, would you go back and change things, having 20/20 vision in hindsight? I often think about this. Would I not have transferred to Wake Forest and instead stayed at Carolina? Yep, I often wish I had not made that decision. But at the time, it was the right decision, and it gave me the best kids a mom could ever ask for, and some very special friends. Do I wish we had not moved to Virginia 23 years ago and stayed in NC with my family near by? Yes, I often wish that too – I missed a lot with my family. BUT, it was a wonderful decision for my children, and ultimately for me – the friends I made, friends my kids made, their education and opportunities, my opportunities, plus my older daughter met her husband here. So wow, even with 20/20 hindsight vision, I would not change anything. Well, except the car thing!

“Look forward with hope, rather than backward with regret.”

So maybe the 20/20 hindsight concept is not to regret things in our past, but to appreciate the lessons learned. Maybe in the YEAR 2020, we should remember that yes, hindsight is 20/20, but it is very easy to be wise AFTER an event. Let’s make 2020 memorable. After all, it’s the beginning of a new decade. We won’t look back next New Years with 20/20 hindsight or regret. We’ll travel through this year together, with grit and grace. Sure there will be disappointments and challenges along the way, but we won’t let them control our year. We will not let anyone or anything steal our joy. We will find something to be thankful for and we will perform at least one random act of kindness every day. We will make time for our friends and family. We will think about our health. We will make the most of 2020, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“Behind you, all your memories. Before you, all your dreams. Around you, all who love you. Within you, all you need.”

Best,

Leslie

PS It was 50 degrees Monday, snowed Tuesday, 50 today, and supposed to be almost 70 this weekend. I did not let the snow traffic or it taking me an hour+ to get home steal my joy! Instead, I relished the beautiful snow!