“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!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! ABBA 1980

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Happy New Year and HELLO 2020! Welcome to a new decade y’all…doesn’t that seem impossible? I have a feeling 2020 is going to be a GREAT year. I mean, my favorite number is 20, and there it is, double in the year 2020! What are you looking forward to this year? Are you making resolutions? What about resolutions for the next decade? Hard to imagine what my life will look like in 10 years. I never imagined 10 years ago that my life would look the way it does today! But I am thankful it is what it is.

“2020: Just believe that good things are on the way.”

It’s a brand new year y’all. A wonderful opportunity to start fresh, develop new interests, new hobbies, meet new people. A new chapter. I am going to be thankful for each and every day, because once gone, that time cannot be relived. Several years ago, I decided I would do everything I could to see and spend time with my family – my kids, my momma, my sisters, and my nephew and his sweet family – as often as possible. I have been pretty successful with that plan and so it will continue this year. Even made that early morning trip to my daughter’s cycle class New Year’s Eve morning! 2020 promises to get me back to my favorite pastime, running, with 2 races already scheduled. (Ran Monday in 72 degree weather!) Plus I hope to spend more time at the beach – after all, I was on crutches and out of commission for April and May of 2019. And then there’s the wedding! The icing on the cake to a great year ahead!

Take me with you Santa!

So I’ve said goodbye to 2019, and also to Christmas 2019. As much as I LOVE Christmas and everything associated with it, once it is over, it is over for me. No dragging it out at my house! Time to move on. After I published my Christmas blog last Wednesday evening, my younger daughter and I continued a Christmas Day tradition we started last year and went to the movies, this year to see Little Women. LOVED it! We had skipped lunch since we were still full from brunch, so we splurged and got a hotdog at the movies. This theater has the best hotdogs – split and grilled and served on a grilled bun. (Christmas dinner!) A real treat!

Another real treat was meeting some of her friends and their moms Thursday afternoon at Mount Ida Winery. Hard to believe it was December 26 with 60 degree weather. It was such a beautiful day and I was so thankful my daughter finally got to visit Mount Ida, the only winery she had not been to, and visit it with me! Their huge Christmas tree is still up and decorated. Unlike mine! Yep, my tree is down and has been taken away by our trash collector. As of last Friday morning, all of my decorations were back in their bins, stored away for Christmas 2020. Same with my beautiful Christmas sweaters! I decorate early and take down early. I like to start the new year with a clean slate, including my house! Everything back in order. Only things left are my Moravian Star, which will stay up until this Sunday (Epiphany), and the beautiful wreath I made with my sister and daughter. My wreath may stay up all year – too much love and effort went into it to just discard it! I’ll just change the bow on it.

My wine buddy!

“It doesn’t matter what’s been written in your story so far, it’s how you fill up the rest of the pages that count.”

Friday brought the first College Football Bowl game (for me that is) as Carolina played Temple in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland. My older daughter and son-in-law went to the game to cheer on our Heels in person, but my younger daughter and I opted to watch it from the comfort of my sofa. I was decked out from head to toe in my Carolina garb and wrapped in a Carolina blanket for good luck. Turned out to be a GDTBATH (Good Day To Be A Tar Heel) and the BEST game! Heels won 55-13! Gave all Tar Heel fans a lot of excitement and hope for the 2020 season. (Yet another reason 2020 will be good!)

Decked out for the game!

“Catch Carolina Fever… kiss a Tar Heel!”

My younger daughter said goodbye to me Saturday afternoon to head back to NC, but not before we made a trip to King Family Vineyard (our second in a week!) to taste their 2019 Crose Rose (named for the town of Crozet!), which did not disappoint! It was yet another perfect December day – sunny and 66 degrees! Who could imagine December would end with such warm weather? Of course, I am loving it! Many other people were also enjoying the perfect weather as it was very busy out there. We got a glass of Crose and sat outside enjoying the spring-like weather and the views and just talking. Perfect ending to a wonderful week.

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

So now it’s time for a perfect beginning to a wonderful new year. 2019 was not a bad year by any means for me, but I sure am thankful to have those 2 knee surgeries behind me! There were many good things in 2019 – my sweet son got engaged to a lovely girl, my younger daughter accepted a new job and moved to Charlotte, and my older daughter and son-in-law sold their house the day it was listed and built a new beautiful home. And I reclaimed my maiden name and became Leslie Anne Holcomb, 39 years to the day of trading my maiden name in. Very exciting and empowering for me.

LAH… My new name in gifts…

“Keep your eyes on the stars, but your feet on the ground.”  Theodore Roosevelt

So, I head into 2020 as a new person, so to speak. And I am very excited about that. Looking forward to what the new year may bring. My “mantra” for 2020? I will not let anyone or anything steal my joy! That includes my own thoughts. Sometimes my thoughts tend to get the best of me – conversations in my head that I know will never happen; worries about tomorrow; expecting something dire to happen. This year I plan to quelch these thoughts and worries at the onset, to make every effort to expect the best life has to offer: happiness, success, and lots of fun. Let’s make the most of 2020, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“10 years from now, make sure you can say you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.”

Best,

Leslie

PS – Did you realize that in 2020: Valentine’s Day is a FRIDAY!  Cinco de Mayo is on TACO TUESDAY! 4th of July is a SATURDAY!  Halloween is a SATURDAY! Christmas is a FRIDAY! AND…. NEW YEAR STARTS WITH A 3 DAY WEEKEND!  Thank you LEAP YEAR!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

(WARNING: Picture overload today!)

“Shepherds, Angels, Innkeepers, Kings… From the very beginning, Christmas has brought people together…”

I hope today has been merry for you, spent in a way that brought you much happiness. I’ve had a busy, wonderful week, filled with family, fun, love, and FOOD! I feel as if I have eaten enough this past week to last me the rest of winter!

Made a day trip to Winston-Salem, NC last Thursday to bake with my sisters. Our annual Holcomb Sister Christmas Baking Day. My older sister’s kitchen smelled like Dewey’s Bakery (for all you Winston locals) as we sifted, stirred, mixed, dipped, and baked fudge, peanut butter balls, thumbprints, molasses cookies, and 7-layer squares. All the time talking and laughing. A lot! Oh and a bit of singing Christmas carols, off-key of course. After the last treat was taken out of the oven, we prepared a big tray of goodies to take to Mom’s caregivers, who so appreciated being remembered. They love Mom, and for that, we are very thankful. But how could you not love our sweet Momma? She is still the sweet, grateful, mild mannered lady with a soul filled with grace. We also went with Mom to a Christmas concert by a string quintet of violinists and cellists from the local high school (my alma mater!). These high school juniors and seniors were so thoughtful to give up an afternoon to play for the residents, a full hour of every Christmas carol imaginable. It was much appreciated by everyone in attendance, including my sisters and me.

“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”

Said goodbye to my sisters and mom and headed back to Charlottesville, knowing I would see them again 2 days later. Listened to Christmas music all the way home. (No surprise there!) And yes, Saturday morning I headed back to Winston for the weekend, for our Holcomb Christmas Gathering. While my sister and my younger daughter went to an exhibit at Reynolda House, I spent the afternoon picking up a few last minute gifts – mainly Moravian cookies to share with my team! Finally found them at, you got it, Dewey’s Bakery! My brother-in-law and I met my older sister and younger daughter at a neat brewery before dinner. Okay, so maybe, I got wine at the brewery, but it was good wine! And dinner at Quanto Basta was wonderful. Late to bed but early to rise, my older sister and I headed to early church, only to arrive to find NO ONE there. Discovered that there was only 1 service Sunday morning. Back home to grab a bite to eat and try again an hour later. Walked in to have the first usher ask me where my Christmas Sweater was! Told him my sister refused to sit with me if I wore the Sunday one to church! (It was a great one – see below – wore it for my favorite little people!) Wonderful to be a Moravian again and see Moravians I have known forever. This is my home church… the one I have been a member of for 62 years. Baptized, confirmed, married, and had all of my children baptized in this church.

After church I picked Mom up and brought her to my sister’s (where I changed into my Llama Christmas Sweater!). My other kids, future daughter-in-law, younger sister, nephew and his family arrived shortly thereafter for our Holcomb Christmas celebration. Everyone I love most in the world was together at my sister’s. Life does not get any better than that, y’all! We laughed, played with Jack and Izzie, opened presents, and had a wonderful meal together at my sister’s beautiful table. Had so much fun that the time got away from us and everyone left later than planned… meaning my younger daughter and I didn’t arrive at church until right as it was beginning. That’s right, I went BACK to church for the Moravian Christmas Eve (early) Lovefeast. It is just not Christmas for me without that service: my once-a-year Moravian coffee (very blonde y’all – the coffee that is – brewed with cream and sugar), the Moravian bun (no beef!), and a lighted beeswax candle dressed in red crepe paper. The beeswax symbolizes the purity of Christ, the red crepe paper the blood of Christ, and the lighted candle the light of the world. All of my favorite Christmas carols were sung. Best time of the year to be a Moravian! And yes, we hit the road home to Charlottesville after the service, visiting with church friends, AND stopping by to see my younger daughter’s picture still hanging in the church from 30 years ago. Yes, 30 years ago! What a precious treat every visit to New Philadelphia. And what a wonderful weekend.

“Christmas magic is silent, you don’t hear it, you feel it, you know it, you believe it.”

With Christmas falling on Wednesday this year, my sweet son and his fiancee stayed in Charlotte and spent Christmas with her beautiful family. Of course, this meant he missed out on the 8 am Christmas morning run! That’s right, my daughters and I got up to go for a Christmas run this morning. First time I have run for 30 minutes without following the walk 2/run 4-minute plan. And it was wonderful! Did have to stop a time or two to catch my breath after a big hill, but honestly, it was a great Christmas treat for me. My younger daughter texted her brother to say we were making her run for her presents! Not true! Well… We were all glad we ran together, after it was over, of course! And it made our traditional brunch of breakfast casserole, fruit, and sugarcake more appreciated!

We opened presents, played with my granddawg, and loved on each other before my older daughter and son-in-law left for Christmas dinner at his parents. That left my younger daughter and me alone for the rest of the day and the week. And we plan to make the most of it. As I am finishing the blog here, she is napping before we head to the movies. We have had some late nights, early mornings, and busy fun-filled days. Visited a winery Monday to pick up her wine club box, and enjoyed a glass and the beautiful day and view, before she met friends for dinner. Christmas Eve we left home at 5 am to get to my older daughter’s cycle class at our Short Pump club at 6:15 am (best way to start the holiday off!). And we were all up late last night after Christmas Eve dinner, church, and late night Christmas movies. She’ll head back to Charlotte this weekend, and my Christmas decorations will come down. Once Christmas is over, and my kids are gone, I am ready to welcome in the new year.

“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.”

I hope your Christmas was very merry and meaningful for you. If you are like our family, you have prepared, been served, gifted, and eaten wonderful food this holiday season. Not only have these foods/meals fed us, the spirit of sharing time, love, and thoughtfulness nourished our soul. I also hope you got to spend special time with those you love, and that you have made plans to do that as we welcome 2020, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Merry Christmas from my beautiful family…

Best,

Leslie

PS: Sadly, the 2019 annual 25 Days of Christmas Sweaters has come to an end. It has been fun sporting a different Christmas sweater each day of December, and so much fun to share with you and read your comments! Below are the last sweaters of December:

 

“Wonderful Christmas” Paul McCartney and Wings 1979

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Countdown to Christmas. One Week. ONLY 7 days! I talked to a friend this weekend who had not started shopping yet. That would make me crazy. I am ready, except for some baking, which I will mark off my list tomorrow as I am heading to my sister’s house for our annual Sisters Christmas Baking Day. I have done a lot of meal prep for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that I can enjoy these last busy days of the Christmas season stress-free. Besides, my days are pretty full this next week, full of many special and fun events. I’m “simply having a wonderful Christmas time…”  Hope you are as well!

 

 

“May you never be too old to search the skies on Christmas Eve.”

I finished up my Christmas shopping at the mall last week and stopped to watch the kids visiting Santa. Some happy and enthralled, some NOT! I started to go sit on Santa’s lap and tell him my wish list, but thought better of it! (My kids would kill me!) Remember going to see Santa as a child? Mom always took us to Sears to see Santa and tell him our dreams of Christmas morning. Of course, this was after poring through the big ole’ Sears catalog and making our wish list. Even though my children’s preschool had a really good Santa for visits and pictures, I still took them to the see the mall Santa many years as well. (Full disclosure here – I found more Santa pictures of my son than the girls! But I do have them… somewhere!)

My babies 1991

 

“I wish Santa would publish his naughty list. What a great way to meet fun people!”

As I said, my days have been full y’all! Last Saturday was a prime example. I left home for an early cycle class at the gym in pouring rain. Had plans the rest of the day with a friend. We had made a bet and the loser had to buy dinner… guess who lost?! Was afraid the weather might put a damper on our plans, plus luminary night in my neighborhood. But my faith in the weather prevailed as I told my friend I was confident the afternoon would be beautiful. And I was right! In the words of my sweet momma, “it burned off.”  First stop was the only winery my younger daughter had not taken me to – Mount Ida Reserve, and the views were gorgeous, including the HUGE Christmas tree! Oh, and the wine, food, and atmosphere were perfect too! Couple of hours later we left to head back to my house to put out my luminaries, light them, and head to dinner on the downtown mall. Remember, I lost a bet. A sports bet between my team and my friend’s team. Football. Thank heavens I did not say double or nothing to include the basketball game as well, because I would be sunk! So dinner on the Charlottesville downtown mall at a great little restaurant was on me. Good food and good wine. Plus the city’s Christmas tree is up and lit. And HUGE!

“Lessons from a Christmas tree: *Be a light in the darkness *We all fall over sometimes *You can never wear too much glitter *Bring joy to others *Sparkle and Twinkle as often as possible *It’s ok to be a little tilted” -Jane Lee Logan

Sunday was busier than Saturday with another early cycle class, followed by church, followed by a quick trip to my older daughter’s house in Richmond to pick up some liquid gold. What, you ask? Sourdough Starter, my friends! My daughter brought me some from her grandparents so that I can resume making sourdough bread and my famous sugarcake. Just in time for Christmas! You cannot make good sourdough bread without real starter that lives in your fridge and is fed potato flakes, sugar, and hot water every 5 days. Took a pan of fresh out-of-the-oven sugarcake to work today to surprise my team! It has been a while – my last sourdough starter died in my fridge from neglect. My fault. Not happening again! But I digress… Sunday’s fun continued as I rushed back to Charlottesville to get my appetizer in the oven before friends picked me up for a Christmas open house. I have missed this party for the last 3 years – it usually conflicts with my Holcomb family Christmas, which falls this coming weekend. When I say the views from these friends’ new house were unbelievable, I am not joking. I understand why they wanted this property for 35 years.

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”  Norman Vincent Peale

Monday was a sobering day as it found me at a funeral mass for one of my former neighbors. She was part of a loving couple who had been married for 60 years. The pure love of her husband and family are a testament to the special lady she was. And honestly, the mass was a celebration of her life. So appropriate at this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus and celebrate the love of family and friends.

“The loss is immeasurable, but so is the love left behind.”

Monday night was a pick-me-up as I met a friend for dinner and a show featuring Jim Brickman. I have heard his music on the Christmas stations, but to experience his music in person was wonderful. He plays the piano unlike anyone I have ever seen before. Had a couple of accompanists with him, but basically, it was Jim Brickman and his piano. About every Christmas song imaginable. Loved the show. Very entertaining. I would go again, and if you get a chance, take it.

“It is Christmas in the heart, that puts Christmas in the air.”

I came home from that show and just sat and looked at my tree. (like every other night!) I am loving my Christmas tree y’all. My tree is always personal to me, and this year is no different  – it is all about ME! My tree topper is a starfish, my ornaments all have a special meaning, be it something my kids made in elementary school, or ornaments given to me by family and friends. It shines brightly and tells a special story that I enjoy every night. Plus the wonderful smell of that frasier fir… heavenly. My sweet kids all have their trees up as well. Special.

“You can make your life beautiful with your efforts. Just as you converted a simple tree into a beautiful Christmas tree.”

We lost my dad in November of 2000. Christmas was a bit somber that year. I mean, how could we celebrate Christmas and be merry when we had just lost a parent? I struggled even to find a suitable Christmas card to send out. (This was before I sent out a family picture for my cards.) But amazingly, I found the perfect card, which to this day, remains my favorite, so much so that I framed it. It has a sweet, simple picture of an evergreen tree with the following message: “The evergreen reminds us that through all the seasons and in spite of adversity and change, life prevails and hope grows forever new.” It spoke to my heart in 2000, again in 2016, and every year since. Life prevails and hope grows forever new… How encouraging these words are. We all suffer loss, difficulty, and adversity. We wonder how we will go on. But we do. Life prevails. Hope grows forever new. In this meaningful season of Christmas, let us remind ourselves that everyone we meet is facing something we know nothing about. No one’s life is easy. Let us be kind and encouraging. Let us be supportive and loving. And let us all remember the true reason for this season. Enjoy and celebrate life every day, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”  -Charles M. Schultz

Best,

Leslie

“Simply having a wonderful Christmas time…Oh Christmas time…”  Paul McCartney

PS – Update on the 25 days of Christmas Sweaters in case you missed them on facebook:

 

 

 

“Christmas Star” John Williams, Home Alone 2

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Countdown to Christmas – 2 weeks! 14 DAYS Y’ALL! Holy moly time is flying by! I hope you are enjoying this Christmas season and finding joy each day. Even if is it just a moment of peace.

I have been enjoying my Christmas tree and decorations each and every night. And I added the final 2 pieces to complete my Christmas decor. First was my Moravian Star, given to me by my sister…. unassembled. Now, I have to brag on myself here. Have you ever seen a Moravian star? It has 26 points, y’all! And I put it together all by myself. WHEW! Honestly, the directions were very good and to the point (pun intended here!). There were 8 star points with triangle bases (assembled first) and 17 with square bases (assembled next). Final star point included the lightbulb. So… once I had it assembled, my problem was hanging the star on my front porch. Believe it or not, one of my neighbors also has a Moravian Star from Winston-Salem (small world) over their front door. I checked theirs out. They switched their porch light to include a plug. Did it themselves. Well, that was NOT happening at my house! Time to call an electrician. Luckily, I know one who came right out and switched my porch light to include a plug as well. Oh, and he also hung my star for me. My hero! My star shines brightly all day and night and will until Epiphany (January 6th). A guiding light, reminding me that no matter how dark life gets, there is always a star shining brightly over me (and all of us). I am now one happy Moravian camper!

“Always aim for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” W. Clement Stone

Wait, what is a Moravian my non-NC friends ask? (My NC friends know what a Moravian is – so many are Moravian!) I have been a Moravian since birth, though I am a practicing Presbyterian in VA, as there are no Moravian churches anywhere nearby. Moravians are the oldest Protestant Church, dating back to 1457. The Moravian motto, which I have always loved, is: In Essentials – UNITY; In Non-Essentials – LIBERTY; and in All Things – LOVE. And according to the Moravian Church, the Moravian Star is “the star of promise, the star of fulfillment, and the star of hope.” See why I wanted my own star again? We always had a Moravian Star at Christmas when I was growing up – and I remember the early ones were made of paper, assembled with paper fasteners. Paper had to be a lot harder to put together, right? And no telling what the instructions were like – I mean you could not go to YouTube for directions! But my momma always got ours put together. And she remembered the light bulb before closing it up! Like everything else, Moravian Stars have come a long way. My new one is strong plastic with NO fasteners, just  twist and lock.

“The brightest stars shine for the benefit of others.”

So… what was my final missing decorative piece? The piece de resistance – my Christmas wreath for the front door. Another decoration that I proudly made myself, I might add. And what fun it was! My younger sister and younger daughter came up last Friday so that we could go to a wreath-making workshop at The Market at Grelen in Orange County, VA. My younger daughter and I did this last year and said we would do it every year. And this year I invited both sisters and both daughters, but my older sister had already committed to an art workshop, and my older daughter could not make it. They won’t miss it next year, same with my younger sister and my younger daughter! All of the greenery and berries for the wreaths are cut right there on the property. Took about 2 hours from start to finish. Oh, and we also learned how to make a bow – yes, we made our own bows people! And they look good!

“Wreaths… hung to fill our homes with holiday cheer, they’re made in circles with no beginning or end to symbolize the endless connection we have with family and dear friends.”

We had fun, not only making the wreaths, but doing it together. A new annual family tradition for sisters and daughters! We also had fun visiting a couple of wineries afterwards. And topped the night off seeing The Four County Players perform our favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas. It was fabulous and having a friend in it added to the fun! Of course, my sister and I sang our favorite song from the show, Sisters, all the way to the play (and all the way home!) with a couple other favorites as well. I think my daughter had her earphones in!

“When traveling life’s journey, it’s good to have a sister’s hand to hold on to.”

After my sister left Sunday, my younger daughter and I met my older daughter and son-in-law for a late lunch before the Carolina-UVA basketball game. Since both teams have struggled as of late, we thought, “hey, maybe we will finally win one here.” NOPE! Once again, we left the arena disappointed. Not belaboring this, because even though I take each loss personally (not sure why, but I always have), I had such a wonderful weekend!

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”  Charles Dickens

You realize how insignificant a basketball loss is when you compare it to other losses. My old neighbors and I lost the sweetest neighbor (a devoted wife, beloved mother, and grandmother) yesterday. Part of a special couple who set the bar very high in marriage (59 years celebrated last August) and family for everyone who knew them. Another friend is in the hospital with her husband, praying for a miracle. Several families I know are also praying for miracles as they have sweet children battling cancer, several adult friends as well. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle of some sort, so be kind. Be a friend. Be compassionate. “Let your light so shine”  in the darkness of this world, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world…”

“Star light, shine bright, See me through the dark night, Light mine, half way, Guide me home for Christmas day…”  Christmas Star   Home Alone 2

Best,

Leslie

PS… Did you know that the next full moon, the COLD moon is tomorrow, 12/12 at 12:12 am?!?! Don’t miss it!

PSS… The latest in the 25 Days of Christmas Sweaters in case you missed it on Facebook!

 

“We Need A Little Christmas” Muppets 1987 (A Muppet’s Family Christmas)

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Hello December! Hard to believe that we are in the LAST month of 2019. There’s a new decade coming. Three weeks from today we will be opening presents from Santa. THREE weeks y’all! Are you ready? HO! HO! HO!

Oh Tannenbaum…

Did you get your fill of turkey last week? Still eating those delicious leftover turkey sandwiches? Aren’t they just the best?! I hope your Thanksgiving was full of blessings. I am so thankful to have had all of my kids together for Thanksgiving and the weekend. And I got to celebrate my birthday a bit more with my kids (still dragging it out!). As I have said before, just having them together is the best gift for me.

My beautiful family…..

“Fill a house with love, and it becomes a home.”

My older daughter and son-in-law hosted Thanksgiving for our family and my son-in-law’s family. It was wonderful for all of us to be together celebrating and eating Thanksgiving dinner in their beautiful new home. 15 people and 2 golden retrievers! Only disappointment was Carolina’s ugly loss in basketball, which we have experienced every November since 2009 (10 of those 14 losses were to unranked teams). But it did not dampen our spirits nor our appetites! After dinner, my son, his fiancée, my younger daughter, and I headed back to Charlottesville with full bellies, turkey overload, and though desperately needing a nap (or just to go to bed), we stayed up late talking!

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.” Barbara Johnson

Did you hit the malls for the Black Friday specials? My daughter and son-in-law were home from their Friday morning Black Friday adventures before the rest of us even woke up! We avoided the crowds by going out into the countryside of Albemarle County to taste some wine. Visited Glass House Winery, Stinson Vineyards (where a sweet friend was pouring), and Grace Estate. Enjoyed wine at each and were able to sit outside taking in the beautiful scenery and being together. So thankful for a special day spent with my kids. Arrived back at my house in time to meet my older daughter, son-in-law, and my precious granddawg for dinner. (They spent the day unpacking the last boxes from the big move. And shopping!) For the first time in ages, we had our old “Saturday night family dinner” of grilled steaks, baked potatoes, salad, and garlic bread. Topped off with leftover chocolate dessert and pumpkin pie. Again, we just sat around the table laughing and sharing their childhood stories with my future daughter-in-law. And drinking wine!

After dinner, my older daughter and her husband headed back to Richmond, my son and his fiancée left to meet up with some of his friends home for Thanksgiving, and my younger daughter’s friends came to my house to visit with her. Just like the old days from middle school through high school! Love all of these “kids” and loved listening to them laugh, sing (karaoke), and share stories now that they are “adults.” Friendships that continue to thrive. When the younger set returned, they joined in as well. Several friends ended up spending the night, just like in high school, except now it is hanging out at “Momma Les’ house!” These “kids” are always welcome!

“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday was one of those lazy, chilly winter days. We started the day with breakfast casserole, cinnamon rolls, and fruit – all served on Christmas china, since it is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year! But before we sat down for brunch, we looked out my back deck to see 5 hot air balloons. Must have been early Christmas presents! It is not unusual to see a hot air balloon in Charlottesville, but to see 5 at once was pretty special. We all gawked at them and took pictures. I once went up in one – an anniversary present from my kids. Pretty amazing!

We spent the rest of the day in comfy clothes, sprawled in front of the fire watching football, soccer, movies, you name it, complete with lasagna for dinner at home. Another perfect day, especially since Carolina was playing football as we sat down to dinner. BIG win for our HEELS and we are now bowl eligible – first time since 2016. Perfect ending to a perfect week.

“A good life is when you smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are for what you have.”

My dishwasher ran more in those wonderful 4 days than it has in the last 6 months! Same for my washing machine. And my recycling bin overflowed (lots of water, wine, and beer bottles!). People were in and out of my house. And I loved every single minute of it! As much as I love living SOLO, it was so nice for the “empty nest” to fill up again. So when I said goodbye to my 3 Charlotte-bound kids Sunday, it left me with a bit of that let-down feeling. The cure for that? Digging up all of my Christmas Sweaters! Organized them and decided which ones would not make the cut this year, since I have added even more, some new, some not so new! Be sure to check out my 25 Days of Christmas Sweaters on Facebook! (Did you know Solo at Sixty has a Facebook page?!)

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.”  Agnes M. Pahro

There’s this wonderful feeling this time of year that can bring out a smile even on ole Scrooge. Elf on a Shelf is keeping the kiddos on their best behavior. Christmas music abounds. Christmas movies are on TV 24/7. That’s what “a little Christmas” means to me… a little more kindness, more understanding, more acceptance of others. Christmas embodies all of this, plus pure joy, love, generosity, and the anticipation of something wonderful about to happen. So take time to notice the faces of children visiting Santa, volunteer to ring the bell for Salvation Army, adopt a needy family, or take a gift request from an Angel Tree. In other words, do something for someone else, even if it is just showing a kindness. I promise it will help you claim some of that Christmas spirit. Don’t wish the season away, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow. 

My Christmas cactus is blooming!

 

“For we need a little music, Need a little laughter, Need a little singing… Ringing through the rafter, And we need a little snappy “Happy ever after,” Need a little Christmas now.”

Best,

Leslie

PS… Did you know that today, December 4th, is NATIONAL COOKIE DAY? Yep, that’s right! Do you have a favorite? Chocolate Chip? Snickerdoodle? Oreo? Girl Scout Cookies? So many choices…Hope you enjoy one (or a dozen) cookies today!

“Gratitude” Earth, Wind & Fire 1975″

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

What a wonderful birthday week it has been… and it’s not over yet! We like to drag out birthdays in our family, and mine this year has been no exception. Last Wednesday, my actual birthday, found me in Williamsburg, VA for work. Walked into our meeting the first day to find balloons and flowers at my seat. And that night I was serenaded on the bus to dinner where my heavenly dessert of pumpkin crème brulee was decorated with Happy Birthday. All in all, a pretty good birthday. But of course it did not end there.

“Live your life and forget your age.”

When I walked into work Friday morning, I found my office decorated for my birthday AND Christmas! Does my team know me or what? Thrilled me to no end y’all! Christmas lights strung around my windows, ornaments hanging from my ceiling, and Santa on my lampshade. HOW FUN! Oh and some fun gifts including “Hallmark Movie Watching” socks, winter texting snowman gloves, Christmas bowls, pumpkin M&M’s, and pumpkin cake to share. Yep, they know me well! I am thankful to work with such thoughtful ladies.

“As you grow up, make sure you have… more dreams than memories, more opportunities than chances, more hard work than luck, and more friends than acquaintances.”

Celebration continued Saturday as my older daughter, son-in-law, and I cheered on our HEELS at our last home game of the season. Cannot complain about the rainy weather, as the weather has been perfect for all the other home games. Since the forecast was calling for a 100% chance of rain all day long, we opted to bypass our normal tailgate and have lunch at Carolina Brewery instead, watching football on their TV’s before heading to our game. It was Senior Day, and the team responded with a BIG win. Fun game to be a part of. Even though it rained, we stayed until the alma mater was sung at the end. I have had such a fun football season tailgating with my kids and cheering on the HEELS. Not as many wins as we would have liked, but thankful for the promise of success in the future of our football program. And hoping for a win this weekend to send us to a bowl game. It’s rivalry week in football, and our HEELS will be traveling to Raleigh to face NC State.

“In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are.” – Arnold H. Glasgow

After the game, I headed to Winston-Salem in the pouring rain to spend the night with my sister and brother-in-law. Wanted and needed to see my mom, and wanted to see the new addition to my sister’s home – a beautiful, large screened-in porch, complete with a fireplace. It is lovely and they will enjoy it almost year round. My younger sister came over Sunday morning for my birthday breakfast and went to see Mom with me. Mom was in good spirits and happy to see us, especially since we took her to the ice cream parlor for some soft-serve ice cream, even though it was before lunch. Never too early or too late for ice cream, which ended up being my lunch since I said goodbye to Mom and my sister and headed home to Charlottesville. Spent the afternoon watching Hallmark Christmas movies while decorating my house for Christmas, including my beautiful tree. OH, did I tell you that my older daughter, son-in-law, and of course my granddawg met me at Whole Foods Thursday night to get my tree? Yep, I bought the first Christmas tree from their lot. Happy to say that my house is now ready for Christmas, and ready for my kids coming home for Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful for. My older daughter is hosting Thanksgiving at her new home this year. I’ll miss seeing my mom and sisters, but so thankful to have all of my kids together.

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.”

So… birthday celebration over? Nope! Monday morning I walked into work and discovered that my team plotted to wear Christmas sweaters in my “honor”! How fun! (My sweaters start making their appearance this weekend!) And I arrived home to find a beautiful bouquet of flowers had been delivered! Plus, I still have a couple of birthday dinners on my calendar. We all need to celebrate our birthdays, be thankful for them, and not lament the fact that we are getting older. It is a blessing many do not get to experience.

“Keep calm and be crazy, laugh, love, and live it up because this is the oldest you’ve been and the youngest you will ever be again.”

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Spending it with family and/or friends? Are you cooking? I told my daughter I would provide the turkey. And green beans and a pumpkin pie. I love Thanksgiving. Such a special holiday that does not involve presents, just presence. Lots of fun, laughter, and love. And good food!

I am thankful for so many things this year. Thankful that my children are with me this holiday. Thankful my knees are healing from surgery so I can dance with my son at his wedding next October. Thankful for my family and friends, my health and well being, and my “lot in life”. Thankful that I had another birthday to celebrate and wonderful people who made it so special. I bet if you made a list of what you are thankful for, of the blessings in your life, you would realize how rich your life is. There is always something to be thankful for. Always.

Enjoy the holiday tomorrow. Be thankful for the food on the table and the wonderful people around it, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“All across America, we gather this week with the people we love to give thanks to God for the blessings in our lives.” – George W. Bush

Best,

Leslie

PS… Did you know that about 46 million turkeys will be cooked and 55 million pumpkin pies will be eaten tomorrow? Oh, and Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for PLUMBERS! (Good Housekeeping)

“They say it’s your birthday… Well, it’s my birthday too…” Beatles 1968

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Today is my birthday! Happy Birthday to me!!!  (Shameless I know but still…. I love birthdays!) This last trip around the sun has been, well… eventful and pretty darn good. Two knee surgeries, name change, son engaged, lots of beach trips, new friends, and old friends, and lots of time with my kids… All in all, a good year with the promise of an even better one this next year!

“Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90… Time is a concept that humans created.” Yoko Ono

Speaking of being with my kids, this past weekend was moving day 3.0 as we moved my older daughter and son-in-law to their beautiful new home. Been a busy year for moving in our family. First my son moved to a new apartment in Charlotte but did not require the moving services of the family! WHEW! Then we moved my younger daughter to Charlotte in July. Following weekend we moved my older daughter and son-in-law from their house, which sold very quickly, to an apartment, until their new house was finished. That day finally arrived Friday. Maneuvering around a few glitches, which turned into true blessings, we loaded up their moving truck Friday, and unloaded it at the new house Saturday. We, meaning two 60-something moms, and three 30-something kids. Moving my older daughter this past weekend meant I got my sitting room, garage, and basement back, (they were storing all of their furniture and worldly possessions at my house), just in time to decorate for Christmas. But more importantly, moving them meant I got to have some precious time with my daughters (son was at a wedding and missed all the fun this time!).

“A house is made of walls and beams, a home is made of love and dreams.”

This weekend’s move brought my younger daughter, whose birthday was Sunday, home to help. So thankful to have her here and celebrate her birthday in person. I try to see each of my kids on their birthdays. Even though we were rather exhausted from the big move Saturday, she and I dressed up and went downtown for a glass of wine at one of our favorite little bars, and then walked to our favorite eclectic restaurant for a birthday dinner. We talked, laughed, caught up, and just enjoyed being together again. Came home late, planning to watch a movie, and both fell asleep, me in my faithful recliner, and my daughter on my comfy couch. Slept there all night long! True sleepover. Gosh I have missed that child.

“Best Childhood memory… Falling asleep on the couch and waking up in bed. I miss teleporting. It never happens to me anymore.”

Her birthday celebration continued Sunday when we met my older daughter and son-in-law for brunch. And since the birthday girl had not been to any wineries since she moved, we decided to hit a couple while she was in town. Met some of her friends at one. It was a good birthday for her. Hated to see her leave but knew I would see her again this weekend (last home football game). So thankful for these wonderful opportunities to see my kids!

This week is my birthday WEEK y’all, which means that in addition to celebrating, I had all of my annual “female” doctor appointments in one morning, including the dreaded mammogram. Like to schedule these each year in my birthday week – habit. Already have them scheduled for November 2020! When I first moved here 22 years ago and started seeing this doctor, the mammogram technician put heating pads on the metal “clamps” that squeeze the bejesus out of women’s tatas. Helped to take away at least part of the total discomfort of having a mammogram. I mean, those metal clamps are cold! But the fire department ruled it a fire hazard, and the heating pads disappeared, forever. Hmmm… wonder if the firemen had to have their personal “jewels” in the mammogram machine, would the heating pads still be considered a fire hazard?!?! No matter the discomfort of these doctor appointments, go. Don’t skip those annual exams. Make your health a priority. It’s important.

“There’s no such thing as aging, but maturing and knowledge.” Celine Dion

After my morning of being prodded, poked, stuck, and squeezed, I had physical therapy for my knee. And GOOD NEWS!  I got my diploma – the “Return To Running” paper! Left PT with my diploma and headed to Williamsburg, VA for a 3-day business meeting and decided to start the program that afternoon since I was in a beautiful place for running. Well, running is stretching it a bit, more like WALK run WALK run for 30 minutes. But I was so thankful and so happy to be able to do this little bit of running. A return to normalcy. And to top it off, Christmas lights were all around me as I ran. Life is good!

I read an article recently that said “people who put their Christmas decorations up earlier are happier.” I truly believe this, as I have always decorated early. And I am one happy camper at Christmas. I may have put out some Christmas decorations last Sunday. Ok, I did start decorating for Christmas. As my younger daughter was pulling out of my driveway to head back to Charlotte, I was bringing up bins of Christmas decorations! My older daughter and son-in-law will help me get my tree tomorrow. So why are these “crazy” people who decorate early happier? Nostalgia… decorating brings back memories of your childhood, or of a time when you still believed in Santa. For me, Christmas is a special feeling, a good, warm feeling, when people are kinder. I love all the lights and decorations. When I moved to my new house SOLO, I decided it was time for a fresh start with decorations, and bought some new ones. New tradition. And even though that first Christmas was a bit hard, I was still happy. Had my new decorations, along with some from my childhood, but more than that, I had my kids with me. We kept a few of our old traditions, but also started some new ones. I can’t wait to get my tree tomorrow and smell that wonderful fraser fir tree scent in my house. I put my tree up in my open family room where I see it constantly from every part of my house. Makes me happy.

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions –  give off the greatest glow of happiness.”  Bob Hope

Unlike the “not wearing white after Labor Day” rule, there is no hard and fast rule about the proper time to decorate for Christmas. If it makes you happy, I say do it and do it early. We all need whatever it takes in life to make us happy. Maybe you are happier NOT having a Christmas tree and not dealing with those tangled Christmas lights. That’s ok too. If you are finding it hard to find your joy this Christmas season, look for someone to help. Could be a family to sponsor, a charity, a family member, or a friend. I promise that will perk your spirits up quickly. Don’t wish away the season, instead cherish each day, look for something that makes you smile, be it a tacky Christmas sweater (mine are coming SOON!), or a beautiful Christmas wreath. Be generous with your kindness, be patient with others, and be thankful for every day because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

I am off to celebrate my birthday y’all! Every one is more important than the last! It has been a great day so far. I have loved all the birthday wishes, texts, calls, messages, and surprises! Thank you all (all y’all)! Had balloons when I walked into the meeting today and my son-in-law (at the same business meeting) delivered a vase of lovely flowers from my older daughter. More to come – I am stretching this birthday out for quite a bit and looking forward to every minute!

Best,

Leslie

PS – did you know that this past Monday, November 18th, the sun set in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, and it won’t rise again until January 23rd. That’s 66 days with NO SUN y’all!! One reason I do not live in Alaska – that and the COLD! (info from Ed Piotrowski WPDE, Myrtle Beach, SC) So, not sure which is worse – the name Utqiagvik or the no sun… ok, no contest – NO SUN wins!

 

“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…

Best,

Leslie

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

 

“Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Happy….” John Denver 1971

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Well Hello November! The thankful month. My birthday month (and my younger daughter’s). A month full of many fun plans. And the introduction of COLD weather and dark evenings (thank you time change).

“And suddenly you know… It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

So… did you trick or treat on Halloween or was it cancelled due to weather? We had some crazy weather up here and many Halloween events were postponed to Friday. I kinda bypassed Halloween this year. Knew I probably would not be home in time and had already decided not to buy candy. Worked out pretty well after all.

I was able to drive myself to Chapel Hill for our game against UVA Saturday morning. Knee did well on the trip. The Halloween storms brought in some cooler weather and it was sunny and rather chilly when I left. I was so thankful for my seat warmer and steering wheel warmer. Felt right toasty in my car. Met my younger daughter at our hotel in Chapel Hill so we could go together in one car to our tailgate. As usual, my older daughter and son-in-law had everything all set up by the time we arrived. Yep, even though the game was not until 7:30 PM, the tailgate started early morning. Walked to the student store to see if the basketball team posters were in yet. They weren’t, but should be by the next home game. I have collected these posters for about 25 YEARS, first from our dentist in Winston-Salem who gave them out to patients (BIG UNC supporter), then from the Carolina Student Store when we moved to Charlottesville.

“There is a big blue sky waiting just behind the clouds.” Meher Bano

The skies were Carolina blue Saturday, and we were Carolina “blue” as the final seconds ticked off the clock to end our game with a loss by 1 touchdown. Poor defense and strong offense by both teams was the name of the game Saturday, with UVA  stronger by 1 touchdown. But the tailgate sure was fun! Several of my kids’ friends came. And my cousin (also a big UNC fan) drove up from Greensboro just for the tailgate. Said she wanted to experience one of our tailgates because they looked like a lot of fun. Late afternoon we walked up to the Bell Tower to see the football team arrive for their “walk” to the stadium. Band was playing and fans (including us) lined the path. It was really cool! Just imagine how great that must feel for these players when they get off the bus and the band is playing the fight song, fans are cheering for them, and reaching out to slap their hand as they walk by. Adoration. This week a group of military families led the team on the walk to the stadium. They also held the huge flag during the national anthem. It was Military Appreciation Day after all. And even though we lost, we had a great day. Plus we have already doubled our wins from last year!

“Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.”

Since this was an evening game, we all decided to stay overnight in Chapel Hill instead of driving home after the game. I mean, I am a road warrior, but still, I don’t like to drive late at night by myself. Besides, I got to have a sleepover with my younger daughter! Happy mom!

Another reason I am happy? The doctor said my knee looks great and released me, took my 4 stitches out, and I got to rock the bike in physical therapy. Plus I was cleared for cycle classes and will start the “Return to Running” program in 2 weeks y’all! I’ll be back to running in no time… well, maybe by Christmas (when it is freezing!). Can’t wait! I’ve been using the weight machines in the “old people” section of the club while waiting to be cleared for classes. Although when I told my daughters this, they kindly reminded me, “Mom, most of those people in that area are YOUR age! You sound like Grandma talking about all the old white hair people living on her hall!” Oh Geez! I do! But hey, in my defense, I don’t feel I belong in “that” category. At least not yet!

Last week my older daughter and I had a couple of sleepovers, and this past weekend I got that special time with my younger daughter. With all of our busy schedules, I treasure any time I can get with my kids. It was a fun weekend, even with the loss. And another fun weekend ahead. Lots to look forward to, which I am so thankful for.

NV5
My girls…

“Always find time for the things that make you happy to be alive.”

Do you have some fun things to look forward to? Are you having fun? Or are you just existing? I find my outlook is brighter when I have something to look forward to. Plus I am a planner. But maybe that is not your thing and that is ok. Just do what makes your outlook on life brighter and makes you thankful for each and every day, because as we all know, none of is us promised tomorrow.

“Happiness is not a destination. It is a way of life.”

Best,

Leslie

I voted…

PS – Did you vote yesterday? Ever wonder why election day is always the first Tuesday in November (as long as it is not November 1st which is All Saints Day)?  It was set in 1845 – voters could travel on Monday to the voting site, thereby not interfering with the Sabbath, and travel back home in time for Market Day on Wednesday. Who knew?