Palms UP!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

“Somebunny loves you!”

The Easter Bunny is scheduled to visit this coming Sunday, April 1st (no fooling!). Where did March go? Here’s hoping it goes out like a lamb! I don’t know about y’all, but I am ready for spring to arrive. Will the REAL SPRING please stand up and stake your claim, otherwise summer will probably kick you to the curb.

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. You must be a Moravian if you can sing the Hosanna Chorus and fold your palm frond into a cross on Palm Sunday. I was a Presbyterian this past Sunday (nothing wrong with that!) and I watched the children of the church enter waving their palm branches, and even though there was no Hosanna Chorus, it was still special. I miss being a Moravian on the BIG church holidays of Palm Sunday, Easter, and Christmas, and always try to make the Easter service back in Winston-Salem with my family. This year will be no different.

So why am I away from the Moravian Church most Sundays? There are no Moravian churches in Virginia. When I moved to Charlottesville 21 years ago, I searched for a church for my family, and when people would ask “what we were” and I answered Moravian, they thought I was saying Arabian! They had never heard of the Moravian Church, which is a protestant faith, much like the Methodist Church; very active and popular in NC and PA. “In essentials, Unity; in non-essentials, Liberty; in all things, Love.” Basically: Follow the 10 Commandments – the essentials; have freedom to make your own decisions in the non-essentials; use love in all decisions and actions. I have educated my friends and co-workers about many Moravian traditions such as Lovefeasts, Moravian stars, and sugarcake, which I make often and bring in to share.

Palm Sunday begins the Holy Week celebration with the triumphant entry into Jerusalem as palms were waved (hence Palm Sunday) and ends with another big celebration on Easter Sunday. But in between the celebrations are devastating lows – a betrayal and a crucifixion. Very often, life mimics this – happiness, followed by lows, before rebounding. Thankfully the highs seem to outnumber the lows.

“Life is a circle of happiness, sadness, hard times, and good times. If you are going through hard times, have faith that good times are on the way.”

I have experienced many highs and lows over the past couple of years, but I try to concentrate on the highs. This past weekend was one of those high times. I had dinner with my younger daughter and her friends who were visiting with their new baby. I got to hold this precious baby and inhale that sweet baby scent. Also cheered my younger daughter as she successfully ran the Charlottesville 10-miler. And, I got to see my older daughter, son-in-law, and my precious granddawg Saturday afternoon.

“Standing alone doesn’t mean I am alone. It means I’m strong enough to handle things all by myself.”

I am proud of the many things I have accomplished SOLO – moved into a new house, set up all new accounts in my name only, stood up for myself many, many times, and this past weekend I bought a new car. As you all know, I travel a lot, SOLO. I loved my old car, purchased BD (before divorce). But I have put a lot of miles on that car since becoming SOLO, going wherever I want, whenever I want, and it got to the point where I either needed to trade it or drive it until it died. So I decided to trade it for one with even more safety features. And boy did I succeed!

“Success doesn’t just come and find you, you have to go out and get it.”

I am a researcher when making a big purchase and this was my biggest purchase since becoming SOLO. After checking out Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book, and Consumer Reports, I went to CarMax to see what my car was worth. Looked at the local Volvo dealership where I was sure I would find my car. Since I was visiting my daughter and son-in-law in Richmond Saturday afternoon, I decided to see what was at the Volvo dealership there. They went with me – did not want me test driving alone. My sweet son-in-law, who always drives, was such a trooper, sitting in the back seat holding on for dear life while I was test driving the new Volvo. Not because I am a bad driver (heaven forbid!) but the salesman had me testing out the safety features. One is “Adaptive Cruise Control”. He had me driving down Broad Street and told me DO NOT touch your brakes. I caved … had to hit the brakes or else I thought I would hit the car in front of me! He made me do it again and NOT touch my brakes. Lo and behold the car stopped on its own – adjusting speed and stopping due to a car stopped in front of us without me ever touching the brakes! WOW! Then I had to swerve over the center and side lines (son-in-law was green and holding on to my daughter at this point) just to see how the car vibrates and auto corrects back in the middle of the lane. AND I had to parallel park. Now I admit I am a terrible parker which is why I always choose a parking space I can just pull through. But this car parallel parks itself. I kid you not!

After test driving, we truly were starving and at this point, my son-in-law needed a beer. The salesman made an offer on my car and an offer to me to purchase the new car. That is when I pulled out the CarMax offer and discovered they match offers. GREAT! Then I made an offer and they countered. At this point I said, “We are starving and I owe my son-in-law a beer.” The sales manager came over, offering to order lunch in for us and I declined saying I needed to play with the numbers a bit. And of course they were not buying the beer. Well, I guess they did not want us to leave for fear we would not come back. “Ms. Madigan, what will it take to get you in this car?” Told him. He countered. I countered. He accepted and I was truly shocked. And starving! Told him to get the paperwork together while I treated my kids to BBQ and a beer at Buzz and Ned’s. And I drove home in my new car! There is only one downside… new cars do not have CD players! What’s with that?!? How am I supposed to listen to my books on CD? My Christmas CD’s? All of my birthday CD’s my brother-in-law makes for me?!? My daughter assured me we would figure that out… it’s called downloading Mom.

“Believe in  yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” Christian D. Larson

OK, one more biggie I accomplished SOLO! When I got home, I realized my garage doors would not open automatically with this new car. I needed to sync my garage door openers to my new car. I am sure my neighbors were wondering what I was doing with my garage doors going up and down multiple times, me on the ladder pushing the “learn” button on the garage door, then running back to my car to try and sync it many times. But I was finally successful. SOLO. I was very proud of this feat! Another high point, made so much sweeter after fighting my way through some lows.

I am looking so forward to this weekend. Another happy time. I get to be a Moravian on Sunday. I get to see all of my kids and my dear family in NC. And show them my new ride. I hope your Easter is very special and you get to spend time with your loved ones. Don’t forget to tell them how much they mean to you, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow. And remember, things do get better. Always. Life goes on.

Hoppy Easter,

Leslie

 

SPRING HAS SPRUNG… or has it?!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Today, March 21st is the first day of spring. Don’t know about y’all but I am ready to say So Long to winter. Farewell. Adios. Ciao, Baby. I am so ready for spring, when the air is cleaner and warmer. The grass becomes green. Trees and flowers bloom. And summer is just around the corner. Yet, what is happening here today? You guessed it… SNOW! NOOOO!

Spring is such a time of renewal; of getting your life in order for the rest of the year. Spring cleaning, so to speak. Almost like a detox. Clean out the clutter and cobwebs from winter. Throw open the doors and windows and let in the fresh air. Cut the heat off (Southern for “turn the heat off”). The days are longer and invite us to do more in the evenings. People are outside. Walking around the neighborhood and visiting with neighbors rarely seen in the winter.

“Spring is a time to find out where you are, who you are, and move toward where you are going.”  Penelope Trunk

I spent last weekend at the beach, renewing my soul. It was definitely spring down there, “Sunny and 75” (Joe Nichols). It was so warm that there were people in the ocean – not me of course! Water was not as cold as I expected, but too cold for me. I lucked out with a wonderful weekend escape while it was cold with snow showers in Charlottesville! Caught up on my lost sleep from watching so many late basketball games, and came off the beach Friday to watch my Tar Heels win. Went out to dinner, ate at the bar watching more basketball and talking with a lot of golfers. This is prime time for golfers at the beach. I love eating at the bar. It’s the most active place in the restaurant, bartenders are always friendly, you meet a lot of people, and it is not awkward or obvious that you are SOLO. Speaking of which, I thought a lot about being SOLO last weekend as I watched couples around me, and came to a great realization – it is pretty “dadgum” (thanks Roy!) nice being SOLO, on my own schedule, sleeping in, running, walking on the beach whenever I want to and going out to dinner at the restaurant of my choice. Could be worse! I celebrated St Patty’s Day at my favorite restaurant in Pawley’s Island, again surrounded by golfers and a couple of college reunions. Took a lot of pictures for many groups and one took mine!

“Spring is wonderful anywhere, but it is always better at the beach.”

The start of spring is also a great time to take stock of your New Year’s resolutions. Are you on target or have you been sidetracked? I am continuing to follow through with my goal of seeing my out of town kids and mom more. I left the beach early Sunday morning and headed to Charlotte to have brunch with my son, his girlfriend, my older daughter and her husband (who were in Charlotte for the NCAA tournament). I was in heaven surrounded by my out of town kids. Left there and headed to Winston-Salem to visit with Mom in her new home, and met my younger sister with her grandson, Jack there. Oh how I adore that baby! He is such a blessing. Mom seems to be doing pretty well. We walked down the hall to their ice cream shop where they serve great soft ice cream (all you can eat) and then further down the hall to visit my friends’ mothers who are also living there and take them some Easter candy. It was such a wonderful day. Lots of driving, but so worth it.

 

Back to spring cleaning. I love lists and have made a list of things I want to do at my home in Charlottesville this spring – basically, power washing my porch and deck and replacing the plants/flowers in my planters and flower pots. Also need to start thinking about my garden. And I have a list for the beach – need to clean all the bikes, beach chairs, golf cart, and have the decks stained. And I need to clean out the pantries in both houses – get rid of any “expired” foods. My older daughter is great at spring cleaning. I came home one day and she had all of this food on my island. I said, “What happened here?” to which she responded, “Mom, all of your food is expired. How are you even alive? You need to start over here.” I did. Basically, because my pantry was then completely empty!

Spring is a great time to clean out the clutter and cobwebs in our lives as well. Both physically and emotionally. Just like my outdoor plants that have withered and died over the winter, what needs to be replanted, fertilized, and watered in my life? Do I have a positive outlook? Positive attitude? Are there negative thoughts that I need to replace with positive ones? Is there something new I want to do? I cannot wait for warm weather to arrive and stay! I am looking forward to running outside in the early mornings, going to the farmers market, grilling out and having dinner on my porch, and just sitting on my porch watching Hallmark movies. Does it get much better than that?!?

“Spring is nature’s way of saying ‘Let’s Party’.” Robin Williams

But first, winter needs to step aside. Saw this on Facebook: “It’s like winter got mad and stormed out, but keeps coming back in yelling, ‘oh and one more thing!’ ”  Right? Time to give it up winter, and allow spring to make its grand entrance.

“If we had no winter the spring would not be so pleasant.” Anne Bradstreet

Sunrise off my back porch… “Every morning brings a new beginning.”

There are new beginnings right around the corner. So spring clean your life – clear out the clutter. And if it does snow, just remember, no matter the obstacle, life will get better and spring will definitely arrive. Find what makes you happy, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 

IT’S MADNESS!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

It’s March Madness Y’all!  The BIG DANCE! And I am not referring to the Cha-Cha lessons I am now taking since we finished up with Salsa. This is heaven for all college basketball fans, and this Carolina basketball-loving girl is no exception! It’s madness because not only will there be great basketball, there will also be major upsets. Cinderella teams will make a run in the tournament. Brackets will be filled out. And busted. Bets will be made. Fans will be sporting their team’s logo-laden attire. I have enough Carolina t-shirts, sweatshirts, and sweaters to be able to wear something different for an entire month, which I did last year when my Tar Heels WON the Championship!

Next to Christmas (and summer!) this is my favorite time of the year. There is nothing like college basketball, except maybe college football. But honestly, basketball is my sport of choice. Especially Tar Heel basketball. I have been a fan since the 5th grade when a school friend of mine wrote a poem about Charlie Scott and UNC basketball and had to read it to all the 5th grade classes. Dean Smith (did I ever tell you how I thought Dean Smith was a DEAN at UNC? I did not know his name was Dean – I know, very blonde of me!) was coaching then and recruited Charlie Scott, the first African American to play basketball for UNC. I had no idea what college basketball was, much less Carolina basketball, but I started watching and have continued since. The beginning of my love affair with UNC!

After reconnecting at one of our high school reunions (we have one every year now), that sweet 5th grade friend sent me both the Sports Illustrated magazine from 1968 with Charlie Scott on the cover and a poster signed by none other than Charlie Scott! What a dear!

Speaking of Cinderella teams, none is more remembered than the 1983 NC State team coached by the late Jim Valvano. Who has not seen the end of that game with Dereck Whittenburg shooting an air ball only to have Lorenzo Charles dunk it to win the game, followed by Valvano running all over the court celebrating in shock? (am I right, Ed Coble!?!)

“Don’t give up… don’t ever give up.”  Jim Valvano

March madness also describes our weather lately. Sunny and warm one day, flowers and trees blooming, snowing the next. Saturday was one of those nicer days and after sleeping in (late night Carolina games were killing me), I visited my younger daughter, who was working at King Family Vineyard. Went SOLO, got a glass of wine, warm bread and cheese, worked on my blog and watched all the people coming and going. It was packed! Precursor to the wedding season are the bachelorette parties. I bet I saw 10+ bachelorette groups celebrating. So fun to watch these young, beautiful brides-to-be celebrating their last days of being single with their best girlfriends, while anticipating the excitement of their wedding and marriage. And yet, I could not help but think about their future – their marriages. Especially with so many families and large groups of friends enjoying a nice Saturday with a glass of wine, taking a break from all of the basketball. Which is actually what I was doing – celebrating Carolina’s commanding win over Duke the previous night and anticipating our win over UVA later to win the ACC Championship Tournament (didn’t happen). My younger daughter invited me to her house to have dinner and watch the game Saturday night. Good game, but UVA proved why they are #1.

GAME TIME with my younger daughter! GO HEELS!

“You’re not defeated when you lose. You are only defeated when you quit.”

There are extreme highs and lows in March Madness. Lowest for me? April 4, 2016 when Villanova beat UNC on a last second shot in the final game. (Wow, I was not even SOLO then!) Highest for me? April 3, 2017 when Carolina won the Championship! (I was SOLO then!) Pure madness erupted in Chapel Hill as Franklin Street filled with fans celebrating! My son and his friends were there for the madness and will never forget it.

FRANKLIN STREET at 10:58 pm BEFORE the WIN (empty) and 11:58 pm AFTER the WIN (filled with fans)!

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” Michael Jordan, the GOAT

March Madness hit a sweet family in a much different way this week as a young wife and mother of 2 (the daughter-in-law of my childhood friend Luanne), bravely made the decision to have her foot amputated due to cancer. Her positive attitude through the whole ordeal is beyond admirable. This is her way of conquering cancer and living life to its fullest. She plans to run a 5K by the end of this year. I have no doubt she will do so successfully. If you are interested, there is a Go Fund Me Page to help with providing a prosthetic foot for everyday use and a blade for running. Unbelievably, insurance does not cover this. She is a life coach and her message is never take anything for granted. So true.

I am constantly amazed at the perseverance and strength of people when pushed to limits they never imagined facing. Much like the Cinderella teams who come out of nowhere, with heart and drive to pull out a win no one thought possible.

“You never know how strong  you really are, until being strong is the only choice you have.”

Have you enjoyed the lighter evenings this past week? Even though we lost an hour of sleep last weekend, I am thrilled with the extra light. We are gaining 2-3 minutes of daylight every day. There are 11 hours and 55 minutes of light today, March 14, 2018, so enjoy every second of it, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

And let the madness begin. Enjoy the longer, and basketball-filled days. Fill out your brackets. (Mine has UNC winning it all, as always!) Watch some great college basketball. Get caught up in the excitement. Find a team and root for them. And GO HEELS!

CEILING. ROOF. CHAMPION. Enough said…except for the saying on the cup: “If you don’t love NORTH CAROLINA, Bless Your Heart!”

“The ceiling is the roof. Let’s make this happen.” Michael Jordan

Best,

Leslie

 

“Daydream Believer….” Monkees 1967

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Do you daydream? Think of how wonderful life could be, if only…? I admit it, I have always been a daydreamer. My mother told me I lived in a dream world most of my life, a fairytale world. She is right. After all, I thought I had met the perfect man, had perfect children, led a perfect life. Two out of three ain’t bad!

“Everything starts as someone’s daydream.”

I have “daydreamed” many fairy tales in my head. Now I just need to put them on paper. That is my big dream actually – to be an author. But it is so fun to think “what if”. And to daydream. I daydream about moving to Chapel Hill, surrounded by Tar Heel fans and that lovely Carolina Blue! Attending every sporting event. Oh and being Roy’s personal assistant. I mean, after all, I would be perfect in that role – I am organized, detailed oriented, and a huge Carolina fan. That’s my dream – to live in Chapel Hill and then move either where my kids are or to the beach.

Pick ME Roy! Pick ME!!!

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep dreaming.”  Jim Henson

I think dreaming and believing go hand in hand. You must believe in your dreams and trust they will come true. You must believe things will work out and life will be better. I was crushed 2 years ago when my life turned upside down. Crushed that my dreams, what I believed my future would be, were no longer going to come true. Once I accepted that I was heading down a much different path, I changed my dreams. And I do believe things have worked out for the best and will continue to do so in the future. I am dreaming of a WONDERFUL future.

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

As I have said before, I am loving the SOLO life. I would not change a thing right now. But in the future, finding Mr. Right might be fun. What would he be like? Well, how about a wonderful man who is:

SINGLE… Kind… Caring… Romantic… Trustworthy… Fun… Fit… Nice looking… Tall… Financially Independent… and a CAROLINA fan!

If you know this guy, send him my way! A girl can dream, right? I read somewhere that you should never give up on finding your dream mate, because that person is searching for you too. Well here I am!

I went to a wonderful baby shower last weekend for my son-in-law’s brother and his wife. Their dreams are coming true this May when they will welcome their precious daughter into their family. And honestly, their baby will be the best dressed baby ever! I have never seen so many adorable baby outfits. And I got to see my older daughter, again keeping with my New Year’s resolution of seeing my out of town kids more.

What are you dreaming of? I also dream of a cure for cancer and Alzheimer’s, pure happiness for my kids, peace in our world, grandchildren to spoil (no pressure kids!), more beach time, and my Tar Heels winning another championship. Oh, and writing that book! That is a dream and a goal I have had for a long time and one I plan to pursue. After all, several of my dear friends have written books.

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.”

Don’t forget to set your clocks AHEAD this weekend – Spring Forward, Fall Backward. Yes, we will lose an hour of sleep, but this means Spring is just around the corner! It may be darker in the early mornings, but it will be lighter longer after work. I am dreaming of those long, summer days!

“Always arm yourself with HOPE. HOPE of a better tomorrow, HOPE of a better life, HOPE of a better you.”

So go out there and dream a little or a lot, and hope for the best of everything. Dream about those things that make you happy, and make them happen, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 

“Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes”…. David Bowie 1971

Welcome Back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Tomorrow, March 1, 2018, marks a first anniversary I never dreamed I would be “celebrating” – my divorce. Am I celebrating? In some ways, yes. Honestly, it still does not seem real. How could I be divorced? Me. I married for life – “for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; till death us do part.” Not just for 36 years. But here I am, divorced. SOLO. Life has radically changed for me over the last 2 years, but I can now say that truly, it has been for the better. Me, who hates change, has actually embraced the changes in my new SOLO life, and find it to be … well, FUN!

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates

Friends ask if I am lonely. I don’t have time to be lonely. I stay very busy and keep my life full with working, traveling, movies, dancing, wineries, football games, lunches and dinners with friends, working out, and anything that includes my kids. I was on the phone with a friend talking about the “SOLO life” and in the background, her husband said, “Les, please don’t make the single life sound so great! Remember some of your friends are married.” I would NEVER want a married friend to find herself in my position, but if she does, I want her to know it is not that bad! Life is what you make of it.

“Don’t be afraid of CHANGE. You may lose something good, but you may gain something better.”

This past year my sisters and I have seen a change, a decline, in our mother’s memory health. Yes, she knows who we all are and is always so glad to see us, and is still as sweet as ever, but her needs are a bit more than they were last year. She has a hard time remembering that my children are grown and out of college. In her mind, they are still “children”. She doesn’t remember the last meal she had. And of course she does not believe she is 88 or that I am 60. “How could that be?” she asks. Rarely does she remember that I am divorced. She will ask where my “ex” is and I just say he is traveling or I don’t know. That sometimes prompts her to ask if we are together and when I say no, she does remember, though she can not believe it. However, last weekend she asked me if I was dating anyone! I about fell over as it was the first time she actually remembered I am now SOLO!

We moved Mom from Assisted Living to the Memory Care unit at a different, and what we believe to be a better facility for her, last weekend. My sweet son came up from Charlotte and my nephew from High Point, to help us. (Gave me another opportunity to see my “out-of-town child” per my New Year’s resolution!) I ran into an “old” friend visiting her mom who lives there. My college roommate’s mom is also there so I am excited to know that when I go visit mom, I may see them as well, and will always go by and say hello to their mothers. Also, my cousin and several friends live nearby to Mom’s new digs and I am hoping Mom will have more visitors. How did Mom react to her new beautiful room (it is beautiful thanks to my older sister – the decorator!)? She said we shouldn’t worry about putting her “somewhere”, but not to tell her momma, my grandmother,  because she would not like it. We assured her we will not tell Grandma Isabel. Oh boy…

“To care for those who once cared for us is the highest honor.”

Has anything changed for the worse for me in the past year? Honestly, I cannot think of anything. As friends and family tell me all the time, I am doing things I never would have if my situation had not changed. Some things have not changed at all – I have lunch or dinner with my “old” cul-de-sac neighbors often and am so thankful for these ladies! Not to mention meeting other friends for dinner. Met one last night for dinner to catch up.

One really fun change is my addiction to movies. Remember Movie Pass? My younger daughter and I saw 2 movies last week – Phantom Thread, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Three Billboards was wonderful! Phantom Thread was different – though I am very glad I saw both. I still want to see Lady Bird and I, Tonya.

I have some other friends who are facing the anniversary of tomorrow in a much different way. Their loved one is celebrating her first year in heaven. Their lives have seen many changes over this past year as well. There is no time limit for grieving. They will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow.

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

Tomorrow is also my nephew’s (the one who made me a Great Aunt) birthday. I am so proud of the husband and father he has become. And if you need something to brighten your day, just watch the following video he sent me of my great nephew. I have watched it a million times and laughed or smiled each time.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  Joseph Campbell

Embrace the changes that occur in your life. Look for, and make the best in every situation. Stay positive and do whatever makes you happy, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 

VITAMIN SEA!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Did you get your flu shot? Anyone around you have the flu? Or coughing, sneezing, feeling lousy? This has been an epidemic flu season and the CDC says the flu shot is only 36% effective in adults, 59% in children. Hey, I’ll take that 36% protection! Now that I am SOLO, I take even more precautions NOT to get sick as I am solely responsible for myself. And yes, I did get my flu shot. I have gotten one every year since moving here to Charlottesville. My first one was the result of my neighbor and me going to volunteer in our boys’ classroom only to discover that over 50% of the teachers and students were all out with the flu. We left school and went immediately to get our flu shots! And I have gotten one every year since. And no flu. Knock on wood! Best way NOT to get the flu? Wash your hands and do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Funny, but last week when my great-nephew was here, we kept asking him where his eyes, nose, and mouth were and he would touch each. Hope he doesn’t get the flu!

“Did you hear the joke about the germ? Nevermind, I don’t want to spread it around.”

As a matter of fact, our team is offered free flu shots at work. My first year at ACAC I shared an office with a real jokester who became (and still is) a dear friend. I remember asking her about the free flu shot and she said “oh yeah, the receptionist gives them so it’s free.” OK, I was really new to ACAC but I am deathly afraid of needles and the thought of getting a flu shot from a non-medically trained person, a receptionist, about did me in. But as my office mate said, “it’s free – you get what you pay for and this is free – given by the receptionist. I mean she practiced on oranges, I watched her.” Then she burst out laughing at the horrified look on my face. Our staff nurse gives the flu shots. And she is wonderful!

“I’m no doctor but maybe you need a little more Vitamin Sea.”

I decided I needed some VITAMIN SEA to keep me healthy in more ways than one so I escaped to the beach and was blessed with a couple of warm, sunny days. I also got a healthy dose of Vitamin D from all the sunshine. Just breathing in that wonderfully salty sea air while watching and listening to the sound of the waves truly soothed my soul. Spent most of my time walking, running, sleeping, reading, and clucking on the beach. What is clucking? Remember last summer’s blog about the beach and clucking – walking down the beach, head down, eyes trained on the sand, every now and then dropping down to pick up that special shell? That’s clucking – similar to a chicken pecking. There were lots of broken shells on the beach (low tide), and then all of a sudden there would be that perfect one. Similar to life. So many times since becoming SOLO, especially in the beginning, I’ve felt as is if my life is composed of broken pieces, then something wonderful happens that reminds me life, my life, truly is good. We need to focus on the good. I have bags and bags of seashells, but I always love searching for more. Same way I feel about my life – I have so much I am thankful for and yet I always love searching for and finding even more good things in my life.

“Life is a series of waves to be embraced and overcome.”  Danny Meyer

Also soothing and so enjoyable is watching the ocean birds on the beach. They fascinate me. Darting here and there searching for their treasures. I watched a SOLO bird on the beach which reminded me of myself, content but still searching for treasures. Then 2 more birds came over and together they made me think of my sisters and me. My older sister has painted many pictures of these birds and will be exhibiting them soon in a show. She told me that these birds make her happy, and to let them make me happy as well. I have one of her ocean bird paintings hanging in my office. It makes me happy daily.

“The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have WINGS.” J.M. Barrie

My special Valentine roses from my kids went to beach with me and are still gorgeous. Oh how I have enjoyed them! I left the beach with my roses and with my soul and outlook renewed.

My beautiful Valentine roses… still gorgeous!

“Your attitude and your outlook in life says a lot about who you are. Make it a positive one.”  Rubyanne

Just checking in to see how your New Year’s resolutions are going? Have they gone by the wayside or are you making a concerted effort to follow through with them? Keeping with my resolution to see my “out-of-town kids” more, I left the beach and went to Charlotte to have brunch with my dear son and his girlfriend. I had framed the Sports Illustrated Magazines featuring the TAR HEELS as the 2017 NCAA Basketball Champions and the print of Franklin Street right before the Heels won and the moment after, when everyone, including my son, was celebrating in the street, and thought what a great opportunity to see my son and give him the prints. Also stopped to see my Mom in Winston-Salem on my way home from Charlotte. Lots of driving but I didn’t mind and it was so worth it.

VS3
Charlotte brunch…
HEELS! If you look closely you might see my son on Franklin Street! HAHA!
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My sweet Momma!

Got to visit with all of my kids in a span of a week as I had dinner with my “out-of-town” older daughter and son-in-law in Richmond Monday, spent the night, and went to her cycle class at 6:30 am. My younger daughter was not left out as she and I spent the evening before I left for the beach first going for a run then to the movies where we also had dinner. Saw The Greatest Showman which was wonderful and nothing like what I had expected. Looking forward to my next movie! Did you checkout Movie Pass?

For me, there is nothing like being around my children and family, and my beach time to keep me healthy and positive. Do what you need to stay healthy, physically and mentally. Need a break from everyday life? Take a day off, go to a movie, leave town. Make yourself a priority – there is nothing wrong with that. After all, you’ll be spending the rest of your life with yourself. And as we all know, tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

“Sea” ya’ soon!

Best,
Leslie

 

“Love is in the Air….” John Paul Young, 1978

“…. Everywhere I look around.”

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!!

Today is February 14, 2018. Ash Wednesday, first day of Lent. Do you follow the ritual of giving something up for Lent? Are you making a sacrifice this year? I have in the past, usually in a self-serving way – chocolate, ice cream, sweets, soda, facebook. Wait! I never gave up facebook, heaven forbid! But in the last several years I have followed a different path – doing something instead of giving up something. Whether it be volunteering, sharing, helping someone. I tend to find this more meaningful.

What if we choose the following as our “sacrifice” for Lent:

  • Give up complaining… focus on gratitude.
  • Give up pessimism… become an optimist.
  • Give up harsh judgement… think kindly thoughts.
  • Give up discouragement… be full of hope.
  • Give up bitterness… turn to forgiveness.
  • Give up hatred… return good for evil.
  • Give up negativism… be positive.
  • Give up anger… be more patient.
  • Give up pettiness… become mature.
  • Give up gloom… enjoy the beauty that is around you.
  • Give up jealousy… pray for trust.
  • Give up gossiping… control your tongue.
  • Give up giving up… hang in there!  (Rev. David Marcus, NPMC)

Could you give up all of these? A couple? One? Wanna give it a try? If you attempt to give up any of these, let me know. We’ll power through this together.

“In this life we cannot do GREAT things. We can only do small things with GREAT love.”  Mother Teresa

So did you feast and “party like it’s 1999” (Prince) on Fat Tuesday in preparation for the season of Lent? I wouldn’t say I partied that hard, but I did have a lot of fun this past weekend starting Friday night with an after work party welcoming a friend back to Charlottesville, very special visitors on Saturday, and ending up at a couple of wineries with my daughter Sunday.

Today is also Valentine’s Day – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY all Y’all! What? Did you think this SOLO gal might be sad on Valentine’s Day? Not a chance! I am enjoying this SOLO life. And I do have fun plans for tonight.

Can you feel the “L O V E” here?!?!?

“Love isn’t something you find, love is something that finds you.” Loretta Young

There are so many different kinds and levels of love. One of the greatest is the love of a mother for her children. I think it is because mothers carry their children for 9 months and are truly “connected” to them. It is an unconditional love like no other. As I have always said, “A mother is only as happy as her saddest child.” So true. I admit, I never realized how much my mom did for us and how much she loved us until I had children of my own. I owe my mom and want her to know how much I appreciate all she did and sacrificed for me. These days, I’m trying to see my mom as often as I can. I visited mom and my sisters last week for an early Valentine’s Day. What fun we had!

“Of all the gifts that life has to offer, a loving mother is the greatest of them all.”

There’s also that love of siblings. Thank heavens for my sisters! Yes, there are times you do NOT get along or even like each other, but you always love each other. There are things you can say about your sibling, but let someone else say the same thing and look out! I am so proud of my kids’ relationships with each other. They have always gotten along and supported each other, love each other, and are great friends. As a mom, you can’t ask for more than that!

“Sibling relationships outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship.” Erica E. Goode

And look who came to see Great Aunt Les this weekend… my great nephew! And of course his parents (my nephew and his wife). This sweet child has brought so much happiness, joy, entertainment, and love into our whole family. We all adore him – how could you not?  As my sister (his grandmother) says, there is no love like that of a grandparent for a grandchild!

And of course, there is the wonderful love of your soulmate, spouse, boy/girlfriend, partner. This subject is a little difficult for me to even think about as I have become a bit cynical in this area since becoming SOLO. Made me question everything I thought I believed in. But if you are lucky enough to be with your true love, you are lucky enough.

“No three words have greater power than ‘I love you’…”

These words can capture your heart in many ways. Remember the first time your child told you he/she loved you and you knew they understood what they were saying and meant it? Their sweet arms around your neck? My kids and I never end a conversation without saying “I love you”. When was the last time you told someone you loved them? Never give up that opportunity.

If you are SOLO, especially recently solo, don’t let one day, Valentine’s Day, make you sad. Truly, it is just a day. You’ll go to bed tonight and wake up to a new day tomorrow. Life goes on… and life is good!

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

Lent is a time of reflection and renewal. It’s a great time to give up all of your negativity, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow. Be happy and look for the new beginnings. I am.

Happy Girl in her Carolina attire and Mardi Gras beads! Heels had 3 BIG wins in 5 days!
Last minute add! I have the BEST kids! They sent me these beautiful roses for Valentine’s Day… my Valentines…

Best,

Leslie