The wheels on the bus go round and round… (Verna Hills 1939)

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

It’s that time of year again – school is back in session. Mornings and afternoons see those big yellow buses on the road again.This past week I watched as many of my co-workers’ children headed back to school and college. One had a child starting pre-K the same day she took her oldest to college (there are 4 more in between!). It has been an emotional time for all – kids and parents, excited and sad at the same time. Excited to start a new school year and sad to say goodbye to the lazy days of summer break. Many are ready to get back into their normal routines. I remember those times well. Of course I loved summer (still do), but it was always exciting to start that new school year. New classes, new teachers, all new school supplies, lots of new things to learn, and of course, the return to all of my kids’ sports activities. Oh, and packing lunches, homework, driving to and from sports practices and games. Loved it all.

“Wisdom is knowing the right path to take… Integrity is taking it.”

We had a nice (albeit brief) change in weather last week – it was much cooler with no humidity, fooling us into thinking fall might be arriving. It isn’t, and I am not sad about that, as I am not ready to say goodbye to summer yet. Several mornings dropped to the lower 50’s which made it awfully cool for my early runs, so I opted to run later in the day. I was even wrapped up in a fleece blanket on my back porch watching Hallmark movies a couple of nights. Texted my sisters during these movies – they (or at least my younger sister) were watching too. (I love my group texts – I always have several going!)

Of course, I had no one going back to school or college this year, but I still had a fun and busy weekend. Friday night was a perfect night as I drove to our Short Pump club where my older daughter was teaching a special evening rooftop barre class. It was heavenly being on the rooftop with a gentle breeze blowing as the sun was setting. This area of the club is restricted to adults only, complete with a pool and a cafe/bar. It was pretty busy on Friday night! We used the railing for our “barre” and looked out over the neighborhood, which helped take our minds off of our screaming muscles! Our legs were shaking by the end of class! Went back with my daughter to their house and we walked my granddawg around the neighborhood and just talked before I headed back to Charlottesville. Oh how I love spending time with my kids!

Due to the cooler weather, and because I was taking an extremely hard, high intensity class at the club Saturday morning, I decided not to run early. I mean I would have had to wear a long sleeve shirt to run it was so cool outside! Plus, there is no way I could have made it through that class if I had run beforehand. So I waited and ran in the afternoon when it was back to tanktop weather, low 80’s with no humidity. Heavenly. My route down Main Street and through UVA was peppered with so many people – then I realized it was “move in” day for UVA. Parents had that “deer in headlights” look about them. And “First Years” (UVA speak for freshmen) shared that same look, but were also anxious for mom and dad to leave. It has been 9 years since I took a freshman to college – my son. Where have the years gone?!? I can still remember that pit in my stomach leaving my babies at college where they knew no one. I had to learn to let them find their way on their own. Very hard for me, but turned out to be wonderful for each of them!

“Everyone that you meet knows something that you don’t. Learn from them!”  H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Sunday became a very full day, which can happen now that I am SOLO! Great cycle class at one of our clubs taught by one of my favorite instructors, followed by church and the office for a bit. My younger daughter called and asked if I wanted to visit some wineries, and of course I said yes! A perk of being SOLO – you can do whatever you want to do at the drop of a hat. We headed to several vineyards where we had tastings, ate lunch, and sat outside enjoying the scenery with a glass of wine. It was a beautiful afternoon. Plus any time spent with my kids is heavenly. I topped of Sunday by using my Movie Pass to go see Mission Impossible. It was very good and even though I am not a big Tom Cruise fan, the man really is a great actor, and is in great shape performing his own stunts, and I enjoyed the movie. Going to see Momma Mia this week.

With the return of the heat and humidity this week, I am back to my normal 7 am running routine – only now I am dodging school traffic! And so a new school year begins. While running down Main Street, I saw a sign in Mellow Mushroom – “WE ARE ALL STUDENTS”. Started me thinking… yes we are all students – always learning, we may not remember everything, but we learn new things daily.

“You learn something every day if you pay attention.” Ray LeBlond

What have you learned lately? We should learn something new every week, if not every day, even if we don’t remember it! What did I learn this week? Well, I am always reading about Alzheimer’s (known to exist in my family tree) and discovered that 75 minutes of activity per week could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Ok y’all, I work out over 75 minutes every day! Am I safe? Who knows, but I do feel better! Also, did you know that according to Pénélope Komitès, “the bee is the insect most essential for life on the planet.” And that each hive could produce over 50 pounds of honey a year? (Who knows when this knowledge might come in handy!) OH and did you know that The Wizard of Oz premiered 79 years ago last Saturday (Aug 25)? 79 years! The Wizard of Oz (1939), The Birds (1963), and JAWS (1975) were the scariest movies to me as a kid.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you are to live forever.” Mahatma Gandhi

I’ll try to remember to share with you something I learn each week at the end of the blog.

Learn what you can, when you can. Pay attention. Share what you learn. Don’t waste any time or any knowledge, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS – saw this quote and loved it: “Sixty might be the new Forty, but 9:00 PM is the new midnight.” RIGHT?!?!

 

“Memories… light the corners of my mind…” Barbra Streisand 1974

Welcome Back to SOLO at SIXTY!

What a difference a year makes. Right? What about 2 years? Two years ago, I was newly SOLO, forging my way in a totally new direction. AND… Baby Jack (my great-nephew) was born! Just as his dad (my nephew) was the first baby in our family, so now is Jack. What fun and love he has brought into our family. Two years ago we were at the hospital waiting on his arrival and one year ago, we were all together at the beach celebrating his 1st birthday. He was trying to take his first steps and was crawling everywhere. Fast forward to this year when we just celebrated Jack’s 2nd birthday at the beach and let me tell you, this child is on the go! Thankfully, he loves the beach as much as the rest of us. That’s a must in our family.

“Our family is a circle of strength and love, with every birth and every union, the circle will grow, every joy shared adds more love, every crisis faced together, makes the circle stronger.”

This past weekend was so wonderful having my sisters and our family together at the beach. Missed my son and older daughter who had trips already planned. Thankful to have my younger daughter there. And of course we missed having mom with us, she was unable to make the trip, but we had fun remembering so many beach trips from our childhood. Back in the day our family would leave VERY early in the morning and drive to the beach with no idea where we would stay – no reservations. Remember – there was no internet to book a hotel and it was a long distance phone call! Mom basically drugged us with Dramamine crushed in OJ before leaving home to prevent car sickness. We did not have seatbelts in our big ole’ Chevrolet, so she made us little pallets on the back seat and the floorboards so we could sleep on the way down. One of the most fun parts of the trip down was the half-way stop at the Ellerbee Springs rest area, eating the breakfast Mom had packed. She always made country ham biscuits the night before. And of course we had Moravian sugar cake and milk. Once we finally arrived in Myrtle Beach, we would go from hotel to hotel looking for a vacancy, with Mom inspecting each room to make sure it was very clean before deciding on THE one. Many times we ended up at the Cadillac Court in Myrtle Beach. And we had to have an efficiency with a small kitchen, because we ate most of our meals in the room. Daddy did not eat anything that swam or flew, so we never had seafood (I did not eat shrimp until college!). Besides being on the beach and playing in the ocean, one of the biggest thrills was going to the Pavillion one night and riding the rides. Before we left, we always had to sit and listen to the 2-ton German Baden-Band Organ and watch the twirling figurines. That was Mom’s favorite part.

“Family is the anchor that holds us through life’s storms.”

As we got older, Mom would take us down to the beach with her sister and our cousins. My aunt would drive us in her station wagon and several of us would ride in the back (again no seatbelts). And later on, our family began vacationing at Surfside Beach, renting a large house with 2 other families, one being the family of my dear childhood friend Luanne. Oh the fun times Luanne and I had at Surfside! We would walk up to the pier and ride the Ferris wheel singing at the top of our lungs and then ride the tilt-a-whirl until our snow cones threatened to come back up! But most of the day was spent combing the beach for sharks’ teeth, a pastime I continue to this day. This past weekend, my nephew asked if I really had found the large sharks tooth that I have “on display” at my beach house. I told him that a month after Luanne passed away, I was walking on the beach thinking about her and how we always searched for sharks teeth, when I looked down and saw the biggest one I have ever found. I knew Luanne was right there. I still think of her every time I am in Surfside (which is often).

“Life brings tears, smiles, and memories. The tears dry, the smiles fade, but the memories last forever.”

When my kids were very little, before moving to Charlottesville, we had a small place at the beach and Mom and I would take my kids and my nephew (Jack’s Dad) to the beach mid-week many times in the summer. The rest of the family would come down on the weekend. Mom had a knack for walking the little ones in an umbrella stroller (do they even make those anymore?!?!) on the beach and lulling them right to sleep. They napped on the beach under the umbrella for hours! Mom had the magic touch. But it was like moving to get everything down to the beach. The back of my station wagon was loaded down with a playpen (for napping and corralling the youngest), an entertaining mobile for the playpen, an umbrella for shade, chairs for mom and me, beach towels, cooler of waters and snacks, sand toys, floats, WHEW! And if it rained and we had to pack up quickly, well that was a sight. And it did happen! But truly, it was always worth it. Those were such special times.

“Family, a little bit of crazy, a little bit of loud, and a whole lot of love.”

It truly is hard to believe that Jack is already 2, and very verbal so he and I get along well! We had so much fun watching and playing with him on the beach. And we celebrated his birthday every day with a present or 2 – my kids and I gave him a boogie board, a Surfside Beach ballcap, and puzzles. He also got a lot of Curious George books, stuffed animals, t-shirts and toys. The best was Saturday night where we had his birthday dinner at, you guessed it, my favorite restaurant FRANKS! What 2-year-old gets to celebrate his birthday at such a grown up restaurant? Well, Jack of course! He was so well-behaved (kudos to my nephew and his wife) and flirted with all the waitresses and diners around us so much so that they all sang Happy Birthday to him when his HUGE 14-layer caramel cake was set before him! After dinner we topped off Jack’s birthday by going to the Summer Lights Festival at Brookgreen Gardens. We lucked up and had great weather for it. We made more memories for our family on this beach trip, one we plan to continue each year.

“Today’s moments are tomorrow’s memories.”

I love making wonderful memories with my family, and especially doing so at the beach – my happy place. I feel as if I have come full circle with so many special beach memories. What a difference a year or 2 makes. Who knows where I will be in 2 more years!

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you.” Desmond Tutu

Where do you see yourself in a year? What will you have accomplished? Will you have made lasting memories? Don’t put off making those memories with the people who mean the most to you, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 

 

“I second that emotion…” Smokey Robinson and the Miracles 1968

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Oh my goodness what an emotionally fun, worrisome, busy, and blessed week this has been! I don’t know where to start – “Let’s start at the very beginning…” (Do-Rei-Me, Sound of Music).  So… last Thursday I started my day off with a very early morning trip to Richmond to take my older daughter’s 6:30 am cycle class and boy was I glad I did! It was a great and fun workout! Wish I could do that every day. And my day ended in a fun way as we finally had a dry (and hot) evening, so my younger daughter and I could have our tennis lesson. Got to see 2 of my 3 kids in one day.

There has been so much in the news recently about Charlottesville, as last weekend was the anniversary of the horrible rallies and protests, where 3 people lost their lives. Luckily, the rallies were moved to DC this year, away from Charlottesville. Still, worried about what might happen,  most downtown businesses (including our downtown club), restaurants, Fridays after Five, even the farmer’s market, all closed for the weekend, just in case. And I left town. My middle daughter called me to say she was reliving part of her childhood, watching the “Sound of Music” as an adult. (The kids and I watched it annually when they were little.) She called me because she was shocked that she never thought about it as a political movie – just a musical where she knew all of the songs. But it seemed more relevant to her now in light of everything that happened in our town.

“Conflict cannot survive when only one person participates.” Wayne Dyer

Saturday morning I headed to Winston-Salem for my 42nd high school reunion. Yes it is an “odd” year, but we get together every year (now that we are 60+ years old!) to keep in touch, which I love. I was so looking forward to seeing the people I shared my fun high school years with. But on my way down to NC, my younger sister called to tell me she had received a call that Mom had fallen and hurt her shoulder. Luckily, she is a nurse, and was taking Mom to get an X-ray. She had fractured her shoulder, which is better news than what we were first told: fractured elbow, shoulder, and collarbone. Mom is a tough bird who has a high tolerance for pain. Plus, she is so sweet and never complains, so the only way we knew she was in pain was the expression on her face when she moved her arm. The doctor told my sister he could not believe Mom was not screaming in pain.

Pre-reunion visit with Mom!

“The older you get, the more important it is to know people that knew you when.” Amy Poehler

After stopping by my older sister’s house to change into my “reunion attire,” I headed to Mom’s Assisted Living to see how she was doing. She looked good and was in pretty good spirits considering she was in pain. Visited with Mom and my younger sister before heading to meet a friend to go to the reunion together. It was comforting to walk in with a friend and not SOLO. And so wonderful to see all my old classmates. Special people from my past. And our organizer, the special friend who ignited my love for Carolina basketball back in the 5th grade, gave me another UNC present! I get one every year! This year it was a book about the 1957 team (year I was born). And what a difference a year makes – one of my dear, “old,” childhood friends, who was diagnosed with MS in his 30’s, was able to stand and give me a hug this year! Made my night. Had dinner with him, his wife, an old boyfriend and his wife, and several other friends. I am thankful to reconnect with these classmates that I only get to see once a year. As adults, it doesn’t matter what “group” you were in back in the day –  all that matters is that you are here and you care. These are people who have known me a LONG time. Some all the way back to elementary school! Missed several of my cheerleader friends, though thankfully, I have been able to get together with them during the year. So many classmates told me they are reading my blog which warmed my heart! I never know who is reading it.

 

“The old ones are still the best. Old jeans, old shoes, old tunes and old times.”

Worried about Mom, I stopped by to check on her after the reunion. Found her asleep, but she woke up and did not appear to be in much pain (thanks to pain meds). She wanted to know how the reunion was and who was there. It was fun sharing the night with her, reminding her who everyone was, even if she would not remember any of it. It’s all about being in the moment.

Stopped in Sunday morning and found Mom awake and dressed for the day. Got her to eat some breakfast, reminded her about my reunion the night before, and found Beauty and the Beast on TV for her. Told her I was heading to Charlotte to have brunch with my son (her grandson) and his girlfriend, who my girls and I love, and her family. It was my first time meeting them and I was very excited and, yes, nervous. Immediately realized that was misplaced – I felt as if I had known them forever! I now see why this girl is so special – her family is warm, caring, fun, and so welcoming.

After brunch I had one more special visit to make before leaving Charlotte. I was blessed to be able to see and hold the precious granddaughter of my dear friend whose daughter (a dear friend of my older daughter) lives in Charlotte. Babies are such miracles and bring such joy, and this sweet baby is no exception. We oohed and ahhed over every one of her facial expressions!

“Life is short. Time is fast. No replay. No rewind. So enjoy every moment as it comes.”

What a special weekend I had. Made even more special as I found myself several hours later at the beach! Oh, life is good, so good! One of my high school cheerleader friends was not able to make the reunion, but lucky for me, we met for dinner at the beach, as we have done several times this summer. Love catching up with this girl – I can live vicariously through her – she has so much fun!  We’ve both been on the same SOLO journey recently and come out on the other, better side, thankfully.

Nothing like catching up with your girlfriends!

“Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep the faith. It will all be worth it in the end.”

And now, I am getting ready for another reunion – MY family – my sisters, their families, and mine. Just missing Mom this year as it was recommended that we don’t take her out of her daily routine. And now that she hurt her shoulder, it would be impossible. Makes us all sad. Thankful that we were ALL together here last year and had a photographer document it. Cannot wait to spend time with my family, and celebrate my great-nephew Jack’s 2nd birthday! We’re coming full circle as my sisters and I vacationed at this beach as children and here we are continuing to celebrate our family at the beach. Family is what it is all about y’all.

“Being a family means you are part of something very wonderful. It means that you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what.”

So many emotions this past week. And more this weekend as it promises to be a fun, family-filled one. I am doing what makes me happy. Are you? Don’t put off the things you want to do, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 

“Because I’m happy…”

“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” Happy, Pharrell 2013

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Pharrell’s “Happy” song was the one my daughter chose for my entrance and introduction at her wedding reception. She knew how much I loved that song! So appropriate as that was one of the happiest days for me. What a beautiful wedding with happiness flowing more than the wine! Such a joyful occasion.

My girls and me… What a beautiful wedding!

Is there a difference between happiness and joy? Recently, two different friends mentioned to me that they wanted more joy in their lives. Not happiness, but joy. Both are SOLO, through different circumstances. Started me thinking that I too would like to find more joy. I am relatively happy, enjoy a lot of things, and have fun. So what is the difference between happiness and joy? One thought is that happiness is external, and joy is internal. The dictionary defines happiness as “a state of well-being and contentment: joy” and joy as “a state of happiness”. Interchangeable? Not necessarily, in my opinion. I think of joy as something deeper that you experience, while happiness is something you feel. I also think happiness is easier to attain.

“The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid.” J.D. Salinger, the author of Catcher in the Rye

Last week, our fitness club volunteered to provide dinner for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House here in Charlottesville. When the email went out looking for volunteers to help, so many teammates replied that we split up into separate teams and multiple nights. My team was lead by a true Italian Chef who had owned a local, well-known Italian restaurant, before retiring and coming to work with us in fitness. So needless to say, his fresh from scratch baked ziti was delicious. It was fun working together while having Italian Cooking Class 101. But there was such joy in providing this meal to these families who are suffering. Their babies and children are hospitalized. Some have been there a couple of days, some several months. Every one of them was so appreciative to have a home cooked meal. They thanked us profusely. One of my teammates mentioned to me what joy it gave her to help these families. I agree.

What a wonderful organization the Ronald McDonald House is, providing housing for families whose children are in the hospital nearby. They come back to the Ronald McDonald house in the evening knowing there will be a meal for them. And if they are late, they can find dinner in “take out” boxes in the communal refrigerator. They can also “grab and go”, taking it back to the hospital. Families have private rooms, most with a private bath. The sad thing? Most of the time there is a waitlist for rooms. One family told us how fortunate they were that the day their baby was born prematurely and flown to UVA’s Children’s Hospital, a room opened up for them. They had been there for 3 weeks. There was a young boy staying there with his mom while he was undergoing treatments. The kitchen was large, nice, and very clean with 4 stoves, 4 ovens, 4 dishwashers, and 5 large refrigerators. The communal fridge is stocked with the basics such as milk, yogurts, waters, and leftovers in to-go boxes. The other 4 are reserved by shelf for the families. The kitchen is stocked with plates, glasses, coffee cups, silverware, and condiments. But they can always use more. Our clubs collected donations from our members and team members for everyday items – cleaning supplies, paper towels, mustard, ketchup, you name it. They need everything.

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a great deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Years ago, the son of a dear friend was being treated at UVA Hospital. This friend witnessed so many struggling families trying to cope and support their children while being hours away from their homes, work, and other family members. Because of this, she suggested the Ronald McDonald House as the benefactor of the annual neighborhood ladies Christmas party my neighbor and I hosted each year. The amount of supplies we received from our guests was unimaginable! Had to put all the seats down in my car to transport them. The last thing a family with a child in the hospital needs to worry about is where they are going to stay and what they are going to eat, so if you are looking for a good charity to support, consider the Ronald McDonald House.

Recognize this sweater from my “25 Days of Christmas Sweaters”?!?

“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.”  Carlos Santana

I have been very happy lately. Spent time with my kids. Dinner with a dear friend. Volunteered at Ronald McDonald House. Met some friends at King Family Vineyard. Played BUNCO with a fun group of girls and got to wear the crown! And many more fun plans are coming up. Who could ask for more?!?!

“My mission: to be so busy loving my life that I have no time for hate, regret, worry, fret, or fear.”

When you find yourself having a pity party, which I have hosted for myself at times (especially when I found myself SOLO), stop and think of all the blessings in your life. What brings you joy? Do something for someone else – that is guaranteed to bring you joy and you may realize you are happier than you think. Life is too precious to waste your time dwelling on the negatives because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

“Monday, Monday…so good to me” The Mamas and The Papas 1966

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Last week was so much fun for me, being with my kids at my favorite place. Missed my son who already had travel plans, but will get to meet up with him at the beach later this summer. We had good weather for the most part, just a couple of days with a shower here or there. Read 5 books. Ate lots of fresh seafood. Even met up with a high school friend. Truly a fun vacation. And to top it off, I stopped by Winston-Salem on my way home to have lunch with my sweet momma, my sisters, and my great-nephew (who we all adore!)

 

“I have always loved the beach. The smell of the salty water, the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm.”

But it was back to the real world Monday morning. Hard to get up early again after staying up later and sleeping in all week! But I did. As much as I love the beach, it was kinda good to get back to my home and my routine. My early morning runs through UVA, working with and seeing my friends, and being very busy again (month end financials). Are you a routine person or a spur of the moment person? Admittedly, I am a routine person. I like to know what is going to happen and when it is going to happen. Part of it comes from keeping up with the full academic and sports schedules of 3 very active kids. I had to keep organization in my family to make sure everyone was where they needed to be, when they needed to be. So it continues as I plan my activities and trips, SOLO. Already planning my next beach trip (no surprise there – you should see my calendar!). I function better when I am in a routine – I like a head’s up when someone is planning to move my cheese! My older daughter is exactly the same, younger daughter totally opposite, my son right in the middle.

“Sometimes, a break from your routine is the very thing you need.”

Speaking of being out of routine, at my physical recently, my doctor informed me I needed to get the new Shingles Vaccine. Did you know there is a new Shingles Vaccine? It takes 2 shots, the second following 2-6 months after the initial shot. And did you know that these shots are given by the pharmacist, not your doctor?!? (When did that start?) Oh how I hate shots. But I would hate to get shingles more! So several weeks ago I stopped by CVS (just to make sure my doctor knew what she was talking about!) and asked about the Shingles Vaccine, especially since I had the “old” one several years ago. Yes, they assured me I should get the new vaccine, and yes, the pharmacist would give the shot, but they were out of the vaccine, as were many pharmacies. While on vacation, they called to tell me the vaccines were in and I could come any time. My friend and I slipped out of the office and walked to CVS Monday morning before lunch. Got my shot. It wasn’t too bad. Until an hour later when I could barely lift my arm because it hurt! OUCH! Yes, they had warned me. Told me to keep moving it, but I was working at a computer and forgot. Took a couple of Advil and it felt much better – good enough to go to a weight lifting class! Back to my routine.

Is it going to hurt? Of course dear!

“Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.”

And what is with all of this RAIN? Several friends are vacationing at the beach this week and the forecast looks very dreary. Even here we have rain in the forecast every day for the next week. Rain definitely takes me out of my routine – prevents my outdoor runs. But it gets me back into the club for cycle or step classes, which I love as well, and forces me to take a break from running. Gives my hip more time to recover and maybe I won’t need as much dry needling to heal it. So a nice break in routine. I would say all the rain is good for my garden, but Sunday night, after I got home from the beach, I picked my last beans and tomatoes and pulled those plants up. Left the okra and cucumbers as they still have some blooms. But this summer, with all the rain, the mosquitos have been brutal! Even wearing long pants and long sleeves, I leave my garden and rush home to shower hoping to alleviate the effects of the mosquito bites! Deciding what to do about next year’s garden, if I am going to have one or not. I am away so much I am not able to give it the attention it really needs. And the mosquitoes! This would be a change in my routine!

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

It’s not so bad to deviate from your normal routine every now and then. You’ll find that you really will survive and maybe even thrive. It may force you to do something you did not even know you were missing out on. Something fun. My routine went haywire 2 years ago when I found myself SOLO and it forced me to readjust my whole life. And I discovered that I truly was missing out on many things. Not any more! Do something fun for yourself. Find what makes you smile and do it. Because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 

“Oh, stormy… bring back that sunny day..” (Classics IV 1968)

Welcome back to Solo at Sixty!

My Happy Place!

I’m back at my happy place y’all! And not SOLO this time. My younger daughter came down with me Friday. Funny how things work out – we left later than planned, and thankfully so. Because we were late leaving, we missed all of the torrential rain at the beach Friday. I hate driving in rain, and really hate driving in rain at night. You can’t see the lines on the road anymore! We had a great trip down and got here before midnight. Woke up to a gorgeous Saturday. Since it was just the 2 of us (others coming down midweek), I told her I would show her how I spend my time down here SOLO. After spending the day on the beach (we each read a whole book), we went to, yes, my favorite restaurant, Frank’s, ate at the bar, and had a blast. Stayed over 2 hours just talking.

My beautiful younger daughter!

The weather forecast was not the best for the week, but as I tell my kids, the forecast changes daily at the beach. And a 60% chance of rain means there’s a 40% chance it will not rain. Sunday proved to be one of those 40% days where it was beautiful. My daughter and I read another book on the beach and decided we wanted a casual dinner, so we rode our bikes to Bubba’s. Great fried shrimp. You gotta have fried shrimp and french fries at least once every beach trip, and we did. At the bar. Got my famous Bud Light Lime and was a happy camper. As was my daughter. (Side note: Wore my Carolina Beach shirt and a man at the bar said – Hey I like that shirt. My nephew plays basketball for Carolina!)

Chillin’ Tar Heel Style!

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”  Dolly Parton

So… we thought for sure Monday would be rainy which would be good since we had gotten so much sun Saturday and Sunday. A huge storm woke us both up during the night with the rain pelting the windows. Decided to sleep in until I noticed the sun was shining in the windows. Hurriedly got up and went for a run so we could get on the beach before it rained. It was a beautiful morning even though it was 82 degrees at 8:30. The storm had cleared the air and there was such a good breeze. Beautiful day on the beach. Again, all day. No rain.

Storms in life are like that. They sometimes come into our lives unexpectedly, turn things upside down, clear things out, and leave us to figure out how to right things. I’ve weathered many storms in my life, the biggest being 2 years ago when I found myself SOLO. At the time I was not sure I would be able to “right” anything in my life. One of the few times I doubted my ability. But I did get through the storm, and truly came out better. Honestly, it was not easy and it was not quick. It was actually very painful. But I decided early on which way I wanted my life to move and it was not backward. And now I find myself in the calm after the storm. Literally sitting on the beach soaking up the sun.

Don’t worry… Beach happy!

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through; how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure the storm is really over. But one thing is certain: when you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

There have been some other storms these last 2 years. Not unexpected when a marriage breaks up. They always hit out of the blue and pretty hard. But now I know I can weather the storm. And truly, I know the sun will shine again. Soon.

Blogging at the beach!

“The Sun is alone too, but it still shines.”

I hope y’all are able to weather the storms that come into your lives. Be strong, be faithful, be positive, and remember that “without rain, there would be no rainbows.” Yes, we all need some rain and some storms in our lives to appreciate how truly wonderful life is. Make the most of every wonderful day because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Finally, the other kids got down here safe and sound and so far the weather has cooperated, with storms only at night. We’ll take that!

Best,

Leslie

PS Christmas in July on the Hallmark channel ends this weekend. And the new Christmas movies start October 27th!

 

When one door closes…

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Thank all y’all for reading my blog! Did you know you can sign up to receive an email every time a new blog is posted? Just click on the right in the sidebar under the “about” section. And you can email me at soloatsixty@gmail.com. Questions, comments, anything you want to share. I’d love to hear from you! If you like the quotes in the blog, you should follow SOLO at SIXTY on Facebook for a daily quote. Oh and there is Instagram and Twitter – I admit I am still trying to figure all of this out, with the help of my kids of course!

My beautiful daughter and granddawg!

Speaking of email… I received a sad one this week. Fresh Market is closing its doors here in Charlottesville. I am not surprised, it was never that busy, but I loved that store. It was very convenient for me, only minutes from my house and located in the same shopping center as one of our fitness clubs. I stopped there often to pick up something for dinner. Discovered their Little Big Meals thanks to Jersey Jenn’s blog, and made great use of them when I was having company. Loved their pimento cheese – a staple at our tailgates! I went by there the morning after I received my email, only to discover the closing had also been reported on the news, including the promotion that everything was 30% off. So 10,000 of my closest friends and I crowded into Fresh Market to pick up things we loved. Many people were getting fish, chicken, and meats to freeze. Bottles of wine. I stocked up on pimento cheese! As I looked around I wanted to say, hey where were all y’all these past couple of years?

“Close the doors that caused you pain, anger and suffering so you can open the ones that will bring you love, acceptance and inner peace.”

I’ll miss the convenience and the store itself. As my sister and brother-in-law will attest to, I don’t buy many groceries. My brother-in-law stayed with me recently when he was in town for a meeting. He told my sister that when he opened my fridge, it was basically empty. Just some yogurt, fruit, spinach, eggs, cheese, almond milk, tea, wine, and pimento cheese. No leftovers, no cream (I don’t drink coffee), no little take out boxes. Very few condiments. I mean, it’s just me here. Breakfast is a smoothie, lunch is at the office several days a week, and I’ll have avocado toast with tomato other days. And dinners? Well, I meet friends out some nights, have eggs right often, and really only cook on Tuesdays after tennis with my daughter and on the weekend. So what do I need with a lot of groceries?!? Funny thing is, I also have a fridge in my garage! It isn’t very full either (just waters and wine!) except during the holidays.

“So fill your heart with what’s important and be done with all the rest.”

My younger daughter called me Saturday morning to tell me her college roommate was in town with her precious baby. You know if there is a baby around, you will find me there! What a wonderful start to my day. Left there and went to visit my older daughter and then met a friend for lunch who was in town visiting her daughter. We actually talked about closing doors and moving on. She knew about my circumstances – she’s a blog follower! Told her I realized it was only hurting myself when I was suffering and sad, so I came to the conclusion that it was doing me NO good and it was time to close that door. She asked how I was doing now and how I had moved on. I look forward, not backward, and I stay very busy doing things I love. I’ve shared before that I do so many more fun things now that I am SOLO than I ever did before. Saturday was no exception. Drove back to Charlottesville after our lunch and went by my office. Left my car there and decided to walk to the movies, Jurassic Park, (thank you Movie Pass). It was good, not great, but good, entertaining, and heart stopping. I saw the original Jurassic Park years ago! It was such a beautiful evening that after the movie I decided to walk around our Downtown Mall. I had a gift certificate from a friend for a cheese board at a downtown bar, so I got one, a glass of wine, and sat outside and people watched. So entertaining! And that was my dinner (no groceries needed!). Our downtown mall is closed to traffic, totally pedestrian, with lots of entertainment. Walked around and watched some jugglers and musicians. Oh and I got some fresh peach ice cream. And Sunday afternoon found me back at King Family Vineyard.

“No matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.”

When you lose your spouse and your best friend, someone you have shared over 35 years of your life with, in one swoop, you begin to re-examine everything in your life. Maybe he wasn’t my best friend after all? What was real? So many questions arise. And honestly, I know I will never have the answers. And I am ok with that.

“Sometimes you don’t get closure. You just move on.”

Do I miss him? I did. I missed talking to him several times every day. Especially about things happening in our kids’, families’, and friends’ lives that I thought he should know about. Or bouncing accounting questions around with him. Now that I have closed that door, I no longer reach for the phone to tell him things I think he should know about. He is on his own. This week marked 2 years since we signed the separation papers that preceded the divorce. There was no re-opening that door once I learned the truth. And I am ok with that too.

“Life is about moving on, accepting changes and looking forward to what makes you stronger and more complete.”

I know how difficult it is to make the decision to close the door on something you invested a lot in. Have you closed any doors? I slammed that one shut! But it took me a while to come to terms that it was time to move on and look forward to the future, not the past. It’s hard to accept that what you thought your future was going to be, was not coming to fruition. Change of plans. But once I closed that door, so many others opened. And with the right outlook, it can and will be much better. I truly believe this and am living it right now.

Cheers!

“Sometimes it’s very hard to move on, but once you do, you realize it was the best thing that could ever have happened to you.”

Be brave and smart enough to close the doors that need closing. Trust me, many more will open. And be brave and smart enough to open those doors. Look at this blog for example. I opened this door bravely, using every bit of courage I had to put my life and my writing out there. And what a blessing it has been for me. Life has so much to offer if we keep our eyes forward and our attitude upward. Make the most of every day, because once it is gone, you will never get it back. And besides, as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS – Hope y’all have been enjoying Christmas in July on the Hallmark Channel! Goes through the end of July! HO HO HO!