Easy Rider…

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

My oldest child turned 33 years old last Thursday. The child who first made me a mother. How could my little girl be 33? (Oh my, I sound like my Mom who thinks I am 33!) My younger daughter and I decided to surprise her on her birthday and take the cycle class she was teaching Thursday morning at 6:30 am. We left Charlottesville at 5:15 am to get to Short Pump in time to surprise her before class. That is true love, y’all. And actually, it wasn’t a true surprise as she kinda expected us to come. I mean she played my favorite song first (Justin Timberlake Can’t Stop The Feeling)! But it was so worth it to start her birthday off with family, balloons, and flowers. I left after her class and headed to the beach for a couple of days.

It was Bike Week at the beach, which is always an interesting time with lots of traffic, entertainment, loud noise (motorcycles), and a big boost to the economy. I have a friend who was heading down to the beach on the back of her husband’s motorcycle and packed everything she needed in one small saddlebag including a rain suit. How did she do that? I have duplicates of everything from home at the beach and yet I always seem to bring a carload! I saw many interesting sights – huge motorcycles, 3-wheel motorcycles, even a Volvo (mom mobile) pulling a trailer with 2 motorcycles. But the best was the truck below. Spotted it on my Friday morning run down Ocean Boulevard and thought I must get a picture of this! So once I got back to my house, I got my camera, hopped on MY bike and rode down Ocean Boulevard with all the “bikers” back to where I had seen the truck. I had to get the picture because it was indescribable. Right? The owner was so friendly as are most of the bikers. From W VA. Said he had seen me run by and of course I could take a picture. I wasn’t alone in showing interest in this truck. He actually built it. Rides 9 comfortably, even though it was only his girlfriend and him this trip. Told me to look inside which was luxurious, complete with a 27 inch TV that drops from the roof behind his seat. I should have asked about gas mileage!

“How do you tell a happy motorcycle rider? By the bugs in his teeth!”

Due to all the motorcycle traffic, my sister and I bypassed eating at Murrell’s Inlet Friday night, and went to Pawley’s Island for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Franks. Introduced her to dining at the bar. What fun the two of us had – just missed having our younger sister! The main reason for this sister beach trip was spending Saturday in Mount Pleasant seeing one of our favorite authors – Dorothea Benton Frank, and getting her latest book signed. Mission accomplished.

But first, I had to watch the Royal Wedding Saturday morning. Did you watch it? I did not get up at 4 am, but woke up in time to see the beautiful bride, adoring groom, and loving and proud mother of the bride. I was touched by the pure love and adoration for each other on the faces of Meghan and Harry. And Meghan’s mother – how I admire her. Can you imagine being the only member of your daughter’s family in attendance, on the biggest day of her life? In another country, basically another world, without anyone to lean on, to talk to, to “be” with at the reception? But a mother’s love is stronger than any love.

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stand in its path.” Agatha Christie

Though the weather wasn’t the greatest, I still spent hours on the beach, walking and looking for shells (my greatest addiction). Like the strawberries from last week, searching for shells reminded me of all the treasures and blessings in my life. You can see from the picture below what luck I had. There were many broken shells but then a beautiful olive (SC State Shell) or augur would be right in front of me. Big ones and tiny ones. Reminded me that even when things in our lives may seem broken, there are many beautiful parts and so much to be thankful for. Even tiny ones.

“May the shells on the beach remind you that treasures arrive every day in the form of simple things.”

Accept the broken parts and be thankful for the treasures in your life. Look for and focus on the good. Find what makes you happy. Because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“I believe that the ocean can always make you feel better. I believe that the waves wash away our worries. I believe in seashells bringing good luck. I believe in toes in the sand grounding my soul.”

Best,

Leslie

 

“It’s a beautiful morning…”

“I think I’ll go outside for a while… and just smile…”  Rascals 1968

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

I have been smiling a lot this past week. I got a lot of “love” from my anniversary blog – celebrating a year in the books! Thank you for all of your kind comments. Much appreciated! Here’s to year #2.

“Keep smiling because life is a beautiful thing and there is so much to smile about.”

I am loving these beautiful mornings, even with all the pollen. The days are getting longer, the sun is rising around 6 am and not setting until after 8 pm, and adding more minutes of light each and every day. I am back to running in the early morning before work. Although, I have to admit, I have enjoyed running in the afternoon, even when it was in the upper 80’s. It’s just so beautiful outside. Basically, a new season is here. Makes me feel like a new person.

“Spring heralds the return of the sun’s warmth, the renewal of life, and the reappearance of green and color everywhere.”

I hope all of you mothers, mothers to be, and mothers of fur babies had a special Mother’s Day. It was a beautiful day and I got to spend it with my oldest and youngest children (middle child was out of town but we celebrated once she got back.) I tell my children that all I want for Mother’s Day is for them to write a letter to me. And they do. I have saved every one of them. They are beautifully written from the heart and mean the world to me. I also received flowers and gifts. But it is those letters that I truly cherish.

“Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.” Michael J. Fox

I was able to celebrate Mother’s Day early with my Mom and sisters. Last Thursday, Mom’s assisted living facility hosted a Mother’s Day Tea and fashion show for the residents and their families. My sisters and I took Mom out for an early Mother’s Day lunch at Cherrie’s Cafe, our favorite “ladies” restaurant. We had a lovely lunch complete with linen tablecloths and fabulous food (they have the BEST salad dressing – I bought 5 bottles to bring home). There was a bit of time between lunch and the tea, so I took Mom back while my younger sister headed to the Vet to check on her horse, and my older sister ran a few errands. When Mom and I arrived, there was my college roommate visiting her mom! And when Mom and I entered her wing, the activities director (who I have known since our children were in preschool!) called Mom over to the “Lancome counter” for a makeover and corsage. I left Mom in her capable and caring hands and slipped out to visit a dear, dear friend who lives very close by. It’s funny… if I had never moved, Mom would now be living within walking distance of my house. I could see her every day. The tea was lovely and the fashion show entertaining, but being with my Mom and sisters was so special. And even if Mom did not remember it the next day, she enjoyed having her “girls” together for the day. We did too.

“Time spent with family is time well spent. Family is the one constant in life.”

Saturday was also a beautiful day. Went for a good hot run in the morning, bought some new running shoes (I am addicted to running shoes in all colors), and then picked 13+ pounds of fresh strawberries. Talk about addicting! You just cannot stop picking. Every time you think you have enough, you see another beautiful strawberry. I almost had to put blinders on to leave. The hint I give to pickers: go to the far end of the row and start picking. Why? Because parents with children tend to start at the beginning. AND you have to carry that heavy box of strawberries back so better to end up closer to the check out. Brought them home, washed them, and froze the majority of them for my smoothies. Wanted to be outside, so I washed not only my car, but my daughter’s car that was here while she is out of town. Just a surprise for her and a thank you for being my editor. Besides, kept me outside all afternoon. I was going to see “Overboard”, but decided to spend the evening on my back porch watching a movie at home instead. And I had just seen “Isle of Dogs” the night before. Loved it! (Also saw “Ladybird” late Sunday afternoon – loved it too!)

md17
I’m a NIKE girl

While I was picking strawberries, I kept thinking how fun it was pulling back the leaves and finding the strawberries – uncovering the prize. Sometimes, the berries were not quite ripe, but more often than not, there were many big red strawberries just waiting to be picked. Life is like that. We have to take the chance and look at what lies hidden. Pull back the curtain. Sometimes we find something painful, but more often than not, if we look really hard, we find the prize – happiness, opportunities, blessings. And it’s addicting – searching for and finding what makes you happy.

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Tomorrow is the birthday of my oldest child. The one who first made me a mother; who taught me what unconditional love really means. I am so proud of the beautiful, strong, and loving woman she has become. She blesses my life every day. Celebrated her birthday early by attending a rooftop barre class she was teaching and going out for dinner. Happy Birthday Ali! Momma loves you!

“Be a strong woman. So your daughter will have a role model and your son will know what to look for in a woman when he is a man.”

Go outside and just smile. Look up and be thankful for the problems that you do NOT have. Look for happiness in every corner of your life, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS  Mother’s Day marked yet another anniversary – May 13th – 2 years of being SOLO, 2 years in my own home, making all decisions on my own, planning for a future completely different from what I thought it would be. And yet, here I am, stronger and happier. Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.

 

Every Wednesday, 4:00pm. This is blog entry #53

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

What a difference a year makes. I started this blog one year ago as a way to begin writing, sort through my feelings, ease my pain, and hopefully help and encourage others who have experienced a loss in life. Plus have some fun and make some new friends. All accomplished! And along the way, I discovered a lot about myself. If you go back and read my first blogs you can see my pain and heartbreak. Both a physical and an emotional pain. A loss of not only what was, but of what I thought my life would be. I wished there had been someone I could have talked to who had gone through what I had, to let me know that my pain was real and relevant, and that it would ease with time. I hoped this blog might be that answer to someone else. Has my pain disappeared? Not entirely, but it has eased. As the year and the blogs progressed, the pain took a backseat to adventure and FUN!

“Sometimes you have to go through things and not around them.”

Five years ago (3 years before my separation in 2016), I discovered something in my marriage that turned my world upside down. And I had no one I could talk to about it, because I knew we would never split up (which is why I was blindsided in 2016) and I did not want our friends’ and families’ opinion of my husband (at the time) to change. I finally told my older sister and my older daughter what had happened, only because they were afraid I was very sick. I was – heartsick. Won’t go into details, but we worked through it. Since I had no one I could really talk to, I turned to inspirational quotes. Devoured and collected them and took each to heart. Started sharing 3 each weekday with my kids. Still do. Then decided I could share my collection with others. Hence… the blog.

My sweet younger daughter (the creative one in my family) helped me figure out the details and the name of my blog. She is also my editor to make sure I keep my focus and don’t embarrass my kids! I have discovered so much this past year:

  • I am stronger than I ever thought possible.
  • I am truly blessed with family, friends, health, and many opportunities.
  • Being SOLO is not bad, actually it is “right nice.”
  • I am NOT alone in my situation – I have met so many people traveling this same route.
  • My pain and heartache pales in comparison to that of so many others.
  • Life is what you make of it. “We are not given a good life or a bad life. We are given a life. It’s up to us to make it good or bad.”

“We all get the same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.”  Hillary Depiano

One thing being SOLO has taught me is that I am solely responsible for my life and my happiness. Though it was my busiest week of the month, I was able to squeeze in a lot of fun last week! My younger daughter invited me to join her and some friends for a vegetarian cooking class taught by Chef Nancy Bond of Eat Heal Glow, that included a wonderful dinner. Had a heavenly Spring Green Salad with Mint & Tempeh Croutons, delicious Vegan Eggplant, Sweet Potato & Zucchini Lasagna, and Vegan and Gluten Free Fudgy Superfood Brownies that were fabulous. I tried things I never have before – tofu, nutritional yeast, miso paste, tempeh, and so much more. Not only was it educational, it was so much fun! And I made some new friends. Win Win evening!

I also got to have lunch and visit with my older daughter, son-in-law, and granddawg Saturday in Richmond before meeting my secret crush in the afternoon. Ahhhh yes… David Baldacci and I met (with 100 of our closest friends!) as we have nearly twice a year for the past 20 years, in the aisles of Barnes and Noble where he was speaking and signing books. He graciously personalized and signed 16 books for me (I missed “our date” last time and had to get those books signed too.) My older daughter went with me and met him as well, and though I know he does not KNOW me, he always remembers me and said “We’ve done this for so many years. I didn’t get to Charlottesville last year.” And to my daughter he said, “Your mom is very special. I love that she always stocks her kids’ home libraries with my books.” Be still my heart! He is a very entertaining speaker and a great author. Saturday was his 28th wedding anniversary and he was heading to DC to meet his wife for dinner. But first he had to sign my books!

“A new chapter of life for you begins today. Say goodbye to your past, and for the future, pave the way. Let a new story unfold. Smile, laugh, share, and cry.”

I am a different person from who I was this time last year, when I was searching for my identity becoming SOLO. This year, I am happy and content and I discovered there are many perks of being SOLO. I am comfortable going SOLO anywhere, getting a beer or a glass of wine, and visiting with others or just being by myself. I now enjoy going to dinner SOLO and eating at the bar where I am always entertained by the bartender and have met some interesting people. I love going to movies SOLO on my own time and seeing what I want to. I have mastered many tasks SOLO that I never thought I could – I replaced an evergreen tree beside my house this week with a fragrant bush. I admit I did it at dusk so no one would see me – it was comical. I had borrowed my son-in-law’s big shovel (forgot to take tools in the move) and dug around the tree, then bent it over one way and jumped on it, then the other way and jumped on it, back and forth, jumping until it gave way. WHEW! Took me an hour but I did it and was proud!

“A year ago, I would’ve never pictured my life the way it is now.”

This year I realized more than ever the importance of the relationships with my children, my sisters, and my family. I am now able to focus my energies on developing new friendships and strengthening the ones I have. And I cherish the friendships with my girlfriends near and far, so thankful for all the special people in my life. Speaking of special people, my girlfriend from Kentucky came to visit this week. She has been my cheerleader from day one!

Nothing like dear friends to lift your spirits!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes…”

Thank all y’all for going on this journey with me this year. Thank you for reading my blogs and sharing them with your friends and family. Thank you for your kind comments, stories, advice, prayers, and support. Thank you for being around for a year and cheers to a new year!

And if your mother is still living, make sure you call her, go see her, cherish her, and let her know how much she means to you this Mother’s Day, because no one loves you like your Momma, and as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

Blue Heaven… Blue Angels…

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

“The sky is the daily bread of our eyes.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

I finished up my wonderful week at the beach by being ON the beach, soaking up the warm sunshine and marveling at the perfect Carolina blue sky. And even though Chapel Hill is truly Blue Heaven, I realized that the beach is also Blue Heaven to me. As I was enjoying the gentle ocean breeze, and the soothing sound of the waves crashing over one another, a loud sonic BOOM startled me (and woke me up!). Holy Cow what was that?!?!  Well… it was the BLUE ANGELS practicing for their weekend show. And it was amazing! There were 6 planes, flying in different formations of 2, 4, and then all 6 together.

“When we feel stuck, look at the sky. The clouds remind us that everything changes.”

It has been 14 years since the Blue Angels performed in Myrtle Beach. The promoters were expecting over 80,000 spectators for last weekend, but 120,000 showed up. Did you know that the Blue Angels were founded in 1946 and are made up of aviators from the Navy and the Marines? Their aircraft is always considered to be combat ready. If you have never seen the Blue Angels, you are missing out. I remember seeing them as a child, but truly, watching as an adult, I felt like a child as did most of the people on the beach. We all turned our chairs and ooohed and aaahed over their amazing maneuvers. They fly in a diamond pattern so close to each other you think if one of the pilots sneezed, there would be a crash. Their paths crisscross; they fly straight up, loop over, and fly straight down. And they fly so low that it looked as if they might crash into one of the hotels! Great entertainment on both Thursday and Friday afternoons.

“Angels exist, but sometimes they don’t have wings and are called friends.”

Watching the Blue Angels on such perfectly beautiful days started me thinking about the Angels in my life. There have been many. Some in predictable situations, some totally unexpected. Two years ago, I called my sister on a Friday morning while waiting on the movers to come to move “us” into a new home, and told her my marriage had just imploded. She immediately came up from NC to be by my side and helped me unpack and settle in to my new house. By the time she left Sunday morning, everything was unpacked, every picture and mirror hung and my new house was mine. The following Monday, I told my boss who immediately connected me with an attorney. The next day I emailed my former next door neighbor who had moved to Kentucky three years prior. She immediately came and stayed with me and helped me tell some of my girlfriends. Emailed my former neighbors and other friends who came to see me, brought dinner and wine. (Emailed because I could not verbalize any of it then.) Angels everywhere. My kids, my sisters, my brother-in-law, my friends, my co-workers, my son-in-law’s family, my church, all y’all who brighten my day with comments and “likes” for my blog! Angels…

“A true friend is like an Angel who lifts us up when we cannot fly.”

When you are SOLO, everything and every decision becomes your responsibility. Before I traded my car, the air pressure light came on several times this winter. What to do… I was not comfortable putting air in my tires and heck, where do you find air anymore? Remember the old gas stations with full service? Long gone. BUT, I have a wonderful auto shop I have gone to for 21 years because of their service. They called our cars the Madigan Fleet when we had 6 cars at our house (5 drivers plus a business car). I digress… I was worried about my tire pressure and was trying to get to them before they closed on a Friday afternoon so they could check it out, but traffic was horrendous. Called them and they waited until I got there – put air in my tires, no charge. Not once, and I went every time my light came on. Oh and did I mention my son-in-law’s brother works there? Not to belabor my wonderful son-in-law’s family, but luckily for me, they have taken me in. Remember the story about his Grandpa getting my Christmas tree? Angels…

“Sometimes angels are just ordinary people that help us believe in miracles again.”

So, a funny story from last week at the beach. It was time for a new grill. Angels were looking out for me! Went to Home Depot where the people could not have been nicer or more helpful. Found a great grill that had one price outside and a different higher one inside. Turns out the grill HAD been on sale, but that ended two days earlier. They sold it to me at the sale price. The guy who helped me said there was a scratch on it – took more off. But, it would not fit in the back of my Volvo and the delivery fee was $79. Geez… that was almost half the cost of the now discounted grill! And I was SOLO. How to get it home. “Well, ma’am… see that flatbed truck over there? You can rent that for $20 for 75 minutes.”  “Do you think I can drive that?” “Of course! I’ll tie the grill down for you.” Done. I drove 25 mph with the emergency blinkers on the whole way home. Called my brother-in-law and asked him to meet me at my house to help me unload it. Got the truck back in 30 minutes and I did NOT drive 25 mph with blinkers on the way back – I was having fun then! OH did I mention that it was right before closing time? Angels…

A girl and her truck?!?

My beach neighbors have been wonderful as well in so many ways. They have helped me get rid of a snake, get my trees trimmed, oiled up my locks, helped me with repairs, kept an eye on my house, shared friendship. Angels…

“A real friend is like an angel who warms you by her presence and remembers you in her prayers.”

Do you have Angels in your life? I bet you do. Just look around you at the people who love you, care about you, help you, put a smile on your face. And know that you are an Angel to many people as well. I only hope I have been someone’s Angel at some point in my life. Appreciate the Angels in your life and strive to be an Angel in someone else’s life, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Angelically,

Leslie

 

TRUE GRIT

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Remember the movie True Grit from 1969? Young Mattie hires an aging Marshall, Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne), to bring in the man who killed her father. She travels to find and hire Cogburn, because she has heard he has “true grit.” Do you know anyone who has true grit? What is grit after all? It is defined as “courage and resolve; strength of character.” I  know some people with grit. My kids for example.

Each of my kids went to college out of state, back in NC, where they knew no one. I cannot tell you how excited I was for them, and yet it was so painful for me to leave my babies where they knew no one. (My advice to parents taking their children to college is to forget the Kleenexes and take a towel!) They courageously wanted to forge their way on their own. And they did so, very successfully. They have each endured many things in their lives, faced them, and conquered them. I am very proud of my kids. (Can you tell?)

“Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit – it’s the keeping your chin up that’s hard.”  Robert W. Service

Last weekend my daughters, son-in-law and I went to Chapel Hill to once again run the Tar Heel 4 and 10-miler. My younger daughter, son-in-law and I ran the 4-miler course, while my older daughter ran the 4-miler with us (not really with us, but same race!), then ran the 10-miler course to complete the Double Down Challenge (she wanted the 3 medals). She crushed the 14 miles! That is GRIT! After we finished our 4 miles, we were able to see and cheer her on at Mile 9 and also at the finish of her 14 miles. And I saw her once in our 4 mile race coming out of the neighborhood as I was entering it. Those of us who ran the 4-miler among 6800 runners, also displayed grit to endure and finish our race. (note – my son had a wedding to attend this weekend and missed the race.)

“Life is not a marathon, you are running your own race. Just be better than you were yesterday.”

What about Duchess Kate Middleton who gave birth Monday morning to a Royal 8-pound baby boy, only to appear in public with the new prince, waving, heading home a mere 7 hours later, looking as beautiful as always complete with perfect hair, makeup, and in heels no less! Now that is TRUE GRIT!

But the truest example I know of TRUE GRIT is a young 33-year old mother of 2 who lost her foot to cancer last month. If you have not been following this story, you are missing out on the most impressive display of courage, grit, and grace. This mother is the daughter-in-law of my late childhood friend who lost her battle with cancer in 2011. I know she is so proud of how Jenn has handled what life has dealt her, and the example she has set for all of us to follow. Someone asked me “How could God let this happen?” And I said, “Look how God is helping her handle this, and how she is in turn helping others.” There is a Go Fund Me Page to help this mother, life coach, and fitness fanatic purchase a prosthetic blade for running, as insurance only provides one basic prosthetic, which she has and described to her kids as her superhero foot! She plans to run a 5K by the end of this year and I have no doubt she will. TRUE GRIT.

“I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I’m stepping forward with grit anchored in grace.” Julie Graham  (I love this quote – my new motto – stepping forward with grit anchored in grace!)

I discovered my “true grit” 2 years ago, when I found myself SOLO. Funny, a friend was explaining my situation to someone last week and it surprised me when he said I took a such a different route than most women in my position normally do, who wait around for their spouse to return. After discovering the truth, I moved ahead with my life quickly, protecting myself and my children financially and emotionally, as I realized my marriage was over. My kids also told me they now realize how fast I moved everything as they have friends whose parents have been going through divorces for 2+ years. This is not to say it was easy, far from it. It was very painful but I learned a lot about myself and realized how strong you really are when that is your only option. True grit to see it through. Within 2 months of my ex leaving, papers were signed and I filed for divorce. Nine months later the divorce was final and he got married. And I discovered that life goes on and it is what you make it, so I have made mine wonderful, fun, and very rewarding.

“Anyone can quit, it’s easy. I believe it’s much better to grit your teeth and get on with things.”  Michael Sprott

Last weekend was so much fun for me. I love spending time with my kids, and it was wonderful spending it with them in one of my favorite places – Chapel Hill. We had a pre-race dinner together Friday night, ran the race Saturday morning early, and had a great post-race lunch at our favorite restaurant, Top of the Hill. Oh and of course, some Carolina shopping! With my new car I needed a new Carolina decal. Also found some great items for tailgating this fall – looking forward to football season and being back in Chapel Hill on Saturdays. And we got to look in the stadium and see all the new Carolina blue seats that are being installed. Just waiting now to see where our season tickets will be located.

Since I was halfway to the beach, it only made sense to leave there and head to the beach. Heavenly to find myself back in my happy place. Spending the week getting ready for Beach Season – powerwashing everything I can reach from the house to the Golf Cart to the chairs to the porches. And had one rainy day to do the same inside – thorough spring cleaning. Also lots of sleeping, running, eating fresh seafood, visiting with my sister, and renewing my soul on the beach by the ocean.

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always our self we find in the sea.”  E.E. Cummings

Oh, there are also GRITS – Girls Raised in the South – I totally consider myself a member of this tribe. Special women raised with southern grace who know the true meaning of “Bless your heart” and are steeped in grit. I mean, one of my favorite dinners is scrambled eggs, grits, and toast after all!

Search for your grit. It is there. Believe me, it will come forth when you need it. And search for whatever makes you happy and soothes your soul, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 

It’s a Small World After All…

“…There is just one moon and one golden sun, and a smile means friendship to ev’ryone. Though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide, it’s a small world after all.” It’s a Small World – The Disneyland Chorus

Ever been to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World and ridden the 15-minute long ride, It’s A Small World? Were you able to get that song out of your head after the ride was over? Imagine being on that ride when it fails, and you are stranded listening to the song looping over and over. That has actually happened several times. And the guests on the ride described the experience in many unfavorable terms – “Hell” was used more than once.

But don’t you just love “small world” events? Things that happen to you that cause you to stop and say “Wow, it really is a small world!” Remember how I am fascinated with the ISS (International Space Station)? I get an email letting me know when it will be passing over Charlottesville, and when and where to look for it. That happened last week. It was going to pass overhead at 8:30 pm and would be visible for 4 minutes. Of course it gave the direction it would travel, but I am directionally challenged and have no idea when looking to the sky off my deck which way is east, west, north, or south. I just look. Shared this with my kids. My son texted me and told me it would pass over Charlotte at 8:31 and he was watching. Same time I was. We both saw it about the same time. That seems pretty amazing to me – that we are 4 ½ hours apart and yet, we were both texting and seeing the same thing in the sky at the same time. That was very comforting to me – another connection with my out of town child. It is a small world.

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

Last summer I was on the beach looking for shells when I stopped to talk to a couple of ladies doing the same thing. After a bit, I told them about my blog. Late last year I reconnected on Facebook with an “old” NC neighbor I had not seen in over 20 years. Funny thing, I commented on one of her posts and one of the ladies I had met on the beach also commented, asking how we knew each other, as she is friends with my “old” neighbor. And another high school friend chimed in as well that she too is friends with her. We all “re-met” through a facebook post, discovering we had a common friend. It is a small world.

“Internet has made the world a small town again.” Ana White

Years ago, my boss brought around a former employee of his who was back in Charlottesville visiting family and introduced her to me because she had moved to NC. When I asked her where she moved to in NC, she said, “Oh a little town called Clemmons.” “WHAT?!? I lived in Clemmons for 40 years! Where in Clemmons?” “A great neighborhood called Waterford.” “WHAT?!? I lived in Waterford!” It gets better… she moved into a house about 4 down from mine, was working at the school my kids had attended, and she had met all of my friends. In essence, she and I had exchanged lives. It is a small world.

“People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”

I do believe people cross our paths for a reason. I don’t believe it is an accident when in this huge world, someone comes into our life, or leaves our life. We may need them for assistance, guidance, support, joy, or just a lesson. And when that has been fulfilled, their time in our life could be over, and they leave. But we have benefited and grown from the experience. Cherish it. Learn from it. I look back on my life and see people who have been there for me at different times, and people for whom I have been there. And then our lives may go in different directions, sometimes intersecting again, sometimes not. But what is meant to be will happen. And we will be better for it. I know I have been and continue to be blessed by the people in my life.

“Sometimes we need someone to simply be there. Not to fix anything, or to do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported.”

Last week we had snow flurries on Thursday and 80 degrees on Saturday. My daughter and son-in-law came to town to be here for the birth my of my son-in-law’s brother and his wife’s sweet baby girl. Made for a fun weekend for me with them! Another sleepover at mom’s with my daughter and then a good, long run Saturday morning that did not feel like a small world! After a brewery lunch, we headed to the baseball game between UNC and UVA. Double header. And Carolina won both! WOOHOO! First time they have won a baseball game up here that I attended. The baby waited through Thursday night…Friday and Friday night… and waited until Carolina won the double header before making her entrance into the world late Saturday night. She did this to benefit my son-in-law. She’s already a smart girl!

“Being there for a friend is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Another one is allowing them to be there for you, too.” ~Doe Zantamata

Go out and explore our world. Acknowledge, embrace, and cherish all the small world events that happen in your life. Be a big person in a small world, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 

Oh S#%T!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Ever let a cuss word slip? I grew up in a home where my mother never smoked, drank, or said a cuss word… until she got much older – cussing that is. I don’t really remember people cussing much as I was growing up, but now…  whew! You hear it all the time these days! But do you say “those words”?

“Hey autocorrect quit messing with my cuss words you mother forklift!”

When my kids were little, I was so careful about my language and would not let them say stupid, butt, or any cuss words. My mother always said “butt” was a crass word so we referred to that body part in many other ways. Same with my kids. When my older daughter was working on her college essay, her English teacher said her essays were very well written, but so boring! So as a joke, she chose the UVA essay question “What is your favorite word and why?” What was her favorite word? “As a child, I was not allowed to say the word BUTT. Had to refer to it as my behind, patootie, hiney, anything except butt. But now (pun intended) my mother uses this word often when singing the Nelly song Hot in Herre – “Girl I think my butt getting big!” And she went on and on… Her advisor said she had to submit that essay because it was hilarious. She got into UVA with that essay. Butt. Nuff said.

“Swearing…because sometimes Gosh Darn and Meanie Head just don’t cover it.”

This same child once used the word S#%T correctly at the age of 4. I have NO idea where she could have heard that word!  I told her if she said it again, I would wash her mouth out with soap. Several days later, S#%T again. Oh my, what was I to do? Soaped up her tongue of course! I am not sure washing out a child’s mouth with soap has the same meaning now – what with kids eating TIDE PODS! What’s with that?!?!

NO WAY these sweet kids would cuss nor eat Tide Pods! Right?

I recently read in Women’s Health that swearing helps with pain relief and stress levels. Dropping the big “F-BOMB” can release levels of “adrenaline which can be both numbing and stimulating.” OK I have to admit (and my kids will attest) that S#%T and DAMN (both pronounced in 2 Southern syllables) have come out of my mouth. However, I have never said the F-Word out loud. Yes, I have thought it many times, but just cannot get it out of my mouth, no matter how hard my co-workers try to get me to! Maybe I need to let some of those words fly. Maybe we all do. Might release some stress.

“Under certain circumstances profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” Mark Twain

I remember a friend saying when she and her husband were mad they had hall sex. Hall sex when you are mad? Yes, she said. We would pass each other in the hall and say F%#K YOU! Wonder if that relieved their stress? There are a couple of people I could say F%#K YOU to, but I would probably regret it. So I will just think it!

“When angry count to four… when very angry swear.”  Mark Twain

Life has been a bit stressful lately. To say work has been busy is an understatement. We have upgraded and transitioned to both a new club automation system and a new payroll system for our 12 clubs over the past several months, culminating this week. AND I added a new member to my Admin team. This was a wonderful but very hard decision – change. But a good one. Work has been my “crutch” for the past 2 SOLO years. And I have used this crutch working many long hours. A place where I love to be, comfortable, knowing I am needed. I have had control over all the accounting, but I finally admitted I need help. Started with 6 clubs, now there are 12. Plus there will come a time in the future when there will be someone else sitting in my chair. Better to start that process now. Remember how hard change is for me? I am trying to embrace it. And letting some cuss words fly in my thoughts!

“Life’s disappointments are harder to take when you don’t know any swear words.”  Calvin and Hobbes

Did any of you have snow last weekend? We did in Charlottesville. Made me want to let a few cuss words fly! Snow Saturday and then again Monday. But Sunday was nice. Took a break from work (month end so working on Sunday) and met some friends to catch up and walk the Monticello Trail. Definitely a stress reliever!

My younger daughter and I went to our Short Pump club in Richmond for their First Friday last week, to take the special cycle class taught by our favorite cycle instructor, my older daughter. Visited with my granddawg before heading back to Charlottesville. Lots of stress was relieved that night! And continuing with my Movie Pass, I saw Black Panther and LOVED it! My younger daughter saw it for the second time with me.

So find what relieves your stress and make sure you use it. Stress affects your health, and not in a good way. Let a few cuss words fly (but not around the kids!). Take an exercise class or go for a walk. Take every opportunity to spend time with those you love, the best stress reliever, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie