“Betcha By Golly, Wow…” The Stylistics 1972

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Kobe…

Best,

Leslie

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

 

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

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Best,

Leslie

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

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

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

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

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

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

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

“Memories are special moments that tell our story.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best,

Leslie

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

“Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” Chicago 1973

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full moon out my back door…

Best,

Leslie

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Beginnings” Chicago 1969

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best,

Leslie

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

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! ABBA 1980

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

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

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

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

Take me with you Santa!

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

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

My wine buddy!

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

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

Decked out for the game!

“Catch Carolina Fever… kiss a Tar Heel!”

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

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

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

LAH… My new name in gifts…

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

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

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

Best,

Leslie

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

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

(WARNING: Picture overload today!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas from my beautiful family…

Best,

Leslie

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