Ventura Highway…in the sunshine…” America 1972

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Remember the group America? I loved them…their gentle, soulful, easy listening songs. Ventura Highway was one of my favorites. They are on my bucket list to go see – almost saw them at the beach last year, but the timing did not work out. Next time. Along with Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, and Chicago. But I digress… Heard Ventura Highway as I traveled down I-95 last Thursday, sun shining, sunroof wide open, and music blaring on my way to my Happy Place. Only a 5 ½ hour drive from Richmond, VA, since I decided to start my mini-escape off on the right foot by taking my daughter’s cycle class (in Richmond) at 6:15 am, and leaving from there. I never take 95, instead I drive the calm and less traveled route down 29 to Greensboro, Asheboro, Rockingham, Bennettsville, BEACH! I have my regular stops (4) on that route, I mean I drink tea the whole way, so those stops are necessary in my normal 6 ½ hour drive! But I haven’t driven 95 to the beach in years, so this posed a problem – where would I stop? I was a bit out of my comfort zone, but figured it out and found a couple of clean, well populated gas stations before getting off 95 in Latta, putting me right back on my normal route for the last hour of my trip. I could drive that part blindfolded. Don’t fret, I didn’t!

“You say 4 hour car ride, I say 4 hour live concert featuring me!”

I love car rides and don’t mind the driving. Obviously. And now each day we are adding 2 more minutes of daylight which means I can leave even later in the day and still arrive before dark. (Not crazy about driving at night by myself.) I have to admit, I use both my navigation system AND the Waze app on my phone, so someone is constantly giving me directions. (During December, my daughter changed my Waze “voice” to Santa’s. Right now it is “Randy” – I know several Randys and love them all!) Directions and I don’t always mesh, so I need that double reinforcement. True, I pre-plan and look at my route on Google Maps before I leave, because I have learned that the nav systems sometimes take you odd ways to get to your destination and I like the more direct roads I am familiar with. Love the Waze app as it warns me about upcoming hazards, from potholes and roadkill to accidents and hidden “Po-pos”. My kids laugh when we talk about how I used to order a triptik from AAA when we would travel anywhere. Loved those! Loved flipping the page over when we completed each leg of our journey. Maps. Everything nowadays is on your phone. My kids can’t comprehend what it was like when I was their age and always kept a map in my glove box and relied on road signs and verbal directions (dangerous for me!). And if I got lost and needed to call home, I had to find a pay phone and a quarter!

“Trust and have faith the open road leads you to amazing destinations,”

Jakes Herbst

Driving down MY “Ventura Highway” to the beach always gives me time to think and ponder my life. Take stock. Have conversations with myself about any issues facing me. Do you ever do this? Stop and really look at your life – where you are now? Where you are going? What path you want to take? As I get older, this seems to become more important. Obviously, my life today in no way resembles where I thought I would be 5 years ago. But I am happy with where I am. I went “off the map” to get here. So I wonder where I will be in 5 more years? I think I know where I WANT to be, but how do I get there? Time to start planning now as I am no spur of the moment girl! Wonder if I could get a triptik to get me there?

“It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

Ernest Hemingway

I know what I am NOT going to do. I am not going to lament the fact that my life isn’t how I always planned it. I am not going to look back with regrets. I am not going to waste my time or my days. I am going to look forward to my future and work towards what I truly want out of life. I am going to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to me. I am going to have as much fun as I can, and spend as much time with my family and friends, and at my happy place, as I possibly can. And I am going to try and do it all with grace and gusto, because if there is one thing I have learned these past 3 years, it is that there will be major highs and major lows, but neither will last longer than necessary. Life is a journey that we have to travel on our own merits and find our own way.

“Life is a one way road… where you can look back… but you can’t go back… so don’t miss anything in life.”

So in the meantime, I am going to enjoy these years leading up to any big changes in my life. Plan as many fun events, trips, visits with friends and family, whatever I want to do. Just like I did last weekend by taking my older daughter’s cycle class, going to the beach and seeing my older sister, coming home via Charlotte to see my son and his new apartment, and making yet one more stop to see my momma, younger sister, and sweet Jack, my great nephew, before heading home. You should do whatever makes you happy too, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Sunrise…

“Ventura Highway… in the sunshine… where the days are longer, the nights are stronger than moonshine… you’re gonna go, I know…”

America

Best,

Leslie

PS Horton heard a HOO here in Charlottesville Monday night when UVA won the NCAA basketball tournament. Last year they made history losing in the first round as the #1 seed to the #16 seed, and this year they rebounded and made history earning the school’s first national basketball championship. Needless to say, Charlottesville has been rocking and rolling in celebrations all week! Go HOOS!

“WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS…” BEATLES 1967

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Y’all, this is my 100th blog! WOOHOO! Or maybe I should say WAHOO since UVA is the only ACC team heading to the final four. My bracket is busted (totally) and my Heels are out. Plans arranged around the basketball schedule are over. But it was a great season. Felt like I knew these kids who appeared in my living room about twice a week for the last 5 months. I always get attached to special players, who make all Carolina fans Tar Heel proud, and this year was no exception. Sad for our seniors, whose college basketball careers ended, and not in the way they (nor our fans) hoped. What great role models these kids have been for the last 4 years. Now on to UNC Baseball!

“There will be disappointments in life. It’s ok to feel sad, just don’t wallow for longer than necessary.”

I watched that final game in Charlotte, NC, at a bar with other Tar Heels, who shared my disappointment. However, I did not have much time to wallow in my disappointment, or even whine a bit, because very quickly my attention was diverted to the reason I was in Charlotte – to run (or walk) the GET YOUR REAR IN GEAR 5K (supporting Colon Cancer screening). March is Colon Cancer Awareness month. For my younger daughter and her friends, this hit home for them recently as one of their “inner circle” is courageously battling this disease. My daughter and I, along with 60+ of her friends and their family members were all part of a team in his honor. Our team name? Dash for the Stache (he is known for his mustache!). Proudly telling you that my daughter came up with the team name and designed the hats we wore.

“Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” Misty Copeland

The weather in Charlotte could not have been any better all weekend, especially Saturday – race day – sunny and 77. (Snowed in Charlotte yesterday, just saying!) We gathered together at the start line and took off, some running, some walking, some running and pushing strollers. I was walking. Just when I thought I was back to running, a new MRI said nope. Kinda wanted to wallow over that (actually did, honestly). I mean, is there time limit for wallowing? Yeah, I didn’t think so either. My doctor reassured me that I will be back out there running, just not this month. Or next. So it’s just walking for now.

Funny, first time I have ever walked a race, and it was actually fun! No pressure. Route wound through a beautiful neighborhood with supporters along the way. We all wanted to do something to show this family we are there for them, as evidenced by all the support and love shared by this amazing group of friends. They talked, laughed, joked around, and truly enjoying being all together. And I had fun with the “older set” (parents, aunts, uncles). Special people. Needless to say, the majority of these people’s brackets are still intact (they are all UVA fans!) and they were ecstatic with UVA’s nail biting win Saturday night!

“True friendship takes us by the hand and reminds us we are not alone in the journey.”

Many times we do not know what to do for someone who is hurting or struggling. We just want to see them happy again. I am still learning to just listen and not try to “fix” the situation. The Southern solution is food… if you don’t know what to do, take a cake, pie, or dinner. And wine. Three years ago I had a lot of support in so many ways, great listeners, shoulders to cry on, several cheerleaders, and family and friends who brought food and wine, and just sat with me.

“Friends are medicine for a wounded heart and vitamins for a hopeful soul.” Steve Maraboli

How do we get through the dark and tough times in life? We all experience them at some point. Faith and prayer come to mind first. The love and support of our family and friends is paramount. Sometimes we need someone to just listen, to be there, not to fix anything, but to just let us know we are cared for. Sometimes we need a shoulder to cry on and someone to hold our hand. Sometimes we need an all enveloping, comforting hug. Sometimes we need a cheerleader, to keep our spirits up, and restore our confidence. Sometimes we need someone to reassure us everything will be ok. That is what I needed from my doctor – to reassure me I will be able to run again. And to let me wallow a bit. Sometimes we just need to be alone, but know there are those who have our back. And sometimes we need help. We should never be afraid to ask for that help. Nor should we hesitate to give that help, that shoulder, that hug, that encouragement. For we are all in this together, and together we form a strong bond against whatever adversity life thrusts in our path.

Never miss an opportunity to be there for someone whose path in life has taken a turn for the worse. Let them know they are strong, loved, and needed, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends…gonna try with a little help from my friends…” Beatles 1967

Best,

Leslie

PS:  Did you know that:

  • colorectal cancer is the 3rd most commonly diagnosed cancer?
  • 2019 will see 101,420 new cases of colon cancer and 44,180 new cases of rectal cancer?
  • Incidence rates are increasing for young adults (age 24-34 years old) and declining for those 50+ years of age.
  • Get your rear in gear and get scoped y’all. Don’t put it off.

 

Survive and Move On!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Are you a basketball fan? College basketball, that is. As you know, I am a BIG college basketball fan! Have not watched many NBA games since the GOAT (Michael Jordan) retired. When my son was little, he thought he was MJ while his best friend, our neighbor, was Scottie Pippen, always playing basketball in our driveways and cul-de-sac. Watched a lot of Chicago Bulls games back then (in addition to Carolina basketball!).

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to: climb it, go through it, or work around it.”  Michael Jordan

Is all the talk around “the water cooler” centered on March Madness? Did you fill out a bracket (or 2 or 3)? Busted yet or are you still in the run for the $$ in the pool? I picked some early upsets (Murray State, Liberty, Wofford) which had me at #4 in one of my pools for about an hour, but they really did not help me in the long run. And was surprised by early losses of others I had picked to move on (Villanova, Louisville). Still… my HEELS won both games in the first round, which is more than I can say for this time last year when they lost in the second game. 

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”  Joshua J. Marine

Last year really put the “Madness” in March Madness as the unthinkable happened when UVA, the #1 overall seed, lost to the #16 seed UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County, the Retrievers, for those of you who have never heard of them!) in the first round. History was made. Never before had a #1 seed lost to a #16. So what did UVA do this year in their first game as a #1 seed again? Well… they scared all of their fans and threatened to bust a majority of brackets in the first half of their first game, before putting their game faces on and rolling to the Sweet 16. Survive and move on. 

“Struggles are required in order to survive in life. Because in order to stand up, you gotta know what falling down is like.”

However, since the unthinkable happened last year, could it happen again to another #1 seed? I mean, no one ever considered that possibility before. Those first round games were “gimmies” for the #1 seeds in the brackets. Until… last year. So now the possibility of that upset is in every player’s (and fan’s) mind. UNC (also a #1 seed) gave us a scare in the first half of their first game last Friday when they were down by 5 at halftime. Could they be overlooking this “gimmie” game, and instead thinking about games down the road? Thankfully, the Heels came back in the second half and won 88-73 after getting an emotional pep talk from Coach Hubert Davis, who had been in this position before as a player for UNC. Plus, Coach of the Year, Roy Williams, told his team that he was not going to yell at them, he was going to coach them – set up the first play out of the half, which was successful, and Carolina never looked back as they moved on to the Sweet 16. Survive and move on. 

My neighbors know a CAROLINA girl lives in my house!

“The real winners in life are the people who look at every situation with the expectation that they can make it work or make it better.” Barbara Pletcher

As luck would have it for Duke (also a #1 seed), they eked out a win in the final seconds of their second game. At this point, a win is a win, no matter how ugly. On to the Sweet 16. Survive and move on.

“You know why it’s hard to be happy? It’s because we refuse to let go of the things that make us sad.”

Have you experienced any “upsets” in your life? Obviously I had a big “upset” in my life 3 years ago. I may have exited that tournament early, but I lived with that loss, and just like the UVA team, I put my game face on, put my hurt and embarrassed feelings aside, and moved forward. Refocused, “coached” by friends and family, worked on MY life and myself, and came back ready for the next challenge. Survive and move on.

Weather was so nice I could watch games on my back porch!

“There are all these moments you think you won’t survive. Then you survive.” David Levithan

So when upsets and disappointments in life bring you down, and they will, or when you find yourself the underdog, put your game face on, dig deep within yourself, and survive and move on. Because there is a wonderful life and a wonderful world out there for each of us. It won’t be served up on a platter, you have to work for it, but you can do it! Pick yourself up and do what makes you happy, with those who make you happy, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow. 

Best, 

Leslie

PS  In the words of the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), Michael Jordan, “The Ceiling is the Roof.”

PSS Did you know that Vince Carter (also a GREAT Tar Heel!) is the oldest active player in the NBA at the age of 42? 42 is considered old?!?!? Don’t they know 60 is the new 40? Just sayin’….

“Reminiscing…” Little River Band 1978

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

And welcome SPRING! Your arrival has been waited for with bated breath. As has the birth of the newest member of my family! My favorite nephew (my sister’s son) and his wife had their sweet baby girl last Thursday night, at 11:58 PM. I was there at the hospital with my sisters and my brother-in-law until 2:15 AM. We could not leave until we got to meet our new family member and see her adoring parents after waiting so long.

So many happy memories flooded back to me while waiting for sweet Izzie to make her appearance. My 3 wonderful children were all born at this same hospital. I remember those 3 happiest days of my life as if they happened yesterday. My oldest was born in May of 1985, just as the season finale of Dallas was being shown on the TV in our labor room. The nurses kept me there until the show ended at 10 PM, telling me not to push, and as the show was ending, I heard a heart monitor flatline, and sat up questioning “Is that my baby?” To which the nurses replied, “No honey (southern for whatever your name is), that was Bobby Ewing. He just died and we are heading to delivery.” Back in the day you did not labor and deliver in the same room – heaven forbid! So we headed to the delivery room and my beautiful daughter was born 14 minutes later. Also back in the day, the technology was nothing like it is today and we had no idea if we were having a boy or a girl. Had names for both and a generic nursery of stenciled teddy bears. Also had the now forbidden bumper pads (made by my mom), blankets, and stuffed animals in the crib. And yet, miracle of miracles, all of my children survived!

Once they moved us out of delivery to yet another room, recovery, (before our final destination), they opened the big doors of the unit and there stood all of my sweet family, waiting to meet my daughter. Just the best, warmest, and most loving feeling!

“A baby is something you carry inside for 9 months, in your arms for 3 years, and in your heart until the day you die.” Mary Mason

Second child appeared mid-morning in November of 1987. My dear aunt, Mom’s sister, came to our house early that morning and took my oldest (2 ½ years old) to the sitter’s so we could make the 2 minute drive to the hospital. Credit to the wonderful nurses, I asked them after being in labor for about 2 hours, how much longer they thought it might be, and when they told me 30 minutes, I did the math on how many contractions I would have to endure and decided I could make another delivery without an epidural. Right on time, thirty minutes later, my younger daughter said “hello world, here I am!” And once again, when those big doors opened, there was my loving family.

“I believe in love at first sight…because I’m a mom.”

Not to be left out, and wanting to be unique, my adorable son arrived a week early, in the middle of the night – 4:13 AM, in June of 1991. With his birth, I gave in to an epidural and the anesthesiologist became my best friend for several hours. And as before, my faithful family was there, bleary-eyed, when they opened the big doors before the crack of dawn!

“There’s this boy who stole my heart. He calls me Mom (Momma).”

Jump to 2019, and the birth of my precious great-niece. My sisters, brother-in-law, and I had to check in with a policeman manning the desk before even entering the waiting room, showing our driver’s license and getting a printed nametag complete with our picture and personal information to wear while in the waiting room. Once the baby was born and my nephew texted pictures (thank heavens for smart phones today!), we waited for them to have their bonding time, and then were allowed up to the labor/birthing/delivery room (yes all in one room), but first had to register on that floor and get yet another bright yellow nametag. THEN we finally got to meet the newest member of our family, sweet Isabelle Love Craycroft. (Named after my grandmother Isabelle.) She is beautiful y’all and just as special as her big brother Jack.

“The littlest feet make the biggest footprints in our hearts.”

Needless to say, we did not get back to my sister’s until about 2:30 AM. Friday morning, I wanted to see my Mom, and of course Baby Izzie again before heading home, so after a few hours of sleep, I got up and headed to Mom’s. Still finding myself in an emotional state of mind with the new baby in our family, I detoured into my old neighborhood where I loved living, before moving to Charlottesville. Drove ever so slowly by my old house like a stalker, noticing changes over the past 22 years. Gosh my family had so much fun in that house, so many good memories. My next door neighbors have since moved, as have several of my old neighborhood friends. If I was still living in that house, I could walk to see my Mom every day. I made a U-turn and slowly drove back, stopping this time right in front of my old house while waiting on a dog walker to get by. Wait! I know that dog walker! We were both so surprised to see each other!  We’ve known each other since childhood – went to the same church all of our lives, and still do (never game up my membership). When we found ourselves in the same neighborhood back in 1992, she invited me to be a member of the “Walkers,” a fun group of moms who met at 8:30 each night after getting our kids to bed, and walked our neighborhood and talked and talked and talked. I treasured those walks and talks and missed those friends and times together when I moved to Charlottesville. It was wonderful catching up with this “old” friend. Just wish I had had more time.

“The best things in life are the people you love, the places you’ve seen, and the memories you’ve made along the way.”

Time to head to Mom’s and tell her she is a great-grandmother once again. So thankful she knew who I was right away. We facetimed with my sister, the grandmother, so she could deliver the good news. Of course she is a GREAT grandmother, one of the best (instead of a great-grandmother) she says… but whose baby is it again? And did anyone tell her mother that the new baby is named after her? She’ll get a real kick out of that! We assured her that Grandma Isabelle knows…

Time for lunch and a visit with Jack at my sister’s – had special presents for him. Then headed to the hospital for a last snuggle with Izzie and give her the special lovey, before making the trip home. Hated to leave them all, but I needed to get home. Thing I love about all of my car rides? Time for prayers for and phone calls with family and friends, and a perfect time to think and reminisce about my life. And time to be so very thankful for where I find myself now.

I am now able to look back at all of my memories with an understanding of how good those times were, and yet, I am so thankful for all the memories I am making now. I know the memories I am making these days would never have happened if my life had not taken that drastic turn 3 years ago. I’ve always had a good relationship with my kids and my sisters, but now, those relationships are so much stronger. Same with my girlfriends. So becoming SOLO ended up being a blessing in disguise – and what a disguise it was at the time!

“Happy times come and go, but the memories stay forever.”

So take time to reminisce about your life – both the happy times and the sad times. These events have made us who we are and shaped our lives. And take time to make new, special memories with those you love, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS  Spring Equinox (today, March 20th) means equal hours of day and night… so mathematically speaking, that means 12 hours of daylight y’all! And the days will just get longer and longer!

 

“Minute by Minute” Doobie Brothers 1978

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Did y’all remember to move your clocks ahead last weekend or did you find yourself in church an hour early Sunday morning? Maybe you skipped church and slept in? Full disclosure, I slept in. I was exhausted from watching Carolina beat Duke (for the second time this season) Saturday night! GDTBATH!

GO HEELS! In my retro sweater – a gift from my son!

Have you adjusted to losing that hour of sleep? Amazing the effect one hour can have on your life.  It is so dark in the morning, but I have to admit, I am loving the extra light at the end of the day. And the weather has been so pleasant, especially after having snow up here Friday and frigid temperatures in the 30’s Saturday (plus rain!). The sun finally made an appearance Sunday afternoon as the temperatures climbed into the 60’s. And it was light until after 7 pm. Washed the winter off of my car, then sat on my back porch for a bit. Did it again on Monday: came home from work (in daylight, I might add), got my electric throw, and sat on my back porch. The next thing I knew, I was waking up from a nap! (trying to get that hour of sleep back!) I am so ready for spring. You?

“What I love about Daylight Savings Time is that it’s always 5:00 somewhere an hour earlier now.”

Why does DST have to fall on a Saturday night and take that one hour away from our weekend? Why not on a Thursday night to get us closer to the weekend? I am hoping we keep DST and not revert back in the fall. That one hour of sleep is nice to recoup in the fall, but not at the expense of darkness earlier. Over the next month we will gain an hour of light – 2 minutes a day. Thankfully.

“Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect.”

One hour… sixty minutes… what does an hour mean to you? What can you do in an hour? I can get to Richmond to see my older daughter in an hour. One hour spent with my mom is a treasure. She begins to tire after an hour, and truly we have exhausted our topics of conversation by then, many repeated! But that hour is plenty special. Most of my workouts, cycle classes, and runs take an hour (4% of my day!). An hour phone conversation with friends and family while I am driving (and I do a lot of driving) is priceless. An hour. My older daughter, son-in-law, and granddawg came by to see me last night and visited for an hour.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it but you can use it. You can’t keep it but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”  Harvey Mackay

We are all so busy in our lives, but maybe we could take an hour a week and do something special for someone else. Volunteer. I want to be a cuddler at the hospital with new babies. And what about our own benefit? Ever thought about taking an hour during the week for yourself? Maybe get a massage? A facial? Take a yoga class? A nap? I do find that if I take an hour and organize myself on Sundays my week goes much smoother. Plan my workouts, meals, activities.

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”  H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Speaking of time, did you know that Barbie turned 60 last Saturday? Wonder if she is SOLO at SIXTY too?!? Or did Ken stay faithful? Good ole Barbie never ages… what’s with that?!? Wish I still had my Barbie – that $3 doll is now worth over $27,000!

My younger sister’s birthday was the day before Barbie’s. She is several years younger than Barbie. Y’all know how close I am to my sisters, even more so after becoming SOLO. I know how important family is and I try to find time to be with them as often as I can, so Saturday I left home early to meet my sisters for a birthday lunch at Sweet Potatoes in downtown Winston-Salem. What fun (and GREAT food) we had! We were way too full for dessert, and decided to wait and have that great soft serve ice cream at “Mom’s ice cream parlor.” When we told mom we were celebrating my sister’s birthday, mom just would not believe she was “50-something!” Nor that I am 61 and my older sister is, well, older than me! She’ll never believe she will be 90 this September! But she did tell us that our dad had called her that morning to tell her he had won the “Best Looking Man” contest! And asked if we have heard from him lately? “Uh, not in about 19 years!” Going with the flow, we just said, “well he certainly was a good-looking man!” She thought it was hilarious he was telling her that he won. We did too!

“Live every hour like it’s happy hour.”

So make the most of every hour y’all. Because once that time is gone, there is no getting it back. Spend as much time as you can with those you love, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS If this coming weekend is rain free, it will be only the 3rd dry weekend of 2019!

Sousa’s March Mania!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

We are now into the third month of 2019. Time is marching on y’all! And quickly I might add. Don’t sit still and let it pass you by. Maybe it is time to take a breath, and revisit what you want for this year. Not necessarily your resolutions, though not a bad place to start, but what do you really hope to get out of this year? Need a redo? Regroup and reset? Do it now.

Monday was March 4th and I read an interesting piece about “Marching forth on March Fourth!” Yes, a cute play on words (kinda like May the force be with you on May 4th – I live for that one each year!). But the connotation of Marching forth portends being strong: chin up, eyes up, positive attitude, all to face whatever obstacles appear in your way with confidence. This has really come into play for me recently and probably will more so in the near future. I keep reminding myself I can handle this and I will be ok. As I have said before, divorce is not for the faint of heart y’all, even 2 years later.

“Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accomodations.”  Olivia Goldsmith

It is the first day of Lent, which means yesterday was Fat Tuesday. Did you splurge before giving up something for Lent? That’s the purpose of Fat Tuesday, right? I guess I splurged on scrambled eggs – still not quite over that virus of last week. I used to give up something sweet for Lent – ice cream, cake, chocolate, Girl Scout Cookies. But honestly, that would not work this year as I have not had anything sweet in over a week (due to the virus) and don’t really want any. Didn’t even have a piece of the homemade King cake at the office! So what to give up…if anything?

l6.jpg
Give up wine for Lent? That would be sacrilegious!

“Lent offers us a chance to hold out our cups if they are empty, and to share from abundance if they are full.”

If you remember, last year’s Lenten blog  was about giving up unfavorable habits such as complaining, anger, and pessimism, and replacing them with gratefulness, patience, and optimism, just to name a few. Trust me, your life will be much happier if you follow that advice and replace negativity with positivity! Maybe this year we should try to expand on this idea. What if we “March forth” with improving our lives and those of others, discovering what makes us truly happy, performing random, and not so random, acts of kindness. What if we strive to keep our heads up and our feet moving in a positive way, to get us through all the hard times that will inevitably clog our lives. March forth. I like that.

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” Dolly Parton

When my mom was in her 60’s, she would go to “the Y” in Clemmons, NC, walkman in her fanny pack, earphones in her ears, and march around the track listening to her cassette tape of John Philip Sousa marches. Said it kept her going. I am sure she was the only one in there marching to actual marching songs. You were wise to stay outta her way folks – she was on a mission! Wonder if she was listening to “Be kind to your web footed friends…cause a duck may be somebody’s moth—er…” Just kidding! Some of her favorite marches popped up in Sousa’s March Mania hosted by the US Marine Band: 32 Marches, 4 weeks, 1 Champion. You could be MARCH KING if you pick the winning march. Oh how Momma would love this! She would be MARCH QUEEN!  She sure had a great time marching around that track. And was always in beat with the music. Jump ahead 25+ years and Mom can now be found marching down the hall with her walker towards the Ice Cream Parlor. Bet she is not giving that up for Lent!

“Lent is the season in which we ought to be surprised by joy.” Bread and Wine

One quick story about marching…My kids were all in concert band in middle school and HAD to march in the Dogwood Festival parade their 8th grade year. That was so much fun for me watching my flutists and my trumpeter march down Main Street in the parade, while I ran alongside videotaping. Not as much fun for them. (Thought I might include pictures of each of them in their middle school band uniform from the parade, but they threatened me!)

Last week, my younger daughter, a friend, and I went to a wonderful presentation from a former female photographer for National Geographic, who followed her passion and bravely marched into incredibly scary places you and I would never consider going. She witnessed and photographed human trafficking, the secret world of geishas in Japan, dictators, was shot at, ambushed, and yet through it all, she got her story and her photographs to share with the world. She has lived a life none of us could imagine. She said you never know what people are going through – someone always has it worse, and this woman has seen it first hand. Marched right into it because she believed in the stories and wanted to share the work she was doing. She also witnessed and photographed the beauty in our world.

“Keep your head high no matter what happens. You’ll be alright. If the moment hurts, do not fall victim to its pain. Look ahead. Focus on what can be.”

So March on y’all. Keep your head up and feet moving… left, left, left right left. Find what makes you happy. Go after it and make time to experience it. Especially with those you love, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“Why do they not teach you that time is a finger snap and an eye blink, and that you should not allow a moment to pass you by without taking joyous, ecstatic note of it, not wasting a single moment of its swift, breakneck circuit?”–Pat Conroy

Best,

Leslie

PS – ONLY 14 days until spring y’all!  My Christmas cactus is also ready for spring!

Christmas Cactus blooming one last time…

 

“Confetti” – by Gone West, 2019

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Goodbye February, Hello March! Can you believe 2 months of 2019 are almost in the books? March 1st is momentous in many ways for me. March 1st is my dear nephew’s birthday (Jack’s dad), and that of one of my teammates. Two years ago, March 1st was the first day of Lent, a time of new beginnings and celebrations, and also the day my divorce became final. Funny, before becoming SOLO I proudly celebrated my wedding anniversary every August. But now, I celebrate March 1st as the day I began a new journey, where I rediscovered myself, and started to really enjoy my life.

“Have faith in your journey. Everything had to happen exactly as it did to get where you’re going next.”

Ever feel like you are “lost”? Just going through the motions, doing what you have always done? Thinking, “Wait until this or that happens, then I’ll  be happy.” I now realize that I kinda “lost” myself pre-SOLO. As women especially, we tend to put ourselves last. But truly, we have to with the demands of a family and a career. Let me make this abundantly clear – I would NOT change one thing in my life with raising my children. I loved every minute and every stage of their lives. But there are other changes I would make if I had a mulligan (not Madigan, MULLIGAN!). I see many of the young moms today battling the same demands I faced. And truly, I am impressed (and a bit jealous!) that they seem to be able to pull it off so much better – they are in partnerships with their spouses, getting everyone ready for and to school and activities,  grocery shopping, and meal preps, etc. Kudos to all the working moms out there and to the dads who help them out so they can get a work out in or a night out with their girlfriends.

“Sometimes when you lose your way, you find YOURSELF.”― Mandy Hale

One of my dear girlfriends always lets me vent to her on our walks. We bitch together, and she always ends up making me feel better about myself and my life. Recently, she sent me a song she heard that made her think of me: Confetti by Gone West. She said this was definitely not applicable 2 years ago, but is now, and she is right. Two years ago I was floundering a bit, still trying to come to grips with what my new life was going to be like. Y’all, 2 years later, I am living proof that time does ease old wounds and life is what you make of it.

Beautiful Sunday afternoon…

Honestly, at the time of the BIG “D”, I wondered if I would truly ever be happy SOLO. I was looking forward to hopefully closing that chapter of my life and beginning a new chapter, but also worried about what the finality would mean. It was a scary time. As it turned out, that new beginning meant having more fun, spending more time with my kids, family, and friends, and many more trips to the beach. I was back at it Sunday afternoon – having a glass wine on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with my younger daughter. Is this my new thing? If so, I am happy with it! Especially when my older daughter, son-in-law, and granddawg also decide to meet us and enjoy the beautiful afternoon outside on our Downtown mall! I do love my life! I have a lot of fun things lined up this spring and summer and am so looking forward to them all – not to mention WARM, SUNNY days. (That “S” word is in the forecast for this weekend… will winter ever end?)

“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.”

Selfishly, I’ve been doing what I want to do, when I want to do it. But I also have some worries being SOLO – I am totally responsible for my financial well being and for what happens if I get sick or hurt. Actually this fear came to the forefront Monday, when I left work suddenly because I did not feel well. At all. And I am never sick, never! But boy, was I sick Monday. I barely made it home. My sister diagnosed it (long distance) as the norovirus. It was not pretty and I felt the worst I have ever felt. I had many offers of help but I did not want to infect anyone else and discovered I could take care of myself. But it was scary. Still feeling a bit shaky, but better. Today was supposed to be my first day back running, but it’s not happening. Just hoping I did not infect my family last weekend!

“Expect the unexpected. Life is full of wonderful things just waiting to surprise you.”

I cannot end without mentioning how happy last Wednesday night made me as Carolina beat Duke AT Duke – it was a BLOWOUT! I know, I know… but truly, even though Duke lost their big guy to a shoe malfunction (and I honestly hope he was not seriously injured), they still had powerful back ups, and we still beat them, BIG. And how sweet it was! I admit, I never saw that coming! GDTBATH! (Great Day To Be A TAR HEEL!)

Are YOU doing what YOU love? Are you loving your life, and yourself? If you remember last week’s blog, you have to love yourself before you can love others. In the words of Ru Paul at the end of every Drag Race episode: “If You Can’t Love Yourself How In The Hell Are You Gonna Love Somebody Else?”

Put yourself first every now and then. Do what you love. Have fun, especially with those you love, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.”  – Groucho Marx

Best,

Leslie

PS Spring arrives in 21 days – MARCH 20, 2019 at 5:58 pm.  Just sayin’!