To Thine Own Self Be…

…the truest you can be.

Amazingly enough, there are still people in our world who feel like they can’t be their true selves. As if society dictates how/what/whom they should look and feel, it’s a very common occurrence.

In recent conversation, it came up that a woman I know, after expending emotional energy, allows herself to cry and mourn what she has lost. It struck me as profound because how often do we let ourselves just feel? Believe me, it can be a terrifying journey to embark on – with the scariest of turns and very little sustainable food sources. At the end, however, you will be rewarded with soul food beyond anything you’ve ever tasted. So how do you get there? You simply start.

Please pause for a random thought:

Exercise does for the body what feeling does for the soul. It hurts! True. It really does hurt. You won’t catch me lying about the pain. But so much good can come of it. The mind and soul need ample time to process; without this time, it’s much like complacency – everything starts to feel the same.

For example, do you know what food tastes like when you rapidly inhale it and don’t take the time to enjoy it? Sure, you taste it but you don’t really taste. There is a means to an end.

The above was an awe-inspiring documentary I am better for watching. Truly unbelievable are the men and women whose souls flourish in bringing people together for a common goal. As the caption states, the hope one witnesses in others who have faced a tough set of circumstances really proves how much we need one another. Try not to feel moved while watching this movie; I dare you.

And now back to our main content:

In being true to yourself, I believe it’s also important to be – what these hip young people call and I know as a buzz word – transparent. Transparency doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. (The word doesn’t, the idea does.) It’s not so much about being see through to others; who cares what they think. Easier said than done, I know.

There was a time in my life when perception was reality. Loathing. In the real, wide world this isn’t necessarily true. As a child, I didn’t know why I was different. The pressure on myself to be perfect and have things just so was, frankly, debilitating. At the age of 6, when I’d visit other friends’ homes, their bedrooms would be a wild mess. How I envied the randomness of it. In an effort to curtail my perfectionism, I’d go home and ransack my dresser drawers to make my room look “lived in”. But each time I did this (yes, multiple times), the experience would end in tears and my returning the room to its former cleanliness.

Coloring is calming. Try it

It took many years to embrace my Type A personality. Today, I’m comfortable with it. It’s just how I am. Things have a place and belong somewhere. I take pride in a clean car and home. Sure, bordering on compulsive, this behavior isn’t always healthy but it’s who I am. I do my best not to impose myself on my mini’s way of living because obviously choice is very important. But if I’m being completely honest, her lackluster care for order in some things but not in others drives me insane.

You know that emoji with both arms up and a big shrug? Just insert that right here.

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I ask you –

When was the last time you dove into your emotions?

Any buzz words you’re sick of hearing? Transparent is definitely the biggest for me.

Type A? Type B? Thoughts on this?

Pardon Me, Ma’am, Have You Seen the Crabs?

Much like this

Ahhhhh. The smell of sun, salt, and decaying ocean creatures is on the horizon. It only took 8 years. Yeppers, my vacation is officially booked!

Contrary to popular opinion, I snagged a condo rental when the price was well below market value. And I think my opinion was deemed unpopular only because of uncertainty in our current times. I don’t care; I did it anyway. And these people will be thanking me in a few months. I shall reward myself with tiny umbrella-infused drinks.

A short walk from the beach, close to all my favorite eateries, and on the best island in the word. South Padre, I’ll be seeing you soon! My excitement was contagious because even the little munchkin got in on the list-making action. The kite she has been promised is icing on the cake. She wasn’t too keen on the 13 hour commute, but we regularly traveled over 25 hours from Virginia to Texas so this sounds like a quick jaunt to me. Note to self: we need more coloring books.

My apologies on the briefness of this post. I’m off to bathing suit shop and I’ve heard the dressing rooms aren’t yet available. Wish me luck. The curbside delivery people are in for quite a show.

I think my footprint is larger

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I ask you –

Where’s your favorite place to visit/vacation?

Are you partial to warm or cool weather climates?

Offhand, does any one know the fine for public indecency? I seem to recall getting warned of this mid-race last year. Long story. Will share some other time.

Writers and their Ramblings

100%: the possibility of every gym, bar, church, and eating establishment with a line out the door once restrictions are lifted.

50%: the possibility I’ll be one of those in the line.

A dizzying site

Truthfully, I didn’t really “go” a lot of places before this time. But, I was able to and that seems to be the difference. Funny how when we’re told we can’t do something how much more we long to do it. Much like being a child. If something seems off limits or your parental figure says you can’t, the enticement eats away at our minds. Oh the possibilities.

However, many good things have come of this. 1) I spend a whole lot less money eating out and buying needless things. 2) Family time is most important. I didn’t realize how many things we could do together with a bucket of slime (yuck) and some kinetic sand (yay). 3) Time. Again. Working on my “projects”, reading, and gardening is valuable to an extroverted introvert. I don’t know if this is what I am, but most people probably ring true somewhere in the middle. But I digress.

Measurably immeasurable

Besides, what else are we doing with our lives that is so important? Be honest. As each decade passes, we get so caught up in going, doing, being, creating that we don’t even know what our values are. Who are we as people? I’m reminded of millions of tiny ants rushing around; ants that live to seek out a piece of food and return it to their nest. Is that what we do? Rush to work to make money to seek out food – and that’s all? I want to work to live, not live to work. Is there something better out there?

Waxing philosophical makes the mind wander even farther. Mine anyway. It’s normal to get caught in a rut – writer’s block, living day to day, etc. – so how do we overcome this? Be the change. A mindset can be changed by no one other than yourself. Find a place, a person, an idea, then run with it. Change is constant. I, for one, believe it can be a good thing.

Find passion in the written word

I had no clue where this post would go when I began writing. Life is like that, too. If you are to reflect back 1 year ago, 5 years ago, even 10 years ago: where were you then? Just the other day I located a journal from 2010. Holy wow. Reading my own words was surreal and I gently followed the path that young woman was on, where her head was, what place she was in at the time. It must be gentle because although she and I are the same we are world’s apart. And she deserves understanding.

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I ask you –

Will you be first, middle, or last in the hypothetical line on the return to “normalcy”?

Uncovered any old musings? Tell me about them!

How gentle are you with yourself when looking back on days go by?

Running Update

We’ve barely touched May and the mercury is already nosing 100°. Ugh. FML. The show must go on.

Occasionally I can get in an early run outdoors, but usually I’m relegated to the treadmill. Honestly it isn’t so bad because at least there I have about an hour to devote to mindless television. Foreword: apologies to all my friends who recommended shows for me to watch. I continue to watch the same I have been watching for years. First, I finished Brothers & Sisters. Then, I watched Younger (currently awaiting the next season). Now I’m on Revenge.

I’m more of a Hulu fan

The truth is this: besides Younger, I’ve seen the other series at least once before. Creature of habit much? I just have a problem committing to a new show with several episodes I have to figure out. I’m sure that’s the whole point, but when I’m running, I want to sink into the show with little extra effort.

Seems staying at home does have its perks. Like running for alone time.

But also seeing this amazing sight! I really really really don’t like geese, but seeing the cute little babies before they become angry, drab creatures is exciting. I’ve heard geese babies typically stay where they’re born. Dammit. They just poop on everything and drives me insane. Yuck.

Why did the goose cross the road?

The most important reason to run is so I can continue imbibing in the bakery madness my home has become. Comfort foods extend to bread, old-fashioned favorites, and the like; mine is cookies. Guess it could be worse, right? And when mini-cookie maker gets started, we just can’t stop. Needless to say, I’m enjoying it immensely! My heart and blood sugar are overcome with happiness. Remember this for when I need an intervention.

Unicorn cookies

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I ask you –

Shows you’re watching now?

Recommendations? I probably won’t watch them, but I enjoy you trying.

What’s the summer average temperatures where you live?

Are Trees a Requirement?

Well, yes, because they make fabulous reading material!

As we continue to navigate these times together (yet apart), it can be difficult to find meaningful topics to share with you all. Why should today be any different? In honor of much silliness, welcome to today’s edition of a game I like to call What’s on your nightstand?!

First, some ground rules. 1) Family friendly. 2) If it’s not, the funnier you can make it, the more points received. 3) I made all these rules up because I suck at games. Except Super Mario. I will crush you.

This post alludes to my intellectual side. Start laughing now; you won’t stop. I enjoy long walks on the beach, snuggling up beside a toasty fire place, and hot coffee. What do all these have in common besides warmth? My sidekick: a cover-bound destination to anywhere. Clearly I’m missing the bookstores most.

All the books! What have you been reading? After several comments regarding my book shelf photo several posts back, it occured to me I can hold a type of virtual book club! I seriously need friends.

Currently there are 3 books I’m enjoying. Although I have strict opposition against reading multiple books at once, sometimes it happens. Are you telling me you never get bored? Personally I prefer series books, but I’ve read countless stand alone titles and have been thoroughly entertained.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do.

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I ask you –

What are you currently reading?

Preferences?

Tell the truth: do you judge a book by its cover? Yes. I’m known to read a book solely on the basis I was drawn to the cover art.

Doesn’t Look the Way I Remembered It

Working out at home just isn’t the same. Can I get an amen? You would think since it’s only a room away, I’d be more inclined to get it done. No driving, no getting dressed (if I’m being honest), no major changes to schedule. Somehow it just doesn’t work that way.

Finally found the twin to my dumbbell collection

As ridiculous as this sounds – par for the course – when I purchased the above dumbbells, there was only one. Who only buys one?! But instead of giving up on the fact I was probably going to be working out at home for quite awhile, I went ahead and bought the single dumbbell. Better than nothing. It’s been difficult; I continued to tell myself I was training uni-laterally and it would all work out. Puns again. So when I finally had an opportunity to check back, there it was. Two matching pairs of the proper size I needed. What did I do? I purchased one of them. Not the whole pair, because why would I need 3 dumbbells? When in Rhome… I took one dumbbell and left behind a pair and a single. Do I feel bad? Yes. Am I happy to complete my collection? Also yes.

Excuse the darkness, that’s the whole point

I haven’t been taking advantage of being 80% home bound the past 6 weeks. All these opportunities to work out unlimitedly, but noooooooo. Here I am at square uno. It became very apparent the progress I had was quickly becoming undone when I did the same workout I normally would and the next day I could hardly lift my arms. Ridiculous. Of course I know there’s a million factors. Allow me to sulk, please.

Introducing the pajama workout! Once I found the matching dumbbell, my excuses sounded even worse than before. And they were dismal before! Without cause to get out of it, I found myself literally falling out of bed, sipping on a super hot cup of coffee, and lifting my precious dumbbells overhead…you guessed it…in my PJ’s.

At least I got it done.

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I ask you –

What’s your workout routine look like now? Do you have home exercise equipment?

Is your job considered physical or sedentary?

On a scale of 1 – 10, how frowned upon would it be to eventually return to my local gym wearing my pajamas?

Little Things – They Make the Days Go By

Broken record alert. I’m over this. They days all run together and most of the time I don’t know what part of the year we’re in. Oh, look. It’s still March. Wait. April? Great.

Within the past year, I switched from half-caff coffee to a full blend. Turns out I really love Starbucks Blonde Roast. Incredible smooth with this great, deep taste. Mmmmm, so good. However, spending more time at home lends to multiple cups of coffee each day. By accident, one night I realized I was having a tough time falling asleep. This is pretty unusual for me because I’ve had an 8:30pm bedtime since I was a child and my body naturally finds this rhythm no matter how old I am. I’m serious. 8:30. I’ve always been an early riser; my quiet time in the mornings is precious and not to be disturbed. So I was somewhat put off by my inability to fall asleep. Until I realized the culprit: the 3 cups of coffee I’d had that day.

The more I pondered, the more I recognized each day was starting to become the norm for several cups of coffee. Interestingly, the reason I was drinking half-caff was because I had an issue with too much caffeine. Caffeine sensitivity, if you will. Too much caffeine makes me shaky, my heart starts racing, and I’ve passed out on occasion. Not a pretty sight. I don’t drink sodas or energy drinks; I love hot tea but limit consumption to 2 cups/day max. Imagine my surprise and suspicion when it turned out I was ingesting a lot of caffeine via coffee. But instead of downsizing or decreasing the amount of coffee I drink daily, I’m experimenting with making sure I drink said coffee earlier in the day and not within a few hours of bedtime. I’ll keep you updated!

Dalgona Coffee, all the craze

Disclaimer: I don’t drink black coffee. Oh no. I enjoy a hybrid of classy, expensive drinks and keto-accepted beverages. My coffee includes 3 ingredients: coffee (you don’t say!), heavy cream, and sugar-free syrup. It’s keto-approved and tastes incredible! There’s a certain brand I’m partial to; others just taste like sweet nothing.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my happy place. The kitchen! Trying out new recipes is both rewarding and disappointing. Sometimes they work; other times they don’t. Much like relationships. I think what is most difficult is accepting that no matter how much you want it to be all the hype it doesn’t. For example, the next photo.

AKA yucky cake

Truthfully, it wasn’t yucky. But it won’t be winning any Best in Show awards. The recipe had major flaws to start with and I probably shouldn’t have trekked on when I noticed them. Ever the optimist. “I can make this work!” Even coming from a reputable cookbook, perhaps the writer was having a rough day. Some ingredients were left out of the instructions leaving me to guess where they should be placed. I do have a great background in recipes, but this one was something else. Maybe next time this Butter Pecan Sheet Cake will turn out as intended. Or I’ll just stick with what I know and love.

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I ask you –

Any new trends you’ve been indulging in?

What’s your favorite cake or sweet-something recipe? Want to share the recipe with me?!

How often do you try out a new idea or do something you’re not accustomed to?

Where the Red Fern… can’t be found?

As the frustration sets in and I find myself pacing the halls somewhere between bedtime and when I actually fall asleep, it’s not so much not going anywhere, it’s the realization that I can’t. Perhaps this is what a caged tiger feels. Restless, getting angrier, trying hard to find peace and thankfulness yet locating none.

Photo Credits: @a.c.sparks and @jmstormquotes – photo link available at https://www.instagram.com/p/B-wiMynHNMY/?igshid=1c6p510nkjx82

After a lengthy email to my own city council, I was rewarded with a personal reply and an acknowledgement I had been heard. Disclaimer: personal opinion only. Under our county/city order, we have been prevented from purchasing flowers, both seeds and anything in the growing process. Allowed are seeds and plants that produce food sources, i.e. fruits and vegetables. My email clearly states I’m disappointed in this decision because if you expect me to stay home, then at least give me something to beautify my surroundings! How are liquor stores deemed essential but nurseries not? Very clearly I was not the only one with this complaint.

As I made my way within a local big box retailer with receipt of the newly established permission to purchase beautiful growing things, I encountered a very nice employee who stated only one customer at a time allowed on the patio. She also triumphantly shared with me this news: I was the very first person desiring to do so since the revised order. What?!? Did no one else want to plant flowers? Their loss. My shopping cart began to overflow with greenery – half price greenery, I may add – because some were looking sad and unkept with very dry soil and rapidly dying blooms. It needed me!

The moral of the story is this: as we take care of each other, let us not neglect ourselves. If you want flowers and are restricted, reach out. What’s the worst that could happen? No? Please note: I’m not saying purchase, beg for, and borrow every damn pot you can find, fill it with whatever strikes your fancy, and leave it lying around another’s yard until they began to feel like a de facto nursery themselves. I can name a few culprits. I’m also not saying it’s your job to rescue every budding plant like this is your ticket to the Pearly Gates. Perilously close to naming above mentioned culprit. My point is to advocate for what you want. This was truly a need, but I’m not arguing semantics.

What’s left to say here? Beats me. I just write a lot of nonsense. Oh yes. Go forth and plant flowers! But not too many. And only at your own home.

May you all find beauty in your surroundings.

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I ask you –

Am I the only one advocating for flower sales?

Are alcohol sales truly “essential”? I will concede this. For some, it might be yes.

Know any flower hoarders? Do tell!

Rhyme Time

More Daniel Tiger jokes. Before now, I can’t recall a time I used the word “quarantine”. Or heard it so often. Surely I’m not the first who is completely, madly, irrevocably over this mess. Climbing atop my soap box… The media can shove it. The so called experts can shove it, too. Suddenly everyone has an opinion rooted in fact, or so they claim. Fear hangs around our neck like a scarf of many colors and it’s choking out every ounce of oxygen and common sense.

The more we search for the right answer or those who can solve our problems, the more we find nowhere to run. I don’t know what to tell you. All we can do is find our faith in whatever shape or form it appears. And perhaps remodel our homes with this abundance of time on our hands. Maybe I’ll re-decorate!

With the gym being closed, I’m thankful my trusty treadmill is available 24/7. Most of my exercise consists of rage vacuuming and repeatedly washing the same 2 dishes. And drinking at least 3 cups of coffee. Caffeine can cure anything! More cookies, please!

The power of color

There’s been fishing and puzzles and chalk and wondering if my mini’s birthday party will attract any guests. All I know is we will have cake and hand-washing and enough toilet paper! More jokes everyone is tired of hearing. Again, I’m thankful the tiny princess cares not about what happens in our wide world and she’s unaffected. When I told her church was cancelled but we’re able to watch it online, she didn’t bat one long eyelash. When I said we needed to go to Sam’s Club to purchase butter and I forewarned her it would probably be insanity inside, she stated she would hold my hand tighter. When I said we needed to stay home more and do things together as a family, her smile lit up the room. These things prove time and again that our youth need our attention now more than ever. Most don’t care about “things” – they value our time with them. Slowing down to savor these minutes and days isn’t such a bad idea afterall.

Couldn’t have said it better if I’d tried!

There’s always coffee. And bedtime.

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I ask you –

Anything I can do for you during this time?

How are you staying busy? I need more ideas!

Do you think this is our new norm?

Birthdays and Adventures

I recently celebrated a momentous birthday occasion: 34! I’m sure I’ve mentioned before I have a twin, right? The game is always who can tell the other happy birthday first. She usually cheats and sends the text shortly after midnight. At least we’re in the same time zone now because it got tricky for awhile. The cake of my choosing is this luscious lemon, blueberry concoction of yumminess. There’s no other words.

Incredible-ness

And I went deep into Oklahoma to explore the Wichita Mountains, namely Mount Scott. Mostly I went with the promise of incredible post-hike Italian food. Which did not disappoint.

Then I chopped off my Fabio-like locks, as well as my mini’s. Ha. If they even remotely resembled Fabio’s, I wouldn’t be here. Hence the cut. And mini only got a trim. Calm down.

Baby muscles in progress

Then we went fishing! It’s a very long story why I don’t fish – for another day – but I caught one this time. And mini caught a catfish. Get it, get it!

A girl and her fish

I’m attempting to stay well, but my non-Coronavirus related sneezing is about to drive me nuts. Stupid allergies. If these trees could just skip blooming, I’d be happy. Who needs bees anyway? Oh, the flowers.

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I ask you –

Care to state your age?

When I was a child, my family were beekeepers. Do you know anyone in this profession?

Tell me your last adventure!