The Kindness of Strangers

Be Kind - We are all fighting

One of my goals for this year is to be more flexible, specifically to relearn how to do splits. While I am not exactly the creaky old crone I could be, I am definitely not as flexible as I used to be. Aging? Already? This one I can work on.

Got tested about a different style of flexibility this weekend. Hand plans to spend the weekend with the man & his family for Superbowl, a birthday & a few other things. Due to scheduling some work in another city in between Charlotte (where our families are) & Wilmington (home), we weren’t able to drive in together. Which meant I got to come into town early & spend some time with the little dude (& of course the rest of the family). What we didn’t plan was his car cracking up & leaving him stuck in Wilmington.

After a trying week for both of us & not getting to see each other much, it was not ok. I wanted to scream. Bummed to say the least.

After the initial anger, we both agreed it was better to just relax and enjoy our weekends even if not as planned or even together. ENJOY. There is my word of the year again. So I’m trying. There are worse things that easily could have happen. Still sometimes life is just frustrating. Today as I watched my nephew have a breakdown because he didn’t want to take his nap, I thought about how maybe we as adults should embrace the meltdown tantrums. Just release the feelings & express ourselves. Then again should I be taking life advice from a 20 month old? Probably not. Have to admit hearing him yell my name in his little munchkin voice to come save him from his daddy trying to get him to sleep kind of melted me.

Although it’s not quite the one I wanted to spend the weekend with, at least I get to watch the big game tomorrow with one of my favorite guys. Still making memories & suddenly I have more time to read now. Maybe I will even get to knock out another book on my way to 50!

Recently I did finish a book that I have to say surprised me.

I’m a big fan of catching Amazon freebies & when I saw that one about someone traveling across America by hitchhiking I thought why not? So I added The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America to my stash & didn’t think much about it. After finishing Wild, I really wanted something travel related & discovered this find again on my Kindle. Thanks to a blog I read regularly, Crazy Running Girl, I also discovered there is a bloggers’ book club that has started up by Sarah Ohm where we get a topic each month to read our interpretation of & then blog about the books read. Right up my alley! January’s theme is Motivational Book, which Kindness of Strangers ended up being for me.

The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America

No I’m not going hitchhiking anytime soon, but this memoir by Mike McIntyre did inspire me to think about how kind people really can be. I’ve started looking at people walking near roads a tad differently too.

Mike finds himself in a place where he isn’t sure of his life. Frustrations with a relationship and career lead him to decide to toss aside his job, responsibilities and fears and walk from his home in California to a place on the east coast called Cape Fear. Which strangely enough is where I live! Truth be told the Cape Fear is a river and the Cape Fear he is heading towards is just the area considered as the river basin for that river. He doesn’t realize this but the whole time reading I was confused by his talking about going to Cape Fear, North Carolina. “No such place” I would mental argue each time I read it.

His rule is simple. He is going to get from California to North Carolina, coast to coast, without a single penny. No cash. No credit or debit cards. No checks. Nothing. Not carried on him & not accepted from anyone along the way. In this era (he did this trek in the mid-90s), this concept seems absolutely crazy. Completely letting go of control and trusting that he will find people to provide a place to stay, rides, food and the occasional necessities like a bathroom or shower once in a while.

Equipped with a sign and a backpack he starts off simply thumbing from town to town. Along the way he meets some very unique characters as you might imagine. Knowing this is a true story both gives me faith in people and scares me slightly. You really just don’t know who to trust and who not to sometimes.

“Sometimes those who give the most are the ones with the least to spare.”
Mike McIntyre, The Kindness of Strangers

I won’t give away much more, but I did find his travels very entertaining. His leap of faith is one I don’t think I will ever be brave enough to attempt, but my wanderlust is rev’d up. I’m more likely to trust the wilderness of nature like Cheryl Strayed in Wild than the people along the highways across the US!

“There was a time in this country when you were a jerk if you passed somebody in need. Now you’re a fool for helping. Gangs, drugs, murderers, rapists, thieves, carjackers. Why risk it? I Don’t Want to Get Involved has become a national motto.”
Mike McIntyre, The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America

Something to think about. Are you the kind stranger or the one who drives past?



Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care.”?

THE LIST for 2015 is FINALLY complete & I’m excited to start checking off all the fun things on it before 2015 is over. Last year I managed to check of 45 of the 99 things listed. This year will be even more.

Thankfully last night, I was able to make a dream come true & strike off one thing from the list as done!

I finally sprang for a class in Aerial Silks!

(cue the Glitter in the Air song)

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I will be honest, when I walked into the class my plan was to get some pictures & write a blog post about my introduction to aerial silks. Had a friend who signed up too & thought how easy to just snap a couple of action shots? Would have been had I not entranced from the moment one of the students hung up the contraption to the huge hook in the ceiling. The braided fabric beautifully falling the height of the room and puddling its excess on the floor.  I may have internally squealed as the teacher tested the stretch & give of the sash.
We warmed up and she went over a few basic stretching & things to know like terminology and facts like how much weight the humongous single piece of fabric could hold (note: no fears here. All 7 of us could have climbed on & it still wouldn’t have been strained from the weight!).

It was scary for sure, trusting that the fabric wrapped in a particular way would hold us from falling on the wooden floors. Not being the first to go was a practice in patience and helped to make it a bit easier to feel confident in the wrap. Once I did get my chance, it felt amazing! Although we might have looked graceful and at ease in the poses, they were challenging to get into. The tension in my muscles battled with the desire to stay swinging. The stress seemed to fall from my body as I inverted and let go of the fear of falling.

The names of the poses also thrilled me.  Mermaid.  Angel.  Star. Flamingo.  Peter pan. All great things in my eyes.  I left imagining signing up for as many classes as possible to fit in.

Today it all definitely crashed back down to ground. Seems there was some mix up from when I signed up. The studio offered a discount rate of $5 off when you signed up early. So in December I made the decision to go on and treat myself while I had the cash. Logged in to their website, found the class, entered my information & excitedly told friends about it in hopes they would sign up as well. Which worked.

I thought anyway. Tonight I get a voice mail with a snippy message saying that while they hoped I enjoyed the class, they wondered why I was there last night since they didn’t have me enrolled. Huh? It went on to elaborate how people had to enroll to go to any of the classes… blah blah blah. The point was very clear.

I called back as requested. Thankfully I had saved the email showing when & how I had paid. Unfortunately I also noticed I had been charged the full rate. The person on the phone went into some tirade about how I shouldn’t have been there taking up space last night since I wasn’t enrolled. Only after I mentioned the emailed receipt did she seem to realize I didn’t just show up & get a free class.  She could see their records showing that I had paid in December.  Are they used to people just randomly paying you without any expectations? Turns out their system will take the payment yet you still need to enroll separately.  She tried to explain how I had messed up.

No apologies. No refunds. No going back.

Certainly I had messed up.  In spending the cash to try something new and expecting their system to work.

Mercury is in retrograde and it feels like it for sure. Communication breakdowns left and right. I’m hanging on & trying to see the positives but at times I just want to scream. Tonight I am trusting that the wraps will hold tight and that tomorrow will be easier. At least I got to enjoy dangling for a little while.

As for getting back into the air? Thankfully the teacher runs her own company and holds classes in several locations around town.  Now I just have to make sure that next time, no one considers me as the tag-a-log extra freeloading. I may not have much cash at the moment, but I draw the line at stealing. Oh life. Why do you test us all so much?

Thankfully day 5 is in the books. Only 95 more days of working out & writing left to go. Then the real magic – Disney! For now, I will just strive to catch a few dreams in my sleep & hope that the morning light brings a new outlook. Until then…

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100 Days til Disney – Building Habits

Today I woke to the knowledge that in 100 Days I will be at WALT DISNEY WORLD!

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Bit of a Disney geek…. just a tad! Actually it runs in the family because not long after waking my sister called & was just as excited. She is trying not to drive her husband nuts with the countdown, but we both have apps on our phones reminding us. She has a visual countdown with an idea she got from Pinterest to help lil wee nephew countdown with us (even though he hasn’t a clue where he is going).  At 70 days, his countdown will start! So exciting.

We were loving some Rafiki time! Those smiles!

We were loving some Rafiki time! Those smiles!

Mine however is going to be a bit more productive. I hope.

While I count down the days, I plan on building up some good habits.

It’s been done before in various ways. John “the Penguin” Bingham does 100 Days at the being of each year for people to start each year off right with 100 straight days of 30 minutes or more of exercise. One of my favorite blogs (seriously it is funny & beautifully done) Going Reno even declares that her 100 Day Experiment saved her life!

Most people would get a calender and start marking off the days. In the past I have found a picture with 100 bubbles to color in one day at a time. Even have seen where people get a 100 piece puzzle & add one piece for each day they complete the tasks. (Who has room to do that? or the patience?) Others use chalkboards or move beads from one jar to another. Me? I need some Mickey!

100 Day Countdown to Disney

At the end of each day where I complete the tasks, I will color in a Mickey.

So what am I doing for the next 100 days other than getting giddy with anticipation?

Going to go big & develop two habits.

Normally I would say focus on one, but both are things I do regularly just not as regularly as I would like.

  • WRITE – everyday. every single day. I do this sporadically but the reality is I need to write daily. Even if just for a few minutes. I MUST write at minimum 2 sentences per day for the next 100 days.
  • MOVE – I exercise a lot more than I used to but I can always do more. So everyday. At least one mile or 30 minutes per day of intentional physical activity. No rest days, but certainly understand their value and will rest groups of muscles regularly to avoid injury.

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That’s the plan. For the next 100 Days, starting today I will be moving (& burning off the Disney excitement energy) & writing (new Disney travel prep book in works?).

Let’s do this!

101 Days til Bliss

Life is just bizarre at times. This past week has been a whirlwind of emotions as a family member passed away. At 97 no one can say they didn’t see it coming but the drama of it all still takes it’s toll.

In a lot of ways, the whole process was healing to me. Being able to be there as he let go was something a few years ago would have terrified me. Now I just realized that the process had started & accepted it for what it was. The death rattle didn’t scare me, just made me wish there was something I could do to prevent the pain & confusion. Thankfully although all I could do is talk with him & hold his hand, hospice was there to assist with the pain & anxiety. Not sure how people pass without them & their gifts but again I am grateful for all they do & amazed that people do this daily yet stay so positive and caring.

The good-bye itself carried a lot of emotion. I believe that you never turn your back on family & that blood binds, but at times that is tested for sure. He & I didn’t agree on a lot of things, but he cared for my father when he was young & tried to be there for us all. Listening to so many rave about him at his funeral almost made me forget the bad times. I am thankful that there are so many who do remember him fondly & that I could hear the good things he did in his life. His time on earth truly has impacted many people in a lot of ways which is an achievement for sure. He fought hard to make it to 100, but in the end it was time for him to go on.

Now it is time for us to move on. Getting hugs at the end of the days from my nephew and seeing his smile reminded me that there is hope for a better tomorrow. Just have to make it so.

Which got me thinking- why abandon this blog? Because it reminds me of the tough times? Nah. Those are the times that made me strong enough to be who I am today. Scars and all.

So time to revamp & renew. Change this into something that once again makes me feel at peace with life. Happy to be me. Thus the new look.

Hopefully the changes will be good ones. Time will tell.  All we can do is the best we can & find something to always look forward to. See the glimmer of hope.

For me today that spark is knowing that in 101 days I will be in Disney World with the cutest kid I know as one of the happiest aunts alive.

That and that there is always a snuggle waiting patiently by my side.

Pugs lives are just hard sometimes.

Pugs lives are just hard sometimes.

 

 

 

Darkside or Just an Eclipse?

Confession time.

I love blogging. Reading them, writing them & the whole concept of being able to share thoughts together that strangers never would have before. The feeling that I am not alone when I read one I relate to. Inspiration to try new things thanks to insights from someone who has done it and shared their experience. Glimpses into the lives of others and opening mine up to share. Truly is a beautiful thing.

So why haven’t I been logging in and writing lately?

1st the good news – I’m kind of in a very happy place right now. Just graduated and spending a good chunk of time trying to find the next place to land employment wise. Still losing weight & even better the blood sugar is reflecting my change in diet positively. Still work but it comes more easy now. I’m in this weird place where I am dating someone who feels like family. Trust and honest love is there without many conditions. Still scared that dating a friend isn’t a good idea (previous history confirmed this) but this time is different in a lot of ways. He & I have both changed and are connected. We see our pasts and love each other still. Life will take us where it will, but for now I am happy.

Do I still get sad, mad, scared & deal with missing Mom? You betcha, but most days are more light than dark.

So the not as great news – I’ve reached a place where the act of blogging has become less a pick me up & more of an act that kind of depresses me. Thus the avoidance. While it has been therapeutic to get out those feelings, I find myself focusing less on the great stuff & more on what to vent or let go of. It’s too serious on here right now.

So my dilemma, find a way to fix what feels broken and hope that with change I can see this blog as more of the positive thing I had hoped it would be or appreciate it for what it was, know that it was perfect for me then and move on. I’m debating on starting a new blog where the focus is more on healthy lifestyles and my journey to stay optimistic and encourage smiles and health as much as possible. This one is all over the place – grief, stress, mental illness, unemployment, etc. Still it has been parts of me.

Embrace or let go?

Not sure yet. There will be change. Life just demands that now and then. Thankfully this is one of the times where it is a great thing. Just have to figure out what is best.

So thank you for reading this.  I sincerely do appreciate being able to log in and see view counts and even the occasional non-spam comments.  Started and continue to do this for me, but there is something to be said for the support felt knowing that others read your words. So Thank You.

…. I will be back….

<3 AliMoonGoddess

2015 Goals for Me

The past few years I have seen a lot of people who choose a word to embody their focus on the year ahead. I always wondered how they could pick just one word for 365 days and all the adventures in each of those 24 hours. The past couple of days I have been thinking about what I wanted to achieve in 2015. No real resolutions just goals to aim at. All this pensive planning has made one word in particular stand out.

EnjoyOriginal

My motivation behind all of the goals has been to enjoy life more. Sometimes the actions to get there aren’t the most fun choice, but in the end they will lead me to a place I can enjoy more.

Less stress. Less worry. Less letting myself go physically.

Time to enjoy the journey instead of constantly focusing on what is ahead and what I have left behind. Savor the seconds.

Some of my goals for the coming year are obvious to me – pass the certification exams to officially become a Certified Paralegal, keep lowering my A1c readings, lower my weight to my goal weight/size, get a job…

Others are more arbitrary – complete five 5Ks, read 50 books, try new things each week, attend at least one Panthers game (I was lucky enough to make it to TWO this year with great seats at both! Felt a bit spoiled!), finally clean out all the clothes that no longer fit or that I like.

What it all boils down to is becoming as healthy and as sustainable as I can be in order to enjoy my life.

Also would love to see my favorite team win the Super Bowl this year, but guessing I should stick with actions I actually have some control over. (BUT they are back to back division champions and have a real shot at Super Bowl rings this year! GO PANTHERS!)

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2014 has turned to 2015

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2014 has floated away from us.

In some ways this year has flown by me and in others, I know it has been a slow struggle. The most important thing is I ended it on a much better note than I started it on. A year ago I couldn’t have imagined the road ahead.

I am finished with the associates degree and have started looking for paralegal & legal assistant jobs. Honestly I was going to wait til after the 1st to start sending out resumes, but I saw a post for a position that sounded ideal so I applied. The following day I had an interview lined up & will have a decision soon. Wild! Talk about confidence boost! Even if I don’t get this position (don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely LOVE it!), it felt really great to get a response to the first resume sent out. To actually get to sit for an interview was huge to me. The interview felt comfortable and easy. My approach at this point is that what needs to happen will. If it is a good fit, then it will work. If not, there will always be new positions opening up that could be just what I want. Even if I end up in a situation that isn’t quite what I am hoping for, it will all give me experience & teach me something new. Win – win. Fingers crossed & head held high.

At the end of 2013, I found myself with someone moving in and thought it was going to be a long term thing. At the end of 2014, I found myself enjoying adventures with a guy who has been by my side through it all. I love him on so many levels which makes it all feel slightly surreal at times. I’ve thought of him as a friend for so long, sometimes it is hard to believe we are now a couple. No longer sharing stories of the dates, troubles or seeking advice or comfort when the latest goes bad. Now we work on us, which honestly hasn’t felt like work at all. There is a great comfort just living life without worrying about impressing someone or questioning their intentions. He knows me. The good, the bad, the history and yet his face lights up and he still smiles when we meet up. He gives me peace just being there. Who knows where the end of 2015 will lead, but the most important thing I have learned is to just enjoy the moments for what they are, make as many memories as you can while you can and lean on those you trust.

Physically 2014 was a doozy for sure. First few months, I didn’t know if I would even see 2015. The diagnoses that my blood sugars were a lot higher than they should be rocked my world. Scary as it was, I feel it saved my life. Now 50 lbs lighter (& still going!), I feel much healthier and like I want to be active. I crave the healthier foods and although I still slip now and then, I don’t beat myself up over it all.  Holidays were pure chaos, but I am happy to say I didn’t gain back a pound! Didn’t lose any & at times I was up, but at this point I start January at the same weight that I started November. That is a success in my book!

Have really gotten into working out for the feeling instead of the “need-to” & “have-to” motivation and it makes all the difference. At times I still have to push myself into it but once I am on a kick, I am in! Too much fun to be had. Long walks, climbing trees, playing on a playground, all fun!  I find myself just enjoying it all and doing what feels right. Have already signed up for a silks class & have my eyes on a couple of 5ks in 2015. Also I WON this! Which is great timing to give me a boost.

Simply put the lesson 2014 gave me was to just ENJOY LIFE in each moment. Don’t stress or count on the tomorrows, just savor the now. Forgive what has already happened and let it go or it will sink you deep to the bottom of the ocean. The real fun is drifting in the waves which come and go all too quickly.

So here’s to 2015, whatever it will bring.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!