Solitary Places

“Orlando naturally loved solitary places, vast views and to feel himself for ever and ever and ever alone.” – Virgina Woolf.

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We’re not always comfortable enough in our own skin to be by ourselves.  There is real value, however, in learning to be comfortable in our solitude.  I have found as I get older solitude has become more comfortable and more natural.   When I was younger, I hated being alone.

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Albert Einstein, one of the world’s most brilliant minds, left us some nuggets of genius on the topic. He recognize the challenge of solitude when we are young.  Especially in our school years, solitude can be quite painful.  As we get older, we realize how important it is for us.  Consequently, he also commented on how man in general is at one and the same time both a solitary being and a social being.  Every day depending on how much coffee I’ve had, I vacillate between the two.  The more coffee I’ve had, the more social I am.  Some would say, when I have coffee in hand, I glow.

 

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As a mother of three kids, finding solitude has become akin to finding the holy grail. Silent contemplation is a gift of my daily commute into Broward.  Set against the backdrop of an eclectic mix of music, I look forward to my 35 minutes of solitude.   Of course a happy and productive life needs a mix of solitude and togetherness.  One can’t find happiness in either extreme.

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The Grind

It is easy to get lost in the grind of our day to day to professional and personal lives.  As we grind it out, it easy to lose site of how much progress we’ve made. This week we spent three days as a leadership team working on our budget initiatives for 2018.  It was an invigorating, discussing spurring event that was really productive.

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This was my fourth year attending and my third year presenting.  The first year I presented, it wasn’t pretty. They beat me up pretty good.  Thankfully, each year has gone progressively better than the last year.  This year I presented on two days to a much larger audience than I’d been accustomed to, but it went very well.  As I look back on my previous budget experiences and compare to this year’s presentation, I can see how far I have come.  3b8ffd69e15dcd50329cbd68b15ef30f--teen-quotes-work-quotes

While I’ve made some great progress towards my professional goals, my fitlife goals too a backseat to Twizzlers, Snickers, and catered meals.  When I got home tonight and my treadmill and TRX were glaring at me.  I went for a quick run on the treadmill before dinner.

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My treadmill and I got reacquainted before a great dinner with friends.  My TRX, however, is looking a little neglected.  Tomorrow I will be getting back on the wagon eating right.  There are times that we deviate from our health goals and that’s gonna happen.  We can’t let it derail us completely.  There is no quick way to success be it professional or personal.  There is no elevator to take us to the top floor only hard work and persistence.

My Running Partners

When I started running over two years ago, I didn’t know that I would love it so much.  Nor did I know that my running partners would be so important in maintaining my training or that they’d bring me so much happiness.

Most days my running partners are Jake and our dogs Maya and Athena.  The beautiful thing about running with these three is they keep a brisk pace.  Jake is particularly fast ,so running with him means I have to push myself.  The puppies like to be first, so which ever dog is in back is racing to catch up to their sister.

This can be a bit problematic when Jake and his puppy pull away from us.  Usually it’s Maya and I holding up the rear.  Jake’s got his mile below 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, I almost threw myself a party for breaking the 8 minute mile barrier.

Maya trying to keep pace with Jake means we’re pushing race pace almost every run.  Since Jake is so fast, Athena is usually super tired after two miles.  We’ll switch the puppies and walk them for awhile, so they can catch their breath and cool down a  little bit.

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By the time we start running again, the puppies’ energy is back and they’re ready to roll.  Some runs, Goalielocks or the Mayor will come with us.  For those runs, we usually cap our distance at three miles.  The best part of running with the puppies is how happy they are when we run.

While in Norway, Jake and I mixed it up a bit by hiking on the mountain trails.  It wasn’t a rigorous as our runs, but some parts of the trail were quite steep and took a lot of concentration to master.  The views were incredible and so was the weather.  No horrible heat indexes to contend with.

The unfortunate part of summer in Florida, is heat indexes in the triple digits.  As much as I love to run with my kids and my dogs, the summer heat makes it dangerous for the dogs.  Until the heat abates, I’ll be hitting the treadmill and missing my running partners.  When I run on the treadmill, there’s no sweet puppy looking back at me smiling as she enjoy the run.  Nor is there Jake, who motivates me to run faster and further every time we run.

Adventure on the Fjord

.My brother’s cabin in Flam came with its own boat and a prime location on the fjord.  It truly doesn’t get much better than the view from their living room or kitchen table of their cabin.  Our boys and their cousins love life on the water, so they were intent on the dads taking them out on the boat.  We were ready for our adventure on the fjord.

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The first journey on the boat, my entire family and my brother’s family hopped in eager for our adventure on the Fjord.  It had been raining that day, but the rain had abated as we boarded the boat.   No sooner had we pushed out to sea, when the winds began whipping and the rain restarted.

Unfortunately, it was clear the boat’s engine hadn’t been used in sometime.  As my brother struggled to get the engine started, hubby rowed us back towards the cabin.  The wind whips down the mountains into the valley on to the fjord with a lot of velocity, so we were quickly moving towards the very large cruise ship Costa Magica.  Luke was rowing as hard as he could, but the wind was that fierce.

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The engine did not want to start, so we were getting worried.  If we didn’t get the engine started quickly, we would hit the Costa Magica or end up in the cold waters of the Aurlandsfjord.  The very idea of going into the not so shallow (the fjord is 3,900 ft deep)  and very cold waters of the fjord made it a little nerve wracking.  As we worried,  waited and hopped for the engine to start, the engine finally started.

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My brother and hubby switched places.  After several more tense minutes, the engine finally started.  We headed safely away from the Costa Magica and out on the Fjord.  The rain and wind abated as the engine finally started.  The irony was not lost on the two men that had been rowing through the wind.

Hubby drove us out towards Aurland, but not too far from shore.   We were able to see the goats and the Viking burial grounds.  We got a close of up of a beautiful waterfall that falls several thousand feet,  goes under E16 and into the Fjord.   Despite the hairy start to our trip, our evening on the boat in  Flam turned out magical and memory filled. Undoubtedly, I was quite relieved when we were back on solid ground.

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Coffee Fiend

As a coffee fiend,  I have to have my daily Dunkin.   After two weeks away from work, I went back for my first day dunkin in hand.   My morning cup of Dunkin was a welcome change from the extremely expensive lattes we were drinking in Norway.  I don’t know what it says about my coffee habit.  However,  my Dunkin crew was relieved to see me back at the store.  Since I hadn’t been in the store for over two weeks, they became worried about me. I’m definitely a coffee over tea girl and I run on it.   Thank god for coffee otherwise I would have probably fallen asleep by 9:00 am courtesy of  jet lag.

When I’m 64 – Happy Birthday Grandpa Tom!

Today we left Stavanger to head back to Oslo on Grandpa Tom’s 64th birthday!  This trip has been an unbelievably incredible opportunity to connect as a family and connect to our Norwegian heritage.  One thing my dad loves more than anything is his family especially his grandkids.  Of course, the kids love their Grandpa Tom to the moon and back.

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The picture above is of my parents at the BorgundStave Church, which connects to Husom via the Vindehellavegan part of the Kongevegan (King’s Road) that connected Oslo and Bergen.  My family and I made the hike, while my dad and brothers’ took the scenic drive to Husom.   It was marvelous to see my dad’s reaction to walking through his ancestral home.

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Aside from my Norwegian good looks and razor sharp wit, I got my love of music from my dad.  If you’re at their house ever, you know my dad loves his music and loves it super loud.   He’s a huge Beatles fan and truly was the only thing missing from our Paul McCartney concert experience.  His musical tastes run the gamut, but the Beatles are one of his absolute favorites and who can blame him.  Nobody could harmonize or envision the combination of chords to form the harmonies like Lennon and McCartney.    IMG_1701

In honor of my dad’s birthday, sing along to these fantastic hits from the Beatles.  Two are from the concert we attended and one is quick snipped from Youtube in honor of Grandpa Tom’s 64th birthday.

“When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four”

Birthday performed by Paul McCartney:

Ob-la-di Ob-la-da performed by Sir Paul

When Life Happens

As we get older, leave college, get a job, get married, etc, we quickly settle into our routine.  When life happens it is easy to lose our creativity.   We become so busy that the creative outlets of our your get pushed aside.   Here’s the problem with all of that.  Our creative outlets be it writing, photography, painting or singing not only relieve stress, but they stoke the creative fire of our minds.  Even creative outlets, like painting for me, that are sources of painful reminders of art class failures can stoke that creative fire while healing the soul.

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When we let our creative self go dormant, our thinking becomes constrained.  We get stuck in the rut of life and the rat race.  The issues is you don’t know what has been lost until it has been rediscovered.  As a matter of dealing with grief, I started this blog and began writing again.  The consequence is the way I think and approach the world is changing.  It is broadening with my creative outlets and I’m finding myself thinking more creatively and productively about the challenges I face at work or home.

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Note about the pictures:  I picked the pictures of Jake for this post because of the creative composition of both poses.  I took the the featured image was on Mt. Ulricken in Bergen during this trip.  Jake’s best friend took the photo on the stairs in Venice.  The painting was my second attempt at paint and sip with Debbie and family.  I redid the Eifle Tower about 80 times, but it still looks like a rocket ship.  I took the last photo while on the boat in Flam.

Heading South to Stavanger

After a wonderful stay in Bergen, we are headed South to explore Stavanger and the surrounding region. We loved Bergen and cannot wait to go back some day.

Heading South to Stavanger

After a wonderful stay in Bergen, we are headed South to explore Stavanger and the surrounding region. We loved Bergen and cannot wait to go back some day.