Resolutions

IMG_2541I watched from my window. Snowflakes flurried outside — mixing and mingling — with a carefree attitude. They encouraged me to let go of my worries. In my nightstand, I found an old journal I received from a forever friend nearly two decades ago.

I watched from my window. Snowflakes fell with a lightness; beckoning me to feel the peace and harmony my soul was seeking. I flipped through the journal reading entries from years gone by.

I watched from my window. Snowflakes danced outside; pushing me out of my warm, cozy house. On the inside journal cover, my forever friend wrote the following:

Every day is the beginning of the rest of your life.  Thus, if you screw something up today, you will get another chance tomorrow.

I stepped out of my comfort zone. Snowflakes tickled my nose and the cold air swirled around me; bringing me to a state of wakefulness. My wanderlust pushed me to keep stepping forward into a maze of questions for 2016.

I stepped out of my comfort zone. Snowflakes stuck to my lashes making me see. There are opportunities to consider, knowledge to gain, and adventures to experience. My resolutions for 2016 are be brave in stepping into each day, navigate the unexpected; and embrace this journey that is mine.

 

 

Six Sentence Monday: Entry #13

Two life-long friends from my days at Western Michigan University spent Sunday afternoon with me. One I have not seen for years despite my sister being married to her cousin. The distance of our homes and personal routines ceased to exist. Conversation flowed; as did the wine . It was as if no time had passed between previous meetings. That’s how it is with such amazing, loving, wonderful good friends.

Six Sentence Monday: Entry #6

I craved the quiet surrounding me. Peacefulness is what I sought. My brain missed the memo. The silence encourages me to ponder. Life thoughts —  husband at work, kids at school, and my action item list — make me restless. The morning caffeine is working its magic.

Mixing Life Up

The weather is like me. It cannot decide. For a day or two it turns on the sunshine, reveals blue skies and cranks up the heat. But, then, it waivers. Predictability is boring. A challenge is needed. Flurries tease. Wind swirls. The cooling mix brings focused resolve.

Runner shoes beckon motivation. Caffeine gives a warming boost. No more excuses. Self-discipline is the key. A friend nudges me to sign on for my first 5k race in 2013. It is time to bring it.

 

 

Life Springs Forward

Spring forward. Clocks are off. Sleepy heads stay snuggled. There are schedules to keep, things to remember, errands to run and work to do.

Kids arrive at school on time. Learning takes place. Teachers say it was an excellent day. A revamped workout gives me energy. Lunch out with a friend feeds my need for adult socialization.

Errands and work are complete. Sun peeks through the gloom. Gray prevails. Rain drops sprinkle the drive. Sprinkles become a downpour. Umbrellas, boots and quick feet are a must.

Stir-fry dinner makes husband smile. He loads up for seconds. It must pass the test. Children eat healthy. After-dinner treats are sweet. Homework is next on the agenda. That’s when trouble starts.

The couch is so inviting. A pillow offers respite. Tired eyes close. Clocks are off, again.   What’s the big deal? There are more days in the week. Performance is best when body and mind have a much-needed rest. Pajamas and a cozy bed are the ticket.

Quiet, sleeping little people is bliss. Preparation for tomorrow morning is complete. Downtime with a favorite television show and my latest read is next.

 

Love is in the Air: ’tis the Season for Football

Bright, brilliant Michigan skies welcome another season of supreme athleticism at football stadiums near and far. Cool, crisp breezes blend lasting traditions with an air of possibility for play-off births and championship rings. Memories stir of good times spent with family and friends.

There is something about football. I love to watch it; I love to talk about it; and I love to write about it. I don’t dabble in fantasy land or keep track of stats. The ambiance — starry nights, cheering fans, face paint, jerseys, sunny Saturday and Sunday afternoons, autumn colors, mud bowls, beer, brats, snow ball, and angry coaches — has been an addiction since infancy.

Both collegiate as well as professional contests have me humming until the last play on Superbowl Sunday. Even high school football is interesting. Nothing compares to spending a chilly Friday night snuggled in blankets drinking hot chocolate while watching young neighborhood talent battle cross-town rivals.

My cravings for football began before age 5. It all started with spending Sunday afternoons and Thanksgiving with my family watching the Detroit Lions lose. Now, this lifelong loyalty may be finally rewarded. Will this season be the one where a talented team matures and rises to claim more than a wild-card slot? The drama is what draws me in. Teams with —such as the Lions — with stories, battle scars and strategy are those that make we want to watch every game.

The magic of the season is very much tied to memories, but is very much connected to the now. Replays from high school have me sitting in the bleachers with my high school girlfriends. It’s senior year. Our beloved Rochester High School Falcons finished the regular season with a 100-year first: a perfect 9-0 record. We are watching and cheering the Falcons as they play Utica’s Eisenhower (Ike) in the first round of state playoffs. Ironically, Ike is now the high school I cheer for and where my children will attend.

As college Saturday nears, I think back to sophomore year at Western Michigan University. My roommate and I are tailgating at someone’s home with rowdy, like-minded Bronco fans. It isn’t noon, yet. Our breakfast includes ice-cold brews fresh from the hose. Hours later we are still at Waldo Stadium cheering for the Broncos to pull out a win.

Finally, there are those Saturday afternoons with my sister at the Big House in Ann Arbor. Some were spent in the end zone in the freezing rain; and some in the glorious sunshine near the 50-yard line. So much tradition, so much athletic might and so much fun.

The magic isn’t just about the history; it’s about the now. Since the Lions do not have a deep history of winning seasons, my husband and I cheer for alternate teams each season. That way, we watch the entire season — through playoffs and Superbowl — even when the Lions disappoint. My husband’s teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots; mine are the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants.

So, are you ready for another weekend of football? I am. It’s just getting started. ’tis the season. I hope it’s a jolly one for you.

Football-related posts from last season …

I Love Football

Sunday Night Football: Lions Go Yellow

Related article I found before posting that you might find interesting …

Should The Detroit Lions Be Cautious Against The 49ers? (detroit.cbslocal.com)

Twisted Hues

Having a blast at the Color Run’s post-race color fest. Photo Credit: Jennifer Lott

Yesterday, at 8:38 a.m., I participated in my first Color Run. While the race encourages people to live healthier, this 5k promotes diversity, creativity and community and not speed, competition or athleticism.

I ran the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor course with my second cousin Jennifer and her sister Katie. Thousands danced to Top 40 hits waiting for their wave in the race to begin. Dressed in mostly white, racers were blasted in a rainbow of non-toxic, paint powder after completing each kilometer. At the finish line, racers experienced a post-race party with beautiful hues of powder.

Prior to race day, preparations focused mostly on creative aspects not training runs. On the eve of race day, we gathered at Jennifer’s apartment to transform ourselves into the Twisted Hues. The team name represents our ideology that all colors are beautiful and that our inner warriors carry us through even the toughest of life challenges. Twisted Hues is hopeful that more family members and friends will join the team roster at future, active events that promote healthy living, unity, peace, and charity.

Twisted Hues (L to R) include my cousin Jennifer, her sister Katie, and my cousin Meghan, who created our look for the event.                       Photo Credit: kateschannel

Twisted Hues’ race style was mostly created around the idea my cousin Meghan had. She inspired and taught each of us to make rainbow-colored tutus. She planned to take part in the Color Run event. But, unfortunately, at the last moment was not able to join us at the start line. Her contribution to the Twisted Hues resulted in boosting our self-confidence as well as plenty of style kudos from fellow Color Runners.

What a finish. Katie, Jennifer and I enjoy watching all the beautiful hues. Photo credit: Jennifer Lott

I believe the next event the Twisted Hues will be signing on for is the second annual Run and Play for Ariana Mae at the Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge, Mich. The event begins with a 5k run and one-mile walk, followed by a Candyland Scavenger Hunt. The event supports the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) Program. Proceeds from this year’s event will fund the addition of a new play structure at Fitzgerald Park in memory of Ariana Mae. To learn more about the event, register, or make a donation visit www.arianasrun.com.

School’s Out: House Guests and My Big Beautiful Family

Unannounced House Guest

Cozy spot to snooze. Photo credit: kateschannel

If you’re like me, house guests sometimes drop in unannounced. This one showed just before Fourth of July festivities. He/she decided an outdoor storage cabinet was the place to sleep for a spell. Perhaps he/she learned our patio is a prime location for watching firework shows. Fortunately, I discovered him — and not Issa or Riff — before retiring for the night. Issa and Riff love all creatures. But, some do not survive due to overzealous curiosity.

My Big Beautiful Family

Good times in the middle of beautiful Michigan with cousins and in-laws. Photo credit: Joe Duris

Several members from my big beautiful family reunites in the middle of beautiful Michigan each summer. Thanks to the generosity of my Aunt Kate (my namesake), we all meet up — with plenty of beverages and food — at her lake house near Clare, Mich. Kate is my mom’s sister and is one of six. My mom also has three brothers. For up to seven days family members race kayaks, have water gun fights, fish, watch my cousin Kyle do cannonballs into the lake, play euchre, drink and eat.

My cousin Jen bonds with her mom/my aunt Linda. Jen lives in Florida. The two appreciate time together. Photo credit: kateschannel

This year, highlights include …

Crack.My Aunt Gerry made these fabulous, highly-addictive, chocolate-covered saltines. Who knew crack could taste so good?

Warning: Highly addictive substance. More habit-forming than crack. Wait a minute. It is crack.

Water wars. My late grandparents used to host a mini-version of the Olympics — during annual reunion parties — at their home in Cohoctah, Mich. In their memory, we still partake in the water portion of these games. There are no teams. It is a free-for-all. Each competitor is responsible for their own protection.

One of our valiant water warriors takes aim. Photo credit: kateschannel

James Bond-style water guns.Take a look at this kick board. Swimmers beware. When you see someone entering any body of water with one of these, be prepared with some kind of weaponry. Not only this be used as a swim aid, it also unleashes a torrent of water at innocent bystanders.

This stylish kick board doubles as a water gun. How genius is that? Photo credit: kateschannel

Big vs. little. Too bad I missed this fishing expedition. My cousin Joe took Issa and my niece out on the lake to fish. After waiting patiently for a bite, a little bass finally took Issa’s bait. Just as she started to reel it in, a big bass ate the little bass; and then escaped.

Cannonball run. My cousin Kyle shows off his extraordinary cannonballs each year. Look at the eyes. Olympic hopefuls cannot compare to this level of focus and mental readiness.

No stunt doubles here, people. This is the real deal. Kyle is going for it.
Sunk like a brick. Photo credit: kateschannel

The water depth is less than four feet.

Lots of characters. We are a mix of families, genders, ages, personalities, ideologies, political leanings, athletic abilities, beverage preferences, and more. But, the unique traits we all bring to the lake make the times we spend special. Plus, it’s pretty awesome to see how carefree everyone can be for a few days in the middle of beautiful Michigan.

My cousin Jen visits with aunts Susan (my mom) and Gerry. Photo credit: kateschannel

School’s Out: The Rest of Week 3 Unfolds at Michigan Adventure

Despite a packed calendar of family, social, work and enrichment commitments, I was determined to find some free days to give our family a vacation from the usual scenery. So, after lighting up the sky with a spectacular firework display the previous night, Tracy and I loaded up the car. We buckled Buddy, our Pekingese into the middle seat between Issa and Riff. Then, we took off for Michigan Adventure, an amusement park located in Muskegon, Mich. In addition to a number of thrill rides and its wild adventure water park, Michigan Adventure is mere miles away from the shores of Lake Michigan.

Issa and Riff are ready for fun at Michigan Adventure

Highlights from our adventure include …

The pool at our hotel, Baymont Inn and Suites cooled off Issa and gave her the opportunity to practice for upcoming swimming lessons.

Issa enjoys the Frog Hopper.

100-plus temperatures on day 1 of our visit to Michigan Adventure did not deter Issa from all the thrills she was tall enough to ride. In 2010 we visited and she was denied entry onto the Mad Mouse and Zach’s Zoomer because she wasn’t quite tall enough.

Riff nursing a sick tummy at the hotel while I finished reading Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and watched Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. Issa and Tracy enjoyed Day 2 at Michigan Adventure splashing in the water park.

Upon returning home, week 4 includes the beginning of enrichment classes for Issa and Riff, swim lessons, and a three-day family reunion. Gotta love summer.

Drink It: Dailys Frozen Cocktails and Vin de Pays de Vaucluse 2010

Since, my family and friends had much to celebrate on July 4, we had quite a selection of kid- and adult-friendly beverages on hand. Two favorites emerged.

First, my girlfriend and fellow mom, Christy, treated us to Dailys Cocktails Ready-to-Drink pouches. Just like it says on the packaging, all one has to do is freeze and enjoy. I tried the Pina Colada mix. The frozen concoction was so refreshing while watching fireworks on such a hot, humid night.

Second, I diverted from my usual selection of Spanish and Italian red wines to French. My local gourmet grocer offers an ever-changing selection of under-$10 bottles from a range of countries and regions. Plus, I figured it was time to become more educated about the many great wines from France. My selection, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse 2010, Domaine du Vieux Chene from Jean-Claude et Béatrice Bouche, was superb.