Yoga me Yes! Independent Yoga Practice – Part II

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The reason we are called The Emerald Coast

Who are you? What defines you? Is your occupation who you are or simply what you’re good at? Teacher, Flight Attendant, Doctor, Mechanic, Server, Lawyer? Does your role in personal relationships define you? Parent, Spouse, Child? Sibling, Cousin, Friend? Is it a hobby or a faith?

We have this 24/07 newsreel society. We are plugged in, turned on, our faces reflected in the bright white flashing of scrolling screens – images everywhere – dulling our eye contact with real-life humans in front of us.

Escapeism has always existed. Screens – phones, computers, and tablets are just the new wrapping paper in which a very old, regifted concept of “checking-out” is prettily presented.

Balance. We need balance, and unplugging should be part of all our daily routines.

I love to be outside. I love yoga. A little over a week ago, I decided to consistently let myself have both of those and to time my sessions with the sunrise. The last half of my week was a challenge. We had a busy weekend schedule, and my work-load amped up. Our homeschool group had our first activity after summer break, also. Yet, I set the priority, and I kept my practice – no YouTube, no walls; rather, I had outside, self-guided yoga practice.

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Beautiful Pines in my back yard illuminated with the pink and orange light from the sunrise.

Session 5: It was tough to get to my mat. However, I worked it in. The rain from tropical storm Gordon left everything outside soaked (even our back porch). So, that was the only day I practiced inside. I snatched a 25ish minutes to practice, decompress, and continue about my day.

Session 6: Our subconscious minds fascinate me. While practicing, I reached a new level with a balance posture. The consistent practice had prepared me. I write, daily. I try to work on my novel, daily, in the are-you-crazy-for-waking-this-early-Janie? morning hours. After writing, I went to my mat. While I haven’t had writer’s block, I have had a plot-hurdle to work through, and the answer came, and it was so simple. Why hadn’t I thought of it before?

Session 7: During this last session, I rested more. I truly listened to my body. I focused on areas where I was the most stiff, and then I moved into a general flow. I allowed quiet in.

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Bumblebee in the grass

My last session during this week was filled with gratitude for what I have. I am always grateful, but in my heart, I have moments of sadness that occasionally whisper by like a ghost from the past because I miss someone who has died. So many. And, then, I look up and see my husband, our son; I see that the trees are green and the roses are red; I see a snail inching by or bees bouncing in the too-long, rain soaked grass, and I know God gives me those moments to bring me back. To heal me, a little more. To remind me of his presence and his love.

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My Mac, running and playing in our back yard. 

Yoga is a stretching of the body, the mind, and the spirit, I believe. All my life I have had morning devotional time, prayer time, and that is one time I experience God guiding me. I have discovered that, without book, bible, journal, and pen in hand, this is another time in which I hear the Lord, and it is good. We don’t allow ourselves the time to reflect. Our bodies, our minds, our souls are a gift, and we shouldn’t squander them. Yoga is a time we can move our body and in doing so, our body’s movement allows our mind and soul to move in new ways. Then, we discover a little more about who we are.

 

Namaste and all that jazz,

JG

 

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Yoga me Yes! Indpendent Yoga Practice: Part I

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I am entering the busy part of my work schedule. In the past, I have occasionally allowed work to take over and at the end, while I may not look it on the outside, I feel like a hunched-over, joint-popping, creaky crone who can hardly move.  At the beginning of this week, I determined to explore practicing yoga totally on my own for the period of a week. I have documented the sessions on my Instagram account at @emeraldgreenwriter. This is the half-way point in my week-long journey. Best thing is, I don’t feel like that creaky old crone!

First, it was a rough start!

Session 1: I started well, found a great yoga music track on Prime, but I became distracted. Each day, I practice outside while my son is asleep and before my husband leaves for work. I had my baby monitor with me that we still use since we are in a two-story house, and I kept hearing toy sounds. I checked it a few times thinking my son was awake, but I didn’t hear him. Turns out it was a Thomas the Train riding toy going berserk on the back porch. So, I got back to my practice, but I kept thinking about how I would record my journey. I planned posts. I planned blogs. Then, I stopped. I refocused. I finished my session, and I realized how hard it is to turn my “thinking mind” off without a cue from an instructor. I had a lot to work on, the first being focus and remaining present. I decided there are a few poses I wanted to work on each day. It was really amazing to see a friendly neighborhood bumblebee eating its morning breakfast from my painted lady hibiscus. IMG_2507

Session 2: I started recording by days, and I skipped day 2. I know, I made a commitment, and I didn’t even get to day 2. It had been a rough sleep night with the munchkin and a very busy family day. So, I forgave myself, moved on, and started session 2 on the third day. I had much better focus and balance. That was my little mantra: focus and balance. It was wonderful. I love seeing the moon against the light blue and pink sky as the sun rises. Only when I get up early and go outside, do I get to see such sights. I used no music, but I simply let the sound of the wind in the trees and the birds waking to be my background audio calm. IMG_2525

Session 3: I listened to the audio track I found during session 1. Calm and balance. Stillness. Being performance based with years of dance training, cheerleading as a teenager, with yoga, I fall into the habit of wanting to “hit” each pose synchronized with my breath. I want to “do” my yoga correctly. I realized this and caught myself. Yoga is about the journey. It’s more about the journey than the destination. The “how” you move from one “position” or “pose” to another is what gives you strength and builds your muscles, clams your mind, and enriches your spirit. The whole experience can’t exist without the in between, without the journey. So, at the end of my session, I held mountain pose and practiced just “being,” and that is hard to do! It’s difficult to be present. Practice reflects life: enjoy the journey and be present.

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Session 4: So-called distractions don’t have to be distracting. Embrace and incorporate. Allow and celebrate. My sweet son walked out on the porch, and I gave him a snuggle and kiss while in warrior 2 position, and I asked if he’d like to go see the bumblebees eating their breakfast. He said yes, and I directed him to the painted lady hibiscus. We talked about his new toy lobster from our friends who brought it back to him from their trip to Main. We named it Larry.

Ultimately, I’m learning to trust myself in my own practice. Without getting too mystical, it is a good time to move, simply be, and experience epiphanies that may not as easily occur without the practice.

Namaste,

J.

Be True – Be You

 

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Sometimes, you have to mix things up! Stimulate your mind and your soul. I rolled out of bed at 5:30am (late for this early bird), and I saw a blue sheen peeking in around the window frame. I wanted to go straight outside to the back porch and practice yoga there, today. Refreshing and rejuvinating in the cool morning air, it was nothing short of majestic.

I am certainly no yogi, but I love the effects of yoga. I also love how the process and practice changes the way we think and how we go about our day-to-day lives. I follow Yoga With Adriene on YouTube, and today’s yoga session was Day 30 of her True series, and it was one of those independent sessions: no verbal instructions, no cues, only music and a visual.

I had eyes on my laptop screen, trying to enjoy the music, the glowing sunrise, and the cool, crisp air. I was trying to watch and follow along. But, it was just awkward, craining my neck while in cobra. IMG_2467

At some point, I stopped trying. I started moving. I realized that I know enough to practice my own flow. I trusted myself, my knowledge, and I created my own experience. I listened to my body, and I knew what I needed, next. The payoff in trusting myself is that I had the quiet and reflection – I had an epiphany about something going on in my life. I was me on the mat; I was true to myself, and I had the best experience possible.

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How often do we doubt ourselves? We look to others when we should look inside and trust that we know exactly what we’re doing and can handle whatever comes at us. While on my mat, for the first time, in a long time, I came to the point of reflection, whispered a prayer, and had an awakening.

It’s all about the journey, I think, what brings us to these little bursts of enlightenment and laughing upon reflection, and thinking, “Well, of course. That makes perfect sense. Why didn’t I realize it before?” We weren’t supposed to realize it before. We weren’t ready. The road brought us to a point, and we were able to accept and move forward. It’s kind of how God works.

Namaste,

J.

 

The Days Will Be Gone

The small hand in yours. The bright eyes shining up at you, inquisitive and sensitive. Curious and intriguing.

The questions. The “why this,” “why that” of your daily life. The swordfights. The tea parties. The requests for tickles and snuggles. The cartoons. The jigsaw puzzles. The days of running through sprinklers. The days when you are their world.

They’ll be gone.

The days when you stop a chore or a conversation to smile down at that bright, sweet face and answer a question, even if it’s not a question but an important comment about the swingset that is really a pirate ship!

They’ll be gone.

What every good parent goes through. What every good parent experiences. The fulfilling, yet fleeting days spent with his or her child. The exhausting, yet priceless, days. The fresh and raw feelings that are so new to each grown-up child – adult – who looks back at his or her parent and says, “Ah…yes…thank you so much for loving me this much. I knew but I didn’t really know.” And that older, wiser parent who is now a grandparent experiencing a wonderful blessing from God: life watching your beloved child raise his or her beloved child.

They’ll be gone.

This is the moment we have. This is our time. It is poignant. It is important. You are important. Your parent is important. Your child is important. Keep them close. Stop what you are doing and spend time with that one child. That one parent. That one spouse. That one friend. Today is your day to stop and listen to your child. Today is the day to pick up the phone and call your parent. Today is the day to be quiet and enjoy the sunset with your spouse. Today is the only day.

For someday, these days, well…they’ll be gone.

J.

Review – “Fixing Boo Boo: A Story of Traumatic Brain Injury” by Pat Stanford

My well-loved, sticky-noted copy. Only the very best books get sticky-notes.

There is nothing easy for a caretaker who is in the throes of day-to-day, intricate insanities of caring for a very sick family member. To convey the feeling and frustration, the visceral heartbreak, the moments of joy, and sheer physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional exhaustion is an incredible task. Pat Stanford not only shines in conveying the true, real, and at times, gritty, story of life as the primary caretaker for her brain-injured sister, Barb, “Boo Boo,” but she does what great writers do: she places the reader there.

After stepping over the trash-laden, hoarder-house belonging to Boo Boo, listening to the same incredulous complaints of a brain-injured lady over and over who saw herself as “cracked,” and was sure to use that to her advantage, and feeling amazed at the moments of profound truths Boo Boo communicated, the reader knows the life of the caretaker. The reader has a glimpse into the life of one who is brain-injured.

The injury changes the path. What was once hoped and planned for will no longer be for the patient and those in the caretaking role. There was never going to be a “fix” to Boo Boo. In the attempt to “fix” her, essentially help provide a life of meaning and fulfilment, we instead ourselves become fulfilled by the story Pat conveys: there is no pretty or peace in a life of one severely brain-injured. In the endlessness and enormity of the caretaking task, it seems there is no relief.

But there are lessons. And, those come from surprising places where the brain-injured person has once trod, and the point at which the injury occurred, the point at which Boo Boo’s life changed, is the point at which Pat’s changed, as does ours as readers. The choice to accept the glimpses of directional light, of hope, of understanding – makes all the difference.

Boo Boo made a difference. And Pat, in her openness and sincerity, makes a difference in our lives as readers and for those who want to understand more about brain injury with her first book, “Fixing Boo Boo.”

For an informative and wonderful read, purchase Pat’s book on amazon.com or click here. Follow Pat and see what else she’s writing by following her facebook page.

 

Tips for Fun Boating Days with Toddlers!

 

 

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Second time out on the boat on Crab Island, off season, near Destin Harbor.

Hey Parents! Have boat, have baby…will travel! We bought our first pontoon boat as a married couple when our son was two! If you’re a boater and you have a toddler, and you just aren’t sure how you’re going to get on the water this season with a little one, keep reading. You got this.

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My hubby relaxing on the sun deck!

In our family, we are at home on the water. When my son was just shy of two, I had him in his life jacket and in my lap on our 14 ft. tandem kayak, paddling our favorite river in Tallahassee, the Wacissa. (And I did my research before I took him out…I was nervous, but I knew we’d be okay, being experienced kayakers.) My husband and I are both strong swimmers, observe safety on the water, and understand rivers and currents. However comfortable you are on the water, you always should know and observe the rules of the waterways, whether boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, skiing, swimming. There are safety measures to observe.

That being said, with boating season upon us, I thought I’d encourage boaters with babies or toddlers that you can have a great time on the water with the little one. With all of my experience on the water, I was a first time boat owner, and I had a lot to learn.

I tried to be as prepared as I could be when we first took our son out on our boat, and I have learned a few things along the way. This information is strictly from my own, personal experience.

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My munchkin chillin’ on our boat (with his dog).

Life Jacket: The most important instruction I can give is get a properly sized life jacket for your child. You absolutely must have a true life jacket that fits your baby or toddler, and you must have it on your child the moment he or she is on the boat, before you take off. We have our son in his right when he gets on the boat, before we untie from the dock. Also, those “swimmies” for arms, or the ones that have a floatation device across the chest in combination with the swimmies, are not life vests. You have to have the baby or child in the life vest while the boat is under motor or in motion. If you are anchored up or beached someplace, it’s okay to take the child out of the life vest, but use caution! Currents are swift and weather is unpredictable. You can’t be too safe with the life of your child.

Boat Safety/Communication:  Have an adult who is hands-on with your child and can tend to the child if you’re needed to help with the boat. Also, communicate to your little one (if he or she is old enough to comprehend, listen, and follow directions). Establish basic, simple rules he or she can follow. Maintain those rules. If the child doesn’t follow the rules, implement a “time-out” or some consequence they are familiar with, so they understand the importance of following rules on the boat. Boating is fun, but it can be dangerous. Keep a balance with communicating that to your child.

I recommend having the following while boating with a toddler:

Potty: If you don’t have a built in bathroom on your boat, for the potty-trained child (congratulations!), have a toddler training potty and sanitation baggies if your child is potty trained, as our son was. (By the way, I had great success with the 3-day method and you can read about the prep for it here and the results here if you’re considering it.) Kiddo not quite potty trained, yet? Have your diapers, wipes, and Ziploc/sanitation bags (for stinky diapers to eliminate oders prior to putting in boat trash bag).

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Paw Patrol toddler potty. Don’t leave home without it!

Clothing/Gear: Good water/boat shoes. I recommend Crocs or a similar brand that covers the toes (for you) and for your youngster. Have an extra bathing suit and a change of dry clothes. Purchase child sunglasses and a good sun hat with a wide brim all around to protect face, ears, back of neck. Sunblock…of course!

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Mickey Mouse crocs with Woody and Buzz Lightyear. 

Entertainment: Have a bag of plastic toys, more than beach toys. If you drop anchor someplace where there isn’t a beach for your child to play on, beach toys can be boring. Bring along some old toys that are plastic. If the toy gets lost or (hopefully not!) swept away, the child won’t be too upset. Don’t bring anything metal. It’ll rust, and boats are too unsteady for toys with sharp corners.

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Toys!

 

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Entertainment!

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort: If you don’t have a carpeted floor, an outdoor runner is perfect for the floor that isn’t protected by the bimini. (Not my idea, but friends did this on their boat, and on very hot days, it saves your feet while walking on the boat. Also, we have outdoor throw pillows that are nice for everyone, and our son enjoys them when he’s tired and ready for a nap! Just be sure to stow them while driving.

Cleaning: wipes, wipes, wipes! You have the ocean to rinse in, but that’s salt water. Wipes, hand sanitizer, and even a water jug of fresh water really comes in handy.

Food: favorite snacks and juice boxes – sanity for the ‘rents and nutrition for the kiddo (Cheetos are considered nutritious, yes? lol. Kidding.) Favorite healthy snacks and yummy not-so-healthy treats are great for a boating day.

Playpen for Baby: On a pontoon boat, a collapsible playpen can be handy. Once the boat is beached or anchored, a playpen can easily be set up and used for a child to play or sleep in. My son was too old for a playpen when we got our boat, but I’ve seen how it helps with smaller children on others’ boats. Be sure you don’t have too many people on the boat, however, for space purposes.

Don’t lose your spirit of adventure! Have a “can-do” attitude and do your research. You can have a family fun-filled day with the right preparation and realistic expectations!

Bon Voyage!

J.

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Our boy, all tired out. 

 

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Me and my honey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Relaaax…

 

 

Yoga Evolution

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Royal Dancer balance position

In the last year, yoga has come to mean more to me than simply a way to exercise or a way to de-stress. It has become a grounding point for me. The lessons we learn on the mat carry over into life off the mat. The muscle memory we learn in yoga help us when pursuing sports and allows us to perform better, physically. The calming breathing techniques keep us calm in the midst of the crises that bombard our day. Are their times I practice a nice, loud lion’s breath exhale? Admittedly, only in certain company (or no company)! But, it’s the consistent practice and the experience that can keep you as cool as Patrick Swayze in the midst of a massive, ugly bar fight, Roadhouse style.

I have praised the youtube yogi sensation, Yoga with Adriene in a previous blog post. I still follow her and highly recommend her to anyone who is interested in yoga – whether a brand new yogi or an expeirenced one. She is professional, fun, and free. It’s hard to find the time to get out of the house and get to a yoga class. Parents need to take care of their bodies, minds, and souls. We have an incredible job of raising our youngsters, and raising them well. This is perfect!

Right now, I am following Adriene’s new series, True. I love that her dog, Benji, is just hanging out in the video with her. Usually, I have my dog, likewise, sleeping nearby, a little 2-year-old cat rolling around next to me, trying to attack my arms or my mat, and my 3 year old occasionally taking breaks from playing legos and jumping next to me on the carpet wanting to do “his exercise and his yoga.” His downward dog is solid. And what better way can I teach my kiddo a healthy lifestyle than by living it and being an example to him from the get-go?

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My short board praying for bigger waves. Shaped by famous board shaper Ricky Carroll at my friend Cliff Millender’s old surf shop back in da day. B-day gift from my husband seven years ago who bought it from Cliff.

We’re in surf season around here in the northern gulf. Winter/spring kicks up some good storms and some nice waves. Hurricane season will, too, but we don’t have to fear the weather channel right now. I’m a longboard girl, mostly because I started surfing later in life, and I live in Florida, but I’ve ridden my short board, and while I don’t really shred and won’t be trying as a wild card in any major surf competitions at the age of 41, surfing is something I can do the rest of my life, unlike other sports. And yoga supports my surf addiction, love for kayaking, as well as my newfound love for paddle boarding. Yoga helps my balance. I remember to lift up from my center and correct the alignment of my core while paddling. I can control my surfboard and my paddle board better because of my yoga practice and muscle memory. I can run around and play with my son, Mac. I throw a football better! I can help my husband move a piece of moderately heavy furniture. I no longer suffering from lower back issues, like I used to. None of us is getting younger, but we can feel younger in our bodies through the practice of yoga.

Whatever your workout regimen, work in a little yoga. You will not regret it.

Namaste,

J.

First-Time First Mate: Driving

Heading out on our first ride the day we got our boat.

Driving a boat is exhilerating! Think Leo and Kate: “I’m the king of the world!” The salty spray of the water, navigating the waves, the bounce of the chop is always a fun adventure. The wildlife that you see is spectacular: playful dolphins, racing batefish, slow, sweet sea turtles, and massive manatees. Did I mention dolphins?

Dolphins down at Destin Harbor.
My spirit animal.

After about two months as a boat owner, my husband told me that I was looking more and more like an “Old Salt.”

Old what? The wife never wants to be “old” anything, but I figured this was a compliment. I have learned that term means “an experienced sailor.” I’ll take that. As a Florida girl, I have been on boats all my life, but we never owned one, so APG has been training me on all-things-boat. And I love it! From readying the dock lines to navigating waters, “old salt” is a name I’ll proudly wear. I have learned a great deal in the last few months as a new boater.

On Chocktawhatchee Bay right after we bought the boat. I have learned so much since that day!

After years of cruising up and down North Florida rivers, enjoying the flats down at St. Marks in Panacea with friends on their boats, and looking at getting a boat, we moved to Destin and decided to finally pull the trigger on buying our own. We had looked at fishing boats, deck boats, and pontoon boats over the years. APG grew up on boats and his family had boats, so he knows what he’s doing. We decided to go with the party barge. We love to entertain and have friends and family around, so that was our primary reason for going with a pontoon.

We’ve had our boat, now, for about 7 months. The best lesson I can tell new boaters or new first mates out there is this: listen to your captain.

It has been years since I handled a boat, and it was so weird driving our boat for the first time. Driving our pontoon is like driving a car in England (the wrong side of the car) in Jamaica (the wildest-driving country I have been to – and I have ridden on the autobahn in Deutschland) or another foreign country with no, or few, road rules. Now, there are rules to driving a boat, but people can be crazy, like some drivers, and ignore the rules. There are no traffic lines on the water, people. Various water craft will zoom up in front of you and cut you off at any given moment. They can be jerks…or ignorant. It’s up to you to know the rules of the water and pay attention at all times. You have to be on. Like surfing or paddle boarding – you’re in the ocean, and the ocean’s unpredictability is the only predictable thing about it.

While coming back into the channel, keep your boat between the channel markers where the channel is the deepest, and remember the phrase, “red, right, return.” Your red channel markers are always on the right when you are coming back in. By default, the green markers are on your left. Conversely, when you’re heading out of the channel, the green markers will be on your right. So, you have to understand the water you’re in. The first time I drove the intracoastal, we were heading from Santa Rosa Island/Okaloosa Island to Destin Harbor and Crab Island. I thought we were heading in because we had originally come from that direction, and I was confused because the red markers were on the wrong side…my left. Actually, we were heading out because the channel to the open ocean is by Destin Harbor. So, it’s good to really know the waters you’re in or have good maps and charts. You need to have the big picture. Thankfully, my hubby knows what he’s doing. I have a great captain and teacher.

The captain and the true first mate!

You always want to keep to the right, on the side of the channel marker you’re following. People go all wackadoo and cut you off and don’t follow the rules of boating, so you need to pay attention to your surroundings. Sail boats always have right-of-way. You have a motor, yield to the boat under sail. (Some sail boats do have motors, though, but always pay attention.)

Some channel markers may not be up in certain areas. Storms take them out, and if you’re in a less populated area, they might not be up. You may have a green and no red or visa versa. If you don’t see what you think you need, keep with the markers that are present. On the intracoastal near us, there are not always green markers; the bank/dock lines of houses are the obvious barrier and the water is very deep.

Watch out for those shipwrecks! Yes, where we put in on the Chocktawhatchee bay, there are a few boats that lost a fight with a storm or hurricane and have grown so many barnacles they could be the Flying Dutchman, complete with weird, fishy residents. And birds. So, don’t hit ’em. At least they’re visible. Back home in Apalachacola, we’re used to looking out for oyster beds. Those babies will tear up a boat, and they’re not as visible.

Right after we purchased our boat. We found a great deal on a four year old boat that hadn’t been used much. We looked at brand new boats, but it pays to glance at used boats, too!
Our first sundowner on Chocktawhatchee Bay the day we bought the boat.

A few months back, after a relaxing day on the water, APG suggested I drive the boat onto the trailor. What? Give me my ropes and let me tie off the boat…that’s my job. I was good at it.

Drive the boat onto the trailor? No way.

APG had more confidence in me than I had in myself. Did I mention boating can be great for your marriage? Talk about trust in your spouse. So, I went for it, totally relying on his confidence in me. We had calm waters and we were near our house on the bay – not at the harbor or closer to open water. He was right. (He usually is.) I was ready, and I did it. It wasn’t that difficult, either. Glad I have that skill under my belt.

Those are my few basic tips for other newbie boaters. Anyone else out there who is learning, keep your ears open and take direction, and soon you’ll be an old salt as well!

Smooth waters out near Okaloosa Island on the Intracoastal.

Happy Boating!

A LuLu’s Weekend

Right off the Mid-Bay Bridge in Destin, Fl, any vacationer or local resident can be transported to Margaritaville in North Florida: live music, white-quartz sand, blue-green waters, a view of the Choctawhatchee Bay, “shrimp beginnin’ to boil,” and a refreshing cocktail. LuLu’s – where the food and atmosphere are each of an equal standard and do not disappoint: a more-than-satisfied palate, belly, and a family-fun feel with a splash of party. It’s a true southern seafood paradise where Ms. Lucy Buffet’s policy is they stay open until the last customer is ready to go home, whether that’s midnight or later.

In the nine months we’ve lived here, we have heard about LuLu’s and have been meaning to check it out. It has an amazing reputation as an establishment, not to mention that it’s Jimmy Buffet’s sister’s restaurant – Lucy “LuLu” Buffet, so we knew it would be good food and good fun.

At the front of house, there is a gift shop to the left, full of LuLu’s merchandise with a side of all things Florida/tropical – not the cheezy stuff one sees at the standard Florida souvenier shop, but cute paraphanaila one may actually want to purchase – even the Florida local. The hostess counter is dead-center, and the bar is to the right. The restaurant is indoors with a large porch/covered outdoor seating area right on a beach, which has plenty of games and entertainment for kids or kids-at-heart.

The seafood is wonderful, and the smoked tuna dip is the best I’ve ever had. No oysters on the half-shell or snow crab, here, however. It’s more of the southern seafood style: food prepped grilled, blackened, or fried. As a seafood lover, I feel compelled to make that distinction about the menu as I always want oysters steamed or raw (in the appropriate time of year) or snow crab! The kid’s menu is reasonably priced and has a wide array of foods fit for a young palate, including two of my toddler son’s favorites: mac & cheese and grilled cheese. The mac & cheese is homemade and is scrumptious – like what my grandmother made! It is not a boxed store brand, which is always so disappointing to see on a menu.

 

Mac waving at the acoustic guitarist. He loves music and bands.

 

We had dinner last Saturday night, and we saw boats anchored off the beach. We confirmed with staff that we could drive up in our boat, drop anchor, and come enjoy all LuLu’s has to offer. We have several places we like to go boating, and we always look for a beach or shallow area where we can get Mac out so that he can play.

Since season has been in full force, we have avoided going to our normal places when we boat on weekends. We tend to go on shorter trips in the bay to avoid seasonal traffic on 98, and we were thrilled to find that LuLu’s is boat friendly. So, the next day, we went on our “Sunday drive” and took the boat the thirty minutes over to LuLu’s, anchored up, set up the floating island, and played. We went in and got lunch for McCarty, and APG and I split an appetizer. It was the perfect blend of beautiful sunshine, delicious food, refreshing drinks, fun live music (again), and the perfect company on the bay side of Destin.

Cardio? Playlist, Play On!

Wake me up before you go, go because I’m going to arise and win! Last night we were maniacs, maniacs on the floor and wild in the streets and went to bed singing drunken lullabies, but it’s good morning, Baltimore because here comes the sun burining like the eye of the tiger and it’s time to get physical, physical. We can’t stop the beat on our way to vacation – it’s all I ever wanted! Time for our surfin’ safari (yeah-oooo), surfin’ safari and we load our boards on top of Greased Lightnin’ and head to destiny – it’s calling me and it opens up my eager eyes to the reality that at 6:00 a.m., we’re the kings of Kilburn High. And, please, don’t you…forget about me. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t….

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” ~ Victor Hugo


Where on this beautiful, green and blue planet was my Nano iPod? Ten years ago, this thing was hot! I knew I was on the cutting edge of music devices because I had asked experts of technology the question: “I need an ipod music thingy to play my music when I run. What should I get?”

“The NANO!” Some of my high school students nearly jumped out of their seats to advise me and sell me on why it was the best and why I should get it and what its features were and who had one and who was getting one because that’s what darling, young rays of sunshine – teenage high schoolers – do whenever their English teacher asks an off-topic question…or when there is a fly or any sort of insect in the room.

Recently, after my husband had resurrected my Nano that I thought was dead – by plugging it in and charging it – I lost it. Couldn’t find it anywhere. And I needed it to start my, ahem, interval training…on the elliptical. I only have 12 pounds I want to knock off. Twelve. That’s all. Fifteen wouldn’t be bad, either. But twelve – that has been my goal. I needed that ipod with that playlist.

“My Why.”

Videos have been boring me to death. Yoga is awesome, but I needed cardio. Lower back issues keep me from running. So I am going hard-core, man. The elliptical.

“Shock your body,” APG, my hubby, tells me. “Go down to the gym and run-”

“Run?”

“Glide. On the elliptical. Interval training.

Awesome. Great idea. Where is my Ipod? I need it to get started on this.

Gone.

I am a first time iPhone user and haven’t loaded any music onto the phone, yet, so while on the elliptical, searching my YouTube app for running playlists, I was thoroughly unmotivated by bland, boring electronic music. Seriously? I already agree with Fat Amy – I am all about the horizontal running. (Check out the Anna Kendrick flick Pitch Perfect if you’ve been living under a rock the last eight years.)

I mean, who wants to do cardio? I don’t like the during, but I love the after. I want to be fit, not skinny. I want to keep up with my kid. I want to hike, surf, paddle board, and kayak. But, I don’t “like” cardio, lemme tell ya. And the monotonous hum of that electronic music was not for me. I needed my playlist to get going again! Next, I searched 80s/90s running playlist. First song up: “Whip it Good.” Okay…um…no.

I tried to watch the tickertape on the tv. The news. Instead of good music, I listened to the sound of my own breathing. I was approaching the 10 minute mark. Time to kick it up a notch. How was I going to get through 40 minutes?

Then it hit me: Fun music? Upbeat music? Soundtracks: movies and musicals! One YouTube search later, and I was pumping my arms and gliding along like a champ listening to the Riff Off and the finale from the first Pitch Perfect movie. Soon I was singing “Good Morning Baltimore and You Can’t Stop the Beat with Tracy Turnbald in Hairspray, Abba’s tunes in Mama Mia, and Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake from Trolls. No, not out loud. But I wanted to sing like I was center stage on Broadway. I refrained.

Keepin’ up with the kiddo!

I soared through that first day, and I’ve been going ever since for the last few weeks. As with exercise or any goal you really want to accomplish, so much of it is mental. There was a time when I could kill a cardio workout without music during my running years. But boy! Having your jams to kick your booty in gear sure does help especially when your incorporating a different form of cardio again into your workout.

A beautiful sight: rain outside the gym window!

So, whatever that thing is that is preventing you from meeting your health and fitness goals, pump up your playlist and get going. Whether it’s running or walking inside or outside, working out in front of your tv at home, or hitting those weights or machines in the gym, find your rhythm and get your move on.


Oh, and my Nano did turn up. APG found it for me in our cube stereo. I would’ve never looked for it there. So, time to update that little gem and enjoy my old favorites!