Introspective Adventurer

Aging on my terms - Daily musings in 500 words or so

Category: blog (page 1 of 20)

Sometimes the journey is the destination

This past weekend, John and I decided it was time to get the big bike out and go for a long ride. The last few months have been chilly and rainy and we missed our fun outings on that big beamer.

So we packed a couple of overnight bags and since there was a thick marine layer lingering in the early afternoon, we headed up an over the San Marcos Pass looking for sunshine.

As we crested the summit, making our way through the fog it felt like we were riding with the clouds, and I was glad I had bundled up for the ride.

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If you win the rat race are you still a rat? – How Instagram and Facebook have become the new rat race

I have found myself running a race on a treadmill, and I am going to step off.

When I started my blog two years ago, I knew I wanted to start a Facebook page and Instagram account to have a platform to share my blog. For the most part, it worked wonderfully.

I have close to 20,000 followers between all mediums.

But those followers came at a cost that I wasn’t prepared for. It turned out that writing my blog was the easy part, but social media would be a bigger challenge.

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Ding, Ding, Ding went the Trolley

What is the difference between streetcars with cables, cable cars, trolleys and trolley tours?

Turns out, a lot.

Whenever John and I travel, we rarely do any of the typical tourist stuff. Mostly because we like the road less traveled, but also because we are not fans of big crowds.

But last week while tagging along with John on a work trip, I decided to go “full tourist” for a couple of days in San Francisco.

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The meaning of Memorial Day

For many families, Memorial Day is a somber day of remembrance.

I don’t pretend to understand how devastating it is for military families who lose a loved one. Luckily all of my brothers came home, and my son too.

The closest I came to experiencing it (or ever want to) was in September 2014.

My son was stationed on the USS Carl Vinson as an F-18 Fighter pilot. He was tasked with leaving his family; his wife and two small daughters, to put himself in harms way in service of our country.

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How to throw the best photo themed 60th birthday party ever

Birthday parties are a lot of fun and a lot of work. I have known for a long time that I wanted a big birthday party to celebrate my 60th year, and it turned out to be more than I could have hoped for.

Everyone pitched in to create exactly what I dreamed of, and friends and family who couldn’t attend made sure I felt loved and honored as well.

My son, Adam created the invitation for me.

The invitation!
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Counting up to 60 and what I’ve learned – decade six

I breathed a big sigh of relief when I turned 50. My 40’s had been some pretty rough years.

Oprah reached that milestone five years ahead of me. She showed the world that 50 was just the beginning of some of our best years, and I felt a complete kinship to her because of that.

But even fortified by Oprah’s example, my 50th year didn’t go as well as I had hoped. That year saw the end of my short-lived marriage, and for the first time I was completely alone.

Which is exactly what I needed.

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Counting up to 60 and what I learned – decade five

Have you ever seen the movie, Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts? While I can’t relate to her running at the altar, I can relate to the fact that she didn’t know who she was and kept modeling her behavior after whichever man she was with at the time.

There is a scene in the movie when her tormenter (the next guy) says she doesn’t even know how she likes her eggs because she just orders whatever her guy orders. I may have known exactly how I liked my eggs, but I didn’t have a clear understanding of who I was or more importantly what I wanted.

At 40, I was divorced and in a relationship with a saddle maker. So of course, I was a saddle maker too. He happened to be half Native American, and I jumped in headlong learning everything I could about my native heritage.

Me as a saddle maker
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Counting up to 60 and what I learned – decade four

I’ve heard it said that a grain of sand can tip the scale, but in my opinion it is the pile of sand before it that rarely gets the attention. By the time I reached 40 I felt like I was in a constant struggle to climb the dune I had created.

Turning 30 was fun and I was sure I had everything figured out, at least on the outside. I was married with two kids and very content with my day-to-day life. Things got even better when we bought a little 20-acre farm on the outskirts of town.

I’ve written many times before that I grew up on a farm, and when my boys were entering grade school I had the strongest desire for them to experience country life. The run-down, cat-infested place we purchased turned out to be the best place to let a couple of boys roam and discover things on their own.

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Counting up to 60 and what I learned – decade three

I find it interesting that reaching a certain age holds more significance than other ages. For me, turning 20 was important. I was no longer a teenager and somehow felt more grown-up.

Things quickly fell into place when I moved to Bend, Oregon. I found a great job working for someone who would end up being a life-long friend, I had a nice apartment and best of all I had a fun convertible sports car.

I was a bonafide adult, or at least I thought so.

Me at 20 in my Spitfire
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Counting up to 60 and what I learned – the second decade

I remember thinking when my oldest son turned 10, in the same amount of time he will be a man. The decade between 10 and 20 holds so many changes, and I was no exception to the rule.

I have shared before that my mom died when I was 11, and that I think of my life as “before she died” and “after she died”. The few years after her death were some of my hardest.

Not only was I dealing with the loss of my mother but by 12 my period started and my emotions were all over the board. I was either completely lost in thought or crying.

Puberty can be hell for so many of us and my personal experience was compounded by loss and sorrow. Worst of all, about the only thing I knew about having a period was I had to use those giant pads from the 1960’s my mom had used.

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Counting up to 60 and what I’ve learned – The first decade

I was born in 1959 in a little town in Northern California. While that is probably not very significant, the fact that I was my mother’s ninth child, my father’s tenth child and my parents’ fifth child together is significant. I know, confusing right?

Me at 10 months old. My Mom crocheted that bedspread

From the moment I can remember anything about my life, I was surrounded by lots of people. Not only did I have a bunch of siblings but I also had many cousins. There was always someone to play with.

My parents were hardworking people who made their living off the land.

As a matter of fact, my father’s occupation is on my birth certificate. Ranch hand. I find it interesting that my dad’s profession was necessary on my birth certificate. In a way, I have been “classed” from the beginning. 

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Introducing the Introspective Adventurer

The countdown to 60 is nearly over!

I had this great plan to come up with a new name and have a blog post ready and everything in place on May 10th, and I was on track to do it. Only Instagram doesn’t let us hold a name.

Let me back up. I have known for a while that I would change my blog name and social media names after turning 60. I was given wise counsel that I could risk losing followers, and people may have a hard time finding me. After all; I have built a name as “Countdown to 60”, but I still wanted a change.

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The third ingredient

By the time we reach 50 years old, most of us are pretty set in our ways. We know what we like and don’t like, we know just how things should be done and we certainly don’t need someone else mucking things up in our lives.

So getting married after 50 can have some challenges, especially for those of us who like to do things our own way.

Enter John and Loretta.

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First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…

The day after our wedding we left our hotel in San Francisco to go explore the city. It was a beautiful spring day, and we were excited to spend the day together as husband and wife.

Our wedding was everything we hoped it to be, and we were still on a love-high we wanted to bask in for as long as possible. 

Our wedding at San Francisco City Hall

My phone rang as we stepped out onto the sidewalk and I answered immediately. My son and daughter-in-law were due to have daughter number two any day, and we were happily assigned to take care of daughter number one while they were at the hospital.

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National Tartan Day

National Tartan Day was Saturday, April 6th, which was also my mother’s and younger brother’s birthdays, so I am a little late to the party. But I can’t pass up the opportunity to share a post about this day and its past.

History tells us it was April 6, 1320, when The Scottish Declaration of Independence was signed. Interestingly, our own declaration of independence was modeled after that very document with nearly half the signers being of Scottish descent.

It wasn’t until 1998 that the U.S. Senate made April 6th National Tartan Day and the day is now celebrated throughout the country.

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The Yellow Brick Road

You know when you have so much you want to do you don’t know where to start, so you don’t do anything at all?

Yeah, that has been me for the last few months. My mind is so filled with ideas and things I want to do and yet each day goes by and I haven’t accomplished even one thing.

Worse yet, I cannot seem to make up my mind either.

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A sense of loss

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind for me. I cut my hair short; we went north to San Francisco to celebrate our anniversary, we went south to Murrieta courtesy of Explore Murrieta and then we spent last weekend celebrating our granddaughter’s 6th birthday.

Whew, I’m tired just writing that.

I shared my last two weeks on social media and out of everything I posted, getting my hair cut got the most attention. Especially when one week after cutting it super short, I shared that I had major regrets about it.

The overwhelming response was encouragement and support. A few pretty much told me to get over it as it will grow back. To which I wanted to respond, “Duh.” That was not the point of sharing my fear and remorse.

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

I am delighted to be nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by my friend, Hilda Smith of Over the Hilda.

I first “met” Hilda on Facebook almost two years ago. And when John and I went to Ireland last spring, we were lucky enough to get to meet Hilda and her husband, Graham in person.

I have thoroughly enjoyed following Hilda’s blog and I am excited to share it with you.

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A promise…

John and I got married on a Monday afternoon at San Francisco City Hall. There was no set-up or tear-down of decorations or chairs. There were no arches adorned with greenery and flowers. We didn’t have a rehearsal dinner because there was nothing to rehearse.

Instead we met John’s family and my best friend and her husband at City Hall at 3:30 in the afternoon on March 13, 2013 and stood before Judge Betty in the magnificent rotunda and both said “I do.”

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St. Patrick’s Day in San Francisco

My favorite thing about planning our wedding was the celebration the night before.

We found a beautiful boutique hotel in San Francisco called Hotel Majestic.  I thought it was a fitting tribute to our wedding at City Hall with its turn of the century Edwardian architecture. 

Hotel Majestic

I felt like royalty walking through the doors into the marble tiled lobby. This beautiful old hotel was built in 1902 and is one of the few buildings that survived the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fires that devastated so much of this amazing city.

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