Fitness Virtual Challenge – IRELAND

January 2021 – The start of a new year, it’s time for a fitness challenge.

My girlfriend was on Facebook and found this Run West Ireland – Cancer Fundraiser – Virtual Challenge. It was a no brainer to sign up. We love Ireland, happy to donate to cancer and need to exercise. A win/win all around.

Here’s how it works. Race Duration: January 18 – May 31. Miles: 502; however, you can sign up to do less. Doing the math, as I signed up for the 502 miles, it seems I need to walk about 5 miles a day. It’s hard to find 1.5 hours a day to devote to exercise, but that will be the challenge.

They have a Facebook group page, which is nice. So, there is some camaraderie and then other perks along the way. I clocked my 5.6 miles in today. Feeling good.

So the race begins!

Time to laugh a little…

I needed a laugh today, so sharing this clip of Bill Geist (journalist/retired), trying to do Christmas like Martha Stewart. I know, Christmas isn’t for another 11 months, but this was the first clip I viewed and it made me chuckle. Hope it brightens your day too.

Oh, come on, you are going to LOVE the wreath he makes, tree decorating, cookies — OH MY GOSH!

Have a nice weekend!

New Puzzle -> New Audio Book

In December, after a snow storm, longing for the beach, I decided it was time for a new puzzle. A purchase that should have taken 15-20 minutes turned into 2 hours of searches. As I wasn’t sure what type of puzzle I wanted, my search took me in all sorts of directions.

Did I want to spend time making a puzzle of Italy, cupcakes, stamps, Ireland, doors, dogs, Spain, so many choices. Nothing seemed appealing, until I came upon this simple beach scene that reminded me of my childhood days on Lake Michigan. BINGO! I smiled and made my purchase.

I enjoy doing puzzles while listening to an audio book. When my puzzle FINALLY arrived, it was not in stock, so a 2 day delivery turned into a 4 week wait, I headed to the online library. I like books by Jeffrey Archer; unfortunately, so do other people, wait times were way too long.

As I searched for alternative books, I came across this book, by Phaedra Patrick, “The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.” I liked the cover and the title made me smile. I decided to give the book a try. So far, so good. It’s an interesting story about a man whose wife died and he finds a charm bracelet she had which he had never seen before. Wthout spoiling the story, I think you can tell where this tale is headed — YES?!

The key to any great audio book is the narrator. A good narrator can give a book a 5 Star rating. This narrator, James Langton, doesn’t disappoint. He uses such funny voices for the different characters, it’s a joy to listen to him.

I just started. On the puzzle, I always start with the border first, then I try to find something easy to make, like the pink surf board, so I feel a sense of accomplishment at the “get go.” Next the umbrella AND then to find out WHERE Arthur goes in discovering the story behind his late wife’s charm bracelet.

Clever story idea. Don’t they say everyone has a secret even long term marriages, 50+ years, where life seemed rather dull and routine, suddenly a secret is revealed. The other amusing part of this book is how children are used to their parents being a certain boring way and when something changes, and they see their parent with energy or enjoying life — they don’t like it! The children suddenly become suspicious of their parent and their new life motives! LOL

Let’s see where this story goes… Personally, I want to see Arthur start enjoying life!

2021 – Heading outdoors. Have you heard of the Origami Paddler?

I came across this new paddle board / kayak invention by Tim Neimeir. He’s been in the kayak industry for years. Visit his site, Origami Paddler, to learn more about him. He’s had great success on Kickstarter.

I’d like to learn paddle boarding and kayaking this year. I’ve kayaked, but haven’t tried paddle boarding. I’m exploring what boards are out there to purchase that are easy to put in my car and carry.

I just bought two wonderful Paddling magazines. Life is interesting. When we put something that we want out to the Universe, suddenly we attract information on it.

Right now, it’s too COLD for boating in Chicago, but I’ve got to formulate a plan for Spring.

How about YOU? What is your big outdoor goal for this year?

With COVID, I was reading that bikes and kayaks were sold out. Even indoor bikes and treadmills have been back ordered. So, the sporting / exercising industry is changing, getting a boost and coming up with NEW ideas for how we can eat healthy and exercise in or outdoors.

2021 – On to the big adventure.

Merry Christmas — It’s all in the photo…

This has been an interesting Christmas. My family does not exchange gifts, but every once in a while, if we see something that we KNOW the other person would like —> WE SEND IT!

My sister surprised me with some pretty cups/dishes. I was taking a picture to show her they arrived. Look what happened in the photo. Somehow, the lighting turned into a smiley face.

So funny. It was EXACTLY how I was feeling, SUPER HAPPY!

Life is far from perfect for any of us right now. We are all suffering in some way or another. These little surprises, when we least expect them, they LIFT our spirits.

We are inspired to pay it forward. Now, it is our turn to send a card, gift or flowers to someone in our lives to lift their spirits too. This process works! It feels good to receive and to give.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas!

Happy Holidays too!

A Christmas Surprise at the mailbox

Who said that Santa Claus was on lockdown and would not deliver presents this year?

Look what I received in the mail for my Christmas tree.

COVID has challenged us this year, but it has also made us more “thoughtful.” The old fashioned way through the mail. I mean the Post Office rather than our Inbox.

Imagine my surprise, when I ONLY receive bills in the mail, to find a package on my door step. I felt like I was 8 years old again.

WOW – I double checked to make sure I had gotten the name right. YES, it was for ME.

A clever ornament. A snowman, s’mores and coffee – PERFECT!

There’s still time for ALL of us to send that SPECAL SURPRISE to someone.

I have to work fast…

Pay this JOY forward and make “someone else” HAPPY!

Exercise… Chicago – 30°F, gotta walk and surfers have to surf!

This morning, I was determined to get my walk done. I knew it was cold outside. I opened the door to see “how cold” it really was. About 30 degrees Fahrenheit, for sure, I needed a hat.

Walking at 7:15 AM, my hands were cold. Note to self, gloves not working. Scarf, hat, leggings – all good, but need to prepare for colder temps. Quite a few people walking or running, so I was not alone. Motivation for the next few days.

Imagine my surprise when I saw surfers out on Lake Michigan. I would have LOVED to ask them how they felt when they came out. How warm do wet suits keep them, but it was TOO COLD to wait around. Next time, I will ask.

I did get lovely photographs of the icicles — AMAZING!

Proud of myself, got my walk in. Got to walk rain, snow or shine, right! Otherwise, with COVID we will gain more than the estimated 15 lbs. Don’t want that!

I hope to go sledding this year. Stay tuned for that. I’d be happy if snow didn’t come until February. These temperatures are just right for walking — not tooooo cold.

Happy Exercising Everyone! (I hope I guilted you into walking today…)

Bird watching in Michigan…

This weekend my girlfriend filled up her bird feeder and had a lot of birds visiting. She got this great picture of one of them. I think he is a little sparrow? Who knows a lot about birds?

I told her I need a NEW bird photo for my Blog, so she has to keep taking photos. I would LOVE to have a cardinal. The cardinal is Indiana’s state bird. They are so beautiful in red and look lovely around the holidays when it snows. Here is what the cardinal looks like. A bluejay would be nice too.

Wishing you all a — HAPPY THANKSGIVING!