A friend of mine said this to me the other day. She said, “My soul is tired.” And I felt that right to my core.
That feeling that you are just over it- over the hatefulness, the competition, the resentments, past mistakes, future concerns… just all of it.
I think if you haven’t gotten there yet, trust me, it is coming.
I feel that way currently. I’m probably better off than some, but I do believe I am at that point in my life where I just want to be happy.
I’m tired of trying to achieve. I’m so over it. I’m tired of defending myself to others. Never felt it was needed, which makes it extra difficult to deal with. I’m just tired. To the very bone… and past the bone. Deep in my soul.
I spent the night on the couch last night because I’ve been having trouble sleeping and I didn’t want my tossing and turning to wake Tim up. Before I drifted off, I prayed for a very long time. I event, sort of, gave myself a hug. Self-soothing, if you will. Something I have done most of my life.
I got to thinking of all of the bullshit so many of us put up with and honestly, dish out on a daily basis. I don’t know if it is my creeping up to 50, but… in the world of that funny lady on one of those viral videos about a fire, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
How do you self-soothe? Do you understand the soul being tired?
People like me and people in my circle like to do that. We like to radiate happiness and confidence and share what excites our soul with the world.
What excites and inspires me?
The super cool people I pick up along my almost five-decade-long journey. The friends I made at my first church as a child. My friends from Union Elementary School. My friends from Ballard A Middle School. My friends from Southwest High School. All of this was in Macon.
My friends from JC Penny & Sears in Macon. My friends from Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville. All of my Girl Scout camp counselor friends from Camp Martha Johnston. My friends from 13WMAZ TV. My friends from Girl Scouts of Middle Georgia. My friends from Birmingham. My friends from the American Heart Association. The friends I made in all of the cities I worked in: Macon, Lizella, Milledgeville, Sandersville, Gray, Eatonton, Gordon, Haddock, Hancock County, Irwinton, Gardendale, Birmingham, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Johnson City, Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile, Pensacola, Americus, Andersonville, Preston, Plains, Leslie, DeSoto, and my friends from the State of Georgia Tourism. My friends from the Tubman African American Museum. My friends from the Cannonball House. My friends from the all of the boards I have served on in so many communities. My friends from Presidential Pathways (where I was President for almost 2 years.) My friends through the RVIC program all over the state. My friends from Prince of Peace (Bham) and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (Macon. ) My family in Indiana, Ohio, & Kentucky. My family in Egypt.
Do I need to go on?
I have been accused of being a shameless self-promoter by a local professor. He says, and I quote, … Wait…
Let me just share what he said:
Now, please note. I’m not a friend of this person, nor do I have access to this on his page. It was clearly sent to me by multiple people asking the question – “Is this about you?”
Of course, I said, “I can’t imagine why?!” And went about my business. Until I received this message:
I cut out some of the names to protect people who, like me, have nothing to do with this person. I just wanted to point out that this is the perfect example of defamation of character, because it affects me professionally.
Good news: None of this would ever touch me in my Tourism world, because, my success speaks for itself. And I am a lot older than this person and know when someone is being a bully online.
It is petty, messy, and mean.
For one, I have nothing to do with this person. Do I “shamelessly” promote myself? Not necessarily myself, but I do promote the things I do. Because…. *shocker* I work in promotions. *facepalm*
Do I fight with people on & off social media? Not really. I mean, a few locals like to pick at me and try to criticize me on my personal pages and I shut them down. But that happens not on the regular. I don’t fight with businesses. The businesses get mad at Main Street and often they confuse my office with Main Street. And this is the kicker – People confuse me with my job.
On my professional page – It is all about the local area. That’s what it is.
On my personal page it is all the things I love. Please see the long list of places I have lived and worked above. Not to mention the amount of travel I have done over the years. (And it is a lot.)
What can you do? But sit back and watch people who clearly have low self-esteem get angry. I think this space is awesome and I love sharing about it, but I also love sharing about other places and people.
I don’t eat at one restaurant. I don’t drink one kind of coffee. I don’t shop at one store. I don’t just have friends that live here.
There is a whole big world out there. I will love it and live out loud.
As for the rest of you taking screen shots of my every move:
You must be a fan. 😉
Until next time….
PS – I haven’t thrown out the idea of slapping a Defamation case on this person. I’ve got the money and the time. Maybe….
This Friday I am taking some much needed to time to heal and repair myself. After almost six years of pain and lack of good exercise, I’m finally having my left knee replacement. That’s right – a total knee replacement.
I’m both looking forward and feeling quite anxious about the surgery. The idea of my knee getting sawed apart is not exactly my idea of a good time. Plus, I have always heard that bone surgery is always the most painful. The pain I am not as much scared of as knowing I’ll just have to take it day-by-day. It’s the other stuff that can go wrong: Infection, blood clots, or even… lord have mercy, issues with anesthesia.
What I am looking forward to is a time-out. A time to just find balance and look inward. Reflection is always required when taking that much time off of work. We will see… we will see.
I hope to write a little more, as I will have a lot more time. But then again, who knows! I always have the best intentions, then some how, end up doing the bare minimum. I realize I will blink and the month I plan to be home will be gone!
I have a few trips I want to share here, and I promise to get those stories out very soon.
Until then, throw a few prayers my way for a healthy and successful surgery!
I’ve been in a funk. The funkiest of funks since 2011. And that was one hell of a funk if you have been following me that long. (on the former Destination Unknown Blog.)
I ended up removing any extra things to just focus more on me – and doing it by my self. I’ve been working with the most fabulous nutritionist, someone I highly recommend to everyone. But I decided to take a little break. Why? Because I was not making any progress with myself. It was absolutely nothing she was doing – I was using her as a crutch and yes, my excuses were real, but I need to see if I can do this myself… for a bit, then revisit to take it to the next level.
I noticed a few weeks ago I was off the rails. Eating whatever I wanted, not tracking like I should and getting really snippy with everyone. Red flag. So what do I do when I catch myself spiraling? I call a therapist. Yep.
I called and made an appointment. Two hours later, I was given two assignments: 1. Scream in the car.
2. Come up with plan B.
Now what does that mean? It means stop waiting for life to happen. Start making some plans. Who do I really want to be the next 40 – 50 years (God willing.) Find things to look forward to.
And so.. I did.
I do want to be healthy. I have learned sooooo much over the past year from Sue. But I need more of a disciplined approach. So guess what I did? I signed up, again, for Weight Watchers. I’m applying the nutritional education I received from Sue and applying it to the point system to help me sort out my day. Same deal – I’m tracking my macros for myself to see if I am getting a balanced diet, but I am also just entering the foods to see when it is time to pull back. Week one – I have lost 4 pounds. Probably mainly water, but hey – I am focused and eating a VERY balanced meal. For example, tonight I am making Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas and a pot of zero point, slow cooked bean dip for some whole grain tortillas. All whole foods, nothing processed but the tortillas and a whole lot of good. I’m doing it. Sue would be so proud. This week I have meal planned and found delicious new recipes. I’m going to be okay on that front.
This is what is depressing me. Every time I start to feel better, my knee flames up. This is making a full body workout almost impossible. Which is causing me issues. Luckily, my pool opens up in two weeks, however, I’m back to the doctor next week. I may end up having to have one of my knees scoped.
Updates – no lupus or RA – or at least I haven’t been called. I was told by my doc that if it was positive they would call. If not, we would just have our face-to-face on Tuesday. That’s good news. One more test – for Lyme. Anything is possible.
As for Plan B. Hmmm… well, Tim and I are in the process of turning our backyard into our little oasis. We are just waiting for some stocks to be cashed in and then you will see! Also, we have an idea for our first investment and I can’t wait to reveal what that is. I suspect that will happen before Fall!
Yes, we have been discussing retirement. I told him it is easier for me to plan for retirement, if I knew what that looked like. So we have been dreaming a little more lately. My whole idea behind my off-season travel blog and potentially coaching small businesses on buzz marketing, strategic planning, and team-building and a whole lot more is finally started to take shape in my head.
I’m truly looking forward to the future.
I just need to be a little more selfish with my time, a little more picky with the gossip I let in my head, and a little more goal oriented and I will be the best version of me.
Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo? Track twenty nine, boy you can gimme a shine I can afford to board a Chattanooga Choo Choo I’ve got my fare and just a trifle to spare You leave the Pennsylvania station ’bout a quarter to four Read a magazine and then you’re in Baltimore Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer Than to have your ham ‘n’ eggs in Carolina When you hear the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar Then you know that Tennessee is not very far Shovel all the coal in, gotta keep it rollin’ Woo, woo, Chattanooga, there you are There’s gonna be a certain party at the station Satin and lace, I used to call funny face She’s gonna cry until I tell her that I’ll never roam
This is the final chapter of my Chattanooga experience!
Our last full day in Chattanooga was Saturday. We woke up to a fairly dry morning and made our way over to the main house on Little Tails Farm in Dunlap, TN.
Part of the Airbnb experience included an opportunity to pet, feed, and play with the miniature animals on the farm. I. Was. In. Heaven.
A Great Pyrenes greeted us upon arrival, and yes, we were allowed behind the fence!
I petted a pig for the very first time.
And was nibbled by a miniature horse.
After we left the main house, we went back to shower and change since we got a little muddy with the animals and no sooner did we get back, but the cos outside of our tiny house came to visit.
I FINALLY got to pet a Hairy Coo!!!!
After my magical moments with the cows, we got dressed and headed back into Chattanooga and visited the Selfie Museum. Yes, that is totally a thing.
To say that Tim was NOT comfortable at the museum would be an understatement.
But somehow I talked him into participating. Here are just a few of the shots we took.
After the museum, we headed next door to a French shop and I purchased a gorgeous red wool beret.
I’m kind of at the Fuck You point in my life. You know what I mean?
That – “Stop being so damned sensitive and learn to laugh at yourself and at life.”
Remember the lyrics from Indigo Girls:
I’m trying to tell you something ’bout my life Maybe give me insight between black and white And the best thing you ever done for me Is to help me take my life less seriously It’s only life after all, yeah
I am dealing with some serious issues. I was being checked this morning for RA or Lupus. Lots of pain in my body, inflammatory issues – the works. It’s April Fools Day and I always make a joke about maybe being pregnant. I just happened to be at the hospital, dealing with my own issues and thought I would make a joke.
That’s what I do.
Why would I think this would be hilarious to joke ? I forget these folks around here have no idea what a loaded issue this used to be for me.
News Flash: I had to remove my body parts due to cancerous cells.
Come on, folks…. Let’s laugh a little.
Life is only as painful and as hurtful as you make it. I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. You know?
With that being said, I’m just a little sick of the level of “wokeness” people are exhibiting. Look – around here it is one of two extremes: Racist, homophobic jerks, or super sensitive, overly whiney folks.
I just can’t anymore. Not. Any. More.
Life is waaaay too short for me to be worrying. I’m going to live. And live well.
With that being said:
Nutrition: About to be taken up a notch.
Exercise: About to be taken up a notch… just super carefully. I wonder if I can find a trainer that deals in achey people?
Mental Health: You best believe I am taking that up a notch!
Spirituality: Always on point. Sure, I curse a little. It’s what makes me special.
Part 3 of Chattanooga will probably be posted this afternoon. Got a BIG, huge day! Events going until well after nine pm tonight and tomorrow is the BIG festival all day.
Even though I ache, even though life has kicked my ass over and over again, even though, even though, even THOUGH – I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.
On Friday, February 25th, Tim and I awoke to the sound of cows mooing in the field right outside of our tiny house window in Dunlap, Tennessee! We made a little coffee and went outside to greet this hair coo and start our day off right!
Friday was our actual five-year wedding anniversary! We exchanged gifts early that morning. I was given this beautiful bamboo tea tumbler, a wooden massager for my legs, and a beautiful leather, personalized recipe notebook.
Five years of marriage symbolizes stability and flexibility – like wood. Wood is the symbol of the commitment at this point in our lives. I had some of my favorite photos of us from our today, our wedding and our honeymoon in Paris transferred to a piece of wood to hang on his office wall. He loved it!
Rock City is one of those attractions that requires you to pre-register for a ticket online, however the ticket is good for the entire day. We got there right before 11 am and began our exploration.
Rock City features massive ancient rock formations, gardens with over 400 native plant species, and breathtaking “See 7 States” panoramic views. Guests can take an unforgettable journey along the Enchanted Trail where each step reveals natural beauty and wonders along the woodland path.
We even got to see the magic of Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village.
The entire experience takes about 2 hours, if you run through it fairy fast. There are restaurants and shops at the beginning/end of the trail and completely worth stopping by.
The hike is easy to moderate. Some areas you might have to step up or squeeze through, but even with my bad knees, I was able to enjoy it fully.
There are several benches along the way for visitors to take a break, if the need arises.
What is the best part about Rock City? The views!!!
Mixed with a little adventure.
After Rock City, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed over to the Incline Railway. Again, this attraction requires online ticket purchases before arriving and their times are exact. We went at 1:30 pm.
At the bottom Incline station in St. Elmo, you will find a great collection of unique shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Some of the things you’ll find are microbrewery tours, fresh flowers, homemade candlemaking, unique coffee, indoor climbing wall, fresh-made burritos, outdoor local dining, hand-dipped ice cream, nostalgic clothing or relax with a massage.
What makes the incline railway a must-see is the fact that it is a Funicular Railway. Also known as an inclined plane or cliff railway, a funicular railway normally solves the problem of transporting people up extremely steep slopes. They’ve been used for hundreds of years and are an extraordinary feat of ingenuity.
After the Incline Railway, we made our way around the block to the Naughty Cat Cafe! This was a bucket list item for me! I have always wanted to experience hanging out in a cafe, petting cats and relaxing to good music – and that is exactly what we did!
The funny thing is, I really thought it might be a strip club, up until we pulled up and it was confirmed with that sandwich board sign!
The cost to visit is $15 a person and booking includes a complimentary, non-alcoholic beverage. Beer and baked goods are available for purchase. Walk-ins are welcome if space allows, but reservations are highly recommended. We recommend booking in advance to ensure a spot. The last booking is one hour prior to closing.
According to the website:
Naughty Cat Cafe is one of the largest cat cafes in the world. We serve as a big foster home for our local shelters. We always have at least 30 adoptable rescue cats hanging out in fancy lounges full of posh furniture, art from around the world, and jazz music. All the cats are up for adoption and while adoption is the goal it is most certainly not the expectation. Many people just come to enjoy the cats and give them love and attention they might not otherwise receive in the shelter.
While it does say “cafe” in the name, the local health department asks that they not cook with 30 cats running around. They do offer a large selection of baked goods prepared especially for them by a local bakery.They also have organic, locally roasted coffee, hot teas and a host of non-alcoholic drinks as well as over 30 local beers, hard ciders, sours and seltzers.
We had the absolute best time socializing the cats and giving them all of the pets. Please note: This place had ZERO smell and was extremely clean. It was an awesome experience for both of us!
After spending time with the cats, we went shopping at the moon pie store and a few candy shops. For dinner we headed over to Urban Stack for some juicy burgers for our anniversary dinner. That’s right – no fuss, no muss with us!
Finally, we made it back to the farm and our tiny house to visit with the hairy coos!
Tim got a fire going for us and we just relaxed by the fire enjoying the night, knowing we had another big day in Chattanooga for our Saturday!
Stay tuned for our next adventure – this time we will head to a distillery, selfie museum, and a delicious seafood restaurant!
Look, I know I need to finish my Chattanooga blog experience. I know.
I pick up my laptop each night and I start to write something and I think to myself, “Just do it tomorrow, when you are in the mood.”
I haven’t been in the best place mentally. It is all work related and I’m exhausted.
For the record, I am going to be fine. Everything, technically, is fine – I just have to stick it out and make some changes.
For one, I need to not allow toxic, negative people affect how I do business. I recently had some photos taken of various people doing various activities in town. These photos are meant to show the diverse audience we attract.
Apparently there is someone out there (and yes, I know who it is,) stirring things up. Asking questions like, “Are these the type of people we want to bring to our area?”
Looking for an awesome experience and cheap vacay? Then look no further than following the next four days on Destination: Unknown! Today we are headed to Chattanooga, Tennessee, but first – we stop off in Warm Springs.
Tim and I got off work and decided to head out a little early and stay in Warm Springs, Georgia, which happens to be about an hour and a half from Plains. We stopped in Columbus to use our gift card for Buffalo Wild Wings. THIS is one of our cheap hacks: If you have any gift cards for restaurants, use them when you travel! It cuts down on your total bill. What should have cost us $40 ended up being $24 (including a tip.)
After dinner, we headed toward Warm Springs. We would have driven straight, but something to note: most of the restaurants in the area would have been closed when we arrived, so we decided stopping in Columbus was the best idea.
Located just an hour south of Atlanta, the town of Warm Springs is nestled among the rolling hills and the naturally heated waters made famous by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Take a step back in time and experience our Southern charm and hospitality. History is evident in the 100-year-old restored buildings. On the bustling Main Street and through the alleyways you will find additional courtyard charms, which provide a unique shopping experience. We offer food to please all tastes, including the world-famous Bulloch House with its fried green tomatoes and buffet.
Located on the southern end of town is the Little White House, where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spent his happiest times with those who loved him the most. We are proud to offer two museums in our town that chronicle FDR’s life in Georgia, detail the history of our Victorian era town and let visitors feel the famous and natural warm springs. Not a month goes by without a festival or innovative program taking place in Warm Springs.
I chose the Aiden by Bestwestern on White House Parkway. I went to hotels.com and discovered I had a free night. Another travel hack is to use a service that provides reward nights. Hotel.com gives you a free night valued up to $200 every ten bookings. I always use it (if I can) for work travel and I ended up getting one free night. Our hotel room, with a patio & view was $197. All we had to pay was the $5 state fee. In other words – our first night of travel was close to $30.
What I liked most about this hotel was the very beautifully constructed pavilion/gazebo right outside of our hotel room. Tim and I went out there and sipped our coffee and just enjoyed the cool breeze. We couldn’t see the view of the valley below, but were told the views were phenomenal.
The pool and fire pit on the property were really beautiful, also.
The cons to the Aiden: The bar was not really a bar. The vending machine only offered sodas. (I needed water so bad!) The breakfast bar that was promised in the booking was sort of side. But, at the end of the day – it really wasn’t that big of a deal. We were on the road by 8am and had just enough protein to get us going!
Pros: The room was very large and the bed was very comfortable.
I have noticed this trend with hotels – Barn doors to the bathroom. I am not a fan. I feel it sort of takes away any privacy you might desire.
Otherwise, the hotel was perfect for a quick stop over before heading northward.
The next morning, we drove the 3.5 hours north to Chattanooga, only stopping to use the bathroom at a Q.T. (Because, well… it is a QT!)
Finding parking in this area was a piece of cake. We parked along a little bridge and walked about half a block to this courtyard. We chose Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria. Since Tim has been doing low-carb and was in the mood to carb load, we opted for the perfect option!
The restaurant is adorable and has gorgeous views of the river. I can only imagine how beautiful it is at night and more so in the Spring time.
Tim opted for the Create Your Own Pasta option.
Tim loves Italian sausage and mushrooms. I am pretty sure that is just some of what was in the bowl!
I went for the spaghetti carbonara. I barely ate a quarter of it! My recommendation is to purchase a pasta and split it with your friend! If so, lunch would have been around $15. However, we spent closer to $45 for lunch. Which included delicious home-baked bread with cheese and olive oil.
The food was absolutely delicious! I highly recommend this place. We carb-loaded and then decided to tackle the day. Luckily, we would have enough fuel for a long day of walking!
After lunch, we walked right outside and found the sculpture garden. This is a free public art instillation in Chattanooga.
We spent about half an hour just checking out the beautiful works of art and snapping photos along the river. Afterwards, we decided to move the car just a little closer to the museums we would be touring later.
It is important to know that during the pandemic, all of the tourist attractions were requiring us to pre-book and purchase tickets – they are timing and spacing the amount of people allowed in the building. We were able to purchase the museum tickets and luckily, we could use them at any point that day. We headed over, used an app to park (which I highly recommend,) then headed over. We were asked to mask up and we took about 1.5 hours to explore the museum.
One of the things I really liked about the museum was the various sculpture installations right outside of the museum.
These are just a few of my favorite pieces I saw at the museum.
Admission to the museum is $20 a person. We spent $40 total.
They have a wonderful gift shop that had this old cigarette machine that spit out original works of art!
I bought a $5 token from the gift shop hostess.
Selected my favorite option, pulled the level and BOOM!
Pretty cool, huh?
After the museum, we walked down toward the Walnut Street bridge and grabbed some ice cream.
I grabbed some vanilla frozen yogurt and added white chocolate chips and fresh strawberries. It was delish!
After we quenched out sweet tooth, we got in the car and drove a few blocks to the Tennessee Aquarium. The aquarium does require time slots, we opted for 2:30 pm.
We started on the River side and made our way over to the Ocean side.
The cost to attend the Tennessee Aquarium is $34.95 a person. We added the IMAX option for additional $8 a piece.
It took us almost 2 hours to get through the entire museum.
After we finished up, we crossed the street to go to the IMAX movie theater.
We chose to see Antarctica on the IMAX. It was absolutely amazing and well worth it. Just know this – whale poop is going to save the world!
After the movie we drove across the river and headed to the neighborhood Whole Foods. We decided to get a wide range of nibbles and enjoy a little time outside at our next stop!
Just where did we stay?
Dunlap, Tennessee at Little Tails Farm in the Highland Cottage, also known as a tiny house! We spent $86 a night, with zero cleaning fee. What a deal!
We drove the 45 miles to Dunlap and up Cagle Mountain (which was an absolutely beautiful drive!) Great water falls all along the way.
This is the space we stayed in. It is 8 x 16 and on 60+ acres.
This is the view when you walk in the door. Small kitchen to the right, bathroom to the right and living area right in front.
I booked the space through Airbnb. I typed in unique stays and found the perfect fit for us.
We slept upstairs in the loft.
The stairs were not steep, however, they do not have a hand rail, so I definitely recommend being careful!
Once we arrived, it started drizzling and we had a super hard time starting a fire. After about 30 minutes of trying, we just gave up and headed to nibble our goodies and chat. Tim was exhausted from driving and trying to unwind from work and life and we both tried to sleep upstairs. The owners were kind enough to keep the heater on for us, but we got too hot. I headed downstairs and opened the windows and slept on the couch. It was super soft and perfect for someone my height. So, yeah, might not have been the most romantic night, but it was cozy!
It was a jam-packed day and well spent! Stay tuned for Friday’s fun!
The struggle bus has parked and I think the brakes need fixing.
I spent yesterday morning at my doctor’s office. The idea was to chat with my team about how to decrease the inflammation and lose weight. Something I have been attempting to do for a very, very long time. Especially after the November acute pancreatitis issue, I have been working so incredibly hard to shed the pounds. The very pounds that could kill me.
I lost almost 30 pounds.
I have gained every single one of them back.
I work with a nutritionist and the information I have garnered and implemented has me feeling fantastic. I did see a little decrease in inflammation and I did have more energy. My skin looks better and I was just in a better place with anxiety.
But the inflammation is STILL there, so I called in the big guns. My internal medicine team.
What did they do? They looked at my numbers. Blood pressure: perfect. Cholesterol: good. A1C: good. Liver enzymes: Good. Weight: bad.
They took my age, my activity level, and all of the other information and turned me into a number. That number is 1,200. That’s how many calories I need to consume to lose weight.
My nutritionist has me at 1,625. That is what I need to nourish my cells and live a healthy lifestyle.
What is a girl to do? The struggle is real!
This is part of that journey. That #Fitby50. I’m trying to get all of the information, talk to all of the experts, and at the end of the day, I’m going to do what is best for me.
Am I frustrated? Yes.
Am I struggling? Yes.
Am I feeling over it? Yeah.
But I refuse to give up.
I’m resetting this weekend. I refuse to capture what I am eating in an app. I refuse to discuss my food or my nutrition or my exercise with anyone. I just want to be and do and feel and smile and laugh – guilt free.
I will make the right decisions for me.
But for right now, I am parking that bus and heading on out to find some peace and quiet.