People In The Air

So I have a question for you -Do you normally talk to your neighbors on airplanes or pretty much just sit down with your headphones on and pretend to go right to sleep? Personally, I usually go with the latter. But, sometimes you meet quality people when you least expect it.

Two weeks ago I was on a midday flight from Denver to JFK to meet up with the group I was vacationing with for our flight to Morocco. Due to the time difference, I had to get out of Denver earlier in the day to be in New York for our 8pm group flight. I was technically working that day so I went in early, worked for a few hours and was still clearing up some last minute items while waiting to board the plane.

When I got to my aisle seat, I had my noise-cancelling headphones on, my laptop accessible and I opened it up and continued to work as soon as we reached altitude.

As many of us do nowadays, I glanced at the two people next to me, smiled and went about my business in my own little bubble. I worked for about an hour and then bought lunch when the flight attendants came around. The older lady in the window seat got my attention and let me know the bag from the sandwich I just purchased was leaking. We swapped it out and thus, she saved me from a soggy lunch.

After I finished, I was reaching for my laptop again when the older gentleman next to me taps me and says “Before you get all set up again, I need to see a man about a horse”. I laughed and got up so he could go to the restroom. When he returned, I pulled my laptop out and started back in on my never-ending email.

A few minutes go by and he starts talking to me. So I took my headphones off and found he was commenting on Outlook and how it looked like “some other guy’s program I was sitting next to”. I showed him a few things and he thought it was terrible people had to deal with “that many emails”. That’s when I realized he had a heavy New York accent and that they must’ve been visiting Colorado. My natural curiosity set in and I asked them about their trip.

Turns out this couple has been married for 50 years, raised three kids and put them through college and now travel to see all the things they missed out on. They are in their early 70s and I was surprised as hell to find out how adventurous they are. She even went zip lining in Costa Rica a few years ago!

They were telling me how they toured around Colorado and how they tried a different ethnic restaurant every night. Their favorite was a Thai restaurant were they apparently made friends with the owner. The lady who would buy restaurants, make them profitable, sell them and then go see the world with the proceeds until it was time to do it all over again. The man was fascinated with her as she had a younger boyfriend and said “Man, she was a tiger!” with a big look in his eyes. Cracked me up.

As we talked, I found out he was Ted and she was Bobbi and that Ted had been in the fashion business and the insurance business and that Bobbi had worked at the New York Public Library in the Children’s section for over 40 years. They told me of life in the Bronx, of raising their kids and how she now wants to move to Manhattan and he hates the city. Typical, right?

Ted gave me a tip to use a car service instead of Uber when I came back (I needed to get from a hotel by JFK to LaGuardia at 4am yesterday and it ended out working perfectly). He wanted to hear about my trip when I came back and asked for my email address. I gave him one of my business cards and Bobbi was going to put in her bag. Ted took it right away and says “No, this is going in my wallet!” He was a riot.

All of this to say, I’m so glad he started talking to me – I would’ve missed out on meeting some great people. Don’t get me wrong – there are times I get on a plane and I don’t even want to look at people, let alone talk to them. But with so many people ignoring each other lately, it becomes easier and easier to just ignore them back. After all, they’re strangers.

Ted was true to his word and emailed me the next day. I sent him a reply yesterday when I got back to work and he sent me one right back. He has questions about my trip and what it was like to be in Morocco and he finished it with “it seems to be a good place to sell fence-post diggers”. And – you guessed it – I cracked up again!

The Things We Take For Granted

Colorado sunsets – here’s hoping I never take them for granted

Ever think about the things you Are lucky enough to have? Not usually. We tend to think about the things we’re working towards, or striving for or saving for. Sometimes, we think about the things we wished we had. But what usually slays me is how I’m not ever thankful for something until I don’t have it anymore.

Take last week for example. Two of my friends and I headed up to the mountains for the weekend. I woke up one morning and my right eye was freaking out. It was trying to stay shut, watered enough to fill a small glass and overall hurt like hell. This has happened a time or two since moving to Colorado since the air is so much drier – I even switched to daily contacts to ease the craziness. Which – would have worked had I ACTUALLY changed them every day. Or didn’t sleep in them. But, half of America sleeps in their contacts, right? So what’s the big deal? (This is solely based on my opinion, not facts of course.)

So I dealt with it like I normally do. Frantically search everywhere for re-wetting drops, put a cool cloth on my eye, the usual. It eventually cleared up and I was ok. It was a little scratchy the next day but not too bad. Until I went home on Sunday. Then the thing was in such pain I just took out my contacts and went to sleep. Monday was a mess. It got red, painful and watery throughout the day til one of my employees begged me to call the eye doctor. I did and was able to get an appointment the next morning.

Now, imagine this. You live a good 40 minutes away from your job, you need to drive home and your eye is freaking out and in pain. What do you do? Pray really hard, put your sunglasses on top of your regular glasses and attempt to drive home. Staying in the slow lane so you have to do the minimal amount of lane changes. While trying to stop your eye from watering and running down your face. With two sets of glasses on, driving directly into the sun glare. Get the picture yet? It stunk. And honestly, I felt so alone. (In hindsight, I should have took an Uber home.)

But, thankfully I was able to get home and practically kissed the pavement while thanking God I got home safely.

The next part of the story involves ice packs, lots of water, sleep, and a trip to the eye doctor to find out I had an eye abrasion. All loads of fun, let me tell you. Then prescriptions, lots of blurriness, trying to read email and work, and healing.

It took a good week before I started to feel better – and thank God, it is completely healed now. And I have a fresh batch of contact lenses waiting to be picked up. So I can change them everyday. (Someone may need to do an accountability check on me in a few weeks do make sure I’m still being “daily” about this. Lol)

The craziest thing about this whole experience? When I went to the eye doctor, squinting and favoring my eye, guess how she made it feel better? She stuck another contact in there. It was the strangest thing. Guess it acted like a band aid cause it immediately felt better.

Thinking of what we take for granted came up last week when my cousin posted about how they have to go through an intense cleaning process in order to eat produce in overseas where they are currently living. We tend to not think about how others live or have to do daily tasks differently, just because they are in a different situation than we are.

I have a deeper respect for people with eye issues or even blindness after this past experience. It was horrible. I work 10+ hours a day and more than eight of those hours are in front of computer screens. Not being able to see correctly out of one eye and try to read was brutal. But I only had to deal with it for one week. I can’t even imagine what people have to deal with going through life without being able to see properly.

So I guess the thought of the week is to be thankful for what you have and be mindful of those who are lacking those things. Whether tangible or intangible, our struggles are definitely our own, but sometimes it helps to view them through the lens of those less fortunate.

If you have a spouse, hug them. If you have children, squeeze them a little tighter. If you have health, thank God for it. And if you’re still sleeping in your contacts, take them out!

H2O and Motivation

I’ve been back to the gym training with the one and only BP, trying to get my stress and blood pressure under control. Along with lifting – because as much as I complain about it, I freaking love it.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on me increasing my water intake. I’ve gone from about 60 ounces a day to an average of 120. Pretty dang impressive, right? Sure. But now I need a personal restroom! Anyway, good news here is that it has drastically reduced my blood pressure without having to take meds. Win! (Unless you start to think about how dehydrated I must have been for the past year. But…moving on.)

So tonight I show up to the gym for my bi-weekly session and was, of course, filling up my water bottle since I now need to drink a few thousand tons a day. Or so it seems 😂 Anyway, the fountain is right next to the door leading into the group class room. Zumba music was starting to waft out of the room and I noticed a lady standing there looking with a slightly unsure look on her face. “Are you going into this class?” she asked. “Nope, but I always wanted to try it” I returned. “Me too” she says with this almost longing look on her face. I just looked at her and smiled. “You’re this close – why don’t you just walk in?” She didn’t even hesitate and strode in the door. I walked up the steps grinning – I just love when people give us a push in the right direction.

After I was done getting beat up by BP, I was standing at the top of the stairs making plans for my next torture/secretly awesome session, and I noticed that same lady come walking up the stairs. She was red and sweaty and looking for her husband who was lifting. “Hey – how was that class?” I asked. She smiled wide – “Oh my gosh I loved it! I’m so glad you said something – I really enjoyed it.”

Cool, huh? The best part about this was how confidently she walked in there and how she looked afterwards. Like she accomplished something. Even if it was little – it was a huge step. (And here am I – still not brave enough to go in there. Haha)

So, if you have the chance to nudge someone in the right direction, do it. And if you are the one being nudged, take the opportunity to do that thing that sort of scares you. Or really scares you. You never know what will happen. Like dancing in a Zumba class (shudder)

Was It Worth It?


This past week was the one year anniversary of me leaving everything and everyone I know to go on the adventure of moving across the country and living in a brand new state. A lot of people have asked me over the last few months if I regretted it. If I wished I just stayed home. Or, on the other end, how I was enjoying my best life. How did I not just gaze in wonder at the beauty around me.

And the truth is – almost all of those thoughts and/or feelings have run the gambit of my emotions over the past months. Some more than others. The one that hasn’t? Regret. And for that I’m supremely thankful.

Was it uncomfortable? Better believe it. Was it awkward? Damn straight. You try and make new friends when you’re 36 and completely out of your element and tell me how easy it is. “Putting yourself out there” is a term I now understand. Completely. But then again, I’ve met some pretty amazing people and I’m working on building those friendships. It can be done.

Work was it’s own story. There were highs and a whole lot of lows. I haven’t felt like such a rookie since I was 18 and looking for work. Things were just so different. Not bad, just different. I’m good at what I do so there were a lot of assumptions that I understood how this particular company worked. Talk about awkward. I was screwing things up and didn’t realize it. And I didn’t understand how much more mental strength I needed to lead a bigger team – how much more time it would take. On the flip side? It was so worth it. I have a great group of people who work hard and try their best. They rise to the occasion when I ask them to. They let me know in little ways how they appreciate things. It’s pretty rewarding.

Then there were people who didn’t understand me and didn’t try to. There were people stabbing me in the back. And I didn’t exactly know how to handle that. But I figured it out. And the truth eventually came out. It always does.

But again – I don’t regret a single thing from this past year. You want to know why? I wouldn’t trade the growth and the experience I gained for the easiest job in the world. I am so looking forward to working this job in 2019 simply because I learned so much and I understand more of how things work here. So take that 2018! All the stress and long hours and awkwardness were worth something.

My personal life was almost the same way. A lot of highs and a lot of lows. There were some Saturdays I never even left the house. Or left the bed for that matter. So many people had told me how brave I was in moving by myself and starting a new life on my own. I just said thanks and moved on. I was so busy doing all those things I never even processed the whole experience. I went out and explored and saw all the sites I could. Until about two months ago. Then the enormity of my situation hit me. I was a mess. Depressed. Stressed out. Home sick. Friend sick. Lost relationships sick. Hated this state. Hated the weather. Hated my job. Hated everything. It was rough and sure as hell wasn’t easy trying to navigate that alone. But, guess what? I found strength and help in unexpected places. And the expected ones – I just needed to reach out for help. Took me a bit but I finally figured it out.

The growth I experienced both personally and professionally over the past year was difficult. But necessary. I do not have a single regret about leaving or starting this life. (Although I miss everyone like hell and it stinks missing out on things. That’s just reality.) Every experience, good or bad, helped shape me more into the person God wants me to be. And I wouldn’t change that for the world.

And there were awesome things. Like people coming to visit and exploring this gorgeous state. Like going home for hockey games. And family vacations. And holidays. Sporting events. Concerts. Hikes. Meeting new people. I went to Europe! It was a fantastic year.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that 2018 sucked for a lot of people I know and love. For me, it had its sucky points, but the good outweighed the bad by a long shot. Learn to see when you’re experiencing stress and depression and reach out to someone. It’s a hell of a thing to go at alone. And it will effect your health. Don’t ask me how I know.

If you have a chance to do something that could be life-changing but scares the heck out of you – do it. If it seems like it was a bad idea – hang on for a bit and leave the emotions aside. If it really is bad – turn around. There’s no shame. You won’t have to wonder anymore. But if it is good – really good – then you gambled and won out on your best life. There will be no regrets.

And then you can stand on top of the mountain of all that junk and say “I did it. I’m on top!”

Just trying to go on vacation…

Ever try to leave and go on vacation and there is so much to do beforehand that you don’t even have time to be excited? From getting your house together, to packing, to finishing up a thousand little projects at work before leaving – there is little time to be excited; let alone do research for where you’re going. But the best part? When you’re finally out of the hotel, off the shuttle bus, through security and on your plane – what a feeling of relief. And you have nothing but time to be excited and get ready for your trip.

Even if your plane needs to be de- iced first. Or the jetway is frozen to the door. Life is good!

Rising Above the Rotten Vegetables

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Do you guys remember that meme that was flying around Facebook a few months ago?  The one with the picture of the bag of spring mix and the guys saying he just buys it every two weeks just to throw it away when it gets all nasty?  We all laughed at it – and why?  Because most of us do the same dang thing.

A lot of what we do with food is based on the best of intentions. “I’m definitely going to pack my lunch every day this week” or “Food prep Sunday!!!” But if you’re like me, this is something that happens….occasionally.  I’m doing better with the food prep, but not every week.

I’ve been working with a personal trainer for the past few months and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only am I getting stronger, I have weekly accountability on food.  And let’s be honest people – there’s not much food I don’t like!  So, when she tells me I can eat all the vegetables I want, you’d think it would be a good thing, right?  It would if I actually LIKED the little buggers.  I mean, I like them sure.  But to eat a lot of them?  It’s just not something I actually enjoy.  Unless there’s a vat of butter and salt to go along with them.

But let’s get back on point.  Food shopping.  I don’t go to the store regularly so when I do, it’s like I never saw fresh food before.  I stock up on berries, bananas, nectarines, avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes, and of course, spring mix.  I cart out of the produce section with about $30 in fresh produce, never once remembering that it will be impossible for a single person to consume all of this within a few days.  So the inevitable happens.  Two weeks later I am emptying my fridge of slimy lettuce, shriveled tomatoes, spoiled milk and untold amounts of expired everything else.

Some people seem to not understand how this is possible – how do you not eat things you buy?  It’s pretty simple, really.  My schedule changes by the week, things come up, and sometimes I’m either too tired or too lazy to make lunches.  Or sometimes I simply do not want to eat vegetables.  Simple as that.

So what do you do?  Empty your fridge and pantry slowly but surely and then eat out every meal?  Restrict your food budget to a certain amount each week so you won’t overbuy?  Buy online so you won’t be tempted with impulse buys?  Make full meals and freeze half of them? Guess what?  I tried every single one of those options.  Every one.  Some work, some don’t.  Sometimes I’m totally on point and sometimes I waste an incredible amount of time and money.

If you’re single, or cooking for two, or you’re the only one eating healthy in your home, I’m sure you get me.  It’s a challenge.  Especially if you don’t like leftovers. Or your schedule changed at the last minute and you now have dinner plans you weren’t expecting.  Or you get stuck in a three hour meeting and you’ll take whatever the heck they’ll feed you.

So, like other things in my life, I’m trying yet something else to see if it will work.  I was wasting time scrolling through Facebook the other day and I found a deal for Hello Fresh.  I was able to use some deal and get three meals for $26.  I figured it wouldn’t kill me to try, so I did.  My first box o’stuff arrived on Friday.  They included three meal kits and each were individual packages.

The picture at the top of this post showcases the pieces they sent for Chicken Pineapple Quesadillas. They sent everything fresh and ready to prepare.  There are recipe cards included that show each step and how to prepare everything.  I cooked vegetables and pineapples, made fresh pico de gallo, and put the quesadillas together.  They were really good – I had one for dinner last night and one for dinner tonight.  They included just enough for two people so it creates two meals for me with no waste and nothing to rot and throw out in a week or two.

I also have two more meals to make so they’ll be part of my meal prep tonight.  Not a bad deal, right?

If you want to try it yourself, here’s a link.

https://www.hellofresh.com?c=T8UU8H&utm_source=raf-share&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=clipboard

So raise a toast to all y’all trying to figure out how to not lose yourself in slowly dying produce – I’m with you!  If you have any other ideas to help me figure this out, I’m all ears.  I can even try something again that didn’t work so well before.  Just make it easy.  I’m getting home from work anytime from 7:30 to 8:30 so the last thing I want to do is something elaborate.

Here’s to eating fresh!

Keep it real,

Kim

Lily – the Strong Woman

Today, as we were exploring Vail Village, my friend April and I came across a store selling rugs, home decor and jewelry. Since I thought that was an odd mix for a boutique-esq store, we decided to check it out.

As we walked into the store, we found a beautiful mix of lanterns, rugs, homemade soaps and jewelry. And – not to be outdone by all the souvenir stores – there was a healthy mix of mountain/Colorado pillows and such. Cracks me up every time!

The proprietress of the store came over to show us some of the items and explained they were Turkish. There were gorgeous handmade items and beautiful Turkish carpets. (Which yes – Dana, Heidi and Jamie – brought back lots of memories of Turkish tea, rug sellers and April almost getting lost in Ephesus all those years ago. We were both cracking up reliving it!)

The lady let us wander around a bit and then came over to talk to us. She asked us where we were from and what we thought of the town. We came to learn that she was originally from Turkey and will be living in Colorado over the next year or so taking care of the store. Previously working at a Vegas location, she was new to the area. During our conversation, we came to find out she did not have any family in the States and how she had to do a lot of things on her own. She told us how she is exploring the area and learning what some of the towns are like.

She told us about a friend of hers whom she really looks up to – someone who bought a house, car and is very successful in other venues as a single woman. We spoke about taking care of your finances, your home, car, and basics of life as a single person and what that was like. She wants to invest in property and set herself up financially for her future since she won’t have family to help her out.

After asking us a few questions, she looks at us and says “You are strong women. You take care of things and you are hard workers. I can see this. Not many people know you are. You keep going.” Then the best part? “You come back tomorrow and I make you Turkish tea!”

I love meeting people who end up making an impact of you when you least expect it. Her name is Lily and she both inspired me and motivated me to keep living life and experiencing all I can while I can.

Do yourself a favor – ask a total stranger about their life sometime. They may end up surprising the heck out of you.

And if you visit Vail, stop in Lolo’s and say hi to Lily. You’ll be very glad you did.

Perspective

Do you ever wonder why you have to go through the things you do? Why life deals you certain cards than others in your life? Mostly the ones you never thought you would have to deal with?

I’m sure everyone feels this way at some point or another. And it’s normal – sometimes life plain sucks. Period. Not a whole hell of a lot you can do about it.

And, just like everything else in life, your attitude determines how well you deal with certain things. Sometimes we respond well, sometimes we fly off the friggin handle and light everything on fire.

What I’ve been learning over the past year or so gave me a different perspective. (Of course – it’s always different looking back right?) There will be challenges in our lives – in many different forms and venues. Sometimes you see them coming and some come at you like a Gibbs’ slap to the back of the head.

But there is always one constant – people notice the way you handle yourself in the midst of the chaos. How you deal or mask your pain. How you celebrate little wins because everything else is raining down in fire around you.

And the kicker? Most of the time you have no idea that they’re watching. That anyone is even paying attention to you. But through all of this – someone is learning just as you are – simply by watching you.

Maybe you’ve dealt with something in private. Alone in the pain. (Which stinks beyond belief – for the little I’ve dealt with this way anyway.) Your story doesn’t have to stop there – maybe someone else can gain experience through your struggle.

The cool thing about life is you never stop learning. There is always something new to check out or something you’ve never experienced before. And – along with that – comes another awesome scenario. The opportunity to TEACH. To show others that it’s okay to deal with (insert issue here) – that you’ve been through it and came out a stronger person. With more faith. With more empathy. Whatever.

I’m not sure why this is on my brain tonight, but it is. Maybe someone needed to hear it. Heck, maybe I did. Who knows? But I guess the point here is to not only learn from your experiences, but help someone else by telling your story. Or sharing your perspective. You just may help change theirs.

99 Problems….

99 problems

Does this ever happen to you?  Worrying about things that may or may not come true?  Running a thousand scenarios in your head trying to see what is going to work and what is not?  Worrying about things in the future when the future can still change?

Those of you who know me really well know that I can be a chronic worrier.  That I’m always trying to put details together because I love to plan.  To know what the story is.  What I’m going to do.  I’ve grown a lot in the past few years and don’t worry as much, but it’s still there.  Once you’ve been through things and watched them play out, you know not to worry as much.  Or at lease try not to.

I’ve been running short-staffed for over a month and working long days to help cover the work.  We’ve had plans to replace this position, and even interviewed a few candidates, but we had something specific we were looking for.  Things are hard but I could finally see the calm after the storm – in the distance, but it was there. Then, on Tuesday one of my best employees put in his two weeks’ notice – out of the friggin blue.  He was torn apart about leaving and there were even tears as he told me why.  He was leaving for a lot more money (and who can fault anyone for that).  I was a bit blindsided as we were just creating a new position for him and thought everything was fine.  Then, on the way home, found out my right-hand person was going to switch departments two months sooner than I had anticipated. This would be two of my core group of three people gone.  What the heck was I going to do?

I’ll be honest.  I was taking it all pretty dang well at first and thought “Well, here’s yet another challenge for ya, Kim”.  Then I went to the gym and my trainer beat me up so I thought about nothing.  Afterwards, I had entirely too much time to think and worked myself into a tizzy.  How am I going to do this?  Who is going to fill their shoes?  (Denver has a 1.9 unemployment rate at the moment – not the biggest pool going on) I’m already behind – now what’s it going to look like? What the hell?  Did You bring me here to fail?

Then, to make matters worse, my crazy mind went to….No one calls me anymore.  All my friends in Philly forgot me.  No one texts to check in, nothing.  I’m all alone and failing.  Life is a struggle….and so on and so on.  (Such. A. Girl.)

Thankfully Dana was home and answered her slightly freaking out friend – and she did a fine job of calming me down.  Reminding me to just take it a step at a time and handle one situation at a time.  She moved away from home about four years ago, so she was helpful in the “no one forgot you Kim” department.  Isn’t she just the best?

Anyway, on to the good news.  The next morning I was still not happy and honestly, a little grumpy.  I talked to a few people, got a plan, threw out most of it, and went with my gut.  (This was actually God but I didn’t see it at the time).  I spoke with another one of my employees to see if he wanted part of the one job, and turned out he wanted the job I was stressing over filling.  Some of it will be a learning curve, but he has a great basis to begin with.  My answer was right in front of my face and I couldn’t see for looking!

The other guy, the one that turned in his two weeks notice?  I offered him a counter offer (not even close to his offer) and pointed out some value adds, but left it up to him.  Long story short, we negotiated to a satisfactory end and he is staying!  He’s going to do this new position we created and he even helped me find someone to fill his current position.

See?  I was all wound up about all these (seemingly) terrible things and two of the answers were right in front of me.  All I had to do was keep calm and handle one at a time.  Everything I prayed about and left at God’s feet (well almost all, I had to worry a bit! lol) worked out – for the good of the whole team.  I have a really good thing going and I don’t want to mess it up.

I’m still going to lose my right-hand guy, but he’s moving on to something he’s dreamed about and I’ll still be working with him – just in another capacity.  I’ll never stand in the way of someone advancing themselves and this is giving us both time to transition.

Oh – and the other thing?  About everyone forgetting me?  I got over my freak out and then a few people contacted me in the past few days – I’m not alone people!  Thanks for keeping me ‘around’.

So I guess the point to this one is to stop before you freak yourself out and call someone you trust to help work it out in your head.  Most of the time we worry about things that will never happen in the first place.  Pray about it and see what works out.  If you feel lonely, reach out to someone.  They’ll be around.

Life is good.  Crazy.  But good.