Happiness Is…

Happiness is when your parents read your blog and give you something that brings back good memories. They saw the post about bulk candy at Fout’s Store and, while that store is long gone, they knew someplace else to go.

They went to Newman’s Grocery in Wellston, a family owned store that’s been in business since 1929. My folks were excited to present me with two small brown paper sacks of candy – chocolate covered peanuts and little chocolate stars!

They’re certainly not on the vegan diet but I do not care. I’ll ration and savor them and appreciate the fact I’m revisiting my childhood each time I open one of those little bags.

Good things really do come in small packages!

When Your Body Asks For A Break

There are some lessons that bear repeating.

1. The emotionally unavailable man will never change, not even for you.

2. It is impossible to open a package of Oreos and eat just one. You have to do an entire row or none at all.

3. Your body deserves better than you likely give it in an average day.

There are more but these are the big three.

I seem to swing between being ultra aware and responsive to what my body needs or I tune it out altogether. For the last couple of weeks, I have ignored my body as it has screamed for more rest, less stress, better food and much needed quiet.

I have this inner voice that’s constantly pushing me to keep going when I don’t want to, that tricks me into not hopping on the treadmill when I know exercise would be invigorating, and that tells me to eat the fries because that’s what I really want even though I know I’ll be sluggish tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my body is asking for a break, begging for good nutrition, movement and rest. And I ignore it.

I rely on my body to get me through the day. It takes me everywhere I need to go even when I’m mean to it. It has never failed me but I fail it all the time.

How to do better? That’s the $64,000 question.

This week has been stressful and tiring. Healthy eating, exercise and stress management are really just a pipe dream, something to be put off until the weekend when I undoubtedly will crash.

We all go through times like this and the best we can do is the best we can do. I’m trying hard to remember that good choices breed more good choices and that what I do to my body today will effect how I feel tomorrow.

I know that I’m approaching a breaking point when I simultaneously want to run away on a trip and also hide in my quiet house with a package of cookies.

A trip may be in my future but the cookies will not.

For today, I’ll just keep pushing forward and make the best decisions possible. And then tomorrow, I’ll wake up and do it again.

Things will be better soon.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. I am grateful for each of you who read and comment and occasionally strike up a real life conversation about some of the weirdness I write about here.

Keep it coming and have a beautiful day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Secrets It Holds

Do you ever look at an old house and wonder what stories it would tell if it could talk? What secrets are held within these walls?

Who lived here? Were they happy? Where did they go when they left this place? The sorrows and joys, the daily chores and the celebrations, the laughter and tears must still reverberate through the walls and windows – even if we can’t hear or see them.

The possibilities are endless and I love to imagine different people and what their lives must have been like.

Enjoy the Small Things

Remember when something so simple as a little change for the gumbball machine made your day?

It can still be that way if you allow it to happen.

This machine sits in a Chillicothe dinner called Carl’s Townhouse. Going there and seeing their counter is a simple pleasure for me.

Simple pleasures can be all sorts of things – finding a favorite candy from your youth in the checkout lane at the grocery, a few stolen moments to watch the sunrise, singing along to a favorite song- there is no right or wrong answer if it makes you happy.

Find a simple pleasure and go enjoy it today!

Vacation and Reflection

My October vacation was nearly perfect but not for the reasons most people love their vacations. I liked it for the way it was structured.

Hear me out.

A few days were spent away from home, in places I did not know and could explore for the first time.

A couple days were spent exploring in my own region.

There was a day spent with my folks and an evening around a camp fire with extended family.

And there was time spent at home cooking, doing projects and relaxing with Scout.

Nothing cost a lot of money. I had time with others and plenty of solo time as well.

The last day was spent at home doing small chores, reading, watching a movie and reflecting on a nice, long break from work.

Going back to work the next day was ok.

It was important to allow that down time and to prioritize reflection. Too often we we don’t stop and think about what we have just experienced. We simply enjoy the moment and then push forward to the next. Happiness is connected to gratitude and it’s important to be grateful for the good and even the mundane that we have experienced.

Whether it’s a vacation, dinner with your family or an afternoon at the museum, you will be well served to revisit those memories as much as possible.

You will be happier for it.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about a fun discovery I made while exploring my own area. Hope to see you back here soon!

Confessions of a People Watcher

Hi, my name is Brandi and I’m a people watcher.

I’m not always good at engaging with people I know but I love to sit back and watch strangers. Festivals and other public events are especially ripe for observing other humans in action and the hot air balloon festival I attended this summer didn’t disappoint.

Here are a few random observations from this day.

Few people bother to carry around cameras these days but those who do always have nice cameras and are pretty intense about what they’re doing. I rely on my phone for walking around pictures and sometimes for photos when there’s weird light because my technique isn’t so great. Taking out my dslr is a real treat. Check out this fellow working with his camera!

Marysville Hot Air Ballon Festival 2019 (337)

Modern fashion often leaves ladies with interesting tan lines. Strappy tops, keyholes and cold shoulder tops probably shouldn’t be worn in harsh sun unless you’re hoping for interesting patterns on your skin. I saw this girl later and she was starting to burn so she probably ending up with a criss crossy tan!

But if she’s happy, I’m happy! And it wasn’t just her. I saw several women with a similar top. Maybe I’m just behind in the times and it’s a thing! I may need one of my younger, cooler friends to weigh in on this matter.

Marysville Hot Air Ballon Festival 2019 (1)

Men are taking a much more hands on approach to parenting than ever before. I’ve been noticing more and more men taking responsibility for feeding and taking care of their kids, even when mom is close by.

At this event, there were a ton of men who appeared to be alone with their kids – whether they’re single dads or just taking their kids out for the day, I couldn’t tell you but it was refreshing to see. It’s especially nice to see guys wiping a wee child’s dirty hands without looking to his wife for help. Nice job fellas!!

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On a related note, that last photo illustrates part of the reason why I love being in and near cities. Coming from a rural area, almost everyone looks like me. Pale. We’re pale. And it feels like the bulk of the people here all think alike, worship the same and well, you get the idea.

Get closer to one of Ohio’s cities (or even just go to a college town like nearby Athens) and you’ll find people of all nationalities. You hear lots of accents and languages and see different styles of dress. This makes my heart happy and it was thrilling to find so much diversity at this event. 

Marysville Hot Air Ballon Festival 2019 (356).JPG

People are way too wrapped up in their technology and other distractions. We already know this but I was surprised how many people were talking, texting and taking selfies – too distracted to notice the hot air balloons. The balloons were available for viewing for about a minute after we had all waited for hours to see them so I hate to think about how many folks missed the excitement.

It’s like we’re so hypnotized by the little machines in our pockets that we’ve completely lost interest in what’s actually happening in real life and all around us.

Note: in the picture above – I don’t think there was a balloon in their background. Just a picture of a cute couple.

Marysville Hot Air Ballon Festival 2019 (159)Finally, these little girls appeared to be strangers but that didn’t stop them from dancing and having a good time together. Kids know. They know that it’s a good idea to be nice to others – even if they’re not exactly like us!

People watching is the best. Are you a people watcher? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen lately? I love a good story!