Bad Luck Comes in Threes, Right?

When I landed on the floor of a restaurant with a BANG a couple of weeks ago, I breathed a sigh of relief. That had to be the last accident, right? It was the third time in three weeks I’d had very bad luck. I remembered that age-old superstition.

Bad luck comes in threes.

#1.  It all started after I cleaned the basement. A flash of light glinted off a strand of hair. When the flash became a lightning strike and all of my hair was swept back in a ponytail, I freaked out. I could see the bright white crackle of a line in the waning afternoon light. While driving to Urgent Care, the darkness around me made the strike even brighter. What could be happening?

lightning-over-water

I knew a little about torn retinas. They were emergency room-worthy. I have a blind mother. I didn’t want to lose my eyesight.

The nice man in reception and the nurse informed me the ER would have the equipment to make a diagnosis. They suspected some kind of tear. I freaked out. The last thing I wanted was more surgery.

Back in the car again. It was a slow night at the ER, thank God, and I was seen almost immediately. After the doctor looked into the back of my eye, he said, “You have a vitreous separation. It will heal on its own.” He recommended a specialist who said the same thing a few days later. People with astigmatism have football-shaped eyes. We’re more susceptible to tearing. Good to know.

Whew! Disaster averted. I still have a small lightning strike noticeable when driving at night, but it’s on the mend.

#2.  A week later, I was cutting the heel of a crusty loaf of bread. You know where this is going. Yep. I sliced my finger with a serrated blade. It didn’t hurt but bled like crazy. After a quick internet search, I let out a sigh knowing I’d have to go back to Urgent Care.

bread cutting

When I walked inside, the same man worked reception. “Hey, I remember you from last week.”

“Yep.” I hoped my trouble would end, but you know, threes.

After four quick stitches, I drove home and prepared for Thanksgiving. It was awkward to cook and clean with a bandage on my index finger. It had to be changed everytime it got wet. I survived.

#3.  That Friday, My family headed up to the mountains to ski. Conditions being pre-season and icy, we decided to eat brunch before taking the gondola. It was sixty degrees and sunny while walking from the car to a busy restaurant.

I followed the host to the table and my ski boot hit something super slippery. I swore the floor was wet. Just like when I broke my wrist, I fell in slow motion. First, I worried about my knee. Then I was afraid I’d smash my cell phone held tight in my left hand. I smacked the ground with that hand, then my hip. The rest of me followed with a thwump.

falling down

For a moment a hush fell inside the noisy restaurant. I was afraid to move. My ring finger stung and so did my hip. The manager rushed to my side.

“Your floor must be wet,” I said, and then looked. It was totally dry. As I pulled my feet underneath me, I slipped again and hit my head on the table in front of me. My cheeks heated up. I looked at the floors. Tile. Slippery tile. The manager rushed toward me, helped me up, and made sure I made it to my table. I grew up ice skating, but not in ski boots.

“I must have missed your sign about not wearing ski boots inside,” I said to him. It’s not uncommon to see warnings in ski towns.

“No, we don’t have one,” he said. “I’ve been meaning to post one on the door.”

Yeah, that’s probably a good idea.

Once safely at the table, I looked at my ring finger. It had turned black!

“Oh, no! There’s no way, I’m going to Urgent Care again. If it’s broken I’ll make a splint and tough it out.”

My son, Kelly thought it had dislocated on impact. I figured with my back luck of threes, I had probably broken a bone.

After excellent service (ahem) and a great meal, we drove to the gondola parking lot. My daughter, Courtney, found a purple crayon to use as a splint. It had probably been in the seat pocket since they were in middle school. I taped it up and skied without a problem.

A few hours later, I completely tightened up. I iced my finger and stretched out what seemed to be a pulled groin muscle. Sliding like Bambi in ski boots on a tile floor will do that.

The next morning I steeled myself as I stepped out of bed. Everything was fine! My finger looked bad but didn’t hurt. Kelly was right. I had only dislocated it.

The third accident was the charm. The bad luck of threes had ended. Yay! And just in time for Christmas preparations and card-making.

Avoiding another trip to Urgent Care, I clipped my stitches and pulled them out two days later. I vowed to be more careful with rustic bread and never to wear ski boots in restaurants. My eyes? Safety goggles, of course.

#4. How could there be a #4??? I should wear a helmet, like, all the time.

A few days later, I watched a squirrel slip through a broken tile on our roof and disappear. After a call to critter control and a brief inspection of our attic by an expert, I was told that something had scattered fiberglass across the narrow floor. Oh, no! He suggested sweeping it off to make sure.

squirrel

Later that day, I swept the puffs of yellow insulation back where they belonged. As I crept toward an eave, I struggled with the broom.

I stepped forward and speared my head with a roofing nail! It really stung. I barely bled, so I forgot about it… for a while.

Then I tried to remember the last tetanus shot I’d had. Was it in the last decade? I called around for my medical records and soon realized I was waaaay overdue.

I looked at the time. 5:00 on yet another Friday night! Would I make yet another trip to the Urgent Care? Oh, God! Why four? Why not threes????

Afraid another visit with the same staff would result in a trip to the psych ward for evaluation, I Googled Urgent Cares. I found another one close by.

In and out in a half an hour. Yes! 

It’s been several weeks and I’m holding steady at trouble coming in fours.

Why the number three?

Since pairs come up in nature, like two hands, two eyes, two feet, threes are considered abnormal or troublesome – Yahoo answers.

ABC’s summary of the number threes makes a lot of sense: People naturally seek patterns.

Until that third Friday, I hadn’t thought about threes. I mean, come on! The irony of the timing was hard to dismiss.

Running into the nail tossed the whole law of threes into oblivion. I have smacked my head so often, I have an indent on my forehead! I never saw that nail coming.

 

Do you believe that bad things come in threes? Are you superstitious? When was the last time you allyooped in a restaurant?

Click here for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

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Escape Room – You Have to Try This!

Escape Room in Breckenridge

When I heard an Escape Room had opened in Breckenridge, I had to try it. The idea of solving clues in order to escape during an allotted time period piqued my wild imagination. When I told my family about it, one of them said, “I wouldn’t want you to be on my team. You would freak out.” I wondered if they were right. I have been known to be impulsive under pressure. The challenge was on!

When I met our team, I worried that eight of us inside a small room would be too many people. Would I end up being an onlooker while others solved riddles or would I become Little Miss Bossy Pants? I would soon find out. Our new teammates introduced themselves as family and friends from Texas who were engineers. Hmm. Engineers, a businessman – my husband, Danny, and a novelist/artist – moi. It would either be a great combo or a major failure in communication.

Our guide instructed us not to take photos or videos and then led us into the room. He showed us the TV that would count down from sixty minutes. We could ask for three clues. Then he shut the door and the game was ON!

It’s killing me NOT to share the details of the game, but I don’t want to prepare anyone before they go. We used a wide variety of tools. Surprise and discovery were the best parts!

One of the Texas women took charge of the group and made some suggestions. We spread out to search for the first piece of the puzzle. Every time we solved a clue, we made a huge stride. We hooted, hollered, and high-fived. It was such a rush!

As the clock wound down to thirty minutes remaining, I was surprised by how chilled-out I was. One of the men said we should ask for a clue. It seemed like cheating to me.

“Let’s wait another five minutes,” I said. When the minutes passed, we used the phone to ask for one.

Our leader read the clue on the TV and then we dashed around the room with this new piece of information. After that, we didn’t waste any time asking for the last two.

With a COUPLE MINUTES TO SPARE, one of the men was having a problem with a padlock. I asked if I could try. Danny told me the numbers. I took my time and swept the dial sequential order. IT OPENED! The Texas girl used the piece of information revealed and together we solved the last piece of the puzzle.

With one minute and thirty seconds left, WE ESCAPED!

Afterward, the Texan leader turned to me and said, “You were so good at finding clues!”

That surprised me. I hadn’t kept track of my contributions, but said, “Thanks. You were a great leader. I think we all helped one way or another.” It was true. We all focused on different parts of the room and kept moving around while working together. No one freaked out or gave up.

Victorious - Escape Room

V for Victory!

On our way home, Danny and I recounted the game. He insisted that I had done the lion’s share, but I was so in the moment, I didn’t notice. The biggest surprise was I was one of the calmer people in the room.

Somehow, working with everyone evenly distributed the stress. We all had one common goal. We depended on each other to escape in time. There was no question that we were all doing our best. It really taught me the value of teamwork.

Would I do it again? Absodanglutely! There are three levels of difficulty, so I expect the next escape room will be a lot harder. Don’t worry, I won’t wait thirty minutes for clues. Maybe we’ll escape five minutes sooner!

Have you ever gone to an Escape Room? Have you heard of them? How do you work under pressure?

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The Wildlife in My Wild Life – Photo Essay

Since I live in Colorado, I’m always on the lookout for wildlife. I’ve spotted them on hikes, while skiing, or through a car window. Prehistoric porcupines, bear, elk, common deer, bighorn sheep, you name it. But this year, my wild life has gotten wilder. Several otherwise elusive creatures have made appearances in the most unlikely of places: My home.

Bullsnakes have made their way into my home twice. A newborn made its way through a light fixture since I found it on top of my flat file. It became a pet for the winter. The kids released it the following summer. The other must have pushed its way through the doggie door. I thought it was one of the rubber snakes from downstairs carried by our Bichon, Roxy. Nope! I put it in an aquarium until the weather warmed up and then let it go. The one in the picture was full grown (about four feet long) when I found in the garage. I picked it up and released it into the garden.

bull snake in yard

Several families of owls love to perch on and around my house. As the sun sets every night, I can hear a couple hoo-hooting to each other.

owl hanging out on roof

Two weeks ago, something hit a window. I rushed to my back door to see. A baby owl sat on the stoop. I waited until he flew away to be sure he didn’t become dinner for one of several hungry predators who lurk in our yard at night.

Last week, I heard the most annoying screeching sound. When the dog went nuts, I ran to the window. A huge owl stood on a planter screeching, “Good morning.” Ha! Worst sound ever.

Click to see the video –

While in Europe after a disastrous water leak from a demon washing machine, our wood floor guy, Nick took pictures of a lynx! Yes, this is our deck.

IMG_2653

According to my neighbor, two bobcats hung out at the front door while we were gone. Make yourself at home, why don’t ya? Of course, I never saw them after returning from our trip. Gah!

IMG_2654

In April, an enormous gold “housecat” walked around the pond. Later, I found out a young cougar has made our neighborhood its hangout. Unlike the lynx in the photo above, its tail is long. It’s a yearling and still pretty small, but the doggie door is shut until further notice. Poor Roxy.

Remember Roxy and the Coywolf? I don’t trust that she’s learned her lesson. She got lucky when that beast laughed and released her from its jaws in 2015. This time too.

Roxy in the window

As I’m typing this, I’m at a desk in the window being totally distracted by the backyard view. You never know what might take a shortcut through our property…

Our family had an unexpected visit last Sunday up in Breckenridge. I’ve seen them at Brainard Lake, at the bottom of Peak 7, but not in my neighborhood!

My husband, Danny, rushed toward me as I walked out of the kitchen. He had an insane look on his face. My first thought was whatever he would say next would be completely sarcastic. “There’s a moose in the driveway!” he screamed. Yes. SCREAMED!

Stained glass windows flank the front door. I saw a massive black shadow beyond. Instead of running for my camera, I rushed downstairs and shouted to my son who talked with his girlfriend on the phone.

He ran upstairs and used Facetime to show her the incredible sight. Right outside our picture window stood a full-grown male moose complete with wicked cool antlers. A yearling grazed nearby. We trapped the dogs in the basement to keep them from frightening the pair.

When my wild life meets wildlife

Click to see the video –

After taking a few photos, we caught our breath. Minutes later, another shadow graced our front doorway. The cow brought up the rear of the little family.

Incredible!

As the sun sinks lower in the sky, I’m still waiting for my glimpse of the elusive wildcats. It’s 4:30 and owls have begun their hooting chant. Another just landed on our roof. The raccoons will scout and a pack of coyotes may send out an eerie cry.

I love where I live. There’s plenty of room for all of us.

Click for more of my Wild Ride.

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Have you seen any unusual wildlife? Has your life gotten wilder lately?

10 Life Hacks in Time for the Holidays!

Most of us look forward to the holidays, but not the stress that comes with them. I have learned several life hacks the hard way through trial and many errors. My family has four birthday celebrations between November and December so I had to learn how to stay chill and enjoy myself while hosting and organizing these events. Believe me.  I love it when everyone is together and want to be my best self. So how the heck do I do that?

10 Life Hacks in Time for the Holidays

Take care of yourself first.

Stress causes the build-up of cortisol which in turn makes fat. Sugar intake rises for most of us this time of year too. No one wants to gain weight over the holidays. Keep moving. Exercise gets those endorphins surging. It feels good.

Take a break from the hubbub. Walk your dog. Walk your neighbor’s dog. Do you have company? Ask them to join you for a walk. You may start a new holiday tradition!

The family on Thanksgiving day

Take the time to sit down and eat well. Drink lots of water. Turn off the TV and Internet an hour before bed to sleep better. I covered up the LED lights in my bedroom and it made a huge difference.

Recognize your limitations.

I could never figure out why I got so stressed out when others offered to help or to keep me company in the kitchen while I cooked. It would take twice as long and I missed out on a lot of the festivities. I finally realized I’m ADD and can’t concentrate. I’m so much happier in my own little world. I make a lot fewer mistakes too!

Have the opposite problem? Delegate. Ask for help. Give everyone a job. They’ll all feel like they contributed and you’ll have a lot more time to hang out together.

My son and daughter both cooked for Friendsgiving this year. Their secret is out. I will engage their expertise this year.

Lower your expectations.

No matter how you envision holidays, they are never what you expect. We are surrounded by images of perfect families, especially on Facebook. REALITY CHECK: There is no such thing. We’re human, remember?

Instead of using the time envisioning the perfect holidays, be productive…

Stop the constant updates on social media. Be in the moment instead.

Are you a Facebook or Instagram fanatic? Stop. I still can’t figure out why everyone is so obsessed with wanting to look at everyone’s personal photos. Think about it.

Would you go to a friend’s house to spend an evening perusing their photo albums?

Not me. It becomes addicting when posting to see how many people like them. I’m a blogger. I get that. But I a little goes a long way to connect with friends and family.

Have phone-free zones.

Have you ever looked around a restaurant and seen dozens of people with their noses in their phones? It’s terrible. Our population has grown exponentially, but we are more isolated than ever. Communicate the old-fashioned way. Face to face.

 

Purchase gifts online.

This is a no-brainer, but I still spent hours shopping for my husband a week ago. Why??? Looking back, I could have easily bought everything in a half hour and had it shipped to my door. Lesson learned.

Ask for links when getting loved one’s Christmas lists. My daughter is the bomb at this. She gets exactly what she wants.

Create some Hygge moments.

Hygge is a Scandinavian lifestyle. My previous post listed some Hygge moments to slow down and relax. Time is fleeting. Soon it will be January. Find ways to add comfort and joy to your holiday season. That last sentence seems so familiar…

Be thankful.

This may seem trite until you actually sit down and write a gratitude list. After my brother died in March, writing in a gratitude journal helped me through some rough patches by focusing on the most positive moments of each day. Before going to sleep, make a list of three good things that happened. It works!

Meditate.

Do you have five minutes? I bet you do. Go to Insight Timer or another one of hundreds of meditation apps. Listen to one and tune out the noise. Feel better. It will also help with focus. That’s something in short supply for me during the holidays. I’m like an ADD Tazmanian Devil. Yep. Slowing down for me is a challenge.

Stay organized – Make a bullet point journal.

This really blew up this year. When I first saw blog titles with that name, I shrugged. I already was a list maker. My super simple bullet point journaling is very different!

bullet point journaling tools

It really helps me to keep habits like meditating or entering in my gratitude journal. Filling in the bubbles is a rush. I’m all about endorphin rushes.

I’m sure there’s a ton more to add, but the holidays are almost upon us and my list is long. I hope you have a fabulous holiday season this year!

Do you have any suggestions to add to the list? Which one can you relate to most?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

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Super Easy Bullet Point Journaling for the Holidays

How to Have a Hygge Life!

Dear Holiday Diary, Mistakes were made.

How to Have a Hygge Life!

When I learned about Hygge and what it meant, I wanted to add more to my life here in Colorado.

Hygge is a Scandinavian word, pronounced hue-gah, used to describe an extraordinary moment during an otherwise ordinary day by being aware of the feeling of coziness and charm in order to slow our fast-paced life.

The word blew up in 2016 and was soon added to American dictionaries. Life has become more stressful for a lot of people. Hygge focuses on what makes you comfortable and happy. As the northern hemisphere slides into winter, I am all about Hygge moments.

Hygge can be experienced through a solitary or group activity. I’ve seen many examples, from wearing pajamas while sipping hot chocolate and reading a book, to small gatherings with friends.

Hygge’s definition depends on your unique lifestyle. Colorado is known for its active people.  When I’m not tapping away on my computer, I’m looking for outdoor adventures. I tend to shoot through life in hyperdrive. It’s important to slow down and enjoy its simplicity.

It’s snowing here in the mountains and I’m having a Hygge moment right now!

How to add Hygge to your lifestyle

My Colorado Hygge moments:

Some of my Hygge moments could be enjoyed by anyone in the world, others not so much.

Spend time with friends.

October Haunted book club at my house included eating appetizers in my living room. See the ghost, (Wendi) on the couch? Cooking dinner ran late so we had extra time to catch up! Our group has been together for more than fifteen years.

Haunted book club

Stop to enjoy the view.

No matter where you live, you can find and appreciate beauty. Instead of rushing down the sidewalk, check out a building’s architecture, the nature that surrounds you, or the clouds that scud across the sky. Embrace life when you can.

On the way back down from the mountains last weekend, my husband, Danny, and I drove to Echo Lake located below a 14,000-foot peak, called Mount Evans. As the sun set behind the mountains, the thin ice proved reflective and breath-taking in its texture.

Echo Lake, Colorado

Do what makes you happy like decorate for the holidays.

I have boxes filled with Halloween and Christmas decor and unpack them whether we entertain or not. Being surrounded by my favorite decorations makes me feel warm and happy.

Take time to make a meal.

Instead of inhaling food, it’s important to sit down and enjoy meals. I can smell the bacon sizzling in the pan. Okay, I’m really salivating now…

Mountain breakfast

Take a break.

To warm up and rest my muscles when I ski, I pour a hot chocolate and relax in the lodge. I prefer to sit near a window while enjoying the sweet concoction.

A Hygge Day in Colorado

Watch Memories on my iPhone.

I discovered a great new way to embrace special moments. I may be the last person to find “Memories” at the bottom of Moments in my iPhone’s photos. It’s a slideshow that includes snippets of video. Now I realize how important it is to delete pictures of my feet since it sometimes includes them. Ha!

Take a bubble bath in or outdoors.

I had a tough workout last Wednesday and took a hot tub to silence the screams of my minuscule muscles. The hum of the motor and the rush of water always soothes me.  I love watching birds flit from tree to tree and always watch for wildlife. A mountain lion and lynx have been spotted recently. Whoa!

Sometimes a friend joins me. So, I know hot tubs are no place for dogs, but she jumped in and finally lost her curiosity. Ha!

A friend in the hot tub

Light a candle or stoke up a fire.

In Colorado, most fireplaces are gas since we have a problem when heat inversions which trap pollution in the atmosphere. I love to flip the switch on my gas fireplace and mellow out in pajamas while watching the flicker of the flames. Or if the fire danger is low, have a bonfire with friends or family. Tell a ghost story or two. Surely you will experience a Hygge moment when you cuddle in a blanket and a shiver ripples up your spine.

bonfire

Meditate.

Insight Timer is a terrific app for tuning out the world to center and release stress. You can choose from guided and unguided meditations. It is good for the body and the soul. Find a warm, comfy space and peace-out for ten minutes. Enjoy your Hygge moment!

Create.

When our brains unlock creative flow while writing, painting, drawing, or when engaging in any other arts or craft activity, a sense of peace is released. Embrace this amazing feeling. Be aware of what you accomplished!

NOTE TO SELF: Start on this year’s Christmas card. Tick, tock…

illustrated christmas cards

Bake!

Ever since my kids went to college, I’ve baked a lot less. Making cookies and cakes for two can be hazardous to one’s waistline. Now that the weather is colder and the holidays approach, I yearn to bake bread and rolls. There’s nothing like the accomplishment of creating while the heavenly scent rises from the oven. Yum!

 

Cooling on the racks.

Spend time with family.

Since my son lives in California and my mom lives in Wisconsin, the moments we share are precious. Being an empty-nester, I truly cherish the time when everyone is home. I try slow down and live in the present moment, like this one.

Courtney, Grandma, and Kelly

Last night, I took a long hot shower. While wearing my favorite fleece pajamas, I made a cup of Sleepytime tea. I flipped the switch on the gas fireplace and slipped under the covers to read a book. Roxy cuddled next to me and kept me warm. After my Hygge moment, I slept really well!

I can’t wait to celebrate our family birthdays and holidays in November and December.

Lots of Hygge moments ahead! Onto that Christmas card…

 

Had you heard of Hygge? What are your favorite ways to bring a sense of comfort and coziness to your life?

Click for more adventures on the Wild Ride!

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Viewing the Eclipse by Looking Down!

While everyone else looked up in the sky, I looked down and made an amazing discovery.

When I learned the total eclipse could be experienced by traveling for under three hours to Wyoming, I mapped it out. Predicted traffic woes changed my view. I decided to stay in my own backyard. Experts explained that even with 94% of the sun blocked out, 6% would be enough to ruin the blackout effect. They were right and yet I discovered something else by looking down.

First I setup my camera since I wanted to record anything weird that happened, like a freak migration of owls or a coyote stampede. When that didn’t happen, I slacklined during the beginning of the eclipse.

FullSizeRender (56)

I couldn’t view anything in those black lenses, so I kept my head up for once.

Note to Self: Wear blackout shades when slacklining from now on.

The scientists were right and the eclipse dimmed the light and cooled the temperature, but it wasn’t super dark.

But this discovery really excited me. I looked down and viewed thousands of eclipses. They danced upon my patio!

eclipse leaf patterns from tree

Click below to watch them dance: Continue reading

A Day in London with Charles Dickens: Photo Essay

A day in London exploring Charles Dickens and his haunts.

A visit with Charles Dickens made the top of my list as I traveled by train from Gatwick to London. So far, the trip to Europe had exceeded anything in my crazy imagination. I brought comfy shoes and planned to walk everywhere. After recent terror attacks, I hoped it would be enjoyable and police presence wouldn’t spoil the mood. Quite the opposite happened. I discussed how Londoners fight terrorism. So very simple, isn’t it? (Adopting the English manner of speaking to get you in the mood.) Instead, the city was filled with families enjoying the day. Any sort of trepidation melted away in the London sunshine.

The Grange Wellington Hotel, chosen by the crew from the Bloggers Bash, proved to be a great location for sightseeing. Many tourist attractions were located nearby.

First stop: Buckingham Palace.

The timing couldn’t have been better. As my husband, Danny, and I approached the Palace, the Changing of the Guard began. I didn’t know they had a marching band too. Very cool! I walked by the gate and snapped a photo while security kept me moving.

I wonder what that little boy is thinking. Did toilet paper stick to my shoe?

This photo needs a caption: Continue reading