Bitter….

via Daily Prompt: Bitter

Bitter makes me think of unsweet, unripened fruit, maybe lemons or limes, certain  roasts of coffee, and people full of regret and resentment. I can sweeten the fruit and the coffee, but a bitter person is a whole other thing.  ruffled

I think of my parents, especially my father. He has been a reliable father, a dog-lover, and a wonderful friend to many… just don’t ask him about my mother, don’t bring up sports he doesn’t like, or politics he doesn’t agree with. If he were a cup of coffee, he would have an aftertaste, even with a health dose of cream and coconut sugar. On the wrong day, you might switch to another coffee blend, or just drink tea.

Bitter also makes me think of bad choices, like fruit picked at the wrong time or eaten out of season. Have you ever had a good winter peach, or enjoyed a strawberry that is pale rather dark red and sweet? Not my preference, for sure.

Letting go, or taking time to chill out can keep you from becoming bitter, like candy without the sweetness. I am trying to remember this, as I slowly begin to  feel overworked and exhausted. I try to seek laughter and sunshine, rather than darkness, anxiety, and the impulse to recoil. I don’t want to be bitter before my time.

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Mt. Bonnell

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Central Texas with sunshine, a few puffy clouds, low 70’s, and a slight breeze. We decided to take a drive into Austin to see the view from Mt. Bonnell, a landmark that has long been considered the highest point in the city at approximately 780 feet above sea level.

Boyfriend and I have been in and around this area many times but had not known about Mt. Bonnell until somewhat recently. We decided to take our own route rather than the suggested route, which included tolls, and I’m glad we did because our route was full of rock walls, windy roads, and beauty all around us. We split the driving for the days so we could both have a little fun and enjoy the scenery. It’s to believe that this bird’s eye view of the Colorado River and the surrounding Austin area can be experienced so close to people’s houses and apartments.

After a bit of exploring the path around Mt. Bonnell, Boyfriend and I headed downtown to get a snack and continue to enjoy the beautiful day. After a stop at Whole Foods Market, we walked through the west side of downtown and found ourselves along Lady Bird Lake near Auditorium Shores.

Such a beautiful, sunny February day in Central Texas!

© 2016 blogdaysofchrell

 

Sunshine at the Beach

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt on 03/16/15: “Places.” Beach, mountain, forest, or somewhere else entirely?

If you’ve been to my website, you will see that I have been to NYC, one of the greatest cities in the world, and that I am from Chicago, another great city; that I’ve to the Badlands State Park in Wall, South Dakota; and in future posts you might see or hear that I have been to Yellowstone National Park (MT, WY), the Grand Tetons National Park (WY), Mt. Rushmore (SD), Antelope Island State Park and Arches National Park (UT), among other well-known nature-loving refuges. On our road trips, we made brief stops in cities of different sizes – Houston, TX; New Orleans, LA; Atlanta, GA; Milwaukee, WI; Pittsburgh, PA; Canton and Cleveland, OH; Salt Lake City, UT; Denver, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Canon City, Aspen and Basalt, CO. While travelling with my college tennis team through the southern states, I briefly got to enjoy Savannah, GA, as well as Jacksonville and Pensacola, FL, where I got to experience the beach and stick my toes in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout my time in Chicago, I have been to many beach spots along Lake Michigan, but I have yet to take a beach vacation. I find peace and relaxation of different forms from each of these types of places (urban, country, forest, mountain and beach) because I can find a new memory to cherish. However, I have always wanted the chance to go on a beachy vacation to a place like Hawaii, Jamaica, or even Australia, that offers a variety of activities and cultural experiences. Jamaica beach 1

My brother recently had the opportunity to go on a Caribbean cruise, and his photos were beautiful. I don’t know that a cruise would be my preference because I like to have an idea of places to go and things to do but also I like to change the plan if necessary,  for which a cruise would not allow. I would like to leave the US for a brief trip to experience a different way of life and to truly get away from life for a few days. I think sitting on a beach while soaking up the sun and reading or walking in the sand would be great.  On cloudy, rainy days like today, I dream of warm weather and sunny skies…

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Saturday Morning

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt:  “Me Time.”

Today is a cold, cloudy, rainy Saturday morning in Central Texas, as it has been many days recently. After a pretty good night sleep, Boyfriend and I woke up about 8:45AM, brushed our teeth, said hello to our cat, made up the bed and then munched on the delicious double chocolate peanut butter chip cookies Boyfriend made yesterday while we drank our coffee. We were then both on our laptops, with boyfriend working on videos for his website as I read news and write my blog. Brunch in the form of scrambled eggs came a little before noon. Other than the cat trying to eat our blinds and having to throw out dead plants, this has been a very typical, relaxed Saturday morning thus far, especially given the cold and dreariness of this winter season. We are both tired of the dreary weather, anxiously awaiting consistent sunshine and temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius.

Our Saturdays will change when the weather is better, depending on how we are feeling and what we need to get done that weekend. Sometimes we will get up and get dressed, pack a cooler, grab breakfast in the big city or visit a farmer’s market when it is nicer and warmer outside. Other times we will eat, run our errands and place tennis at the local university. If broken-down bodies and a busy work week have caught up to us, Boyfriend and I may lay by the pool in the sun, take a walk in the nearby park to see the turtles and geese, or just take a drive with good music and the sun shining down on us. Boy, I can’t wait for winter to be over!

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Rejuvenated!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt on 01/19/15:  “Tell us about the last experience you had that left you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated. What was it that had such a positive effect on you?”

As I mentioned in a previous post, “Tennis Player”, I enjoy warm sunny days, playing tennis with Boyfriend. Sunday (01/18/15) was the first opportunity we have had in quite awhile to play, and I enjoyed every minute. The sun was shining, the wind was nonexistent, and the temperature was 68 and beautiful. Boyfriend and I smiled and ran each other around the court pretty well! The courts where we play are well-kept, have good traction, are blue and white (which I prefer to green and burnt red) and are situated near a serene landscape. We are happy to live near multiple courts, which enables us to play tennis rather than spend our tennis time searching or waiting for a court Playing tennis gives us both a good workout, with both long points and quick bursts of energy (aerobic and anaerobic, cardio and high intensity movement). This combination allows for a fun and pleasant experience for Boyfriend and me. 

I feel fortunate to live in Central Texas most of the time, especially in winter. Even though we had several weeks of cold and rain, we didn’t get snow and, while it was dreary and mostly unpleasant for the past few weeks, it was warmer than in would have been in the Midwest. Even with warmer winter temperatures, we have not had a day that was fitting for us to play tennis in almost two months. The ability to enjoy an activity together, sweat a little and feel my muscles work was something I had been looking forward to all week as I watched the weather forecast. I feel glad that we seized the moment, as the weather has returned to cold, windy, cloudy and rainy the past few days. On the bright side, it’s not snow, though it could turn into ice.

I find being in the sun refreshing and rejuvenating while walking, sitting outside, especially when I take a few minutes away from work. I used to spend a lot of time driving with my previous job, more than I do now, and the office I worked from had several large, third floor windows that allowed for sun and natural light. I could sometimes duck over to a Starbucks to sit outside while typing case notes to both work and relax a little. Now, if I can, I take a lap or two around the office building to escape from my windowless office, sometimes with music on my phone for a bit of oomph.

Sometimes I drive, with good music and the windows open can be rejuvenating. I recently had the chance to drive back and forth from San Antonio for training on the toll road. Rather music, a good stretch of the ride was taken in silence as I delighted in little traffic on the 80-mile-an-hour toll road, alone. Unlike some, I normally enjoy driving and have often taken to the road as a refuge and a little time to collect my thoughts or decompress after a stressful day.

In this stressful world, you have to find ways to rest, relax and rejuvenate!

© blogdaysofchrell 2015