Saturday, April 18, 2015

What Is Your Must?

Talking about myself isn't my strong suit.  I've always been more interested in what other people are doing and experiencing.  Maybe that’s why I started blogging (off and on) a few years ago.  I came to the realization that my way of moving through the world wasn’t working anymore.  I forced myself to open up and decided I didn't care what people thought anymore.  I had to push through the inevitable judgment of others because the urge to express myself was taking all my energy to suppress. Was I scared to step out on the ledge? No.  I was terrified. 

Fast forward to last Thursday.  I was on the treadmill at the gym listening to one of the podcasts I LOVE called TheUnmistakable Creative.  Elle Luna talks about being at the crossroads of “Should and Must”; discerning between the things in life you believe you should do and the things you must do.  Click HERE to listen to the episode.  It pretty much blew my mind.  It was an articulate explanation of all the thoughts and feelings I’d been experiencing over the last five years.  I’m not going to lie to you:  I cried.  I think it was the movement on the treadmill coupled with the emotion of relief.  My former self would have resisted the feelings, but I decided to accept the sadness and determined I would try to keep it together until I could get to the car.  Once I sat in my car, I lost it; went into the ugly cry.  You know the one.  I cried for the woman I had been.  All the energy wasted on doing what I should do, all the while wishing I could be doing something else. Then I apologized to myself for denying my calling, for not fighting for it and instead just accepting what others wanted for me.  I blame NO ONE.  I made all the decisions that got me to this point in life.  In fact, Danny has always been supportive of everything I ever pursued.  It was my fear that kept me stuck.  Fear of failure.  Fear of success.  Fear of judgment.

Why am I telling you this?  To let you know it’s never too late to start making the right choices.  Life is made up of a lot of seemingly small choices, but ultimately they add up to a huge result.  What is it that you feel you must do?  What small choice can you make today to help you move closer to your must?   It’s funny, but once you start moving toward your heart’s desire things start happening.  It may be slow at times but staying committed is essential. 

The other day I heard someone say, “God can’t steer a parked car.”  It was an offhand remark but it stuck with me.    I can’t tell you how many times I've sat in a parked car wondering why God isn't helping me.  Bottom Line : You have to keep moving forward.   You may not have a map for where you’re going, so take out your compass and press the gas.  I’ll be in the lane next to you.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Finale

Dear Diary,

Last night and all day we have had a ton of rain!   My friend Ruth, who lives a few streets over, posted a video of her kids riding in a canoe in their YARD.  It’s crazy!  But, it’s going to take more than flooding and heavy rain to keep me from having an adventure on my last day of #staycation. 

So now the question is what to do?  A day at the spa?  A lavish lunch with friends?  

Then it came to me … a trip to Costco! Oh, yeah!

I was almost blown away by all the savings I found at Costco!

Someone pretty dang special has Fridays off (one uses that term loosely when one is self-employed). So I asked him to join me.  He was more than happy to come along to Costco.  In fact, he loves going to any megastore.  Seriously, he is not allowed to go there unchaperoned.   He tends to overfill the shopping cart and fail to remember we are only a family of three.  Our rule is to do your shopping, fill the cart up to the brim, and then right before you check out go put half the items back.  Otherwise we end up with an empty wallet and way too much stuff with nowhere to put it.   

Though who doesn't need a gallon of minced garlic at a moment’s notice?

Yes - this massive container of minced garlic made the cut at checkout.  I love this man!

… and an enormous bag of frozen blueberries?

This woman seems a little TOO excited about frozen blueberries.  She knew 
they would go really well with garlic. 

Side note, I've been eating gluten free frozen waffles (with ancient grains, Danielle) with blueberries every morning and they are so stinking good!  If you’re looking to mix things up in the breakfast department I really like the Chex gluten free cinnamon oatmeal cereal, too.  I top it off with blueberries and crushed salted almonds.  Sweet and salty, it’s like a party in your mouth.  

So in reflection, I’m counting this #staycation as a TOTAL success!  Especially since it was pretty much a last minute idea, I’m grateful it was so much fun.

Loving Kentucky even more,

Anna Lee

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Dear Diary,

Today is Thursday. The day of the week when everything I've put off to be on #staycation needed to be accomplished.  However, I'm happy to report that I was able to go out for lunch in Versailles.  Wallace Station is on Old Frankfort Pike about thirty minutes from Lexington depending on where you are in town.

Shortly, after I took this pic with my phone I sprinted in (it was raining) those red doors and promptly knocked an older gentleman in the head with my purse.  Totally by accident!  The parking lot was packed, the space inside is tight, and you know I like to make an entrance.

Frankly, I do or say something completely embarrassing EVERY single day.  -Sigh

After apologizing profusely I sauntered over to the counter and ordered a pimento cheese sandwich on gluten free bread and shuffled to the drink stand to wait with everyone else.   The wait / to-go area is approximately the size of a postage stamp.   Fortunately, people started to leave and I grabbed an open table.  Due to the fact that I took a wrong turn (or two) on my way there I didn't have much time to eat.  So I enjoyed my sandwich, drank my sweet tea and headed for the door.  The back door this time, since I didn't want a repeat of my entrance.  That’s when the real downpour started.  I waited as long as I could and then zipped up my coat and made a run for it!   

This nice middle-aged woman would NEVER intentionally hit someone in the
head with her purse.  Would she?  Though she has been known to walk
into men's restrooms by mistake a few times.

It ended up being a wonderful day.  The drive in Woodford County is gorgeous.  Kentucky in the spring is something to be savored.  The pristine horse farms on the way to Wallace Station are simply spectacular.  I turned by the castle and took Pisgah Pike to Old Frankfort Pike.  This route wound its way through Winstar Farm which consists of 2300 acres of (in my opinion) some of the most beautiful land in the state.  They offer tours and I've decided that needs to be added to my next #staycation “ to do” list.     

What’s my plan for tonight?  I’m binge watching old episodes of Alaskan Bush People

I know, right!


Anna Lee

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Dear Diary,

To my delight it was another day of beautiful sunshine!  I started the day at a place called Pop’s Resale (I would link it up but the website … how can I say this nicely, needs attention) on Leestown Road.  I have a few friends that recently introduced me to the vintage / secondhand store scene, so I thought I would give this place a try.  I found it on the internet and it had good reviews.  However its not my favorite.  They had a lot of vinyl records and old vintage stereo equipment.  Perfect for someone who’s into music and all things related (which I’m really not). They also had some clothing which included the following … 

If you need a Hawaiian shirt, I know where you can find one!

I've decided that housewares and d├ęcor is where it’s at for me.  So I said goodbye to the peeps at Pop’s (alliteration anyone?) and headed down the street to a place I like to stop in every once in a while.

If you've never been to Feather Your Nest and you like shopping for treasures, you should stop in and look around.  There is tons of stuff neatly organized into booths for your perusing pleasure.  Honey, I could spend hours in this place.  

Okay, this wasn't the "neatest" booth but it shows the variety of stuff in the shop.
They have everything here!

I bought a gift for myself here last Christmas:  a gorgeous crazy quilt that’s in our living room which we constantly arm wrestle over. Thankfully, it’s big enough to share, or I would never get to use it at all.  (Note to self – more bicep curls at the gym.)  

Realizing it was about lunch time, I made a beeline for one of my favorite places to eat salad.  It’s called Vinaigrette and is in the building behind Applebee’s in Meadowthorpe.  I met a friend there and her name starts with an M. She’s one of the many redheads in my life.   She falls off shuttle buses, stays up late washing shoe strings and has been known to pack heat on our vacations together.  Never a dull moment with this woman! 

 On #staycation or not, lunch with a friend is always HIGH on my priority list.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Lee

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday ... that was fun!

Dear Diary,

Today is day two of my #staycation.  I've often heard it said you learn the most about yourself by traveling.  I disagree.  This morning I woke up (in my own bed) at four a.m. 

 I don't know if you heard me; that was FOUR  O'CLOCK... in the morning! 

This has been a common theme for me.  If I think about the fact that I can get up whenever I want to, it pretty much guarantees an early rising. This morning, after an inward groan I turned over and forced myself to stay in bed.  Thankfully, after what seemed like an eternity, I fell back to sleep and slept until eight a.m...  Score.

So, the first thing I’m learning to accept about myself on this #staycation is that I tend to celebrate before it actually happens.  Is that a bad thing?  I think not!

The second thing I’m learning is that I never want to be a tour guide.  To quote Taylor Swift, “Like, ever!".

Today I took a tour of several of Kentucky’s famous horse farms.  It was great, but I NEVER want to be in charge of a group that I have to manage and educate.  (This is probably why I only have one child.)  Our guide was a part-time Presbyterian minister named John who seemed to have guzzled two cans of Red Bull prior to our  tour.  Because I was a single in the group, I was riding shotgun, sitting right next to him in the front seat of a ten-passenger van. This meant I had to be on my best behavior.   Jon  was so enthusiastic  I had to hold back a laugh, though I truly enjoyed the animated way he  disseminated the information.   And while sitting up front gave me an optimal view of exactly where we were going , I soon wondered if having a front row seat to a possible head on collision was worth my $40 ticket.  John carried on in his over-energetic way as he drove and we headed to the part of New Circle Rd. (between Newtown Pike and Harrodsburg Road) where they are doing construction. Picture cement walls and orange traffic barrels.  

You know those moments in life when you think, “What have I signed myself up for?”  This excursion was advertised as a THREE hour tour.  As in Gilligan's!   To my relief it was a short ride and we exited on Versailles Road heading toward Keeneland.  

When I look at this picture all I can think of is Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon
dancing in their white pants.
 Because I love you so much here is the link

Keeneland (photo above) was our first stop.  I have been there many times, but today I appreciated learning some of the history of the racetrack.  Did you know Keeneland is the leading Thoroughbred auction house in the WORLD? And right here in Lexington!  Seriously!  To my delight, the atmosphere was exciting as they are in the process of getting ready for spring meet. The grounds crew and all the employees were running around preparing for the upcoming invasion of racing fans.  If you've never been there, I encourage you to go.  It is such a beautiful place and definitely a unique experience.   

We continued to Donamire Farm , Hill ‘n Dale Farm and finally we went to a farm off of Iron Works Pike  (sorry; can’t remember the name of that one) where we were able to see and pet some of the broodmares and foals. Overall, I would totally recommend going on one of these horse farm tours.   As the day went on, and to my relief, the Red Bulls imbibed by John wore off and his mood  and energy level became a little more normal.  

In reflection, the reason I never want to be a tour guide is because I would be required to talk to people constantly, for hours on end.  I’m an introvert and like to keep to myself.  While the people on the tour were friendly and nice, I didn't feel like I had to make small talk.  And you know what? I dread small talk.  I may appear aloof to others, but if I don't have anything of substance to say I would rather be quiet.  I like silence.  #keepingitreal  

Anyway, I am counting day two as a success. Now, onto day three! 

 (BTW, I am setting an alarm tomorrow morning.)


Anna Lee

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Musings

Dear Diary,

I’m old! Today is the first day of my #staycation and I was trying to think of something fun to do today.  You know what sounded fun?  

A stroll down memory lane.

Well, actually it ended up being a road.  The road I grew up on.

We moved to another part of Lexington when I was thirteen (Avery’s current age).   I spent many of my formative years in this house.  Funny how everything seemed smaller than I remembered.  To my surprise I couldn't stop thinking about William.  He’s been dead for fifteen years in August and the grief is still with me.  I ended up surrendering to the sadness and giving myself a moment to cry.  Figuring it would be better if I didn't linger, I decided to head to my next destination.  Seeing some middle-aged woman snap pictures of your house and then sit in her car crying.  CRAZY LADY ALERT! 

On the porch of the house above.  William, Anna Lee & Sarabeth
Carolyn was still a twinkle in Mom's eye

Yes, I'm the one in the middle.  Not that I exhibit ANY middle child traits.  
Did you notice me in the middle?

I continued to drive by a few more childhood haunts and headed to downtown Lexington.  It was mid-afternoon and some coffee sounded good.  I stopped in at Third Street Stuff .  Thankfully there was plenty of parking on the side of the building. Every time I drive by there I want to stop and can’t because I have a commitment.  Well, not today!  I went inside and ordered a vanilla latte.  While I was waiting for my coffee I walked over to the magnetic poetry board and created this piece.

I've been around a long time, and life still has a whole lot of 
surprises for me. –Loretta Lynn

Great atmosphere, interesting staff (interesting being code for lots of piercings and tattoos – not that there is anything wrong with that!) I'll go again soon, next time with Avery.

Tomorrow, I’m headed on a horse farm tour.  So excited! 


Anna Lee

PS – I’m so sad about Zayn leaving One Direction.  Can you believe it?  He says he wants to be a normal 22 year-old guy.  Some people are so selfish.

#Staycation ~ Day 1

Growing up we didn't go on vacation much.  So when spring break would roll around I was always disappointed to be staying home.  Sarabeth (my younger sister) and I had cousins of similar ages, and thankfully my aunt and uncle (generously) took us to the beach with them a few times.  I remember feeling extremely grateful as only one who has gone without can.  I was a teenager at the time and vowed to travel as much as possible when I got older.  Fast forward about twenty-four years and that’s pretty much how we live. This year alone we've been to Utah and Colorado (twice) to snow ski.  Always mindful of the medical practice and Avery’s school schedule, this year we have a full May and June lined up.  We are running a 5K / half marathon with family in Indiana.  Right when school lets out we are headed to the beach in South Carolina with my family.  Then a few weeks later we leave for the upper peninsula of Michigan for a week.  Why am I telling you this?  Because this week is spring break and I feel like I've been left behind again.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to see everyone’s pictures as they view the Grand Canyon for the first time or sink their toes into the warm sand of a beach somewhere.  I truly take pleasure in cheering you on!  There’s just something about this time of year that makes me a little wistful.  I don’t know if it’s the smell of mulch or the stinky pear trees that are all over town, but I want to hit the road.  Alas, it is not to be so.  Avery has already high-tailed it out of town with her aunt and uncle (ironic, huh), and Danny is working all week, doing that whole “saving lives one toe at a time” thing. 

Anyway, I want to make lemonade out of lemons.  Turn my frown upside down. (Insert some other corny colloquialism here).  So, I've decided to go on #staycation!  I’m taking the power back.  This is where you come in - what should I do?  Where should I go?  I’m willing to go anywhere in Lexington to explore and experience  all it has to offer.  Do you know of some out-of-the-way eatery?  A cool historical site? A hidden gem right in my own back yard I've never explored? Today is my first day of #staycation – HELP! Leave your suggestions below, (or on facebook) and I’ll do my best to document my adventures this week.  

Wistful in Wilmore