PRODUCT REVIEW: Mushroom Coffee!

Um, hello! Could anything sound more disgusting but taste more delish? Answer: NO!

First off, let me say I’ve never been much of a fan of the ‘shroom. The texture, the taste…the smell. However, I know that certain varieties of mushrooms are incredible from a health standpoint, so when I heard about this awesome thing called “Mushroom Coffee” from Tim Ferriss’ podcast, I was just too curious to resist!

Four Sigmatic is made up of some buddies from Finland who have developed easy, tasty ways to enjoy mushrooms, the “super food” that was a super food before super foods were all the hype šŸ™‚ Ā After perusing their website, and trying to decide what to try first, I saw an awesome sampler box that held everything I wanted, one dose at a time!

20160922_104315.jpgSo, although I originally thought I would put together a video about these goodies, I decided there are plenty of awesome videos if you get on YouTube or the Four Sigmatic website and check them out. However, I would like to share my take on each of the “flavors” I got to enjoy…and the one that I didn’t. Here’s my spin on things, in order from my most to least favorites:

  1. Mushroom Coffee w/ Cordyceps: “Stimulation without jitters” Guys, this stuff tastes amazing!!! It smells like coffee, tastes like a zesty instant coffee, and made me feel ohhhh so good! The company promised this good stuff as stimulation without the jitters and that’s exactly what I got! I didn’t feel a jolt or a crash, just a nice, steady, delicious ride through a sea of productivity.
  2. Mushroom Hot Cacao w/ Cordyceps: “Energize & feel good” I don’t know that this would pass as hot chocolate with my kids, but it’s still a truly tasty, chocolaty treat without the choco guilt, milky mucusy gross, or heaviness of the real deal. This hot cacao has a spiciness like a fancy Mexican hot cocoa, and is rich, delicious, and still gave me an awesome pick-me-up on a cool autumn morning!
  3. Cordyceps Elixir: “Energy boost & recovery” So, clearly, I like the cordyceps! I didn’t even know what it was before this sweet sampler box, but I’m officially a FAN! Apparently, this magical mixture helps support adrenal glands and maintain constant energy levels…no wonder I love it so! All I really know is that this elixir tasted as good as the mushroom coffee and hot cacao recipes which include the cordyceps, and it offered a great boost for my day.
  4. Mushroom Coffee w/ Lion’s Mane: “Increase productivity” This coffee, while still delicious, smelled like mushrooms…or feet. I still got all of the feel-good benefits from drinking this cup of hot deliciousness, but enjoyed it much more once I put it in one of my lidded to-go cups so I wouldn’t have to smell it. I know Lion’s Mane is a great addition to my health regimen, and I love the nutty flavor of this ‘shroom coffee…as long as I don’t have to smell it šŸ˜‰
  5. Mushroom Hot Cacao w/ Reishi: “Melt away stress” There’s just something special about hot drinks; they’re cozy, they’re soothing, they’re something to be savored, they’re meant to take a little time to enjoy. This mushroom cacao is soothing like that. Also nutty with a creaminess that hints at chocolate, this is just a really wonderful, hot cup of yummy.
  6. Chaga Elixir: “Bulletproof immunity” With this elixir, I begin the downward slope of my list, but I do it with this caveat: I drank these on their own, mixed only with hot water. I understand that there are many wonderful ways to enjoy these elixirs, herbs, mushrooms, etc. that may taste more delicious, be more palatable, and even boost the nutritional pow…but I wanted to find out my thoughts on the individual packets before venturing down that path. The chaga was good, and I knew it was good for me, so I enjoyed the warm cup and dreamt of future cuppings which may include some coconut oil, almond milk, or some other variation.
  7. Lion’s Mane Elixir: “Brain power” I even referenced drinking this in one of my “Get Ready with Me” videos! I enjoyed the flavor of this elixir, but similar to the mushroom coffee that included the lion’s mane, it definitely has a distinct odor. Tastes great, made me feel good, but gives my teenage son’s feet a run for their money!
  8. Reishi Elixir: “Relax & sleep deeper” Guys, gotta be honest here. I couldn’t even finish this one. It tasted so bad to me…I don’t know if I got enough into my system to help with sleep or relaxation because I likely only swallowed about three sips. If I ever have an opportunity to try this one again in a different form, or added to some base that would mask the reishi taste, I would like to. I could definitely use the hormonal regulation and lowering cortisol levels that reishi is known for, but straight with hot water isn’t happening again.

There you have it, folks! The quality of all of these handy-dandy packets was so great! Each powdery mixture dissolved like a dream in my hot water, without chunks or anything gross. The packaging is so creative and top-notch, and the natural elements of knowing this is an environmentally friendly operation made me feel extra good purchasing and drinking their goods. When consumed as I did, all of these dual-extracted mushroom mixtures are vegan and paleo-friendly. For every box, Four Sigmatic will use part of the revenue to donate mushroom kits to cancer patients! AND, as an added BONUS, HERE IS A $10 COUPON FROM FOUR SIGMATIC TO USE TOWARD YOUR FIRST/NEXT PURCHASE!

If you have tried this or similar mushroom super food products that you love (or hate, for that matter), I’d love to hear about them! What should I try next? Do YOU love Four Sigmatic?? Ā What helps give you a pick-me-up that also is doing good things for your body? Thanks for sharing!!!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Mastery Unleashes Creativity

Gaining mastery of a certain skill or task allows you to release your mind from thinking. You get to hit the auto-pilot button. When you get to ride out the storms on auto-pilot, you get to unleash the creativity that exists below the surface.

As an example we can all relate to, consider the task of shoe tying. Maybe you were so young that you do not even remember learning to tie your own shoes, but you can certainly see in your own children or in the children around you that basic shoe tying used to take all of your focused effort. Each of us once had to take our time, concentrate, start over and over again, to tie our shoelaces. Now, as adults, shoe tying is easy. We may do it several times a day without much notice. And, you may even think this is a terrible example of mastery vs. creativity because, c’mon, it’s shoe tying! However, we’ve mastered the basic skills of tying our shoelaces, and that allows us to even find creativity in that. Now, we add a double-knot, or we tuck the laces in, or we lace our shoes up different ways for reasons of appearance, efficiency, or even injury prevention. Some take their shoe tying creativity to even greater levels in designing new, better lacing options to keep shoes tied better or look more fashionable. Clamping devices are designed to make our shoelaces more secure, or accessories are added to our shoelaces so that we don’t have to go on a jog while holding our keys or people know our key identifying information in an emergency. This, my friends, is mastery unleashing creativity…even in something as seemingly basic as tying one’s shoes.

Consider, now, the countless tasks you have already mastered in your life, whether you’re 20-something or 80-something. Think of the ways you have naturally evolved that basic knowledge of how to do a certain task into the skill of doing it without thinking, and have moved beyond that skill to a level of creativity. Perhaps you are great at maximizing your efficiency of tasks so that the basic day-to-days don’t eat up most of your hours. Maybe you have seen a flaw or wished there was a fix for this problem or that frustration, and you actually came up with the solution, the re-design, the better model. Maybe you make the best pot of coffee every single time you brew because you’ve mastered it, you’ve balanced just the right ratios of coffee to water, you grind your own beans fresh, you blend a little of this region with a little of that, you use only distilled water and never tap, you do something that takes your coffee to the next level. You take your coffee beyond mastery, to creativity.

This concept–this truth–stretches across large and small things. You don’t have to cure cancer or paint the next timeless masterpiece to be creative. So, even if you’ve never thought of yourself as particularly right-brained, know that you are brimming with creativity which you uncover as necessity and focus evolve into mastery.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

What I Want to be When I Grow Up

Sure, I’m 38 years old, but it’s never too late to think about the future.

When I grow up, I want to encourage people everywhere I go, every person I meet. I want to bring smiles to faces and pep to their steps. I want to live my entire life being everyone’s Head Cheerleader!

When I grow up, I want to dig into each one of the 50 states. I’ve lived in a hefty handful of states, already, and I’ve traveled to and through many more, but I’d like to live a life that allows me to spend real time in each state, getting to know the state, the people, and sharing joy as I go.

When I grow up, I want to read more than I watch. I want to feed my mind with positive messages and dig into learning opportunities though classic, tried-and-true philosophies and techniques. I want to remain a bit old-school.

When I grow up, I want to attend seminars! I want to travel to exotic places to sit for 12 hours a day while learning and growing and honing my natural skills with some expert in the field (think Tony Robbins, or the late Zig Ziglar and Dr. Wayne Dyer). I want to spend the big money these sorts of seminars costĀ and soak in all the knowledge I can!

When I grow up, I want to be outdoors more than I’m indoors. I want to be out exploring, camping, enjoying campfires, watching clouds and sunsets, running, cycling, and playing!

When I grow up, I want to live in a community where everyone is within walking distance, where I know everyone, and enjoy going and doing with the people I live life with everyday. I want to live in a community that enjoys the outdoors and maximizes life experiences.

When I grow up, I want to never stop looking forward to tomorrow. I want to never regret yesterday. And, I wantĀ to always treasure today’s lessons.

When I grow up, I want to have a space in which all are welcome and comfortable. Where people from all walks of life can come in, sit, visit, share, and be encouraged. Where we can enjoy hot tea, hot coffee, fresh pressed juices, and maybe a baked good or two. A place where people gather and become friends.

When I grow up, I want to continually look at my life and know that I am doing the most of what I can with the toolkit I was given. I want to maximize and enjoy life to the fullest, while also being productive, encouraging, and serving others.

Me First

Dear readers and friends, please prepare yourself for the most controversial thing I have ever published. Instructions that go against what we are generally taught to do. But stick with me, there is rationale behind this belief that, I promise, will come full-circle and not seem so stinking evil.

Primed? OK, here it goes.YouAreSuchARockStar

You are #1. Really.

Put yourself first and you will be so much better equipped to love, serve, and care for others.

I understand this goes against all conventional thinking and what we are guilted by society to believe. It can be a message that falls somewhere between a hard pill to swallow and a total mind-blower.

Putting yourself first does not mean that you neglect those around you. It does not mean that you no longer treat others as you would like to be treated. It is not even selfish, not when you take in the bigger picture.

You are going to have a hard time playing with your young kids or grandkids outside if you do not first take care of your own physical health, exercising and staying active. Getting winded kicking the soccer ball around or whileĀ tromping around the neighborhood park is not because you are older or because you have already had a long day. You are getting winded and tired playing with the kids because you have not put your own needs for good physical stamina at the forefront.

Going to work and doing your job day-in and day-out may get to feeling tedious and like you are on a constant cycle of being overworked and underpaid if you do notĀ first feed yourself and feel satisfied before you ever hit the office door in the mornings. Spending some high-quality YOU TIME before it is time to start the jam-packed schedule will do wonders for your well-being. Taking time to meditate, study or read, sit and enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee or tea, and maybe even watch the sun rise will, in turn, energize you for the day ahead. You will get more accomplished once you get going and you will feel better about what you are accomplishing, too!

When you make sure that YOU are healthy and happy, you can care for and serve those you love better than ever before! By putting your needs first, you eliminate the bitterness and resentment that comes with the busyness of parenthood, spousehood, employeehood, serving on every board and committee and still trying so hard to fit in time to take a shower in peace.

Place yourself, your health and your mental well-being at the top of your to-do list and watch how fulfilled and ready toĀ pour your improved energy and enthusiasm on those you love most! You will serve others better by first taking the best care of yourself!

Go get ’em, ROCK STAR!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Moving, Doors & Dreams

I like the saying, “When life closes a door, open it again. That’s how doors work.”20150714 MHC new space

It makes me giggle because even though I believe all of the “everything happens for a reason” clichĆ©s, I also believe that just because a door shuts in your life doesn’t mean you have to just sit there and take it. Sometimes that door needs to be reopened, sometimes the hinges need a little oil, sometimes patience and time open the door…and sometimes that door really just isn’t meant to be open.

As I’ve shared previously, my family has moved from Wisconsin to Texas. I actually feel sorry for any and all of the people I’m closest to because for the past three months I have done almost nothing but whine about leaving Wisco. The people, the job, the community, the region, the coffee, the cheese, the activities, the schools, the ___________…you name it. I just wasn’t ready yet and everyone knew it!

A door was shut for me, and instead of looking for an open window, I kept trying like crazy to get that dang door back open! I looked EVERYWHERE to find the magic key that would open that door back up. I explored every option. That door wasn’t coming back open, at least not right now.

So, here I am, standing outside of a locked door, but not really seeing any available windows, either. What else would I be doing??? Duh–I’m having an impromptu dance party outside!!! Instead of wearing my knuckles out banging on the door, I’m making the most of the move, the new location, the opportunity to spend time with family and reunite with friends I’ve known for years but not seen in a while. I’m laughing and dancing and playing outside the door while I patiently wait for it to reopen or for another door/window/swirly-fun-slide to appear to me!

One of the ways I’m celebrating my new chapter of life is by enjoying the time to focus on this community. For the past year, especially, I’ve felt so busy with my busyness that spending time doing this thing that I LOVE and am passionate about (this website, my YouTube channel, YOU) has been ignored. Now, I am able to refocus my attention and develop this MHC community into what I dreamed it would be years ago. This makes me smile and crank up the dance party tunes!!!

Expect changes that are still evolving to come to fruition over the coming weeks and months. I’m getting my dance groove back and I’m super excited to share my new moves šŸ™‚

Thank YOU for tuning in, being there (here), and enjoying what I do here. Keep doing what you do, and I promise to keep working at getting better and better at what I do! I’m tired of knocking on that door…but I know it’ll open when the time is right. Until then, let’s party!!!

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Doing My Civic Duty…Jury Duty, That Is

As I sit in the 300+ head herd of dutiful citizens summoned today for jury duty, I can’t help but people watch. It’s one of my favorite games.

There are men in ill-fitting suits and comfort-dress shoes walking around, blending in perfectly with the beige walls and understated furniture.

A woman in a Disney character jacket sitting next to me cannot be still, and incessantly shakes a foot, which–in turn–makes some little metal piece of her bedazzled jacket rattle. The sound causes the man across from me to notice and we exchange a comically annoyed smile.

Most of us waiting are on some sort of device to pass the time, and even those who felt the need this morning to haul plump briefcases and backpacks are not using them, instead opting to play Candy Crush or check their Facebook news feed until our juror numbers are called. I resist the urge to check on my Clan and instead turn my phone off all together.

A few are reading actual books with real pages, which actually looks odd in this day and age.danecountycourthouse.png

Two people in the entire group sit quietly, with nothing to do yet not appearing bored or impatient or anything but resigned to wait.

One woman makes idle small talk with the court clerk, and I wonder at her angle. Will this act get her number slipped onto a more exciting case? She runs out of silly questions and returns to her seat.

The coffee is burnt but still tasty until I regret not packing minty gum to eliminate the lingering flavor.

Sirens roll by outside and I look up to see a middle-aged woman carrying a shiny golden tote bag, wearing a mini skirt, suntan colored panty hose, and sandaled feet. This especially strikes me as most of us are still sporting layers and coats in our lingering 35 degree Wisconsin spring days.

After a few hours of waiting, the herd starts to get restless. People get up, some stretch, most have found restrooms or snack machines or new magazines to peruse. I look at the clock and realize that on a normal day I would be home by now and today, in particular, would be enjoying the first day of spring break with my children.

A series of juror numbers is called for the first round of eliminations, mine is not among them so I sit.

The woman is still tapping her foot, her jacket still tink-tink-tinkling. I refuse to change my seat to get away from her rattle becauseĀ I’m otherwise comfortable and warm in front of the large picture window. I will her to either stop shaking or change seats herself. We’ll see if it works.

It surprises me how many people in this herd of strangers leave their purses, cases, devices, and other personal belongings in their chairs as they seek out excuses to move about. We’ve all claimed our spots and that is, apparently, more important than trust in this room full of strangers.

Every once in a while the silence is broken by a gregarious courthouse worker or high heels clicking down the linoleum clad hallway. The distraction doesn’t last long and the large room returns to a quiet stillness that would rival any library.

I am hungry, but it’s probably more of a boredom hunger than real.

Black and white framed portraits cover the walls in neat grids. They are important people in Wisconsin’s judicial history and they look so serious and distinguished staring down at me in my chair. Most wear glasses.

My travel cup of green tea is calling to me from my car parked a block away and two more stories up. Having it would occupy me and give me something warm to hold, but then I would just have to make more trips to the restroom and risk losing my seat. The struggle is real.

Yes. She’s still there and still tapping.

The tapping foot woman is also thirsty. I almost laugh out loud when she pulls a long swig from a canned energy drink. Sitting, sitting, sitting, sucking up sugary caffeine, tapping away, and unable to hold still. Go figure.

Exactly the opposite, across the room another woman naps. She seems quite comfortable to be off from work and be minimally paid to chair nap among strangers.

Random coughs shatter the silence. Those who have been here before begin quiet, knowing conversations, regaling others of us with their fascinating tales of jury duties past. I say a silent prayer to either be excused quickly, or chosen to serve on some enthralling criminal case. I am a cop’s daughter, after all, so being a part of this process could be really cool–especially if I can serve to preserve the law and be a voice of fairnessĀ at the same time.

Tappy Tapperton stretches, yawns, puts down her iPad in exchange for her iPhone, taps some more. Her leg never tired. Never. It must be the energy drink.

My mind turns to lunch spots. I’m rarely downtown so this could prove a rare treat opportunity to check out a new-to-me lunch spot in downtown Madison. A juicy cheeseburger sounds good!

Another series of juror numbers is called. There are questions that make me wonder what some otherwise intelligent-looking people didn’t learn in kindergarten. Q: “My number is 218, do I go, now?” A: “No, sir. WeĀ announced numbers 1 – 80, you can return to your seat.”

I brought a book with meĀ to read, and I do read some, but mostly I just watch my fellow jury duty friends. No one seems as curious about me as I am of them; if they are they hide it well.

The first round is excused. They get to go home, go to lunch, resume their day. This makes the rest of us fidget a bit. The clock ticks on and Tapping Disney keeps double-time.

Bored, IĀ visit the restroom…mainly as an internal excuse to stretch my legs and count the remaining herd. As I stand, I sarcastically ask the older gentleman sitting across from me to watch after my chair, to which he replies, “A special seat for a special lady.” Awww.

When I’m away, another huge group of possible jurors is excused, and yet we continue to wait.

At this point, there are only about twenty of us left, so we give in and begin to chat. Television shows. Growing Madison area communities. Restaurants. Until we finally get around to speculating on our juror fate. A retired insurance adjuster predicts that the case we are slated to sit through is settling rather than battle it out in court. “Whoever plays chicken first wins,” as he puts it. Within an hour an announcement is made that we–the last of the original 300+–are excused.Ā  We are excused from jury service for at least four more years, which I calculate was one year per hour we waited…sounds fair.Ā We are thankedĀ and we are sent on our merry ways.

Those remaining rush the elevators, suddenly itching for fresh air. The last words I heard from my juror friends was, “By the way, you’re pretty easy on the eyes.” I responded to the elderly gentleman with a laughing “Thank you,” and ran to cross the street back to the parking garage that housed my freedom.

Touring Wisconsin on Two Wheels: Southwest Loop

The greatest thing about moving north to an entirely new state that spends half the year (a slight exaggeration) completely hidden under snow cover is that when the snow thaws, everything is brand new, again! As it is now my family’s second Autumn season in Wisconsin, we see patterns emerging from memories of a year ago when we were finally either unpacking the last of the moving boxes, or wondering why we had bothered to move this or that in the first place, and rather than further deal with it, shove it away in a dark corner of the storeroom. We see the geese beginning to practice their flights instead of their continual summer grazing and lazy swims on neighborhood ponds. The farmers are beginning to cut the crops of corn and soybeans that fill every unpaved spot on the landscape. Wood is being gathered and chopped for the coming winter fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and backyard fire pits. And, the last of the fruits and veggies are being canned and jammed to be enjoyed throughout the coming months of barren ground.

As a way of fully immersing ourselves into our new community, my son, Morgan, and I took to the plethora of multi-use trails around our area. We love living near the capital city of our state for several reasons, and the exceptional trails in our new home state take the cake for this bike-loving clan! Mid-winter, when we were missing the beautifully lined paths, Morgan and I started dreaming of these wonderful trails, wishing we could explore them every day and see how far they would take us. That’s when we came up with a wonderful idea: a cycling vacation to explore Wisconsin!

Our guidebook for the journey. We referenced the maps and charts in this book often throughout the trip!

Our guidebook for the journey. We referenced the maps and charts in this book often throughout the trip!

A quick look at Google Maps (with the cycling paths highlighted) reveals a nice loop through the southwestern corridor of our cheese-loving state. Roughly 131 miles from Fitchburg to Dodgeville, then south to Darlington, over to Monroe, and completing the loop (rather–it’s more of a square) by heading north back to Fitchburg. It was a genius idea!

Morgan and I started dreaming through the snow-lined streets, of a summer vacation on bicycle. And, like one of my all-time favorite motivators, Zig Ziglar, said many times, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” Achieve it, we did!!!

We also recruited a friend and fellow cycling enthusiast, Zach, to join in the fun.

We put together packing lists and to-do lists. We met over coffee and scones to discuss and plan. We checked and double-checked everything from tires or water bottles. And we set out on a journey we will not soon forget.

PACKING LIST (in no cohesive order):

Carrying all you will need over the course of a vacation really keeps your "needs" in perspective!

Carrying all you will need over the course of a vacation certainly keeps your “needs” in perspective!

  • Our homemade guidebook
  • Cash, ID’s, and credit cards
  • Backpack to hold all necessary possessions
  • Quick dry shirt
  • Quick dry pair of shorts
  • Sleepwear
  • Hand sanitizer/wipes
  • Extra bike tubes
  • Athletic tape
  • Energy gels and snacks
  • Phone chargers
  • Bike tools
  • Helmets
  • Bike lights and/or flashlights
  • Pepper spray
  • Water bottles
  • Bike pump and/or CO2 cartridges
  • Socks and underwear
  • Bike locks
  • Sunblock
  • First aid kit
  • Plastic shopping sacks
  • Pen/marker
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunglasses
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
My ride for the trip. It's a simple Trek, but I LOVE IT! The smaller woman's frame made for some modifications like the new water bottle spot. And my road tires were replaced with hybrids to help stand up to the rocks, silt, and unpaved glory to come!

My ride for the trip. It’s a simple Trek, but I LOVE IT! The smaller woman’s frame made for some modifications like the new water bottle spot. And my road tires were replaced with hybrids to help stand up to the rocks, silt, and unpaved glory to come!

TO-DO’s PRIOR TO LAUNCH:

  • Wisconsin state trail use pass (purchased through WI Department of Natural Resources)
  • Full bike inspection and tuneup
  • Hotel reservations (because at the end of the day, we wanted showers, beds, and cable)

Check. Check.. and Check…all the way down the line.

The day we took off from our designated starting spot–a convenience store–the weather was still chilly and quite windy. The first half of the day was spent in some pretty open areas where the crosswinds made us question our sanity pretty often. But, we knew ahead of time that we would each have our doubts along the way, and that it was each of our jobs individually and collectively as a group to keep the momentum up and the spirits light.

For three days and two nights, we had no responsibilities or obligations beyond riding from one point to the next. Stopping along the way whenever we were tired or saw a pretty spot to relax and stretch, or a random stray kitten crying out to us from alongside the path. Our only “job” for three whole days was to enjoy the journey.

Wisconsin has some wonderful trails to offer even the most casual of rider! They're well-maintained, well-marked, and well-loved by this group!

Wisconsin has some wonderful trails to offer even the most casual of rider! They’re well-maintained, well-marked, and well-loved by this group!

The first day began in Fitchburg and ended in Mineral Point, travelling through Verona, Mount Horeb, Blue Mounds, Barneveld, Ridgeway, and Dodgeville along the way. We stopped at a wonderful hidden coffee shop tucked into the back of a convenience store in Mount Horeb called Mary’s Coffee Express, and enjoyed lattes and scones to pump up our energy while we sat and charged our cell phones. Morgan–ever the seeker of future Tour de France mountain climbing glory–took a few additional detours when we came to side-shooting climbs around Blue Mounds State Park. And in Dodgeville, we had to take to the streets where traffic doesn’t seem as accommodating to those of us using two instead of four wheels for our travel. That evening came and our hotel in Mineral Point had an indoor swimming pool/hot tub combination, a Subway next door, and a marathon of Dance Moms on TV. All was right in the world.

We allowed ourselves a slow start on our second day out on the bikes. It was nice to just kind of hang around, eat a slow hotel lobby breakfast, load our bikes back up, and remind ourselves that we weren’t punching any time clocks and could relax into the trip. We had no idea how grueling the second day in the saddle would be, but we were soon to find out.

A ride through the Wisconsin countryside wouldn't be complete without walls of corn for miles and miles!

A ride through the Wisconsin countryside wouldn’t be complete without walls of corn for miles and miles!

The Cheese Country Trail, which stretches from Mineral Point to Monroe (our entire second day’s journey) would be a fabulous, teetering on “heavenly” ATV trail. However, as a bike trail it makes life pretty difficult. It’s very rocky with a loose, silty (is that a word?) under-layer, so on our bicycles (even on Zach’s mountain bike with big, knobby tires) we were literally “spinning our wheels” and getting nowhere. We had a couple of issues over the course of our second day out on the trail. We’d fall over from trying so hard to move forward but going nowhere and just toppling. We’d get angry and yell at the trail when forward progress got really frustrating. And, we’d celebrate when little towns would pop up with their hometown food, benches, and patient folks.

Day two took us from Mineral Point to Darlington, through Gratiot to South Wayne, and on through Browntown to Monroe. We’d never been so happy to see a hotel before in our lives as we were when we reached our destination in Monroe just as the sun was beginning to settle on the horizon, but once we finished the 50 mile day relief kicked in and we felt like we could conquer the world!!! Out of nowhere one of us would exclaim something along the lines of, “If I can do that, I can do anything,” and we’d all chime in, all so proud of our day’s work. That night we loaded up on all the Italian fare we could get into our bodies at a wonderful restaurant just around the corner from the hotel, Vince’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzaria. It was the tastiest way to end the day!!!

Zach, myself, and Morgan--three faces full of pride and joy!!!

Zach, myself, and Morgan–three faces full of pride and joy!!!

Our final day out was also the shortest, with only the last 30 miles left to cover and a beautiful day ahead. Riding the Badger State Trail from Monroe, through Monticello and Belleville, and into Fitchburg was such a relaxing break after the day out on the ATV trail!

We stopped along the way a LOT in this last day. Sometimes, when we’d stop, I’d smile to myself because this journey that we’d imagined had been such a neat adventure that none of us were quite ready for the adventure to end, so we’d let the smallest things distract us and be a cause for pause along the way. My riding buddies are such neat guys; these teenage boys who still aren’t even old enough to drive cars had to dig deep on this trip to keep going and they did so without ever really considering quitting. Quitting just wasn’t an option, and although we had some bumps and tired times, we were operating as a team out on the trails. At one time we’d be laughing and joking around, other times we’d each be playing music for the rest to hear blaring from the tiny speakers on our cell phones, and still other times we’d be riding in perfect precision and harmony like a pro cycling team, sharing the workload in the front of the line and riding in complete silence but for the sound of our tires and trail meeting.

Storm clouds circled overhead and the air was heavy at times, but we never had so much as a drop of rain while we were out on the trails. The weather was just perfect for a little bike ride!

Storm clouds circled overhead and the air was heavy at times, but we never had so much as a drop of rain while we were out on the trails. The weather was just perfect for a little bike ride!

Finally, however, each journey must come to a close, even if it’s just to ask, “Same time next year?” We arrived back at our convenience store in Fitchburg to cheering family, fresh bottles of water, and car air conditioning!

Even though there are more serious riders who will easily get our 130+ miles into a single day’s ride, ours was an adventure of epic proportions to us! Perspective is key when your dreams take you over hurdles or on adventures you never imagined before that you could actually accomplish. Whether it’s your first 5k or scaling Mount Everest, if it’s a BIG accomplishment in your eyes, and you’re proud of yourself, then that’s all that matters in the world!!! Keep your head high and your dreams higher…and just keep peddling šŸ™‚

Until next time…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Week one, day two

6am: Up but not feeling very well rested. I got 7 hours of sleep, but in the last few weeks I’ve not been getting enough sleep consistently, and I believe this morning the cumulative effect has taken hold.

Weight: 120.0

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1/2 c Grape Nuts, 1/4 c Craisins, 1/2 c whole milk = hearty yumminess this morning!

This morning’s breakfast is high in fiber, protein, and iron, which is awesome because my system is still feeling a little “clogged” from yesterday’s Red Robin Royal Cheeseburger. This breakfast ought to do the trick and get my body running on all cylinders, again!

8am: Kids are out the door for school and I’m ready to hit the gym! It’s chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs day. Let’s do this!!!
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Workout: 10 min cardio warm-up on elliptical machine, 22 min weight training (keeping the body moving, super setting exercises to allow some muscles to rest while others work and have the most efficient session possible!), followed up by 7 min of relaxing yoga to reset and stretch. Ahhhh…note I’ve got that awesome post workout head fog that comes after a truly great workout! Time to refuel!

930am: Clean, post workout meal. Lentils, a poached egg, and mixed veggies. Yummmmm!
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After this, it’s off to another day at the office…errr…coffee shop :-*

7pm: Tonight’s dinner after loads of green tea was a scrumptious bean and long grain rice casserole. Yummm-o!

10pm: With all of the normal family dealings and chores checked off for another day, it’s time to think “ME”…I’m off to my bedtime routine and a great night’s rest!

Rest well, y’all!
Marilyn

Oh, “Shirley Temple”

011So, this morning in the coffee shop drive-thru, I looked at my youngest daughter in the back seat. She had her sneaker off one of her feet and was beating on that socked foot with her shoe.

When I asked her if her foot had gone to sleep she responded, “Oh, Shirley Temple, yes! My foot is asleep!”

Now, if you say this aloud, or imagine your 6-year-old saying it aloud, and slow it all down in your head like that point in the TV show when the child is about to say something offensive in front of the hoity-toity rich relatives…that’s what I was going through in the comfort of my car this morning.

Charlotte said, “Oh, sh….” and I thought I was about to come unglued! Of course, she didn’t even hesitate or think anything of it. She wasn’t about to say the bad word, and changed at the last minute to Shirley Temple; that’s what she meant to say from the beginning. Whew!!!

Oh, Shirley Temple, it’s Tuesday!

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn šŸ™‚