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I’ve had an empty nest for a full month now. I’m still adjusting after sending two teenage girls off to their freshman year of college – one in another state. My house is so quiet. I’m all alone. It’s still weird. But these are some of the things filling my time and sparking joy.
Pool time: My neighborhood has a beautiful community cool. It’s usually empty in the evenings – people are just getting home from work, making dinner, getting kids off to soccer practice. This is my peaceful place. Soaking in the fresh air and sunshine is good for me and swimming is my favorite form of meditation.
Physical therapy: I have a torn meniscus and osteoarthritis. Physical therapy has been prescribed twice a week. I love chatting with my physical therapist and her assistant. It’s also a good place for eavesdropping. My therapist uses kinesiology tape on my knee at the end of each session, which really helps a lot and comes in fun colors and patterns.
Mental health therapy: I know I’m a broken record on this at the Rambling Rach Facebook page. Get a therapist! We all need one.
Browsing cookbooks: I don’t cook a whole lot, but I look looking at photos I’ve food. I also like reading the blurbs that go with each recipe in celebrity cookbooks. I’ve actually made several things from Cravings by Crissy Teigen (and More Cravings). I recently flipped through a cookbook by Snoop Dog!
Big ass sunglasses: I’m not a very careful person and can’t handle the responsibility of expensive sunglasses. I break them, scratch them and lose them. So I buy cheap pairs and have quite the collection. And apparently I’m spreading it around – I’ve left multiple pairs at Bestie Boo’s house two hours away. I like big sunglasses. I got this pair at a thrift shop.
Mexican chocolate coffee: So good. Hot or iced.
Color Street nail polish strips: These were gifted to me and I was skeptical. But they were SO EASY to put on and I LOVE them. Get you some here. $2 of every sale of the Open Hearts design goes to Suicide Prevention through September.
Free Your Energy: This book by Sylvester McNutt III is changing the way I think. I’m reading it slowly, really absorbing it and thinking about it. I’ve been carrying it around everywhere with me. I read it while waiting for appointments, at the pool, while drinking coffee, etc.
Kitchen gadgets. My air fryer, Instant Pot and microwave are doing all the work in the kitchen. I don’t think I’ve used the oven at all since my girls have been gone and I rarely use the stove top. I use the Instant Pot to make batches of soup, chili or chicken to shred for tacos. The air fryer is great for roasted Brussels sprouts, making crispy chicken tenders, perfectly burning hot dogs and even baking chocolate chip cookies from ready made dough. Mornings are all about my cute little aqua toaster and the Ninja coffee bar system.
Empty nest UN-nesting. I’ve been slowly cleaning, purging and organizing. I don’t enjoy it, but cleaner, clearer spaces feel so much better. I’m no Marie Kondo, but even little steps make for a better living space. No, I still haven’t found my tiny dicks.
Sandhill cranes: These big, loud birds walk around my neighborhood and I love them.
Marco Polo: One of my gal pals and I send each other videos back and forth using this app. I’m also getting to know people who will be attending Alt Summit conference in Palm Springs in a group chat.
Jonathan Van Ness: His book came out yesterday. BUY IT!
Snacks for dinner: Cheese, olives, fried salami and fruit = my favorite meal.
Cupcakes: I treated myself to a whole box of cupcakes from Smallcakes Cupcakery. No, I didn’t eat them all in one day. Yes, they were still delicious days after I bought them. They were AMAZING and I didn’t have to share.
Oh, yeah, also lots of:
This is my first time ever living alone (aside from a few months last year when my kiddo was with her dad – but was still local so I was still on Mom duty most of the time). It’s an adjustment. But these things are making it easier.
Here are a whole bunch of my favorite things all in one photo: