education, family, retirement

80 Points!

In a teachers life this is a happy dance. I have choices. Kinda. I am not quite ready for retirement but yet I am. The freedom sounds enticing but I still want to teach. I doubt this will leave my soul. So, here we go again, options for a life after I am starting to pursue. My online Outschool acceptance/classroom is up to date but I no ideas for a class as of yet. None. Next up, interviewing for online tutoring to hopefully start this summer and keep it going throughout my final decision to stay or go. Hoping my three followers will guide me with possible class ideas that will entice kids into extra classes outside of the school day. If you have kids, know them etc. etc. Please share what type of classes that woukd interest you and yours. Below is my Outschool dashboard. Please send me your ideas.

Thanks in advance!

https://outschool.com/parents/97d6cb8e-35f2-4cc2-a888-32db5b15410e?signup=true&utm_campaign=share_parent_link

education, family, granparent life, life

Sisters and Stuff

Long ago in a text far, far away organized sisters came up with an idea to reunite. Our last time together was twelve years ago. While, I was part of the committee, I was just the commenter. Nothing more. Others had this and were focused to the finish line. Their vision was superb and a good time was had by all.

Yes, there were drinks, food, cake, pictures, glow sticks, and memories. All melted into one giant pansy of the past that formed our present. However, it was the stories that sung to my heart. Current chatter about this thing called life. The struggles, the obstacles, the frustrations and the delight of our children as we watched them grow into the humans they became no matter what we imparted into their upbringing. Mostly stories of delight but some utter heartbreak. But all of us raising them in our own giving/neurotic ways. Some more than others. Of course, I top the list in neurotic as an Irish Catholic/Jewish insane mom who watched a bit too much, but ended up with a different type of greatness that is still sorting out his own path as a father, photographer, and small businessman.

Aging. Ugh. I was one of the elders. We are all in the same place. Fighting the good fight and looking pretty good for 40 plus years since pledging our life to a house that changed our worlds. Surrounded by laughter, tears, formal dresses, parties, and occasionally classes. ASU has changed to meet the times and many of us with our partying ways of the past would not survive the ASU of today. Ok. At least me. I had fun and let loose from my odd upbringing. I met normal families, friends, and found my own way. I survived, thrived, and while did not become a famous broadcasting giant or an attorney, as I dreamed. I went for the brass-ring of happiness. Wife, teacher, mother. Fantastic trade. Almost thirty-four years later we are still a thing and while life is never easy, divorce was all around this weekend, so our survival made me feel blessed. Those that did make it through the marriage finish line felt the same way. Life is life and how it unfolds is anyone’s guess.

Life, death, sickness. None of us immune. This just hurt my soul. Some have struggled, all fear the struggle, and all aware that the next reunion some will be gone. That’s enough. More reunions, trips, lunches, contact in any form. Why? We all understand each other and we are going through the same chapters. All of us have seen each other at our most confused, ie college and perhaps we are the ticket to surviving our current challenges and delights.

Coming home after two evenings that delighted and drained me physically, as Netflix as become my go to of excitement. My reflection of the past, present, and future was mixed with all the love of a three year old grandnugget who paid a special visit. Which was better. You be the judge. Until again.

Delta Love, T

education, fitness, goals

In Training…

Yes, it begins. In education we call this time-period eternal damnation. It is a combination of the daily springbreak shuffle and the beginning of testing readiness for the state tests which grant us our precious 301 monies. As an aside, this never should have been the teachers carrot to success =money. It begets deranged teachers and students who have figured out (long, long ago) that they can pass to the next scholastic year even not on their best days. Even with failure. We cannot control their mindset on that day. I have created cheers, given out gum and mints (now banned), stretch yoga breaks. Prep talks, adnauseum and hyping the importance of the test. It is my only scripted moment of the year. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Other infamous Livingston end of testing activities are bubble parties, classroom bracelets with positive mindsets (doing this one, this year). But even with the review preparation that I begin this week. I cannot begin to guess the outcome. So, my money, hangs in balance and I NEED the funds. To end my aside. Let’s think and use these monies correctly, for the teachers, end the hoops as I can guarantee I am jumping. Enough of that.

To describe an average day, to anyone who is not in the trenches, from the Superbowl onward, is possible. However, no one believes me. Even my husband says I embellish. Nope. All real. Twenty-three years of stories locked up in my head. I have thousands of them which do not make for cocktail party dribble, unless you find another teacher, and frankly by the weekend we don’t do outside parties. We are in hiding. My stories range from the sweet to the disturbing. Currently, my kids are in the disturbing stage. This will pass. I hope.

Prior to the Superbowl, I had weekend outings and a life outside of my classroom. It was a focus. I was succeeding. But no more. I am tired, mentally exhausted, drained, and waiting for my life to resume the last week of May. This week did me in. So, this weekend while in my state of lucid hibernation I made a pact with myself. Instead of the wait and hide weekend system I have been using, I am going to go into intensive training for the final semester of school. Which in my mind compares to any long distance sport. Here we go!

*Note* obviously not based in science but then neither has the last few years. Take ideas, use, modify, but most importantly get ready for Spring in the way that it suits you. For example my goal is one evening out a week. That’s it. However, you may be introducing much more into your life outside of school. Bravo. Here are my tips to simplifying life and building the strength I will need to not dive into my currently weekly hibernation. Here we go:

1. Unless you love cooking don’t meal prep. Frozen dinners were created for teachers. Use them.

2. Stock your room with flavored water, soda etc as if you are a camel. Instead of schelping. Order and deliver to your school. Simplicity is everything as we near the end.

3. Order everything. It saves you approximately four hours a week. There is no reason to go into a grocery store. Ever. My extra four hours saved will be used to hang out with the hubs who is often left out my long work hours during the week and on the weekend.

4. Go to Mexico and stock up on ZPacks. Truly. Take vitamins daily and drink Emergency powder every single day.

5. I cook simply and from a frozen state. I do air fried shrimp, chicken, fish, and simple low calorie Chinese mixes and thus always have lunch remaining, if frozen is just too chilly. Take away. Cook, keep it clean and make healthy choices but don’t stress yourself out. Keep. It. Simple.

6. Log your foods and steps. I use My FitnessPal and it keeps me away from my recent over indulging through the holidays and an injury.

7. If like me and you have a few Covid-19 pounds. Work to get eating healthy and find your daily movement pl. Every Damn Day. I am now a morning spinner staring down the barrel of 200 rides. Another post.

8. Leave before 4pm.

9. Leave school at school. I still take school home on the weekend but not M-F.

10. Laugh. Enjoy. Love your kids. Your renewed bounce in your step from carving out your additional time, eating healthier, and moving might just cause you to retire after your official date. Or not. No judgment.

book, education, goals, life, non-fiction

I Got Nothing

I started my book.

Not a real beginning or ending, but a random start, that may just end up somewhere in the middle.

Writing must be a journey for the insane.

It must.

I got nothing but random thoughts. No streams of consciousness in grammatical correctness. Nope.

My outline looks as scarce as this blog. Yup.

But, I have one. That is a start.

At the end it will be a series of short vignettes all tied together with a thread of humour, as I tell the stories of my life.

But for now the book is held together by nothing more than a dream and has plenty of space for growth.

education

Take Out Your Phones…

The phrase take out your phones, in a classroom, is akin to waving a checkered flag while screaming “Start your engines.” The result is madness. But I did it. Three times. On purpose. Yup. Chaos. Such an overwhelming sensory day sends me home speechless. I can talk but I shut down to restart my own engine for the days ahead. If you met me I would strike you as a gal who is overly social, commands a room at a party, not the one that gives off vibes of a societal mute. Nope. But yesterday, they took my voice.

The phone is a tool for homework. Mention homework to any 6th grader. Read their faces. Then add phones to the sentence. It changes. Dramatically. Now, it is a doable project not a chore as homework as become archaic. Truth. My goal is to have them monitor their screentime. They will use this personal research along with how screentime makes them feel in an argument essay. This is probably, the best assignment I have ever given. So far, 100% of the students are completing the assignment and truly thinking about their use of screens. Their screen numbers are boggling my mind but it is 2022. We are all a bit attached in both positive and negative ways. Yes, I am doing the homework with them. Our categories are school screentime, entertainment, TV and games.

Every morning we decipher our numbers, how we felt, and what else we did after-school outside of screens. One student read a book. Truth, and his admittance caused sweet, honest questions of curiosity. Now, books have never gone away, but technology has replaced our literary heros. The library is foreign and the screen is accessible to all financial categories and lures our students down deep dark holes of gaming or social medial scrolling for the most part. I do have one kiddo that creates 3-D printing items during the week. Now, that is just cool and a great use of technology. But that is rare. Sadly.

For the last two days and throughout next week, we will share our screentimes. Our focus is what do you do besides screentime? Secondly, how many screens are going on at once? Finally, how does all that time on a screen make you feel? I am relieved to report that outside play still exists. Chores exist, family time still exists. But screentime is a predominant focus. Oh, multiple screens are open pretty much 24-7. Truth.

Beyond the initial joy of phones for a few moments that fateful day and the madness. We are all seeing screens a bit differently. I am understanding their world, and they are realizing what they are possibly missing out on in life. Hiding behind a screen does take away from humanity and growth outside of following their favorite social media influencers. Some, get pure enjoyment from screens, games etc. and this will never change. Others, however, are seeing that life is not one big Tik tok. A few are looking into online books. Unbelievable. Kids teaching kids where books exist with their beloved devices. All of this conversation is a real life moment with my darlings which allows me to build trust and gain buy-in to the essay beginning tomorrow. They have a voice on this topic and it will shine. As for my voice. It is back. Stronger than ever.

education

Turning Off

It is fall break. Some teachers travel to a variety of local or even exotic locations. I applaud them. My trip would be filled with constant lists going through my head. Passing the Versailles would be a blur and a waste. Ok. France is a stretch, on a teachers dime, but our 35th is around the corner and I am preparing a major bash. Obviously, in Paris plus more. But NOT over fall break. Nope. It’s just not me. Nope.

I am the ultimate of dull. I sleep, workout, wear nothing more than workout clothes or jeans. The old ones. Yup. Dull. I clean, cook. Kinda sorta on the latter. Take out fall clothes and say goodbye to summer ones. I grade, create lessons, and organize my weeks ahead. I nap. But it is my rest my way. I remind myself how much I like to putter. I like to clean, organize, and keep a home. I do. My biggest achievement over these few days has been the creating of the best baked potato that has come out of my kitchen. It was a moment. Yup. Dull. But am I? Nope. Not. At. All.

I take this time to reset as so much of my day is “on.” This is my “off” time to get me through until December.

education

Slightly Burnt But Not Charred

I am happy here…

It is that time of the year that teachers complain, complain, and complain. I don’t get it. The job comes with a massive description, and if you have ever met a teacher, you know that you are signing up for a mental challenge that can break most average humans. This only gets worse every year due to societal demands, social media challenges, pronouns, and the loss of basic childhood play. Let your kids play. Please. Let them be bored. Please. Social media. MONITOR. I am sure a course in spying is appropriate. Need help. I am the best. Ask my kid. In spite of all the daily craziness and absolute fabulousness, why do teachers complain? Not sure. To all of you in the greatest profession in the world. Let’s Stop. No professional needs to hear negative feelings or see tears over bus duty. Nope. Say it, get rid of it, and think of all the great of the day. Please. If I hear one more complaint over pay…please…fall break, Thanksgiving, Christmas break, spring break and of course the summer months. Stop. If you want a larger check, leave the profession. We will all be happier. If you are counting days until retirement. Take early retirement. If you cry daily. Get a shrink. Seriously. Go find your happy. I am in mine but the negativity is making me slightly burned.

My other focus is on me. Yup at 58 gotta keep it going. Working out, eating right, and trying to laugh a bit more with the hubs and play, truly play, with my little nugget of a grandchild. Doing life through his eyes is my world because it was his daddy who taught me that little people would be my lifelong calling not just as a parent but as a teacher. Finally, happiness in the classroom comes from our life. While my pieces are pretty good there is one piece I want altered. My kid. ❣ it seems as if I have forgotten he is an adult. No one should be shocked. I need to get know the adult a bit better because he is amazing and that missing piece will take me from burned to a happy golden fluff ball! Or something like that. But right now I will settle for a pumpkin farm, polar express, and Santa workshop attendee. We will find our stride.

Before, I become charred from all the outside negative feelings and emotions coming from all sides, I have sent a daily intention to focus on the positive. What went right? What kid did I reach? What growth was achieved? Or how can I change my lesson to reach more? What made me laugh. The good stuff. I do not allow negativity to get me down. Now, that does not mean it has not entered this year. It has. Because of me. But after a couple weeks of extensive planning. I am good. Change of ways is good for all. Going from direct teaching to group centered is uncomfortable for a middle school teacher, far from perfect, but the seen daily growth is what keeps me on this path, which while rocky, due to a number of daily realities. Is a growing community of learners that are seeing their own growth, high-fiving me, and competing as to who comes to my table first! They want more learning and thus are working harder in all areas of the classroom to make our station rotations work. Which fills my heart and my world.

So, if you need your bucket filled. Count on yourself. Not others and remember why you do this adventure. It is for the kids and keep the door closed to negativity.

education, fitness, goals, life, Peloton

Carbs

I fell. Hard. Off my relative clean ways into the abyss of food happiness, otherwise known as the mexican donut. There is nothing like the lard laden happiness that drips in true sugary sweetness. It is perfect. Enough said. You get it, we all have our weaknesses. Mine our carbs and the country of Mexico has perfected that art.

The saddest part about the fall is climbing out of the long slide down. Truth be told, it did not start or end with one donut. There were mini-slips that led me to the sweetness mountain of delight this early morning. As I watch the clammers gather the goods for the day, I had choices but my heart went straight to the lard. It is probably also now sitting in a rear area of my body, as well…or at least very soon…

The donut takes me to a carb laden drink. Adult style. With thoughts of chips and salsa in my future. I used to eat this way with no cares in my south of the border home life. But now every carb has guilt and future weight in every bite. It feels like culinary abandon but leave it does not and with the added years it tends to leave unwanted memories. My struggle for taste, freedom, a younger self all wrapped up neatly in a fabulous food group.

With every sip and bite I am stuffing my feelings of stress and a body which in a week’s time has gained three infections and run out of steam. My abandon is a major middle finger to the clean ways that broke me to this place. Kinda clean ways. So where am I going with this dribble. Ah, the epiphany, of course, that surrounds me in the quiet of our Mexico getaway. Of course.

So as mentioned, my body broke this week and broke hard. It will recover once the promotion reel is played, our readers theater link is sent to the critical teaching masses, and my last shift for laptop turn in is complete. Gaining my former self is around the corner with the help of a doctor appointment in the mix…it is the keeping it that way. There is no secret I struggle with balance, healthy ways, etc. But my new riding ways have taught me that the secret to health is not x amount of minutes each day…it is just getting on and doing it every single day coupled with food that fuels instead of food that stays around past its expiration date. Sounds easy, it is not for those of us trying to create habits we never had. One or two slips equate the starting gate again filled with self-doubt and anger at being at the beginner stages over and over again.

My pride at my 100 was real, earned, and then I slipped not having a clear direction. With that moment came the eating slips as they go hand in hand. Who knew I work out for accolades other than body fit and functionality. So, I have made them. Here we go. In print.

1. Ride number 200 by the end of August.

2. July Pelofundo Goal 30 miles

3. 100 strength, 100 cardio, 100 yoga, 100 meditation by the end of August.

4. No carbs. Bye-bye. Not Keto but no processed carbs.

5. Meal plan, prep and make the in-person school transistion not dependent on eating out.

6. This is the toughie. Biking in the AM. We shall see. Not a morning gal. This is a maybe.

7. Stop kicking myself and accept my 58 and all its glory with refining changes happening daily, note the good and learn from the rest without a guilt trip.

All of these goals wrapped up in the goals of goals…not killing the hubs in our upcoming road trip or eating my frustration along the way. We leave in June and yes, the chaos will be shared as I have never spent more than 8 hours in a car, ever in my life. This will be the journey of a lifetime and hopefully will make you laugh.

Until then…here is our hastag. #thetravellinglivingstons

education

How to Say Goodbye…

How do you say goodbye to students you have never met? This year was virtual. My students are bubbles of all different colors and images. Just bubbles. Some, greeted me daily, others were hit and miss due to all different types of reasons. Now, don’t get me wrong I could recite a poem, grab some quotes, and call it a day. But that is cheesy. I am not, and truth be told, while my bubbles hated to share their faces for that next level interaction, we connected. I fought for those that struggled, texted and called parents daily, and begged for students to not give up when their lives were crashing around them. I am that teacher who cheers students on throughout their lives, and feels privileged to take home much more than a salary. I have memories for a lifetime and beyond. While never meeting my students I feel a connection that might be deeper than other years. We fought a pandemic together. Pretty strong. So this group deserves not only my gratitude but a few memories that made our year a bit brighter.

So 8th Grade class of 2021…Thank you for:

1. Laughing with me when for the 9,000th time I made a technology error, lost the meeting, forgot to record, re-record, figure out Kami and of course how much you hated Kami.

2. Going on a virtual field-trip with initial hesitancy and some sadness. We made it to the Capitol, with alot of help. All of your questions and grace made me proud.

3. All of your daily sweet greetings and 👋

4. Seeing your faces, once in awhile.

5. Your honest feelings about the pandemic, online life, and your hopes, fears, and dreams made my days in my bubble special.

6. Your constant questions and desire to be your best in a virtual surrounding which was challenging each and everyday.

7. Watching your excitement when the highschool counselors came to present and all the questions afterwards, along with the excitement of leaving the computer behind and celebrating school as we once knew it!

8. Your fear of failure and how all of you pulled yourself up out of virtual boredom to cross the finish line.

9. Having to tell you that promotion was virtual and how your sadness and excitement poured through the messages. Both feelings valid but filled with compassion for others.

10. Finally, thank you for being part of our countries future. Work hard, follow your dreams, spend your money wisely, and vote using research and your smarts to make our country a better place, travel, laugh, sing, and reach for the stars. You are our future! Congratulations!

Mrs. Livingston

Maybe this is their goodbye!

education

100

Today, two days before my goal, I achieved my 100th ride plus 3. Do the math. By this time today, so have millions around the globe. So the special feel while not monumental to those riding for many years before the peloton, or in my case pechelon popularity overcame our world, is sweet.

This newbie found her groove and todays ride and pride was all mine. I did not take a live ride to pray for a shoutout and possibly fall of the bike if called out…No, I crossed my line for my own praise and satisfaction with a pre-recorded tabata ride. It was my perfect. I started for me and finished for me while singing “Fat Bottom Girl” at the top of my lungs, when I could breath. As proud as I feel I unfortunately spent most of the ride concerned about what’s next. Maybe everyone does, enter pelofondo…100 miles in a day. Right. This is the super extreme of home spinning goals. I salute all that survived the day as fitness is an addiction with the stakes only getting higher, riskier, and at a certain point possibly damaging. But I will take this addiction over many others that surround our society. It is obvious that with the popularity of fitness via peloton, pechelon or the other possibilities advertising for everyone’s passions, so are others. Will I ever pelofondo? Doubtful, but not out of the question. No, probably out of the question. Baby steps. 💯 is my today’s happiness and huge accomplishment.

Again, back to my thoughts during the ride…the what is next? Leaving this lifestyle is not an option, but my goals need to be realistic and not overtake my life. I want balance, health, happiness, the whole enchilada. I do not want to wake up and punish myself for not riding. That is not healthy. The instructors have become not only trainers but mental cheerleaders that allow me to push myself in all areas of life while spreading the reality of days will be days and some days we just don’t have it in us or even if we do we don’t as our bodies are needing rest. I want balance. The last two weeks have been double rides. I felt exhaustion and fighting for a number not a physical goal or enlightenment. But during the push I learned how much I can do, how much I love to ride and move my body. Now my work is on balance and a consistent better nutrition. As a member of WW for as long as I can remember I have always been at the moment of the last ten pounds, knowing full well what to do and how to do it…now that should be my goal. If I can do the rides, I can eat the right way, everyday. So, my numbers on the bike need to transfer to the numbers on the scale. So my new goal is ten pounds or so…200 rides by June and the addition of meditation, and barre to my daily workout All while trying to keep the balance and enjoying my workouts instead of chalking them off for the day which was necessary for this first testing round of goal achievement. I feel with the wisdom and strength of the trainers by my side, my favorites BTW are Robin, Alex, and Tunde and my go to rides are HIIT and Tabata. I know, crazy, right? This next go around will not only add to my numbers but include other options to my day and increase my saddle time from 20 minutes plus to 30 minutes plus on a daily basis so I build more muscle and burn additional calories. Now before all of you pelofondo achievers laugh, my ground zero point 100 rides ago was five minutes. Yes, five. I have come a long way and prouder than proud in my own quiet way.

Enjoy the ride, I know I have and will continue this passion.