echelon, fitness, goals, grey hair, keto, life, Peloton

Upping My Game

This year has been, well sloppy, casual. A bit eh. We all know that. I thought I was doing it ok. Working out, eating ok, but I decided to look in the mirror. Really look. Take stock. Someone should have warned me. While, this moment had to happen. It hurt. But it should have been, just a day of reckoning, as opposed to a pulling the covers over my head moment. I did this to myself. I knew. I was just hiding under well lit filters.

Ok, my hair has been grey since thirty and hidden under a myriad of colors. I just got tired of changing my reality. But no matter, how great your hair is, and mine qualifies for true silver greatness. Thanks dad. The color ages you. Truth. Moving on. Eyes filled with laugh lines. Check, and I like my sweet mappings of my soul. A forehead line that is beyond Botox. Obviously, I must walk around with a quizzical look 24/7. My ship is now S.S. Nip and Tuck Land. I am waving that on, as I am cheap, and afraid of pain. So, to combat further drooping. The technical term used. Lovely. Insert ugly emoting and eye-rolling. My facialist suggested this gadget that works on the neck and eyes. It might be working. But truthfully, I have my doubts, but going to keep up with this electrode skimming routine. You never know. The hubs has seen this process only once. He stood and stared. I stared back and said, “Do you really want to know? Because I can tell you the science behind this thing if you have an extra twenty minutes?” He ran. Good. The whole process of tightening my face is rather horrifying. So, until they make a lift that is budget friendly and pain free. It is the natural aging look for me. Now, my mom has zero big lines, my grandmother zero big lines, me, I got my dad’s Irish face. Can’t hide a thing. So, I am assuming this eye-lid discoloration and thinning lashes is also an Irish trait. Why hurt one group with such vengeance? Is it because we know how to have fun in life? Anyway, one day my lids were this odd reddish-blue color and lashes invisible. This was horrifying. No getting rid of this disaster. Just more creams, covers, prescription lash growth serum, makeup, but not too much, or it will age me. Or so they say. Yikes. So, after many bottles, brands, skin care lines. I have settled to what works. For now. Next year. Who knows. Since, I do not get paid…but would welcome any product. I use Bare Essentials, everything and Armani for more coverage. Please, contact. Because we all need a 58 year old influencer in life. Hah. My facial products live in a constant level of retinol. Day and night. Some prescription, some from French Pharmacies, oh the heaven. Some drugstore. Yes, they work. But not on my forehead.

That was just the face. But while I was there I noticed my cheeks puffed. I look like a chipmunk when I smile, so I am giving up on my usual happy look, and I love to smile, and going with that RBF a la nose up high to slim the neck. It works, looking younger and kinda feeling myself for this age defying trick that works, only if you seated or posed against a wall. But, it works. Life gets in the way, however. Walking, working, bending, and trying not to smile are all too much. Back to the facial map of 58. Eh.

If my cheeks were my only puffed area, I would be fine. Nope the blinders are truly off, and I looked below my neck. The effects of 2020 are now obvious and while not alone. I have to step up my game. Not only for a “look” but a true realization that my puffy cheeks and other areas came from a love affair with carbs and sugar. I am addicted. I do not just enjoy the foods but think about them, plan meals around them, sneak extra, and feel guilt. Great. Rehabilitation, here I come. The difference in this addiction from others, is that we are all addicted to the hidden goodies, at some level. I am just extreme.

I am tackling this hurdle in steps. As cupcakes are akin to life, as is champagne, and the combo is heavenly. You can see this will be a challenge. Today, I gave up just bread. All. Good-bye. Now, a potato can still pass my lips. As well as higher carbohydrate fruit. The list of low carb fruit is truly depressing. Think berry and only berry. Good-bye orange, grapefruit, watermelon, grapes. Insert berries and only berries. Not happening now, I need time. On the 29th of June major groceries are entering our home, along with the word I cannot stand, cooking. Worse yet, with fresh ingredients that must be chopped. This is a whole different world and one that is necessary for success. If others can do this, I can as well. It can’t be that hard and I am choosing easy recipes. Really easy. On this date, good-bye all white flour, bread, and potatoes. But keeping fruit. My fruit. Great fruit. Sweet fruit. This is however only lasting a week. The next week. July 5th I will be between 20-30 grams of carbs and little to no sugar and learn to love strawberries. It can happen.

My goals are simple. First, not to kill anyone in my house during these first few weeks. Secondly, to lose weight. How much? Twenty would be great, twenty-five to thirty would take me into a look I have not seen in awhile. So, while the number is not carved in stone, eating in a healthy manner without the yo-yo gain/loss metric that is tied to carbs and sugar. My new life. A healthier life for the long-term that will give me the daily energy to chase 6th graders and head into the weekend and not collapse. It would feel great. As the fatigue and FOMO has got to go!

This bravery, to truly take stock, came from far too much eating on a road-trip, and the over absorption of true quiet and cooler temperatures. I thank and blame the quiet for this introspection and setting course a plan of action. Now, planning is simple, actually exciting and with every passing day I get a bit more nervous. Not about the plan, but the slip, fall, deep dive into a bottle of champs and a box of cupcakes. That is horrifying. There are no 12-step programs for loving carbs and sugar, it is left up to each of us, to find the inner strength and say goodbye. I am finding answers in books, facebook groups, and following keto lifestylers on Instagram. No answers. Just a bond. I have to find my own way on this journey. I will. If I can do my century ride. I can do anything! And besides, I do need to up my game! 😉

A Frame, goals, grey hair, life, retirement, travel

Tiffany’s is Always a Good Idea…

Today is our 33rd anniversary. I thought it was our 35th. Probably, because I wanted a big gift. But it is our 33rd. No big gift. I can’t even think of something that is worth this mountain of years. That’s good? Right? Or is it? Have we forgotten the art of celebration, become ho-hum or just understand it is not about the bling. It is the latter, but a trip to Tiffany’s is still in order on any given day. I have my gift picked out as of three years ago. Truly. No anniversary is ever needed just turn to page 27 of the catalog and we have it, can’t miss it! Really. We arrive at this moment with more questions than answers. The life of a politico has its moments which makes the ride a wild one and my little teaching life has been a thing this year. A real thing. So with time, more questions than answers, and the constant moving goalpost of retirement life, we have decided just to follow our hearts. Sounds sappy. Number 33 is our gift to follow our hearts and support our ever-changing dreams. I almost just threw up. Seriously. To know me is to understand gushy I am not. A gift with store wrapping and possibly a card is my thing. That is me in a nutshell. But I do give great gifts. Always. Just this year, there are no objects to be wrapped, just gushiness and heartfelt talks celebrating the years. This is our time to sort out our everlasting future, and treasure our present, as we approach those golden years. Tiffany’s sounds easier. Much.

In two days we are off to go to create a dream. A gift to ourselves. A week together in a car. Seriously. Stop laughing. I promised one cross-country trip in our marriage. Just one. Our final stop is property where we are starting the process of the building of an A-frame home on the water, in solitude, and embracing small town life. Seriously small. Ferry to the property small. Since we are in charge of the design, my request of my own peloton room and writing nook have been granted. The rest we oddly agree on. The home will be primarily used for the summers to just chill and for my writing and to enjoy the grandparent stuff. Swimming, rock collecting, fort building, raspberry hunting etc. Oh, yes and fishing. All so me. I am in charge of small town shopping. Moccasins, drums, bows and arrows, and cap guns. You know, outdoor crap. But shopping is still shopping. I am ready. It is time to enjoy the simplicities that life offers instead of constantly muddling through the mess. A special treasure is that all of this will be passed onto our son and his son for a lifetime of memories and traditions. So, this year our anniversary gift is listening to our hearts and making life decisions that fit not only our years in marriage but our future years of happiness. This has no wrapping. Just pure love and perhaps even testing our own levels of patience and commitment to what lies ahead. We got this.

So here’s to 33 Senator Hubs and to many, many more but please take a look at the Tiffany’s catalog page twenty-seven bottom right corner. If not this year, perhaps coming soon. While bling is not important it certainly makes me smile!

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

goals, grey hair, life, retirement

The Talk

Nope, not that one. The talk that happens long after the children go out of the house, you get used to the quiet, for awhile, and finally you wonder what is next after the peace is not enough to satisfy the happiness and pride of surviving crying through the night, toddler tantrums, the school and sports years, braces, graduation and more until they find their way and move on and out. If you wondered, peace sucks. I like chaos. I like loud. I liked all that went with raising a family. So to say that this transition has been difficult is beyond explanation and my son is 30. Or almost. A tad embarrassing? Yes. True. Most definitely. Now, real retirement is about ten years away. I shudder at the thought of not going to work. It is a hobby, passion, necessity, all of the above plus more. What would any of us do without being needed or fulfilled in our everyday life. What will I do? What will we do?

As I round another birthday, I finally feel we have a plan. Now, not a dream I am willing to share at this moment But we have one, a true dream, plan, and a time-frame. Something we both want and after so many years (thirty-three years on May 28th) many couples aka most of my friends drift away…instead we are growing closer. Not all castles, travels, and diamonds, but one that is real, loving, and on the same page. We have both changed for the better. His wishes have become mine and my wishes are supported at every turn.

So, our recent “talk” was good. Actually it was great, surprising, and a relief. At the end of it we were both amazed that we are on the same planet as we begin to explore our eventual golden years. For now, we start our newest dreams, just as we did long ago at the alter, again at Stanford Hospital for the birth of our son, and many years later upon the birth of our grandson. Our nugget. Dreams make lives golden, it is not the years, and thank goodness we have plenty of dreams that with work will come true.

echelon, fitness, goals, granparent life, Peloton

Progress Not Perfection

About a year ago I went on a hike. A short hike. Barely an incline. I almost died. I had to sit about five times, I cursed like a sailor, and requested that my car be brought up the hill (as my friend called it). To me it was akin to Mount Everest. My embarrassing moments were just that embarrassing. Staring at the finish line aka parking lot while just feet away seemed like miles.

Fast tracking to the end of this terror I made it to the car and cried all the way home. Not out of pain but the reality of how I let myself become a blob with no ability to walk a few miles upward.

Once upon a time I was in shape. The wedding. Check. After the wedding. Check. Pregnancy. Check. After pregnancy. Check. My son’s first eighteen years due to the country club life and the machines I had at my disposal. Check. Then real life hit. A few life issues mixed in with mid-life. Everytime I started the walk down the block, the online barre or pilates classes. I stopped. Made excuses and felt pure guilt at not being able to cross the line of consistency.

Covid-19 brought many of us to our fitness, social, emotional, or financial needs. For me I knew if I did not do something I would look like a parades floating balloon. Perhaps it was the social media perfection pictures that flashed at me during the daily boredom and scrolling hours or all the blogs of fifty somethings that look thirty. Whatever it was. It clicked. Onward to my echelon/peloton life.

The first seventy-three rides were of the twenty minute variety mixed with HITT, Tabata, pop and the low key variety. Today, I made a move. I went to thirty minutes. I did it. I survived and I will continue until I can go to forty-five minutes with the weekly goal of an hour. My goal is lofty but it will be achieved.

So, my shape is improving for me and my family, especially my grand-nugget who will never see his grandmother poop out at a park. Any park. Even one with great big mouse ears. Does my shape represent thirty at fifty-seven, no. But I am getting closer and feeling great about it!

echelon, fitness, goals, Peloton

Me First.

This spring break I did a thing. I opened up another blog (Mrs. Livingston’s World), created a TpT shop and became an Outschool teacher. Within a week I am a small business owner who has a shell of a business with calendared days to work on filling the emptiness with materials and classes. But I did it. I took the leap. Not once this week, but twice. Learning that I had to coordinate names and buy a website, you know in case I make oodles! Now with all of this exciting news I took a couple days away from my riding. Oops.

I have stepped away before in a variety of studios but my pause this week allowed me to reflect that I put everyone but myself first. I get to the edge and run and make excuses. Lots of them. All valid and usually involving another person or situation in need but all hiding the truth. I have been afraid of being the best physical me, but that is over. The first sixty-two classes are filling me up with a daily endorphin cocktail which I attribute to the mental confidence to not only put myself out there with my side business hustles, that have sat in limbo for two years, but my physical changes. This does not mean that getting on the bike is easy. It is not. But a needed habit it has become. The bike and I are on to something pretty great physically and mentally as I give it credit for my stronger body and willingness to tackle Mrs. Livingston’s World.

So, in honor of twenty-eight more rides, in exactly four weeks. I am tackling just getting on the bike, daily and completing my four week beginning journey with choosing a ride based on feelings and needs for the day. Do I need music from the 60’s, a hard push with Tunde or Alex ( my favorites) or the craziness of Cody or countless other options. I am bringing my body finding my needs and getting off with a smile. Whatever it is I am honoring it and riding with my head up and completing my journey for my mind, body, and soul.

echelon, education, fitness, goals, Peloton

50!

50 is a badge of honor in the Peloton world. I earned it. After my ride I danced…part tik tok and all embarrassing…no one was home. I inserted the word beast all day in every possible and impossible use just to tie me back to my tabata ride with Robin. The feeling I held with me that day and since this accomplishment is ecstatic as a beginner in the Peloton family. This is just one step one of many that I want not for the spin but the feeling afterwards. All these years I thought I would fall in love with a fitness routine. No. It is the moments after, that you fall in love with, that keeps you coming back. Ok the music and trainers are awesome, but it is the after.

My rides are saving my sanity. In a course of one week…deaths hit too close to home and my age, I became another pin cushion for Pfizer as I turned in my golden ticket for THE second shot, and muddled through the slight after feelings as the vaccine does it stuff. This was enough during an already over covidized lifestyle along with my yearly “I hate testing” mode that came kicking and screaming a few weeks weeks early. To add insult to injury my being raked over the coals for my ideals that state testing is the answer to everything or anything. It is my my opinion, but it was canceled quickly.

As a teacher, such speak is foreign to the trained union ears, but I have never have liked testing. Never. Ever. It brings out the worst in all teachers as they try to race to the top of the heap only to be publicly shamed if that years group does not measure excellence. FYI not every year brings testing success for a variety of reasons. It’s true. I have had great scores in my life, blue ribbon years in fact. How, I just teach. Thats all. You can’t push a score, child, or base your entire career around a number, but some do. I just teach and during testing I create cheers, dances, chants, and allow kids to breathe, chew gum, eat jolly ranchers galore as I just monitor and cheer.

As part of the canceled teacher culture. I am keeping to myself, teaching to my kids, smiling, and riding with numerical purpose. The new age of teacher (or those fixated on the score) has never understood me. We can’t all teach the same, test the same, be the same, and turn pages of text at the same time. However, we should all teach to the same standards at the same time with our materials of choice and share our knowledge and curriculum creation talents to bring the best to kids. If you love Common Core that’s cool, but in my opinion it has killed the overall creative spark of the teacher. Just my opinion. I love different. I create new lessons every year. I have never used the same plan twice. Ok, just one…but it’s really good. I will never change. Never. Truth be told I actually love a good test that shows a childs real growth or non-growth with the added caveat that the test must matter not for a pie in the sky score but true advancement. Give me any test that is meaningful to the tester and I am all over it as the purpose has changed. No longer is it a number it is a number for the child not the teacher. Big difference. We need a great test like Cambridge, ACT SAT, Stanford 9 that is used for student advancement. Not our current battle of the scores for only the teachers, districts, and states etc.

So how does my Peloton 50 celebration equate with my recent frustration surrounding my yearly testing woes. It is the difference between wanting the number and riding with no purpose. I worked for the number, I made the number happen. Our kids, especially our little humans don’t care about the number they just want the stress to go away. That feeling they have in their tummies and heads when some of our great teachers go overboard and our kids don’t see a connection to the test and life. Give it connection and we will see real scores that match to capabilities from our kids. But for now we are just ringmasters trying to squeeze out effort that many kids see no overall reason to give or just keep spinning with to please a system. Real meaning to testing will allow us to truly see the light of day. We would have invested kids, teachers teaching with true meaning, and correlation to the score and success which would have a higher impact on true data.

That’s all I want. That and my next Pelotin goal 100 by 4/19. Is it really too much to ask?

echelon, fitness, goals, life, Peloton

Falling off the Saddle

I fell off my saddle. Hard. Bruises with a deep cut to my ego and the strength I am building with my daily rides. Now all of my reasons are valid. Of course. I had this to do or that to do or pizza sounded good…not once but twice…accompianed by the guilt that always ensues with poor choices. I was rocking the biking/eating thing and suddenly I find myself on the floor applying bandages to my wounded soul.

Obviously, I am type A and do not take a step away of anything that demotes failure kindly. This is where I just give up. Walking away allows me to ignore the feeling of second best that settles into my mind. Many times in my life my dancing away allows me to mask the reality that I never put forth my best. I just walk away and it becomes part of my past instead of my present and my future. My mantra of belief is that I am too busy, it is not for me, nah, not good enough, I will find something more my speed. All excuses. So this week we have been doing a dance. I have been making ridiculous riding schedules and the bike continuously winking at me morning, noon, and night begging for me to get in the saddle as four days away was too much for both of us. Coupled with the Peloton commercials, in my insta and worse yet my kids asked me how my progress was…”Mrs. L how many more rides till 100?” Ugh. That was the final straw. Thank you 8th grade.

Today, on ride thirty-seven, I realized a few things. Scheduling rides a week in advance just makes me want to run and hide. It supports my theory of “I can’t.” Instead, I have marked my daily time and I just get on the bike with no excuses. I just show up and find a ride that suits my mood. Lately, Tabata with Robin or Ally have been calling my name along with anything that makes me laugh or transcends my inner potty mouth. Bring it on Robin. Now, as a beginner, my resistance is not quite at their level but my daily improvement is making me feel like I belong with the crew. Truth be told, I will always be fine if my hill is smaller than a team of professionals and other high number riders that are called out daily. As their numbers are called out I am amazed and motivated but let’s be real, I am fifty-seven and this is my first serious go-around in a long-time. My recent fall from a grace was necessary to find my stride and to realize that just getting on the bike is the daily true win. Just showing up to enjoy my time without the additional terror of overscheduling the one area in my life that should not be anything but free, fun, mine, and a healthy diversion. As life is life I have enough time restrainsts, alarms, and objectives, lists etc. This has become my time to just have fun and make my everyday a step towards making me in a better physical and mental form and yes, I am addicted. So what, aren’t we all?

education, goals, life, Peloton

Just Show Up

The first step of Peloton is “Just show up.” The epiphany is not mine, it is the company way, stated often, and a brilliant marketing tactic and a simple explanation of life. “Just show up.” After only twenty-five rides I am addicted to the mantras, coaches, entertainment, and the new fitter person I am becoming. Now, getting on the bike is not always easy, pretty, or physically pleasant. But it is my time where my showing up does equate to a better overall day due to endorphins and a mindset of positivity.

This week I taught my kids, during SEL time, about dreams, goals, and how to keep in the game when life keeps hitting us hard. My sweet 8th graders have survived unreal scenarios with no answer in sight. I reached into the social emotional learning lessons and inserted a few Peloton expressions and their little faces lit up. I guess it is true that everyone needs a little Ally Love in their lives!

Of course a lesson and a few fun quotes won’t solve the future issues looming over our littles lives. My kids find time to search me out or wait until class is over throughout the week and ask questions for which I have no answers. The frequency of their questions shows me that their stress level is going higher as the days pass. The questions are always the same but stated with their individual flair.

What will school look like next year?

Will it be scary to be back with new kids?

Will we wear masks forever?

Will the shot work?

What about the new strains?

Can we just stay virtual?

Will anyone remember me?

Will anyone like me?

That last one gets me in the heart. But my kids have been missing in action, coping with family, and trying to learn in a bubble chosen by their parents for a variety of reasons. My kids are home by choice and waiting out a storm that keeps bubbling up at every surface. Obviously, I have no answers but their fragility is noted. I shared that I am going to get the vaccine during my “lunch bunch” one student cried real tears as she thought that meant I would not be her teacher. I calmed her down and after I got off camera. I cried. Not even Ms. Love’s spirit and words could calm me down. A “Boss” I was not at that moment more like a puddle of emotions.

All of their questions are now in overdrive due to high-school enrollment on their plate. So I have adopted the Peloton mantra of just showing up into my virtual classroom. Everyday I welcome them by noting their good choices of showing up, being present, turning on the camera, and participating in school and life. This new phrase of congratulations of just showing up seems simple but to my littles they understand that this is the first step to each and everyday. To acknowledge the good choices they are making is my attempt to counter their fears and teach that no matter what the day brings we all have to decide to “Just Show Up” and tackle the day bit by bit. If mantras and power of positive thought can get this 57 year old to ride everyday because of that feeling of wow that I feel during and after the ride, just think of how consistent power of positive thought can transform my littles overwhelming fears.

It is my hope to turn my puddles of concern to strong personalities of positive thoughts for their exciting lives that await them if they are brave enough to peek around the corner.