grey hair, life

The Many Faces of 58…

This year I struggled with a number. It is my beginning to a new decade. I took less pictures. I thought way too much about my looks. And probably smiled less. However, my smile quota is higher than the average persons smile quota. But less is less. I am a happy person but the number 58 brought me down. So, with a new year and an honest discussion on aging, with a friend. I realized how stupid I sound about this wrinkly stuff. So, eff 58, 59, 60, and beyond. I finally am ok with my age. Took me long enough. As you read this don’t do what I did. Embrace your age. Now. Don’t hide or shoot botulism into your face. Or do the biggie. You know. The lift. To be honest, I would do my neck. But turtlenecks and scarves work. A bit. Frankly, I am just scared. So natural it is. Back to you…Just accept, age naturally, and move on. Even in a world where everyone looks fake, filtered, and frankly perfect on social media. Keep it real. Now, during this process of accepting your number, social media will screw with your reality and the acceptance of your aging process. Hang in there. It is akin to growing out your grey hair. The mess passes into silver wonder. Trust me.

Really, trust me on the grey stuff!

goals, granparent life, grey hair, life, retirement

Gave Up Influencing

My mid-life crisis seems to come and go depending on the day. It should be over. Technically. But mine has hunkered down to stay. I am either acting younger than my age (three instagrams and my flirting with influencer) keep laughing. I am back to one and grounded in the reality silver influencer is not happening. Or I am acting a bit over my age. A shopping at Chicos moment hit me right after devouring an Old Navy sale (love their stuff) for teaching. But truly the Chicos stuff is cute. Sigh. Or is it “the me” I am running from? Too many questions before coffee or my food that I consistently track to lose pounds that might have moved in forever. No Keep tracking. They will leave. Did I mention I spin? Yes, the cool girls exercise that blasts fat. Or in my case keeps it for the cold Arizona winters. Ah, 58. My new tread compounded with the bike will guide me through this mess. I think. Have to buy it first. Which brings me to Christmas. I overdid it. For everyone. It brought me true joy. The hubs not so much. It’s ok, on a teachers salary I will have this paid off by retirement. I got this. Screw the money. I made people happy. By people I mean the grandnugget. He was in heaven. His face. Every child should have his Christmas. The kid was thrilled as well, as he does not buy anything for himself, so I felt good. Like a magic elf bringing joy. While, not a fan of debt. This was worth it. Especially, for the hubs, as I brought him into 2022 with earbuds so he can retire the string hanging from his phone. The horror.

I digressed. Alot. Sorry. But the above frames my mid-life panic. Yesterday. I became a real-life tutor Mrs. L’s Tutoring and an Avon lady. Why? Oddly, not money. Ok. None of that would hurt, but a rich Avon lady is not my fantasy. Nope. Both digressions from the eventual retirement. As I can’t do this teaching thing forever. It is my calling, so to speak, without collar and celibacy. But everyear gets worse. I quit my weekly theater group, as $20 bucks a week is clearly not my scale. If you want the arts, I got you, but a real stipend please. Not babysitting. Just can’t. I am better than this. Sorry, if this offends those woke individuals worrying about the students feelings. I am too. But basically free ain’t working for me. Bring on the eyeliner.

I can picture retirement two ways on the cheaper end. Shoot me. Or with cushion. I want cushion and a full life of writing, tutoring, and possibly Avon. It’s fun. Why not. Now I need to try the product. Yesterday, in all my crazy stressful moments of overspending, I gained a true pause on what I want. That’s good. I want retirement, I want travel, I want the quiet of Neebish, the outlandish fun with the grandnugget and the ability to say no on my terms, not my bank accounts. This pushed me out of mid-life crisis into acceptance of my age and my desires to always be busy…busy…busy.

Now, back to my book (on chapter 2) and the moral of this chaotic dribble. Know your age, accept your age, do anything that makes you smile, spend too much, save, do you…and enjoy everyday. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow and my many tomorrow’s ahead will be readying for a lifetime of Chicos. And that’s ok! Good-bye midlife confusion. With my new acceptance and creation of a plan for the after-life of teaching, which includes, my writing, my forever tutoring, spinning, treading, Neebish, and my Avon…If throw in Paris and the hubs and this is a winning combination!

BTW here is my store. If you use the product. Please order. My top picks: eyeliner, and waterproof mascara. Give it a go or please share.

https://www.avon.com/repstore/TLivingston?rep=TLivingston

Christmas, family, granparent life, grey hair

Elfing Ways

A long, long time ago there was a young mother (not so young) who wanted to bring Christmas cheer to her only son and husband. Money was a new found struggle, while the hubs had a growing business thus purchases were supposed to be limited. I found “The Elf” at a house party and it was the best $30.00 (I did not have) but spent in my life. Insert the hubs daily eyerolls and daily lectures that gifts of daily love and belief of this magic elf ( matchbox cars, cheerios, Pokémon cards etc.) were not needed. Of course, I knew that, but carried on. I am the picture of moderate (comparably) Christmas spending and usually with a bit of debt and a targeted pay off date. I am money smart, in my world, just no one else’s. But Christmas must go on…and frankly no one complains. Secretly, they love it. Especially, the elf.

But every penny of ornaments, decor, stocking stuffers, and presents including those requested from Santa and the needed clothes make my clan happy. As I am the only shopper for the family, and it is all for others, I see no harm. Try to debate happiness or put a price on happiness. You can’t. I won’t. Back to the elf. It always hung on the front door to make ease for delivery or at times a quick delivery before I dashed to work. The worst days were when the kid woke up early and the elf was forgetful the previous night. He would crawl into our bed and I would logically explain the elfin route, storms in the area, and prompt him to write the elf a note and have an “extra-good” day. Boom, two gifts the next day with his traditional “Thank you Elf, I love you!” My heart would explode. And special thanks to the ASU theater department. Stories come easy. Too easy.

This went on yearly, as far as I could stretch it. It made me happy because while the gifts were trinkets, they brought smiles, hugs, and the reaffirmation of my craziness would be given. My Heart ❤ was always full and my boys were happy. Occasionally, my husband would actually remind me to get the Elf gift ready. That was akin to winning him over! Once in awhile I even caught him smiling.

But this year caught me off guard. Insert the grandnugget. Last year it was just decor. This year it is HO HO and with it came the story. Which I extended further, and further with a trip to the north pole, an elf for his room and yes, the transfer of THE Elf to my sons home. I shudder. This was not my idea. It was the hubs. He sat me down and explained how it is time to pass on the fun. I cried. This passing of the torch is killing me, but it is has to happen this year. Twenty-seven years after I created this monstrosity of love, it must go on. It is my hope that my son passes on the tradition to his grandchildren.

The passing on of the Elf is hard. It is the last right of our child’s passage into adulting, along with art and report cards, that I still have and treasure. Still keeping these! But this is magic and in the passing I am hoping that the magic will continue for decades to come.

granparent life, grey hair

She’s That Kind of Crazy…

Being a grandmother is a gift. It is one that some open with trepidation and the acceptance of one’s age. Some spend months deciding on what to be called. Like that matters, but it does allow the transitioning into our new role. The day, our nugget was born, I was in a parade. I was in the midst of royal waves for miles with a bit of Vaseline on the teeth, to hold my fading smile. But this additional news brought a feeling that I had lost. Pure joy. I had not felt this for years. It brought me back to all the good times as a parent multiplied by a bazillion. No Vaseline needed.

Initially, I tried to be the low-key grandma. That did not last. I craved that smile and inner light this person brought to my life. It was akin to reliving my own sons great days without any of the traditional raising stressors. I could just sit on the floor and play, stare, laugh. No need to cook, clean, work, etc. All attention on one human. Pure delight. At least for me. Not all grandma’s are alike…some even allow themselves to live out of the state of their nuggets. How, I do not know. I would sell my soul to live near mine, much to my sons chagrin.

I am over the top. I am one of those. Not low-key. Whatsoever. The family is getting used to my craziness. As a result when I suggest the the nugget and I dress as elves for a school event. No one bats an eye. At least in front of me. When I suggest we go take the nugget on a European cruise for my 60th (ouch) in 🇫🇷 so we can do everything together. They took it well as I threw in Euro Disney for entertainment and if they were tired, I offered to do the entire park without them. They rallied. Eyes stopped rolling. Craziness back in check. When Christmas rolls around and well, you know…they put up with it and I just glow. My inner kid is fulfilled.

We live 90 minutes away. Too far. I am ready to move. Have dinner weekly and go to every game/concert/play etc that he participates in during his school years. I will be that one in the crowd just glowing with pride not only for the nugget but for the kid I raised, who gave me the initial gift of motherhood, and my pure happiness and fulfillment of life.

echelon, fitness, grey hair, Peloton

Gearing Up for Greatness Or Sleeping in Yoga Pants

Sleeping in yoga pants while not uncomfortable makes it unbearable to sleep, as I am focused on my fitness goals. As school began I fell off my bike. Obviously, not in the literal sense. The year began in its usual worldwind way that can only be described to other teachers for true understanding. No complaints, just pure exhaustion. I do not come out of this funk until October. Once this month hits I an ready for action. Every. Single. Year. It is like a marathon runner hitting the runners euphoric state. I am there. And here I stay. But the adding back of riding and elliptical (need a double dose) brings me added morning stress. So, yoga pants. Jump up and jump on the elliptical for twenty minutes and a couple miles. The bike is after-school where every excuse sets in. Yup. Every excuse has gone through my head. I even dare to cook more just to find a reason not to pedal. No one has been killed yet and our pup has put on the pounds. He is usually my only taker of my feasts. Don’t blame him, but check on him often. I need cooking classes. In another country. With alcohol. Lots.

I really do not understand those that look happy about exercising. I want to be like them. But they laugh at a six month streak. That is a bonus to them. Like adding a new training to their already perfect daily schedule. Yup. Note to self schedule a triathlon, soon. Never. I would drown. So back to my bike and my elliptical schedule. A few months from now I will feel sassy and want to add to my basic day. But probably won’t. But you never know. This girl has dreams.

grey hair, life, retirement

Extreme Quiet

In the last three weeks. It has been quiet. Very. But I am truly at the end of the world. Truly. If I screamed only a bear would cock his head. So, I stay quiet. I am on fourth book quickly heading to a fifth and sixth in my future before heading home aka the oven. Arizona. Now, I am not reading War and Peace or the complete series of Harry Potter, but I could have with the amount of peace and lack of lists to complete. I miss my lists. My blogging is almost daily with now over seventy-five followers has kept me sane. Thank you. If you are new to my blogging please realize that I just share stories. All mine, but random stories. I touch on areas in different areas of my life. Epilepsy, fitness, health, over 50 life, education, and political wife life. Plus, my new adventures on keto. However, I have no answers to life’s essential questions. So, a self-help guru, I am not. My hope is to make you chuckle. That’s all. Realizing, I often fail, or at times go in another direction. Writing about serious sh**. It does not happen often. So, don’t worry. Think of me as that neighbor that will always listen, entertain you with mindless BS, and go on their merry way. The more you read the closer you will get to the self I hide away from most. We all shelter ourselves to a certain degree. I am just willing to draw back the curtain with each blog. Why? I don’t know. I am sure there is a therapist that would be willing, for a price, to tell me why I write. I think I will pass on the cost and the suffering, and just write. Mystery is better.

During these quiet, cold, and rainy days in the middle of nowhere. Really. Nowhere. I have come to terms about my sons impending age. He is turning thirty. My weight-loss game that is starting soon. Again. Not worried. Well, kinda. But I already tackled the realization, the lists, and arranged my calendar for food prep. Now, I just have to follow the path I laid before me. The hardest part. It really is. Talking, writing, organizing, and even the creation of the meals is far simpler, than the day in, day out living a changed life with no guarantees, unless you stick to your guns. As for kids big day. I have sent gifts. Because, I still do. Do you? Or is it just me? And will fill his house with balloons. Just for the sheer joy of having his three year old happy. Not him.

This over-absorption of stillness reminded me how much I love to be busy. I am active by nature and need purpose. We all do. On an island purpose is more manual in nature. Nothing fancy. Back to basics. Now, while I am indulging my husband in his childhood dream. My areas of this summer home will come with internet, TV in every room, Peloton, and a writing area for just me. A camper, I am not. But the view and stillness is priceless for a couple weeks per year. A dream is a dream and his is mine, as he already said yes, to a European cruise with a stop at Disney Paris. So, we are even.

So while I am not going to give you the secrets to life, I will share that short amounts of peace, will bring you clarity in a world full of clutter and marvelous lists!

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! 😉

fitness, grey hair, life

Big News.

But I can’t tell. Story of my life. The end.

No, but I tell you something much more interesting and a little off color. Gotcha. I have my Grandmother’s rear-end. I am PG. You were expecting a**. Not gonna happen. I always have had this caboose, it was just smaller pre-50’s. Not pretty. Hers was like that reality show family without the designer excess and no plastic enhancing. But it looked right. Always did. Now mine is also all mine, but the look is something to hide. Truly, no real pride, just a fact that I am trying to remove it. Quickly.

My grandmother, always complained she was overweight. She was 5’1″ and maybe 105 pounds. All in her caboose. But she looked awesome even before the rear-end was in vogue. To her that’s all she saw and she hated it just like we all hate our parts that are imperfect. Now she would be a rockstar. Which she was. In her own plastic covered couch, eat burned chicken kind of way. But her love was enormous and made up for her peculiarities. Did I mention she had zero wrinkles? Zero. She loved that about herself. It made the less perfect tolerable and she would glow when others guessed her age, usually far younger than her reality.

She was her own gal. Never met anyone like her. I miss her daily. I remember telling her goodbye and that it was OK to go and hangout with grandpa…but it wasn’t. Well, it was. Kinda. She had dementia and in the final stages it was bad. She left a few days after I told her to go…it was time. But I miss her, her terrible cooking, and how she always took a half of a bagel in her purse for after dinner treat, no matter the restaurant star level, the bagel was in tow. She had the other half that morning. Always. She took her own tea bags as well, and consistently asked me if the waiter would be mad that she just wanted hot water for dessert. Every single dinner outing. The same questions and the same begging. “Tracy, Sam (grandfather) he will see me with my tea and bagel, order something for dessert.” I obliged so the waiters stayed away. No one ever cared. If the waiter was lucky they were treated to her reason for bringing her own carbs and tea to the game. To keep them simple she even told the story in sequence and very quick to the point and if they asked it went something like this:

1. No sugar did she ever eat accept for her one bagel a day and her one apple or orange. Never more. Ever!

2. These were Jewish bagels. Not regular bagels and she would argue the difference.

3. Her tea was better than any restaurants. It was Lipton, but why fight. She also thought she would be charged. Again, agreeing was easier.

My grandfather and I would truly try to keep this story under wraps as we understood how crazy it sounded, but how happy it made her. More than anything it was her way to save a buck or two. She grew up with thirteen brothers and sisters. They packed their snacks if they were lucky enough to go to the movies. Packing was ingrained in her from a young age. So as for the rear. It did not come from her one bagel a day habit. She was just blessed and she was, but next to that famous reality show family, I have never seen anyone more obsessed with their tuchus.

So, where is this headed. Back to the beginning, I suppose. Big news, and a rear to shrink, quickly. But if my grandmother were still alive she would take my hand and reassure me that I am perfect and quickly distract me with a complaint about her day, as it was really Sylvia’s world, and we were just part of it.

Love you Grandma!

anxiety, book, epilepsy, grey hair, life, non-fiction

The Book

It has no title or direction. My writing is a bit like my anxiety driven mind. All over the place. On some days I feel I can create a children’s book, but then I wake up and realize I cannot write about a woke unicorn. Nope. My writing for children would sound old-fashioned, I would be labeled something I am not, and the book would sit on shelves. Moment over.

Fitness, cooking, self-help, or a how to do anything book. I think not. Not fit, can’t cook, and my help would just result in head-shaking and confusion. As I have dabbled in many and mastered none, can I teach that? Again, I think not.

So with my obviously slim audience. Unless you want to go down the interesting road of addiction, multiple family divorces, or living with a quiet disease. Again, fascinating stuff. But, Nope. So, while I might elude to my experiences, I will not point fingers with my tales. They are not enough to compile one book and often belong more in the horror genre than non-fiction.

Politics. Nope. Nope. Nope. I have too much respect for those who give of their lives to move the needle of change. But I might share a few fun facts I learned from the political road I traveled. Still no tah-dah moment. No title, no main idea, no nothing or is this everything. Perhaps. Nope.

Back to the drawing board. I will get this for my future two readers, ok, three. I will make the kid read the book. I am going to take a trip through a collection of stories, all real, with some occasional embellishment for entertainment, that I have lived. My real life sprinkled with stories that see the wonder and humor in the bizarre situations that I have called this thing called life.

Untitled, at least for awhile.

A Frame, grey hair, retirement, travel

City Girl Guide to Neebish

Neebish is antiquated. TV is huge and internet is a cost we will attain once the house is completed. But these nods from the past, while frustrating, also sum up life in the UP in a great way. An ancient quote sums up Neebish. “If I can sweep the train of my gown in the same grand fashion as Mrs. James Schoolcraft, an original settler, as she walked up the stairs of the little mission chapel, life would be worth living.” Gowns have been replaced but Neebish is still an area of old-fashioned manners, church goers, and simplicity. Truly, a look into the past while embracing the future. Kinda. But…while the present is creeping onto the island, with cost, patience, and a changing population there is a charm that will never change and important lessons to be learned when faced with island life.

1. Gowns are obviously no longer worn. The garb of today is something out of an outdoor magazine. Hiking boots, socks (a must on humid days, who knew), hats with a chin strap that avoids the ever-present fly away syndromes, and anything cotton on humid days. Anything warm on any other day. Matching is optional. No one will ever know. Ever.

2. When walking always have a walking stick. No, not the type you buy at a sporting goods store, the one that finds you. Right. The hubs says it is just like finding your wand from that infamous wizard movie series. Yes, that one. Sure it is. Exactly. Once you have your stick, you beat bushes to keep animals away and twirl it over your head like a baton to keep flies away when hiking. I have no words for this and was laughing too hard to capture a picture. No sticks have asked me to take them home. I will wait. Never liked my baton. Currently, when I hear anything on our hikes, I run and scream. So far, so good.

3. Before going to a small town consider that they might be a dry town (they exist) and do not order before looking at the menu. You will be embarrassed. Trust me. Also, when ordering a cappuccino realize that you might get an odd look. Really odd. Again, trust me.

4. Humidity sucks.

5. Enchanted forests are not really magical unless you are three or your husband is trying to entertain you as you fight off bugs. If you are with my hubs and he says you are going through a magical anything, tell him to eff off, grab his walking stick, twirl until the bugs are dizzy and run. Why run? He will obviously be pisssd that you have his magical stick that “found them.”

6. Understand, that in tiny towns a cappuccino ain’t happening. Nope. Also, try to contain your expression of confusion when they are excited to make their first latte, as no one has ordered one yet. Yup. I was a first. It is still 2021. I checked.

7. Internet. It’s an issue. Big issue. Don’t be shocked when shops don’t use it or if they do they do not share it. At all. Get used to holding your phone high to capture that strained signal from Canada. Or, like me, keep trying to convince the hubs that a mobile unit would work. Just be prepared to be frustrated and disconnected from life.

8. Watching the water is a hobby.

9. Watching freighters is a hobby and knowing your freighters is plus during meetups at the ferry for conversation starters. Actually, it is the main conversation on and off the island and the only conversation aside from weather, a local gathering, or animal siting. Locals, just point at me like and call me a boujie gal, as something to them is either missing or very extra in their world. Yup. Totally. Not changing. Cappuccino please.

10. Driving. Now, we normally live in Arizona. The streets are set out in a grid pattern, I was born with no sense of direction, so my bestfriend is Gertrude, my GPS. We go everywhere together. She never complains when I get lost and I can set her to any language. She loves her native British accent and prefers to be called Gertie. There are no animals running around or strange water coming from the sky at any given moment, usually without warning, and rather violent in its fall. Nope. Dry, blue skies are my traditional driving world. Neebish is driving for the crazy. First of all, it is an island, and while that seems obvious, circular with all roads leading back home, not so much. Signs. Yes, kinda. But not GPS registered. So, I am screwed and have to memorize locations and turns. This is bad enough for the direction challenged. To get to town, one gets on a ferry. Cue in extreme anxiety. Yup. Not pretty. Now, I have never minded being a passenger but driving on a floating ship in a big ton truck was enough to set me into overdrive. I clenched the wheel the entire time. Stupid yes, but comforting. Looking straight ahead, trying not to vomit. Plus, I was with the hubs, who feels everyone should drive fast, never get lost, and know how to read a map. How we married I will never know. Once I was released from my ferry hell. My directions were to go straight at a speed I was not comfortable with. All I could think about on the open road with fields all around, was killing a sweet Bambi, who wandered away from her group. Now the cars behind me were forming a nice parade line. In my mind they could slow down, wave to the obviously watching animals, and chill. What was the hurry. Was honking truly necessary? In my hubs mind, they were going to hit us, just to prove their island life point. It was all too much. I pulled over and gave up the wheel seven miles before our final destination. I will do this again, probably alone, and slower. So what did I learn, other than never to drive with my husband? I learned that to get the best spot on the ferry ask the captain and give him a wink. It will always work. Trust me.

So, with these basic skills mastered, especially the stick twirling, you can conquer life in its utmost of peacefulness. The only stressor that exists is the possibility of missing the ferry and having to head back to town, have lunch or dinner, and head home a bit later. Other than that. No concerns, and a life worth living even without the gown.