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, life

Fast Forward to Valentines…

I am on auto-pilot once Halloween hits the shelves. Perhaps, it is the teacher in me, to be prepared and organized. Or not. Probably, it is just the media hype and the retail store push turning us to Valentines day before the Christmas meal has been digested or the last political fight put to bed. Is New Years the new Thanksgiving, just a brief stopping point, before the next big show? Christmas, to me, is the big show for obvious reasons and yes, the presents that I have accumulated for months and my anticipation of my families delight. I do shopping like no other part teacher part trained personal shopper with former retail training. I am dangerous especially in handbags, they make me drool. Thank goodness I have boys. I would be broke.

We spent Christmas Eve delighting in little person toy delight and today recovering. As the dust settles, and the Valentine cards take their proper place on the shelves, my moment of true piece will be just a simple “I love you,” from both my boys before I took a well earned nap.

So with all my hustle and bustle (and I am not alone) it was three little words and our togetherness that made me feel at peace and get my engines revved up for the sales.

echelon, fitness, goals, life, Peloton

Tread on The Cheap

I feel like a giddy schoolgirl waiting for the cutest boy in school to walk by my locker. Or something like that. Feelings of long-ago now compared to a piece of equipment. About right. My Echelon tread is heading my way. I can’t wait. Currently, a proud owner of the Ecehelon Sport, which has turned my exercise experience upside down and made me a true believer and one who needs my daily dose of the benefits of fitness. This, alone was my ah ha of the year.

I learned to exercise and like it, enjoy it, or at least tolerate it. Nevertheless, of the category of delight or not. It is a daily habit. Most of the time.

To push myself I found virtual races. Yes, you pay. But that medal and your group keep you going. You ride, walk, run whatever and log your results. Currently, I have wandered through Colorado and next up Ireland. Never in my life did I think I would ride 118 miles. If I can do this anyone can. During this time, I lost weight, felt fitter, and slept better. Not miracles, just work with my Peloton App (Bless these instructors) and my gear. Lesser than my bougie friends and riding partners…butmaybe someday. If not that is OK as the ride is the same. It is. I tried the real enchilada and the only thing I want is the screen. That’s it. I can wait.

To up my game, enter the tread, my new baby. Still enroute. My goal is a mile or two every morning on the tread and my daily 5-9 miles on my bike in the afternoon. Picture fabulousness in my goals of slimming. I am.

So, wherever you are in your fitness journey. Hang-in there. Challenge yourself and enjoy! It worked for me and one year later I am still at it with a vengeance!

caregiver, echelon, family, fitness, life

Injured Not Out

Oh, I went boom. Metaphorically. In reality, I turned. Yes, turned. Insert ouch and two days in bed and nursing my back that has felt this pain before. On the third day, I rose to 1790 steps, and soreness. But I walked with the obvious delight and desire to get on my Echelon aka Peloton light. I am addicted. While tomorrow is out I will be back. Soon. Still not today, during this continuation of dribble, but soon.

My new found love of fitness has begged Santa for the tread so I can walk in the morning and ride at night. Oh, I hope he listens. My current level of fitness saved me from this small blimp being worse. So, thank you bike, miles, legs, and my new love of sweat and Amazon Lululemon dupes. I am a teacher by day. We don’t do “real.” It’s ok. I love teaching. Fake Lululemons are fine.

But this is not about me or my Santa wishes. But I hope he reads this! Hello, Santa? Are you out there??? This is about a reminder to be kind, gentle, and patient. It is about our “back” life coming full circle.

They say everything happens for a reason. This bump had a reason. I needed to get my compassion “back,” it was lacking, it was getting cranky, it was forgetting how hard raising a little person in pain is…insert child and his degenerative disc. Um, now I remember and while you would think I do not have to remember in this type of pain, my stubborn ways forced me to relive my own back issues, to give him the type of love and consideration he deserves on a daily basis. I often forget or push or etc. etc. I am difficult at best. Not that I am wrong. Just difficult. At worst I am truly a pain in the ASS. Or back. Both the same in this house. So while I recuperate, and I am. My son will never. His pain is tolerable. But never gone. Never. It is as it is, and this recent back boom, is now forcing me to remember that and to kind. Notice all he does with every painful obstacle standing in his way.

While I oohed and oohed…my kid was by my side. How sweet. Not one complaint. Just taking care of another back patient. He knew. I wanted to hug him and just say I am so sorry to give you this, but he knows. Or I hope he knows. If not, he just read it here, first.

So while we may both be metaphorically down, neither of us are out, and I will get back on the proverbially horse of fitness he will get back on his educational journey. Yes, it had to be inserted because I am a pain in the ASS.

family, life

A Moms Love

When the kid was little. He almost died. Easy to write, hard to say. Even now, during my click clacking of the words, tears still fill my eyes. To say, I am overprotective, is an understatement. This almost tragedy along with my Jewish upbringing, which was the epitome of hover- craft parenting, meant the kid was doomed. Or as I put it loved to the max. Still is. I am guilty of trying to take away all the bad with my magic wand. One that has waved mightily over all the simple fixes of life, but recently has seen better days, as my waving has became a habit to cure all that can’t be cured. Life is life and wands wear out.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I can be tough. On others, myself, but never the kid. I am still the hapless waver of my tattered stick, believing I can change what I feel should be changed. And there you have it…what I think. Not anyone else, just me. If others think it, I am the only brave one to confront, push, and attempt for the ending I see leading to a happily ever after. I think of myself as a trailblazer. The kid. Not so much, I am annoying at best. I have used the I gave birth to you, too many times. While I feel it should still ring true, with every passing year the sound becomes faint. Not gone in my ears, just faint.

To be fair. He is right, I am too much. He has to do him. But an open mind and my abundance of love and guidance does not hurt anyone. Or does it? This is debatable…as raising him was not a picnic. Truly. During the lows I saw his soul, desires, talents, faults and fears. We have had our moments. Most have passed and our relationship has settled. Recently, I entered “fixer recovery” and my wand has been banished. Now, I am just another overbearing mom that sees a variety of directions that will bring him great pride and teach his son lessons of a lifetime.

No matter what path my son chooses. He is my world and the reason I gave up my wand and entered “fixer recovery.” I will always be happy with his choices as he is my gift from God. But a mom can dream. But dreams and support are different from pushing, annoying with overbearing ideas and comments coupled with a hint of hovering. I will stick to my dreams for him but be ready and on call whenever needed. This is what I call a healthy balance and a sponsor (if fixer recovery existed) would call back to Step 1. Baby Steps!

I love you KWL.

family, granparent life, life

Park Mom

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away…I was a park mom. Or my term for a mom with kids playing in the park with the important duties of watching, protecting, opening juice boxes, or providing snacks while kissing boo boos. A park mom who of course can be a dad and can work. Not going further, as it would take up the entire blog, and I am not woke or PC.

A park mom usually comes alone with kids in tow and always is searching for a few minutes of quiet in the storm. These are the true warriors of toddler life. They may look exhausted but in a moments notice they are at the top of the playground equipment rescuing their cub. I once crawled up the McDonald’s Playground slide tube to get my kid who suddenly realized that going down the big tube was not going to happen on that day. He went from “I got this because I am a big boy” to a puddle of tears within nanoseconds. That’s when we kick in. Yup. To the top I went and we slid down together to applauding moms. They got it. The kid ate the remaining portion of his Happy Meal and went back to just playing in the seriously germy ball area. I could breathe and he could play. When we left he asked if I could always ride the big tube with him all the time…I wanted to say “yes” but I used my best mom speech and told him next time he could do it on his own. He did. We both won.

Now, as I take my grandson to the park. The speech about inner strength and the promotion of independence doesn’t change but the pride is somehow more amazing and indescribable.

caregiver, family, life

My Gal…

My mom made tough choices. Really tough ones and she missed my good stuff. The bike riding, the losing of teeth, homework, dinners, etc. All of it. It must have been hard, actually miserable, but she had to choose my stability. So she went one way and I went another. She missed motherhood or did she give the ultimate satisfaction of motherhood. I don’t ask. It’s in the past. I am ok and right now I am the mom of my mom. It’s ok. The memories I build with her now will be my forever memories.

My Miss Brenda the most social bee in The Woodmark, no longer likes to participate in “things.” So on Sundays we go crafting. It’s fun. Everyone likes me. Today, I got high-fives from those that could. Soon, they will be on my Christmas card list. They call me “Brenda’s daughter.” It’s fine, names are overrated. Either Miss Teacher, Brenda’s daughter, Senators wife or my faves mom and grandma. I think my husband still uses my name. I don’t listen. Ever.

So, I am learning. I can’t change her. I tried. So I might as well join her, literally. If this is our time, to be at a craft table, is our time. So be it. But be on the lookout as I think I am giving wood frames and birdhouses for Christmas while creating memories of a lifetime!

life, Uncategorized

A Very Serious Chat About My Dishwasher…

If you balk at this title. Move on. This is not an essay for anyone that grew up washing their clothes in a creek with homemade detergent. Also, please move on if you believe that the dishwasher is killing our planet through energy use or excessive water waste. Never heard anyone complain of the latter. But in today’s crazy world, they are out there lurking, waiting, and ready for their moment to bring their secret cult mainstream to take down my favorite appliance. Probably yours as well, if you are still reading this rambling. As for those that carried water, took rocks to their clothes, or cooked by firewood. Bless you. But we have nothing in common. Nothing.

I like hotels, room-service, spas, and the option of five-star restaurants. I did not grow up this way, but I caught on early. My first hotel experience was during a camping trip in July in Mammoth, California. It snowed. While, I survived the night in my tent. The white stuff and I were not friends. A strange foreign feeling took over my body, later to be identified as frostbite, OK. Cold. But it felt worse. From this absolute horror a diva was born. I began to scream and demand breakfast in my sleeping bag and crying to leave the experience of white fluff with a tinge of freeze. I kept muttering hotel, hotel, hotel until my limp body was carried into the car. No. But I was a pain in the a** Who did I become? My absolute discomfort brought out a monster and earned a trip to the local Mammoth hotel.

Now, we are talking. A magical place where food can be delivered with a smile, as my mother had stopped smiling hours ago. I am sure it was the frostbite and not my tantrums. Nevertheless, I found others who would cater to my ways and I was happy to use all their services. That was the beginning of the end.

Now, in my real world I do not live in a hotel, albeit I could. Our first together home was in Northern California was 400 square feet, our laundry was serviced and delivered, our apartment was cleaned by a sweet weekly maid, bellman and concierge were available 24-7, and all other amenities including a driving service for those who worked in San Francisco. City and back everyday. No driving. No parking. Pure heaven. When the hubs decided we needed more room, for less of a price tag, I cried for days.

Fast forward thirty-three years. I would live in the city with a view and amenities galore. The hubs likes this thing called land. In this trade-off, he won. But I have every gadget to make life concierge friendly. My favorite is my dishwasher. A trusted friend. Truth be told, I never load it correctly, and am not a fan of unloading it, but the concept of hiding dirty dishes and pressing a few buttons to give you the clean sanitized feel is priceless. So, while I do not miss any other kitchen appliance on our yearly camp excursion. I miss my dishwasher. It is a true necessity and an often an overlooked friend of the kitchen. My best friend. Truth be told, she could stand an upgrade. I am just not telling her yet. She would be crushed.

family, life, thirty

Not Just A Day!

It’s a big day. Nope, a huge day. It is an insert expletive type of day, using any chosen expletive to emphasize wonderful. I like the one that rhymes with duck, but I do have a potty mouth. There are truly no words. Hence, the rocky start. Perhaps the middle and ending, as well. Just a great big warning label but I will try to get my wording together. However, no promises.

He was born at a normal weight and length, which was a blessing. I have epilepsy and he was a calculated risk. I had to gain an insane amount of weight to ensure his weight. Not sure, about this correlation, but I had weekly weigh-ins, and little did we know this was to be around his corner. After his birth we found out about his eating disorder. He was failing to thrive and by the time my pediatrician (one on the best, truly) believed the situation we where whisked into Standford Hospital where my Nanny walked me through an emergency baptism. We did not think we were leaving with our baby. We were petrified. So baptize I did. This was our first brush with the fear of losing him. After this point we became helicopter parents, to the extreme.

The kid had/has a stubborn streak and is the ultimate survivor. While, in the recovery stages we went to OT, PT, and feeding therapy. We did not need all of this but we did it all to make sure after failing to thrive nothing else was lacking or needed attention. He was the most popular kids at Standford, he was their rockstar. He had a smile that was killer, laughed, when not eating, easily, and loved people. He is smart and strong. He graduated out of all programs quickly. Which was wonderful but sad, as it was our playtime with other sanitized children. The one thing the kid could not be around is germy kids, in case of catching the slightest cold, as it would stop his growth. Every ounce was important. We could not be in a playgroup, or have little people contact, until on that weight chart. We were best buddies, more than the average mom/son duo. Daily he depended on me not just for the average kids food and play but to keep him alive. By eleven months the kid made it on the chart, the tube was removed, and our nightly pump feeds a thing of the past. Life as a normal kid could begin. Whatever that meant.

We meandered through the meaning of normality, and overall had success as a family unit. The kid was that kid who had it all…until his back began to fail. The failure is genetic and hastened by sports. The kid was physically talented. Now, we coped. We are a strong bunch and he is the strongest human I know. Truly. But a few scares between the countless surgeries plus a stroll on wild side that became rather dicey. This was not just a scare. It was a gamble with life. Most days, I fought back tears. Life went on. Kinda. Change only comes for those that want change. So we waited. He chose to see the light. I thank God nightly. Our kid who has fought for life since birth, chose life.

Actually, he excelled. Again. He pulled out of the darkness with his cheering section applauding every step. The hubs and I were obnoxious but when you fear the alternative you become obnoxious. I did not care. Still don’t. I am his biggest fan. It started with the baptism by fire with my Nanny coaching me. Afterwards, between the tears, I said. “Keep fighting and to never give up.” He heard me. He has listened to me for thirty years. Not liking me at all times, but loving me and listening. Try phlebotomy school. Did, and done. Try EMT. Did, and done. He was great and loved it…and would have gone farther. But, that damn back. The kid had a few more surgeries. He is now bionic. Now, he is just dad. Let’s hear it for them. Insert applause. Truly made for this life. Again, thank you God for giving him these skills. This is his life and world. His buddy flourishes due to their daily stay at home ways. But one day, when ready, he will venture back into the world. Perhaps, using his photography skills. The hubs and I know he would be a hit. But throughout his fight for life, his self-confidence has taken a hit. So, not quite ready, but he is listening. Kinda. Most importantly, he is alive and we are all celebrating thirty along with his best friend, aka goggle boy, who adores his daddy.

So, today is much more than just a birthday. It is a miracle in every way possible. From his birth, fighting early health battles, his back, and fighting some dark demons to now seeing the light through the youngest of goggle eyes. Happy Birthday!