book

Stress Combative

About Things. 

Chapter 1

Once upon a time a little girl was born into chaos. Loving chaos. But chaos. A million years later, I like to think that it was just too much love, and only one child. Sharing was not an option, in this scenario, and agreeing on my fate was not an option. Sounds odd parents and grandparents surrounding a baby bassinet wondering who would be the best parental figure. The players in this mini-drama were my grandparents and my parents, the latter more like Romeo and Juliet, soon to part ways, and both addicted to alcohol. Spoiler. Great people. Just lost in their own lives and trying to make it on their own. Plus me. It was too much and that gave the opening for my Silvia and Sam to swoop in and care for me. Best idea ever. I am in their debt. I had the raisers, the friends, the playmates, and the biological parents lost in their own lives. Complicated. Yes. Awful. No. This is my beginning. My stories. My life. And now onto the characters…

anxiety, caregiver, life

This Thing Called Life…

My days recently go from thinking of island life to going back to work. Now, I teach, so I have a few weeks of torture left. My mom has entered hospice. While that no longer brings me to a new level of panic, it does bring to light on what she can no longer accomplish that she once did with ease. Enter panic and the reality that our time is finite. This mixed with my recent back recovery and a few extra non-needed pounds. I am a mess who wants nothing more than to not be someone’s burden when there is more life to lead.

So while I have undergone weight gain and loss in my life. My consistent yo-yo has never been for any other reason than vanity and on the flip side, my love of food. Today is different I am now taking the time to read labels, give up salt, sugar, and the bad carbs. I am a new leafy eater with a side of protein. Right now I am cooking chicken and turkey to freeze for later in the coming weeks. I think they call this food prepping. I call this a forced chance to write. My goal is twenty pounds but I would be great with fifteen, as it might be enough to release the extra burden of stressors, I now feel truly caring for a parent who cannot take care of themselves.

The weight is heavy and mixed with everyday life almost too much as everything is out of my control. So I am going to learn to cook, meal prep, eat well for the first time in my life. I can control that. My exercise will be daily walking at 5:30 am to set me up for a successful school year, and I can control (not enjoy) those early hours. I will mix in meditation and restorative yoga as I heal and focus on our relationship as mother/daughter and probably write and focus on my grandson. It helps. Alot.

I am sure my next few or more blogs will be about my Miss Brenda. Of course liberties will be taken as that’s what I do. Take a story and try to see the lighter side of this thing called life. Follow along.

family, granparent life, grey hair, life

Thirty-four Years of Bliss

When you only feel thirty-four years old, how can I have been married for thirty-four years? Is this possible? Please note the bliss is relative based on the day and recently the price of gas. But the fact that we have withstood trials and tribulations for over three decades creates a moment of pure reflection and wonder. Are we truly kindred spirits or do we just not give up. I believe the latter. Even soul mates drift apart. Marriage is work. Yes, we have our moments of romance but those are interrupted by the reality of day to day life.

After the decades you start floundering for gifts. Even cards quite don’t say it perfectly. As a family we have it all and the extraneous stuff is just stuff for instagram moments. You know, the nauseating ones, that make you feel like the posters are that happy daily. Nope. Don’t get me wrong I love jewelry and any fancy gift but often reality wins. This year I came up with a BBQ for the win and a special gift of family. Let me explain the latter as you understand the concept of the BBQ.

Well, it started with a trip to Prescott and no gift or card for me, the wife. I disguised my anger and kept up with the day. Then I saw my gift. He is three and my buddy. Day made. Anniversary made. All forgiven. We had a fabulous weekend of family, church, and getting to be part of our buddies baby to grown up room transistion. I love to spoil everyone I know. It’s my thing. Years ago the hubs parents bought our nursery and the big boy room furniture. Just because. We did the same. Just because. So, no jewelery or fancy new bag. Just the reality of life in the best possible way!

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.

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

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.

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.

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!

bravo, Real Housewives

Bravo, Bravo, Bravo

Bravo is defined as an exclamation or cry out when a performance is done well. When said in a string of three, it is also defined, as breaking the fourth wall and ending filming. The word is now synonymous with the self-named channel that aligns itself with our desire to watch housewives that bring their best lives, to the next level, for viewers that need an escape. It is entertainment based on some sort of reality. Just not 99% of us. Nope, sipping champagne on yachts is not reality for the masses, nor is the level of attire and handbags strolling fancy streets in a variety of continents. Nope. I do not see this in Walmart. But, I love it! I am a fan of this disproportionate showing of all of this excess in a reality world gone wild. Sadly, it is no longer the best experience by any performance. It is, however, a modern day soap opera with a newer twist that might be the death of the “real” experience. Politics, race, and questionable housewives.

Politics. We all have our right to believe in whatever ideology we desire. But it is getting obvious that a certain political party creates a less popular housewife. It should stop. Did we know what party ideology of Erika on AMC. Nope. We were happy and ran to our sets everyday to see what was in store for her next. I arranged my ASU classes around AMC and watched everyday in our sorority chapter room. We all needed a break. Politics never entered our fantasy worlds, in our original soapy escapes, why should they now? Your viewers do not care who pulled the lever for who. We don’t. We want to see the trips, the bags, the petty fighting, and follow the pot-stirer and all their naughtiness. Thank you. If we want politics we would not be watching Bravo. Truly.

Race. This has been a mess. May the casting be open and wide and choose who you may…but please do not cast based on a particular race and then hammer that poor gal all season. RHOD. Enough said.

Housewives in perile. Ok, we have had a few that have done their time. We have. But, in style and taking ownership, for their mis-deeds. Ok, it was all wrong. But you brought the fantasy into their severe reality enough to balance the show. It worked. But currently, there is a very fancy member who is surpassing the masses believability that this was all an oops or a rehab moment a la RHONY or the sacrifical lamb going down with the hubs RHONJ. This one is special and with every show her grasp on reality is slipping, as is yours. Now, of course I base this on a documentary, hearsay, and gossip. The obvious mainstays to how your fans gain the news. This situation has a special smell to it, as the lifestyle that she lived and bragged about, is far more excessive than the others who have a more substantial net worth. Why showcase her? A story? Ratings? I hope she saves her salary. She is going to need every dime.

So, while I will always be a fan, I find myself turning to the past shows more than the present. The hair, makeup, and noses are dated. But the trips, pettiness, and the pot stirrers are front and center. These were the initial reasons the franchise became a success. We could turn for escape not political banter or race blunders, just escape and in 2021 we could all use a bit of that. Our plates are rather full.