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.

education

Turning Off

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

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

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

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.

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.

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!

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.