Welcome to Doggie Charm School…

Leave it, sit, stay, stay, stay, no…and a finally an occasional good dog. This is my new vocabulary. A chosen one. But words that I am already wanting to expand. Quickly. Coco and King are loved, wanted, but wow…a handful. I blame the small yippie dogs next door to us and the fact that they are allowed to bark all day long. But in reality my pups are just doing their job, too well. They need to quit. Turn in the resignation and spend their days getting spoiled. Breaking their German Shephard bad habits is my task this summer. Some days, I feel like a Master Teacher. But most days, especially today, I am struggling to get a passing grade. Shush, leave it, good dog etc works along with love and treats but they are toddlers mixed with teen brains, so my reputation is high and some days their desire to listen is low.

Their barking is the worst habit. Next up chewing if not monitored, and just overall a level of play that boggles the mind. But my day job is teaching teenagers, so if anyone has the patience, it is me…I think. This morning they wanted to get up before 5 am. Nope. We did go out to create more shit for me to pick up, but back to crates for me to choose their morning walk time. Now this time is akin to a toddler running to the next line at Disneyland, or it was. It took six weeks, but we have a routine with no pulling. No longer do I fly down the street. So, this morning, I will wait. They will wait and perhaps they will learn that I enjoy the light of the day. Or not.

Do I have suggestions? Absolutely not but my new reading genre is self-help for GSD, but if you are reading this and just found a shoe, chair or chairs in tatters. Remember you are not alone. Just stay patient, calm, and take it one day at a time. There should be a group for this…Hi, my name is Tracy, I have two GSD and no patio furniture…insert no judgement and other stories with a prayer to not find disaster awaiting you during your escape. It would fill.

***Please note, my reference to a dog discussion (self-help) group does not make light of sobriety groups. They save lives. I know that, first hand.***

I Don’t Wrap and The 35th Anniversary Gift Saga.

After thirty-five years together, it is the thought that counts and I tend to spoil. Always. But wrapping is not my thing. I learned long ago, when stores were grand, they wrapped for you. I never looked back. Now, I bag with the best of them, just don’t wrap. Don’t ask. Amazon has wrap service which delights my senses but only sometimes. This maddens me especially when the gifts are for our 35th anniversary. Now, for a non-wrapper my love language is over the top wrapping, because I know you can find good stores, that still wrap. Major hint. I asked my hubs what he wanted because I do survive on a teachers salary, unless I “lift” a credit card and deal with the repercussions. I did that once. I bought a Porsche. Yes, yes I did. We kept it, still have it. Those were the days. As we age my budget became well cut-off.

So, we are building a house. It’s all he wants. Can’t wrap that. Phew. The decor is my gig, modern nautical with island whimsy. What does that mean? I don’t know but it sounds fancy AF. I have been plotting items for two years and I definitely want a bit of old with the new. So I searched for our first two antique pieces to give it the old/new/island vibe. Obviously, pleased with myself, as they sit boxed on our kitchen table, waiting for May 28th, number thrity-five. Not as grand as a sportscar but hopefully the true thought, search, and future memories that will come from the gifts, will be perfect for a major years celebration. One that is filled with much love, patience, and moments of change as we head into our next seasons together forever.

The Nibbler

Long ago, in a land far, far away I was a no pain, no gain gal. Since my back injury. I call myself a nibbler. I get to my goals for the day or on most days but in baby bites. I don’t have any illusion, that my body will transform into goddess like looks, but I know I am moving and that is finally what matters. Obviously, I am now back to my physical normality, with limits. I am biking more than five minutes a day. In fact, I can withstand fifteen to thirty minutes, but usually stay with fifteen three to five days a week, because the grazing concept with constant adding of time works at this juncture.

So, whether your a grazer like me, couple miles walking, biking, and back to yoga or the lift till you die or break your foot, kinda gal. Go for it! Movement is movement anyway you can get it into your day. But for those that lift astronomical weights, I watch your videos in awe and fear you will drop them and scream in a pain not meant for your stories. So, please spot, because I worry. I do.

Mothers With Superpowers

All mothers have a special power or two up their sleeves. This comes from years of practice, and frankly out of necessity, because this gig is hard. The baby insta pictures melt my heart but we all know the back story of any photo shoot. Blowouts, crying, begging, the crazy money on the right outfit etc. No child smiles on command. Nope. I like the more natural instas, such as asleep in the car after miles of driving, toddlers walking the planks of planes, trying to convince a one year old that we are almost done with the ear pain, by allowing chocolate cookies to be consumed and somehow all over grandma. No tears. Perfect traveller. Grandma, certified bum status with an embarrassed son, once he awoke. Memories. I did get an airline pin and the grandma of the day award. As things could have gotten loud. Ears are real. Now he hops on the plane, eats snack, either sleeps or watches movies. He is a champ. But I always pack cookies. Chocolate, for the memories and my child’s giggles. Back to our powers. New parents, you are finding your footing, if you are pregnant you are in your own world, we will see you on the otherside with a screaming toddler in Target. I can talk you down, why, I truly have superpowers.

Mother+Teacher+Grandmother equates an obvious Mattel toy coming to stores near you. Super Mother. Hears all, sees all, knows the optimal hours of inside vs errands and bribes with the best of them, and spots a lie from 100 yards away, and can’t be fooled. Wears jeans, white tees, white sneakers, and a blazer or puffy jacket for colder moments. I could go from chasing to lunch in a heartbeat. Those were the days. I later morphed into sporty mom. Same concept but tracksuits instead of jeans. Those were the days.

Now my status took years to perfect and the methods still work on my big kid and the nugget knows what’s up. He knows I glow with superness, but yet he does have my number and I, his. He thinks he is slick but feels at times it is game-set-match, as grandma is still champion. But sometimes even supermoms have limits, especially when he is only turning five. So, whether you are a new mom, old mom, grandparent, or just celebrating your mom. Ladies, we are special and our powers at any stage are amazing. So, enjoy your flowers, gifts, cards, rushed brunches with waiting lists. We don’t do that! Or the spare bottle of champagne you put in a sippy cup for the day. I don’t judge, as we all have the best job in the world, and we are just surviving another day, even if it’s our day, the best we can.

The End of the End

This last week, I have been grumpy. One could blame the early hours, with our new pups. Nope, they are saving me by forcing a couple of miles in the wee hours of the morning, without coffee. All healthy and a true distraction from my grumpy self. I know I used grumpy twice, now three times. But it is my blog so grumpy, grumpy, grumpy.

I hate feeling off without reason. Menopause is a big umbrella excuse but often a cop-out, even though I fight the symptoms. This was a different feeling and one I have not had in a while. As a teacher, we do not miss the group we teach with weepy passion every school year, as one may wish we do. We don’t. I have danced a year or two (after dismissal) and have witnessed a variety of celebratory moves from others during my twenty-eight years. Not this year.

I rolled up with this class and with all their moments, I would do it again. This is the group that comes along every lifetime that is mixed together with societal oddness and obviously full moons, that needs to be separated from each other but individually they are amazing. This group is needy. They will be forever until they see the light. Currently, they are in complete darkness with tremendous academic growth to brag a bit about. They need love and patience and teachers with passion. Most of all patience. But as they rise through the grades, the patience falters as students should be peeking into the light and keeping up with expectations. I worry.

The end of the end of this fabulous ride is in thirteen days. I will be grumpy. Yes, that word. Until I know how to say goodbye. Right now it just hurts.

Falling Off The Ladder of Classroom Life

I have tried to climb out of education witin the classroom setting, only to be brought back into my four walls, time and time again. I am bored. Not of kids or teaching, but the daily work. I need more. I have tried to leave to give my mind a boost, and the needed new chapter but always end up walking back into the reality of the classroom feeling labeled as just a teacher. Perhaps, I raised my hand in the interview or tied someones shoes. I do both without much thought. Don’t get me started on walking to the right. Don’t.

Obviously, when you apply for an underlying job in an agency that most of the state was cheering for you to win the lead position, there are problems. I can do any position with my hands tied around my back and eyes closed. As a teacher, I have seen it all, and understand far too much, none of which, I need in my current daily work position. The lowest yet highest level of education is where I currently reside, classroom teacher. Most of my desire to leave comes from the cocktail party circuit, “Wow, you are still in the classroom! You are a saint…yadda, yadda, yadda.” Or my favorite line. “No firm has snapped you up yet?” After an inner eye roll, as most are just uninformed and out of touch. They truly see me in their world. But I am more, just in mine. I usually joke that tying shoes and opening juice boxes is not in high demand. All giggle and we move on to world peace.

This last attempt at leaping out of my box, hurt. Now, while I am still in the running for a very long title, that I will not turn down, I have made peace that my higher-power is pointing me back to my 7th grade room, without proper air, and far too many kids. While I sweat, all day long, even with two tower fans, courtesy of one of my minimal checks. I just refer to them as beads of love. My kids do bring me joy. Normal adults cannot relate. I light up at their silliness, their attempts at jokes, and their love for me, on any given day. As this is March, I am seeing the fruits of countless weeks of repetitive directions and lessons and reteaching on a consistent loop. While not quite ready for 8th, they are almost there, and that of course is my goal.

So, while I hate to lose, and I might have…the question in my mind remains, did I not really win?

I Fear Retirement

Spring Break brings me a sense of peace, quiet, and the organization and rotation of clothes (love a good closet), and silence. This brings me joy, a needed recharge, and since I am nearing the end of my career, it causes me great concern as to what’s in my future retirement plans. Long ago, in my fantasy phase, We would hop on a cruise and do the world. Yes, with the hubs. “We” would go from port to port in utter class and see the world. I priced that. Not happening. But a yearly big trip can be organized and afforded. Yes, it can. One trip a year. Just one. A cruise maybe two, Denmark, Ireland, Fiji, Australia, Philippines, Japan, Germany. Italy, and a revisit to France and England. I love to go see, go explore, and go experience other cultures. So does the hubs, he just does not like the planning or spending. But we deserve a yearly exploration. Well, that is two weeks out of the year including packing. Now what. Truly, I draw a blank. Golf? Bad back. But I do like the fact that it takes all day. Again, bad back. Not an option. Besides, had a tantrum on a course with the hubs and picked up the ball, clubs, and chucked them. They did not go far. But it felt good. We went home, clubs in tow. My hubs won’t golf with me anymore.

Volunteering. Possible but when I cross the finish line of teaching, my giving myself for free, is over. But it’s not out of my possible options. Not sure who wants a retired teacher but someone might, or in reality, I might need them more. The fear of boredom is quite real and with golf out, traveling limited, grocery shopping with my husband out, way out. Have you seen those cute couples who banter about what cut of beef they want and actually enjoy the grocery experience? We are not them.

We are building a dream home up north and have another down south. Very south. Will we spend time there? Yes. But both places are in gorgeous areas with an abundance of quiet. I like a balance. Less and less as the years go on, but purpose and a little noise in life is needed. Teach online? Get my restorative yoga certification, open a Montessori school or a yoga studio in Neebish Island? Just continue my essays and complete the book? Or just waking up everyday to a new adventure and let the day unfold…Nah. structure is needed. Heck, I even ask to go to the bathroom and always will, so while retirement scares me the options are amazing.

The Love of Great Clothes

As I begin to lose weight, I have options, buy all new clothes. Nope. Or rent, yes rent. Find my new size, style and live my former I. Magnin management life. I enjoy clothes that are well made, have lining, and style that is not in every storefront. Now, I am a teacher and cannot afford five digit outfits, but I can look like a million bucks before I walk into a room of preteens and teens if I rent. Some do it to save the planet, I do it to save a buck or two, while walking into the room wearing quality and feeling confident with no itchy tags. No driving and shopping. Just a monthly bill and choices galore that I go through on my phone when I have a minute. Over the summer there are no working days, it will be handbags, sunglasses, and other accessories. Along with an occasional dress.

Rent the Runway is my go to with rental options. The best part is that if you love it you can buy it! From casual daily wear to gowns, you can rent it all. Plans start from five to fifteen pieces a month. The cost is about $100 to $200 a month. Now stop and think how much you spend on disposable wear. My number was too high and I was buying crap and just rebuying yearly. This is my problem solver and not a paid ad!


Intermittent Fasting Continues

It’s been approximately a month. I have had my good girl and bad girl moments. During this time I knew I needed more guidance. I have found the holy grail for menopause mama’s and rid myself of all the other weight loss noises in my life. Good-bye Weight Watchers, good-bye Noom, again and the Carb manager app I was using as I tried to rid myself of all things good, while fasting. All at once. I went deep and fast. That never works. It didn’t.

But I am back. A new sensation on this tenth day that will not leave me is hunger. Not just in the morning but throughout the day. All my deep dives give the same song and dance, allow me to paraphrase the countless holes of information that gave me a ray of hope and more hunger. Don’t quit, you will get used to it, only two to four weeks and it is just another daily skill, and the worst, some have no hunger after two days. Who are you? We must meet so you can share your recipes. But not quitting. Not this time. What’s three more weeks of feeling hungry, grumpy, and tired if on the otherside is my menopause mama holy grail to weight loss and health.

The changes I have made are drastic, although I sneak a carb now and then. I am sugar and almost carb free, my calories are low and my overall carb intake in in range of Keto. My vitamin intake is huge and have added juice shots for added benefits. I am all in and I feel accomplished. My steps have risen and I am closing in on 300 rides. My mind is clear. A big step and I have a bit more energy. A bit. But I am hungry. But my clothes feel better. But I am hungry. So, wjile no drastic scale changes, I feel but better. That’s enough. For now, it is alot.

My new lifestyle guru, the creator of the Galvaston diet, and some great products.






The Suit

Water is not my thing, even as a child. Ironically, I grew up in a desert with a pool in every home. My fear is directly due to the many drowning reports on the nightly news. The newscasters believe they are doing a service (and they are) but after fifty years of hearing the scary statistics, the only service they did for me was don’t get in the water, no matter how bloody hot you feel, at this moment. I can swim. Yes. The local nightly news taught me I had to learn. So I did. But as the years passed I became a pool lounger at an expert level. Dip a toe. Saunter to the chair. Order a drink, and repeat. The view brings me great peace as does the hotel service and bubbly. Oddly, I love to sail and passed my initial certification, but I don’t plan on captaining a boat. I am a lounger with an occasional standing moment at the helm and a bit of the bubbly. The boating love came after convincing myself that I am not in the water and technically I am correct. Being in requires a bathing suit or the current choices of ether small squares of material or big dresses that my grandmother wore when I grew up, which I can’t accept and thus going in the water or even pool lounging has been a big NO for years. Menopause has changed my overall look without my changing my diet or exercise. I could exist on air and I would still have rolls upon rolls in areas that were once flat.  So a bathing suit, has not been on my body, for a very long time. Through the years of heat, mental fog aka the beginning of this stage that never ends, I coped. I hid. I survived. Just a phase. We traveled in the winter to non-beachy areas. Accidental but freeing. London in November. Gorgeous rain and cold. Thankfully this meant turtlenecks, sensible pants, boots, large coats, and scarves. Turkey, obviously covered. In Paris, I was so busy looking Parisian and seeing everything that I could, no suit was necessary. I could hide my changes and frankly just accepted my new life. The last time I wore a suit in public, was twenty years ago in Spain, and twenty pounds ago. The hormonal overdrive phase of life has hit. I will be sixty in six weeks. Which should explain everything without getting technical. My acceptance of a new life stage has now turned to frustration and a daily dose of exasperation in the dressing moments. My body screams practical pull-ons and tunics and my head says hell no. Not yet or ever. Truth be told I have a few outfits that fit this category. They make me happy, in a comfortable way, but they always remind me of my grandmothers polyester granimals that fit her every physical need and frankly she always looked great, but I am not ready. The sixty year old woman does not really fit anywhere in the mainstream fashion industry. But we are having our moments in chain boutique shopping experiences, and while some great stuff can be found, we all come out looking the same which alerts others to the questioning of our desire for the AARP discount of the day. I digress. Back to the newest stressor. The need for a suit.

I am taking my grandnugget to a water park. Yes, not just a pool, but a park of people all in drippy stages of dress or undress with slides, arcades, and characters roaming the property. The nugget has been taking lessons and this is my treat. Now, this grandparent will do anything, but my hubs won’t. He won’t do the character related themed areas and this park fits that category. However, he has committed to Lego Land. It’s a lego thing for him. So that is a go. Disney. That’s on me, but I have a plan. We just don’t mention it until he is at least five years of age, maybe six. Back to the drippy park. After my commitment to what will be a great day. I went through my suits. I have two. Both seem small and lack the fabric I desire. All I can imagine is my very white body shuffling from one area to the next while toting all our necessities. In the pool bag, gone long ago. Luckily they are fancy neoprene now with stylish colors and options. This I can get into but the suit. Nope.

Thankfully, I love to research, and if beach bags have gone all neoprene like and fancy, perhaps the suit has more options than small triangles or massive printed dresses. Why loud prints? Is the dress not bold enough? A man must have created this horror with the mindset of, it will be easy to spot grandma in this checkered number. Within minutes of googling conservative suits, nicer than menopausal mama, I came upon a new trend, swimming leggings. Yup. They are made out of special material that dries quickly just like a regular suit with the special plus of covering, squeezing, and looking relatively sleek. Obviously, this is not a look for the lounging tanner. This legging idea (came through the swimming community) is practical for the swimming grandma desiring to swim with grandchildren and fighting the midst of unwanted body transformations. Rather than, running away from the day, or feeling less than in front of the skinny set or anyone under fourty. It will allow me to feel confident as I stroll the park without being worried about my size and the suit. That’s priceless.

Lands End seems to have the best choices, but also Target, Amazon, and even Walmart are in the game. Note: this is a non-sponsored post.