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.

education

Slightly Burnt But Not Charred

I am happy here…

It is that time of the year that teachers complain, complain, and complain. I don’t get it. The job comes with a massive description, and if you have ever met a teacher, you know that you are signing up for a mental challenge that can break most average humans. This only gets worse every year due to societal demands, social media challenges, pronouns, and the loss of basic childhood play. Let your kids play. Please. Let them be bored. Please. Social media. MONITOR. I am sure a course in spying is appropriate. Need help. I am the best. Ask my kid. In spite of all the daily craziness and absolute fabulousness, why do teachers complain? Not sure. To all of you in the greatest profession in the world. Let’s Stop. No professional needs to hear negative feelings or see tears over bus duty. Nope. Say it, get rid of it, and think of all the great of the day. Please. If I hear one more complaint over pay…please…fall break, Thanksgiving, Christmas break, spring break and of course the summer months. Stop. If you want a larger check, leave the profession. We will all be happier. If you are counting days until retirement. Take early retirement. If you cry daily. Get a shrink. Seriously. Go find your happy. I am in mine but the negativity is making me slightly burned.

My other focus is on me. Yup at 58 gotta keep it going. Working out, eating right, and trying to laugh a bit more with the hubs and play, truly play, with my little nugget of a grandchild. Doing life through his eyes is my world because it was his daddy who taught me that little people would be my lifelong calling not just as a parent but as a teacher. Finally, happiness in the classroom comes from our life. While my pieces are pretty good there is one piece I want altered. My kid. ❣ it seems as if I have forgotten he is an adult. No one should be shocked. I need to get know the adult a bit better because he is amazing and that missing piece will take me from burned to a happy golden fluff ball! Or something like that. But right now I will settle for a pumpkin farm, polar express, and Santa workshop attendee. We will find our stride.

Before, I become charred from all the outside negative feelings and emotions coming from all sides, I have sent a daily intention to focus on the positive. What went right? What kid did I reach? What growth was achieved? Or how can I change my lesson to reach more? What made me laugh. The good stuff. I do not allow negativity to get me down. Now, that does not mean it has not entered this year. It has. Because of me. But after a couple weeks of extensive planning. I am good. Change of ways is good for all. Going from direct teaching to group centered is uncomfortable for a middle school teacher, far from perfect, but the seen daily growth is what keeps me on this path, which while rocky, due to a number of daily realities. Is a growing community of learners that are seeing their own growth, high-fiving me, and competing as to who comes to my table first! They want more learning and thus are working harder in all areas of the classroom to make our station rotations work. Which fills my heart and my world.

So, if you need your bucket filled. Count on yourself. Not others and remember why you do this adventure. It is for the kids and keep the door closed to negativity.

echelon, fitness, grey hair, Peloton

Gearing Up for Greatness Or Sleeping in Yoga Pants

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

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

grey hair, life, retirement

Extreme Quiet

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

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

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

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

life

Internet is More Than Social Media. So Much More…

Life without internet is a place where you will never know who made the “it” list of anything. Sad. Where directions are to anything. Lost. How long to cook a three-minute egg. Oh, that is a given. But the how-to is my need. Pot, skillet, microwave? How? Hungry. Confused and literally with egg on my face, I used the microwave. Not the correct answer. You are welcome. I would post the picture but the hubs drew the line. “People will think you are stupid.” “No, just untalented in the kitchen.” I blurted back. “Intelligence and kitchen skills do not tie together in my world.” He just walked away and shook his head. The picture was a hard nope for him. He won. Probably right. I know the truth.

Try living without the internet. No google, directions, maps, or social interactions. You can’t, it’s hard. We are ingrained into this culture, like it or not. Yesterday, I had to order transcripts. I called. Big mistake. The young man on the other end asked for my email address when I entered school. I laughed. I told him I did not have one. He intellectually debated me, I let him, and finally he looked at my transcript, and back-peddaled. “Sorry ma’am, there was no internet.” Yes, I became one of those. Probably, the story of his day.

As vacation at camp continues the non-internet thing becomes a thing. A real thing. Not terrible, just an adjustment and a diet of frozen foods and a view.

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.

caregiver, grey hair, life, retirement

The Facebook

I like to believe I could give up on The Facebook if it were not for my mom, my Miss Brenda. Mmm. Maybe not, but I believe I could. Now, The Instagram and The Twitter, never. My mom inserts the “the,” not my terminology, as I am social media savvy. So I think. Actually, I know I am not. I am 58 my generation is just cocky not savvy at social stuff. How could I toss away the connection I get with the same ten friends over and over…I mean they are sick of me. I could leave. Frankly, kinda sick of them. Sorry. I could leave. So, I must stay for the forward thinking ads that take me down rabbit holes and mine for information. Yes, that is it. Google knowing my every move is an inviting reason to carry on this love/hate relationship. Something to stay for. Nope. The games. They are stupid and after I play them I never post my answers, due to the embarrassment, of playing them in the first place. Nope. Nope. Nope. So, the question remains, why not just hit that delete button, that never really deletes you, but it must feel amazing once pressed. Just think, a life you do not share, overshare, or have a need to share. I understand that many live like that, but if there was a twelve-step program for social media, I would be on it. No, I stay for my Miss Brenda.

Please note: I love my mom to pieces this is just how my brain and how our relationship works. Phew. Hopefully, this is understood. Don’t want to be labeled as that mom hating blogger because I use a moniker other than mom. Not me. At all. Let’s carry on.

My Miss Brenda is what they call her at her senior living facility. It has stuck with me. In a way it was my transformation that I am now really the mom. Yup, two kids. Thirty and eighty-one, they never played well. Sharing was a bitch. They never really got it. Actually, neither did I…the only child syndrome and all. I digress.

We have had our challenges beyond the usual mother/daughter stuff. But our love is real. Very. She is pretty, very social, and stands her ground. Now. But in her former life she ran away from controlling parents that led her to controlling men. Never physically hurt. Just emotional hurt. Her Romeo was never to be hers, and frankly, I am not sure she ever got over that moment in her life. Maybe. We don’t bring it up. It is all water under the bridge that will be in her lasting memories. Along with The Facebook. Sweet, actually. Cue a Shakespeare soliloquy.

Back to the title. The concept of a phone that does more than call is foreign. Very. I spent two hours times two days in Verizon with her, it was not enough. But if you need a new carrier I recommend them as being the kindest souls on the planet, my business is with them for life. Anyway, we learned texting. That worked. We even got that special stylus that made her feel fancy. Very fancy. I bought a pack of them. Just in case. Then she found facebook one day. “Tracy, my friend taught me about something today. It’s called The Facebook. I can see everyone’s lives.” Great. Within the first week she was hacked, the second week I started receiving odd messages from my Miss Brenda, definitely not written in her style and tone. By the third week we ended all of her accounts and got her a new phone, new number, and a new The Facebook identity. Yup. All of her financial stuff was transferred and secured. SO MUCH FUN. I was not a happy camper during this period and suffice to say the man paying the bills was beside himself. The hubs constantly questioned “Why does she need Facebook?” “It is not Facebook,” I said. “It is The Facebook, and it is her window to me, to us, to her grandson and great-grandson.” Proud of my absolute shutdown and the win for The Facebook.

Enter stage-right, Covid-19 and our absence from contact for one year, almost to the date, The Facebook was her saving grace. My posts are for no one but her… she enjoyed my over-sharing my true lack of importance for that third cup of coffee picture or my big toilet paper search. It made her laugh. Nope, it is all for Miss Brenda. I know no one cares and it mostly looks self-important but it’s neither. She truly gets a kick out of my daily pursuits, as trivial as they are. So, I carry-on.

We recently slipped into a new phase. Just using messenger (no more texts) or calls, unless she finds the “phone” image accidentally and of course where she stores her notes. Yes, Miss Brenda has notes. All neatly written in a notebook. Probably, color coded. Another new use is the all important The Facebook calls without the FaceTime camera. That is too many instructions. I have tried. There are no words, colors, tabs, or even a separate notebook for camera use that is going to get us over our hump. We are happy. It works. She feels as if she is experiencing my adventures with me and right now that is the best gift I can give.

I love you Miss Brenda! See you soon!