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!

chronic pain, fitness, goals, sugar-free

Sugar-free and Me

I have tried alot of methods to lose weight and some have worked. Actually, worked well. Of course, mixed with an active lifestyle. One that failed not once but twice was keto. Not me. But with my recent health setback and literally from active to a coach potato by necessity, I need some change. I needed some research both to keep me busy and my own convincing to take the plunge, well the second plunge. I did this once with success and just went off. No reason. It was easy and felt great. So here we go…sugar-free is me…is now born.

My reasoning is completely to decrease inflammation. Which is still present. The absence of sugar is key as the white stuff spikes inflammation. Bye. Now, I could bore you with data. But not my style. Just enjoy my meandering stories and real life messages. Saying ciao is hard. I had pizza last night and quietly chewed our breakup story. I am ready. My life in the absence of pain will win and be my constant reminder along with societies vast array of sugar free choices if a sauce or an ice cream is truly needed. As for bread hello, ezkiel…and I love it. In moderation. I am good but it will be tough. I began today and promptly ordered supplements for sauces and chips. Sauces from Primal and G Hughes, carrots, cottage cheese instead of flavored yogurt, and Rx bars instead of premier protein etc, etc, etc. Just a bit of shopping adds combined with some everyday needs will make this tasty life without misery. #goals

On any road taken no one is perfect and I will not be. Nope. I will travel, learn, explore, investigate, concoct recipies until I get this right.

And I will…

family, life

Love

I have never been a cook. Nope. It is a running joke in our home. This has never bothered me as I learned the craft from my Sylvia. She had the love but not the touch. My grandfather and I just smiled and lied through our meals, as she enjoyed cooking just had zero ability. But oh, the lady could sew, clean, and wash clothes like nobody’s business. But cook. Nope. For some reason she raised me to think I did not need home skills. So I have none. I meander my way through our daily needs with exasperation and the wish of a fairy godmother. Thirty-three years later I do my best. No one complains but they do avoid my cooking. It’s ok. Enter the air fryer. Now, I am a gadget queen. Anything that makes life easier I am on it. We have vacuums and mops that wander our home and I replenish them with the newer models asap. They break. Easily. But the air fryer is a gift from the heavens as my cooking is now tolerable. The hubs is using phrases like, “let’s put this meal on repeat.” Yup, repeat. In all our years a second of anything has never been requested. So, my air fryer and I are on the best of terms. Meat, a bit of oil and spice plus the right settings and we have dinner. I even chopped the other night. That does not happen. But I did. I love my new friend. I named her Sylvia. I truly believe if my grandmother had this golden device she would have rocked our nightly meals.

back pain, chronic pain, family, life, retirement

306 Days

Let’s first explain the title. I am taking this rather random number based on my physiotherapist’s ramblings on how long it takes to heal a back that is herniated. Tah-dah a title is born. Of course, the number might be wrong as I was medicated at this first meeting. Or is it? This back disaster is my current state combined with vertigo. I got super lucky. Weeks later, I can chuckle a bit and feel a bit of pride to be the star of an EMT horror story of difficult patients. Let me explain, while riding in the ambulance after having my husband stuff me with a protein bar, because he thinks water plus protein cures all ills, I vomited everywhere. Everywhere. Several times. On a happy note the hubs scrubbing forced his hand to promise me new flooring. Of course, a request since year two in the house, but heck eight years later is great. Back to the story. So, this sweet EMT, who sported a training badge, kept rattling on with stupid stories, that were keeping me from killing all of them in pursuit of pain meds. Anyhow, he held my vomit bag the entire way to the hospital. At our goodbyes. I thanked the kid and grabbed the captain and asked him to sign his papers and pass him for the day. Or did I ask for meds? I don’t know? Probably both. The captain promised he would happily sign him off as he peeled my hand out of his and yelled, “Take her away.”

Currently, I am on week five or day 271 of my current holding position of rest, PT, and more rest. I am off all meds that caused me to forget what I read, watched, re-read, and re-watched during my time of bedridden status. With the pain away but in a wet- cement state, I wait. I wait to start my life again. I am on pause. I long for the simplicity of my life that I led. I teach. I miss my kids. I spin. I miss my Echelon/Peloton app life. I am stuck in the house because I can’t drive due to the back and the vertigo. I miss people. But with all the things I miss there is so much more I have learned in the silence of my waiting. Serious thoughts have come my way while crying in pain. Religion. The importance of family. Work and my need for my social and intellectual growth plus monetary needs. Along with the harsh truth that I am easily replaced, especially at fifty-nine. There were also thoughts that can be filed under the not so serious. Cue the meds folks. Days of reality TV nonsense, movie upon movie, and many attempts at new binge shows. Note. Not a Bridgerton fan. Probably the only human who could not get through episode 1. All I could think of was the pain the actresses endured with their corsets. While the mundane entertained my mind, it was the big thoughts, that truly got me through the day. Not my twelve orders of athletic wear to make dressing easier or the endless scrolling and the constant attempt to find anything to take my mind of the situation at hand. Nope. The big stuff. Religion, family, and work. Repeat. It made the struggle of each day and each small success sweet.

Religion became my anchor. I prayed, read scripture, and talked alot to the man upstairs. I felt his presence, cried, and kept praying. For the first time I felt his guiding hand. Truly, in the darkness of our room I was not alone. Ever. This gave me hope and a feeling that my herniated disc came at a time that had no reason, but had every reason. I renewed my faith and my belief that I am never alone if I just give my life over to him. I have. Completely.

Family. Oh my. So many days I have taken my family for granted and allowed the little stuff to aggravate me, but once you need them to walk you to the bathroom, there is a new respect. The little annoyances in life are gone. Who cares about the toothpaste or how the dishwasher gets loaded or not. Or my control issues with my son. My crew rallied to just get me through the day. They became my daily cheerleaders, my rock during bad moments, and my everything. Family replaced my long list of wants and it still needs some soul searching as to why my control issues and wants superceded my families love. But I will continue on this path much after my pause button has been removed.

Work. It has been five weeks since I have seen my kids. I can’t imagine their current state. I just can’t. But since this was an extended leave I was caught off from school until I return. I have turned over all things I control with fervor to a state of “you do you” and I will pick up the pieces upon my return. While, I do not think I am replaceable. I am. Perhaps, my replacement does not give the quality I gave daily, but another has taken my place. This hurts. But before I officially retire, the discussion did happen the day after my hospital grand entrance. A bit soon. But needed. There before me stood a man that gave me the world almost thirty-four years ago, and he was doing it again. He put aside all worries of money. All. I cried as I listened to our future together which requires my health not my teachers salary. There were no tears about the end date. Just hopes and dreams of a healthy life both in Neebish, Mexico and our time here in the valley. I thought even the the discussion of leaving the workforce would hurt. Nope. Just gave me a world of options. I want to leave healthy. Not stuck in bed. So while I will return very shortly, I won’t kill myself. I won’t. Just be the best teacher and let the other BS fall to the wayside. How did I get into this situation in the first place by killing myself. No more.

Today, the vertigo is disappearing. The back needs one more appointment and possibly shots along with a full drying of my wet-cement. But I am coming back to my status of Go, go, go but never forgetting this time of pause and what I am graced with in my life.

back pain, chronic pain, echelon, family, fitness, granparent life, grey hair, keto, life

Sorry KWL

Truth be told. I can be a b****. While my life revolves around my family. I can be a bit much. Call it demanding. Not b*****. Better. Years ago my son was diagnosed with a back disease. Fast track to today and he has a million dollar back and hypothetically is the bionic man. It is genetic. But I have fought mine off, until this week. Pain brought me to my knees. To make it through the week before spring break with my 6th grade mayhem of love, I just kept saying, “What would Kyle do?” Then I cried, thinking of all the times, I have been critical of anything in his life. Not truly realizing that slap pain into life that does not abate takes over until you can just do so much and sometimes the fluffy life stuff does not matter. Truth. I skipped two showers. Could not do it. Did. Not. Care. I smelled of powdered shampoo, sweet oils, and the fragrance that was the closest to my grab on my make-up table.

I am sorry KWL.

So, I have faltered. Worst ever. But that is that. Now, I finally recover forever. I tend to overdo, over diet, and fail. Enough. Life is finite and being on a roller coaster is loopy and unproductive.

Onward.

Few steps back. Yes. But forward. Forever. The toughest part is where I am currently. Heating. Cooling. Resting. Walking at a snails pace for 10 minutes. The beginning. It’s where my FOMO sets in. Frankly, without social media there was no FOMO. It would be good to toss it aside right now, but not gonna try. Too much between food changes, back self-care, and trips to the chiro. So, my mindset is now changed to without healing there is nothing. And nothing is not acceptable.

No FOMO.

So, instead of running around and enjoying. I am canceling plans and scheduling me time. Healthy care, healthy eating, manicure and pedicure, hair and chiro, chiro, chiro, stretch, stretch, stretch, walk, walk, walk. While I heal (6-12 weeks total) I will putter around the house aka clean slowly and mindfully, organize my spring school clothes, aka as fashion, and put me first this time which will allow me to put what’s important to me back to its proper first place status now and forever and get over this crazy coaster I have been strapped into for the last twenty years. It’s time.

Ailment in a nutshell.

My back. But not. It is a pelvic rotation that is over 35 mm from normal. 8mm is severe. How have I survived twenty years. Who knows. Obviously, this inner movement tugs on the back. Greatly. Causing extreme pain especially when sitting and ooh, driving is a killer. But in my three chiro appointments I have seen relief. Since PT has been apart of my life for this. I know the drill of bridges and pelvic tilts. Yup. Three times a day. Everyday in accute stages. This classified. Other non-medicated methods are THC oil and Formula 303 (starting tomorrow) a natural muscle relaxant. Naproxyn, is on order for pain. Again, no addiction, thank you. If any of this becomes magic. I will blog and share. Heck. Gonna blog and share anyway to keep me going on this journey. Which kicked off today saying goodbye to my Echelon and Peloton friends for a minute. This was sadness. Five rides away from 200, 50 more miles away from my race goal. Poof. But today I got out, walked to a short Peloton program. While sharing with you about this pain that haunts, but could be worse I hope to gain insight and lend a positive spin on pain as the reality is mindset is part of the process. Millions are in pain daily. Maybe I will crack the code or just make you laugh along you own journey. One that only you can shoulder and usually in silence. Why? As I am finding out unless you can make pain happy or positive, no one wants to know. It must be catchy.

The contagious factor.

It’s not. But unless you experience relentless pain. You have no response other than to buck up, take an Advil, stretch, lose weight. Etc. Idiots. I was one.

I am sorry KWL.

book, epilepsy

No Title.

Epilepsy is a modern mystery left to man and an exhausting condition on its best days. Please note I am not complaining. Not my style. And I know I am lucky. I have it all, an advanced degree, career, driver’s license, and one kid. That was all we were granted, and probably the reason I teach. I also have an unnatural desire to organize toys, anyone’s toys. Not epilepsy related but it’s as if my mothering was done before my time. I was always longed for more children but one and done was logical. So if you got toys, give me a call. Or if you need additional mothering as my kid would like a break. Let me know. He is a good sport. 

My story like others begins out of true fear. No one teaches epilepsy in school. Diabetes, yes. Epilepsy, no. My first experience was riding on a city bus to my figure skating lesson, oh yes. I was sporty too. A woman burst on the bus and screamed, “I am epileptic move.” Now, I was eleven and currently experiencing auras on a daily basis in quiet fear. While I thought the declaration was over-the-top, she scared me for many reasons so I moved the hell away. I got off the bus and walked the rest of the way to the rink in tears. I knew I would be that woman. Better dressed, less vulgar. But that was me. With every step towards the rink and a coach who had already called my grandfather for my being tardy I had apologies coming to many but mostly to myself for my living in fear. 

As the story goes I had times where I lived in a bubble that would not break open, until ready. This confinement impeded my speech. Actually, stopped it, but left me in the living to be able to hear all around me. Initially, the episodes were short, no one ever knew. However, with time, each getting longer and longer but my fear and lies covered them up. Not well. But my ability to focus on the world around me caught everyone off guard as once it passed no one could tell the difference. Silent periods continued to grow longer with each passing episode but my odd ability to jump back into the conversation, with increased slurred speech, worked. I chalked everything off to fatigue and exhaustive days between school and the rink. Others, just shook their heads and labeled me as a rebellious teen. The game was exhausting as was the daily fear of what was around the corner and who would see it and when would my academy award winning acting breakthrough to the obvious secrets I was keeping.  I was scared.  

My first big seizure was in a bathroom. I just fell, seized alone, and bit off my tongue. Just clumsy right? Yup. Got a week off of school, lots of rest, ice cream, and my game was extended. Not even EMTs felt I needed hospitalization. My grandparents became like hawks circling their prey and waiting for a misstep. They knew. I knew. We all buried the truth as who doesn’t want a perfect kid. And it was such a heavy badge to wear and at that time late 70’s not one

A week later. The curtain came down on my show. The seizure was witnessed and hospitalization followed. Now, I knew what the tests would show. My grandparents kept talking in hushed tones of C words but I told them they had nothing like that to worry about. I was right but the doctors made my diagnosis like a death sentence, meds, no driving ever, no kids, university too taxing and on and on and on. My grandparents listened with tears streaming down their faces.  

As soon as the doctor left I looked at them and said. “Whatever he said, we are not doing.” Let’s get these meds and get the fuck out of here.” I got a life to live, and I am gonna live! My grandfather laughed and my grandmother almost scolded me but beating the big C was good enough for her. I promised to take my meds, stop driving for a year, but I would go to college and I was going to stage a sit-in at the hospital until they agreed. They did. I was sprung and my first course of treatment began. 

My story starts there. Today is a bad day. My mind scrambles into a million pieces trying to find the calm my brain needs to slow it down and focus on anything that is not repetitive in sound or feeling. On days like this I write. I listen to music, I do yoga, I watch movies. Anything to remove my brains overdrive and fixations. My sensory overload is at its max. Thus, hearing daily sound in stereo. The toaster, the baggies opening for breakfast goodies, the refrigerator door, the butter opening and closing…the insanity is my sanity on bad days and the view of life it brings me is priceless.  Loud, priceless, and a gift that took me years to embrace and overcome the looks from an uneducated public not understanding that it is not a sentence of death or oddity but one of heightened life. 

This is not a book about epilepsy. It is one about life and the removal of obstacles. 

epilepsy, fitness

Keto Part 2

Well, I tried. Fell off the wagon and it took a very bad day of seizures to get me to recommit. Here is the problem. I love carbs. All of them. So, I am good for a few weeks and then a bagel catches my eye. I eat one and it is over. Way over. Then I catch up for lost time. Bagels, pizza, extra sugar etc. Back to feeling like crap, a few more seizures and the cycle starts again. Now, to stick to this my goal is a carb percentage of 20% not the 5% that some in keto can function with…I just cannot. Nor do I cook. So, life has to be simple. Pre-made salads (without the packaged dressing), pre-packed carrots, keto snacks, yes. Pre-packed. Dinner’s meat and frozen veggies. Dull but easy. I do not prep for the week. I tried. It is truly a chore no one needs, so I pay higher grocery prices. I am good. On Sunday to meal prep or watch my shows. TV for the win. My need to check out rest before the week of teaching is real and cooking is not rest. At least not for me. So, here I am after a very bad seizure day on day one. Again. A big plus in life is the no carb bagel. If toasted and covered with cinnamon, it is ok. I also found no carb bread, Cloudies, we shall see and a keto waffle. At least these will be my fake bread. It will help get me beyond the two weeks. I hope. Today, I won. Finally, after a long day and healthy foods, I feel better. This is what I have to remember every single day. I think I can.

education, family, granparent life, life

Sisters and Stuff

Long ago in a text far, far away organized sisters came up with an idea to reunite. Our last time together was twelve years ago. While, I was part of the committee, I was just the commenter. Nothing more. Others had this and were focused to the finish line. Their vision was superb and a good time was had by all.

Yes, there were drinks, food, cake, pictures, glow sticks, and memories. All melted into one giant pansy of the past that formed our present. However, it was the stories that sung to my heart. Current chatter about this thing called life. The struggles, the obstacles, the frustrations and the delight of our children as we watched them grow into the humans they became no matter what we imparted into their upbringing. Mostly stories of delight but some utter heartbreak. But all of us raising them in our own giving/neurotic ways. Some more than others. Of course, I top the list in neurotic as an Irish Catholic/Jewish insane mom who watched a bit too much, but ended up with a different type of greatness that is still sorting out his own path as a father, photographer, and small businessman.

Aging. Ugh. I was one of the elders. We are all in the same place. Fighting the good fight and looking pretty good for 40 plus years since pledging our life to a house that changed our worlds. Surrounded by laughter, tears, formal dresses, parties, and occasionally classes. ASU has changed to meet the times and many of us with our partying ways of the past would not survive the ASU of today. Ok. At least me. I had fun and let loose from my odd upbringing. I met normal families, friends, and found my own way. I survived, thrived, and while did not become a famous broadcasting giant or an attorney, as I dreamed. I went for the brass-ring of happiness. Wife, teacher, mother. Fantastic trade. Almost thirty-four years later we are still a thing and while life is never easy, divorce was all around this weekend, so our survival made me feel blessed. Those that did make it through the marriage finish line felt the same way. Life is life and how it unfolds is anyone’s guess.

Life, death, sickness. None of us immune. This just hurt my soul. Some have struggled, all fear the struggle, and all aware that the next reunion some will be gone. That’s enough. More reunions, trips, lunches, contact in any form. Why? We all understand each other and we are going through the same chapters. All of us have seen each other at our most confused, ie college and perhaps we are the ticket to surviving our current challenges and delights.

Coming home after two evenings that delighted and drained me physically, as Netflix as become my go to of excitement. My reflection of the past, present, and future was mixed with all the love of a three year old grandnugget who paid a special visit. Which was better. You be the judge. Until again.

Delta Love, T

book, education, goals, life, non-fiction

I Got Nothing

I started my book.

Not a real beginning or ending, but a random start, that may just end up somewhere in the middle.

Writing must be a journey for the insane.

It must.

I got nothing but random thoughts. No streams of consciousness in grammatical correctness. Nope.

My outline looks as scarce as this blog. Yup.

But, I have one. That is a start.

At the end it will be a series of short vignettes all tied together with a thread of humour, as I tell the stories of my life.

But for now the book is held together by nothing more than a dream and has plenty of space for growth.

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.