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!

grey hair, life, retirement

Extreme Quiet

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

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

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

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

bravo, Real Housewives

Bravo, Bravo, Bravo

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

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

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

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

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

echelon, fitness, goals, grey hair, keto, life, Peloton

Upping My Game

This year has been, well sloppy, casual. A bit eh. We all know that. I thought I was doing it ok. Working out, eating ok, but I decided to look in the mirror. Really look. Take stock. Someone should have warned me. While, this moment had to happen. It hurt. But it should have been, just a day of reckoning, as opposed to a pulling the covers over my head moment. I did this to myself. I knew. I was just hiding under well lit filters.

Ok, my hair has been grey since thirty and hidden under a myriad of colors. I just got tired of changing my reality. But no matter, how great your hair is, and mine qualifies for true silver greatness. Thanks dad. The color ages you. Truth. Moving on. Eyes filled with laugh lines. Check, and I like my sweet mappings of my soul. A forehead line that is beyond Botox. Obviously, I must walk around with a quizzical look 24/7. My ship is now S.S. Nip and Tuck Land. I am waving that on, as I am cheap, and afraid of pain. So, to combat further drooping. The technical term used. Lovely. Insert ugly emoting and eye-rolling. My facialist suggested this gadget that works on the neck and eyes. It might be working. But truthfully, I have my doubts, but going to keep up with this electrode skimming routine. You never know. The hubs has seen this process only once. He stood and stared. I stared back and said, “Do you really want to know? Because I can tell you the science behind this thing if you have an extra twenty minutes?” He ran. Good. The whole process of tightening my face is rather horrifying. So, until they make a lift that is budget friendly and pain free. It is the natural aging look for me. Now, my mom has zero big lines, my grandmother zero big lines, me, I got my dad’s Irish face. Can’t hide a thing. So, I am assuming this eye-lid discoloration and thinning lashes is also an Irish trait. Why hurt one group with such vengeance? Is it because we know how to have fun in life? Anyway, one day my lids were this odd reddish-blue color and lashes invisible. This was horrifying. No getting rid of this disaster. Just more creams, covers, prescription lash growth serum, makeup, but not too much, or it will age me. Or so they say. Yikes. So, after many bottles, brands, skin care lines. I have settled to what works. For now. Next year. Who knows. Since, I do not get paid…but would welcome any product. I use Bare Essentials, everything and Armani for more coverage. Please, contact. Because we all need a 58 year old influencer in life. Hah. My facial products live in a constant level of retinol. Day and night. Some prescription, some from French Pharmacies, oh the heaven. Some drugstore. Yes, they work. But not on my forehead.

That was just the face. But while I was there I noticed my cheeks puffed. I look like a chipmunk when I smile, so I am giving up on my usual happy look, and I love to smile, and going with that RBF a la nose up high to slim the neck. It works, looking younger and kinda feeling myself for this age defying trick that works, only if you seated or posed against a wall. But, it works. Life gets in the way, however. Walking, working, bending, and trying not to smile are all too much. Back to the facial map of 58. Eh.

If my cheeks were my only puffed area, I would be fine. Nope the blinders are truly off, and I looked below my neck. The effects of 2020 are now obvious and while not alone. I have to step up my game. Not only for a “look” but a true realization that my puffy cheeks and other areas came from a love affair with carbs and sugar. I am addicted. I do not just enjoy the foods but think about them, plan meals around them, sneak extra, and feel guilt. Great. Rehabilitation, here I come. The difference in this addiction from others, is that we are all addicted to the hidden goodies, at some level. I am just extreme.

I am tackling this hurdle in steps. As cupcakes are akin to life, as is champagne, and the combo is heavenly. You can see this will be a challenge. Today, I gave up just bread. All. Good-bye. Now, a potato can still pass my lips. As well as higher carbohydrate fruit. The list of low carb fruit is truly depressing. Think berry and only berry. Good-bye orange, grapefruit, watermelon, grapes. Insert berries and only berries. Not happening now, I need time. On the 29th of June major groceries are entering our home, along with the word I cannot stand, cooking. Worse yet, with fresh ingredients that must be chopped. This is a whole different world and one that is necessary for success. If others can do this, I can as well. It can’t be that hard and I am choosing easy recipes. Really easy. On this date, good-bye all white flour, bread, and potatoes. But keeping fruit. My fruit. Great fruit. Sweet fruit. This is however only lasting a week. The next week. July 5th I will be between 20-30 grams of carbs and little to no sugar and learn to love strawberries. It can happen.

My goals are simple. First, not to kill anyone in my house during these first few weeks. Secondly, to lose weight. How much? Twenty would be great, twenty-five to thirty would take me into a look I have not seen in awhile. So, while the number is not carved in stone, eating in a healthy manner without the yo-yo gain/loss metric that is tied to carbs and sugar. My new life. A healthier life for the long-term that will give me the daily energy to chase 6th graders and head into the weekend and not collapse. It would feel great. As the fatigue and FOMO has got to go!

This bravery, to truly take stock, came from far too much eating on a road-trip, and the over absorption of true quiet and cooler temperatures. I thank and blame the quiet for this introspection and setting course a plan of action. Now, planning is simple, actually exciting and with every passing day I get a bit more nervous. Not about the plan, but the slip, fall, deep dive into a bottle of champs and a box of cupcakes. That is horrifying. There are no 12-step programs for loving carbs and sugar, it is left up to each of us, to find the inner strength and say goodbye. I am finding answers in books, facebook groups, and following keto lifestylers on Instagram. No answers. Just a bond. I have to find my own way on this journey. I will. If I can do my century ride. I can do anything! And besides, I do need to up my game! 😉

life

Father’s Day Stories

The title is basic, but with the deadline looming, this is all I got. I know this will not be a hallmark moment but I celebrate each father in my life through story. Each story is real and sums up their skills at the fathering stuff and what they have taught me along the way about being truly fantastic dads and a better human. I love them all!

I am going in order. First, my grandfather. Yes, deceased, but not to be forgotten. He helped raise me. Long story and not the point. He was a former NYPD Police Officer. Quiet. Very. My grandmother was the talker of the two. My grandfather had true kindness in his soul. Never was there a day that he was rude, to anyone. Ever. The slow driver. It was OK, we are not in a rush. The cocky athlete (at night he worked at the Arizona Coliseum). They were rude because they were tired or lost a big game. A “customer” of the public library not returning his greetings, by day he was security at the Phoenix Public Library. They did not hear him. He thought the best of people, always. In return, he was everyone’s favorite, everywhere. My best moments with my grandfather were at the deli, we went weekly. The deli guy always gave him extra of anything he wanted. He always asked for extra bagels, because of my grandmothers daily bagel habit. He got it, plus I got a wink and the shhh sign, as he piled in extra pastrami, a salad, or corned beef into his slim personal order for his weekly lunches. The deli guy knew he took two lunches a day, to get through his day shift and night shift, and if there was not enough deli, he would get leftovers. Grandma, was not a good cook. The deli guy saved him. My grandfather would have not accepted the gesture and always acted surprised with the extras when my grandmother calculated the bag. It worked. He always thought of others first, and spent everything he had on them. He was the best overall human and I miss him daily. I would like to say he taught me true kindness, and self-sacrifice. He did. Along with the art of a great nap. He could sleep anywhere at anytime. There are stories of him sleeping through his subway stops. Right there with you grandpa, sans the subway. You would be proud of my napping skills and the kindness and patience I use daily in my classroom. Thank you for raising me and being the best role model a kid could have! Happy Father’s Day!

My dad. He is a book, by himself. Let’s just say his stories are his to share, not mine. I met my dad later in life as my parents divorced in my early years. Throughout the years I would visit once or twice a year. But always for Christmas. My favorite memory was our car rides. To the store, to a family members house, on an errand…wherever. I loved driving with him. We would talk, but most of the time, I would just listen. As I was more fascinated with the stories of his life and filling in the pieces about my own. One Christmas, he told me were taking a detour as we headed back to the house from some shopping. He did not say where we were going but it was not in a neighborhood near the house. He got quiet as he drove and launched into a story about the drunk homeless and how they had buddies to protect them. He knew where we were going from the purposeful turns and from the response he received when he got out of the car. He gave each group of guys $100 bucks. We found three groups that night. They greeted him, took the money, and blessed him. Each time he got back in the car, he was quiet. After we could find no more. He said, “That will help them for a couple days. I hope they eventually see the light and get help.” My dad taught me the good, bad, and the ugly about life through his own stories and how each of us has the power to write our own story. Change our story. Or, if a chapter is a bit bumpy, we have our own power to smooth out the ending. If we are willing to work. Thank you, dad for teaching me about all the rough times. You gave me hidden skills that I use daily in this crazy world. Happy Father’s Day!

My hubs. He gave me our one and only. The kid who is turning thirty. So the adult. KWL was born with an eating challenge and this was tough on us mentally, physically, and financially, in the early years. The hubs sat me down in our first long-term hospital visit and simply said. “We will beat this. We will not give up. You will get tougher and rise to any occasion and I will make sure we can afford it all.” Which we couldn’t. So our journey began, in the children’s playroom, at Stanford Hospital. It was the last tear I shed, in public. Feeding tube, piece of cake. Financial testing and new job. Done. Fancy feeding machine. Thank you Amex. The best tubes money could buy. Done. A triple order of them. Done, as the kid ripped out his monthly tubes every single day. Done and ouch. In hindsight, tube ripping should have been a sign to his eventual stubbornness, but I was busy. We continued the ripping and sinking for six months. He was tube free at nine months and by twelve months he had made the weight chart. By three, he was scoring goals in little person soccer and by four no weight issues were noted on his chart. When he walked onto the field he was the tiniest soccer player, catcher, and toughest pitcher that other parents ignored, he would be that bench kid. Nope. I just kept saying keep your head up and stay focused. The kid never doubted me and the hubs kept cheering us on and supporting my own daily doubts and fears. The kid scored the goals, caught the balls, and threw harder than boys twice his age. He never bragged. Dad never bragged. I bragged for both of them. Someone had to do it! Instead, he helped the underdogs. Always. On the side he would race the slower kids to help their speed, kick balls with the middlefield kids, who preferred butterflies, and played catch with anyone even if they kept dropping the ball. At baseball one day, he put his arm around a kid and said, “You will get it, just keep your head up and stay focused.” I cried. Take that sports moms. Never sat out a game. Ever, and told dad about every moment and never begrudged him not being there at a game. He knew where he was and both of us accepted that reality. So when a speech challenge arose, private therapy, and private schools were supplied a la dad and his long hours at the office. When the kid was “found” by a tennis coach, he fell in love with the sport, and it became his sport. The hubs made it happen, as he was a great dad. His role was not to be at home. He got sidelined and missed the big stuff so he could provide for us financially, as our life as parents took a turn upon birth. Feeding machines and Stanford therapy ain’t cheap. So choices were made and the hubs gave us the gift of ability. None of this came from me, it was the hubs, working his a** off so he could provide. You can argue he missed the best of times, but I disagree, he coached me through the worst and had an overview of it all along the way. Now, he gets to fully enjoy being a grandfather and that is a double joy for him and a thrill for me to watch! Happy Father’s Day!

The kid. I know your first thought… biased. Nope. I call it like I see it. A Sugar-coated life is not my style. Obviously, I became a grandmother. Cue the trumpets. I was made for this life. But oddly, I was nervous to see my son as a father. Walking into my first glimpse of their journey is drilled in my head forever. He was sitting in the hospital room just cradling the nugget. Mom, “This is your grandson.” I shook my head to acknowledge the statement, and said. “Yes, more importantly this is your son.” We giggled, cried, and kept smiling at the perfection. He went onto explaining the skin to skin process, taught me how to diaper by showing off his diaper technique, and then I held him, the kid by my side. No longer my little boy. A dad. And three years later these two have formed a bond for life. Dad is the protector from all things bad and scary, the park dad, the swim dad, the everything dad. He is what a little boy could ever want, and need. I love to listen to the kids stories of the nugget doing something new or extra cute, or playing at the nuggets park, a visit to great-grandma, going to speech, or even a grocery store outing is an adventure for my boys. Anything and everything is told to me with a glimmer in his eyes that is so precious. Now, the kid has given up a full-time life outside of the home, for physical reasons, but that means he was given the golden opportunity to be just dad. A true gift. And just a dad he is not. He is so much more. He has taught me to truly trust in who I have raised and reap the joy from this grandparent gig. He’s got this. Kid, you have been blessed with the gentleness of your great-grandfather, the empathy and compassion of your grandfather, and the toughness of your father. You will pass all of this on in your own way and in your time. I can’t way to watch! Happy Father’s Day!

So, to my pops, hubs, and the kid. Look at your kids, hold them dear, and try to remember every moment fondly, even when they are not. Especially, to the newest member of the dad clan, when you find your mind dulling or you are scraping playdough off the dining table for the umpteenth time. These times will pass and you will miss playdough. I do.

Happy Father’s Day!

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!

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!