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.

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.

family, granparent life, life

Park Mom

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away…I was a park mom. Or my term for a mom with kids playing in the park with the important duties of watching, protecting, opening juice boxes, or providing snacks while kissing boo boos. A park mom who of course can be a dad and can work. Not going further, as it would take up the entire blog, and I am not woke or PC.

A park mom usually comes alone with kids in tow and always is searching for a few minutes of quiet in the storm. These are the true warriors of toddler life. They may look exhausted but in a moments notice they are at the top of the playground equipment rescuing their cub. I once crawled up the McDonald’s Playground slide tube to get my kid who suddenly realized that going down the big tube was not going to happen on that day. He went from “I got this because I am a big boy” to a puddle of tears within nanoseconds. That’s when we kick in. Yup. To the top I went and we slid down together to applauding moms. They got it. The kid ate the remaining portion of his Happy Meal and went back to just playing in the seriously germy ball area. I could breathe and he could play. When we left he asked if I could always ride the big tube with him all the time…I wanted to say “yes” but I used my best mom speech and told him next time he could do it on his own. He did. We both won.

Now, as I take my grandson to the park. The speech about inner strength and the promotion of independence doesn’t change but the pride is somehow more amazing and indescribable.

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.

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!

grey hair, life, travel

Secret Lumberjack

Ok, my hubs is not handy. Nope. But he is a secret lumberjack when he comes up north. He loves taking down trees, creating paths, and tending to more greenery than meets the eye. Who is this man? This person is not the same one I married. Or is he? Has he hidden these secret talents? Or is this his inner Neebish man just letting loose?

So what does the Neebish woman do when her northern status comes alive? I believe the female alternative to chopping trees is canning, quilting, or embroidery? I cannot imagine doing any of these hobbies until the hubs asked me to move trees with him on a recent hike. Ok, you know I laughed. Hard. Then I said words I cannot repeat. Many times. This, coupled with my usual mosquito cursing. It was an ugly moment. So, I searched out some lifestyle hobbies that seem to fit the bill for UP life. I have to find my out, quickly and obviously writing, reading, working out and hiking is not enough. Ooh, did I mention there are wineries galore in the UP…I mentioned this to the hubs, he laughed. Hard. Obviously, he watched the grape stomping episode of I Love Lucy as a child. Obviously, this hobby he will not support. Let’s face it, I was not going to do the manual stuff, just the everyday wine tours and tastings…who would come? I don’t know but they say if you build it…

In my quest to find a woodsy gig please realize this is only an excuse to avoid moving trees or watching him move trees. This delightful day of fun to my Neebish man sounds dreadful, painful, and I have no skills and no desire to earn my junior lumberjacking badge. While, I applaud him we must remember I grew up in the land of colored rock lawns, Phoenix, Arizona. The only green I see is on playgrounds, football fields, and our many golf courses. The green stuff is beautiful but I don’t see the need to get my hands dirty. I am more mental than physical personality. Let me write, read, lesson plan or create anything from that mind space. Does he not know me yet? Thirty-three years and he is talking lumber removal!

So let’s examine my choices:

Canning: The art of taking food and doing some sort of cooking and stuffing it into glass jars. You are able to can almost everything. I can almost envision a summer of canning and shipping my products home for fun jams, jellies, pickled vegetables etc. for Christmas gifts with that homemade touch or that Martha meets Neebish kind of flavor. It could happen. Now the jars are cool and come in every size. So the shopping would be fun…but let’s be honest if I cannot make a dinner that people do not have to choke down with a bottle or so of wine. This ain’t my gig. Besides, I love shopping the roadside farms way too much to take on this task or give up UP shopping, as there is not much to shop for up north and Walmart does not count. This is a big NO.

Quilting: The art of taking different squares of material and creating a design that will be meaningful or just go really well in a babies room. This involves design. I can do that. Shopping for material. Easy. A ton of sewing with an actual sewing machine. Houston, we have a problem. In high-school I had to take home economics. This was a disaster. I warned the school principal and offered to take any additional class to put in its place. Any. He thought I was being dramatic. Nope. I knew my limits. My first class sewing project was to create a sleeved apron. Everyone happily sewed and hummed away with the teacher singing their praises. When it came to me, she asked me to review my notes and shook her head. A couple weeks later we unveiled our final projects. Everyone modeled and we applauded their efforts. It was my turn and I was proud of my final project. My hands were in one piece, I could sew in a straight line, and I did not break the machine. I stood to model only to realize I sewed the sleeves together so no one could ever wear it. It was more of a wrap around without the ability to actually tie it around your waist. So I improvised and made a few jokes. My friends cheered me on. They knew. Everyone was warned. My grandmother fixed my project, as she could really sew. With every removal of stitch she shook her head and spoke in Hebrew to my grandfather. It wasn’t good. Something about me marrying rich. I was down with that. When we rotated to cookies, my first batch burned, my second batch was raw, as I forgot to turn on the oven, and in fairness the burning scarred me, and my third attempt was void of sugar. I forgot. I was elevated to the teachers personal TA and passed with a C and her heartfelt speech on why I should never cook or sew again. I warned them. Big fat NO.

Embroidery: The art of taking small threads and following a design pattern. Yes, sewing. See above. But small threads with a pattern and no big machine. This is a possibility. After much thought, about fifteen minutes, I am against this option. It involves a needle and the changing of thread colors to match the pattern. This requires patience. If you have read my previous blogs you will note that I have no patience accept for little people. All my patience goes to my students and grandson. So, this is another strikeout. Damn.

I knew after our hike yesterday I was going to be faced with manual labor. While not against, I was dreading what was ahead of me on this warm day. There is dirt and rocks in places I have never seen on my body. This is the art of getting down with nature. But I hate it. Every stick, stone, bug. etc. Give me a chair, a Whiteclaw, and face me towards the water. Feed me occasionally and remind me to pack when it is time to go home to the land of rock lawns. That is Neebish to me. Yes, the ultimate of lazy and my time to check out of life, reflect, laugh, dream, enjoy, and I guess pulling up a few sticks and stones along the way.

2020, education, life

Next year is 21…

Next year I will begin my 21st year of teaching. This year was hell. We can all agree. But what was worse than teaching to my little lost bubbles, was the digging deep to not emotionally lose them, and crying during the times I truly almost did. I found myself lost in my own shell as a teacher to the mysterious virtual world I lived inside. My normal soft hearted ways turned tough. With every new build of a virtual modules with countless varieties of materials needed to reach my peeps, another wall went up. The creative work allowed me to hide from our year long reality. I just kept busy. Each wall I built protected me from the kids truly difficult lives, and my own occasional pity party. Losing a year of human connection especially for a teacher is odd at best. It was hit and miss in the beginning but now I cannot remember what it is like inside the not so virtual walls of education. To me that is scary.

As I stated my chosen virtual world was sketchy at first but now part of me absolutely loves this new gaming world due to the creative methods of teaching, and let’s just say after twenty years I have done it all, literally. So this keeps my spark going. But that teacher part, the heart part, aches. That is something I cannot get back. However, since I am a positive gal I found a huge silver lining. My knowledge of technology went from a solid low single digits to triple digits on an average day. I began with just the basics of social media platform knowledge and texting with one thumb, which still plagues my cell saviness, but I am quick, know the lingo, and can challenge you on any tech platform to date. Ok. Not worth a year away from humans but the skills are priceless for my students and ultimate bragging rights for this old gal.

This post began with our recent “celebration” of the anniversary of hiding away from a virus that attacked the life we once knew. So much has changed. As a teacher at this time of year we start planning for next year. However, I do not know my next years direction. So the planning will have to wait. I am unsure of my school and grade level and at spring break this is frustrating but understandable. Districts around our state and the United States are still figuring out where our kids have been, as many have floated in and out of the public system long enough to be part of school, but educationally lost and without an actual daily home of learning. This did make me cry at night, in the beginning, but with the fortress I have built during this travesty, the tears have stopped. I am not proud of pushing away my feelings, but I had no choice. My long game was to survive the reality and damage education went through this year.

Next year, wherever I land, I will ring in 21 with joy and hopefully a softer heart. The outings will increase, the smiles will come back, and life will begin to make sense again. As for this year. I believe kids and teachers will eventually be ok. We all need a long summer of hugs and tons of fearless outings to welcome back a life after Covid-19. I will not forget this year, but perhaps, I will take more away from it aside from being ultra tech savvy. Just perhaps, I will enjoy life more sweetly than before and that will bring my hardened heart back to life.