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 for obvious reasons. Not fit, can’t cook, and my help would just result in head-shaking and confusion. As for how to do something. I have dabbled in many and mastered none, can I teach that. Again, I think not.

So with my slim audience. Unless you want to go down the road of addiction, multiple family divorces, or living with a quiet disease. Nope. Eh, the epilepsy, I own, but no one else signed up for this mess. So, while I will elude to my experiences, I am not pointing fingers. Still no book.

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.

Back to the drawing board. Nope. Got this. My two readers, ok, three…as I will make the kid read the book, are 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.