Crazy Track Lady Tip #2: Having Fun

July 30, 2010

Let’s face it folks, exercising can really suck at times. Many people hate the repetitive nature of exercise and eventually grow bored of the same routine.  Boredom leads to laziness, which leads to weight gain. Blah, blah, blah.

But I often wonder what would happen to our overweight society as a whole if everyone just exercised in fun ways? Forget jogging — DANCE around instead! Tired of lifting weights to get defined biceps? Just punch a bag instead. Think of it as a “dual purpose” workout — building biceps and relieving stress while you punch a bag and think of how many people in your world have pissed you off, lied to you, let you down, etc.

For me, exercising MUST be engaging and fun enough so that I will continue to do it. Instead of jogging around the track, I dance around it. I shimmy and shake and generally make an ass out of myself in public. But, that’s okay, I’m having fun while doing it, and the pounds are coming off. So, whatever works for me, that’s what I’ll do.

Exercise must be varied in order to work. The body becomes used to the same movements and repetitions that it no longer responds to what you are doing. Again, time to switch it up.

Many people believe there are only certain ways to exercise that work (running, jogging, lifting weights, walking a treadmill, etc). The truth is, movement is the key — and pretty much anything can get you moving if you are willing to think outside the box a bit and just try new activities. Here are a list of things that a person can do apart from their regular routine (or no routine, if that’s the case), that are so much fun, they don’t even “feel” like exercise:

Ice or roller skating

Playing kickball or dodgeball

Playing Twister (I swear it’s like kiddie yoga) or any childhood outdoor game

Martial arts (if you are opposed to violence, then go with a low impact one like Tai Chi or yoga)

Pillow fighting (I swear ten minutes of this and  you’ll be covered in sweat!)

Sweeping, mopping and scrubbing floors (for those who are clean freaks)

Water gun fight around the yard in summer, snow ball fight in winter if you live in a cold weather area

All of the above are a fun way to exercise, and you won’t even realize you’re doing it!

So today’s tip: MAKE IT FUN.

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Crazy Track Lady Weight Loss Tip #1

July 25, 2010

July 25, 2010

Okay, so I have received my first comment from a fellow blogger who is looking for a weight loss support buddy or two. Terrific! I have someone else to help me keep accountable!

Today’s weight loss tip: substitute artificial sweetener (such as aspartame or Splenda) with a substance called “Stevia”. Sold in a variety of packages (packets, included), it is a natural sweetener that comes from the Stevia plant, and has been in use for over 400 years in Japan, the middle east, etc. It is actually 300-400 times sweeter than regular sugar, so use it sparingly. I am gastronomically sensitive to artificial sweeteners, so when I tried this, I was waiting for the side effects. I drink several large glasses of water a day, but can’t stand the lack of taste. I tried TruLemon, which worked great, until the high level of citric acid gave me a raging case of heart burn. So I turned to lemon wedges and Stevia. Absolutely delicious! One or two triangle wedges, two Stevia packets and a cup full of ice makes for a great substitute for a glass of pop (or soda, depending on the area of the country you live in).

Got a safe weight loss tip to share? Send me a comment!

CTL


Diary of a Crazy Track Lady 7-10-10

July 10, 2010

Hi there, lady! I am so happy to see you again. I just wanted to take a moment to say “YAY, YOU!” for your excellent work this past week. I am glad we’ve both decided to get back on track with exercising and eating healthier.  It hasn’t been too bad, eh?

I like how we’re starting to feel….again. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a chance to experience the endorphin rush, hasn’t it? Wow, how I have missed that post-aerobo-dogging calmness! I am sooooo glad we started that up again. And best of all, it’s FREE! Okay, so the idea of joining a fitness program and working out sounds wonderful, but why spend the money when we can use our neighborhood as our gym? The economy is tight enough as is, and we’re already stretched beyond our means. So, back to strapping the harness on your BEST PERSONAL TRAINER EVER, and away we can go –out to dance, sing, jog and fret about like the “crazy track lady” you’ve become. TAKE THAT, fancy health clubs!

Keep up the great work. I’ll be checking back in on you to make sure you’re remaining focused and inspired. Remember, two and a half years ago how HOT you looked? Well, we can and will get back there again. I’m in charge now, and I am NOT going to sit back and watch you fail again!

I’ll see you in a few days. And remember, I am here for you.

Love,

Future Hot Self


Psychic Income

May 22, 2010

Well, another school year of trying to influence the lives of the 11-13 year old set is about to end. My second year of teaching — first year as a full-time teacher. How do I feel? Exhausted, drained, spent, and surprisingly enough, exhilarated. I just had another of my “psychic income” moments, and this year, my psychic piggy bank is more than half full.

After cruising through life unfulfilled, I decided to go back to school and embrace my DNA. When I was in teaching school, my supervisor said something to me during one of our meetings that really caught me off guard: “You’re going to be an amazing teacher.” I wasn’t sure how to respond without coming across as an egotistical bitch, so I quietly changed the subject. But inside, I was furiously nodding my head and saying “DAMN STRAIGHT I AM — MY MOM IS WATCHING.”

I’m a fourth-generation teacher, and it’s a title I wear proudly. When anyone asks me what I do for a living, I hold my head up high, smile broadly and say: “I am a TEACHER. I teach language arts to MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS.”  I’m always amazed at how many people respond with: “You poor thing, middle school.” I’ll tell you, I’d take hormonal middle-school students over snot-filled, leaky primary students any day. Kids in grades K-5 don’t understand my dark sense of humor. I make them cry (not intentionally, however!)

My first year of teaching, I had to learn how to survive in an environment where I was bullied by grown ups who hadn’t really grown up yet — most of them younger than I am. I not only had to learn how to teach, but learn how to maneuver my way around a school filled with cliquish staff members who banded together to make other people’s lives (usually the ones who aren’t willing to play such immature games like these — i.e., me) miserable.  Fortunately, I quickly won the support of my students, their parents, and a principal — the only three groups of people I really need to impress anyways.

Some might wonder why I stayed at a school where I was bullied by staff. It’s simple — teaching jobs are tough to get, and my co-worker and I are so much alike, we were even dressed exactly the same when I interviewed for the position, as she told me after she insisted to the principal that I get hired immediately or “she’s walking”.  And, since God answered my prayers for a teaching job within 45-minutes of sending it up, I decided I owed Him one in return.

I digress. What I really want to say about teaching is this: “Teaching pays me in ways no amount of money ever could.” Oh sure, if someone offered me a high salary, I certainly wouldn’t thumb my nose at it. But, the money isn’t the issue — it’s the “psychic income” that comes from the relationships I’ve developed with some of my students and their parents.

I had one student last year (and again this year) who couldn’t write a full paragraph for me at the start of the year. His words were all over the page, and he wouldn’t capitalize or punctuate in the right places. Many teachers had him pegged as “odd” or “lazy,” I saw him as brilliant and untethered.

I worked with him all last year, slowly encouraging him to write more and more. When he came back to me this year, his writing exploded off the page. I couldn’t get him to stop writing, even when it was time to switch to reading, or vocabulary, or whatever else I had to teach. His stories had characters, intricate plots, development, structure, creativity! His grammar and punctuation were near perfect. His poetry was filled with the full spectrum of emotions. And most importantly, he worked with me and he thanked me — for being his teacher and showing him the joys of writing and poetry. Ka-chink.

This year, I had two students who made deposits in my piggy bank. One boy, who I suspect has dyslexia (yet undiagnosed), can now write clear sentences most of the time. He stops, takes the time to write carefully, and doesn’t slop his words onto the page anymore. The other boy, who I suspect has Asperger’s (working in a private school, there isn’t a high number of Special Ed students with definitive diagnoses to warrant services), has been struggling to write coherent thoughts all year long. His first writings were totally incomprehensible. I couldn’t even tell what shape the letters were supposed to be, much less what they were trying to say. These were my “project” students — two students I decided needed extra encouragement and help.

The first boy, the one with suspected dyslexia (I’m not an expert, just going on a hunch here), has been a poor speller and writer since kindergarten. So says the Special Ed teacher providing services to him (I use that term “loosely”, because I think he’s just feeding him answers, not assistance). When I saw the boy’s handwriting, I asked if there were anything I could do to help him improve. I was told “That’s the best you’ll ever get out of him. Trust me, I’ve been working with him since kindergarten, and he’s never gotten any better.” Well, of course that was the moment when I decided no teacher was ever going to tell me to give up on a student, so I said “We’ll see..” and grumbled off. A month or so later, it gave me great pleasure to walk up to that teacher, show him a thank you letter written by this student (without a single misspelling or grammatical error) and sneer “Told you, I’d get him to write.” Bitchy of me? Yes. But that teacher deserved to be taken down a notch. Ka-chink.

The other boy, the one suspected of having Asperger’s, continues to struggle with writing. But, something wonderful happened today. I made his mom cry. Why? Because I think she finally has an answer to her son’s situation — I sent her a link about the struggles Asperger’s students have with writing. She read the link and was so overwhelmed at how similar the post sounded to her own son, she started to cry and had to stop reading further until she could get herself back together again. All this time, she had been thinking herself  as crazy, because she knew something was “odd” but couldn’t figure out what.

I have had many moments this year where I heard the coins drop into my piggy bank:

Having an entire class tell you that “You’re the only teacher here who likes us, Mrs. B”

and, when I gave a breath mint to everyone “I LOVE YOU, Mrs. B, you’re the BEST!”

and just recently, “Wow, we’ve never had the chance to read for an entire class period! Can we do that again, Mrs. B?”

Ka-chink! That’s the sound of psychic coins plinking into my piggy bank. And I love that sound.


The Britney Spears/Todd Rundgren Battle of the Lyrics Continuum

April 17, 2010

“Hit Me Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears

Oh baby, baby
Oh baby, baby
Oh baby, baby
How was I supposed to know
That something wasn’t right here
Oh baby baby
I shouldn’t have let you go
And now you’re out of sight, yeah
Show me, how you want it to be
Tell me baby
‘Cause I need to know now what we’ve got

[CHORUS:]
My loneliness is killing me
I must confess, I still believe
When I’m not with you I lose my mind
Give me a sign
Hit me baby one more time

Oh baby, baby
The reason I breathe is you
Boy you got me blinded
Oh baby, baby
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
That’s not the way I planned it
Show me, how you want it to be
Tell me baby
‘Cause I need to know now what we’ve got

[Repeat CHORUS]

Oh baby, baby
Oh baby, baby
Ah, yeah, yeah
Oh baby, baby
How was I supposed to know
Oh pretty baby
I shouldn’t have let you go
I must confess, that my loneliness
Is killing me now
Don’t you know I still believe
That you will be here
And give me a sign
Hit me baby one more time

[Repeat CHORUS]

I must confess that my loneliness
Is killing me now
Don’t you know I still believe
That you will be here
And give me a sign
Hit me baby one more time

********************************************************

“Parallel Lines” by Todd Rundgren

Face the facts
Some things never come together
Parallel lines running on forever
And you can’t turn back
There is never any starting over
Parallel lines never do cross over

It’s a challenge
Gotta make myself remember
Facing the truth, well, that doesn’t mean surrender
What is bravado and how much is a force of will?
I know that the world is full of opposites that attract
But unless we ignore the physics
Very soon we’ll have to

So I send you the gift of empathy
If you’d once in your life acknowledge me
I have visualized so thoroughly
That when I think of me I think of we

Can’t face the truth
It means that we must surrender
Understanding won’t satisfy the hunger
It whittles away at the destiny we fulfill
And like an animal running wild
You can’t call it back
And it’s just gonna make it harder
When it’s finally time to

It’s like a train that’s stuck running on a track
Parallel lines running on, running on, running on

Score: Todd – 1, Britney – 0.


Mistress Nic

March 19, 2010

Twenty-four years together.

Daily visits with you.
Sneaking around behind my back.
Trips out to meet you.
Thousands of dollars wasted on you–
Money that could have financed
Our dream vacation
Or brand new furniture
(Instead of the crap we have now)
Or paid for our kids’ braces
Maybe even a few college credits.

Well, bitch, guess what?

He finally dumped you.
It took him awhile
and a lot of pleading from me and the kids
But, he chose life with us
Instead of a living hell with you.

So, get out — You disgusting piece of filth.

He (We) doesn’t want you around.
Dirtying up his life or
Ruining  his health anymore.

He’s not falling
for your tricks anymore either
or your instant allure.

He’s done with meeting you
for morning coffee
or an evening beer
or a quickie
after our family meals.

I (We) win.

He’s mine (OURS) now.

You (YOU) lose.

Take your poison elsewhere.


Role Models Come in All Sizes

March 6, 2010

I was fully prepared for the accolades I would receive from teaching. I was well on my way towards patting myself on the back and crowing “What a GREAT teacher you are, Nerd!” while blowing smoke up my own backside. Two years of teaching almost behind me, and so far, everything I’ve done has been met with praise and glory and…blah, blah, blah. Enough of that–here’s the reality of working with children — they are great equalizers when it comes to feelings of self-importance.

Nothing deflates an over-sized ego faster than dealing with the untimely death of a child. No, not my own child — I wouldn’t be writing this post with such reckless flippancy. Besides, if it were my 13- year old child who just succumbed to complications from his 6-year battle with leukemia, I’d be on the way to the nearest psych ward, hoping for a voluntary psychiatric hold.

But today, as I write this, there is a family here who is losing their child to the battle. Most likely, right this very minute they are gathering at his bedside, holding his hands, and praying one last time as a cohesive, family unit. Then, his younger sisters will leave as they see their brother alive for the very last time. And this is what is tearing me apart.

I met this family last year, when I was his teacher. Despite weekly chemo treatments, horrible side effects and general feelings of “ick”, he still managed to earn straight As and complete all his work at home. His parents insisted he maintain as “normal” a life as possible — going to school, doing his homework, taking his tests on schedule, etc., etc. His chemo treatments were always scheduled on Friday, so he’d have the weekend to catch up on homework (between bouts of nausea, I bet).  I could tell where he was in his treatments based upon the amount of red fuzz he had on his head — the less hair, the more dosage of chemo he would have in him. But, never, ever, did he lose ground in my class. His parents insisted upon it, and he made it happen.

He moved onto eighth grade this year, so I lost him as a student. But, his little sister took his place at a desk in my 6th grade room this year. And, much like he was, she never lets her brother’s health situation get in the way of her schooling. Every day she comes to class, ready, eager and willing to participate. She eagerly reads out loud, answers questions about grammar, bops up to be the first person to share her writings — everything that happens in my class room, she embraces enthusiastically and with such focus and attention. All the while knowing when she goes home at the end of the day, her parents will be at the hospital, hoping for a miracle for her older brother.

I’ve always known the world needs positive role models. I get so disgusted when I hear that people with questionable morals and values are being idolized in the press and put on pedestals for the world to “ooh” and “aw” over, when all they’ve really done is just figure out a way to act obnoxious and foolish and get away with it.

They aren’t role models to me. The role models — the ones who deserve to be placed on a pedestal, are the ones like the family I’ve met, who are going to be burying their 13-year old son and brother shortly. Through this horrific battle, they have remained close, strong in their faith and stoic in their deeds.

They are my role models. They have taught me more than I could ever teach them. What a great way to keep my ego in check.

Goodbye, Seth.