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!

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Diary of a Crazy Track Lady 7-24-10

July 24, 2010

July 24, 2010

Well, it’s been 20 days (more or less) since you’ve decided to revamp your eating and exercising routine. I must admit, I had my doubts about it at first. But, I see you are serious this time and are doing everything you can to keep yourself on track to a new you. Okay, so you back slid a little bit last weekend. That’s okay, it was a wedding after all and it would have been rude to the guests of honor to not eat and drink alcohol, right? (Yep, keep telling yourself that).

Actually, I want to let you in on a little secret…it is OK to drink alcohol and eat crap food every now and then, AS LONG AS YOU DO IT IN MODERATION! Take only a handful of chips, put the bag back in the pantry, and savor the few you have in your hand. If you’re still hungry for something salty, eat a pickle spear. You’re not craving the JUNK, you’re craving the SALT!If you want a sweet treat, have a small piece of chocolate (which is good for the heart) slowwwwwly. It tastes so much better that way and it will keep you from wanting to eat the whole package.

As for the alcohol…watch the intake with that. It’s nothing but sugar. And, with the cran juice, the calories just add up quickly. It was very wise of you to stop your daily nightcaps, but don’t deny yourself the chance to have a drink or two on the weekends. Again, everything in moderation, right?

Guess what? You HAVE lost some weight! I know you didn’t step on the scale at the beginning of this “new you” phase, but everything has begun to feel a little looser. The Duff Beer shorts no longer pinch your waist. That’s a great sign, ya know? And by the way, the number on the scale is  not to be obsessed over — so don’t start weighing yourself all the time. What’s important is the way you feel about yourself, and how much healthier you can become by eating the foods your body needs. not what you want.

Speaking of which, have you made the connection that eating healthier foods has stopped the cravings? Yep, that’s the secret. Smaller portions, throughout the day, keeps the hunger pains at bay. In fact, you’re really not craving anything, ever, because you’re always eating!

Who knew it was this easy? Okay, so you knew it a couple years ago. And you stopped eating well. Well, look what happened. Okay, okay, I won’t beat you up over it, but I want you to continue doing what you’re doing because you’ve learned something valuable here. Don’t lose the lesson again, okay?

Love,

Future Self


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.


Language and Television Shows

April 30, 2010

Language fascinates me. Vernacular too. But what really fascinates me is the way “acceptable” language on television has changed over the last 25-30 years. Sitting down one night a week or so ago to watch an episode of the 1970’s TV hit “All in the Family”, it suddenly dawned on me: the censors have lost their grip on reality and sensibility.

The main character in “All in the Family”, Archie Bunker, was portrayed as a racist, bigoted, hate mongering, stereotypical buffoon. He was an EOO – Equal Opportunity Offender — spewing bigoted comments towards all minorities with equal aplomb. No minority, race or religion was granted immunity from his misguided and often misdirected hate: Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Catholics, Polish, the list goes on forever.

The following are some (but not all) of the terms Archie would often use to “describe” various minorities:

Kikes (Blacks)

Pollacks (Polish)

Mics (Irish Catholics)

Heebs (Jews)

Spades (Blacks)

3As and 3Bs (Hispanic Mexicans and Puerto Ricans)

Jungle Bunnies (Blacks)

(you get the hint, right?)

But, therein lies the problem with today’s censors. I’m not condoning the use of any of the above terms, but don’t they seem a little less “offensive” than, perhaps, some of the language that is allowed to pass through the censors today? Isn’t it entirely possible to picture a “Jungle Bunny” as a furry, cuddly rabbit hopping around a tropical forest somewhere, searching for fresh fern leaves to nibble? And isn’t the word “spade” just another word for a garden tool? “3As and 3Bs” is as innocuous a scientific classification as possible, so what’s wrong with using those to describe someone?

Nowadays, it seems like everyone on TV can swear all they want. I find it ironic that censors will let “ass” slide through, but bleep out “hole”, so it comes across as “ASS(bleep!)”  And for reasons no one has seemed to be able to explain to me, it is now perfectly acceptable to say G-ddamn. I know every time I say that, I look for lightning bolts to suddenly appear.

The ironic beauty of the language used in  “All in the Family” cannot be overlooked. Despite the racist overtones, offensive stereotyping and political incorrectness, Archie never did utter a single “curse” word. Yet, if today’s scripts ever used any of the same terms he used, there would be organized marches going on across America within ten minutes of hearing those words spoken over the airwaves. But, “reality TV” censors don’t want to run the risk of “offending” anyone.

And G-ddamn it, ass(bleep!)s like that really piss me off.


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.


MPD and My Muse…An introduction

November 6, 2009

Well, this is fascinating. My muse has recently been diagnosed with a new disorder. It seems she has a “slight” case of MPD – Multiple Personality Disorder. This could explain her wildly fluctuating behavior and speech patterns. I’ve suspected something for a little while, but going back through the transcripts of previous conversations, I realize now I was talking to several different “people” –sometimes all at once. I was finally able to connect the dots when, out of the blue, “Trudy” actually took the Marlboro ciggy out of her mouth and popped in a wad of Double Bubble bubble gum — a signal that something was up.  Of course, Trudy was still being as belligerent and orny as ever — between bubbles, she was muttering such semi-incoherent phrases as “Peach cobbler, bitch!” and “Kiss my ass, state trooper boy”.  No reason for such rude behavior, honestly. I’ve tried to talk with Trudy and tell her how inappropriate her comments can be at times, but last time I did it, she threatened to “put my black belt to the test”. Since she carries a switchblade and a 9 mm in the cab of her semi, I declined her invitation to an ass-kicking and spent most of the next half hour “talking her down” from whatever menopausal moment she was having.

But the bubble gum — so out of character for her. That’s when it hit me — that wasn’t Trudy. Gone was the 5’2″, 150 lb lesbian truck driver with the smoker’s cough, missing upper teeth, leathered skin and thinning gray hair. Sure, she was still dressed in her typical trucker uniform – red flannel shirt over a “wifebeater” T, dirty jeans and loggerhead boots, but that wasn’t the Trudy I knew and admired for her open honesty and willingness to put me in my proper place. Oh no, this person in front of me was much, much younger. I had to get a good look at her.

I say “her” because honestly, men don’t chew and snap their gum that way. Maybe the person who stole Trudy’s spotlight is gay — I don’t know and really don’t care.  That’s between them. I’m just here for the entertainment factor anyways. But still, something told me this new character was a lot younger, and definitely less “street smart” as Trudy. I sense a naivete that can only be matched by the stupidity of youth. So, I am going to go out on a limb and say I was talking to a 17 year old cheerleader. Some of the clues? Well, the constant gum chewing — like watching a cow standing in the field, vapidly staring at the barn, chewing its cud. And the hair twirling — annoying as hell. The constant twirling of the index finger around the pony tail. Leave your hair alone, dammit!

But the final clue? Every other word out of this one’s mouth was either “like” or “whatever”. I hate having to spend a moment of my time listening to my beloved language get slaughtered. I try to keep our conversations short. On the other hand, it is fun to mess with youth. I can tell her practically anything, and she’ll believe it. Or at least crinkle her cute little button nose, lean her head to the side and in her high pitched, annoyingly nasaly voice, giggle “Oh my god, that’s so, like, funny!” She does like to hang on every word of mine. She also likes to hang on every high school football player too. I see a teenage pregnancy in her future if she doesn’t pull her shit together soon and stop acting like such a slut. I’ve checked her Facebook and MySpace sites, and she’s gathering a long list of “friends”, most of whom probably aren’t aware she’s still underage. Someone’s going to get in real trouble if they don’t watch out. Honestly, my “mother-daughter muse” talks we’ve had seem to go over her head. This whole “I’m immortal” thing is being wasted on her youth, I have decided.

There is one other personality I’ve had the pleasure to meet who is by far my running favorite. Oh for the days in my twenties when I was still willing to meet the world head on and tackle life’s mysteries! She’s a real go-getter this one. She’s everything I never was, which is why I love her so much. She’s twenty-something (somewhere between 22-25) and just does what she wants, to hell with the circumstances. She spent some time over in Italy with the entire national soccer team. She won’t tell me “exactly” what happened – but I sense a few unconventional sex practices took place. She and her sister muse — Erato– probably found a supply of Mazola, whipped cream, feathers and satin laced handcuffs and had themselves a party. I bet she never asked for names. I also heard she’s engaged to a Croat named Jakob, but that relationship is probably doomed. She’s a bit of gold digger, and continues to find a long list of men to supply her with all the latest gidgets and gadgets to keep her on her eventual path to self-destruction. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a model’s face on a perfect body devoid of wrinkles and the after-effects of childbirth and age-related gravity. She’s happy to tell everyone that “her boobs still point to Orion” (She’s Greek, so of course she had to get that shout out in there). Even though I love her, she does need to get her ego in check. There will always be someone coming up behind her who is prettier, thinner and more desirable. She just doesn’t know it yet. Ahh, youth.

That’s it for roll call. I continue to have conversations with my muse (now “muses”) and some days, I’ll find myself having to change my own behavior based on who decides to show up. Honestly, I like the mystery of it all. It’s so, like, awesome. Unless, of course, the Sandman shows up. He’s kind of a douche bag towards me. I bet he and John Gosselin are friends.