All posts by Rebecca Fegan

Fall back position

I tend to go to subversion as my first fallback when things don’t go right.  It upset me to discover this, but I know WHY I do that (after some reflection.)

  1.  Follow the rules.  Stay within the parameters.
  2. Watch as an incompetent takes over and screws it up and derails the project.  This brings up two pathways: wait for experience to kick in, the lesson to be learned, whatever that gets us back on track or watch the doofus crash and burn and the project stay off track and fail so I can say “I told you so.”
  3. So I wait for the turn around and it never happens.  But I want the project to succeed, both for my benefit and for the others involved in the project
  4. Doofus gets schooled by higher ups or more experienced people on the team and gets discouraged but in order to save face DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING AND MAY EVEN EXASPERATE THE SITUATION! 
  5. I become subversive and the project succeeds in spite of the mismanagement because we are back on track.
I am too old and too impatient to go through all 5 steps Every Single Time.  In my experience in the public schools and as a business owner/operator and in fast food, and in the many organizations I have been a part of (from Girl Scouts to Church Choir…) it’s always the same 5 steps.  There were some projects that I was indifferent to, and those I let founder.  And though I didn’t say it out loud, I snickered to myself, “I told them so…”  Now, I recognize the signs early on, and exasperated, I assume that the Doofus that is messing things up is not coachable or amenable to change.  He/She will not learn the lessons.  Why go through the effort of mentoring them and coaching them if they keep saying, “I got it from here” and they clearly don’t “got it?”  I’m not saying micromanage, because we all know how futile that is.  So instead of falling back on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th steps and especially with a time crunch, I revert to step 5 as a default.  That’s the way I have programmed myself to think.  Unless something changes in the human condition that contra-indicates this conclusion, that will be my general approach to situations like these.
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Bad Memory–High intelligence?

This was fascinating.  The whole theory behind this theory was that the brain acted as a repository for information in a way like you’d expect a library to work.  They postulated that there was a finite amount of information that could be stored, and that in order to make good decisions, irrelevant material had to be expunged.  (I’m getting all my Toastmasters Words of the Day used up today, so keep your thesauruses and dictionaries close.)  They’re wrong.

Your brain never forgets anything.

Wait…what?  I forgot where my keys were.  I forgot Jamie’s name.  I forgot my appointment.  Those are ESSENTIAL things to remember.  All of those things were in my brain the day before I needed them.  Did I replace those ESSENTIAL bits of information with something more important?  I don’t think so.  I read no scientific papers.  I didn’t discover a new subject of study.  I learned no new skills.  I did have some interesting conversations, and worked to solve a couple of problems.  Were those things more important or more relevant that the location of my keys, my friend’s name, or the appointment I’d set?  No.

Inefficient memory has nothing to do with the quality of the information stored in your brain.  It has nothing to do with the relevance of the information.  It has to do with access.  The neurons that direct your inquiry to the correct location where the information is stored work in a circuitous path.  The more you use the path, the wider and more direct it becomes.  I did find my keys, and remembered Jamie’s name, but I had to reschedule the appointment.

I have a rather large vocabulary which means that I have a humongous number of words in my brain, but I don’t use the $20 words much because it doesn’t enhance the understanding by my conversation mates.  The larger the vocabulary, the more precise and descriptive you can make your communication.  But it does no good if everyone with whom you speak has to look up every other word.  This means that though I have those words in my brain, I don’t have to access them often.

I have a plethora of scientific information regarding the natural world:  biology, geology, physics, botany, meteorology, and chemistry are some of the subjects I find fascinating.  I have an innate understanding of mathematics and logic and I can picture and rotate graphs in my head.  I am fascinated by history and how each event relates to the culture and affects the timelines that intersect it.  I keep all these things in my head and accessible.  There is nothing I choose to forget.  In fact, there are things that my mind recalls that I really do not understand why I keep in there.  It’s like going through your keepsakes and finding old grade cards.  Why would you keep those?  I have lots of stuff in my attic that I may or may not need, and so there is a ladder that goes to my attic, but it’s not used very often.

ANYWAY, the stuff you forget today is not gone from your brain forever.  It never leaves.  The pathway to the information is just a road with lots of pot holes.  Eventually you can rebuild that pathway and discover this ‘lost’ information.  The truly intelligent beings are the ones who can create pathways linking different information to a situation.  Why don’t planes have flapping wings?  Because the design is based more on a kite or a hawk. (OK a kite is a type of hawk, but I’m talking the kind of kite with a string that you can buy at Walmart.  Did you know a kite was a hawk?  That fact is running around in my head and I caught it, subdued it to my will and put it in the blog to ever be captive to this page.  Now I’m getting silly.) Leonardo Da Vinci was one of those people who had lots of information in his head from observation and study.  Einstein and Stephen Hawking related ideas in their heads that no one else would have put together.  Geniuses do that all the time.  They make use of the pathways to discover new relationships between the memories, the facts and the ideas to form new theories and new ideas.  Other geniuses make use of the pathways to remember what is on their grocery lists.  That means that they don’t throw away useless information, they just don’t use that pathway very often.  Should they need to draw a conclusion that requires that information, they can access it and integrate it into their thought processes.

So if you take that test on Facebook that says “You are a Genius because you can’t remember crap,” take that with a grain of NaCl.

I have my Mad on

Saw a stupid video on Facebook, and it’s stayed with me all day.  9 year old kid gets bullied on the play ground.  He starts beating on the kid, and the teacher intervenes.  The kid is in the heat of the moment I guess, and hits the teacher.  I know of a 9 year old that was so big that he could pick up his foster dad, and his mental condition was such that when he had his mad on, he felt no pain.  The kid in the video, however, was not one of those big kids.  He did not have a condition that masked his pain when he had his mad on.  How hard can a 9 year old hit?  Yes, it would probably hurt.  He was not schooled in the martial arts, so there would be no broken bones or split lips.  It shouldn’t have made the news.

The parents videoed their son being handcuffed and led away by police.  No sign of injured teacher leaving in ambulance, no sign of injured bully leaving in an ambulance…  Obviously, the parent of the young felon (assault and battery) weren’t going to video the ambulances taking away the victims of the vicious 9 year old, but the follow-up by the news reporters did not mention any hospitalization either.

Let’s hear it for Zero Tolerance.  How many of you have been in school yard fights?  If you won, were you arrested?  If you lost did you sue?  How many of you were bullies?  How many of your victims fought back?  Would you have continued to bully people that fought back?  The #Me Too was for all the people that had been sexually assaulted or somehow associated with a sexual assault–you were the boss that fired the assaulter, or the counselor that turned them in.  It might be easier to identify the bullies than the victims because I think in this country, NO ONE would admit to being a bully, and yet 102% of the population would identify with the victim of bullying.  The only conclusion is that there were 5 boys and 3 girls that were moved from school to school all over the area just to bully those who didn’t fit in (meaning the rest of us.)  The point is this:  weren’t all these bullying incidents handled in house?  Little Donnie and Little Tracy were sent to the principal’s office and sat in detention for a few days.  The rest of the school population went about their business and the victims tried not to NOT fit in so they wouldn’t continue to be bullied when the miscreants were released from detention.

THERE WAS NO NEED TO HAVE THE POLICE COME INTO THE SCHOOL.  The kid didn’t have a gun or a knife or anything else that was identified as a weapon.

I am old.  I remember when they landscaped Europe.  (Oooh I love fjords!  Put some more in!)  When we had a serious incident with bullying, namely fighting, the brat(s) went to the principal’s office and he or they got 10 whacks from the Scurbanian Killer…a brush with the bristles removed.  It hurt like the dickens, but it was immediate.  There were no appeals, no law suits.  The parents didn’t rush in to demand the principal’s job and slap punitive damages on the principal, the teacher, the victim, the victim’s parents, and the school board.  It was assumed that if you got the Scurbanian Killer at school, you were going to be grounded for a month and get a spanking from your parents when you got home too.  And everyone in the neighborhood would look at you and shame you for your bad behavior.  Then some doofus decided that children were people.  That they had rights–the same as adults.  But they also had no responsibilities.

Wait?  What?  Adults are adults because we have learned that rights come with responsibilities.  Privileges are not guaranteed.  If you give children rights, and don’t teach them responsibilities, how do they learn?  If you think that a kindergartner or a 1st grader can learn the same responsibilities that an adult has learned, I have a bridge I could sell you.  Same for 9 year-olds.   The bully needs to learn that if he does bully someone and that one fights back, it’s all on him.  The victim must learn to stand up for himself and fight back if need be to protect himself.  There are responsibilities for the teachers as well.  If you get hit when breaking up a fight, crap happens.  Both students should have been sent to the principal and the situation handled IN HOUSE.  The faculty and staff and administration of the schools have given up their autonomy in ruling the school.  They have given up their responsibilities of in loco parentis and turned it over to the police.  And we, as parents and grandparents, have allowed this!  How stupid is this?  Are we teaching children how to be adults?  NO!  We’re teaching children how to game the system.

Get the law and politics OUT of the school system!  Treat children as children and then teach them how to be adults.

OWWWWW!

So I started out 2018 really well…I broke a toe!  Not the grubby little toe, and not the Big really important toe, the 4th toe on my right foot.  Now remembering that my left side gives me troubles…Broken hip twice after replacement, kidney stone in left kidney and now some sort of muscle problem in my left thigh, I limp on my left leg pretty much as a normal thing now.  How do you limp on both legs?!

You cannot splint a toe.  You just tape a good toe to the bad one.  They must be adjacent.  It is a lovely shade of purple now, but I can still get my foot into my shoe!  Yay!  So I ask my friend how she heals so fast because she’s had some broken bones and bam!  You can’t tell she’d ever been injured.  She says use the D3 plus Calcium and not only heals the bones but strengthens them.  Well of Course!  That makes perfect sense!  So what do doctors recommend?  OMG.  You can’t pronounce these meds!  What do they contain?  Welllllll, you can’t pronounce those either.  Why would they prescribe chemicals that are so foreign and contrived when Vitamin D and Calcium work better with fewer side effects?  The fact is, the doctor wouldn’t.  He’d tape the toes together and say stay off of them as much as possible.  Ice and ibuprophen.  He wouldn’t even prescribe a bone healing agent unless you asked about it.

So what do we see here?  We’re treating the symptom and not the cause.  Do we see this approach in other areas?  OF COURSE!

Scenario 1:  I don’t have enough money.  I must double my hours to have enough money.  I cannot double my hours in my current position, so I must find additional work.  If I work for myself, I will make more money, but it will take too much time from my other job.  I will work a part time job that doesn’t pay as well so it doesn’t interfere with my other job.  It will cost me more in time, and sleep, and child care, and gas and wear and tear on my car and add stress to my marriage and my relationships with my children and my friends.  But, I don’t have enough money.

  • Enough money for what?  Are you trying to pay off debt?  Are you wanting a more lavish lifestyle?  Are you worried about paying your utility bill?  Do you find yourself without heat/light/phone every month?  Prioritize your needs for the money.  If utilities and mortgage/rent are the 1st things you pay for out of your paycheck, and you don’t have the money left to service your debt, you may have to eliminate some things and plug the leaks in your budget.  And even if you have plugged all the leaks, you may have to come up with a unique way to bring in more money.
  • Can you get a raise?  You want more money for the time you expend and the value you bring to this company.  Are you worth more now than you were last year?  Have you improved your skill set?  Have you taken on more responsibility?
  • Can you work for yourself in a way that your schedule is flexible enough to give you the money you need to replace your current income with fewer hours?  How important is this job you currently hold?  Is it your passion or is it just a paycheck?  Is it a means to your passion ie. you make $1000 more than you need for your household and spend it on building ultralights, or skateboards, or helping in the shelters or donating to Doctors without Borders.

For many people, the cost of the childcare and the transportation is 2/3 of the check they’d get from the 2nd job.  If you figure 80 hrs/month at min wage, ($7.25) you’d be working 80 hours for less than $150 a month?  That’s $1.81/hr.  Who can afford to work for $1.81/hour?!!!  So as in every enterprise, you have to look at the cause, not just the symptom.  Is there something that takes only an hour or two per week where you can make $150?  Let your mind go crazy and then pare it down to something reasonable.  For me, that would be 2 students/month.  I would be 1-2 investment clients/month.  It would be 4 books sold.  (Nice thing about books, you only have to write them once!)  Find the source of the problem and work from there.

Scenario 2:  I am fat.  I don’t like being fat.  It causes really stupid problems like not being able to tie my shoes or put on my socks.  I can’t get up out of the couch.  I will eat fewer calories and stay up later so I burn more, and exercise until I drop.  ??  I am not losing weight.  I am eating fewer calories, I changed from my late nights to getting a full 7-8 hours sleep, and I’m still exercising.  I am not losing weight.  I’m eating the RIGHT calories, getting enough sleep and exercising.  I am not losing weight.  It’s hopeless.

  • How are you counting calories?  Do you weigh your food?  Do you cook it so you know how it’s made and what goes into it?  What is the breakdown of your calories–carbs, proteins, fats?
  • How consistent are you on your work outs?  Are they all cardio or do they include strength and flexibility exercises?  Do you work with a trainer?  How do you measure your progress of your work outs?
  • How much sleep do you want?  Do you wake up tired?  What is your typical bed time?  Do you dream?  Do you dream in color?
  • Have you spoken to a doctor?  Had testing done?  Nutritionist?  Recommendations for change in diet?  Watched hour long infomercial about how people are losing 60 pounds in 30 seconds followed by an add for chainsaws and extreme liposuction with a shop-vac…

See?  The symptom is being overweight.  If you cannot determine the cause, you cannot fix the problem.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mental problems, cause doesn’t always lead to the same effect.  I’ve become increasingly skeptical that knowing the cause of a behavior can help change the behavior.  It may eliminate a trigger, but only if the trigger isn’t very old. If the trigger goes back to your childhood, I look askance at it.  Unless you can remove a traumatic experience from your past, you have to go from your present condition.  About all you can do for those experiences is to think, “oh…wasn’t that interesting,” and move on from there.  I know that’s harsh.  “When I was in Jr. High, I was thrown into the shower and restrained, wet and naked, and they took all my clothes and put them in the hallway.”  That’s traumatic.  Can you change what happened?  Nope.  Can you get even?  Probably not, and it wouldn’t make you feel better.  How did you cope at the time?  Do you believe that nothing could be as bad as that experience?  Probably.  Have you anything to fear then?  Hmmmm.  The symptom was being the person on the bad side of a bully and (of course) the minions that follow bullies around.  What was the cause?  Does it matter? Nooooo!  Now that’s where the interesting stuff comes out.

So when you find yourself worrying about stuff in your life, sit down, take stock, and ask the questions until you get to the root of the situation.  Then solve the problem, don’t just treat the symptom.

I don’t believe it!

I have spent the better of 1 hour on my feet.  I now have to sit down and rest.  Then I’ll get up again and spend about 1/2 hour on my feet.  Then sit down.  Then I make cookies with the grandkids.  I now have to sleep for 2 hours and am sore for hours after that.  I love baking cookies!  I love cooking!  I love clean…whoops, not that one.  But when I finish, in fact multiple times within the cooking and baking, I have to sit.  When I’m done my feet are sore, my back is sore, and I’m exhausted!

My friend Gloria read from a book “Getting Old is Not for Sissies!”  I sure identified with that!  At this time, I have my kids so well trained, all I have to do is the “up” gesture they used when they were two years old, and they will pull me out of my chair.  Why do I need to be pulled out of my chair?!  This is ridiculous!  My old year’s resolution was to drop some pounds so I wouldn’t be in this painful condition.  I went on a diet, (ketogenic) and I must have done it wrong because I GAINED weight.  I spent time in the gym doing my physical therapy exercises so I wouldn’t limp so much.  I’m still limping.  I got on the curve treadmill and the stationary bike to build up my endurance.  I’m out of breath going up 7 stairs.   It seems counterintuitive that when you consume fewer calories, and exercise more to use more calories, that you can remain the same weight or gain.  That’s just how it is with me, so I’m not going to rant on that (again) but I sure would like to find something that works.  I feel so icky!

International Speech! Trial Run

  1.  Open with a bang… or silence… or a combination.  Ah…

*Walks on stage with purse.  Quietly pulls a bomb out of the purse and places it  on the floor in the front, and lights the lighter.*  “There’s gotta be a better way to time these things!”  *Looks up.*  “Oh, hello!  Ya know?  I don’t think I’ll light this just yet.  It’s just a trial run.  Mr. Contest master, Fellow Toastmasters, esteemed judges and the judges I paid off earlier, and guests.  This is my international speech.  Now I realize it’s a very very prestigious thing to win, so I worked hard on this speech and did my due diligence.  I watched EVERY SINGLE winning and losing speech that has been recorded since the beginning of time.  I took notes.  I watched winners on YouTube telling me how they won.  I watched experts who have coached contestants who won.  And I have watched, well, listened to, these people purporting to be judges with their voices altered and in the dark on how to win.  I even joined a group that was going to coach me through the process!  I NOW have a SYSTEM!  I HAVE THE FORMULA!”

2.  Refer to your mother and relive your childhood.  Check!

“I remember my childhood.  I was shorter.  I remember my Mama’s ankles, and her feet on the pedals of the piano in our living room.  I remember my Mama’s sweet voice saying, ‘Didn’t you practice at all this week?  You sound like someone sat on a piano!  Play it again from the beginning and use your fingers and not your butt!’  She must have been kidding because the students never got off the bench when they were playing.  She used to say to me, ‘Don’t ever grab my feet when I’m playing Chopin! It’s a crime against humanity!'”

3.  Make sure you use emotion.  Check!

“I had a funny childhood.”  *Laughs uncontrollably.  Then just as suddenly breaks into sobs.*  “Not everyone agreed with me about what was funny.  Sometimes they violently disagreed.  I still have that effect when it comes to humor, but now people just shake their heads and groan instead of throwing heavy objects.”

4.  Have a point.  Check!

*Pulls out a knitting needle.  Looks at it, then puts it back into bag.*

5.  Have a tag line.  Check!

“This is my international speech.  I will now translate this statement into 160 Earth languages, Klingon and Wookie.”  *Checks watch.  Looks above stage for translations.*  “OK, never mind.”

6. Tell another story.  Check!

“Wait, original story?  OK, original it is.  Once upon a time in a Galaxy Far Far Away…  Uh Oh!  That guy in the third row is looking that one up.  Eek!  It was the best of times, it was the…  I hate GOOGLE!  Hold on a second.  Here’s one:  In college, I had a professor that liked to intimidate people, especially me.  He used to make fun of me mercilessly.  He was in the midst of another diatribe and I said, ‘If you say one more word about me, I’ll come down and bite you in the leg!’ and he did.  And I did.  We became fast friends, until he started foaming at the mouth.  I heard he spent a week in the hospital.”

7.  Have a point.  Huh?  a different size or color or the same point?

*Gets a larger knitting needle out of bag.  Looks at it.  Points to it.  Puts it back into bag*

8.  Tell sad story with a moral.  Try to use short sentences and make the ending uplifting.  Got it!

“I got hit by a revolving door and when I fell down, I heard my hip break.  It hurt terribly.  I almost cried. The moral of the story is: Don’t walk into glass walls when in a revolving door! The door doesn’t stop.  When the EMT’s came they lifted me into the Ambulance.”

9.  Use the tag line.  You betcha!

“This is my international speech.  I will now regale you with a favorite story of mine from Rome.  It was the second story of a hotel there.  It was just beautiful with red carpet and fancy door handles and room numbers.”

10.  Make sure you use a lot of the stage.  It is also recommended that you lie down on the floor for maximum impact.  ??

“Nah, Not going to happen.  I can’t run like I used to and if I impact the stage, I may re-break my hip.  Even if I don’t break it, it would take a pulley system to get me off the floor.  I don’t see a set up like that here, so I think I’ll just skip this step.”

11.  Have a great conclusion.  Yup!

“Ladies and Gentlemen!  This concludes my International Speech!  Thank you!  Drive home safely.  Don’t forget to tip your waiter.  Where do I get my prize money?”  *Starts to walk off stage.  Changes directions to walk the other way.  Remembers bomb and grabs it and shakes it.  Shrugs and walks off stage.*

 

 

Progression

If it moves for, it’s pro, if it moves away, it’s con.  But not every Pro has a Con.  So a Proverb doesn’t have a Converb, but a procession does have a concession.  Wait… hmmm. A procession is a group of people moving in an orderly way.  A process is an orderly set of steps.  But a concession means to give up something.  Both have the root word “Cession” which means giving up something.  If you look at it, it’s 2 sides of the same situation.  Process–moving forward to take ceded land, and concess–ceding the land to the processors.  What does that have to do with popcorn and hot dogs?  The ball games and the movie theaters allow you to have food as long as it’s theirs.  Otherwise people would sneak food in.  So understanding that people watching their shows or games want to be eating while they do this, the establishments concede that it is better for them to offer food that patrons must buy on site than allow people to bring in picnic baskets or illicit food sellers to sneak in and sell it on site.  So now they have a Process:  confiscate all incoming food, including water bottles, and sell food for people to consume on the premises.  Yes, they check your handbags.

You can have a Promotion but not a Conmotion…That would be demotion instead.  You can have Protection, but not Contection, Propagation but not Conpagation, Proliferate but not Conliferate.  Of course, to be fair, Proliferate has a different basis…proles meaning offspring.  But you can see my dilemma.  Of course there’s the old joke:  The opposite of Progress is… Congress!  It wouldn’t be funny if it wasn’t true…

So for me to Progress, something else has to give.  That isn’t the case when you’re trying to reduce your weight.  Because face it, if you lose weight, you’re always looking for it afterwards and usually you find it.  All of you out there that are trying to get back to a normal weight, ok, a lower weight, ok, a really lower weight (2 pounds doesn’t count), and maintain that new weight, you and I have to CONCEDE something.  In fact we have to concede a lot.  We have to give up couch time for movement time.  We have to give up eating for fun for eating for sustenance.  If you’re only expending 1200 calories a day, you can’t consume 2000.  You cannot eat food you’re addicted to, such as bacon with everything.  a8fa-2013735-bacon-milkshake.jpg-resize-_opacity_100-frame_bg_color_FFF-gravity_center-q_70-preserve_ratio_true-w_1300_

I’m so disappointed I never tried bacon shakes…Ok, no, I’m not.  You have to give up something you have for something better…even if you love the thing you’re giving up.

Is what you’re getting better than what you have?  Will you feel better?  Will you be able to shop in the sections that don’t include tents when looking for clothes?  Will you be able to go up and down stairs, run after kids and grand-kids, bend over to pick up dropped objects, get into and out of chairs and couches and vehicles?  Does that have any significance to you?  Do these things mean more to you than the couch time and the addictive food you crave?  That’s the big question.  Put another way, I cannot progress unless I move BACKWARDS.  This is the hardest part of any self improvement program.  (Hmm do Programs have Congrams?)

In order to improve yourself, you have to be more aware of what you do that keeps you from improving.  Is it your language, your stance, your abilities, your skills…?  What do you have to give up to go up?  If going up means more to you than staying where you are, you will be willing to give up to get there.  If you are more comfortable doing the things you do now or being the person you are now, and going up means giving up something you love for something you like, Don’t do it!  You will be unsuccessful.

WTH

What if things go wrong.  You can count on things going wrong actually.  They’re very consistent.  You have a plan, you execute the plan, the plan goes off the rails, you throw the plan out.  Those are Captain Cold’s rules.  He then gets trapped in a room with a giant shark/man mutant from another dimension (Demention?  from crazy town?)  He does get rescued in time though.

I am on this weird journey to make Measurable progress in getting fit.  My 1st entry in this blog was March 6, 2014.  OMG.  I was 208 pounds then.  I’m 218 now.  Since that 1st entry, I have looked for the right combination of exercise and diet that would get me down to about 140 pounds which I haven’t weighed since my youngest was born…143 pounds plus or minus.  I remember that weight because I was 143 pounds going into the hospital as a pregnant lady, and came out weighing 143 pounds AFTER the child was born.  How is that possible?  He was 7# 4 oz.  I should have weighed at least 7 pounds less coming out!  That was the beginning of this strange journey into obesity.  Hahaha!  I can blame my boy!  Nope, that won’t work.

I cut myself down to 1200 calories a day.  I have been at 1200 calories a day for 3 years.  I have tried cutting out chocolate, then bread, then carbs in general, then colas, and at one time I existed on soup for a week.  Of course that was because I had a terrible respiratory virus that precluded me from eating solid food.  I couldn’t keep anything down but soup.  I do not recommend it.  I have exercised cardio and strength training 5 days a week with a trainer 3 days of those days, and I have exercised on my own taking occasional walks and going to the gym to work on the tread mill once a week.  I have been told I’m eating too little.  I have been told that to really lose the weight, I have to go on an 800 calorie diet and take supplements.  I have been told that all I need to do was portion control.  I have been told that all I need to do is start a running regimen.

In the course of this journey, I have had a 1/2″ kidney stone, I have broken my hip, and I have suffered all sorts of indignities that go with being too big.  I especially hate shopping for clothes.  “Here, try this tent on, the circus won’t be back until spring.”  I cannot physically get into a swimsuit because I cannot bend over to get both my feet in.  It doesn’t work like underwear.  I used to love swimming.  I used to love dancing.  I’m winded going up to the sidewalk of the gym.  I watch all the weight loss commercials and think to myself, well they wouldn’t work for me.  I think the laws of physics and biology bend around me.  I think I have ranted on this before…if you eat less and exercise more, you use more calories than you take in and you lose weight.  Unless you’re not eating enough, then they pile on.  If you are awake really late at night because you have something on your mind, and you’re moving, you’re using more calories, right?  But if you don’t get enough sleep, you gain weight.  So the laws of physics apply to every situation except when they don’t.

I HAVE NO VICES!  I do not overeat.  I do not smoke.  I do not drink.  I do not commit adultery.  I do not gamble.  I might be addicted to Longmire, but I don’t think that’s a vice since it has a definite ending point.  And yet…  I cannot find the energy to clean, or cook, or garden, or walk or dance or swim because I am so big and it takes so much effort.  I get depressed because I know I DO have 6-pack abs, but they’re so insulated that no one can see them.  I used to dance 5 hours a day.  I used to hike 10 miles.  I used to go on bike rides all over.  I used to march and play a horn for an hour a day.  I used to chase 5 kids around.  I used to be a pit pop who moved the percussion instruments on and off the field and in and out of the trucks.  I used to set field props for band contests.  I couldn’t do any of that now, even at gunpoint.

And now, I have another physical issue.  I don’t want to be in a state of always having to do something to fix something.  I don’t want to take medicine for the rest of my life.  I want it fixed.  When the light bulb goes out, you replace it.  You don’t have to monitor it every stinking day to see if there is something that MIGHT go wrong with it.  When you replace a broken window, you do it and it’s fixed.  There is no daily activity you have to do to make sure the fixed window hasn’t degraded into a broken window.  When you break a bone and they reset it, it heals and then EVERY FREAKING DAY you have to exercise the muscles around it so you can continue to use it for the rest of your life.  Because once it’s broken, it’s ruined.  Nothing will ever be right about it from that point on.  If you have a kidney stone, EVEN AFTER YOU’VE PASSED IT, you’re likely to have more.  The kidney is ruined and nothing will ever be right about it from that point on.  If you’ve gained weight, by whatever means it has happened, your metabolism is ruined and it will never be right again.  Every day, you start from 0.  It’s like Forrest Gump if he were in the Outer Limits. He starts his cross country run, runs for 25-30 miles.  He goes to sleep and wakes up the next morning in his bedroom.

As a good friend of mine says, “Oh Well.”

Yawn…

I hate training that is mandatory.  I especially hate mandatory training that only deals with cursory, shallow, general information.  Reiterating self evident information is not training.  Our presenter does not have an electric personality.  He reads the slides, he speaks extremely slowly and wanders all over the speaking area without purpose.  He moves just quick enough to indicate he’s not dead, but not fast enough to discourage jr. high kids from seeing him as a moving target.

He isn’t tailoring his message to his audience.  He and his presentation have no impact on the people he’s training. What is the point he’s trying to make?  He is trying to teach experienced people how and why to run an event.  They already know this stuff, and have done successful events multiple times.  Yet they are making this training mandatory.  I would venture to say he’s never actually run an upper level event–one that involves multiple districts and multiple activities.  Am I dumping on this guy because I don’t like him?  My goodness no! He’s a lovely man—kind, caring, and with a genuine wish to help his fellows.  He’s not an experienced trainer.

I was watching “This is Us” last night, and there was this scene where the rather large character is at a weight watching type of meeting.  It looked like a 12-step program.  The leader was going on about how much the program had done for her and how she now wanted to help others achieve the success she’d had.  This leader was enormous.  One might postulate that she had not, as yet, achieved the success she was purporting to pass on to her participants.  I go to lots of seminars.  There are times when I think to myself, “Why am I here?  This guy doesn’t know as much about the subject as I do!  Why did I pay for a ticket?”  There was one that spoke about talking to oneself.  I thought that after listening for 30 min he might have made a point that I could actually write down in my notes.  My paper was blank.  My first thought, “Amateur…”  There was another talking about leadership and my first thoughts, “Amateur, and he’s supposed to be a trained speaker?”  There was another expert talking about teaching and training.  He didn’t get 5 minutes into his spiel when I wanted to stop him and ask him how long he’d taught in the public school system.  What he was saying would have gotten him booed out of the classroom.  He would have had nothing but low-level rioting every day.  Why are unqualified people allowed to stand up and posture in front of real experts?  Why are they hired?  I read their books, and they’re shallow and the  conclusions they make do not follow any type of logic.  Their experiences are glossed over or unmentioned.  “Gentlemen, if you want to keep the interest of your junior high science class, wear a different tie–one with cartoon characters on it.”  Junior High?  Hands in laps?  In a science class?  Really?  Where did you find out this nugget?  Now I had one science teacher that lit his tie on fire and it didn’t burn.  (Combination of isopropyl alcohol and water.) That got my attention, but I was in high school then.

If you are going to train me, you need to know more than I do or know how to ask the questions that allow me to discover the answer.  I was in a seminar where we broke into groups and had to teach each other how to juggle.  No one in my group knew how to juggle.  The purpose of the exercise was in coaching people.  The coach in our group didn’t have to KNOW how to juggle, he just had to ask the right questions.  And believe it or not, when the coach asked the questions and the juggler responded and thought things through, suddenly non-jugglers became jugglers!  But that’s not what happened in this mandatory training.  This well-meaning but ineffective speaker was talking to us as if we had never run an event before.  He didn’t assess his audience before he started his presentation.  There wasn’t a person in the room that didn’t have at least 5 years doing events under their belts.

When one of the participants (who happened to be the leader of the group this guy was addressing) started making things interesting by asking questions from the floor, the speaker tried to rein the conversation in so he could finish his ineffective slideshow.  If you find yourself in a situation where you know there is a wealth of information in the audience that you don’t currently have, learn to approach it like a coach instead of a teacher/trainer.  Ask insightful questions and allow the audience to participate.  You can bet your audience members will be taking notes like crazy.

I guess I’m getting too old to maintain my patience level.  I don’t suffer fools.  I have sudden urges to start heckling from the floor.  I have to fight for self control to keep from launching projectiles from my seat in the back of the room.  I try to avoid mandatory training when I see who’s running it and I don’t recognize any talent or special knowledge they can offer.

Get help.  Don’t get in front of an audience if you’re not having more success than they are.

It’ll make you feel better…

I had a scare. Something wasn’t right, and it didn’t seem to be getting better with time.  I went to the doctor and he did an exam and all the tests came back normal!  Yay!  My doctor may be a better GP than I give him credit, but this was the same guy that, when I went in to get a followup on my hip surgery, said, standing outside my door, “Oh My God! Have you ever seen this much metal in one person?” and then nonchalantly walked in and asked me how “we” were feeling.  “I hurt, but how about you?  I heard you panicking outside.  Are YOU ok?”  Anyway, he gave me a prescription and when I got it and opened the box, it had a sheet about 2 feet by 3 feet in mouse point front and back about the stuff in the tube. I spent about 45 min looking for the dosage information.  It was about 2 lines in the middle of all this mess.  Side effects include but aren’t limited to

  • cancer
  • other cancer
  • unintelligible cancer (I ripped a hole in the paper when I tried to unglue it from itself so I could read it)
  • heart attack
  • nausea
  • diahrea
  • death

So it leaves me with a few questions.

  1. Why don’t they put the dosage on the box or on the tube?
  2. Why do they glue the page together when it’s going into a box?
  3. Why would I take something that might kill me so I can feel better?
  4. Why don’t they say in the prescription how long I’m supposed to take this?
  5. Why do they have to name every study and every statistic about the stuff?
  6. Is it a controlled substance?

I can’t wait to be off this stuff.  It does appear to be doing what he said it would do, but it’s a pain in the ass to use.  Do other countries have to put such ridiculous packaging on everything?  I think the box could have been 25% smaller without the disclaimers.