Category Archives: attitude

That’s a BIG breakfast!

  • 2 poached eggs
  • bacon
  • low-fat yogurt with berries and granola
  • muffin

“WOW!  OMG!  How do you eat that much!  That’s a HUMONGOUS Breakfast.”

What? No. Ultimate Skillet at Village Inn is a humongous breakfast. 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 sausages, grits, fried apples, 2 biscuits, gravy, and butter and jelly at Cracker Barrel is a big breakfast. I never have the ultimate skillet or the meat lover’s special. Why what do you eat for breakfast?

  • “1 tsp of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of almond milk”

Wait that’s it?

“I can barely finish it all.”

The guide says eggs are ok, whole-grain toast, fruit, and broccoli for breakfast. Broccoli? Really? Give up bacon and get broccoli. (By the way, that poached egg breakfast was 1186 calories. It is about 14 calories short of my whole day’s allowance!) Give up hamburger and only have chicken, fish or turkey. Never have sausage!  You can eat as much as you want…as long as it’s green. The “green” designation is food that has a low-calorie density. So 5 grapes and 5 raisins have the same calories, but 5 raisins would not make a dent in your hunger, and 5 grapes, due to the water, would.

I committed to this program. What a fool. I can’t commit to anything. 2k steps/day? Depends on the day. 1 day it’s 800, the next it’s 6000. 3 meals and 3 snacks? Today it was Breakfast (not chia seeds and almond milk I assure you!) and a peach.

I’m always Hangry. I’m also frustrated. My coach hasn’t met with me yet, and I don’t think she will. I asked a couple of questions…well, made a couple of observations and now she won’t talk to me. After 1 abysmal week…over and under my calorie count, completely the wrong foods, inconsistent walking or exercising ( they don’t give you credit for pulling staples out of the floor) and now a crappy attitude, I was UP 2 pounds. Diet, Exercise, Psychology. This really works! Except on me. But, the beginning of every day, I weigh in, beat myself up for weighing more or less exactly what I started, eat breakfast and discover I’ve used up all my calories for the week, and then listen to my tummy rumble for the rest of the day. But you’re supposed to count your foods and estimate your portions and only have what it says on the list. BUT with the exception of today’s breakfast, that is exactly what I’ve been doing. I find myself more tired and irritable after my nearly imperceptible lunch. A peanut butter sandwich is never to be eaten. Why? Because it’s a RED food, you are allowed 380 calories of red foods and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is 388… my whole allowance for the day. I can have one sandwich OR 2 pieces of bacon OR one hamburger patty, but not all of them. Actually, the sandwich is more high-calorie than the bacon or the hamburger.

If a typical breakfast is 1 tsp of chia seeds and 1 cup of almond milk, why bother? Drink a cup of weak tea and just call it. But don’t pour any milk into your weak tea. Milk is a red food too, btw, but almond milk is ok. (Ever try to milk an almond? Just about the time you’re on your 12,000th almond, it kicks the bucket over and you lose your whole cup of milk!)

Now go for your 10k step walk every morning, have a nice cup of salad with salmon slices on it. NO SUSHI!  There’s rice in them there rolls. NEVER rolls or muffins. No cheesecake, no pudding, no icecream.  AND YET, they say, “Oh it’s perfectly fine to go off script once in a while! You can’t deny yourself all the time.” And then they deny me all the time. But it’s insidious. “YAY!” my program gushes. “You logged all your foods and it’s under 1200 calories!” It makes no mention that though it’s under 1200 calories, I ATE ALL THE WRONG FOODS! 380 Cal of Red foods?  I had 888. 250-500 calories of Yellow foods? I ate 298. 0-800 calories of Green type foods? I had 58. Completely upside down. And I wonder why I’m 2 pounds heavier on less food and more exercise.  Silly me.

I think it’s hopeless.

 

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Oooh New Project!

Measurable Progress. Moving forward. Learning new things, and becoming a different person are lofty goals. Wait, becoming a different person? Why would you want to be a different person? Shouldn’t you like the person you are?

Let’s rephrase the question. Isn’t the person you currently are based on choices you’ve made and changes that resulted from those choices? If you had chosen to have a fruit smoothie for breakfast instead of an ultimate skillet, would that have affected the way you look and feel today? Well, of course. Would you be a different person?

What makes you you? Looking from the outside, the changes are microscopic, and we know from experience that microscopic changes become permanent and more noticeable when repeated every day. Looking from the heart, do you feel differently about yourself today than you did yesterday? Looking from the brain, how has your perspective of the world around you changed since yesterday? The real question, the one that makes you more like your ideal self, what did you put into your brain yesterday? When you were ordering your breakfast, how far ahead were you looking?

“Wow, I’m hungry!  That looks delicious!  I will have (make) that!” or

“Wow, I’m hungry! I’m hungry now because I ate late last night. It shouldn’t take much to fill me up now, so I’ll have just enough–something to tide me over to lunch.” or

“Wow, I’m hungry! What would be the healthiest thing to eat this morning? This will make me feel full, but won’t shoot all that sugar in, and that will be better than the caffeine that will make me hungry again before lunch. I will have (make) this.”

What did you read yesterday? What did you set out to learn yesterday? What ideas did you expose yourself to? What ideas were sparked from your conversations? What concepts did you explore? Do you think you built onto the self you were yesterday or did you add a branch? The only way you aren’t a different person today than you were yesterday is if you didn’t get up and do anything new. No, that’s not right. That would have been a choice and would have changed you the other way–made you less than you were the day before. In choosing not to expand, you shut down something in your head that looks for opportunities to grow. Your brain, desperate for something new, developed a slightly different perspective on the world, and because it was a microscopic change, you didn’t see it. I guess that regardless of what you do, you cannot be the same person you were yesterday. To put it bluntly, the only way you don’t change the person you were yesterday is if you freeze that moment when you are the person you choose to be and die in that precise moment.

Since this is MY blog, let me tell you what I did.

I wrote about the Rat Race concept because I’d been thinking of it all night. I went to have an adjustment to help me walk without a limp. I went to breakfast and worked on some puzzles so I don’t lose my marbles. I came home and started to learn French! (That’s a rant by the way.) I went to meet a friend of mine who’s collaborating with me on a manual that helps people plan conferences. I had Soul Food! (An Italian sausage with mustard and fried onions on a toasted bun, and some coleslaw.) I started sifting through ideas for an international speech to give for the Toastmasters Contest next spring. I gave a French Horn lesson. Then I watched some TV.

I am following “Criminal Minds” and the geek on the show has been thrown in prison pending his trial. Due to the machinations of the villain, instead of being put into protective custody (as an FBI agent, he’d be in mortal danger) he’s been put in General Population, and he’s not emotionally or physically equipped to handle this situation. So as I’m watching the episodes, I am noting the changes in his character. He has pitted his mind against so many clever serial killers; he has been exposed to many techniques that allow him to go undiscovered as a criminal; he has the IQ of over 150. I have noted his change in stance and the look in his eyes. He’s been bullied all his life, and his mother’s schizophrenic and has developed Alzheimer’s. Had he made one choice in his youth, he might have been one of the serial killers instead of the FBI agent that has caught them. He was tortured and drugged in one episode by a criminal who had a disassociative personality disorder, so he has some lingering PTSD. Will he become the killer he has chased? Will he defeat the villain that has put him into this situation, or will he kill him?

What fascinates me is how well the profilers read the people around them.  They’d be like wizards to normal people. They read micro-expressions, they are hyper-aware of their surroundings when confronting a criminal and can interpret unconscious behavioral traits like how the subjects arrange the pictures of their children or what clothes they like to wear. And yet…the members of this team are constantly flummoxed by newer and scarier criminals. They MUST grow and become different people in order to capture the bad guy.

The top people in industry and education and any other field you wish to examine are becoming, not static. Put something new into your brain every day, then ruminate on it and create some new idea, new thought, new action that will enhance what you put into your brain. It may change the way you feel about yourself and/or how you perceive the people and the world around you. Then you can choose to keep the information or discard it.

But you cannot remain the same person you were yesterday. You will be different tomorrow. The good news is that you are in complete control of who you choose to be.

Unwilling Learners

Ever taught an unwilling learner? They are the ones that question the validity of the subject matter, question the expertise of the teacher, and/or refuse to do the homework because of priorities in their lives. I was a band director. I required practice from my band students. I got calls from parents accusing me of being unreasonable to require 20 minutes of practice EVERY NIGHT for band students.

“How DARE you require daily practice! Kids have sports, homework, and chores to do every night!”

“Oh? They never take their books home with them. I know, I watch them as they leave. They’re in 6th grade, how often and how long are their football practices? Oh? They’re not in football yet? Oh, they ARE in football but it’s club football, not school football, so practices once or twice a week for an hour? So you mean to tell me that on the nights they don’t have practice, they’re doing homework for two hours and chores for three to four hours and going to bed at 9:00? Too bad they won’t get to play Football in High school. How will they EVER squeeze in time for the mandatory two-hour practices for football every night? High School homework is what, two to three hours a night? And they’ll have part-time jobs as well in High School.  So unless they work only on weekends, they get home after football practice at about 6:00 PM, do three to four hours of chores, homework for two to three hours, puts them in bed at 1:00 AM.”

“What? You’re going to keep them out of Football because they won’t practice for your stupid band?”

This is a conversation I had many, many times. They refused to give their kids any sense of responsibility.  Of COURSE, they weren’t doing chores around the house. Of COURSE, they weren’t doing two hours of homework every night. They were watching TV, playing video games, hanging out. It was amazing that the students ever learned enough music to fill out a concert.

There was one 6th grade band that did so badly (because I had 0 support from the parents) that I made them play the concert anyway. They got 1/2 way through their third song and just basically quit because they were all lost. I explained to the parents (and the children that were upset behind me) that with band practice once a week, we only got together for 14 lessons. 14 lessons should give them at least 14 notes they could play, plus the ability to play in two different time signatures, and the ability to follow a director. But for the days between lessons, without practice, the students lost about 20% per day of what they had been taught, lost the endurance and strength in the muscles that allowed them to play more than five minutes on their instruments, did not improve or maintain the eye-hand coordination necessary to process the information on the page and could not improve their listening skills so they could be in tune and play together. That’s why practice between band lessons is important and it’s important that these kids learn this concept and that you, the parents, learn this. Ya, I got fired.

“Why don’t we teach tax preparation and finance in school?” We do.  Do you think that the tax laws remain the same from year to year? Do you think your kids will completely reject your advice about money and ignore the advice from banks and other financial institutions that profit from people’s ignorance when it comes to money management? Or do you think you have all the money issues figured out because of what your Insurance Agent told you was a good investment?

“When will I ever need algebra and geometry? I have my iPhone.” Which bag of flour is the better value? Which car is the best for my money? How long does it take to get to work? Why does my shed keep falling down? Where do I put the jack on my car when I have a flat? Show me on your iPhone how you would input that information to get the answers to those questions.

“Why do I have to learn this Olde English Shakespeare stuff?” Ever watch Game of Thrones? Where do you expand your vocabulary? Can you communicate in phrases that are longer than 140 characters? Can you make a point? Can you win a debate? Can you logically defend a choice?

“What do YOU know about math? (English, Statistics, Computer Science…fill in a subject)” I know more than you. I know where to look to get the information I need to fill in your gaps. Do you?

The culture has changed. Kids don’t HAVE chores. They can’t have fun unless it is regulated by parents. Playdates? Really? Organized sports for 5-year-olds? Video games and educational programs on a tablet for kids under 4? What is WRONG with us?!!! If we want to immerse kids into a love of learning, they have to be surrounded by people that love learning. Because we denigrate learning to something that only happens during the first 12 years in school, and we abhor reading or going to concerts or seminars, what have we taught the children? Learning is a CHORE to be endured. Maybe we should establish mandatory boarding schools!

Welcome to the House of Husker.  There are 4 teams: Crimson, Cream, Black, and Runza. Their respective Beasts are the Crimson Pegasus, the Cream Cow, the Black Spectre, and the Runza Dragon. Each team will be responsible for learning basic life skills such as Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Geography, Physical and Biological Sciences, American and World History, Civics, and Visual and Fine Arts. Each team will be responsible for a farm consisting of garden and farm animals including pigs, goats, chickens, and cattle. Each team will be responsible for the finances and business management of their farms and other related ventures. There will be related businesses such as cottage industries that specialize in industrial technology such as carpentry, metal work, small and large engine repair, information technology, and animal husbandry, etc. Each class in each team will be responsible for cooking for the whole team one weekend of every month. (7th graders–Breakfast, 8th graders–Lunch, 9th graders–supper on Saturdays, 10th graders–Breakfast, 12th graders–Dinner, and 11th graders–Supper on Sundays.) Homework will include a mandatory hour for every class taken and an hour’s practice in the Arts course in which the student has enrolled. The heads of teams will be two faculty members per team, a senior student leader, a vice-leader, a business manager, a project manager, and representatives from all the classes in that team. Each team will wear student robes with the team uniform during class time. Intramural competitions will be encouraged.

Applications accepted on a first come, first served basis.

 

Update: I have had NO applications up to now, 5/10/19. I thought I’d have at least a dozen!

Update: I STILL have no applications as of 7/17/2019. What is WRONG with people!

 

 

I’m Fat

I was listening to a show on NPR this morning and they did an issue about obese people. Fat people haven’t always been considered gross and disgusting. Botticelli and Raphael featured full-figured women in their paintings.

   

Now, they are considered lazy, undisciplined, and weak.  Wait?  What does that have to do with weight? Do people think that fat people just don’t care about how they look?  And it is alllllll about how people look isn’t it.  Observe in the pictures that the women do not have defined abs and muscular shoulders. Normal people cannot attain that measure of fitness, but we’re shamed by the fact that we don’t.

The woman in the interview said she came out to her family and friends that she was fat. This was not news to the people she told. She didn’t do it for them, she did it for herself. She now defined herself as a fat person. How can weight define a person?  That’s ridiculous! She had some valid points though.

People view fat people in two different ways. Sloppy, lazy, undisciplined, weak fatties, and fat people trying to get thinner. They patronize the fat people trying to get thinner. They shame the fat people they perceive aren’t trying. They complain about sitting next to them on public transportation, in movie theaters, at events, because they take up soooo much space! They consider fat rolls gross. They make fun of women of significant size in leggings.

What do I mean about patronizing fat people trying to get thinner? “Oh, you just have to eat more salads!”  “You should try this exercise.” “Are you going to eat all of that?!” I have news for those well-meaning people. You couldn’t keep up with me in the gym. That’s right.  You heard me. I do 90 pounds on the crunch machine. I do 70 pounds on the lat pull machine. I do 15-20 pound biceps curls. I do 80-pound leg presses. I can go 30 min on an elliptical machine on level 6. I do 90 crunches and 45 push-ups. I live on about 1200 calories a day. I do not eat burgers and fries three times a day–more like 3 times in a month. I have pizza twice a month. So yes, some of us are really trying to lose the weight. It is NOT however because we can’t find clothes that don’t look like circus tents or Macy’s white sale bedding. It is NOT because eventually, we’ll be diabetic. It is NOT because we feel guilty that our “fat-related” illnesses are a drain on the public health system.

Why do we try so hard? Because we remember how it felt to be thinner. We remember not having to have help getting out of the couch or the car. We remember not wheezing when we went up the stairs. We remember not hurting when we walked long distances. We remember being able to walk into a store and just buy something because it looked cute. We remember knees and ankles and backs that didn’t crack when we moved. We remember running to fly kites and taking hikes and climbing trees.

My Fat does not define me. (Obie is surprised–Obie is my sentient fat by the way.) My size does not determine my intelligence, my work ethic or my self-discipline. It does restrict my activities and how I feel.

I am fat. And I don’t like it. And I’m working to get rid of that fat.

Let it all Hang out!

There is this inspirational poster making the rounds.

Wear your fancy lingerie.

Light those candles!

Use the good china!

Drink the Champagne!

Don’t wait!  You don’t know how much time you have left.

How inspirational.

Take things that are special and make them common.  Don’t save the chocolate cake for birthdays.  Don’t take care of the china that your mom passed on to you; serve hamburgers on it.  Buy NOTHING but fancy lingerie and wear it when you’re working in the garden.  Light all the candles in the house regardless of the scent…and the fire hazard.

We’ve taken traditionally special things and made them not matter any more.  A portrait used to be only for the rich, and they had to sit for days while the artist painted in all the nuance and the secret smile that reflected on your inner self.  Click!  Selfie!  Click!  Another selfie!  So portraiture is not important or special.

We used to have champagne flutes and beer steins to give the liquid a special feel and smell.  Solo cups are OK, now.  As long as there’s alcohol in the cup and it is strong enough to get you drunk, it doesn’t matter how it’s served.  We don’t enjoy the taste of the beverage, it is just a means to an end–getting so blasted you don’t remember or care what you drank to get to that point.

Fixing dinner for your family was an act of love, and the smells filled the house.  The food was shared along with the events of the day.  It was a time to connect to your siblings and parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents…  Now it’s what you do in the car on your way some place.  Food is what you order to eat during football/baseball/basketball games on TV.  We don’t just eat, we have to eat and be entertained at the same time.  We don’t like silence much.  Turning on the TV is easier than talking at the dinner table.  You’ve seen people out to dinner at a nice restaurant and everyone at the table is texting or playing games on their phones.  They are not talking to each other.  Eating together is not important or special now and neither is cooking.

Church was where you went to worship, and you dressed up.  It was a solemn occasion with prayer, hymns, and a rousing sermon.  After church, there was the church in the parking lot.  You socialized with people you only saw on Sundays and got caught up.  You went to the graveyard next to the church and visited the departed.  There were potluck dinners served for special occasions and funerals.  That was your community and your social circle.  Now, people skip church to go to soccer games.  The elders of the church will wear jeans to services.  Hymns that used to put scripture to music to help the masses remember the verses now are repetitive phrases that say how good their God is.  It might be seen as more meditative because of the chant-like quality of the words, but the main message of the words is that we get to define God in a way that meets our criteria as a super being that gives us anything we want if we write a big enough check.

Weddings?  Don’t get me started.  Too late.  We’ve made the circus of the wedding so important that it sometimes causes the divorce.  Yes, the wedding may be one of the most important days of your life, but it’s not the flowers, or the band, or the pictures, or the honeymoon.  It is the commitment to each other.  We’ve gone and made the actual marriage “just a piece of paper” that gives us rights and privileges in the sight of the law.  Whereas the wedding is so important that people will be in debt for decades to pay for it.  That makes the couple committed to the bank, not to each other.  So the marriage–the important part of the relationship–is unimportant, but the wedding–the show that goes with the celebration that the couple that’s been living together for 5 years is finally legitimate–is more important than any other single event in the couples’ lives.  If the wedding is so important, why did they live together and have a child together before they got wedded?  Oh…because marriage is just a piece of paper.

Why is the TV the biggest object in the house and placed in the most prominent location?  Because conversation is not important.  Having people on an island sniping at each other and planning each other’s demise in full high definition clarity and color is of the utmost importance.

So I ask you this:  Why wear the fancy lingerie, use the fancy china, light the fancy candles, and use the nice crystal for real champagne when you wear jeans to church and sweatsuits at home, never cook, do nothing but watch TV, drink whatever is alcoholic in the house just to get drunk and pass out, and never talk with your families.

I say KEEP SOME THINGS SPECIAL!  You wear that dress only when…  You break out the good china when…  You light the fancy candles because…  There ARE special occasions.  Keep them special.

You need HELP!

So I have heard this 3 times in the last week.

Here’s the problem: I am simultaneously the smartest person in the room, and the least equipped to handle anything.  The first thing people notice about me is that I’m not very bright, but I am very loud and annoying.  No, the first thing people notice about me is my size, and they are shocked to find out I taught ballet.  No, the first thing they notice about me is that I’m always talking.  No the first thing they notice about me is I stand in a corner just watching.  I am a dichotomy.

I agree with the person that said I needed help with the house and recommended a cleaning company.  I think I’m going to do that.

I agree that I have a bad self image.  I don’t know how to fix that, so I would need to find someone to help me with that.  But see above…I’m always the smartest person in the room, even if I’m not.  When my boy was having problems in school, we went to a therapist, and he learned how to say exactly what she wanted him to say.  He thought it amusing.  One of the sessions, I was required to go with him.  She diagnosed me as Obsessive/Compulsive, Anal Retentive, and manic/depressive.  This is after talking with me for about 20 min.  I was shaking my head in disbelief.  Then she sent him out and told me in no uncertain terms, “No wonder your kids are all messed up!  You shouldn’t have had any!  You should have been in therapy for decades before you had kids.  It’s all your fault that your kids are useless.”  Remember, smartest person in the room…  I believed she was so set in blaming someone for the fact that she couldn’t figure out how my boy thought (because he was so much smarter than she).  I met a family therapist that thought he could solve our family’s problems with 3 sessions.  Tada!!! You’re normal!  Well, if we were normal, why were we required to have therapy?  Yes, again it was a requirement by the CPS.  I must have rose-colored glasses and be completely deluded about the mental health of my kids.  I couldn’t think of any kids that were as smiley and engaged as mine.  I have since been informed that all of them were extremely depressed and couldn’t wait to get out of the house.  (Oh?  then why is one of them still in my basement?)

As you may have guessed, I do not like being categorized.  I may have stressed this fact in this blog, and this one.  Never-the-less, I know from working all the myriads of jobs I’ve done that most of the people will take the easiest, least complicated path in solving a problem and then blame you if it’s more complex than they can handle.  I am fortunate to belong to a group of people who are very smart and in different ways.  One has 2 PHD’s in  the Sciences, and one in has a PHD in Human resources.  One is gifted in the emotional arena, and one in the ability to read and understand people.  3 are amazing in computer programming.  2 of them are wise on the spiritual level.  1 is exceptional in communication.  (That is good since we’re in the book writing business…)  Where does that put me?  I guess I connect all these various and sundry interests together.  So when I need some advice in my psychological state, and I talk to a psychiatrist and this person doesn’t measure up to this level of intelligence and takes short cuts–putting me into a box that is entirely too small and ill-fitting, I get discouraged.  I’m tempted to have a cattle call and have all the psychiatrists come to my office and give me their best shot so I can eliminate 3/4 of the incompetent people right off the bat.  Ya, right.

As for the 3rd time someone told me I needed help, I have been on this stupid diet/exercise/pill/herbs/mental trip for 4 years and I’m about 5 pounds heavier than when I started and that’s when I thought I was 45 pounds too heavy.  I’m going to try the Kathy Diet…forget to eat for a year.

New year’s resolutions?  Stuff I can handle, 1 more DTM, done with 1 full path in Toastmasters, read 10 more books, work out 3 times a week for an hour, replace the front door and the bathroom, hire a cleaning service, find my office and change it into a real library so all our books are in the same room instead of scattered all over the house, and dispose of the bunk beds…my grand kids will never use them.

Everyone Dabbles

They dabble at playing guitar or piano or maybe they have dreams of fronting a band.  They dabble in crafts, papier-mache, needlework or yarn work, maybe painting cute little sayings on distressed wood.  They dabble in art, in web design, in programming, in psychology.  My Facebook is jammed up with people dabbling in Philosophy and Politics.  Seth Godin categorizes these as “Non-Dentist” jobs.  To be a dentist or someone in the law profession or medical profession, or in finance, you have to have passed a rigorous test and gotten certified by the state or the bar association.  Nobody dabbles in dentistry, yet, people still dabble in law, medicine, and finance!  REALLY????!!!!  C’mon!

I see it though.  You’re a parent and little Billy has fallen off his bike again.  You got this.  A little antibiotic ointment on the scratch and a band-aid, and he’s fine.  Your sister is married to a jerk and you tell her about her legal choices.  “No thanks, we’re fine, we do our own investing.”  Of course, they’re $20k in debt, upside down in their house, just bought a car and are wondering why they’re paying 21% on their loan.

I do not have a law degree, but I read legal documents for financial contracts.  I have a degree in finance, certified and licensed in insurance, and licensed as an Investment Adviser Representative.  I’m also certified as a John Maxwell Speaker/Trainer/Coach.  I’m a Distinguished Toastmaster.  I have a degree in Music…and 160 college hours in music and music education.  It only takes 60 college hours to get a bachelor’s in Math.  It only takes 120 hours of college credits to graduate,  I had 147.  Of those 147 hours, 80 of them were in music.  I clocked in an additional 80 hours since my BME degree.  Then, I got a 2nd degree in finance.  I’ve gotten lots of hours outside a degree program, obviously.

I’m not trying to be braggadocious, but I ask you:  How many people have that much intensive study in anything?  Why do I bring this up?  I am not a dentist.  To quote Mr. Godin again, “If you’re doing one of these non-dentist jobs, the best approach is to be extraordinarily good at it. So much better than an amateur that there’s really no room for discussion. You don’t have to justify yourself. Your work justifies you.” I am extraordinarily good at what I do.  The feeling I get from most people is that if I can do it, it must be easy.  Nobody can have that much talent, and nobody can really get that much education in multiple areas.  It must not be that hard.  

NEWS FLASH!  It is that hard.  If you are getting an education in something that people perceive as unimportant, then they will downgrade the difficulty.  We can agree that finance is important, but most people do not believe they need a degree in finance to balance their checkbook.  Most will not do enough loans to understand the nuances of those contracts.  A majority will not consider that life insurance is a priority and since it is all gobbledygook in the contract, they’ll just sign on the bottom line and trust the salesman and hope to GOD that they’ll never see the bugger again.  Since everyone lives paycheck to paycheck, and they hate the rich, and the rich are the only ones in the stock market which people regard as gambling writ large, these people that really and truly need some financial education will not seek it.

Everyone knows that music is unimportant.  It is only the background for movies and TV where the emotion is amplified by the score.  It is only the jingle you can’t get out of your head.  It is only the music that makes you want to buy more ugly sweaters at the store.  It is only one of the largest sectors in the entertainment industry.  It permeates every single second of your day whether you turn on the radio when you jump in your car or while you are on interminable hold on the phone.  If someone happens to be good at music, it’s because they have “talent.”  Talent gets your toe in the door.  It takes enormous amounts of work to be good as a teacher or performer.  It’s like the duck parable:  calm and serene on the surface and pedaling like crazy underneath.  People who are really good at music have to make an effort to make what they do look effortless.

Do you know scales?  There are 12 major scales.  There are 3 minor scales associated with each major scale (Natural, Harmonic and Melodic minors).  You have to be able to play or sing any of these without having to concentrate.  That’s 48 scales.  There is a chord that is associated with each pitch in the scale, and inversions of each chord.  Then there are augmentations such as adding a 7th degree, or a 9th degree, or up to or even beyond a 13th degree, and then there are alterations like flatting or sharping one or more of the degrees of the scale, and not only do you have to be able to play them, you must recognize them when you see them in the music and know what they sound like before you hear them.  That’s just the reading part.  Oh, and there are various voicings to each chord too.

Can you match a pitch regardless of the instrument you’re playing?  Oh, and by the way, oboe, bassoon, flute, trombone and tuba read C in music and it sounds C when they play.  French horn reads C and it sounds like F, Saxophone reads C and it sounds either Eb or Bb,  as does Clarinet.  And the fingerings for low register clarinet are different than the upper register.  Trumpet and Clarinet read C and it sounds Bb.  Given this diversity in pitch and fingerings, can you improvise a counter melody or a harmony without seeing the music?  Can you tell the difference between Frank Zappa and Tchaikovsky by sound?  If you are in a group, can you tell which individual is singing or playing out of tune and whether they are sharp or flat–high or low?  Can you tell, if they sound sharp, if it is the actual pitch or the pronunciation of the vowel and the timbre that makes it sound out of tune?  Can you apply the awareness you have gained in listening and performing music to any other area of life?  Of COURSE!  So do all musicians have that awareness outside of music?  OF COURSE NOT!!

It is assumed that if you are majoring in music, you take Algebra I in math and very basic English classes.  You are a musician after all, and these things are beyond you.  You have more important things to do…like practice and study your scales!  People always assume that if you’re a musician, you don’t have any interests outside of music.  In fact, most musicians couldn’t give a flying…well fill in your own word here…about math or English.  And yet, the awareness I transfer from music to the world around me connects dots that no one else can connect.  I can see the Stock Market as a large orchestra.  I see the study of sociology as a macro of a choir.  I see composition as an allegory to metaphysics.  Am I now interested in sociology (and therefore statistics), investment in both the technical analysis and the trend marketing, and the study of physics and religion as extensions of my music studies?  Of Course!  So yes, I have studied all those things.  Would being a musician be helpful if I wanted to be a dentist?  or an architect? or a rocket scientist?  More than you’d think!

But music is not important.  Therefore none of the information I have gathered and synthesized is of any use, so I am dismissed as just a musician.  I guess you could say that I’m extraordinarily good at things everyone else dabbles in.  Being extraordinarily good at something that is unimportant is not an advantage.  Truth be told, if you were to ask anyone, it is a useless thing to be good at.

When people drive me crazy

I had a busy day yesterday.  It’s my day off.  Do you see a disconnect here?  I purposely do not schedule any recurring activities on Tuesdays.  It allows me clean my house, decompress, bake, do fun things.  If however, I have some business to do or make-up lessons to schedule, they go on Tuesdays.

This was my schedule for Tuesday:  5:00 lesson

This was what actually happened.

  • 8:00 Write an article for the news letter
  • 10:15  Study group for Bible Study
  • 12:00  Gym (for a whole 15 minutes instead of my regular hour)
  • 1:00  Mentoring session
  • 3:00  Follow up with client
  • 4:30-9:30 Toastmasters training session

I had to cancel the 5:00 lesson.  During the training session, I led a discussion among the treasurers and secretaries.  I presented some training to the group of about 48, and they had no PA system.  They also had no sound for the video clips so that totally messed up the session on judging by the poor guy at the end of the program.  He was supposed to have some recordings of some award winning speeches and we were to practice judging using the methods and the sensibilities gleaned from his presentation.  After that, since hubby and I took separate cars, we were to just head home, but no.  Our logistics manager is in the postal service and they run him ragged this time of year.  The next event is Saturday a distance away and we volunteered to transport all the necessary equipment for him.  We had to load up the car with coolers and containers and banners and easels, and then we also had the leftover sandwiches from the night’s training.

I am a “T” personality, or “Green” or whatever Meyers-Briggs classifies me.  That means I’m most comfortable one on one, but even more comfortable squirreled away in my little office behind mounds of junk just working on my computer or reading.  Big crowds and lots of personal contacts make me anxious (?) so I have to decompress for a while.  It tires me out!

I enjoyed the study session, no one says much, and we just study and fill out the questions.  I don’t interact with anyone at the gym.  When I mentor, that takes some concentration.  I have to ask questions that bring my mentee to greater awareness.  Sometimes I fall back into teacher mode instead of asking questions so he thinks for himself.  When I do that, I see his eyes start to glaze over, and have to work on bringing him back to himself with some questions.  It mentally exhausts me.  Then I went to follow up on a client, and I love this woman to death.  She’s fun and lively and unstoppable.  But she’s a client so I need to make sure she’s on the right track.  I have to ask the questions and get the answers from her so I know what things I need to do to make sure she stays on the right track.

I headed out too late and got to the training session 15 minutes later than I intended.  I facilitated the small group of Treasurers and Secretaries, and to tell you the truth, they didn’t have much to offer.  They were forced into the office because someone had to do it and they were “voluntold.”  This office is an “easy” office, not much for you to do.  Liars.  So we discussed the ways that we contribute to the club that no one in any other position can.  Morale went up, and we weren’t lowly Treasurers/Secretaries.  No, we were the power behind the throne!  (Insert evil laugh here.)

 

Getting them to contribute was like pulling teeth.  Then they asked me to speak for the group since I was the only one taking notes.  Did you get that?  3 Secretaries there and I was the only one taking notes.  I had some rudimentary ideas that we’d discussed, but I’ve been doing these training sessions since I joined TM in 2008.  I expanded on the stuff I had written down so we sounded amazing.

Then my part of the presentation came up and I was helping people get started on a new educational program.  The only thing they remembered about my presentation was the word, “SAVE.”  In truth, the presentation I gave was written by someone else.  They wanted consistency through out the training sessions: 2 here, 2 there, and 1 way the heck out there.  Then we had an interactive session, and one of the activities didn’t go through.  We had to tap dance waiting for it to show up, and it never did.  We would have answered questions, but there were only a couple.  They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

By the end of the night, I’m REALLY short tempered and anxious to go home.  I still have to be nice and smile and laugh.  I helped my hubby get stuff out to the car.  He had the sandwiches on top of the cooler and the storage bin.  I figured to put the sandwiches in my car so I could get them into the house.  I opened my door (which was not locked) and asked for the sandwiches.  At this time I discovered that my hubby was also anxious and short tempered.  “Close that door and open my car door!”  So I did.  Then I grabbed the sandwich plate and squirreled it into my car and took off.  The cooler and the big storage unit, his briefcase, the banner, the easel and the paper went into his car.

When I get home, I jump out of my car.  (OK that’s funny because you’ve never seen me jump out of any car!)  This is how it actually goes:  open car door, stick foot out, watch as car door closes and try to catch it before it cuts my foot off at the calf.  Re-open the door, and get second foot out, and again catch the door as it’s about to hit me in the head as I lean out. Watch the colorful blue smoke and sparks emanate from the driver’s side, the paint peels and the window cracks from the vehemence of my cursing.  I finally get out of the car, hobble over to the passenger’s side, carefully open the door and grab the sandwiches.  Close the door and it catches my coat.  My hands are full of purse, notebook and a big tray of sandwiches.  More colorful adjectives and vindictive curses escape my lips.  More melted paint.  I get the door unlatched, and it immediately closes on my coat again. The temptation to throw the bag, the sandwiches and the notebook rises, but gets subordinated by a new stream of invective. Re-open the car door, pull coat out, move away from door and close it with foot.  March into house.  Deposit purse and notebook, carry sandwiches to kitchen, return to entryway and remove coat, take phone from purse. Stomp into living room and look for murder and mayhem on Netflix.  Watch 2 episodes of Glee.  Yes.  I was looking for Frontier, but I’d seen all of those, and all the Criminal Minds, and all the CSI and the Vikings, and and and…Glee was the only thing left.  There was not nearly enough blood.  I went to bed slightly unsatisfied.

How it feels to be clinically dead…

I say this in jest.  Measurable Progress was supposed to be about my journey down to my ideal weight.  It hasn’t been going well.  I have tried nearly everything to reduce my weight, and of course did tons of research.  I know my gut bacteria is fine.  I know that diet pills and the extra “energy” you get from patches is just adrenaline or caffeine that boosts your metabolism…amphetamines.  Legal speed, but speed.  I hate pills.  I’ll drink coffee or tea or pop (which has WAY too much sugar and tastes awful without it.)  Spending a lot of time at the gym makes me sore and fat instead of just fat… Nothing seems to work. Then I was looking at folks at the gym, and at church, and at my club meetings.  It seemed that they all breathed faster than I did.

When I sit or sleep next to my husband, I breathe once for every 4 of his.  Yup.  So I looked it up:  Normal breathing–respirations per minute–are 12-18 in a normal person over 12 years old.  12-18/minute?  How many breaths do you take in a minute?  I’ll wait.

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So?  How many did you come up with?  16?  14?  Good for you. Realize it’s probably not accurate because you know you’re being observed so NOW you’re paying attention to your breathing.  If you’re over 24 breaths per minute, you may have problems…go see your doctor!!!  If you’re under 8 breaths/minute, you may have problems…go see your doctor!!!  My doctor says my thyroid is fine, my heart rate is about 60 bpm and though there’s a slight murmur, I’ve had it all my life.  However, he hasn’t addressed my respirations which are…(drum roll)  take a guess.

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Would you believe, 4/min?  I inhale over 2 seconds, then exhale for about 13.  Low is 8, if you’re a trained athlete.  Mine’s 1/2 that.  So A) I’m on opioids, B) I have a brain tumor, C) hypothyroidism, D) toxins or E) a head injury.  As far as I know, I don’t have a brain tumor.  Definitely no opioids, or toxins or head injury, and doctor said my thyroid is fine.  The only conclusion is that I’m dead, and my body hasn’t decided to quit breathing altogether. 

When you exercise a lot…running, working on a farm, athlete, construction…you lower your metabolism because you strengthen your heart.  Running forces you to breathe from your diaphragm.  Marathon runners and elite athletes are supposed to be breathing about 50-75 bpm while active, but it doesn’t say what their resting respirations are.  They have to breathe rapidly to get rid of the CO2 which is the byproduct of lactic acid that builds up in the muscles during exertion.  If they don’t breathe quickly, things begin to shut down because the lactic acid builds up the acidity of the blood and that tends to make the brain a bit nervous.  Fast breathing usually happens in the torso rather than deep in the diaphragm.  The upper part of the diaphragm in this case basically flutters.

3d rendered medically accurate illustration of human diaphragm anatomy

When they finish the race or the activity, they bend over to keep from fainting, and have to force as much CO2 from their bodies as possible, so they employ deep diaphragmatic breathing.  Bending over is a bad idea as it inhibits the diaphragm from expelling as much CO2 as it needs to, but that’s neither here nor there.

Their lung capacity grows as they get more fit and their hearts get stronger.  That lowers the resting respiration rate.  But still not below 8-10 bpm.

If I exercise really hard (like those evil interval training exercises!) I can get my heart rate up to 150+ for about 10-15 min.  Then when I stop, it only takes about 5 min for my heart to go back to its 60, and my breathing to return to its 4 and that’s normal for an athlete.  I’m not an athlete, or a dancer, or a laborer.  What does that mean?  My metabolism is very very slow.  That indicates that since I cannot work out 5 hours a day like I did when I was teaching dance, if I eat over 1000 calories/day, I gain weight.  Solutions anyone?

Thongs are not consent

So this Irishman is acquitted for raping a 17 year old girl because she was wearing a thong.

How does that justify rape?  Was it because the other foot was bare?

“Oh Heck no.  Not that kind of thong you idiot.”

It was the only kind of thong I could think of that anyone would see.  Would the rapist run up and down the streets and flip up all the skirts and de-pant all the girls until he found someone with sexy underwear?  News flash:  Not every seventeen year old girl wears thong underwear.  Are they saying that if you wear granny underwear you’ll be safe from rapists?  What a load of crap.

RAPE IS ABOUT POWER NOT SEX!  In fact if you look at serial murders, they refer to the knife as a penetrating weapon in some cases…a substitute for sex.  Rapists are using other things to penetrate (and I don’t mean that euphemistically) as a substitute for murder.  Women have been raped and sodomized by broom handles, coke bottles, and any manner of hardware in addition to men’s genitalia.  Rapists don’t care what kind of underwear she’s wearing any more than a serial killer only murders people because of the way they’re dressed.  “That jacket was SO 80’s, it was a crime against fashion!  I had to kill him!  So I stabbed him right in the ill-fitting polyester, turquoise, inside pocket.”

So unless ALL she was wearing was the thong and everyone could see it, she wasn’t consenting to anything.  In fact, if she doesn’t lean into your window and ask for money or accost you on the street, she’s not asking for it.  Prostitutes make it a business process– marketing if you will–and you wouldn’t know they were prostitutes unless they talked to you because they dress like a lot of other women.  They will stake out a territory and read men to see who would be looking and which man they’d be willing to engage because prostitutes have a choice too.  So, yes!  Prostitutes can be raped.  Their business is sex, and they dress for sex, but it doesn’t mean they consent to every man.  It is therefore NOT the clothes that incite rape.  It is Hate and a Craving for Power.

What I don’t understand is this:  Why didn’t the prosecution use this argument?!!!!  Does he/she deep down think it is possible for the victim to invite rape?

Women, we have to educate people!  We are just as likely to blame victims as everyone else, right up to the point where we are raped.  Is it so hard to imagine someone using sex as a weapon?  We use sex for entrapment, for bargaining, for blackmail, for selling cars and deodorant, manipulating men to get us what we want. The men, then, see women using sex as a weapon.  Men use sex to mark territory, to assert power, to intimidate rivals.  Women see men using sex as a weapon.  Sex is NOT a weapon.With society’s cavalier attitude about sex before marriage, we get shamed for being virgins at our weddings.  “What?  this is the third date and you haven’t had sex yet?  You’re going to lose him!”  Men get shamed if they’re virgins past age 20.  “What?  you haven’t been laid yet?  We gotta get you a piece!” That isn’t the purpose of sex!  It is for the expression of love beyond the love of friends and family.  It’s something only the two of you share.

Anything in the world that is good and pure and right can be perverted into something dank and dark and demeaning.  Anything can be used as a weapon of manipulation.  We just have to recognize the weapon for what it is.  Take it in context.  Don’t take away the responsibility for the crime from the perpetrator.  No one asks to be robbed or mugged or beaten or killed.  No one asks to be raped.