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If/Then

If you eat a certain way, then your blood sugar reflects it.

If you exercise, your muscles respond.

If you keep track of your calories in and calories expended, you know why you’re gaining or losing weight.

If…then.

Why doesn’t it work then?

I eat Keto, and my blood sugar is all over the map.

I exercise, and my muscles get sore, but not stronger.

I keep track of my calories and in order to lose weight, I’d have to eat 1 egg, 1 piece of bacon, and 1/2 tomato, and be done for the day. I only have 200 cal of activity per day.

My watch says my stress level is up. How? I’m just sitting and reading!

Biology, then, is not predictable with any degree of accuracy. What a shock!

Gizmos

I got me one of them fancy watches that tells your heartbeat, your blood pressure, your bank balance, and your grocery list. I’m a little intimidated. I think It’s smarter than I am. It should be coming sometime next week. The watch is normal size, but I think the owner’s manual might be bigger than the one for my car… More to follow.

The reason for this marvelous invention? I keep track of my intake of calories, but the expenditure is only a guess. My fitness apps don’t assign caloric values for strength training. I cannot explain why my blood glucose is so wild based on my eating habits. I dropped 25 pounds and seem stuck now, but I have started doing weight training. You know how it feels the day after you do some new workout? Not so bad? So you go the next day. Then the second day after you’ve started your workouts, it hits you. BAM. It’s not just the stuff you did on the 1st day, but compounded on the 2nd and so the 3rd day you need a forklift to get you out of bed.

Ow.

Doing bent-over-the-bench lat rows, I can do 20 reps at 25#. Not sure what my max weight is. Then doing bench presses with dumbbells and those scare the crap out of me. I did 20# in each hand for 10 reps. That’s 40#. I was afraid to try the 25# weights. I think I’d need a spotter.

Wt: 202

So this morning, my Garmin is going off like crazy, every 30 seconds! I thought it was supposed to let me sleep, but I set my “get up” time for 7:30 so at 7:45 it says “Good Morning!” But it doesn’t stop. It’s off sleep mode now so it’s connected to my phone. Now I’m still not ready to get up, but I have to find out what is dinging the crap out of my wrist. It’s connected to my weather app, and although it’s been raining, lightning, and thundering since 3:00 AM, it’s so important that my GARMIN tells me that it’s RAINING. Then 5 min later, it’s STILL RAINING. Then 5 min later It’s going to continue to rain for the next 10 minutes. Then 10 min later, “See, I told you so!” Then 5 min later, it may rain in the next 15 min; then in the next 10; then in the next 5; and then Ohhh Kay maybe 6 more minutes. I’m learning how to turn off alerts.

Never write a blog if you’re depressed

And yet, here I am.

I am a teacher. I have been a teacher for 52 years. I KNOW I’m not supposed to be comparing myself to others; I’m doing what I love…

And yet, here I am.

Most teachers that have been teaching as long as I have, are dead. At the very least, they’re retired and living on the state pension. I’m working with 5 students and bringing in about $600/month. That is a full $1200 less than someone that lasted long enough in the system to get a pension. I would never have qualified because I got fired from all 9 of the teaching jobs I had after teaching there 1 year. So apparently, I’m not a GOOD teacher.

So, here I am.

I am a financial analyst. I have the highest level certification in securities and am also certified in life insurance. I have been in the business for 22 years. Most people in the company that have been working for 22 years have over 100 representatives and thousands of clients. They are making between $75K and $206K. I have 0 representatives on my team and less than 20 clients, and I average about $4500/year. So apparently, I’m not a GOOD financial analyst.

And yet, here I am.

I have been told I am a natural at coaching, but I need to unlearn my teaching approach to coaching. I somehow made it to a group that will (as of August 5) be accredited by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. This is rare air indeed. Everyone in this group already has a coaching business and I’m hearing SMART goals that include making $125K in the next quarter. They are told to write a short book, to come up with a mailing list with daily emails, and to have products and services such as webcasts, master classes, masterminds, websites, and speaking engagements. They are told to have various funnels that bring prospects into their business where they are converted into clients.

So, here I am.

I am studying my butt off. I am practicing skills. But I have no clients. “Go get clients!” They say. So I try to get a website going. They say, “Why do you need a website? You have no clients! Go get clients!” So I try getting my book written. They say, “Why are you writing a book? You have no one to sell it to! Go get clients!” So now I find myself in the same situation as I am in the financial business. No clients, no income. No income, no marketing. No marketing, no clients to provide income. And round and round it goes. How do I get clients? Knock on doors, put up flyers, send out brochures, put events in LinkedIn and Facebook… Why would I think that this would be successful when I have few friends on Facebook and fewer followers on LinkedIn?

And yet, here I am.

I thoroughly believed that if I was REALLY good at what I did, I would have students and clients and recognition as a person you could go to that would help you solve your problems. I see people who are barely qualified to teach what I’ve taught getting accolades as Teacher of the Year. I see people who don’t understand money like I do making the rounds as a retirement specialist and giving seminars on how to have a mediocre return on your money. I’ve seen coaches who basically tell their clients what to do and get paid thousands of dollars per session and there is no transformation in the participant, they just check off boxes.

I write books that no one will ever read. I write music no one will ever hear. I’m a club-coach coach who has never coached a club. I am a cook that can’t hold down a job in a restaurant. I have choreography to music that no one will ever dance to. I have an unfinished 3′ x 5′ cross stitch project that will remain on my “to do” pile along with an afghan that took me 5 years to finish and came apart where it was sewn and a sweater my husband needs mending. I used to speak 5 languages but now can only parse together 4-5 word phrases. I have a 120,000-word novel that will never get finished or published, and that short book I was told not to write will also remain unfinished and unpublished.

So, I shouldn’t be here.

I don’t fit.

  • When I was taking ballet at the Omaha Academy of Ballet, I couldn’t stretch into the splits because I had an artificial and restrictive hip replacement. There were certain things I couldn’t do. So when we were doing combinations on the diagonal, I’d just stroll to the other side of the room. I wouldn’t even try.
  • When I was in fast food, they had production levels based on the average production on that particular day of the week. But they didn’t account for slow and peak periods and as a result, they overproduced during the slow periods and wasted a lot of food and underproduced during the peak periods, and ran out and lost customers. I kept my mouth shut because my background in statistics had no value there. I didn’t even try to change this system that didn’t work.
  • When I was teaching music in the schools, I was teaching kids to be creative and to integrate all the classes they were taking into the music they were making. I found this is not what the administration and the other teachers wanted. I quit trying to get teaching positions in the schools.

Do you know what’s worse than failing? Succeeding at something that doesn’t matter. There are so many things that I wanted to do and finish really well until I recognized they were worthless goals. I may have a gift for teaching, coaching, and music, but it makes no difference how good I am if people don’t want what I can offer. I’m to the point where I don’t even want to start anything new…just binge BritBox and complain to the world.

Have you got a book in you?

I am part of a collaborative group that puts out inspirational books. We just put out a practical book!!! This was strange because we were using the same principles we had chosen for the other books:

  1. explore one aspect of the subject,
  2. call to mind some stories that help people look at the subject from a different perspective,
  3. give the reader something to think about.

What was different about our last book? It was a “How-To” book on the Art of Speaking. The chapters included organization, incorporating humor, making use of body language and vocal variety (which was really tough because it’s difficult to get across those concepts without actually hearing them!), and the end result was something that could actually serve as a manual for the readers to follow.

What is cool about how our group works is that we keep getting invited to the local library for “local authors” events. There will be a table where we display our (Now 7) books and a hefty percentage of the authors in attendance. The number of authors for each book varies from 7 to 13.

While we sit behind our table we come in contact with other authors. Once we sat next to Preston Love!!! He was astonished that such a big group could work on a single project and still be friends afterward. We were displaying our latest book, “Spotlight on the Art of Gratitude” and he told us that after watching our group all afternoon, he still couldn’t tell who the leader was.

We also walk around and visit the other authors to see what kind of books they’ve got, how long they have been writing, do they have an agent, who does their publishing, stuff like that. Every once in a while, some of us may buy books. I tend to buy books on the history of the area.

There was a book that intrigued me after reading the back cover. It was about a businessman and his ex-girlfriend who had a daughter with him, and he was striving to make the world a better place. The writer of this book went to a self-publishing service. They did not proofread, edit, or format his book. After looking at their website, I’m guessing he got the Black & White interior with the glossy cover. He spent about $2000 on publishing the book, and he got 58 copies. The cost of printing that sized book is about $7.00 apiece. There was no way he would make a profit unless he sold over 275 copies. The chances of him coming out with a new book every 6 months (like we did) were slim and none.

Folks, this book was terrible. I couldn’t get past the first 40 pages and threw it away. Now those of you who know me know I would never throw a book out unless it was covered in duct tape and missing 20 of the interior pages. It was supposed to be a work of fiction. You’d think that there might be a plot somewhere in those first 40 pages. There was a back story on the main character, and there were 18 other characters introduced and all had superficial back stories–one or two sentences each. But we still don’t know why we’re interested in this particular character. And horror of all horrors, this author wants to make this into a series about the guy! So the saying is true…you can’t judge a book by its cover.

How hard is it to write a book? MONUMENTAL!!!! Right?

Nope. You have told stories all your life. There was that one time on vacation… I remember that bully in 6th grade… I entered a car into the pinewood derby once… See? You string these stories together. As you write, you start making up things that your main character would have to do to get from Zero to Hero. Give him a team or maybe pit him against his villain. You can go anywhere with this! Make an outline of what you want to say in your book whether it’s a story or a textbook. Fill in the details. Describe your setting and your characters. How did they get to be the person you’d see in this story? Why are they IN the story? You see?

Half, no 7/8 of what happens in your story is based on the questions you ask yourself. Take the part of the reader as he interviews the characters. Take the perspective of someone that wants to ask the author why this or that scene is in the book… If it’s an adventure, tell us who you want to win in the end. If it is a biography, make a two-dimensional person into a three-dimensional person. Don’t just tell us what he did and when he did it. Tell us about his character, his values, his loves, his hates, his fears… If it is inspirational, include a call to action.

Here’s the most important part: Have fun writing!

Measurable Progress? So what?

Recently, I’ve had some REAL measurable progress. My pants size has dropped from 2XL to 16P. This is a major change. So I decided rather than wear my baggy jeans, I would go and get some that fit me. Big Mistake.

I hate shopping.

First of all, America is filled with fat people. 41% are obese. 41%. That’s a lot of fat people. Now, look at TV. The only people you see that are fat are old women. They’re the doting old grannies and maiden aunts and church ladies. All the women under 40 are svelt, symmetrical, and muscular. They all wear stilettos. I can think of 2 exceptions. There was a serial killer who’d had electroshock therapy when she was a child and her father abused her, so when he took away her dolls, she got human substitutes. Then there was the serial killer who had PCOS and was convinced that the photographer that worked with her sister in the flower shop was in love with her and was going to marry her and, of course, he proposed to the sister! So there’s that. Old ladies and serial killers. Not sure which category I’d put myself in. OK, wait, there’s Crissy Metz, and the big news is that she’s lost 100 pounds.

Anyway, with that many people being overweight, why is 85% of the floor space in the department-store ladies’ section dedicated to people that are not obese? Why do they put the plus-sizes in the corner, wayyyyy in the back? (snarky comment–fat people need the exercise anyway so we provide that!) Why do all the dresses and tops look like discarded wedding tents and camping tarps? Why do the sizes go from 12P, 14P, 22W, and “continued on next table”…that is empty. Why do the manufacturers assume that if you have a 40″ waist, you’re 7’2” tall? Why do they think that petite people are all size 0? How do they come to the conclusion that you need an extra foot of fabric at the hips if you can fit the waist, and if you fit the hips, you need low-rise pants so your muffin top has something to sit on?

And what genius decided that size 22W people wanted Super-Skinny jeans? They even have Jeggings–leggings that look like jeans. They’re easy to put on, but God help you if you have to go to the bathroom in a hurry! The only way out of them is by turning them inside out. and if you want to take them off (for instance in the fitting room) and you cannot bend over to get them over your feet, you need to get creative. If I wanted jeans so tight they look painted on, I’d paint them on.

Shop online, they say. I went to the Dress Barn, where I used to be able to find stuff that fit. They seem to be online only now. Most of their models are tall and if they’re overweight, they’re not big. No way to try the pants on before selecting a size. Sooo, buy 1 type of pants in 3 different sizes to get the fit right? SURE! Buy something and wait until it ships then find out it doesn’t fit…because 16P at one store isn’t the same as 16P from another. In fact, 16P in the same store will not be the same under another label. In fact, 16P in the same label on the left side of the display is not the same as on the right side. I also went to the Lane Bryant site. They’re selling the same brands, the same sizes, and using the same models!

I guess I’ll wait to get new clothes until I’m down another 50 pounds or so, and have grown 5 inches and put on enough muscle so my BMI is at -2%. I’m going to my room and have a good cry.

What is testing for?

Wait. You thought testing was to judge how well you know your material? Isn’t that adorable!

You have to see who’s looking at the test and how it is used in relationship to the material. Sounds complicated? Maybe. Let’s break it down.

The teacher writes the test:

  1. The teacher grades it and the student’s knowledge is assessed. It is a tool to see how much the student has learned over the course. It may be a chapter; it may be a concept; it may be the entirety of the semester’s contents.
  2. The teacher grades it and the student’s understanding is assessed. It’s a tool to see how well the teacher has communicated the information or the concepts. This is done on a smaller scale so you will see pop quizzes. The teacher uses the testing and measuring to improve her method of teaching. You don’t do that at the end of the semester—it’s too late!
  3. The test is graded by a 3rd party. It could be a grad student or a computer. The assessment results in a graph of normalized behavior. This is a testing measurement, not a comparison to see if people in the class are deranged or mentally unstable.

If the bulk of the students are getting an A at 95% then the test indicates that the material covered is fairly easy to understand. If the bulk of the students are getting Ds at 70%, the material is very difficult. It is a test of the Material, not the Teacher’s performance or the Students’ performance. This information is used by colleges and institutions that want to limit access. The flaw in this is that the test cannot include essay questions because grad students and computers do not grade like the teacher does…knowing the individuals who are taking the test and the way they communicate. What do I mean by limiting access? On the secondary or post-secondary level, the test is given to discern whether the student can “test out” of the class. He or She already understands the concepts and the uses of the materials and can be admitted into a more advanced class. In sports, it separates those with natural talent from those with average talent. It does not measure the amount of work, dedication, and innovation an athlete has devoted to the sport. For instance, if the football or soccer try-outs include a 40-meter dash with a minimum time requirement, it doesn’t reveal how well the player manipulates the ball over those 40 meters, how well they can out-maneuver the opposing players, or how long they can sustain the speed. There are other tryout requirements, of course, but this test is the make or break for the aspiring player.

The teacher does not write the test:

When would this happen?!

  1. The test is generated by knowledgeable people in the field: academia, industry, or physical performance. It is supposed to exemplify the ideal qualities that indicate a high probability of success in the organizations.
  2. The test is generated by people designing an avatar that embodies the ideal qualities of the members of their organizations. These may be unrealistic.
  3. The test is generated by a computer based on the questions most missed in assessment tests in order to weed out undesirables.

 In that case, let’s revisit the outcomes:

  1. The teacher grades the test. It is used to compare what the testing institution thinks is important. The teacher compares the answers of the students to the ideals set by the organization and then teaches to the test! It has no bearing on whether the student truly understands the material. It has everything to do on whether the student understands what the test writers think is important.
  2. There are no pop quizzes because the teacher doesn’t decide what are important components of the material. The main focus is pitting the students against the test writers.

For instance, in the 20 or so years I have been in the finance industry, I have never seen a viatical agreement…an agreement whereby a terminally ill person sells the “benefit” of their life insurance to another company in return for 50% of the benefit immediately. The company continues to pay premiums. On a $100,000 policy, the client gets $50,000 now to pay off debts, take a vacation with the family, or find alternative treatment procedures. When the client dies, the company, not his family, receives the $100,000. The company makes $50,000 for a 6–9-month investment. Yet, the insurance test had 7 questions of the about viatical settlements out of the 150 questions on the test.

  • The test is graded by a third party. This is mainly a computer. Once again, there are no essay questions because computers cannot grade essays. It purports to assess the fitness of the individual for the position sought. It does not. It ACTUALLY assesses how well the applicant takes a test. The purpose of the test is to eliminate as many applicants as possible for such reasons as
  • making the business appear to be elite
  • implying that a higher cost for admission into this group is merited
  • reducing the burden on the trainers by ensuring that the applicants that pass the test will be familiar with those testing methods and able to at least approximate knowledge of the material needed to be competent at the job

This kind of test is the most common test you will run up against!

This is insidious! When third parties get into the assessment of participants, many times the material deemed “important” is determined by people who have no idea what they’re doing. They can insert a political agenda into the curriculum. They can test on things that do not matter in the real world. They can insist on a bias or quality that is in no way related to the requirements of the job.

Imagine if the boxing association was run like this.

“All boxers should be equipped to defend themselves in the ring. They should be schooled in the correct fundamentals of both offensive and defensive strikes and blocks. They must take an 8-hour ethics course every other year and have a required 3-hour sensitivity training course every quarter. Gym trainers and coaches will enforce a strict uniform requirement. There shall be no policies regarding the color of the trunks, and all trunks should be no more than 4” above the knee when the participant is kneeling. Tattoos may be in black ink and have no racial or ethnic references. The fighters’ names can only be last names, no descriptive titles. Hate speech will not be tolerated.”

It sounds lofty…Mohammed Ali would not have qualified. Rocky Marciano would not have qualified.

Many tests in the educational system are devised by people outside the educational field. In fact, a teacher, having gone through four or five grueling years of classes and certification activities such as student teaching and tutoring, may graduate with honors and still be refrained from teaching in school systems because they must pass a state-required competency test. Remember that these teachers had to get by the educational access test required by the college to even get INTO the education-major program.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO?

When you are taking a test, consider the test itself. Is it a standardized test required by the government? Is it a standardized test required by the industry? Is it taken on a computer without essay questions? Then the results do not reflect what you know about the material, they just show how well you take a test. If the test is written and graded by a teacher, they are testing 2 things: First, how well do you pay attention in class or know your material, and Second, how well is the material

What is WRONG with these people?!!!

The Scene:

A couple out in the woods. They wander off the path to a secluded spot next to a stream under a willow tree. He spreads out a blanket and she sets up the picnic. A breeze picks up and suddenly a body, several days dead, drops onto their picnic. Screams ensue! The theme music of the show comes up and introduces all the characters.

The experts:

1. The “Bones” people show up in their blue coveralls and ship the tree, the remains, the picnic, the stream, and all the ants to the Jeffersonian for analysis.

Unintended Consequences: All the janitors at the Jeffersonian quit.

2. The medical examiner from NCIS and his assistant talk to the mess that used to be a human and tell the body that they will find the culprit and bring them to justice. They have jurisdiction because the victim WORE his medal of honor with his name engraved on the back of it.

UC: The victim talks back to the examiner, Ducky, and he is transported in a straight-jacket to the nearest facility as he repeatedly mutters “I am Not Illya Kuryakin.”

3. The CSI Miami team shows up in Brilliant White pants and pastel shirts and $800 shoes, picks up a single hair from the blanket that doesn’t belong to the couple or the victim, and leaves the scene without having to spend a small fortune in dry cleaning.

UC: The CSI Miami team gets back to the lab where they discover who’s having an affair with a member of the team, examine daddy issues, interview the couple and their nanny and their teenage son to discover they’re barking up the wrong tree.

4. The CSI Las Vegas team waits until it is dark before going to the scene and wanders around in the dark with their flashlights. One of the botanists on the team climbs the tree and locates a single fingerprint on one of the leaves.

UC: The CSI Las Vegas team gets back to the lab where they discover one of their team is still at the scene because his flashlight went dead and he got lost.

5. The BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI) shows up with a tracker who locates the distinct footprint of the probable assailant. They deduce that the unsub (unknown subject) is a 5’10”, 180-pound, red-haired man, 37 years old with a graduate degree in accounting and a slight limp on his left leg due to an unfortunate encounter with a coffee table.

UC: The BAU gets back to the lab and has their computer geek find all the accountants graduating from all the colleges in the Miami area that are now 37 years old, weigh 180 pounds, and have a coffee table with a dent in it. Derek Morgan breaks down the door, even if it isn’t locked. He likes breaking down doors.

6. Sam and Dean Winchester show up and interview the traumatized couple and ask them about the smell of sulfur. Then they interview the tree.

UC: The willow tree grabs Sam and Dean and throws them around saying something in “Treeish” while they hack off branches and speak in Latin.

7. Dexter goes to the guy’s house and puts a needle in his neck.

UC: The culprit is covered in plastic wrap on a table and Dexter asks why he only attacks members of the military and where he gets these false medals of honor, then he stabs him with a flag pole.

My question is this: What are these writers smoking?

Interesting review

It’s not a movie, a book, or a restaurant…It’s my blog from Day 1 to today.

It started in March of 2014. I was disgusted with myself. It wasn’t so much how I looked, but how I felt. I used to teach ballet and then I couldn’t get out of a couch. I had hiked the iceberg Lake trail in Glacier National Park (9.6 miles) and now walking around the block left me exhausted. Activities I loved were now not possible. I felt awful. So I started on this route.

I had had a trainer before I started this blog. I had actually gotten down to 187 pounds after a particularly bad week with an upper respiratory infection. Then the weight started piling on. I hit 200 pounds and was struck with the realization that real people my height don’t weigh 200 pounds. Today, I have been on this KETO diet since March…so about 2 months. I have successfully dropped below the 208 pounds I was when I started this blog. The last time I weighed this little was August of 2015.

Wt: 203

Activity: Sporadic walks around Lied trail and sometimes at the Safari Park. Nothing consistant yet.

Now, I’m at 202.

9/5/2022 Update

wt: 199