Exercise Woes

I have to tell you that exercise is not my friend.

It is said that exercise is great for increasing your energy levels, making you “feel better”,  as well as decreasing your stress.

Ah, the “magic pill”. . .that does not, in any of those categories, work for me.

Exercise leaves me feeling insanely exhausted.  At the end of any given workout I feel like death warmed over, and hubby pretty much verifies that is what I look like too.  As for decreasing stress?  Let me just say any time you have something on your daily to-do list that you dread. . .it is a major stress inducer.

Oh, and during any workout (I do exercise videos), the nutty, smiling leader is always talking about all these stupendous benefits while also proclaiming the wonders of “endorphins”.  Let me just say, for me, those little buggers exist on the same mythical playing field as Pegasus.

I think the worst thing is the number of people that state these things as FACT.   Sort of like those who declared for decades, that you know you are having a heart attack if you have pain in your left arm; or the whole “flight or fight” theory.  Course, recently it has been shown that both of those aren’t true for the majority of the population because the studies that came up with that bunk only used male test subjects.

Not that I’m suggesting this exercise hocus-pocus is false, or that it only applies to men.  I am merely stating it does not apply to me; and I’m willing to bet I am not the only one.  Because, it stands to reason, should exercise be as wonderful as exercise gurus claim it to be, we would not be a nation of obese people.

All that said, you will find me up at 0500 nearly every morning for my daily workout.  (I have very low energy levels and they are at their highest in the morning; otherwise, I would try to figure out how to workout at night, as my most favorite thing to do after working out is to go to sleep.)  Also, given the dread I have for working out, I reduce my stress by not being completely awake when I’m prepping to cross  it off my to-do list.

I do not work out for any benefits other than the fact that it does help my clothes fit better and, possibly, because it will keep me healthier.  (I’m not holding my breathe.)

So, it should not surprise you that in the midst of my workouts my thought processes are. . .grumpy?

I do a different workout every day, on a rotating weekly schedule.  This keeps me from getting bored and plateauing.  Just this week I switched to a new, more “difficult” routine.

Wednesday is yoga day.  I think the routine I did yesterday is headed for the trash.  Not only did I have to hear the bunk about all the great benefits I was NOT going to be feeling, but  I had to listen to the dude’s idiocy.

I mean, at one point we are doing breathing exercises.  (And literally, we are sitting in the “ohm” pose — modified criss-cross applesauce, with wrists on your knees and your thumb and middle finger touching in a circle.)

Just to interrupt my own train of thought here:  Why???  What does that pose do for you?  How does holding your fingers in such a way do anything for breathing or relaxing?  I just don’t get it!

Anyway, the guy wants us to think about “absorbing energy”.  And to help us do this we are to “visualize a sun or a star above your head”.

What?  Does the man not know that a sun is a star?  I mean if he doesn’t that could explain a lot.  Wait a second!  What if he thinks WE don’t know that the sun is a star?  (offense taken)  And, that retard, if the sun and / or star was above my head I’d have “absorbed so much energy” I’d be burnt to non-existence.  Like that will do me a fat lot of good.

You know, I thought of one other benefit I gain from these terrible torture sessions.  Normally, my natural aggressions are completely expelled by the end of the workouts so that my family doesn’t have to deal with such a cantankerous me.  I would suppose there is a great blessing in that.

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The Power of Youth

 Today I had not one, but MANY mothers come up to me and thank me for requiring their children to do a personal finance project.

“It has taught [my student] the harsh realities of life.”

*sigh*

And I walked away feeling very deflated.

In all honesty I could not, with any sense of personal integrity due to the nature of this class, avoid doing this project.  That said, it was truly a personal struggle to make it happen, and it was for this very reason that I was so hesitant to require it.

I have been inundated with conversations of late about how hard this teenager is going to have it or that teenager, or those hypothetical few that fall into *that* category.  (Pregnancy, young marriage, medical issues, pick your poison.)

According to all the adults with whom I am forced to suffer these conversations all I hear over and over again is:

“They won’t be able to do it.”

“Oh, don’t expect them to be able to adapt to that change!”

“It’s too hard!”

“What were they thinking?!”

and on and on. . .

My favorite is, “They don’t know what that will require from them.”  At least that one is completely accurate, and God bless them for their ignorance.

The others are a bunch of old-fogey junk!

I mean, “Hello??!!”  Well over 98% of the people I have these conversations with, I know how their adult life started out, and yet they somehow made it.

Because:

Youth is highly adaptable.

Youth is truly optimistic.

Youth has the power of imagination and belief that it can be better.

Youth has the ability to rise again, even if they have been beat down repeatedly.

Why do so many of us with the *wisdom* of age refuse to acknowledge those very simple truths?  Think of the many very young mothers that somehow raised families.  Think of the young men who provided for those families.  Think of Alexander the Great, who died when he was about 30.  What about Civil Rights?  Was it a bunch of old people (or even middle-aged) marching the streets demanding change?

What truly scares me is the number of parents who see everything as an impossibility for their youth making excuses for their offspring.  Or worse, preventing certain things from occurring on the pretext of saving their children from these challenges.

Gosh darn it, CHALLENGE YOUR KIDS!  Provide them with an opportunity to grow.  Let them learn the power of success in spite of change or difficulties.  Let them learn the pain of failure, for it is often through those failures that the most is attained.

I want to scream to teens and young adults alike, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” (courtesy of Ms. Frizzle)

Today I was congratulated on helping the teens in my class get a “grasp on reality”.

To those teens, and all others:

“Reality” will come soon enough.  Until then, reach for your stars.  Make things happen.  Go for the impossible.  Achieve all and more that those who are older than you say is beyond your grasp.

You have the enviable power of youth.  Do not squander it.

Finding the Yellow Brick Road

I am including this video clip as it is sort of related,

and because CERTAIN people say I “overthink” things I thought they would appreciate knowing my thoughts:

  • Where does the red-brick road lead?
  • Why does she have (or choose) to start at the very beginning of a spiral?  (Seriously, I’d skip that. . .straightest distance between two points and all.)  Maybe it’s a play on the tornado?

Anyway, I love the idea of traveling a path towards learning.  Honestly, what more can one ask on an educational journey than that of “courage”, “heart”, and “brains”?

the-wizard-of-oz-original

So, when I am planning a unit study, I tend to seek out my Yellow Brick Road.  In reality, I merely try to find the path, for once I see the trailhead it has always seemed as if the way just fell into place.

Sometimes, this is very easy for me, for instance in geography.  Other times I struggle a bit, as in state studies.

It is interesting to note that regardless of how long it takes me to find the magical start point, I always enjoy it.  That is a whole route in and of itself.  I get to read, and study, and watch videos, and find interesting rabbit trails that may, or may not, qualify as bricks upon the path.

Not that I won’t gripe about it to my friends!  This process can be incredibly stressful, especially if there is a time crunch, or if the subject is too ambiguous or “large”.  Part of my griping though, is a vocalization of my brain’s scattered thoughts.  Sometimes, just saying things out-loud makes you realize their connection, or even if there is one.  Sometimes, in voicing my thoughts, a friend will pop off with some bit that was actually a piece of the puzzle I still had yet to realize was missing.  Many of my friends are brilliant and talented in areas where I am lacking and can offer an insight that I desperately need.  I greatly appreciate my friends!  (And, I’m truly sorry if I get a bit cranky sometimes.)

The unit study I’m currently obsessing over is money management / economics / and computers.  It’s HUGE.  I’m “talking” about it A LOT to my friends.  (My husband has already declared that his ears are off limits to this particular conversation. He suffers from a serious lack of stamina!)

I am starting to hit a point of panic, as I have yet to find my magical start point.  I’m beginning to feel that this may not be a “Yellow Brick Road”; rather, it may be a “Fieldstone Path” and the stones have been dumped at my doorstep awaiting me to piece them together.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know that I have the finesse required to construct a fieldstone path, so I am still desperately seeking my yellow brick road.

But, I know one thing, once I find that elusive yellow brick road; I’ll have a grand time traveling it!

Survey Says!

Recently, due to self-study for a course I’ll be teaching, I have had the occasion to take a number of surveys.  Surveys like “personality”, “career aptitude”, “career interest”, and even “spiritual gifts”.

This has been eye opening for me, because I CANNOT fill these out without feeling immensely guilty!

Most of these ask you to “quantify” the statement, with a 5 being the highest and a 1 being the lowest.

Here’s the thing:  I can NEVER put a 5 down.  I mean, certainly I “could”.  I am physically capable to write a 5, but the instant I do I feel as if I had just told the biggest lie EVER.

For example, a fairly simple and straightforward statement:

“I am good at scheduling.”

I put a 4.  Even if I knew I were better than everyone I personally know (and I’m not saying I am), I could not put a 5 because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, someone out *there* is much better than I.  Therefore the highest I can go is a 4.

The same is not true of the opposite end.

This following statement had me in fits:

“I am willing to talk to strangers (umm, NO!) about God (oh, HECK NO!).”

Obviously, the proper response there, for me, is a ZERO; yet, technically, that is not an option.  So, I write down the stupid “1” and feel like I’m sinning against everything I believe in.

Some of these statements I think they throw in there to purposefully trip you up.

“I can schedule an event and get everyone cheerfully working towards that goal.”

So, the first part is a 4 and the second part is. . .well “who” are the “everyone”?  What is the event / goal?  Does this involve young/hyper children?  Menopausal women?  Teens?  Why is there a CONJUNCTION thrown in there???  And why the adverb “cheerfully”? Seriously, can’t they work toward the goal without complaint and we call it good? (Now, if it was a water balloon fight, involving my family I could, with surety, put a . . .4.)

One would think the “middle-of-the-road” questions would be okay, but I tend to seriously question my answers there too.

“Well, if I’m not sure. . .am I over-estimating my abilities by putting a 3?  Or am I undervaluing myself by placing a 2?  Will a difference of one matter?  If I check to see what category this question will eventually fall under is that considered cheating?”

Some questions I honestly do not know the answer.  I mean, the situation is not one that I’ve experienced.  I may have a desire for a certain behavior in such a situation, but I honestly don’t know what would happen.

“If I were a bystander in a bank robbery, I would try to keep everyone safe.”

Well, yes!  Hello?  I would love to put a. . .well, a “4” there.  But, to be completely honest, I may be that person that sits in the corner whimpering and peeing their pants.  I DO NOT know!

Guess what. . .there’s no number for that response.

All of this angst results in the following response when you take a computer “graded” survey:

“Are you a real person?”

In response to which I write, “4”.  (I think.)

Fuzzy Gray

 As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize what a “black and white” person I really am.

I mean, I realize there are “shades of gray”; I just don’t prefer to dwell there.

For example, I was at the commissary (grocery store) yesterday.  In the process of putting my items on the checkout belt I grabbed a plastic bag of pasta and, before my very eyes, an edge caught on the cart and ripped.

I turned to the cashier and handed her the bag explaining what had happened and she asked me,

“Would you like to go get another bag?”

And, I truly wonder what sort of look was upon my face. . .because I realized, by her asking the question, that she’s had a previous experience wherein a customer demanded a new bag.

So, I explained, that no, it was my fault, but if she could please swipe it quick and tie it in a plastic bag, so it wouldn’t spill everywhere, I’d take care of it once I got home.

I mean, why on earth would I stiff the store for something that was clearly my fault?

That brought to mind the memory of a story a lady had told me.

She had bought a bag of oranges.  From the outside they all looked perfectly fine, but once peeled it was evident they were anything but.  So, she grabbed the whole caboodle, took it back to the store and asked for a refund!

How is it the store’s fault?!  I mean, just like the customer they bought in good faith.  They had no clue the oranges are bad, anymore than the customer or, for that matter, the farmer who grew and harvested the fruit.

I mean, yes, it is good PR for the store to refund your money. . . but is it right for you to request it?  (This is not the case for manufactured products where the store can send the defects back and demand reimbursement.)

And, I’ve heard the, “They are a company and can afford that loss, but I have to watch out for my family’s budget” argument. . .

Well, yes, if it was only that one loss, but how many customers are doing the same thing?  At what point is the store going to start paying attention to ITS budget?

When the store manager does he’s going to look at the young cashier on checkout lane 5 and go to inform her that he won’t need her the last 3 hours of her shift (even though he only has two other lanes open and customers waiting), because he has to watch his bottom line after all.

And that young cashier goes home and bends over her sleeping babe to give him a kiss, while a tear runs down her cheek, because she is suddenly 3 hours shy of bringing home the minimum amount of money she needs to cover her bills every week.

Yep, “fuzzy gray” causes me fits!

Jam Sessions

Yesterday, I got a text from a friend declaring “free berries”.

You have to love those texts!

The thing was she was putting them out at 1100, and I was not planning to leave my house until 1230, and I have this thing about not driving somewhere unless I have to, and it’s always best to wrap your trips to places together.  (Saves on gas.)

And to be perfectly honest, I didn’t *need* any berries.  I had enough in the frig for my family for the week. . .

So, I spent the next period of time trying to get over my self-imposed gas / trip issues, and then I receive another text:

“Wanna make jam?”

For the record, I made jam last week.  Blueberry jam, and it was result of pretty much the same sort of texts.

“YES!”  (I had to erase the “duh” as I figured it would sound offensive.)

And lo and behold, between the efforts of four very good friends, three boxes of fruit wind up on my doorstep!

In point of fact, it was over 30 pints of blackberries, about 16 pounds of strawberries, and 10 pounds of apricots!

Now, my best friend had called to discuss best jam times with me, (her husband was one of the four) and we had decided on Monday; however, there was no way the fruit was going to last that long.  So schedules and situations were arranged and we were making jam yesterday afternoon.

July 6

Making jam is a hot business, and one would suppose that when temps reach well into the 90s and you haven’t A/C that this would be miserable.  However, it never seems so when you have a bestie to slave away with.  We could chatter and work, ponder and question, laugh. . .and stir.

By the way, waiting for fruit to boil. . .GAH!

We decided should we ever go into business making jam we would call ourselves “Toil and Trouble”, because the boiling issue is so infuriating, it made us feel “witch-y”.  (Or maybe because one of us is always causing trouble and the poor other one has to toil along after. . .)

You know, there is an odd thing about these types of jam sessions too.  It is the ONLY time a hostess NEVER feels guilty about offering their guest toast!  😀

We finished the strawberries and made a huge dent in the blackberries.  Today, I will finish those off, and then work on something “new”.

I am going to attempt to dehydrate the apricots.  THIS should be interesting!  I’ll let you know how it goes.  I know you are simply dying with anticipation!

ETA:  Apricots are having to wait till tomorrow, early a.m.

Relearning Habits

It seems I have very much gotten out of the habit of writing!

Of course, I did have computer issues this past week.  Still don’t quite know what is going on, but it’s a pain.

Part of the problem, is I have lots of thoughts, and opinions. . .To be perfectly honest, I’m quite certain my friends would appreciate my silence.

I have a friend who I chat with every morning on FB. . .except for like the last month!  Our vacations butted up to each other. . .I miss her.

HA!  I thought there was yet another computer issue, but just realized that my shift key got stuck.  Do you think it’s due to humidity, or age?

Here, I’ll throw out an opinion.  It developed as I had the “opportunity” to suffer a period of time of chronic tiredness recently.

I think, to an extent, that many (not all) sufferers of ADHD are actually suffering from a serious lack of sleep.

In fact, to be perfectly honest, I think that’s the bigger problem and people are misdiagnosing it as ADHD.  Truly, look at the symptoms of both, and tell me a difference that age and maturity does not affect.

I don’t think kids are getting enough sleep.  I mean, I’ve gone to restaurants at 8 in the evening and seen very small children there.  Or those same ones out late at night with their parents shopping.  And let me tell you, the kids are TIRED!  Their behavior truly indicates it.

I mean, I “get it”.  Parents are working long hours.  Their only family time / entertainment time / shopping time is evening.  Shoot, in our area, the elementary kids’ sports even schedule game times as late as 9 pm!  That’s just insane!

I’ve heard many people say to me, “But my kids can’t go to sleep early.”  Is that true?  Or have they been “trained” to stay up late?

I know “night owls”.  They perform better at night.  That’s great.  But are they getting enough sleep?  The reality is our society still works on an early morning system.  If you can sleep in, being a night owl is no problem.  You are still getting the sleep required.  And, even if the parent is a night owl, and can get the proper amount of sleep. . .are their kids able to?  Or do their kids still have to function on society’s clock of early mornings?  (i.e. school)  And kids require more sleep!  They are still growing and developing.  That and their amazing energy requirements should not be negated, or compared to the requirements of an adult.

Actually, I was just reading the symptoms of ADHD. . .I think I fit nearly every one!  (Excessive talking being the one that was not checked with a positive response.)

Yep, I’m going back to bed.