Showing posts from December, 2011

Thingies and Stuff

When the kids and I pass by the store " Fitness Things ," we feel somewhat unsatisfied. Couldn't they have taken an extra moment or two around the board room table and come up with another name? One that gets to the true heart of their mission? We worked on some possibilities we feel they should consider. Here are the top contenders. Fitness 'R' Us Fitness Crap 'N' Stuff Thingies Related To Fitness Fitness Things But No Potato Chips Several Products Having Something To Do With Exercise Greg, too, is working on creative projects with the kids. Check out the Theophiles at The Musical Diary of Greg Scheer .

23.5 Books Read* This Year

I just began The Forgotten Affairs of Youth , if you must know; if finished, it would close out the Alexander McCall Smith category of books read* this year. That's the best I can do: sort. Despite all this writing, I'm not one for reviews. But if you're interested to know more about one or the other, comment on this post and I'll be happy to tell you more. Boxing/sports books A surprising number. Add to this I actually read through the sports section of the newspaper now, as well. On Boxing , Joyce Carol Oates More Than A Champion , Jan Philip Reentsma The Sweetest Thing , Mischa Merz The Boxer's Heart , Kate Sekules Spirituality of Sport , Susan Saint Sing Born To Run , Christopher McDougall Alexander McCall Smith novels He's just the best. In every way one can be the best. The Charming Quirks of Others The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party The Dog Who Came In From The Cold Joyce Carol Oates novels She's in the boxing category, too; she's that cool. Litt

Everything I Needed To Know: One Foot In Front Of The Other

As I write, the bone of my kneecap is bruised. The vastus medialis in that same leg has stopped firing, the adductor longus has atrophied, and the patellar tendon thickened and swelled. Both arms are limited by what's called tennis elbow, my right more than my left. The situation could be much worse; there could be sprains, a tear, I could need surgery. However, I'm a person who discovered something she enjoys and is good at, right when people are settling into middle age, and this something requires the use of these body parts. But let me tell you why I have hope. In this second installment of Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In My 41st Year , I'll explain the two sides of achieving a goal, based on my experience. one step at a time It started in November. I thought about how far I'd come athletically, from a chiropractor calling me everything but The Elephant Man, to tackling the sport ESPN has deemed most demanding . In the past year, especially, I'd seen si

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

A post from '09. Merry Christmas to all. Sometimes God chooses unlikely routes of communication. That's what we talked about Monday night at The Open Door, a homeless shelter for women. How the people called by God aren't always obvious choices (see John the Baptist) and the ways chosen by God don't make immediate sense (see Mary: young, single and not wealthy, carrying the Savior of the world in her womb). John the Baptist was sent to "prepare the way of the Lord," as we heard in a reading. Mary was the way the Lord had chosen, as we saw in a sketch by my friend John Cosper . But why? Why do this? Why should God put on flesh and be born of a woman? I cast parts for "The Incarnation" from Cloth for the Cradle , and told everyone we'd read the script through once, tune it up, then perform it for ourselves at the end of the night. We read. We discussed the meaning. I gathered the two narrators and God, and asked them to pick up the pace. &qu

Your Holiday Sea Monkey Update

There was one bunny and then none, no frogs then a bunch of tadpoles then several frogs then none, four mice then three then two and now two in separate cages. And then there are the sea monkeys . Once a packet of dust on a toystore shelf, now mating happily into the new year. Track their timeline back to September, when the sea monkeys were given to Theo on the occasion of his 8th birthday, under the assumption they'd provide a week's worth of entertainment. Now it's December, with no signs of this letting up. The large sea monkey population continues its happy swirling and weeks-long mating. But these are not September's monkeys, who made a feminist of Amy, as she watched the large, egg-sac heavy female struggle to swim for food with a mate hanging on; these are the grandchildren of the grandchildren. Generations upon generations have come and gone as I prepare meals in my kitchen. If I don't feed them, they hover, facing me at the sink, their large eyes (eyes?) o

Today: At Random

This is the album that will get me through the holidays; the sweet melancholy is perfect on a cold winter day like this. With songs like "Did I Make You Cry?", this guy has captured the nuances of Christmas, and couldn't be more right on with this album, quirky as it is. I especially like my profile of 88Improv for Northwestern College, mostly because it's really difficult to write about an improv troupe without having been to their show. A lot of what I'm paid to do at the Y is talk. Answer questions, get to know people, develop relationships--I'm a wellness coach, not a trainer, so my goal is to simply move people toward the next step, which involves getting to know where they are right now. There's a woman who has thanked me every day for the six months after I taught her to stretch after running, so today I thought I'd really blow her mind and offer to show her the nautilus machines. This worked as planned, and I'm thrilled she's finally

Do Not Try This At Home. Only At Hotels.

Family Fitness on holiday.

KO In The Classroom

Right across the hall from "Holiday Craftmaking," and down a few classrooms from "Knitting," Simon's mom taught kids how to punch. Having finally figured out how to make volunteering in my children's classrooms enjoyable (hint: choose something you like doing), I offered to teach boxing for a Happening Hobbies event, right alongside knitting, guitar, origami and zumba. Four 25-minute classes with 25 kids a piece. They make 5th and 6th graders big nowadays; some of those boys I'd put at 150+, and I could see in their eyes that all they wanted for Christmas was to hit stuff. The mitts took some concentration and serious arm tension (wouldn't have looked good if the teacher was taken out). You can read in one of my favorite posts the mantra my kids and I usually recite on days when I volunteer; this time, when asked why I did this, I added, "So you can say, 'My mom can beat up your mom.'" Just sayin'.

You Did It. Now for One More Hurdle

UPDATE: Shari didn't win. The money went to a brewing co-op idea, which was actually a good one, if you're into brewing beer. It was a fun ride, and it's not over yet; Shari will continue to help her community, money or no money. Thanks for your support and votes along the way--especially to my husband, who helped us get the presentation slides done and emailed at precisely the minute they were due. ----------------- Thanks to all of you and an awesome popular vote, Shari made it to the top five finalists of 5x5 night , and is now one step away from a chance at winning $5000 and making her dream come true. She'll present her idea, THE VILLAGE: Mothers Raising Mothers , next Tuesday night at the Grand Rapids Art Museum to a panel of judges and a live audience. Tickets are $5, doors open at 5pm, and each finalist has 5 minutes (get it?). Come and take part! Special thanks to Lisa Bledsoe of The Glowing Edge and Joe Maher of jmimages photography for lending out last mi

As It Turns Out, I'm Not Invincible

I have been prescribed a brace for my knee, a splint for my wrist, and a band for my elbow. The doctor said she needs to "shut me down" for a while. The physical therapist said I must "avoid the tendency to overdo things." We had just met. I left the brace fitting hurriedly, apologizing. "I'm so sorry to rush, but I need to teach an exercise class," I said, and limped out the door.

Everything I Needed To Know: Power of One

Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In My Fortieth Year . Let's start this series. Except... the title should probably reference my 41st year, not the 40th, if what I learned settled in post-birthday #40. Right? Who out there can do math? ------------------ Such a silly story , but I can't stop thinking about it. Kids at the bus stop. Standing on a corner and crossing the street to get on the bus, every day. Every day crossing the street in front of the bus, backing up when the bus driver yells for them to wait for the safety bar to extend, waiting for the bar, crossing again. Every day. Until the day my husband was out of town and bus stop duty was my turn. I saw the crossing. I scratched my head. I conducted research with the other parents and determined, the next morning, that there was no good reason to stand where everyone was standing. "Kids, we're crossing the road." Parents thanked me. Admitted they didn't know why they were standing where they did.

Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In My 40th Year

I'm 41 now, and this past year, I learned a lot. Mostly in the last few months. Call me slow ; it took four decades to figure out some stuff most of you probably already know (about yourselves, or about me). But some of the lessons are quite paradoxical, as I saw once I began scribbling them down. Two sides of the same coin. I had hoped to list out my lessons in a post on December 31 and call it good, but now we're looking at a series, in order to get at all angles. A word on self-awareness: I'm not a fan. At least of the public kind--a part of me is convinced that in the same way that no cashier cards me anymore, and no one is a bit surprised when I tell them my age, you do not care what I learned this year . But another part of me knows that some of what I've finally put together mentally is universal. So that's my only goal here--in this wrap-up and in this blog: relating to you. Hoping to trigger some of these same revelations in you. And a word on Dece mber: B

One Of The Few Times Facebook Would Be Useful

UPDATE: A copy was found! Amazing how difficult this series was to track down. ----------------------------------------- Christmas: I'm buying the kids' toys and thinking I'll surprise them with gifts I know they'll like that weren't on their list. And then it occurred to me that they'd be just as happy, if not happier, if I simply bought the gifts they requested. It's that simple! In the end, they're getting a mix, and I got a lesson: Just ask. And go with what you're told. When some friends were going through a tough time, I figured I'd just ask what would make it better. There was no predicting this answer: Dr. Who. Dr. Who will make it better. These friends have spent months recovering from a crisis, and one thing that's helping is sitting the family down to watch Dr. Who (the newer one, with David Tennnant) together. They finished Season 1 and would really love to start Season 2 , but they can't find it locally, and it's pricey

Please Do This One Thing For Me--and for her, and for them

When I spar with Shari, a friend and trainer at the boxing gym, I can hardly land a clean punch. There's no hitting this woman: she'll block your jab and smack away your right hand, no matter how fast the attack. And then she'll wrap you in a hug and tell you what a great job you did. That's Shari in a nutshell. Life has thrown her a variety of punches, including cancer and a son's disability, but nothing knocks her down, and nothing gets in the way of her concern for others, especially young people. Even before Shari told me some of her many ideas on how she'd like to help people, I could see the natural way she dealt out love, especially the tough kind, to the kids in our gym. She is exactly what they need. Which means she can do a lot of good elsewhere, too, as she's proven time and again. A local initiative called 5x5 night awards up to $5000 for great ideas. I helped Shari write up the idea she's most passionate about: Mothers raising mothers. Expe