Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Something that's been helpful

I am grateful to my Catholic friends for the helpful prayers they have suggested. This one is at the top of my list:

Litany of Humility

I fight with wanting to be right all the time which has caused more than enought stress in my life. That prayer right there has been an antidote.

We are so small.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Ginger Magician

Updateto fitness and wellness issues. (This is all going to be bullet-pointed because I can't do the narrative.)

1. I got fat and sad a couple of years ago and met with The Meathead who changed my life for the better. You can read about that here. (Get a tissue because you all are going to cry.)

2. I went off on my own and decided to try to lift too much weight over-head and bent-over row style (StrongLifts 5x5). I ended up with a back injury that was likely exacerbated by those movements and mostly related to running lots of long, slow distances with my sweet dog, Peggy, who was always leashed to my waist.

3. Peggy died of cancer and I quit running and got fat. (See 1 above.)

4. I went to a chiropractor who recommended an MRI.

5. MRI showed spondylolisthesis (which had been there for years but I didn't know) and a bulging lumbar disc.

6. Awesome lifter/PT, Erika Mundinger, to whom I was referred by The Meathead, gave me exercises and a positive attitude and hope that I could return to deadlifts and squats. (Which I am doing!)

7. And then there's Patrick.

Patrick Umphrey is a trainer at the YMCA whom I met through Matt. He talks a LOT. And offers advice. And seems to have a sense of when a person is flaying a bit (or a lot and all over the place) and needs extra help.

I can't thank him enough.

He gave me a program. He messaged me through Facebook one day and said he was putting together a plan for me to work around my back problem. I worked though it and feel like I was pretty successful in following his plan. I'm ready to continue the progress with both Matt and Patrick.

Oh, the title of this blog post?

And dis Pat:

Friday, June 05, 2015

Last Day at FMS

There's a breakfast at Fridley Middle School this morning and staff who are leaving are recognized. I don't think I can make it. I'm an ugly crier when it comes to goodbyes and I don't want to show that face in public.

I've been there for eight years and loved it. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to work with the staff there and I am grateful to have made life-long friends at work.

Most of all, I am going to miss the day-to-day interactions with the kids in the autism program. Every single one of them taught me something about life and about being a human being. I am so grateful I had the fortunate chance to get to know these kids, and that their parents trusted our program with their children. The staff in the autism program at Fridley has made it a really good place to send a child to school. I have learned a lot from my fellow teachers and special education staff.

I hope my next job is half as rewarding.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Crazy Glue

Maybe that's me.

As a kid I used to imagine myself with a broken leg, or having the misfortune of being in a car accident.

Maybe if I was hurt, I thought, the dumb-shits around me would stop being dumb-shits.

UPDATE: Have decided I am not sticky enough to work as glue.

Monday, May 04, 2015

A First

One of my photos turned up on a banner for a concert featuring one of my favorite musicians.

I took this in 2010:

Filtered it up a little bit:

And discovered it on Jackie Greene's Facebook page:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Meltdown Tips

Call your mom and dad.
Pet your dogs.
Reassure everyone that you are A-OK!
Accept your shitty feelings.
Know that it will pass.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

More Gratitude

Andrea Neblett (aka "Arnold" by Hank around age 3/4; aka (inexplicably) "Michelle" by Hope at the same age) makes. me. laugh.

I wonder how my life would be different if that city girl hadn't gone to Iowa for grad school.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Gratitude/Filler Post

This blog seems to be waning, so here's a filler post.

I have things to be thankful for/for which to be thankful:

1. Health
2. Family
3. Friends
4. Dumb-ass dogs
5. Hobbies that entertain me
6. Inspiring people (you know who you are)
7. Food
8. Shelter
9. Music
10. Love

Sunday, September 28, 2014


I don't want Hank to have knee surgery every week but it feels really good to be needed for mom stuff. For basic things -- like icing a knee, getting a pillow, fixing a snack, making him drink water, watching a show together (even South Park), or telling him I love him.

Duke likes it, too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


It's official. I am tied for shortest in the family. Hope and I can 'stand touchin noses' for now but her legs are 5 inches longer than mine. I expect she will pass me by soon.

Being smaller than your own children is weird.

Too Lazy to Write My Own Post

Go read an excerpt from Cindy's book:

Suraiya Jafari Prologue & Chapter 1

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Surgeon, all ortho staff, football coaches, football players, lacrosse coaches, and others who had (or are familiar with) the same surgery:

"6-8 months careful, slow, steady rehabilitation and recovery after ACL reconstruction."


"You can totally be ready to wrestle in three months. Sooner if you wear a brace and just tell yourself you only have one leg."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Workout Update

1. Calluses on hands from pull-ups;
2. Bruises on shoulders from squat bar.

The prescribed treatment is a large dose of late-night ice cream. (I prescribed it.)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Almost One Year

Next month will mark the one year anniversary of my first appointment with YMCA Personal Trainer, Matt Brouse. To say I got my money's worth in bettering my physical and mental well-being by learning from, and being motivated by him would be an understatement. Matt has had a huge positive impact on my life.

Long story short, (and you six readers already know this), I have always battled in the weight department. Although running marathons as an adult helped for a while, I was getting fatter and less happy about life over the last few years. I decided to humble myself and get one-on-one help at the Y.

Not knowing whom to choose for personal training, I threw an imaginary dart and picked Matt from the photo line-up of trainers on the wall of the fitness center. My choice was not completely random; his picture made me think that if Jim Gaffigan and my brother had a love-child, Matt would be that baby. Plus, he called himself "The People's Meathead" in his bio blurb. It made him sound approachable. And funny. There was a slight possibility he was a Communist/Marxist weight lifter, but I hoped not.

Jump to our first meeting. He weighed me. 167! Ugh. And he measured my butt and everything. Fatness everywhere. I figured he had seen it before so I just accepted the situation. The details of the first session are a blur except for the weighing and measuring, which I can play over and over on a video loop in my mind. After that horror, I think he took some baseline fitness measurements like plank time, push-ups, etc., and gave me a plan to return and do some work-out homework in the meantime.

I survived my first personal trainer appointment.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a trip to Texas got in the way and I didn't get back to the Y for a while. Nor had I followed through on Matt's homework assignments. I reported this to him. A note at the bottom of the trainer record sheet for my second appointment read, "Noncompliant."

That was the turning point.

I can be (and have been) a failure in a multitude of ways but GODDAMMIT I was not going to be the cause of my own failure this time. I started doing what Matt said. Slowly and steadily I have lost 40 (+/-3) pounds since January by doing the workouts Matt gives me. I can't remember the last time I weighed 125. I'm pretty sure I was in junior high.

It's not just about the body weight. Matt's emphasis is on strength and I am surprised by how much fun it is to lift heavier weights each week and feel strong. He's not surprised. He knows it's fun and I think that's why he is so good at his job. He shares that enthusiasm with clients.

Matt has an inspirational poster on his Facebook page that reads: "I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, 'Because of you I didn't give up.'"

Well, I'll say it. He inspires me and I'm not quitting or giving up any time soon.

He's helped me make it this far and it's been a blast.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Is this Heaven?

"Field of Dreams" was on again last night. It's so hard to believe that movie was made 25 years ago. It ages well. Or doesn't age. Whatever. It's such a good movie.

And Iowa is a little bit heavenly. Especially at Steve and Nancy's place.