Monday, February 13, 2012
Anyone who has ever been a child will know this, and it is especially forceful once you have children.
Parents know less than nothing.
Until that magical day may dawn, far in the future, where a child may one day grudgingly admit that perhaps Mom might have been somewhere in the ball park once or twice.
Dawn has broken.
For years I have encouraged (his translation = "forced") my son to stay in Boy Scouts, to keep up with karate, to particpate in extra curricular activities and community service. Schools and employers tend to look at a student's involvement - or lack of - in his community and will favor the more involved. He learns valuable life skills, he gives back and pays it forward, he builds his character.
All fell on deaf ears and we would argue regularly over his continuing participation. I generally "won" the arguments, but it was never pretty.
Until this weekend. We have been filling out job and college applications.
What a surprise - every last one has a section for extra curricular activies. My son had filled out the first few listing "nothing relevant" in this section. I kid you not. He actually turned in some job applications with this statement, applications his father supposedly looked over first. I had to sit down and bite my tongue for a few minutes before asking him exactly what he was thinking with this answer.
His response was none of his extra curricular activities was related to the jobs he was applying for, or academic or applicable to the degree he wants to get and he did not want to leave the section blank. Plus, "I don't want people to know I'm in the Boy Scouts, it is embarrassing."
More tongue biting and deep breaths later I pointed him to one of the college websites where they describe exactly how highly they value community involvement, as students who are active in extra curricular activities and their community tend to be better adjusted and more successful as students and in life. These activities build leadership skills, show the student can work as a member of a group, can think and reason and draw conclusions, can make decisions and take appropriate actions, etc. and so on.
I asked him based on what he just read what he thought his chance of acceptence would be if he turned in his application listing "nothing relevant"?
He looked at me with comprehension dawning in his eyes. "So THAT's why you made me do all these things all these years! NOW I understand!"
Now if I could only get my 13 year old daughter to understand why dating a 16 year old boy is strictly verboten and I don't really care that it is less than an age difference than I had with her Dad.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
I was one of the lucky members to receive Coach Nicole's 28 Day Bootcamp DVD for review.
Disclaimer & legal stuff: I received this DVD for free from SparkPeople and did not (and will not) receive any form of payment or other compensation for my review.
The DVD came in the mail on the day I went home sick from work. I opened the envelope , looked at Coach Nicole and said she's way too perky for bootcamp, went to bed and forgot about it for the next 2 weeks while fighting the nasty cold bug.
Finally, though, once reminded of my commitment to try the DVD and review it, I opened it up. Now I have never used an exercise video before so I had no real idea what to expect. My initial impression - before even starting the DVD - is that "perky" and "bootcamp" do not go together. And I don't react well to "perky." I also wondered just how tough this workout could be as no real muscle definition is visible on Coach Nicole's picture on the DVD so how hard could the strength exercises be? In my mind I equate bootcamp with muscles and evil drill sergeant like instructors, neither of which appeared to be the case here.
Note that these are NOT criticisms of Coach Nicole in the slightest. Or of the DVD. I am trying to provide my honest impressions.
First I read the included insert which has several recipes from the SparkPeople cookbook although some of them are not to my taste at all (example: braised swiss chard with beans). Others are definately on my to try list (blueberry flaxseed muffins).
On to the DVD workout. You have 2 options - to follow Coach Nicole's 28 plan, which varies the workouts each day or to choose one (or all) of the 4 preset workouts. I did not choose the 28 day plan option.
The first time I used the DVD I did the warm-up and the first 2 cardio routines. The second time I started with the warm-up and went all the way through the entire 84 minute workout (all 4 routines).
So I was pleasantly surprised. Coach Nicole was not a Pollyana-like Susie Sunshine so I did not feel the need to hurt something. She is very "approachable" and down to earth on the video. Her assistants, however, smile way too much. It's kind of freaky.
The workouts do get you to work up a sweat. Depending on your starting fitness level these could be pretty hard (for the newbie) or a light workout (for the experienced). Coach Nicole is always very clear that you have choices on some of the more challenging exercises to just do the basic move, the intermediate or the advanced. She does not make you feel like a failure if you choose the basic moves, which would be important for someone just starting out. Even the advanced moves are nothing extremely tricky or complicated to do, so not somethine you have to be afraid will cause injury. They are work though, don't take what I said to mean they are a piece of cake.
In the second cardio workout there is a section with some kick boxing moves which I really enjoyed.
So while I worked up a sweat and got my heart rate up, and felt the strength exercises with the dumb bells, I still do not equate "bootcamp" with this DVD. To me it just doesn't fit my definition of bootcamp. My ass did not get kicked and I did not feel really challenged. Again, this is NOT a criticsm of Coach Nicole, it is my impression of the expectation raised by calling this workout a "bootcamp". Semantics can be important and the DVD does not fit my definition (this is more my "problem" than SparkPeople's). This was also the first time I used an exercise DVD; I just don't like using them and will probably not do so again (which is also more my personal preference than due to anything with the DVD).
I will list specific pros & cons below, as well as some suggestions for improving the next release.
*Coach Nicole is very much down to earth and approachable, not a vicious evil wench like I have heard some female instructors called (Jillian Michales anyone?)
*modifications are offered at 3 levels
*not made to feel bad for choosing the modifications
*music is not over powering
*many of the moves are explained
*gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat
*really feel the strength training in your arms
*variety of workouts so you don't get bored
*choice to focus more on cardio, more on strength, or a combination of the 2
*Coach Nicole does not fit a pre-concieved notion of a "bootcamp" instructor (or maybe this is a "pro" point for you)
*music is not always in sync with the moves which kind of threw me off
*not all moves explained before you do them (i.e. "grapevine") so if you are new to this sort of thing you're left trying to catch up
*sometimes a move is modified from what you expect (i.e. the second time a "grapevine" was done it was done differently)
*way too many arm lifts to the side (OK, this is probably more of a personal preference than a "con")
*the video times in the Fitness section (to record your minutes) do not match up with the DVD times - I think the warm-up is missing
*synch the cardio with the music better (i.e. marching in place doesn't match the beat of the music)
*maybe a short instructional section to define the moves used in the DVD. This would be useful to those who are new to exercise, or exercise DVDs of this type, and have no clue what to do for a grapevine, or burpee
*share what weights each person is using in the DVD (because I'm nosy and competitive and want to compare my progress)
I hope I did not sound too negative about the DVD. Really, I have nothing against it. I think many people will like it and find it beneficial; for me it just does not work well but that is purely a personal preference.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
A mild rant about other kid's parents. Or maybe it IS just me.
I have control-freak tendencies, I admit it, but I try to keep them in check now that my kids are getting older (16 & 13). I encourage them to be independent (within guidelines due to their ages) because I refuse to be one of those moms who can't cut the apron strings. Actually, I refuse to even have apron strings and I am actively looking forward to them leaving the nest and living their own lives.
So last night I picked up my son from his girlfriend's and he starts asking me questions about the scholarship application. He's worried because a transcript is required, it can take 2 weeks for the transcript to be sent, and the scholarship application is due next Wednesday. Then he says GF is also worried and doesn't know what to do with her application.
OK, I think, GF also has parents, so I asked him what her parents said. His reply?
She's doing it by herself, they are not helping her.
Um, do they know she's applying?
And they are not helping her with the process?
There is a line between doing it for your kids and helping them do it themselves. But to not even help, something as simple as explain the form and the process and then answer questions?
Now, if it were up to my son I'd be doing the whole thing for him because it's easier for him that way. But that isn't going to happen and he knows it so he's working on the process himself...with my support and guidance but he is doing the actual work.
So I told him she can come over Sunday and I'll sit down with both of them, walk through the application and proof read her essays too, and make sure they both have everything done as well as possible for submission next week.
I openly admit I am not even close to being the best parent in the world. But even I cannot conceive of being the way I observe so many parents these days...and ones that are my own age or older and so should know better. Letting their kids run riot in inappropriate settings (gym, restaurants, offices, stores, etc.). Letting their kids not just talk back but be actively rude to them (name calling, insults, etc.). Verbally attacking other adults when the adult dares to call attention to the child's misbehavior. My daughter use to have a friend who would not go home for days, spending the nights with various friends, and who would be out walking from place to place in the middle of the night, smoked, stole, got in fights...and who was 13 at the time. 13 years old and you let your daughter not come home for 2-3 days in a row, don't know that she's out walking around at 2 in the morning (or maybe don't care?).
I'm going to stop now because I'm really starting to make myself angry.
I am positive it is NOT me with the problem.
And when I heard that the former friend was going to walk home in the middle of the night I did pack up my daughter and go looking for her to give her a ride home. I know that at least for that one night she was safe.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
How I did in January:
1) Maintain my weight at +5 / -14 pounds
2) Become a half fanatic by the end of August.
Ran the 1st of 3 HMs last weekend and the next to are scheduled for Feb & Mar
3) Do some sort of housecleaning or maintenance daily.
Some days the most I did was make my bed, but the goal is about doing a little at a time to build consistency and a habit, not about going all out all at once.
4) Break my dependence on Splenda - reduce to 2 packets per tea cup in January.
February I go down to 1 packet per cup of tea.
5) Finalize my budget by the end of Jan and stick to it to pay off at least 3 loans by Dec.
Budget is done and can pay off 4 debts this year if I stick to it (and no major unexpected expenses occur). Stuck to the budget for January and Debt #1 was paid off today!
6) Ready to test for black belt by end of June; post action plan in Jan; pass test
Action plan posted to be ready to test by end of June; testing date tentatively scheduled for 7/7, depending on Sensei B's final approval
7) Finish replacing all the light switches and wall outlets by the end of March. Then focus on completing 1 room at a time instead of jumping all around the house and never really finishing anything. Complete the 3 in use bedrooms by the end of December. Completing a room involves replacing all moldings & trim, doors, light/ceiling fan and drapes.
Have not done a single thing yet. Need to start working on the outlets and switches on the weekends to meet this goal.
8) Run my first marathon by October 21.
I will not even start training for this until after black belt testing, assuming in July.
9) Other goals as they occur to me.
Got the Boy Scout Troop rechartered yesterday, taxes filed and ACT registration done today.
10) Have fun and stress less!
So far, so good. Having all the painting done and daily cleaning has really reduced a lot of background stress, as has clearing off a good portion of counter space through new storage solutions. I have some new responsibilities at work, which are challenging and I enjoy, and I am doing better at not letting the occasional stupidity get to me.
On to February, and thankfully there is an extra day this month because I really need it!
Monday, January 30, 2012
I like trying new foods, especially fruit. When my kids were babies I would buy whatever "strange" fruits and vegetables I could find to make their baby food. I've kept that up over the years (buying new fruits & veggies, not making baby food lol) and I think that is a good part of the reason my children like such a wide variety of foods today. I never had a problem with picky eaters.
So this morning I found a new exotic fruit to go in the fruit basket on the counter.
However, I think this one is a bit too exotic for my taste:
He is known as Gandalf Crop-Ear or, as we called him for the holidays, Gandy Cane.
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