Monday, December 27, 2010

Exercise ADD?

For those of you who know me well, you know that I often try different "methods" of working out, sometimes even embarking on the latest trends. However, most of these methods do not last long. Soon, my ADHD tendencies kicks in and I become disinterested in the latest craze. This has been a pattern for quite some time.

In college, I decided that the elliptical was an interesting piece of equipment to try out. It was easy to, I could watch TV (usually Regis and Kelly) while moving on it, and it was even manageable hung-over! Diligently, each day, I would hit up the "REC" for an hour of fierce ellipticaling (I realize that this is a made-up verb). This clearly was not an effective work-out, as I was about 20 lbs heavier at WSU than I am now (although it also may have had something to do with the pizza and beer). Nevertheless, I have considered the elliptical and evil demon since...and have not set foot on that bad boy again.

After college, I realized it was time to get serious about my health and took up running which I used to do a great deal of in high school Cross-Country. Running was a wonderful release after a day of student-teaching, and began to run 5 days or so per week. After pounding the pavement for several months, I entered and ran in a 1/2 marathon, then another. Then...the boredom began to kick in. I did not really have the desire to run anymore 1/2 marathons nor a full one EVER. I still continued with running, but kept my eyes peeled for new ways to stay in shape.

HOT Yoga/Bikram Yoga was the next adventure in fitness for me. Living in Seattle at the time, Hot Yoga studios were nearly as abundant as Starbucks stores, so I had no problem finding one. By the way, the only real difference I noticed between Hot and Bikram was that in Bikram there is carpet on the floor, and people talk before class in Hot Yoga. This is not allowed during Bikram, unless you want to get the evil eye. In both Bikram and Hot, participants are lead through a series of poses in a hot (scorching hot) room. It is incredibly challenging, and I sometimes felt as though my skin and organs were on fire.

Yoga was great. For a while. When I had the new member specials. After that, things started to get pricey. Really pricey. Most studios did ofter monthly unlimited deals, and encouraged members to attend Yoga classes 4 or more days a week. There was no way I could do that as I began to grow tired of the classes. Each time, class is EXACTLY the same...and I mean exactly. The instructor leads the group through the same 26 poses each time. Not only that, but I also was sick of having to plan when I could eat (you get sick if you eat 2 hours or less prior), and making certain I had enough water. The last straw was when a man ripped one right in front of me during a class. I started laughing and was met with a scowl from the Yoga master, as she informed me that I should be so in tune with my own body that I should not have noticed. That was the last class I attended.

Zumba was another exercise trend I tried out last year. Lots of friends and co-workers were raving about it, so I decided to pop in after noticing a class going on at LA Fitness. I loved it, and did not even feel as though I was working out. I was dancing like I was in a club and felt as though the only way this class could be topped would be if I had a delicious cocktail in my hand!

This exhilaration was sort-lived when the classes became so crowded that I could not shake my tail feathers properly. My last Zumba class EVER entailed a verbal confrontation with a delightful young lady and her boyfriend who walked into class WAY late and kept shoving me and others around us to get a spot. Just like in Yoga, Zumba had a "last straw" for me as well. The previously mentioned boyfriend was literally right behind me with about 2 inches of space (very awkward while performing a hip-thrusting movement). After he accidentally ran right into my ass, I high-tailed it out of the aerobics room.
In late June, 2009 I began a new adventure in fitness, called "Crossfit" and am happy to report that I have yet to get bored and quit. This is due to the fact that Crossfit specializes in not specializing. This means that each day is a new workout and challenge, so it is perfect for those with a short attention span, such as myself. Basically, I get to do a little bit of everything ...running, gymnastics, lifting, and flexibility. Each day a different warm-up and WOD (workout of the day) is posted, and a trainer demonstrates the skills needed for the workout and checks to assure they are being executed correctly. WOD's are also modified as needed. Most WOD's are timed and it really does help a competitive person like myself to have a clock to race against.

Some people have asked if Crossfit is worth the price, since the membership is a bit more than a typical gym. The answer is easy: Crossfit is relatively cheap for group personal training when I began to compare prices for personal training sessions. And, it is really not much more per month than most global gyms. Plus, I am in much better shape than I have been from any other work-out. Past injuries and ailments have vanished, my running times are faster, and I have gained a great deal of strength and flexibility. Perhaps I have finally arrived at a fitness program that I will continue to stick with after so many failed attempts? I will keep you posted.
In case you want to try it out...

Here is the main crossfit site:

The site for my crossfit gym:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Taylor Mali on what teachers make...this is funny!

Waiting for whom?

So, unless you live under a rock, you have mostly heard of or seen the new documentary, "Waiting for Superman." Now, as a disclaimer, I have yet to view the film. However, I have the show on Oprah about it, as well as reading myriad of articles/reviews around it.

Several of the ideology behind the movie I can agree with. There are teachers who have been teaching for too long and, well...suck. They should not be teaching, but can also not be fired. At least not very easily. We have all had these sorts of teachers in school. You know, the ones that fell asleep during class, simply assigned a chapter to read with question before plopping down behind their desk. Or maybe you had the token teacher. The one who would slip a bit of whiskey into his or her morning coffee. And, I agree...these teachers should be fired. But we all know that. Nothing new here.
Most teachers, however, work extremely hard and care deeply about their lessons and students. It is not as though people teach for the money.

The part of the movie that I highly disagree with is how much blame people seem to place on the schools, teachers, and administrators. Constantly, during the movie we (the United States of America) are compared to other countries. Countries who are (gasp) out-performing us. The people who bear the grunt of the blame for this? Teachers.

Where is the part where parents are held accountable for their children? Has it never occurred to ANYBODY that maybe in these other countries parents read to their children, teach them behavioral and social rules, help with homework (or at least provide a quiet place to study), and emphasize the importance of a good education? I am guessing that they do.

As a teacher, I witness the lack of parental support often. This is not only at the low-income school I work at now, but also in middle-upper class schools I have worked at in the past. Parents excuse their kids from school to go shopping or because they want to sleep-in, have their kids play video games after school, and don't seem to teach or emphasize respect or good behavior. Most kids today seem to think they will just "get" good jobs and don't understand that this takes hard work.

Last week, I had a new student in my room. After reading her "getting to know you" letter, I learned that when she is older, she would like to be a stripper. Apparently, her dad suggested this as a career. During this same day, I had two boys in the office for fighting before school, four kids absent, and three kids walk into class late. At a school slightly north of mine in Stanwood, Washington many students were discovered to be addicted to heroin. Heroin! And, it is the teachers faults our kids are not performing better than their peers in other countries?

Charter schools are focused on in "Superman" as the solution to all of the problems. I do not think that is the case. They are not the only solution, at least not in my opinion.
While I am sure some are well-run, I have heard of many that under-pay staff, do not give teachers time to plan, and do not provide the necessary support (such as para educators). You could not pay me enough money to teach from 7am or 7pm, which many of these schools have their staff doing. Nor would I want to have a cell phone that students could reach me on. I have a life, I am not a parent, and it is NOT my job to parent your kids.

Furthermore, the 5 kids featured in Superman do have the support at home. Their parents care enough to research and become aware of these great charter schools in their areas. They did not show the rest of the population. Those students whose parents are not involved. Where were they in this movie? They were not in it, probably because it would have taken the blame off of the teachers and placed some of it back where it belongs. With parents and the communities.
So, what is my solution you may ask? For starters, I think parents also need to be held accountable for their children's scores, if I am going to be. How this would work, I am not sure. Also, more programs are needed for preschool. Studies show that children in preschool preform better later on than those who do not attend. The attendance policies should be stricter. It is not a 10-year-old's fault if his parents are not waking them up for school. The parents should be held accountable.

Classes for parents offered through the schools could also help, as well as more counselors (including drug/alcohol counselors) for students. Many of these programs have been cut to fund more math training for teachers. I am pretty sure kids will start to perform better in math once their parents are there to support them and they are at school on-time. Everyday.

Schools in the inner-city are underfunded and often lack the necessary supplies and materials for their teachers. Because of this, many teachers are reluctant to teach in these areas. These are the areas where attendance if poor, their is a lack of parental involvement, and the turn-over rate in both students and staff can be extremely high. Finding a solution to this would help immensely.
In most of these countries the US is compared with, not all students are taught as if they are ALL going to college. In high school, they can decide which track they are on. One that is college-based, and the other, more vocational-based. The result is: more interest in the classes, higher graduation with USEFUL skills, and the better chance of finding a job and contributing to society. Perhaps we might like to try this system here?

I think there is a solution to the problems with education, and we can make improvements as a country. However, teachers and schools are not the only issue. Parents also need to be factored into the equation and need to be held accountable as well.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

29 and counting...

As I was lying in bed this evening, I was struggling to fall asleep. School starts back up again this Wednesday and tomorrow is full of meetings and planning. Fortunately, I have gotten the opportunity to take my old job back, but this means more work than normal (cleaning, organizing, etc). So...I should be fast asleep at 11:45, but alas, I struggled and thoughts kept creeping into my head. The most recent... "WOW, I have not written an entry on my blog lately!"

And now, here I am after months of nothing. Sort of a busy year...getting transferred schools (back at Voyager), a wedding (Love you Adam), and a new puppy (Teddy). One would think this would spark all sorts of ideas for writing, but every time I get an idea it is usually when I am falling asleep. In the morning, the spark is gone and writer's block has again taken over.

Which is why this time, I opted to get out bed and write. So here goes:

When I turned 29 this July, it hit me: I am getting old. No, it is not the number that causes me to feel this way, but a series of events, realizations, and happenings that have sparked this list. Looking back over my previous blog entries, I noted that I had also created a list after turning perhaps birthday's are a time of reflection for me?

1) A former student "friend requested" me on facebook this year. She is a sophomore. In college. She was my student when she was 12.
2) After getting married last week, I will now have a new last name. This year at work, I will be referred to as "Mrs. Brown" rather than Ms. Perry or Miss Perry. The "Mrs." just seems to scream middle-age.

3) When I went out several Thursday's ago, we were the OLDEST people in the bar. Seriously. Except for a few REALLY old drunk regulars. Apparently, most people over the age of 25 do not go out on weeknights. It did remind me though of how much I enjoy Pink Halo's! And jello syringes, and sitting atop a piano.

4) On the same night, we were not carded at Chopsticks. You know, the dueling piano bar? I am embarrassed to admit that I went up to the bouncer and demanded to know why? He laughed.

5) It is not rare that I can be found at home watching a movie with a glass of wine on a weekend rather than hitting up the town. Unless said town is Edmonds

6) On that note, we have moved from Seattle to Edmonds. Many people here have bumper stickers which read, "It is an Edmonds kind of day" plastered to their cars. Two thoughts cross my mind when I see these: 1) What does an Edmonds day consist of? and 2) If I EVER have one of those on my car, feel free to rear-end me!

7) I now use SUNSCREEN rather than oil when outside during the summer months. Also, I now visit the dermatologist occasionally to survey the damage I did to my skin when I did bake in oil.

8) When at the drugstore, I used to wonder, "who buys all of these wrinkle-prevention" lotions? Now, I am the one purchasing them. However, I still do not think they actually work.
9) Today I was excited about the sale at Ann Taylor Loft.
10) Sometimes I miss my college days. However, I am very glad that when I was in college, there was no Myspace or Facebook. The only embarrassing reminders of a bad night out would appear on the "Party Pics" order form.
11) Some clothes from when I was in Middle/high school are now back in style. The question is...will Cross-Colors ever come back? Hope not.

12) I was called "Mam" at the store the other day. Yes, the cashier was most likely just trying to be polite, but it stung a little nonetheless.
13) Already, I am beginning to forget things, like where I put my keys, whether I paid a bill, etc. However, maybe I have always been this way?
14) My car is a four-door sedan. And it is silver. When I was a little girl, my dream was to own a purple convertible bug. The childhood Allison would not be at all pleased with the safer and more practical pick of the adult Allison.

Although at times I may feel I am growing older and becoming more of an adult in many aspects, I feel proud for all that I have accomplished in the last 29 years! Wow! I am very much looking forward to the last year in my 20's and to see what the 30's have in store for me!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

So, in class, my students are writing a commentary writing piece. In order to collect ideas, I had them brainstorm a "things that bother me" list. While they were diligently working on their pet peeves, I realized that I should create my own list. And, let me tell you, LOTS of thing bother me. Tons. Here is what I came up with:

1) People who incorrectly use their, there, and they're. They are different words. Learn how to use them properly. Especially if you are over the age of 14. If you need help with the grammar lesson, I would be happy to invite you to my 6th grade classroom for a day.

2) Wet towels on the floor, or really any place except the towel rack.

3) Hair. Not on peoples heads. I mean hair in the sink, stuck to the soap in the shower, or on the floor. Yuck

4) People who give their pets back to the animal shelter. Although, I guess it is better than abandoning them, people give the most ridiculous reasons for bringing them in. Example: A German Shepard was taken to the shelter because his owners did not realize he would grow into a large dog. Really? You did not know he would become a large dog?

5) People who talk loudly on cell phones in public so everybody can hear their conversations. This earns "double annoyance points" if said person is on ANY piece of workout equipment or on a blue tooth. Don't know why, but I find blue tooth headsets incredibly creepy-always thinking the person is speaking to me when, in fact, they are conversing with somebody at the other end of the line.

6) 3-D movies. Yes, it is a cool concept. I remember viewing "Captain Eo" at Disneyland as a young child and being amazed as the creatures (as well as Michael Jackson) flew out at the audience. Now it seems as though every movie coming out is in 3-D. My suggestion to the movie producers is to only create movies in 3-D when it will actually enhance the movie. Sometimes it causes the audience to lose the plot.

7) When you are all ready to make cookies, and realize you are all out of ONE ingredient-eggs, vanilla, etc.

8) People who do not wear deodorant. Enough said.

9) Fashion trends that look terrible on those of us not lucky enough to be built like models: Ugg boots (so comfy, that it is well worth the appearance of "cankles"), skinny jeans with boots over them, those shirts that look like they are for pregnant women, jeggings, and tube tops (although I am guilty of sporting these in college)...just to name a few!

10) Checking out a stack of books from the library and not liking ANY of them. This often happens to me and I am thinking that perhaps I need to spend more time reading the back and the first couple of pages.

11) When I wave at somebody and yell "Hi _________!" Only to realize said person is a complete stranger. Then pretending to wave in another direction.

12) The fact that now when I see people, I ask them questions based off what I have read on the FB pages rather than off of actual conversation. It is, now that I think about it, incredibly strange. While it is nice to stay caught up, I am not sure the best way to begin a conversation with an acquaintance is to ask, "So, I saw on Facebook that you just had a baby. Congratulations."
So, there it is. My list. For today anyhow. I am sure I could come up with a "new list" tomorrow.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A cleanse to start the new year!

Hey there! So, I realize that it has been eons since I last wrote! As of late, I have suffered a bit of writer's block and could, seriously, find NOTHING to write about... until recently.

Last week, in a attempt to jump-start 2010, Adam and I embarked on a "cleanse" called the "Hollywood Diet." I also figured it might turn into a great blog entry.

Now, usually, I absolutely cannot stand any diets what-so-ever, and believe in exercise and healthy eating as the only ways to really lose and keep weight off.

The reason behind our brilliant idea to try this diet was to clear our systems of any toxins and allow ourselves to start off a healthy diet on the right foot! Immediately, I googled "cleanse diets" and discovered one with minimal side-effects called "The Hollywood Miracle Diet."

Most of the reviews were okay, most cleansers stating that the weight lost did not stay off ( is a CLEANSE and you have to eat healthy once you are done)! There were also complaints about the cost. One reviewer commented, "it would have been cheaper to purchase juice and drink it three times during the day."

Reading on, I learned that to correctly participate in the "Hollywood Diet" one must not eat ANYTHING for the entire time, and must drink the special juice three times during the day. Also, NO caffeine (perhaps this would be more difficult than I anticipated)! Cleansers could opt for either the 24 or 48 hour cleanse.

As a reward for fasting, cleansers would be detoxed and be free of headaches, acne, insomnia, and a myriad of other conditions brought on by toxins in the body.

Since we were new to this, I opted for the 24 hour plan. The site also recommended that those new to this should pick a day when they did not have to go anywhere. Brushing this advice aside (like I was going to ditch a day of work to stay home and starve), I announced to Adam that we were starting on Monday. Work would serve as a better distraction from food than sitting at home, where the refrigerator would be beckoning me to consume the food within.

On Sunday I strolled into the local GNC in search of the "Hollywood Diet" and located the bottles in the "Cleanse" section. An overly peppy girl attempted to persuade me NOT to buy the Hollywood diet drink, showing me other cleanses that were healthier and actually allowed one to eat during the day.

"Um, okay. I will look at some of these others," I said. Mainly to get her to go away. The other bottles of pills consisted of a two-week plan. Way to long. Why would it take two weeks to cleanse yourself of toxins. I just wanted to get this over with. Quickly.

"I like these, " she said, thrusting a bottle with a picture of some sort of herb on the label.

Ignoring her advice, I bought two bottles of the "Hollywood" juice instead and headed home.

At 5:30 Monday morning, I broke the first rule on the label and drank two cups of coffee (like I was really going to not eat ALL day with no caffeine)! Maybe I can say that my 24 hour fast began at 7am?

The first part of the day was not bad...I sipped on the (surprisingly) tasty juice throughout the morning. This is easy, I told myself. Those reviewers were crazy. During my lunch break, I googled 'The Hollywood Diet" again, and read that some people cleansed once a week. Hmmm....maybe I could do that? I could become one of those super-healthy granola- types who went to Yoga and only ate organic food.

As my 5th and 6th period students entered the classroom, my head seemed to throb a bit, so I popped a couple of Advil. It was then I realized that I felt almost...well, HIGH?

I began talking super-fast, and could not stop fidgeting. I tapped my fingers, paced the room-which was actually a good thing as the kids were taking a big test that day and it allowed me monitor the room with ease. A couple of time between 2 and 3, I did start to feel slightly dizzy and had to stop walking and grab a seat.

Luckily, the bell rang at 3pm and after deciding I was too light-headed to grade the tests, decided to drive home and try to wait out the rest of this fast.

I called Adam on my way home and he (in typical Adam fashion) accused me of sneaking snacks at work. Which I did not do, in case you are wondering.

" What did you do today?" I questioned him.

He described an excruciating trip to Costco where samples of delicious items seemed to jump out at him, asking him to just have a little taste. He said he needed to leave in order to resist. This was a good reminder for me not to stop by the grocery store. Errands could wait until tomorrow...when I had more energy.

"You going to the gym? It says on the Hollywood Diet site that you can work out on the stuff."

Was he crazy? I could barely walk, let alone would running be fathomable! I told him "no" and that I would be home soon. Suddenly, I felt incredibly delirious and wondered if it was safe for me to be driving? Probably not.

Once home, Adam and I spent the rest of the evening snapping at one another, as I rolled around the couch clutching my stomach and bitching

I had never gone this long without eating, except for maybe freshman year of college when I had Mono.

We drank the last serving of our "magic juice" in silence occasionally bursting out in unprovoked laughter-like i said, not eating all day can make one feel rather "high."

Proudly, I can say...we did make it the entire 24 hours!

I am not sure if either of us actually lost the 5 pound promised, but I will say, the first meal we had (egg-white omelets with spinach) was GLORIOUS! New appreciation for food was diffidently a positive side to this silly diet.

Other than that...pretty sure the reviewer who claimed you could just buy fruit juice and do the same diet was right on! Also, heeding her advice would have saved me 20 bucks!

Conclusion- The Hollywood Diet is more of a test in self-restraint than a "detoxifying cleanse."