Monday, July 27, 2020

Switching focus for a better outcome: Pahla B's 31 Day Workout Challenge

So I'm switching my workout routine and goals. If you have been reading me for a while, then you know I'm a runner and have actually completed a marathon along with a few 25k trail races.  I have been working towards running my 1st Ultramarathon, a 50K trail race, which was scheduled for the end of September.  Well, my race was canceled and is now virtual.  What I love about trail running is the trail so running it virtually does not really float my boat.  I could actually go out to the trail, it is only 45 minutes from my house and run the race but I'm not feeling that either.

I am a very goal-oriented person.  I need to be working towards something and with my 50k postponed until at least 2021, I have decided to change my focus.  Ever since my marathon, I have been experiencing perimenopausal symptoms.  My OB/GYN said that the long-distance running makes the symptoms worse but naturally I ignored him and have been adding lots of distance.

Well, I run/walked 330 miles (runs measured in Nike so even more than that hitting 10,000 steps regularly) since April 1st.  Basically running became my escape during the quarantine.  What I didn't realize until last week was how bad my perimenopause was getting.  I have been having lots of "heart flutters."  Now I'm not proud to admit this but I've been hiding it from my husband.  I don't want to go to the doctor to be told it's nothing.  I went the ER last summer thinking I was having a heart attack and my heart was in excellent shape.  Basically, I'm one of those lucky women with a hormone-induced irregular heartbeat.  It wasn't until someone in a forum posted about that being a thing that I was able to pinpoint the issues for myself.  Remember I have been ignoring my doctor's advice for almost a year.  

I'm all of 41 and I'm not a fan of the heart flutters, lack of sleep, micro-hot flashes, and the lack of weight loss.  Now before we move forward, my heart is strong and my blood pressure is great.  I did notice that my LDL cholesterol number was up and my HDL was down, which after a bit of research could be linked to my perimenopause, which the extra miles seem to be making worse.  

So where does that leave me?  I'm dropping back the miles.  I'm changing my focus.  Instead of working towards the 50k, I'm going to get strong.  No more excuses and I'm going to really diversify my workouts.  I'm starting with Pahla B's 31-day workout challenge.  I found her channel maybe 3 weeks ago on Youtube and really enjoy her approach to working out.  She has an e-book to go with the 31-day challenge and all of the videos are on Youtube.  I have the 1st one embedded in this post.  

One of the most interesting tidbits, I have found with Pahla B has been the idea of working out too much stressing your body and actually keeping you from losing weight.  Like the exact point, my doctor made last year.  The exact thing my body and labs keep pointing too: moderate working out is what I need.  As if to underscore the point, I ran a 5k in the high-noon Texas heat on Thursday and it wiped me out, like mild heat exhaustion wipe out.  I could not sleep.  My heart flutters were bad.  My stomach stayed in knots.  So Friday, I did some Pahla B active rest day yoga and then nothing this weekend.  Last night, Sunday was the best sleep I had had in a few days.  My body wanted rest instead of a 10k, which was on my plan.  So that's it.  I'm pulling back on miles and I'm going the Pahla B revolution for the next 31-days.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Schooling in the time of Covid

So in March, our lives basically imploded.  For many Texas children, they went home for Spring Break and then did not go back to school.  We are day 120-something of social distancing and quarantine.  I know for me it feels chaotic.  I imagine for the children watching all of us grown-ish folx, this is a very confusing time.   

Now, if you remember correctly, my doctoral dissertation was written on unschooling, and pretty close to 100% of my writing and research during my doctoral studies were focused on homeschooling.  To say that my views and recommendations have been in demand is an understatement.  Now, I haven't gotten any media attention, thankfully, but many friends and family members have been reaching out.  So I'm going to give my perspective on the current situation.  I'm going to avoid the politics of it; that may become a post over on Wetback American since I try to keep my politics over there.  

Things to keep in mind as you read:
1 - I was a public school educator for 9 years.
2 - I was a private school administrator for 3 years.
3 - My oldest child, Gymgirl, has been educated with a mixture of private school and homeschooling.
4 - I believe in the power of children and as such, I am a firm believer in unschooling.
5 - My own education has been a mixture of public and private schools at the k-12 level and in higher education.

Okay so you don't feel mislead or like I'm hiding anything.  I will also admit, I have a lot of issues with public schooling, namely, it is schooling and not education.  Again, I'm going to leave the politics at the door but if I'm not transparent then I feel like I'm trying to hide something or that I'm ashamed of something.

Now the meat of the issue:
Where should I put my children next year?  The only real answer is to do what is best for you and your family.  That is the beginning and the end of the conversation.  You can take what I say and other experts say into consideration but the decision is yours and yours alone.  

Things to consider:
1 - Can you keep your children at home, safely?
    Who can provide supervision?
    If my children are old enough to stay by themselves, who can be your backup if suddenly your children need help?  Last-minute illness?  No electricity?  Other safe spaces for them?

2 - What kind of learner is your child?
    Does your child need lots of structure?
    Do they go to bed late?  Are they early risers?
    Does your child have special learning needs?

3 - Does your child seek/need routine?
    This is especially important in light that school may close and open randomly throughout the semester.  

4 - Are you a seeker of routine?
    I love routine.  I need to know basically what my day is going to look like, my meetings or if I am on-campus or off-campus.  Honestly, sick days ruin my whole week.  I need a routine.  Public and private schools are more than likely going to have to close and reopen a couple of times.  Do you have a plan?

5 - What is your backup school plan?
    Like I have mentioned above.  Public and private schools are going to have to respond and follow state and local guidelines.  If your area becomes a hotspot and you are an essential worker, what is your plan for your children?  If there is an exposure and schools close for a day, week, month, what will you do?

6 - Does your child have any special medical needs/conditions?
    If your child were to get Covid, is there any reason for you to think your child would be hit harder, ie is your child high-risk or medically fragile?

7 - Is there anyone in your household or back-up household, who is high-risk/medically fragile?
    Again, this isn't a disease that is generally fatal for healthy people so it is possible that your household can get Covid and everyone does just fine.  You need to consider things like an older parent in the house, someone with a chronic health condition, and not just in your household but in the household of whoever is your backup in case of a shutdown.
As you can see this is an ultra-personal choice and frankly it is nobody's business.  If you are sending your children to school here is advice:

A - Prepare them with positive viewpoints of the situation.  Your hatred of mask, Trump, Covid, none of that is the teacher or school's fault.  Your children will reflect your attitude so fix it now!

B - Be prepared for chaos, especially at first.  So talk to your kids.  This is a brand new situation to all of us.  Yes, the first day will be strange and difficult. Again, it is not the teacher or school's fault.  

C - Prepare your sometimes people die talk.  I am praying that you never need it but get it ready.  More than likely your child will know someone who has lost someone to COVID and they'll bring that talk home.  Be ready.  If the health officials are correct, we will lose teachers and students.  Be ready.  It is a tough topic.  As an administrator, sharing bad news was always hard, and watching the effects on the class, students and teachers, was heartbreaking.

D - Find out the district's plan for exposures.  This is the hardest one really because there are so many unknowns.

E - Support teachers and school staff.  This is hard on everyone.  As school personnel, we love our students.  We want to get back to normal.  There isn't a teacher around that want to infect a child with COVID.  We are also human and have to work with the system and the rules set forth.  

Finally, my recommendations:

If you need to keep your child at home, I suggest looking into online computer-based schooling.  In Texas, we have a few companies.  I highly recommend  I have known people who worked for them and have seen a few students transition to this program pretty well.  Teachers and administrators are certified so the curriculum mirrors that of the public schools.  Before you pick an online school, check out their requirements for their instructors.  Not everyone requires a teaching license or previous experience.  This is nice option since your child has to log-on to do their work so they can create a routine and have support from a real person.

Also, you don't have to pick an online school.  You can unschool.  You can buy a prepackage curriculum like Seton Home Study (Catholic) or Abeka Homeschool (Baptist) if you want something with worksheets and books but not on screen.

No tee, no shade, you have to do what is best for you and your family.  It takes a village to keep your kids at home and not everybody has a village full of retired teachers ready to teach the neighborhood kids.  If you need more information or want to just talk it out, email me (martha (at) wheatlessmama (dot) com).  We can set up a zoom meeting.  This is hard.  You are not alone.  It feels like a political statement no matter what you do but seriously, keep your politics out of it and focus on what works best for you and your kids!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

100 miles for Trans-gendered Rights

So today is July 8th and I have had a few days to think about my June miles.  Along with time to think, I have really been enjoying not forcing myself to get in a run daily.  I love rest days!

I currently have a student who is sharing her journey through the transiting process via her social media.  She has shared some hate that has blown her way.  At one point, she shared a tweet asking if her life mattered?  As a Black Trans-gendered Woman, her life is in so much danger.  I'll remind you that in 2019 - the Human Rights Campaign reported that of the 26 murders they reported, 90% of those were Black Trans-gendered Women.

I spent the month of June trying to educate myself and learn what I can do to make this world a safer place for all LGBTQIA folx but especially Black Trans-gendered Women.  Just like working on making myself less racists, I had to start with what do I know, what have I been taught, and forgive myself for falling short for so long.

Much like my anti-racist self-work, I started with Netflix.  I binged watched Pose.  I cheered for Blanca.  I danced with Damon.  I cried with Pray Tell.  I tried to understand what it is about being Gay and Black that is so wrong and what made being trans-gendered and Black so dangerous.  I still have so many questions.  I have next to no answers.  After watching, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, I felt privileged.  Not just in my cis-gendered, heterosexual female-ness but because I know and have known trans-gendered people.  

Disclosure opened my eye to the privilege of actually knowing someone who was trans.  If I remember correctly, 95% of Americans have never met a person who is trans-gendered.  My experience with trans-gendered people is as a teacher/librarian.  I have worked with students who eventually disclosed themselves as trans.  So my experience has been watching people bloom into adults who are happy in their own skin.  Who wouldn't want that for people?  Why would you want people to hurt and hide?

The "what" makes life as a Black Transgender Woman so dangerous still feels so nebulous.  As best as I can glean, the hate is rooted in power.  This group, Black-Trans-Women, has the least power so other people who feel less powerful exert their frustrations on them.  Will the police protect them?  If they don't have "family" who will fight for them?  Did you know that they can be denied health care by medical professionals if the "professional" feels it is against their religious beliefs to be trans!?  This group is completely on the fringe of society.  Alone, abused, powerless and the rest of us laugh when someone makes a "tranny" joke.  I want to punch myself for all of the times I said nothing.

Transgendered women are real women.  If you are a man who is attracted to a transwoman, you are not gay because that is a woman you are attracted too.  But also, there is nothing wrong with being gay so get over that!  We all need to work to make this world safer.  If we make it safer for Trans Women, then it is safer for all women.  I have two daughters and I want them to be safe but first, we have to make sure those with the least power are protected.  

This is the list of each person I honored on my June journey:
June 1 - Dana Martin
June 2 - Monika Diamond
June 3 - Tony McDade
June 4 - Nina Pop
June 5 - Jazzaline Ware
June 6 - Ashanti Carmon
June 7 - Claire Legato
June 8 - Muhlaysia Booker
June 9 - Michelle Tamika Washington
June 10 - Paris Cameron
June 11 - Chynal Lindsey
June 12 - Chanel Scurlock
June 13 - Dominique Remmie Fells and Riah Milton
June 14 - Zoe Spears
June 15 - Brooklyn Lindsey
June 16 - Dena Liberries Stuckey
June 17 - Tracy Single
June 18 - Bubba Walker
June 19 - Kiki Fantroy
June 20 - Pebbles Ledime Doe
June 21 - Bailey Reeves
June 22 - Jamagio Jamar Berryman
June 23 - Itali Marlowe
June 24 - Brianna BB Hill
June 25 - Yahira Nesby
June 26 - Mia Perry
June 27 - Layleen Polanco
June 28 - Kenna Mattel AKA Kelly Stough
June 29 - Tydida Nasbury
June 30 - To the unknown, unreported, misgendered Trans-gendered murder victims
Say their names.  Honor their memories with work.  Each person listed was a human being.  Straight people, we need to do more.

P.S. - I am working on being a better ally.  If I have misspoken, please help correct me.  Sometimes we have to say the wrong thing before we can get right.