Blog Archives

Life is good…lots of dancing and getting healthy…and VERY BUSY!


I really need to do a dozen different posts…

…but this quick update is all I have time for!

This blog, for those who need the reminder is about ME!  Moí! And the stuff going on as I continue on my journey, dancing my way to Health and Fitness.

The short version is that finally after several awful years, things seem to be turning around, finally coming together for me.  Yay!

Not to create any false impressions…I’ve got a long way to go on many fronts: fitness, health, dancing, and financial, but for now things are progressing in the right direction.

So, in a completely random order here are some brief updates on what’s going on in Tony-Land:

I updated my event calendar:

There is LOTS of info about Moí embedded in the calendar as I yack about the events, classes, and workshops that I’m planning on attending or working so check it out:

https://txcowboydancer.com/event-calendar/

Next big event: IGRA Dance Round Up 2017

I am one of the invited instructors.   Yay! —> click the poster to the right to embiggen so you can read it and get more info about the event.  Here is the link to the full schedule of workshops and the registration form.

Here are the workshops that I will be teaching:

FRIDAY, June 8th
— 2:15 – 3:15 pm at the Roundup Saloon – Couples – “West Coast Swing”
4:45 – 5:45 pm at the Roundup Saloon – My Brand New Line Dance:
Dirty New Boots” 32 count, 4 wall, Improver Level
danced to “Dirt on my Boots / by Jon Pardi”

SATURDAY, June 9th
— 9:15 – 10:15 am at the Roundup Saloon – Couples – “Cha-Cha”
— 2:45 – 3:45 pm at Sue Ellens – Line dance – “Sunday Finest / choreographed by Jose’ Miguel Belloque Vane and Roy Verdonk” 32 count, 4 wall, Low Intermediate
danced to “Sunday Finest / by Sir Rosevelt
— 4:00 – 5:00 pm at Sue Ellens – Couples – “Night Club 2-Step”

Now accepting new ProAm Students!!!!

2011 UCWDC Country Dance World Championships XIXIf you have ever wanted to compete in dance, then give me a shout.

I have over 20 years of experience in Country Western and Line Dance competitions. Ballroom is also a possibility.

My rates are VERY reasonable and you can save money by buying packages of 5 or 10 lessons.

New Competitor Special

I offer a “new competitor” special — $70 for two private lessons (including floor fees).  You get an introduction to your choice of  eight county competition dances, six ballroom competition dances, and/or line dance competition info.

At the end of the second lesson you’ll have the information you need to make a sound decision about whether competition is right for you or if you just want to continue at the social dance level.  What are you waiting for?  Sign up now!

I hate to put in the disclaimer stuff, but if I don’t do it then people get upset…my special offer is not open to current DanceMakers students; I am a staff instructor there, so if you are already a student at DanceMakers, the normal DanceMaker rates apply. On the bright side, you are already part of an AWESOME studio family!!!!

On the Fitness Front:

My current weight is [drum roll please] 270.9 lbs !!!!

Total lost to date: 64.10 lbs, approximate left to loose: 75.9 lbs.

The exact amount left depends on my final body fat percentage.  My target range is 7% – 17% which, according to the information from the American Council on Exercise, at 7% would put me in the middle of the “Athletes” range for men on the low end.

On the high end of that target range, at 17%, I would be at the top of the “Fitness” level which is below the “acceptable level.”

Other progress indicators:

                    What 18 months of progress looks like

Yes, the weight loss is great but the MAIN indicator of my increasing fitness and health is my ability to move my body.  At my worst climbing a flight of stairs was a painful ordeal requiring a 20 minute nap to recover.  Yes, I’m prone to drama, but that is a cold hard fact with no exaggeration.

Now, I am dancing…a lot!

In Jan 2016, when I first became a “full pro” a single hour of dance class or a lesson was a HUGE achievement.  And one that required that I pretty much rest most of the next day.  Now, I can do 5-6 hours of dancing.  My feet hurt and I’m beat at the end of it, but after a full night’s sleep, I can do the same the following day.

I still have a way to go to be where I want to be, but I am sure I will get there.  This coming week will be a true test of my current fitness level.  very single day this week I have lessons with students, rehearsals, and then this coming weekend, I have the IGRA Dance Round Up.  My lightest day is 4 hours of dancing.  My heaviest day will be 6 hours (as of now), but when you toss in the commuting time…eeeeeeeeekkkk!

Other stuff in a random off the top of my head order…

  • I am now an Award Winning Choreographer!!!  Woot!  I competed in Choreography for the first time at the Texas Classic a couple weeks ago.  I entered my very first line dance that I’ve ever choreographed:  Dirty New Boots” — The judges gave me very high marks and I took 1st place!  Yay! A big shout out to my “back up dancers” friends who learned my dance and danced it with me at the competition.  THANK YOU!  Check out the photo to the right — click to “embiggen”
  • I danced for the first time in the Superstar Division at the Texas Hoedown in March — It is the highest level of competition.  Yay!
  • I danced for the first time as a “Professional” dancing with two of my students who competed in Newcomer ProAm at the Texas Hoedown in March.
  • I am on track to compete in Line Dance at UCWDC Worlds in San Francisco and ACDA Nationals here in Dallas.  Lots of rehearsing left to do and still have create my “Showcase” dances.  Eeeeeeekkkkk… But I’m on track.
  • The number of students I have is steadily increasing.  Which is way cool.
  • I am continuing to learn more dance steps, more technique, more Ballroom, more Country, more Line, more Swing…. Whew!  Bottom line: I am becoming a better dancer every single day.
  • My Diabetes is under control.  My doc says that I should be able to start reducing the meds early next year.  Eventually I will NOT be a diabetic.  Yay!
  • My physical therapy is complete and I now have 99% functionality in my left shoulder which was injured a couple years ago.
  • The treatments to manage the tingling in my left arm have mostly succeeded.  This will be an ongoing issue for me but at least I know there is a treatment.  I have no idea what’s gonna happen with my health insurance…  Grrrrrrrrr…. but for now, and as long as I have coverage, I can do the 3 treatments a year and manage the condition.
  • Finally almost done with fixing some dental issues that cropped up during the period when “my life exploded” and I had no health insurance.
  • Financially…well because I am teaching more students, all bills are being covered and I am eating better foods because I have more money for food.BUT I am still not making enough money to pay rent.  If not for the kindness of my best friend, I would be on the street.  He is letting me stay rent free in his spare bedroom.  Anyone want to make a donation
    Seriously…
    There is a back log of “things that had to wait til money got better that I’m working through.  Nothing that can’t wait a bit longer but it would be nice to have them now rather than later.  Check out my full list of “Things to help Tony on his Journey to Health and Fitness” at Amazon.com if you are feeling generous.
  • My truck is now paid off!  Yay!  That helped a lot on the financial front…but just when I was contemplating my influx new found wealth [tongue firmly placed in cheek]…my health insurance premiums for 2017 went up. Arrrrgggghhh Which pretty much wiped out the the “gain” I got from no car payments.  *SIGH*  Don’t get me wrong…I am happy to have insurance and it has saved my life, but this cycle of ever increasing health care costs is not sustainable.

Well I think that is the highlights…and the clock is ticking…I have to start getting ready for bed.  Tomorrow morning kicks off a non-stop whirlwind of activity for the next SIX DAYS!

I tell ya now…if I don’t drop a full percentage point of body fat and do not drop AT LEAST 5 lbs this week there is no justice in this world. Jus’ sayin’

See ya on the dance floor!

Advertisements

Fitness Update! Or…What’s up in Tony’s Wacky World!


Brace yerself folks, this is gonna be quick…

Me being silly

…ok, ok, the GASP as all of you reacted in shock and disbelief was NOT needed!  Really!

Yes, you…my dearest readers!  All six of you including my awesome cousin Roger!

Hey, I can be short if I have to be.  And today I have to be because even though I have no “scheduled” thing to do today, I have a LOT of “things” to do…

Slllllluuuurrrrrrrrpppppppppp….aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Coffee.  Proof that there is a higher power and she wants us to be AWAKE!

Progress… and FRUSTRATION on the fitness front

I now weigh 295 lbs!  Yay!!!!

That is a total of 40 lbs lost!!!!!  YAY!  Yeehaw!  Yippee!

But…  Grrrrrrrrrrrr  Grumble Mumble [ saying dirty words ] BLEEP Bleep BLEEP

I’ve been STUCK at 295 for about a month now.  sigh  Grrrrrrr…..  I wanna be SLIMMER!

I’m getting fitter and healthier…

True that I am “stuck” on the weight loss front…but other indicators are more rewarding…

Applause Kitty…and THAT friends, neighbors, and dearest readers, is why you use more than one metric to measure your progress.  I know I’m getting fitter and healthier.  Here is why:

  • I can do more; I’m moving more; I’m more physically active.
    • THEN: The last week of Feb, taking a “dance lesson / training” (more on that later) lasting 2 hours was at the upper limit of my physical ability and stamina.  and I had to rest most of the next day.
      ..
    • NOW: I can not only take 3 hours of “dance lessons / training” (more on that later)  I can also on the same day do an hour of practice or teach an hour lesson. And [drum roll please] I do NOT have to rest the next day to recover.  The following day, I can do another dance practice or a lesson, or meet with a student or do laundry or get groceries or any number of routine things.

Slllllluuuurrrrrrrrpppppppppp….aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Coffee Kitty is NOT a Morning Person

This “Coffee Kitty” design is available on a wide variety of products at TxCowboyDancer Designs

Coffee helps in this.  Do not ask how I know this.  😉

  • Doing “things” is now easier
    • THEN: In Jan and most of Feb, “doing laundry” was an all day affair.  Basically that was my entire “to do list” for a day.  Sort clothes. Rest. Get coins, key and laundry soap ready.  Rest.  Spray pre-wash on sorted clothes. Rest.  Take clothes to laundry room, put them in the washer.  REST Go to laundry room to move clothes to the dryer.  REST Go get clothes from dryer and bring them to the condo.  REST A LONG TIME Hang clothes, fold clothes and put them all away.  TAKE A NAP TO RECOVER and then rest most of the next day.
      ..
    • NOW: I do other stuff while I’m doing laundry.  It basically ain’t no big deal any more.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t suddenly like doing laundry and I really wish we had a washer dryer in the condo…but this activity is no longer something that I have to plan for and allocate a rest day afterwards!  It is well within my physical capabilities and no longer is at the TOP of what my body is able to do.
  • Ditto all of the above for getting groceries.

Slllllluuuurrrrrrrrpppppppppp….aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

How did humans survive before coffee was discovered?  Hmmm?

More indicators of “getting fitter” and “getting healthy”

Tony’s Tip No.9 — Do One Thing


When you feel overwhelmed…do ONE thing!

health-and-fitness-tips

It is easy to set goals.

It is easy to picture where you want to be in six months or a year.

Saying “I am going to get fit and healthy” is a simple easy thing to do.

ACTUALLY getting there is NOT!

So, when you feel overwhelmed; when the number on the scale seems stuck; when you’re down, blue, not motivated and everything seems impossible…

Do ONE Thing…

Just one.  One POSITIVE thing.

It doesn’t matter what “thing” you do.  Bend over a pick up a sock and put it in the hamper.

Look at that unmade bed and straighten out the pillows.  Or pull the comforter or bedspread out flat to cover the mess.

Wash your face.

Empty the wastebasket in your office, bedroom, or bathroom.

Feed the kitty a few treats.  (And no, you can’t have any of the treats!)

Because when you do ONE Thing…

DO-ONE-THING

Doing the SECOND thing is easier…

I am not a neat person.

After 53 years of life, I accept that, even though I actually a “place for everything” — “everything” will NEVER be in its place.

At least not all at the same time.

My life is filled with clutter.  My outward living space often reflects my inner thoughts where I bound from one thing to another to another to another, leaving a trail of creative chaos in my wake.

Some would argue that the chaos is not so creative; don’t listen to them.

Few would deny, however, that it is entertaining!

Squirrel!

Therefore, my “One Thing” often is something to do with cleaning…

Given that my home is usually a mess, for me, the “one thing” is usually a bit of neatening or straightening or cleaning.

Everyone is different.  Your “one thing” might be putting on a piece of music.  Or entering ONE check into your check register.  Or it might be filling up your 7-day pill organizer with this week’s medications.

Or…taking the dog for a walk.

Or…mailing a birthday card to a loved one.

Or…adding an item to the “shopping list” on the refrigerator door.  Or…

It doesn’t really matter WHAT you do as long as you do SOMETHING!

Minion and Money - Just one step awayIt has got to be a “positive” thing.  Take a step. Any Step.  It is that first step that is the most important one.  And it does NOT have to be a big step.

Step #1 is always the hardest, so make it a teeeeeeennnny tiny thing!  Make sure that you can succeed when you take that tiny step.  Do that tiny “one thing.”

Do something that you KNOW you can do….because who knows, when taking a step, just where any step might lead?

One thing I can promise you is that doing that one thing, WILL lead to doing another, which will lead to another.  IF…

…after you pick up that sock and toss it in the dirty clothes hamper, you do a mini-celebration.  After all you DESERVE IT!

You just girded your loins!  You mustered your gumption! You fought against the feeling of battling an overwhelming MOUNTAIN of things yet to be done and you STARTED!  You took a step FORWARD!  You just did SOMETHING good!

Woo Hoo! Yay! YeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeHAW!

You, my friend, my dearest readers, DESERVE to celebrate! Because…

Depression and other “negative”
feelings are no laughing matter…

Depression (CC)When I am feeling “depressed” it usually manifests in one of two ways:

  1. A feeling of futility or hopelessness
    ..
    OR less frequently as:
    ..
  2. Anger. — Which according to the articles I’ve read is VERY typical for men battling depression.For some reason that scientists can’t quite figure out yet, men suffering from depression often are more on edge, stressed, likely to explode over minor things.

Do a quick Google Search on “Depression in Men.”  The information is easy to find.

Doing SOMETHING positive for myself…

…no matter how small.  How “tiny” in the grand scheme of things.  Makes me feel better.

Upward SpiralThere is actual real science behind this simple idea.  Google “Feedback Loops” — they can be either negative or positive.

By doing one “good / positive” thing you are halting a negative feedback loop and turning it into a positive feedback loop!

And that’s the key.  With that teeeeeeeeeeny tiny step.  With one SMALL action. You are breaking a negative cycle.

Ooooooooooooohhhhhhh!!!  AAaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

Yes, dearest readers, from your sounds of approval, I see that you are now amazed at my clever insights. 😉

Seriously, it really is that simple.  Not easy, no, but simple!

HOWEVER… you have to do the “celebration” part

Make a game of it.

And if you get silly and start laughing at yourself or if your kids or grand kids are present, then don’t worry they will start laughing right along with you! And you’ll be firmly on that positive feedback loop, putting negativity behind you.

Picture this:

Me.  Gloomy.  Not motivated.  Overwhelmed.  Hopeless.  Feeling like that it is all pointless.  Why even bother?  Who cares if I’ve lost over 40 lbs!  I still have over a 100 lbs to go!  It is impossible.  I’ve set my sights too high.  I’ll never get there.  sigh

There are too many hurdles. It is hopeless.  Then, bored, I scroll through Facebook, looking at all my friends living wonderful lives filled with fun, love, and skinny-ness.  SIGH

HUGE heavy friggin’ SIGH….

Then.

[ insert the theme music from Jaws — dum dum dum dum dum DUM DUM DUM DUM! ]

dirty-sockThere. On the floor.  I spot my enemy!  A foul sock!  Out of place!  Dirty.  Used.  And offending my latent OCD!

I leap out of my chair!

[ Ok, ok, I painfully push myself up out of my chair with a groan. ]

I spear the sock with my steely gaze and speak “Ah foul sock, enemy of tidiness and cleanliness and all things that my Mom said I should do…

Your. Days. Are. Numbered!!!!”

And I imagine a tiny fearful squeaky sock voice whimpering and quivering in abject fear of my rightful wrath!

And I bend over and carefully pick the sock up while dramatically holding my nose with one hand and pinching the smallest amount of sock between two fingers of the other hand.

I turn my head away in a dramatic swoop of the neck worthy of an Oscar and in my best Diva Voice say “I have you now!”

And off to the bathroom we go.  [Where we studiously ignore the mess in the bathroom] and deposit the foul beast into captivity with its brethren in the dirty clothes hamper.

Notice we are using the Royal “We!”?  snort giggle ROFL @ myself  This is FUN!

Now we celebrate…

Happy Dance SMALLWe start doing that circle in the air thing with our fists as we dance back to the bedroom chanting “Uh-huh!  Uh-huh! Uh-huh!

Then with a couple of fist pumps we chant

“We did it!  We picked up a sock! 

We did it!  WHOSE da man?!?  WhoseYerDaddy!?!

Then I collapse in a fit of giggles back into the desk chair in the bedroom.

And TAH DAH!  I feel better…

Even if you drop all the dramatics.  The simple act of doing one “positive” or “good for you” or “improving yourself or your environment” thing can trigger a cascade of more positive things.

And, in complete seriousness, when you are down in the dumps, fighting against that awful feeling of hopelessness…

…sometimes picking up a single sock and putting it away is a monumental achievement.

It deserves to be celebrated.

So…do…one…thing.  And celebrate.  You can do this!

See ya on the dance floor!

 

Looking Back and Looking Ahead – Good things are happening!


My Journey So far…

My journey so far...The way we humans envision time is a funny thing.

When I start looking back I am often surprised at how much, or how little time has actually passed.

And, if you will pardon a wee bit of bluntness, I’m often surprised by the huge amount of CRAP that I’ve been through!

No wonder my face has some tread marks on it because life done run me over! Several times!

In the colorful vernacular of present times: Life be like — “Boy you done been Bitch Slapped!”

Life is getting Better! Way Better!

2016 is going to be a FABULOUS yearIf things keep going on their current trajectory, then 2016 is going to be an amazing, stupendous, exciting, fabulous year!

It may, indeed turn out to be the best year of my entire life.

Wow!

The truly amazing thing is that my focus has shifted.

I’m no longer focused on the “here and now” locked permanently into “survival mode;” I find that I am only looking “back” to measure how far I’ve come and/or to explain to friends when they ask me “where have you been hiding?”

My focus is firmly pointed toward the future.  A quick rundown of the exciting things that are happening:

  • I’m loosing weight! Yay!
    ..
  • As of this morning I weigh 294.6 — that is a total of 40.4 lbs lost from my highest weight of 335 lbs.
    ..
  • My health is improving on almost a daily basis. My stamina is up. I’m moving more.
    ..
  • I’ve started dancing again!
    • I am back in the studio practicing.
    • I’ve started teaching line dance again — lots of stuff happening there; more on that later in this post.
    • I’ve started an Instructor Training program at a local studio and as soon as I finish that program I’ll be put on staff teaching couples dancing, both Ballroom and Country — THIS IS FRIGGIN’ HUGE!
    • I’ve been put on staff at one dance event already for the coming dance year, 2016, and I’m likely to be put on staff at several others!
    • I’m planning on competing this year in Line Dance!
    • I’m beginning to choreograph line dances and will be competing in Line Dance Choreography this year.

Things are turning around.  But to understand just how wonderful and much of a positive change these and other events and happenings in my life are, I have to go back in time and fill you in on how awful things were… 

Long time readers of my blog will recognize bits and pieces of the story but you’ve probably not seen it laid out so concisely in one spot.

For my new readers, new “dance friends” I just made at Dallas Dance and at Worlds, and for my friends with whom I only recently reconnected…

…in the words of Bette Davis “Fasten your seat belts...”

And, uhmmm… you might want to hit “pause” and go grab a cup of coffee or soda and some snacks.

I never intend for my blog posts to be long. Stop laughing!  It is true!  I really do try to make them short, but somehow…  sigh

Oh, well, it may be long, but it is without a doubt entertaining…and informative… Now git…go grab that beverage…

…back?  Got your soda?  Cool… here we go:

The date my life changed…for the worse

Looking back on one’s life, even on recent events, is much like using a crystal ball to peer into the future: the images are very VERY foggy!

Some events are Read the rest of this entry

This has been a good week!


Where to start?  So much news to share…

One of the hardest things about writing and/or blogging, is deciding on just what to write about and how much to write.  Ideas are always popping into my head.  I have a post-it note program on my Mac that I use to jot down ideas about topics as they occur in an attempt to stay organized.

Sometimes I even start a post then save it as a draft to finish later.  We will not even begin to discuss how many of those I have saved in draft mode waiting for me to return and finish the post…  sigh

And then I have a week like the one just past, so chock full of stuff that it generates even MORE ideas!swooning

“Whateva shall I do?  I feel faint with the stress of it all…”
   [using my best Southern Belle / accent]

  [Hmmmm…I think I need some liquid fortification…]
Oh waiter! YoooooHoooo! A chocolate martini!  Stat!

…..ssssslllllluuuuurrrrrrpppp….  Ahhhhh!  That’s better.

Now, where was I? A lot happened this week.

Since I have been accused of digression in posts past, I am determined to turn over a new leaf.  Plus, that chocolate martini is gonna get warm if I don’t make this quick. 😉

Therefore, for the ultra-minimalist crowd:

It has indeed been a very good week!

There.

I’m done.

What?  You want more?

Tsk-tsk-tsk  You guys should know better than ask me for “more”  —   Brevity is not a strong point of mine… but I’m gonna try.

How’s this then?

Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: