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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!

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

Blood Glucose Meters, Strips, and Sticking it to Yourself Daily


SCOTUS Hangover…  (a brief aside before we talk Diabetes)

After yesterday’s Historic ruling on Gay Marriage (Read my post: Justice Arrives Like a Thunderbolt!) I must confess that I want the celebration to continue.  It feels weird picking up writing on this blog post on Saturday, where I left off on Wed evening.

Yesterday my Facebook feed exploded with joy and rainbows!  I had to be part of the excitement, so went out last night, saw the rally at Oaklawn & Cedar Springs and hung out with my cousin and a friend I had not seen in approximately 20 years.  The joy, the love, the relief that Marriage Equality is now law, and the energy last night being around my fellow LGBT folk, was just amazing.

AND when I started writing this post, back on Wed night, the fate of the Affordable Care & Patient Protection Act was not yet announced.  That was upheld on Thursday.  Yay!  So, in less than 48 hours, two of the most important Supreme Court decisions of my lifetime came back to back — both of which directly impact me.  Wow!

I’m now free to marry who I love, assuming I can find a fella!  LOL

And I’m now fairly certain that I will always have access to quality health care.  Yay!

I’m going to do something weird in this post.  The “comments” from Wed night are going to stay, but where I was expressing doubt, I’m going to put an BEFORE label and add an AFTER comment.

Why? Because the ACA law is important.  It is important to me on a very real, very personal, very day-to-day level.  And by doing it this way, anyone who reads my blog may perhaps realize that this is not a philosophical debate.  It is literally about life and death.  Read on faithful readers, read on…

Uhmmm… by the way, we’ll keep the fact that as a newly diagnosed diabetic I should not have been drinking beer last night between thee and me.  Nobody tell my doctor!  Sssssshhhhhhh!

“You Need a Blood Glucose Meter…”

blood meters…said my doctor.  And I said “What’s a Glucose and why is it in my blood?

Ok, maybe I didn’t actually say that.  But to me Glucose is something that is related to Gatorade, a distant cousin of Fructose and Sucrose and… well, you get the idea.  It is sugar.  It is all sugar.  And “sugar” is a special kind of carbohydrate.

Standard disclaimer…  I’m not a doctor –  You should verify everything I say and always consult with your doctor on medical decisions.

What I’m sharing with you here is info I’ve learned since being diagnosed with Diabetes and that info has gone into Tony’s head and been mixed around with all the other stuff up there and seasoned with a bit of my patented “Ton-NAY Drama” and is being blurted out here for the enjoyment and befuddlement of you, my loyal readers.

All two of you —  two, or is it thousand?  the whole number thing confuses me.  😉 Read the rest of this entry

Trauma, Drama, and challenges this week… …wish me success!


Morning Trauma

omron pedometerI can’t find my Omron Pedometer.  It is gone.  And I’ve gotten used to wearing it every day.

In fact is now part of my “morning routine” to put it on.  Which is a problem.  What I’m doing in this “Journey to Health & Fitness” is one, by one, setting up good habits, rituals, routines, replacing old patterns of behavior with new, better ones.

And to do that requires repetition.  Lots of repetition.  And until the “new” becomes “habit” and the “habit” becomes ironclad rock solid do-it-without-thinking-about-what-you-are-doing type behavior, any deviation can be deadly and devastating.

And it bugs me.  A lot. — I’m actually AMAZED at how much it is bugging me.  I’ve rouned up all the usual suspects and put them in the line-up:  under the edge of the bed, under the edge of the desk, under the edge of the kitchen cabinets, inside the pocket(s) of the clothes I wore yesterday.

I’ve even canvased the neighborhood (literally) — I went out on my balcony and the bridge that crosses the court yard and looked at the sidewalk and the stairs to see if I could see it lying there.

2014.05.03 4.50 AM -- My Come to Jesus moment

2014.05.03 4.50 AM — My Come to Jesus moment

In a bit I’ll put on shoes and go look in my truck to see if it fell out of my pocket yesterday when I went on an errand.  And I’ll check the laundry room to see if it fell out there while I was doing clothes.

BUT IT bugs the crap out me that I am not wearing it!

Recording that little number into the spreadsheet each morning from the day before was an act of validation.  It is/was actual numerical quantifiable proof that I was indeed MOVING my body!

siiiiiiiggggghhhh 

I hope I find it.  I don’t want to have to buy a new one.  Buying a new one isn’t in the budget.

Doctor Drama

Read the rest of this entry

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