Teachers of the Apocalypse

This is a tribute to all of the teachers that are staying on board and making it all work for our kids. 1 in 5 teachers have quit or lost their job because of the extreme pressure and expectations which has had an impact on their mental health and concern with Covid. They teach because they love the kids and imparting knowledge is a gift that feeds their soul knowing they have contributed to the lives of our youth. Their mission is to empower their kids to learn, grow and experience life to it’s fullest, using critical thinking skills to navigate their lives, which impacts our world.

I have picked a variety of ages to see if we might find parallels among them, no matter what grade or subject they teach.

Here’s to our teachers as we bow in gratitude and appreciation! Kudo’s to all of you and thank you so much for contributing to this important post!


Meet Angela Reinertson: Mom, Grandma, Owner of RiverStar Winery

Angela is my neighbor and lives down the street from me. Her 3 kids were roughly in the same grade as mine. The difference is her kids are all married with grand kids and mine are not but hey, I am a Cat Grandma 🤣. Angela and her husband Rob ended up taking custody of her son’s children 4 years ago and they also bought a winery around that same time. She home schools her kids and more recently started working in the classroom assisting as well. My head spins when I think about how they made this all work and she never complains for a second.

“PPE” Margaritas

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

The biggest challenge doing distance learning is just keeping them on schedule.  I have Robbie who is 1st grade and Payton who is in Kindergarten and Rose is Pre-K (she is the only one who actually gets to go to school). They have staggered schedules all day so that’s a lot of logging in and out. I feel like it’s soooo much screen time and that bothers me but the children never complain. 

How has this affected your mental health?

My mental health is doing ok… some days I feel overwhelmed and can’t wait til the school day is over but other days we sail along. All I care about is that the children are safe, healthy and happy!

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

I’ve always admired and appreciated our teachers, now more so than ever!  Our teachers are putting so much time, energy and effort to support the children.  We are all in this together but MAN I can’t wait til they go back to school!

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

We take a lot of outside breaks during the day so they can run around.  Sometimes they do their classes outside (when the air quality is good) I stay positive for them and I think that’s what makes them want to do their best!

Are you getting any breaks?

I don’t get many breaks during the week… my niece and nephew have been helping with the morning work twice a week and that is much appreciated. 8:15-2:00 every day is exhausting but it gets done! 


Meet Lizanne McCord

Lizanne and I have been childhood friends and neighbors in Daly City, California since we were 5 years old and went to our local public school together. She and I have remained friends ever since which is such a blessing! Lizanne teaches in the Belmont-Redwood Shires School District, in California

Lizanne and her Co-Teacher 1 year ago

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

I work with elementary school students from kindergarten to fifth grade. I work in a learning center so we work one on one and with small groups of students. Some of the biggest challenges in teaching during the pandemic were learning computer technology and all the different programs that come with teaching virtually. Also, another challenge is keeping the material interesting so that our students are engaged in the curriculum. If a student doesn’t show up at their scheduled time or chooses only to show part of their face or not to turn on their video at all, I can only control so much on my end. 

How has this affected your mental health?

How this has affected my mental health, after zooming from 8:30-2:30, my eyes feel strained and I’m ready to get away from any screen. I will take a walk and a zoom class which helps with my mental health.

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

Some of my suggestions for other students are to continue to stay focus, work hard, have the attitude that this situation is temporary so make the most out of virtual learning. One suggestion I have for the administration is to teach one day or one week with students on zoom so they can experience what the students and staff experience.

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

Some of the creative things I have done to make teaching more enjoyable are the following, when I start with any student, I do a daily check-in to see how they’re doing and how the school work is going for them. We start with a brain break which they can choose to walk or jog in place, do jumping jacks, or stretch. When we’re done with our 30-minute session they have a choice of doing a scavenger hunt or play I spy. I feel this helps to transition back to their classroom, after working with me.

Are you getting any breaks?

Yes, I’m getting my breaks. My schedule allows me to take a 15-minute break in the morning. I have a 45-minute lunch break also. When a student doesn’t show for their allotted time then that allows me to get other work done. I take Cindy’s Wednesday evening Yoga class on zoom. The stretching and Yoga poses helps to alleviate stress. I feel better and sleep well after taking her relaxing and wonderful class.


Meet Michelle Rickelman

Michelle is my niece and is doing an amazing job teaching all while having 3 kids and pregnant with her 4th. A girl after my own heart. Congratulations Michelle! Love and miss you!

Michelle has been teaching Early Childhood Special Education for 13 years in Riverside School District 96 in Riverside, IL.

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

The three biggest challenges I have come across while teaching during the pandemic include:

First, making sure each child gets what they need, since every child is unique with their own learning styles and interests. I teach 3-5 year olds, some are typically developing and some have special needs; and I am currently teaching hybrid (in-person) and remote at the same time. So, this has been a huge adjustment with figuring out how to plan and implement activities that can be done in the classroom and at home at the same time. 

Second, incorporating technology into everyday activities has been a learning curve for me- prior to this school year, I was more focused on the face to face interactions, encouraging pretend play and creative thought, and building relationships than I was on incorporating technology into my classroom. 

Third, teaching both hybrid and remote together has also increased the workload by quite a bit- it often feels as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

How has this affected your mental health?

I am blessed to have a huge support system at home, so while I definitely notice an increase in my stress level and anxiety, I feel as though I have been able to manage and juggle everything thus far. But I feel this is in large part due to my love of teaching as well- I love teaching early childhood and being their first experience with school. It is all about developing the whole child and understanding that every moment is a teaching moment. I get to help them develop a love of learning and excitement for the world around them- and the progress that each child makes during the school year still leaves me speechless after 13 years. 

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

I would just suggest for everyone to be patient with themselves and with others; and to really lean on others for support when needed- don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own.

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

Some of the creative things I have done to make teaching more enjoyable are the following, when I start with any student, I do a daily check-in to see how they’re doing and how the school work is going for them. We start with a brain break which they can choose to walk or jog in place, do jumping jacks, or stretch. When we’re done with our 30-minute session they have a choice of doing a scavenger hunt or play I spy. I feel this helps to transition back to their classroom, after working with me.

Other Notes:

I think teaching through the pandemic has really helped foster a closer parent-teacher relationship and has really helped parents/families feel more involved in their child’s education- especially since those students who are doing the remote option need a parent near to help them with the technology pieces.

Teaching has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding jobs! And though I was hesitant at first about teaching in-person and remote to 3-5 year olds, who learn best through hands-on concrete experiences, seeing the kids smiling faces through the computer or their smiling eyes from the smile hiding under their mask makes it all worth it.


Meet a San Mateo County Preschool Director

This interviewee has decided to stay anonymous. They have been working in Early Development for 25 years, and been a Director for 9.

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

The hardest part about teaching right now has been finding the sweet spot where we can make it as enjoyable and educational for the kids, and stress-free for the parents. We have taken big steps to ensure each child’s’ safety, as it is always the priority. Making sure kids can be kids, be curious and be goofy in this period in time has been a challenge. We as teachers and parents are learning something new everyday.

How has this affected your mental health?

Anything that puts our families at risk will take a toll. But getting to work with children makes it all worth it. This new layer of stress is remedied by incredible staff, parents and their families. There’s no amount of stress that makes it not worthwhile.

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

Amid the chaos of this pandemic, it is easy to forget to find joy in learning and community. Stay safe and stay optimistic.

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

We do parent classes in the evenings where we serve wine. Does that count?

Are you getting any breaks?

Of course, I have a healthy work-life balance, though I find myself thinking about being in the classroom in my free time.


Meet Renee Georgakas

I am so thrilled to once again feature my daughter Renee here and acknowledge her dedication to teaching and her innovative and creative ways she brings fun in the classroom.

Renee teaches 8th Grade Science at Rolling Hills Middle School in Campbell, California

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

While Distance Learning may have a few perks, such as teaching with a new kitten in my lap or switching a load of laundry in between classes, the challenges have been immense.  The amount of time that we have all spent adapting our methods of teaching, learning new technology, and modifying science labs to work virtually has been overwhelming to say the least.  After 10 years of teaching, it feels like starting over in an entirely new world.  Connecting with students has never been more challenging and frustrating, as it is a daily battle to convince 8th graders to keep their cameras on during class.  Staring at dark muted screens, without the ability to see and hear student reactions makes you feel more like a robot some days, and less like a teacher.  It is still the highlight of my day when the occasional student unmutes themselves to ask how I am, share a response, or just tell me a random story about their lives.  Don’t get me wrong, I do have some fantastic students this year, who are engaged and interactive, but it has never taken me this long to get to know my students on a more personal level.  This is the biggest reason that I am eager to get back to the classroom in person, but only when we are really ready, and have the ability to ensure the safety of all people on campus.  

Aside from the endless planning, the grading, and state “engagement reporting” procedures have been quite out of control, especially as a middle school teacher.  In addition to taking daily attendance, we are required to enter 2 grades daily for each student (one for engagement and one class assignment).  With 164 students, this in and of itself takes a good chunk of time to get done.  While we may be at home teaching, it feels like there is always something more to do, and like I am constantly falling behind in one area or another. 

How has this affected your mental health?

Mental health is just fine.

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

The one thing I know is that the focus should be on the students, and making distance learning as engaging as possible.  This is my number one priority.  I have made virtual labs to keep students engaged, but also try to do simple at home labs with household materials to get the students exploring science and off screen for a bit during the day.  I give students brain breaks, use interactive online platforms for student responses, and daily breakout rooms for team collaboration.  Despite the challenges we are all doing our best to make sure that students are actively learning on a daily basis.  It may not be ideal, but we are all making the best of this situation.  The daily motto in my class is “This is all new, we are learning together.  Things may not be perfect, things are going to go wrong, but we will make it work.”  I feel that through this time, both teachers and students need to be patient and understanding of one another.  It is through this mutual respect and support that we will make this work for as long as we must.

Are you getting any breaks?

Breaks? What breaks?


Meet Lauren Ruth

https://www.lauren-ruth.com/

Lauren and my daughter Renee met when they were in grammar school and we are close family friends.  Lauren is a talented artist as well and a dear friend.

Lauren is Assistant Professor of Art at California State University, Chico.

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

Connecting with students is more difficult online. In my sculpture classes I provide students with continual feedback and can gauge their level of engagement in real time. There isn’t a good substitute for this online. I can’t read the room on Zoom. It is also difficult to give demonstrations and provide feedback on three-dimensional artwork using a screen. Of course, we can’t use the wood shop or metal shop either. Fortunately, sculptors can use other materials, like fabric and found objects, so we have options for making art in the online format. When I need a silver living, I say that this is forcing artists to become more resourceful and creative.

How has this affected your mental health?

I am stressed and overworked. I put nearly all my time into my online classes, but it never feels like enough. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I’m not comfortable with my teaching being merely “good enough.” I think a lot of educators feel this way. I was stressed and overworked before the pandemic, but now it’s more acute.

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

I am teaching a graduate-level seminar and I love our discussions over Zoom! When the group is smaller and everyone participates, it is a joy to connect with students. We are all hungry for intellectual stimulation. 

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

We do parent classes in the evenings where we serve wine. Does that count?

Are you getting any breaks?

Break? What break? I haven’t taken a day off since August!

Thanks for including me and looking forward to the post! Also, I’ve attached an image of one of my recent sculptures. If you’d like to include it, a caption for the image is below:

Lauren Ruth, Chimeras, 2020, Laser cut acrylic and digital print on vinyl, 20”W x 5”H x 1/8”D (Image courtesy of the artist)

Meet Aria Lindsay

Aria is the daughter of a friend of mine who is also a teacher, who lives in my community. She is a teacher as well but decided it was best not to teach this year in Covid. We are blessed to have you in the teaching world Aria!

Aria teaches in a public high school in Davis, California

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

There are many huge challenges associated with teaching during a pandemic! I teach Animal Science, Floral Design and Biology at a large public high school in Davis, California. All of these classes traditionally include a great deal of hands-on work. During the regular school year we spend a huge portion of instructional time working on the school farm, creating floral arrangements, and doing hands-on labs. The pandemic has put a hold on all in-person activities and made me completely rethink how to run my classes to best serve all of my students.

One of the biggest challenge of teaching during a pandemic has been connecting with my students in a meaningful way. When I am in the classroom, I have a lot more time to work with my students and get to know them one-on-one. This constant interaction leads to the organic community building that occurs each year in my classroom. This community building has proven especially important for my students who are English language learners and my students with special needs.

Distance learning has forced me to rethink how to build a community in my classroom that fosters student buy-in. It has made me place intentional community building at the forefront of my educational objectives. I now dedicate a considerable portion of my daily instructional time to facilitating social interaction between my students. While this cuts into my instructional time, the extra engagement that I am getting as a result makes it work every second! It has contributed to my students’ social emotional learning, allowed me to reach my disengaged students more effectively, and helped me get to know my students over the course of the school year.

How has this affected your mental health?

Teaching during the pandemic has been a challenge for my mental health. While the hours that I spend every day actually teaching have been reduced, the workload has increased substantially due to the curriculum overhaul that has had to take place. I explained to one of my friends earlier this week that I treat every class period like an hour-long interactive workshop. Historically, I have been able to reuse projects and lesson plans from previous years. With the new online formatting, each lesson plan and project requires substantial tweaks or a complete redesign. This means that each class meeting takes me a couple hours to prep and practice for before delivering a new lesson or introducing a new project. I am working longer hours than I ever have, which cuts into my ability to practice self-care, work out, cook, clean, and otherwise take care of myself. I am concerned about burnout because I know that the rate that I am currently working at is not sustainable long term. I have found solace in many of my fellow teachers, who have bonded together in online forums and are more open to sharing resources than they were previous to the pandemic.

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

My main suggestion for anyone involved in distance learning is to focus on the new opportunities that this format provides. While it is easy to fixate all of the things that we as a community are missing out on, the thing that has kept me going has been focusing on things that I can expand. I have used this time to develop the social media outreach and online visibility for my student organization. We now have active Instagram and Facebook accounts that have allowed us to build new relationships with community stakeholders, student members, and parents. This virtual format has also allowed my students to get more industry exposure. I have found that this format lends itself well to bringing in guest speakers, who now don’t have to take time off of work to speak to my class over Zoom.

Additionally, I have taken extra time this year to integrate new technology into my classroom. I have spent more time than usual teaching my students about digital citizenship and how to use various online platforms that I previously overlooked during traditional classroom learning.

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

In order to make teaching more enjoyable and impactful for both my students and myself, I have focused on making all of my curriculum accessible in an asynchronous format for my students. This has resulted in a shift to more project-based learning. All of my assignments are posted on Canvas (or school’s learning management system) along with supporting documentation and recordings of my class sessions. While this is not required by my school, I feel passionately that every one of my students should be able to access my curriculum on their own schedule. This has helped to address the opportunity gap and resulting achievement gap in my classroom. While no system addresses this perfectly, I have found this to be a good start!

This solution along with a very flexible late work policy makes teaching more enjoyable because I know that my students educational needs are being met, even if their home situation or work schedule prevents them from fully engaging in live Zoom sessions or turning in work on time. It also helps me answer a lot of common questions from students, families and administration that many educators are currently facing.

Are you getting any breaks?

The short answer is no. When life gives you lemons, sometimes you just have to work really hard to make lemonade. I am giving it my best shot and hoping that I come out of this pandemic stronger than I was at the beginning.

The thread I hear from all of them is that they are doing their best to infuse the class to the best of their ability as they are struggle to find ways to take care of themselves. We are so blessed to have their committment and dedication to serve our youth.

Thank you all for your time and contribution! I know that this took time you don’t have much of but we are all extremely grateful to you. I know I personally am and I can assure you my readers will be as well!

Bless you and bless us all!

Thanks for Reading, liking (if you do of course), commenting and or sharing,

❤️

Cindy

Website|Facebook|Instagram|Youtube

Murder Mystery 36th Birthday

Hi Fri-Yay Funday Friends,

I hope you’ve had a good week and are ready to chillax on the weekend or at least part of it. So, what do you do in Covid for your birthday? I have a theory which is you barely used this year, so it shouldn’t count! My daughter loves theater and dressing up. She has a theater background and has been the Activity Director for the middle school where she teaches, so we surprised her with a Zoom Murder Mystery Party. I have great ideas but lack in execution. So my son, “Peter”, much to his chagrin, arranged it all. It was totally worth it because “Sally” had a ball and she forever thanks you, and so do we. 💋

Sally Meets Bobby…. Is she the murderer?
And however will the murder unfold?

The Cast

Can be Played with 8-12… We had 9
Could Kevin have killed Bobby to get the Baseball Scholarship that Bobby would have gotten?
Kevin says; “I would have liked to knock him off but hey winning is everything and without Bobby, there is no win.”

The Birthday Girl Sally, Guessed the murderer and she was over the moon. Here she is below with her brand new birthday gift to herself. What better time than in Covid when you are locked in your appartment all by yourself.

“Sally” AKA Renee and her new Covid kitty Casian
Just Chillin…. but just wait, “I can’t wait to shred your couch” 😹
But how could you get mad at me, with this face?!

Review of the Game

Sally: “Loved it because I was with my family and love to dress up & I guessed the murder.
Peter:My head was spinning it was so confusing and so much work to set up I should have been the murder.”
Clerical Katie: “I can’t believe I didn’t get any bribes.”
Dolly: “I was actually out 50 bucks. Only use the free version. You have to do everything anyway including m.c. it.”
Coach: I cashed out winning 350.00 and didn’t do a thing but buy the decorations.
Cindy Sensational: “The devil made me do it.”
Gabby: “It was great to see everyone and celebrate Renee’s birthday together even though we were miles apart.”

Although we always have fun together we would NOT reccommend this game as it was way too much work! If you do want to try one, get the free version!

As always, thanks for reading, liking (if you do of course), commenting and or sharing.

Have a great weekend!

Blessing and Love,

🙏❤️

Cindy

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Youtube


Golf Widow

Happy Fun Fri-Yay Everyone!

I’m a golf widow on many of days but I’m not complaining by any means.

The boys days spent on the green are my sanctuary of peace;

writing, doing yoga or practicing my tai chi and meditation.

While they chip, I peck away with my kitties and dogs under toe.

Sometimes they land in the sand trap like I do in a wordless phase but

we both often hit par or a birdie at the end of the day.

We’re both on the back nine that’s for sure but not my son who’s

taken the lead, and just won his annual tournament with his friend with a score of 2 under par.

Whoo Hoo!!!!!

The last time we were all together we went to the driving range with the whole fam and it was actually lots of fun.

I picked up my driver and hit airmail (a term for the ball going longer than expected) and I’m no Ace player.

I’m going to go out today and try my luck if the smoke let’s up and it’s not too hot.

Below are some pictures of the the highlights of my husband and son’s courses they have played.

Most day’s they travel far and wide to find a good deal but these are some of the best courses you’ll find in our area and they were so privileged to play, so I wanted to share them with you.

Enjoy!

Stanford Driving Range
Half Moon Bay Golf Links Course, California
Half Moon Bay Golf Links overlooking the bluff

There are two different golf courses that are set upon Northern California’s dramatic costal bluffs. It is an hour south of San Francisco. The Bay Area resort’s parkland-style Old Course, originally designed in 1973, features cypress-lined fairways and an oceanside 18th hole. The aptly named Ocean Course features a traditional Scottish design, a water view from every hole and challenging play with tight fairways and knolls. This is 30 minutes from our home so my husband and son often play here. On a beautiful day, you can see forever. These pictures don’t do justice the the course. This is where my son won the tournament with his friend Chad.

Spy Glass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California
Spy Glass Golf Course

Spyglass Hill Golf Course is in Pebble Beach, California and is ranked # 10 in America’s 100 Greatests public Corses. It is the Greatest meeting of Sand and Trees. The defining takeaway at Spyglass Hill is how starkly the first five holes juxtapose the rest of your round. It features 6,862 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. ASGCA, the Spyglass Hill golf course. It opened in 1966

Spanish Bay Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California
Spanish Bay Golf Course

My Husband just got home from playing here on Wednesday and had a great time. Again, smoke from the fire made for dismal pictures but none the less, it’s pretty hard not to have a great time in all of this beauty. Spanish Bay Golf Course is in Pebble Beach, California nuzzled among the undulating sand dunes on the western tip of the Monterey Peninisula sits The links at Spanish Bay. Designed in 1987 by a team comprised of Robert Trent Jones Jr., Tom Watson and Sandy Tatum, The Links at Spanish Bay was modeled after an authentic Scottish course.

Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California
My son Garrett

This was by far the biggest highlight of Covid for my husband and son playing with their friends. Pebble Beach Golf Links is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful courses in the world, overlooking the coastline of Carmel Bay, opening to the paacific ocean on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula. It is considered the No. 1 Golf Resort in America. With three top 50 public courses canvasing the spectacular coastline that wraps around California’s Monterey Peninsula, golf at Pebble Beach is a truly unforgetable moment.

Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco, California

This was an acopoliptic day on the course with the smoke from the fires. Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco, California. The park has 27 holes of championship golf-the 18-hole Harding Park Course and the 9-hole Fleming Course (when they open up 3 holes, I might try it. Lol). It opened 95 years ago on July 18th, 1925. It is named after Preident Warren G. Harding, an avid golfer. The course covers 163-acre (0.66km 2) along the shores of Lake Merced, in the city’s southwest corner.

This book that sits on our living room table was compiled by Connor Licolli, my Godson as a labor of love to his Grandfather Hal Gevertz. It is a compilation of 357 articles of his writings from 1971-1983 and 1987-2009, which were originally written for the San Mateo Times Group Newspapers and later for the Northern California’s Golf Today. It is a beautiful coffee table book and I’m so proud of you Connor!

Thanks so much for reading and have a great weekend until we meet again.
Please like (if you do of course), comment and or share,

Love and Blessings,

❤️

Cindy

You can also find me at the following

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Interview with a Fitness and Life Coach

Good Morning,

I am so honored that Kally from MiddleMe invited me to interview on her blog. Kally comes from a corporate background, and is a online entrepreneur. She does a mirage of various projects and assisting start-ups and is a writer and a recruiter, coaching freelancers.

I hope you enjoy the interview……

One of the reasons that MiddleMe is such an awesome platform is due to the interaction we get from the diverse audience all over the world. I love that I have readers from Singapore to India all the way to the United Kingdom and United States. From retirees dishing out precious wisdom to essential staff sharing their stories with us. 

Today, we have the Founder of Uniquely Fit, Cindy Georgakas with more than 35 years of health and wellness experiences, serving others with a passionate goal in mind – to help other people to find inner peace and healthy living, come and share her thoughts and experiences with us. 

Hi Cindy, over in MiddleMe, we are all about having passion in what we do and helping others. We are honored to have you today to talk about your work and passion. Please introduce yourself and Uniquely Fit.

Thank you so much, Kally, for inviting me to interview with you. I follow your site regularly and find it very informative with such heartfelt passionate messages for humanity.  

I was born in San Francisco, California and grew up in Daly City and I kept migrating south for warmer weather after college. I live in an incredible rural community in Woodside, Ca. about 40 minutes south of S.F. with just over 6,000 people with beautiful mountains to hike and beaches to visit which I love and keep me fit. I’m happily married with 4 children, 4 furry family members, 2 horses on our property and 5 ageing parents who are local.  

Uniquely Fit was born out of my passion for fitness with the premise that every person is unique and different and each individual’s needs must be honored. The business has expanded and grown over the years offering more services and now with Covid reinventing itself yet again, with Zoom One on One sessions, group classes, outdoor sessions and I’m more active on blogging.  

I modelled my studio after Jane Fonda’s aerobic studio she opened in 1982 in S.F. and I opened mine in San Mateo California within weeks of her opening hers when I was 26 years old. It was such an exciting time in my life building from the ground up and training staff.

At the time we had low and high impact, aerobic classes, with small free weights.  

I also taught pre and postnatal exercise, birth coaching and baby massage with one massage therapist on staff. We had 15 instructors and 20 classes a week.

We have now expanded into having 4 massage therapists, yoga classes, No Guts No Glory (boot camp), personal training, Life Coaching, Craniosacral Therapy and we have a Nutritional Consultant on staff.

What made me want to set up Uniquely Fit? What is your mission behind Uniquely Fit?

With a major in Recreational Therapy, I started in convalescent hospitals where I felt I had very little actual control in helping people. I would go to work and come back in the morning to someone I worked with the day before, in my office (dead… yes you heard it right). Somehow they got put in my office as a holding spot. 

After a few times of that, it was too heartbreaking for me because I grew to love each person I worked with. I decided to move into the wellness side of health and worked and managed different health facilities and taught workshops. After a few years, I decided to go off on my own and “do it my way”.

My mission is for each person to find their passion in their lives through movement, finding exactly what feeds them physically, emotionally and spiritually. I also struggled with my weight and one time went from 115 to 160 lbs in 6 months so I had a lot to teach with that experience.

How do you feel when you have successfully helped others? 

I feel awesome! There is so much fulfilment when someone I work with reaches their objective because I know how much they have put into it to get there. It also motivates me to keep walking my talk because you can only help people if you truly live the process. My clients become my biggest inspiration!

What does inner peace mean to you?

It means accepting myself for who I am and relaxing into the present moment and connecting to the Spirit, God, Buddha within or whatever it is for you, where all is well.

Can everyone find inner peace in the end? 

Peace is a state of mind and it is much easier when our basic needs of security are met but it is achievable and attainable in every moment if we can stop and quiet our mind, and allow it to fill our souls. It is NOT always easy but nothing worth having is. It takes patience, practice and practice, you must. 

I try to help people achieve one goal a week with very small increments and when they master that add another. Meditation, breathing, music, journaling, walking, Yoga, Qigong are all modalities that help foster inner peace.

I have noticed that you have many skills like Occupational and Recreational Therapy among many others. What pushes you to pick up new skills and improve yourself?

I found out early on that O.T. was very tedious and the repetitiveness of the work wasn’t full filling so I moved forward into what was more satisfying to me.  

As long as we are alive we are growing. There are times that my clients call me into new things out of the blue. I never would have taught a spin class or started massage if one of my clients didn’t “twist my arm”. Of course, they always make it an offer I can’t refuse. If there is a client that is struggling, I continue to access what is needed and will take other classes or certifications to find the best modalities to help them. 

That is how I started doing Craniosacral Therapy and Music as Medicine. Other times, it is just a calling and I trust it and go with it. It has never steered me wrong. Other times I refer out.

What kind of challenges excite you?

 There is usually an instinct or aha when I know it is something I want to pursue and usually there is a bit of fear when I think of it. My mind says, “oh forget about it” and I so wish it would go away but when it doesn’t, I have learned to trust it. This reminds me recently of taking the mules down the Grand Canyon. 

First of all, I’m scared of heights so what part of me was crazy enough to want to do that I asked. I DON’T, I answered and I remind myself it’s ok to change my mind. But it kept persisting so I researched it a lot and I was so hoping I would change my mind but it wouldn’t go away and one thing I’ve learned is I have to follow that voice. I took me and my fear and gave it over to the donkey. It turned out to be exhilarating and so beautiful and I would have missed a lot by foot. I have a sign in my office that says If your Dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.  

I’ve just started writing a book and it’s the same calling here and I keep thinking just forget about it while I continue typing.

What does being passionate mean to you?

It means having a purpose that I am excited to work on that brings me joy, exhilaration and meaning and sharing that with the world.  

Do you think it is important to have passion for your job? Why?

I do because it doesn’t feel like work then. It feels like an extension of your mission and purpose in life. I love what I do but with that said after 6 -8 clients in a day, it is still something I need a break from. 

The gift of a little more time right now is that I can explore other things I love as well. I see clients from as young as teenagers to 100. My soon to be 90-year-old client does a 5-minute plank, and is working on Zoom on an architectural project at the Historical Museum of Art in San Mateo. He still drives to come to see me and if this isn’t passion, I don’t know what is.

What advice would you give to someone who says they can’t find passion in their work?

I would say perhaps it’s time to look at what really would feed them in their job. Reinventing yourself is really important in life and it’s NEVER too late to start over. Sometimes it’s not the job that is the problem but the way they hold it. That is when I would do a one on one session with them to discover their passions.

You do offer Life Coaching as a part of your services. Can you please elaborate on what is life coaching?

I do and it is one of the highlights of my career. I was trained by the best in 1979 by Cherie Carter Scott, Mother of Life Coaching from Motivational Management Services. She recently produced a movie called “The Workshop” which can be seen on Netflix.

 Have you ever had a question that keeps rattling around in your head and you never can get resolution on it? That is the perfect time to get a session. It can be as little or big as you can imagine. It could be deciding on how to let go of anger, moving, finding a new career path etc. 

I was trained to use a Socratic approach and ask questions so people can access their own answers. The answers are always inside and it is my job to ask the right questions so someone can access them.   

What is the difference between a life coach, a counsellor and a psychiatrist?

The difference is we have a very specific set of guideline in a life coaching session which can be broken down like this:

  1.  Objective: What do you want from this session?
  2.  Desire and willingness to get clear on it.
  3.  Exploring Feelings and fears. 
  4.  Releasing what is in the way of getting what you want.
  5.  Making a plan of action.
  6.  Checking in to keep you on track.

Counselors have a good listening ear and usually offer much more evaluation and input.

A psychiatrist can dispense medicine and is usually much less available for exploration and implementation. They are great with finding imbalances in the system and prescribing medication when needed and often work with a psychopharmacist, who is a specialist in choosing medications. 

All modalities can work independently or in conjunction with each other.

How is your business surviving during this pandemic? What changes did you make to accommodate the safety regulations? 

It’s doing well with some gaps and it is slowly returning to more in-person visits with 6 ft distance and masks etc. 

We take everyone’s temperature before starting with a handheld device to the forehead, sanitize everyone, have long wait times in between clients and different outdoor spaces to work in. We have sanitizing products, gloves and wipes available and hand washing is a must. Everything is left outside 2 days and then brought in and is wiped down. I am doing one on one sessions on Zoom as well. 

People are adapting to the new normal and finding ways to soothe their bodies without actual touch but with substitutes such as foam rollers, balls etc as I direct them. Life Coaching as you can imagine is really needed right now with the constant changes and fear rightfully and that is being instilled. This gives them their power back.

Any tips for small businesses to survive during this time?

Be consistent and keep the ball going. Never before have I been so grateful to have so many platforms available to do my work and to shift into. I continue to put out my monthly newsletter and I suggest you keep as many systems in place as possible so you don’t fall behind and are ready to go as things shift; BECAUSE THEY WILL! 

After my 2nd child, I brought my business home and ran pre and postnatal classes and baby massage out of my house and decided to semi-retire. Not long after that my husband’s business came to a crashing halt with the stock market crash and close. In one month I picked up the pieces and built my business back up to being booked with a waiting list and built a staff and made lemonade out of lemons. That was 25 years ago, and if I can do it, so can you. This is the silver lining when change hits you in the face. It’s the getting up that matters, not the falling down. That is life.  

So, try things on for size, when doors close, remember windows will open. There are 9 NO’s to every Yes, so be resilient, don’t give up and don’t take it personally. Remember what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  

Once again, thank you for taking time in sharing your experiences and tips with us. 

You are so welcome Kally.  It was lots of fun and my pleasure and I do hope it has been useful for your readers.  

Please feel free to reach out if I missed anything and Stay Strong and keep the faith everyone. 

If anyone wants to reach me for questions or a session etc feel free to email me at  uniquelyfit@gmail.com, visit me on my website at  uniquelyfit.net or blog  uniquelyfitblog.com  or other social media sites here:
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Thanks for taking the time to read this interview. Hope you enjoyed it! Please remember to like if you do of course, comment and or share.

❤️

Cindy

Can’t get enough of MiddleMe? You can find me sharing my thoughts here as well: 
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LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/kallytay

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This is Us

Good Morning or Evening wherever this finds you on the globe.

Happy Fri-Yay Funday!

Fun Today is when I finally got my kids attention and they noticed me. YAY!!!!

I was so excited to share the interview Kally from MiddleMe (our fellow blogger) did on me on Monday with my 4 kids and sent them the link and got no response, which didn’t surprise me, because I’m used to it. My husband and I were just lamenting over the fact that we rarely hear from them and of course no news is good news but we often wonder, “do they ever think of us at all“? We hear from some of our friends, how their kids call everyday which always makes a little sad. And then we go to the place none of us should go which is blaming ourselves. “What did we do wrong or maybe do right”? Idk. We’d be thrilled with every 2 weeks. Is that asking for too much? If you read my posts, you’ll know we are a really close knit family and really love each other but we still would like to hear from them once in a while without being the ones that always reach out. And even when we do, rarely do they call back unless of course it’s an emergency.

We made a pact that we would not call and wait to see how long it took for them to call us. We even made up some texts we never sent. “Hi, it’s Mom and Dad and we thought we’d give you a quick update. Harry (our dog died), Ollie (our cat ran away), we listed our house and are moving; oh, and grandma got run over by a reindeer”. 🤣 We didn’t send it but we had fun laughing and scratching our heads. The good news is, I don’t need to worry about them reading this of course, so there’s that. 😜 To be fair one did text me and one is living at home so he has to talk to us. Ha Ha! Sweet Revenge.

I was disappointed but it’s not the first time this has happened. If you are a mom and or dad perhaps you share our frustration. For those of you who are in constant communication like some of our friends are with their kids, we have to tell the truth, we’re a little bit “jelly”. For those of you who have the same experience with yours, you’re not alone and we feel your pain. (Pain in the asses..ha ha)!

A huge shout out to all of you kids ( big and little….. I call mine every couple of days and text most days) who call your parents regularly, just to say Hi and let them know you are alive. Kuddos to us!

So, I sent the link of the interview to them on Monday and got no response back. Three days later I got the text and screen shot below with NO mention of my interview of course. No surprise there! Hey, at least they’re consistent. 😜

I need to give you a little fill in here first. I have been told by my writing group that you need to build a platform if you want to have any publisher look at your book and as much Facebook and Instagram are not my BFF’s, I’ve been starting to keep up at bit. One of my daughters clicked all of these people I need to follow on my phone so I have been trying to stay active. I don’t know most of them and am not sure why they are even there. Honestly, I don’t think I can sustain this much longer.

Sterling K. Brown is one of the people that shows up on my feed. For those of you who don’t know who he is, here’s a little back ground on him. He is in a show, This Is Us that we watch so I guess that’s why she put him on my follow list.

Sterling Kelby Brown (born April 5, 1976)[1] is an American actor. He has portrayed Christopher Darden in the FX limited series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (2016) and, as of 2020, stars as Randall Pearson in the NBC drama series This Is Us (2016–present). Both roles have earned him Primetime Emmy Awards and the latter also won him a Golden Globe Award. Brown has also played supporting roles in the films Black Panther (2018) and Waves (2019), and recently appeared on the Amazon Primeoriginal series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

He has also voiced characters in The Angry Birds Movie 2 and Frozen II (both 2019).

Brown was included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018.[2

Here is the message I woke up to on our Family Phone Text.

Daughter # 2: Look at what my friends screenshot and send to me

From Daughter # 2: Oh my god. Out of control

Me: Your friends should spend more time worrying about their own lives. And you have the nerve. He at least went to my site and “hit me up” on my website and blog. Actually quite happy you found a reason to notice me. Have a good day!😘

My Son: Send the link to this post

Me: I just did… thanks. I sent Kally’s link again which is what I thought he wanted and I got excited.
It’s above too
.

My Son: Lol the link to his post and where he hit you up

Me: I would not subject him to you all!

Daughter # 3: We need proof

Me: I’m done with y’all

My Son: What’s this guys name all?

Daughter #2 How do you not know who Sterling Brown is? What’s wrong with mom anyways?!

Me: Maybe you all should get a life too!

My son: Haha, omg all of the older women commenting on his post. I would still like to see where he commented to you.

You gotta admit he is pretty damn cute. Here is the video of Sterling I responded to.

So the moral of the story is our kids are always watching us, even if it’s just to torture us, daughter number 1 was smart to never comment, and my one and only son is looking for a new place to live (not really) and I’m LMAO!!!!!

Have a great weekend!!!! And remember, we’re doing our job if we’re embarrassing our kids.

I’ll see you Monday with my interview from Kally so stay tuned.

Thanks for reading this and let me know if you have any fun stories as well. I’d love to hear!

Remember to like (if you do of course), comment and or share.

Cheers,

❤️

Cindy

You can always find me on my website at uniquelyfit.net

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Six Word Story Prompt

Hi Guys,

So excited to finally have the time to participate in Shweta’s 6 Word Prompt. This was fun Shweta!
A special thanks to Zamadloma for her help in the ping back❣️❣️❣️ Fingers crossed I got the it right! It’s NO reflection on her if I didn’t… trust me… I’m dangerous in technology.

Water:

Politicians add kool-aide to the water

1aa

What we’re made of….. drink up

Mellymaks: STEPS 1 - Increase water intake

Cleanses our soul and soles too

Water Shoes Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Runs it’s mouth off with drool
(running your mouth off is never good, especially in politics)

ᐈ Drooling drawing stock images, Royalty Free drooling pictures | download  on Depositphotos®
Guess Who

POINT MADE.. No more pictures for the rest…

crystal clear washing our bodies clean

Perks you up when you’re tired

Transports rivers and lakes and oceans

Home to our beautiful sea life

Cannot live without it or death

Does not mix well with oil

Waters our garden through a hose

Thank God it puts out endless fires

The womb from which we came from

Drips down our cheeks when sad

Can’t wait to read everyone else’s!

Happy Hump Day!!!

❤️

Cindy

uniquelyfit.net | Facebook | Instagram | Youtube

To Kiss the Page or Not?

Awe struck by so many stories, poets, photography, quotes and thoughts.
I scratch my head and read; and sit in a daze.
Some I understand, some not so much, to be honest, some not at all.


Others, I am transported to another space in time
where I linger while my heart is filled with inspiration and love, some in fear so I don’t stay there too long.


Sometimes after reading them all, I just sit frozen in space,
my pen silent, barely kissing the page. I try to linger here in the void
because I have learned, that’s where words flow, that’s where judgement subsides. Why leave this beautiful place too soon?


Write, one part of me says, stay, says the other but I choose to wait.
We always have a choice and this meditation in writing becomes silence in action, where I wait for the divine to fill the page.


Emptying out body and mind; free, floating in the clouds, whisked out to sea and all of the gallaxies spreading this “peace” of me and sprinkling particles of the best versions of myself while I evaporate and touch the unknown.


Blissful, joyful, free at last, no words are found here just the breeze of the ethers while I smile, looking down, growing wings, a bright light, echoing stay, stay and I contemplate and then my pen kisses the page with the dot.
I’m not done here yet, but oh so tempting.

May we all grow wings on earth and continue spreading our light.

Have a beautiful day❣️

Please remember to like (if you do of course), comment and or share. I am truly grateful for your time.

So much Love and Always Blessings,

❤️🙏

Cindy

You can always find me at

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Fun Fri-Yay with Mr. Abu

Our mind can be our worst enemy or our best friend. What if we gave this monkey mind a name and had a little fun with him to find magic in our day and sent him on his way?
Cindy~

Monkey Mind Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock
Mr. Abu

Hi Guys,

It’s Fun Fri-Yay and we were given an assignment from my writing workshop to go on a walk and find magical clues to keep us inspired to write. I was discouraged on my walk yesterday and then came home and pondered my thoughts, feeling uncertain if I actually have a book inside of me to write or not. So, here is a synopsis which was really FUN for me to write. It’s out of the realm of what I do and turned into a little short story which caught me by surprise. I don’t write stories… Well, I usually don’t anyway, but like all of us, I keep finding new ways to express myself.
Hope you like it as much as I enjoyed writing it as words popped on the page. Don’t you love when that happens?!!!!

Here goes….

I walk everyday and it’s often when I get little pearls of wisdom that I write down as they come to me on my phone in notes. 

But today with this assignment, notebook in hand, I took the task to heart. I always follow instructions to a T being the good student that I am, and I was excited to find magic. I kept looking for clues, on the ground, in the sky, in a tree and all I found was this monkey staring down at me. 

I tried to have a little conversation with him, but that was of no use, so I invited him for a walk to help me look for my hidden treasure. I even took a new route and thought surely this would steer me in the right direction of my message, only to walk into a barricade of trucks and construction.

Hmmmm, I thought, “is this my message”? “Just like at the book store, coming up empty, I’m stopped in my tracks yet again”. “Maybe you’re not supposed to write” said the monkey? “Well, maybe you’re right”, I replied” but what if I am”? Now he was jumping on both of my shoulders, swinging off my arms and messing with my hair; At which point I gave him a name.

“Well, Mr. Abu” I responded “What if I stopped looking for this so called message, listening to you, and thinking so much and just shut the F up and walked”? I walk with purpose and always multi task trying to kill 2 birds with one stone, (in this case the monkey and homework) which is when I realized, I make everything work. Aha, I took note, I have now made my writing a job too, which is the kiss of death for me. So, I stopped; took notes, looked at the beauty around me and said goodbye and thanked Mr. Abu. We parted ways since I no longer needed him to be driving the cart of my mind. What if I shelved the idea of having to write for anyone but me, just because I like it? What if I bagged the idea of winning a contest because you see, if you give me a banana like winning a contest, I will climb to the top of that banana tree in no time, and abandon myself in the process. I need to win at all costs and then I lose me.

So maybe the synchronicity was ditching Mr. Abu and choosing me and there in lies my story of my magical walk. And now if you will kindly excuse me, I’m heading out for a walk with my notebook and banana. 

🤣❤️ Cindy

Hope you have a Fun Fri-Yay and a great weekend!


P.S. Please note my Site is underconstruction and I’m trying things on until I get them right.

Thanks so much for taking time to read this, like (if you do of course), Comment and or share. It means a lot to me and I thank you kindly.

You can also reach me at the following:

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Perfect Moments

Jason Gotlib Photography
Archangel Cascades 12-2010
The picture was taken 10 minutes before getting on the the subway

The waters flow into a panacea of perfect moments while I drink in nature filling my heart with peace and tranquility.
Cindy~

Blessed to share a Jason Gotlib’s photography with you who is a dear friend and client. You will be seeing more of his work on my blog in the future. He is gifted and passionate about his photography. My new home picture is also one of Jason Gotlib’s which I LOVE. It is taken at “Mesa Arch in Canyonlands”. Thank you so much Jason! His work is available for purchase so you can just press his name below the picture if you are interested in adding to your collection. I have several of his pictures charming my walls in my home and office.

We might not have Perfect Days but I hope you catch a moment here and there. Acknowledge the small everyday blessings that show up on your path today. I’d love to hear what perfect moments you find today if you care to share? I have 2 so far: One are these beautiful pictures to share and two, it rained and the air is fresh and the smoke is clearing. YAY!!!!

I will be changing my site to customize and I hope you enjoy the new look and are able to navigate it a little easier. Please let me know if you have any feedback as it’s under construction. After all, “Life is always under construction” Thanks!

Blessings and So Much Love,

❤️

Cindy

Please like (if you do of course), comment and or share if inclined (remember caring is sharing). I appreciate your support.

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Fun Fri-Yay Yet?

Somedays fun is just feeling blessed for a new day. It’s not always bells and whistles and sugar and spice and everything nice and that’s ok.

Fun Fri-Yay turned Freaky overnight. From 108 temperatures Tuesday to 68 the next, days have been eerie and unpredictable. I tossed and turned all night and even the animals were restless. On a canoe one day with prisine weather and then everything went dark overnight. The sun never came up and at 8 a.m. as I worked with a client that morning and we both agreed it felt like earthquake weather. My daughter says, “there is no causation between muggy, still weather” and I say, “what does she know”. “They” also say there is no climate and we know that’s crazy. All I know is the dogs and cats were going ballistic and they act on instinct so I kept them in all day. We’ve never had anything like it before that I can remember anyway. By 11:00 a.m. it was clear that the night was here to stay and by 3:00 it seemed like 8:00 p.m. It was so acropolyptic… out of the twilight zone, eerie in a weird way and I have to say I rather liked it. I love those days that aren’t predictable and keep you on your toes. I kept running in and out to take pictures between clients but could never capture the actual lighting and depth of what I was seeing.

outside our house Sept. 9th Woodside, Ca

I just wanted to curl up on the couch with my animals and put the T.V. on which I never do which caught me by surprise. I got texts and calls from some freaking out. It did feel like a sci fi movie in and of itself.

San Francisco Pictures

I actually debated on teaching yoga with so much ash in the air and unsafe air quality levels but what’s better than yoga when the sky is falling or it feels like it is. Lol! It was exactly “what the doctor ordered” one on our yogini’s said and it was beautiful to come together in movement and prayer. We did a “rain dance” (no luck there), sent blessings to the fire fighters and to those who have lost loved ones to suicide and others who feel threatened by internal thoughts in honor of suicide prevention month. We counted our blessings and whined and wined as we toasted. I read the poem “Rise” from Maria Teresa Pratico’s poetry book one of our talented word press friends known as Ladysag77 at Emotional Musings which was beautiful and capped off our night.

Friend Walter Cook’s images

Last night was another night of wrestlessness for all as we banged into each other. I stared at the ceiling for hours the animals out the window, adjusted pillows, tried to get comfortable but nothing helped. We all have those nights, except my husband who can sleep through anything most of the time. I thought I may as well get up and get a jump start to my day but thought better of it when I finally drifted off to sleep.

This morning I woke up with a stiff neck, am late with my post and it isn’t feeling like “Fun Fri-Yay”. It dawned on me as if by surprise it was 9/11 and one of my Godson’s birthday. It’s Hard to imagaine 19 years ago we faced this horrific tragedy and the suffering of the attack still lingers for many. My heart goes out to all that have been affected and to New York. We have rebuilt Ground Zero thankfully in the same way we will rebuild from Covid.

Twin Towers

Happy Birthday Aidan a blessing and a gift which brings light to the day and to all of those others who share this birthday. May we remember that we will rise again stronger better and unitied.

So my “Fun Fri-Yay” Friends, today my fun is going to be a walk, some yoga, talking with some of you, writing and getting back in my jammies and watching T.V. with my aniamals.

Have a wonderful weekend and many blessings to you!

Please like (if you do of course), comment and or share if you feel inclined. I truly appreciate you reading and supporting me.

❤️

Cindy

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