Friday, December 6, 2013

241 Reflections

I'm not a person who is into gadgets.  I don't keep up with the latest technological trends.  I am content with my 8 year old computer, even if it's slow.  I like the smell of print and the feel of books.  I like to hold a highlighter in my own hand, not with a mouse.  I like to dog-ear pages or use post-its to flag a page for reference.  I like to attend lectures and take notes on paper.  Sure, I'm quick enough to pick things up, and I probably pretend to know and understand less than I really do.  I've been guilty in the past of sticking to my known and comfortable world.  This semester has taught me to see technology in a different light. 

When I was an undergraduate student in speech pathology, the extent of the technology I thought about was a communication board.  As an audiologist, of course I worked extensively with hearing aids, FM systems, and though I was never a CI specialist, I knew a bit about cochlear implants too.  Otherwise, I've seen technology as optional, superfluous items.  Things we don't really need but somehow are pretty cool. 

On the first day of class this semester, we watched a video on technology that called me out about my views on the use of technology:
And with this humbling check on my psyche, and feeling a bit like an old fogey, I wanted to challenge myself to see how comfortable I could make myself with various resources, and it's been fun and interesting for me.  My love of print actually helped me understand the role of technology as powerful tools in education, not just in the ways I initially blanketed my entire understanding with umbrella-like ideas.  You see, as much as I like to hold a pencil, scratching lead against a grainy paper to make notes upon a page, connecting my heart and my mind to whatever scribbles I've marked upon the sheet, embedding whatever I've written in my memory... another person may hold the pencil and feel nothing.  May struggle to have a grip.  Enter UDL.

This semester being my first time back in school since I finished my M.S. in 2004, I was neurotic about my organization.  I felt like being strategic and organized was the thing that would keep me going in a 15 unit semester.  So I marked my books and diligently read each chapter, visited the module sites, did my assignments...  And a few things really struck me throughout all this.  (And the extra cool thing was how much overlap there was in the messages between all of my classes.)  The main message was really about designing a learning environment with multiple entry points so that students would be able to access whatever the target is.  Having such a strong preference for my own entry points for learning made me realize that others are probably the same, with different preferences for entry.  When I look at education with a framework like this in mind, it's clear to me that there are infinite points of entry with technology.  And even though the numbers are infinite, they are somehow less daunting to me because of it. 

Let me explain by citing another of our links this semester on frameworks.  Looking at SETT and other frameworks, I cam across the "Toolbelt Theory."  When we look at the end goal, as we would with backward design lesson planning, we identify a goal, and then work backwards to see what we need to achieve that goal.  Technology fills infinite holes in this process.  And it is based upon what a student needs in order to be set up for success, rather than focusing on a specific disability.  Technology is all about access.  And I love providing access.  Therefore, I love technology.  Plain and simple.  Love it. 

Finally, I had a pretty neat opportunity to discuss how I see technology in education with some key people last week.  Listen for it in my podcast next. 

Monday, October 1, 2012


The 1st 5 minutes of the hour are yours at CrossFit Palo Alto so that you can iron out any kinks in the body, do more specific warm ups or work on things you suck at.  So how will you use them this month?  Here are some ideas.  I invite you to play "Bingo" with us!  

0:00-0:05 - BINGO! - Goals of this game...
    1. Acquaint you with a multitude of productive ways to use your free five minutes of warm-up at the beginning of class
    2. Give you resources so that you can attack the things you need to practice.
    3. Row by row, letter by letter or randomly, “Blackout” the BINGO card!

250m row time: ___
30sec rest
250m row time: ___ 30sec rest
250m row time: ___ 
Initial _____
500m row time: ________

Initial _____
10 sets of 10 KB Swings (Russian swings/chest high they should be short, sharp, powerful)

Initial _____
400m run time ________

Initial _____
240m farmers walk (KB) 240m farmers walk (KB)
can be unilateral w/switch or bilateral
Initial _____
100 Double Unders (attempts ok)

Initial _____
Bear Complex (PVC or 35#Barbell) 10-20 reps
1 rep=
Power Clean
Front Squat
Push Press
Back Squat
Push Press (Behind Neck)

Initial _____
Burgener Warm-up (PVC)*


Initial _____
Shoulder Prep Mini*

KB Halos both directions
Turkish Get Ups

Initial _____
Squat hold (mobility wod #1)
box jumps/rebounding

Initial _____
Rack a KB*, go for a walk, do both sides

Practice downswing from rack then re-clean it to rack.*

KB Press*

Initial _____
Pullup practice

Dead hangs or negatives
practice kip


Initial _____
Self-Myofascial Release
Inner thigh
Initial _____
Running mechanics drills

100 running rope
running in place
running backwards (carefully!)

Initial _____
Old-School CFPA W-Up    2 rounds
20 DU (attempts OK)
10 swings
10 pushups
10 pullups
10 PVC dislocates
5/5 PVC OH Lunges


Initial _____
Fish Game
Points __________
Meters __________

Initial _____
Shoulder Taps/Handwalking

Initial _____
Clean & Press

Initial _____
Muscle up Transitions

Initial _____
Gymnastics Skills
-Skin the Cat
-Rope Climbs
-Pass throughs

Initial _____
AMRAP 5 minutes
Jumping Jacks :)

Initial _____
Ring Dip Practice

Initial _____
1000m row 

Initial _____
800m run

Initial _____
5 sets of 10 wallballs. 

Initial _____

Friday, September 7, 2012

Silver Linings

Last week I had to go to meet with my parents and an attorney to sign some legal documents.  Especially when a parent has Alzheimer's, you need to make sure things are setup before you need to call upon them.  If something happened to my mom, the chain of action needs to be well established so that we can take good care of my dad and honor the wishes of both of my parents. This means Advanced Health Care Directives and Power of Attorney for both of them.


I really didn't envision this part of my life.  Who would?  My dad was going to continue to work until he was dead, and after that, probably some more.  He was going to interrogate my future husband and teach my kids about differential equations, 2nd Amendment Rights, and Chevy small blocks.  That was pretty much the loose plan.  He certainly wasn't going to develop early-onset Alzheimer's.  But the game doesn't always get played according to Hoyle, and the sooner you can accept it and learn how to deal with the pain of it, the better things get and the more you can roll with the punches.

First, the attorney had to establish that he was competent to sign the trust and directives and so he had to ask him some questions to ascertain that 1) he knew that he has assets, 2) that he understood that he has kids to make trustees, and 3) that he understood what the documents are.  Tricky stuff.  It took quite a bit of questioning to get acceptable answers.  But the attorney was very patient and respectful while still doing his job.  Dad needed a little coaching to get passable answers.  He wasn't sure how many kids he has and he could only name one us, and that, with very little confidence.  It's in times like these that the heaviness of the disease and this situation falls upon me.

But it helps me to remember that we've had it good all this time.  That there are still going to be fun moments mixed into the crappy ones and that the good times aren't over.  They're just different.  It helps me to remember fun stuff from the past.  It helps me when I think about the fact that he did his job raising us the way he wanted and that he taught us the skills he valued.  It helps me to laugh at the memory of how uncomfortable he used to be when he wanted to tell us that he loved us, and that it would usually come out instead as "I'm real proud of you" in a very deep, quiet, and raspy voice, or the more common simple nod of the head with a quick "You done good."

It helps to see my mom grow stronger and more confident in her decision making after all this time.  It helps me to see my mom deal with the fact that her husband of 47 years (their anniversary is tomorrow!) changes a little more every day, but that she stands by him and respects him still.  It helps me to see her gain perspective and patience through the course of this challenge.  And it helps me to see my relationship with her grow as a blessing through these times.  She's got a lot of wisdom.

Of course, I'm not about to put Alzheimer's on my nightly Gratitude List.  But I am writing on that list that there is a silver lining to all things.  I'm grateful that something good can come of something bad.  And I never would have appreciated how good things can be or have been, were it not for the times that feel bad.  I guess tonight I'm just feeling grateful that I'm starting to see that side of things.  And yeah, I'm grateful that "Patricia" was the name he remembered.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


My sleep data via

I had an email the other day from someone who's having trouble sleeping.  I sent her a few suggestions but got to thinking that others could benefit from this as well, so here goes.  And because I get a little shit from a few folks about how wordy I am, I'm keeping this list short and sweet (relatively).  If you're so inclined, click here for a more complete Trish-like post.

First off, the only reason I'm a expert of sorts on the issue is because I have major problems with sleep, so I've tried pretty much every trick in the book to fix them.  But take my words at face value, because I still have issues.  I just know what has given me a little benefit or none at all.  These are the things that help.

My bedroom at night.
  1. Don't eat crap.  Eat real food. 
  2. Go to bed at the same time every day.  Yes, even if it's Friday night.
  3. Wake up at the same time every day.  Yes, even if it's your day off.
  4. Sleep in a cave.  This is what my bedroom looks like at night -->
  5. Make sure your blood is healthy.  Check Vitamin D.  Check indications of Zinc deficiency.  Check hormones.  Check all.
  6. Kill the TV, computer, phone etc. a few hours before you hit the sack.
  7. Sedate your animals (I'm only kidding here.  Just wear ear plugs and keep them OUT of your bedroom, not just because they're gross, but because they're noisy troublemakers)
  8. Create a bedtime routine that includes reflection/meditation/prayer or reading.
  9. Get lots of sunshine and exercise.  Seriously.  I think it's completely retarded that people can live in California and not get these two fundamentally important pieces of the health puzzle that relate 100% directly to #5 above.  You pay a pretty penny in sunshine taxes to live here, so take advantage!  It is inexcusable to be Vitamin D deficient if you live in this area. (Soapbox over.)
  10. Experiment.
  11. Every once in a while, throw out the rules, relax and just be.  No guilt or punishing behaviors.  Just go to sleep, late, early, whatever.  Just relax.
There are lots of other things I've tried and will continue to try, short of smoking crack.  If you'd like more history, examples of trial and error, or other tips from someone who's tried just about everything, click on the links above for detail or send me a message.  The single most important thing for me aside from clean eating is consistency in bed/wake time.  My sleep improved "dramastically" when I did a month-long challenge where every minute I missed my bedtime/wake time earned me a burpee penalty.

So much for short and sweet.  If you're having trouble sleeping and are ready to try things out, please keep me posted.  Drop a comment below and let me know about your progress.

The Whole Sleep Story

The whole story...  Because you clicked on the link.

I started sleeping with a Lark last August to try to figure out why I was always so tired even though I would be in bed for 8 hours a night.  I felt like I spent a lot of time tossing and turning and would wake up frustrated and exhausted.  The Lark wrist band uses some technology that people smarter than me designed to track sleep/wake patterns.  It allows me to quantify my sleep statistics into 
  • number of wake-ups each night (and length of wake ups)
  • time it takes to fall alseep
  • total time asleep each night
And it vibrates to wake me up softly and gives me a more pleasant overall morning experience (I'm never shocked or surprised to wake up).  AND the Lark was created by someone at the gym.  So in the last year I learned a lot about my sleep habits and the many issues that I have with this part of my life.  In trying to fix the problem, I've learned an awful lot about sleep. 

If your sleep is not that great, there are a bunch of things that you can do for yourself to try to improve it.  If you're tempted to take anything that you think or hope would help you sleep (melatonin, sleep aids...) please please please start with these things instead.  And just in case you thought about going there, alcohol is not an acceptable option either.  If you think you might have some sort of sleep apnea, go see a specialist.  

1.  Eat real food.  Don't eat crap.  (Eat: Meat, vegetables, fruit, fat.  Avoid like the plague: grains, sugar.  Avoid: legumes, dairy, alcohol.)
My Bedroom at Night

2.  Go to bed at the same time every day.  Yes, even if it's Friday night.  (Period)

3.  Wake up at the same time every day.  Yes, even if it's your day off.  (Period)

4.  Sleep in a cave.  This is what my bedroom looks like at night -->   
your bedroom should be cool, dark and quiet.  Unplug stuff that glows. A little noise may be helpful for some people (if you have tinnitus, talk to me:  I'm still Patricia Mc Crumb, M.S., CCC-A CA2383)

5.  Make sure your blood is healthy.  Check Vitamin D.  Check indications of Zinc deficiency.  Check hormones.  Check all.  I recently had bloodwork done through WellnessFX.  It only took about a week to get it back, and it turns out that mine is pretty clean, but even their basic plan has potential to show up a number of biomarkers that could really help to explain possible underlying issues including thyroid, Vitamin D and other stuff.  This is how I found out that I have a zinc related deficiency, and plus it's kind of cool to be able to show "non-believers" in Paleo diets my ridiculously great triglyceride, LDL and HDL levels among other things.  (I'm not a zealot!  Not me!)

6.  Kill the TV, computer, phone etc. a few hours before you hit the sack. We know that the light spectrum of these things can interfere with the body's internal clock and hormone production.  As psycho as it may sound, any light in the bedroom at all can interfere with your body's ability to know when, what and how to produce the appropriate hormones for sleep and wake cycles.  Unplug alarm clocks and any lights in your room.  At least a few hours before bed, TV and computers are ill-advised.  See, with all the artificial light around us all day, it's kind of hard for your circadian rhythm to stay in tune with nature.  Hook it up and help yourself out.  You're body is all kinds of confused.  If you have any sleep issues at all, this is an important step for you.  

7.  Sedate your animals (I'm only kidding here.  Just wear ear plugs and keep them OUT of your bedroom, not just because they're gross, but because they're noisy troublemakers) I've had a dog or cats for the last 11 years.  I love my animals but they can be really really really really really really really really really really disruptive and just plain bad for your sleep.  The better trained, the better exercised and the better fed they are (and the better your earplugs are) the better off YOU are.  If you're thinking about getting a pet, you may borrow mine for a while and then decide.  You're welcome.

8.  Create a bedtime routine that includes reflection/meditation/prayer or reading and winding down.
  • we call this sleep hygiene, which can include physical hygiene too.
  • journal
  • write a gratitude list
  • pray, read a Proverb or something
  • create something all your own.  
  • Don't fall victim to texting late at night or answer emails from athletes who contact you at midnight to ask if they can come to a 6am class.  (I love you guys...)

9.  Get lots of sunshine and exercise.  Seriously.  I think it's completely retarded that people can live in California and not get these two fundamentally important pieces of the health puzzle that relate 100% directly to #5 above.  You pay a pretty penny in sunshine taxes to live here, so take advantage!  It is inexcusable to be Vitamin D deficient if you live in this area. (Soapbox over.)  I've talked to many people who turn out to be Vit D deficient and that seems to be pretty related to sleep.  Sometimes sleep problems are nothing a good long day at the beach or barbells and running can't fix.  Sometimes sleep problems have nothing to do with any of it and you're SOL.

10.  Experiment.  As far as diet and supplementation is concerned, I've played around with pretty much every suggestion in Lights Out including the pretty restrictive carbohydrate consumption guidelines.  I did not find much of it to make any difference.  Here's what I've done:
  • Ketosis (no significant difference in sleep)
  • Increased carbohydrates - starchy vegetables, fruits (no significant difference in sleep, but possible performance improvement)
  • Timing of meals before bed (no significant difference)
  • C-PAP - don't ask me how I got to try it, but with family history of sleep apnea, 30 wake ups a night and access to a machine, I thought I'd give it a whirl.  But no.
  • Humidifier - not sure if sleep is any better, but I like it.
  • Airway - Netty Pot, Breathright  and Vicks Vapo-Rub - a MUST if there's any congestion.  This makes a difference.
  • Food before bed (affected dreaming, but not quality of sleep or number of awakenings)
  • Chinese medicine (herbs and acupuncture)- no change in sleep, but significant benefit in menstrual cycle/cramping.
  • Hippy stuff - Valerian root, St. John's Wort, teas, incense - jury is still out on this one but valarian root smells like ass, so it might night be worth it either way.
  • Supplementing - iron, zinc as I'm deficient in both.  Turns out that sleep and zinc are very closely related.  Jury is still out but so far it seems like it may be promising.  Also I supplement with magnesium, usually in drink form, and since I started doing that, I have not woken up with leg cramps like I used to.  I recently switched all my supplementing to bedtime so that I don't have to worry about food/coffee interference with absorption.
  • 100% Caffeine free - unfortunately or fortunately this made no difference, but I found that after going cold turkey for a few weeks, I generally consume less in general now and I think I'm better off for it, whether or not it helps sleep. I have a hard cut off time for coffee now and generally keep it to 1 or 2 cups a day (and by "cups" I no longer mean "pots").
  • The thing I haven't done yet is try several of these things together.  Like a 2 week trial run with "zoning" my food along with staying caffeine free and honoring bedtime.  (The bedtime thing is easier when daylight savings is over.) 
  • Consider a new mattress if yours is crappy or simply not a good choice for you.  
  • See a sleep specialist if you can't get it dialed in or sooner if you think you have a medical issue. 
11.  Every once in a while, throw out the rules, relax and just be.  No guilt or punishing behaviors.  Just go to sleep, late, early, whatever.  Just relax.  I've found that every once in a while, watching a movie before bed, eating a little chocolate, staying up a little later to do something fun or spend time with friends... actually is pretty conducive to getting a good nights sleep.  It doesn't mean that it can happen all the time, or that I give myself permission to go overboard, but it does mean that I relax.  For the "rule-following" personality, this can be really helpful.

As I said, I'll continue to try new things short of smoking crack and I'll post any updates if it helps.  The single most important thing for me aside from clean eating is consistency in bed/wake time.  My sleep improved "dramastically" when I did a month-long challenge where every minute I missed my bedtime/wake time earned me a burpee penalty.  

If you're having trouble sleeping and you adopt any of these or other changes, I really would like to know.  Drop a comment below and let me know about your progress.  Good luck and sweet dreams!

Mother Knows

Feeling a little underwhelmed the other day, I picked up the phone for some Mom Time.  I felt like my accomplishments were small, my contribution to the world lacking, my brains and use of them unexciting, blah blah blah... and I wanted someone to slap me around and help me pick myself up and dust me off and make me get back to work, so I called my mom.

"Trish" she told me, "when you were a little girl I was having a day where I didn't seem to get much done.  I hadn't done everything that I wanted to do for the day and was feeling kind of low with how I hadn't done this and that, and you looked up and me and said, 'Why don't you think about the things you have done?' I'll never forget that; you were such a little thing encouraging me to look at the positive.  I think right now you need to take some advice from yourself."

Sometimes it's nice to have someone help pick you up.  But we often have tools from our past that we need to make that change.  Even if you have to dig back a couple decades to find them.  And moms somehow seem to know where to help you look.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Painting the Sky

Yesterday I was working on cleans at the firehouse, trying to fix some problems I’d been having with the lift, and I started getting in my own head about it.  I was thinking and saying things about how it was a weight that I generally don’t struggle with, and how I should’ve been better, blah blah blah.  And, like a good training partner and coach, Tim called me out on it.  Stop the talk, just own it and do it.  How right he was!

I have a tendency deep within myself, and know many others who possess the same, to expect perfection in self and to settle for no less.  To not be happy until the task is completed with the highest honors, till every last item is crossed off the to-do list, to withhold praise until the final and ultimate goal is reached...  How much we miss out on when we do such things!  (Funny enough, I don’t do this with other people.  I really love to celebrate every victory along the way with others and see them grow, and it holds true for many people, that each is his own worst critic.)

I don’t know why it is so easy for some people to reward their shortcomings by giving them voice, rather than embrace their virtues.  We can see this a lot with food choices.  For example, in one of my favorite movies, “Fried Green Tomatoes,” Kathy Bates’ character, overweight and depressed Evelyn Couch cries, while eating a candy bar, “I wish I had the courage to get it over with and get really fat!” at which point her friend takes the candy bar out of her hand for her.  This attitude turns into, “I’m a failure, so might as well be as big a failure as possible,” instead of looking at what was done well and allowing the positive associations of success propel you forward. 

I know a fellow who has had a million histories of success in life, but shrinks these accomplishments down to infinitesimal levels by focusing only on what he has not yet achieved and this, in turn, leads to depression and self-defeating behaviors that just perpetuate this stupid cycle.  This guy is also a list-maker who feels good only when he completes his list.  I don’t think that is very healthy.  But to compound the problem, he puts things on the list that are practically impossible, so this way he never gets the list done and can beat himself up for “failing” and consequently embarks on the journey toward more cyclical depression.  He has practically been writing “☐Paint the sky” on his to-do list and beating himself up for not doing it.  Why?

Some people battle an inside voice that constantly tells them they’re not good enough and they feed this belief, engulfed in self-pity or negative thoughts instead of looking at what has been accomplished and developing their character instead of seeing accomplishments or progress.  Enough.  Enough, enough enough!  It’s ok to acknowledge your progress.  It was PROGRESS for heaven’s sake! Don’t cheapen it by qualifying it. 

I like to surround myself with others who can celebrate accomplishments, enjoy the moment, create a future and keep a positive outlook in all things.  I’m glad to have such people in my life that remind me of this, and it’s part of my hope that I can be a voice to remind people of the same message.  It all goes into the same category of enjoying the journey and living in the moment instead of for a specific point in the future.  Life’s a whole lot more fun lived this way.  And speaking of living, I’m looking forward to a weekend away with my sister, getting gussied up for “The Phantom of the Opera,” painting fingernails, reading Fifty ShadesA People’s History of the United States... sipping iced water poolside in the 105 degree heat of the desert.  There will be no Painting of the Sky there.  Or at least if there is, I won’t tell anyone about it.  After all, what happens in Vegas...