I recently made my debut as a storyteller at an event produced by ScreenSense. ScreenSense is an organization based in Mill Valley, CA, that is dedicated to the mindful use of technology in society. All of the storytellers had their own tales of technology and life. So much laughter. And, no photos or videos by audience members as they were required to lock their phones with a Yondr pouch upon arrival. At intermission it was so refreshing to look around and see people talking and laughing with no chin drop to a phone in sight. Here is my story of why I created Correct the Tech.
The word disrupt has steadily crept into our vocabulary over the last few years. Often used to describe new ways of doing business (gig economy, lyft and uber) I am seizing this word for my work helping people change their posture. I have developed a signature methodology that at its core requires one to disrupt accidental and ingrained movement patterns and replace them with new habits. My passion for helping people live optimally in their bodies led me to develop Correct the Tech, an interactive presentation for your workplace or private exercise practice.
Humans accidentally develop habits on a regular basis. A person twirling hair comes to mind. Texting and walking through crosswalks is another example (more on that another time). As we’ve jumped on the technology wave with all its pluses more than a few minuses have developed too. I am here to officially announce that typing on your computer or smartphone or tablet does not require dropping the chin and rounding forward from the upper back! We must disrupt this accidental pattern and extend the spine and elevate the chin.
The spine is a beautiful thing that not only houses and protects your nervous system but is capable of moving in a beautifully 360 degree fashion: it extends upwards and side to side, it rotates, it flexes forward. When you sit or stand for long stretches, likely with some forward spinal flexion, your back needs some equal time in its other possible positions. In other words, repetitive motion injury doesn’t just apply to attaching widgets over and over. Holding a body part static for long periods is not ideal. The good news is you can shatter these old ways and take charge of your vitality.
You have control over how you use your body and it may be time for you to learn some knew techniques. The spine is malleable and if you keep telling it to hunch forward it will continue to oblige: “oh, ok - you want me to hold that shape all the time, I get it, I got it” Time passes. You’re rounded and hunched. However the old adage “it’s never too late” applies to posture correction, regardless of age. Research shows even individuals with advanced osteoporosis show improvement in their spine with the appropriate strengthening regimen.
Disrupt desk time, tablet time, texting chin time with the signature methodology in Correct the Tech. Show the world how an extended spine and lifted chin not only makes you feel better and work longer, it elevates our place in community—eye contact is making a comeback people.
In Honor of National Coming Out Day I'm sharing a piece I wrote last year for a storytelling competition.
'Loretta, my mother, thought she had her solution nailed. After all, the shrink she’d scheduled me with for an emergency appointment the following day was not only a psychologist but a Presbyterian minister and former fraternity brother of my father’s. Credentials matter with Loretta. So for the woman who’d found my father at Bethel Presbyterian Church in 1950s Sacramento and then put said husband through his PhD at UC Davis both selling shoes and transcribing shorthand for campus staff while living the newlywed life surrounded by other Kappa Kappa couples in Aggie Villa, the on campus married student housing, well Dr. Robinson’s resume was my mom’s super lotto gold triple extra large bonus winning ticket.
It was the day after Christmas1984, and my two older brothers knew I’d planned on telling my parents I was gay that afternoon—which was why while I was reclining with my book on the family room sofa they were standing in the kitchen waving their arms in baseball’s “you’re OUT” pattern, mouthing and shaking their heads NO. While Eric and Brian were in my field of vision, mom had her back to them while seated at her appointed dining table chair where she was enjoying decaf coffee and a design magazine. Clearly, they thought it a bad idea, that she could’t handle it. This was the same woman, who, excited for my arrival from college for a visit the previous year had met me on the front porch and greeted me with a wail of “Oh, AMY!’ followed by an outburst of tears, upon seeing my peroxide blonde Billy Idol hair. It was 1983. She couldn’t handle it, nor the multiple piercings in my ear.
As was my habit I ignored the advice in front of me and said “Hey Mom, guess what?” Dutifully raising her head towards me she said “What?”, to which I replied: “I’m gay.” Once again I heard the plaintive voiced “Oh AMY,” only this time followed by her repeated utterance of the word “no.” No. no, no. She pushed herself back from the table and put her head in her hands as she folded forward from her waist. She was crying. Working her way to hysterical crying. Crying. And a little bit of that wailing thing. Suddenly it was all starting to feel a little too Tennessee Williams for me: the tall, dark, handsome gentleman, my father, enters stage left to offer his wife, who’s overcome with the vapors, a hanky; in the kitchen the brothers stand silently (for the first time ever), eating in a continuous stream to both appear busy and seem incapable of speech; Amy, our protagonist, notices the growing twilight and a dog’s howl…and get’s the hell out of there.
When I returned after dinner around 7, my mother had taken to bed: something we’d never seen this protestant work ethic club member do. She wasn’t handling it. But she had orchestrated her solution. My dad, always the calm force in the quick breaking waves of our crazy household, told me he’d drive me to my appointment the next morning. Dr. Robinson, who I’d known from my father’s infrequent poker nights, was kind faced and smoked the occasional cigar during their card games, and this translated into me not being nervous to meet him at his office. My father deposited me exactly on time, and the two old friends exchanged Presbyterian/Kappa pleasantries before Dad’s exit. The door closed and before I could sit the good Doctor looked me directly in the eyes and said “Amy. How are you doing?” It was the most unexpected and welcome question of my life.
Mom was happy when, after a particularly bad breakup, I swore off women. She was really happy when I told her I was dating a guy: after all, he and I allowed our co workers to convince us to dress as Pebbles and Bam Bam for a workplace halloween party. Mom was also happy when I continued down that heterosexual pathway all the way into a twin pregnancy. An unmarried and pregnant daughter? she handled that news with veritable glee: grandkids. A shotgun wedding? No problem. She was a retired florist. Wedding, handled.
Truly, I know now Loretta handled my divorce, my coming out a second time (she adores my partner), her 66 year old husband dropping dead of a heart attack, followed 16 months later by her 36 year old middle son committing suicide…well she has handled it all better than most ever could. And her early practice handling her alcoholic father and graveyard shift working, negligent mother surely helped shape mom into the warrior survivor churchy nasty artist woman who continues to inspire me. If only she could have handled that keg party I threw senior year.
TRX time: Here are a few power moves to develop your anaerobic capacity, burn calories, get stronger! I am performing the moves at a moderate intensity, not at 10 out of 10, to demonstrate that even high intensity workouts can be performed at different levels--jump higher and move faster to up the intensity further. Curtsy lunges added in for an active recovery moment.
Here's a stair workout that focuses on the back side -- walking the stairs if you don't run is great for the glutes and hamstrings too. Do a safety check of your area when training outdoors; my stairs are uneven and I had to be careful. The exercises shown can be performed as active recovery between rounds of stairs. Go forth and be fit.
Here's an easy to execute foam roller series to release the shoulders and open up the chest. While originally developed for those trying to recover full range of motion after breast cancer surgery, these are moves for anyone spending too much time in forward flexion. . .that's you texters and typers. Aim for 3-4 times per week, preferably when you have some warmth in the body #correctthetech.
Without a doubt on busy, exercise-filled days this is a go-to meal of mine packed with protein and crunch, my version of a Sonoma chicken salad. Poach chicken breast in seasoned water (sliced into tenders cooks fastest). Let cool, cut into cubes, and combine with celery, grapes, chopped pecans, gorganzola, poppy seeds and douse with rice wine vinegar. Yes, I slice my grapes in half for "more" of them without more sugar. If you want to trim calories omit the cheese, and serve over a mound of spinach to make more nutrient dense. And as I always say: "never vegan, often gluten free." Amyland
1. My dad Les was a Rocket Scientist who rendered any repairperson (appliance, vehicle, stereo, motorized) unnecessary, having gone electronics in the Navy. Les dropped dead of a heart attack in front of a nurse at age 66.
2. I’m a 5th generation Californian thanks to mom Loretta, who’s great great great somebody must have had stories to tell after *staying* with an Indian tribe for some time, teaching them his coveted skill of blacksmithing.
3. I was at band camp battling for first chair clarinet when Elvis died, providing my 1st glimpse of a hysterical 9th grade girl. He was her King, clearly.
4. I have performed in front of 50,000 people and some used to call me Vanilla Shake.
5. I got my first tattoo of a sun on top of my left foot upon returning home to California after 8 years of living in Seattle, Washington.
6. I came out as a lesbian (the first time) when I was 20, on a visit home for Christmas. Loretta started moaning, put herself to bed, but when she got into action probably felt confident as the shrink I was rushed off to was both a Presbyterian Minister (church camp too) and an old fraternity brother of Dad’s.
7. I’m the Mother of 13 year old twin boys, the supreme bonus of one of my two marriages to men.
8. I've let fear dictate decisions in my life more often than I’d like to admit, but I’m grateful for my capacity to change.
9. My older brother Eric joined a punk rock band when he was 20 so I became a little punk wannabe and learned I related to things falling outside of the mainstream: Billy Idol hair at 18.
10. Eric hung himself to death 18 months after Dad died.
11. Somehow I’ve managed to do time in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. I can tell you what Jackson’s like if you care to hear.
12. I've spent over 20 years as a Fitness Professional trying to motivate, inspire, effect positive change, show possibilities, increase confidence, develop trust, share vulnerabilities, and generally contribute to the betterment of people. You must move, music is optional.
13. I’m one quarter Armenian which surely explains my super fine ass.
Oh hello. If you want to work out with amazing trainers at cool locations, both indoors and out, and have your whole fitness endeavor supported by cool technology and fun people, visit fitmob.com and then come to a class or go to someone else's, and then tell me all about it. Or download the app in the app store and tell me about that. And if you have friends (3-6) who want to share a Trainer ask me about that please.
Chef Scott Howard and "Bachelor Ben!" Yes, I know there are LOADS of reality TV watching, gourmet- food eating folks in the Bay Area who want to support the American Heart Association and how easy is this: Bay Club Marin is hosting a food and wine event with Ben Flajnik, from Envolve Winery and ABC's The Bachelor, and Scott Howard from Brick and Bottle Restaurant, who will be doing some cooking demos, THIS FRIDAY, August 10th, from 6 to 8 pm in the first floor lobby. This is a kick-off event to support the Club's fundraising efforts for the American Heart Association. Open to Members and Non-Members alike, a $25-dollar suggested donation will get you a lovely Bay Club Marin engraved wine glass that will surely be the envy of all your friends. The flyer is below. Bay Club Marin is conveniently off the 101 in Corte Madera at the Town Center Mall, and the event flyer is below. And if you can't join us this Friday, please help our further efforts and walk with us on September 14th in San Francisco for the Heart Walk. C'mon, have a heart.
Time to Read
Fitness, food, lifestyle, politics, fashion, relationships. . .it's all fair game in blogland
Check me on Facebook!