Tag Archives: retirement

It’s Getting Real Now

41 days left as a public teacher.

Making progress through the checklist towards retirement…

  • Turned in my resignation letter.

  • Met with rep at Human Relations. (A lovely young woman named Caitlyn.  Grateful for the chance to meet her!)

  • Putting together the paperwork for the state retirement system.  (More complicated than it should be.)

  • Signed my school district’s Letter of Intent yesterday, but this time, for the first and only time, I had to choose the “I reject employment…” option.

That “I reject…” declaration threw me for a loop and triggered a little spike in cortisol that lasted for another 8 hours.

I’m excited and thrilled to take the risk to work for myself.  But I’m also nervous, praying, a little scared – all the feels.  This is a major life change.  

Our state striped away a lot of retirement benefits almost 10 years ago.  Even though I’m retiring early, I wouldn’t get much more if I stayed longer.  

So my last day with classes is June 11.  Teachers have an extra day on June 12.  My teaching contract is split over 12 months, so that is done at the end of July.

I’ve been working steadily since last fall to set up my online math tutoring business, www.OnlineGeometryTutor.com.  I’m not known online as a math teacher, so I knew creating content for that would take time.

Still working on the details of the online fitness service I want to offer. 

From my own experiences with this health transformation and talking to a lot of people about their struggles, frustrations, and *most importantly* the obstacles that prevent them from sticking with the plan, 
I know there is a need for something more than a plan on a spreadsheet.

There is a need for something more than just being told or shown what to do.  

Even me, working with one of the best bodybuilding coaches in the industry,  with his scary-smart programming, with my determination, work-ethic, and the experience of five competitions –
it’s still hard

Life happens for all of us, but life is also different for some of us. 

It’s a bit of a different challenge when you’re a middle-aged adult with adult responsibilities.

It’s a slightly different challenge when there are people counting on you who might not be able (or willing) to accept that your self-care is just as important as the role you play in their lives.

People assume that the thing they are missing is some character trait.  Maybe.  Maybe not. 
 What if it is something I can teach?  What if it’s something you know but just need support to bring it to the surface?

I’m in “plan mode” now until I’m done with the day job.  My first priority are the kiddos in my classes now.  And then I need to pack up my teacher life and turn in keys.

And then probably have a bit of a cry, take some time to decompress, and enjoy the backyard patio my husband is fixing up for “retirement” as I write this post.

If you’re on my
mailing list, I promise – you will be first to know when I have something to offer!


Training is progressing, but it makes for a boring blog post.  I think I’m max testing next week.  THAT should be interesting!  I’ve been growing.  🙂


Filed under Life, Teaching

Improvement Season Update and a New Business Introduction!

Long time, no see!  Sorry I’ve been quiet here on this blog.  Life has a lot of things happening right now.  I’m busier than I was during my competition season last summer and fall.

Improvement Season Update

Physically, I’m doing great.  I’m back to a healthy body weight.  Actually gained more than I intended.  The plan was 15 pounds.  But I didn’t feel “normal” again until I was up by 25.  And then I gained another 5.  My scale weight is fluctuating around 155 pounds now.  I’m working to maintain it there.

This scale weight, for this improvement season,  feels drastically different than it did at this point after my 2015 season.

Upper body lifts in the gym have been productive.  Eight weeks ago I tested my bench press.  Eight weeks ago I was still recovering from a long contest prep, so I didn’t expect much, but the calculated 1RM was still about what it’s always been – around 125.

By “always” I mean exactly that.  I remember a time when it jumped up to 128 and I was impressed by how many YEARS it took to go up 3 lbs.

Tested it this week again.  After 8 weeks, my calculated 1RM was 146.  Up 20 lbs in 2 months????

Yup.  Something is different.

I’m not super thrilled with extra body fat, but that’s how my body works.  When I’m anabolic, I grow.  I grow everything – not just muscle.  All tissues needed to recover.   Joints feel good, too.

There is that social pressure though, right?  I’m not immune.  No matter what anyone thinks, my reality is that I’m a bodybuilder, not a fitness model.   And it feels like I’m back under construction in a big way!!!  Yay!!


But can we just pause for a second and reflect on that bench.  A 20-pound increase in bench press in 2 months??  Who does that?  Hahahaha!


The Birthday I’ve Waited For

This Wednesday, February 14th, will be my 56th birthday.  This is the weird one.  My mother died when she was 56.  It’s going to be difficult come November when her death anniversary gets closer.  I think I better plan to do something epic for the day after that.  When I turned 50, I pulled a truck.

What to do?  What’s an appropriate physical challenge for outliving some superstitious date on the calendar?


Private Practice

The main reason I’ve been slacking on my blogging duties is because I’ve been working every spare minute on my new business – private, online teaching/tutoring.

I am retiring early from teaching after this school year.  It’s time to go for a lot of reasons – none of which have anything to do with a loss of passion for teaching.  It still feels like that’s my calling.  I enjoy teaching math to teenagers and not many people do.

However, being a government employee was never my calling.  That was what I needed to be if I wanted to be a teacher.

Times have changed.  Technology has advanced.  I can now go into private practice.  The plan is to retire next summer and begin working with students privately online.

I can only work with a few online students now because I’m still working full time and training.  Next August, private practice will be my full time passion-project.  That’s exciting!

The current task has been to create an online presence that reflects my real life experience.  That’s what I’ve been working on these last few months.

<Shameless cross-promotional marketing in 3…2…1…>

I would appreciate it if you would take a look at what I’ve created and give me any feedback you have…


My new blog is www.onlinegeometrytutor.wordpress.com

My YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages are all called Online Geometry Tutor, too.

File Nov 18, 5 48 39 PMPinterest screenshot

Oh my.  It seems like a lot when I list it all in one spot.

It’s been a feat to create content that I can use in all these places.  That’s why, if you’re following on the LMS page, you’ve seen some of the Online Geometry Tutor inspirational quotes popping up.  I’ve got to multi-task!

I do need your help if you’re willing.

If I was your math teacher, or the teacher of your child, I would appreciate it if you would drop by the Facebook page and review with a star rating.  If you would be willing to write a review of what it was like to work with me, that would be helpful to parents who visit the page looking to find out more about me as a teacher.

Following and sharing pages and/or posts would also help parents find me.

My latest video…


My business plan is to start with the online teaching first, then launch something with fitness.   I’m still not sure what that is going to be, but I want to offer something that supports people with their own health transformation, but isn’t exactly the same as what other online coaches offer.  As soon as I know what that’s going to be, you’ll know.

There is also that book I’ve been asked to write…that’s been on the back burner until I “retire”.  Ha!  Doesn’t sound like retirement, does it?


Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Teaching

67 Weeks – Clarity

Published on Saturday.  Edited on Sunday.  Processing continues…

Life happens, right?  I really have been walking around in a fog for the last month.  Not the worst time in my life, but stressful.  And then this morning – clarity.

I’ve been lucky and have been able to train with sufficient focus for a few years.  It looks as though 2014 is literally karmic payback time.  Life was already a little stressful before my husband’s accident (he’s recovering well, thank God), but after that, there was just so much extra for me to worry about do that I haven’t been able to keep all the balls in the air.  I’ve been waiting for the spring break from school that started today to get caught up on work and sleep.

But without getting into details, in the last 72 hours, the Universe has provided several unrelated events that I interpret as a sign that I’m supposed to be doing something else.  I have a few years before the state says I can retire,  but it’s pretty clear that changes are afoot.   And that makes me incredibly sad.  Heart broken.  I’ve been feeling that sadness and grief for the last two days.  This morning, I woke up feeling nauseous from it, but a few minutes of reflection and prayer got my head to the right place.  It’s time to find my courage and embrace the change that is happening.

Some of this is out of my control.  But no worries – things will work out exactly the way they are supposed to.   It has been harder over the last few years to do what I do.  The gap between what kids need to know to be successful in upper level mathematics and what they have actually learned has been getting wider.  I will keep my mind open and follow the path as it presents itself.  I’m wondering now if the next move should be into the middle grades.  Maybe I can use what I’ve learned in upper levels to help prepare younger kids for what’s ahead.

One of the reasons I’ve accomplished what I have as a teacher is that I take ownership over my practice as if it were my business.  So what happens next, whatever that turns out to be, it will be my decision.    My priorities are lined up correctly – husband and training come before any job.  But I am that teacher – the one that likes to ask questions, rock boats, build programs.  I like to invest myself.  I like to empower kids – I do not teach or practice compliance.  I teach”Badassery 101″.  My students will run things.  And that, I suspect, is why I am not a good civil servant.  😉

I will continue to reflect, pray, and talk with hubby and friends, so that a plan will be made that sets things up to honor what’s important and helps me transition to the next thing.  Just in case my kids are reading this – don’t worry. We still have AP exams right around the corner and you will rock it.  I will help you stay fiercely focused.  My loyalty is to you.

But enough of that.

My life works best when I’m lifting.  Lifting is better when I’m focused.  I’m excited about the progress I’m making – especially considering I’ve been making progress while navigating the change in routines that come from two people sharing a car, one of those people healing from an accident, and that car needing repairs.  Too much stress and too many little things bothering me.  But that stress over the last couple of weeks has started a weight gain, too.  Not worried.  I know how to handle that.  Make some decisions and move on.  I’ve also been working with a new coach online who adjusted things in my program so that I can stay on track while handling this crazy time.  (No negative issues with previous coach and I still recommend him.  Change is good and even necessary.  I like learning new things from new people.)

So on this first day of spring break, I reconnected to my joy of lifting.  Today’s lift was an upper body hypertrophy split.  I’m getting stronger and bigger.   I’m excited about what is going to happen over the next year.  I’m certain that the next time I compete, the improvements will be quite noticeable.  I don’t think for a second that the obstacles I have to navigate are over.  2014 is going to be a challenge.  I’ve had challenges before and I am confident in my ability to get a thing done.  I’ve done a lot already, and I’m not talking about bodybuilding, because I haven’t accomplished much there – yet.  It took me 16 years from start to finish to get that Bachelor of Science in Mathematics – my most feared subject in high school.  There have been some awards, a national certification, and a masters degree.  I’ve accomplished almost* everything I chose to accomplish letting time be the variable.  I’ve taught for 18 years and I think I’ve taught every level of mathematics from 8th grade through calculus 2.  And I can give a pretty decent pep-talk, I’m told.


I’ve told people that I feel like the old dog at the pound that no one wants to adopt.  Well, that’s just how I feel at work.  I feel joy when I lift.   Afterwards, I feel hopeful and excited about the future.  I daydream about new adventures and new opportunities.  I dream about having a life where my success is based on my hard work.  The responsible, grown-up part of me knows I have to wait until the state says I have earned my retirement.  There is a possibility that this is all happening because there is some amazing opportunity in education I don’t know about yet because everyone knew I wasn’t available.  No matter what happens, I will maintain forward progression.

This week was not great, but today was pretty good.

*I did not get the Presidential Award for Teaching in Mathematics.  I decided to wait to apply again when there was a president I wanted to meet.  😉









Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Faith, Life