442. Without Faith

Hebrews 11.6 | Ann Ning Learning How


A dear friend visited me soon after my injury – I was conversant but I would not classify myself as “awake.” I have no recollection of this visit. She told me about it when she came to visit me a couple years later (when she saw me for the first time).

In that visit in the hospital she asked me what she could pray about for me.

Me: That nothing would happen to me when I’m alone.

My friend: Ning, you know you’re never alone.

Me (scornfully): Pshaw.

She told me the story with a great imitation of my scoffing sound – it was like I was rolling my eyes saying, Yeah – that worked out really great the first time, didn’t it?

It was impossible not to laugh the way she told it, but it was also chilling in that my rawest thoughts came out when I had zero control over my faculties, and they were afraid and angry.

Later during the visit in Maryland (over 2 years? later) my friend asked me another question. I think it was so kind and sensitive that she sought an opportunity to ask me quietly in private,

Are you tempted to think that God is punishing you?

Wow. That is a million dollar question. It’s the kind of inquiry that makes you stop in your tracks, that takes a special person to have the right of experience and a history of love to ask, and that skips the formalities and goes straight to the bottom line. It’s up there with how JCJ’s mom asked me, Is it okay that you lived?

I was surprised. This person knows me very well. But when I thought about it and reconnected with more friends from my Old Life I learned that many people were extremely concerned about how this situation would impact me spiritually.

I had the immensely gratifying experience of reassuring my friend that I already decided what I thought the fact that this happened meant about everything I believed about God, but I’ve refrained from telling this extremely personal story until a new friend messaged me a couple of weeks ago and our conversation about “76.  You didn’t do anything wrong” made me think about it.

76.  You Didn't Do Anything Wrong

76. You Didn’t Do Anything Wrong

I’ve thought about it a lot recently bc I’ve needed to remind myself why I do this more often than usual. You’ve seen it unfold here on my blog, but let me just spell it out for you: It’s been a rough 2.5 months. As Mommy would point out, It’s been a rough 3.5 years. PS. We’re not done yet.

I know it’s been rough bc the word that appears most often in my Exercise Journal is “nauseous.” There’s also been the pain etc., but it all gets exacerbated by stressors. I asked Gen about her evaluation of my gait once (e.g. True or False: “My gait is ataxic.”) and she replied, Your gait changes depending on what you’ve been through that week.

Happily, though, my gait felt better over the last couple days (at least in the morning). We’re still sorting through everything else that’s acting up, e.g. the vision (I have to buckle down and do more home exercises with that Wretched Hart Chart like Daddy asked me to) and the crazy scary dreams.

My Nemesis (This is a Hart Chart)

My Nemesis (This is a Hart Chart)

But you know what? Thanksgiving is next week – so it’s the perfect time to start changing channels mentally.

What I found out by keeping my Exercise Journal is that I am indeed excruciatingly tired. But it’s not from Training. It’s from living This Disabled Life. I asked Coach R recently if he thought I was wearing my body parts out. He said no, but he thinks that I have to work harder than other people and it takes me more time to recover. I would agree with his observations, although he was talking about physicality. I’m also referring to the amount of mental energy I’m exerting.

So what’s the solution here?   Prayer Detox. I’m telling you it’s the Best Thing Ever that I write this stuff down bc I need it the most. And it’s time for some vacation – I will be out until Monday, December 1, although I’ll probably post my Thanksgiving Update next week.

Before I got sick I hit a really rough patch at work. I was SO stressed out it was awful. One night I just sobbed on the phone to Mommy, I just want to know I’m doing something right.

268.  Prayer Detox for Beginners

268. Prayer Detox for Beginners

Mommy put that question to bed by going straight to scripture: …without faith it is impossible to please [God]. Hebrews 11.6


Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!


441. Ugly Juice and GH 2014

Greatest Hits 2014

My new homework for The Gym is to keep an Exercise Journal. At first I thought this would be even worse than the time Trainer D made me keep that food diary for J (his wife, the dietician). But it’s actually turning out to be a useful log for myself so I can track how my body is feeling. I think he was expecting a handwritten journal but I told him I’d send it to him later bc it’s a combination of Word and Excel documents I had PDF’d. At this point he was laughing riotously at my nerdiness, but it takes one to know one. Mm hmm.

This was the note I included at the beginning of my first 2-week log:

Sorry, I forgot to include “mindset” – this is too much talking about feelings anyway. If it’s really important remind me of the difference again and I’ll do it. :)

 Apparently it’s important to him. So I’m supposed to write down stuff like 1) Mood, 2) Mindset, 3) Goal for the day, 4)How I feel – 3 different times in the same entry. See what I’m saying about too much talking about feelings, and how I can’t remember the difference?!?!? But really, there is a lot of room here for creativity, and hey – he’s asking for this information, so I’m going to write it down.

The Exercise Journal also requires me to disclose what I have for breakfast. Yesterday, I had Ugly Juice. I call it “Ugly” bc of the unattractive color. That’s what happens when you just gather up odds and ends from the produce drawers and throw them into the Vitamix. It included celery, cucumber, ½ a honeycrisp apple, a tired yellow kiwi, carrots, lime juice, hemp seeds, and mulberry/iron tea. Good stuff. I also had an egg, and then I talked to Boo Boo on the phone :).


On Monday Trainer D had 6-7 eggs scrambled with spinach for (1st) breakfast. (He is like a hobbit and eats 1st and 2nd Breakfast, followed by Elevenses.) The idea of 6-7 eggs makes me nauseous – but I’ve known for a while (based on one of the tests they do at The Gym) that the man requires an appalling number of calories to simply exist.

Last week I discussed pancakes with Coach R in the context of what one should do when a slower morning at home arises. Since the donut discussion I have identified this as an area of development for him and told him so. I also made sure he knew about how 1 ripe banana + 2 eggs = pancake batter. He is not grain free, but this is a widely accepted grain free breakfast practice. Plus it’s super easy to prepare!

I have another cup of Ugly Juice to enjoy tomorrow morning. It’s slower bc I have a day off. It’s one of my Trainer D-prescribed “Rest” days so I’m really quite pleased. I have big plans: Filing Frenzy Friday is being pulled in to Wednesday. :). It’s the triumph of the mundane.

I’m also gearing up to send my Thanksgiving Update to Daddy’s old email list. I had previously intended never to send another mass email again when I started blogging, but it turns out that many people actually like the individual email, so I’ve been experimenting with a new, super-easy format that’s pretty to look at and easy to unsubscribe to if you like.

In it, I link to my favorite posts (also your favorite posts) from 2014. The compilation is geared to the friends who don’t read my blog regularly. I say, if you read anything at Learning How, read these – they’re arranged topically so you can choose what interest you.

Before I went back to Oregon:

348. What’s this going to look like?
308. No Sign of Weakness


356. I decided
359. Running with myself

It is what it is:

394. Spectacle
395. Well Suited
420. I Said It


367. The Fellowship of His Sufferings
374. Arms of Love
399. Resonance
417. I hear your voice
421. Validation
431. When the Journey is too Great for You

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!

440. I’m Busy

I'm Busy - Peter Karate

I saw Trainer D for the first time after he was out for a week and he took one look at me and demanded, Is that a brace?!?!?

NO.” I said defensively in a tone of deep offense.

Then I remembered that he could actually see it even though I was wearing black and was hoping the black brace would just blend in with the rest of my knee.

Yes,” I admitted in a grudging whisper.

I settled on a sullen, non-committal “Maybe,” in the end, leaving him to draw his own conclusion.

It took me a couple more visits to tell him that things had been going south with my leg while we were on a hiatus. I didn’t want him to be like, I turn around for one second, and look what happened.

My leg is getting better, thank you, and although I’m on hiatus from Gen and CMD right now (SNIFF) Coach R and Trainer D (now that he’s back and fully informed) have been taking care of things. Coach R had to rein me in (again) a couple weeks ago. He told me to “calm down” on the incline because it was aggravating all the stuff going on with the left leg. (It’s been dragging, the knee is a little compromised, and I’ve got weird adhesions growing.) His strategy is “containment” so it doesn’t get too out of hand. One day he was doing his usual inspection and said wonderingly, “Are those my fingerprints?” Ummm, yeah, R, those are yours. I hadn’t seen anyone else yet that week so that was the one and only time it was all Coach R’s fault.

When I finally told Trainer D about it he immediately pinched me, putting his thumb on top of a particularly painful spot on my left shin. He was determined to work the adhesion out and then there was a lot of stretching and muscular intervention and the end story is that my left leg ended up feeling a lot lighter like when he did that crazy Mr. Miyagi thing during my first session.

That was a year ago – and I remember lying on that table, wondering if this was a good idea but glad Daddy was 3 feet away, “reading” a big book. Trainer D did something to my hip and said, Get up and walk around. I was thinking, That’s pretty brassy there, new kid, but whatever. I humored him by sliding off the table and walking a bit. My mouth fell open when I realized my leg felt different, like it had when I first started acupuncture and cupping.

We’ve been rolling merrily along ever since, and 3 months later I went in search of an AlterG, and lo and behold, Coach R was there. When I first started trying to move again after the hemiparesis surfaced I could only do a few minutes of slow paces on the Polly the Warehouse Cat (my elliptical). I worked my way from 500 paces to 1000, counting each step. I might have started at 100, I forget. I increased my goal by 50 paces until I reached 1000, and then I started counting in minutes.

82.  Polly the Warehouse Cat

82. Polly the Warehouse Cat

The day I met Coach R I couldn’t run myself – he had to reach over the AlterG’s console and push some buttons so I broke into a slow trot. Now I’ve been having too much fun and he had to tell me to “calm down.” :)

359.  Running With Myself

359. Running With Myself

On Mondays I just “run” but on Thursdays it’s a full workout: I “run” and then we do Training. At first I was nervous about tiring myself out on the AlterG and then having to do squats etc. I only did 12 minutes before Training in the early days. Once I came home from Boo Boo’s house, with successful AlterG experience under my belt thanks to the Southern Gym, I was running faster and longer. I started going twice a week and extended my Thursday run to 30 minutes at a much faster pace (still doing intervals) and have enough energy for Training afterwards. On my first day back (after Oregon and Ai Ai’s house) I told Coach R, “Raging chi, R. Right here [pointing to myself], RAGING.”

The raging chi quip is oftentimes me “hoping,” not a factual statement, but hey, I’m doing what I can over here. If I’m really tired, or if I just don’t want to do something I stand still mid-exercise and say to Trainer D, I’m busy. Subtext: Watcha gonna do about that, D?

He just laughs and waits for me to rally, or he’ll break down the movement more so I can handle it in pieces.

It’s true, though, I AM busy. It’s like what the physiatrist told me – I’m pushing it. But keeping busy is a coping strategy – the more you do the less you have to think. Well, I’ve had more time lately since I’m having a hiatus from Gen and CMD (I say again: SNIFF), and it turns out I’ve needed the rest. RecoveryLand isn’t a walk in the park, and the ride gets pretty rough sometimes.

But since I’ve had more time to reflect I realized that I’ve definitely built some muscle over the past year. These guys’ goal is not to build muscle for muscle’s sake, though. I just do as I’m told, but apparently they’ve got it all worked out in terms of the mechanics of movement, functional application, etc. But the most obvious and immediate payoff for me is that it protects my joints (which aren’t functioning normally anyway, so they need protection), and helps me move better.

In the not too distant past I couldn’t make it past 6pm without severe pain and lying on the Ceragem (massage) bed. My core is so much stronger now, and I know how to manage myself more effectively – yes, fatigue and pain are still problems, but I’ve made huge progress. Maybe 2014 wasn’t such a wash out after all.

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!



439. Thanks. PS this is YOUR fault.

sent Nov 5, 2014

From:  Me
To:  Trainer D

Re:  Progress Report:  Upper Body Strength

3 years ago my OT taught me to put on pants bc I was strong enough to hover over my wheelchair while using one arm for support.  This was a game changer.  I was unable to dress independently prior to this.  On Monday I pulled more than I weighed before my injury even though the machine was helping me.  Thanks.


PPS.  The Internet is slow at my house. This, as with everything else, is also clearly your fault.

The Reply:

From:  Trainer D
To:  Me

Proud am I, Grasshopper.

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!

438. The Value of One

The Value of One | Matthew 10.30 | Ann Ning Learning How

I am skating on the double-edged sword of Recovery: I am finding “normal,” but it leaves me painfully vulnerable. The goal is to reintegrate but the more I mix with people my chances of getting hurt increase exponentially. I don’t even trust my own leg, much less anyone else. But I understand now that I’m supposed to not only learn how to manage my mobility, but my insides need healing, too.

Like I’ve said before, vulnerability is taking a calculated risk for a greater gain. As I’ve progressed, people have taken a chance on me and I’ve taken a chance on them. It’s paying off :), but it requires a high level of trust that takes a lot out of me. And as my story and I venture into the “real world” more often I understand that while I have the joy of validation from strangers I’m also putting myself in the path of interactions that may have no mal intent behind them but leave me and my overactive imagination feeling raw and broken anyway.

308.  No Sign of Weakness

308. No Sign of Weakness

This experience cost me everything. EVERYTHING. One night I clutched a string of pearls I loved to wear in my Old Life as I lay in bed, trying to sleep. I was trying to remember that feeling of thoughtlessly beautiful living, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t able to rest until I got out of bed again, gave Mommy the pearls and asked her to put them away because I didn’t need them anymore.

Now that experience has been reduced to a 6×9 paperback. It was horrifying for me to realize that the experience that cost me everything is so easily passed over.  I did not choose to have a cataclysmic medical event, but I DID choose to write a book about it because God’s grace has been so vast and surprising to me that I think it’s worth talking about.

314.  Pick a lane and stick with it!!

314. Pick a lane and stick with it!!

I love to laugh, but this is not a joke to me. I put it all out there for you to read because sitting around is boring, and as I’ve encountered people in RecoveryLand who are flailing around emotionally because of what’s happening to them what am I supposed to do – not tell you the Answer?

I helped my friend B address her wedding invitations a LONG time ago. She was like, Ning, I need you to do this bc if I do it people are gonna get it in the mail, look at my handwriting and be like, Aww…that’s sweet.

:) B totally cracks me up. I’ve thought of that conversation often as I’ve started writing. I’ve made the decision to be vulnerable as a calculated risk. I took the trouble to build an online presence within the parameters of my physical limitations. I am not going for, Aww…that’s sweet – look what the disabled girl is doing.   It was part of God’s plan to keep me cognitively intact enough to communicate about this experience effectively and package it appropriately for public consumption. A lot of my writing (all the funny stuff, the attempts at cooking, cleaning, and living) is geared at making this situation more accessible – yes, something crazy happened to me but I present myself in a way that’s easy to relate to.

And there are times when I meet someone (in person or online) who tells me that hearing me talk about what happened spoke to the gnawing need in their heart. They were looking for something, and found it because I explained how God met the need of my heart, and I assure you, it was a DEEP need. If God had not intervened for me on Decision Day 2011, something would have happened. (Shhh don’t tell Daddy that. Good thing he’s not going to read this.) I’ve said before that it was a mercy that I was far too disabled to take any meaningful action from my grief in the beginning, but I’ll add that I am a resourceful person and given some more time I would’ve figured something out.

But the Lord saw my need from afar off and answered it in His perfect timing. Good thing, because I couldn’t have taken anymore. The transition to This Disabled Life was particularly rough in the beginning. I was not even allowed to get out of bed or use the restroom by myself. But when someone tells me that what I wrote or said resonated with them the self-doubt and second-guessing that fill out the periphery of my brain injury disappear. It’s like that individual is the only person in the world. I understand what it’s like to carry the burden of despair, and when they say I lit my little candle in the midst of their darkness I’m sure – this is often terrifying, infuriating, and humiliating, but it can be exhilarating, too. I often forget so I’m writing it down for the record here: it’s worth it.


Learning How…vol 1 includes “Learning How to Walk” and “Learning How to Wait” and covers the period of time from my injury to the first time I went back to Therapy (2011-2012). It is an easy, non-threatening way to introduce people to the Gospel of Christ, and a great way to encourage believers. If you’re skimming, chapter 10 is when I decide the Gospel is true. Last time I checked it’s $9 on Amazon. As always, it’s all nonprofit. Use Prime or Super Saver Shipping. Thank you for your support.


Learning How….vol 1 on Amazon

Learning How….vol 1 on Amazon

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!

437. Learning How to Hope


As I anticipated moving to Africa I knew I was stepping out of the baby pool and would be required to do a flying cannonball into the deep end. I realized this once I saw the parade of visitors who knocked on the front door at ChezJ while stayed with them in Burundi. One Sunday a lady carrying a little baby came to the door and asked for JJ. He had just gone for a quick Sunday afternoon nap but roused himself to greet the visitor. Rubbing sleep from his eyes, he tried to coax his brain into action with some coffee, and then headed to the front of the house. A few minutes later he appeared in the dining room where I sat with JCJ.

He was fully awake now. This woman has been beaten and I think the baby might have AIDs, he told his wife. I don’t know what to do for them.

But as JCJ disappeared to dig around in the pantry JJ went back to the front door and simply prayed with that lady, pouring what he had into her life. JCJ sent them off with a bar of antibacterial soap and some dry tinned milk.

Apparently the combination of spiritual and physical care ChezJ dispenses works because people keep on coming back.

What are you going to do when they come to YOUR door?

I had no idea. The prospect frightened me. But the visual image of people tracing their way to ChezJ’s front door will always stick with me. People come back there bc the J family stuck it out when they could have left the country when the “ethnic terror” escalated as Burundi struggled for independence.

I remember reading something a long time ago (sorry if I’m misquoting, but I think I’ve got a good grasp on the gist) about how people came to ask JJ’s paternal grandfather, Carl, to leave the country for his own safety , and he was like, No, no, sorry – I can’t. We’re having Movie Night at the mission on Tuesday.

And they did. Eventually Carl and his wife Eleanor hosted an enormous number (up to 10k) of refugees at the mission. They stayed when they could have left. They told the Burundians “God loves you,” and backed it up with sacrificial acts of practical service. You can’t argue with all of that humanitarian heavy-lifting. Their legacy is the stuff of legend.

The country witnessed just how brutal human retribution can be when the civil war came (1993-2005). This time around, JJ’s parents were carrying the torch in Burundi but they got kicked out bc they went to watch one of their sons graduate from a school in a nearby country and they weren’t allowed back in. So the elder Js relocated to Tanzania with so many other refugees where they currently minister.

JJ and JCJ moved back to Burundi and live in ChezJ, the house that JJ’s daddy built and that once hosted 20+ or 30+ refugees. I was so thrilled to think that I could be a part of the work there. One of the things I really respected about all the health and education ministries going on there is that the Burundian believers in charge obviously love the Gospel, and they are also committed to sustainability (e.g. creating self-funding revenue streams – hence my interest as a financial analyst). Many individuals who came to adulthood amidst unspeakable violence but have been touched by the healing power of Christ now dedicate their lives to serving their countrymen.

The collective experience of War formed a generation. The history of brutality was so common, it was often barely noted while I was in Burundi. But as an outsider I’d occasionally catch a glimpse of the past and it made my insides quiver.

I had that same feeling when I published Learning How to Hope. I pulled together some of the most pointed posts from this blog and released this collection with the intention that all royalties would go directly to Flood Relief and Recovery in Burundi. It has gone well. Online sales, but mostly in-person sales – I held a few special “Team Tanimal” sales in Maryland, the South, and Oregon and was able to donate 100% of the sales price, not just the profits – allowed Learning How Corporation to send a tidy little sum across the Atlantic.

169.  The Treatment of Women [Why did people like *Kate & Leopold?*]

169. The Treatment of Women [Why did people like *Kate & Leopold?*]

I often get nervous if someone tells me they started reading my blog. I’m like, What happened? Are you okay?!?!   Bc people will usually start reading when they need to start reading. I do, however, like to tell you funny stories etc. to lighten things up around here, but I’m often dealing with heavier subjects because that’s what my life is about now. If you’re looking for a sampling of blog posts, and like the feeling of holding a book in your hands as opposed to looking at a screen, Learning How to Hope is the way to go. Even Tanpo read some of it – he really liked the Edamame post. …Hope is also the only book to be available in a Kindle version so far ($6). I had grand plans to configure my other two for electronic publishing but that didn’t really pan out – sorry (see what I mean about the wash out?).

Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle

Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle

I really like Learning How to Hope bc it’s a collection of my favorite and most meaningful blog posts – i.e. they are stand-alone “essays” of a reasonable length that are easily digested. Plus I just love the picture on the front. As of yesterday it’s $8 on Amazon. Use Prime or Super Saver Shipping. Thank you for your support.

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!


436. Ed Goes to DC

Thank you, Vets | Ann Ning Learning How

I woke up at 1.51 am Monday morning scared. This is not uncommon in RecoveryLand. Sometimes my dreams are troubling and you can trace the subconscious anxieties that are manifesting themselves in weird dream scenarios and the wet patches on my pillow, marked with two little horizontal black slits indicating that I failed to remove my eye make up completely. Again. But last night it wasn’t subconscious anxiety it was overt uncertainty about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. I have gone on the record about why I do this, and how it’s been a calculated move I’ve been planning before I was physically able to do anything about it, but I still suffer from the grip of fear – I am predisposed to this kind of struggle, which is why I write stuff like How to Fight the Good Fight. I learned these techniques in my Old Life and they are serving me well now – and I’m finding it so helpful to have them documented on my blog for my own reference.

Well, the verse the Lord brought to my mind was 2 Timothy 1.7 (above), and I remembered that I’m not ruled by a spirit of fear, but even though my brain got seriously messed up physical things like that are of no import to God and He has given me a spirit of power, love, and of a sound mind.

When I recalled this verse and repeated it in my mind I smiled and felt the relief wash over my body. It still took another couple of hours to fall asleep, though.

I evaded Tanpo’s inquiries re. the quality of my rest and went to the Gyms with Mommy to see Trainer D and Coach R. The TV in front of the AlterG has been showing lots of Veterans Day commercials lately – haircuts at Sport Clips, a Grand Slam at Denny’s – good stuff! But the commercial that really caught my attention was not a Veterans Day spot – it was the Marine Corp’s new campaign that shows shots of the USMC doing relief work in conflict zones (I think). At the end the words flash on the screen: Which way would you run? I am honored to know many members of the Armed Services, many of whom have seen combat. The consensus is that war changes you. There is no way you’ll come out on the other side the same. Sometimes service men and women come home with broken bodies. Sometimes they carry wounds other people can’t see. Many times they must learn to live with both.

The learning to live part is tough, I gather, since there are so many reasons to be afraid that the general population can’t relate to. Even if the physical threat has passed, fear can live on. So today (every day, but especially today), thank you for your service.


Ed Goes to DC on Amazon

Ed Goes to DC on Amazon

Fear is the major reason I wrote Ed Goes to DC. When I lost my job and Ernie gave me that Pep Talk he suggested I write children’s books. So I cranked this one out chop chop and roped my friends into taking the pictures around DC. It is an excellent way to introduce the ideas of illness, hospitalization, friendship, and cheerfulness to children, plus it’s just a really sweet story. (That’s what people say – even if their kids don’t have ill people in their lives, they just like Ed Blueberry. And really – what’s not to love?) As of last night, it’s $8.74 on Amazon. It’s all nonprofit. Use Amazon Prime or Super Saver shipping. Thank you for your support!

PS.  This is the YouTube version (click on the picture):  3:37, Music:  Stars and Stripes forever…


Ed Goes to DC on YouTube!

Ed Goes to DC on YouTube!

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!

435. Calendar

Can you believe 2014 is almost over?  [Another random Ezzie shot - I don't know why the dino is riding the zucchini.]

Can you believe 2014 is almost over? [Another random sweet Ezzie shot – I don’t know why the dino is riding the zucchini.]

RecoveryLand is so weird – lately I’ve found myself increasingly relying on the instinctive movement patterns of my youth. What matters in the gym is my mobility/strength, and whether I have a teachable spirit, not the letters that come after my name. I will say, though, that my degrees still come in handy, so stay in school, kids! The thing is that Trainer D and Coach R have plenty of letters/certifications between them, (FYI, “MMACS” = Mixed Martial Arts Conditioning Specialist – I knew you were all wondering about that), so if I want to win an argument I revert to: I have a hole in my head…How do you like them apples?

147.  Ed's Career Advice: 3 Tips for Professional Success

288. A Teachable Spirit


J/K. I don’t really argue with them. At least not with Coach R.   I do, however, employ some of the techniques I learned on the job to manage people without them feeling “managed.” Example: I use pretty Post-It notes to get people to do things I need them to do. The Post-It Note trick never failed in my professional life.

It does not work on Trainer D or Coach R. Boooo.

One day I got an email from Coach R referencing an old sticky note (a green heart <3) that was supposed to remind him of something, but he couldn’t remember what, and he couldn’t read it since the note was lost. I wrote him back saying he got major bonus points just for remembering such a Post-It had ever existed.   I had already forgotten. Between you and me, though, I simply delight in giving him pretty, girly-shaped Post-Its. Last time I needed to tell him something I wrote it on a smiling star I found in the dollar bin at Target.

The first time I tried the Post-It note Trick on Trainer D was when I rigged up an Excel calendar template with color-coded squares for the quarter. Not trusting him to digest the digital version independently, I printed a copy and stuck another smiling star on top. Did he read either? No. Gen laughed so hard when I told her how I had PDF’d it bc I don’t like people messing with my files, but it didn’t matter bc he ignored both anyway. It turns out Trainer D just likes the fun shapes. Last time an adorable juicy-looking orange segment made his day. Glad I can be of some service.

Now I print a bigger monthly calendar. I didn’t have to say anything to Coach R about it last time– he read it and answered my question immediately. SCORE!

Then at the regular Gym I just held up the paper and Trainer D happily sat down at his computer to sync up. DOUBLE SCORE! (This is better than Pavlov’s dog. It only took a year of angst on my part.)

I have used the “big calendar” technique for myself, too. My cube at Intel was lined with the quarter’s calendar and the deliverables due on certain days. I started planning my blog at Boo Boo’s similarly (on my phone) while I sat on the recumbent bike at her gym and she was in class.

I usually plan a month at a time, but plans change with my feelings. I’m still working on writing some posts I planned while still at Ai Ai’s in April and May. I had planned lots of recipes and had photographed them, but the eating thing, while, improved significantly since I can eat meat now, has been up and down and I find it easier not to post recipes.

I’ve hit another speed bump and have had trouble with the eating for about a week. Shhhh – don’t tell CMD (I’m not taking my herbs bc my swallowing isn’t great). I stopped taking my Brain Juice (EPA/DHA), too. So THERE, Trainer D!

It’s just stress – can you believe it’s November? We’re facing end of 2014. I’m close to declaring this year, and the tail end of 2013, a wash out. Going to Oregon was a much bigger deal than I admitted to myself, although it was apparent to everyone that I was unraveling when that happened. Honestly, I’ve blocked most of it out, but it’s coming back now. I’m remembering (unintentionally) things, not just from our trip, but from my early illness and recovery. I’ve also become increasingly uneasy due to some rattling Recovery/medical episodes, and although I thought I had gotten the better of it, combined with the Remembering stress, it has impacted my eating and triggered my pain.

Coach R saw the situation deteriorate throughout the week and was even more vigilant than usual but didn’t let it stop him from making me LOL when he demonstrated a new exercise I’m supposed to eventually do on one leg.  When he put one foot in the air while keeping the weights moving I cracked up so hard I had to lean on a nearby wall so I didn’t start rolling around on the floor.  Coach R himself is not funny (remember, he does not joke about agility or obliques) it’s just that this whole scenario is so ludicrous.  C’mon.  I’m a transplant from Corporate America.  I make PPT slides for fun.  And you want me to do WHAT?!?!

399.  Resonance

399. Resonance


The next day Trainer D tried to get me to talk about what’s bothering me. I countered with, Will you please just FIX THIS?!?!?! [Pointing to where it hurt.]

So I figured out my calendar through the EOY. Basically, I’ll be taking a couple weeks off for Thanksgiving in November, and a couple weeks off for Christmas next month. I’m hoping to give my arms a rest (the forearms are aggravated by too much usage), and to work (not sure how that’s going to jive with the forearm thing) on Learning How…Volume 2 – I’ve had an outline since Oregon, but not the heart to write it. But trust me on this one – once I do, it’s gonna be good.

Did you know we have 6 Saturdays left before Christmas? Many people don’t know I write. But while I’m the primary beneficiary (this is a very healing process), feedback indicates that it’s enjoyable for other people, too, and more than that – there is value being communicated in the content I produce and in the way I write it.

My 3 books are available on Amazon (eligible for Prime and Super Saver Shipping) and are linked in the pic at the bottom of this post. Everything I sell is completely non-profit.

If you like my blog, please consider buying a book (or several :)). This is a non-profit venture, and it has been an extremely intentional effort on my part to provide a lot of value for your dollar. Stay tuned – I’ll go into specifics this week.

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!



It’s Bath Time!


I had two whole days off this week, which never happens – so I took the opportunity to give my sneakers bath time!  I usually have to do it in batches so I have a dry pair to wear all the time, but this time I did it all at once and am wearing my little non machine-washable retro Sauconys that match baby O (F and N’s son).

There are representatives from 3 rounds of shoe-buying drying here.  I decided last year after I met Trainer D and Coach R that I should invest in sneakers since I was moving more and my gait wears them out rapidly.  My needs have also changed as M37 broke me of my air cast addiction and the Southern Gym was not a huge fan of my ankle weights.  Or it could just be that I’ve always liked pretty things.  Gen called me the “shoe queen” recently.

Now I like athletic shoes that are soft and have thicker treads/soles than my Supple Leopard World Cup Shoes.  My latest round (the 2 blue pair and the black ones on the far end) are showing signs of significant wear on the left toe, but not like my leopard shoes.  I’m still hoping to keep rotating them through EOY 2014.

A girl can dream.

Happy Friday!

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!