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Father’s Day and Farm Toys

In the city, little kids play with trucks and cars. Little farm boys, though, play ‘farm’ and have a wide collection of machinery to turn that into reality: Barns, sheds, tractors of various sizes and brands and endless farm implements. Today, one of my clients, Melissa (who is from Iowa) was talking about her son having a scary ‘combine’ dream and it reminded me of all of my own ‘playing farm’ days.

I didn’t play farm nearly as much as my little brother and his best friend Tom did but my brother Paul and I were the first users of the big barn my Dad made for us. I think we only had one tractor and I don’t really remember any other implements except for a perhaps a couple trucks. But we made do because, after all, we had a barn. A barn that my Dad made for us.

I think Fathers of my Dad’s generation were more constrained by society and conventions than these days. Affection came as a pat on the back rather than a hug, a ‘you’re a good boy’ rather than an ‘I love you’ and doing something for your children was more typical than doing something with your children. Furthermore, I think my Dad was (and maybe is) somewhat mystified by this son so different than he expected and different than most other sons. What do you do with a boy who wants to read more than play sports (not that we were a big sports family), sing to the horses more than play with others or dance to ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head’ on the backyard swing set rather than play kickball. Yet, all in all, I think he did just fine with me, ultimately. And – he built us the barn (along with a swing set and the largest neighborhood slide among other things).

I had completely forgotten about the Barn until today. It was the standard ‘hip roof’ barn that you imagine when you think of a barn. It was painted a red and had shakes on the roof that really made it look like a roof. It had a haymow (the second floor of a barn, basically) but it was open along the long side of the barn so you could get stuff in. Like Haybales. That he made. And it was big – about 2 1/2 feet long and 1 1/2 feet tall (I think).

I’m pretty sure that he made the hay bales for us or at the very least, helped us to make them. They were made out of particle board and pretty close to the right proportions. The genius though was that they had a nail nailed into the top of them. What for? So that you could use a magnet hooked to a string that ran through the window in the haymow to hoist the bales up where they could be stacked ‘for the winter’. It was cool. Watching the magnet lift those bales up was like creating magic. At least for me it was. Maybe it was less magical for my older and wiser brother but for me it really was magical.

That barn remained part of our family for all of our growing up years. I know my little brother used that barn for many, many years and for all I know, one of the grandchildren may still be using it. Solid, well-designed, simple – just like a real barn. I don’t even know when we got the barn; it was just there ready for when we were.

And so on this Father’s Day, I think about the things that Fathers are and the things they are (or were) not. And I am old enough to realize that every son in every generation has had those dreams for what they wished their father was. But I was lucky enough to have a father: a father who didn’t abuse us, a father who provided well for us, a father who did say ‘you’re a good boy’ rather than nothing, a father who taught us how to do all kinds of things like building and welding and fixing and creating and thinking and figuring out how to do something when you don’t have a clue. A Father who builds his sons a barn.

Day 11. 5- 50s. Halfway there.

Day 11. I hope you have been doing your 50s. I must admit that it is hard to make myself do them in addition to my regular workouts. And then I tell myself that it doesn’t have to be super hard and I don’t have to go for speed. And it is only 10-15 minutes. So keep at it.

Surprisingly my abs have been sore which is nice since it takes a lot for my abs to get sore. For the 50s, remember I recommend:

  • 50 of some Abdominal exercises
  • 50 1- Upper Body exercise
  • 50 1- Lower Body exercise – usually squats of some kind
  • 50 ‘Dealers Choice’ which usually means upper body for me
  • 50 ‘Dealers Choice’ which will either be another Abdominal exercise or one more Upper body exercise.

I am happy to report that overall, something as simple as 15 minutes of focused hard exercise done daily can really make a difference. I think I might try to make this a lifestyle change for me.
Don’t give up! Do your 50s!

Day 6! – 5-50s. The June Challenge

It is now day 6 of our challenge. It is definitely easier doing them earlier in the day that at the end of the day. Doing my 50s last night after my 7:30 class was challenging. But I am finding that 50 is a great number. The first 20 fly by and then in a few more reps you’re halfway done. For me, at 30 reps, while it is getting really hard, I know I can make it because it is only 10 more reps and then I am in my final 10 reps.

To be sure, those last sets are groups of 3 or 4. For my pushups last night, it was a set of 20, then up to 26, then 33, then 37, then 40, 43, 46, 48 and finally 50. It is over before you know it even if it feels like it lasts forever.

You can choose any exercises you want. My posts here are simply to give you some options and ideas for your exercises.

For day 6, I was thinking Blanket Extravaganza (assuming you have hardwoods at home). If you have carpet, you can actually use paper plates for your feet. They slide surprisingly well on the carpet.

  • 50 Full Rollups or some ab exercise
  • 50 Sumo squats (with or without weight)
  • 50 Shoulder blade drags with knees on the blanket and shoulders dragging the body forward and back
  • 50 Hamstring curls – on your back in a bridge. Make sure you use your arms and shoulders anchoring into the floor to keep yourself stable
  • 50 Blanket knee stretches. Flip over again; hands on the floor and toes on the blanket. Slide toes forward and back with knees off the ground.

Day 4 – 5-50s

It’s a plank kind of day:

50 Shoulder blade pushups
25 Side planks each side with either leg lift or up and down butt.
50 sumo squats with KB or some kind of weight if possible
50 Jumping pull ups or squat pulls. (you can hook a strap or towel over the edge of a door and do them that way)
50 Oblique 1/2 teasers. each time you come up is 1.

It’s easier if you can get it out of the way earlier in the day. It takes so little time and then you’re done and you can feel virtuous the whole day through.

5-50s – Day 2

Workout for the second day is a repeat: Air squats, pushups, bench triceps dips, 1/2 teasers and oblique scissor legs. Now that you know how fast it goes you can see if you can make it a little harder. Go a little deeper in the dips; make sure you get full depth on your air squats (or turn them into some kind of weighted squat); on the scissor legs, reach your top arm a little further.

Get ‘er dun.