Monday Bacon: 5 Ways to Kick Negativities Ass

I usually leave Monday’s to rants (again, don’t number my rants, you can’t count that high.) But I’m so sick and tired of the negativity on the interwebz that to add to it would make me sick of myself and that seems like a pretty self destructive start to the week. While I’m no Stuart Smalley, I would like to have something positive to say (and no, saying “I’m positive you’re a moron” isn’t what I’m looking for today. Even if it’s accurate.)

So, here are my today’s 5 ways to kick ass on the negative attitudes of social media:


Write a letter.

I am lucky enough to have a friend or two who still love to write letters. One showed up the other day and it absolutely made my day. Personally, I love to write letters. No one ever needs to stress about finding me a prize, just give me stationery or cute notes I can mail (or steak. Either one.) My friend, Victoria, even makes her own notes. She’s on a higher level than me. True story.

Just putting a letter in the mail, knowing someone will be getting something different amidst the bills and junk mail is fun for me. It’s little, I know. But it’s fun. I’ve even sent a post-it note in the mail, then I forgot I did it so when I heard from the person that they received it, it made me giggle all over again. Being elderly and forgetful has it’s fun.

They have 99 cent cards at the Walgreen’s, come on! For the same price as a really crappy cup of coffee (for those of you who don’t already know, my beloved Bigg guy will pretty much drink coffee anywhere. Even on an airplane. He will then go on to tell me what a crappy cup of coffee it was. While I admire his optimistic attitude that it would be anything other than crappy, I still must shake my head at the idea that it wouldn’t be) you could send a fun card. Maybe one with a sloth on it. If it has a sloth, send it to Jasmine. She loves sloths.


Clean a closet.

While I have about 1/8th of the amount of clothes in the picture above, my closet can still get a bit messy. Even worse are hall closets. Hall closets become the hideaway of everything hide-able when company comes. No one is upstairs digging through my hall closet (we also don’t have a medicine cabinet in our downstairs bathroom so snoops will have no fun in my house.)

30 minutes and a garbage bag are all you need to feel good about a junk space that you once avoided but now open every time you pass by just to admire your work. Seriously though, ever wonder why moving is so torturous? It’s because of all the crap we accumulate and never dump but then have to face. Take the step to dump now and you’ll be amazed at how it inspires you to keep it going around the house.

I guess if I were to be trendy, I would say “de-clutter.” But I’m not. Just throw shit away and organize a bit. 30 minutes. The same time as it takes to watch the useless 5 o’clock news (I really tried to watch the local news once but in the first 5 minutes they had a story of Brittney Spears. Brittney Spears. Not even that she was in Milwaukee, but she did something stupid. Dudes, if I want to hear about the stupidity of celebrities, I’ll watch TMZ. But I don’t, so don’t put it on the local news.)

Just grab a gin and tonic (it’s medicinal) and head upstairs and clean a closet. Or a drawer. Or your briefcase. Anything that you can look at and say to yourself, “self, look what we did today! Aren’t we grand!!”

Yesterday was get rid of any remnants of Christmas day around here. Honestly, I really hated to see our tree go. It actually still had a pine scent to it and looked beautiful. Oh sure, it kept wanting to fall down which really kept us on our toes but it was probably my most favorite Christmas tree and had enough green in it that I seriously considered giving it one more week. But then I went to take an ornament off and the brittle needles almost cut me. Uh oh, time to go. So we got everything put away that made sense (we still keep out some winter decorations until spring) and got ready for Valentine’s day decorating (YEAH!) That was my version of cleaning a closet; however; the upstairs hall closet is on my radar and is on this week’s agenda.


Make a stranger smile.

Honestly, it’s not hard. In the Midwest, a “how are you doing?” is a standard greeting. Like “Howzit” in Hawaii. Now, the nice thing about Hawaii is that no one expects you to answer How ‘zit’ actually is. Just smile and say ‘howzit’ back and we’ve just recognized that there is another human on our planet. But in the Midwest, you are expected to answer with a “Doin’ great, how are you?” I don’t care if you aren’t doing great. I don’t care if you don’t care how the other person is. Just say it and move on.

Of course the problem comes when the other person actually starts telling how they really are. Gawds, srsly. However, how hard is it to listen in the time it takes them to ring up your groceries to how they really are and give a thumbs up or a “I hope the day goes better for you” before you leave? Not very.

Years ago, I was going through something with my daughter. It was a tough morning and I stopped for coffee in a town I’d never been in before and had clearly been crying. In fact, I tried to hold it together long enough just to TeeTee and get my coffee and it took everything I had to get through it. The overly caffeinated young man at the register gave me a “HEY GOOD MORNING ISN’T IT A GREAT DAY? HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY!!” that nearly put me over the edge. Luckily for me, an attentive manager next to him jumped in front of the register and quietly asked me what she could get for me. When she handed me the coffee, she simply said, hang in there. Tell ya what, when you’re ready to crash and burn, a simple hang in there can get you through a bad moment and that may be enough to get you to the next five minutes. Well done coffee lady, well done. I also imagine she had a talk with over caffeinated dude in learning to read people.

And that’s really what we can take 8 seconds to do in order to put a smile on a stranger’s face. Just read people. You don’t have to get all up in their grill to make yourself feel better but if given the opportunity, get someone to the next five minutes. You have no idea how important that can be.

When I was in high school, I was a hostess at a Perkins. Hostess at a Perkins, I found, is one of the most thankless jobs a high schooler can hold. Waitresses are always pissed off at you for not seating people in their section or seating too many at once. Customers are always pissed off at you because they want their omelette or mile high chocolate cake right fuckin’ now! I hated it. One slow, winter evening a woman came in the door shaking off her scarf just as I was about to seat another table. I quickly looked at her and told her I’ll be with her in a moment. Very standard. Didn’t even think about it. I came back, walked her to her two person booth and gave her a menu. She stopped me by holding my arm and said, ‘thank you so much for your smile when I walked in the door. I really needed that smile tonight.’ Of course I was a stupid high school kid so had no idea how to respond so probably mumbled something stupid, turned red, and walked away. But I guess maybe I got her to the next five minutes.

You never know. So try.

Give a compliment.

I couldn’t find a meme for that one. Sorry.

This one isn’t hard. At all. There are hundreds of ways to compliment a person, whether you know them or not. I would need more than my two hands to list the ways my husband compliments me each day. He’s far better at it than I am. I’m a little better at complimenting others while we’re out and about or with friends but it’s something that’s clearly important to both of us.

We had the awesome opportunity to spend New Years weekend with friends in Arizona. It was one of our favorite weekends of the year (both ’16 AND ’17) that included tons of fun; laughter; wine; connecting; weightlifting, and even a Highland Games (by the way, I’ve spent 8 days already as the number one ranked woman on NASGA. Suck it Elites! I have about five days I think to start sinking down the ranks but you bet your ass I’ll boast about being the first 49 year old ranked number one on NASGA. heeeeeheeeeee!)

Our friends, Max and Yvonne, have a desert oasis in Scottsdale which is absolutely gorgeous. Yvonne’s mom is there with her pups so we got puppy time and her niece and nephew were also visiting from Louisiana. They added a lot of fun and a nice youthful quality to the weekend. On Monday evening, we went out to dinner and Auntie Yvonne fixed Kyla’s hair before we left. I was in the kitchen when Kyla walked in and she lit up the room. I told her how pretty she looked and she was happy enough to give me a quick hug. It was very sweet.

And that’s how easy it is to make someone feel good. Give a compliment. Get out of yourself and compliment someone. Whether in person or even on-line. No, a “like” isn’t a compliment. Stop it. I’ve unfriended many people who seem to want a relationship of “likes.” Grow up, we’re not 13. To have a real relationship takes work, not a click. There are hundreds of qualities others possess that I don’t that I admire. How hard is it to tell them so?

Not hard (thatswhatshesaid)


Get outside. Without your phone.

One thing I noticed right away about our neighborhood is how many people walk. They walk alone or with kids or with dogs or with their pet snake (yup, that happened.) Coming from ‘record heat’ Texas, it was refreshing. No one walked there. It was too hot. Here? Everyone walks, still. We’ve had a cold snap here, right now it’s a balmy 27 which is 20 degrees warmer than last week. It’s supposed to be 38 on Wednesday, shorts weather. Yet even with the cold, people are still walking. Dogs have their sweaters and booties on and their people are bundled up, but they’re still walking. I’m uber impressed. At 27 degrees, the pups and I can walk up and down the street but that’s it for now. Our old girl is 9 1/2 and her little feetsies get too cold right now if we go further. But we can get outside for 5 minutes.

Without the phone. I admit; while it has to affect on me whatsoever; it annoys the ever livin’ out of me when I see moms with a kid in a buggy; dog on a leash, and is still connected to her phone. Can you NOT for 10 minutes?

But you can. Ten minutes away from your phone. You can do it. Breath in the fresh air, even if it makes your nose hairs freeze. They’ll thaw. And you get to enjoy 10 minutes of peace.

Doesn’t that sound better than fighting about politics on the Facebook?

The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.

Michael Altshuler

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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