Near Death Experience

February 2nd, 2010

Just a quick note here…


This week I am teaching seven hours of Zumba (a Latin style of aerobics –  we salsa and merengue and cha cha cha to Spanish hip hop) a day at a local middle school for a P.E. unit and am arriving home at the end of the day feeling like I have been crushed by an onslaught of Pharaoh’s chariots. I haven’t taught Zumba in a year and am not exactly in tip top condition. Every single muscle is screaming in agony.  I wish I could participate more in the comments, but when one’s broken body is hovering near death, it is difficult find the necessary strength to swallow, much less make an attempt at intelligible written responses.  But I did want to say thanks for the encouraging comments.  I am enjoying them – all of them.  

A few people have been upset in my criticism of PW.  Surely there are those who remember the scandalously funny girl that used to write that blog? Remember her?  All the panty stories? Where did she go?  Please see the below post for my personal working theory.  

Off to (be crushed by) the races,



  • I’ve never heard of Zumba, sounds like too much work to me LOL.

    Re: PW. I read her before she became “famous”. I do notice a difference in her writing from then and now. Maybe her writing has just evolved – or not. I still read her every day but sometimes I enjoy her and sometimes I don’t but I think I felt that way before. I have this quote that I like it’s about friendship but I suppose it could apply to blogs as well “We don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change”. What do ya think?

  • My gym offers Zumba classes but I had *no* idea what it was. Sounds like it could be fun, or at least more fun than, say, BodyPump (which terrifies me) or Spinning (which terrifies me even more). Will have to give it a try.

  • Martha in Kansas:

    I don’t know how you can teach 7 hours of Zumba in a day, much less for 5 days. You must be in better shape than you think if you’re still able to get out of bed today! I’ve heard it’s (ahem) good exercise, but have not tried it yet.

    Re PW. I’ve thought too about what has changed. I wonder if it’s her writing that has changed or us as readers. Are calf nuts no longer funny to us? Are we getting immune to the oddities of ranch life? I’m not sure. Apparently some readers are not noticing this, and I had started to wonder if it was just me.

    I keep wanting to comment on your previous post, but can’t figure out to say. Mine will probably be the last comment, way down there at the bottom. Suffice it to say now, love reading you and seeing what’s on your mind. You’re a lot braver than I am!

  • Keep it up Rechelle. Wamego/Kansas/America/The World needs more people like you.


  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    I’ll think of you today while I’m sitting on my arse reading a book with a cup of tea.

    And you’re right, PW has lost some edge, but I guess reading a few minutes of “fluff” each day is OK, too. Hate to see any woman stifle her voice, though, for whatever reason.

  • kathleen:

    I bet that Zumba class is a lot of fun. Its funny I was just thinking this week about how a lot of blogs I started out with have changed this past year. I used to go to Yarnstorm first thing but there is hardly anythign there anymore, and I guess i feel somewhat abandoned, but she has written 5 books in 3 years so what comes first. I then went to PW first thing for this past year but now I’m just kind of bored everyday so I don’t bother some days. Everything evolves. I think everyone has so much stuff going on its hard to maintain a good daily read. I had to shut down my blog, full time job and just too much to get done at home. I have really enjoyed reading your blog since I found it this past year.

  • I want to see some Zumba instruction. My hairdresser loves it and wants me to go. I hated aerobics in the past. Do you think I’d be useless???
    Re; PW, she’s become a commercial powerhouse and as such has to play it safe. I hope she has an alterego site and she vents there.
    Don’t worry about the PW devotees who are uberfans, it’s a bit like those crazies who type TEAM ANISTON !! or alternatively, the Brangeloonies…

  • PW used to be a riot, but then her readership exploded and her blog made her rich and I think now she’s afraid to kill the goose that laid the golden egg by doing anything that would tweak anybody’s delicate sensibilities, which equals booooring.

    Charlie the bassett hound? Oh, please.

  • So weird to read long-time fans extolling the virtues of Zumba, when the first I ever heard of it was a week ago. I’m glad you’re teaching it to middle school kids. They need to learn exercise routines that are practical and can be used all their lives.

    Nice blog ya got here!

  • Lgirl:

    I had no idea who PW was clicked on her page and decided I don’t want to know!
    I think you should pick with best student from the first class to teach the second class and so on.You don’t want to die now you have only begun truely living!

  • Wow, Zumba. You are a rock star (regardless of the screaming muscles!).

    Anyway, RE: PW. I think she sort of had to evolve a bit to incorporate all of the advertising and sponsors. She also focuses more on the cooking aspects and not so much on photography these days, which is a little bit of a bummer but I still enjoy her.

    And you, dearest? I love sitting in my sunny little kitchen, with a cup of tea, and “visiting” with you.


  • Nancy in AK:

    I have read PW from the beginning, too, when there would be just 20 comments. I think she’s a talented blogger but she has been writing for several years now and she’s written almost everything there is to write about ranch life. she takes great photos and obviously, her big interest is cooking. Maybe blogs are like tv shows – after so many episodes, they get a little stale. Your blog is still very fresh!

  • ms martyr:

    So it’s perfectly fine for you to convert to atheism from Christianity but PW can’t change a whit? Not to go all Biblical on your ass, but she who casts the first stone, ahem. As you say about your own blog, if you don’t like her, don’t read her. No need to be so hostile. Jealous much?

  • martyr, you can’t convert to atheism:) I didn’t think Rechelle was hostile, more wistful.

  • Stephanie:

    Rechelle, I love to read your blog because you have much to say. I don’t always agree, but you make it sound interesting. And let me say right now, “I ain’t doing no Zumba,” but it does sound like fun. My exercise consists of struggling to walk a huge Rottweiler that’s still a puppy, and does crazy puppy things. Anyway, I like your blog, and I even won a give-a-way once – “A Girl named Zippy.” Loved it!

    Regarding PW – Yawn….I couldn’t stand one more post about that stupid dog, Charlie, so I quit because my brain was turning to mush, just like you said. If she posted about the more interesting ranch dogs, then that would be ok.

  • I don’t think people are so much upset by your criticism of PW but curious about why the criticism. There’s nothing in your blog, prior to this week, about your dislike so it seems rather sudden.
    Because your blog is so very personal, and a great read, I think people, myself included, are curious as to how this has all effected you and your family, especially your relationship with your husband and your sister.
    Hope your dance classes are going well!

  • Nanc in Ashland:

    Random thoughts . . .
    When I read Zumba I get the Zoom theme song in my head–the bad 70s version!

    Speaking of panties, what’s going on with the-people-who-say-panties-all-the-time? It’s been awhile since we’ve heard about them . . .

  • I totally get what you are saying about PW. I don’t read her much anymore. Just not the same.

    Also and too I went through much of what you are expressing and found a whole new me in a different voice. Oh I still believe in “God” but it’s not the fire and brimstone, punishing Atilla the Hun God of my youth. It is the God within.

  • sheri:

    I never heard the word “panties” until I married my husband. :) I think he likes to say “panties”. At my house we wore undies. :)

    Anyway–I guess I never knew the real Pioneer Woman because I have only been reading a year. But she entertains me and makes me smile. And so do you–and viva la difference!

    “It is the dull man who is always sure and the sure man who is always dull” :)

  • kat:

    Hey Rechelle – I like you. I like you because you’re funny and you’re smart and you’ve got the guts to write what’s really going on with you, whether it’s nice and happy and fluffy or not. I do get tired of following people who can only ever post the pretty bits of life. Or repeated, inane pictures of their family/house/hotel rooms/dinner (ahem, PW, ahem.).

  • lamitchell:

    Ms. Martyr,
    Hostile? That’s a bit exaggerated, no? I hardly think bemoaning the loss of what was once a funny blog indicates jealousy as much as disheartenment – which by the way I am in complete agreement. PW used to be a treat and is now a complete bore. I’m just glad there are still writers that recognize the need to be true to themselves over the need for commercial endorsements. I know the original PW is somewhere underneath all those cookbooks.

  • kat:

    Oh and people – if somebody expresses dislike of something, or someone, they really don’t care if you like it. So why bother telling them? People are always doing that to me and it drives me crazy. So how ’bout you leave other people’s opinions alone?

  • Jo:

    I decided to give your blog one more day. Well, it’s my last day. As I said yesterday, you can be whatever you want, but I don’t need to read about how you and now, apparently, many of your readers, bash PW. I bet she was nothing but a gracious host when you visited her home. You and your readers find her site boring – then stop reading. What are you all gaining by saying unkind things about her? I don’t get it, but I am over…………..and out.

  • shel:

    I think the anti PW rants come across as so surprising to some because it doesn’t seem to be ‘I used to enjoy her blog, but not anymore & here’s why…”. It’s more like ‘OMG!! I HATES HER SO MUCH!!1! SHE’S SO IDIOT, AND ANYONE WHO LIKES HER IS SO IDIOT TOOOO!!!1″
    But whatever, like her or don’t like her. I don’t really care. Without any previous context for the intense hate, though, it comes across (to me) as a bit immature.

  • Donna:

    You are a very talented writer. That is why your blogs about becoming an atheist ring false when you can’t seem to do so without taking a swipe at PW. You do come across as jealous of PW. Is it her success that stings? Can you write about your conversion without dissing PW? I would like to keep reading your blog Rechelle, but I miss the old you. You used to be funny, disarming, witty and edgy. Now you seem whiney and angry and jealous and unhappy. You will still have friends here regardless of your atheism proclamation, although you may turn off some readers with your less-than-flattering attitude about everything else.

  • Rechelle, I’ve been following your blog for a while and when I saw this youtube video today I immediately thought of you.
    Here ya go!

  • Twin-Skies:

    I personally prefer boxing – a workout just does not seem fun for me unless I get to hit or dodge something, and unless there’s a certain tension in the air. Yes, call me bloodthirsty XD

    But seven hours of dance? That’s damned impressive endurance :D

    I remember my martial arts teacher – a paunchy but otherwise strong mofo – once telling us: “Never laugh at professional dancers.”

    When we asked him why, he replied

    “When a fully grown man can catch a 150-pound weight during a routine, WHILE they’re on tiptoe, it makes you wonder just how much damage they can do if they learned how to kick you in the face for calling them girly.”

    We got his message. Especially after we found out that Bruce Lee and Mas Oyama were also reputedly good dancers :P

    As for regarding PW. I don’t really know what went on, and quite frankly, her blog does not concern me.

    You, on the other hand, I find funny and insightful :D

  • Kristin:

    Whoo hoo! Comments! Gotta backtrack & say how much I enjoyed the tea party. I’m hoping there are still more blogs to come about your trip…even if it was hellish part of the time. Is it ok to use hell as an adjective even if I don’t believe there is an actual place that is hell?

  • M.R.:

    Yes, now that comments are open, let me too say how much I enjoyed the continuing trip to England story!

  • Yes – I enjoyed your trip to England too … the sort-of-homeland I left behind for the snowy scene of Sweden where we have winter 7 months of the year!

  • Axelle the french reader:

    As far as I’m concerned, I love to read your blog, I love to read PW’s blog, I love to read Miz Booshay’s blog, I love to read your sister’s blog … And even, while I’m an atheist too, I love to read the Pastor Ryan’s blog !
    They all have a different way to tell things and I’m going to read each of them for different and various reasons.
    PS : I just wanted to tell you that I think you needed a lot of courage to say your atheism.

  • jancd:

    You’ve never really said why you are spewing your bile towards PW, so I agree that it does sound a little like jealousy. Kinda silly really. Who cares? I wonder if your family is happy with you right now. Do you have any pictures of your immediate family smiling? Haven’t seen that for a while. I am worried about you. Seems like you are starving for the attention others seem to be getting in this blog world. You have your readers, Rechelle. If you are happy with your decision of atheism, let us see the love and the new found freedom of happiness.

  • J.D.:

    I have to say, this train wreck of a mid-life crisis has certainly been good for a laugh. Thanks for sharing.

  • It’s intuitively obvious to the most casual of observers that we have different tastes. Some like country, some rock, some hip hop, some jazz. Some like sweet or chocolatey, others salty or savory. We don’t all dress alike, we don’t all have the same hobbies, we don’t all have the same interests.

    And yet, when it comes to politics or religion, many of us feel the need to convince everyone else that they are wrong. Why is it so hard to see that different people are going to think about things differently?

    Now, here’s the rub … If you say “I believe in A,” I’m going to let you go. I’m cool with anyone believing, liking, supporting, participating in, or otherwise doing whatever they want. But if you say, “I believe in A because of B,” then the logical connection between A and B had better make sense. And when someone criticizes that connection, it should not be taken as a larger criticism of the belief in general.

    Just my first impression, but the folks who are criticizing Rechelle for her opinions are confusing the former with the latter. I don’t hear her saying that PW is wrong, only that PW is kind of all over the place on the reasoning side.

    Twin Skies: Don’t forget Lynn Swann!

  • ZUMba, ZUMba – maybe just by saying this word over and over, one can rehabilitate oneself. Ah, ZUMba, ZUMba…

  • Suzanna:

    I am grateful to live in a country where we can freely express our opinion. I don’t quite get the hostile tone….regarding religion or PW…..if you don’t want to read her, don’t, if you don’t want to worship or believe in a higher power, don’t…but DO whatever you do in peace…..just sayin’…….

  • Susan:

    Thanks for the warm welcome! I only recently found your blog, and plan to stick around for a while!

  • Jayne:

    I think the hate mail Rechelle had been receiving has brought about what is referred to as a *hostile* tone. Or quite possibly she’s not teaching a Zumba class but a psychology class and this is all one major psych experiment!

  • ddr:

    I keep reading posts that say Rechelle is angry, or being hostile, or name calling. I just don’t see any of that in what she has written. She expressed a few opinions and that is it. She seems to think that PW has lost her edge and she has come to feel that she no longer believes in God. I just don’t see how people are reading anger into these statements.

  • Oklahoman:

    Is this an experiment to gauge reactions to change? I’m fascinated by the wide range of comments. Praise, criticism, love, misundertanding, confusion. You’ve seemed to left your readers wanting more information. It would be interesting to see how your reader’s geographic location breaks down according to “embracing” the new you or “disliking” the new you.

  • Lindie:

    Love your blog, love PW’s blog, love lots of blogs. I’m what you call an armchair traveler as I also read lots of travel books too. I have a new passport and think I will do some traveling soon. Been awhile since I’ve been to Europe! Frankly I would even welcome a trip to the Lodge in OK, I’ll write PW and tell her I am bug free!

  • CJ :):

    Rechelle, welcome to the dark side. I’ll be subscribing to your blog. :)

    As far as PW goes, I am also a former reader. I loved her before she became famous, but now that she’s on top of everything she’s become predictable and, dare I say, a bit pedantic and holier-than-thou. It’s also sort of hard to take her seriously when she’s married into one of the wealthiest families in Oklahoma. I don’t begrudge her success, but she’s not exactly “one of the girls” as she tries to come across.

    However, fads come and go. Only atheism is forever. :)

  • 12th Man Training Table — I was just about to mention Lynn Swann! I remember when I was a wee little thing seeing him dance on Mr. Rogers. :)

    There was also a cool profile done on “The Story” on NPR recently, about a choreographer/dancer who had just returned from a stint in Iraq and put together a ballet about it:

  • Kelly: Cool — thanks!

  • Sandy in MI:

    Anyone who thinks this is the first swipe Rechelle has taken at PW hasn’t been reading very long or very closely.

    7 hours of Zumba per DAY? For a WEEK?! How is that possible? Good grief. I did Zumba for about 15 minutes at my first grader’s school, not as the instructor, and that was about it for me. You must be in better shape than you give yourself credit for.

  • Kalena:

    Did you ever let the cat in?

  • Melissa:

    I just wanted you to know that I have spent the last six hours looking at your blog. I found it this morning at 7:00 and here it is 3:30, I did dash away to the library to find some books you mentioned (not much luck-not much of a library) All day I kept asking myself “I wonder if she has read….” and then WHAM there would be a post about just that book. Lovely way to waste a day, my list of books, sites, links has grown so that many more hours will go the same way. I will definitely be back. Thanks.

  • Jill:

    Yeah, thumbs up to Lynn Swann’s grace!

    I agree, you must be in better shape than you think, Rechelle – just reading the word ZUMBA makes me tired. Seven hours?!

  • Twin-Skies:

    I’ll have to read up on this Lynn Swan fellow – I’m not much of a sports fan, and most of my knowledge is in martial arts history XD.

  • Maria:

    I just needed to share with you, Rechelle, that Charlie the Bassett hound has is own fan page on Facebook. I just found it. I am NOT a fan.

  • Katherine:

    Stopping in to let you know I’ve been here sniffing around…laughing and having a grand ole time.

  • Christine from Canada:

    Love Zumba! Unfortunately, classes are so packed at my gym, the experience isn’t as enjoyable as it could be. And, the instructor is this teeny weeny thing at the front of the class, so she’s difficult to see. I’ll have to stick to my Step classes.

    Re: PW. I’m one of those people who didn’t know who the heck she was. Checked out her site. Meh. It’s just so gosh-darned precious, isn’t it? I’m in the minority because, obviously, thousands of people just fawn over her in the comments section, and she’s up for all sorts of blog awards. Maybe I have to be from the Mid-West, or not from Canada, or something, to understand her. Oh well. Good recipes and good photography, though!

  • Regarding PW, isn’t it almost like biting the hand that fed you, Rechelle? I discovered your site from tha ad that you paid for on PW’s site. I love reading you, and I still love reading PW. And, yes, I bought the cookbook.