Tracey James

Hello, I’m Tracey James, a later Boomer born in 1956. I grew up on Sydney’s North Shore; a stark contrast to Kim’s early life in post-war Westfalia. The music I loved was wildly different too: pure rock like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Kim would have hated that (and me at the time, I’m sure).

Boffin to start

Like Kim, I loved technical stuff but, for me, it was biotech not info tech.

I studied bio-sciences, majoring in Biochemistry and Microbiology. (Was I completely mad?)

Thankfully, this mind-numbing theory lead to something practical: a Biotech thesis on using  ethanol as a renewable fuel. (Remember the OPEC oil embargo in 1979? That was the spark.)

Back then, ethanol was the only renewable energy prospect; solar, wind and hygrogen as power sources were still just glints in scientists’ eyes.

Light globe moment

I stayed in Biotech through the 80s and 90s, in technical roles for companies like Merck & Amersham. (See the pic taken at a conference in Adelboden, Switzerland. Those were the good ol’ days before Fringe Benefits Tax!)

To my surprise, found I had a unusual knack: I could explain complex stuff in simple English so non-boffins could understand. It was a light globe moment. (More below)

Tracey James

 Dotcom boom & bust

Then, in 2000, Kim suggested I take the plunge into IT, which was booming at the time. Not for long; it was just before the dotcom bust.

My two brothers declared: ‘Sis, you’re such a luddite. You’ll be eaten alive in IT’.

I wasn’t eaten, just mangled a lot.

Filling a need

This scalding experience showed me that, like in Biotech, many IT companies couldn’t explain what they did in plain English.

I saw a need so, in 2004, I started a specialist agency called Technoledge to fill the gap. Happily, by then Kim was a seasoned information researcher and, after some arm-twisting, he joined Technoledge. He wrote countless White Papers on dust-dry subjects like Enterprise Security which he somehow made informative, engaging even entertaining. Quite a talent (which would become vital for Muscles & Marbles, later on).  

In 2020, after 16 years, I sold the business. More by good luck than good planning, this was when Kim was thinking about Muscles & Marbles.

Does my bum look big in this?

I come from the other end of the health spectrum, too. Kim is tall and slim compared to me. My challenges have always been my weight and my shape (like most of my female friends).

The same dear brothers labelled me ‘Bottomy Boo’ when I was small, later my father joked that I had ‘Ducks Disease’ and my first husband used to make quacking sounds when I walked by. Get the picture?

Polar opposites

When I met Kim in 1998, I was on my latest weight loss kick. (I’d already tried the Grapefruit Diet, Fit for Life, the Scarsdale Diet, the Beverly Hills Diet, SlimFast diet shakes; you name it).

The regime du jour was vegetarian pizzas and flogging myself at the gym. Food had always been the enemy, a necessity to survive, not something to enjoy.

Kim was (and still is) the polar opposite; having done without it as a kid, food is far more than nice to have; it’s both passion and pleasure. Suffice to say, there was a lot tension between us at the start, and it wasn’t all the good type.

Giving in to temptation

To my annoyance, Kim started bringing over forbidden foods (like avocados and creamy, full-fat brie) that I’d banished from my life since I was a chubby teenager.

At first I ignored them, then I tried just a tiny bit and then just a bit more. Boy, did this food taste great!

Then to my disbelief, I started to lose weight.

What? I didn’t believe it either but, having a boffin brain, I couldn’t ignore the scales or my increasingly baggy clothes.

Keeping my marbles

I joined Kim at Muscles & Marbles because I wanted other boomers to know the facts: you don’t have to flog yourself or give up the things you love in order to be lean, strong and full of beans. Read about one of my more bizarre diet experiences here.

But that’s just one part of the picture: chronic illnesses like dementia are biggies for me. I can handle injury and long, slow recovery (read more about my stupidity here) – but the thought of having a healthy body but losing my mind, really terrifies me.

My beautiful, intelligent, independent mother ended her days in the fog of dementia. Admittedly, she was in her nineties, not her sixties like me, but it was still heart-breaking to see such a strong women in such a helpless state. It must have been far, far worse for her, I’m sure.

I’m determined to do everything I can to make sure that dementia doesn’t happen to Kim or me or the people we love. That’s why I jumped at the chance to join him at Muscles & Marbles.

Valid not wacky

At Muscles & Marbles, we find and translate the latest health and medical research, often going back to the original journal articles. Why? We want to continue to be fit and strong – and we want our friends and other boomers to have the same opportunity. The only way to do this is to know the facts, not to be misled by folklore or spin.

We go to verified, independent sources – not the research groups sponsored by drug companies or doctors who sell products related to their views, or opinions on the wacky fringes.

In its raw form, this research is pretty dense. Dah dah! My handy knack can finally be put to a really good use: I can translate this technobabble!

That’s why Muscles & Marbles exists: we do the legwork to make this life-changing research understandable and accessible to other boomers: I translate the complexity and Kim turns it into an engaging story.

I’m thrilled to have to have arrived at this place, with my bizarre combo of skills and experience (and find they dovetail with Kim’s) – at this time of my life. It feels so good.

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