Half-Assed

Today marked the finale of our marketing summer fitness challenge. In addition to a Biggest Loser style weight loss contest, there were prizes for various feats of strength, speed and flexibility. We specifically chose to end the challenge today so that we could all live with reckless food abandon over the 4th of July.

I had a lot of fun with the team, but I have to admit, I pretty much did my same thing throughout the challenge. You know, run 29 miles one week and eat my face off the next. In this manner I’ve managed to maintain the same weight, for, oh, about 10 years now. At the end of the challenge I’d actually lost a teensy bit of weight (hey, what do you know!) and increased my flexibility by ~40% as a direct result of a bunch of stretching I’ve been doing the last few weeks…because my IT band has been hurting…because of being kind of overweight…and semi-out of shape…and running 29 miles one week and eating my face off the next. But I digress…

ANYWAYS, my plan to just have fun with the team and do my normal thing resulted in me being in the bottom three females in the “Biggest Loser” part of the challenge, a.k.a. the “Littlest Loser.” And I was pleasantly surprised today (NOT) when a pie eating contest was announced between the three “Littlest Loser” females and the three “Littlest Loser” Males.

Which brings me to:

Pie Eating Contest Life Lesson Number 1: Always be aware of your surroundings. A pie eating contest can occur anytime and anywhere.

The team put together a delicious menu for today to treat everyone that had been denying themselves for the last eight weeks – pizza, shave ice, frozen yogurt, chocolates, cupcakes – there was even a pinata.

I was so lulled by the good times and the laughter and the warm breeze and my Nutter-Butter-Frozen Yogurt that I missed the six grocery store pies. Yes, in the middle of all of these specialty-shop-locally-made-with-love-delicacies, underneath the pinata, were six grocery store pies.

If you ever find yourself in a situation with a surplus of amazeballs food and there are a bunch of grocery store pies, there will most definitely be a pie eating contest at some point. DON’T BE THE VICTIM OF A PIE EATING CONTEST. KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR PIES AT ALL TIMES.

My first thought when faced with the contest was denial. And then, of course, anger. At myself. I should have tried harder. Look, if you’re not going to win, at least go for a respectable position mid-pack, right? In this way, you avoid having to participate in (be punished with) a pie-eating contest. And thus Pie Eating Contest Life Lesson Number 2: Try harder.

As I walk up to the table I make a mental note to explore why I’m not more competitive.

I saddle on up to a french silk pie because that is my favorite kind of pie and, given a fork and enough time, I think I could probably polish off a whole one with no problem.

Only we weren’t allowed to use forks.

Suddenly the pie seemed so huge and so…not edible without a fork. It was like I was a toddler and someone had plopped a pineapple on the tray of my high-chair. I was literally racking my brain trying to come up with some sort of strategy that would result in the most pie consumed with the least amount left on my face.

We had one minute to eat as much of our pie as possible.  When the timer started I sat there staring at the pie, partially in stunned disbelief that I was actually doing this, and still trying desperately to figure out what I was going to do.

I had to make a move.

So I stuck my mouth in and took the biggest “bite” I could. A real cheek-buster. I say “bite” because it really wasn’t a traditional bite, per se. The pie had sort of melted into a warm milkshake-like-pie-ish substance with whipped cream on top. So it was more like I sucked in the cheek buster. Still, I thought, “AAAWWWWW YEEEAAAAH, that’s definitely going to make a dent!”

It didn’t make a dent. Not even a little one.

Balls.

On to my next move: the fake. I decide to just get in there a bit more and push the warm milkshake-like-pie-ish substance around and maybe (totally) there would be some accidental (on-purpose) spillage over the sides and then I could possibly see my way to the bottom of the pan in less than a minute.

Genius, right? 

My problem, in the end, was that I just didn’t go for it. My heart wasn’t in it. I went half-assed and ended up with pie on my face, and pie on the table and a hot mess all around.

Pie Eating Contest Life Lesson Number 3: Go for it.

Like I said, a pie eating contest could be sprung on you at any moment. And if it is, just EMBRACE IT. You’re going to be sticky and messy and gross no matter what you do.

Don’t end up like me. Some tragic half-assed pie eater.

Close your eyes, stick your whole face in there and GO FOR IT.

Even if you don’t eat the most pie, at least you can win the most laughs.

Oh hang on, was that a competitive spark that just lit up?

Texts from Alek

Technically this was a facebook post from Alek, but it was just too damn awesome not to remember forever.

Ty:  
So are we all in on getting a house? Lisa and I talked about it at feBREWary and we thought it was a great idea (many things were that night re: shoulder rides and chair dancing). What does everyone think?

[a string of comments ensue]

Alek:
What?!?! Natalie told me this morning that she wants to stay at the KOA in a tent or there is also a sweet ass youth hostel, probably we will just sleep in my truck in some abandoned parking lot – that’s what Natalie said she wants to do, “it’s just sleeping and eating out of a cooler, no big deal, I’d love to sleep in a parking lot” direct quote from Natalie, this morning, I heard it with my own ears, so….

Sixteen

Today would have been my sixteenth wedding anniversary with My X. We divorced four years ago, almost to the day. We were what the therapists would call enmeshed and co-dependent. We were what I would call a cliche: married too young and too fast, because that’s what we were supposed to do.

I remember thinking on our first wedding anniversary “I’m going to give it one more year.” And on our second anniversary, “I’m going to give it one more year.” And suddenly a decade had gone by, and I had become comfortably numb.

Months after our divorce, during what would end up being our last conversation, My X said, “The part of me that’s mad is still mad. And the part of me that’s sad is still sad. But deep down, I know that we never should have been married in the first place.”

Divorce is an ugly and awful journey that eventually leads to BEAUTY and HAPPINESS and LIFE and LOVE at the end of it. But I’d say, even now, that the part of me that’s mad is still a little bit mad, and the part of me that’s sad is still a little bit sad. And deep down, I know for sure that we never should have been married in the first place.

He did always have a brilliant way of boiling things down to their essence.

People ask me a lot if I ever miss him. And the short answer is yes, I do miss him sometimes.

My X was one of the funniest, wittiest people I’ve ever met. And most of the time when I miss him, it’s because of an inside joke that only he would understand. Like when Walgreen’s launches a new Wal-brand generic medication. Or when my family starts a new “kick.” 

He taught me to love dogs, to appreciate beautiful cars and to always buy great seats at a concert. He taught me that a well done steak and a perfectly cooked steak were not mutually exclusive. He introduced me to the incredible beauty of southern Utah, the cult of Steve Jobs, and independent films. He taught me about critical thought and asking the next question. We left our religion together.

To My X: I really and truly mean it when I say that I am sorry for my half of it. And I really and truly mean it when I say that I hope that you are happy.

To the girl in this picture: So far in my life, you are my greatest loss. I’m sorry it took me so long to find you, to let you be yourself, and to love you. And I do love you.

And I know it took a long time, but we’re at the right place now. And it’s better than I ever even imagined.

It is what it is.

This year, the fabulous Wendy from Blue Lily Photography did the Grand-babies photo shoot in the most off the hook beautiful orchard located on the grounds of a psychiatric hospital (Seriously. It is incredible.) Sidebar: I’m not gonna lie, it was kind of weird to have a photo shoot without Jodi (kind of like how when you move out of state and go to a different hairdresser, it’s just feels wrong…but I digress…). Wendy was so so lovely and so so SO SO great with the kids.

Mom and Janaan pulled the wardrobe together and made special bows to match and got the kids ready and hauled them down to Provo and all I had to do was some simple Auntie reinforcement. You know, bring water and try to amuse the kids. I brought water, but the kids, well, there was just no amusing them. They were all tired, Alexis wasn’t feeling well, G-Zilla was dialed up to an 11, Eliza was stressed out and Future Boy, well, he’s such a little trouper. All of this had been going on for hours and by the time I got there the kids were in full meltdown mode. Needless to say, my Mom is a saint.

In the end we decided that it is what it is and sometimes you have to shrug your shoulders and accept that despite your best efforts, the final outcome will be screaming and tears, because that’s what happened. It’s beautiful nonetheless.

Someday we’ll laugh about it.

Someday.

You’ve Come a Long Way Baby

I love The Oprah. This is no secret. (It’s been over a year and I still can’t bring myself to delete the last episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show off of our DVR.) Anyhoo, Oprah is back with a new series on OWN called Oprah’s Next Chapter. It’s classic awesome Oprah going to interesting places, talking to interesting people, all the while seeking learning and personal growth.

This week I watched her interview with Gloria Steinem. Here’s the thing, whenever I’m asked if I’m a feminist I usually say: “Oh yeah, but not like a Gloria Steinem militant feminist or anything like that.”

And as I was watching this interview I realized that I’ve kind of been an asshole about Gloria Steinem. I owe a lot to her. And by a lot, I mean, my very happiness. I think that a student that Oprah and Ms. Steinem were talking to at Barnard College said it best:

“People always ask ‘Can you have it all?’ meaning marriage, children, career. And I think the question we need to ask ourselves is ‘Do we have the power to do the things that will make us happy?'”

And that’s when it hit me, what Gloria Steinem has fought so hard for: CHOICE. Because before she came along, women had a hell of a lot less choices. The choice to marry or not to marry or to divorce, the choice of if and when to have children, the choice to work or stay at home, the choice to pursue a career in any industry, the choice to pursue as much of an education as we desire…the list goes on and on.

The sad thing is that women are still so incredibly critical of each others choices, instead of supporting each other and most importantly being GRATEFUL that we all have choices in the first place. 

So thank you Gloria Steinem and thank you Margaret Sanger and thank you to every other woman who has paved the way to my happiness. I am truly in debt to you for the choices that I have. And I will no longer disrespect Gloria Steinem by saying that I’m not like her. I will instead try to be mindful that whenever I make a choice, big or small, I stay grateful that I have the power to choose to do the things that make me truly happy.

“The whole idea is not to figure out what what you should do that will matter, but to make each thing you do reflect the values you want, because we don’t know what’s going to matter in the future. The things I remember that changed my life are really very small. Everything you do is important. And I’ve never forgotten that.” 
— Gloria Steinem

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