Thursday, May 19, 2011

Losses and Gains

(This is a long blog, folks, but it's personal and from the heart. Thank you for taking the time to read it and I hope that it conveys all that I am feeling right now.) 

When I began my journey, my focus was on what I hoped to lose. Inches and pounds. I had no idea that my bigger reward was what I would gain. 

It's been sixteen months since I really began using Spark People. And it's been eleven months since what I was reading and writing online sunk in enough that it became an integral part of my real-world activities. Sure, I knew that exercise and healthy eating were important and I tried to stick with them, but my success was hit-and-miss. But then, something clicked. I finally understood that I needed to build consistency if I truly wanted to live a healthy life. 

My early goals were simple. I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to drop pounds and shed inches. I wanted the fat gone. And day after day, week after week, month after month, I worked hard to achieve those goals. I dropped 5 pounds, then 10, then got into One-derland. I kept dropping, down another 5 and another 5 and another. And now, I've stopped focusing on the number on the scale and started judging my fitness by non-scale variables, like how my clothes fit, my energy levels and my overall mood and attitude. 

Yep, I lost what I wanted to lose. But my real reward was in what I gained. 

Since losing the weight and becoming active, I have run a half marathon with my best friend. I have run a Super Spartan race with amazing friends. I have enjoyed a guys' weekend in San Francisco running Bay to Breakers with two Marine Corps buddies. And I have run a Ragnar Relay with a group of strangers that welcomed me and made me feel like one of the team. 

I have had the most amazing moments. I have run alone under the midnight moon, with friends through crowds of screaming supporters, along vistas offering spectacular landscape views, along harbors and bays and tree-lined paths. I have clung to and jumped from obstacles and ropes and into mud bogs. And in the months to come, I will endure a Tough Mudder, two more half-marathons, and finally, the Marine Corps Marathon. 

I have lost weight, sure. But I have gained experiences and moments that are the absolute definition of life well-lived. I have wept with pride and beamed with joy. I have crossed finish lines and hugged strangers and friends and family. I have staggered and stumbled and walked, sprinted and charged and crawled. I have shared moments of pride and accomplishment with loved ones by my side. I have felt more alive in the last year than I have in the forty-three years that came before. 

Yes, I have lost a lot over the last 12 months. But my true victory and success comes in what I have gained. No more wasting my life, sitting around and letting others experience the challenges and reap the rewards. I have been given a chan... no, wait... I have MADE a chance for me to live a better life, and there is nothing that can stop me now. 

Life. It's what I have gained. 

(Originally posted on

Mammoth View


Out the front window

Friday, May 6, 2011

Yosemite 2008

Just a little video that Ric made...

Jordin Sparks' "I Am Woman," or, More Pop Crap

Not sure why this has me so annoyed this morning, but here it is, anyway. Have you heard the new song by Jordin Sparks? It's called "I Am Woman." And it's crap. But here, listen for yourself.

Bad, right? It gets worse. Here's the lyrics:
It ain't easy walkin' in stilettos
But somebody gotta do it
Spend a day in my shoes
Then see what the hell I go through
It's so rigorous
Doing what I do
Always on point
Always on cue
Life's so hectic
Call it a zoo
Think you understand
If you only knew

I am (I am) woman (woman)
I am (I am) woman (woman)
I'm a woman
I'm a woman
Yes I am
Ain't nobody else can do it like we can
Said I am (I am) woman (woman)
I am (I am) woman (woman)
I'm a woman
I'm a woman
Yes I am
Ain't nobody else can do it quite like we can

My first thought? No, Miss Sparks, you are mistaken. No one has to wear stilettos. Women choose to because they think they make them look sexy. But they wear them by choice, not by mandate. Perhaps if you really want to sing an anthem for women, you might want to go with something like this:
Women wearing sneakers and flats
Look just fine 'cuz we're all that
Wearing stilettos, look like a whore
Make me do that, I'll show you the door

Yeah. I know. I'm no songwriter. But really, people, this song is bad. Terrible bad. Like, Beyonce's new "Girls Run The World" bad.

You've been warned.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Of Blame and Credit

Last night, a team of Navy Seals were dispatched to Pakistan to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. Unfortunately, the team was unsuccessful. They failed. The details are still emerging, and it is unknown at this time if the mission failed because of mechanical, logistic, or personnel problems. Either way, the blame for this rests with the Special Forces team. They had their orders and failed to complete them.

Can you imagine if this had been the message shared by the President last night? This entire nation would be (justifiably) outraged that the President… the Commander-in-Chief… had put the blame on the Navy Seals. We would all be pissed off that he was shirking his responsibility and authority as the head of the United States military and, instead, criticizing the Special Forces teams. We would all remind him that he was ultimately in charge of everything that the military did, good or bad, and that he needed to step up and take responsibility.

So, why is it that some are so quick to attack the President for his words last night? Based on what I’m reading, the President is being criticized for taking credit for the successful mission launched against Bin Laden. First, I didn’t hear that in his speech at all, but that is an argument for another day. Even if he was boasting, why shouldn’t he?

Just as he is ultimately responsible for any failures of the military, he is also ultimately responsible for any successes. He is the C-I-C, and it was under his leadership and command that Bin Laden was brought to justice.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a passionate and dedicated supporter of our military. My support is more than just a bumper sticker, too. My husband and I happily give our time and our money to a variety of military-related charities, and we directly help our extended Marine Corps families. Like so many others, I have lost countless hours worrying and praying for our brave servicemen and women in harm’s way. And I say all of this to remind people that I would never take anything away from our military.

But the President IS the Commander in Chief. He is the man who made the capture or killing of Osama Bin Laden the highest priority. And yes, he deserves credit for doing his part to make this happen.

More details will surely come in the days to follow, but I did find this today. It's worth reading to get an idea of how this whole thing started.