Month: July 2012

This Fat Girl Kicks Butt

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have taken up boxing.  This has long been an interest of mine ever since I took self defense at BYU.  It was such a thrill to be able to kick the tar out of my teacher (he had padding!).  Plus, it is the kind of thing that growing up big you don’t think you can do.  Not in a depressing, sad way but in a nonchalant, not even think twice about it way.  It didn’t even occur to me to try something like boxing let alone that I might actually be good at it.

Despite loving my class I let the hobby slip away and didn’t pick it up again until earlier this year.  Let’s be honest the last year and change has been tough for me and I can’t tell you how great it feels to get the stress out with each punch.  I started out going to boxing is for girls which I still attend and think is awesome but it is a bit of a drive from my house.  Still, I go when I can.

Fortunately I saw a trainer named Ben at my gym doing a UFC type of training and I was so excited! I asked him if he would train me and its been great.  He is such a creative trainer, always coming up with new tools and routines but my favorite is still the UFC, mixed martial arts routines. He’s also a super encouraging guy that makes me laugh.  We have great chemistry which is essential in finding a trainer or a friend for that matter.

I did it twice this week.  Make no mistake it is a hard workout.  I sweat like a marathon runner but it is so satisfying. I honestly never want to stop and only do so when my body revolts.

It’s also so exciting to see people watching me and I can tell they are thinking ‘wow, that fat girl can kick and punch’.  Booyah!  Everyone always sees me as this sweet smiling Mormon girl but there are other sides to me and how great to get that out in such a constructive and satisfying way.  I love it! It just goes to show that you should keep trying new things and thinking outside the box.  You never know when you will hit upon something that you not only like but are actually good at.  At the very least you will keep exercise interesting.

To me it the perfect contrast to swimming, which is all about fluidity and peace.  Boxing is tough, aggressive and exciting. The two makes for a perfect exercise life. Rahhh!

Here is a video of the training.  Doesn’t it look like fun? It’s so great!

Btw, I saw Warrior this week.  Loved it! Very inspiring with a good script and great acting.

Great Love

“To Be One With Each Other” by George Eliot

What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories?

Lately I must admit that I’ve felt a little discouraged, ok maybe a lot discouraged. I’m 31 years old and have never been in love.  At this point I am beginning to wonder if it will happen.  I never date and when I do go out it doesn’t feel close to a match. Recently I’ve had my faith shaken that I can even read a person.  My trust that human beings are who they say they are has been shattered.

Now I have many people in my life who love me but aside from my parents I’ve never really experienced GREAT LOVE. I’m not talking about the love of fairy tales but the kind where a person wants my happiness more than their own. The kind of love where we start a life together and boldly face challenges.  I know it is not perfect but at least it should begin with excitement and sparkle. It’s someone who is loyal and honest, who isn’t afraid to go through the muddy patches of life by my side. Someone who will be my friend and will KNOW me, and I will KNOW them.

I don’t even know if I would recognize it at this point if I saw it.   The whole love thing honestly feels like Santa Claus in my life.  Something adults tell you is so wonderful but never seems to quite happen.

I don’t mean to be over-dramatic or sad but I really wonder- can you live a full, rich, textured life and never fall in love? Even if love ended poorly it seems I would have at least had a full life experience.

People say you should never marry your first love but at this point I will have little choice in the matter :). I know I have lots of flaws but I think if someone gave me a chance I would be a darn good partner.  I would be loyal, honest, hard working and a great friend.  If there is anything I value in life it is being a great friend.

It does make me ask the question- What’s wrong with me and why does everyone else seem to be able to figure this whole love thing out? And not only do most seem to figure out the love quandary many people do so repeatedly.  I have a friend who has been married 4 times.  How can you fall in love 4 times! I can’t figure it out once.

I used to think it was just my weight that was keeping me from great love but now I’m an athlete and no difference.

I know that God has His own time table for me but I had never dealt with the possibility that He might not have it in the cards for me to experience great love. While I can never lose faith, I do have to acknowledge that it may not be part of my plan.  He knows why but it may not be for me in this life.

And please don’t tell me to try online dating or regale me with stories of how hard marriage is.  I get all of that (and done the online dating many times.  I still have a profile but it is not for me).  I just want to experience great love.  Doesn’t everyone? That’s all I’m saying but I don’t know if I ever will. Sigh…

Anyway, back to the original question- can you lead a full and rich life and never fall in love?  I’m not just asking this to engender pity or sympathy I really want to know can a life be considered fully lived without such an essential life experience?  If you listened to music from any era or read literature or poetry the answer would clearly be no. But what do you think?

I don’t really expect a response on this one but feel free.  I’m just sending it out there as a way to process my life.  There it is my internet friend.  The great question of my life…

great love…I need a miracle!

Nora Ephron

I am woefully late on my tribute of Nora Ephron, one of my favorite modern authors.  While she wasn’t really  a novelist her scripts and essays had a way of commenting on life in a funny and charming way.   Some people might claim her to be a soft writer, overly nostalgic and romantic but to me this is part of her charm.  She gave us something familiar, something to smile at and taught us a lesson along the way. She passed away from leukemia on June 26th. My condolences go out to her family and friends.  I loved her work.

For example, in You’ve Got Mail she taught us the different ways human beings absorb conflict:

One character, Joe Fox says,

“Have you ever become the worst version of yourself. That a pandora’s box of all the hateful things, your spite, your arrogance, your condescension has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and walking away… you zing them.”

While Kathleen Kelly says,

“No, I know what you mean, and I’m completely jealous. What happens to me when I’m provoked is that I get tongue-tied and my mind goes blank. Then, then I spend all night tossing and turning trying to figure out what I should have said. What should I have said, for example, to a bottom dweller who recently belittled my existence?”

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve related to both sentiments.  I’ve even said the lines over in my head while making an expression choice.

Another favorite from You’ve Got Mail that I have to share:

“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.”

And one more I’ve turned to again and again:

“People are always saying that change is a good thing. But all they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen at all… has happened.”

I like when Roger Ebert said “Ephron’s dialogue represents the way people would like to be able to talk. It’s witty and epigrammatic, and there are lots of lines to quote when you’re telling friends about the movie”.  That is so true.  I wish I could pontificate charmingly about books, romance, New York City etc. Perhaps Ephron sets the standard too high but isn’t that the job of writers to elevate the language of the masses?

Not all of Ephron’s dialogue was witty.  In fact, her description of grief in Sleepless in Seattle is one of the most touching passages I have ever read:

“Well, I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out… and, then after a while, I won’t have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while”

He then goes on to describe an ideal love:

“Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known… I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic. ”

Who doesn’t yearn for such a relationship?  Perhaps it is unrealistic but that is the type of fantasy I enjoy. More than swords or mystical lands, a fantastical view of life and romance.

When Harry Met Sally is another favorite and most of the memorable  stretches of dialogue are too long to repeat here but they are just divine. Watch it again and you’ll remember how great the conversation is. Some  feel such pithy dialogue is inauthentic but I totally bought the characters.  Sure maybe nobody really talks like that but I don’t go to the movies for realism (or total fantasy for that matter).  I go to the movies for heightened or at least exaggerated realism.

WHMS is probably Ephron’s funniest script, helped greatly I’m sure by a great deal of ad-libbing by Billy Crystal.  Of course, there is the famous scene in the diner with the classic line ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ and the long introductory debate over the plausibility of male/female friendship, but my favorite line probably goes unnoticed by many but it makes me laugh every time I hear it:

Sally: No, no, no, I drove him away. AND, I’m gonna be forty.
Harry: When?
Sally: Someday.
Harry: In eight years.
Sally: But it’s there. It’s just sitting there, like some big dead end. And it’s not the same for men. Charlie Chaplin had kids when he was 73.

It is just sitting there like a big dead end  but at least with this line Ephron made me laugh about it!

I could spend this whole post listing quote after quote.  There are so many great movies.  I love what she did with Julie and Julia turning the insufferable book into a charming story by adding the life of Julia Child.  In that movie she  adapts from the wonderful memoir My Life in France by Julia Child, the most touching depiction of marriage I have seen in a movie:

Paul Child: You are the butter to my bread, you are the breath to my life.

How beautiful is that? It’s perfect.

Paul Child is the ideal marriage partner because he sacrificed his whole life to make Julia’s dreams come true.  An artist himself, he was satisfied to work as a bureaucrat for years so that she could publish her book.  I love this speech in the movie:

“I’m not kidding you; I’m not. Someone is going to publish your book. Someone is going to read your book, and realize what you’ve done. Because YOUR BOOK is amazing. YOUR BOOK is a work of genius. YOUR BOOK is going to change the world. ”

I wish I had someone in my life who believed in me that way.  What a beautiful portrayal captured by Ephron of a beautiful marriage.

In addition to screenplays Nora Eprhon is a fabulous essayist. My favorite is her book I Feel Bad About My Neck. I bought it years ago at an airport bookstore and loved it.  Nearly every essay rings true and is funny without being over-the-top.

“Maintenance is what you have to do just so you can walk out the door knowing that if you go to the market and bump into a guy who once rejected you, you won’t have to hide behind a stack of canned food…I dont mean to be too literal about this but the point is that I still think about them every time I’m tempted to leave the house without eyeliner”

But my favorite essay by far is on parenting.  I don’t have any kids but I still think it is brilliant:

“Back in the day when there were merely parents as opposed to people who were engaged in parenting, being a parents was fairly straightforward.  You didn’t need a book…You understood that your child had a personality. His very own personality.  He was born with it.  For a certain period this child would live with you and your personality and you would do your best to survive each other.”

She goes on:

…One day there was this thing called parenting.  Parenting was serious.  Parenting was fierce.  Parenting was solemn.  Parenting was a participle, like going and doing and crusading and worrying; it was active, it was energetic.  It was unrelenting.  Parenting meant playing Mozart cds while you were pregnant, doing without the epidural…Parenting began with the assumption that your baby was a lump of clay that could be molded into a perfect person who would be admitted into the college of your choice…

and concludes with this profound thought

“Meanwhile every so often, your children come to visit.  They are, amazingly, completely charming people.  You can’t believe you’re lucky enough to know them.  They make you laugh.  They make you proud.  You love them madly.  They survived you.  You survived them.  It crosses your mind that on some level you spent hours and days and months and years without laying a glove on them, but don’t dwell.  There’ s no point.  It’s over.  Except for the worrying.  The worrying is forever”

I’m not even a parent but I found this to be the most touching description of parental emotion I’ve ever read.  I think it is perfect.

Well, that’s a lot of writing but what better way is there to pay tribute to a favorite author.  I’m sincerely going to miss her voice and the way she made me smile.  Thanks Nora!

2 Quotes

So recently I came across two quotes about love/friendship.  They couldn’t be more contrasting.

A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise.
~Richard Bach

and

“Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. And intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.”
― Janet Fitch, White Oleander

I used to believe more in the Bach quote but now I’m firmly planted in the Fitch. Sigh…

What do you think? Which idea of friendship is right or are both wrong? What is your idea of a great relationship?  What is the ideal? What should we be striving for?

 

 

 

 

First 5k Swim

One of my goals for this trip was to practice my first 5k swim.  I had set a goal for the Deer Creek swim this year to swim a 5k race.  This was a bold goal as previously I had struggled to swim a mile.  3.2 miles seemed out of my reach but I knew my friends had done it last year so I decided to set the goal anyways (what’s the point of goals if they aren’t a challenge).

More to calm my nerves more than anything else I wanted to practice my 5k as many times as I could before the Deer Creek swim. I’ve been training really hard and feel my stroke and stamina has improved greatly since the Great Salt Lake Swim. Originally I was thinking I’d do my practice 5k with the Sacramento Swimming Enthusiasts on their firecracker swim but I knew they were significantly faster than me and going a longer distance in cold water (60 degree).  It seemed to me that it was not the ideal combination for my first 5k.

With my parents busy with the reunion and having not grown up here, I figured my task was a hopeless one.  Then the idea struck me ‘What about my uncle Jeff?’.  He is a highly trained athlete and his family was all out of town.  He might be willing.  I gave him a call and luckily he was!  He even picked me up kayak in toe. 🙂

We started early- around 7 but that didn’t matter to me (probably wasn’t ideal that I went rafting yesterday and was pretty sore but Friday was the only day that worked for everyone).     Since it was so early the water was like glass.  Gorgeous.  There were geese out and only a few boats.  The water was warm and I kept a steady pace throughout the swim.

My plan was to go 200 strokes and then rest and for the most part I kept this goal.  I stayed along the outside of the lake following the levy until it ended.  The only major hick up was about 3/4 of the way through I got a leg cram that was pretty severe.  It would not relent without some serious effort. Finally I took an energy gel pack (had 2 ‘feedings’ on the swim and 2 water stops) and that seemed to help with the pain.

I pushed on through and finally made it to the homestretch.  It’s amazing how long that homestretch is.  It feels like you are never going to make it.  In fact, that’s how I feel with all open water swimming but then I do and it’s so exciting! I hope I never get over that excitement. Plus, to look back and see a huge levy that you crossed was thrilling.  It’s hard to believe I swam all that way!

Here I am at the end of the swim

It was such a thrilling thing to finish the swim! My first BIG swim!  I can’t wait to do many more.  Thanks to Jeff for paddling for me.  It was an awesome experience I could not have had alone.  I’m in awe of those that can do the 5k in such fast times.  I finished in 2 hrs 50 minutes which I thought was pretty good for a first time.  I’m happy with it and very proud!

After finishing the swim. That’s some goggle eyes for you!

I felt very peaceful while I was swimming like I could breath deeply for the first time.  Live truly under water.  I can’t wait for Deer Creek!  Bring it on!  Now I just wish I had a massage.  After 2 days of hard exercise I’m done!

White Water Rafting

The great thing about this family reunion is it has been very water based, which of course is just up my alley.   The highlight of the week was yesterday- a whole afternoon of white water rafting in the American River.  It was a company called All Outdoors California White Water Rafting and they have tours all over California.  Everything was very professional.

The course covered 12 miles for around 3 hours.  It was pretty intense with up to class 3 rapids.  I had gone white water rafting twice before but this was a lot more intense than either of those experiences.  There were 10 of us that went on the trip but the boats weren’t large enough for such a large group so they divided us into 2 groups, one of 6 and 4.    I ended up in the raft with my Dad, Megan, Anna, Madeline and Isabel.  We weren’t sure if Isabel would be scared but she proved to be tougher than any of us grown ups!

Everything went really well until the rapids called ‘Bouncing Rock’.  The raft took a edge and out I popped.  It was quite dramatic.  I was flying through the water over rapids.  It all happened so fast and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.  Luckily I was able to keep my head and I didn’t hit  any large rocks. No damage done.

The scariest part was getting back into the boat.  I guess I didn’t have my vest on tight enough and it took quite the effort on everyone’s part to get me back up on the boat.  I felt like I was never going to make it back.  It was intense!

I was winded and overwhelmed when I got back inside so our guide said I could rest it out.  Luckily it was almost over.  The guide was impressed that I held onto my paddle through it all!

The whole trip was exciting and the perfect thing to do on a hot afternoon with friends and family.

Isabel was super brave on the white water rafting
I had quite the throw from the boat but made it out with a smile on my face
Our rafting crew. Quite a pretty lot!
Megan and Madeline
Sam, Azriel, Ben and Nahanni were on the other raft so I wasn’t able to get many photos of them but like this one of Anna and Sam.

I’m grateful everyone was safe and had a good time.  We had a great guide who was a lot of fun.  She did a very good job with a small crew.  I recommend going with this company for white water rafting in California.

Sacramento Swimming Enthusiasts

So this week I am taking a break from my vacationless summer with a visit to my folks house for a ‘family reunion’.  There is such an age gap in my family that in order for us to be together we have to schedule time.  There has never been a time when all of us lived in the house at the same time while growing up.

I’ve had to work quite a bit (nature of my job) but I’ve still tried to have some fun.  I’ve also gotten lots of swim time in.

On facebook there is a group called Did You Swim Today where people from all over the world post about their swimming each day.  It is a lot of fun to share your swimming goals and to get to know other swimmers. One day as I looked at the posts I noticed a group from Sacramento called The Sacramento Swimming Enthusiasts.  As my parents live in El Dorado Hills, near Sacramento, I contacted the group Shawn to see if I could join them.

Sacramento Swimming Enthusiasts.

They were very nice and went out of the way to make things accessible for me. On Monday I met them at Folsom Lake and we had a great swim. It’s amazing how one thing like swimming can bond people together.  I think sometimes we make friendshipping too hard.  All it takes is one thing in common to form a friendship.

The lake was crowded but it was still beautiful.  A lot of fun.  I swam my longest distance up to that point of 1.6 miles and the other swimmers were much faster than myself.  Gave me something to work towards. I think I have a pretty good stroke.  It’s just getting the cardio up and that makes the difference.

Meeting up with new swimmers gave me an idea.  Wouldn’t it be fun to travel to swims? I was thinking you could make a list of places you want to go to and find swims and swim groups at those places.  It would be a fun way to make new friends and get to view beautiful lakes all over the place.  Who’s in? We could even swap.  You have me and I’ll have you.  Lots of great lake swimming in Utah!