Monthly Archives: December 2016

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

I suppose it’s THAT time of year. When you take inventory of the previous 12 months, what you learned, how it went and what you want the next year to be. I could lament on how Brain Rot has SUCKED ASS this year. How my crazy busy schedule stressed me beyond words. How it was the 10 year anniversary of my Dad’s death. How I lost a few friends and my second Mom to cancer. How I didn’t hit all the milestones in my business that I wanted to. But I decided to take a different approach. 2016 was not the best year ever. Truthfully- it was not. But I got to walk through it. Run through it. Crawl through it at times. And for that….I am grateful. 2016 gave me a lot.

I got to go to Los Angeles for the third time on Beachbody’s dime. I WON that trip. EARNED that trip. It was amazing & I got to share it with my friend, Joy, and I’ll never forget it. I hugged Tony Horton. I chatted with Tony Horton. I ate at The Ivy. I also earned a trip to Cabo. With my Beachbody team. I laid on the beach and did nothing for three days. I took a long walk down a beautiful beach alone. And I met Donna. And THAT alone made working my ass off to earn that trip worth it. Donna. I got asked to be the Assistant Cheer coach at our High School. There’s not enough space here to speak to how this made my heart whole. I love those girls. I got to stand on the sidelines again at football games. Priceless.
I got to go to Nashville with my best friend and spend 4 days with my team. My Beachbody team. And I got to walk the stage in front of 25,000 people. And I got to know Gary Vaynerchek that week. And damn, how that changed things. I discovered Chris Stapleton. And on a solo hike, on a mountain, alone…I gave God another look. And that’s something. I rode a bike. I got lost on a few hikes. I found my own way out.
I read six books.
I went to my 25th High School reunion. And realized time certainly flies. And people never change and yet change so very much. And made some amends. And remembered a boy. And what he taught me. And hugged some old friends. I got to escape for a minute. And hear some good music. And see some elephants. And meet some amazing people. And get another tattoo.
I got to see fucking Stevie Nicks in concert. With some special people.
I opened my son’s door to see he has goals. Written out with purpose. I got to see my grandmother. On her 90th birthday. I got to watch my cheer team perform at State. From the ground…not the stands. And THAT was priceless. I got to ride the bus to football games and listen to some teen girls talk. About life. And share things I am privileged that they shared with me. Thank you girls. Thank you, Jessica. I got to be in a workout test group that changed my body. And my mind. I CAN!
I got to have a beer with my Dad. In a cemetery. With an Asian man and some gardeners watching. I got to sing a Violent Femmes song to my friend…who shares a room with my Dad. I got to see my name in concrete…where I put it 30 years ago. And know that some things stay. Even when others don’t.
I got to do a lot of things. That I am so unbelievably grateful for. I learned I don’t have to be who I don’t want to be. I learned about commitments and promises. I learned there’s MUCH MUCH more gray area than black and white. I learned life can be cruel and sad and lonely and beautiful and joyous and miraculous. I learned that football fucking rocks! I learned I can fight. Longer and harder than I ever imagined. I learned 44 is pretty fucking awesome. I learned you can plan and plan and plan. And life will just laugh at you. I learned what I am. And what Im not. I learned that what I DO know is far, far less than what I DONT know. And that is ok. And as it should be.
I learned its really just about the little moments. They are everything. Thank you, 2016.fullsizerender-4
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TOUGH GIRL IN A CEMETARY

I am one. Despite what a few people say I am tougher than I seem. Most of the women I associate with are very tough girls. Very. Some days I say it out loud to convince myself. I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks. It doesn’t matter. But going home gave a little perspective on exactly what “tough” means. What it can mean.
I visited my Dad’s grave for the first time is YEARS. It seems every time I ever go to Texas I have a reason or excuse not to go. Kind of like I’d never been to the spot he died until two years ago. I just wasn’t ready until then. So I grabbed a few beers, hid them under my coat, drove to the cemetery and got out like I owned the place. You need a key to access the private building where he is. My friend, Nancy, is also in the room as well as a sweet boy I knew named Clayton. I got to say hi to them too. Im sure they laughed about the beer.
So there was this table thing set in front of my Dad’s internment that had dead flowers in it and covered some of his name. I didn’t like that they were dead. Or that they covered his name. So I moved it. Across the room. And replaced it with a Bud Light. Little insight to me as a girl- I ALWAYS prefer beer to flowers….especially when accompanied by tacos. What can I say? Im a cheap date.
I said cheers, swigged some of my own beer and then sat down on the floor. I rambled a little about cheerleading and the kids and hiking and how the Cowboys are doing.  I said some other stuff I’ll keep private. And I asked for advice. Seems a little silly but…then I looked closer at the little table thing in front of his marker and it said in little letters on a sticker “Huang Lee”. I was a bit puzzled until I looked ABOVE my Dad’s marker where a very fresh internment with Mr. Lee in it had been placed. Those flowers WERE NOT FOR MY DAD. They were for Mr. Lee. Shit. I should’ve known. My Dad has his own table set up in the room with pictures of him and his Harley, an arrowhead he gave a friend whom I notice brought it to him, a bunch of eagle statues and some other personal things but no flowers. Dad’s people aren’t really “flower” people. Funny. Im not either.
God damnit I lost it. Started bawling like a baby and Im not sure why. It wasn’t the dead flowers, it wasn’t the table, it wasn’t that Mr. Huang Lee was now on top of my Dad (holy shit), I don’t know what it was. I just felt so very sad. Funny. Ten years can seem like a long time. Except when you are grieving. Time makes things a little less intense but it doesn’t fix things. And there’s things I need to tell him. I need him to give me advice on. Instead of being told how “brave, tough, full of character, steady, stable, doing the right thing” I am….I just needed a hug. From him. I don’t want to be tough all the time. I don’t want to do the right thing all the time. I don’t want to have character all the time. Sometimes….once in awhile….I want to do just what I want to do and then cry.
I walked outside of the room to get some air and the seriously sweet team of lawn people approached me and my bellering self and asked if I was ok in broken Spanish. I said “yes”. Then I realized I was still holding my beer. I sort of chuckled, raised it up in the air and said “cheers” to them. Then I left. Im sure they thought I was nuts. Then….several miles down the road I realized something. Holy shit. I left the god damned beer on Mr. Lee’s table. FUCK!
I thought about turning around. Then I re-thought that. If he’s gonna be my Dad’s upstairs neighbor for eternity….Im pretty sure he needs to learn how to love beer. And I know my Dad would’ve offered him one if he could. Then I giggled, turned the radio up, and drove. Tough can mean a lot of things.
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IT’S OK TO WANT TO WIN

OBSESSION: an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.

Someone said to me a little over a year ago “You’re obsessed with working out and your business.” I didn’t really know how to take that. I took it as a negative thing at the time. I workout and exercise more than the average person for sure. Unfortunately. We are an obese country that has become accustomed to obesity and I suppose we now look at healthy people as abnormal. That’s sad to me. I think we also think of driven women a certain way.
 
My Beachbody team has decided for our next personal development book we will read “Be Obsessed Or Be Average” by Grant Cardone. Seeing that title reminded me of what that person said to me that day. OBSESSION. Its been so associated with the negative that we just assume it is. Like some crazy stalker dude obsessed with a girl or someone obsessed with cleaning too much (I obviously don’t have that one). But I think just like we’ve looked at FAILURE in the wrong way ,we might also be looking at the word “obsession” in the wrong way.
 
This exact time last year my Beachbody business was on FIRE. I was working about 3-4 hours a day (which is a lot) and I achieved a high rank and my sales were high and my paychecks were great and I earned a trip to Cabo and I was happy. HAPPY. Work hard, play hard! Then people started to slowly put in my ear that I needed to slow down. Enjoy life more. Work less. Your husband is sick, you have two jobs, two kids, a lot going on…..And to no one’s fault but my own…I listened. 
 
I quit working as hard, or as much. My workouts became a little less regimented. Meaning I went down to 4-5 days a week instead of 6 and I ate bad. And it showed. My business (though still prosperous and perfectly fine and acceptable to most people) slipped a little. My paycheck decreased a little. I felt a little sad and so I hiked less. I felt sad about that so I ate a little worse. Then someone said “YOU DO YOU” about something else and I thought about that. Why the hell had I let other people convince me I needed to slow down? What an idiot. Turns out I don’t like slow. Right now. I might one day. I reserve the right to slow down…one day.
 
There’s a quote I love that says “Im motivated by the fear of being average”. Im not sure why its not ok for me to say that. Because I am. I am afraid of being average. At anything. I do NOT want to be average. And I feel like society says its ok to be average. Its ok to get 2nd place or 3rd place or participate. Ugh. I don’t WANT to participate. I want to win. I want to make an impact. I want to excel. I am happy and fulfilled and radiating and joyful and motivated by being balls to the wall, 90 mph most of the time. GO BIG OR GO HOME. That’s me. And I cannot apologize for that. I don’t want to slow down right now. It feels awful to me. Maybe it’s why Im the coach of NO EXCUSES. I have two kids, a sick husband, two “real jobs” that require a lot. I also write. A lot. I workout every day. I have an autoimmune disorder. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Its the hand I was dealt. So I deal.
 
I fucking climbed Pikes Peak. I want to climb it again. I want to climb more mountains. I want my cheer team to win every competition. I want the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl, not just make the playoffs. I want to be first on my Beachbody Team. I want my paycheck to be bigger. I want to help more people and more people get healthy. I want to beat the fuck out of Brain Rot and cancer. Not curl up and give up. I want my daughter not to “settle” for a college I want her to KNOW she can go to Berkeley. And I don’t want to feel bad about any of that. I am who I am. I thrive on deadlines, I love competition, I am motivated by the fear of being average. And that is ok. It is more than ok. Its very VERY good. I can also recognize and respect that this way is not for everyone. I do have empathy. I really do….OK Im working on that ;)-.
 
So Im giving myself permission to get back in the game. All the way. And I make no apologies. Im still a good Mom. Im still a good friend. Im still a good person. But I have personal goals that I don’t want to lose sight of. If driven is a bad thing to be then I guess I’ll be a bad thing. But I’ll be happy. And I’ll be me. And being me is really all I want to do at this point in my life. You get one shot, one trip around the sun, one life. ONE. LIFE. I don’t want to live someone’s else’s ONE LIFE. I want to live mine. Still learning and growing at 44 is pretty cool. 
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#11

Jessica is the Head Varsity Cheer Coach at Palmer Ridge High School. Last year she asked me to be her Assistant. For about 8 months now I’ve been in that position. My “side gig”. That takes up a lot of time and pays VERY little and requires more gut strength than I ever imagined. My daughter is a Sophomore on the team. This team won The Colorado State Cheer Championship last year. This team gets on a bus this coming Friday for Denver to defend that title. As a parent, last year, I spent 2 days so close to “puke status” in nerves that I sat close to trash cans in the coliseum just to be sure. All parents whose children have played in any sport or competed at any type of contest can relate. And at the STATE level when you are in front of 1,000’s of people its multiplied times ten. And now….this time….I have 21 kids competing.

To say Im nervous is an understatement. A BIG one. But its not just nerves about winning, about defending a title. It is a million times harder to win the second time. I know that. And everyone is watching us. EVERYONE in this state associated with this sport knows who we are and has stalked us all year and is after us. As it is in any sport with the defending champs. So the past few weeks Ive naturally thought about when I cheered and we went to competitions. Regionals, Nationals. The memories.
When I first tried out for Freshman Cheerleader in 1987 it was NOT a popularity contest like some schools had. Tryouts were behind closed doors with only some select judges that were hired through a third party watching us. Individually. They did not know our names, we only had numbers pinned to us. #11. It was a true “tryout”. The school nor the students had anything to do with who was selected for the team. And that day, in March of 1987, when my name was one of 12 girls’ names called out of about 100+ that tried out….my life changed.
I only vaguely knew of some of those other 11 girls that day. But all of that would change. Two months ago, almost 30 years after that day, I attended my 25th High School Reunion with 2 of those girls. We got ready together in Lauren’s bathroom. We tried on outfits, laughed, sprayed WAY too much hairspray and talked about stuff that stays in the bathroom.  Over the past 30 years those girls and I have been through marriages, divorces, deaths of parents & siblings & a fellow cheerleader. We’ve had miscarriages and kids and illness and moved and changed jobs and gotten older. Much older. But you drop us together in a bathroom with some wine and some hairspray and no time at all had passed. That day, 30 years ago….they became family.
And so I know what is about to happen for these 21 girls. I know what is ahead for them. I know that competing on a mat together for 2 and half minutes is only one tiny fraction of what makes them family. Of what unites them. Of what ties them together forever.  Its HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS of endless practices. Its long bus rides to away games. Its boyfriends being assholes and plots to get revenge and crying on each others’ shoulders. Its sleep overs and fights and arguments about whose fault it was when the stunt fell. Its shoulder surgery and sprained ankles and extra tumbling lessons and pulled muscles. Its football games in the snow when everyone has gone home but them. It’s paint wars and Secret Santas and hotel rooms and “tattoos” ;). It’s rolling their eyes at each other when they don’t think we see it. Its getting your drivers license, giving each other rides to practice, staying up late to help each other study for a test you HAVE to pass. Its blue hair, sharing bows and t-shirts and food. Its crying through pain and doing full-outs anyway. It’s being 17 and wanting to be treated like an adult but laying in your coaches’ lap. It’s parents divorcing and being there for each other.  It’s all of this and so very much more. That makes them a team.
They are funny, sarcastic, smart, witty, caring, kind, jerks-at-times, selfish, spoiled, moody, loving, affectionate, everything that a teenage girl is supposed to be. And I love them. All of them. And my nerves for my kid are still there. Because she’s mine. I gave birth to her. I love her and I want all good things for her. But THIS time I feel truly as if I have 21 kids. And I thank Jessica for that. For getting this perspective. I WAS a cheerleader. I AM a parent. And now I AM a coach too. How crazy lucky am I to get to experience it from all of those places. Thank you to my cheer coaches who I more than likely took for granted. Mrs. Willis and Coach Grover- THANK YOU!
Why does “I was a cheerleader” not float effortlessly out of my mouth? Because I know those four words cannot possibly sum up all it means.
Girls….you know how competitive I am. I know how competitive you are. I know how much we all want to win. I am acutely aware of the millions of hours and sweat you’ve put into this. If we walk away with another trophy I will be ecstatic for all of you. But trophy or not, YOU girls are amazing people. I am so unbelievably proud of you. Of the women you are becoming. And proud to be walking through this with you. Hug each other tight. Here’s to bathrooms 30 years from now. Now lets KICK SOME ASS PALMER’S HOUSE!
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LISTEN

I know I’ve posted about music before. About how important it is to me. I grew up with it in my house. ON ALL THE TIME. I know I’ve mentioned the serious stereo system my Dad had in the living room with cabinets FULL of hundreds of records. I have some pretty cool ones. I have some very old ones. His Sgt. Pepper’s album by the Beatles is almost 50 years old. We also had a system in the garage. We spent a lot of time in the driveway. In lawn chairs, with beer. So of course you needed outside music.

I have said that I might’ve been the only 2 year old who knew all the words to “Stairway To Heaven”. I did. And as the years went on I got to listen to The Who, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, The Stones, and a million other rock bands my Dad liked. My Mom often took over the music when he wan’t home. He drove a truck and was gone at weird times. So when he was gone it was John Denver, Michael Martin Murphy, Kris Kristofferson and a few more mellow”er” guys. To say it was eclectic is an understatement.
I remember being a pre-teen (my Dad must’ve been 28 or so) HOLY SHIT…and him saying that he’d never listen to “country music”. It was “old people’s music”. My grandad had several 8 tracks of Merle and Johnny so I knew what that meant. Then George Strait released his “Strait From The Heart” album in 1982 and “Amarillo By Morning” changed all of that. I was 10. Dad was 29. And I guess he became an “old man”. We wore that tape out. I remember we got a tape deck and a cassette and it was a big deal. He said it really was not “old man country”. Whatever….good music is good music.
I borrowed my friend’s “2 Live Crew” tape once in 1989 and my Dad found it in my car. He literally started in on how “this crap isn’t music and how can you….”. Then he stopped. And looked at me. I smiled and said “Kinda like your Dad said to you about The Beatles”? He just laughed and put the tape back in the tape player. I miss him.
There was Fleetwood Mac and Lynda Ronstadt and Crystal Gale and Lynyrd Skynrd and eventually Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffet and Garth Brooks and Charlie Robison and so, so ,so many more. There was always music. Always music. And always a beer in the driveway. The very last time I saw my Dad he was in his driveway. And there was music on.
Life can be hard sometimes. For everyone. We all have our shit. Every single day I wake up and go to my computer to work. And the first thing I do is put in my headphones and turn up my music. And Im not sure it could be more crazy eclectic. There’s days I listen to Chris Stapleton (Dad would’ve loved him), Madonna, Stevie Nicks and Eazy E all in the same hour. There’s days I just type in “WIllie Nelson” and every single song he ever sang plays all day. There’s times I play Pearl Jam and Metallica and Boston. There’s days I need Patty Griffin and Kasey Musgraves. There’s times nothing but U2 will do. And there’s always a song. For whatever mood. For whatever need. For whatever memory thats leaking out of my brain and into my eyes. There’s songs that remind me of old boyfriends, old friends, places, times, moments. And its so damn cool.
I remember when George Strait released “Baby Blue”. Some say about the loss of his 13 year old daughter, Jenifer. We were the same age. And my Dad said he could not even imagine how horrible it might be. To lose a child. And for the first time, really, I FELT a song. I realized the words could cut, soothe, hurt, remind, bring joy and heal. It’s the longest love I’ve ever had in my life…….music. There will always be music. Always.
When Im having a rough day or sad or upset or hurt or happy or excited or feel like dancing there is always music. Its an escape. Its a memory. Its a lot of things. Feeling grateful today I inherited a love for it. An appreciation for it. Music….always….