Sunday, May 11, 2014

An Open Letter to Mothers, Everywhere

Dear Moms:

Every year for Mothers' Day, we try to make you feel special. We buy you gifts or cards. We bring you breakfast in bed or take you to brunch.  This year, I decided to add in one extra thing as a present to mothers everywhere: an apology.

I'm sorry I made you throw up for 9 months. I'm sorry I ruined your waistline. I'm sorry it was so painful to have me. I'm sorry I pooped, peed, and threw up on you. I'm sorry I bit you when you breastfed me.  I'm sorry for waking you up every few hours for years. I'm sorry for exploding diapers and projectile vomiting. I'm sorry for hiding things and not being able to tell you where they were hidden. I'm sorry for writing on walls with crayons, permanent marker, and human (my) excrement. I'm sorry for ruining my clothes. I'm sorry for refusing to eat what you prepared for me. I'm sorry for refusing to wear what you gave me. I'm sorry for not listening to you.  I'm sorry for whining so much (or at all).  I'm sorry for ignoring you. I'm sorry for fighting with my siblings because I know it hurts your feelings. I'm sorry for saying bad words. I'm sorry for thinking even worse words. I'm sorry for not hugging you enough. I'm sorry for being grouchy/moody. I'm sorry for pretty much my whole teenage time. I'm sorry for being ungrateful. I'm sorry for feeling like I *deserved* to have all the monetary things  you gave me, and so much more. I'm sorry for not visiting more in college. I'm sorry for being embarrassed by you. I'm sorry for not calling enough. I'm sorry for taking your grandkids so far away from you. I'm sorry we don't visit more often. I'm sorry I can't do more to show you I love you.

I know being a mom is so difficult. I understand that now. You did the best you could, while all I did was whine and complain.  I'm really and truly sorry, with all my heart.  Thanks for trying. Thanks for succeeding more often than not. Thanks for giving up your youth and your waistline and your sleep and a bit of your sanity for me.

Grown-Up Kids Everywhere

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thoughts on Listening

In church today, a man shared an experience that shook me. He spoke of a Sunday morning, many decades ago. His father as out and his mother was frantically trying to get her gaggle of kids ready to go to church. She had the feeling to go and "check the pool." She thought this strange, as her family didn't own a pool. She dismissed the thought and continued her preparations. The warning was repeated until she finally decided to peek over the fence at the neighbor's pool. The view was obstructed, so she continued what was doing. When it was finally time to leave, she gathered up her kids, noticing that one small boy was missing. She knew immediately where he was. He was in the pool, floating face down.

When I heard this tragedy, it instantly transported me to one Father's Day 11 years ago. My husband was not yet a father and both out our fathers were out of the country. We felt a little displaced. That afternoon, I felt the distinct impression to visit a man I barely knew. He had accompanied my youth group on a couple of activities. We lovingly referred to him as "Mountain Man" because he was never in a better mood than when he was in the outdoors. Truthfully, I never saw him smile indoors. I hadn't had any intersection with him for over a decade, so I dismissed the thought. Again, a while later, I felt like we should visit Mountain Man. He only lived a few blocks away. I thought, "If we go for a walk after dinner, maybe we will stop by and say hello." Then, remembering it was Father's Day, I decided to let him spend time with his kids, promising myself I'd stop by during the week. 

The next day, I forgot all about Mountain Man until I got a phone call from a childhood friend. She told me the horrible news that Mountain Man had taken his own life the night before.

Ever since then, I have tried my darndest to not wait when I get inspired to do something. I have to wait a while to see Mountain Man again, but I hope I do see him on the other side. I want to hug him and tell him I am sorry. I want to never so desperately want to apologize to anyone else again.

Monday, March 17, 2014


Is it just me (and my lazy friends) or have the number of blogs dwindled to almost nothing?

Well, perhaps not the NUMBER of blogs themselves so much as the ENTRIES people make on their blogs?

I blame Obamacare.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winners and Losers

It's not a big surprise to anyone who has ever met me that I have weight and self esteem issues. I talk about them freely and openly as a catharsis and as a means to have other people know that  they aren't alone in these things.

At the end of 2012, I felt amazing. I was still about 10-15 lbs from my "goal" weight, but I looked strong and healthy.
Then, I started gaining weight, for no apparent reason. I was sure my thyroid medicine needed adjusted but the endocrinologist declared it didn't.
In the spring of 2013, my wrists started giving me issues. After a lot of pain, they discovered I have a cyst in one and a displaced tendon in the other. Bye bye, burpees, push ups, planks, mountain climbers, and even yoga. All those things, which I previously loved and made part of my daily routine are now so painful I can maybe do 1-2 before wanting to cry.
When an orthopedic doctor finally gave me cortisone injections to ease the pain a little in my wrists, I had a couple of months where I started meeting with a food coach to get back to where I was just a few months before.  Mysteriously, the weight kept coming on, even on an extremely "by the numbers" diet. I wasn't eating too much or too little.
So what's next? I sprained my ankle so severely that I was in a cast for 2 weeks and a boot for 2 months (most sprains heal in 6-8 weeks) and then a brace for 2 more weeks.
Let me do the math for you: Bad wrists + bad ankle = bad mood. It was a dark time for me.  without the outlet of exercise, not only did I stay in a bad mood for about 3 months, but I gained even faster than before.
Now, my ankle feels ok. My wrists I've learned to live with. I'm back at the gym and back with my food coach.  Some weight is coming off, but I'm just making a dent in the huge damage last year caused my body and my psyche.

Why do I confess all of this?
Last night was the finale of The Biggest Loser on tv. The winner, Rachel Frederickson, lost what many are calling an extremely unhealthy amount of weight.  The backlash has been tremendous because of it. People calling her "gross" and "disgusting" and vowing to never watch the show again started popping up all over.

A conversation I had with a friend came to mind.  A mutual friend had made 500,000 or so of my favorite cookie during what happened to be an especially difficult day for me full of self hatred and lack of hope.  I made a comment like, "How do you stay skinny?" hoping it came across as light and humorous, when in all actuality it didn't.  My other friend sent me a private message suggesting I re-examine how I talk to women and stop saying things like that. She was much more eloquent than that, but it cut me to the core.  I try so hard to love myself despite my body image, so what right to I have to make others feel bad about themselves?

So, yes, Rachel Frederickson is tiny. She tripped going up the stairs maybe from lack of carbs but maybe because she was nervous and weighs about 20 lbs too little. That doesn't mean we know what she's going through. We don't know anything about her, apart from what the producers decided to show us.  Let's give the girl a minute to catch her breath, eat a cupcake, and get back to her real life, not the one on tv or the one where she's trying to win 6 figures.  Let's learn to look in a mirror and not shove that mirror in everyone else's face.
I was sad to see her, too, but honestly I don't know what I would have done in her situation. Do you? None of us do, but all of us can just be nicer to ourselves, which is what all of this boils down to.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sad and Thankful

Due to some injury issues and thyroid issues and other junk, I have steadily increased weight since approximately April/May of this year. I'm very self conscious about my weight and have terrible body issues. Throw in to that mix the fact that I'm the fatty in the family, and it's a bad time for me to see my skinny big boobed sisters and my bros with wives who weigh a buck ten, soaking wet. There are few times that I want to crawl in a hole and hibernate more than when I'm fat and have to let people see me be fat.
What better time for my little brother to have found true love and decide to seal the deal with the cutest girl I've ever not met? Now would be awesome. Or, Friday, to be exact.
I'm so happy for him to have met someone who loves him and that he loves more than anyone else. I've never seen him with those schmoopy puppy dog eyes like he has with my sis-to-be.
What can I do? I can't lose 15 lbs in 2 days. I can't not go just because I am extra chubby. I can't be so selfish that I make this trip about my gigantic a$$ and not about his happiness.
THEREFORE (gosh that was a long and sad intro), I am going to remind myself why I am happy. This is why I am thankful this Thanksgivukkah:

  1. My Dan. He's so great to me and really really loves me.
  2. My Elena. She's so smart and sweet and really just a good person. I'm so excited to see what kind of grown up she'll become.
  3. My mini-me, Leah. She's the one who can bring a smile to my face when I need it the most, and the first one to snuggle me when I need a snuggle.
  4. My Josef. He's my last baby and my biggest headache. He's also the apple of my eye.
  5. My parents. They cheat death and cook like the devil and make me laugh all the time. What's not to love?
  6. My best friends. Like a wise Mindy Kahling once said, "best friend" is a tier, not a title. I have filled that tier with the people who lift my spirits and let me bitch and moan but don't let me stay down.
  7. Green. I love green. It makes me feel alive. Green grass and green trees and green bushes and green moss growing on trees and green ferns and so many shades of green my eyes can't look fast enough.
  8. Food. Though this is a double edged sword, I am so thankful for food as fuel, food as an art form, and even food as a vehicle to bring people together. I love to cook a lot, but I love to cook with Dan even more. I love eating something that someone has prepared for me out of love and I love the looks on people's faces when they love what I have prepared.
  9. Sports/Fitness. I love to play sports and watch sports and I love to work out and I love teaching RIPPED and I love making people throw up when I help them work out. I still hate to run but I love being a runner. I love learning about fitness and how the body works and what I especially love is that feeling of being completely drained at the end of a great workout.
  10. My faith. I don't share the same beliefs as many of my friends, but I do believe that God has given everyone the right to choose their own path, and I love the path that I have chosen. It is the perfect path for me.
  11. My name. I love the name Angenette, and I love going by Neti. I love being a Pickett, even if now it's my middle name and not my last name. Angenette Pickett is the name of a strong woman who knows what she wants and don't take no crap.
  12. My family. Nobody makes me laugh like my sibs do. They piss me off all the dang time (not as much now that we live far away), and they get tired of my crap a lot, too, but we love each other. Usually.
  13. The written word. Books make me happy. They carry me away. I love reading so much, and I love writing, too. Some day I'd like to be published. Until then, I'll write occasionally on the 53 blogs to which I contribute. Thanks to the 2-3 of you who read what I write.
Ok, I feel better now. Time to pack.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fifty Years is not Enough

My folks just celebrated 50 years of marriage. Fifty! I can't imagine being alive 50 years, let alone sharing a bathroom for 50 years.
And yet, my parents have not only shared a bathroom, but they've moved internationally twice, had 6 (stunningly good-looking) kids, started a successful business, been robbed and threatened, served several full-time and part-time missions for the LDS Church, buried all their parents and many other loved ones, been "home-away-from-home" parents to so many people, build some homes and stores, made friends, beat cancer and triple bypass heart surgery, fed most of the people who grew up in Southeastern Idaho, yet will probably best be known for how they genuinely care for people. I know so many who my father has taken under his wing and been their father figure. My mom is everyone's mom: she'll feed you and whack you with her house slipper, just like she would her own child.
No, they haven't been 50 perfect years. Yes, they fight now and then. And yet, for 50 years they have loved each other, and we've reaped the rewards of that love. I never see them sitting next to each other if they aren't holding hands. They still dance in the kitchen. They still steal a kiss when they think nobody is watching.
Happy 50 years, Mamá & Papá, and here's to 1 bjillion more.

(Do you know my parents? How?)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Trail Running to Heaven

The Race:

The only time in the race I was actually ahead of my friend.
A few years ago, I discovered the only form of running that I don't absolutely despise: trail running. The race that I try to never miss, no matter what else is going on, is the Evergreen Trail 10k at Dash Point. It is in a state park near the beach. The race starts at a trail head. 

The path is narrow and - depending on the weather - very muddy. This creates a bottleneck right from the very start. As soon as the trail opens up and you really want to start running, you get to a couple of sets of stairs. This creates another bottleneck. 

The first 3+ miles is pretty nearly all uphill. There are several areas that are very thickly wooded places where you can feel like the only person in the world. Last 3 miles (you guessed it!) are pretty near all downhill. I like to run like a little kid (think Phoebe in Central Park) on those downhill parts. Kills my knees buy buoys my soul.

At the beginnings of the race, Roger, the founder of Evergreen, explains that he was up on the trail the day before. He painted arrows on the ground to show us where to turn and big Deal where we shouldn't turn. He tied ribbons, or "course markers" on the side of the trail to know which way we should turn. In addition, the placed what he calls "confidence markers," so we know we made the right turn. If that wasn't enough, Roger placed race volunteers at particularly confusing intersections.

With all these failsafes, you'd think it must be impossible to get lost. Not so! The first time I did this particular race, I estimate I ran an extra 3 miles, just from not paying attention.

The Lesson:

When we start at the trailhead in life, we sort of get bottlenecked. We're young, we follow our parents or the crowd or whomever is in front of us. It's really hard to get lost at the beginning of the race.  Usually, we have to wait til later on, when the trail widens, for real opportunities to get lost.

In this race we call life, Someone has been on our trail before us. He has marked the way so many ways. The paint on the trail are VERY obvious and are what many people call their conscious. Holy writ refer to it as the "Light of Christ." If we look in the right place, the correct decision for us is obvious. On my trail run, that place was the ground. In life, that place is our heart.

Next came the markers. Intersections had markers both before and after a turn. In life, when we need guidance, we can turn to God and the markers will appear showing which turn we should make. Not only that, the Holy Ghost is that confidence marker after we make a decision, telling us that we made the right choice.  An easy comparison for the volunteers at confusing intersections would be the prophets, but I want to take it a step closer to my own life. There have been people at important intersections in my life, helping me choose the path that would become my life. For example, the junior high teacher that taught me to care less about what others thought about me and care more about what I thought about me.  There are people in our lives that can help us, but it's up to us to listen to them. Yesterday, I saw a lady run right past a volunteer who was pointing towards a turn. She totally ignored him and ran another 100 yards before realizing she wasn't by her friends. At the start of the race, Roger told us that some volunteers have actually had to nearly tackle runners who were going the wrong way because they were ignoring course directions. Trust me, races - and life - are a lot easier if we follow the right people.

This is me, concentrating on that arrow on the ground.

I guess it all comes down to this: Jesus said, in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Your trail is marked. You choose where you run.

Angenette / Neti / Cui

My Photo
My given name is Angenette. I like to be called Neti. My family calls me Cui. You can call me anything you like (except late to dinner).