The Love/Hate Challenge! Part 3: Ride Away from the Fat Wagon

So about…uh…two weeks ago, Chelise from Caterpillar to Butterfly nominated me for the Love/Hate Challenge:

lovehatechallengeDA RULES:

  1. List 10 things you LOVE
  2. List 10 things you HATE
  3. Nominate a few suckers to do the same

And this challenge has dragged on for awhile, partly because I procrastinate, partly because it’s summer, partly because I haven’t been traveling (so I haven’t been stuck in an airport with absolutely nothing to do but dodge creepers, germs, and crappy food), and partly because I can’t keep it short once I DO start. (Like here in this post I already have over 100 words and I HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED ACTUALLY SAYING ANYTHING YET.  Man, I am exhausting.)

Part of the problem:  If I feel passionately enough about something to LOVE or HATE it, there is NO WAY I can explain that in less than a bound dissertation.  I mean, if you truly HATE something, how on earth do you adequately describe THAT in under 200 words?  Or under 500?  If it’s only one page, isn’t it more like “slight irritation”?

Anyway.  Taking another swing at the verbal piñata and makin’ it RAIN, baby….

10 THINGS I LOVE and 10 THINGS I HATE (in unranked order) – PART 3:

6a.  I hate butter.

I can hear the <whoosh> of people rushing to click “unfollow” now.  Yeah, I know.  It’s pretty much un-American to not like butter.  But hear me out.

It’s Oprah’s fault.

I was a fairly normal, butter-loving kid, who grew into a butter-eating teenager (well, when I was eating at all; at that point, if I remember correctly, I was in the middle of my 900-calories-a-day diet.  So I was quite aware of the calorie bomb that is butter – but I still ATE it, because sometimes ya gotta.)

It was November 15, 1988 when everything changed.  That was the fateful day that, despite a schedule chock-full of band, choir, AP classes, and boys, I just happened to be home from school, and just happened to be watching TV, when Oprah strutted out on stage with a black turtleneck, size 10 Calvin Klein jeans, and…this.

Anyone else remember this? (If your answer is “No, I wasn’t born yet” – shut it.  You can watch the clip HERE.)

As a teenager who, at the time, barely moved the big weight to the three-digit notch on the doctor’s scale (slam some water and wear boots and a sweater so the school nurse gets off your back, you know the drill) – this was life-altering.  I was HORRIFIED.  The Radio Flyer Lardcart was a GIANT DEATH WAGON OF BUTTER that, in addition to being un-heart-healthy and just plain nasty, WOULD MAKE ME FAT.

And ever since then?  Every stick of butter brings me right back to…

Mmmmm…don’t you want some TOAST right now?  <gag>

Looking back on this now – with the perspective and experience of twenty more years of dieting since then – some thoughts/observations:

1. Oprah lost the weight after four months on a liquid diet.  I seem to remember it was Medifast, but I can’t find a source to confirm.  What she DID share:

“I had literally starved myself for four months, not a morsel of food, to get into that pair of size 10 Calvin Klein jeans,” Winfrey recalls.  “Two hours after that show, I started eating to celebrate, of course, within two days those jeans no longer fit!”

1a.  It took you TWO days to grow out of those?  Color me impressed. I can bust a button in a week, but two days is ACHIEVEMENT, yo.  Not that Oprah is known for doing things halfway.  But still.  !!

2.  It’s a little mind-blowing to realize that you can be one of the wealthiest, most socially dominant women in the WORLD, with every resource and support available to you, and still not have whatever it takes to have a normal relationship with food.

That’s…powerful, yet humbling.  Depressing, yet oddly reassuring.  I mean, if SHE struggles with this…doesn’t that give me permission to, I dunno, maybe not beat myself up quite so hard if I can’t do it?

Folks, this is Oprah.  She can do ANYTHING.

And she’s just as human as the rest of us, putting on her pants (and Spanx) one mortal, flawed leg at a time.

I don’t know whether to high-five her, or give her a hug.

You can read Oprah’s Weight Loss Confession here.  It’s a little stilted, and I detect the faint smell of false bravado from her accounting of it all, but what struck me was this quote from her trainer (Bob Greene):

“She didn’t really learn how to be happy. I think she learned more survival tools and not how to be happy,” he says. “That’s where Oprah has a lot of work to do.”

Well.  Huh.

That’s why I started this whole blog dealio in the first place.

Because that’s where I have a lot of work to do, too.

3.  Size 10?  Are you kidding me, Calvin?  They’re AT MOST a 6, prolly a 4 nowadays.  Gotta love vanity sizing.  <eyeroll>

OK.  On to a “love”….

6b.  I love riding my bike.

Generally, I support the principle of physics that states, “An object on a comfortable sofa stays on a comfortable sofa.”  (Or starts to LOOK like the comfortable sofa.)  Suffice it to say I’ve never really been a fan of exercise.

But I’ve always loved to ride my bicycle.

My first bike was a hand-me-down from one of my cousins.  How it worked in our family was that you learned to ride on THIS bike:


Note: Not actual bike. Pic borrowed from where some dude named “dogdart” was selling it. But he’s in PA so it COULD HAVE BEEN MINE YO

…and then, on your 10th birthday, you got a 10-speed bike – NEW, from the little bike shop downtown, which incidentally was owned by the dad of a girl who rode my bus and sat next to me in band, and we weren’t really friends because she was popular and I was fat, so she was only my friend on the bus for the four years her parents forced her to play clarinet.  And her dad was also my parents’ tax accountant, and eventually he went to jail for tax fraud or something, and his daughter dated the high school football captain who ended up calling her a slut and breaking her heart, so I guess being popular isn’t all glitter and unicorns.

But I loved that bike.  It looked a lot like this one:

Photo from

Also not actual bike. Original is currently mummified in my parents’ basement. Photo borrowed from

That bike was my ticket to freedom.  It was my getaway car – I’d hop on that thing and be off on an adventure.  It wasn’t unusual for me to take off for four, five hours at a time, just riding along, stopping to pick wild blackberries on the side of the road or catch crawfish at the creek.

Later, when I got a speedometer, I got to see how far – and how fast – I could go.   I grew up in PA, which is very hilly – those gears came in handy, and the payoff was zooming downhill, at 30mph.  (Without a helmet.  Between that, riding in the back of the station wagon without seat belts, and sleeping in death-trap cribs, how did anyone survive childhood in the 70s and 80s?  Never mind roadside pesticide blackberries, copperheads under the rocks at the creek, and generalized Stranger Danger.)

Once I got to high school, I quit riding so much.  But years later – after college, marriage, two kids, and a painful divorce – I got a gift:

Actual photo. You can tell by the craptacular background.

Actual photo. You can tell by the sucktacular composition and the general lack of housekeeping.

It was another hand-me-down bike…but it was in pristine condition, purchased by a friend who had more money than ambition (she also smoked a lot and drank a lot – while I don’t judge, I suspect this hindered her desire to hop on a bike.)

I didn’t use the bike much at first; it sat largely unused for several years.  But recently, I’ve rediscovered the sorts of things you can explore while you’re escaping from the world for awhile:


At the top of a hill in rural Wisconsin. A REALLY BIG HILL. #worthit


Like a little firework burst.


I love these. They’re like little snowballs. IN SUMMER.


Tucked behind a small bend.

On a bike, you’re not focused on exercising.  The goal isn’t necessarily to burn calories.  (Yeah, I track them.  When an hour of hard riding burns off like four Oreos, you take credit every calorie you can get.)

When you’re standing on the pedals to kick a hill’s butt – when you’re flying down the other side, drinking in the thrill of the speed and the relief of the breeze – when you’re taking in, free of charge, all that nature has to offer – you’re not worried about the size of your thighs and the bulges around your waist.  You aren’t beating yourself up over the amount of space you occupy.

You can just…be.

You’re free.   At least for a little while.

Even if it’s temporary – even if life keeps me tethered to a lot of heavy, messy, cumbersome things –  I’m so very thankful that I can remember what it feels like to fly.

Six down, four to go.  Light.  Tunnel.  ONWARD!

Today’s victim select recipient is Mermaid in a Mudslide – she has such a variety of topics, I suspect she’d be all over something like this.  Plus, her posts make me smile.  🙂

8 thoughts on “The Love/Hate Challenge! Part 3: Ride Away from the Fat Wagon

  1. Love my bike too. And hiking and kayaking. Being out and about, in a beautiful setting, takes the drudgery out of exercise. Can’t stand going to a gym. Would prefer a better view when I work out. This is a good start to your daunting task here. Godspeed!

    Liked by 1 person

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