I’m Jodi, and I’m on a mission to get a better butt. In fact, I’m deep in the trenches. I’ve been working these glutes of mine hard – and for a good few months now. Am I seeing results? Yes. Maybe. I guess? I’m not sure. You’d think I know, considering the amount of time I spend checking out my rear. My bedroom has a full length mirror and at least three times of day, I can be found back to back with it, my neck awkwardly twisted, staring. What a weirdo.
Am I, though? Am I weird for wanting a little gratification for my hard work? Perhaps not. But I may very well be weird for asking my husband a couple weeks ago to snap a photo of my bare booty using my MacBook Air computer. For the record, I took a quick look, then promptly erased the photo. There were just too many frightening scenarios running through my head. (i.e. “Hey Mom. Hey Dad. Take a look at our vacation photos. Here we are with a palm tree. Look at us here, all dolled up for dinner. And this one…OH MY GOD!”)
So, as I said, in between staring at my tush, and having people take pictures of my tush, I’ve been totally trying to tone it, too. I belong to a gym and tend to have a love-hate-relationship with the classes (but that’s a story for another day). So I found a bunch of tips, videos, and tutorials online and have been exercising on my own. In many ways, it’s super great. I started a new job in January in which I work from home, so I’ll often head to the gym around lunchtime and do an approximately hour-long routine of squats, lunges, step-ups, hip lifts, and a slew of other moves. There’s also an exercise I do called butt burns. Ne’er was there ever a more appropriate name. Holy freakin’ ow.
Yet, even with my steady gym attendance and my relentless dedication to butt burns, I’m not seeing as significant a difference as thought I would by now. Some difference? Yes. Enough improvement for my liking? No. I know these things take time, but I’m getting a little impatient (plus, I fly out to Turks and Caicos in mid-June. Just sayin’). So about a week ago, I decided it was time to kick things up a notch. I put a hold on my personal workouts and signed up for classes at a fancy boutique gym in town. I’ve been there before, so I can tell you, here’s what guaranteed: The workouts are incredible. Here’s what’s not guaranteed: When you smile at the other patrons, they’re going to smile back. That’s OK. I’m not there to meet my best friend. And that’s fine with me because I’ve got one already. Her name is Sharon. And she’s awesome.
We’ve been friends since we were 11. We met at an after-school cheerleading clinic (I promptly quit before tryouts even happened. I guess I wasn’t the rah-rah type.) But out of that short-lived experience came a lifelong friend – whose family opened up their hearts and home to me as well. Picnics, parties, weeks down the shore. If there was a Phillips event, I was there.
In July of 2011, the unthinkable happened. Chris (Sharon’s brother, 27) and Sue (Sharon’s mother, 64) passed away within days of each other. Every time I write that, or say that, it hits me like a ton of bricks. I still can’t believe they’re gone. I constantly do the would’ve, should’ve, could’ve in my mind. The truth is, I can’t change what happened. But here’s what I can do.
I can continue to get the word out about the Christopher and Susan Phillips Foundation, founded by Sharon herself, who was unwavering in her wish for the passing of her brother and mother not to be in vain. Through dollars raised from fundraisers hosted throughout the year, the Foundation provides scholarships to graduating Jonathan Dayton High School students (the alma mater of the entire Phillips family) and to Trinitas Nursing School students as well (Chris was attending school there. He was studying to be a nurse). Sue was a Pharmacist Technician at Walgreens. Customers used to ask for her by name.
June 1st will mark the 3rd annual 5K/10K Trail Run/Walk. Taking place at Lewis Morris Park in Morristown, NJ, it’ll be an opportunity for folks to celebrate and remember Chris and Sue. Many knew them in life. Others, though, never met them but have been so touched by their story and the good that the Foundation continues to do.
So come on out – it’s sure to be a morning filled with affirmation, determination, and a whole lot o’ perspiration. There’s still time to pre-register (signing up by May 18 guarantees you a cool wicking tee, too). Or simply show up the day of. I won’t be running the race this year. I’ll be volunteering at the event along with others and may even take the mic for a bit. Look for the short girl cheering participants on, and making the occasional corny joke, too. (tap tap. “Is this thing on?”)
Affixed on the back of Chris’ Jeep was a bumper sticker: Life is good, it said. He truly and wholeheartedly lived by these words. So, here’s to Chris. Here’s to Sue. Here’s to Sharon and the beautiful Foundation she’s created. And here’s to never forgetting that although it may not seem like it on some days, there’s still so much good in this life.
Jodi Rigotti is the Senior Editor at Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace for teachers to buy and sell their original lesson plans and other course materials. Her hobbies include hiking, cooking, and being nicer than some say is necessary. She currently lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband (and college sweetheart), Dan.