Julia’s Math is Tough on My Body

I am not the girl of my youth. My Daddy always said “Youth is wasted on the young.” In addition to youth, the young are severely spoiled when it comes to things like non aching joints!

My tightly wound personality has seeped into my body, rendering it tightly wound as well.

As I have gotten older, my body has been less willing to accept the daily rigors of Julia’s Math. I have to devote HOURS upon HOURS to stretching and rehabbing various body parts. As much of a pain (literal and figurative) it is to spend otherwise productive time laying on the floor, I can now touch my chin to my chest, touch the floor with my hands in a forward fold, walk without stabbing pain in my heels, leave a workout class without feeling like I need two knee replacements, and carry more than three pounds on my left shoulder! Yay me!

The latest aliments are my calves. I have calves that would make the Baby Jesus wail. I know this, because we cried together last week at my physical therapy appointment.  I taught my doctor how tight a human being’s calves could actually get.  I wish I knew what he did exactly to make it feel like I was being prodded with burning hot pinchers so I could recommend this technique to anyone in National Intelligence as a way to get prisoners to divulge pertinent information. (Note: as I am sure YOU are reading this anyway, I would be more than happy to provide details… you know how to get in touch with me.) I think that this doctor also enjoys a challenge and viewed my too tight rubber band calves as the ultimate test. His cavalier attitude about things like “patient comfort” and “bedside manner” were duly noted as I proceeded to sweat through my skirt, making it appear as though I had wet my pants (which was not humiliating AT ALL).

Generally, I have a very high pain tolerance (I am not bragging; it causes problems because I am too stubborn to stop whatever activity is causing the pain) and I still almost threw up.  It was that bad.

pain tool Julias Math is Tough on My Body

I’m off the chart!
source

And, sadly, he was not done with me yet. In even worse news, given my current condition, there was no way I could out run him and escape

The Tennis Ball… An Orb of Mean

The new symbol of evil at my house is the tennis ball. It is a fuzzy neon yellow sphere of pain. I try to not look at it head on. Even when I catch just a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye, I whimper softly.

tennis ball02 700x466 The Tennis Ball... An Orb of Mean

the new evil
source

Because I like to think of myself as rather fearless, or, at least enough of a grown up to fake it, my irrational fear of tennis balls does not make sense; however, I blame it all on Dr. Dave, AKA Dr. Hot Poker Hands. Dr. HPH is a physical therapist whose main thrill is making (slightly difficult) patients cry helping patients heal.

As those who know me will attest, I am rather “tightly wound”.  Phrases like “go with the flow” do not come to mind when friends describe me.  I, on the other hand, prefer to use adjectives like “motivated” and “driven” when I describe myself. Perhaps this is a misconception?

julia balloons The Tennis Ball... An Orb of Mean

The Face of Inflexibility

In Julia’s Math, I consider the “going with the flow” to be a personal challenge, an invitation to rise to the occasion. It is my personal responsibility to set the pace and trajectory that the Flow travels on. I like to think I manage the Flow like a boss. The flow is a project, and I am Project Manager.

Unfortunately, my mastery (or lack thereof) of the Flow has left the cerebral and entered the physical…My rigidity has literally seeped into my very self, the fibers of my being – namely my muscles.

I have knots in my shoulders that make my chiropractor weep. I have had hamstrings so tight that the muscle felt like a series of corded ropes instead of being soft and supple. My hamstrings have ruined more than one massage for me. More than once, the masseuse has taken to mumbling (LOUDLY) about the state of my hamstrings, drowning out the relaxing, new-age drippy raindrops music. Anytime I leave a massage, chiropractor, or physical therapy (it takes a village, people) and no one shakes their head in disbelief, mumbles curses, and/or repeatedly asks me if I am aware of how tight I was, I am able to put a check mark in the Life’s Small Victories (or should I say #WINNING?) column.

My Earliest Memory

I am again The Last Girl To The Party! Carrie‘s Wordy Wednesday party asked “What’s your earliest memory?” (Last Wednesday. Hey, better late than never, yes?)

My earliest memory is going to Schuncks (a local St. Louis grocery store) on a cold, dark night to pick up a cake for my new sister, Jennifer. I remember sitting in our breakfast room in the dark, with only the candles on the cake for light, anxiously waiting for the singing to be over and the cake to be cut.

I also remember being sad, scared, and confused with the impending addition of my sister to my family. Those scares are not as fresh today, and they have faded into the background of my memory of that day. Fast forward to today, she is one of my closest confidents and biggest cheerleaders. I am impressed by her maturity and self confidence; one of her best qualities is the sound advice she gives after listening to a particular dilemma.

julia jennifer bath My Earliest Memory

However at three years old, she was anything but a blessing.  In fact, it would take almost two decades for us to become friends.

The rest of this memory is actually my grandmother’s. She had come to town to take care of me while my parents took care of my sister. (Recently I heard a debate on the radio regarding paternity leave… Clearly the host did not have little children and failed to realize it takes a minimum of two people to keep ahead of a tiny dictator newborn. In my book, paternity leave is just as much for Mom as for the new baby. Someone who is not under the influence of massive hormones fluctuations needs to be in charge!)

Even though she only shared this memory with me once, it is as vivid as though it is my own. After we had eaten the cake, she walked me up the stairs to my room. I paused at every stair (all fifteen of them) and asked her, “What am I going to do?” At three years old, I thought my parents were having another child to replace me.  I thought that there could not possibly be enough love in their hearts for both of us. I was being replaced.

As a parent, I have a better understanding of why my parents wanted another child and a sister for me (a few years later I got another one). The love for your child is limitless and there is always enough to go around. My parents loved being parents so much they had another child.

Years of therapy have taught me that while feelings are important, they are not fact. Many times, feelings will insert themselves as truth even though reality is very different. For years, I reacted to my sister as that lost, hurt three year-old. Thankfully, I have released that resentment and we have moved forward in a (mostly) functional adult relationship. As with anything worth doing, it took a while.  It took a long time for us to stop expecting the worst from each other. We worked our way into a cautious friendship, and now, we are not only sisters but also the closest of friends.

julia jennifer laura xmas 2012 My Earliest Memory

Sometimes Revenge Looks Like Flats

There are many things that one learns about pregnancy after the fact. I am sure I am not the only one who swore up and down during my last trimester  that if “I knew what I know now back then, things would be VERY VERY DIFFERENT AT THIS MOMENT.” As loyal readers know, the single best thing about pregnancy (other than the baby, duh) is that it is the greatest equalizer ever. Even Kim Kardashian gets the puffy ankles

I knew about swollen ankles. At least, I thought I did. I remember watching my ankles swell after finishing a (super grab) bag of Rold Gold pretzels. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn I was watching something over time lapse photography. The swelling was quick, and it was epic. It was also extremely sad as I could eat three meals a day consisting solely of  pretzels. (Salt is totally a food group.)

Thankfully, I got the memo…  She didn’t.

She claimed flats were uncomfortable. She tried to beat the system.

She lost. In related news, the gossip rags keep pitting Kim against Princess Kate, which makes me so sad because as much I love all things K, Kim doesn’t stand a chance…

 

 

Why Do I Write?

Today, I am linking up (very late to the party!) with Carrie Elle for the innaugural Wordy Wednesday Prompt.

This week (er… last week, but whatever… always fashionably late, right?), the prompt is: Why Do I Write?

julia emma why i write Why Do I Write?

I write because I think I am good at it.

I write because I think I’m funny.

I write because the feedback I have received from readers (readers defined as people who are not related to me) is good, at times even great, and that warms my heart, makes my day, and puts a spring in my step. When I have touched someone- even if it was just a quick laugh- it fills me with a sense of accomplishment and a sense of kinship that I have not found in any other place in my life.

I write because one day I want to be a bestselling author of books (about me- what else?!).

That last sentence was a difficult one to write, because I cannot take it back. Now that I have publicly outed myself, I must follow through. I consider myself very goal oriented. I run my life (and my household) in ways that would make a professional organizer weep with joy. The older I get, the more private I get. Yes, I realize I blog about my life, which seems very public, however, as I control all the content, I am able to keep certain parts private.  I tend to share only what I absolutely, positively know I can achieve.  Putting my Goal out there is nerve racking, because, if I fail, I will have the eyes of all of my loyal fans (that’s at least eleven sets of eyes) witnessing my defeat.

The threat of failure, however, does not motivate me as much as the thrill of victory. For me, victory is defined as having new readers, and more importantly, making new connections with those readers.  When I receive a notification of a new reader (or new comment), the feeling is like nothing else. I liken it to how it feels to close the biggest deal with the toughest client.  That feeling of triumph, of gratification, of accomplishment, and of belonging is unparalleled.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I also write because I am (fairly) narcissistic.  I think I am unbelievably interesting and hilarious, and inside my head I believe everyone else does too. I don’t want to go so far as to say that it is my OBLIGATION to share the life inside my head, but if someone else does I will not argue the point…

julia emma do you understand Why Do I Write?

Old School Blogging

Because Everyone Else Is Doing It, I had to.

The ABCs of old school blogging- except that I did not even know what a blog was when this was all the rage.  For me, it’s more like old school AOL email forwards.

Now that everyone REALLY is doing it, go link up with Miss Elaine and Jennifer and join in. Don’t be That Girl.

A. Attached or Single? Married, which in my opinion is better than just attached.

B. Best Friend? I have a friend, Erika, who is really more like a sister than a friend in that nothing is scared or off limits when it comes to either of us giving the other “Life Assistance” (also known as freely offering one’s opinion, even if it wasn’t asked for).  Liz is my best friend in Atlanta. She quietly challenges me to be a better person… Oh and my husband.

julia erika 1999v2 Old School Blogging

circa 1999

D. Day of choice? Saturdays.

E. Essential Item? Tervis tumbler with a straw. A few years ago, I had a Come To Jesus meeting with myself after I realized I was going through 2L diet sodas at an alarming rate. I discovered the only way I will drink water is with a straw and ice, ergo the Tervis.

F. Favorite color? Pink. It is also Emma’s favorite.

G. Gummy bears or worms? Neither. Gross.

H. Home town? St. Louis

I. Favorite Indulgence? Getting a weekend away with my husband.

J. January or July? Too cold. Too hot. I want Southern California’s weather.

K. Kids? Emma.

L. Life isn’t complete without? My routine! I am not the most exciting person, but I am the most predictable and I find great comfort in knowing what to expect.

M. Marriage date? July 3, 2006

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 2 sisters

sisters jen wedding Old School Blogging

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples. Fuji and Jazz.

P. Phobias? I do not do roaches. I have my exterminator’s cell phone number and have texted him after 10PM to schedule a treatment after seeing one. I do not play around.

Q. Quotes? ”First there’s Kappa, then you get married, then there’s Junior League and then you die.” A Southern Belle Primer

R. Reasons to smile? Because you are responsible for your own fun. No one else cares if you are having any!

 S. Season of choice? Southern California. I used to love Spring, but in Georgia ‘Spring’ is actually ‘Pollen’ and it is impossible to do anything outside.

T. Tag 5 People. Nope.

U. Unknown fact about me? If I told, it wouldn’t be unknown!

V. Vegetable? Green beans.

W. Worst habit? I have been told sometimes I am a nag…

X. Xray or Ultrasound? Nothing good is going to come from either.

Y. Your favorite food? Chardonnay.

Z. Zodiac sign? Libra.

Okay, your turn!

Justice Was Served- Daddy Served Detention

I have always been one of those people who sneaks in at the last minute; the girl who sits down in her chair just before the bell rings, red faced and breathless.  As an adult, this is my fault. However, I learned this bad habit early. My father made me late for grade school almost every single day… and while it was his fault I was late, I was the one stuck serving the detentions.

I voiced (loudly) my opinion of the unfairness of it all, but it did no good.

After a few months of detention, I explained to my teachers that it was not my fault I was late. It was my father’s.  Once Miss Seratri finished rolling her eyes, she explained that she didn’t care whose ‘fault’ it was, I was late and therefore serving detention. Miss Serati was used to tall tales from her students, and she clearly thought that I was making excuses- not an unfair assumption.  Bottom line: I would be serving the detention; I was late for school.

Over dinner that evening, I tearfully informed my Dad that I would be serving HIS detention. Again.

He listened to me and apologized, saying the detention should be his- he was the tardy one, not me. He promised to rectify the situation.

The next morning when we got to school, instead of dropping my sister and me off as he usually did, my Dad parked.  We walked into my classroom together, and while I hung up my coat and backpack, he spoke with Miss Serati… and later that afternoon, I did not have to serve detention.

My father had explained to Miss Serati that it was not my fault I was late; it really was his fault. If someone needed to serve detention, it should be him. He said that he would be more than happy to do it- just have the school call his secretary to schedule it. (He said this without any sarcasm, he was very serious. Truly.)

After that day, I was still routinely late for school. However, I no longer had to serve detention.

History does have a way of repeating itself, but I am very hopeful that I can get my act together so that Emma arrives to school on time… because I am not serving detention.

Late Is An Inherited Gene

I am almost always late.

I am one of those girls. I should join a 12 Step program. Sadly, my tardiness affects my daughter as she is habitually late to school when I am in charge of drop off.

However, it is not my fault that I drop Emma off late for school, but rather it is my father’s.  I have a history of tardiness: when I was a senior in high school, I was fired from being a carpool driver because I made the freshmen in my car tardy for homeroom, and thus the recipients of detentions.

I would, however, arrive at school with enough time for me to make it to my homeroom. Sadly, the freshmen weren’t so lucky.  At Nerinx (my high school), the upperclassmen had lockers and homerooms close to the entrances. The freshman lockers and homerooms were far, far away in the basement; which was nicknamed The Dungeon.

My father routinely made me late for school when I was younger. I would be ready and waiting by the door- literally standing there, with my back pack on, ready to go. The wait would vary by the day- sometimes it was only two or three minutes, but others it may be twenty. My teachers gave everyone a five minute grace period (I went to Catholic school and everyone either walked or was dropped off by parents; we didn’t have buses) to account for traffic (or late parents). If a student arrived past the grace period, a warning was given. After the warning, detentions were handed out.

I got more than my fair share of detentions. At first, I grumbled about the unfairness of it all. Grumbling did no good; we were still late to school. My grumbles turned to shouts, but still we were late.

And I was still accruing detentions faster than I could say ‘Hail Marys’ at confession…

I Always Run Late

Don’t you just hate that one friend of yours who is always late? I do too.

Except when it’s me.

My daughter is supposed to be at school every day by 8:30 for Circle Time. When her father takes her to school, she is there by 8:15- 8:20 if he’s running late.

When I take her, I count anytime before 8:35 a win.

always late funny quotes I Always Run Late

I am not sure what happens to those magical fifteen minutes every morning. You know, those fifteen minutes that seem to stretch in front of you and almost any chore seems possible. It’s the fifteen minutes that makes you think “We don’t have to leave for at least fifteen minutes. I will just throw a load of laundry in/empty the dishwasher/tidy up the family room/take the trash out.” Those fifteen minutes beckon me, practically screaming ‘Do something! Don’t waste time! Do something!’ As you are patting yourself on the back congratulating yourself on your efficiency and mentally checking something off the To Do List, you notice the clock on the wall behind you…. And panic because there is no way on God’s Green Earth you are going to make it to school on time. Again.

kids chore list template1 I Always Run Late

This happens to me every single time. And every single time I am surprised that I have run out of “fifteen minutes”. My girlfriends totally get it- I think it’s the women/multitasking thing.  My husband, on the other hand, shakes his head in incredulity. I can practically hear him saying, “I mean, COME ON, Julia. You knew you didn’t have enough time and that you would be late for school.” He says he cannot fathom why I make the same mistake again and again (God forbid I am actually early!). He does not bring it up anymore because in doing so, he would be welcoming a discussion of that “one time” he Didn’t Ask For Directions and we got so damn lost…

A Few Thoughts On Motherhood

Sometimes, others say things more eloquently than I could ever hope to. Here are some of my favorites on motherhood…

Happy Mothers Day to all Moms and all Hopeful Moms. Most especially to MY Mom…

julia mom savannah 20131 A Few Thoughts On Motherhood

 

Irish Baby Blessing

May all the blessing of our Lord touch your life today.
May He send His little angels to protect you on your way.
Such a wee little fit, sent from above.
Someone so precious to cherish and love.
May sunshine and moonbeams dance over your head.
As you quietly slumber in your bed.
May good luck be with you wherever you go.
And your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.

“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”
Jodi Picoult, Perfect Match

Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of life.
~Maureen Hawkins

 “The decision to become a mother is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

“For the mother is and must be, whether she knows it or not, the greatest, strongest, and most lasting teacher her children have.”

 When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.  ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty

“God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.”

 

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.” ~ Jill Churchill

julia emma mothers day 20131 A Few Thoughts On Motherhood