Crutches At March Madness

Being on crutches sucks. After five minutes of hobbling around, you feel like your armpits have lost every layer of skin.

Except when being on crutches is your Golden Ticket.

My senior year in college was the last time the Hoosiers made it to the final game.  (As I write this, I cannot BELIEVE it was eleven years ago.)

Truly, those few weeks were a magical time. Sports can unify people like very few other things can, and it is an intensely emotional bond. As cheesy as it sounds, I really felt like I was part of something quite special. During those games it felt as if time stood still. Every bar was packed to the gills with fans wearing their Indiana Basketball Tshirts, chanting the fight song:

Indiana, Our Indiana,

Indiana, we’re all for you!

We will fight for the cream and crimson,

For the glory of old IU

Never daunted, we cannot falter

In the battle, we’re tried and true

Indiana, Our Indiana,

Indiana, we’re all for you!

 

Because everyone wanted to watch the game at a bar, advance planning was required. All of the bars opened at noon, and to get a table (and faster bar service), someone had to show up at noon to claim a table.

While in theory it sounds like a good idea to spend seven hours in a shitty college bar drinking shitty college beer, the reality is that A) I suck at waiting for things, which makes everyone around me homicidal, B) it gets expensive to drink for twelve hours (even cheap college pitchers), and C) I suck at waiting for things (did I already mention this point?), thus rendering getting myself to the bar at noon impossible. Sadly, my powers of persuasion did not work on my boyfriend or on my best friend as neither of them volunteered (or caved to my repeated requests) to give up their afternoon to go sit at the bar.

I was about to find another way to secure a table during March Madness. Before you congratulate me on my powers of persuasion  you should know that crutches open many doors (and secure sitting in crowded bars)…

Six On Sunday, Version 34

1. Chicken & Waffles. I have heard of ‘chicken and waffles’ since I moved South. I have never tried the two together, as the flavor combination is lost on me (perhaps it’s my Midwestern upbringing?). Lays potato chips is introducing three new flavors, and one of them is, you guessed it, Chicken & Waffles. I bought a bag on a whim and brought it home. Emma immediately zoned in on the bag as I walked through the door. Despite the fact that she had just finished dinner, she announced she wanted “five” chips. (Don’t know what her deal is with ‘five’, but she wants everything in fives.) After one bite, she screwed up her face, spit it out, and informed she would not be eating anymore. I too tried a bite… and came to the same conclusion. GROSS.

2. Real Buttercream Frosting. This weekend, we went to a birthday party for my best girlfriend’s daughter. We have decided that our daughters are best friends also, and are hopeful that they continue to like each other! The centerpiece of any birthday party is the cake. This cake was incredibly dense, yet moist almost like a white pound cake. But, the cake paled in comparison to the frosting. I normally do not care for frosting. Normally, I scrape it to the side and leave it in a small mountain on my plate (thankfully, Emma thinks frosting is its own food group, so she gobbles mine- and anyone else’s she can get her hands on- up.)  This frosting wasn’t overly sweet, instead, it was butter. Pause for just a second and let that brilliance seep in: CAKE SURROUNDED BY BUTTER! Life Changing, I tell you!

3. Salted CaramelI like the sweet/ salty combination. I love salted caramel candies. Salted caramel cookies are divine. Salted caramel frozen yogurt at Menchie’s is TERRIBLE. It’s like eating the ocean- all brine and salt. The only thing missing was a fishy smell. I would recommend you stick with the Red Velvet, as that is The Most Amazing Flavor Ever.

(Good grief, I must be really hungry! Now for some non food stuff…)

4. Thimerosal. Don’t know what this is? I didn’t either until last week. Thimerosal is a preservative in cosmetics and contact solutions. And, I am very allergic to it. The skin around my eyes has been peeling for almost eighteen months. Attempting to wear eye makeup is so painful that I have been forced to stop wearing it. Let me tell you that dark under eye circles look good on no one. Especially not on me. In good news, now that I know what the problem is, I can fix it. In bad news, all of my eye make up has to go… a small piece of me is dying with each expensive mascara, eyeliner, and shadow that I toss.

5. At Home Gel Manicures. I had my first gel manicure around Christmas. It totally rocked my world. As much as I loved it, I am way too cheap budget conscious to shell out that kind of money- the last time I had a pedicure was because I was  too pregnant to reach my toes myself (June 2009). So, being the resourceful gal I am I bought one of the at-home kits. It sucked. Sally Henson, you are a dirty liar! I have one of my girlfriend’s at home gel manicure kits to try, and have my finger (nails) crossed for a better result.

6. The Bachelor. The Finale!! As this is my virgin season, I am not sure if this really is the “The Most Dramatic Season Ever”, but I am so hooked! I have already warned asked my husband to keep his comments to himself! Happy Watching!

The Bachelor Spoilers 2013 Six On Sunday, Version 34

Who wins?!
source

I Met My Match…

I have never used online dating. While I am happily married, I often wonder who would have been my “match”. I happily skipped the awkward first drink, the rescue texting of girlfriends from the bathroom, and the agony of hoping that he would, in fact, call me.

t j chicago I Met My Match...

Happy Wife, Happy Life!

Thomas and I are exact opposites on paper. Before we got married, we did some premarital counseling (not to be confused with our current we-are-married-and-want-to-stay-that-way-counseling). As part of the counseling, we filled out questionnaires about life decisions- children, finances, and careers. When the results were presented to us, our priest prefaced that the Church likes to see at least an 89% match on couples planning to wed.

love test I Met My Match...

We scored a 59%. Fr. Sudekom saw (several) potential problems; we saw a huge success as we were over 50% compatible. Yay us!

test fail I Met My Match...
While I will not get to experience online dating, I am still curious about the process. When I started blogging, I read a lot of blogs touting the “online community” of best bloggy friends. I was intrigued, and really hopeful that I would develop my own online clique group of girlfriends. It is rare in life (except in online dating) that one gets free reign to create themselves, from the color of their hair to their athletic prowess to their height. In the world of online dating, it is very evident very quickly when someone outright liesfibs. We have all heard the horror stories of the Brad Pitt look alike who looked more like the current Angelina Jolie Dirty Hippy version than the Jennifer Aniston Super Hottie. (And, we have all celebrated by discreetly doing a fist pump that we avoided yucky Brad Pitt!)

 

online dating I Met My Match...
Blogging is so different than online dating in so so many ways (thankfully), and the biggest difference is less accountability to stick to the facts… and just the facts. When a blogger stretches the truth, there is rarely anyone to call them on it. People post anything and everything, which makes me suspect that the chemicals in our environment are causing the disintegration of the FILTER part of the brain… I have read tutorials about women STEAMING AND THEN EATING THEIR PLACENTAS for crying out loud. Not to mention all of the immoral and illegal hobbies of some of our fine citizens. (I am not a moral high horse. I love a great train wreck blog as much as the next person, trust me, however, I would think that posting one’s illegal activities might not be prudent, but what do I know.)

 

I had my first experience with an online relationship earlier this week… Thankfully no Yucky Brad Pitt showed up… Find out tomorrow who did!

The Platform Of Second Guessing- Rungs Two and Three of the Ladder

Thomas, my husband is great at making decisions. He evaluates the information, thoughtfully reflects, and makes a decision.  I am told that this is how most people operate.

My family, however, operates on a platform of Second Guessing.

Our first decision that had to be made was to choose the venue for the reception. We had done some research online, and had made appointments with a few locations.  (I used a lot of self restraint. I wanted to book nineteen appointments so we would have plenty of information, but I also wanted to shield Thomas from some of the crazy until after the “I Dos”.) We visited the first (Windows Off Washington for my St. Louis readers), and loved it. Thomas was ready to sign the paperwork and go have a beer. But, Thomas wasn’t making the decision alone. He was with Captain Information and Second Officer Second Guess. Sure, Windows Off Washington was great; it had everything we wanted, and we were perfectly satisfied… but… WHAT IF???

“What If’ is the second rung in the Non Decision Making Ladder.

WHAT IF… we liked the food at another place better?  …the dance floor was bigger? …was less expensive?

The possibilities are endless! Thomas politely listened to several rounds of this as he was trying to make a good impression on his Mother-In-Law To-Be (also he is extremely polite) and then spoke his piece.

possibilites The Platform Of Second Guessing  Rungs Two and Three of the Ladder

“I like it. Julia likes it. It has everything we listed. We can afford it.”  He paused. “I am not going to another place. You can go with your mother. I’m done”.

BUT!! 

“I am not going to look anywhere else. I’m done.”

shut the front door funny signs The Platform Of Second Guessing  Rungs Two and Three of the Ladder

 The world stopped spinning. Time stood still. This man was willing to make a decision with only one option?! He skipped the first two rungs on the ladder! How was this possible?!  Would I live a life of regret that I could have had a better reception somewhere else?!  Would my family support such a decision, one made without 14,000 pieces of information translated into a Pro’s vs. Con’s Excel spreadsheet?! As it turns out, it was possible, we had our reception there and it was lovely. (I was the Most Beautiful Bride EverTM.)

And, there were many more decisions to make!

The third rung of the Non Decision Making Ladder is Attempting to Change Decisions That Have Already Been Made. We wanted to serve pork tenderloin at our reception. We had several debates utilizing the first two rungs of our ladder.  We actually made a decision, filled out the forms, and signed on the dotted line… and then my mother freaked remembered our Jewish guests.  Citing dietary concerns, she set out on a Mission To Change The Pork. I certainly want to be respectful and to honor people’s dietary choices, especially when they are driven by religion, but this was ridiculous because  we invited three Jewish guests…two of whom weren’t coming, and the third does not keep kosher.  She was Changing for The Sake Of Changing. 

She received extra bonus points for this move because of the timing as she made this announcement approximately three weeks before the big day. After several days of “discussion”, my mother won. She has many more years of experience at this game, but I hope I gave her a run for her money! A couple of weeks after the wedding, Thomas asked about dinner- why was he served chicken when we had decided on pork? I told him about my mother’s mission, and he thanked me for leaving him out of it. 

thanks deciding ecard someecards1 The Platform Of Second Guessing  Rungs Two and Three of the Ladder

I left Thomas out of it for a couple of reasons. Mainly, I wanted to make sure he was going to show up at the wedding! But also because he did not have the skills to play the Non Decision Making game. Today, though, I am proud to say that he is making progress, and learning to manipulate the rungs.

I am even prouder to tell you that I am learning how to actually Make Decisions!

note: Thomas gives things a once over before I post them… and he had NO IDEA about the pork. He thanked me for sparing him!  (My bestie Liz proofs all of my writing out of the niceness of her heart before I post. She is so amazing I cannot stand it. It takes a village, people.)

The First Rung of the Ladder of Non Decision

I love, LOVE to be organized. I actually enjoy cleaning out my sock drawer.  I look forward to Spring Cleaning Day the way most people look forward to Christmas. (As a direct result, Spring Cleaning Day is a holiday that occurs WAY more than once a year in our house.) I have embraced my OCD and prefer to think of it as an OCDo.

Other than my Costco addiction, I like to think we live a streamlined life. We regularly clean out our closets (I have an itty bitty house with doll size closets), organize our drawers, and sort through the overflow of junk very important, random pieces of paper that somehow end up in my kitchen.

more is more The First Rung of the Ladder of Non Decision

However, there is one area of my life where More Is More.  I am a Hoarder of Information.  There, I said it! I come by it honestly; I do not blame myself (I hold my family completely responsible). Hoarding information is a key step in the art of Non Decision Making, which is practically an Olympic sport in my family. When making a Non Decision, there are several steps one needs to take to ensure that nothing can be accomplished. I prefer to think of this process as a ladder, with several rungs. 

ladder1 The First Rung of the Ladder of Non Decision

The first rung of the Ladder Of Non Decision Making is the “hoarding of information”.  Thanks to the internet, the ability to execute this step is ridiculously easy.  The biggest example that comes to mind is wedding planning.  There are so many decisions to be made when planning a wedding that even “normal” decision makers can reach overload status and become paralyzed, so you can imagine the circus that my mother and I turned it into when planning mine.

Thomas and I got married in my hometown of St.  Louis, and because it isn’t exactly next door to Atlanta,  we had to make several trips during the planning.  Since we had a limited amount of time (more often than not just a weekend to spend), placing any sort of limitation on this already taxing process is not recommended; however, my mother said she was up for the challenge. This should have been my first red flag…

red flag The First Rung of the Ladder of Non Decision

Really, it could not have been more clear.

The first thing we saw when we walked into her house was the towering stack of bridal magazines.  I remember glancing nervously at Thomas and hoping that he was ready for the Uproar (a game my family plays that delays a decision as long as possible by being “nicer” than the next guy.) Let the hoarding begin!

Thomas operates as follows (I suspect that so do most people):

  • Utilize Google to gain information on different options.
  • Pick two.
  • Review choices in person. If the first choice is acceptable, there is no reason to review the second option. (This is unfathomable in my family.  This concept simply does not exist for us.) (It is actually difficult for me to even write it.)
  • Make decision.

As I have mentioned, this is not really the way my family works. For starters, it is WAY too easy…

tomorrow, we will discuss the Second Rung of the Ladder…

I Might Not Love Football, But I Love Thomas!

So I’m not the perfect girlfriend… and I don’t like sushi…  Thomas was still willing to be my boyfriend. And then, I revealed that I also pretended to love football, and to really love to eat wings while watching football. 

football widow I Might Not Love Football, But I Love Thomas!

Today, I mourn the beginning of football season the same way others mourn the end of it.(I found this article online at UK Daily Mail, evidently I am not the only one!)  I hate Sunday afternoons, because Thomas is “busy” and therefore is not available to fix things/do errands/yard work. As Emma still naps in the afternoons, one of us has to be home in the afternoon anyway so I cannot complain too much (yeah right, like silly things like FACTS are going to stop ME from complaining!)  Before she was born, we reached a compromise: Thomas would record the game and watch it later in the evening, so we would have an opportunity to “do stuff’. Initially, he was concerned that he would hear the outcome of the game. I assured him if he was with me, he would not hear a peep about football. In my world, I can go MONTHS without so much as hearing who is playing who, let alone a score! As I mentioned, I live in the South, where football is a religion.  On Sunday evenings, I Google all results so I know what to expect on Monday mornings from my colleagues. 

game day I Might Not Love Football, But I Love Thomas!

As far as wings go, it has been eight years since I have eaten one… and I have lived to tell about it! Now, before you starting grumbling about how mean I am, and how deprived Thomas is, know this: on the road, Thomas eats his fair share (and then some. I don’t ask!) of wings, and watches football like it’s going out of style.  He is fine!

Relationships are much easier when one is not living out of a suitcase, and both parties are in the same time zone. However, I would be fibbing a little bit if I said I did not miss the anticipation of seeing Thomas, and of both of us being on our Best Behavior…

good behavior I Might Not Love Football, But I Love Thomas!

:::Insert your own joke::::

No More Sushi, Or When Thomas Realized I Wasn’t Perfect

As I mentioned, Thomas and I met on a cruise at the bar in church doing mission work for poor orphans.  There was a sushi bar on the ship.  I had never had sushi, in fact, the idea of eating raw fish had never occurred to me.

ERIKA JULIA DAUGHTERS No More Sushi, Or When Thomas Realized I Wasnt Perfect

We are still friends. We are positive our daughters will be BFF also.

I was on the cruise with my BFF Erika, who is very sophisticated and sort of a foodie. (For those of you paying attention, this might sound familiar.  You are in fact correct. This was the second year Erika and I packed our bags and set off in the wilds of the Caribbean. Also familiar? Me meeting the Love Of My Life and Erika rolling her eyes and plastering a smile on her face).  She was thrilled, and wanted to go every night. Not really. At least this year she got sushi out of the deal! Because God likes to see me squirm, we met Thomas and his friends at the sushi bar every night because they loved sushi too! No one noticed that I did not eat a single piece, that I did not even attempt to bring the ‘tasty treat’ anywhere near my mouth.  Thankfully, there was also Chardonnay at the sushi bar, so I busied myself with that. 

sushi No More Sushi, Or When Thomas Realized I Wasnt Perfect

When I would go visit Thomas, he always suggested that we go out for sushi, as he assumed I loved it. (Also, one of the waitresses at the local Japanese restaurant was a “hottie”, and he and his roommates LOVED HER. They still talk about “Sushi Girl” with a wistful look in their eyes. so perhaps the suggestions of sushi were doubly motivated .Personally, I did not see it as she was not that cute, but what do I know?) Because I was attempting to be the worldly, sophisticated girl that LOVED sushi on the cruise, I had to agree.  Every time. Do you KNOW how much sushi I had to eat? A lot.  Because there was NO Chardonnay at this restaurant, I had to actually EAT the sushi. Also, I had to drink beer (which, at the time, wasn’t a deal breaker.  In today’s world, it would be.)

T J CRUISE 2003 No More Sushi, Or When Thomas Realized I Wasnt Perfect

Finally, a few years after we were married, I fessed up.  I do not really care for sushi that much.  Yes, I did learn to tolerate it, but for my money, I would rather go somewhere else.  Thomas looked me, started laughing, and confessed that he felt he had also eaten his life time quota for sushi.  Four years later, and we have not been out for sushi once.

However, there was one more big secret to reveal…

Long Distance Love, Or How I Made Thomas Think I Was Perfect

So, I married my third boyfriend. (I am not counting my forgotten boyfriend; he sucked.) Like all things Julia’s Math, the road was not always straight, wide, and freshly paved, but I knew within two days of meeting Thomas that I would marry him. I know everyone says that, but I really did know (he, however, was not as certain). Unlike everyone else who says “I just knew I would marry him, it was so magical and wonderful and blah, blah, blah,” I am not saying I thought it was a good idea (I do now, of course!), as I mentioned, not only were we opposites of each other, but he was the opposite of what I thought I wanted. When I met him, I was 23 and just out of college, he was 35 and divorced …

fork in the road Long Distance Love, Or How I Made Thomas Think I Was Perfect

First of all, we lived a thousand miles away from each other. So, as most couples go to dinner and a movie, or out for drinks or to a baseball game to get to know each other, we would, instead, have to do things a little differently. Those thousand miles meant that rather than spending a few hours together, we would spend a few days together. Our ‘first date’ was thirty-six hours. I still remember buying that first plane ticket, my mouse arrow hovering over the ‘buy’ button on American Airlines. Not to sound overly dramatic, but it was one of those ‘Fork In The Road’ moments. I had a choice to make, and the ramifications of this choice would be life changing.  I had to choose to go to visit Thomas,  or not to go.  This was one of those roads were staying straight and ignoring  the entire situation wasn’t an option. Of course, I went, and had a great time.

fake1 Long Distance Love, Or How I Made Thomas Think I Was Perfect

Not Yet…

As anyone who has been in a long distance relationship will tell you, it is a very strange beast. It is very easy to put on a pretty face, or rosy colored glasses, or whatever reality altering accessory you want when you are in a long distance romance. For the forty-eight hours each month I spent with Thomas, I was a girl who did not watch her diet, who could afford to go out for dinners and drinks, who did not work out, who LOVED sushi, and who did not read while in the bathroom (shut up you do it too).

abscense Long Distance Love, Or How I Made Thomas Think I Was Perfect
In reality, I work out every day, watch what I eat, don’t really care for sushi, and I hate football (I live in the South, deep in SEC country, and I might have just risked my life!).

sec Long Distance Love, Or How I Made Thomas Think I Was Perfect

And, eventually, the truth had to come out… stay tuned…

You Have To Kiss Some Frogs To Find Your Prince

I was utterly and completely heartbroken.

It felt like my life died- I had been absolutely swept off my feet. I was young, and desperately wanted an instruction manual for grown up life. K was a few years older, and seemed very wise at the time. Additionally, that rosy new relationship glow- you know, that feeling where you can’t imagine that person will ever do anything wrong, and is so perfect, and so wonderful, and everything is amazing, and BLAH BLAH BLAH- was never extinguished because we never experienced “real life” stuff. We saw each other every couple of weeks, and he paid for everything. It was like Disney World for relationships. No one ever had to take the trash out, or compromise on what to watch on TV, or forgot to pick up the dry cleaning.

break up poem You Have To Kiss Some Frogs To Find Your Prince

A little sappy, but totally true.

Once I got over my despair, I got Angry. Very Angry. Psycho Angry. 

I may or may not have threatened to show up at his house so he could explain his virtual disappearance from the face of the Earth in person. (I had a plane ticket already booked for New Years, and I had his AMEX, so I could have totally made it happen.) It was not my proudest moment. At the time, I thought of myself as a Thelma and Louise gal, demanding answers for all girls who had been screwed over.

miss you ecard 700x490 You Have To Kiss Some Frogs To Find Your Prince

K did a great job of sucking me back in over the next year. And I wanted so so badly to be sucked back in, so it’s not like it took a lot. Sadly, it was obvious to everyone except for me that he did not want to get back together. He did however, want to mess with my mind. He would tell me he missed me. I would rush down to see him. Once there, he would decide that he did not in fact miss me that much and that we would not work as a couple.

K is my Dating Anti Christ. (A local radio show in Atlanta coined the term, and it fits perfectly here!) When I read He’s Just Not That Into You, it felt like Greg Behrendt had been spying on me for the past year. (If my suffering provided even one girl relief, it was still so so awful.) In retrospect, I did learn a lot from the experience. I learned that it’s OK to be That Girl Without A Boyfriend sometimes. I also learned what a true Knight in Shining Armor looks like….

t j laura wedding2 You Have To Kiss Some Frogs To Find Your Prince

My Knight

And Then My Life Died

Everything was perfect- K and I were so in love, and so happy, and just the picture of a Lifetime movie about Finding Love In Unexpected Places. And then, everything changed. One Friday in December, I got to work and called K. I couldn’t get him on the phone, which was weird as I could always count on him to answer the phone.  The day went on, and K still wasn’t answering his phone.  On Friday I was worried. On Saturday, I was pissed. By Sunday, I was levitating. You know that saying, “Hell Has No Fury Like A Woman Scorned”… That? Is a gross underestimate. 

no answer And Then My Life Died

He finally answered the phone Sunday afternoon.  He at least had the decency to be somewhat sheepish about his lack of communication. I demanded answers.  He first tried to placate me with stupid BS excuses, but as I am not blind, stupid, or newly born that strategy did not work. He then tried being defensive. Why was I calling so much? That did not end well for him either. 

Finally, he told me what had happened.  He and his ex-fiance were going to try again.  WTH?! Seriously? Remember, I already mentioned I was  young and impressionable. I also had convinced myself that I NEEDED this relationship to work out.  Empowered, independent women were turning out to be greater on paper than in real life.  I had believed him when he told me that he was done with her, that he felt nothing for her, and that the wedding would have been a huge mistake.  I needed to believe him when he told me how much he loved me, and that he was so excited for a future together.

dear john letter And Then My Life Died

His third option was to let me rant. And rant I did. 

 I demanded to know HOW this had happened because he told me that he never saw her.

I demanded to know WHY he told me things that were LIES.

I demanded to know what he was going to do to fix it, to fix me, to fix the unbelievable anger, pain, and loss of both a dream and of my rose colored glasses.

Also, what kind of COWARDLY mamby-pamby IGNORES frantic phone calls for THREE DAYS?!

Also, what jack ass waits to break up with his girlfriend when she is at work? This guy.

I worked for Nordstrom at the time, which is a store famous for its attention to its customers.  We had very strict rules for what was appropriate on the sales floor.  That Sunday, I broke every single one of them. I was a one woman s*** show. I was so scary that I did not get in trouble, I was simply asked to ‘please take my conversation outside’. I remember walking outside, in the snow, without a coat, for half an hour screaming.  I was so out of my mind that the crazy homeless people were running away from me. 

nordstrom And Then My Life Died

Of note: screaming, name calling, and crying are not encouraged. (No matter how much someone might deserve it.)

As I write this, I am attempting to put into words how angry and betrayed I felt (ten years later), yet words alone are not doing it justice. Also, I am getting mad all over again!

 

the dramatic ending tomorrow… I get mad, but do not break any stalking laws