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!
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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
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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

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?

High Heels Are a Bad Call When Pregnant

All ladies face the same joys (and unpleasantness) when pregnant. Even the Kardashians. (Shut up you watch them too!)

As everyone knows, Kourtney has had two babies and Kim is pregnant with her first. Of course, she has been all over the tabloids. Yesterday, I saw a picture of her prancing around in six inch Christian Louboutin heels.  While I am the first to agree that the shoes are fabulous, I just cannot wrap my head around the sheer stupidity of six inch heels while pregnant. (She is claiming that flats are uncomfortable. I mean, COME ON!)

Sure, being pregnant is wonderful and life changing and blah blah blah, but there are parts that are terrible. Awful. There are moments when you question your sanity for voluntarily putting yourself through the hells that are pregnancy. Things like eating pretzels (high salt content), peeing every six hours, sleeping more than forty five minutes at a time; and having a visual on your feet become a luxuries one can only dream about.

In a recent episode, Kim bashes Kourtney for being too much of a mom; claiming she’s boring and frumpy and doesn’t want to do anything fun anymore.  She razzles Kourtney for her weight gain. She says she doesn’t understand why Kourtney still hasn’t lost the last ten pounds she gained- the baby is already three months old!

Getting out of the house with one child is an Olympic feat in and of itself; I cannot imagine the level of planning and synchronization that is required with two. She also chastises Kourtney for taking an entire eight weeks off since the birth of her daughter. The nerve!

I cannot wait to hear the changing of the tune when Kim gives birth.

One celebrity who deserves good wishes is Princess Kate. I cannot imagine having the entire planet fixated on me on my best hair day ever; let alone on me as my belly (and hips and thighs) swell.  Minus the stiletto heels, she is the vision of maturity and I applaud her for being a Mommy (Mummy?) first and a Princess second.  All that said…better her than me!

Good Skin Is Priceless (Or, Least $62.39)

Everyone knows that kids are mean. I can personally attest to this, thanks to the major breakouts I suffered as a teenager. In good news, I was not bullied as severely as some, but my breakouts provided plenty of material for the ‘cool kids’.  Back in those days, the only medicines available would turn my face into a bright red, swollen disaster- picture a swollen sunburn.  Granted, it was a pimple free disaster, but it was not the look I was going for.

When I looked in the mirror, I could almost hear them teasing me! I endured acne once; and I was not interested in enduring it again. (I did have the thought that if I ever broke the law and went on the lam, I would totally use terrible skin as a disguise.)

I ran to my dermatologist, pleading for a solution. “Fix this!” I beseeched her as I waved my hand around my face. “Please!” She took one look and then grabbed her prescription pad. Ironically, one of the medicines she prescribed was one I had used in high school!  The shame! As we discussed the mess on my face, the culprit became clear- the CeraVe. Target, you savings minx, you sold me out!

My attempts at budgeting, while noble, were not sensible. These attempts were actually expensive when the co-pay for the dermatologist visit and the prescriptions were factored in.

 Saving money or not, it became clear (pun intended) that skincare was not an area of economizing in my house.  After all, my self-esteem is priceless. 

My brush with youth was terrible. It was most definitely a waste, but not in the way my dad proclaimed. This ‘youth’ was red, ugly, and scaly. Not to mention a waste of time and money!

Thankfully, I had the gifts of age, wisdom, and American Express.

American Express Good Skin Is Priceless (Or, Least $62.39)

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As I drove myself to Nordstrom, I silently mocked my dad- if this was the ‘youth’ he was talking about, he could have it! I am much more interested in being a grown up with clear (sometimes a little dry, to be fair) skin. As soon as I parked, I practically skipped to the Lancôme counter, knowing the my salvation was a mere $62.39 away.

That was possibly the best $62.39 I have ever spent.

As I write this, my skin is healing, and the evidence of ‘youth’ is fading. I no longer resemble a unicorn, and looking in the mirror does not reduce me to tears. I am confident that very soon, I will look the “young” thirty something that I am. 

The morals of the story: With age comes wisdom; and DO NOT CUT CORNERS WHEN IT COMES TO SKINCARE.

 

Saving Money Is Bad For Your Skin

My father has always proclaimed: “Youth is wasted on the young.” Even though it took me getting old to understand the point of this statement that does not change the fact that I still think it is a stupid saying.  (Sorry Daddy!) Sure, there were great things about being young- the lack of hangovers and bills comes to mind-, but overall I think I have the better side of the deal being an adult (I can eat cookies before dinner, for example).

Recently, I decided I was Going To Save Money. Around the same time, I ran out of my favorite, magical moisturizer. I have EXTREMELY sensitive skin.  It is also EXTREMELY dry. During a recent trip to Chicago, my entire face sloughed off due to the cold and the wind. I am also EXTREMELY prone to break outs.  In high school, I took the dreaded-yet-worth-it Accutane to clear up my skin once and for all. (Luckiest girl in the room, right here!) Of course, the only thing that will work on extremely sensitive, dry, prone-to-break-out skin is an EXTREMELY expensive moisturizer.

NUTRIXROYAL 1 Saving Money Is Bad For Your Skin

Magic I tell you!

To be fair, my Lancôme Nutrix Royale ($60) is certainly not La Mer ($275), but you get the idea. Every time I purchase my magical potion, the salesgirls question me- “this is way too rich for your skin”, they cry! “There is no way this could possibly be for you!” While part of me appreciates their intentions, the ex-cosmetic gal who is paid commission part of me says, “Shut up and ring up!”

So, in an effort to stay on the budget, I elected to try another brand, CeraVe. Everyone raves about this lotion, and it was even endorsed by my dermatologist. And, it was $14.99 at Target. Score!

Target Beauty1 1024x653 700x446 Saving Money Is Bad For Your Skin

Except for Me.
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The first few days were utter, total bliss- my skin was soft, radiant, and clear. Sadly, things were not to stay that way. I felt the rumblings of a monster zit, the kind that pulsates with every beat of your heart. Unfortunately, the rumblings were but a foreshadowing of what was to come next. My face erupted.  At one point, I swear to you that I resembled a unicorn, the zit was so big had become such an  angry, red mountain on my face.

 

Suddenly, I was back in grade school! It was awful! Looking back, I do not have very fond memories of my time in seventh and eighth grade. I went to a parochial school, and had the same thirty classmates from kindergarten through eighth grade.

And, they ALL noticed when my skin would erupt. Thankfully, they share their discovery with me… Frequently and Loudly…

 

 

The Typical Day Of A Teenage Girl In The Late ’90s

I found this article on BuzzFeed, and, while not every single one of the points applies to me, I am A Girl Of The 90s!

 

The Typical Day Of A Teenage Girl In The Late ’90s

Eat. Sleep. Dawson. AOL. A typical day in the life of a teenage girl during the late 1990s.

amandamarsh 14395 1360622699 1 large The Typical Day Of A Teenage Girl In The Late 90sAmanda Marsh

top10 Community Contributor

1. Wake up to your CD alarm clock playing “NOW That’s What I Call Music Vol. 1.”

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Featuring Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Fastball, Aqua, Marcy Playground, and more. (We’re now up to Volume 45 as of February 2013.)

Source: g-ecx.images-amazon.com  /  via: amazon.com

2. Take a shower and wash your hair with Herbal Essences shampoo.

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Try to forget those “totally organic experience” TV commercials while you lather up.

Source: werkkrew.com  /  via: werkkrew.com

3. Put on cargo pants, a baby-doll tee, platform sandals, plastic stretch tattoo necklace, butterfly hair clips, and multiple earrings from Claire’s.

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You’re a walking Delia’s advertisement.

Source: refinery29.com  /  via: refinery29.com

4. Spray yourself with Gap perfume.

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You not only had the spray, but the candle, the body wash, the lotion, the roll-on…

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5. Don’t forget the glitter!

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You have more stackable pots and rollers than an aisle at Michael’s craft store.

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6. The first thing you say to your friends at school isn’t “Hello”…

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It’s, “Ohmigawd, can you believe what happened on Buffy/7th Heaven/Dawson’s Creek last night?”

Source: images.fanpop.com  /  via: fanpop.com

7. Pictures of NSYNC or Backstreet Boys (never both) adorn your locker

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It’s either Nick or Justin. Pick a side.

Source: img2.timeinc.net  /  via: popwatch.ew.com

8. If “Heathers” were made a decade later, it would’ve been named “Jessicas.”

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Because you had a minimum of three in your class. Likely more.

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9. Check the time on your beeper.

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Only one of your friends had a cell phone, and she only used it to call her parents to pick her up after school.

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10. Ignore what’s happening in statistics class.

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You’re playing Tetris or Snake on your TI-83 Plus graphing calculator.

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11. Type up your college essay on a Gateway in computer class.

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Try to sneak online, but the 28.8k modem gives you away. Play Minesweeperinstead.

Source: artofbarter.com  /  via: artofbarter.com

12. College is *so* going to be like “Felicity.”

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And you’re totally going to school in New York City.

Source: nyulocal.com  /  via: nyulocal.com

13. Plan your senior yearbook quote years ahead.

Fight with your friend over who gets to include Green Day’s “Good Riddance.” Settle on Semisonic’s “Closing Time” instead.

Source: youtube.com  /  via: YouTube.com

14. Lunch always includes Fruitopia or Snapple.

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And you saved all of your Snapple Facts caps.

15. Pore over the latest Alloy, Girlfriend’s LA, and Delia’s catalogs with your friends.

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Decide to order some shirts with names of snowboard and surfing companies on them, even though you’ve never done either sport.

16. Listen to the Spice Girls on your Discman while riding the bus home.

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Lie to your friends and say it’s actually The Offspring’s Americana.

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17. Open the mailbox when you get home.

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Your YM and Seventeen subscriptions arrived!

18. But you have more important things to do…

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Like sign on to AOL, email everyone a 50-question survey about yourself in Comic Sans MS, and say important things like “A/S/L?” in chat rooms. LOL icon wink The Typical Day Of A Teenage Girl In The Late 90s

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19. Update your Angelfire or Geocities website

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Don’t forget neon text, rainbow dividers, and spinning GIFs!

20. Get knocked off of AOL when your brother picks up the phone.

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Yell. Loudly.

Source: teenspeak.org  /  via: teenspeak.org

21. Pop the mixtape your friend made you into your stereo while you do your homework.

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Those final days before Napster and CD burning.

Source: trueslant.com  /  via: trueslant.com

22. Watch your favorite TV show and call your friends during every commercial break.

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You never missed an episode, whether it was Buffy7th HeavenCharmedFelicitiy, or Dawson’s Creek.

23. Fall asleep under the stars.

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Or at least the glow-in-the-dark ones you bought at Spencer’s.

 

 

So-

I totally had the stars from Spencer’s (good grief that place required a shower after patronizing)

I used Herbal Essences religiously

I heard on the radio that NOW That’s Music is up to #56

My Gap scent was Dream (the purple one)

N*Sync all the way

 

Hope you enjoyed it! Again, I found the article on Buzzfeed, and it was written by Amanda Marsh.

Cold All Day, But Not All Night

How hot do YOU like it?

I’m talking about the bedroom, of course.

I’M TALKING ABOUT THE TEMPERATURE OF THE ROOM, YOU SICKO!

I cannot get it cold enough and I have resorted to desperate tactics.

Fans (yes, multiple)? Check.

 

SuperStock 1672R 14748 Cold All Day, But Not All Night

Nice and Cool
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Window? Wide Open.

Blanket? Flung to the end of the bed, in a crumpled heap. (We have one cotton blanket. The 100% wool ones of my youth would cause me to die an early death. Electric blankets are things of my nightmares.)

blankets Cold All Day, But Not All Night

Too hot!
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This “hotness” is a new thing for me as I have spent my life perpetually freezing. During my days in an office, I had to learn to type with gloves on because I would lose feeling in my fingers. I also melted several pairs of shoes by placing my feet directly on a space heater. My present job is not one that keeps me bound to a desk, but it does require me to attend meetings. These meetings are held in large hotel ballrooms which, in my experience, are arctic caves- no windows to let sunlight in and air conditioning cranked up to HIGH. I am famous for layering my clothing and I make sure to always pack my black belted sweater.

This sweater is great- it can be dressed up and dressed down, depending on what I pair with it. It has been to Asia, Europe and even the Caribbean (it gets cold on airplanes!) multiple times. (I bought the sweater in college, at a time when I was measuring everything in ‘POB’- pitchers of beer- and that sweater was A LOT of pitchers, and so, I almost didn’t buy it. I thank god fashion trumped that day as well as for college boys who could be depended on to buy beer!)

 

Sometimes, my trusty sweater isn’t enough, and I have to brave the airline owned fleece blankets, just for some relief from the cold. Dual climate control in my car has saved my marriage on more than one occasion, and I believe heated seats are one of the greatest gifts mankind has ever received.

To sum it up: Daytime= freezing cold. Nighttime= unbelievably hot.

And, therein lies the problem…

I Belong!

I love to belong. This is kind of a dirty little secret of mine, and it is out of character. I fashion myself an Independent Woman, much like the ladies Beyonce and Destiny’s Child sing about in the song Independent Women.

julia nov 2012 I Belong!

See, I am totally the 4th member!

I am outspoken, opinionated, and confident in my internal belief that I am Always Right. This does not make me a great candidate for being a ‘team player’. I love my position in outside sales, and life is always happier when I am in charge of my own fate. (Life has thrown me a steep learning curve in the form of a very strong willed three year old daughter who feels the exact same way about being her own boss.)

I am also the kind of girl who is asked “What sorority were you in?” not “Were you in a sorority?” My college roommate- whom I did not know prior to move in- said I was exactly what she expected me to be based on our two phone conversations (this was of course the olden days- we didn’t even use AIM until about a year later) from the bright, preppy floral quilt, the over abundance of picture frames with girls mugging for the camera, and the long term/long distance boyfriend… she was expecting me to be blonde, though. (For years afterwards, I tried my hardest to be a blonde. It was not my best look. It was, however, one of the most expensive looks I have ever had.)

In high school, I was a Nerinx Girl. (For my non St. Louis readers: the question of where one attended high school sounds very benign, but it isn’t. Where one attends high school effectively corners one into a social status. It is the equivalent of asking someone’s salary AND what they paid for their house. St. Louis boasts over twenty single sex high schools, and each has their own reputation-very similar to the Greek System on college campuses, except the answer matters more and will be influential in someone’s opinion. The only other comparison I can draw is the blood lust rivalries in the South surrounding football teams spawn.)

Be Kappa I Belong!

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In college, I was a Kappa. To quote the A Southern Belle Primer, Or Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be A Kappa Kappa Gamma, by Maryln Schwartz: “First you’re born, then there’s Kappa, then you get married, then there’s Junior League, then you die.”

Of course, I am in Junior League.

However, I am most  proud of my membership of the Fancy Pants Coffee Nespresso Club, because my life has NEVER BEEN THE SAME…