Sometimes, It’s About the Littlest Things

Hi all,

I’m running a little late with posting, this week. That’s what happens when school is closed for spring break. I start cleaning and lose sight of almost everything else. (This coming from the girl who always gave her mother grief for using vacation time to clean. Help! Does this mean I’m becoming my mother???)

Here’s the latest I tried from Jessica Smith TV. What I’m liking about her routines—and the ballet barre workout I referred to in my last post—is feeling supercharged when I’m done, with a willingness to keep going. The energy seems to have translated to the tennis court, too! I ran down so many shots and didn’t feel tired at all after 90 minutes out there—double what I could do last fall.  (Oh, the hours I spent on the courts in my mid-late 20s. Still feeling that kind of joy when I’m swinging a racquet.)

A couple of days ago, online friend and fellow blogger Carrie Rubin brought up an interesting question about twinges of regret about life choices we might have made. Read her post here. (Psst! Carrie’s posts are always worth the read.)

Anyway, she got me thinking. Of course, my thoughts meandered in other directions—and I didn’t want to be a copy-cat. I landed on seemingly little things that wind up being life-changing.

Now, I’m not talking insanely dramatic life situations. For me, a YouTube video and a piece of tape wound up impacting the day-to-day.

This connects to the fitness videos I mentioned these past two posts. Around this time last year, I decided to give zumba a whirl. I’d taken a class; wasn’t thrilled with the instructor. Being someone who has a hard time following steps, I figured I could start and pause a video as needed and work at my own pace.

Long story short, I felt something not move correctly in my left hip. No pain. At least not until a month or so later, when I couldn’t tell which came first, the pain in the hip or that in the knee. I was also an avid user of rocker-bottom sneakers (i.e., Shape-Ups)—they never, ever bothered me prior. (I’ve given them up but still miss them. It’s okay.)

By June last year, I had enough of a problem to interfere with my lifestyle. That included walking. (I was afraid to attempt tennis.) Sitting certain ways and getting up off the floor after working with my school kids had become a major issue. I broke down and went to see an orthopedist. He offered a knee brace, ibuprofen and physical therapy.

Immediately called a former co-worker. She’s not only the most amazing physical therapist I know, she’s become my “sister-from-another-mother.” She told me the brace  would align my patella (a.k.a kneecap) exactly the way athletic taping would, minus the bulk. Went to her house that same night. Came home taped and taught how to do it myself. She also showed me a few key exercises, but I’d be lying if I told you those were the magic.

A piece of athletic tape applied once or twice a week since then has altered my day-to-day for the best. Within a week, most of the pain subsided. (I’d say I was 95% improved, and with minimal medicine too.) I even took my chances on the tennis court right around then, and came back happier than I’d been in months. The barre workout appears to have handled the rest of the discomfort. My hip is feeling 99% improved since TWO days after starting that. Go figure.

So, reader-friends, I turn over the blog-mike to you. What seemingly little choice or change did you make that significantly impacted your day-to-day, or your life on the bigger scale, if that’s appropriate?

Best wishes for a Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all those who celebrate!

And special thanks to Carrie for inspiring me this week.  🙂

Cheers,

Joanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could We Have Done Something Right?!

Hi all–hope you had a great week and weekend. I’m actually trying to fathom what a break from tennis will be like. The men’s year-end final wraps up tonight. No tournaments until mid-December. Now how will I fill my ‘spare’ time for the next four weeks, lol?

“You realize we’re both hating you right about now,” said a new coworker, a few weeks ago. She, myself and a student’s assistant were discussing kids and getting them to do their chores without it being a struggle.

I’d happened onto their discussion, just in time to hear the assistant saying she was tired of “paying” her kids before their chores were done, then having to argue about it.

Interestingly enough, this conversation was taking place a few days after hubby and I decided to leave the dinner dishes and go hit tennis balls before dark. Younger Son (who is a few weeks shy of his 15th birthday) had cleared the dishes, but there were still pots to be washed, the counter to be wiped down…you know.

Aside: This Italian was raised to NEVER do the next thing—God forbid, something fun, lol—until the house is clean. Somehow, hubby got infected with this disease and looked at me like, You want to go now? Leave this mess? (I assured him it would be there when we got back.)

Well, hubby and I took off, had some fun and headed back home. (I happened to have an awesome day on the court–for me, anyway. Just sayin’.) It was still just light enough for a walk, so I opted to take a short one before it got any darker. “Oh sure. Leave me with the kitchen clean-up,” hubby grumped. (But not terribly.)

“I don’t know why we own Younger Son,” I answered. “There’s no reason we couldn’t have asked him to do it.”

Lo and behold, we entered a FULLY CLEANED KITCHEN. It was like the Cleaning Fairy had dropped in for a visit.

(This is pretty much the point where my co-worker expressed hate. And while I was mentioning it to someone else a day later—hey, I’m still every bit as amazed as the day it happened—another coworker overheard. She did the slow head turn, eyes wide and asked, “What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?”)

BTW last night, Younger Son did something similar—washed the few dishes that were in the sink without being asked.

And a few weeks ago, when I picked up my mom from the hospital, and it was 10:30 PM, and I hadn’t made it to cleaning the kitchen b/c hubby was away, and I was tied up helping my mom, I walked into the kitchen while Older Son (who is pushing the ripe age of 17) was doing what had to be done, without anyone asking.

And even this past week, when Younger Son had an orthodontist appointment at 6:30 PM—don’t ask why anyone would schedule that time when after school is so much more convenient at my house—and hubby wasn’t home, and both boys and I were scrambling to leave the kitchen clean before taking off, Older Son casually said, “You guys go. I’ll finish this.”

Mother does the glance askance at Older Son. Huh? (This is the same kid that would step out of his shoes in the middle of the doorway and keep walking. At least he slips out of them to the side of a step these days, with one shoe pointing outward every time, which is pretty much how the kid walks, and still proof that he literally steps out of his shoes, lol.)

“What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?

She really got me thinking. Next time, I’ll share some of the thoughts her question provoked.

Your turn: if you have kids, have they left you flumgubbered enough to wonder what YOU might have done right? Take a minute and tell us about it, please!

Thanks and have a great week,

Joanna

 

Hey, It’s My Anniversary–Again!

Hi all! Hope Monday (and the rest of this week) finds you all well. I’ve been dealing with a sinus infection all weekend and haven’t had energy to do much. At least Saturday ran an NCIS marathon; Sunday brought the Barcelona ATP Masters Championship featuring Rafa Nadal in the final. That worked-and the maestro of the clay courts won, too. Yay! (Thought I was linking to a single photo. What the heck–enjoy!)

Back to today: married eighteen years to my hunny and beginning to get the whole ‘depth’ thing that goes along with a long-term relationship. He and I are known for our differences, but we work hard at being respectful of what makes each of us who we are on the day to day. I promise too, that opposites really did attract on every single level, even down to us viewing my laptop screen: him with reading glasses, me with distance glasses, lol. Yet, one day at a time, one situation at a time, we’ve made it to Wedding Anniversary #18 (and even like each other today).

What keeps us strong? Speaking only for myself, choice.  As I’ve written in previous anniversary posts, choosing to be committed on those rare days I not want to be. Truth is, no matter how wonderful a relationship, it takes work. True, some might take less work than others, and there are those who find themselves in a situation in which only one person is doing most of it.

That’s par for the course. Ideas about a 50-50 share of the work is common, but most folks may not consider that 50-50 is an average number. And those of you who are mathematically inclined understand that an average is gained by adding varied sums and dividing by the total number of sums used.

What does that translate to? Simple, math-wise anyway. Sometimes I do more of the work. Sometimes hubby does.

Honestly, I may be more blessed than some. Hubby and I rarely fight, as in it gets nasty and/or ugly between us. (Maybe five or six times in eighteen years? Not bad, right?) Despite our disagreements and fundamental differences as people, we try to talk things out and approach each other as friends. I’ve also come to know that I need to explain my point of view the next day, or when we’re not in that angry moment, when one or both of us might not be thinking clearly. (That’s just plain-old impulse control, friends: an imperative life skill to practice no matter what the situation or setting, i.e., work, home, etc.)

Neither of us likes being at odds. Fortunately, those ugly times usually last little more than a week, and even when the stretch has been (much) longer, we’re still respectful when dealing with the matters a household and family bring. No directing the kids with, “Tell your father…” or “You can let your mother know…” Fights (between almost anyone, I think) are often about control issue(s) anyway. Being aware of that makes a huge difference—period.

I could probably go on and on but I most certainly will not! 😀 I will, however, point you to a pair of previous posts on commitment. (Find those here and here.) Please, also take a moment and visit April Cassidy’s Peaceful Wife’s Blog. She covers a range of related topics and shares much wisdom.

This was taken at my bridal shower. Geez, my favorite Frannie Drescher   (as Fran Fine) got nothing on this big hairdo!
This was taken at my bridal shower. Geez, my favorite Frannie Drescher (as Fran Fine) got nothing on this big hairdo!

And before I forget, happy anniversary to my hunny! My humble gratitude and love to the guy who has shown his own side of love and commitment to this looney lady all these years! I am blessed.

Until next time,

Joanna

What Do You Do for Someone Else…

that you don’t do for yourself?

Hi everyone, and welcome to a shortened work week for many. The Australian Open Tennis Championships are underway and the NY Giants are looking to claim the NFC championship and secure their place in SuperBowl 46. Yes, I’m psyched and plan on having a lot of fun with sports this week!

Okay, back to what I can do if it’s for someone else. Y’all know me. I get sidetracked.

So I’m horrid about getting somewhere early. (To me, on time and early interchangeable terms.). Case in point: most days, my son gets a ride to school from a neighbor and I’m on standby.

On those few days I drive, I’m usually in the car by 7:10. (The high-schoolers start their day at 7:30 AM. On paper, I’m due in at ~8:20.) I then head to my school-of-the-morning to get in some quality paperwork time. When I don’t drive him in, I’ll dilly-dally at home and mosey in to work at about 8:30, which is a huge improvement for me. (I used to skitter in at 8:55 then scramble to grab materials and kids by 9:00). By 8:30 though, too many people are around and I can’t settle down knowing I’ll be servicing kids within the half hour. I know my behavior is a form of procrastination, but I’ve yet to figure out how to get myself to do for me without needing that external push of doing it for someone else.

Same goes for REALLY cleaning certain areas of my home. How often do I walk by a pile and keep going? Why is it that as soon as I know someone is coming over I suddenly know what to do with the mess (besides stuff it in a bag and hide it, lol)? I was like that with assignments in high school and college too: that Last-Minute-Lucy in me could throw together a great paper with a day or two to go. That month before? Couldn’t look at it.

I now turn to you: what are your thoughts on these topics? What and/or why do you do for someone else and not for you? Why do you think the brain comes up with a solution in those final moments? What is it about pressure that creates a plan?

Thanks for your input! I’m looking forward to being able to take on some of your thoughts for myself!

Have a great day and ttys,

Joanna

Wanted: Moms

Good day all! Here’s another gem from Diane Lang that I had to share:

      

Look how much we do each and every day! Being a mom is the greatest job in the world.  For all Moms – enjoy your day!

Help Wanted: Mom

Must have a beautiful  smile, warm eyes and a loving touch. Highly motivated and energetic individual with the ability to multi-task, negotiate and manage time. Must be a self-starter and be willing to learn new tasks at any time. Must be organized, delegate responsibility and manage a budget. Patience is a must. Must work well under pressure. Must be responsible, caring, disciplined and have good managerial skills. Listening skills a plus. Must have a reliable car. Position requires long hours, overtime, weekends and holidays. No sick or vacation time. Pay is low, appreciation is rare but you will learn a lot from this position.  

Who knew? And would I sign up again? Some days, I’m not so sure, lol, but as my boys get older and I get to know them I know this was the call for me. Happy Mother’s Day to you too, friend! Thanks for sharing this. You are a dynamo mom!

And to all of you out there who share this ‘vocation’—may your day be blessed with joy, peace, family and fun! Every one of you rocks!

Catch you later this week,

Joanna