Rain Dance (or Run)

This morning folks in the bay area rejoiced at the sprinkling of rainfall we were blessed with. Unfortunately, the rain did not last. I pulling on my long-abandoned running attire and slipped out for a run at lunch. The sky was cloudy but the sun was shining as usual.

Yet, something was far from the usual. After all, it’s been a L-O-N-G time since I last went out for a run. I started off at a brisk walking pace and continued until I hit the dirt paralleling the railroad tracks. Passing the dried up percolation pond, I searched for my happy pace. Of course, it was long gone – just like the ducks and turtles that used to swim in the pond. My hamstring immediately questioned my attempt to run. I tried to reassure it, and the rest of my body, by turning to attention to my breath. This feeling was no worse than when I make my hamstring work during my daily yoga practice. I continued running, maintaining ease in my breathing and mindfully aware of my body. And before long, my hamstring quit complaining!

I realize that this is just one run. In fact, I am hesitant to even post this. For just as a few sprinkles won’t end the draught, a single run does not mean I am back to running again. But I am hopeful.

…on both accounts.

Pneumonia: It happens

These days, when folks get sick, the norm is to continue keeping on with life-as-it-were until one is no longer able.  I don’t believe in following along with norm in this regard. For the benefit of getting healthy, and for protecting the rest from falling ill, I believe it is right to stay home and get well.

Not everyone agrees with me — especially when grades are at risk.

20140912- pneumonia again

YaYa just got his two lowest grades up to an acceptable level, when illness got the best of him. On Monday, I sent him to school anyway, urging him to try to get through the day. I told him, “…just call me to pick you up, if it gets too bad.” By the time I took my phone out of airplane-mode, after my morning yoga practice, there was a call from the school.

At that point, his lungs were clear and his temperature was normal. The worst was yet to come, and I intended to do what I could to minimize it. He needed to get back to school ASAP.  Immediately, I started pushing the fluids, medicating him with expectorants & the like, demanded deep breathing & coughing, and began percussion of his back & chest (just to be sure). Each day, however, I watched the progression of his illness. His temperature slowly climbed, and additional symptoms presented.

He did his best to keep up with school work, but was missing the teachings and in-class work. The number of tests he would have to make up was growing as well.  I began feeling the pressure to get him back in school ASAP.

Mid-week, each evening, we would plan for him to return to school… and each morning, the plan would be abandoned. My values of health & wellness competed with the virtues of keeping up with a rigorous academic load. I wondered if I was doing my son any favors by giving in to his insistence that he could not go to school.

By the week’s end, the mucous had settled into his chest.  The first hint of it, when he woke me up late last night to request some chest percussion (a process of opening up his airways which he resists, complaining that it is too painful).  By morning, I wasn’t surprised to hear the change in lung sounds — and later the diagnosis of pneumonia.

Once again, we have a Z-Pak (antibiotic: zithromax) to help his body fight off the infection. He should be able to return to school on Monday. Then we can all breath easy.

Blah vs. Beautiful

I remember being called to the door to meet one of my mom’s suitors. It wasn’t long after the divorce and, therefore, none of the men who came to call on my mom would have been good enough. But this meeting, in particular, left me with bad feeling that stuck with me for many years. I was one of three girls — in the middle of the threesome, in the middle of those awkward years, and desperately in need of braces.

We were all called to the door at once to meet this man. He was introduced to Big Sis first. “Well Hello, Linda” he said, “My, you are a pretty young lady.” Lil Sis was introduced next. “Hi Carol” he said, bending down to shake her hand. “You are a real cutie.”
Then, he was introduced to me. He looked at me, smiled, and kindly said, “Hi Julie.”

That was it! No compliment. Nothing but, “hi.”

I remember running to my room murmuring to myself, “Linda is pretty. Carol is cute. Julie is…?” What was I? Was I ugly? Surely he wouldn’t say that if he wanted my mom to like him. I looked at myself in the mirror and examined the awkwardness of my overly miniature frame (late to develop and several inches shorter than my peers), my overbite, and wavy to the point of looking messy hair. I wasn’t ugly. But I wasn’t pretty either. Finally, I determined that I was “Blah.” I was glad that this stranger hadn’t found the words to describe me.

He’d been nice enough but still, I was glad we never saw him again.

That seed created an insecurity that stuck with me for more years than I care to admit. Like those bulbs which go dormant only to pop up randomly and flower, these feelings sometimes emerge unexpectantly. Thankfully, I have learned that being cute or pretty isn’t all that. Being full of beauty is where it’s at. And beauty is not on the outside; it is within.

A friend shared this blog post today. It served as is a nice reminder to embrace all that I have learned. The young girl is lucky to have such a wise mother to teach her this valuable lesson early on in her life.


Being the parent of an active teenager means managing transportation to and from the many activities they are involved in. In my case, it is football conditioning and skills training camps which all seem to be located nowhere near home and all occur in the middle of the day. Thankfully, there are a couple of other parents who are willing to ride share and, one in particular, who has gone over and above during the summer.

I try not be resentful when my coworkers are going out to lunch and I am doing my hour of shuttling. As my late husband used to say, “You wanted kids, Julie, so deal with it.” The real message is more one of my decision to send my son to private school (which is not within walking distance of the home) requires me to make sacrifices personally to make it work. It’s not easy though – especially being a single, working, parent.

All week, the family that has taken on the majority of the driving has been away on vacation. The other teammates of YaYa’s are either injured or out of town at a basketball tournament. I’ve managed all week but today’s work schedule is unforgiving. I am forced to call upon a woman who I’ve paid in the past for dog care and rides to tutoring.

The last interaction left a sour taste in my mouth for reasons I could not put my finger on. I needed a ride to tutoring and home (a total of 8 miles roundtrip). Different from prior interactions where I hand over the amount of money I feel appropriate – plus a little more because she has been out of work for many years and I want to help out. This past time, she named the price upfront. And although it was exactly what I’d planned to give her, it just felt wrong. So much so that the following two times I needed dog care, I called on a neighbor instead – who told me that I was over paying her and insisted that I keep $10 per day.

Since I was only able to get YaYa to practice, but not home due to a meeting, a huge part of me wanted to have YaYa miss today’s practice. Instead, I swallowed my pride and sent a message to the woman I’d been avoiding. I told her my request and asked her how much she needed me to pay for it. After she named the price, I took a deep breath and thanked her. YaYa immediately felt bad but I told him it was fine. Then I went outside to think about the whole thing.

I guess I’ve always felt like I was helping her out by saving these jobs for her instead of the people who I’d gone to in the past. It seems that at some point she realized that the scenario was quite the opposite: I needed her just as much as she needed me. I don’t think I was ready to admit it before but it’s true, I cannot do it alone. I need help, and if I need to pay for it than I guess that’s just how it goes. Feeling humbled.

the journey continues…

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