17 March, 2013

Darn You, Lisa! Five Things

My sister-in-law Lisa asked me to participate in 5 Things About You thing on the blogosphere. First of all, she must smell my discomfort zone. I love that all the family blogs I read are linking each other up and opening their audiences. However (BIG however)  my natural instinct is to run away quickly. I get that itchy feeling like I got back in the good 'ole Eighties when you would receive a mysterious handwritten letter in the mail, open it and realize, Oh darn another fracking Pretty Panty Exchange letter. You don't know what I am talking about? Check out this.

For the record, I never got one pair. Not one. I mailed many, and I never got a single one. My panty mailing in 2013 would totally be sexual harassment or sexual predator or something sexual that results in a restraining order. 

And yet I know Lisa. I love Lisa. I adore Lisa. She is the sister-I-never-had Lisa. So I will acquiesce. Only because she is my dear Lisa. But be warned--I am not tagging any folks. I kill the panties here.

5 Thangs about No Basement

1) I have noticed no one can simply call me "Julie." Whenever people see me, my entire life in fact, they always say my first and last name. It was always "Julie C***K" (maiden name. I have stalkers. No joke...another story) or now "Julie Gale." Why is that? And usually with that uptick accent that makes me sound like mint julep-sipping lady of the South. The only thing "lady of the South" about me is I can make a mean chili and I like my crazies.

Mystery of the universe....why can no one simply call me Julie?

2)  For most of my childhood, I was the tallest girl in my class. I was so glad when Beverly Scott, the most beautiful person ever, got taller than me. Boys mercilessly made fun of me. They told jokes like, "If I asked you out on a date, I would be eye level to your ta-tas all night!" Okay, Napoleon boys. As a result I have crummy posture, hunkering down to most folks. In fact, I am considering wearing a posture brace over the summer to correct my shoulder blades from years of teenage self-consciousness.  

3) I hate grading papers so much I actually attempt to have as few assignments as possible to grade. I would rather eat glass than grade. I procrastinate it to the point of madness. Today I graded nearly all day. Welcome back from Spring Break.

4) I was a vegetarian through most of college. To this day, I am not a huge fan of meat. I prepare it for my family and eat it, but I could take it or leave it. I could eat here nearly every day.

5) On that note, many people wonder why I am so darn thin. They think I surely must be harboring an eating disorder. I have found three things keep me thin: a) I got so many metabolism/thyroid problems, you don't even want to know, b) I don't drink soda, and c) I deprive myself of nothing. If I eat a huge, indulgent meal one evening, I make lighter fare for the next. I eat chocolate everyday. I also don't eat "fat free" or fake sugar/dairy/butter stuff. It is full of chemicals anyway. I don't exercise nearly as much, and if I know one day it will catch up with me. I have a rather regimented eating/snacking schedule I follow to keep my blood sugar on even keel and prevent mind-numbing, headache-inducing hunger pains. Constant grazing throughout the day really helps me. Unfortunately, I have had my share of "gawd you are so thin, I totally hate you" comments in my life. Well, I don't hate me, so there.


11 March, 2013

Later, Dudes

Tomorrow we embark on our first vacation as a family of four to Hot Springs, AR. You might be thinking, "Your FIRST!?! What kind of crazy folk are you?" Well, I don't count trips where we had to visit family a vacation. Sleeping on bunk beds in your childhood room while every cough/fart/bed movement wakes someone up is not my idea of blissful relaxation.

Oh, but this is.

Quapaw Baths and Spa

Hot Stone Massage

Garvan Woodland Gardens  

I will see you on the other side, with many pictures.

09 March, 2013

Monkey Buddies

These two are joined at the hip. Totally going to teach them how to do "Sisters" from White Christmas, feather fans and all.

07 March, 2013


Nathan caught this beautiful moment last night. He walked in Iris's room and saw this:

Ramona crawled up on Iris's bed and decided to snuggle. This sweet moment took my breath away. I am so lucky these two have each other. I have heard the bond of sisters is unlike any other, and I am glad in this life I get to witness its beauty. 

My sweet baboos. 

Them Naughty Words Update

Does anyone ever feel the backslide? You attempt, you resolve, you promise to end a bad behavior, and it creeps back up? You resolve to exercise, have a better spiritual life, stop being so sassy, stop using CUSS WORDsssssss.......and it peters out at some point?

This morning I feel sorta funky. Perhaps it is due to the fact Spring Break is two days away. Perhaps it is because Ramona and I were sick all last week and I still went to work. Perhaps it is because I am realizing I am on the surface very outgoing, goofy and positive when on the inside I am constantly thinking, constantly questioning, constantly fighting against a current that leads to me beating myself up about things that truly TRULY do not matter and are creations of my mind.

I always wonder what causes the slip into Funkytown, and I know it has to do with my physical health. I am sleeping great, eating sort of meh, and exercising not nearly enough.

After writing my post yesterday of how I hold down the fort as a working mom, one thing I failed to mention is my enthusiasm of this life I live can ebb and flow. It always ebbs when I neglect the physical, and the physical is connected to the emotional. I like to exercise, but I also over think the fact I feel like a hamster on a wheel when I get on a bike that leads to nowhere or walk in circles around our college campus. The beneficial seems futile at the same time? See, I told you I think too much. And I like Theatre of the Absurd FAR too much.

I like to keep things positive. I don't like to wah wah wah wahhhhhhhh so much, but today I feel like being in a Snuggie and watching Portlandia.

Farts never stop being funny. Never ever ever. EVER. 

Words of the wise on how to get out of a funk? How to be funky like this:
Sly and the Family Stone....there are no words. The guy on the bottom is TOTALLY wearing a carpet.
I need the inside to quiet down and let sound more like this:

This video is such a hot mess. I am going to dress like Michael Stipe one day when I teach and see what my students think.......nope, they won't think anything is amiss. They do have ME as a professor, after all. 

As I finish typing this, my goof arse self just made me feel a bit better. Out and out. 

06 March, 2013


Improv. The act of feeling alive. Photo by K. Holly Knuckels.

It's Enough To Drive You Crazy....If You Let It

Folks, I think I might officially be a blogger for realz. 

Exhibit A: I almost have 20 people that read my drivel. 

Exhibit B: I have made blogger friends, and 

Exhibit C: I am participating in a link up with those said blogger friends. 

Wha Wha!?! Little Miss Antisocial I'll-be-at-the-bar is linking up. Creating COMMUNITY, people. This calls for us to rejoice....with greasy hamburgers, milkshakes and onion rings!

I read a lot of blogs about folks with families, mostly written by these amazing mothers. They celebrate joys, challenges, general child goofiness, experiments in the kitchen, wardrobe, life, love, and the faith involved in parenting, and I appreciate them all. 

However, I feel a bit out of touch as most of these blogs are penned by stay-at-home moms. We do share one thing in common--we all love our families deeply and no one parenting style (working or stay-at-home) is of of any higher ground than the other. It is simply one or the other in my opinion. 

One of my favorite family blogs, Martin Family Moments, is maintained by a working mom with five beautiful children. She is rounding up the working mom to share their experiences. My thoughts below are how I "do it all." It is simply L.I.V.I.N. Yes, I just quoted Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused. Deal.
1) What do you do for work and why do you work?
I am a theatre professor at a large community college. Our campus student body is 20, 000. I am also a company member of an improv theatre.

2) Did your mother work?
Yes, she did. She has worked her entire life in the banking industry. She took off for five years when my youngest brother was born as my dad's work is a rather lucrative field. Early in their marriage she had to work for money. She does now because she wants to. 

3) Describe a typical work day.
My husband and I get up at 5:30am, we drink coffee and read/talk/none of your business in bed until about 6. The girls usually wake up of their own accord by 6:15-6:30am. We eat some breakfast, catch the morning traffic, dress and I am out the door by 7:25am. Iris's Montessori academy is on the way to work. She is dropped off by 7:45am, and I make it to work by 8:00am. My husband takes Ramona to her small nursery school at a Presbyterian church and goes to work by 8:45am. I teach from 9:00am--12:00pm or 2:00pm each day, grade, lesson develop, plan community outreach initiatives we have in our department, lunch in my office, exercise if I have time and am out the door by 3pm to pick up Iris. Provided it is not the fall and I am NOT in production for a show at the college, we are home by 4pm. Snacks and homework until 5pm. I am usually in the garden or do some light picking up during this time. Dinner between 5:30pm and 6pm. I love to cook, and I do so about six nights a week. I crock pot on days I have improv rehearsal (like tonight). We eat until about 6:45pm. We play until 7:15pm or watch TV. Bath and bed for beh behs by 8pm. The husband and I are out by anywhere between 9pm--10:30pm. We hang out together at night, sometimes over a drink. 

4) What's the best part about having a job?
I genuinely love to teach. I had great teachers growing up, and I always wanted to excite people, especially not "theatre kids" about live performance and its impact on our society throughout time. Plus, I love the fact I teach what I love, and not do some other Plan B job of which I have the skills but zero joy. 

5) What's your least favorite part?
I hate to grade. Yuck Yuck Yuck. I also don't like to deal with disrespectful students (a rarity). I hate the bureaucratic stuff of teaching at times. When I have a show I am directing, I love the growth of my students but dislike the 6 week sacrifice it is on my family time. 

6) What would make your life easier?
I wish we lived closer to family. My husband's brother and his family are two hours away, but we only see them once a month or so. I grew up where my family was about 20 minutes to an hour away, and I saw them constantly. I also work because my husband is finishing up his PhD and this is my way of showing my love and support for this massive undertaking. 

7) How do your children handle their mom's career?
Iris loves school and Ramona loves her nursery school teacher. She never EVER cries when we drop her off. I spend a lot of time hanging out and playing with my kids. My job is very fun, so they love coming to work with me on occasion and seeing what I do. 

8) Do you feel supported in what you do?
Yes yes yes! My husband and I had it rough early in our marriage--very poor, very young and very not prepared for being grown ups. We have weathered many tough times, and we are better for it. Whenever things get hairy in life, I always tell him, "I would never want to go through this joy/heartache/bulls***/whimsy with anyone else on the planet but you." My work also is very supportive of parents. They always have my back and know family is first for me. 

9) What are your future goals when it comes to work/motherhood?
I used to believe I would shrivel up and die of boredom if I was a stay-at-home mom. Honestly, I am a smart enough girl with plenty of things to do to occupy my time. Work isn't all of my existence. My husband will soon be on the job market. We MAY move somewhere where I will not have a job. At first, this really scared me. HOW WILL I NOT WORK!?! I am ready for whatever life throws at me, even if that is at home with a killer veggie garden, more blogging and working on other artistic projects. 

10) What are some tips that help you balance it all?
--Accept a certain level of imperfection in your life. So what if the toys are all over the floor and the dishes are not washed yet. Is anyone dead? Is everyone fed? Is everyone feel loved and safe? Boom. 

--Ask for help. It is okay.

--Say "no" a lot. I am very choosy with what will take me away from my home. I don't need to be involved in 20 theatre projects to prove anything. I don't need to teach that extra class if I can live without the money. I would rather have thousands of memories of Ramona dancing like Frankenstein (she totally does...videos to come!) and Iris performing her experimental theatre pieces than have all this money for crap I don't need. 

--Whiskey. I'll let you decide if I jest. ;)

--If you want to have a good life, you got to be organized on the basic levels. I organize hand-me-down clothes, I donate stuff I don't need, and I map out what meals I plan to make each week. I do certain tasks necessary to the house the same day each week. I do this so I am not drowning in clutter and feel in over my head, disorganized, and treading water. Honestly, a little structure makes for a great deal of freedom down the line.

--Have an outlet. If you don't leave your kids every once in awhile to work out, go to the movies, have a date, write a blog, paint with your butt, whatever....you will feel like you are running on empty. My outlet is improv acting. I like it, I feel generally good at it, it is very creative and silly and fun, and it doesn't require a lot of time away each month from home. Total of maybe four hours a month. Something you do that is only yours gives you time to let go. 

--Good music playing always. Always. 

22 February, 2013

Weaning Myself Slowly

Ladies and gents of the universe, I am attempting something you would never ever EVAH believe. It is a genuine stab at self-improvement.

I am working on using less profanity in my daily conversation.

What the funk!?! No ca ca poopy bad language? Pahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Yes, I am an educated, well-mannered lady who loves the cuss words. It is in my bones from an early age. Growing up we had a lovely dog I named Jack, after this Jack on the telly:

John Ritter as Jack Tripper on Three's Company.
Jack had a terrible habit of chasing the cattle on our land. Nearly every time a cow moseyed near the fence, Jack would tear across the yard and do only what his cattle-herding instincts called him to do--herd. My dad would yell, "Jack get back here you son of a bitch!" so often I once at the tender and adorable age of two yelled, "Jack! Get back here ya sommmbabitch!"

Another time in my toddler years, my Aunt Debbie was pushing me on a swing. She pushed me higher and higher, and I was quite nervous. I finally hollered at her, "You're pissing me off!!!" It is now the stuff of Julie-cussed-a-lot-as-a-kid legend. 

I actually felt bad about my cussing into my teenage years. I did it as an act of rebellion, a thing that I knew annoyed the heck out of my elders and I could control. 

You might be wondering, Oh Ramona threw an f-bomb at school and now I have to watch my mouth. Oh ho ho, no. My kids know they are bad words. Iris even says, "Mommy, you just said the s-word when you dropped that can of beans on your foot." I simply want to limit it in my conversation.

My good friends and husband all had the same reaction. Good luck with that, Julie. Saying cuss words is just something I do. I don't talk like a sailor, but they are peppered here and there. They are the tao of Julie, and can they ever be severed from my personality?

I can't stop cold turkey. I am weaning off the cussing SLOWWWWLY. The first day I resolved to stop, I said five. The following day I said three. The following about four. This week I am proud to say I only said about one to two a day. This is improvement, folks. I keep joking to my husband I am going to end up like Annie Wilkes in Misery, full of repressed anger and flipping nuts. And saying words like "dirty bird" and "ca ca poopy." Kathy Bates, you are brilliant. You deserve all them shiny awards. 

Truth is, I can find a better way to express myself. Cussing makes people sound stupid, and I am not a stupid lady.

19 February, 2013

Aesthetic Building

Some things from the past I am thinking about lately.

I giggle at Christian Slater trying-to-be-Jack-Nicholson in Heathers.

Confession: I finally watched Heathers from start to finish this weekend. What an odd movie. Instant cult classic. 

Tom Hanks was brilliant as Uncle Ned on Family Ties. He takes a relatively hokey show and gives it a pulse, titling the scales between ethos and pathos with such clarity I remember it even today. I also love love LOVE when 80s TV shows got all PSA on us about drinking, drugs and huffing White Out. 

My mom sewed her own dresses, and I always thought she looked gorgeous. 

I got a Loves perfume collection once for Christmas, and it was the best gift ever. I felt so incredibly grown up. 

That is all for now.

18 February, 2013

What We're Up To

The new house is rocking my world. I finally have a patch of dirt to call my own and shape to my liking. And shape I am.

Yes, she had to sample the dirt to ensure its "yummies" for the plants. Thank goodness she didn't drink the liquid fish fertilizer......

Our back yard is the biggest train wreck I have ever seen. According to our neighbors, the previous owners NEVER EVER MOWED THE YARD. Before our house went on the market, our neighbor Jerry helped the house flippers (a very nice husband and wife team), haul about 100 bags of leaves, acorns, sticks and dead grass from the back yard. The previous owners planted all their foliage so shallow that hard rains two years ago washed them into the most random places. In the photo above I transplanted these yuccas from a place in the middle of the yard nearly 15 feet from any noticeable flower bed. 

Liriopes are in random spots all over the yard. I pulled them up and placed them in the front beds. I also planted garlic, fertilized my Brussel sprouts, cabbages and broccoli and dug a trench for my red potatoes. I also have tons of St. Augustine grass runners from my neighbor's yard to plant in the bare dirt mounds dotted all over the yard. Currently we have more weeds than grass, but we are slowly moving along.

Pictures are coming soon of all our progress. Until now, I give you the most gorgeous seven-year-old on the planet:

14 February, 2013

Face Melting Cuteness (and FB Pissin' and Moanin')

Check out my valentines. They are so flippin' cute! 

Ramona yelled, "Val-bines! Val-bines!" all morning long. Kids love mushy mush holidays. They are softening my cynical heart in so many ways. 

Oh haaaaaaiiiiii! How you been? Remember, this blog will never be the pristine output of someone with oodles of ideas or time on her hands. I always forget to document the living. I promise to be better. For you, me loveys. 

Great things are underway at our house. I plan to document more as I slowly step away from Facebook as an active means of communication. It always felt something of a fad to me, and now it is simply boring. Unless it is cute beh behs or my friends celebrating the great things happening in their lives, or my family keeping in touch, it is all a hum to me. There are only so many feckless "political" rants and somecards a girl can read. I would rather you come over and we eat a lot of cheese and we dance to the Scissor Sisters. Think about it. 

I am waffling about throwing the absolute Facebook kill switch. I will probably keep it around for the family, but not treating the "like" button as actually reaching out to someone. And if friends fall to the wayside, well so it goes. It would have happened anyway if Facebook didn't exist in the first place. Truthiness tastes like burning, and not the campfire marshmallow kind. 

Happy "Val-bines," folks! Hugs to you all. Hope to see you face-to-face soon!