I Have a Piri-What?!

Dear Kid,

Turns out I have a piriformis. But you knew that. 

Just in case you were sleeping the day they talked about it, the piriformis is the muscle that keeps your hips from falling off. It’s located behind one’s behind and helps one stand on  one leg without falling over.

At least that’s what most people use their piriformis for.

I was going to put in a picture of actual muscles, but it turns out I prefer them covered in skin. And often times, clothing. So I chose this muscle model instead.

Some people use their piriformis to cause piriformis syndrome which means (more or less) pain in the back. This is not a recommended use for said muscle because it hurts (and can cause other problems which allow doctors to send their children on wildly expensive educational jaunts).

Not to worry. I don’t have piriformis syndrome, and my piriformis muscle is not causing me any pain.

It seems my piriformis is more or less a freeloader, just hanging around for the good times but not doing any actual work. Which means that while I have no pain (yay) I also have pretty much no stability (we knew that a long time ago).

The piriformis is a muscle in the gluteal region. It was named in the 16th century by Adriaan van den Spiegel, who missed out on a prime opportunity to name a muscle after himself.

I discovered this because a very nice Physical Therapist (and we know what I think of physical therapists) named Julie set up a table at the gym and (gratis-for-free) examined people in the name of Injury Prevention. I like preventing injuries as much as the next person, so I volunteered to have her poke around my muscles.

She found the spots that hurt. (See: Beliefs about physical therapists, above.)

Her first thought was that my hamstrings were too tight. Then she started bending my legs around, discovered that I take after Gumby, and moved on to jabbing her thumbs into my hitherto napping piriformis (at which point I moved on to jumping 6 inches off the table).

She enjoyed that so much that she did it again on the other side which only caused me to spasm and question whether she’d gotten her degrees at the Université de Marquis de Sade.

She gave me some exercises to do on a daily basis (and by daily basis I assume she meant every month or so during daylight hours). I’ve done them twice. At least I’ve done the ones I remember twice. If I remember correctly.

It’s not that I think she’s wrong. It’s just very hard to find time to do them (and by “very hard to find time” I mean I just don’t really want to).

You might wish to study up on the piriformis and how to strengthen it. I hear it’s lots of fun to torture your mother in the name of good health and stability.

Love, Mom

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I Can’t Keep Quiet | The Sauna and Real Responsibility

Dear Kid,

I have started sauna-ing.

Sitting in the sauna is what you do after you’ve been exercising hard and want to relax your muscles.

It’s also what you do if you haven’t been exercising hard enough and want to sweat anyway.

Sometimes sitting in the sauna is a time for quiet (and warm) reflection.

Other times, it’s an interesting conversation with people you might never meet anywhere else.

I mean how often do you go up to someone who is working out and randomly start chatting? OK, in my world it happens more often than you might think, given that I seem to have a way of introducing myself. And when J and I are at the gym together, you can imagine that we manage to meet all sorts of interesting people.

Last night (after our very intense workout), we were in the sauna, solving all the world’s problems, when we got into an interesting conversation with a woman who is approximately your age (and by “approximately” I mean exactly give or take a few months).

We started talking about the movie Twilight (which I have not seen, but I read one of the books a long time ago). This very insightful woman was saying how she’d rewatched the movie recently and started noticing how the relationship was a very abusive one (emotionally speaking). Which got all of us talking about why women do some of the things we do and enter into some of the relationships we enter into.

Many people (more knowledgeable than I) have written (much better than I possibly could) about the insidious little steps that seem (more or less) harmless at the time but in reality lead to the next one and the next one and…

We (and I mean all of us) have a responsibility to watch for subtle signs and signposts. To watch over our friends, our family, people we care about, people who are only on the edge of our awareness. To reinforce the “rightness” of standing up for ourselves. To give women permission to listen to that little warning voice we so often ignore. To insist that they respect themselves. DearKidLoveMom.comWe (and I mean all of us) have a responsibility to watch for subtle signs and signposts. To watch over our friends, our family, people we care about, people who are only on the edge of our awareness. To reinforce the “rightness” of standing up for ourselves. To give women permission to listen to that little warning voice we so often ignore. To insist that they respect themselves.

I’ve been obsessing over MILCK and I Can’t Keep Quiet. Hopefully, you’ve heard it already. If not, here it is.

Love, Mom

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A Perfect Sunday

Dear Kid,

A Perfect Sunday (obviously) starts with the night before. Last night Dad took me to see the North College Hill Community Theater production of The Real Inspector Hound. The accents came and went a bit, but it was delightful (I LOVE Tom Stoppard [the author]) and a nice little space. The only thing that could have improved it would have been to tie it with another of Stoppard’s one act plays. On the flip side, with only one act we got home before bedtime.

Also last night the Puppy slept through the night. Which was a Big Freakin’ Deal. We are quite hopeful that this is a sign that the 4am barking phase is over and done with.

Today, I hope to get to the gym early and be home in time for the most important event of the year. You got it: the Puppy Bowl.

This year they’ve included several “disabled” dogs. Um, “differently-abled” please. The really wonderful news is that all these pups are from shelters and have now been adopted. Big cheer from the endzone if you ask me.

Also, flippin’ cute.

As a conversation stopper, "I don't drink caffeine" was right up there with “Let’s talk politics and religion.” DearKidLoveMom.comThen there’s football.

I really hope it’s a good game. It’s the last one of the season and I hope, hope, hope it provides 100% in the way of entertainment and sport and 0% in the way of scandal. We, the People, need that.

Meanwhile, the sun is shining, the streets are clear, and the coffee is hot.

This is shaping up to be a perfect Sunday.

Love, Mom

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They’re Doing What at the WKC Dog Show?

Dear Kid,

Have. You. Heard. The. News.

Big news.

Colossal news.

News to make the fur stand up on the back of your neck. At the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Westminster? The show is in New York. Westminster is not. Actually, it turns out that the WKC is not named after the Westminster in England. It was named after a hotel in Manhattan where (and I quote) “sporting gentlemen used to meet in the bar to drink and lie about their shooting accomplishments. Eventually they formed a club and bought a training area and kennel. They kept their dogs there and hired a trainer.”

The WKC Dog Show has been around for a long time (and by “long time” I mean has been in all four Madison Square Gardens. Madisons Square Garden? Madison Squared Garden?).

Where cats can be cats. And be admired. And obeyed. As it should be. DearKidLoveMom.comThere are always new things in shows like this. New sponsors, new rules, new hosts, new judges. This year, “new” is going a step further. Not only are there new breed being shown (including Ewok), but for the first time the show includes cats.

As in Meow.

As in the big Dog Show (the one with “Dog Show” in its name) is including cats.

Don’t get me wrong—I like cats. I love that they know they’re smarter than everyone around them. And I am not a member of the WKC, so I have no emotional attachment to their traditions.

But I’m having a little trouble reconciling cats at a dog show. I always thought cats were more evolved than that, more into ruling by power than by beauty pageant pomp and ceremony.

Maybe I just need to get with the times. To recognize that how an animal self-identifies is more important than the species he or she was born with.

To be fair, the cats are not going compete or parade around the ring. They are going to be on display in their booths. Where they can be cats.

At the Dog Show.

2017 is shaping up to be a weird year.

Love, Mom

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The Super Bowl Is Coming | and Cows

Dear Kid,

You may be aware that we are approaching Super Bowl Sunday (Sunday Feb 5th).

Which means we have to talk about football. And cows.

Because footballs are made out of cow skin leather (yeah, I don’t really want to talk about the whole “pigskin” thing today).

The cow is of the bovine ilk; One end is moo, the other, milk. ~Ogden NashAbout 600 cows give their hides to make a season’s worth of NFL footballs. DearKidLoveMom.comAbout 600 cows give their hides to make a season’s worth of NFL footballs. Probably not voluntarily. Especially since a cow only has about a one in 17 million chance of becoming a ball that is used in the Super Bowl. So when you watch the game, you’re basically watching the ungulate lottery winner.

I think it would be cool if each ball were stamped with the name of the contributing cow. Like, “This ball brought to you by Betty Cow #4987351.”

When you measure it (I have not, but apparently other people have), it turns out that most of a professional football game is not about playing football (shocking but true). And I’m not even talking about the commercials because that’s another post for another day. The vast majority of time in a football game is spent on replays, arguing about the call the ref made 20 minutes ago, players standing on the sidelines, players lining up at the line of scrimmage, players huddling, injury delays, time outs, and head coaches looking inscrutable.

Fact (according to My Friend the Internet): Injured football players in televised NFL games get six more seconds of camera time than celebrating players.

Another fact (still according to MFtI): The huddle was not invented by Joe Neanderthal. It was invented by Paul Hubbard, a legally deaf quarterback from Gallaudet University, who “huddled” other players together so he could hear them better and to protect them from the other teams’ prying eyes. Three cheers for Paul Hubbard. And for the rest of the world for not saying that the players are “hubbarding” up.

One of the best inventions IMO, is the yellow first-down line they show on each broadcast. I don’t believe this has reduced the number of arguments about whether it should be first down, but I do believe it has added a level of faux science and magical complexity to the discussion. Personally, I love that line (it’s right up there with the “they have to get to this point to have a shot at kicking a field goal line”). It turns out that the yellow line costs (you should probably be sitting down for this) $20,000 per broadcast (over $5 million during the regular season). Worth it? Heck yeah.

Almost as much as identifying the football donor.

Love, Mom

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New Year, New Yoga (Seriously)

Dear Kid,

You’re not going to believe this. We’re doing yoga. Not just me. Your father is joining me. And enjoying it.

So far we’ve just done a 20 minute intro to yoga which consists mostly of breathing while sitting and then breathing while standing with one downward dog and one warrior pose. But we’ve now done it three days in a row, which I consider to be a Trend if not an actual Achievement.

Yoga. We haven't quite mastered this one...or anything even close. Breathing. We can breathe. DearKidLoveMom.comDad is quick to point out that it is not just yoga, it is Yoga with Adrienne. Adrienne has videos on YouTube which we are playing on the big TV (so it’s techy). If you want to see what we’re doing you too can follow along.

The funniest part of yoga is how the Puppy feels about it. He sees yoga as an invitation to play. We’re breathing calming. The Puppy is bouncing around. We bring our awareness to our center. He brings awareness to his toys. We go into downward dog. He head-butts me. It’s an interesting dynamic.

Not only are we doing yoga at home, Dad has been going to the gym with me. He’ll walk with me a little and then ride the bike a little. He’s even jogged a bit with me, but he insists on trying to correct my running form so I don’t encourage the jogging as I am not there for criticism or instruction.

New year, new us.

Love, Mom

Making 2017 Better One Day at a Time

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