When you wake up on the morning of your annual well woman exam (what a cheesy name), you know it’s just not going to be a comfortable day. My experience has certainly changed over the years from my first attempt when I was 19 and thought I needed an exam to get BC to have sex, so went to my general practitioner who had been my doc since I was like 10 and he asked if I was sexually active (I wasn’t, I was planning ahead) and explained he didn’t want my first experience to be with a speculum (so awkward just remembering this convo), so he gave me a prescription for the blood clot causing patch and sent me on my way.

I’m much more comfortable talking about lady issues now (obviously since I’m writing about it for all the interwebbers to read) and fortunately I have a doc I love so much that I drive 45 minutes to see her, as I did yesterday.

The appointment started with the nurse telling me my doc had a student with her today and would that be okay, which it was. The student came in first to chat and do the beginning of the exam and she looked familiar, which I guess is a good thing, but it was an awkward first few minutes trying to decide if I actually knew her before she started poking around. I didn’t.

Then I had to have the awesome convo where I admit I stopped talking my birth control pills because of “lack of need” and when I said I was thinking about going back on them, she asked if I had any new potential partners on the horizon, which was really a nice reminder that this might be the most action my vajayjay sees all year.

Gone are the days when I shave and prepare and worry about if I should keep my socks on (I wasn’t wearing socks anyway). It was the day before my wax appointment, so literally the situation was as bad as it gets and I didn’t shave my legs, so the now TWO women staring at my cervix probably understood why there was a lack of need for birth control at this point.

My doc asked if the student could do the exam, so I said sure, but of course she had a problem with her tool (my vagina apparently has this effect on people), so she poked for a while before they switched midstream and my doc finished up. Fantastic.

But, when I went to check out I had no co-pay and I still don’t really know why (the new healthcare laws that also cover BC now maybe?) , but that did help that I didn’t have to pay for the awkward encounter!

Abstinence is a pain in the neck.

I have been to two chiropractors four times in a week and a half.  My back/shoulder/neck is still in just as much pain as it was when I started.  I moved my desk around so that there’s 0% strain to work at my computer.  I’ve been hitting the Advil pretty hard and spent much of this morning researching acupuncture and cupping before settling on a deep tissue massage.

As I was prone on the table listening to the masseuse’s mix CD turned up awkwardly loud to drown out the sounds of the gym that the clinic was attached to (and also listening to the sounds of the gym  because the CD wasn’t working), I wondered just how many 26-year-old women end up on that table because they’re on the cusp of breaking their very own no-sex record.

I usually just say I carry a lot of stress in my shoulders and that every now and then I need someone to help me pull them away from my ears (meaning the chiropractor, not a tall, dark and handsome man and his penis) but it’s bad this time around and that’s the only thing I can think of!

Sex not only helps reduce stress, the oxytocin and endorphins released during the mattress mambo are pain reducers as well.  Hello!  Need some of that in my life.

I’ve debated back and forth between doing it just to do it and holding out for another six months and throwing a party to commemorate my first year as a born again virgin.

Luckily for me, until one wins out, I learned a long time ago that exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t kill their husbands.  They just don’t.  Hopefully happy people also don’t need to keep spending $150 weekly on medical treatment. 

Condoms are much cheaper.  A LOT of condoms are still much cheaper.  That’s A LOT of sex + oxytocin + endorphins. 

However, since oxytocin has this other, more obnoxious effect on me, tonight I’m just going with beer, a heating pad and my favorite new show, Happy Endings.

The Line

I’ve often wondered where my line would be if I started gaining weight.  This weekend I found it.

I don’t feel like I look like I’ve gained weight but I know I have because my jeans have gotten uncomfortable.  That was easy to blame on them just coming out of the dryer.  I thought about buying new jeans so I could be comfortable, but I don’t particularly like jeans and really have no use for them for the next seven months. 

Perhaps when you’ve given up on wearing your jeans in favor of flowy dresses, that could be the line, but it wasn’t.

While sometimes I curse the scale because it can have such an influence over a day, I’m glad I have it because the scale doesn’t lie and you can’t make excuses for it.  Without it, maybe I would have bought those bigger jeans and then another pair and then another.  Without the scale, I might have been one of those people whose wake up call is a picture of someone she doesn’t recognize until she double takes and realizes it’s her.

I crossed the line when I climbed on the dreaded scale on Sunday and saw 126.  I kinda always thought my line would be 130, but 126 was all I needed.  Yes, it still falls in the “normal” range for my height (5’3″) and yes, I know a lot of people would love to see 126 on their scale, but this is about me. 

The me who was at 122 after the holidays and pledged to lose five pounds in January. FAIL.  The me who thought I would at least lose those five pounds by the end of the WWW Challenge.  FAIL.  The me who works out six days a week.  NOT FAIR.

I promptly threw the scale under my bed.  Don’t get me wrong, it will be back with weekly appearances, but I’m not going to weigh myself daily anymore.  

I didn’t want to do a weight loss goal for the Spring Fever Challenge, but now I think I might because I don’t feel as clueless.  At the beginning of the year, I honestly thought it was holiday weight that would melt off on its own.  Now I can admit it’s going to take more work. 

I see the path that got me here and (I hope) I see the path that will get me back.  I’m not ready to write about it yet, at this point I’m just ready to say I found my line and I’m retreating.

Every Woman

Every woman should know what she can or can’t accomplish in a day, month and year.  Bearing that in mind, here is my list of goals/resolutions/to-dos  for 2011, some to be completed in a day, others in a week or a month and some may be works in progress that take all year.

Read one fiction and one non-fiction book every month.

Eat more veggies.  Get creative and try new things.

Stick to a two-drink limit if I even want to drink at all.

Downsize.  Live simply.  Donate things I don’t use (monthly) and don’t buy crap.

Lose 10 pounds before the fall weddings.

Complete 60 things total on my 101 list.

Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.

Earn $3000 side income, personal training, writing, whatever.

Build a $1290 wedding fund for bridesmaid expenses (yes, I realize NOW that it’s a stupid number, but it’s what my twisted math came up with).  Contribute $50 a month + gifts.

Spend less time with social media and more time with society.

Write six short stories.

Write girl side of dating book and begin collaboration.

Contribute to a Roth IRA…and 401(k) if company restarts match program.

Complete my eight-month emergency fund and leave it untouched in my MMA.

Make and follow a budget each month (< $2000/month or $24000/year).

Make and follow a training schedule each month.

Honor my appointments with myself.  Put myself first as often as I want.

Overpay on student loans (by more than $5, smart girl) to get below $11000 before the end of the year.

Pay off my CC each month, if I use it at all.

Hang out in Starbucks and Barnes & Noble and look approachable so as to be hit on.

Look presentable anytime I leave the house.

Don’t waste more than one date on a bad prospect.  Future me says so.

Try a new dating site.

Leave the baggage in the past.  Leave exes in the past.  Look forward.

Say yes more.  Say no more. 

Go all in.  Finish hard, finish strong – fitness, life, love, everything.

Dear Mini-Me

Reverb 10, Day 21 Future Self.
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead?

Are you ready girl?  It’s going to be a big year.

Pursue everything you want with reckless abandon and continue to amaze yourself.

Put yourself out there – in romantic and platonic relationships, career-wise and with anything that makes you a little uncomfortable.  You can handle it.

Write, write, write.

Take care of yourself.  Working out makes you feel good physically and emotionally.

Floss and take your vitamins.  I know you hate this ritual, but we both know it’s best to keep it up.

Take it easy on the alcohol, chocolate chip cookies and french fries.  You feel and look better without this crap in your system.  And while we’re on it, you don’t need all those chemicals packaged nicely in a can labeled Diet Coke either.  Your ass, skin and digestive system will thank you if you focus on the good stuff this year.

Appreciate and take care of your family.  Be supportive and flexible when it comes to your sister’s wedding.   

I know you want to have a serious boyfriend to take to her wedding.  This may or may not happen (don’t want to ruin the surprise!) but you’ll have a great time either way surrounded by loved ones.  And if you followed my earlier advice, you’ll look fabulous!

Don’t waste more than one date on a bad prospect.  If he’s not the man who is sitting here with you in five years, move on.  He really is an amazing man (and sexy!) and he’s out there making his way to you. It’s never going to happen if you have someone else parked in your boyfriend spot. 

You’re abstaining right now and you should keep that up for as long as you want to.  When you decide you’re ready again, use condoms, girl.  I don’t care how pretty his face is, you don’t know where his shame shame has been.

Another reckless behavior you need to ktfo:  texting while driving.

Don’t forget to take some down time to rejuvenate your spirit.  Life only gets crazier as you get older.  Be selfish while you can.

PLEASE contribute to your retirement fund!

Oh, and 26 is not old and neither is 27.  They’re great ages and lady, you are like a fine wine.

Riding Giants

Reverb 10, Day 13 Action.  When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas.  It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

REALLY BIG ideas are scary because they are just so exciting.  It’s easy to fill life with the little guys to distract myself from my life’s beacons, my giants, the REALLY BIG ideas that have been calling to me in one way or another for a very long time.  2011 seems like a great year to take these on.

Writing.  2011 just feels like it’s going to be a writing year.  But feeling it isn’t doing it. My first step is to carve out time to spend with my ideas and words.  And get a computer that isn’t going to crash and take my words down with it.

Love.  If I think love is going to walk up to me at Starbucks or Barnes & Noble, I suppose I should go to these places.  If my bitch vibe gets in the way, I’ll also make sure to maintain my active social life, courtesy of online dating.   

Wellness.  Post-half, I’m going to come up with a new training schedule and follow it just as passionately.  I’m going to fill my kitchen with whole, healthy foods and take time to prepare healthy meals.

Travel.  I feel stuck on this one for 2011.  I have wanderlust screaming through my veins, but I already know my resources (time AND money) will be limited for the next 12 months, but I also know the power of wanting something and making it happen.  My first step for this is to start a wanderlust fund, so when the time is right, I’ll be financially ready too.

You’re Outta Here

Reverb 10, Day 11 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1.  Toxic exes.  

2.  Other relationships from the past that aren’t working for me

3.  Men who treat me like an option, not a priority

4.  A balance on my credit card

5.  Doubting internal dialogue

6.  Overeating

7.  Ripped up cuticles and dark circles under my eyes

8.  Regrets over things I didn’t do

9.  Time wasted on bad TV and too much internet

10.  Indecision and second guessing

11.  Fake meals

No one’s perfect and it’s very difficult to go 100%, which is why diets and new year’s resolutions typically fail.  It will be  a constant effort to remind myself of my priorities and this list will help me remember!  Purging these things and people will give me time and space to fill my life with things I DO want in it and allow room for positive forces and new experiences.

Thanksgiving Traditions

[I shared this Thanksgiving post on The Coupon Project’s Thanksgiving Mr. Linky…did you share yours?]

We’re shaking up our Thanksgiving traditions a bit this year in the Jaye household, but not too much.  Mostly it just means welcoming more people to our usually very small celebration…my parents, my sister, her fiance, his parents and potentially his sister + potentially her boyfriend. Surprise, surprise, Em is the seventh or ninth wheel. What else is new?

We’ve actually been shaking up our traditions ever since my sister and I moved out of the house because growing up means more responsibilities, obligations and other distractions.  I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving, my sister has had to work on Thanksgiving, our parents have traveled and we’ve had Thanksgiving on a Sunday, one wonderful Thanksgiving, we had a three-course meal at a lovely little trattoria in Italy.

But, traditions are traditions damn it and when I think of our Thanksgiving traditions I think of: 

Cranberry Orange Bread.   My parents are of the mindset that on Thanksgiving you eat the Thanksgiving meal, usually around two or three o’clock and that’s it.  Maybe around seven or eight it might be time for more dessert or a mini-plate.  Little ones can’t NOT eat all day until two or three, so we would always wake up to freshly made cranberry orange bread.  Yes, it was from a box (obviously, there were much more important things to be making from scratch) so it’s not anything special, but any other time, it would be blueberry muffins, but COB is for Thanksgiving.

Please excuse the diatribe on healthy eating + Thanksgiving that follows…

I realize now this is actually pretty unhealthy.  It sets the precedent that it’s okay to starve yourself if you’re going to binge later. And that it’s okay to binge.  Thanksgiving is a meal of relatively healthy, at least more natural and wholesome foods than most of America eats on a daily basis.  That will not do for Americans.  They find a way to make this wholesome food unhealthy – marshmallows in sweet potatoes, deep-fried turkey, and A LOT of EVERYTHING. 

Even if the food is delicious, who really likes to feel STUFFED afterward? No one. That’s who.

Eat like a normal person, eat a normal breakfast, eat enough at “the big meal” to taste everything and feel satisfied and have leftovers to enjoy again. They’re just as good the next time around. Enjoy the people you are with.

Forced Family Fun.  Everything about Thanksgiving screams forced family fun, which sounds worse than it actually is.  I love my family and enjoy spending time with them, but during requisite events, I have no choice but to enjoy it.

Hiking.  We used to hike every Thanksgiving morning. I hated it. Now I’d love to get my family out there. My mom will be too concerned with making everything perfect, even though our guests are just as relaxed as we are, like us and are mostly stuck with us at this point. My dad might not be healthy enough for it and I don’t want to be the one responsible for trotting him around a mountain trail to find out. Oh, and my sister will no doubt have popped the champagne upon waking up, okay, maybe she’ll wait until she’s at least showered, but drinking and hiking just don’t mix.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I love it.  I don’t think anyone else in my family does.  I sneak it on the TV.

Ignoring football.  Hate the Cowboys.  Enough said. (I find it funny that I managed to work in my distaste for America’s football team in back-to-back posts.  Go me.)

Being banished from the kitchen.  I’m the baby of the family and I’m just not as into food as the rest of my family is, so generally I get designated as the table setter.  I think last year I got to put the rolls in the oven.  This year we’re doing a quasi-potluck and I’ve been put in charge of appetizers.  I’m pretty sure they’re expecting a cheese tray and a bag of baby carrots.  Little do they know I’ll actually be busting out a smoked salmon and creme fraiche hors d’oeuvre and stuffed mushrooms!

Board Games.  Again, this might be just a me thing, but with even more participants this year, I am so making this part of the forced family fun.

T-minus four days.  Can’t wait!