Saturday, January 29, 2011

Crazy

I can't believe I have been LABORING with the old "editor" and couldn't figure out why putting together a blog post was such a PAIN!!!!!  I've still been writing in html speak!

I think there may be a little more joy when writing my posts from now on!

I'm so joyful that I am going to share some more internet art!  And in case you are wondering why I pick certain "art"?  Only one criteria - it has to stir something inside me...







You know how much I love the blues...cornflower, periwinkle, indigo, morning glory, aqua, teal (yes, I love blue green too)









This reminds me of Block Island.












This is an Indigo Bunting.  I saw one ONCE!!!!  So beautiful!

I just love this one.  That's why it's here!  (Oh wait - that's why they are all here!  Oh well...)




















Aqua and Indigo!  Great combo!




















So that's it. The new editor IS easier. But it wasn't
perfect. Or maybe I'm the imperfect one...

Joy is a Net of Love By Which You Can Catch Souls


Do you see that title up at the top of this post? (It is a quote from Mother Teresa.)

I think it might be true! My "net" seems to be catching souls! A few posts ago I told you the "Believe" stories and in my last post I told you about the Joy napkins and over Christmas I received no less than 5 JOY ornaments.

Last week, my friend Judy sent me this photo. Here's what she said:

"Joey, This is on the wall near my computer desk. As I was reading your blog tonight, I happened to notice it. (It's been up there so long...) Now, when I see it, I'll think of you!"

And a few days ago my friend Lynn, who has been immersed in leading her mother through open heart surgery and recovery, wrote me this:

"Joey - my mom is my joy today!"

Last September, my friend Aileen wrote me that ever since she started reading my blog, she tries to always keep the phrase "Catch the joy" in her head so that she watches for those joy moments.

I'm thinking I am having a big ole net full of catch! I, of course, caught joy from each and every catch in my net. Pretty amazing how contagious this can be! Please forgive me if I have missed mentioning a few other "catches" in my net - you know, that age/memory thing!

So, if you go back to my original first blog post, you will recall that while you may not necessarily live a life filled to the brim with joy - life is filled with moments. And you can have 1 joy moment in a day or 1 joy moment in a week, but you needed to savor that moment because that is all you are getting until the next one comes along.

The point is, if you aren't looking to catch a joy moment, then you will miss it. I think my net is catching souls who maybe, just maybe, are on the lookout for those sometimes allusive joy moments. The cool thing about that is, now they each have a net of love trolling their world. And isn't their world part of the world? Ya dig?

And for those who haven't made it into the net yet, "keep knocking, and the Joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who's there."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

And The Week Isn't OVER



This week is crazy. We've had two snowstorms in 2 days - one a snowmagedden. We have 3 feet on the ground. I do not recall ever having 3 feet on the ground! Amongst the craziness, this week I:

Went to a fitness seminar
talked w/Lori Bootcamp non-stop for 1.5 hours each way
learned something about home insurance
moaned about being very sore
reveled in being very sore
washed even more bedding
made soup
trained beautiful women
laughed
played scrabble
texted with my lovies
worked out
woke up to an unexpected snowstorm
ate hershey kisses
canceled too many classes
yelled at my kids
shoveled snow
did I mention washed more bedding
bought a new microwave
did I mention Scrabble
had coffee "and", with Diane
ate quiche
didn't read - sniff
cleaned closets and drawers
laughed with Lynn
did I mention hershey kisses
discovered beautiful, inspiring blogs
watched 2 beautiful snow storms
laundry, laundry, laundry
kissed my dog ALOT
went back to using a paper calendar
made yummy shrimp tacos
worked on my relationship with my cat
cried
worked out again
washed drapes
complained about school snowdays
missed someone
saw TWO pileated woodpeckers
found a new wrinkle
was grateful
laughed at myself
had a long discussion inside my head
loved
contemplated my reading hiatus
watched my beloved Parenthood
more laundry
pretended to love a new wrinkle

Just stuff...
and of course, I caught joy!

PS - Joy is beginning to spread. I will blog about that soon. But know that my friends are starting to connect me with joy! And you know what? I think - they might be catching some as a result. My friend Joan sent me this pic and message the other day:

This is for you, Joey...I just realized the napkins I bought for the Parent-Child Dance were made for you! Check it out!

And you know I caught joy from that!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If You Can't Stand The Heat...

If you saw me right now, you would tell me to close my mouth because quite frankly? It's STILL hanging open. Never mind OMG.

OH
MY
GOD!!

So - this is the scoop. Last Thursday night, not to be DRAMATIC or anything BUT - I almost killed my family. (who meeeee dramatic??? I prefer to be called "colorful" - thank you very much.) but...

DID TOO ALMOST KILL THEM!!!!

Is anyone familiar with a cornbag? Ok - so for those who are not, it is a cloth bag filled with corn (not popcorn smartasses) that you warm in a microwave for 2-5 minutes and then you can use it in a variety of different ways. For example, you can use it on an aching back. You can put it in your bed and warm your freezing feet (my personal favorite) and actually you can freeze it too and use it as a cold pak. (Funny that this cornbag photo to your left has flames on it! You will see why in a minute. Yikes!!!)

Anyway - I threw it in the microwave and instead of punching in FIVE minutes, I inadvertently punched in FIFTY minutes. 20 minutes later my house was filled with toxic smoke, my kids were awaken out of a sound sleep, choking and could not breathe and the nightmare began. Long story short - I opened all the windows, got the smoke out, went to bed, only to wake at 5am to a house filled with smoke AGAIN and a cornbag combusting away in the microwave. As soon as my husband went to remove the offensive evidence from the microwave, it BURST into flames. Aghhhhhhhh.
We were left with a hideous, toxic odor in the house that literally made us sick. We spent 2 days buying and trying everything we could to erradicate the smell. Unfortunately, it was embedded in the carpets, bedding, drapes, clothing...just an insurmountable amount of work. Speaking of bedding, ironically, I had just taken 13 blankets and comforters to the laundry mat that very day of the fire. (Now THAT was a sight to see. I haven't been in a laundry mat since 1984! Do you think I even know how to "work" the laundry mat? Don't ask. Only ME...)

Anyway, I have spent the last 5 days tackling one room at a time, washing EVERYTHING. I feel like I have gotten alot of the smell out of the house but we keep running into pockets of that horrid, putrid smell. The microwave is ruined and the whole wall that the oven and microwave is built in to REEKS. And yet, what appears to be an amazing thing - has happened.

On Friday, I called my insurance agent and they kind of made me feel like I was being a babypoo-poo'd what happened a little bit and said they were very busy with all the roofs caving in from our wonderful winter of snow and ice and it would be a while before an adjuster would get back to me. Me - being the meek, humble girl that I am, (oh you be quiet all you naysayers!) I was like, "ok! no problem!"

Yesterday I got a facebook email from my friend, Aileen, encouraging me to call them back. She explained that she had been in a similar situation and the insurance company paid for a complete cleaning of her house to clear the smoke out of everything and also they replaced appliances etc. Well - after 5 days of attacking this problem and feeling like I was on a treadmill, I decided to push the insurance company. Couldn't they just come in and clean the ceilings that were smoke damaged?

Well!!! OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!

Who knew there was a whole other dimension to insurance claims then just calling the agent? Without going into boring detail, I am not only getting my house completely cleaned from top to bottom - carpets, walls, ceilings, bedding, all clothing (and I mean ALL clothing - every stitch from every closet) and drapes dry cleaned, I may get even more! We are negotiating new cabinets & appliances. WHATTTTTT??????????? I KID you not!

Do you even NEED to ask where the JOY is in this situation????? I am positively giddy!!!

As an aside - Aileen is someone I met wayyyy back in 1984. Actually, I knew who she was way back in high school! But she does not remember me in high school although I remember her cuz she was very cool!! (those schnows! Secret code!) Anyway - for a few years after college, I ended up in a community where my abode was behind her abode. We didn't socialize or really know each other well but spoke occasionally and waved. We actually worked in the same place but not at the same time during those years. So it is very amazing to me that we have become facebook friends and forged a connection these past 2 years. We seem to be a bit kindred!

So Aileen, thank you sooooo much! If you hadn't written me volumes in your emails today, about your personal experience (and I mean volumes, folks!), if you hadn't continued to push me with every email, I never would have made the follow-up call to the insurance agent. I honestly thought we were on our own for this one. So if nothing else, I'm getting my house scrubbed and sterilized!!! Let's see what else! You rock, girlfriend!♥♥♥

Monday, January 24, 2011

Soul Soother

I needed a little pick-me-up today. This color picked me up. That's all I got in me today, folks. I'll be back in a few. ♥♥♥

OH! PS - I made these for dinner tonight and loved them. Now you get some joy.
















Super Simple Shrimp Tacos
Super Simple Shrimp Tacos


Super Simple Shrimp Tacos

Ingredients

1 lb of frozen shrimp, defrosted, peeled, & deveined
6 oz fat free Greek yogurt
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
½ a head of cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
8 corn tortillas
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions

    Heat tortillas over medium heat in a dry skillet until warm and starting to form small brown spots. Set aside on a plate covered with a clean kitchen towel.

    Mix yogurt, cayenne, lime juice, cilantro, & salt in a small bowl, set aside.

    Heat two teaspoons of olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet and add cabbage. Cook for about four minutes or until the cabbage is just barely wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

    Cut shrimp into thirds, so you have little bite size pieces. Sauté in two teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper over medium heat just until done. They cook up in just a few minutes… so be sure to watch them!

    Build your taco! Place a scoop of cabbage on the warmed tortillas taco, then top with shrimp, and cilantro sauce… enjoy!

    Serves 4.

    Nutritional Analysis

    Calories: 264; Total Fat: 5.8g; Saturated Fat: 0.4g; Cholesterol: 850mg; Sodium: 850mg; Carbohydrate: 23g; Dietary Fiber: 4.6; Sugars: 6g; Protein: 30.2g

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    Beware of Incontinence

    So, I have become quite the texter. (Is that a word? I know. I know. Scrabble dictionary.) I have this circle of text friends and we keep in touch almost daily through this amazing technology. It's fun. It's funny. And best of all, it keeps you in each other's worlds without a timely phone call!

    The auto correct feature on my iphone (and on other phones too, I am sure) can be quite useful, but also quite annoying. If you are not a texter, auto correct works like a spell checker and sometimes anticipates words you are typing. I, and obviously many people, do not pay much attention to it - only to find after hitting SEND, that auto correct has possessed your keyboard and sent something totally nonsensical to your text buddy. Or totally HYSTERICAL! As you can see from what I have posted below - pee in my pants, belly laughing, tears running down my face FUNNY. I am certain I have not laughed this hard for months = JOY.

    Please be warned that what I have posted below are print screens of people's auto correct text messages that went awry and may not be for the faint of heart. Some are down right nasty risque. So if you can't handle it, I suggest you stop reading right now. Everyone else? Your stomach will be hurting from laughing, so beware.


































































































































































































































    If you enjoyed peeing in your pants a good chuckle, you can go here and see hundreds more. I, personally, tune in daily to get the ole joy flowing and endorphins rushing. Sweet!



    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    When You Believed in Everything

    I found this image on someone's blog this morning. I can't quite recall when I believed in everything. Sometimes a wisp of recall floats by but when I reach out to grasp it - POP - like a bubble.








    A few weeks ago, I posted this pic on Facebook.
    It stirred something in me. First of all, the glass was the color that the universe invented for me I absolutely love. Ask anyone who knows me well and they will concur. That is Joey's color - right next to cornflower and periwinkle and morning glory.

    Secondly (is that a word?! I'll have to check my online Scrabble game dictionary), it is photographed at my most favorite place on earth - by the sea.

    And lastly (is that a word??? Dictionary!), I think "believe" may be what I'm searching for. Not in the theological sense, mind you. (That is for a whole other discussion that I doubt you will see on this blog. You know - politics and religion and all that!) No - it's simpler, I think. Just to believe I am where I am supposed to be.

    So, the other night I was in the front passenger seat of my car and my purse was at my feet. We left Chuck's wake (which was incredibly sad) and had stopped for a late dinner. I was waiting for my husband to take the wheel after leaving the restaurant. (If you are my kids, you will roll your eyes because we are ALWAYS waiting for that! It's my inside joke with them. How long will we wait for Dad? How many times will he walk back into the house before he finally thinks he hasn't forgotten anything, gets behind the wheel and the house is safely behind us!?)

    Anyway - I look down and I see a glint of gold in my pocketbook. This puzzled me because I had just switched purses (which may be the only time I do know everything that is in that endless pit of crap.) and I couldn't think what was gold in there. I dug through the very important possessions crap and found this. Huh? I had never laid eyes on this before. Enter Twilight Zone music - for 5 seconds anyway.

    Then I remembered that my sister-in-law had mentioned to me, that she had a stone with "believe" on it. Obviously she had dropped it in my purse when I wasn't looking. Isn't that so sweet? Thank you Paula! Love you!

    Then I got home from shopping the other day and found this email:

    I couldn't find one in blue glass, but I did find ONE! I'll give it to you next week.

    Lori


    WOW! Kinda cool, huh?!

    Wisps of joy...

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Dog Eat Dog World??? Not in Joeyland...

    You know what this is?

    IT'S MY $80 FACE CREAM!

    Yes - the lovely Miss Daisy must have felt the need for a skin treatment.

    FROM THE INSIDE OUT!

    And to add insult to injury, I had to call Pet Poison Control and pay them $35 to find out that we didn't need to have her stomach pumped because she ate my $80 FACE CREAM. She wasn't going to die from eating my $80 FACE CREAM! She didn't even need to be seen by the vet for eating my $80 FACE CREAM. (Did I mention my FACE CREAM COSTS $80????)

    No - she was just going to get diarrhea! Greatttttt - add a 2nd insult - making sure the dog makes it outside before she decorates the house with her expensive, ummmmm - well, you get my drift. (No pun intended.)

    Hmmmmm...actually...maybe there is a money maker here. Whale sperm shampoo, horse urine for hot flashes, Daisy Doo De-wrinkler? Haaaaa - no retching, folks. Come on! Why not? I think I'm on to something... I could call it Joey's Joy. Share it! Sell it! Yes folks. I have officially lost my mind.

    Hope you get a giggle of joy from my pain...



    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Bob's Chuck


    My family goes on the hunt for not one, but TWO Christmas trees, each Black Friday. We always go to the same awesome Christmas tree farm owned by our "kinda" neighbors (6 miles a neighbor?), Pete and Shelley, and we head out there with at least 12-15 other family members and friends.

    One year, about 5 Christmases ago, we dragged our trees back to the "warming house" and when we went to pay, Pete said, "$35 please." "No, no, we bought TWO trees!" "$35 please." Huh? I looked at Bob, he looked at me, and then he said, "But they are $35 a piece, aren't they?" "Yes, they are. But one has already been bought for you."

    HUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH??????

    Turns out, our friend Chuck works with Pete at the water company and CHUCK, knowing we get our tree from Pete's farm every year, paid for our tree! Is that GREAT or what!!!!! It was such a nice thing to do and I honestly thought it was the neatest surprise I have ever been a party to. I know Bob and Chuck had a great laugh about it. Because, that's what they do. They break each others stones constantly and they laugh together always.

    The night before last, Chuck passed away. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 14 months ago and he didn't survive the treatment. My husband is inconsolable and our hearts are indeed broken. His, because he loved Chuck and will never see his close friend again and how awful it is for Chuck's family - mine because I know how much he loved Chuck and that he will never see his close friend again and I can't bear his pain for him.

    Chuck was a soft spoken man who loved his family, loved his friends and I never saw him without a smile on his face. He was a working man - still at it, full time, at the age of 71. His children are amazing, his wife Aura is an angel - and he was one of my husband's closest friends.

    For 30 years, they got together almost every week and on the weeks they did not get together, they spoke on the phone like two teenage boys, laughing, joking, breaking them off on each other about their opposing sports team alligiances (yessss - Chuck was a Red Sox fan), catching each other up on family and just enjoying their friendship. Chuck had a heart of gold and would do anything for Bob. In fact, I know he would do anything for anyone that needed something he could give.

    You would think that I knew Chuck well, but the fact of the matter is, he really belonged to Bob. I know that sounds kind of odd, but they knew each other for over 30 years, long before I came along, and although I spent time with him and his wife, once, maybe twice a year, like I said - they belonged to each other.

    I am profoundly sad that he is gone. My heart goes out to his family. My husband is devastated. Yesterday, he grieved about how unfair life is: how there are thousands upon thousands of derelicts in our prisons. Why not them? Why the good guys? Why Chuck? It sucks. It makes no sense. The meek shall inherit the earth?? Righttt. My Chuck was one of the meek. This blows.

    After he said that, I looked at him quizzically. I didn't think Chuck was meek! He was soft spoken, but he wasn't shy or tentative and certainly not weak - isn't that what meek meant? But I just listened and afterwards, I decided to look that phrase up. I mean, I had heard it many times in my life, but I had never really understood it or even given it a thought, for that matter. And surprise! It's a passage from the bible. Didn't know that or maybe I knew it and just forgot (as is the case ALOT these days...)

    "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5.5.

    Now, at the risk of ticking a few readers off, we are not church going people and we don't practice an organized religion, but that is not to say we are not good people. And I consider myself very spiritual. We were both raised Roman Catholic and like many, our issues with the church precipitated our "defection". End of that story. Anyway, I have never studied the bible so it's no surprise I forgot didn't know where the passage came from.

    Long story short (I bet my friend Karen is kind of laughing right now), turns out that in order to understand why the meek shall inherit the earth, we need to be sure that we understand what meekness really is.

    I found that meekness is not weakness, but rather showing patience and humility. Humility does not mean looking down on oneself or thinking ill of oneself. It really means not thinking of oneself very much at all. Ohhhh....

    Yes - that was Bob's Chuck...

    So now I understand my husband's expression of anguish. His Chuck, his meek friend, would not be here to inherit the earth. Obviously, this is all theoretical, spoken in a moment of passionate anger by a grief-stricken man. But I do understand now. (And I learned something!)

    So where am I going with this sad and somewhat rambling post? Well, not too far. It's very simple. A sweet, loving, (meek if you will) wonderful man has been taken too soon. We are all grieving the loss.

    But, I think that even in times of great sorrow and grief, there are things to truly be thankful for. How about the ability to cry? Without it, we would never understand the joy of it's opposite. And as someone reminded me yesterday, our grief is the profound presence of those who are forever absent from our lives.

    And what about the joy??

    Well no, I'm not feeling much joy right now. Well, actually, not at all. But you know what? In the days ahead, I will be reminded of the JOY of Chuck. Bob will definitely start telling me stories I have forgotten didn't know about, making him smile...making me smile. And guess what? I will be catching a wisp of joy during these moments, because I know...I KNOW...

    that Bob's Chuck will also be smiling.

    Rest in Peace, my friend. You will be so missed, by so many. You were truly loved.


    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    January JOY

    Well, the holidays are over. Hmmm - that sure went fast. I've been feeling a bit blue - perhaps over that? Perhaps because it's JANUARY????? It's COLD????? Spring is at least THREE if not FOUR months away???? There is no doubt, I need something...

    I stripped the house of it's Christmas finery today and that sure didn't help. First of all, it was a harsh reminder that it's JANUARY! And secondly, it was a LOT of work!!!! I think I put it all out. a bit at a time, as the spirit moved me. But putting it away does not work that way. Plus, how is it that all the "stuff" came out of 3 of those huge Rubbermaid tubs and went back into 5? Needless to say, the barren landscape is of no help. Somehow the house looks like Cinderella before she met her fairy godmother. Drab, bare, cold, dark...

    But for every yin there is a yang. 3:40 rolled around and the little ones disembarked from the big yellow monster and my Dennis the Menace 9 year old skipped to the van, climbed in and started telling me that he had a really good day - second in a row. Hmmmm - how come that behavior doesn't make it's way home???? "That's good, sweetie." "And Mom! I can read!" Okkkkkkk - well, I'm not really buyin' this one.

    You see, we've spent countless years advocating for services, specifically because our son has not been successful learning to read or write. A neuropsych exam essentially told us that he may never read. That we need to advocate for other means of educating our child that includes computer programs that read to him, dictation programs that he can access for writing - essentially a whole different means to the end, i.e. getting Dennis into the college of our his choice. (I know he is only 9, but I tend to shoot high!)

    But, I played along. Afterall, maybe he learned a few more sight words. What's a sight word, you ask? Yes - there is a whole other language when it comes to PPTs and IEPs and Learning Centers and...am I losing you? Anyway - sight words are words recognized immediately by the reader without his having to go through the process of breaking them into constituent parts.

    For example, YOU see "happy", HE sees "h"-"ap"-"p"-"eeee". ( That is, he is supposed to see that. But even that is a struggle.) It's called de-coding.

    Obviously, this is a re-enactment, 5 minutes later, but check this out.


    video


    "O" "M" "G"

    Now THAT is "J" "O" "Y" !!!!!

    PS - The two running around in the background? Those are my comedians who felt the need to sneak into the video. You probably can't see this in the video, but my daughter has this on.



    "ROLL" "MY" "EYES"... SIGH.

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    JOY in 2010

    So, you haven't seen me in a while and this is what I feel about that: FAIL.

    I lurk on so many blogs and the bloggers are soooo good about posting regularly - some, every day! While I doubt I will ever do that, I resolve to post more often in 2011.

    Sadly, I must admit, I wasn't catching a lot of joy in the last week or so. I won't go into it, but I did decide to find some by creating the below video. These are some joy moments captured on film in 2010. Some I captured personally. Others I stole. But know that they all brought me a moment of joy.

    I hope you enJOY it, because it took FOREVER to get it right enough to post! I am not ecstatic about how it came out, but after many hours of experimenting with different programs and photos, I contentedly (is that a word?) settled for this. I hope you all have an awesome 2011 and thanks for reading about my joy. It's what keeps me writing.


    video

    PS - Our local news station did a Year in Review to this song by Brandi Carlile. Just so you know, I thought of it FIRST!