Thursday, September 29, 2016


Historical fiction - in MY book?  The only way to learn history.  Reading this book is JOYful!  All this hoopla about the Broadway show Hamilton?  Now I'll be in the know!

Day 8 JOY!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


On Day 6, I woke up to the sound of rain falling.  THAT is JOY because I'm pretty sure we haven't had a drop of rain since early June.  This may be a slight exaggeration as we may have had a sprinkle - once. 

So, I had a 20 mile bike ride planned with a friend this morning but obviously that wasn't happening.  I immediately contacted a coffee buddy and we made plans to meet and catch up.  I love coffee and I love chit-chatting over coffee = coffee JOY.

As I was driving to meet her, my cell rang and I recognized the number as my mother-in-law.  Wellllll - actually my X-mother-in-law but honestly?  She's been my Mama for almost my whole life - since I was 15.  So she is wayyyyy more than a mother-in-law.

I immediately and joyfully answered and was greeted with her cheery voice.  It was like a deja vu from a few months ago.  She told me she had something for me from my X.  Back in June, she called and told me she had something for me from my X's daughter Sandy (my X-stepdaughter.)  (Wow - there's a lot of Xs in this blog!)

My Mama is like the post office for Xs!  

So I made plans to stop in for a visit later in the morning.  She gave me this.

It's an original photo that was taken by my Mama's sister, Carol (my X-aunt - OY, another X!).  It was a JOY filled moment.  I've posted this photo on FB before but I only owned a digital copy.  That would be me at 23 looking 14.  Right? 

PS - it won a blue ribbon at the local fair that year - JUST SAYIN'...

Anyway - I thought it was so thoughtful for my X-guy to send this to me through his mom.  Only a few months before, his daughter Sandy sent me THIS thru his mom:

Sandy saw a Facebook photo I posted - on Memorial Day, I think it was - of my father's flag from his funeral, which I displayed on a bookshelf in my living room.  About a month after the post, my Mama made that call that she had something for me and it was THIS flag box!  Could I have been more surprised?  But more than that?  I caught amazing JOY.  It was one of THE most thoughtful gifts I had ever received. 

I received this flag at my father's funeral in 2011.  My intention was to buy a box for it to display in.  The flag was carefully put away in a chest awaiting that day.  I finally looked for one on Amazon and put it in my cart to be purchased at a later date when I had a bit of cash for myself (like that ever happens with 3 teenagers).  

4 years went by and I finally decided to pull the folded flag out into my view so I would be reminded to make the purchase.  In May of this year I had an epiphany.  The box was still not bought but a light bulb went off over my head.  I didn't need a box!  I have a beautiful bookshelf to display it on and that's what I did!  I was so happy that it finally had a home.  I truly had all intentions of getting that darn box still, though!  And then the call came.  CRAZY JOY!!!!!  Getting this gift was so fitting on so many levels. 

So there you have it - a day of Xs.  A day filled with JOY - receiving the gift of this photo, remembering the gift of my flag box, seeing my X-in-laws (Seeing YOU for coffee, Melissa - but you're not an X so you don't get top billing but you always bring me JOY!  LOL) and most importantly, connecting my Xs with the Os in my heart.  Does it get more JOYful on Day 6?  XO

Monday, September 26, 2016


It's hard to believe I started a project back in early August and I kinda finally finished it today...well almost.  Nothing has made me more unbalanced than my hoarder basement.  As the years went on, everybody and his brother - dead and alive - stored crap in our basement. Add an ADHD kid to the mix and you now live over a landfill.  The landfill is now here:

A few more hours of sweeping, a call to the metal guy that loves to pick up your junk, i.e. old air conditioners, and my JOY is complete!!!!  

It ain't pretty JOY but it's over the moon, jumping up and down, head banging JOY!!!  I'm almost zen! 

Day 5 of JOY!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Great Pumpkin

Today was an action packed day with a big Fall theme going on.  That, in and of itself brings me JOY as Fall is my FAV season!

Here was my day:

1.  Woke at 7:39
2.  Apple picking at 11
3.  Hiking with my bestie, Karen & Daisy at 12:30 (over 4 miles!)
4.  Cooked all afternoon from 2-6:30pm

Listen to what I cooked!!!  Kale & White Bean Soup, Lentil Soup, Moroccan Stew, Ginger Salmon Burgers & Apple Crisp.  Everything and I mean EVERYTHING was delicious.  Check a few out from my well used recipes!

I doctored up a cup of mayo to replicate the ginger mayo.  It was really good on the burgers!

It was a very good day and there is food to grab outta the fridge for a few days!

Catching JOY in the Punkin' patch.  Day 4 of JOY.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Wedded Bliss

Day 3!

So this morning in my 7AM class, someone made a joke about the Newlywed Game show when the contestants were asked where is the weirdest place they have ever made whoopy and 1 contestant answered, "Dat be da butt Bob."  We all were laughing hysterically at the memory and I KNOW I saw it LIVE!!  I have a VIVID memory of it!

Only 1 problem.  When I went to grab the Youtube of it for this blog post?

How is that even possible????  

Apparently it's an urban legend.  WHAT?   I KNOW I saw this.  I know YOU saw it!  Ok - maybe I was mistaken that I saw it live but I KNOW I saw it - like on a re-run or a game show special - but I SAW IT!!  I'm losing my mind.  Google you can lose your mind.

At any rate - we sure caught some JOY laughing about it at 7AM this morning!  And I came up with the great idea to link it with what I did today.  We went to my niece's wedding!  

Newlywed Game - Wedding?  Newlywed Game-Wedding.  That could be a funny blog post?  I know.  I know - it's a stretch...

But here I am all psyched to write a blog post that opens with that Newlywed Game clip.  NOT.

But it didn't ruin my JOY watching THIS girl marry the love of her life and her best friend.  

Day 3 of JOY.

Friday, September 23, 2016


Whoa!  It's 10:20pm.  I almost missed my second day!!  But I made it! 

I guess this will be a quickie.  I don't even have a photo!  But I can tell you this.  My daughter Brooke decided to try out for her high school volleyball team and worked at it all summer to be ready for try-outs.  She is a freshman.  She made the team and promptly, 3 days later, her ankles were swollen and she was in pain and she was on the DL list.  Ugggggggggh!!!

Today - 3 weeks later, she finally played in her first game ever.  3 points from and FOR the win.  (not her points mind you)  The look of JOY on her face?  Priceless.  Made me cry.

On to Day 3.

PS - this is what I woke up to this morning.  My Blue Heaven Morning Glories.  So worth the wait!  Morning glory JOY!

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Well, well, well, look who's here...I can't even bear to count the number of my JOY posts in 2016 or even 2015 - shall I go back even further?  Oh wait, there it is!  On the right side of my blog page - 2 in 2016 and a big ONE in 2015.  How embarrassing!!!  Can you say L-O-S-E-R I'm a busy girl?

Anyway - who cares?  I'm back today.  That's all that's important to you - heehee!  Cuz I'm so important to all my 30 hundreds of followers.

So you need to know I have re-united with a love.  I have been hiking daily with the one and only Daisy Mae at Parmelee Farm here in the Emerald City and I'm in love again.  For a long time, I was scared off by this bad boy:

Well - not exactly HIM, but a few years ago there was a black bear sighting (and an accompanying photo that I can't find) in the mobile park right next door to my love.  That kind of freaked me the hell out scared me a bit and I took a break from my love.

Well, Daisy became very spoiled on our vacation in the Berkshires because we hiked at least 5 miles every day over hill and dale.  When we got home, all she did was stare at me all day long just BEGGING for a walk.  Being bored with our usual haunts, I decided to brave the big, bad forest with my trusted guard dog and I am now reunited with my estranged love!  Pure JOY!

So there IS a point to this story.  As I was hiking along today, I was thinking about all kinds of things and I took a photo of something VERY cool and I caught JOY!  One thought led to another and I segued to my friend Cathy who is in the midst of posting "100 Days of Happiness" or some such thing.  She posts a photo that represents her happy, every day for 100 days.  

So I said to myself, "Self," I said, "You could do that!  You could post 100 Days of JOY on your blog!"  Here's the gig.  I love to write.  But I don't do it.  When I was regularly posting to my blog that I started in - was it 2010 (you know - the year I wrote 83 blog posts?) - I actively sought JOY every day.  It was like practice.  I needed material, people!!!  And since I love to write, I wrote about catching JOY and quite frankly, my life DID feel more JOYful.  But I'm not doing that anymore and so I'm not mindful of catching JOY and often my days do not feel much JOYfulness (is that a word?).  Sooooooo - I am committing to writing for 100 days straight - 100 Days of JOY.

So I know you're all jumping up and down with JOY about this decision!  Humor me here...

So yea - this is a huge commitment because when I sit down to write a blog post, I spend a ridiculous amount of time re-writing it.  So I can't be doing THAT everyday - you know - the 3 little P-I-Gs??  They're teenagers now?  I'm their UNPAID Uber driver?  So I think I can do this if I allow myself to post just a few lines and a photo on some days.  Let's see, 100 days would bring me to...I think it's Dec 30th!  That's 1 day shy of appropriate...right?  Ok - so I'm doing it.  

Today is Day 1.  Here's where I caught JOY today - that photo I mentioned.  Pretty cool, huh?  The path goes right through these two rocks!  

I DO have a confession to make.  This wasn't exactly in Parmelee.  There are x-country team trails that our Middle school created that link up with trails in Parmelee and I use those trails too and this is on one of the school trails.  Regardless - trail JOY!

Now you know I couldn't just take 1 photo of JOY.  So I might as well get them all out here because I can't use them tomorrow!
 This tree was very cool.  That was one busy woodpecker!
 A single Black Eyed Susan in the field!  Ok - I lied.  There were others.  But when I took this I thought it was the only one.  That counts!  No?  Yes!  It's my blog, so there.

Now for the last JOY of the afternoon.  There's a story!  (Of course.)

So I parked at the farm to hike and saw a few women huddled across the parking lot.  I recognized one of my clients in the huddle.  I yelled across a greeting and she got all excited to see me Daisy and then noticed me - LOL.  Here's the good part.  She yelled, "Do you want any tomatoes?"  HELL YEA!!!  So Daisy galloped me over to the huddle and I walked away with 5 heirloom tomatoes, a bag of green beans & a bag of plum tomatoes which I promptly roasted when I got home.  How COOL is THAT????  Can you hear me?  JOY, JOY, JOY.  

This was my lunch.  Heirloom tomatoes with my newly beloved Primal Kitchen Mayo (thank you nieces, Kelly and Leanne).  I often celebrate the life of my loved ones by making food they prepared and enjoyed and this particular dish is a celebration of my Uncle Curt.  I have fond memories of him eating this.  I had never known anyone who ate tomatoes and mayo - I am Italian after all!  I also had a wedge of some amazing Stilton cheese.  Food JOY!

So there you have it.  JOYful to be back.  Now you can bring me into your living room for 100 days and be enlightened.  Or not...LOL!