Monday, October 31, 2016


I don't even need to say a word...

 Day 39 of JOY.  Such a gift!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

All Hallow's Eve!

I always thought All Hallow's Eve was tonight.  You know - MISCHIEF NIGHT!  The night before Halloween?  Apparently, I am wrong (a rarity - LOL!)  See below:

Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of All Hallows' Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All HallowsEve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day.

Growing up Catholic I should know this.  The night before All Saint's Day.  Halloween is always the night before All Saint's Day (which is apparently All Hallow's Day) and I will never forget having to go to church that evening after Halloween be
cause my pockets were always filled with goodies collected the night before and that entertained me during mass.

Anyway - lesson learned at age 59 years 4 months old.

Anyhoo - every year we carve a bunch of pumpkins.  We spend a whole evening as a family carving away and drinking rum ciders roasting pumpkin seeds and creating masterpieces.  THIS year we could NOT find a span of time where all 5 of us could be together.  3 Teenagers in the house is INSANE!  Sports, jobs, social engagements...the list is endless and I finally shoved 2 hours into our Sunday late morning schedule and made everyone create masterpieces.

Mine's the best Aren't they great!

So that was pretty JOYful.

But my Day 38 of JOY moment today was returning to the ice rink tonight after a 7 month break from team skate and hooking up with my fav skating moms.  I love my moms!  I have lost a few across the years and I miss those who have moved on.  But us "elders" are still here and even after 7 months, it was like no time had passed. 

Come to think of it?  That 7 months went fast!  Time is going speeding out of control!  What the heck???  Anyway - but for 1 season in 2014 that I wish to forget, my Brooke has been skating team since 2010.  It's always a JOY to walk into Wesleyan University Athletic Center each Sunday night all winter.  It may sound crazy - after all - who wants a commitment every Sunday night, October - March??  

Venturing out into the cold and dark on a night everyone else is holing in and getting their last licks of the weekend before the school/workweek starts all over again?  I guess I do.  I found JOY tonight like I always do and that makes me happy.  I get to watch my girl skate and I get to blab it up with my moms.  Yup - JOY and I know I will miss it when it's all over in 3 years, so I am holding on to every moment.

PS - Apparently, since it's mischief night, there's some mischief going on because I can't get this post to appear normal so bear with the messy up top.  No clue...HAPPY HALLOWEEN TOMORROW!!!


I had it all planned.  I had all intentions - and then that darn Hallmark Christmas movie came on...

Anyway - as you may recall - I am the Winterberry Bandit in the tri-town area.  I stop EVERYWHERE and cut Winterberry.  I now know the spots in 3 towns and hit it up early before anyone else can get it!

So I'm walking Daisy on my own dirt road that runs in front of my house and...


Day 37 JOY!

Friday, October 28, 2016


You know what I love?  Beating the system once in while instead of the system beating me.

My clients often bring me great coupons - like I'm talking GREAT! I can't even get a coupon for 50 cents right to save my life.  I am THE worst coupon person.  But when they bring me $10 coupons or TWENTY DOLLAR COUPONS!  You bet your ass I figure out how to make it work.  Double time in this case!

TWO clients brought me 5 weeks of $10 coupons to a local grocery store.  That means I had 2 $10 coupons/week for over a month!  So I had to go into covert operation mode to take advantage of this $100. 

Yup - that was me buying $40 worth of groceries, using a $10 coupon, bringing my groceries to my car and then sneaking back in with my other $10 coupon.  I was the one using the furthest check clerk the first time and then avoiding her area for the next hour as I shopped so I could use my 2nd $10 coupon at the furthest check out station from the first go round self checkout.  Yea - like EVERYONE is watching this little old lady doing something so criminal...LOL!

This is the 4th week I pulled this little coup off.  Boy was I nervous the first time!  I mean it does say 1 per family...But I have my convincing lie story all ready.  I'm shopping for my elderly neighbor!  Come on - that's good, right?

I mean - seriously?  What was I thinking?!  After 3 weeks I'm a professional criminal.  Today I just strode right in like I owned the place - both times!  Yea - I'm cool.  No one's arresting ME!  Catching Day 36 JOY - breakin' the law breakin' the law.


Thursday, October 27, 2016


It snowed!!!!!  Need I say more?  

BTW - this is my Beauty Berry - in the snow!  I mean like...beautious.  

Day 35 of JOY.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Well HELLOOOOOOO nature!  Just stumbled upon this bad boy while waiting for Daisy to do her business...

 Isn't he - SHE? - a BEAUT?!  (Pretty sure this is a boy - teehee)

But sadly - as I am saying hello to nature - I am weeping goodbye as well.  BIG freeze forecasted tonight and I don't expect to see these beauties again until 2017.  So sad, but SO JOYful for the show they gave me this fall.  Thank you nature.  You bring me JOY everyday.

 And then there's this discovery.  An amazingly resilient pumpkin trying, trying, trying.  I fear it will not survive the night so I plan to pluck it from it's nest and bring it inside to admire as long as possible.  

Day 34 of JOY.  Nature JOY.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

DAY 32 and 3

Yup missed a day. Ooppsy. WhatEVER.

I may have missed Day 32 but I woke up to this message on Day 33 and it was pure JOY. 


See you on Day 34 of JOY!


Sunday, October 23, 2016


Ummmm so - I know NOTHING about television shows.  Actually - I don't even know how to use the tvs in our house.  I KNOWWWWW - Right?

I can get to the guide - sometimes - if I have the right remote handed to me in my hand...

So, I'm working out with my 6am class Thursday morning and my cousin - who happens to be in the class - says she's going on vacation - to Waco, TX...

I'm like - WACO, TX?  What the HELL are you going THERE for????  I mean - isn't that the place where that whole Branch Dividian thing happened so long ago???

Well, apparently - I'm the only one in the whole world that doesn't know about... 


Ahhh - not a clue...I'm like WHOOOOOOO????????  Oy.

So the class proceeds to fill me in on this really famous couple who do fixer upper something etc. in Waco, TX and I was like - okkkkk...  

But seriously, I-DON'T-WATCH-TV.  It's on like 24/7 in our house but I never sit and watch, per se.  I tune in and out as I am doing whatever, but I'm pretty clueless and tv deaf most of the time.

So now I'm all filled with house design intelligence and I go about my day and within 24 hours...I see Chip and Joanna EVERYWHERE!  How did I not know about these two???  They're on the talk show circuit, my niece is posting their book on Facebook (or maybe it's a magazine - not a clue) and then I casually mention my ignorance to my girlfriends who I was with all weekend on Martha's Vineyard and they - stunned - turn on HGTV. 

HGTV?  What's THAT?  I mean I have heard of that dream house thingy (pretty sure) but anyway, who the hell is on???  Yup.

Can you say...

And that Chip???  Yea.  Hooked...

Chip and Joanna JOY on Day 31.  I think I'm going to be doing some re-decorating.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


So I was searching for a JOY moment in my photos and I stumbled on this. I just love this pic. It's the colors of trout if you can believe THAT!

Yes!  Each frame is a close up of a trout. Omg!  So GORGEOUS!  Weird, huh?  Ok, weird JOY then!

 But so cool, right?  FISH!!!!  Idk - I caught!

Anyhoo - I'm on the Vineyard and look what I caught today. 

 Yea - not too shabby. Day 31 of JOY!

Friday, October 21, 2016


There's a certain quality to time spent with girlfriends you've know for 52 years.  Things become so clear. 

 Day 30 of JOY. Surely, girls weekend is just that. 



Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Couple of JOY moments today.  

Riding in the car with my 14+ year old daughter and oohing and ahhhing over all the beautiful colors this week.  Talking about trying to hold on to the beauty and not miss it due to the busyness of our lives.  

We used to ride together to the skating rink almost every weekday afternoon for 6 years and Fall was huge for us.  We got to watch the progression and just catch such JOY over the colors.  Last year we weren't skating much so we kind of missed the whole show.  This year - we are working at it and holding on tight.

Then Daisy and I went hiking with my son and his girlfriend.  

Day 28 of JOY.  Catching those wisps.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


What a freaking  GLORIOUS DAY!  It hit 80 degrees in Southern New England and it's October 18th.  What a gift!  A Day 27 of JOY gift.

Started my morning with...Glorious Morning Glory JOY.  Still coming in strong.  Truly the JOY of my mornings.

And then I hopped in my kayak with my friend Erika and paddled an hour to the beach, had a few Glorious beers and a hotdog and paddled back an hour.  Check out the color!  Glorious paddle!

Look at these Glorious Bunker fish.  They just boil the water.  We are on a river so they are obviously escaping the big bad bluefish!  They actually look like piranhas!  It was a bit spooky at first!! They boiled the river the whole paddle!

Glorious Indian Summer color was everywhere.  I have to laugh at the people every year who proclaim the leaf color isn't going to be very good this year because because because and EVERY year it's BEAUTIFUL!!!

And look at these Glorious Montauk Daisies!

So much JOY to catch this Day 27 of JOY 18th of October.  And I went after it!

Monday, October 17, 2016


So - now I know something about Alexander Hamilton because I just finished this.

As you may be aware - there is quite a lot of hype about this founding father due to only THE hottest show on Broadway right now.

So - ummmm - he wasn't a know that, right?  Yea - I thought he was a president.  LOL!!!!  Actually - I never even gave him 1 thought, EVER!  But when a totally Hamilton obsessed client talked about the musical in strength class - non-stop for hundreds of months, I kind of figured that out.  OY!!!!  So glad I never mentioned that in class...So bad at history...(Oh and Jan?  Thanks for bringing Hamilton to Renee's ATTENTION?!)

Anyway - so I finished the book, I LOVED the book, I love that I know stuff about Alexander Hamilton and I am NOW ready to see the show!  If I could only afford tickets.  If I could only freaking RESERVE tickets!   

So that was Day 26 JOY.  I finally finished this book and I loved it. You should read it.  It's historical FICTION but it is VERY informative for lack of a better word and the author states it is as faithful to history as fiction permits.  And THAT is close enough for me!

Yeah Aaron Burr!  I'm REALLY mad at you.  Jerk.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016


My world is in balance again.  If only for a few hours...

Last night (Saturday), I stepped into my pantry (which is a whole separate "room" 10 ft x 4 Ft) and my nose was met with a very INELEGANT bouquet.  UGHHHHHHHH - my utility sink was full to the brim with the most disgusting - well TMI - and water was taking turns filling my two kitchen sinks and that sink.  Even the dishwasher was backed up.  Nothing was going down.  

Did I tell you I had just cleaned out my fridg?  Oh yea - it was damn pretty.  

"Babeeeeeeeeee!!!!!  The sink's clogged"  (note the singular use of sink as I put off the inevitable tirade of $%#%$^F&&K*&^$#)

My husband (who btw is a plumber by trade but an accountant in real life) started to scurry around - downstairs - upstairs - downstairs - upstairs.  Have you ever seen A Christmas Story?  Where the dad has to go down and "fix" the furnace regularly?  Hmmmm - yea.  That was our evening.  


Oh yea - it was damn pretty.

And did I mention the elegant bouquet?  OMGGGGGGG - light the candles!  Light the wax thingys from Yankee Candle!  Get out the bleach!  Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

So - bailed the water out of the sinks with out vomiting, got the smell under control...but nothing was happening that night to fix this mess.  

Oh yea - it was damn pretty.

Woke up.  RANNNNNNNNN escaped to a yoga class praying that upon my return I would find it all fixed and smelling fine.  Yea right...


So where's the JOY, you ask?

It's 7:14pm on Sunday night and the clog is gone (2 hours ago), the dishes are washed (Can you say 90 minutes of something like below only worse?),

dinner is served, eaten and cleaned up AND the house smells amazingly clean.  It is damn pretty!

Yes - my world is in balance.  For how long?  Who knows.  It's like catching JOY.  There are moments and there are hours.  You just never know how damn pretty it's gonna stay.

Day 25 JOY.  Who knew?

Saturday, October 15, 2016


I went to bed last night with JOYful anticipation of hiking in the morning with my bestie, Karen and of course, Daisy.  It was heaven.  Woods, crisp, cool October air, non-stop BLAB - it doesn't get any simpler OR better.

Day 24 JOY.  1 more day and I'm a quarter through my Hundred Days of JOY!

Friday, October 14, 2016

HE'S 17

Snifffffff.  How is this possible?

Bittersweet JOY Day 23.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Day 22 JOY is meeting my bestie for a yoga class!

Sometimes there are days I struggle to catch JOY.  Today was heading in that direction but with this class to look forward to, I am already more JOYful!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Homemade raspberry jam on a buttered english muffin.  To DIE for!  Thank you to my BFF, Robin!  So delicious!

Are you salivating?   Day 21 JOY.

Day 21A JOY - lol.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


On a beautiful weekend in September, something magical happened in my life.  I had the privilege and the JOY of co-chairing the 45th reunion (with my bestie, Karen) of my 8th grade Class of 1971.  The weekend was over three years in the making as classmates who went to elementary school together from 1963-1971 were located all over the country.  

It’s safe to say we all left that weekend changed and longing for days gone by when we all lived our youth in the bubble of our tiny town.   

 As one classmate put it, “Our elementary school years were totally innocent.   Adult life and its responsibilities had not yet come calling.  Back then our world consisted of cub scouts, pee wee football, little league, school dances, riding bikes, 3  channel TV, bell bottoms, koolaid, dickies, church fairs, caring teachers and inseparable friends...all tucked into this little town.”  This sentiment is what roared back in this weekend - like traveling back in time - magical.

A local Inn (The Chatfield Hollow Bed and Breakfast located in Killingworth, CT) situated on a 26 acre farm was our headquarters for the weekend.  Coincidentally (or not!) the farm is located right next to the elementary school we all graduated from.  The venue gave us the perfect opportunity to re-connect, share stories, laugh so hard we cried, and truly appreciate the little town we grew up in.  

My co-chair and I were lucky enough to literally live in the Inn with 5 other classmates - we were 3 guys and 4 women - for 3 days.  Holing up with such great people those 3 days added another dimension to the weekend that was both unexpected and a great JOY.  Belly laughing dominated much of the weekend and my housemates were quite instrumental in that arena!  My co-chair and I agreed that 3 days was the longest time we had each stayed in the present moment.  Words can not describe that experience so i will carry on as best I can.  But can you say J-O-Y??

Under a harvest moon, we gathered around a fire on Friday night after a “meet & greet” evening at our local pub.  Friends gathered again at the farm Saturday morning for a 5 mile hike into a beautiful state park located here in our town, as we reminisced childhood times spent in this area's treasure.   

Old friends gathered one last time Saturday evening for cocktails on the patio of the farm's inn, a walk down memory lane to the elementary school, and an amazing farm to table meal planned, prepared and served by the incredible farm staff.  We dined under twinkling lights at candlelit tables dressed with beautiful local flowers. The night ended around the fire pit with gourmet s’mores.  

As the weekend wound to a close, all agreed how lucky we were to have grown up here in a simpler time yet still gather 45 years later to find a common bond and touch our childhood once again. I think we all left wanting a little bit more rather than just wanting to get back to our lives – beyond memorable.

Check out some pix from a weekend that made it to my top 10 list along side marrying my love, meeting my children, running a marathon and climbing Mt. Washington (but not descending - lol!  Descending may have gone on my top 10 WORST list) - to name a few.

Here we are in 1971 and below it, some of us 45 years later!

Best co-chairs EVER!!!!!  If I do say so myself!

Housemates anyone?  The bookends are twins and our housemates and the guy in the middle was our elementary school GYM teacher!  He's a proud guy because these two played football for Brown and Boston College.  

Here, I am with housemate Jimmy who played for the Detroit Tigers AND our Rowing GOLD medalist Jeanne Flanagan from the 1984 Olympics!  Pretty talented bunch, huh????  (not me...THEM.  lol!!!  I don't have a talent...)

Below are housemates, Karen and Jimmy.  (with our very own Cindy Freaking Ella who is obviously having fun!) 

And who else is having fun?

Bookends below are housemates Megan and Carla!  Did I tell you best 7 housemates EVER?  Did I mention top 10 weekend of all time?

Cousins Leanne and Ricky with Megan

Greg and Jeanne our medalist!

Walter, Megan and Walt's wife Cindy!

The boys re-uniting in the first minute!

All the boys!  Greg, Mark, Luke, John, Peter & Clint.  (John is now an official member of the class of 1971 even though he was 1970!)

Oopsy - having too much fun - are we?  Ha!  Hell NO!  Maybe catching too much JOY is more like it!

Us co-chairs toasting to the success of this amazing weekend!!

A taste of our gorgeous flowers - compliments of Karen's brother Craig - only an incredible florist!

Such a beautiful patio!

So, what is Day 20 JOY?  Well definitely writing this blog post, but also reminiscing about not only the amazing weekend but holding on to all the memories we get to keep forever.  Yea - Day 20 JOY is a good one.  And one other thing?