Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday....We Meet Again....

"Wish it were a Sunday....'cause that's my fun-day..."
 Manic Monday ~ The Bangles
(From A Different Light 1986 {written by Prince 1984})

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Brunch

This morning I decided to try the "eggs in a muffin tin" idea that I keep seeing on Pinterest.

Sounded simple enough, just like a quiche without the little pie shells ( that I couldn't have anyway).

The premise is that you use 1 egg per muffin tin. I only used 4 eggs, but it still made 6 muffins. 

I mixed chopped spinach, cheese, and bacon pieces in the eggs, then ladled the mixture into greased muffin liners. It was that simple.

The hardest part was waiting the 15 minutes for them to get done!

A dollop of salsa and a glass of Bolthouse's Vanilla Chai Tea to boost my protein count and breakfast is served.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

Happy 19th Birthday Kit-Kat!
Thank you for letting me be your Mom

With Love

Friday, March 28, 2014


Friday Happy Dance (with a little help from the Minions)

Happy ~ Pharrel Williams - Despicable Me 2 soundtrack Columbia Records 2013


Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Love My Crockpot!

I just LOVE my crockpot!
I can throw everything in before work and come home to a hot, "home cooked" meal, without any of the standing around and waiting.
On tonight's menu
Tangy Brunswick Stew (recipe makes a lot, I'll be eating on this all weekend)
Salad and a little Sangria because I can!

How Weird Is That?

Today I am having to work both my shift, as well as fill in for someone else.  I will be in the office pretty much from open to close.

Because all of my first shift folks would be there, I really wasn't needed there for my usual 7:30 a.m. shift. I decided to sleep later, at least until 6:00 a.m.,  take a longer shower,  and take my time getting ready for work. Kill some time, and get there around 8:00 to 8:15.

Great plan, right?

Despite all my lolly-gagging and fiddle-farting, I arrived at my office 7:20 a.m.

I did enjoy the extra hour and a half of sleep, though I apparently made the cats really nervous. JB is my "alarm clock with a tail." Trying to oversleep was tough enough, without him mewling and pawing at me. Zipper, a little less concerned, still managed to get right in my face, I assume to make sure I was still breathing.  I've really been dragging these last few days, due in large part to my blessed allergy meds. I've spent the last few days wandering around dazed and confused. I'm nodding off around 9:00 p.m., so the extra sleep was a bonus.

I really couldn't take a longer shower. The first person to take a shower always seems to run short on hot water. I used to be the first shower, just so that others would not suffer. The things we do for love.  Now, I am the only one showering there. I'm thinking of running the water out, then waiting for the 10 minutes it takes to build back up, and trying be the "second shower" to see if it makes any difference.  But I'm going to have to try that on a weekend, when I don't have any where to be.

The earlier drive in to work means that traffic is lighter and I miss a lot of the crazy drivers. That alone is worth getting to work early. Even at 6:45, they have already started to take to the roads.

I also have time to get settled in at my office. Make my coffee. Read through the news. Check my Facebook.  Today I didn't really have time for any of that this morning and I feel like something is missing.

It's gonna be a long day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Salmon...It's What's For Dinner

Gluten Free Herb Crusted Salmon
Steamed veggies: Asparagus, Carrots and Spinich
Brown Rice
Not bad for my first attempt

~En-JOY!  ('cause I did...giggle!)

Wow! Has It Been Thirty Years?!

Monday. March 24th marked the 30 year anniversary that The Breakfast Club met for detention.

It actually tells you that it is March 24, 1984 in the film. I never noticed, which is surprising, because I notice all sorts of things in films.

Some other notable films from 30 years ago include

Police Academy
Romancing the Stone

I loved Romancing the Stone, until someone had mentioned how much they thought I looked like Kathleen Turner.  Okay, so I did, and still do, a little. I admit it. I really wish I had her voice. Why else do you thing they picked her to be the speaking voice for "Jessica Rabbit?"

Though it wasn't released until February 1985, Monday, radio stations and water cooler cliques all over the country were talking about The Breakfast Club

I can relate to the nostalgia.

Thirty years ago, I was a Junior in high school.  If I could pick one year to go back to and revisit, it would have to be 1984.

I had good hair.

 I had a cute boyfriend, who adored me
(why hey there Brown Eyes)

 I was about to be named the majorette squad captain.

I weighed 110 pounds and was in the best shape of my life.

Really, who wouldn't go back? 

I'm not sure I would want to "live" there again. The person I've become is a result of the things that I have faced in those thirty years.  Lessons learned, obstacles overcome, losing the one I love, finding myself.

Sometime in the future, maybe I will get the chance to visit myself back then. There are times that I think maybe I aready have, giving myself messages to help me along.

I wonder if I am the elderly lady I met in 1987,when I was a golden tanned lifeguard, who commented on the awful effects of the sun, showing me her deeply scarred forhead underneath her turban.

I wonder if I am the woman sitting next to me in the abuse counselor's waiting area in 1995, who leaned over and told me that I "will be better off without him," then got up and walked out.

I wonder if or when I may "run into myself" again.

For now, I leave you with an oldie, but a goodie...


Romancing the Stone ~ Eddy Grant 1984

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors...

Not really, but I have to title it something.

California Love ~ Tupac featuring Dr Dre
(1996 Death Row Records)


Monday, March 24, 2014

A Note To My Son: I Love You Regardless


I love you regardless.
You are still the little boy who won my heart that first day I met you and you hugged me
or that day when you were six and you asked if you could "just call (me) Mom."
I chose you and your sister. A choice I will never regret.
You are the smartest, most talented guy I know.
This is just one in a myriad of things that makes you unique and interesting.
 I pray that you find love and happiness with someone truly special, who finds you as special as I do.
Take your time. No need to rush into anything
Remember, sex is not love. One can have sex over and over again without ever feeling love.
That is Lust. Never confuse the two.
For that reason, do not give your heart to the first person with whom you share intamacy.
That is the quickest way to be hurt.
But know that I love you, and I support whatever you do.
You will ALWAYS be my son, and nothing, will ever change that.
I love you

Sunday, March 23, 2014

50 Things You Simply Must Do In Birmingham

With all the free time on my hands lately, I've been Googling things to do around town. That was when I came across this article

50 Things You Simply Must Do In Birmingham (Alabama)

Though I have done pretty much everything on the list at some point in my lifetime, it looks like a lot of fun!

Now to decide what to do first!

I wonder what my new (as yet to be named) friend is doing. I bet he'd be just the person to explore some of these.

Watch for updates!

Until then...

Sitting here watching movies and eating this yummy snack mix!

Probably not the best thing for my diabetes, but I've had a good week, so I am going to treat myself to a little something sweet!


Friday, March 21, 2014

And That Has Made All The Difference

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;       
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,      
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.       
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.       
                             ~Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Sometimes life is full of decisions that can ultimately
change your life.

Who hasn't sat around and thought, "If I had only __________"
I know that I have, chosing the safe route, standing on the sidelines, watching
I'm going to start taking the riskier choice.
Life is too short .
 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Last night when I got home, sitting on my couch, cat's jockeying for a position in my lap,
I decided to check in with several folks through Facebook just to see what they were up to.

All had asked what I was doing and everyone go the same answer: "Good. Kinda Bored"
Most had answered with some short response about what they were doing.
Then I got this invitation.

"Drop in. The place is kinda messy, but some company would be nice."

I looked at the clock: 7:23 p.m. I was already in my tee-shirt and pajama pants. Settling in.

"Now? I'm in my jammies" I shot back.
Instant reply: "So? It's not a bar. I don't care what you have on. Just a friendly invite."

7:28 p.m. 
Practically midnight for the old Joy.
But 2014 is the Year of Improvement. 
Time to limit saying NO.  Step off the safe path.
Oh what the hell...I might just enjoy myself.

I told him I would get dressed and see him in 30 minutes.

So I was off to hang out with a guy who I only really " knew of", but didn't know.  How is that for taking risks?! But the times I had been around him, he had proved himself more that trustworthy, so I felt pretty safe.

The directions were super simple, and despite passing the building and not being able to turn around, I practically went straight to it.

8:08 p.m.

The neighborhood was a mix of apartment buildings from different eras. His 70's style building faced a brick 40's era building, and new modern construction just up the hill. People milled around on the street, walking to the bars at the other end of the block.  I hung out down here when I was in college, when "Yuppies" in their golf shirts and khakis, frequented the area.  Now they are all "Hipsters,"  living life in artfully mismatched Boho chic.

He had been cooking while we were IM-ing, The smell of freshly baked, seasoned bread greated me at the door. It was intoxicating, and for a moment, made me forget my gluten issue.  The apartment was not messy at all. It was a cozy one-bedroom, with a Frankfurt kitchen, and a large living room/dining room space.

He complimented my weight loss, noting the obvious difference from the last time he saw me in person, this past August. After a quick trip to the c-store at the end of the block, filled with pretty people and a pretty good selection of beer, wine, and snacks (in a GAS  STATION!)  we settled in on the couch.

Converstation came easily for both of us. We discussed and debated a plethora of subjects:  religion, philosophy, our kids,  a little politics, ancient civilization, life on other planets...nothing was off the table. We laughed a lot. He was intellegent, articulate, and funny. He would respectfully disagree with me without forcing his opinions on me. I had forgotten what it was like to share my views and opinions with someone, who could not only have an oposing view, but express it without getting mad and storming off in a huff.

I am quite certain, had I not discovered that it was suddenly midnight, that we wouldn't still be there talking. Time does fly when you are having fun! I hated to leave.  Who knew you could have so much fun just talking?

I will definately be taking this road again.
Now to come up with a blog nickname for him.

I'll have to think about that

until then...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Coach and A Little Good News

Last night was a "date" night with a new fellow I've met. The friend of a mutual friend. I didn't want to talk about it before hand because I didn't want to talk myself out of it. But I was excited at the prospect of meeting someone new. A welcomed respite from the drama of the last few days.

He is a p.e. coach and a history teacher, (and an Auburn fan = score!)  so I will call him Coach. Cute, witty, and really smart. And talkative! More so, even than me.  I didn't think that was possible.

We chatted through emails for several days, and exchanged a few snapshots, before deciding to meet in person. He had a sporting event that put him in a particular area of town, so we agreed to meet in the cafe of one of the local bookstores nearby. He reminded me that he had been through a back-ground check. I reminded him that my brother was a cop on the SWAT team.

Coach cautioned me not to be too dressed up, because he would be in typical coaches attire: khakis and the school-logo'ed golf shirt. When I saw him, he reminded me of a coach or two from high school. Even if he had been in regular street clothes, I would have pegged him as one. Is there a class in college on how to look like a coach?  He was thinner and much more fit than I expected. I was taller than he expected.

He was confident and authoritative, I'm sure from years as an educator. In the two and half hours we sat there talking, subjects ranged from politics to what c-store sold the best coffee.  I felt like I should be taking notes because there may be a pop quiz later.  It is obvious that Coach enjoys his job, taking interest in all of his students.

He has a son who is around 10, that he loves to pieces. I told him about my children, all of them, and how much they all mean to me. I showed him the latest picture of Julz, the one of her in her scrubs on her first day of clinicals.

He teased me about not knowing how to operate my cell phone. He had asked what kind of phone I had and I told him it "was a black one."  (Because it is) I told him that my phone was strictly for taking calls and making calls, and on a good day, the occasional text.

He told me of his years working an inner-city school, before obtaining the job of his dreams, teaching in the school system he had grown up in, an affluent school system in our area. The contrast was stark: going from having to be on his guard every day, to being expected to write up students for the most ridiculous infractions. He had to over see detention that morning, and his detainee was in trouble for not paying the minor fee to attend some event. 

We talked about the rising incidents of school violence. He said that he would expect violoence more from the mousy, quiet kid, than from any bully he'd ever encountered. The inner-city kids that were in school, knew they had a chance to make their lives better. The affluent kids just expected their lives to be better.

Before long it became obvious that the bookstore was closing. Employees cautiously swept and picked up around us.

He hugged me  and we said our goodbyes.
This "meeting people" thing is getting easier.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

In other news, my visit to the cardiologist reveals that I have lost THIRTY POUNDS!
 Everyone was super excited for me.  My blood pressure was still high ( 180/90!!) but the sinus meds I am on, could be the contributing factor.

I celebrated by buying a new dress, in a much smaller size.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thanks Y'all!

I have the sweetest group of friends!  My fellow Prayer Warriors! This is a group of women who come together twice a week to pray.

 I had come to them, distraught over a "situation"  I had just learned about, in order for them to pray.

( For the record, I will briefly address it here and be done: Someone is spreading a rumor about me.  I can't believe anyone would enteratain that as a plausible scenario, given my feelings and recent experience on the subject. I would NEVER even consider it, and all the players involved know it. Not now, not ever. But some people must deflect the attention from themselves by pointing fingers at others. Rumors are just talk. I know the REAL TRUTH. )

Not only did these ladies pray over it immediately, they sent me these beautiful flowers today to cheer me up and remind me that God knows the truth, and that regardless the outcome, He loves me.

They had no idea that yellow roses are my favorites!

Thank you ladies!
I am truly blessed to have you as freinds


Ain't That Just My Luck

Well, I've had a little "adventure."

Those who know me, know that "adventure" is my code word for anything bad that has happened or, in more colorful terms, a "WTF!" moment.

In the beginning of my career, the managers had all attended a seminar on positive thinking. The root of changing your thinking from negatie to positive comes in the words you use to describe what happens to you. "Problems" become "Challenges" or "Opportunities", becoming "Overwhelmed" or "Stressed" becomes "In High Demand,"  being "Lost" becomes an "Adventure."  Get it? I was not in management at that time, but rememeber all our managers walking around correcting others when they used a negative description. It was hard not to pick up.

So this was a Challenge that put me In High Demand.

The Big Boss (i.e. My Bosses Boss) has retired after 32 years with our company.

The company threw a lovely retirement party downtown in an event space, open only to members, called The Summit Club.   The Summit Club sits on the 31st and 32nd floors of Birmingham's Regions Harbert Plaza. The building is affectionately known around town as "The Ghostbuster's Building" based on it's art deco styling, and being the second tallest building in the city.

                      Regions Harbert Plaza    \/

Now if you look, just to the right of the RHP, you will see a short beige building with lots of windows. That is a building called Park Place Towers. I know, not exactly towering but it is on Park Place.  Between PPT and RHP sits a parking garage, used by both buildings.

The cocktail reception started at 6pm, with dinner at 7pm. As someone who gets turned around pretty easily in the city, with it's one way streets and constant construction, I was at RHP at 5:30pm. I was already apprehensive about attending this event given it was going to be outside my "safe zone."

I try not to go anywhere above the 5th floor. This was pre-911 too.  Did you know the average fire and rescue hook-and-ladder truck can only reach the fifth floor of your typical office building? Well, now you do. And I bet you will think about it next time you travel above that fifth floor, at least once.That never bothered me before either, until I found that out. Now it is a constant, nagging thought, that I fight, along with the ensuing panic attack. I was trying not to think about it all day long.

It was a good thing that I was early. I had driven around the block twice trying to find the entrance to this parking deck, that was tucked in an alley on the other side of the building. I parked my car on the second floor of the Sixth Avenue side and hurried across the street.

Elevators have always freaked me out. I have quite a history of unfortunate events surrounding elevators, and many coworkers have been on hand to witness them because it usually happened at our company Sales Meeting. Like not being able to het my suitcase on a full car, the doors closing between us.  I rode down and my suitcase was left orphaned floors above, or the heel of my shoe being hopelessly stuck in the space between the floor and the car, making everyone trapped along with me late for dinner. Or becoming trapped for close to two hours in the hotel elevator trying. By the way, if that should happen to you in the Birmingham-metro area, do not panic when they inform you that "the fire department is on the way." Apparently firemen are the only ones trained to operate elevators.

The elevator ride was harrowing. These particular elevators skip floors two through fifteen, servicing only floors sixteen through thirty-two. The first part of the ride is a short, quick burst. Once it reached the sixteenth floor, the car shook violently, and continued to do so as it passed each floor. I was caught so off guard I let out a loud, audible yelp. The fellow in the elevator eyed me suspiciously. He must have been a frequent flyer.  When we finally reached the 31st floor, it was all I could do not to kiss the marble floor.

I could feel the building swaying, but tried not to think about it. I was 26 floors above my "safe zone" and trying not to panic, or at least, let on that I was panicking. Another semi-retired long term employee, "Old Tom" was already, helping set up the presentation. He motioned for me to come to the (gulp) window.

After a few minutes of staring out the window at I-20/59 passing by the Civic Center and the Alabama School of Fine Arts, winding onto I-65, and I was aclimated to my height. Since I am deathly afraid of heights, this was an accomplishment. A few rum and pineapples also helped.

The party was fun, as many retirees were in attendance. Many had not seen me in quite a while and complimented me on my weight loss. Big Bosses children, all having once worked for the company as well, were most complimentary. There were speeches, sharing memories, a few tears, a few senior moments and even one coreographed cheer.

Everyone said their goodbyes and I prepared myself for the zipline elevator ride to the ground floor. Several coworkers rode down with me, all familiar with my luck with elevators ("Should we be  riding this elevator with Joy?!" one had quipped) and we made our way out in to the lobby.

As I exited the building, I saw the gates closed and locked on the parking deck. My car, lights peeping out over the second floor barrier, looked like a puppy trapped in a fence. That was when I saw the sign. At the bottom of the sign that outlined the parking rates (in the same size and color font I might add) it read "Lot closes at 6pm."

Ain't that just my luck?!  Feet firmly on the ground, I panicked.

The Numero Uno Executive Assistant To The President was opening her car across the street. She asked if I was okay.  I explained my plight.  She accompanied me back inside to speak to the security guard at RHP. He was really helpful....not.  A no-nonsense Yankee, despite her many years in the South, told me to calm down, and that if she had to, she would drive me home and then come get me bright and early to get my car.

That is when the President and CEO of my multimillion dollar nationally-branded company exited the elevators across from us. You know that you have a President and CEO that cares about his people when he takes the time to call you by your name. Numero Uno explained what was happening, pointing across to the parking deck.  "We will find someone" he announced and stormed out the doors into the street. He surveyed the situation and declared that there must be someone on the other side of the building. Off he marched down the block and disappeared around the corner. At nearly 9pm. Alone, In downtown Birmingham.

As I stood there, I saw a telephone number for security on the bottom of the same sign (same color font, even smaller letters) and called. The gentleman that answered told us to come to the other side of the building. Numero Uno and I got in her car and drove around the block. No sign of the Prez, but she had him call him to let him know where we were.

He answered in his bold voice, and I told him we were on the move. I don't think that he heard me, as he was obviously ordering someone to the gate. I really think he may have adult ADD. He was a 'make things happen" kind of person and when he was in "fix it" mode, he would not be distracted.

Phone to my ear, I could hear him calling my name out on the street. And I couldn't get him back to the phone to tell him we were coming back around the block.

When we got back around, there stood the Prez, hands clasped in front of him as if in prayer, and a very nervous-looking security guard. The gate was up and they were waiting for me. The Prez offered to pay for my parking, which I of course declined. He waited as the security guard escorted me to my car.  Despite the charge only being $10, the money from the register long collected, I gave the security guy my twenty, told him to keep the change as a tip (I've always wanted to do that) for his trouble and bid him adieu.

As I drove home, I thought what a lucky break this was. I didn't even think about the extra $10.

I thought about what a lucky girl I am to work for a company with people, at all levels, that care about each other.

No...not lucky...BLESSED


Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Great Weekend!

What a great weekend!
I was treated to a trip to a sweet little B&B, just a 45 minute drive from the house, Blue Springs Manor.
The change of scenery, even ever so slight, was exactly what I needed!
The house was enormous and the grounds were beautiful.
In my opinion, our room, "The Columns" was the prettiest in the place,

After wandering through the gardens...

...and feeding these little guys... was time to head out to the hot tub!  Mimosas anyone?

The water was just right!
While hanging out by the pool I kept hearing, what sounded like a rousing game of Marco Polo, but since we were in the pool, I wasn't sure where it was coming from.
That was when I was introduced to Renee, the parrot in residence, who promptly asked if I wanted a peanut, and creamer for my coffee!
During the course of the day Renee would mimic ringing and whistling cell phones, tell people to "Hush!"  or "please be quiet" and remind everyone that there was "coffee, hot chocolate and tea, Cups were under the cupboard." He also tried to start up Marco Polo....calling out one or the other as people went by.
Dinner was a fantastic! I had salmon on a bed of couscous with asparagus. For desert I had a slice of cake and home-mad ice cream, drizzled in chocolate sauce.
Hard to believe this yummy slice of cake is gluten free! (Thank you again for remembering)
Then off to swing off the calories on the front porch swing.
The bed was super comfy!

Named 2011 Best Bed and Breakfast and it was easy to see why! The staff was very friendly and courteous. The food was amazing!

I especially loved the home made (and gluten free...thank you again) orange breakfast muffins!

I will definitely be visiting here again! I had such a great time, even the rain today couldn't dampen my spirits!

~ feeling appreciated ~

Friday, March 14, 2014

Need A Second ?

 One of my friends just shared this from "All Things Auburn"

It was a recent question on "Jeopardy"

Ha Ha!!

Need a second to answer?!


It's A New Day

No regrets.

Sing it Michael...

Michael Buble "Feeling Good" Official Video


Thursday, March 13, 2014

After 17 Years, It's Over

After being with Darling Hubby for 17 years, I get the email that I have been waiting for...

Can't wait to start my new life!!!

On a related topic:

Someone discussing their "relationship," that started by sneaking around and lying to someone's spouse,  then has the audacity to say that  "honesty, trust...makes their relationship strong" needs to sit back and consider the IRONY* of that statement. REALLY?!  Sounds like someone needs their head examined.


* Definition of IRONY (because obviously someone is stupid, or delusional, or quite possibly both) : The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; a statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Weekly What I Wore: More Side By Side Comparisons

Here is yet another side by side comparrison of my weight loss.

I have had to replace my dress slacks and skirts and tailor some pieces (as in yesterday's post), but some, like this sweater and tee combination (that I LOVE by the way) I am just doing the best with what I have.

When I create the slide of the pictures, I can lay one on top of the other to get them as close to the same size as possible. It looks a little like I'm leaning in the "after" picture,  but as you can see from the grid on the floor, I think the camera is leaning more than I am. (Stupid new phone) I tried straighting that up but can only rotate it so far with the editing software here.

This is a side by side with a photo taken in June of last year  (left) as compared this one taken this week.

Pardon my hair in the "after" picture on the right.  it's time for a haircut.

I can really tell a difference in both my face and my midsection. See how the sweater is pulling back from my tummy in the right photo. And look how slim my face is! I can also see definition in my chin, neck, and collarbones. Hard work is really paying off!


I remember that had felt pretty good about how I was looking in this photo from June. Now I feel even better!

I promise that I am going to improve on the background of all these "selfies."  This is the ladies room at my office, where there is a large, floor-length mirror by the door. The lighting is not great and sometimes is hard to guage where it is actually hitting you, hence the narly shadows. When I can snag someone to take one in the lobby, I do it.

 My next big expense in the "closet room" is a standup mirror, so I can start posting some pics from home.  Then I will put more thought into my background.

Check out the other great fashion ideas from all over at The Pleated Poppy

Have a great day getting over "the hump!"

God Bless and

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Terrific Tuesday!

Today is the day that I finally go back to my cardiologist and surprise him with my stunning weight loss!  ( Check back later for an update on how that goes. )

I was so excited that I made it to the end of my street before I realized that I wasn't wearing my glasses.

I'm also excited that my favorite Banana Republic clearance find turned into such a great re-do!

A little tailoring, and it looks like a million bucks!

I must have been having a bad hair day back in July when I took the picture on the left. Why else would I crop out my head?
The tailored version is on the right.

Big difference, right? 
 I am definately smaller through the midsection. I'm still not completely convinced that my trainer isn't trying to kill me, but something we are doing is working.
My self confidence, that has taken a blow these last few months, is steadily regaining strength. But there is one thing that has always been pretty strong.  I love meeting new people and I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone!  People tell me that is a gift.  Actually, it was a skill I had to develop. Everyone is pretty surprised to find that I was painfully shy as a child. I'd hide behind my mother's skirts and peep out. Men and boys were especially difficult.  But as I grew older, I found it important to make those connections with people.
I like for everyone to feel comfortable, and work to draw everyone into the fun. My motto has always been "no wallflowers on my watch!"
This week I am in a management training class with several of our guys from out in the field. It's been fun learning about them and the cities they come from.  I'm really glad that I wore this dress today because I snagged an invite to dinner at PF Chang's!
This is going to be a Terrific Tuesday!
3 pm Update: Doctor appointment postponed until next week (boo!)
9pm Update:  Just got in from dinner at PF Chang's! I had the chicken lettuce wraps, Szechuan Beef, and just a bite of the richest cheesecake I've had in a long time. I'll be paying for that one later...but it was sooooo worth being sick over!

Monday, March 10, 2014

300th POST!!

Welcome to my 300th post!

Now I know what you are thinking...."Joy, if you've been blogging for seven years, you would be at your 3000th post, not just 300. "

And you'd be right. But unlike "before," when I had a family to look after,  I seem to have a lot of free time on my hands now.

With that thought in mind, I have been looking into burning up some of that free time with self-improvements. I realize that my definition of "self improvements" may be a little broad here, but there are so many things around town that one may take a class on:

I've been looking at some cooking classes that are being held around the city. They are a little pricey, but should be well worth the effort.  I'm told that I "don't know how to cook."  Not knowing and not wanting to are two very different things. And when your new loved one's very first words to you on the subject are "Oh, but I love Hamburger Helper! I am a pro at making that",  one chalks it up to luck that the boy can cook for himself and moves past it. Now is my chance to expand my palate.  I mean, really, there are only so many ways to cook a pork loin, right?

Pictures, not walls. Though I do have a few painting projects around the house that I need to look into also.  I have a classmate who hosts one of those "drink wine and paint pictures" kinda deals. Also pricey, but I understand they are pretty fun. And you wind up with something neat for your walls. Not really my thing, but I will try anything once, right?

How "old lady" is that? But I've always loved to read. That was something me and UPS Guy had in common. We were both avid readers and could discuss/debate our (often opposing) views on various topics. Though he did agree with me on my "why limit God because he could have created aliens too" theory. I will never forget his reaction to that statement. It had caught me so off guard it startled me "EXACTLY!"   He had kept me on my toes the whole time we dated.  Perhaps I will meet another smart guy like him.

A local gun club here offers all sorts of classes.  Now that I live by myself again,  I really need to get comfortable with my firearm. I am especially interested in "Machine Gun Mondays!"

A first love, almost as old as the writing. Of course, I will need a good camera for this one. Maybe one for next year.

I am seriously considering going back to Toastmasters. I had really enjoyed that, and it was an extension of my writing, that I can apply in my everyday life.

There are also some things I would love to do, just once,  to say "Hey, I've done that."

I can think of many practical applications for this skill, can't you?

 Yes, there are pole dancing classes for fitness. I understand that it really focuses on your core.  But there are practical applications as well. Not only could I get fit, I could also learn a trade and pick up a little extra money. An improvement for my financial well being as well!

I am a control freak. A lot of the reason that I do not fly is because I have to surrender control to the unknown, for the purpose of travel. While the unknown is possible in every scenario, the possibility of plummeting from the sky in a large metal tube, is currently not one I have to worry about.  But how cool would it be if suddenly all the flight crew became unconsious and they needed someone to fly the plane, and I could say that I knew how?

The beautifully choreographed dances are both romantic and inviting. There is something about the discipline and structure that appeals directly to my obsessive complusive nature. The only problem is that one needs a partner, of which I am woefully without at the moment.

I was on a swim team.  I was a lifeguard. Never really thought about SCUBA lessons, but hey, anything once right?

(I'm  starting to sense a theme here)
I think I'm too old for the curly wig and ornately embroidered costume, but how cool would it be to know something from my heritage?  (Yes Mother, I know your side is English, but they don't offer English step dancing now do they?)

As I ponder what avenues to explore, I ask that those readers who are faithful, praying people, please keep me in your prayers. I have been through so many changes already: self-examination, facing and coming to terms with some hard truths,  making the necessary changes toward improving, growing as a person.

2014 is the year of a better, stronger, more self-reliant Joy.
Praying for God's providence over my life. Please join me in that prayer.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Yes, Lord...I Hear You!

Well believe it or not, I made it to church this morning, despite having stayed out until after 3:00 a.m. with my friends. No sin in that. I am not a drinker. I just enjoy dancing and hanging out and having a good time.

When I got in, and saw how late it actually was, I thought "there is no way I'm making that 9:30 service!" But I not only got up in enough time to make the service, I had enough time to stop by the local barbeque joint for breakfast too.

We began the service with Holy Communion in preparation of Easter. Jesus had used elements from the Passover meal to give the first Holy Communion.  This event is more commonly known as The Last Supper.

Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper

 This communion was different than I was used to. In the Baptist church, the deacons pass out trays filled with little cups of "wine" (i.e.grape juice, cause we all know Baptist don't drink, right?) and  little crackers that kind of taste like uncooked macaroni ( due to the lack of yeast because when the children of Israel fled Egypt, they didn't have time to let the bread rise) The deacons would past the trays up and down each pew. In all the years I have observed Communion, I know of one instance where the "wine" tray was dropped, causing quite a mess and a portion of the congregation to miss out on "wine" part of the service. 

This church practices communion by tincture,  Each congregant would go to the front,  where the piece of bread  (the Body of Christ) pinched off a large loaf is dipped into the "wine" (the Blood of Christ) in one common cup before consuming. It was very quick and efficient.

I think the Lord is trying to get my attention. Today's message was even more timely than the first!

I couldn't wait to get home and share what I learned today.

Jesus showed us seven things while his earthly body was dying on the cross to remember:

Forgive those who are causing you pain. Pray for them! They are all children of God, even those who have been led astray by satan.

Help others who are experiencing your same struggle. You are not alone in your struggle, whatever it may be, and there are others who are experiencing it too!

Take care of those closest to you. Give those closest to you your best first. I was guilty of not doing that, and thus. am paying for that now.

Acknowledge your needs. Reach out to others to seek help when needed. Before it's too late.

Realize that you are not going to understand everything (here). But all our questions will be answered to our satisfaction in Heaven!

Be assured there is a purpose. Seek out and live your purpose!

Surrender your day to God, and let it go. Give Him everything. This is the  hardest for me. I know that I have mentioned before that I am OCD. I must be in control of everything that touches my life. When I can not control everything in my life, it makes me a little nuts. The idea of surrendering anything fills me with a terror that I can not explain. But I must trust God and let go, knowing He is sovereign and in total control.

The message spoke directly to me!  I can't even explain how great this makes me feel!

~En-JOY and God Bless!

What Time Is It?!

I just came in from having a great night out, to find out that it is later than I thought!

3;29 A.M.!!

Oh, yeah....the freaking time changed!

Uggg! It's gonna be a loooooooong Sunday


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Springing Forward

Well it's that time again.

Time to "Spring Forward", I am not looking forward to it at all. I wake up naturally at the same "time" every day. Sometimes of the year it's a five a.m. and sometimes of the year, it's four.  I would be a much healthier human being if we could just settle on one time and stick with it.  As a matter of fact we all would.

Did you know that car accidents and heart attacks increase the week of the time change?
Yep, statistically proven.

I have always been very vocal about why we insist on continuing this archaic tradition. Swapping back and forth. Spring Forward...Fall Back.


But I have still yet to find out who I vote for to change it.

If you find out, drop me a line here.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Legally Speaking....

...he IS still MY husband.

And today is his birthday.

The Tune Weavers...1957 (long before music videos)

forgive the slide with the Gators, someone else made this and posted it I thought is was cuter than a bunch of pictures of the Tune Weavers

Thank you for taking a chance on someone looking for "a package deal" all those years ago.
I will never forget.

Happy Birthday Baby

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Date Night - SUCCESS!

Thank you  for making me smile!

Yummy queso!

Plus Hutch Edwards Project was part of it!

Sing it Craig!
The best part was not having to pay for my drinks or my meal myself.
Maybe next time I can stay longer

I Think I'll Give Up Facebook For Lent

Yeah, right... like that is going to happen.

Actually, I think I will give up ice cream again.  I was feeling pretty sassy the other night in Wallyworld and thought "What the hell?" and bought the fixin's  for banana splits.

I only had one, because I completely forgot about them. I did have some ice cream on Fat Tuesday, not realizing that it was Fat Tuesday. Ice Cream for 38 more days. Oh well.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

As I was driving into work today, the guys in the Kick Off Hour of The Rick And Bubba Show were discussing cell phones. Specifically texing and walking and how dangerous it has become.

They discussed that phones had evolved from the "suitcase" (Elvis had one of those, one of the first, it's on display at Graceland, along with his other crap), to the bag (that my grandparents had, kinda like the bag your video camera was kept in) to the large, unweildy gray plastic phone that was like a big handset with an eigh inch antenna, to what we are all carrying around in our pockets today.

They mused what life would be like without cell phones.

I can honestly say that my life was simpler, and much less stressful.

Remember the days when you could escape to a movie? Or wander around a store? Oh hell, wander around just about anywhere without someone calling to see where you were and what you were doing. I kinda miss those days.

I took these pictures with my phone and sent them to my email.


(More new pants...sorry, I'm just so excited that I'm at my goal weight! Who knew it would be so easy?)

(speaking of phones, here is

I took them, and texted them, and here they are.

Fifteen years ago, that wasn't possible.

Heck, I remember when film developing in an hour wasn't possible.

My cousin (Whom we all call Beefy...don't ask me why) sent me a message from his phone from one of the first camera phones ever marketed.  Since he is a "techie" and worked for one of the leading software firms in the country, he had access to the latest and greatest.

It was a picture of him on the observation deck atop the World Trade Center, American flag waving in the breeze, the New York skyline in the background.  I remember thinking how cool it was that he had taken that picture with his phone!

Funny how dependent we beomone on these little gadgets.

I really don't like having this little "electronic leash," tethering me to all the rest of the world, who can find me at a moment's notice. But they are convienent. And for convienence sake is how I got my first one. I couldn't tell you how long ago it was, just that it seems like forever. I had a flat on the way to work and no way to get help. Or call the office to tell them what happened.  48 hours later, BOOM, we had phones.  But in all that time, this is only my fourth or fifth one. I am OCD, so I really take good care of things.

That is also how the stalker made his way into my life.

One day last week, I left my phone on the charger in the living room. I was getting on the interstate before I realized that I had left it.  For something that I really do not care for much, I felt like I had cut my left arm off!  I never realized how much I look at my phone throughout the day until I didn't have it to look at.

I answer the phone for a living. I speak to hundreds of people everyday, many none to happy with my company over one thing or another. Because I am in management, I get the extra special cases: the angry customers that my staff can't get calmed down.  Over the past twenty-three years, it has made me a little calloused and cold toward talking on the phone after hours.

I have a classmate who is contemplating doing away with their home telephone.
I can't believe they haven't already.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Weekly What I Wore

In this weeks WWIW, I debut my new size 6 dress pants.

A major improvement over past WWIW's, in that I am actually wearing clothing that fits my body, rather than making due.  I got these at Walmart. They are the George brand. These came in several different colors and patterns, including a gray herringbone pattern, and a black with chalk-stripe. I chose my basic black and this gray.

I am, however, making due with this tisssue-weight tee, that I bought when I was a size 14. What you don't see in this picture is the binder clip, holding a wad of it behind my back....ha ha!

News on other fronts...

As I get closer to my "date," I'm starting to get really aprehensive. Yes, it's just drinks. Yes, it's not like a "real date," where he picks me up at my house or anything. But I think that I rushed into agreeing to it, which is why I think I may bail. I can't get over the feeling that I am cheating some how. I know, I know. Darling Hubby actually cheated first,  but that doesn't make me feel any better about it. It's just drinks with a nice guy that I have known for a while. He's trying to make me feel better. To smile again.

He's so nice, I'm sure he'd understand if I chicken out.
We shall see.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Alright, Alright, Alright...

My favorite actor was honored last night with his first Oscar.

Matthew McConaughey gave an emotionally stirring speech upon his accpetance, where he credits
"Someone to look up to"   God,
"Someone to look forward to"  his family,
"Someone to chase after:"  the better man that he is always striving to become.

Words of wisdom, straight out of the heart of Texas

Just Keep Livin'

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Feeling Productive!

I have been super productive today!

I have had so much energy since I've lost weight. Eating right certainly has put the pep back in my step. I let myself sleep until 7:00 a.m. again. That is a nasty habit to get into, but I did wake up rested and ready to face the day.

I thought I'd stop by the local barbeque joint and try out the breakfast menu that they serve on Saturdays and Sundays. It is owned by a classmate of my brother's and his family. I chose the breakfast platter: Eggs, bacon, grits, fried potatoes, toast (that I couldn't eat, though the thick slice of buttered bread was very tempting), and a cup of coffee. Today, many family members, including the sister I had gone to school with, were there. All were helping prepare two catering orders for the day. Each stopped by my table to ask how I was coping, offer words of encouragement, and offer their continued prayers for me.

The plan for the day was to visit a church just up the street, The Gathering Place. This may just be the church home I've been looking for! Several familiar faces greeted me when I arrived. The energetic praise team sang uplifting praise songs. I felt right at home. Wonderful sermon about Gideon and how the Power of the Lord is within all of us. The service was longer than expected, though the time passed quickly. I didn't realize until I was out in the car that it was nearly 1:00 p.m. But with three services to choose from, I can go as early, or as late I chose. I think next week I will try the 9:00 a.m. service, to have more of my day left.

 After church, I started on my next project:  my "closet room"

I decided to turn Kit-Kat's room into a "closet" and move all my clothes into there. The closet in my bedroom is really inadequate. What were people thinking back in the 80's?
 I've had to start moving the clothes that do not fit (because they are now 2 or 3 sizes too big...haha!) to the other empty closets. I'm uncertain if I am ready to donate them.  I'm afraid that once I am "happy" again, I will gain my weight back. So for now, I will just store them. They were a big expense and it seems wasteful to just give them away so soon.
I opened the windows, turned on the fan, and set to work.
I dumped the contents of the boxes onto the floor. The cats eyed them suspiciously. They kept coming over to sniff the components. They sat across from me, and each other, watching as I tried to make sense of the directions, which were ironically all in Spanish and not English.
  It was not hard to figure it all out once you identify each component. The white one came together in less than five minutes. The heavier, black one, took a little more figuring out. It had twice as many components. But since I am smarter than your average bear, it too was short work.
I know it's small, but I feel like I've accomplished something today.
While watching The A-Team reboot (and watching for the cameos of the stars from the original) a message in my Facebook in box caught my eye.  It was an invite to meet a male friend for drinks after work next week.  A date, of sorts.
The UPS Guy I dated so long ago, had an interesting definition of  a date: "a mutually agreed-upon engagement, to occur at a specified time and place between two people, who may or may not be romantically involved."
This meets those criteria.
Something to look forward to!
That HAS been a productive Sunday!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Lazy Saturday

Today is another lazy Saturday.

I slept all the way to 7:00 a.m.

Though I didn't drink last night, I feel hung over and I am sore all over.The tops of my thighs  and my butt ache, even when I'm sitting still. Trying not to move at all is a goal. My trainer is a sadist. There was a new exercise where I lay across a bench, with my legs hanging off behind me. Then I raised my legs as high as I could. So now I have a bruise across my pelvic bone too. It was hard to concentrate on isolating my rear because I felt like I may fart at any minute.

That reminds me of the first time Darling Hubby visited me at my house, just a few weeks after we started seeing one another.  He was going to sit in the floor across from me. He bent down, and when he did, he let one rip. He froze. I froze. After a few tense moments, I spoke. "It's okay. That's one of those embarrassing things that we have to get past. And now it's over. We got it out of the way." It was one of my very favorite stories. It was a truly real moment, and he had been so vulnerable and embarrassed. But it was just another cute thing that happened between us, that helped me fall in love with him. Oh well. Again I digress.

I went through the Saturday morning routine that has become my ritual: dusting, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, laundry. I'm putting off the catbox for as long as possible. As usual. I hate that job. But I know it has to be done and with no one else here to do it, it falls to me. "The Bucket List" is providing my background noise today.  I keep rewinding it (Do you rewind a dvd? Of course not, but what other term should I use?), so I can I watch key parts. Problem with this movie, they are all key parts.

For the first time in two months, I don't have plans for tonight. I'm kinda relieved. An old friend tried to get me to go out with her last night, but I just couldn't muster the energy after my sadist... er...trainer  and I worked out. I barely got out of the car and practically crawled to the door.

I don't remember how I survived the partying when I was younger. I just know that I did. The never ending hodge-podge of people and places. Constantly in the presence of others, so I wouldn't have to be alone with myself.

But a person must learn to be alone and be happy with themselves first, before they can ever expect to be happy with anyone else.

That is the lesson that I am learning now. How to be alone and content.

I guess that I had been practicing the last few years of our marriage. Darling Hubby would watch football on the big tv in the living room, I would watch old movies in the bedroom. He always got to watch the big tv. I never understood that, and it was really selfish of him to expect it but I would always relinquish it to him. Sundays, we would always come together on the couch to watch a movie or old  reruns of shows we used to enjoy growing up. We'd also watch current shows that he had recorded on the dvr. We had several throughout the week. I miss those times. So simple, but it had meant a lot.

It has been a hard habit to break. Expecting someone else to be there to make me happy. But that is not the answer. You must be happy first. Then whatever happiness you find with someone else is just gravy. So True Happiness was within me all along. I had to find JOY within JOY!

Tomorrow I will try a new church, just up the street. I had heard very good things about it. I need  to make my way back to God.  I had put Him in a box and put Him away on a shelf. I had always blamed D/H for that, but it had been my own doing.  I never felt more joy in my life than I did at the time I was in true fellowship. I love praise music. It is uplifting and that is just what my spirit needs. I need to be bathed in The Word again,

 I had always known that I was saved, from the very first moment that it happened. The feeling of peace that day, the Tuesday before Easter the year I turned 12, was so overwhelming there was no doubt. Peace, that passes all understanding.

Seeking peace in this and all things.