Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Birthday Tigger

Happy 22nd Birthday Tigger!

Even though I know that you are a man now, this is will always be the picture  of you that I carry in my heart. Not long after this picture was taken you asked me if instead of calling me "Mama Joy" that you could just call me "Mama."

No matter what happens, you will always be my son.

I love you more than you can imagine.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Independence Day

Today is the two year anniversary of the day my life changed. I consider it my own independence day.

I admit that when I first learned that my husband was cheating on me, I fell apart. This was the man who swore before God, our family, and friends,  to love, honor, and cherish me and then he broke all of those promises.  As I learned more and more about him, the drinking, the constant lying, gambling, the stealing, and the never-ending affairs, I was so humiliated,  I felt like I would die.

But here I am on the other side of this two years and I lived to tell about it. I am stronger, smarter, and I realize that I am worthy of real love.  Life could not be better!

For the first time in a really long time, I am truly happy. I have reconnected with old friends. I am getting to go places and do things that I would not have gotten to do otherwise.

 I finally got to take Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. I have a lovely little nest egg and live very economically. All of my utilities are paid up, for nearly 4 months in advance. I bet they wonder who has moved into my house. When I need something, I can buy it. I had been more than willing to be part of the struggle to build a family. Now I no longer have to struggle.  This year I was not only able to give my kids one pretty decent Christmas present, I also helped 4 people on the Christmas "angel" tree: three teens in Bulgaria and a local elderly resident. Blessings abound!

When I buy something to eat, it is still here when I get home. If I buy the ingredients for a meal, rest assured that there is no mad dash to the grocery store to replace something that someone ate because they were bored. I no longer have to skip lunch because someone needed lunch/gas money. If I don't want to eat dinner, I don't. If I want surf and turf at the local steakhouse, I go get it. And I usually do that on Wednesdays.

The house stays clean for weeks. I am finally getting decent furniture. When I put something down, it stays right where I left it. Nothing goes "missing" anymore. If I want to, I can rearrange the furniture without sparking an argument. I planted the flowering pear tree in the front yard. I replaced the roof.

I have found a wonderful church family, who appreciated my gifts, I am back in the Word of God and learning more than ever before. I am making many new friends. I get to do the things that I want to do, when I want to do them. "Why Not?" has become my new motto.

What about my "love life?" I have met  men who know to open doors without being reminded and willingly pay for dinner. Who ask about my day, and are truly interested. Who don't constantly belittle me around others. Who seem proud to have me on their arm. I date when I want to, but strangely, I kinda prefer to be alone. Like "Justin Matese" says in Hope Floats, "being alone ain't for sissies."

I know now that all relationships are work, and one must be willing to do the work to keep them going. Oh sure, they usually sail along, problem free the first few years, but eventually, issues arise that require compromise or down right hard labor. I know that I can do the work, but right now, I:m enjoying the ride.   Life is no longer a never ending series of  struggles or stalemates. No one to answer to. No one trying to incite an argument. No one to start fights moments before going to gatherings of family or friends so that we both show up grumpy and distant. No one else's bad behavior to apologize for.  I never realized that life could be free of drama.

Actually, I was surprised how easy it is to live drama free. How easy happiness is when one looks for it in themselves first. I have learned to enjoy my own company .I no longer expect someone else to "make me happy."  Any one who comes into my life now will do so because I want them there, not because I need something from them.

Best of all, I am finally getting the life I am worthy of having. I am finally seeing the benefit of all my hard work. The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

To quote a famous song, "Like Frankie says I did it my way.." That's what it boils down to: doing it my way.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Those One Can Depend On

While running errands this morning, I found myself in a sticky situation: I let myself run out of gas. It was definitely on my list of things to do, but it was the last of my errands, so I was saving it for the trip home. Unfortunately, I miscalculated and found myself stranded at the post office, my next to last errand.

But lucky for me, the Lord put people in my life on whom I can depend. to be there for me in times of trouble.

Two such people would be my best friend and her husband. They have been there for me and my family in times of trouble and are always willing to drop what they are doing to come help, without grumbling.  Just like today, when they came and retrieved me, They took me to the gas station and stayed to make sure I was okay.

I had to learn to depend on myself many years ago. The ex, the one person who should have been the first person I called, my strongest ally, always fell pitifully short of being dependable. He was always full of excuses as to why he couldn't handle something. Oh, he put on a good front at first, but I soon found that I couldn't depend on him to even buy toilet paper, much less pay his share of the bills. But the Lord knew he'd eventually disappoint me. So He strengthened me instead.

The Lord equips us all for the things that He knows that we need. He knew that I would need to be strong in the face of many things. He led me to my new church family. A good group of people who I enjoy worshiping with each week. He would teach me how to survive on my income alone. He blessed me with enough to bless others too. He reminded me of my worthiness. That I am loving and deserve to be loved and treated properly. He reminded me to go back to looking for the good in others and expecting others to do the right things. He is removing those from my life who have no business there.  Those who come to steal my joy.

The thief  (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly...John 10:10

Friday, December 25, 2015

I'm Dreaming ....

of a WET Christmas!

And stormy! I have been praying pretty steadily that the storm pass over us all.  It worked day before yesterday, so I am at it again. I really hate storms, especially since April 2012.

This year's Christmas morning was moved to Julz's place, as I found myself without power this morning. It came back on just moments before I left. Just as I was about to leave, the bottom dropped out! KitKat was there when I arrived and she brought along her puppy, Cash. He spent most of our time together trying to get into my lap.

She has the cutest little place on Southside. Just enough for her. She had just enough room for her Christmas tree.
Just like her Mom, Julz appreciates a nice crown

She was offered an apartment on the first floor, but chose one on the third instead. She said that the view was what sold her. This picture does not do it justice.

Julz cooked breakfast and then we exchanged gifts. I have started compiling all their gifts in one box. It's like opening a treasure box.
With everyone having other places to go, we took one more picture, a group selfie.

The only thing that would have made this day better would have been if their brother Tigger, had come too.
After lunch with my brother at our mother's, I got home just in time for the bottom to drop out again. I put on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and settled in for what is proving to be a very Wet Christmas.
Be Safe and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Y'all!

It has been so unseasonably warm this week that instead of a "White Christmas" we are having a "Wet Christmas"
We are on track for a "Wet New Year's" as well.
But any day above ground, right?
Merry Christmas y'all or maybe  I should give you the island greeting of Mele Kalikimaka !
"Mele Kalikimaka" by Bing Crosby featuring the Andrews Sisters
written by Robert Alex Anderson 1949
Clip from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation 1989
written by the late great John Hughes


Saturday, December 19, 2015

On The Light Side of the Force

I have been getting more  in touch with the Light side of the Force this weekend.

I have been to see Star Wars The Force Awakens twice now. Once in 3D at a regular theater and then once at  the IMAX. This was not my original intent.

I got my first ticket for opening day two weeks ago. I bought it in advance on Fandango. If you had never used Fandango before, I highly recommend it. Usually all one has to do is present their credit card that the ticket was purchased with, and collect the tickets, but I chose to print my ticket instead. I also highly recommend this method, as I was able to bypass the line and go right in.

Around the same time, my company announced that it had bought out the 4pm showing.  The powers that be had decided to sell the tickets to raise money for our Employee Assistance fund. This fund benefits employees who have faced a tragedy. It was established after the tornado of 2012 when several employees were impacted, myself included.

Because Birmingham's IMAX was one of only fifteen in the country showing the movie, I thought it would be a unique experience. I called my mom and brother to see if they wanted to go. I purchased tickets for that showing as well. The fella at work in charge of the tickets said that there were only six people who managed to buy tickets before my company bought out the theater. The rest would be coworkers and their families.

Unless you are living under a rock, there is no way to avoid all the hullabaloo over this premier weekend. Commercials for everything from new cars to soup, reference it.

Several friends had gone to the midnight showing on Thursday, so I had heard  some good things from them (but no spoilers)

I went to the noon matinee, and like I said, waltzed right in.  Given this was the last school day for the neighboring schools, it was no where near as busy as it was usually. I chose a 3D version. I collected my glasses, bought my popcorn and drink and headed for my seat.  There were maybe 20 other people in the theater.

There were no posters or cutouts for the movie, anywhere in the building, which I thought was really odd. I was reminded of the last three movies, all released in May. We saw "Phantom Menace" on rainy day during our honeymoon. "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith" had both been after anniversary dinner entertainment.  I remember there being many more cut-outs for those.

 On the way to the theater, I took a moment to grab a quick selfie with the poster for "JOY," a Christmas day release of the biopic about business mogal and HSN regular Joy Mangano (Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers, My Little Steamer, the Roly Kit and the Clothes It All luggage system, just to name a few.)


After all, how often does one find one's own name on a movie poster? I couldn't resist, even though I take horrible selfies.  But I will definitely be seeing this one on Christmas.

After sitting through 30 minutes of trailers, mostly sequels of other movies, the main event finally started. Aside from the occasional person getting up to leave the theater for bathroom or snack runs, it was really quiet. As the stars of the original movies came on screen, there were no cheers, and the few humorous moments were met with silence. I will admit, after a full bag of popcorn, I was a little drowsy. I nodded off for a minute during, of all things, a particularly nasty battle scene! There is a particularly disturbing plot twist, that left me nearly in tears, and the ending was a little anticlimactic for my taste, but opens up the story for a sequel. I waited through the credits, but there was no stinger. (That little bit of film, usually included post-credit. Think of the "Go Home" scene at the end of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. That is a stinger)

When I emerged from theater, there was quite a line for the 3:30 p.m. showing.

Today, I puttered around the house, doing laundry and such,  waiting until time to meet the parentals. . I understand from my mom, that the Chief was so excited, he was almost like a kid. He had been humming the traditional Star Wars theme music all day.

We arrived at the McWane Center an hour early to ensure we got good seats. Some had gotten there much earlier, and were sitting on the floor in a line, that snaked around the glass projection room. The film was on a huge spool, that I am told weighs 450lbs.

 I also ran into Middle Stepbrother, his wife and her parents. They were four of the six random viewers who bought tickets before my company bought out the theater!

We chose our seats just to the right of the big box in the middle of the dome. The woman in front of me had commented on how odd the seating was and if she was to lean over too far, that she felt as though she would tumble to the bottom.  I tried not to think of that, but could not help but feel a little bit of vertigo. But we had good seats.

The upside of seeing a movie at the IMAX is that there are no previews. The downside was that everything on the screen is much bigger and the sound would vibrate your seat. The most disturbing was once you exited the theater, you were not allowed back in. I chose not to drink anything. Once the movie started, a cheer rose up from the audience.  The scrolling text was nearly impossible to read, as it wrapped around the screen. I commented to Brother that I was not enjoying seeing actors nose hair. There were times that one had to decide what to look at and the edges of the picture blurred into the sides of the walls.  The herky-jerky flight and battle scenes made Mother nauseated.  The theater was cold and I soon had to borrow a jacket to keep warm.

The IMAX experience was falling really flat with me.

There were a few of my coworkers taking photos with the movie poster in the lobby.

I have no idea why I am holding the souvenir popcorn bucket, but mother handed it to me.

 The movie was actually filmed for IMAX and then later reformatted for traditional theaters, which I thought was pretty cool. One thing is certain, it was an experience.

I doubt that I will ever do that again.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


I think that it is funny that the writers of "Big Bang Theory" decided to chose the night before the new Star Wars opened to allow "Sheldon and Amy" to be intimate.

Quite a conundrum for folks in line for the midnight showing.

LOL..geek problems

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Great Beginnings!

I had another great date with John!  Trying not to get my hopes up. He has only been divorced for a year. Guys seem to sow their wild oats during the first few years after a divorce.  He knows how I have been hurt and he understands that I have SERIOUS trust issues now. But he gets my quirky sense of humor. We truly enjoy each other's company. We laugh.... A LOT! We like a lot of the same things.  We listen to the same music. He's much taller than me, even when I am in heels. Okay....he's a bammer ( for my out of state friends, in Alabama, there are Auburn fans like me, and then there are ....not...)  but not in that militant, "name-your-kid-Bear" (yes, seriously) kind of way.  I think what I like most about him is that he invented his job. He left one really successful career, to fill in a niche with another.  He has a very strong work ethic, and for that he is successful.

We went out for barbeque and then went bowling. The local bowling alley was taken over by new management and completely remodeled. The only thing that was familiar was the lanes. The game is completely automated so the tables that used to be by the alleys were gone. replaced with cushy sofas. that meandered along the backside of the lanes.  The hardest part for me was having to tell the shoe guy what my shoe size was. I always have to tell them I wear an 11 in women's, that translates to a 9 in men's, because they NEVER have women's size 11 shoes. I shared that I was embarrassed that I had such big feet.  John replied "Oh Yeah?' and loudly asked Shoe Guy for a pair of size FOURTEENS! They were the biggest shoes I had ever seen. I could almost put both feet in one!

I bowled the worst game that I have ever bowled in my entire life, including when I was big pregnant with Julz.  But we laughed and shared strategies. I tried really hard to tone down my fierce competitive streak, but the disappointment with myself was evident on my face. 

When our games were over, we sat in the lounging area of our lane and talked. For an hour.  Then he walked me to my car, and we talked some more.

Really looking forward to seeing him again