Evil Joy Speaks

Spawning the next generation of evil genius, one misadventure at a time

Lost and Found

They’re not worth a lot of money. To others, these aren’t important. Both lost and found today…these rings are precious to me.

My wedding and anniversary bands. I took them off during a class at the gym. The metal was cutting into my finger and it hurt. So I simply took them off without thought, tossed them onto my warmup shirt I’d earlier removed, and kept on keeping on in class. Class ended. I grabbed my shirt, assumed I had my rings, and quickly moved on with my day.

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Real Authentic Women – A Reality Moms Retreat

I was part of something last week. It was Real – We were Authentic – We are Women.  Reality Moms hosted the Real Authentic Women (RAW) Retreat and I was fortunate enough to participate in this amazing event.

Every ‘real mom’ should run from the real world sometimes and that’s what I did. I hopped on a plane, not really sure of what I was doing, flew halfway across the country and put my trust in women I’d only met online.  (One woman I’d met in person before. Our friendship is now firmly cemented into a lifelong one.) We talked about hard stuff, laughed every second we could, and opened up with one another in unique ways.

From the second I walked into the door, I was given permission to be me. If I needed a break, I took one. I didn’t have to explain why I don’t like to touch people, why I wear sunglasses all the time, or why I drink copious amounts of water. No one cared that I woke up before dawn, made coffee, and then disappeared to run alone. Each woman in attendance had the same expectations. We were to just…be. Be ourselves. Own our issues, explore the whys, sit with the questions and thoughts we experienced, and acknowledge the positive attributes each of us possesses.

It’s funny. I didn’t realize I was living my life asking permission to be myself – not all the time – but definitely sometimes. Clarity is refreshing…and hard. FInding my path through the hard to the real was a struggle and one I needed to allow myself to experience. I owned what I offer to the world. I’m supportive. I’m strong. I’m real.

I learned about writing, creating pitches, hashtagging, and how to be vulnerable. I learned how to combine the technical aspects with the personal, and to recognize just how linked both pieces truly are in my writing.

As women, it’s easy to deflect compliments and achievements. We need to stop that noise and OWN IT. Let’s show the next generation of women they can be strong, they can own their accomplishments, and stand tall. By taking the time to work on myself, I can help my girls be their more.

I ran away from the real world by leaving home, running on a beach, and learning to hug a few more people. I ran away to find myself. And came back a better me.

 

Thanks to Reality Moms, Joey Fortman, and the other program participants – aka my friends. This was an experience I’ll never forget. And one I hope to repeat in the future.

Check out Reality Moms on Facebook, Instagram, and, Twitter.

The Tuckerton Seaport Experience

Last week I had the opportunity to visit The Tuckerton Seaport located in Tuckerton, New Jersey. The history and the way in which that history is delivered is incredible. I’ve already informed my family we will make the trek there one day sooner than later. I visited this gem with a group of women from around the country, and beyond as part of Reality Moms.

As a midwesterner, I’ve visited historic villages. But this was the first historic seaport village I’d experienced. From the Makers to the food, I was immersed in the history of The Tuckerton Seaport. The first Maker we met was a talented blacksmith. I think we entertained him as he taught us. We questioned everything from the temperature of the fire to the number of heats required to make a horseshoe. I learned a lot while not even realizing I was being educated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we walked to the Jay C. Parker Decoy House I innocently remarked, “Are those real or decoys?” not realizing our destination. Needless to say, the decoys were lifelike and handcrafted with skill. We were able to watch as a piece of wood took the shape of a waterfowl. This Maker learned his craft at The Tuckerton Seaport and now shares his expertise with those visiting.

Being able to touch and feel made The Tuckerton Seaport come alive. We made flatties with another Maker. I tried to make mine look similar to his….but there’s a reason I write, not paint. In this same room, boat making classes take place. You can make an ACTUAL BOAT.

Plans for future experiences are in the works including glass making and a new water ferry service! The ferry will operate between the seaport and LBI!! It looks to be exciting and I’ll be reserving my tickets for our return visit.

Oh and the food. OMG the food. We started our day with an amazing breakfast at The Union Market where I had this yummy breakfast and one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had.

After touring for a while, our appetites returned just in time to visit Lady Magpie’s Tea and Curiosities. Locally sourced and handmade, the food didn’t last long….because I ate it all. And the STEAM punk feel of this place was amazing. (Even the bathroom had super cool decor!)

From the visitors center to the miniature golf course I was impressed. If I could sum up my experience at The Tuckerton Seaport it would look like this….

I LOVE THIS PLACE AND CAN’T WAIT TO RETURN.

Make a point of visiting The Tuckerton Seaport. If you’re local to the area – head there immediately! If you’re like me, make it your next destination trip. I know I have.

Check out The Tuckerton Seaport on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

 

(Full disclosure – my admission was paid for but all opinions expressed are my own.)

#TuckertonSeaport

#RealityMomsRETREAT

#RealityMoms

Random Acts of Kindness

Performing random acts of kindness is amazing. Whether on the performing or receiving end of said act you end up with a fuller heart, an improved attitude, and hopefully a smile on your face. Something that seems very minor to you may have an unexpected impact upon another’s day.

Today I was fortunate enough to participate in a RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) event with co-workers. The doing was fun. FUN. We were able to do a small thing in an even smaller amount of time that will hopefully affect at least one person in a positive way. It was minutes out of my day. I left tonight with a renewed sense to try harder to be a positive force in the world. I don’t have to find the solution to world peace but I can pay for the person’s coffee behind me or drop a bag of food in the donation bin at the grocery store.

Gathering together with others to do good has many benefits. Not only did we do our random act of kindness, I learned a lot about those around me. Our time was an opportunity to get to know those volunteering in a unique way. Conversations work related, industry related, and TOTALLY unrelated occurred. Learning more about one another teaches us to see the world with a new and different perspective. Having multiple points of view on any topic is never a bad thing.

Sharing, learning, doing. Just think of the massive changes we could put out in the universe if we simply do good. Many small acts when combined can make a huge difference. If we all take a minute here or there to do something selfless, pay it forward, or perform an act of kindness, the positive energy put forward will change the world.

What random act of kindness have you performed or received lately? Did it inspire you to pay it forward? Tell me about it!

 

What I Really Want for Mother’s Day

You know what I want for Mother’s Day? It’s simple really. I don’t need a single thing. There are things I want like all my debt paid off, guaranteed happy futures for my children, snowboarding year round opportunities….

But this Mother’s Day if my family could pick up the house and clean it. And then pretend that every day for the rest of their lives is Mother’s Day.

How hard it is to put a dish away? Or to not step over a pile of laundry? Or to wipe up the jam/mustard/mayo/milk/coffee/water that one spills?

Listen don’t even start with the “one day you’ll wish for the chaos of their messes,” crap. Right now my world is a constant shit show and while it doesn’t bother most – It Pisses Me Off.

(Also I know – First World Problems.)

I make my kids do chores. They bitch and moan the entire time.

Today I left. After asking, demanding, and punishing I was over it all. I decided to go get gas. One of my daughters asked where I was going and I couldn’t say anything nice so I didn’t speak so she asked again. I told her I was going to the gas station. I simply couldn’t deal with it today. I gave myself a time out.

Pick. Up. Your. Own. Shit. And perhaps you could actually help your sibling and put the cup they forgot to tidy in the dishwasher too.

Last week two of the kids were going on and on about how nice and tidy their friends’ homes are when they visit. Then…….one of them said, “I wish our house was like that.”

Are. You. Kidding. Me?????

I bust my ass. As does my husband. I work multiple jobs. My husband does all the shopping and cooking in addition to being the primary “bread winner” for our family.

I’m not asking for them to scrub toilets every day. I just need some help. And I’d love if it didn’t come with whining, eye rolls, or pissy attitudes.

So if you want to let my family know what I want for Mother’s Day, you can tell them that making their beds every day would be amazing. See. I’m not asking for the moon. Just a little help.

And for them to pick up their own damn dishes.

PSA. Mother’s Day is next Sunday. Don’t forget your mama, mama-in-law, or friend that is a special mama in your life. We all need a pat on the back once in a while.

Three Things

How do you think of yourself? What are the first three things that come to mind?

…….

Now. Make yourself think of adjectives that describe you. Three of them. Go.

……

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How Do You Test Your Limits?

Test Your Limits. What does that mean to you? Working out harder than ever before? Eating a spicy dish to see how much you can handle? Pushing publish on that post you’ve written? Quitting one job and finding another? Making a relationship change? Jumping off that ledge and seeing where you land?

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Learn a Little Modesty Please

I have a serious axe to grind. A bone to pick. A grievance to file. A war to wage.

Sports bras.

Specifically, I take issue with the ‘modesty’ pads in sports bras.


You know – those pads that sometimes are removable and keep the world at large from knowing when you’re cold.

I work out six days a week. Sometimes more than once a day. I produce the sweat of two normal humans during any given workout. Therefore I wash my clothing every time I work out. I never use an item more than once, especially sports bras. If I’m not at the gym, I’m probably working or snowboarding. If the latter is true, I need to utilize yet another sports bra.

I wash all the things per instruction. Yet EVERY FLIPPING TIME a minimum of one bra – more likely 100% of all bras – releases at least one of the modesty pads into the machine. The modesty pad breaks free and becomes immodest.

Every time I fold laundry I fight to get the pads back into the proper position. God forbid any of the bras I have are constructed in identical manners. (Hey listen. I’m trying them all out to find a favorite. Then I’ll invest my life savings into bras. That’s what it will take to purchase the size I need and the number I would like to own.) As I do laundry daily, I fight this epic battle all too frequently. Sometimes I throw in the towel, fold the bra up and hope beyond all hope that the modesty pad has enough self respect to stay with it’s owner until I find the strength to put it back together again. Humpty Dumpty has nothing on me.

The war isn’t over once the pads are back inside the holding area of the bra. The modesty pads are fighting to stay free. I think they believe if they cause enough of an issue, I’ll give up and just throw them to the sock pile. I believe they’re looking to mingle with single socks and have realized if anyone other me does the laundry, they are set free into the unmatched sock box. Maybe that’s how all the socks procreate? I swear there are more socks in there every time I look…..but I digress.

Once I impose my will upon the modesty pad and shove that sucker back into the bra cup, I have to deal with more. Nipple Ripple is a thing, For real. I will not show up at the gym with my sports bra all awry. Not that I care what I look like – it’s the gym – but holy crap, four miles on the treadmill and some weight lifting later, those creases, folds, wrinkles, whatever you want to call them – start to HURT!

I have sources that inform me this issue is not localized to women only in the United States. Sources in Canada and New Zealand confirmed their own horror stories with bra liner modesty pads.  THIS IS AN INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM!

Snarkfest had this to add, “Trying to put them back in requires alcohol (to drink), tweezers, pliers, and more patience than I will ever have.”

If you know of any solutions to this epic problem, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE ALL THINGS WITH MODESTY share your wisdom! I have to go. There are modesty pads being all sorts of immodest over here.

Crying Over A Broken Glass

I cried over a broken glass last night. A simple,  slightly larger than pint sized glass. The graphic on the glass said, “No! You Can’t Have A Sip.”

I bawled as I swept up the shards of glasses from the floor. Each piece made me catch my breathe in the back of my throat. The pin prick cuts I got on my hands from picking up each and every single bit of glass were completely ignored. I cleaned up the floor, tidied the broom and dust pan. Then I went back to washing pots and pans, attempting (and failing) to hide my tears from my family.

A simple broken glass. A silly glass. One of many pint glasses we have. I’ve broken many things over the years but this glass breaking….it felt like a punch in the gut.

My parents recently moved. My family didn’t share much about it as we didn’t want anyone to know the house was unoccupied until it was ready for market. Many trips later, I returned with thousands of photos, some furniture, keepsakes, and these silly glasses. I wanted the glasses more than anything else in the house. When I was a kid I was always asking for a sip of my mom’s drink – water, soda, coffee – whatever. Constantly. I would take a sip and promptly drain the entire cup and leave her with nothing but ice. My mom bought the set of four glasses as a joke when I was grown and married. I always used them at my parents’ house.

And I shattered one of the three surviving glasses. Into a million pieces.

I cried about my parents moving. They are happy and healthy and doing well. The move is a positive thing that they willing embraced and are loving. It’s just change and change is hard. Life looks different when I visit “home” now. I won’t run out of my folk’s driveway, step over the creaky spot in the wood floor, or wrap Christmas presents downstairs while watching movies and chasing my kids away from peeking. Growing up I changed bedrooms once. The furthest I moved until I left for college was across the hall.  It’s weird to mourn a house.

But then again…I’m not mourning a house. I mourning the end of a stage.

And embracing the beginning of a new stage. One where I get to visit my parents and see them having coffee with friends. I get to hear about the outings they go on. And I have the peace of mind knowing they’re in a place that is perfect for them at this stage in their lives.

That glass shattered and I cried a few tears. It’s time to dry them and look forward to the new memories we are creating in their new home.

I can’t wait to visit them again. And tell my mom how I broke her glass. We’ll laugh about it and I’m guessing I’ll ask for a drink of her coffee.

And drink it all.

Cupcakes, Crafts, and PTSD Oh My!

Cupcakes, crafts and mini bouts of PTSD, oh my!

For the first time in six years I’m doing a birthday party for one of my kids…at my house…with cupcakes, and crafts…in the month of November.  *Cue dramatic music*

We have so many birthdays the month of November. It’s a crazy time of year. Two of my own children, two nieces, two of my siblings, one of my sibling’s spouses, multiple cousins, and friends that have become family…..all have birthdays this month.

This is the month Brent Got Sick. A long time ago. I figured once the five year mark passed the month of November, kid birthday parties, ambulances, the exit for Regions Hospital, and the sight of intubated people on television shows would magically move to the “okay things in my life” column.  For the most part, things that truly trigger strong emotions in me regarding Brent’s illness have moved into the “okay” column. However this week I continue to find myself on edge. I was downtown with a friend going to an event. We got off at the Regions exit. An ambulance shrieked past us and I fought back tears. My daughter wanted to make special puppy cupcakes for her party and I started crying. (My dear friend made the most amazing cupcakes for the party six years ago – all various kinds of puppies…hence my tears.)

Life marches on. As do I. Tonight I’m taking Littlest to the store. We are buying the supplies to make fondant for decorating her cupcakes. At her party that is on Friday. A party taking place in our home.  My friend who made the cupcakes last time shared a recipe and is on standby to come help – for emotional support or technical support – I’ve never made fondant.  She may be needed on both fronts.

Another dear friend knows I’m struggling. I want to make sure my daughter has a special party. It’s not her fault I have demons to exercise. My friend offered for her daughter to come and run the party with my older daughter. She’s bringing the labor, I’m supplying the margaritas. And yet another friend…one far away…encouraged me to write this.

Lately I’ve become fearful of sharing what I’m feeling. I want to be funny and entertaining….I want to share that part of myself with you. Instead…the last year….I’ve been in a weird place. Not feeling great and trying to navigate my life with a chronic headache.  I’m trying to find my way to where I want to be. I am working really damn hard actually. I’m getting there. I’ll get there.

One cupcake at a time.

 

#nanoblopo

#PTSD

#birthdayparties

 

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