Evil Joy Speaks

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

I Failed At Soup : A Tale Of Mush

You know when you try to a good thing? I tried.

I failed miserably.

Soup. I failed at soup. How does one fail at soup you ask? Let me tell you.

I should have known things would go south from the start. The chicken was simmering as I sautéed the vegetables. I prepared the spices and noodles – although my normal noodles were hiding so I grabbed the closest ones I could find. I got everything ready to assemble into the crock pot and quickly realized I had no stock, broth, or base. None.

Well crap. I guess a store run is in order.

I got the missing broth and finished making the soup – the same way I do every.single.time.  My family loves this dinner – we all eat it all – including the leftovers. It’s a standard fare in the winter – probably twice a month. Lucky for me (and the teachers) I decided to give it one last stir before packing it up for school. It smelled amazing but the color was a tad off.

As I stirred I realized I didn’t see the nice, firm noodles I was accustomed to finding. But I did find mushy, gross, floury like strings of stuff.


I now had an exceptionally large crockpot full of crap. Total and complete crap. It was terrible. I only had 20 minutes before I needed to leave and deliver the offending soup to school. What to do???

The fact that I have ton of children played in my favor. I tend to triple recipes….one for dinner, one for left overs, and one to freeze. There was still a pot of broth, veggies, and chicken left uncontaminated by noodles. I had just made a ton of brown rice for my lunches for the week. I grabbed that crockpot, threw in the rice, and packed it up for school. Good enough right? Let’s get this show on the road.

Dr. Evil was on travel and I was driving his beloved car. Let’s just say I thank God for those plastic, made to fit, awesome floor liners. The soup did NOT travel well. I finally got this soup concoction to school, cleaned his car up, and went to the gym.

I vow to never make soup for school again. Ever.

Sour cream in a container from the store?  Sign me up for that stuff.




Time to Grow Thicker Skin

The time has come to grow thicker skin. I’m trying – I really am.

Normally I post and share what I want. But this election season has me questioning each post. While I feel EXTREMELY strongly about a lot of topics I find myself unwilling to share a lot of things I’d normally share without concern. 
I love discussion. I love debate – when it’s done properly. I love that EVERYONE gets to have their own opinion and should be able to have it without being attacked or attacking when they share. Honestly I love when people have  opinions different than mine. I am willing to learn and have my eyes opened to the other side of an opinion. That means sometimes I change or alter my stance and other times I don’t. I believe strongly in agreeing to disagree, not taking away one’s voice, or silencing another. That’s one of the things that makes our country great – we can say what we want, what we FEEL. 
Along with the rest of the world, I’ve watched a disturbing trend. On-line when people disagree, not only do they disagree, they attack each other. The mask of the internet makes people think it’s okay to behave in completely unacceptable ways. It can be – it has been – frightening. Receiving messages or comments that are threatening is scary. And there is where my skin isn’t thick enough.
I’m in awe of many of my friends who post what they want, when they want, regardless of the comments or actions of others. There are so many things I feel passionate about but have stifled what I want to say. I don’t have a thick enough skin at this point in my life….
But … maybe it’s time to grow that thick skin. 

Won’t Be Bothered

I wrote this is early September and have been sitting on it. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a bit out there. Maybe I’m scared. I’ve decided scared is good. Here goes…


I just read a bunch of my old blog posts. Ones where I stated my opinion. My take on things. My view.

In those posts, I didn’t worry about perception, who might take offense or approve of what I’d written, or even who would be reading what I’ve written.

Right now I’m sitting on my deck, having a beverage, listening to my ABSOLUTELY favorite song, “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” by deadmau5 and others including “No Way,” by The Famous and Naked.  And thinking.  I wonder when I lost the ability to write without caring what anyone thought? When did I start to care what anybody thought about my writings?

So tonight…fueled by music, a weekend at home, and maybe a bit of liquid courage I’ve decided to be more authentic. I hate all the awful things that have happened. Brock what’s his face being let out early. That is so wrong I can’t even begin to address the issue. I am saddened and relieved for the family and friends of Jason Wetterling. I’m overcome by the devastation in West Virginia and Louisiana because of flood waters. My heart and all the healing thoughts go out to the poor player injured in a local football game Friday night. All of these things … each and every single one …. bring me to tears. Real tears that I try to hide, tears I try to pass off an a sneeze or allergies for fear of looking weak or too soft hearted.


I’m sad and angry about a number of things. The state of politics in this amazing country is awful. The social injustices. The simply WRONGNESS of so many, many things.

But…there’s always a but…

I chose to find happiness where I can. I do what I can to make life better for those around me. And I feed my body and soul when and where I can….watching a movie about incredible snowboarders, cuddling with my kids, driving hours and hours to the mountains, flying to see friends, and talking to those friends I don’t get to see often.

If I can change the world in some small, positive way…I’ve succeeded. If I fail….at least I tried. And I won’t be fearful anymore of the opinions of others when I write what I write, regardless of what it is.

And as I wrap up….Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff comes on again. It’s a sign. Go get your happy. Be authentic. Be real. Do it. Make a difference.  YOUR WAY!

What is your authentic? What’s your happy?



The Call Of the School Bus

I wrote this post during the last bit of summer….and decided now that school is in session it’s time to share it…….




The bus is coming! The bus is coming! Summer is ending and I’m DANCING with excitement! The constant cacophony of noise, the odor of all things kid, and the Pig-Pen cloud of mess will be heading out the door and leave! The chaos of my house will be relocated to school and I will have approximately 30 seconds of peace. That’s how long it will take my children to walk down the driveway, get on the bus, and disappear around the bend. I will see them off and breathe a sigh of relief that we ended summer with the same number of children which with we greeted summer.

Then I will wonder, “What the hell am I supposed to do with the 7 minutes and 45 seconds I have ALONE in my house for the first time in 11 weeks!?”  In the short amount of time before I need to leave the house I will ponder the importance of each possible action and activity. The if/then result of every decision will cause tension in my neck. These few minutes are golden. I must not waste them.

Shall I clean the milk out of the sink? Load the dishes properly into the dishwasher? Wash the outside of the dishwasher? Clean the soap dispenser in the dishwasher? Tidy the area where the dishwasher soap lives? OMG the possibilities are endless…and I’m only working with about 3 square feet of my kitchen! When I think about the remaining area of the kitchen I can’t catch my breath. Then the thought of the entire house enters my mind – all three floors – and ass over tea kettle I go. There goes 30 seconds of my free time while I collect myself, inspect the floor for dents…and find crumbs that MUST BE CLEANED.

It’s too early for a glass of wine. It’s too hot for coffee. I’m obviously far too excited to choose an appropriate beverage. Summer was awesome but the school season is my jam. Oh! Tea and toast with jam. I’m down to 5 minutes.

Once I realize I am still in my pajamas, have a trail of jam down my shirt, and my hair resembles something akin to a bird’s nest, my 5 golden minutes vanish like a hoagie in front of a teenage boy. I take care of things and head out for my day. Only to prepare for the renewed joy of seeing my people when they come home excited from the first day of classes.


One of toughest battles I fight as a mom is the need to fill every possible second with something. Whether it be a duty, playtime, sport, job, or even concern, I struggle with the need to fill time. Because if there’s free time, I have a)forgotten something b)forgotten someone c)dropped the ball on a commitment or d)had too much wine and no longer care about a,b, or c. Well, maybe b.

Summer accentuates the battle of the busy. I have to re-learn each year to enjoy the summer’s moments. There’s counting kids, a calendar with commitments, and the running of forgotten things to forgetful kids. I remind myself I don’t have to fill the gaps, that downtime is acceptable and okay.

During the school year, summer calls to mothers with a siren’s voice. That voice starts shrieking by August. A voice only silenced by the calm of an empty house on a September morning. I have to go. The bus is coming!

Short Girl, Long…


I forgot to go to the doctor for a checkup.

For the past five years in a row.

I take my children to the doctor for physicals, illness, and injuries – on schedule and as the need arises. I get after my husband to keep up with his checkups given all that transpired a few years back. But for whatever reason I have neglected to go for more than getting my a1c checked for the past five years. It wasn’t intentional, at least not consciously.

I’d reached the point in time where the doctor office would no longer refill my prescription without an office visit and I couldn’t schedule an office visit without scheduling a physical. A Full Physical.

For the men here – or those more proper than myself – I’m about to talk about medical exams required for women. While this may not impact you personally, it is important for everyone. You have all someone you love – a spouse, mother, grandmother, daughter – and you need to encourage them to care for themselves. That being said, be prepared because l’m going to talk it about it my way which may make you uncomfortable. It may also cause you to laugh – and I hope it does because if we can’t laugh at the things we’re required to do …. then … well…. yeah.

I prepared for my physical. Yes, this is a thing. I showered and shaved. I packed socks in my bag because…stirrups.

I’m so on top of things I got to bring my soon to be grade 6 student with me. She needed shots to enter middle school and I completely forgot since I’m so organized I simply called to see if she could be seen directly ahead of me. She had her appointment, got her shots, and got kicked out to the lobby.

I get my gown and am instructed to undress. Gown is supposed to open in the back. Or was it the front. Shit, this isn’t starting off well.  I hop on the table, covered my back side as best as possible given the opening being in the back, and cover myself with a paper blanket. I keep fidgeting with the gown because my back, therefore my backside, is somewhat facing the door.

Doc enters. We chat, talk about the blood work I forgot to do scheduled and any concerns.

It’s time for the scoot. Women – you know what I’m talking about. You have to lay back, and then scoot your bum to the edge of the table. Just a little more. Just a touch more. And a bit more. I’m sure every doctor wants to say, “Move your ass down and quit making me ask you to move closer to me. We both now what’s going to happen so let’s get on with it.” But the fear exists of a) being asked to move back up the table b) falling off the edge of the table c) causing the whole damn table to flip forward, killing both you and the doctor. Imagine the medical examiner, “Cause of Death? Crushed by a table, Speculum impalement, Suffocation by crappy hospital gown.”

The exam begins. It seems to be taking longer than I recall however it’s been five years so maybe my memory has blocked the time required for a pap smear. Then I hear, “How tall are you?”

“I’m 5’3″. ”

“Short Girl. Long vagina.”

I laughed. Because what can you do?


For the days when you’re done, over it, whipped, emotionally tapped out….

Tomorrow isn’t far away.

For the nights when you can’t sleep, fret over words or actions, or are anxious….

Tomorrow isn’t far away.


I’m done today. Just done. Nothing bad happened to me or those I love. I am just feeling pulled in too many directions, dropping too many balls, and beating myself up over all of it. I’ve created this bar that is so high I’ll never meet it. Today the bar zoomed into space and it was all I could do to make it through each thing I needed to without crying. I can’t keep up with the demands I’ve placed on myself. Tonight I find myself working on emails and deadlines, writing checks and checking budgets, and washing and folding laundry…and getting absolutely none of it done as well as I’d like.

I’ve decided to let “done” be good enough. And that the things “not-done” will have to be okay. Tomorrow is another chance at getting it right. And making the demands a little more appropriate and obtainable. Remembering I don’t have to do it all, be perfect in what I do accomplish, or feel bad about any of it.

I know this was the last day of summer for my kids. We did a couple of fun things. I said a few harsh words. I keep thinking, “I should have…” But at the end of the night, I know when they went to bed they know they are loved and that I’ll be there for them no matter what. And tonight…that has to be enough.

Tomorrow isn’t far away.

Pay Attention

IF ONLY THIS TIME – Pay Attention.

Louisiana needs our help.

The devastating flooding has left 13 dead and tens of thousands with damaged or destroyed homes.

Here is one link to help.

Baton Ridge Area Foundation


In 2008 there was massive flooding in Iowa. My parents’ home was nearly part of a forced buy-out and houses just down the road were bulldozed down and empty lots stand there still today – 8 years later. Cedar Rapids was underwater – so many towns, villages, and cities were wiped out. While I didn’t experience it directly, we went down to my hometown as soon as we could for the “All Calls for Help.” We tried to adopt an surrendered animal and donated what we could.

I can only imagine what life is like right now. I can’t grasp the depth of despair of losing your home to unforgiving water. The home I grew up in flooded twice in the years I can recall. I vividly remember watching my Barbie dog float by wondering what I should do with him. But to loose everything…I can’t even…

So I’m going to do what I can. Share the link with you. Send what i can. Spread information as it becomes available. Support as best I can from a far.

While the devastation is overwhelming, I hope the people affected can feel just a touch of the love, support, hope, and dedication from those of us in other parts of the country.

Louisiana…we are here for you.


Time to Fly

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Climaxed submitted this awesome topic : Someone has come up with a potion (Harry Potter style) that will bring luck to anyone who drinks it. You’re offered a free test if you write about your day on your blog with the caveat that you wait for something pretty important going on–meaning the company doesn’t want you to take it and write about a regular but super lucky day at home. They’re really wanting you to test the boundaries of the potion and show your audience what it can do. What might you use yours for? Write about your luckiest day.

Here goes….

“Today’s the day!” I think as I pack up my gear for a day at the hill. I’m going to go and attack the jumps and features for the first time while snowboarding. Normally I’d just head over and ride, starring at the tow rope pulling people up to the top of the terrain park. Normally I’d watch on the lift, cranking my head around as far as I can, in awe of people in the park.

Today…I’m doing it. Because today…I get to try the “Potion.” Since I’m not allowed to enter politics or the medical field on this trial of the potion, I can’t find the solution for world peace or the cure for MS or cancer. I’m supposed to make a day extraordinary by pushing my boundaries within my own world. I decided if I can do these things I’ve dreamed of doing, have worked towards but not yet achieved, and succeed with this potion, there’s hope for making it happen without the potion too!

I’m a decent snowboarder. I can get out of most anything I get into….except that one time when my son had to rescue my laughing self when I got into too thick of trees. (He heard me “cackling” and found me, found us a route out, and marveled I had gotten that deep without hugging a tree!) It may not be pretty or perfect, but I love a good challenge and will take on moguls and steeps with a smile on my face and in my heart.

Boxes, features, and jumps….uummmm nope. I have done some boxes – at the speed of snail – going so slowly that I fall due to lack of forward motion not balance.  Jumps…I dream. I dream of finding that right combination of physics, fear, exhilaration, and skill.

Today I do. I’ve decided this is the test. My personal ultimate test of the “Potion.” Today will erase the memories of being stuck with a child on an icy hill, not visible from above, not able to get her to move, as people and their harsh words flew around us. Today will replace the days of doubt and make the mountains of bruises worth it. I will jump and feel like I’m flying. And it will be awesome.

I put the potion in my front pocket, ride the lift to the top, and get off. I am so terribly fearful of the lift – it’s really ridiculous. But I don’t want to waste the potion on something I should not fear and have conquered several times over. I strap in, drink the potion down, and take a test run.

Okay. This is okay. I can do this. I carve a little. And back to to the top we go.

Back up. To the top.

Time to fly.

IMG_1153 (1)



Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:


Baking In A Tornado

The Bergham Chronicles

Spatulas on Parade

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Southern Belle Charm

Confessions of a part time working mom

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

The Lieber Family Blog

Never Ever Give Up Hope

When I Grow Up




Being Present…And Still Planning

Given the speed of life I’m always planning but not always present. “Today is Monday and we have x, y, z to finish before Friday with the weekend holding q, r, and s.”

Here’s a more concrete example. It’s now 02 August 2016. School starts on 01 September. This weekend we have friends in town. Next weekend is camping and football. The following weekend is football, travel to Seattle, a potential college visit, and two softball tournaments. Then football. And finally Labor Day Weekend. Our weekends are full of fun, amazing, busy, and chaotic events. As are many days of the week. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of getting the right kids, two cleats, a cello, and kneepads properly delivered.

Finding the presence of mind to be present in the moment is necessary. We’ll lose the memory if we’re always rushing and thinking ahead. I’ve been guilty of this many, many times. I’m determined to fix it.

I realize now, more than ever, the time we have with our kids is short. I’ve been focusing on grabbing the moments I can…whenever I can. If it’s in the car driving and a chat happens…I turn off the radio and listen. Or maybe it’s turning up the radio and singing at the top of my lungs with my daughter while we try to figure out who’s got the melody and who’s covering the harmony. We try to walk to the library and sneaking in a visit to the candy shop once a week. God knows we spend a lot of time watching softball. It’s good to walk to the park or off to play catch with the kiddo who isn’t in the game. And sometimes…some of my favorite times…we sit quietly in the same space and read. Even right at THIS VERY MOMENT, one of my children is trying to figure out how to get her brother’s bedroom when he moves to college…in TWO YEARS. (I finally set a timer and sent two of the girls off to tidy up their toys – that way we both can focus for a few minutes.)

I have a hard separating the need to do – write this now – and the want to do – play with them. “Do I need to write this right now? Can it wait?” Sometimes it can wait. Taking the time to write has always been the one thing I let slide. It’s the one thing I miss the most. Learning to prioritize and not beat myself up for taking time from “the family” to take care of myself has been hard. But when I do the self-care of meeting my needs, I can be present during the other instances. The ones that generate memories for us all.

I’m not easy-going enough to just let it all flow. At times, I wish I were. I’m working on accepting that isn’t my personality and embracing my love of planning. Why not build on a strength? I plan what I can – the devil is in the details – so that when we’re “doing” I’m there – physically and mentally.

It would be easy to miss the moments that make each day special in the hectic nature of planning but we’re finding our way to making each point in time matter…..and still looking forward to the next.


If You Take Joy to Ball…

If you take an Evil Joy to a Parent versus 10 year old Travel Team softball game…
She’ll want to play ball.

She’ll go up to bat and “Squeeeee!” as the ball flies past – (these young’uns throw fast and hard). On the next pitch, she’ll hit the ball.

When she hits the ball, Evil Joy will run to first while covering the back of her head because she’s afraid of the ball (with good reason).

Once she’s on base another parent will hit the ball. She’ll run to second base….

Or will she?

I ended up hop/skipping to the next base after a few steps. I felt my arch pop. Then start to cramp and hurt. I got to second base and stood there rotating my ankle and trying to stretch out my foot……..And told the girls’ coach I needed a runner – I was done for. I hopped to the stands and sat down. I peeled off my sock and shoe. And there was a dent in my arch. An honest to God dent. And a swollen area under it.

I sat for an hour with some of the parents and tried to roll it out on a cold water bottle. That hurt like a mother so I settled for resting the water bottle on my foot. I finally said “Uncle” asked Dr. Evil to take me to the ER.

I tried to walk to the car. HAHAHAHAHA! That was funny. I thought positive thoughts. I envisioned it happening. And was carried to the car by two awesome mamas on the team. Yes, two women hauled my arse to the car.

After several x-rays I was informed I have no broken bones and “Barbie Doll” feet. Now is is awesome – no broken bones – and hilarious “Barbie Doll” feet. I have feet the width of a howitzer. I wear a size 7 (barely – yes – I can wear children sized shoes) and have an extra, extra wide foot. With ridiculously high arches. I am going to carry the “Barbie Doll” feet thing to my grave as it’s the one and only time anyone has ever or will ever say that about my Fred Flintstone feet!

Next step…MRI. Had that mid-week. I’m not a huge fan of small spaces. But it went okay…and now….we wait.

Until 3:30 today. I will find out I’m just a weenie and will be fine in a few days. That’s what I’m going with. I will gladly wear the title of “Supreme Weenie” if it means I’ll be back to normal in a week or less.

The lesson here is…..

If you take Evil Joy to ball, eventually she’s going to end up at the emergency room.


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