Evil Joy Speaks

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

Category: Other Stuff (page 1 of 7)

Consequences and Life Lessons

This week one of my kiddos learned about consequences. It totally sucked. This kid missed a deadline and as a result received a pretty (in my opinion) severe consequence. My child was upset and is still pretty devastated.

Guess what I did.


No phone calls, no arguing on this kid’s behalf…nothing.

I’m so over parents fixing problems for their children. My kid screwed up and has to pay the price. In the scheme of things, it’s so not a big deal even though – at the moment – it seems like the end of the world.  Anguish and heartbreak over this issue will pass. No one was injured – other than some possible pride – no damage was done. In fact, I’m almost glad it happened. My kid was upset about missing the deadline – more so than the consequence itself. To me that speaks to this kid’s character and this experience will reinforce the things this child values.  If one is to mess up, messing up when you’re a kid is the time to do it.


How are our children supposed to learn anything if every time they drop the ball mommy and daddy run in and fix it for them? I understand that there are times when intervention is needed and required. But when rules are broken, bent even, and consequences are applied, it’s practice for life. As an adult, if you miss a deadline for a project there will be fallout. If you don’t pay a bill, there’s a penalty. At university if you don’t turn in an assignment on time, a note from mom and dad will not fix the issue. Why not get back to teaching our kids that rules are rules. And they apply to all.

Before you go all crazy on me, I understand there are times when advocating for your child is necessary. I’ve recently experienced this situation as well. My point today is that not EVERY situation requires intervention. We want to grow responsible, compassionate humans. Failing is part of growing.

I let my kid grow. 




Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s to having a great day doing whatever you want to do. Eat, Sleep, Shop, Watch Football, Workout, Play Games.

Do something that makes you happy today. Do one more thing.

Do something that makes one other person happy.

How cool would the world be if we all did that today? Spread a little cheer and happiness to one other person. I think that’s a pretty reasonable request.

I found a towel from my grandma. This is the first Thanksgiving since she passed and it seems to me she is watching over us and that made me smile.

So Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your day, be thankful, and be kind. Hug people and spread some cheer.

(And if you’re around strangers, hug them and let me know how that goes for you!)





Let the Turkey Prep Begin

Or in our house ham….I mentioned to Dr. Evil that I dislike turkey. He decided to get a really nice ham from the local butcher instead of a turkey for Thursday. I think he’s pretty cool.

In preparation for Thanksgiving, I’ve made a list. I’ve checked it twice. The list remains long. I keep checking it to see if more things are crossed off. Though as I’m not really doing any of the things on the list it’s not surprising the list remains long.

I would clean my house for the large gathering but …. FAMILY. They know me. They know my mess. They get it because they’re busy too! I’m so thankful I don’t have to have the perfect house – there will be laundry. The bathrooms, even though they’ll be clean when my family arrives, will need to be tidied. You can’t have that many peo0ple in one house and expect the bathrooms to remain clean and tidy all on its own.

The food prep is all Dr. Evil. He’s the conductor of the kitchen and I do as instructed because … He cooks and I don’t. This so works in our world.

The prep will continue as will a bit of cleaning. Then I plan on enjoying the day, cheering on some football players and hoping for snow.

Do you prepare for Thanksgiving? Do you travel or stay home? What do you do for this holiday weekend?

EJ out- to sleep. This is short…because I’m tired.


Win A Signed Copy of Science of Parenthood's Newest Book!



Hear ye Hear ye!!

You can win a signed copy of Science of Parenthood’s newest book Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations.

Here’s a link to the amazing interview they granted me!  That was yesterday’s post and today is even better because it includes a chance to win an autographed copy!

The giveaway goes now through December 1st. You can enter daily! Click on the link below to enter. You can also enter on my Facebook page.


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Once a Big Girl…..

I’ve never been tiny. I’m not built to be little. That doesn’t mean I should be overweight either.

In the past six months I’ve lost about 30 pounds. Most don’t notice but a few here and there have. I don’t always notice.

I still see the fat girl in the mirror.

One would think I would notice the muscles I’ve built or the loose fit of pants I had to jump off the bed to get in six months ago. I have started to take note when running is so much easier than it used to be. I’ve run a marathon and many half marathons. At a heavier weight. I wonder what I could do now…..

Most days I just find the things I’ve done wrong. Today I ate all the food. And I mean all the food. Except that even that isn’t true. Compared to what I would have considered a failed eating day six months ago, today was a gold star day. But I’m feeling gross and like I just undid all the good I’ve done. I logically know that is untrue but emotionally it feels like it. I am fearful of gaining any weight back because what if it is the start of a way back to where I was?

I don’t remember ever being comfortable in my skin. I was the fat kid. I was chubby and had the nicknames of “Miss Piggy” and the “Human Garbage Disposal.” I would eat anything. Salad. Green beans. Meatloaf. My favorite thing was and still is tomatoes. Not the foods you think of when you think of the “sturdy`” kid. I very clearly remember the first time someone called me fat at school and someone else giggled. I was 9.

When I look back at pictures I don’t see a fat kid. I see a healthy kid. One who didn’t realize everyone was trying to find their place. I was an easy target because I didn’t believe in myself and was always trying to please everyone.  My junior year of high school I had my physical and was MORTIFIED by the 127 pounds on my report. I tried to change it to make it look like “119” because 120 was the fat marker in my head.

Now..I would love to weigh 127 pounds. My goal weight is far higher than that.

One of my favorite recent marketing campaigns is the one where 5 women who weigh exactly the same amount are pictured. And how dramatically different they all look. It was eye opening to me and made me realize the scale is only one indicator of health.

I’ve changed my body and many of my habits. Now it’s time to work on teaching my mind to see what’s real and let go of the imagined.

Physically and mentally……. I’m a work in progress.

And tomorrow is a new day.

Let’s go Get it.



Happy Birthday Baby Doll

Facebook-20151107-091802Dear Daughter,

Today is your birthday. You came into this world screaming at noon on the dot. You had a name before you were born – Riley Faith – but the minute we pulled into the hospital we knew we had to see you before we could settle on a name. You were 10 hours old before we choose your beautiful name. We drove your Grannie crazy because we told her we had up to 30 days to name you and she thought we were going to wait. I wanted to sleep after surgery but your Daddy kept waking me to decide on a name. And together we choose the name to fit the perfect you.

You are smart, sensitive, inquisitive, compassionate, and a gorgeous person inside and out. I am thankful for you each and every day of my life. You’re amazing sister to your siblings and a wonderful daughter to parent.

I have hopes and dreams for you but more importantly I hope you live hopes and dreams. I want you to reach for the stars, succeed and fail, and set new goals and try again. I want you to strive, challenge, question, dream, create, and more. I hope you embrace life and live the heck out of it.

I love you to the moon and back. Eye rolls, door slams, and hugs. I love each and every thing about you. You are the perfect you and don’t let anyone change you. Stand up for yourself and others, be kind and caring, and take care to nurture your passions.

Happy Birthday baby doll.

Love you always, love you more.



Today – Use Your Words

The day dawned orange, yellow, and pink. I packed up my bag for the day and got in my car around 5:40 in the morning as I did most days. My husband dropped our son at daycare at a more reasonable 8am and I would rush home to get him by 5:30pm. There was no reason to pay close attention to that day – it was a day like any other. I drove to work listening to music on the radio giggling at the banter. I think I did.

I checked the internet before I started in for the day. That’s when I heard it. I called my friend and told her to turn on the news. At this point, we didn’t realize what was happening. At least I didn’t. I thought it was all an accident. And then the next crash. And the next.

I distinctly remember rolling my chair around my cube, following the carpet pattern from corner to corner, listening to CNN through my computer until the net was overwhelmed. Someone turned their stereo up and we gathered at his cube. Meetings were held and we were instructed to stay in the building until further notice. Shortly after that we were told we could leave if we felt it was appropriate or finish out the day. I stayed. The interstates were clogged and it seemed a good idea to stay put. I got home, we made dinner, put our son to bed, and watched television all night long.

The days that followed were a blur. The skies were quiet. I recall the sunrises and set vividly. I rocked my son more than normal and stared out at the crimson sky. We watched news. It was like breathing. We had to watch. I remember praying for everyone. I remember thinking how normal my everyday life still seemed in the forever changed world.

I know my experience was so removed from those living out East. Working as a military contractor I wondered about the active duty men and women I’d interacted with. Were they out there? Were they safe?

The world changed that day. So many were lost. So many bounded together to help each other. This country may have been attacked as never before but the people united. As never before.

Today’s post is part of a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. I failed to use one word but I’m hoping this will be overlooked due to the subject of my post. My sincerest apologies and tomorrow I’ll have another post up with all the words included.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using: Pug ~ Orange ~ Crimson ~ Pack ~ Clean ~ Carpet ~ Stereo

They were submitted by: http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                             Baking In A Tornado

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade

http://themomisodes.com                                          The Momisodes

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com                    The Bergham’s Life Chronicles

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                 Stacy Sews and Schools

http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/                                 Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

http://www.southernbellecharm.com                        Southern Belle Charm

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html      The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

http://dinoheromommy.com                                      Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com                 The Angrivated Mom

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch          Confessions of a part time working mom

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com                                Climaxed

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                              Never Ever Give Up Hope

http://eileensperpetuallybusy.blogspot.com/                 Eileen’s Perpetually Busy

http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                       Searching for Sanity

Christa's Luck – A Review and GIVEAWAY!

I try very hard to read everything my kids read … before they do. I like to know the subject matter and I always worry about the age appropriateness of the the materials they have in hand. Typically I read a book a week that is one of “theirs” and a book a week that for me.

I was thrilled to read Christa’s Luck because while it is a young adult novel, it held my attention and sparked my interest as much or more than any of the other young adult novels I’ve read in the past few months. I was drawn into the story and felt connected to the characters immediately.

Christa, the main character, is a young girl experiencing her life and all the pieces that make life what it is. She’s at the awkward age of 13 and only feels truly at peace when she’s riding her horse Lucky. Christa is passionate about protecting the wild mustangs roaming free in her home state. During the novel, Christa experiences tragedy and must find her way. She has to find the strength to recover from a mistake and continue forward towards hope and happiness.

More than once i was moved to tears while reading Christa’s Luck. Rarely has a young adult novel moved me emotionally.

I throughly enjoyed every minute I spent reading this book. As soon as I finished my 12 year daughter read it and then we both read it AGAIN together. (And last night I caught all three of my girls up reading with a flashlight. The 12 year old was sharing this book with her younger sisters.)

I would recommend this book to anyone without hesitation. The lessons shared through the pages apply to more than just Christa’s life – they translate well into the real world.

I love this book so much I’m doing a giveaway! The book tour is providing me with a copy of the book to give to a winner of the drawing below. Click on the  link to take to you to the giveaway page. A winner will be selected on Monday 10 August, 2015.

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Go get this book – it rocks!

EJ out – to pick up some kids from orchestra – at least one of them is mine!!!

See below for additional information about Christa’s Luck and the authors who wrote this wonderful book.

tlc logotlc tour host


From TLC : 

Christa's Luck

“About Christa’s Luck

Inspired by a real horse rescue, Christa’s Luck is a teen fiction novel about Christa’s love for an endangered herd of wild horses and how her special connection with them inspires her to look beyond her own unforgivable mistakes and try again. She rises up to become a horse advocate at fourteen, whose passion and heart move an entire town to take action.

“In Michael and Jennifer Grais’ YA novel, a 13-year-old’s fate intertwines with that of the legendary Lost Herd of wild mustangs that roam the canyons of Nevada.

Christa Cassidy knows that she’s lucky. She lives with her parents and older sister on a small ranch in a beautiful part of the world; she has a grandmother who loves her; and she’s expecting a baby sister before the end of the summer. She even has her own horse named Lucky. But like any other teenager, she’s suspended between childhood and adulthood, unsure of her place in the world, at odds with her family, and uncomfortable with the way she looks, talks, acts, and feels. She’s really only at home when she’s sitting on a horse—particularly when she’s trying to track the Lost Herd through the canyons around her home. But when something horrible happens to Lucky, Christa’s world is upended, and things only get worse when it becomes clear that the Bureau of Land Management intends to round up the mustangs. With the help of a strong, troubled horse named Jenner, Christa is determined to figure out what’s going on. She soon finds that she must rein in her own passions as well as her horses, and that she won’t accomplish anything without friends and help.” Kirkus Reviews

In the vein of The Horse Whisperer and the Black StallionChrista’s Luck is an epic adventure story of courage, friendship and freedom.


“Michael Grais, the co-screenwriter of the 1982 film Poltergeist, and his wife, Jennifer, develop the plot handily, with a slow build toward a final, cinematic crisis in which Christa and her friends enact a daring rescue. …[T]his is a satisfying YA novel—with a bold, visionary, and active young heroine, to boot. Highly recommended for young fans of horse-related fiction.” —Kirkus Reviews

“I just finished reading Christa’s Luck.  All I can say is I haven’t finished a book since Harry Potter that I wanted the author to hurry up with the second.  I don’t even know what Jennifer and Michael have planned but I sure hope their pens are moving right now. Well, for now I will just reread their great book.”  –Susan Pommer, Gold Medalist Grand Prix Dressage winner

“I instructed everyone to stay away as I read Christa’s Luck. I was so emotional and drawn into the story. The book just keeps rolling and rolling and rolling and building on itself like waves. I totally loved it. I had a spring in my step for days thinking about it and I still miss that family. I can see it on the big screen too.”  –Jean Dillon, Plymouth, MN

“I was biting my fingers during the climax!” –Janet Hogue, Portland OR

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Purchase Links

Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

About Jennifer Grais

Jennifer Grais is a singer-songwriter who recorded several albums in Los Angeles and Nashville and toured as Jackson Browne’s background singer.  When she met Michael and they moved to the rural area of Topanga Canyon, CA, her childhood passion for horses was rekindled. She completed a year-long program of study with Linda Kohanov, best-selling author of “The Tao of Equus”, and “Riding Between the Worlds,” and began exploring a deeper relationship with horses. In December 2006, she was captivated by footage of a horse rescue that took place during a flood in the Netherlands at the hands of women riders. The drama of the rescue inspired the novel, “Christa’s Luck,” a young adult novel co-authored by Michael Grais. Research for the novel exposed Jennifer to the unfolding drama of the wild mustangs in the western United States and became the primary plot of the book. Read more about Jennifer and the inspirations behind Christa’s Luck.Jennifer and Michael Grais

About Michael Grais

Michael Grais has written and produced movies of domestic and international acclaim including Death Hunt, Poltergeist, Poltergeist II, Marked for Death and Cool World and more.
Michael has also contributed to the book Why We Write and has taught filmmaking at University of New Mexico and in various workshops abroad. After attending New York University’s Film School and Emerson College, he earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon. Read more about Michael Grais.

Michael and Jennifer currently live in Northern California with their horse, Solo and two cats Francesca and Finnegan.

For more information about the wild horse issue in America, please read Return to Freedom and Love Wild Horses.”

I'm Talking Responsibilty Today

Responsibilty.org is a foundation whose purpose is to eliminate drunk driving and underaged drinking and to promote responsible behaviors regarding alcohol consumption. I became familiar with this organization at The BlogU Conference. I chose to write about my impressions of a video campaign presented at BlogU because it made me think. The video made me question and feel and observe. It made me aware.

When my children were younger I didn’t think much of making jokes or memes about alcohol. Now with older children I still think the things I read or share on Facebook are not meant for them. That is my space and not everything in my world need be kid-safe. When I first heard the #RefreshYourFunny talk from Responsibility.org at BlogU I was slightly unsettled. Am I irresponsible? Am I harming my children with my behavior and/or jokes on Facebook and the like?

Then I got mad. I get to have my space.

Then I vacillated for a while.

Now I’ve settled. I have continued my same behaviors with increased awareness of the potential effects to my children. We have alcohol in the house and will have a glass of wine with dinner or after dinner drinks with neighbors. The children know these drinks are adult drinks because we say they contain alcohol. I don’t call it mommy juice or anything else – just alcohol. I believe I am setting a healthy example regarding alcohol in my house.

And then last night happened. I wanted to make a Bloody Mary. My daughter asked if she could have one without vodka.

Absolutely not!” I did not hesitate or stutter. There was no question to consider.

But why not? Why is tomato juice with celery, carrots, cheese sticks, beef sticks, pickles, and olives not acceptable. In fact it sounds almost healthy albeit salty.

Even as I rationally argued with myself, I could not allow her to make a virgin Bloody Mary. Therefore – for me – there is more to alcohol than drinking it or not drinking it. The attitudes and emotions surrounding it defy logic. And before listening to this video from Responsibility.org I wondered if I would have considered why my knee-jerk reaction was so strong…and knee-jerky. But now I am. I don’t want them to imitate drinking. Is the example I set really healthy and responsible?

I believe it is.

I talk about the uncomfortable things a lot with hope they will become normal and comfortable. I want to take away the mystery and intrigue of the forbidden by discussing the choices and consequences of drinking.

As my son reaches driving age he’ll be out more on his own. We’ve already talked about making good choices. We’ve also already explained that if poor choices are made and he finds himself in a situation where he or his ride should not be driving he can call and we will get him, no question. Discussion will take place 12 hours later when all are rested and calm. And alive. I’m not nor will I ever be okay with under-aged drinking. But having a plan in place to make sure there is a tomorrow for everyone involved trumps my hoping good choices will always be made.

I am thankful #RefreshYourFunny is out there. It’s sparking discussions with among my friends. We are all starting to #talkearly and #talkoften and hopefully we can encourage our young people to act responsibly – and teach them by example.

DISCLAIMER : This post was submitted for a written contest sponsored by Responsibility.org. All opinions are my own and I am not being compensated for the post.

The Blog University Experience – Evil Joy Style

I had no idea what to expect and tried to hold no expectations lest they be the wrong sort. I wanted a pure, completely real experience.

And there I was.

BLOG U 2015


Land of the bloggers. The bigs, the littles, and all the in betweens. Honest to God I had no idea of what to expect. I just know I needed – no – WANTED to learn more. And how much there is to learn.

“Oh. My. God. I’m so out of my league. What the hell am I doing here with all these real writers? I feel like a fraud. I just have this little blog – poorly put together little blog – and I’m going to class with these people who make real money and have thousands of followers.” My thoughts raced through my head and my face turned red with stress. I registered. And got the best, most welcomed hug ever from a woman I adore and whose blog I stalk – Jennifer from Real Life Parenting. She may not know it but she started the conference out right for me. Right then and there I decided to be me…the real me. The talkative, loud, obnoxious introvert I am. (Yes, you read that right. Introvert.)

I walked into class late. One that Nicole Leigh Shaw and Robyn Welling were teaching. I walked in late in front of these greats and started furiously scribbling notes. And in my frantic note taking I flicked my pen across the room. I got out another pen. And proceeded to drop that pen. I moved onto my pencil. The guy behind me was waiting – I know it – for me to fling it towards the front of room. Sadly for him, I managed to keep hold of that writing implement. After class I stood up and this funny thing happened.

Someone said, “Hi! Oh you’re Evil Joy! I know you!” You could have pushed me over with a feather. I fumbled for my snazzy new business cards and thrust one out at her. I asked for her card and we started chatting. I realized who I was talking to and about fell over again….Kerry of HouseTalkN.

And then the education continued.

For the first time in my adult life, I was and am ready to learn.

School was always a means to an end. I went to high school to get to college. College served as a pathway forward to a job in the real world. Classes at work, whether I was the student or instructor, were simply a vehicle to move my career forward.

For the first time in years, if not ever, I was taking a class because I WANTED to learn. I craved the information presented. I couldn’t take notes fast enough. I had so many questions (and I kept throwing my pens at people). I didn’t ask many because in all honestly I was overwhelmed. I was unprepared for just how much I have to learn. So much. SOOOOO much.

Blog U 2015 provided the educational experiences I craved. From Writing and Editing to Branding. Metrics and SEO. Instagram and Pinterest. There were classes offered I couldn’t attend because I was in another class. I have never wished for a clone so much.

And then…the events at night. From hearing four of the most moving essays I’ve ever experienced to dancing with my dear friends I finally got to hug in real life – Alyson – I’m talking about you – Blog U 2015 was an incredible experience.

And the cherry on top?!?! I had to explain it to my girls like this, “You love Demi Lovato. Imagine meeting her, having her know who you are, hugging you and then when you’re stuck at the airport offering to have you sleep over. How excited would you be?!”

My Demi is Susan McLean of The Divine Secrets of the Domestic Diva. I’ve written before how she was my life line to sanity when Dr. Evil was sick. I stalked her site. I emailed her asking for prayers. SHE EMAILED ME BACK. And when we met last week….she told me she was as excited to meet me as I was to meet her. It is a rare thing for someone you’ve idolized to be as awesome as you dreamed they would be. She was more.

And my sprinkles on top of that cherry? Spending time with my dear friend Teri of Snarkfest. Once again she opened her home and welcomed me into her family. I’ll always be grateful to be able to call her my friend.


It took me a week to get this out of my head. I played ball with the good kids while being a mediocre player. I’m good with that. Because to get better you have to play up. And every single person I met welcomed me with open arms, a hug, and smiles. I’m thankful I got to attend and hope to make it back next year. I’m going to be implementing many changes in the up coming months so stay tuned. I am striving to become the more I know I can be.

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