Evil Joy Speaks

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

Category: Active Life (page 1 of 5)

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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Short Hair – Because We Care 

Short hair. I had a pixie cut for years. In fact when I met many of my writer friends (in real life) for the first time, several were unsure who I was. I didn’t match my picture! 

In the past few years I’ve grown out my hair. It’s longer than it’s been since I cut it my freshman year of high school. My guidance counselor used to joke he could tell how stressed I was by how short my hair  each time I cut it ….shorter and shorter. This was back before pixie was cool. I didn’t care. I’ve never been what you’d call a girly girl. Even now I don’t own make up and my friends help me pick out outfits because otherwise I’d wear only workout gear. And old sweatshirts – the older the better. I digress…..

Two of my girls have donated their hair to various organizations that make wigs for individuals who have lost their own.  One of the girls donated 2 times in 18 months for a total of 22 inches. She has so much hair each time it was a double donation. Littlest cut her hair to be donated last summer and yesterday I decided to donate mine. 

For us… it’s just hair that will grow back. To those receiving … I hope it makes their day a bit brighter or their step a tad lighter. 

There are several places to donate. Each has different requirements or guidelines. I was fortunate to find a place that takes dyed hair. We also have a local place that will take donations and show you process of what happens to your donated hair. 

Now…..how long before we can do this again?? 

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.

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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.


Running On Empty

My legs needed a break but my brain needed a run. Obviously…….. I went for a run.

There were goosebumps on my arms and I was shivering just a touch as I began the walk to the highway where I start. I was working hard on my psyching myself out. I knew my legs were tired and I was running on empty. I also knew my mind was so restless I wouldn’t be able to function all day if I didn’t do this thing for myself…..this run.

I started out. And was immediately met by traffic – it’s a two lane highway – I was heading up a hill – and trucks were coming from each directions. I popped off into the ditch as is frequently required….and I noticed the horses on the road watching me. I don’t stop the first mile of any run – I haven’t for a long time. I run in the ditch as long as necessary and hop back onto the road as soon as possible

Not today. The horses were so peaceful and beautiful. One of the horses just stared at me while the others munched on the grass. I found myself admiring them.

I snapped some pictures. Then I looked down the road and saw the gently rolling hills ahead. Normally hills make me cringe. I don’t look at upcoming inclines and focus only on what is in front of me. But today I saw the hills and reminded myself I’ve run these hills countless times and today I’d just do what I could.

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Then the song “Talking is Hard” by Walk the Moon started playing. “I know everyone you know. You know everyone I know. A Venn diagram is one circle.” I smiled. My awful run and my happy take on it made a new Venn diagram – a diagram with only one circle!

I had one of the worst runs on this route ever – but only time wise. Every other aspect of this run was amazing. I saw horses, fields being worked by hand, seas of dandelions, and the positive of doing something good for my body and mind. For the first time ever I enjoyed an awful run. I found my happy every step.

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Where Did Our Free Time Go?

We have NO free weekends until we take forced family fun time in July. None. Nadda one. We may have a Sunday possibly but more likely we have half a day EITHER Saturday or Sunday from here until …. forever. Because as soon as the crazy of summer ends, school begins, then snowboard season, then spring is back again. There is a two week period towards the middle of March where we have some semblance of calm.

I own the fact that we have a large family. I wanted my children so desperately, each and every one of them. I knew we’d be busy.

I had no idea.

I own the fact we allow our kids to participate in multiple activities throughout the year. (Except in the winter. We own the winter. It’s snowboard season. End of discussion. And even that’s total crap. Winter is snowboarding, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, gymnastics, dance, and religion. But no school sports.) Softball, dance, gymnastics, volleyball, orchestra – those are the voluntary ones. Religion, not state mandated, is required by me.

These are choices we make.

In my imaginary world, the one I created as a child, my family would be active and participate in the world. We would greet each other with a smile in the morning, go our separate ways until after whatever sports or music practice was over, and would gather ’round the dinner table and ask, “How was your day?” And we do get to eat together…once in a while. More often than not in the spring, summer, and fall months dinner may consists of grabbing whatever is handy, eating around the kitchen island in shifts. Whoever is home will eat together, then the next crew, followed by second and third dinners (I am raising hobbits) after practice or rehearsals.

Growing up Wednesday nights were off limits for all school or extra-curricular activities. It was a given. Here that is true for middle school (grades 6-8) activities for the most part. But it doesn’t apply to club sports. Or board meetings for adults. Because the family with busy, active kids comes from a set of busy, active parents. My husband and I are both on boards, volunteer throughout the year, and coach.

When we commit to a team we commit to the schedule. To bow out is to let down the team. But when did youth activities become so consuming? When did the first slip of the slippery slope begin? And how do we not get caught up in the tidal wave of activities and schedules? How do we say “No” to practice that falls on a holiday weekend or not play in a tournament that falls on Father’s Day? Do we take the punishment of reduced playing time or sitting the bench in order to maintain freedom? Or do we suck it up, go, and deal with the consequences of being constantly busy? When did the shift happen? So slowly that we didn’t notice our weekends being consumed one by one, over and over until we’re left with little down time?

I recently read an article by Gunmetal Geisha – you can read it here (and you should!). She dialed in on how marketing has us always thinking ahead – missing the moment we should be enjoying RIGHT now. Why in the world is it possible to walking into a store on February 13th  purchase Easter eggs but not Valentines? Why do we always have to be 17 steps ahead of where we need to be tomorrow? It made me realize I tend to measure days by our busy. It’s become a marker of time and season for me.

In the summer I tend to shut down. We watch more television than we should, lay around, play in the pool, and play with friends. I don’t have my kids in camps and classes. Often feel a little like I’m letting them down. But this is one time of the year where we can just be…and not worry about where we need to be during the day.

I’ve been pondering how to take back time for my family. How to incorporate the activities they love and the time we need to connect as a family? And the only conclusion I’ve come to is….we travel as a pack. We snowboard together. Why not attend ball games together? Concerts? Forced Family Fun is only a little tongue in cheek…we do often force everyone to come to an event even if they are not participating. More often than not we end up having a good time and the ones watching support the ones participating as only siblings can do….by making fun of them. But it’s INTERACTION in the HERE AND NOW.

I’ve decided to embrace the crazy, love every minute I can, suffer through the minutes I can’t, and smile every single chance I get. And try to not sign up for any more than we can handle. Because at the end of the day…we’re in charge of our busy and how we handle it. As long as I stay in the here and now….I can keep us focused on what matters…our family.

Travel Time

We are hitting the road once again. When I tell people we’re driving to Colorado to snowboard they assume we live near Colorado. “How far of a drive is it for you?” I am frequently asked.

“15 hours.”

“Whaaaaaaa? As much as you go, I thought you lived closer than that! You must really like to snowboard!”

Yes I do. We all do. And we drive because – honestly – flying with a family of six, oversized bags (times six), renting a vehicle (big enough to hold six plus those oversized bags), and then coming home again is too much. We load up our vehicle – pretty much have it down to a science by now – listen to podcasts and comedians – and drive.

We actually connect a little bit now and again while trapped inside one vehicle for the day. It isn’t constant, if isn’t always perfect, but we bond over comedy, music, and even couple of NPR shows that inspire conversation. I know time is quickly passing and my kids will be moving out and onto their next stage in life. Sooner than later.

I treasure our time in the car. The miles may be long and the butts numb but my heart is full and there’s usually a smile on my face. So bring on the road trips. Let’s see some of this country and get some snowboarding in along the way!

What’s your favorite mode of travel with your family?

A Pretty Picture

When you see a photograph of yourself what’s the first thing you notice? How nice your hair looks? The twinkle in your smile?

Or the wrinkles on your face that weren’t there last year? The muffin top that crept over the top of your jeans?

I’m my own worst critic. I’m not alone. As women finding flaws with ourselves is a past time we engage in all too frequently. Self deprecation is something we are well versed in and use often. How often do you see a beautiful picture of a friend and hear her say, “Look at my [insert self insult here]! Oh delete that!”

I’ll be in pictures when I lose 10 pounds. I’ll be in photos when my gray hairs are colored. I’ll be in pictures when I …


Last week Dr. Evil took this. I had no idea he was taking my picture.

For the first time in a long time….I smiled at a photo of myself.


Change is good.

Make the change. Find a picture and see yourself. Notice the happy. You are beautiful and you are cherished.

What do you think? Let me know.

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