A Few of My Favorite Things

We’ve discussed this before, that there are many things that are not my favorites.  Days like today where the humidity spikes and I’m dripping as I go from one destination to another, not my favorite.  Drivers that speed up to get in front of me and then make an abrupt right turn without pulling over courteously or signaling, not a big fan of that.  I’m also not a fan of the Arrow Holders, you know what I’m talking about…those people that stand on the corner and hold the arrow pointing you to a business or the newest housing development.  Mostly I’m not a fan of the bosses who employ the Arrow Holders.  Why do we need this?  How do you get one of these jobs?   And does anyone ever follow the arrow ———->?

So today, I was running late, as usual, to my acupuncture appointment, because I always underestimate how much time it’s going to take me to get there.  As I entered the van, I realized that my gas light was on empty.  Conundrum: Do I make myself later by stopping for gas, or cross my fingers and hope that I can make it there on the fumes?   The phrase Gas Half Empty came to mind.  I’ve been living figuratively the past few weeks with my tank on empty and I just keep going, hoping, that I’ll make it to my destination, all the while stressed that I might not make it, that I might actually run out of gas.  If history repeats itself, what running out of gas looks like for me, is a terrible head cold or sinus infection.

I decided today, rather than focus on the things that are not my favorite, I’m going to focus on a few of my favorite things <<insert Julie Andrews cue here>> and lift myself up.

Potatoes- scalloped, hashed, souped, fried, and mashed.  My mama’s mashed potatoes are the best. My favorite.  She grew up on a farm in the community of Savoy, Arkansas.  At the age of 9, when her mother passed away, she took on the role of cooking and cleaning for her dad and two brothers.  Every morning, she’d wake up and cook a farm fresh breakfast- eggs, bacon, toast, sometimes biscuits and gravy.  (I still remember being horrified that my grandpa Roland put tomato slices on his cereal.  What?  He was one of those, “It all goes to the same place” kind of eaters.  Practical and matter of fact.) At 9, she was the caretaker.  Her childhood was forever altered at the time her mother passed.  I’ve learned so many things from my mom.  She’s my favorite mama.  One of the things she can do like nobody’s business, is make some mean mashed potatoes.  Here’s how she does it:  She peels the potatoes, as many as will fit in a big 5 quart pot, probably about 3 pounds of potatoes.  She slices the potatoes into half inch pieces and boils them until tender.  Then she drains them and saves a little of the starchy water for later.  Using a hand mixer, she adds in a stick of butter and it melts as she blends the potatoes with the mixer, slowly adding in milk and some of the starchy water.  Add salt and pepper to taste and my mama’s mashed potatoes will make you feel like you’re in heaven.  Those potatoes were weaved into dinner after dinner throughout my childhood.  Whenever my mama makes them, I feel loved.  Thanks mama.  They’re my favorite.

The last time I cut potatoes, this is what happened. It’s like God was saying, eat potatoes.  (At least, that’s how I interpreted it. If you say so God, okay, I’m listening.)


Next, the colorful people are my favorite.  Here’s one example:  I’ll tell you about a man that used to come in to Cappuccino Charlie’s almost every day when I worked there.  He called himself JA, and when I asked him what JA stood for, he said, “Jelly Ass.” Alrighty then.  Every day, he’d come in and make random comments, buy his cup of coffee, sit for awhile and look awkwardly at me and all the other customers walking through.  He talked about auras and said many nonsensical things.  He said my aura was orange.  Alrighty then.  He always wore these shoes that hearkened back to the days when people used cobblers on a regular basis.  They reminded me of the shoes that Elves made in the Elves and the Shoemaker.  These shoes where slip-ons with a heel, yes, like a 1-inch heel. Yeah, really.  He walked all over La Verne, San Dimas and Pomona in those shoes.  I’d often see him when I wasn’t working, walking around town in those same shoes.  JA made an impression.  I’ve always liked the quirky awkward types, maybe because that’s how I feel most of the time.  JA was unique.  Unique is my favorite.

The beach, specifically,

Crystal Cove.  The pictures say it all.  Go here.  It will be your favorite.

My favorite Etsy store is called For Strange Women.  The name intrigued me (because I’m strange) and when I went to the online store I became totally obsessed with trying out all the wonderful scents.  (I had to order samples. My secret is out…all my friends will be receiving my own hand-picked selection of scents from this site. If you’re offended that it comes from For Strange Women, don’t be.  You know I like you.) My absolute favorite so far is the scent, Decadence and Debauchery, doesn’t the description captivate you? il_fullxfull-197737942_33d10aa1-d748-4b04-8b7e-d84c475881f8_grande

This botanical base of immortelle petals, resins, and violet leaves is smothered in smooth layers of tobacco and vanilla bourbon. Ripe blood oranges, bergamot, and oponopax round out the top of this intense and androgynous concoction, suitable for burlesque beauties, Victorian darlings, and vaudeville sensations alike.



Here’s another of my favorite scents, Karma Kreme from Lush.  02145It’s really the best smelling cream.  I’m buying this for myself for my birthday.  I thought you all should know. If you didn’t know this about me, patchouli is my favorite.  I’ve been attracted to this scent for years and it turns out patchouli has so many uses.  I feel so happy when I use it.  Patchouli love.

Shoes… my new favorites are Fly London.  I just picked up these fantastic red ankle boots.  I can’t wait to wear them more regularly, once the October heat moves on and I can put my sandals away for awhile.  These boots are so delicious.  They’re my favorite.





Oh my gosh, tape- washi tape, masking tape, duct tape, shipping tape, I love it all.  (Scotch tape is my least favorite, because it’s boring.)  I like the colorful tapes.  If I’m going to have to handle and hang the paper that goes through these hands everyday, I might as well decorate-the-hell out of it.  Here is a samplin’ of my tape collection.  And that ain’t even all of it.  I know, you can say it, I’ve got prollems.


Coconut anything, rose oil, essential oils, freezer meals…

and oh my gosh, friends!  You’re all my favorites.  What would life be without friends?  I love you all.  I miss you all.  Let’s get together.  I’ll make some of my mama’s mashed potatoes.

Until next Friday.  Love you loves.


Gastric Bypass Update:

Kinda freakin’

I’ve GAINED a few pounds.  This is distressing me.

I’m trying not to obsess.

But, if you’ve seen my tape collection, you know that obsessions come easy.

I’m walking more that I have in years.

Does that count?

Uh, yeah, Joy.  It counts.

You’re going to be fine.

Thanks. I needed that pep talk.

You’re welcome.



rage, racism, and risotto

So, the title basically sums up my week.  I decided that instead of focusing on the rage and racism, I’d focus on the risotto.

First I’ll tell you where the first r words in the alliteration came from.  I’ve been raging all week after an encounter I had with another human who thought I was racist.  Yes. Me. Racist.  Really?  “Uh, you don’t know me, and you haven’t seen me interact with anyone for more than 5 minutes.”

This was a HUGE trigger for me.  Judgement and being misunderstood make me rage inside.

The title of my blog is ‘why you keep judging me’ for a reason.  I’ve often thought that I’m my own worst critic.  After this week, just as I thought maybe I had made it through to the other side– to Freedomsville, I found that Judgementsville still exists in my head.  For the sake of being discreet, I won’t say what context this encounter occurred, but I will say that I was judged on my status as an educator and my whiteness.  This attack was completely unwarranted and unexpected.  It rocked me more than an encounter should have.  Why?

I was judged. Later, I cried. I thought, ‘Why is this person misunderstanding where I am coming from, and why do I feel so terrible?’ If I told you how the conversation started, you’d laugh.

When people are hell-bent on seeing the world through foggy-bent glasses, you really can’t change their perspective.  I knew this intuitively, but I didn’t want to be proselytized into their foggy view of the world. And I didn’t.  Wrong move.

So, as a result, I decided to… make risotto.  Isn’t this what everyone does when they’re raging, make risotto?

Yes, that’s what I said, you heard me right, RISOTTO.

I’ve been wanting to conquer my first pot (of risotto, I know what you were thinking) for a long time.  I’ve been afraid.  Risotto has always been scary to me.  Maybe it’s the stirring, the timing, the texturing, the high maintenance of it, but I just couldn’t make it happen, UNTIL TODAY.

In Shauna Neiquist’s book, Bread and Wine, she encouraged me to cook and love it.  You don’t have to tell me twice Shauna.  To love family and friends is a joyful and fulfilling part of life.  So that’s what I did today as I made the risotto. I made it and loved on my family for a few minutes.

Here’s the process.

It’s a lot like LIFE.

I’m not sure if it turned out good. I’m not sure if it’s what everyone expected. I’m not sure if it was the right texture.


I made it.

The dutch oven is now completely empty, tummies are full and I can say I made it with my own energy and sweat.

**If you’re not planning to ever make risotto, skip to the last 2 videos.  You can definitely skip over all my how-to videos in between.  Also, excuse my poor camera quality.  I had garlicky fingertips and I was filming from my cell phone.

Here’s how it started:

The Partners in Crime


Get the grapeseed or EVOO going in the dutch oven and the broth in a separate pot.
Pour this for yourself
Onion chunked not finely chopped

So how is it that something so simple can turn into a glorious assault to the tastebuds?  This is what food should be.  I know many of us don’t have the time or the confidence to cook, but it’s so satisfying when you make a pot of deliciousness for your family.

If you haven’t read Bread and Wine I highly recommend it.  The book will make you want to cook and entertain and love.

Now, who wants to come over for my next pot of risotto?

Until next Friday.  Love you loves.

Gastric Bypass Update:

This week I had my 6 month post surgery visit with Dr. Lamar.  He was impressed with my weight loss.

I told him of my concerns about hair loss and he said it’s completely normal for anyone who has rapid weight loss (not just weight loss surgery) to lose hair, but it will come back.

I have to go in and do blood work to make sure I’m getting the proper nutrients.

Weight loss has slowed.

I’d like to lose 100 pounds, just to say I did it, but I’m reevaluating whether or not that’s the best goal for me.  I’d have to lose 30 more pounds and well, I just don’t want to get into that obsessive, I MUST LOSE MORE mentality.  I’m striving to be content where I am.  And, this is no easy task.




House of Mirrors

Teaching is a profession that is all about beating the clock.  Every day I want to accomplish way more than my 3rd graders’ brains can absorb.  I have been trained that more is better. You know the phrase, ‘Shop Til You Drop’?  Well, teaching is a lot like this, you ‘Teach Til You Drop’.  This is why teachers need a winter, spring and summer vacation.  We never stop thinking about the next math lesson, saving our paper towel rolls for an upcoming project, hoarding recycled materials, like small glass containers, for the Mother’s Day gift (It will happen again in May, even though it’s only September,  I must give myself time to collect 25 glass containers) or buying the next round of stickers and seasonal 99 Cent Store cluttery to match the season’s festivities.  Everything we do relates back to making our classrooms an environment where kids want to learn.

Then there is state testing.

If you’re not aware, I will school you on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) (I had to look this up because I couldn’t remember what this acronym stood for.  All I remembered was how my students laugh every time I have them type in PP*, *pee-pee as we enter the website.)  (Kids, there ain’t nothin’ funny about this website once you enter.)    It’s like entering a House of Mirrors at a carnival.  You think you are getting through the maze to the exit, but instead— face plant into a mirror.  Over and over again the face-planting occurs. After much anxiety about whether or not you’ll find the exit, finally, you see it—the path to the exit.  That’s what it was like when we exited the years of No Child Left Behind, measured by the California Standards Test (CST).  Now we have reentered a much more complex House of Mirrors, the CAASPP assessment.  This House of Mirrors is in a commercial warehouse on 50 acres.

I complained and fretted year-after-year about giving the CST to 2nd graders (when I taught 2nd) because I thought they were far too young to be bubbling anything—other than blowing Mr. Bubbles through a wand.  For the past several years, state testing has been for grades 3rd and up. (Yay, now I teach 3rd!)

You guessed it, the results are in, and our test scores are in the gutter, the ditch, the sewer.  Here’s my first reaction: tears. “I work so hard, but my students don’t seem to show what they know on the test.”  Next reaction: anger. “Why do we have to be measured by these kinds of tests anyway?”  Next reaction: shame. “I’m a bad teacher. If I were a better teacher, my students would better equipped to achieve.”  All these phases of grief came in the first 5 minutes of seeing our test results.

I do not like it CAASPP I AM. I do not like state testing glam.  I will not fake it with a smile. I will not take the same shit pile.  I will not ride the wave of shame.  I will not play this insane game.   Shout out to Dr. Seuss.  Thank you for the joy you bring to my classroom, Theodor Seuss Geisel.

This is my personal opinion about jumping onto the next testing bandwagon without time to reflect and analyze WHY I’m doing what I’m doing.  I do not think teaching to the test is going to serve our students well.  If we’ve learned anything from recent history, simply teaching to the test did not prepare our students for lifelong love of learning nor did it make it so that No Children Were Left Behind.  Just sayin’.

So, how do we maintain a LOVE of learning in the midst of high-stakes testing environments?  Answering and grappling with this question is my ultimate goal. My goal is to create learners who persevere and want to continue to learn beyond the classroom. Tragically, all too often, we have lost the bigger picture as educators about WHY we teach.   How do we prepare our students to exit the Hall of Mirrors without sucking the life and joy out of teaching and learning?  I refuse to go back to the extreme heaviness I felt as a teacher during the CST years.

images.jpgWhat is my role now, in 2016?

Being in an underachieving school is a huge burden and gift.  I believe I am in my school for a reason.  There are a ton of expectations put on the teachers about making students achieve whether or not they come from homes that expect them to achieve.  Essentially it is up to the school environment, specifically the teachers, to carry these students to a place of achievement.  The assumption is that there should be NO EXCUSES as to why students that are from disadvantaged environments should not achieve.  I still struggle with this idea…if I’m honest.  I know it’s not popular amongst my colleagues.  I’m willing to be the dissenting opinion.  I do believe that home environment directly affects a child’s educational experience.  Those expectations that their parents have directly impact the child’s belief in their ability or inability to learn.  Sure, the teachers and school environment have a huge impact on achievement.  Huge impact.  However, the people that birthed them and feed them, make a huge impact too.

If I’ve been doing this for 19 years, and if I’m still at a loss for how to make my students achieve better on these standardized tests, then there is a problem.  Either the problem is the target, or the problem is the process of getting to the target.  Or the problem is me.  I have a hard time believing it’s just me, when I look at the data on how the rest of 3rd grade students are performing on these tests in CA and the US at large.  Their results aren’t that much more stellar than mine.

All this data analysis just makes me want to crawl in a hole.  This will be the focus of many of our meetings this year.  Data. Data. Data.  I’m not opposed to data, or analyzing it, but I am opposed to analyzing it without a purpose.  I want to be purposeful.  Ain’t nobody got time for a purposeless education or purposeless analysis of data.

So what’s next?

I will continue to collect my glass containers and paper towel tubes.  I’ll add a lot of heart and love to my lessons as I have all these years.  If this doesn’t get them out of the House of Mirrors, well, at least they’ll still love to learn.  Love can’t be measured on the CAASPP.

No apologies.

SBAC/ CAASPP data 2015  Reading for pleasure (…in your spare time).

Until next week.  Love you loves.

Gastric Bypass Update:

Eating froyo gave me a bit of a dump today.   I think it had too much sugar and I had to exit promptly and head home.  Dumping is the term used for, not vomiting, but the OTHER direction.  Your food dumps too quickly from your smaller stomach to your intestines and it moves quickly so you MUST MOVE PROMPTLY to the bathroom.

So there you go, the long and short of it, (intestines, that is).

Achieving my 5 days a week of 10,ooo steps has been my goal.  So far, I think I’m going to make it to my 3rd week of 10K steps at 5 days.  The Fitbit has been a huge motivator for me, even though I hate to admit it.

Did you know you can buy bling for your Fitbit?  Yes, you can accessorize, like the old Swatch watches.  You can change the sleeve to match your outfit.  <<<<insert valley girl voice here>>>> “I totally love it when my Fitbit matches my outfit.”  Priorities.  Fitbit love.






We’ve all…

pooped our pants, right?

In Arkansas, when I was about 6 or 7 we lived on a ranch.  There was a river close by and my brother and I would spend hours in the rushing rapids looking for water creatures under the rocks.  We were living in a ranch house because the family that lived there previously needed someone to house sit for several months, so my parents became ranch hands by default and took up the unfamiliar role for almost a year.  Gorgeous setting, 2 story house, and peace.  There was a herd of cows that my dad had to go out and feed regularly.  They were the Charolais breed, unique and epic to my little 7-year-old self.  That time of my life was a carefree time. My parents were unencumbered by the many of the stressors of our life up until that point. They were taking care of the land and home of someone else.  We were all freed by the landscape and a new place to call home.

This is also where my mom screamed and killed a baby rattler that was threatening to bite one of us as we were picking up walnuts off the ground.  Fireflies, or lightnin’ bugs as we called them, came as a welcome remembrance of dusk every summer evening.  Crickets chirped nightly prompting the day’s end.  The pace we lived in that house was what we all craved.  It was a respite from the change we had experienced in the years before moving from house to house and to a new state.

This house was also where I pooped my pants.  (We’ve all done this, right?  Pooped our pants?)  I was too busy washing the van to stop and run in the house to take care of my business, and before I knew it, it was too late.  Too late.  This happened in front of my family, but I was so embarrassed, I couldn’t bring myself to even tell anyone what happened.  Shame.  I was WAY too old to poop my pants (age 7)!

Turns out, fast forward to when my daughter, Middle, was about 8.  Picture this: Long road trip, I’m driving and just want to keep going for another 50 miles or so to our next destination down the California Coast.  This was a few years ago when we were on summer vacation on what I named The Lighthouse Tour because we visited as many Lighthouses as we could along the coast.  Anyway, Middle, said, “Mom, I’ve got to go to the bathroom!” Me, (in my head thought, “Uh yeah, well, you have to hold it.” MIStake.)  Maybe this is just our family, but everyone gets a little more free with their gassy parts on the long road trips, and as Steve would say, “Better out than in.”  (Uh, really?  C’mon hun.  This is 50 more miles we’re talkin’ about.)  So, I kept on driving as the woman-on-a-mission driver that I am.  Then frequent gassy reminders and “Mom, I’ve got to go!” and a few more miles pass. Eventually, there was another kind of pass.  The kind that made the whole rental SUV wreak to high heaven.  “Middle, WHAT HAPPENED?”


Yup.  My Middle, unapologetically did what no human over 2 should ever do— she pooped her pants in the rental car SUV seat.

That was my cue to pull that sucker over and sequester her and begin an EPIC clean up session. We got to the nearest small town gas station with the Rastafarian family of four panhandling out front.  I grabbed the baby wipes pack of 200 and rushed her into the bathroom.

Me: “Middle, what were you thinking!”

Middle: “Mom, I TOLD YOU I HAD TO GO!”

Needless to say the clean up session included a wardrobe change and use of 100 of the 200 wipes.  All of the clothes went promptly in the trash.

What I learned from my Middle** that day, comparing my own pants-pooping-experience, was, some people innately blame themselves and experience shame (Me) and others (Middle) just roll with it and move on.  She wasn’t sorry.  She was matter of fact and practical about it.  She wasn’t embarrassed either.  To this day, she’ll still say, “I HAD TO GO!”  She isn’t anything like me when it comes to shame.  I love that.  I love her.  Poopy pants and all. (She giggled without shame when I read this to her.)

About 10 years ago, there was an incident that has been archived in my teaching history called The Phantom Pooper.  At the end of the school day, all of the students had been sitting in a circle during the end-of-day class meeting.  As we all lined up to ready ourselves to walk out the door, a couple of the girls looked down at the floor and pointed to what I hoped was a tootsie roll, (but it wasn’t) and I looked in horror and quickly shuffled all the students out of the classroom not wanting to draw more attention to the unwanted specimen on the floor.  I spent 20 minutes or so out at the front of the school dismissing all my students to go home with their parents.  Then I walked back into the room (forgetting about the specimen) and in my haste, stepped.on.the.phantom.poop. Not kidding.  I loved those shoes I was wearing at the time… hip tan slip-ons.  I slipped them off strategically and placed them in a plastic bag, all the while thinking, “Who is the Phantom Pooper?”  Tracing back in my memory to any student who was sitting in that spot on the carpet.  To this day, I never figured out who it was.  Needless to say, I walked back to my car barefoot that day.  The Phantom Pooper is still out there, somewhere.  Who does that?  How? Why?  I’ll never know.  This is one of the joys of teaching, mysteries that can never be solved. (I’ll find  who you are.  I’m watchin’ for you Phantom Pooper.)

Since we’re on the topic, I think I’ve shared before that I lived in a trailer home for most of my 6 years in Texas. The only time I ever heard my mom curse, was in my Texas years in that trailer. There were 2 bathrooms and the one next to my room stopped working for a very long time.  We weren’t supposed to use it.  But occasionally someone would forget, and my mom would pour in more water and eventually everything would go down to toilet heaven or hell.  But one time, it overflowed, and my mom, my sweet-lovely-red-headed-mom did what red-heads are known for…she became wild-eyed and furious because that toilet was getting the better of her. (I think steam came out of her ears.)  It won that day.  She was reduced to uttering words she would never normally use.  I was the wide-eyed witness.  (Turns out, I learned later, there are people called plumbers that come out and fix toilets for people.) This was never an option because that would mean the big bucks, which we didn’t have, so she ‘fixed it’ herself.

Trailer homes are tornado magnets and they are FREAKIN’ hot as hell when it’s 110 degrees outside.  This is where I learned about the necessity of using duct tape.  (For many years, I thought it was called duck tape.)  Our air conditioning duct would frequently get detached from the house and my dad would turn into the dad from A Christmas Story, the scene where he cusses at the furnace. You know what I’m talking about, right?  Yeah, my dad was like that when he had to go out and fix the duct with tape, minus the cursing.  Calling an A/C guy was not in the budget, so it was all about putting more tape on and hoping for the best.

So what do you do when you poop your pants, or the toilet overflows, or the duct tape doesn’t work?  Most of the time, I blame myself.  Hopefully you cope better than me.

I’m gradually learning to roll with it. I’m learning to accept that sometimes you’ve just got to ‘sit in the shit’, as I call it. You don’t have to sit there for long, but sometimes, especially when other people are experiencing shit in their lives, you sit with them, clean them up when they’re ready, and throw away everything that reminded you of that horrible event.

So there you go. We’ve all pooped our pants, right?  Figuratively or literally.  I’ve done both.  Like Bill Murray said in this video, “I just want to be here.  I’d like to see how long I can be really here.  Really alive.” And later in the excerpt, “This is your life.  This is the only one you’ve got.”  What he’s saying is, he wants to be present, in the moment, and fully alive everyday.  Part of being alive is connecting through the good and the bad, because in this life, we’ve got both.  Can I get an Amen?

I know you’d do the same for me.

Even though I don’t know you Bill Murray,  I really like you.

**By the way, this is Middle-approved. After reading it, she told me to ‘stick with it’ referring to writing my blog.  “Mom, you do this every week?  Poop is like a metaphor, right?”  That’s my girl.  Smart and resilient.  

Until next week.  Love you loves.






IMG_3086“Change your hair, change your life.”  This has been my motto since my college years.  Back in the day, I couldn’t afford to go and pay the $12 to get my hair cut so I cut it myself.  Yup.  Mirror and scissors, the masterful tools of little girls who played Barber Shop on their brothers back in the day.  Thanks for being my first client, Michael Nichols.  (Shout out to my bruh!  Love you!) (He probably won’t read this until I tell him I’ve named him in my post.)  The only ‘traditional’ color hair I haven’t had is platinum blonde.  I always think I’ll look too washed out with my freckled skin.  (Don’t be surprised if that comes in 2017.) Yes, I have gone black (not the best color for me), that’s when I had a pixie cut and worked at Cappuccino Charlie’s in La Verne whilst going to school to get my teaching credential.

Today I got my hair cut again, and on a whim, I decided to cut a little more.  Correction, I asked Mareese to cut a little more.  (Before you know it, I might be super short-haired again and platinum, the way this is year is going.) I love my hair stylist Mareese.  She listens to me and is a master chemist when it comes to mixing color.  In probably 1997, after those bad self-haircuts, I decided to go to Regis in the mall and pay real money for color and cut because I was getting a real paycheck.  I’ve been with Mareese for over 20 years.  I’ve followed her to salon after salon.  Because she’s good.  She listens.  She’s a badass.  Her hair has been asymmetrical since before it was cool, long and bright red on one side, cut short and blonde on the other side.  And she has Asian hair, the kind of hair that is hard to color just right.  You might be afraid of her if you went to her for the first time thinking, (Uh, she’s a little too punk-rock for me) but she’ll do whatever YOU want and need.  That’s the prerequisite of a great stylist.  One that knows their craft and listens to their clients.  (Mareese isn’t giving me kickbacks for this advertisement.  Right, Mareese? Love you.)

See this surgery thing, you know, the gastric bypass I had back in March 2016, well, part of the package was a prescription of Ursodial, a medication to prevent gall stone attacks.  I’ve been faithfully taking it because the idea of having to go back to the hospital for gall bladder surgery removal would really cramp my style right about now.  One of the major side effects of this medication is hair loss.  I know those of you who have seen me lately, might think, “Uh, Joy, you have enough hair for two people, losin’ a little ain’t gonna hurt.”  Yeah, you’re right.  That’s just what I did today.  I let Mareese work her magic.  I always tell her she’s got a special talent with ‘the hairs’.  She knows what they need.   I trust her with my hairs.  She knows how wild and unruly it can be and she now sees how much I’ve lost over the past few months.  (Everyone, take a moment of silence for all of Joy’s hairs that have fallen, of late, and clogged all the drains in her house. Maybe you should take a moment of silence for the drains and the carpets that have had to become home to the unwelcomed hairs. Ew.)  


Long hair phase in my epic blue thrift store dress with Holly, Sarah, and Allyson.  Sarah’s was from the thrift store too.  (Remember the ‘seam incident’ from dancin’ too hard in that dress Sarah?) Good times.
Anny and me in my black pixie phase
Aimee and me in our short hair chic phase
Merry and me in our hippy phase.  She gave me Pink Lightning. (Long story.)

Shout out to Aimee, Merry, Anny, Allyson, Sarah and Holly. I love y’alls.  I had crazy head tilts in almost all these photos.  Waasssup with that?

So the theme of this post is…change.

Change happens.

Change can be good or bad.

I was thinking back this week to this tree in my front yard on Turner Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Today, I wanted to go back and climb that tree all the way to the top and perch myself up there for awhile to escape for a bit from the chaos of this school year’s chaotic beginning (see my last post if you’re curious as to what I’m talking about.)  To quote my most recent favorite quote from a Walking Dead character, “When you care about people, hurt is kind of part of the package.” Change and the accompanying hurt have been a theme these past few weeks.

That tree had a protruding branch that was almost at a 90 degree angle, wide enough to bear hug comfortably.  It was perfectly at my 9-year-old arm height.  I’d hug the branch, run up the side of the tree trunk, swing my leg over and mount that branch like I was sitting on a horse.  Then I’d climb the branches as high as I could and escape for a little while and free myself from all my third grade worries.  We moved from that house and consequently, that tree, at the end of third grade, one of many changes throughout my childhood.  Change happens. Change can be good or bad.

So, in light of the recent beginning of school year bliss at an elementary, middle and high school, the past few weeks have been full of school supply purchases. (Thank you Avery, Elmers, Crayola, Post-it, & Bic for allowing me to break the bank buying school supplies over the past few weeks. You are too kind.  We didn’t need to eat this month.)  Really? An agenda with corresponding quality note space area is $30? Really?  Consequently, the conversation that ensued post-purchase, went like this, “Son, you lose that agenda, you’re buyin’ yourself a new one!  That was $30!” It really wasn’t a conversation, it was more like a commandment.

(Thank you Staples for jackin’ up the prices in August and making us feel like we’re getting a good deal by offering a few items for a penny.  I’m watchin’ you.   I’m watchin’ you.  Not sure what I can do about it.  But, I’m watchin’ you.  Next year, could you sell agendas for a penny? Pretty please? I’ve got about 8 more years of buyin’ those suckers.)  So, did I tell you that I shopped for school supplies for all three kids and my classroom students?  I think I spent at least 3 hours walking the supply aisles looking for just the right Crayola Twistable 24 pack, three prong folders of varying colors, art supplies (blending sticks, What ARE those?), 2 inch folders, 1 inch folders, erasers, red, blue, green, and black pens, highlighters of specific colors, reams of paper, kleenex and this ain’t the end of the list. Ugh.  I actually spent over an hour one night shopping for 2 of the kids’ supplies and realized when I got home that I hadn’t looked at the 3rd child’s supply list.  I had to go back, so the third child wouldn’t feel like the third wheel.  The items I couldn’t find that night, I proceeded to purchase on Amazon.  Thank you Amazon, for having my back (because I have have to navigate that school supply aisle one.more.time, I might run out of the store in hysterics and lie in the parking lot in a fetal position.)  Change happens.  Change can be good or bad.  Sometimes change makes you crave a dark hole and a long winter’s nap.

Back to my hair.  Cutting it is a way of controlling something.  I feel the need to control something right now, and my hair is the lucky (or unlucky) culprit.  Change happens.  Change can be good or bad.  You can decide if you like it.  Just don’t tell me if you don’t.

Until next week.  Love you loves.

Gastric Bypass Update:

I’ve been walking as much as I can these past few weeks to relieve the stress I feel at work and with all the beginning of school year responsibilities.

I’m down 74 pounds.  It’s hard to believe.

I eat normal foods, just less. During my hair appointment today Mareese brought over some Peruvian food from Mr. Pollo on Azusa.  Great food. The parsley-garlic-chutney-salsa-esqe topping was delicious atop the rice and chicken breast. Yum. I made you hungry, huh?  The great part is, I actually really enjoy the food I do eat.  It’s not about the quantity anymore.  I can appreciate the quality.