Ah, Spring!

Ah, Spring, sunshine, rollin’ down the windows and lettin’ my hair blow madly in the wind as I stroll through San Dimas in my minivan.  I’ve been enjoying spring, mostly.

However, Spring has arrived and with it, gnats!

Gnats are pesky pests.  They hover, linger, and pester.  They don’t buzz, but they do make themselves known.  It seems, lately, wherever I am, at my desk at school, my desk at home, standing at my podium teaching, walking through the neighborhood, there are gnats!  I walked into a gnat cloud on my walk.  I even swallowed one on another walk.  (I’ve since been practicing the art of breathing through my nose and exhaling through my mouth to avoid the untimely Death by Swallow event again.)

Then I started thinking about the significance of gnats and how this connects to other events in my life right now.  (Of course you did, Joy, because that’s what you do. You overthink everything.) These gnats have become an analogy for the negative thoughts that I’ve had lately. There’s melancholy connected to our house and all the what-ifs of how we’re going to make it through this tough time and come up with enough funds to pay for it.  The thoughts that IF ONLY, I hadn’t insisted that we HAD to HAVE solar panels back in August of 2015.  The if-onlys and the what-ifs have one thing in common— if.

How would you explain the word if to someone who didn’t know English?  Pondering the idea of if, I looked up synonyms and the one that struck me was uncertainty.  There is so much uncertainty about what will happen next in the events related to our house.

Right now, we’re packing up our bedroom and the studio, 800 square feet of our house, and moving it to the front of the house and into a storage pod.  If-only we hadn’t gotten the solar panels, then we wouldn’t have gotten the building code violations. If-only we hadn’t gotten the solar panels, then we wouldn’t have forked out this gigantic suckage of money. If-only we hadn’t gotten the solar panels, then we wouldn’t have to reconfigure our foundation and take off the newly placed roof of the house.  If-only we hadn’t gotten the solar panels, then we would have been content with the way things were, or maybe not.   When you go down the rabbit trail of if-onlys, you assume that the outcome would have been better had you made a different choice.  I have to remind myself that possibly, this is all happening because there is something that is in my blind spot.  Like, possibly, maybe our house needs to be remodeled before the next Big One (earthquake, for you non-Southern Californians.)  Or maybe it was only a matter of time before the LA County Department of BS came out to look at our house for some other reason.  Regardless, the if-onlys are really a waste of time.  I’ve been trying to smack those gnats (if-onlys) whenever they come around me.

I literally clapped 5 gnats to death this week.  I must have looked like a total freak, but hey, they were buggin’ (get it?). Seriously though, I’m determined to face this mess, one box at a time, one phone call at time, until this house is back to its better self.  It’s the Little House that Could. Come on y’all.  Root for us.  (I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.)

Until next Friday.  Love you loves.

Gastric Bypass Update:

Thrilled with the idea of eating a sandwich, I loaded my gluten free bread with chicken and a few other fixins.  Then proceeded to eat about half the sandwich at which time, my body said, “Stuck! Ew.  Stop eating!”  So, I had to stop and lay on the couch for about 10 minutes while I waited for the food to go down.  Then I ate the rest of the sandwich because it was there and I wanted to finish it!  I will probably wait awhile before I have a sandwich again.  Eating bread isn’t as fun as it used to be, especially when it’s gluten free.  It just ain’t the same.  Naw, ain’t the same.




What a Difference a Year Makes

*I’ve posted my “before” photo below.

One of my mantras, when making decisions that require time commitment and discipline, is, “The time will pass no matter what you do with it.”  If I hadn’t had gastric bypass, this year would have passed, and I would have probably lost and gained the same 10 pounds throughout the year.  This year was different. March 23, 2016, was a game changer for me.  I faced my fears and embarked on an adventure that has brought many highs and lows, but mostly highs.

Many things have changed, and as a result, I have a stronger resolve that I can do hard things and not only survive but thrive.

Life still has many challenges and (dammit!) my leaner body didn’t solve all those problems.  (Surprise!)  I was under no delusions when I began this adventure.  I knew that being thinner wouldn’t magically make everything better.  I still have to deal with negative emotions in a different way.  I have literally walked my ass off.  (Smile.)

Speaking of life’s challenges, simultaneous to my surgery and the following events, we have been fighting with the LA County Department of BS.  (I love to call it that because it makes me feel better for, like, 1 second.  Building and Safety= BS.)  Just this week, we found out that the entire back of our house will be under construction for 3 months and we have to move everything out of our room and the music studio and move into Boy’s room, the living room, and a storage Pod.  (Yeah, guess what we get to do over spring break. Gah!)  The most devastating news, our construction costs may run up to $70,000.  Not kidding.  We’ve already spent $59,000 on the solar panels, roofing, and energy efficient work that Zero Energy completed without permitting.  (I’m laying this out there because I want to all to learn from my mistake.  Please don’t be hasty like I was.)  I thought I was doing a good thing, getting solar panels and making our house more energy efficient.  Nope.  This has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life, (and I’ve had a few other stressful times.)  That said, I have to find the silver lining. I have to. We will all have trouble, but we have to “dust the dust up off our shoulders, feet on ground, we’ll come round, and be human again.”

Have a listen.  I’ve been listening to this band on repeat since I heard them on KCRW.  I listened to this performance and was captivated and encouraged.


I know that it’s been rough,
It shows in your reflection,
You’ve fallen out of touch,
Got lost along the way,
I know it’s not enough,
But these things they all get better,
And even if its tough,

This is us, you know it on the inside,
This is us, so you should show it on the outside,
This is us, dust the dust up off your shoulders,
Feet on ground, you’ll come round,
And be human again.

I know that its been hard,
But even when its hurting,
You’re gonna have to start,
To learn to recognise,
That even in the dark,
There’s lines between the spaces,
Hiding where you are,

This is us, you know it on the inside,
This is us, so you should show it on the outside,
This is us, dust the dust up off your shoulders,
Feet on ground, you’ll come round,
And be human again.

So, even though there’s so much stress and uncertainty, I remind myself often that we are not promised a life without trouble.  Trouble in the form of storms is part of life.  (I’d like for this particular storm to end soon.)  If you pray, I’d appreciate some prayer, because right now, it feels like a dark ominous stormy night at sea with no lighthouse in sight.
I’ll be there for you and you be there for me.  We’ve got each other, and that’s really the most important thing.  This concrete (foundation of our house), wood (all the beams have to be replaced), and paper (money is just paper with attached value) isn’t something that will last forever anyway.

Be There lyrics

I’ll be there when you need me most
I’ll be there if you’re ever alone
Together, we can grow old.
I can’t leave you
I can’t leave you,


Thank you for being there for me during this first year post surgery.

I’m grateful.

I’ve sustained the 90 pound weight loss for several weeks now.

Here’s my “before” photo:


I’m back to my 3 year old self.  If you were hoping for a photo from last year, well, I’m not posting those, not because I’m ashamed. My reasoning is that, I liked myself in March of 2016 and I don’t want to criticize who I was last year.  I’m kinda done comparing.  I’m focusing on living.

Until next Friday…Love you loves.


I Am Lion, Hear Me Roar

This, this, this, mortgage property tax fiasco has been the latest in a series of unfortunate events related to our house.  Last week, I shared a bit of the transcript and my rage and frustration after speaking to the tax representative at LA County and feeling stuck in an infinite loop.  This week, after 3 more phone calls to my mortgage company, I can say that finally, in this battle related to our house, I have won!

Do you ever have moments where you just dread an encounter?   The encounter (in this case, a phone call) is necessary, but it takes every bit of grit you have to force yourself to take action.  Today, I did it.   I made the dreaded phone call again.

Pre- Phone Call Commentary:

End of Phone Call- Victory:

So, Joy, why are you wearing a lion costume? Just for this post?  No, but it sure came in handy to go into that phone call with a lion mindset today.  Actually,  I am an elementary school teacher and this is what I wore for Pajama Day during this Dr. Seuss Week. (This was a rad pair of pjs I found on clearance at Target a few weeks ago for $11.49! They actually FIT. So, I thought, I’m going to find a reason to wear those!  Sure enough, Pajama Day arrived a few weeks later.)  Here’s a couple more of my favorites with the lion’s-mane- hair to match my pjs.



Steve said my story today, as I was recounting it to him play-by-play, reminded him of the persistent widow parable.  Here’s the text from Luke 18:1-8.

The Story of the Persistent Widow

18 1-3 Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’

4-5 “He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won’t quit badgering me, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I’m going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.’”

6-8 Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”

This passage makes me think of many other unjust things happening in the world.  My property tax situation is so minor in comparison.  Reading this parable today was a reminder to stand up for the weak.  God has definitely equipped me, like the persistent widow, with a passion for justice.

May you all have courage like the persistent widow in whatever circumstances you find yourselves in at the moment.  Roar like a lion— for justice.

At bedtime prayers, when I told Middle & Little about the good news that we don’t have to pay the extra $1000 a month on our mortgage, Middle said, “The chipped off piece of your soul came back!”  (I laughed out loud. So dramatic, but kinda true.)  Then she said, “Your gap got bigger.”  (If you don’t know this, I have quite a gap between my front middle teeth.) Translation: I was smiling more today when she got home from school.  I think this awful house situation has been weighing on me more than I realized and my kids have noticed.  Thank God this battle in a series of battles, is over.

Until next week.  Love you loves.

Gastric Bypass Update:

I’m still down 90 pounds.  In a million years, I never thought I’d be able to say I’d lost that much weight.

I’m walking almost 4 miles a day, total, as my Fitbit measures it.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and don’t recognize myself, especially when I’m wearing lion pajamas.  🙂  RAWR!