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I Hope You Get a Rock for Christmas!

23 Dec

Recently I came across this ad from Nordstrom
I shared the snopes link here because I too thought it must surely be a hoax. Not so. To my amusement, I clicked around and also discovered it was available in 2 sizes so when considering this purchase you have the option to spend less for a smaller version because your potential gift recipient may not have room for the larger one.  Its just not a one size fits all kind of present and one must give thoughtful consideration to the appropriate rock size to be given and received.  If by chance you choose the wrong size, then the hassle of exchanging it would ruin everything.

Because I wanted to be sure I had stumbled upon the perfect gift to give this year, I gave myself a few days to think it over.  You can imagine my disappointment when I returned to the sight to make my purchase and found them to be sold out!  Sorry to say my dears, you will not be getting a Nordstrom rock from me this year.

My crafty DIY side kicked into gear at this point and I had an epiphany. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Home Depot sells rocks in a bag for around ten bucks!  Not only could I surprise my most cherished ones with a highly sought after rock, but I could give a rock to all on my list.  Rocks for everyone!  That thinking cap I got last year really comes in handy.

Here’s the thing about that thinking cap though. I think…it may have a mind of its own.  Instead of directing me to the nearest landscape department or prompting me to scour around the quarry, it caused me to consider the symbolism of rock giving; having a rock and being a rock. Like when you’re going through a rocky time, you probably need a strong, sturdy and supportive rock.  Or, you’re on top of the mountain and everything is rock solid in your world… you might feel like celebrating with something on the rocks.

So, this year I propose that we exchange rocks.  Feel the rock or be the rock whatever the occasion calls for. There’s no price tag on those kind of rocks regardless of size and exchanging is the best part!

“Rockin around the Christmas tree”……..

Joan is on the roll again.



Only because there are shrooms in the pot…..

26 Sep

Ok, Ok.  Lately I’ve been hearing things.  Seeing things.  Its as if the universe is telling me its time to write again.  Its been quite a long time, I know.  When I began this a while back it was mostly experimental and I wasn’t convinced it was working out very well.  So, I thought I would try my hand at some other things. “Things” actually means gardening.  Since my backyard was very plain and uninviting I decided I would start there and add some plants to be enjoyed throughout the summer.  Feeling encouraged and determined, I purchased 10 various hanging and potted plants to put all around the yard.  I was careful to choose what I thought would be species that could tolerate blistering heat and drought.  Well, they lasted about as long as it has taken me to write this paragraph..   Mostly because I neglected to water them, thinking mother nature and the overspray from the sprinklers would do the trick.  Not so.  Dead.  All of them.  Pissed me off, so I left them hanging.  Pretty much like I neglected and stranded this blog.  Left it hanging.  My mind has been nagging me for a couple months now, saying “you should really take those dead, dusty, disgusting plants off of your fence now”.  Ya, ya… whatever   I’m making some sort of statement by leaving them there.  They weren’t meant to make it.  Its my own fault… blah blah blah   In the meantime, I’ve been getting messages from outside of my own mind that have been telling me to return to this blog.  Little hints from here and there giving me a shot of courage to try this again (couldn’t be any worse than gardening) and for the most part I’ve been ignoring those too.  Until today.  For whatever reason I decided that today was the day to admit gardening defeat and take down the forlorn dried up pots from my fence.  It was a somber task.  Then, I notice something in one of the pots!!   Life!!  In the form of mushrooms.  Three little fellers peering up at me as if to say “surprise, its not over yet, don’t give up!”  That’s all it took.  I saved the one pot with the shrooms, fixed me a drink and started typing.  We will see what happens now………..

Ta Da!

Ta Da!

“Winkin, Blinkin and Blog”

Winter Boredom……… you hear it?

25 Jan

Its well after the holidays and I haven’t written for a loooong time. Just been too damn busy. I’m sure most of you are as done with winter as I am. I’m hoping the weather breaks soon because what you are about to read is kind of scary. This is what happens when one has been too busy for too long and hasn’t seen the sun or felt its warmth in too long.  Its late evening after a long day, long, week, long ongoing winter…. and freeeeeezing outside.

DJ: Is it summer yet?

Joan: Not soon enough.

DJ: Brrrrrr

Joan: Ya. I’m so over winter.

DJ: Me too. Glad the roads aren’t freezing.

Joan: Are you running the roads?

DJ: Not really. I rescheduled everything. Just too nasty outside. Are you still covered up at the office?

Joan: Yes. Working way too hard/much these days. I’m in audit hell. Oh ya, and I still don’t have the Christmas tree boxed up.

DJ: Sounds like it sucks. Sorry. That damn tree!!

Joan: Yes damn tree. Its outta control. Just like everything else lately. I sure hope this isn’t some kind of new normal for me.

DJ: I know the feeling, but its not new normal for me.

Joan: Well, you know me…I’m not liking all this busy-ness. You on the other hand, love it!

DJ: I do like to stay busy. Sorry you are slammed.

Joan: I just want to be busy getting my hair done, and my nails done and laying on the beach!

DJ: Hell ya, me too!

Joan: I sound like a whiny slacker….oh wait…I am a whiny slacker.

DJ: Slacker for sure…..but you don’t whine much.

Joan: Not when I’m slacking. It takes too much effort.

DJ: There’s the sound of the slacker I know!

Joan: Sheeee’s back!……for the moment.

DJ: Nice to hear she is still in there.

Joan: She is never too far gone. Even when slammed at work.

DJ: Thats good. I’m ready for warm weather and to win the lottery.

Joan: Same here, except I would have to actually play the lottery in order to win.

DJ: Wait? I have to play?

Joan: No. You don’t. Because I’m going to win…..IF I play. The cosmos gave me the winning numbers.

DJ: Hmmmm. Are you out of medication?

Joan: Yes. Dammit. Oh…and I have lucky deer feet! So I am sure to win.


DJ: Why would you need to play the lottery if you have lucky deer feet?

(Note that DJ mentions  absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about this photo)

Joan: You are kinda right. I suppose I already have untold treasure.
Want to buy a deer foot? They are quite sought after. For you…. only 500k.

DJ: Do you foot financing? I hear they cost an arm and a leg.

Joan: haha…..just a leg…..4 actually. 4 legs for a foot. Great deal. Today only. Or…..2 for 19.95

DJ: Thats better than 19.99…..

Joan: You read correctly. 19.95 Don’t delay. They are going fast… a deer

DJ: Sorry. Too expensive for me.

Joan: Fine. Get yourself a lotto ticket then.

DJ: Fine. I just might.

Joan: You know what they say….Lucky deer foot is better than lotto ticket in hand. Yes. “they” say that!

DJ: I’ve heard that alot!!

Joan: I hear it all the time! I hear other things all the time though too….. damn “they”. This happens when I don’t take my medication. Or. When I do….I’m not sure.

DJ: I’m glad you hear them too.

Joan: Who? I don’t hear “them”. Its “they”. And I think “they” are crazy.

DJ: “they” may be?

Joan: Oh…. do you hear “they” and them too?
That IS crazy!

DJ: Who?

Joan: Exactly! Horton hears them too.

DJ: I’m glad you agree with Horton….who? Whoo.

Joan: I get it! A drink!

DJ: Drinking is good.

Joan: Well, I just pulled a beer from the back of the fridge and….ta da…its frozen! How appropriate.

DJ: Its a conspiracy.

Joan: “they” did it…. I’m sure of it.

DJ: “they” are everywhere.

Joan: I know! Thats why I hide from them. I mean “they”.
I think I may be getting carried away…..
Stop them!!! I mean “they”…. save yourself before “they” carry you away too….. and destroy my phone! No one will understand this.

DJ: I shall bring up a force against “them”, “they”,…..shanananbingham and save mankind.

Joan: Hooooray for they slayer!

DJ: Better than being a nay sayer.

Joan: Exactly…. or maybe I’m slurring….. Nay Sayer They Slayer….10 times

DJ: hahahah….I think “they” are in the Christmas tree too….Watch out!

Joan: Good possibility. Best to leave that thing alone I think.

DJ: Ya, I wouldn’t touch it if I were you. That’ll teach “them”

Joan: And yet. “they” might be better contained if I box them/they up and banish them/they to the garage.
The tree…may…be…the key

DJ: I don’t think you can contain “them”, but maybe “they”

Joan: Well, If “they” are gotten rid of, then I only have “them” to deal with. And I do not hear “them” so much. “they” are the menace.

DJ: Maybe….. you should see if “they” can get rid of “them”???? or visa versa

Joan: Brilliant idea! “they” can destroy “them” selves.

DJ: Yes!! Now…whats the plan?

Joan: The plan….is…………more beer slush

DJ: Best plan ever.

Joan: Done! Cheers!

Things I’m thankful for…..the infinite short list

24 Nov
  1. THE VOICES IN MY HEAD (that say things like….psssst you’ve always wanted to write, just do it)
  2. DANCING (with non-zombies)
  3. SPECIAL FRIENDS (and by special I mean ones that can fly, bake a mean arsenic-laced casserole,  cuss and threaten their tenants,  eat lasagna from a mug,  sing White Snake at the top of their lungs, help me fasten my jeans when they are too tight, take me to the impound yard in the middle of the night,  make me participate in group therapy once a year which just happens to be at the beach,…..and on and on and on)
  4.  SILLY HATS (and those who share appreciation for them)
  5. COLD, WET GRAY DAYS (or anything that promotes snuggling)
  6. LAUGHING UNTIL YOU CRY (or snort, squeak etc) and conversely….
  8. MAIL ORDER (you know that feeling when you receive the package? It matters not that you know it’s coming and you ordered it yourself…still a mood booster)
  9. ½ DOZEN EGGS  and ½ GALLON MILK (and the hope that someday there will be ½ loaf bread)
  10. YOU reading this list
  11. BONDS (all 8 of Webster’s definitions apply here)
  12. 12 TIMES INFINITY (to rattle off a dozen things in a few short minutes and know I could continue indefinitely is certainly something I am grateful for.)

 A Thanksgiving toast to everyone’s infinite short list….Cheers!

Yee Haw …..the Monster Mash Ya’ll

13 Oct


In an earlier post, I mentioned that I have been dancing with zombies and it’s true!  Everyone has a bucket list of things to do before you die right? (Note: things you want to do before you die, not things that make you die from laughter).  Well, my list seems to comprise itself with things that I never expected to do, but somehow get added to the list out of sheer luck!  I never imagined that when I began taking dance lessons (bucket list item) that I would get to dance with a zombie!!  I know, I know! Talk about the chance of a lifetime.

A few months ago I signed up for group lessons in country/western dance.   The 2-step and polka.  Both of which require a partner.  Most people take partner style dance lessons with a partner, but not Joan!  The studio manager assured me there would be other partner-less participants in the class and yes there were 2 others.  One other bold single woman like me and one man.    Let’s begin.

Lesson 1:  Learning to dance with a partner is a new concept for me and one I am not too comfortable with because it requires trusting the man to lead.  In life, this has not worked out well for me!  The man has to know his moves, constantly be thinking about what to do next, keep his eye on other dancers so as to avoid a collision and is responsible for the appearance of the couple in motion.  All the woman really has to do is know the footwork and trust her partner.   Um….FIRST BIG OBSTACLE.  Based on my experience, I anticipate spending a lot of time picking my ass up off the dance floor.  I left the first lesson wondering if I could really do it.  Trust a partner to lead that is.  But the sessions are prepaid and I decided I would give it a whirl.

Lesson 2:  I chose country/western dancing because it seemed the easiest for a beginner like me.  2-step = slow, slow, quick, quick footwork and polka has only 3 steps.  OK.  I got this!  After a few minutes the instructor announces it’s time to pair up and put on the music.  Oh the horror.  The token single guy walks up, the music starts and there are 2 arms sticking straight out in front of him, stiff as if he just arose from the grave.  I try to position my arms atop the boards that beckon and then the ghoulish contortions begin. I quickly found myself in self defense of each step he took as one leg flew out in front of the other narrowly missing my shins on the way up, then crashing down with a thud dangerously close to my feet.  It didn’t take but a minute to realize I was paired with a zombie and he was doing the march of the undead.  March (slow), March (slow), march-march (quick-quick).  All the while he is shoving me backwards with such force all I can do is stumble.  I’m trying my hardest to recover and get us back in step when zombie-man growls…”LET ME LEAD”.   So I did.  I stiffened and zombie-marched to a 4-4 beat for another 30 minutes or so.  A couple of times I glanced in the mirror that spans the back wall of the studio and there was Joan and Franken-Zombie clomping straight-armed and stumbling.  It was like a scene from Night of the Living Dead set to music.  We did the mash…..we did the monster mash.

After a couple of songs, we broke apart to learn the mechanics of an underarm turn and then paired up again.  My Don Juan of the Living Dead partner assured me he could lead the turn because he had plenty of experience doing it in the clubs.  Ya right.  Clearly that’s not working out too well for you Franken-Zombie or you wouldn’t be here.   In fact, it took several weeks for my shoulder to heal from being ripped from the socket with each attempt at him leading the turn.  I believe his smooth moves must have been learned on the playground when he was ten.  It’s as if he was in a shoving match with another adolescent.  Oh ya?  Take that! (shove)     Turn woman! (shove….with a forceful jerk on my arm)  Oh…you want me to turn there?  I was too busy managing not to fall and trying not to yell out in pain zombie-man.  FYI…I’ll do a double spin if you just set it up properly.

“You really don’t have this down yet, do you?” , he spouted arrogantly.

I was about to just throw in the towel, when the instructor asked if anyone needed help and Franken-Zombie was quick to point out that (I) did.  With that, the instructor swept me into dance position, skillfully led me through the basic steps and effortlessly through the underarm turn, and then another turn and on around the dance floor!   When we were out of Franken-Zombie’s earshot, the instructor smiled and told me,  it’s not you”.    In that moment, the nightmare ended and a wave of relief came over me.  He had no way of knowing the amount of confidence his words bestowed not only in my dancing ability but in my ability to trust the lead.  I now realize that the key is having something to trust in.    And so……I continue to dance.  Sometimes the 2-step, sometimes the polka and yes,….sometimes the Monster Mash with Franken-Zombie.     Happy Halloween!

I know you are jealous of my dancing with a zombie, so for those interested in learning the Franken-Walk in time for Halloween:

MUG-A-LASAGNA………the path to inspiration is around the strip center

27 Aug

How to share the same sense of humor and appreciation for single life….
Sunday afternoon texts with my friend DJ:

ME: Are you drinking right now?

DJ: No…not a drop today. Took a break.

ME: Why? Did you get drunk at the movie yesterday?

DJ: Ya, went to Movie Tavern and ordered the tanker mug. (Note: friends shouldn’t let friends go to movies alone)

ME: Ok….

DJ: It was funny because I drank it all by half way through the movie so I would kinda be ok to drive, but I may not have been quite right because I went out the wrong exit and had to walk all the way around the strip center! And I was carrying that big ass mug!!

ME: I’m picturing you and cracking up. Souvenirs from the movie! haha Send me a pic…

DJ: If you buy it, then you can fill it with anything at a discount…even dessert!! It could possibly be too much power, I’m not sure yet.

ME: What? They didn’t have a barrel?

DJ: oh wow….I’ll ask next time

ME: Um yes, I do want a gallon of ice cream please. Fill er up
Or you could make them fill it with cheeseburgers and fries next time!

DJ: You see how the power could be abused now!

ME: It scares me that I get why you had to have it.

DJ: Great Minds!

ME: I may not find my vehicle but I have this sweet big ass mug. And if I get really lost for a long time and maybe become homeless, I can always get my mug filled with food for a discount.

DJ: Hell yea! Priorities! HELLO!!! You do get it!

ME: Do they have Italian food because Mug-A-Lasagna would be awesome! Oh…I’m having visions of an all you can eat buffet in big ass mugs…..stand down cup-o-soup

DJ: I’ve created a monster.



I WILL CUT YOU……if you ask me nicely

14 Aug

Recently I took a trip to the Big Apple.  Alone.  Big deal, you say?  Well, for me, yes.  I have lived 3 places in my life so far, none of which had a population exceeding 10,000.  Green Acres, Mayberry and my current homestead which lies just outside a very large city, in a very large state which makes it seem like a drop in a bucket kinda place.  So in essence, yes, Joan alone in the Big Apple IS a Big Deal!    I should probably add that I’m fairly shy and skiddish. (You know how most parents teach their kids to look both ways before crossing the road? Well, my parents just forbid me to cross the road at all….who needs to build confidence when you can just avoid risk and danger all together.  I was safe…problem solved…except for the resulting crossthelinephobia.)

Now you get a snippit of the picture and we can fast forward 40+ years to me taking the train from the airport into the city.  Just imagine my excitement and fascination as I found my way through the airport and to the correct platform dragging my purple travel POD.  I may have stood out in the crowd just a little.  (There is a good explanation for the oversize luggage….wait for it).  I must have appeared very approachable and acclimated (I like to think) because I was asked three times by other travelers if this was the correct platform for the A train to Manhattan.  I just smiled a confident smile (inside and out) and assured them yes it was. 

My confidence quickly plummeted when the train arrived and I had to maneuver the purple mini-POD onto the train.  I’m sure the surveillance camera monitoring crew was amused.  I watched as the other passengers nonchalantly chunked their little black travel bags up onto the overhead storage knowing there was no way the 50 lb purple mini-pod was leaving the ground by my hands.  I began to panic just a little because I knew the train might take off at any second and jolt me to the floor in the aisle, the purple mini-POD landing on top of me.  Meanwhile, the passengers behind me were growing impatient as I scanned for a seat that would accommodate the POD and I.  No such luck, so awkwardly, I sat down next to a safe enough looking young man in a suit and tried to shove the POD in with me, managing only to get about half of it wedged between the seats.  I felt relieved and relaxed momentarily until the nice young man asked, “Are you here on vacation?”  and I answered, “Just a long weekend” .    He glanced at the purple mini-POD and I suddenly felt ridiculous again and began to explain.  “It’s full of venomous snakes”.   “Joan’s on a train”.  “I’m Joan”. “Nice to meet you”.  I’m not sure he understood the Snakes on a Plane reference (perhaps because it’s not really a very good one, nor is it all that funny,)  (am I the only one that says stupid shit to be funny when nervous?)  Anyway, if he missed the joke, then he didn’t seem shaken by the idea that I might actually have snakes in the POD (really….there are some crazy people out there…..remember…), but he smiled and told me to enjoy myself.  We chatted briefly about the train stops and the city in general.  Then he went back to reading whatever he was reading before I sat down.

The train clamored on, I relaxed again and it began to sink in that I was inbound to the Big Apple!  I fell deep inside my own thoughts of how good it felt to finally be brave enough to make this trip alone and of how far I had come in the last few years and of how much dang fun I was going to have (start spreading the news, I’m arriving today, I’m gonna be a part of it…ny, ny) when suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I see the young man’s arm come at me!  I shuddered, tensed up and was ready to scream when he politely, nicely and calmly asked, “ Mam, by any chance, do you have anything that will cut this?”  “What…..  Did he just ask me?” ”He wants me to cut him?”  My eyes darted to his face and I detected naïve embarrassment both in his eyes and in his voice as he pointed to the manufacturer’s label on the sleeve of his suit.  I felt my jaw unclench and the twinge of compassion for the young man whom I actually just now noticed was the approximate age of my son.  “That’s not supposed to be on there, is it?” He meekly added.

“No”, I replied softly.  “Are you on your way to an important event right now?”

“Job interview”, he answered.

I smiled and cautiously revealed to him that yes, I do in fact have a means of removing the tag and by that, I’m telling you that I have a knife.  A knife in my purse.  I have a knife in my purse and if I get it out, do you think anyone will freak out and jump me in your defense?

(Consider that there was a wild eyed dude across the aisle who was all picturing himself on a train in the station with plasticine porters and looking glass ties who had overhead me say there were venomous snakes in the purple mini-POD and had been shooting repeated paranoid glances toward me.  I figured by now he was sure the snakes had escaped from the pod and were crawling up his legs because he had begun to twitch.  If he sees me pull the knife out, he’s bound to jump up yelling “CRAZY SLASHER BITCH”, “GET OFF ME SNAKE”.)  I feel my concern was warranted.

The young man beside me apparently had not noticed or was generally unaffected by the spirit in the sky beside us and assuredly remarked,” That’s great!” grinning, relieved and half chuckling.   I don’t think that will happen.  Would you mind?”

With that, I dug into my purse and retrieved the 1 ½” long pocket knife that I always carry, because I never know when someone is going to ask me to cut them and the mantra of Junior Girl Scout Troop 424 “be prepared”  made a powerful and lasting impression on me. (Or because I really am a crazy slasher bitch….there are some real weirdos out there, you never know)  Ironically, it did not seem strange at all to be holding the wrist of a total stranger in one hand and wielding a knife in the other.   Then with ninja speed  (and motherly cautiousness)….slash/slash… it was done.

The young man graciously thanked me while he pulled at the lingering loose threads.  He was visibly pleased and relieved.  As I re-concealed my weapon I was already recanting what had occurred in the last 30 minutes and realizing it was an encounter I would always remember fondly as the time someone asked me nicely to cut them.  The train slowed and the intercom announced, “Penn New York”.  The young man thanked me again and I warmly wished him the best of luck on his job and his future.  POD and I then struggled to the open doors and bounded out onto the platform.  “I’m here”  For a moment I was all Mary Tyler Moore theme song and then I realized that POD and I had 3 flights of stairs to march up to the street before I could toss my beret.  Grrrrr.  You big heavy purple POD, I really want to cut you right now.