already broken?

broken: having been damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order; having given up all hope; despairing.

hello joyful friends,

I have to keep writing.  I always feel better when I am writing.  I haven’t written in a while.  I am writing now!  What is happening right here, right now.  That is all I have.  Oh come on, who believes that crapola!  But, alas, it is true.  After my post about that silly monk who laughed about the broken glass, one of my readers reached out (hey sis!) a little confused.  Well, I’m a lot confused so am now reading a book about Buddhism.  Pretty deep thinking.

I mean, how can I be happy, or any of us for that matter, in a world that is constantly changing?  Where nothing stays the same. Where one day you can eat out at a restaurant, then the next day you can’t.  Where one day, my hairdresser has the right to earn a living, and the next day, in a democratic society, a free society, that right is taken away.  (yikes, I feel a great big tangent looming!)  How can we be happy, how can we find peace and joy, when loss and sorrow are so much a part of our lives? 

This is where the story of the broken glass comes in.  The Buddhist monk has this glass. It is a beautiful glass and he uses it to hold his water. The light shines through the glass and makes cool patterns, something like that. Buddhism teaches about the concept of impermanence. We Westerners say, “nothing lasts forever”, and we believe it. But we don’t think about it in the same way. The monk understands that one day he will no longer have the glass, so, for today he enjoys the glass.  And, the theory goes like this, he’s okay when the glass breaks because he assumed it was already broken when he got it.  I mean seriously, that’s it?  I just assume this new car I got is already crashed or repossessed when I got it so I am super happy just to have it for today?  What kind of crazy talk is that?  Thinking like that doesn’t make me happy!  No joy! 

Paws and Oreo

But the reality is that one day I will not have this new car.  Heck, I might decide to go live like a monk and give it away because I don’t need it any more.  Or, maybe I’ll lose my job and have to sell the car to make my mortgage payment.  The point is that life is always changing.  But I dislike change.  I have worked hard to eliminate the possibility of change in my life.  I have had the same job for 35 years, lived in the same home for 25 years, known my two best friends for the last 20 years and have had the same two cats for almost 10! I mean, if it ain’t broke…

But, how many opportunities have I missed doing the same thing for 30 years? How many jobs have I passed up?  Do I really even like what I am doing?  Working for an insurance company?  Yawn, yawn!  I could be a baker, or a florist! Joy, joy! All joking aside, I love my life.  I love my home, my kids, my family, my friends, my two cats and my new car! 

I fight against change.  Now, change seems inevitable to me.  No matter how hard I try to fight it, the two kids I love so much are becoming adults and will be moving on, doing for themselves, and I won’t be able to say anything about it.  And, I have so much to say!  No matter how hard I work out or how well I eat, my health is and will continue to fail.  I will experience grief and loss in my life no matter how much do-gooding I take on.  Bad shit happens to good people and bad shit has happened and will continue to happen to me.  Nothing is permanent.  Everything changes. 

My new floating shelves

So, for today I will embrace my darling (just returned from college – AGAIN!)  daughter.  I will cuddle with my two cute kittens.  I will drive my fancy new car.  I will embrace today because who knows what tomorrow holds.  I will embrace change.  What choice do I have?  Nothing is permanent.  I’ll leave you with a quote from an article I recently read, “Real happiness is in the embrace and appreciation of impermanence. Profound joy and gratitude are born in this awareness, the power and beauty of the flow of now is revealed.” 

So my joyful friends, until we meet again.


spark: a trace of a specified quality or feeling

joy: an emotion that lasts only a short time.

dr. who?

hello my joyful friends,

The juices are flowing again.  So, let’s get right to it. One of my last post was rather dark.  Nothing joyful about it, that’s for sure.  I suppose I feel the need to be honest with my dedicated fans (hey sis!) in an effort to avoid that toxic positivity my therapist talks about.

Today I met with the neurosurgeon.  I had reached out to one of my friends who had three surgeries in one summer a couple of years ago.  She didn’t get back to me, so instead of feeling put off, I decided to do a little research.  I also went online to view my medical record, so cool you can do that now. I found out exactly what my troubles are, some crooked spots in my back, specifically the, hold on to your horses now, L1-2 a bulging disk and lateral osteophyte formation with narrowing of the spinal canal, at L2-3 a circumferential disc bulging without significant can stenosis (well that’s good, right?), but there’s more!  At L3-4 there is disc bulging and left-sided osteophyte formation as well as mild bilateral facet hypertrophy and ligamentous thickening, resulting in left lateral recess effacement and mild central canal narrowing.  Now, that can’t be good!  And, at L4-5 there is disc bulging eccentric to the left (at least she’s got style!).  Then, drum roll, at L5-S1 there is circumferential disc bulging and a lobulated central to right paracentral disc extrusion, and they go on to give her measurements.  Holy Toledo! 

I may not have gone to med school, but I think I get the jist of it.  Some bad shit going on back there.  In actuality, you have this too.  At least if you are over the age of 30.  There is another way to describe the problem…old age!  That and my back has been through it. I was a competitive gymnast most of my childhood. You’ve probably seen gymnastics on TV, the Olympics or something like that. While I wasn’t as good as they are you can see that the back is really abused! I’m not sure my spine is supposed to do what I asked it to do back then.

My Doctor was, well, I am having a hard time coming up with a nick name, and I am usually pretty good at it.  Like Dr. Dorcas, or Dr. Dimwit.  I think we, well we ladies, remember Dr. Dreamy on that late night soap opera.  He was very cute.  Okay, okay, okay, another tangent.  My doctor was kind of Columbo-esque.  For those of you old enough to remember, Columbo, was a crime drama series before crime drama was even a thing.  I loved that show.  The viewers would see the crime committed early on in the show, then watch Columbo, played by Peter Fault, stumble around in a wrinkled trench coat with a gross cigar clenched in his teeth, uncovering clues.  He’d question someone suspicious and just when they thought they’d fooled him he’d say. “Just one more thing…”.  Loved that show!

So, my doctor was a little like that.  We’ll call my guy Dr. Dodgy.  He made me feel comfortable, asked me questions in his Columbo like manner, appeared to be quite concerned, would listen to my responses. Then when I asked a question, he’d deftly dodge out of the way!  He’d not answer my question, at least to my satisfaction, but somehow got away with it.  He was all smoke and mirrors, that one.  But here’s the rub.  My questions usually started with an “If” followed by a “then”.  Like, “So, if I have the surgery, then this numbness in my foot will go away.” He’d look me right in the eye shaking his head in a fatherly fashion and say, “No, I didn’t say that.” 

In the end, he painted a picture of him, Dr. Dodgy, as part furniture mover and part electrician.  My sciatica nerve was an extension cord of sorts.  The extension cord is plugged into a light and the light is not working.  Them we notice a couch is on top of the cord so that’s why the light isn’t turning on. You follow me so far?  And, “if” Dr. Dodgy pushes the couch off the electric cable (that’s the surgery) we really can’t predict what will happen.  Perhaps, once the pressure is off the cord, the light will go on!  The nerves in back will send a signal down my leg which will will reach my foot and it’ll be like old times.  I’ll look down and say, “Heel, lift off the floor!” And, it will.  It may be that “if” the electrical cord was damaged by the couch “then”….well, my heel, and toes will continue to ignore me and will continue be problematic.

It boils down to this.  Whether I have the surgery or not, my back IS going to get worse.  So is yours.  It is what it is.  I briefly touched on my theory of blame from a previous post, and he nodded furiously when I explained how when I got the news this thing in my foot might be permanent, that I immediately blamed my poor retired Doctor, and my physical therapist, who I actually really like.  The reason he was nodding furiously is because he gets blamed all the time when things don’t go just the way his patients want them to.  And, get this.  You know who he blames?  The pharmaceutical industry.  My joyful friend, that is a whole ‘nother post!  He and I agreed on something. 

For now, suffice it to say, I have a lot to think about.  What I do know is I don’t have to decide today.  I know more now than I did yesterday.  More will be revealed tomorrow.  As the Buddhist monk would probably say, “My back is already broken!”  So, I’ll enjoy today.  I’ll be grateful for the things I do have.  Because, the more we are grateful for what we have, the more we will have to be grateful for. 

Until we meet again my joyful friends.  Go out and spark some joy!  I will be!


who am I?

Hello my joyful friends,

Summer is upon us.  Back to school can’t be very far around the corner, right?  Well, my 21 year old son, came and went in the blink of an eye.  My recently (well, actually not so recently) returned home from college, 20 year old daughter, is leaving in less than 2 weeks.  Her return from school for spring break turned into a longer than anticipated stay due to a nasty flu going around that caused the country, nar I say, the world, to come to a screeching halt for a bit. 

Their time here has been an amazing journey for me.  It seems, I am unsure of who I am when my children are here.  This lack of certainty about my role in their lives as young adults led to some conflict, confusion, despair (on my part) and of course, in the end, joy.  When challenges arise in my life, it is a time of tumult, followed by a period of growth and learning, and in the end, the joy of newfound knowledge and a deeper understanding of who I am in the world. 

Who was I when my two adult (ahem…) children were home?  Was I their mother? The housekeeper? A counselor? A teacher? Or, their friend?  Or, quite possibly, the pain in the “you know what” lady that wouldn’t stop bugging them!  What was my role in their lives now that they were all grown up?  I tried on all those uniforms.  None of them fit quite right.  (I take that back, the housekeeper smock fit pretty darn well!) 

I had this need to “connect” with them.  My approach as a “friend” was usually met with dubiety.  When I tried to counsel my children the reaction was mixed.  If my timing was right it went pretty well.  If not, it was unpleasant at best.  The teacher?  That was a real problem.  I somehow got it in my head that I was there to teach them a lesson.  One night my daughter told me she was going to a friends house.  She eventually told me she’d been with a boy.  I got very upset and called her a liar.  She got very upset and stormed out of the house.  I figured she needed to understand that lying was wrong.  What I failed to understand, but she later explained to me, was, she told me a fib to avoid the inevitable questioning, probing, teasing that she may have had to endure if she’d told me where she really was going. She was probably right. 

Photo by cheptu00e9 cormani on

My son who is off at college much further away than his sister, doesn’t call me much.  At least not as much as I think he should.  For a long time I waited and waited by the phone for him to call.  He said he’d call me every Monday.  Ya, right.  So I’d wait two weeks and when we finally spoke, it was not about school, not about what he was up to, no.  It was about why hadn’t he called me.  He said he would and needed to know he was irresponsible.  Right?!  This went on for longer than I’d care to admit.  One day I had an epiphany.  My son was good at many things.  But, calling me wasn’t one of them.  He wasn’t a good “caller”.  So, I decided that when I wanted to speak to my son, I’d call him.  What a revelation! 

It turns out, I am, at best, their crash test dummy.  They get to try stuff out on me.  Stand me up for dinner, forget to call, tell me little white lies, and I don’t need to make them wrong.  They do not get punished harshly.  I brush myself off, I let it go, and sometimes I let them I let them know my feelings of hurt or sadness or even anger.  What am I to my kids?  I am now, and will always be their mother. My job is to love them unconditionally.  Period. 

Joy:  a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

Kids these days.

Hello my joyful friends,

It is the end of a hot summers weekend and I am, once again, in a contemplative mood.  And, you might ask, “What makes you contemplative today, Joy?”  Young people these days make me contemplative.  And, you might ask, “What does that have to do with aging, Joy?”  And I’d say, re-read that last sentence, “young people these days?”  Come on now, that sounds like my grandfather for goodness sakes.  Well, I didn’t really know my grandfather, but it sounds like an old person, and that person is me!  Yikes!

Recently I have observed young people, 20 somethings in particular, who seem dissatisfied, to put it mildly, with the status quo.  They are up in arms about a variety of societal woes, and with good reason.  America is about to vote for a new president and the choices are, their jovial grandfather and the grumpy old grandfather around the block. They see video after video showing young black men being brutally treated by policemen who are there to protect us from violence, not create such.  They see Hispanic children ripped from the arms of their mothers at the border.  They see mass shooting after mass shooting take place.  They see a president who is so out of touch with their issues and reality, truth be told, that they have decided the system has failed them. That would piss me off too. 

Me, being a 50 something year old woman, ah hem, was enlightened last year and volunteered tirelessly for a young man, unknown to many, who was running for the democratic nomination for president.  Obviously he didn’t make the cut.  But, I did get a glimpse of how it could be.  I worked with a group of women and men, young and old, black and white and all the shades in between, gay and straight, all with the goal of making a change.  And, what united us was a message of POSITIVITY!!  It was an incredible experience and I, who have never ever been involved in politics, was standing on street corners dancing and waving signs to try and get you to honk for my candidate! 

What is not such a positive message is that young voters did not show up to vote.  They did not show up to vote for Bernie Sanders, they did not show up for Andrew Yang, they did not show up for Pete Buttigieg (INSERT SMILEY FACE HERE!) (BOOT EDGE EDGE!!), they did not show up for Cory Booker or Marianne Williamson.  They did not show up, period. 

So, the jovial grandfather wins the democratic nomination, and he’ll battle the mean spirited Mr. Trump who’s platform, many say, is a smoke screen for a message that’s based in fear, anxiety, conspiracy and suspicion.  That young people are deeply frustrated with their choices, is understandable.  Could they have made a difference had they shown up to vote in the democratic primary in 2020?  We will never know.

I am not an expert in the area of racial injustice, immigration, income inequality, or gun control. But I do know these things are tremendously important to young and old alike.  I do know that something big needs to happen to turn our country from divided to united.  I do know that we need young people to stand up and vote.  I do know that young people have the greatest stake in the future.  Every election is determined by the people who show up. 

Spark: something that sets off a sudden force

Cleaning house.

Hello my joyful friends,

Quite the cliff hanger last week, huh?

I mean, was it really that serious?  What was so wrong with trying to “help” someone change for the better.  I guess that  all depends on whose “better” we are talking about.  And, what did all of this have to do with my back anyway?  More on that in a bit.  All I knew then was I needed to stop trying to change my Mother.  I was 57 years old at the time for goodness sake.  She was my Mother, the good, the bad, and all the things in the middle.  She once told me that people are like presents, some have pretty bows and paper, but all of us eventually end up a little ripped and torn.  It was time for me to let her be.  To let her be who she was.  But, quitting a bad habit isn’t easy.  She had helped me “quit” by asking me to leave her alone.  But how was I going to “stay quit?”

Sort of by accident, I got busy, really busy.  With alcoholics, many have what they call a pink cloud when they first quit drinking, a period of time when everything in the world is beautiful, when they are happy, and seemingly without a care.  I suddenly felt that. I felt a surge of energy.  I used to come home after work and turn on Netflix for four hours then go to bed. 

Coincidentally, (I don’t believe in coincidences by the way) I had watched a series that stars a young Japanese woman who helps families get their homes, and in turn, their lives, in order. The timing was perfect. With all that energy I cleaned my house.  I mean, really cleaned.  I “tidied up” my bedroom closet, then my other closet, then my dresser, you get the picture.  The philosophy was simple. If a piece of clothing, didn’t “spark joy”, I thanked it for serving me well, then got rid of it.  I am ashamed to admit that I had a drawer that contained, and I am not kidding, 92 camisole tops.  Yes, 92!  A rainbow of silly little tops that I picked up at one store after another, $3 bucks, such a deal.  Now, that’s insanity.  I only had one house, and let me tell you, it was clean like it never had been before.  I was in it to win it! 

Something about cleaning house, about understanding what sparked joy for me and what didn’t. It had a huge impact on my life, my beliefs, how I was, in the world. But, what now? 


Spark: to set off in a burst of activity

seriously, though.

hello my joyful friends,

Putting pen to paper again.  I’m in a contemplative mood today.  In my previous two posts, as in life, I tend to joke or tell “funny” stories to avoid talking about serious things.  Truth be told, my back pain led to a major crisis of consciousness, a realization that something I had spend most of my adult life doing was no longer working for me.  The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”  That was me.

What happened that day is really irrelevant.  You kind of had to be there, you had to live it.  As with most crises, it required a change on my part. For me, change is a four letter word.  I prefer it never be uttered in reference to me.  I like routine; I like things to be the same all the time.  I have lived in the same house for almost 30 years, have had the same job for over 30 years, and always buy my cars new. I’m obviously not much of an adventurer. I don’t “fly by the seat of my pants”.  I fly by making reservations after much thought, knowing where I am going, knowing I have reservations at a comfortable hotel with air conditioning when I get there. 

So, this “crisis”, required me to stop trying to change someone into what I thought they should be.  It meant accepting wholeheartedly that this person wasn’t going to change.  Nothing I could do, say, suggest, demand, recommend, encourage, request, insist on, was going to get this person to change into the person I thought they should be.  How totally self-centered is that?  Who am I to demand someone be other than who they are? The event that precipitated my “crisis” also prompted this person to ask me not to contact them anymore.  They needed space, time.  And, apparently, the thing I had not been able to do on my own, separate from this person, had been done for me. 

But, what now?  This was a person I was very close to.  Should I be sad?  Should I be happy?  So, what happened next?  A spiritual awakening.  I had, “hit bottom” with my insane behavior.  Alcoholics do this.  They try over and over to quit drinking without success, the insanity, and some, the lucky ones, hit bottom.  Some calamity, the loss of a job, the request for a divorce from a spouse, a DUI, or worse.  This is the “a ha” moment for them.  The moment they realize that they are powerless over alcohol and their life is unmanageable. Many have a spiritual awakening. Many are able to quit drinking and stay quit.  Staying quit is the hard part. 

So, how was I going to “stay quit”?  How was I going to give up this life long (no joke) quest to create the perfect Mother?  This, my joyful friends, is no laughing matter. 

ta ta for now,


spark: something burning that flies out of a fire

Let them eat cake.

Hello my joyful friends.

Another birthday has passed.  Fitting, right?  Started a blog on aging and now, gulp, another year older.  I am debating on telling you all how old I am.  Let me know if anything over 50 really matters anyway.  I’m thinking 49 from now on.  Period, end of discussion!

By Joy

I had a joy-filled 4th of July weekend.  Of course, went to the requisite barbeque and ate the obligatory rib.  It was delicious.  Small COVID-19 compliant gathering.  Two couples and me.  Then, my birthday and dinner with recently returned home from college, 20 year old daughter, and 21 year old son.   It was wonderful. 

So, more about aging.  If you are an older adult, I’m pretty sure I am, and are in pain, which I am, it is usually lower back pain, and mine is.  Did you know that 90%, yes, 90% of people over the age of 60, have disc degeneration in their spines?  There are lots of reasons this happens and lots of ways to prevent it, although by the time you find this out, it is probably too late.  I found this out at the end of 2018. 

Got a Fitbit for Christmas (thanks, recently returned home from college daughter!) and joined Noom (am I allowed to say the name of a weight loss app?).  My newfound virtual coach suggested setting goals. So, mine was steps.  How many steps did I walk in a day?  Around 5,000, which sounded like a lot to me, I was a bit of a couch potato at the time.  It turns out, I can take a lot more steps than that.  Cut to the chase, I showed that lady I was up to the challenge, 12,000 steps in a day?  Piece ‘o cake.

That’s when things started to go sideways. Hills is what did me in.  All that climbing caused my hip flexors to shorted, and that caused my back to start hurting.  After a year of scanning, poking, prodding, advice giving, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, I tried it all (except pain pills…not going down that road!), it seems there is no cure for my condition.  I have arthritis that is causing a narrowing of the sciatic nerve canal.  Don’t quote me on that.  I’m no doctor, although at this point in time, at my advanced age of 49 (again!) I feel like it. 

You may ask, “What is joyful about that?!”  Well, I’ll tell you about all the amazing things that happened to me as a result of my back pain in future posts.  I read an article about “10 ways to Get More People to Read Your Blog” and she said a lot of things, most of which I don’t know how to do like, a hashtag, or Instagram, or even a live video?!  So, I’ll just keep blogging, because the number one reason she gave was to update you regularly, so that’s the plan. 

Ta ta for now.


Spark: to start a fire

Here goes nuthin.

Hello my joyful friends,

Shout out to all the bloggers, writers, and procrastinators! Today I am joining the ranks of the millions of bloggers out there.  A year ago I knew what a blog was; at least I thought I did.  I’m a middle-aged, empty nester.  And, I love it.  At least I was until my daughter came home from college for spring break and never left.  There is a nasty flu going around and it has caused the country, nar I say, the world, to come to a screeching halt. 

See, that’s my problem.  Tangents!  I go off on a tangent and forget what I was trying to say.  Today, I am a blogger.  I set aside an hour of time to blog.  This is my third session.  These are the first 130 words I’ve written.  Day one the tangent was, reading about blogging, and then finding a domain.  2.5 hours later I own  Self explanatory I hope, “I am aging joyfully!” (“I am” affirmation!).  I feel the pull of the tangent, but am righting the course…day two was “mapping my domain to the host” which isn’t as easy as it sounds, well, actually it sounds hard to me.  1.5 hours.  Still, no words on paper.

Day three – 1 hour spent “chatting” with my domain site trying to get the “mapping” right.  Oh lordy!  The good news is that, today, at this moment in time, I AM A BLOGGER!  Yay me!  My birthday, “gulp” is on Sunday so happy birthday to me!

So, what am I blogging about?  My favorite topic, me!  I AM totally self centered and think my experiences, thoughts, insights, are completely appropriate to share with the world.  Specifically, I’ll be talking, blogging, writing, whatever, about my experience with growing old.  And, my attempt to do so with joyful enthusiasm.  I mean really, if we don’t laugh we’ll cry!  Right? 

I’ll tell you the exact moment I knew I needed to be a blogger.  I am experiencing signs of aging, (we’ll talk more about that later), and in this particular instance I decided to visit my local drug store in search of something to make my toe better.  This would be my second visit within a few weeks, to find something to cure an ailment on my foot.  The first, visit a few weeks earlier, was for a blister I had on the outside of my pinky toe.  It just wouldn’t go away and hurt like hell.  (Am I, a blogger, allowed to say “hell”?) So I spotted this little round cushion with a hole in the middle of it, and I thought “Perfect!”  Then I saw that this cute little doohickey was for corns!!!???!!!  I had a corn??!!  No, no, no…corns are what old people have, right?  But, onward and upward, I’ve been treating the corn for a week or two now, it’s a little better. 

That day, (yes, the day realized I had to be a blogger, try and keep up people!) I wanted to see if there was anything to help the discomfort of this weird thickening of the nail on the toe right next to the big toe on the same foot. As I strolled down the foot care aisle, again, I saw this little thingamajig that would prop my toe up so it didn’t point down in my shoe where that callous was on the end of my toe.  This device was for, wait for it, oh God, no, it can’t be…a HAMMERTOE!  What the hell! (I’m just gonna keep saying it when appropriate, my apologies to all who are offended)  Yes, it appears I have a hammertoe. 

Now, I know you are wondering how my stroll down the foot care aisle, and subsequent thought to purchase stock in Dr. Scholl’s, (Private Company – drat!) led to my blog.  Here’s the truth, as embarrassing as it is.  I was driving home from the drug store that day, practicing, yes practicing, in my head, the hysterically funny story I was going to tell my recently returned home from college, 20 year old daughter, about the hammertoe.  Yes, a story about my hammertoe!  An “aha” moment if there ever was one. 

More will be revealed in time.

Ta ta for now!


Spark: a very small bit of something