Missed Opportunities

Because I was so focused on the task at hand, I missed the opportunity . . .

  • to notice the tiny red flower pushing through the crack in the sidewalk
  • to tell a colleague who is going through a rough patch that she looks lovely today.
  • to finish a sentence.
  • to identify animal shapes in the clouds.
  • to appreciate the glory of a changing season.
  • to give my cat a much-appreciated chin scratch.
  • to measure the wealth of my blessings
  • to read the final chapter of the book that has been waiting by my chair for my return.
  • to run my fingers through my husband’s hair.
  • to call (not text) a friend.
  • to go outdoors and fill my lungs with fresh, clean air.
  • to hug my son and daughter.
  • to close my eyes and listen to the flowing water of the neighbor’s water fountain.
  • to feel the softness of my heavy, red robe.
  • to grow an herb garden.
  • to bake (and share) cookies.
  • to stomp in a puddle.
  • to ‘Like’ a photo posted by a friend on Facebook.
  • to color with crayons.
  • to look out the window.
  • to find out where that gravel road goes.
  • to feel the dew in the grass.

Because I was so focused on the task at hand . . .




Not a Cook

A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I were planning a girls trip together. One of the last things to sort out was the food. A text message was sent to us by the main planner that contained the sentence, “Joyce is not a cook.” She wasn’t being mean-spirited, she was merely stating a fact. Still, seeing it in black and white, it kind of stung a little.

fabulous cookLuckily, she didn’t say I’m a bad cook! But, then, I do have a kitchen in my house for the resale value. I can follow a recipe easily enough and can change ingredients a little to suit our tastes (okay, my taste, but that’s beside the point). Occasionally, some of what I cook turns out oh, so fabulous—the first time around. Second time, not even close! I envy cooks who can turn what’s in my refrigerator into a gourmet meal. In fact, I’d like to envy one right now. Can one come to my house tonight?

According to Chowhound, there are ten signs of a bad cook. I meet six of the criteria—60%. That shouldn’t make me a total lost case, should it? (You can find the complete article here: http://goo.gl/OqCGr1.)

  1. The person has long acrylic manicured nails.
           (My nails are my own, homegrown nails—splits, ridges and all!)
  2. They’ve got a pantry filled with iffy ingredients, like cream of mushroom soup and sauce mixes, jars of garlic paste, pre-grated Parmesan cheese.
            (~Sigh~ Guilty as charged.)
  3. Their kitchen’s too clean.
           (Not my kitchen! I think I saw a ‘too clean’ kitchen once in a model home. It was unreal.)
  4. They cling to a belief that any one ingredient, such as bacon, truffle oil, or Sriracha, makes any dish better.
            (Really? Bacon always makes anything taste better!)
  5. They don’t salt their food.
            (I salt almost everything. Except ice cream.)
  6. The names Sandra Lee or Rachael Ray come up.
            (Hello, my name is Joyce and I watch Rachael Ray.)
  7. They’ve got dull knives and poor knife skills.
            (Watching cooking shows has taught me to own very good knives, own my own sharpener, and my knife skills are superb. Comes in quite handy for cutting cake, ice cream, and grilled cheese sandwiches.)
  8. Their kitchen has a dearth of local ingredients.
            (If I’m not going to cook it, then why should I buy it?)
  9. They show a lack of discernment between different styles of the same ingredient.
            (This one puts me kind of in the middle. I’m familiar with the different styles of lots of ingredients. Cottage cheese, for example, comes in large curd and small curd. And, cans of tuna are packed in either oil or water. See? I’m not a total cooking moron.)
  10. They make well-done steaks.
            (Yes, I like my steaks well done. What’s wrong with that?)

Anyone up for tuna casserole? With bacon, of course.


Don’t Touch My Feet!

One afternoon, when I was about nine years old, a friend of the family who was visiting stubbed her toe. Concerned she may have broken it, she sat at the wood dining table with her foot on her husband’s lap while he gently held her foot, inspecting the toe, feeling around it as gingerly as possible with his fingers. I stood nearby watching the scene intently, concerned for our friend’s toe and making an important life decision. I was never going to get married because my husband may have to touch my feet. One possible future path rejected right then and there.

Over the years, inventing excuses to decline friends’ invitations to join them for pedicures has forced me to become very creative. “Sorry, I’ll be inventing a new cooking method that day.” “Wearing polish on my toes is against my religion.” “My sister is planning a surprise party for me and I’m in on the secret. Shhh.” “I’m planning to be arrested that day.”

A few years ago, I suffered severe pain from a bunion. Doctor appointments were excruciating–not because of the pain in my foot, but from the anxiety felt as the doctor and x-ray technicians examined my foot. I asked the surgeon if he could perform the surgery without touching my foot. Could he perform the surgery on a photograph of my foot? Good thing he has a sense of humor.

A few months after the surgery (on the actual toe–not a photo), when I asked my husband to please help me stretch my toe as necessary to help in healing, I was brought back to the years-ago scene at the wood dining table . I felt I may owe an explanation to the nine-year-old version of myself for ignoring the resolution she made that day so long ago.

Yesterday, I had a major breakthrough. I had my first full-body massage. Yep. Feet included. Two friends and I are currently on a girls trip. My friends were planning massages and scrubs before soaking in the hot springs and I really wanted to be one of the cool kids, too. At first, I asked for only a neck/shoulder massage, but the appeal of a free pass to the hot springs pools was simply too irresistible. Full-body massage, it is. My friend, Donna, mentioned the foot massage and I began to panic a bit. A stranger touching my body was one major hurdle to overcome, but OMG–the feet!?!?

I’m very happy to report that my very first massage went very well. Until the foot massage portion. Pretty sure my whole relaxed body tensed up immediately upon the initial rub of the heel. However, I didn’t stop him. Can’t evaluate or comment on something you didn’t experience. Once the feet were done, the body relaxed once again and my head could continue to enjoy the soothing background music.

While I don’t think I’m cured of this unknown phobia of people touching my feet, I do think I’ve made some progress. An Internet search reveals that others suffer from this affliction as well, but I’ve been unable to find a support group. Hello, my name is Joyce and I don’t want anyone to touch my feet. Really. Don’t Touch My Feet.


Right Turns–Choice or Destiny?

As I sit here staring at a pile of folders on my desk, I can’t help but wonder, “How did I get here?” At what point in my life did a sudden right turn get me to this particular chair and this particular desk at this particular day and time? What will be waiting for me at the next sudden right turn? If past experiences are influencing any of the turns I’ve made and will make, are they effecting those turns negatively or positively? Or is it possible my right turns are purely random? What roadblocks were put in my way to force me to make a right turn too soon or too late? Choice or destiny? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m okay with sitting here staring at a pile of folders. (Okay, I’m lying. I’d prefer these folders were not taunting me right now. Unless they were made of chocolate. That’d be cool.)red-folder-icon

What would happen if I completely ignore the pile of folders on my desk? I assume they’ll still be there tomorrow, but will my inaction make any difference to any of my future right turns? I already know that none of these folders contain anything urgent as I use a color code for tasks: Clear=bills; Red=urgent, but not bills; Yellow=Pending; Blue=To Do or non-urgent tasks; Green=ongoing projects of a non-urgent nature. (Yes, I use the same color coding in Outlook as well. Pathetic, isn’t it?) All the folders in this particular pile are blue and green—five of each, in fact. (Notice I’ve chosen to count the folders rather than open one up to deal with what’s inside.) Some of the green-folder projects are short-term and don’t require much research or planning. Others require more in-depth work and a considerable amount of time. The blue-folder tasks, while not urgent, are single-task items. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to take care of all the clear and red folder items yesterday, would I have had time to complete a project in one or two of these remaining folders then? Would I have four blue folders and five green folders instead? Okay, so I’d still have to deal with the clear and red folders today, wouldn’t I? Was I this organized (or anal, if you prefer) as a child? (The answer to that question is “Yes” by the way.)

Destined or not, I’ve come to the conclusion that my right turns are influenced by color coding. And, obviously, I wrote this in procrastination at tackling the projects contained in those definitely-not-chocolate folders.


Side Note: I use the word ‘right’ in this case as I believe this is the right place for me now.