The Joy Project

Little Moments of Big Love

Category: About me

There Is A Point To This Story

Hey guess what? I am quirky! Which was horribly painful in middle school, and continues to be so in most work meetings.

But lately nerd culture is “in”.  With the rise of Tina Fey, being a frizzy-haired woman with awkward hands and a big imagination is suddenly cool! Well, maybe not cool, but at least respected. Well, maybe not respected, but at least part of the zeitgeist. Wait, did I just say “zeitgeist”? Ya I did. I’m trendy, people, deal with it.

Seriously though, about a year ago, Zooey Deschanel brought her TV show “New Girl” to Fox. I personally don’t have TV, and watch most shows on the internet at my computer, with my cat. Which typically means I am way out of the loop on what’s current in TV land. For example, I just finished watching that show “24”. You try name-dropping “Jack Bauer” at lunch in 2012 and see how many crickets you hear–it definitely doesn’t help my quirky status.

As Zooey’s show grew in popularity, more and more people started commenting on the similarities between she and I. I like her, but I was really starting to get sick of being called “adorkable” (a mixture of adorable and dorky) by the accounting guy everytime I turned in my time card.

So I decided to check out the show. I think it’s great. The characters are well written, her character is vulnerable and trusting, the plots are funny and she made wearing glasses hot. Plus she plays a teacher who really cares about her students, which I think is cool and important. I’ll happily take any comparisons between Zooey and myself, especially if it means “‘being yourself” is now mainstream (don’t worry, I’m still the weirdest person in my office).

And then the show went on summer hiatus, and I continued being adorkable on my own.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. My co-workers started asking “had I seen the season 2 of the New Girl yet”?  No I hadn’t, because I was busy catching up on this awesome new show I just discovered called “Lost”; what’s up with that polar bear?

When I finally got some free time I sat down at my computer and watched the opening episode.

Here’s a scene (you must watch this clip. It is integral to the story and I am not going to tell you what happens)

And then, the next week, I was abruptly laid off too.

Yep. Like some cute harbinger of unemployment, I watched Zooey get laid off, and then I got served my own walking papers.

It sucks and my feelings are hurt, and I am sure you will hear more about it in the weeks to come. But at least I get a whole season of watching my silly and funny doppelgänger go through the same ups and downs that I’ll face.

Seriously though, she better not find another job before me.

The whole episode is funny. You should watch it:


Circus, Circus

A few months back I travelled to my favorite spot in Mexico with a few good girlfriends.  It was lovely.  They are the girlfriends that know me and love me still.  This far into our friendship, I didn’t think there was much that I could say or do that would surprise them.

One evening on our trip we were enjoying a lovely dinner outside, people watching, melting into the candle light, discussing life.  All of a sudden the sound of a booming man’s voice came out over unseen loud speakers, children started running towards the sound.  Soon a black truck appeared, swarmed by the kids, and their parents, the mexican man’s voice still booming and bouncing off the walls of the cafe.  Calling the children to come closer, hurry, hurry, hurry! And into our view, behind the truck came the source of all the joy and excitement; there was a cage with one sad tiger, and it’s shaggy, sleepy lion friend.

The Mexican Circus was in town.

And on this little island in Mexico, it was big news.  Even thought it was well past ten in the evening, more and more  people came streaming down the street, babies were pushed up against the cage to see the big animals, cameras flashed, the loud-speaker still cracking, the truck stopped in its tracks as the road became impassable.

And as my girlfriends sat a bit confused, a bit dismayed at the state of the animals, I swooned.  I said dreamily; “the Mexican Circus makes me miss my boyfriend.”

My gals pals swiveled their heads from the melee back to look at me.  I think maybe they thought I was making a joke.  When they saw the far away look on my face, they realized I was entirely serious, and right in the middle of a world-class twitterpation.  The Mexican Circus was my Paris, my Venetian gondola, my champagne and fireworks.

When I finally snapped out of it and saw that they were looking at me as if I just said “Sometimes I eat my own fingernails” or “Let’s watch some football”, I realized I had surprised my unsurprisable girlfriends and needed to clarify.

I said, “He and I like the circus.  It’s kinda our thing.”  Not like Ringling Brothers clowns and screaming children, but like old-timey-Water For Elephants-Depression-era carnival-Bearded Lady-Circuses.  We like the idea of them.  I think they are quirky and romantic and nostalgic and old-fashioned.  Just like we are.

“But Mexican circuses?” my gal pals asked.

“You see”, I explained, “right before I left for my girlfriend trip, the boyfriend found a documentary about Mexican Circuses, because he knew I liked Circuses and I love Mexico”.

“And he actually watched it with you?” they asked.

“Yes, of course, that’s how great he is.”  He watches documentaries about Mexican circuses with me.

And they said “wow”, which I think was part “you have a really nice boyfriend” and also “you are super weird”.

And it made me realize that I am quirky and so is my relationship but it is special just for us, and what works for me might not work for others and that I don’t have a boyfriend that has stock options or a briefcase but I do have a boyfriend that loves me enough to watch a sad lion tamer yell in spanish subtitles.

And that makes me think that the world is right, and just as it should be.

Image via Tumblr

Happy New Year!


My resolution for 2012 is to strive to feel, more often than not, like this:




I hope you have a blessed and happy 2012.

Please Make a Box For My Heart and Line It With Cotton Balls

Sometimes (most of the time) I am too damn sensitive.  I swear it’s like I’m Temple Grandin‘s more stylish sister.  Only without all the cows.

For example, on a pretty regular basis, I sit down at my computer and I sort all my songs on itunes by # of plays.  And then I scroll down all the way to the bottom and I pick a song that has only been played once, or maybe never played at all.

And I listen to it.

Just so that the song can have a higher play count.

Which means when I should be spending my mornings before work fist pumping to the new Florence and the Machine anthem, instead I listen to a crappy Joan Osborne song. A song that I downloaded for a mix CD ten years ago that I gave to my Mom but never listened to.

Let’s be honest. My Mom probably never listened to it either.

And I do all this just so the song feels better about itself compared to all the other songs.

Ya. Really.

It wasn’t til tonight that I sat down to listen to another zero song that I realized having empathy for music is effffffffing WEIRD.

Even more embarrassingly, my number one top played song ever on my computer is…It’s Like That by Mariah Carey.

Ya. It’s like that ya’ll.

To Make A Family

This past Thanksgiving we went around the table and said what we were thankful for.  Good health, babies, and stable jobs were all mentioned and celebrated.  When it came to be my turn I said “I am thankful for the family you make.”

I happened to be celebrating Thanksgiving with my best friend’s parents, and their children, and their in-laws.  Which is who I have celebrated with for the past many years.  It’s become tradition.  And I love it.  I am their “other daughter” and they have welcomed Don like a Son.

I did miss my other family terribly; my mother and sister and so on, but they are also out creating new traditions with other families that they made.  And those families are now my family too.

Today my Dad was driving me to work (he’s my step-dad officially, but Dad none-the-less) and he said something about his “Son-in-law” (who is my sister’s boyfriend, but Son none-the-less).  It made me smile.

My boyfriend considers my mom to be his Mother-in-law, some of my favorite cousins are not related to me by blood, and I am definitely my best friend’s son’s Aunt.

If I drew my family tree it would look more like wild jungle with a lush canopy.  Or maybe a field of sunflowers all facing the same direction.

Aunt Sus and Uncle Stanton, my Sister Karen, and my second mom Karen Lopez, the Funkes and the Farrs, the Cornejos and Meyers, would all be there too.

We have made the most beautiful family.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. 
Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.  –Richard Bach, Illusions

A smooth neck

Hey, know what’s better than doing a loooooong hike to an alpine lake and then eating all-you-can-eat Indian buffet with good friends?

Doing a loooooong hike to an alpine lake and then eating all-you-can-eat Indian buffet with good friends and having the tiny Nepali waitress check your ID and say “wow, you look really young”.

Granted, that means you have to be kinda old so that when the tiny-doll waitress looks at your real age on your ID she is surprised by how young you look comparatively. But I’ll take it. I almost asked her to admire my flawless and youthful looking eye skin (I’ve been using a fancy cream) but I thought that might be pushing it.

So I just high-fived her and told her to bring me a beer.

Do you know what is less cool than enjoying a long day at work at a golf tournament to raise money for the youth of Denver while eating delicious chips and salsa?

Enjoying a long day at work at a golf tournament to raise money for the youth of Denver while eating delicious chips and salsa and then having your new staff that you just hired point out how incredibly awkward you are on four separate occasions and having her be completely right.

I just high-fived her and told her to bring me a beer.

Are You There Joy Project? It’s Me, Alison.

Oh hey. There you are.

Turns out I am one of those people who gets into a relationship and stops doing all the things I used to do.

You know; calling friends, mowing the lawn, buying anything more than coffee and shaving cream at the grocery store.

My cat, mom, and neighbors are irritated. Or they miss me. Or both.

But you can’t live on martinis and happiness forever. And I must continue my joy project. Because maybe blogging about joy is what led to more joy? Wasn’t that the point?

It’s like if I stopped eating once I finally learned to cook. Or as if I finally got the hang of gardening and grew a big fat rose and then decided never to touch dirt ever again.

It just doesn’t make sense, darn it. I’ve got more joy to attract and document. I can’t promise I’ll post everyday; but I’ll try my best.

I’m sorry I kept you waiting.

And Mom; I promise to call more often.

Happy Birthday Henry

Between Saturday and today I have:

Eaten fish tacos twice.

Celebrated Father’s Day with a true gentleman.

Gone on two picnics.

Gone on two bike rides.

Celebrated the birth of my sister’s baby, Henry.

Really put myself out there.

Gone on a date.

Walked three different dogs.

Respectfully disagreed with my boss.

Changed my sheets.

I was feeling sleepy today and wondering why…guess it’s because I just packed a lot of living into a few little days.

Somewhere between 8 and 60

It’s funny conundrum that I as I continue growing older I keep the previous ages inside me.

Sometimes, when I have a bad day, all I want is to curl up and have someone play with my hair like when I was three years old.

And lately I’ve been dressing more like the 21-year-old me again.

I feel like one of those Russian dolls with all the little dolls stacked inside of it. And I certainly never feel “just 30”.

Today is an especially good example of this phenomena.

I was just gifted a sweet wooden ladder for my “hay loft” in my shed. It gets hidden away in a secret location so only invited guests can use it (no boys allowed). It makes my secret clubhouse complete! That puts me at about 10, right?

And today I am getting insulation put on the house. I got the most energy efficient level I could and am hoping for a tax write off (I am also getting my water heater wrapped). And I’m really excited! I’ve been planning for this since I bought the house. Which makes me feel somewhere in the neighborhood of 55.

It’s confusing to feel a different age all the time. But I am hoping it will all average out to a really kick ass 30-year-old (with the wrinkle free skin of a child of course!).

Touche John Donne, Touche.

It’s been said that no man is an island. I tend to disagree.

But then I got some bad news the other night and fell apart all over the best friend. The next day I apologized profusely and expected that she should chide me for acting all uncivilized and blubbery, and perhaps for getting snot on her car seat. But instead she thanked me for letting her into the inner workings of my heart.

(I’m so happy she is my friend.)

The next day my bonus Dad, mom and kid-sister’s boyfriend spent their whole Sunday vacuuming rotted leaves and prehistoric worms out of my pond, chopping wood, reaching things that were taller than me and other general homesteading acts as assigned. It was like a modern-day barn raising.

(I am so happy they are my family.)

And today I asked my posse for rides to and from the airport and they said yes. They said yes to a round trip drive to the airport when they could spend that precious time doing something else infinitely more interesting.

(I am so happy they are my posse.)

I’m known for keeping people at arms’ length (anything closer than that feels all stiflely and scary) and trusting or asking for help is really, really difficult for me. But lately I’ve got this amazing group of people who make me want to move off the island and consider a time share in their safety nets.

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