The Joy Project

Little Moments of Big Love

Category: Familia

Newly Engaged

On 12.12.12 Don proposed and I accepted! We are becoming a family.

My sister just brought her son into the world. He is made of parts of me.

We’ve been looking at old family photos and talking who would come to weddings and who has his eyes.

It’s made my really think about family and the adding and the joining and the bringing in of new people and the losing of others.

This video seems particularly important to me today. And especially this lyric: Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing, like the love that let us share our name.


Forever Young

I like to think that when it comes to being a hypochondriac, I was a bit of a child prodigy.

My earliest memory of my certain and imminent death came after 5th grade sex ed class. I now know that I should have come back from that class feeling sorry/horrified for my male classmates and the fact that they had to walk around every day attached to penises, which are probably the weirdest and most poorly behaved pets in the universe. But I was too busy planing my funeral, because I was sure that I not only had AIDS, but I was also pregnant!

What led me to belive such things? Was I sexually active in 5th grade, you ask? Well no (boys are gross!), but that certainly didn’t matter. Because I was achy and had a runny nose, which was undeniable proof that I was very, very sick and also soon to be a mother.

I’m also quite certain I had scarlet fever when I was young. I remember fevered dreams, passing in and out of consciousness, my family surrounding my death-bed, just like Beth in Little Women (in my memory I am wearing a night-cap and the room is lit by candlelight). Although when I ask my mom about it, she claims it was “just” strep throat and I only missed two days of school. Pssh.

I also discovered a brain tumor after an especially poignant episode of ER (headache), self-diagnosed  a very severe case of dengue fever while travelling in Brazil (heat rash), and during the height of the anthrax attacks in 2001, I cried on my bathroom floor, begging for Cipro, and, certain the terrorists had targeted me and Tom Brokaw, I told my parents goodbye (urinary tract infection).

You don’t even want to know about all the scary and terminal illness that pop up when you type in “tired” “malaise” “hungry” and “itchy dry skin” into Web MD. I was certain I would never make it past 24 years old and people would talk about me like they do James Dean and WWII soldiers, and children with cancer, and everyone else who was so brave but died before their time, may God rest their souls.

And then a miracle happened.

I fell in love.

I fell in love with this healthy, glorious, Adonis-like creature who takes vitamins and eats tofu and wears spandex when he exercises and is brimming with energy and fervor.

And suddenly I want to live, to LIVE goddamnit!

I want to be with this man forever, into old age, and then die together at exactly the same time like that old couple who died spooning on the bed in that movie Titanic, or at least like June and Johnny Cash, separated by only a few miserable, lonely months apart.

To ensure our mutual health, I’ve stocked our cabinets with coconut water and kale and fish oil. I monitor our aluminum cans for BPA and spring for the organic apples (why do I have to pay twice the amount for the worm hole and bruises?). We wear seat belts and have a gun safe and an emergency plan in case of zombie and/or gas attacks. I keep my mind fresh by doing math problems in my head, I have daily stretches, and I never, ever microwave the Tupperware! Like a modern-day Clair Huxtable, I worry about his sodium consumption and his blood pressure. If only Rudy would stop feeding him sweets!

I just read this awesome article on the New York Times about a Greek Island that has an above average amount of old people and where plagues like alzheimer’s and cancers are kept at bay. They called it “The Island Where People Forget to Die.” It made me happy! We can do this, he and I. If we drink enough red wine and eat our leafy greens, we can be together forever.

It’s funny how the fear of losing something you love so dearly can make you seize life so fervently.

The photo is also from the New York Times article, and also what I hope my man looks like some day.

The End of Missing Someone

I am traveling to visit my Sister tomorrow. I can’t wait for the bringing together, and the end of missing her.

I also loved the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Froer.

And if you’re short on time, the opening scene from Love Actually.

There’s nothing like being reunited with someone you’ve missed in your bones.

It All Started With 2 Tickets To Europe…


Sorry I disappeared this summer.

I was on the biggest Joy Project of them all.

This is where I went.


Happy Mother’s Day

Happy day to all my favorite Moms and especially my Mama. I hope you have a lovely day.

Sadly, my cat did not make me breakfast in bed.

Cabin Porn










In the foot steps of our parents, who both own random and glorious wee houses in the middle of nowhere, Best Friend Karen and I have plans to buy a cabin when we’re older.

It’s going to be cooky, and communal, and we’ll have christmas lights up all year-round. We’ll probably have old-timey pictures on the walls of people we don’t even know, and a record player, which is mandatory for any decent eccentric second home. But it will also have a stockpile of really good wine and plenty of books, and probably an expensive grill to make fish tacos on. Her children will chase hummingbirds, I’ll take as many baths as I chose. It will be glorious!

Some people dream of mansions and expensive cars–we just want something that smells of fireplace and whiskey to call our very own.

To feed the dream while we save, Karen sent me this wonderful website:  It’s safe for work I promise. And by “safe for work”, I mean you might get lost in a daydream about living somewhere peaceful and quiet and accidentally miss a deadline and then perhaps get fired or at least receive a stern talking to by your Boss, but it certainly doesn’t include any naked ladies.


All images from

I Miss Your Face Like Hell (Rivers and Roads)

It used to be that everyone I loved lived in a five mile radius of my house.

These days you are own your own adventures in Kansas and London and the City of Angels.

This morning I am missing you.

A lot, a lot.

I sing the lyrics to this song out loud so you can hear me (can you hear me?). But when I get to the line “and my family lives in a different state” I get choked up.

Not because I’m sad, but because I love you.

PS: Who wants to be in my band?



The Holidays

We didn’t give gifts this year.  Trying instead to be frugal, and creative, and sustainable.

But we still received gifts, you know?

Because we spent time together after time spent apart.  And cooked food with love.  And listened to music and played games and laughed.

I spent Christmas Eve night on a sofa sleeper in my mom’s living room.  Like a child.  Only also with my boyfriend.  So more like a poor, slutty, college student (is that statement redundant?).

And I might have accidentally gotten my family drunk at brunch.  Because this Christmas besides the gift of my love, I also gave a signature drink.

It was probably my favorite Christmas ever.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Honey Badger


I found this awesome cocktail on a cute blog called The Honey Badger.  Which is named in honor of this funny youtube video that went viral a little while back.

Anyhoo, the cocktail sounded delish so I decided to bring it as part of my contribution to Christmas day celebrations.

We had it at brunch.  It sounded safe.  But then my family all got drunk over their french toast and we had to take naps afterwards.

The honey badger is one crazy ass cocktail.

And later my mom kept asking for some of that nice Honey Beaver or  Honey Bastard and we all giggled.

You should make some and then watch the youtube video.

what you’ll need:

– 1 orange sliced into wedges
– 1 bottle of champagne (doesn’t even have to be the good stuff)
– 1 oz of st. germain (if you don’t have this in your liquor cabinet, or on your fancy bar cart – get it- immediately!!)
– 1 oz of honey syrup : so here’s the thing.  honey syrup sounds very fancy.  it’s not.  you do have to make it, but it’s really easy and it will most definitely get you respect amongst your peers once you have it in your arsenal.
– i encourage you to tell people that you make your own honey syrup, offer it up to them to put in their ice tea or just find a way to sneak it into conversation, like, “did you watch the bachelorette last night?  is that honey syrup?”

what to do:

– first you need to make the aforementioned honey syrup.
– heat 1 cup honey and 1 cup water in a pan, stirring until it simmers then remove from heat.  once cooled you can pour it into a cute jam jar or glass bottle and store in the fridge.


– add 1 oz of the cooled honey syrup to your favorite cocktail glass
– also add the st. germain


– squeeze one of the orange wedges into the mixture and plop the wedge into the glass
– top off the glass with champagne, give it a quick stir and you’re all set.


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

%d bloggers like this: