Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Today’s whine: I had to go into the Social Security office today. I was turning in documents on an application I began last week. I had an appointment for one o’clock. I drove to the building and it wasn’t there. I was a health center. I had been to that building several years ago but, apparently, they moved! They are still on the same street so when I was told on the phone that it was on Division Street, I figured it was in the same place and I wasn’t given the address. Luckily, I had left home an hour early. (Yeah, I’m that person that is afraid to be late so she leaves super early.) I got to the right address but there were no parking spaces. The two handicap spots were taken and so were the “low emission fuel vehicle” spots (which I was surprised to see and there were four of those). I had to park on the street but the closest parking was about four long blocks away. So I gave it another go and got there just as someone was leaving the handicap spot so I grabbed it. Yay! I signed in with time to spare but the guy my appointment was with was late back from lunch so he was a half hour late for my appointment. In the process of applying, they had to update my name because the last person put my middle name (which is my married name) as the last name and hyphenated it with my maiden name (which is now my legal name). After reviewing all of the documents and making copies, he changed the name to Corina Martinez Carrasco, leaving off my middle name which is Joy, because my birthday is on Christmas Day. So in the process of filing for spousal benefits (he’s old enough to retire, I am not but I can get his retirement benefits), I lost my Joy! I want it back. I think I might look into the process for a legal name change and get rid of the Martinez and get my Joy back! See, he’s still taking things from me, like my Joy!

The wine today is actually from last night. My daughter took me to Trader Joe’s for some Two Buck Chuck which used to be two dollars but is now actually three dollars. It’s pretty good wine for the price. I owed my daughter three dollars because she bought me a box of coffee pods so she said she would take a bottle of wine instead so we got her bottle and I got three to put away for myself, one of which I will most likely take to the birthday party on Saturday because it’s a BYOB thing. I’ll share a bottle of white zinfandel.

And the more! I’m enjoying writing letters. It is bringing back a lot of memories, like the one from the previous post, Sealed With A Kiss. When was the last time YOU wrote a letter? Why not try writing a few this month. You don’t have to go full out Incowrimo but you could write a few!

Gotta run! I’ve those letters to write!

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Yesterday, I got a call from my daughter asking if I wanted to go to the Columbia Sportswear Employee store. She gets employee discount privileges there as they are partners with the hotel she works for.  Everything in the store is at least 50% off.  So I went out with them.  I got what I wanted to get: weather proof shoes, a light jacket, and a “snow suit” (not for me but for someone I’ll be sharing about soon).  They were still shopping and the kids were getting antsy so I gave my daughter the money for my purchases and went out with the kids.  We walked around in the parking lot as there’s not a lot to do there (kind of an industrial area).  But the kids still loved it.  We looked at the trees in the lot, most of which have pretty colored leaves right now and we talked about why the leaves change colors.  They picked up pretty leaves and brought them home like they were treasures! We looked at the moon rising and talked about why it was only a half moon and not a circle.  We sang songs and practiced counting.

They were so happy just being outdoors and getting their pretty leaves.  I was happy too and it occurred to me that this is what it’s about: being in the moment with them; enjoying them; loving them.

I feel so lucky to have these little moments with them. I hope I have many more.


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I am an avid reader.  I also have failing eyesight.  I am legally blind without corrective lenses.  This keeps me from reading.  I would struggle to read (with my contacts on and two pair of reader glasses one over the other) for twenty or so minutes just to have to stop and rest my eyes for another half hour or so before trying to read again.  My son works for amazon.  When the Kindle ereader came out years ago, he suggested that I might want to get one.  They were near $300 at the time and I did not like the fact that I had to pay around $10 for most books I would want to read.  I was used to buying my books at used bookstores for only a dollar or two.  That’s how I could afford to read as much as I did.  The only time I spent full price on print books was when a new Grisham novel was released or the Harry Potter series.  Other books I would wait til I could find at a used bookstore.

For Christmas of 2009, there was nothing on my Christmas list.  The only thing I wanted was to spend one more year with all three of my children before everyone scattered even more.  That year, my older daughter and I were living in Oregon.  My son was in California and my youngest daughter was in Baltimore at college.  My older daughter was also pregnant.  My fear was that we wouldn’t get to be together for that Christmas and then the precedent would be set and we would not ever have a Christmas together again.  So that’s what was important to me…getting us all together.  I posted an ad on craigslist in the California city where I wanted to spend the holidays, asking if anyone had a house or small apartment that we could use for a family Christmas and I explained what our situation was and who would be staying there.  One woman replied almost immediately.  She said she had never done anything like that but that my ad caught  her attention and she and her husband would be out of their townhouse for the holidays.  We settled on a price and they sent a contract for me to sign and my son went to see the place before I signed the contract.  It all worked out and we had a place to spend the holiday together.  My wish had come true and I was happy.

On Christmas morning, I was given my gift.  Christmas is also my birthday so the gift was for both Christmas and birthday and it was from all three of the kids.  I opened it and it was a Kindle (It was actually Kindle 2 for those in the know).  I wasn’t sure I would keep it but I pretended to like it when my son showed me how to set it up and use it.  They had also included a gift card for $20 so I could buy my first couple of books.  He said I had 30  days to try it out and it could be retuned if I didn’t like it.  I went along with it and downloaded my first book (True Compass: A Memoir by Edward M. Kennedy).  When I got a chance to use it that night, I liked it.  I just wasn’t sure about having to spend so much on books.  The next day I got out my laptop and looked online and found many sources for free books for the Kindle.  So I started to download free books.

I fell in love with that Kindle!  Since then I have upgraded to the Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3) and hope to buy myself the new Voyager in the next couple of months.  I read more now than I ever have and spend a lot less.  I have also joined several websites where I earn points that can be cashed in for amazon gift cards.  I use those gift cards exclusively for my Kindle books.  Some months I get only $5 in gift cards but I have also gotten as much as $35 in free amazon gift cards in one month.  That buys me a l ot of Kindle books for, basically “free”.  It just cost me some time and a little bit of effort filling out surveys and writing reviews.

Since then, my vision has worsened so much that I can no longer read print books at all so if it were not for Kindle, I would be a very unhappy and very frustrated reader.

That was probably the most surprising gift I have ever received!

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When my kids were little, we lived in southern California and each year, we would drive to nearby Pasadena to look at the Christmas decorations at the Balian Mansion (the Balian family owns a creamery with a locally well known ice cream) and then on to Christmas Tree Lane (where the huge pine trees are decorated by the neighborhood and lights strung across from one side of the street to the other for three or four blocks) and then on to a church that performed a live drive-thru nativity each year.

The drive-thru nativity was done only over one weekend each year and was a hugely popular attraction.  We would line up each year, sometimes three or four blocks away from the entrance and wind our way until it was our turn to drive-thru.  At the entrance we got a program with the narration for each scene.  As we drove through at about 4 or 5 miles per hour, there was plenty of time to stop at each scene and read the narration from the program so the kids would know what was going on in each scene.  When we finished, we would stop for cookies and hot cider at the end of the parking lot and sometimes, if the line was not too long, we would get at the back of the line and drive through a second time.

The kids loved it and looked forward to it each year.  I liked that it let us all focus on the true meaning of Christmas at least for a little while each season.

Now I want to start the tradition with my two grandchildren.  Today I spent hours looking online for a drive-thru nativity but I couldn’t find one.  I’ve looked each year since we moved here in 2008 but I’ve not found a drive-thru event other than the one at the Portland International Speedway where you drive through to see lit up Christmas decorations/scenes.  That’s not really what I want.  I want the Christmas story experience.  Tonight I did find a couple of walk through nativity presentations that are near us.  The catch however is that we live in Oregon where December is very wet most nights and when it’s dry, it’s freezing!  Our overnight temperatures this December have so far been hovering just above and below 32 degrees.  So I don’t know if I will be able to start the tradition with them this year.  They’re little, 4 and 1, so we might have to wait a year and maybe take the older one first and wait a few years to take the younger one.  But I do want to do this with them.  I think it’s important.  And traditions, old or new, are so very important for families.

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