Sunday, December 19, 2010

All the Living Creatures in the World

I am not a fan of organized religion. I think I may have actually begun other posts with that very sentence. But today I was in a church. Go figure.

I honestly can't remember the last time I was in a church. I usually find being in a church a bizarre combination of nostalgia, creepiness and heartbreak. It's because of how firmly and devoutly I BELIEVED when I was a kid. It was all REAL and it all meant something to me. After my first communion it all started going down hill between me and the church (Catholic). The first hit came when I found out I would never be allowed to serve mass because I'm the 'wrong' gender. I pulled myself together from that blow and decided 'Okay, nun it is.' but I was still annoyed. Then the list of things that ruined the magic and pulled back the curtain on the whole thing (religion in specific, God in general) grew and I'm not going to enumerate them here. Too yawn inducing.

I've been to services of other faiths and was always surprised by how different they were from the old school Catholicism. In a good way mostly. But it was never enough to change my mind about the whole operation or re-instill my beliefs. Today I went to a Methodist church (first for me) because they were having a Blessing of the Animals this afternoon and I thought it might be interesting. I've also had some very pleasant dealings with people who work at this church because one of my walks is nearby and someone will always run inside the church and come back out with treats for the dogs. Right there they got me. Any church that keeps cookies for the passing pooches is okay in my book. So I figured I'd give it a shot today.

Well it was really sweet! First thing that threw my head into 'explode' mode was the fact that there were two pastors and they were BOTH WOMEN! Yes. That's right. And they were DOING the service. Because (surprise-surprise) there was an actual service. I don't know what I was thinking, I figured we'd walk in, someone would say "bless you" to Gemma and that would be that. Nope. Singing, praying, Gospel stuff and Christmas Carols! Hello? I was a little upset that I was in for a 'mass'... but the entire thing was "Animals! GO!" and I can get behind that sort of show.
I got choked up. I sniffled. I could have started weeping but I held the tears back, God I'm such a wuss. But it was really lovely and kind and pretty and there was music and the place was filled with dogs. (Plus, you know, signs with my name on them. Christmas time = Joy stuff every where you go.) It made me, as churches do, miss what I used to believe in so fervently. It made me miss my belief in magic. But it was also nice to be in that environment, even without the belief, to be there without the disdain I usually feel. And I give credit for that to the fact that there were dogs every where. Because we all know what GOD spelled backwards is, don't we? That's right. And that's my kind of church.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

A little late perhaps, but technically it's still Halloween, so.... okay it's late.

I've been battling a lingering cold, walking dogs, editing podcasts and walking more dogs. There's a lot of poop in my life. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

My newest addition, little Gemma, has been wearing her Halloween costume for 3 days - it suits her and she seems to like wearing it. Today alone no less than a dozen people took her photo on the street, yesterday a man stopped his car to hop out and shoot her paparazzi-style.

A total stranger saw me taking photos of her and insisted I let her take a shot of us together. I don't much like having my photo taken, especially first thing in the morning when I'm out walking the dog and haven't even washed my face yet, but I did it any way.

I'm shocked that I was smiling and Gemma was not.

Look at me, I've got bows AND a hat!

This is her glamour shot for sure.

When you only have three teeth, Witch is an easy costume.

A very busy Witch walks with a purpose!

This is sooo not me.

I tried it on Basil but it looked more Pilgrim than Witch on him. Basil, the Puritan. Hmmm.

Gary and I have been recording podcasts like crazy and have two special Halloween 'casts up. Part I and Part II - together they amount to 40 minutes of Halloween stories. A new podcast on Speakeasies will be up tomorrow, it runs a lighter 11 minutes. If you listen, we'd love to hear what you think about them!

I was so busy this past week that I didn't even take time to write about my Happy Day Anniversary. Six years now! SIX! When I look around my life and how happy I am every day (even when I feel sick, or blue, I'm still happy) I am so grateful that I was so lucky on October 27, 2004 and that I started taking my meds and that I am here, alive and no longer suicidal. It's always a shock to me that I can feel this good when six years ago I was ready to throw it all away. On the morning of my Happy Day I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, until I stopped and had a few minutes cry remembering how horrible everything felt back then. Then I mopped up and the smile was back - it's good to be alive. So good.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

New Podcast - On Topic

Gary and I have finally managed to put up the next Podcast - our editor was under the weather. We discuss suicide from our points of view.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

PSA: A Message for Teenagers

I began this blog to try, in however small a way, to be an example that you can overcome Depression and a strong desire for suicide and you can be really, truly happy. Sometimes I forget to put that message out there in straight language because I'm so busy just 'being'. But this morning I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts (hellloooo I love my obsessions!) and got a stark and very sad reminder that despite my ongoing recovery there are many, many people who are in that dark and horrible place where I once was and sometimes they don't get the kind of miracle lightbulb moment that I was supremely lucky to get.

A 15-year old boy in Indiana took his own life earlier this month. He was gay, he was bullied and sadly his despair won out. While I would normally never think I would have much in common with a 15-year old kid in Indiana it seems we did have something profound in common: hopelessness. I was lucky, I met someone whose story gave me the spark of hope I needed to finally take my medication and change my life. This boy was not so lucky.

Dan Savage, who if you have not heard of him, is a sex advice columnist; it was his podcast was I was listening to this morning, has started a youtube channel to help give other kids (and maybe adults too) that spark of hope that no matter how bleak and hopeless things are: they DO get better. The video and link to the channel is below. I hope if anyone reading this watches this video and feels they can contribute that they will do so. The ITGETSBETTERPROJECT channel is specifically geared to the LGBT community so I don't suppose my story would qualify, but if you're reading this and your story does, I hope you will make a video, submit it and spread the word. Because it really DOES get better, and sometimes when you're so deep in despair you just can't believe that - unless you hear it from someone who is living it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Ooooh another one!

A second podcast of What Do You Know. This time we talk about Volunteerism, and of course that leads us to the Brownies and the Cub Scouts. Even a little hint of organized religion, though Gary wisely didn't let me get on my soap box. But it's coming folks, it's a-comin'!

In the meantime please listen to the podcast while you enjoy this oh so happy photo of me as a Brownie with my Mother in her Assistant Leader ensemble. Note my delighted expression. If you can enlarge it enough you can see the despair in my 8 year old eyes. I should have borrowed my Mom's super cool shades, eh? Oooh and I'm also wearing my not-so-Brownie gladiator sandals. I loved those things. They had a brass plate on the vamp. I was so freakin' ahead of my time...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Blogging... Podcasting...

I just haven't had a big urge to write in months and months. Some of this has to do with my glasses. Huh? My eyes are bad, bad, bad. When I was in elementary school the school nurse did eye tests and told me I qualified as Legally Blind. I think that might have been a bit heavy handed as 30+ years later I have yet to hear that phrase again as applies to me, but it gives you an idea of how coke-bottle like my glasses would be (without the invention of lightweight plastics). This means I need glasses to do pretty much anything. I have old pairs stashed all over the apartment in case I can't find the current pair because seriously without my glasses on I cannot find my glasses. Catch-22 anyone?

At least once a year I need a new prescription, and because my glasses cost a small fortune, literally, I have 'cleverly' put off re-upping for a year. This has been a really stupid mistake. Not my first, not my last I'm sure. It has curtailed my ability to read for more than 15 minutes at a clip, holding a book about an inch from my eyes causes eye and hand strain. Ouch. If I'm not reading, I'm not writing either. They pretty much go together.

Not being able to read has been a real loss to me, but I found an alternative. Audio books. Yay! And in searching for those I found I really love Podcasts. I'm a little bit addicted. The How Stuff Works poddies are terrific and since I'm a geek I'm also listening to Wil Wheaton's podcasts, as well as a slew of others.

About a month ago I finally sucked it up and had an eye exam and got new specs. Online, for a fraction of what I normally pay and in fact got 3 pair for less than I would typically pay for one pair - do I love me some internet or what? Oh yeah.

But before the new glasses arrived Gary was over one evening and we decided we'd throw down, try our hand at Podcasting and see how it went. We recorded a couple back at the end of June and will be doing more in the coming weeks. We're calling the Podcast "What Do You Know?" and that's explained in the here. I hope you like it. We had fun doing it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I haven't written a thing on this blog in so long I almost forgot it existed. But today a friend (thank you James!) tipped me off that my 'husband' had been on Letterman last night so I decided to check it out. I'm posting the clip here because I find it hilariously freaky, as well as reassuring, that someone else also had a bunny with 'tude. Serious 'tude. The fact that it's Michael Keaton is even more hilarious to me since I got my name from him.

Backing up. About a million years ago when I was still acting and using my ridiculously long and vowel filled legal last name I had a dream about Michael Keaton. I was not a fan, hadn't followed his career or really thought about him much at all at the time. In fact I will suck it up and admit that I was one of the many naysayers who moaned when he was cast to play Batman for the first time. (I changed my tune in the first 5 minutes of the movie, because I can admit when I'm wrong. Very wrong.) So when I had this outrageous dream out of the blue that I was MARRIED to Michael Keaton (me, who has NO desire to marry ANYONE - EVER) I was perplexed and couldn't stop trying to analyze what the hell it could mean.

I mentioned this crazy dream to Gary who said quite succinctly: "Maybe that should be your stage name. Joy Keaton." And there it was. I really love the way it sounds and how easy it is for people to spell = and how short it is (my legal name only has something like 725 letters... *sigh*)

When I watched this clip and heard that 'my husband' had a bunny like my Henry Miller... well, it got me blogging again. At least for the moment.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Great Idea

Truth be told the Tourists don't bother me so much, I get it, they're on vacation "ooh look at that" is just going to happen. If there was a way to make a lane for slow-moving, three abreast and stroller pushing New Yorkers who should know better now THAT would really make me happy. But it's a start and it's a polite way of doing it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For St. Patrick's Day

Thank you Tina Fey!

Happy Bobsled to you all!

Sunday, March 07, 2010


In keeping with the origin of this blog, and my love of Hamlet.... Please enjoy!

Many thanks to Gary for forwarding this wonderful piece to me! Kisses honey!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Theme Thursday - Surface

On the surface this is a photo of a woman (in a skirted bathing suit) floating alone in a pool at twilight. And that's not incorrect. But what it really is, what is below the surface is a revelry of freedom and courage and an assertion of independence previously thought impossible by that same floater.

What seems simple is not always so. To arrive at a place of seeming simplicity can take tremendous effort, the assistance of others, a soul shaking amount of dammit-all courage.

This photograph was taken the day I learned to swim.

I was 45 years old.

When I was a child I was preoccupied by mermaids. My fantasies were about being one, I collected them, I wanted quite badly to be one. The hold up on that particular wish fulfillment was the fact that I was terrified of the water - because I could not swim and in fact on two occasions nearly drowned (or thought I nearly drowned - same thing to a panic stricken kid).

Perhaps my desire to be a mermaid stemmed from the fact that they could breathe underwater, and they could, of course, swim. Ya think?

There was a lot of water in my life as a child, it was unavoidable. Did I mention I grew up on an island? The irony is not lost on me. Not only were trips to the beach fairly frequent but everyone in my neighborhood had a swimming pool. The damned H2O was EVERYWHERE! And while I loved being in it, splashing around, just moving through it - feet firmly on the ground, head well above it - I never felt completely at ease because one slip, one push could send me under it and kill me. I knew instinctively that nobody would rush to my aid if I fell beneath the surface, not only because of my trust issues but because EVERYONE knew how to swim and assumed that I could as well. Because a kid who grows up on an island, surrounded by swimming pools, must certainly know how to swim and if that kid flails and/or stays under for a little too long why they are simply fooling around. But Joy don't play that.

So I stayed dry far more than I liked.

Until I was taught to swim and to float - like a mermaid. So what you see on the surface may look like nothing special, look again, it might be the biggest event in someone's life.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Today's my birthday!

Okay, cut the applause. Thanks.

For my own amusement I pulled this short clip from old home movies. This is the one and only time you'll get to see me nekkid.... well... most of you any way. Not exactly what Neely O'Hara was referring to, but it made me laugh. I hope it does the same for you.

Friday, January 08, 2010

My Dog has always had... issues

Basil has always been a special kind of dog - I say this not just because he is mine and I love him beyond words - but because it's true. He is gifted with a mighty personality and a sense of humor that is, I admit it, a little frightening sometimes. Because I am often the butt of that humor. I have witnesses.

In searching for a picture for a friend I came across this little video clip. I don't know how he managed this, but I'm so glad I have a record of it because you don't often see a dog in this sort of attire.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Theme Thursday - Polka Dots

I have been swamped with work (walkin' the doggies) and obsessing on Doctor Who. I haven't had the energy, nor felt the inclination, to drone on about either here. Well, I haven't felt the urge to write much of anything really, and so I haven't.

Last night the ol' ball and chain (a/k/a BFF Gary) sent me an email to check his latest blog post which is part of a Theme Thursday posting. So I popped over and read it. You can read it here.

It spured me on to finding and scanning in some old photos of myself dressed in the subject of the Theme Thursday: Polka Dots.

This is a scan of a polaroid from the early 80s so it's not in the best shape, but I think the dots are obvious. Not only the skirt and blouse but my bag, shoes, earrings and bracelet were all black & white polka dots. I love me some dots and moderation was never my strong suit. Certainly not back then, not in wardrobe.

Since Gary had mentioned Minnie Mouse in his post I was delighted to find the following photos, which I promptly scanned and posted on Facebook where they raised some questions, so now I feel compelled to post here and answer those questions.

Here then are the photos.

The reason I am dressed as Mini-Mouse is because it was my job at the time. In the 1980s I worked for a party company and dressed up (not just Miss Mouse, but a whole slew of cartoon characters as well as clowns and gorillas and such) and attended children's parties, store openings, weddings, bar mitzvahs, the usual. (oh tell me you haven't done it!)

The reason I'm in these somewhat fetishized poses is because my mother was living in Bayside, Queens in the basement apartment of a woman who just LOVED Mickey and Minnie Mouse. One day when I was going to work a party nearby I stopped in to show her the costume. Because yes, I'm an attention whore. She hauled out the camera and asked me to pose all over her house - and why would I say no?

When she asked me to pose in the kitchen it brought back so many familial memories of happy times (a-hem) that I insisted on having a bottle of liquor at hand.

Ahhhh, now that's homey!