Joy No. 45: Juanita

This is a good-news/bad-news type of post.

The good news: Juanita’s makes killer tortilla chips. The perfect balance of oil and salt. Delicately crisp but hearty. And her bags have just the right number of doubled-over chips with that extra crunch to keep me mining for “just one more.”

The bad news (if you’re not from around here): They have limited distribution.

The good news: I just discovered you can buy them online.

The bad news: Juanita’s charges $10 to ship a $1.99 bag of chips.

The good news: Juanita’s charges $10 to ship a $1.99 bag of chips. (Trust me, this is good news for your waistline. I’m slouching here at the computer covered in chip crumbs.)

But if you could use a bit of  joy in a bag and have a spare $12, click on the photo below. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Joy 42: Getting back on the joy wagon

The joy wagon? (Spokane, 2009)

I feel as if I have fallen off the 50-joy wagon. I guess it was bound to happen, but I really thought that I had a habit going there. Part of the reason for my disappearance is that we had some schedule changes here, and I was fighting off the beginnings of a cold and …

The other part is that the whole 50-joy thing was doing its job. I felt as if I had climbed out of my funk! I was finding joy daily. I was writing blog posts in my head, and they felt so satisfying that I didn’t bother to actually type them up and publish them on my blog.

I guess it was kind of like taking the training wheels off the bike. I was feeling joy and enjoying joy.

But having not reached the magic number of 50 joys, the whole project feels incomplete. I am getting back on the wagon. More joys to come!

Joy 41: A bug and a guy

The little guy and I were driving through town today, when something about the car next to ours caught my eye. There was some strange movement there, and because we were stopped at a red light, I could take a closer look. What I saw was a very large insect — a big praying mantis, I think — and it was ever so slowly, rather tentatively, crawling up the driver’s side window.

Of course I didn’t want to stare, because said driver was of the youngish male variety. Not scary but twenty-something and jaded-looking, a type who probably wouldn’t appreciate the ogling of some mom wearing a white “51 Ichiro” baseball cap.

I kept trying not to stare, all the while wondering whether the bug was inside the car or outside the car, whether it might be the guy’s pet and whether he was aware of this thing that was getting ever closer to his face.

Before the light turned green, my questions were answered.

Unease flickered across the cool guy’s face, as if his subconscious was alerting him: “Dude, something’s not quite right in the car.” Then his conscious kicked it into high gear, registering the insect, which it turned out was inside the car. The guy flinched away from the window, and his eyes flew open, taking in the insect. His face was suddenly animated and amused, and for whatever reason our eyes met. I laughed out loud and watched as he took stock of his situation, quickly pulling into a nearby gas station, apparently to sort things out.

It was such a great moment. Here this fellow and I had been driving along in our own disconnected worlds, separated by only eight feet and a couple of windows, and then this bug comes along and causes us, two strangers, to connect — the young man breaks out of his brooding to reveal a face that could have been that of a delighted toddler, I break out of my errand-running road-weariness to laugh — and we share a moment.

Another bug -- a katydid -- that visited our home earlier this summer

Joy No. 40: Two thank-yous

When the little guy arrived home from school today I took a new tack. Instead of pumping him for information — how was your day? what did you do? what letter are you studying? who did you play with? — I started telling him about my day.

“I cleaned your bathroom,” I said.

“Thank you!” he said.

Wow, I thought. Let’s try this again. “And I vacuumed the house.”

“Thank you!” he said.

Somehow his earnest thanks made cleaning the house seem more meaningful than usual.

Bonus joy: autumn grasses at Sunriver, Oregon

Joy No. 37: Strikes and spares

The little guy was safely ensconced with friends, and the big guy announced we were going bowling.

Bowling? We hadn’t bowled more than once together ever, and I hadn’t gone bowling in at least a decade, but OK! We had a couple of hours to spare — ha ha.

So off we went to Big Al’s, where we got our shoes, our lane, our beer and pizza. (All we needed were monogrammed shirts and custom bowling balls.) Both of us actually hit some strikes and spares … one of us more than the other. I lost both games.

Bowling seemed so much easier than I remembered. I think it had something to do with becoming a parent. After dealing with public tantrums and other situations, it seemed like nothing to roll a ball down an aisle and knock over a few pins.

Unrelated bonus joy: cool carrot

Joy No. 36: Purple food

I have an unexplained attraction to purple food. Is this normal? My mom has it too. She buys eggplants just because they’re gorgeous. I think she cooks them up and eats them, and when I buy them I usually do too. There have been times, though, that I’ve allowed them to sit beautifully in the kitchen for just a little bit too long … That’s no good.

Recently a friend told me how good beets are for us. I still haven’t researched exactly why, but I was happy to believe her and went that very day to buy two bunches of the heavy purple roots. We ate them right away, including the greens, and the next time I was at the store I bought more. I saw some red (actually purple) cabbages nearby, so I bought one of those too.

I have to admit that I had been enjoying looking at them in the crisper but had not been inspired to cook them up. Until today. I saw Joy the Baker’s post about black bean and sweet potato tacos — and it called for red cabbage! Check out her photos. Our supper looked just like that. Gorgeous. Festive.

Now about those lovely beets …