Joy, it’s a hard name to live up to!!

IMG_4236Seriously, did you ever think about the name you were given? I mean, really think about the meaning, how it’s affected your life, how people see you, first impressions; you get the picture.  A name, something given you at birth before anyone knows anything about you, the type of person you are, the strengths you have, the weaknesses, what makes you laugh, what makes you sad, cry, pout, grimace. 

A name shapes you or it can. It may set the tone your life will have, the road you walk down.  It may be a detriment or it may be something you are proud of  and love.  If we are lucky, we get a great name that we think, ‘Wow, mom and dad really gave this thought! I would have picked it out myself had I been born and given the assignment!”

In my case, my grandmother Francis named me.  She was hocking my mother to have children for years and thought she was being selfish not having a child.  This was in the 1950’s where you got married and had children.  QED.  When Muriel finally conceded she would go ahead and procreate, grandma was already thinking of names and the emotion she felt (I guess) was sheer JOY!  So much so, that (wait, don’t divulge this often!) my middle name would be Merri.  Yes, that’s right, Joy Merri.  Could you get more elated than that!

The question is, does the name reflect who you are as a person or do you grow into the name you are given.  What if I had been named Bertha or Lucy or Guinevere? Would I be a different kind of individual?  Would I mold into my name?  Perhaps, Berthas are fat and Lucy’s are ditzy and Guinevere’s are princesses?  These are my musings as a retired person, although I must give credit where credit is due!  My husband, David, pondered this question as a boy!  He was a loner, a lot of time on his hands! I’m merely taking the question to the next stage of my adult thinking.

It turns out that we are not the first to consider this and we will probably not be the last!  Too many of us must have too much free time. Johnny Cash must have thought about this when he titled his song, “A Boy Named Sue.’

See these references I have highlighted for my proof:Bad Baby Names – A Boy Named Sue, and a Theory of Names …

does our name shape who we are? – Yahoo Answers Results
Do names shape who we are …? (Ramadan)?

A Point of View: Can your name shape your personality …

Survey: To what degree do you think that a person’s name affects what…
2 answers
I think it affects a person a lot. A lot of people often judge others by appearance but some judge by name.

Bottom line, Joy is a lot to live up to on a daily basis!  The pressure is always there to be happy, upbeat, optimistic.  What if I feel sad or discontent?  Do I change my name for the day?  The week?  The month?

If I hear one more person tell me, your name fits you so well… But seriously, I do like it and I try my best to live up to it.  It has served me well!

Today’s Takeaway…

Consider things you never had the time to think about before.  You have the whole day and may come up with something really great!

Live up to your name or change it if you want.  I have a cousin who abandoned Jill for Olivia.  As long as you don’t name yourself after a borough of New York City, a season, a vacation destination, or a beach, I’m cool with that!

This is our  100th post and the end of the month celebrates our 1 year anniversary.  Thank you one and all. If nothing else, this is a true accomplishment.

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay & Joy




A Quilted Life: What gets you out of bed each morning?

Lisa, a retired tennis instructor, devotes herself to environmental activism.  Whether it’s 10 below zero or a steamy 90 plus, she scours the Illinois prairies and forests, weeding, planting, preserving.  She also takes calendar-worthy photographs of the birds, bugs, animals, and plants that cross her path.  When she’s not out in the elements, Lisa volunteers at the Field Museum labeling and sorting obscure plant life.

What’s your passion?  

What gets you out of bed each morning? 

Gina is a community activist who enjoys tennis, adventure travel, jogging.  Mary Rose is a cherished grandma who enjoys cooking, traveling, volunteering at a daycare center.  Cathy is a therapist who enjoys yoga, theatre, gardening, church.  Jeanne is a substitute teacher and tutor who enjoys reading, wine tasting, and the RV life in Michigan.  Sally is a writer who enjoys her granddaughter, her dogs, traveling, church.

Peggy and Luanne have found their retirement sweet spot.  They organize a book club; and enjoy traveling, learning, shopping for thoughtful gifts, laughing.  Plus a small side of substitute teaching.

My brother, Charles, a philosophy professor, is planning a retirement of speaking, traveling, and volunteer teaching in a prison setting. His wife, Jil, is a lifelong painter and poet for whom the word “retirement” has no meaning.

These folks are not fooled by the allure of pleasure.  Or busy-ness.  They wake up with purpose even if that entails a walk in the forest preserve.  A smile; a manicure; coffee with an old friend.

Because when we forget ourselves – we find ourselves.

Forbes Magazine offers this advice for finding fulfillment in retirement.

  • Mentor, teach, or volunteer to share your knowledge and wisdom
  • Engage with others and stay social
  • Be open to taking risks
  • Practice being enthusiastic, grateful, and satisfied
  • Notice the good things every day
  • Laugh more, especially at yourself
  • Like more, love more, and give more
  • Search for, find and pursue your true passion; if you’re unsure of what your true passion is, get your free Passion Quiz here.

Joy here-

We don’t have to start with a grand plan.  Try something on for size, like a pair of new shoes!  See if it feels right, can you wiggle your toes?  I mistakenly thought I had to get it right from the beginning, day 1, but that’s just not the case.  We can rip up the script and start all over again every day, every week, every month!

This is my patchwork quilt of life, a scrap of cloth for Monday added to another scrap for Tuesday, and so on and so forth.  Before you know it, it’s a blanket!

Today, I couldn’t fall back asleep.  I shouldn’t have looked, but it was 5:15 a.m  Ugh! Instead of being groggy and grumpy, I got out of bed and went down to feed my very hungry dogs.  They don’t care what time it is.  Maybe, it’s better not to be able to tell time, but just go with the flow of the day.  It can be a good precursor for how the rest of it shapes up.  Wake up negative, set the tone for a crappy day.  Wake up with a smile on your face and who knows?

Attitude readjustment is what my husband says I need.  Perhaps, he is right (hate to admit that!) but if I have a little less sleep at least I made the decision to get out of bed.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue and I have a warehouse sale to go to hunting for bargains!

Whatever gets you up in the morning may be different each day.  Have a purpose, incentivize yourself, do something good for you every day and let us know how it goes.

Today’s Takeaway-

-What’s in your quilt? You don’t have to be a nature photographer; feeding hungry pooches can make your smile…AND your day!

-Codie agrees. She is heading to the bedroom to bring you a celebratory sock.

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy



In my grandmother’s trunk, I packed a…

Remember that memory game where each person adds to the accumulation in Grandma’s trunk?

My friend, Mary Rose, offered this advice as I prepared for a trip, “Don’t forget to pack your love, joy, and peace.”

My suitcase brims with such each morning.  But come evening, reflecting on the day gone by, I note a lack of love, a shortage of peace, and questionable joy.  My suitcase has snuck in self-promotion and a loose tongue, partly the result of one too many glasses of wine.

So with time at a premium for us Baby Boomers, join me in packing a trunk focused on love, joy, and peace.

Many faith practices entail prayer rituals exercised three times a day.  How about setting our phones to remind us to pause periodically for a moment of gratitude, or simply an acknowledgement of surrender, a look outside of ourselves?

Amy Morin in Psychology Today writes about 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude.

We will sleep better, have higher levels of self-esteem, enjoy deeper relationships, and experience satisfaction with life. In short, there will be more love, joy, peace.

“We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.”

In my grandmother’s trunk I packed –

Gratitude, Love, Peace, Joy

And a timely cell phone reminder to get over myself.


Today’s Takeaway –

-Psychology Today also tells us that gratitude helps us stop comparing ourselves to others.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

-Hey Loose Tongue, why not spurt out a compliment or two.  The sincere kind.  It wouldn’t kill you!


Enjoy the Ride!  We are grateful for YOU!


Barclay and Joy





Welcome to the Land of Sunshine

IMG_4082Barclay and I are both settling into our winter (escapist!) homes of Florida and Ajijic, Mexico respectively.  We welcome the sunshine and the feeling you get when you wake up to a clear blue sky every morning.

I am not a hearty trooper and can’t hack a severely cold winter.  I am a sunshine girl through and through.  Forgive me dear neighbor for leaving you in the 9 degree weather of this morning! I admit it.  I’m a wuss!

Sunshine is so good for you, as long as you don’t over expose.  We all know now that sunning oneself with a reflector and baby oil was a really bad idea!  Hey, it was the 1960’s before we knew better and it seemed like a great way to get a tan!

The benefits of the sun though are many.  My super senior dog, Colby, is relishing in it now as he warms his arthritic bones.  He is in doggie Nirvana! No more grey skies and frigid temperatures for the next 4 months.

15 Health Benefits of Sunshine – The Active Times

Vitamin D, which our bodies crave and need, helps our immune system, warms our aging bones, boosts our metabolism, lessens tension, can help prevent disease, betters one’s sleep (you know how it makes you sleepy when you sunbathe?) even increases your mental acuity, and provides you with higher energy levels.  If that’s not enough, it just plain feels good on your body!

We are lucky to be able to have a change of scenery, shed our winter coats, put on flip flops in January and play pickleball on outdoor courts facing the water.  Blessed for sure. Your surroundings are so important to your psyche.  Though, I love Portland and Seattle,  as cities, I’m not sure I could hack drizzle and gray skies for days on end.  I am a sunshine babe and love those rays on my face and body.  I can still hear Muriel say, “Let the sun kiss you, Joy.” 

Well, mom, I’m listening.

Wonderful to be back and see friends who are now more than acquaintances. This special little village we share with others in their 3rd chapter of life is home for the winter and that’s not a bad place to be!

Name 5 more songs that have the word “sun” in their title. My favorites are:

Sunshine, Reggae

Aquarius, Let the Sunshine

Might as Well Be Walking on the Sun

Walking on Sunshine

Here Comes The Sun (who doesn’t love this song?)

If the sun wasn’t so important to us, would there be so many songs written about it?  I think not!


Today’s Takeaway…

-If you can get away for the winter, go!  If it’s a month or several, the respite and change of scenery will do you good.

-Life will still be there when you get back and let’s face it, who doesn’t look good with a tan!!

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay & Joy






Yes, I am a Nurturer, but so much more

I am a junkie when it comes to awards shows, so of course I watched The Golden Globes on Sunday night. I confess.  I watch them all, The Oscars, The Golden Globes, The Emmy’s, The Grammy’s.   I love to see who wins, who loses, the gowns, the jewels, who has had good plastic surgery, who looks Asian because their eye lift went awry, etc. etc.  I should have been in the business, but I digress …

The speech that really spurred this post and that made me applaud inside my body was that of Glenn Close. She won for the  role of the woman behind the man. In this case, a Nobel Prize winner in literature who we find out is really not the writer he has pretended to be .  “The Wife” took 16 years to make and, boy, was its timing perfect!  We don’t hide behind anybody anymore! Always a favorite actress of mine, not typical Hollywood, but talented, poised, classy, whether on the stage, movies, or television. Her haunting portrayal of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard (so lucky to have seen on Broadway), her creepy role as the spurned lover in Fatal Attraction,  and her transformative role as a man in Albert Nobbs.  (many many other incredible roles make this woman a force to be reckoned with even at 71!)



She spoke of our role in life, we women, as nurturers, moms, wives, but the fact that we need more. She used the word “sublimated” in referring to her own mother and her role behind her father, feeling as though she never accomplished anything meaningful.  My own mother was a behind the scene gal, who I have no doubt would have flourished in a different era.  Born at the wrong time.  A product of the 1950’s and the Donna Read culture. She never even thought about what would fulfill her as a person. She was an extension of my father and never came into her own as an individual.

My own children are my shining lights, my everything and I would go to the ends of the earth to see them happy and on the right life path.  With my career behind me though, I need more, I want more, I have the energy for more. The speech resonated with many and social media went wild in capturing tears flowing from Glenn’s eyes.  A sincere, heartfelt  acceptance that brought the audience to its feet in a standing ovation.

We women are incredible, my friends who have led similar lives as me, many being the chief bread winner in their family, need to not close the chapter at the end of the work routine, but find new meaning in who they are now. You don’t work for 42 years and stop cold turkey and expect to be okay!  I felt inspired listening to Glenn Close and it revved up my engines.  I’m not done by any stretch of the imagination!  Look out world, 2019 I make my comeback! Watch this space as I launch version 2.0.

Today’s Takeaway-

. Rewrite the rules that are important to you.  Don’t listen to anybody else, but your own inner voice who says, keep moving. (in Barclay’s and Peggy’s words before her)

. Never underestimate a woman.  With your support, dear reader, Barclay and I will take this little blog to Hollywood and Glenn Close will be watching us accept our golden statue one day!

DREAM BIG! What have you got to lose?!

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay and Joy







Four Words to Change your Life

How’s that for a catchy title?

The NY Times just came out with four words to achieve a happier and healthier life.    (They also offer a 30 day well challenge.)

Move, Nourish, Refresh, Connect

Dean Ornish (the legendary physician/researcher who says we can reverse disease through diet) offers four equally weighted pillars to living your best life.

Nutrition, Fitness, Stress Management, Love and Support


So not to be outdone by any NY Times or some world renown surgeon, Joy and I thought we’d come up with our own four words for living your best Retirement Life.

Think of the acronym, ROLL.

Reflect until you attain a grateful heart

Own your past until you are at peace

Laugh until you pee or feel like you might

Love until you can’t love anymore


On Reflecting – Give yourself a high-five.

Hold up your hand and list the top five blessings – from big to mundane.  You can start with the fact that you are taking in air.


On Owning your past – Forget regret!

Those poor choices, those mistakes, those faults that seem bent on hanging around — let’s reframe our past – it has been the catalyst to who we are today – hopefully still in a growth mode – since we are remain prone to daily mistakes.  Which leads to humility – a good thing.


On Laughter – hang with those who freely laugh.

For close to 20 years I had the pleasure of working side by side with Jeanne who knows how to laugh in that pee-inducing way.

My husband, too, has that ability, though there’s no need to share the peeing part.  He has an annoying tendency to crack me up at inappropriate times – say, in a somber church service where I see his shoulders shaking as he tries to maintain control.


On Loving –  John Lennon was right.  It’s all we need.

But what does it look like?  It’s the familiar wedding reading from 1 Corinthians – Love is patient, kind, long-suffering, and it doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.  Yikes, that’s a high bar.  But at least we can daily lean in that direction.


Join us in 2019 as we hopefully induce some laughter, share our failures, and ROLL onward toward finishing this journey well –

Reflecting on our blessings – with love in our hearts.


Today’s Takeaway –

-While ROLLing – we probably should check out that NY Times article.  They are the NY Times after all and may know a thing or two.

-Maybe the laugh-till-peeing phenomena is more an age thing and something I should address.


Enjoy the ride!


Barclay and Joy


screen shot 2019-01-06 at 12.58.26 pm
This photo is from the amazing Dean Ornish site. Check it out!



Of Push-Ups and Pull-Ups: Goal Setting for 2019

One of the joys of blog writing is exposure to other people’s posts. Alanna, a poet-blogger, recently wrote about the  “The Art of Getting Out of Bed”.  I love that title.  And I think it summarizes my goal setting agenda for the New Year.

Setting the bar a wee bit low, you may be thinking.

I agree.  Not the loftiest of goals.

And certainly not in the same vein as my goals of prior years —

Meditate for 30 minutes every morning; read a book a week; write that novel, learn to cook, speak Spanish. Read the Bible from front to back.

Hey, why stop there?

Join CrossFit and start weight lifting in earnest.  (Forget those teeny weeny 6-pound barbells; I am ready for the big time.)  Sign up for the Chicago Marathon.  Go to Peru.

As you may surmise, in 2018 I read but a few books  (whose titles I would be challenged to remember).  My novel was not given an iota of  thought; there was no prowess to be had with cooking or Spanish.  And I did not cross CrossFit’s door.  I still can’t do one pull-up; and my arms giggle when I do a push up or two – which I’ve been told by a certain husband are not legitimate.. meaning, not army-grade.  No military school for me.


So that brings me back to the art of getting out of bed.

For 2019 my goal is thus —

Before Codie sticks her nose in my face and demands breakfast, I will pause and reflect on what I’m grateful for.  It could be the very dog nose approaching my face; or the cranky 14-year-old shih tzu at the foot of the bed unaware of where she is; or that certain husband of mine who isn’t a fan of my push-ups but is quite the life-companion; for friends old and new, for just plain breathing.


I guess 2019 won’t be the year of the Pull-Up or the Army-Grade Push-Up. And CrossFit would be just plain embarrassing.

But hey, in 2019, may I get out of bed with a grateful heart.

And call it a Great Life.


Today’s Takeaway –

-This is a Get-To life.  We get to spend time with friends, take walks, revel in the mundane such as taking a deep breath.

-Pull-ups are overrated.


Enjoy the Ride!  And Happy New Year!

xox Barclay and Joy