Free Advice: On Finding Love - Part One


Before I get into full swing on this "Finding Love" series, I'm thinking it would be a good idea for you to review my posts on  "Falling in Love".

A long time ago, I had heard that love is all about timing but wasn't quite sure of what that really meant. Now I know it has a lot to do with ... "being mentally prepared for becoming emotionally involved".

We've all heard self-help gurus proclaim "You must learn to love yourself before you can love someone else. Yeah right. Color me stupid, but I never got it. How can one 'learn' to love themselves? You either do or you don't. What does that mean anyway?

During a period of profound loss, I received an equal degree of support from friends and family. It was then that I began seeing myself through their eyes. They loved me. Despite the fact that I was far from perfect, my intrinsic faults were not deal-breakers.

Look at yourself through the eyes of your friends and family. Who do you see?

Oh, and instead of "learning to love yourself", try..."learning to like yourself". It's a lot easier. Finding Love: Part 2

Just what is ...An UnDisappointed Bongo?


(705) 719-8960
It was clear from very early on that my adorable, decent, hardworking and honest nephew, Robb Young (aka DJ MarcusWelby) was a music freak and I'm so proud to say that he got his unpaid,  teenaged DJ feet wet, at a few of my very own parties in Dallas. He's all grown up now and has recently introduced, "UnDisappointed Bongo Mobile DJ Services" to Orillia, Ontario Canada.
So if you happen to be needing a great guy to DJ anything from a wedding to a Kid's Party, contact....

UnDisappointed Bongo Mobile DJ Services
 (705) 719-8960

Why choose UnDisappointed Bongo? 
  1. Robb is adorable, decent, hardworking and honest (or have I said that already?)
  2. They do 'Karaoke'. What a hoot!
  3. They are service-oriented...  "It's your function.....and we play what you want us to play."
  4. They are flexible ... "If you hate the stereotypical DJ's that dance to their own songs and wear corny Hawaiian shirts. Have no fear that's NOT what we're about." (but if you want him to wear a corny Hawaiian shirt, he would do it in a heartbeat).
  5. They want your business, and your repeat business.
  6. They travel and have current passports.
  7. They have an impressively huge collection of various music.
What UnDisappointed Bongo's clients are saying about them...
  •  "WhooHoooo....As the advertising says, you won't be disappointed. Very professional; reasonable rates and great music for all ages...good job Robb..."
  • "Awesome DJ. Seen him in action twice now. He is great. Dance floor never empties."
  • "I had a wonderful time at my Christmas Party this year! You were amazing and I can't wait to see you at the next function".
If you do choose UnDisappointed Bongo...Don't forget to tell him ..."Aunt Joan sent me..." I'm sure he'll give you a 10% discount.

 DJ Marcus Welby...
The Early Years
 OK, so maybe he's a little older now, but definitely as cute as ever.

The Evolution of The Craft Room


When the last kid left the nest, he mindfully told us he would return later that evening to pick up the remainder of his things.A bittersweet moment, for sure. The front door closed behind him and in the flap of a gnats wing, his father and I were redecorating.

After eight hours of cleaning, painting and furniture moving, his old room became our new Guest Room and the old guestroom became my Craft Room! Voila!

We were quite proud of ourselves and when the kid came back that night for the rest of his stuff, we gushingly showed him the fruits of our labor. His response to us dripped with sarcasm as he simply said. ..."So, didja miss me?"

I love my Craft Room. It's where I have all my stuff and where I cut glass, sew and paint. Do I need a Craft Room? Not really but it promotes marital harmony as nobody (who rarely wears shoes) steps on any "G.D. pieces of glass or straight pins".

The Craft Room is a work in progress. Doug thinks it looks like a garage. I like it.

You be the judge.

The bins by the window are full of glass. Above, is an overhead projector - it's a  'light box' for opaque glass.
Here's a Glass grinder, soldering iron and the great (free) craft table that my brother snagged for me!
In the corner is a circular saw. A little overkill for sawing metal frames but I let Doug use it on occasion.

 Come to think of it... maybe it does look a little like a garage.



 I knew a guy at work a long time ago who kept a "Crosser" file. So, just what is a "Crosser"? I wasn't totally convinced that I wanted to know when he asked me if I'd like to see his...

According to his definition, "Crossers" are those designated church pianists and/or organists who when  caught up in the spirit of their music, would play with such verve and gusto that invariably, they would cross their hands in sweeping, dramatic gestures on the keyboard.

His collection of "Crossers" were just photos of people that he imagined 'getting into it' at the keyboard on Sundays.

Most were gleaned from obituaries, and looked a lot like this lady...

Anyway, when I came across this email of "Church Ladies With Typewriters" the other day, it reminded me of he and his Crosser file. I just had to share it...
  • The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
  • Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands. 
  • Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation. 
  • For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

  • Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days. 
  •  A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
  •  At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice. 
  • Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones. 
  • Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.. 
  • Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow. 

  • Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM . All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done. 
  • The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday. 
  •  Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door. 
  • The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM . The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy. 
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance. 
  •  The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours'.

Free Advice: On Falling in Love - Part Eight


At the not-so-tender age of forty-one, I married the love of my life.

Despite all the razzing he gets from me for his trademark frugality, he remains a loyal, kind, considerate, generous, witty, brilliant, loving, warm and fun partner in life. I couldn't ask for more. We are best friends who are respectful and considerate of one another. Simple as that.
Still in love
 So how does one go about finding their prince (or princess) anyway?
  •  Admit to yourself that you are lovable. (Part Two) You might even want to write down all those lovable qualities about yourself and post them somewhere you see regularly... the fridge, a card in your wallet,  inside the door of your medicine cabinet? You've probably drilled into your head all kinds of negative crap about yourself, so stop beating yourself up. The energy you waste on negative thoughts could be put to better use. Believe me. Be a better you, today
  • Accept yourself as a human being with feelings and emotions. Prepare yourself to be vulnerable. (Part Three) Practicing your vulnerability on trusted family and/or friends can be accomplished by speaking to them from your heart. Telling them that you love them and why you do, might be a good place to start.
  • Recognize that life is not always "black and white". Sometimes, it's gray. (Part Five) Fortunately, most of us are free to make our own decisions. Here's my advice on decision-making...Base your decisions in life on the potential consequence. Then accept or reject your choice depending on what you are prepared to handle.
  • "Above all; To thine own self, be true" (Part Seven) Be authentic to who you are. Someone out there will find you absolutely captivating for just being yourself.

So there you have it.
My fifty-something outlook on Falling in Love.
Oh, and when you do find the love of your life...cherish him or her. 
Love is precious. Treat it accordingly.


    Free Advice: On Falling in Love - Part Seven


    "This above all; To thine own self be true".
     William Shakespeare, Hamlet, circa 1600

    Great advice that remains relevant even after four-hundred years. The challenge for me has been in remaining true to myself consistently. It takes practice. As I mentioned earlier, life is many times "grey" and that has been my stumbling block. I have learned that being true to oneself requires focus and concerted effort. 

    In my relationship with Doug, I realized early on that I could be setting myself up for heartbreak.Being true to myself allowed me to accept that fact, prepare for the potential risks and carry on.

    Our friendship flourished and within a few months, we were 'a couple'.

    But, the divorce was not yet final. Sticky. Did I want to be a factor in preventing him from reconciling with the mother of his children?

    I had decided to be true to myself (again) and sincerely offer him an 'out' from our relationship. The offer would remain on the table until the divorce papers were signed. At any time, should he choose to dump me, I made it clear to him that I was a big girl and able to deal with it. Secretly I admitted to myself that I would most likely curl up in a ball and cry for days while watching The Lifetime Channel but at the same time, I was confident that eventually, I would be just fine.

    I had fallen in love. Love: Part 8

    Free Advice: On Falling in Love - Part Six


    OK, so what started out as 'free advice' is turning into our love story. That being said, bear with me. It's just my way of illustrating how I learned all about falling in love.

    I'm sure that by now you're thinking... "C'mon, this is all fine and good but hey, I need a real-live person to try my 'lovability'and 'vulnerability' out on".

    I'm getting to that. In the interim, lets's review a few key points that I have learned to be helpful in falling in love...
    1. Recognize that you are 'loveable'.
    2. Allow yourself to be 'vulnerable'.
    3. Accept that things are not always 'black and white'. Sometimes they are grey.

    Back to lunch...
    He was "separated" and I had some thinking to do. I called Kathy. "Just be friends" she said simply. Huh. What a concept. The old Joanie would have probably just written him off as someone with "too many complications". The new Joanie was really in need of his friendship.

    I did have some misgivings though. He and his wife could reconcile and/or the chemistry between us could prove to make a platonic friendship ahem, challenging. But, remaining wounded and vulnerable after the sudden loss of Rob & Betsy a few weeks before, I decided..."What the hell. I've been hurt before and I'll most likely get hurt again but I'll survive."

    Friends, we were and I soon learned of the advantages in being 'just friends' with a heterosexual man...
    • You can be who you are
    • You can say what you want
    • You can eat what you want 
    For someone who had only been 'friends' with women and homosexual men, this was a refreshing change. I had always looked at straight guys as potential husbands and my behaviours reflected a woman who dressed, ate and acted the way I thought I should. Ahhhh, I was finally getting that Shakespearean quote, "To thine own self, be true" Who knew? Love: Part 7

    Free Advice: On Falling in Love - Part Five


    I wasn't convinced that having lunch with him was my smartest move. So far, I only had his work phone number and we were having lunch on a weekday (two bright red flags) but, he talked of his relationships with his three sons a lot (green flag).

    I psyched myself up for my best approach on determining his marital status on our lunch date...In an oh-so-worldly-manner, I would say "Doug, I have a question for you that is very important you answer honestly ...are you married?" I prepared myself for his simple "yes" answer, by which I decided that I would maturely finish my lunch, thank him for his honesty and tell him that I wasn't ready to enter into anything complicated. Clean, sweet, good-bye.

    May 21st 1996. Were my heart palpitations, shortness of breath and generalized weakness a result of looking into his blue eyes again? Or was meeting him simply, dangerous? Before the waitress took our order, I blurted out..."Hey, I understand you're married." So much for worldliness. I have never been known for my subtlety.

    He looked a little lost for words and then said, "We separated in March".

    Well Hell.

    Life is not so simple after all, now is it? Married? Divorced? Widowed? I was prepared for. Separated? Not so much. Love: Part 6

    Free Advice: On Falling in Love - Part Four


    He was a handsome, charming fireman with a killer smile who moonlighted in the hospital as a Respiratory Therapist.
     The word on the street was that he was married with three kids as well. So much for that. The brakes of my heart came to a grinding halt.

    Occasionally, I would see him in the hospital and we would talk about how Rob was progressing. Unfortunately, Rob was not making progress and our conversations became very emotional. Laughing, I would regale him with stories of Rob (and my) antics. Tearfully, I would fill him in on the latest complication in Rob's illness. I was a nutcase and I could care less what he thought of me. I allowed myself the freedom to be emotionally transparent.

    Life continued on. Rob died, Betsy died and I remained lost.

    I would see Doug at the hospital every now and then. One day, he asked me out to lunch. I was shocked. How could this married man with three kids even think of asking me out? "Yeah, maybe we should get together sometime" was my vague response.

    I called Kathy, my go-to girl in all things love-related... "Joanie, lunch is lunch. Lunch is not sleeping with someone or getting married. Go to lunch and ask him what his situation is straight-out" she advised.

    The next time I saw him, we agreed on a date to meet. Love: Part 5

    Paranoid in South America

    Anticipating travel to South America was both exciting and scary. Admittedly, reports of muggings, kidnappings and police corruption go...