Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I Found My Tribe!

          I found my tribe!  I am in the Cinnabon Tribe.  Seriously, here’s the deal:
Some back story: When I was young, I lived next door to an East Indian woman named Svarna who braided my hair, dressed me in saris, put a red Bindi dot on my forehead, fed me naan, and had a home full of wind chimes and exotic spices.  It was heavenly and I was sure I was East Indian.
          Here is a photo of me with Svarna, for whom I’ve actually been searching, and my school classmate, Kathy Salunkhe.
          Fast forward to our last Enrichment Night at church, a monthly gathering of women where—this time—we had a get-to-know you activity, since we have so many new members.  I’ve been friends with one of them, Brenda Shield, for a couple of years.  She is from a reservation in Montana, but I never actually knew her tribe.
          She stood up to show photos and tell about herself, and I thought I’d finally ask what tribe she is from.
          “Cinnabon,” she said.
          “Are you kidding me?” I shouted.  “Cinnabon?!? I want to belong to that tribe!”  My mind was whirling with ideas about how to finagle this. Also, do you get free Cinnabons if you are a card carrying honorary member?

          Well, it turned out Brenda had said, “Assiniboine.” But she speaks softly, so what am supposed to do except jump to wild conclusions? Anyone—and I’m telling you, anyone—would think she said Cinnebon. At least if you have desserts on your mind 24/7, which I do.
          I could hardly get to sleep that night. What if there are all kinds of tribes we’ve never heard of, wonderful secret tribes like the Coconut Cream Pie Tribe, or the Cheesecake Tribe, or the Cookie Dough Tribe? 
          St. Bob thinks no tribe will allow me within five miles of their land because they know I’ll come in and eat all their food.
          I ignored him. “What if there’s a Lemon Bar Tribe? Or a Baby Lava Cake Tribe?”  
          I finally got so worked up I had to go downstairs and have an ice cream sandwich.  Being an honorary Indian is going to involve some careful planning.

While I plan, you can visit my website, watch my videos, and order my books.  And, okay, enjoy some desserts as you shop.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Barking Up the Right Tree

          Next time you evaluate your circle of friends, be sure you have an arborist in there.  I cannot tell you how handy it has been to know Ruth and Clare Williams, sisters, tree experts, and generous people willing to answer my every planty question.
          Here is the latest photo I sent to Ruth:
          Alarming, no?  I took one look at this strange phenomenon and just knew my Chinese Elm had contracted Strikin’ Lichen or some deadly disease. Was it because of all the rain we’ve been having? I pictured the cost of removing it, the cost of replacing it, and the possibility that every tree in my yard would catch Orange Whatever, which I would happily name except, wouldn’t you know, nothing rhymes with orange.
          Ruth got right back to me. “Orange spots are good!  Normal for that species. It’s called exfoliating bark. It’s a prized feature to add winter interest to a landscape.”
          It took me no time whatsoever to extrapolate this to humans, and to decide that splotchy skin should become a THING.  Don’t cover it up anymore, just tell everyone you are adding winter interest to the landscape.  We can become Exfoliating Fools, and beautify the world indefinitely!
          Check out these other a-peeling trees, leading the world in winter beauty:
          Ruth also says this is the tree’s way of Spring Cleaning.  Well, humans don’t have to copy everything a tree does.

          Besides, you’re busy watching my YouTube Mom videos, right?  And buying my books?  Find them all right here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Definitely the Wrong Font

          Most people enjoy the zillions of font options out there, customizing their emails and websites with everything from

                                           Old English
                               to  Showcard Gothic

          On the other hand, many of us sigh when we constantly have to switch from Microsoft’s Calibri to Arial, every time we open Word.
          But if you have a business, can I recommend you choose a basic, simple font?  If you try to get too cute, here’s what can happen. I recently called for tech assistance, when an online order wouldn’t go through. As if we don’t have enough tech trouble.  Get this:

          Tech assistant: Your username is not going through.
          Me: But I’m typing in jonihilton. (then I spell it for her).
          Tech assistant: That’s not what I have.  What I have is J O N I L hyphen L I L T O N.
          Now I’m trying to imagine how on earth I entered such a ridiculous username.  Was it that my finger hit an adjacent button? Nope—L is nowhere near H.  Plus a hyphen? Who sticks a hyphen into their name?
          Me: I can promise you I would not have chosen that username.
          AND THEN I PICURE IT.  Joni l-lilton. This woman is looking at a screen where the H has separations between each stroke, like this Stencil font:


          And suddenly the H has become l hypen l.  
          What happens to B in a font like this—does it turn into the number 13?  
Does St. Bob become Agent 13 0 13? 


          And does K become l and then a < symbol?  N would be l slash l.  There’s no end to the confusion.
          So, choose a simple font where each letter has sensible connections.  And hire employees who know that l-lilton would be a ridiculous last name.

          Luckily, you won’t need tech support to visit my website here.  Scroll through my hundreds of YouTube Mom videos, and buy a book or two!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Grape Expectations

          Seriously.  For a humor blog, I certainly give you a lot of great, moneymaking advice.  My latest brilliant offering: Sell grapes in Japan.
          My friend, Cynthia Horst, told me about this and I checked it out. Yep, these babies just sold at auction for more than FOURTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.  Yes, that’s thousand with a th.  That’s almost five hundred dollars per grape.  (Kind of makes my 18-dollar tomatoes look almost reasonable, doesn’t it?)
          And before you decide that only an idiot would pay that, hold your tractors.  These Ruby Roman grapes can be re-sold at a profit.
          Of course, in this case the buyer just wants to display them in his store to attract customers, and will eventually give away samples.  Luscious fruits are a status symbol in Japan, and these babies are particularly sweet, about the size of ping pong balls. They were grown right there in Japan, too.
          But all fruit fetches sky-high prices. Last year a pair of melons went for $16,590 in an auction.  And an apple will cost you around $4.00.
          Can you imagine the dough you could make by importing produce from the very area of California where I live?  Our farmer’s markets are overflowing with every fruit imaginable.  You just have to get it over to Japan.  
          If you subscribe to this blog, you’ll get killer ideas like this all the time.  I know.  I’m a peach.
You can thank me so easily—just buy one of my books here.  And then enjoy it while nibbling on any of the fruits locally available, for peanuts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Just Another Joni Day

          By now you’ve all packed away your holiday decorations, and even adjusted to the new, barren appearance of your home minus the sparkle and merriment.  Right?  But why can’t I ever do this without a major mishap?
          This time it was when I washed the Christmas Rat off my kitchen window.  Every year we—okay, I—paint a wreath on there.  I chose it because I am not an artist and a circle seemed like an easy motif.  Then, one year, I decided to add a little mouse, and a tiny stocking hung on a sprig of pine, waiting for Santa to bring him a treat.
          Except one year I made the mouse a little too big and the kids squealed with delight, “It’s a Rat!  It’s a Christmas Rat!” and insisted on this tradition ever after.
          This year I chose the wrong day to paint my masterpiece—I mean my disasterpiece.  It was extremely cold, so I splashed on that paint as fast as Santa slips down those chimneys, and in five minutes headed back inside. But, in my haste, I forgot to add a bit of soap to the paint.  This meant that when January rolled around and it was time to wash the window, it wouldn’t budge.
          I sprayed a strong degreaser on it.  I scrubbed.  Nothing.  Finally I decided to use the nearby garden hose, and dialed the “jet” setting so it would be like a power washer.
          Except I forgot to back away.  Suddenly the surge of water ricocheted off the window and drenched me with green paint and degreaser. Head to toe.  I looked like the Hulk.  Only madder.
          My hair, my face, my clothes—all were covered with soapy green paint. Oh—and remember this is the dead of winter, so the hose water is almost freezing, but not quite.
          I screamed, of course, but then I discovered that my cell phone, which I had placed on a table outside, also got splashed and now it won’t work.
          Well, YouTubeMom to the rescue, right? I don’t make those videos for nothing, and I knew to bury the phone in dry rice.  But I also knew time was of the essence, so I drove across town to Sprint, where the guy blew a canister of air on it, and that did the trick.  (It did not ricochet onto him, or onto me, I might add.)
          And I’m pretty sure he went home that night and told everyone a green monster came into the store that day, with a phone she had probably dropped into a swampy lagoon.  Whatever. 
I also noticed that St. Bob had kindly removed the rest of the wreath from the window.  So I had been rescued twice.  Not bad for a day’s work.
You, too, can be a hero.  Just buy one of my books here, and I will be forever grateful.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017


          Where do kidnappers get those black bags?  You know, the ones they put over victims’ heads?
          I cannot find these anywhere.  Not online, in drugstores, thrift stores, malls, not on Amazon, not even in Neiman Marcus.  Nowhere is such an item available.
          And yet we see them in the movies and on TV shows, ALL THE TIME. Every thug on the planet has access to these. Apparently they are even available in galaxies far, far away, because the new Rogue One Star Wars movie also uses them.
          Could it be that kidnappers always excelled in Home Economics, and they are sewing these up themselves?  Do they shop at JoAnn’s Fabrics for some sturdy black broadcloth, and then buy thick denim thread—and denim needles—then rush home and sew up a hood that can double as a pillowcase for a travel-sized pillow in the off-season?   Of course, I’m assuming kidnapping has an off-season, but I could be wrong.  This could be a year-round sort of thing.
          And what if the fabric isn’t thick enough and the victim can actually see through it?  Those bags are probably for sale in the clearance section of the Kidnapper Emporium, or wherever such products are sold.  I wonder if they also sell rope, duct-tape, and those little plastic zip ties.  I can imagine a bulk bin of magazine lettering for ransom notes.  After all, what kidnapper subscribes to magazines, and then has time to cut out all those letters? Those are probably sold by weight.
          Can you imagine the frustration of a kidnapper who gets home with his lettering, and then finds he’s short a couple of Es and an S?  Are you kidding me? I have to drive all the way back to K.E.??  (I’m guessing that’s what they call the Kidnapper Emporium.)
          And then, when the victim is shoved into an empty warehouse to make the video begging for help, wouldn’t it be more realistic if the first thing they said to their families was, “Just ignore my bag hair…” 
          Do you have any idea what it costs to rent a big, empty warehouse so you can make your ransom video? These spaces are not cheap. 
          And if they simply break in without asking, why don’t owners or policemen ever notice it and come to investigate?  Huge facilities like this are often guarded, protected by videocams, and equipped with alarms.  I’m just saying, a remote spot in the countryside might be a better choice.
          But I have no solution for the bag problem.
I have a fridge magnet that says, “Fat people are harder to kidnap.”  It’s gotta be true, right?  But if you are not fat enough, and you do get kidnapped, at least bring along one of my books to read while you sit there in captivity for hours on end.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Stick 'em up!

          I’m told one reason we see so many movies and TV shows which  include bank robberies, is that so many people fantasize about robbing a bank.
          I fantasize about how to prevent it. And I have a solution that will knock your socks off, but not your money out of your wallet.
I watched  my own local bank go from a face-to-face moment with the teller, to an interaction with plexiglass where you slide your ID under the barrier and speak through tiny holes.  Today they also have video cameras everywhere, and signs posted which forbid hats, sunglasses, and hoodies. My guess is they still have to worry.
Too bad no one ever called me for advice.  My solution is to put all banks on the second floor.  By the time a robber can get down the elevator or staircase, you’ve called the police, locked the lower level doors, and voila! No more bank robberies.
          I seriously believe this could prevent 99% of all bank robberies.  And, with elevators, the bank is still completely accessible to any member of the public.
          Building a two-story bank is more costly, but who says you have to build it?  Why not just rent the upper floor of an already-existing business?  Or build it and rent the bottom part out.  Bank-and-bagels, anyone?

          I know, you love the idea. You’re welcome. You can thank me by purchasing one of my books here.  Then I’ll get to deposit the royalties and maybe blog about witnessing a bank robbery!