Tuesday, November 12, 2019

What You Don’t Need to Get Me for Christmas


          Online shopping has changed the world. And whether you shop online or in brick-and-mortar stores, you’re probably doing more of it this time of year as we look for Christmas and Hannukah presents to give those we love.
And that means catalogs in your mailbox, ads on your screens, and marketing of all kinds urging you to buy, buy, buy.
But some gifts deserve a bye-bye. Here are several gifts you don’t need to give me for Christmas:
First, a Dog DNA test which costs $60-$130.  I cannot fathom feeling blessed by knowing my chihuahua-terrier mix is officially part chihuahua and part terrier.  People who care about those things usually have purebred dogs with pedigree papers.  The rest of us have mutts and the last thing we need to know is that they’re part Australian Shepherd and should be a whole lot smarter than they’re letting on.
And speaking of dogs, I also don’t need a Smart Dog Collar. First of all, that sounds like it’s for smart dogs and that lets Mickey out of the running entirely. But even if you realize this is a collar with GPS tracking, don’t you know where your dog is, already? Are people really leaving the doors open and giving their dogs run of the entire world?
I also don’t need unicorns made of particle board that you can burn in your fireplace, a blanket that looks like a tortilla so you can be a burrito, a gnome disguise for my blender, a skull butter dish, a birdhouse that looks like a football helmet, a shark costume for my cat, hot sauce guaranteed to induce a heart attack, or a sofa cover that looks like a giant Lego.
I know, I know, some of these gifts just cry to be purchased, but this year you can save untold sums of money by not getting me any of the above. Instead—and this will stay nicely inside anyone’s budget—you can buy a boatload of my new books (A Little Christmas Prayer) on Amazon for only $3.49 each! This heartwarming Christmas story about gratitude is perfect for kids or adults of any faith. Aren’t you glad you subscribe to this blog? Now your shopping is done!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Does Your Dog Do This?


          Most of us like dogs and agree that all dogs go to heaven; they have such trusting, sweet souls. But every dog seems to have a quirk of some kind.
          I was feeding the neighbors’ dog when they were away recently, and was told the dog had FOMO—Fear of Missing Out.  Apparently, even when they’re home, the dog cannot bear to be fed in a room away from the action, where everyone is gathered. She will race into the laundry room for her kibble, then bring mouthfuls back to eat in their company, glancing nervously from one person to another to make sure she isn’t missing anything.
          Mickey, our Chihuahua-Terrier mix, also has an acronym for her quirk: OTTJ--  Over The Top Jealousy. She cannot abide affection being shown to the cat and will intervene, nudging your hand up and away with her nose. She has even sat on guard duty at the doggie door, hoping to keep Simon outside.  

          Once I was dangling a string for the cat, then got busy with phone calls. When I turned around, there was Mickey with the string in her mouth. She doesn’t even like strings. She just didn’t want Simon to have it.
          But I guess dogs aren’t alone having initialed disorders. I asked a friend at church how she was doing and she said, “Fine. Which stands for Freaking out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.”  Ah, yes, I know that one well.
Here’s another acronym I like: GAB, which means Get A Bargain. Okay, I made that up. But you can save a fortune purchasing my latest book—A Little Christmas Prayer—which costs less than a greeting card! Perfect for everyone.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Outdone Again!


          Honestly. Is this really a competition? Now St. Bob is sporting a little white bandage on the side of his nose.  We were tied at two cancers each, and this tips the scales in the Cancer Olympics and the score is now Bob 3, Joni 2.  Sheesh!
          Our comedian kids chimed in, of course. One texted, “How unimaginative. He couldn’t even come up with a cool or unique cancer? Lame.”
          Followed by another who texted, “Wow, so how many hole punches until the next one is free?”
          Indeed. You’d think we could qualify for a package deal of some kind.  Meanwhile, our hole punches are in full view. But we might start charging admission.
Even better, bury your own nose in a book. Have you seen my latest? It just came out, and it’s only $3.49. It’s a holiday story you can give to everyone on your gift list. Check out A Little Christmas Prayer.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

May I Please Be Excused?


          Yes, I got another jury summons.
          But this time it was at the other county courthouse, the one built in 1898, in Auburn.
We all checked in, then filed into the historic courtroom. And here began the TMI portion of the proceedings. The judge asked for people to share hardships if they wanted to be excused.  One by one—in front of everybody—jurors explained their desperate financial plights, their autism, their college class schedule, their divorced ex who won’t help pick up the kids.
“Is there anyone else who can do this for you?” the judge would ask.
One man explained that he had an upcoming surgery scheduled. The fellow next to me whispered, “Is there anyone else who can do this for you?” and we both had to stifle our laughter. 
One woman had several health issues to discuss.  “What if you have hemorrhoids or a communicable disease?” I whispered to my new comrade in comedy. “Do you have to tell everybody you've got this creepy goo that keeps coming out of your ears?" We thought of several other awkward excuses.
Surely there’s a better way to allow folks to explain their hardships than announcing it in front of a hundred people. And most excuses are probably legit. But there are also people who just want to get out of jury duty.
And that made me think about how St. Bob used to host and announce game shows. There, as well, you have a “pool” of contestants. But not one of them is worried about picking up kids, missing class, or having to reschedule a doctor’s appointment. They’re highly motivated to win money, so they find creative ways to make it work. Here he his, hosting and hugging happy contestants on NBC's Let's Make a Deal:
Maybe there should be a drawing among jurors who stay, and prizes awarded.  And I’m not talking about the “Rice-a-Roni, pantyhose, or GasX for bloating” that I heard Bob say so many times. I’m thinking, “You’ve won a BRAND NEW CAR!!” That might liven things up a bit, no?
Okay, it’s not a car, and it’s not free, but my latest book only costs $3.49 and makes a fantabulous gift for adults, kids, your hairdresser, teachers, really anyone on your gift list. Check out A Little Christmas Prayer on Amazon, right here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Up in Arms


          In Joniopolis there always seems to be both good news and bad news. Actually, if you scroll through these posts, I think you’ll see it’s mostly bad news, with occasional good news thrown in just to surprise me.
          This time the good news is that I got my port removed (no, I was not deported, you punsters). You may recall this weird little box that was placed in my chest. Nurses use them to access your veins and give you chemo, or to take out blood for lab tests.
          Only this time I was told not to use the arm on that side. No heavy lifting, especially.  But wait—I’m already under strict orders not to do heavy lifting with the other arm because of the surgeries on THAT side. So how do I carry my purse—in my teeth?
          What I need are minions. I can have them pour milk, make beds, lift laundry baskets, haul luggage if I’m traveling, even turn the pages of a book for me.
          Meanwhile, because we can’t stop there, I’m advised to engage in a bit of weight-lifting to build bone density. And how am I supposed to do this—with my feet? 
          It’s like being told to take medicine on a full stomach AND stop having a full stomach. Or to get rest and plenty of exercise. Or to stop worrying, at which point you worry that you’re still worrying.
          It reminds me of the old childhood joke that jellybeans are smart pills. Invariably the next line is, so Joe bought some and then complained that they didn’t make him any smarter. “See?” was the reply, “You’re getting smarter already.”
But you can lift a book, right? I recommend one of mine-- start with the lightest in weight, which also happens to be the newest: A Little Christmas Prayer. It’s perfect for anyone and costs less than a greeting card! (See all my books at jonihilton.com)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Falling for it Again

          St. Bob earns that title daily.  The latest thing I’ve asked him to do, which surely no man can enjoy, is to lift seven heavy bins labeled “Halloween” or “Autumn” from their shelves, so I can put pumpkins and fall harvest displays around the house.


          As I was pawing through one of them for seasonal decorations I mumbled, “Hmm… this could be cute in the kitchen. Wait. Maybe I could mix the acorns and the little wooden apples in the same bowl.”  Then I said, “How do men put up with women?”
          Bob glanced over. “What?”
          “I said, ‘How do men put up with women?’”
          Now he smiled. “That’s how.”
          Yes, he nearly got hit in the head with a gourd.
Lucky that guy provides ongoing material. Speaking of material, see if you can see Bob’s inspiration in some of my novels. You can find them all right here--and be sure to order my latest, a brand new booklet called A Little Christmas Prayer. It costs less than a greeting card! Perfect for everybody on your gift list!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Football Fakery

          On a recent flight I happened to sit beside a coach who was on his way to two football games. “Texas A&M vs. Auburn, then Cowboys vs Dolphins,” he said. I tried to carry the conversation but finally admitted I know absolutely nothing about these teams or players. I told him that when my husband is watching and says, “That was a terrible call,” I shout, “What is the MATTER with him?” Or, if one team trades a good player away I notice his dismay and say, “Can you believe that? What were they THINKING?!”
I even shared my collection of ideas with this coach, for how to improve various sports, which I blogged about here. It includes the brilliant (my own critique) idea for soccer, which is to eliminate the goalies and thus raise the scores. We were laughing away (he’d had a couple of vodka tonics, so I can’t claim all the credit for his ebullient mood), but then he had an idea of his own.
He said I should tell my husband that I found a new hobby: Fantasy Football. And he would even help me design my team.  DONE! I couldn’t wait. But I knew it would have to be a text because St. Bob would never let me run out my phony rope if I called him.
Here’s my text: I started a new hobby. I’ve joined a Fantasy Football League. See what you think of my lineup: Quarterback Mahoney, hook up with Kelsey from KC, Gurley as running back, also Barclay. Beckham for wide receiver, Kittle from SF, Zuerlain as kicker and then use the Chicago defense. And it only cost me $100 cash to join.
          St. Bob texted right back: Who is this really?
          Later he said, “You don’t even know which end of the football to hold.”  I didn’t tell him that these objects should be re-named, since they really aren’t in the round shape of a ball.        

          Then today he said “Drew Brees has to have thumb surgery.” 
          “Who is that? Do we know him?”
          He just stared at me. “You don’t know who that is?” Turns out he plays for St. Bob’s favorite team, the Saints.
          “Well, that’s HORRIBLE!” I said, a performance that deserves an Oscar. “Brew Dreeze definitely needs to use his thumb if he’s playing football!”
          “Brew Dreeze?”  
          Yikes. I quickly corrected myself, then asked, “What part does he play?”
          “You don’t know he’s the quarterback?” St. Bob was almost apoplectic.
          Hey. I once painted our bedroom Saints Pants Gold to surprise Bob. I’d be surprised if any of those players have a bedroom like that. So if you ask me, that’s a home run hit.
You know all that down time in football? You could read an entire book of mine in one game’s down time. Find ‘em all right here.