Tuesday, February 18, 2020


          Have you ever called me for tech support? No you have not. So let me tell you what you’re missing.
          Let’s say you call with a question about a missing file on your computer.
          Me: “Turn it off and then on again.”
          Or your phone apps are acting weird.
          Me: “Turn it off and then on again.”
          Or you can’t upload photos.
          Me: “Turn it off and then on again.”
          And I would dispense these brilliant tips for free. Best off all, I won’t use terms you don’t understand, such as petaflop, hadron, router, torrenting, thunking, or graphical user interface . Okay, these are also terms I don’t understand.
          I will follow this advice up with expressions for your personal happiness. Just as I have often said when imagining myself as a terrible waitress, I will ask if you want vegetables with that.  If you do not, I will activate my “mom lecture” circuits and remind you to eat right, get plenty of rest, and take care of your health. Also, wash dark clothes in cold water, floss regularly, and call your mother.
          So many services, so little time.
Have you visited my Youtube Mom channel here?  Even more advice and life hacks!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


          In the spirit of competition, our eldest son, Richie, recently went by ambulance to the hospital. (If you're a regular reader, you know that Bob and I have been trying to one-up each other with surgeries and doctor visits.) Five days later--and five thousand gray hairs on my part-- he was discharged and is back at work.
          At one point he needed at CT-Scan, so four nurses and orderlies decided to move him to a rolling gurney.
          First, of course, all his IV tubes had to be unplugged. 
          I commented that he looked like an octopus because he had so many tubes. And that was all it took.
          “I really have a quarrel with Merriam-Webster over this,” he said. (Who quarrels with Merriam-Webster?)
          Then, as the workers transferred him to the gurney, he launched into a detailed explanation of why the plural of octopus should be octopuses.  Apparently the Latin plural would be octopi, but that’s incorrect because it actually has a Greek root. This means it would be octopodes, but if you do that, then the singular should be octopod.
          Bob and I were trying not to lock glances. I was also trying not to acknowledge the “Are you kidding me” glances of the nurses and orderlies.
          Really, Richie explained, in this case the simplest solution was also the best one. It should be octopuses. But, alas, people try to be pretentious and overdo various forms of words unnecessarily.
          Oh, good gravy. Which, by the way, is also unavailable in the hospital.
          Perfect for any hospital stay—check out my books (although you might want to avoid the humorous ones if you have stitches).

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A Sticky Situation

          It has come to my attention that some of you need marital advice. Okay, it’s totally obvious to the entire world that we ALL need marital advice. So hang in with me and I’ll share the latest tidbit I heard.
          St. Bob and I were in a crowd of people recently, and someone said that wallpapering is a great project for a couple to embark upon, to see how division of labor works, who’s patient, who’s a quitter, who angers easily. In short, it’s a great way to learn tons of information about the person you’re dating.
          St. Bob piped right up and said, “Oh, Joni and I did that once. Joni said, ‘I’ve got this,’ and I said, ‘Okay.’”  This was his contribution to the discussion, which he thought was a great example of how it can work but which, in fact, paints me as a control freak.
          First, he is correct; that is exactly how the conversation went. But here’s why. I’ve literally hung more rolls of wallpaper than I can count. In high school I worked for an interior designer who had a paint and wallpaper store (yes, you can churn butter in those shaky paint mixers), and I helped hundreds of customers find the wallpaper they wanted. I knew every page in every book, and soon was hanging paper in my parents’ home, then later in my own home. 
          I’ve even developed my own technique to make it easier (paint the paste on the wall, not on the paper). I’d tell you I can do it with my eyes closed, but that would present a problem when matching seams. However, it’s so familiar to me that I didn’t see the point in causing Bob all kinds of angst (See?  I’m kind!) when I can just do it myself. And why not let him sit down and rest a spell?  Okay, okay, plus I want it done right.
          Someone might say this reveals an inability to be flexible and allow others the chance to try. I don’t listen to that person. Have you priced wallpaper? Are you aware that it’s sold in double rolls? This is not like mixing up cookie dough and it doesn’t turn out. This can spell disaster. Expensive disaster. Like letting someone “help out” if you’re a surgeon. Or a pilot. Or a home builder.        Wallpaper is not forgiving if a couple decides to giggle and start flicking glue at one another. 
ALTHOUGH wallpaper removal is open to all comers. And that’s where I’d allow anybody the chance to shine.
You are welcome to use the pages of my books to wallpaper your home. I recommend buying one of each!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Face It

          I have just made a horrifying discovery and it’s about myself. My face betrays me.  All these years I thought my kids could read my mind, but no. They are reading my facial expressions.
          Years ago someone told me never to overreact when my kids share shocking information (Someone at school is selling drugs, a friend just got suspended, etc.) because then they’ll stop confiding in you.
          So I determined to keep a straight face no matter what they said. But only recently when our grown daughter was here and we happened to be chatting in a bathroom, she shared something shocking. And I happened to see my own reflection in the mirror.  I thought I was going like this:
          But, in fact, I looked like this:
          “WHAT?!” I gasped. “That’s what my face was doing?”
          Nicole just smiled. “That’s what your face does all the time.”
          Well, not ALL  the time, I hope. But every time I hear appalling news, evidently. So my kids aren’t mind-readers after all. They’re just taking advantage of my rubbery, expressive face!
          It also happens if someone tells me they just got over their cold:
          Or they’re out of the dessert I just ordered:
          Or they’re marrying a guy they met two days ago:
          Or they’re bringing me a cookie:
           And I'm pretty sure this means I should never, ever play poker:
          Check out my crazy face on my Youtube Mom videos. Evidently you’ll be able to tell exactly what I’m thinking!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Don't Call Me; I'll Call You

          I have a complaint. I know, this blog usually shares one of my disasters (and this well never runs dry, by the way), but today I want to complain about being reminded of appointments all the time.
          Let me take you back a few decades. When I was young, NOBODY called to remind you of your doctor/dentist/whatever appointment. People expected you to remember it, write it down, and show up.  Failure to appear marked you as an idiot. And we all knew it. We valued dependability like a shining virtue that only the seriously insane would discard.
          Flash forward to today. I get texts, emails, and phone messages almost daily, reminding me of medical appointments. Not only that, but it’s built into their system and you can’t opt out. I know; I’ve asked. 
          And guess what? I confess that if I had such a practice or a business, I’d probably install the auto-reminder as well. So here’s my gripe: People have become completely unreliable. Sure, there are exceptions, and since you’re reading my blog you are probably highly intelligent and would never need such a reminder.
          But it’s those other folks who consistently forget to glance at a calendar, that are causing us all these needless dings and rings. AND, when the call is over, I feel this old-timey need to thank them for calling. But I am not thankful; I am irritated. So now I’m just being politely phony.
          Lest you think I simply have no sympathy for the forgetful, let me remind you that I am easily the most forgetful ADD person I know.  That’s why I write everything down in a calendar. And now I am the most reliable person I know.
          Okay, thank you for letting me rant. I have to go answer the phone  now.
Have you checked out my short Youtube Mom videos? Hundreds of life hacks and motherly advice, with nary a reminder on the entire channel!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Hold That Tiger!

          A common complaint on my childhood report cards is that I talk too much. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?  Okay, of course you can believe it. This chatty tendency of mine has bugged more than one or two teachers, and countless non-teachers.  But I just have so much to say!
          Excuse-making attempt #1: I also ask questions. Lots of questions. I’m curious. Last night I tried watching a football game with St. Bob and asked how many companies make helmets. He had no idea. Do they all come equipped with headphones so the coach can talk to them individually? He wasn’t sure.
Do they sanitize those mouth-pieces? Again, no idea. Has any detergent company become the official team detergent? Because that would be quite the endorsement if they can get those grass and dirt stains out. Again, he didn’t know.
Also, how can two opposing teams both be called the Tigers? Why didn’t someone tell one of them that the Tiger mascot was already taken? 
And why did they pick tigers in the first place, when neither of the teams starts with T?  Also, tigers are not native to either of these states, nor to any American state, for that matter. Miami Dophins makes sense. Denver Broncos makes sense. St. Louis Cardinals makes sense. But tigers? Bob pretended to be on a phone call.
Why do they always seem so surprised when they get injured? Did they not know that 250-pound people were going to come running at them at full speed? How did they miss that memo? Again, no clue. Finally it was suggested that I make some popcorn or something.
But the surgery team I had in December was more proactive than any of these other people annoyed by my comments. No report cards. No suggestions of ways to distract me and thus shut me up. Nope. As I was on the operating table, yammering away, I suddenly saw a clear triangular mask being held above my head.  And just as I said, “But I’m not through talk--” it was clamped over my face.  And I guarantee you the anesthesiologist probably muttered, “Yeah you are.” And then I’ll bet he high-fived everybody else in the room.
Whatever.  Maybe they can just visit Joniopolis and read my blogs. Which will continue as long as I have breath to breathe and fingers to type. I guess I should be glad they didn’t sew my lips closed.
          Even better, they--  and you—can buy my books!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Heads Up

          Every year there’s a funniest, weirdest, or most treasured Christmas or Hanukah present, right?  This year our son, Brandon, had been telling a client about his TV game show dad, and brought up St. Bob’s Wikipedia page.    
          Suddenly he noticed a live ebay auction going on, for an 8x10 head shot of him. Someone in Pennsylvania had been saving this publicity photo for umpty-ump years and was finally selling it (How could they? They must have died, right? I mean, who could part with this?). So Brandon bought it and gave me this photo that I had never seen before:
          Now, c’mon. This is one heckuva hunky guy, right? Look at that movie stah hair! And check out the vintage clothing. What a dreamboat.
          Brandon also gave his brother, Richie, a phenomenal tower of Selenite, which can be lit up like we did in this photo:
          Richie’s a geologist, so it was perfect. Then Brandon started opening a gift from Richie (they have a tradition of making this difficult with duct tape, staples, and all manner of obstacles), and Richie said, “Okay, this gift might need some explanation.”
          At this point third son, Cassidy, said, “What is it—a severed head?”
Richie and I locked gazes and laughed. “Funny you should say that,” he said. And, sure enough, it was a severed head. Although it was not as large as the one Richie had ordered.
Yep, an alligator head. The perfect gift for someone who has everything else.
Nicole made her famous Norwegian waffles,
the kids went rock climbing and zip lining, 
we made our traditional gingerbread house, 
daughter-in-law Tiffany gave me a hilarious bottle of Tabasco (I am not a big spice person) that she got out of our own fridge, and we played games and laughed our heads off. Maybe that’s where this whole severed head thing started.
You do realize that you can buy my Christmas book any time of year, right? It’s about gratitude, and how it sometimes takes a child to raise a village. Incredibly low price, too!