Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Just a Little Kissy Poo

          SERIOUSLY?  Okay, here’s what has happened now.  I stopped in to visit an old friend who’s in an Alzheimer’s care facility. In the LDS Church we are assigned people to minister to every month, and even though this friend moved away years ago, I’ve stayed in touch.
          You would think such a visit would be pretty predictable, right? Aha. That is your first mistake.  I find my friend’s room and there she is, sitting in a wheelchair.  So I sit in the chair facing her, but no sooner do we begin to visit than she says in a halting voice, “Can I, can I kiss you?”
          Well, how sweet is that, right? What a doll. “Of course you can,” I say. And I stand up and bend over her so she can peck me on the cheek. 
          Then, just as I’m leaning over, closer and closer, and cupping her head in my hand, I realize she looks puzzled.  So I say, "Wait. What?" Turns out I heard her wrong.  What she really said was, “Can I have a tissue?”  And now I am two inches from her face, and she's probably wondering what on earth is about to happen. Is Joni going to kiss me? Good grief-- She's the one who should be in a care facility!

          Quickly I sit down again, rummage through my purse, and pull out one tissue for now, and one for her nightstand lest we go through this all over again. We visit, we reminisce, we catch up.  And for the first time in my life, I find I am grateful for short-term memory loss and I’m hoping she forgets my waay-too-close encounter and that her family members don’t file some kind of restraining order.
          This is what happens when your brain has an auto-correct feature that you didn’t even sign up for.  And my oncologist wants me to have chemo!  That creates chemo brain, you know.  And I’ve obviously already got it, and haven’t even had chemo yet!  I seriously cannot afford brain fog on any level. 
          So I’m off to MD Anderson in Texas for a second opinion.  I hope it goes, “Oh, y’all are too uptight on the coast. Just have some dumplin’s, honey, and everything’ll be fine.”  And hopefully they won’t ask me for a tissue sample.
While we’re waiting for the results of that adventure, you may as well curl up with one of my books.  Oh—and don’t forget you can do all your Christmas shopping there, too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Three Blind Mice?

          I get it; everyone loves St. Bob. But why does this focus group have to include our cat, Simon? We got that wingnut out of a box of free kittens and he turned out to be a Chartreux, a cat bred in France to be a champion mouser.
          However, nobody said, “By the way, he’ll be bringing those mice into your bedroom at night.”  Or, “I hope you can do math, because if you can divide three into two, that’s how often he’ll be doing this.”
          Yes, over the last two nights he has brought in THREE mice, and has wailed at the top of his lungs to let us know.  Also, he’s been drenched because he doesn’t have the sense to come in out of the rain. He also brings in birds. And evidently dreams of them:
          But he will come in to present his gifts to Bob, his favorite human.  (I am just the Plus One who scrubs white carpeting with hydrogen peroxide to clean up after the murder.)
          “Just marry him and get it over with,” I muttered to Bob last night, after the third hideous episode.
          Richie, our eldest, says cats do this because they think we can’t hunt.  Really.  And what genius determined this? Did they interview cats to see how they think?  Did my tax dollars pay for a grant to talk to cats? Do hunters receive no little gifts of prey from their cats? I’ll bet you a gray Chartreux that cats do this just because they want to, and are not analyzing our weaponry skills or the meat we haul home.
          But if Richie’s right, and Simon knows we’re now vegan, we are in major trouble.
But here's the perfect thing to do when your cat wakes you up in the night: Read one of my books! And, dare I say, they make wonderful Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Stickler for Details

          Quick quiz: When was Joni most likely to get caught breaking a law? Answer: When she took a Sharpie pen over to the local high school at night, and corrected the punctuation on a sign that said, SLOW STUDENTS AHEAD.
          So how can I possibly stay in a hospital bed beneath this sign?
          Why the arm is also a topography map escapes me.  But the more glaring problem is that the warning not to give injections or take blood pressure on the left arm has a misplaced apostrophe.  Sticks is plural. It is not a contraction and it is not possessive. Yet you see this all the time.  Slack’s on sale. Return shopping cart’s here.  Lower price’s. Free ticket’s.  It’s enough to put one in a straitjacke’t.
          Luckily our daughter, Nicole, was there. I asked her to find some white adhesive tape and cover the apostrophe.
          Finally the repair was made.  And then St. Bob found me a room with a view of Sutter’s Fort. Now that does have an apostrophe.
          Have you read Sisters in the Mix yet?  The main character has my same penchant for fixing signs. But she also has OCD, whereas I only have CPD (Correct Punctuation Desire).

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Coming To

          You know I recently had a mastectomy. You know I find comedy in almost everything. And you know major surgery is usually done with anesthetic.  This, my friends, is the recipe for a very embarrassing cocktail.
          When I had my wisdom teeth removed at 19, I had a follow-up visit where all the nurses clustered around to tell me how hilarious I was under anesthetic.  This is never good news. 
          This time I recall just bits and pieces, so I can only imagine the parts I’ve forgotten.  Note to self: Never have surgery at that hospital ever again, lest you run into the same surgical team.
          Just gaining consciousness after the procedure this time, I noticed a young male nurse fidgeting with the wires and tubes attached to my chest.  “Don’t cut the green wire,” I said, “or we’ll all blow up.”
          I yammered on and on (this much I remember) and finally, a little worried, said to one nurse, “Am I the most talkative patient you’ve had?”
          She just looked at me, then said, “So far.”  What—in her entire career? Marvelous.
          Soon St. Bob and Nicole were ushered in.  The surgery had taken almost five hours, so they had gone to the hospital cafeteria for lunch. I asked them how it was and Nicole said it wasn’t great.  “Shocking,” I said. “You do know they have three Michelin stars here.” Well, seriously, this is a hospital-- what did you expect?
          In my room I dictated some notes on my phone to ask my surgeon when she came in.  But you know how auto-correct is.  So when I finally saw her, I scanned my list and saw, “Did you save Nepal?”  And, apparently she is a superhero in her spare time, because she definitely saved Nepal.
Whether you’re laid up in bed or running around, check out my books (and they make awesome Christmas gifts, too!)     

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Post-Halloween Irony

          Have you gobbled up all your Halloween candy, yet? (Note my Thanksgiving reference, now that it’s November.)
          First, I want to wish a Happy Birthday today, to Richie, my eldest son (now older than I am!). Note the shirt he's wearing.  I think it's perfect, because I find a bit of irony in Halloween. 
          For example, we give out “Fun Size” candies, when there is nothing fun at all in miniature versions of candy we love. Fun would be a giant candy bar (and for me, it would be vegan and sugar free! Another irony).  It’s like “Fun Run”—how can those two words be in the same sentence?
          Last week I saw the ad Crest Toothpaste has posted on Youtube and Twitter, telling kids to go ahead and eat candy, because they've got it covered. They gave the kids broccoli and beet-flavored "treats" and the kids were aghast. So this toothpaste company is urging kids to eat sugar.
          Irony is all around, of course, not just on Halloween. Have you ever seen someone post on Facebook that they wish people wouldn’t post such hostile comments, and then they get a stream of hostile responses?
          It’s like when someone says, “No offense,” but you know they mean, “I’m about to say something super offensive but I’m hoping you’ll be too oblivious to get mad about it.”
          I guess if you have to be an “-ic” it’s better to be ironic than moronic. Our dog is rarely ironic. On the other hand, she has the corner on, well, that other thing. But there’s only so much IQ you can cram into the head of a Chihuahua. She’s still lovable. Just saying.
And now that we’re officially in “the holidays” might I suggest my books? There’s something for everyone on your gift list!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


          This will be a short blog because you have candy to buy and trick-or-treaters to please.  I simply have to share a hilarious thing they do in Norway.  Inside the wrapper of their Kit Kat-like bar are hiking tips. Yep, hiking tips:
          Not that I went off my vegan diet to learn this. Okay, I was TRAVELING, which is like the free space on a bingo card.  
          Here it is (and the chocolate is creamier than ours). Kvikk Lunsj translates to Quick Lunch:
          I had to wonder how clever these tips would be. I mean, we all have common sense, right? (Yeah, I know, it’s not all that common.)  But we could, even those of us who aren’t avid hikers, compile a list that includes “stay on the trail” and “let people know where you’re going.”
          Well, apparently not, because Freia has taken the trouble to print those very bits of advice, lest you embark upon a wilderness adventure with candy but no brains.
          Some of these nuggets of brilliance include "take into account weather," "use a map and compass," and my favorite: "Turn back around in time; there's no shame in turning around."            
          And it got me thinking—why not dispense advice in ALL candy wrappers? Who wouldn’t love that, the same way we enjoy breaking open a fortune cookie to see what it says?  So, candy makers everywhere, I issue this challenge: By next Halloween I want to give out brilliant wisdom, along with chocolate, to my trick-or-treaters!
You could also give out my books! Imagine the delight of little four-year-olds! Okay, maybe not. Although they can be devoured.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Ghost Story

By any chance have you ever slept in a graveyard? 
I’m guessing no. But wait until you read how I happened to do this in Norway.
          Nicole has some friends from her mission days who are renting a home that overlooks an actual fjord. Seriously, the property is breathtaking. And they invited us to spend the night. 
          Also on the property is the landlord's larger home, a huge barn, an apple orchard, and another house.
Years ago the landlady at that time was told by the government that it needed to appropriate the land to build a road. This is called eminent domain here in the U.S.—the taking of land for the public good—and it happens all over the world.
          So she accepted her fate and the night before demolition she went out to dig in her garden.  Her spade hit a rock, making a clinking sound. So she moved over a bit and dug again. Another clink. Then another, and another.  It turns out she had discovered a huge oval of stones surrounding a 1,000-year-old Viking cemetery!
          Immediately the property became a protected historic site, and that’s how we came to sleep in a Viking graveyard!  When we arrived we asked to see it, but were told it hadn’t been excavated yet. Apparently they don’t have sufficient staff to unearth every exciting location in Norway.
          BUT… are you kidding me?  Do you not own a shovel? I would die of curiosity—and thus join the others—if I couldn’t get out there and dig up all those exciting artifacts!  And if it’s illegal, do you not own a spoon and a flashlight? I would be out there in the dead (no pun intended) of night, working feverishly and carefully to find every sword, shield, and helmet!
          I could hardly sleep. And leaving this work undone the following morning, well, what can I say? It haunts me even now.
          Halloween is coming up-- and that's the perfect time to read my books, while you wait for Trick-or-Treaters to ring your doorbell.