Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Run, Run, as Fast as You Can!

          Apparently I’m running in a marathon.  Last week I got three emails thanking me for registering, giving me the details, and notifying me that I’ve been charged $44.00.  Okay, maybe this is a 10K, not an actual marathon, but I have as much chance of running in one as in the other.
          Obviously the other Joni Hilton, who actually signed up, gave them the wrong email address (mine), but thankfully her credit card does not match mine. I spent at least an hour trying to find a phone number or even an email address on their website, and finally resorted to telling them about the problem in a trouble-shooting comment line. After all, I do not want my poor double to wonder if they got her payment. (And if she wins, I'm framing the headline.)
          One of our sons is married to a girl whose parents actually do run in marathons, including the Boston Marathon.  They are major, serious runners. I, on the other hand, have toyed with the idea of wearing a T-shirt that says, “I RAN A MARATHON” and then below that, in tiny letters: “sign-up booth.” 
          I could sit in a chair, take their money, and hand them a T-shirt all day long.  And, if someone would bring in lunch, I could sit there from sun-up to sun-down. I’d even throw in water bottles.
          I do like the idea of raising money for good causes, which many of these races do.  But until they have a 1/32 K, which would be about 100 feet long, I shall work on increasing my typing speed.  And why aren’t there races for that?
          Race to my website here, and see how fast you can buy my books. Maybe you’ll set a world record! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Can You Pass on Your Crazy Luck?

          I’m looking at the headline I wrote for this blog and realize you can take it two ways.  1) You can ask, “Can you pass your crazy luck on to your children, genetically?”  or 2) could you be offered crazy luck in life, and then just pass on it, and go for better luck instead?
          But I’m not sure we get to choose.  I mean, who would choose bad luck, right?  It just follows some folks around (and those of us with bent brains use it to write humor novels and comedy blogs).
          But now… ta-da!  I found an article in My Business Future Magazine that says, “Researchers Prove That Luck is Inherited.”  They studied 300,000 people and have proclaimed that luck is demonstrably genetic.
This not only absolves me from responsibility, which I love, but it explains the unbelievable things that happen to my children, as well.
          JUST LAST WEEK our grown daughter decided to take the train to visit a friend.  But first you have to catch a bus.  No problem, right?  No problem if you are unrelated to Joni. On the other hand, if you are my offspring, here is what your bus will do:

          Buses high center and get stuck on curbs 87% more of the time if one of the passengers is related to me.  Okay, I made that up, but seriously, has this ever happened to you, even once?  Remember, I’m the one who got hit by a semi here, and had my luggage lost by Air France for three days here.  You could scroll through this blog and find, quite literally, hundreds of examples of bad luck.
          Thank goodness our daughter’s train connection wasn’t for several hours.  It took 45 minutes for a tow-truck to get the bus off the curb.
          So I apologize to my daughter, the innocent victim of DNA.  But at least she took pictures for the cause of science. And comedy.
          Mishaps are how I have honed a sense of humor that has formed the basis of my entire writing career.  Check out the resulting 25 books here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

My Spirit Animal is a Donut

          My spirit animal is a donut.  I have not taken the test, but I’m pretty sure this would be the answer. 
          Our daughter has given us several other personality tests, from the five love languages to the ones that place you in leadership categories or, for all I know, psychotic categories. 
          On the Myers-Briggs one, St. Bob and I got exactly the same evaluation.  We’re both ENFJs, “The Protagonist,” a charismatic leader.  This means we’re both imaginative, enthusiastic, chatty, and persuasive. 
          There’s another assessment that points you to your dominant energy type (there are four). I’m a Type One.  This means I’m bright, animated, and fun loving.
          On the Color Code test I’m mostly yellow.  Although I have enough of the other colors as secondary ones that I think the mix would looks more like mud. Wait-- make that chocolate milk.
Long ago I took an online test to see if I’m more right brain than left brain, and it said half and half.
I took it three more times to see if we could narrow it down, but every time it said I’m half and half. (And no comments from you monkey children about my possibly having half a brain.)  Actually, this makes sense because I’m both right-brain creative and left-brain organized.
          But testing is not new to me. When I was ten, my father (a psychologist) gave me the MMPI, a test usually only given to adults.  Whatever. You can read what that revealed here.
          But I’m always puzzled as to why people even take personality tests.  Don’t you already know that you’re shy, or outgoing, or whatever?  Who actually gasps in amazement at the results? 
          And this is how I already know my spirit animal.  It is a donut, and it is calling to me even now.  While I make a quick dash to the donut shop, you can order my books here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

More Than a Glass Menagerie

          You need to blog so your readers can know about your life, I was advised. People who buy your books want to know what you’re like.
          I’m like my books. 
          But they want to hear the daily stuff.
          Well, the daily stuff is exactly what I use in many of my books. Granted, these books are largely fiction.  But many of the funny incidents come from real life, and if you scroll through here you will see why I write comedy.  It virtually lands in my lap. (And one of my kids says there’s no point reading my books because it’s like talking to me on the phone.)
          But – ta da! -- today I’m going to share a normal, regular moment with you. I went to Seattle, Washington to speak to a large group of LDS women.  For those of you not Mormon, this is not a recovery group for people addicted to LSD.  It is an abbreviation we use, for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
          And no trip to Seattle is complete without seeing the sights, right?  So my dear lifelong friend (and fellow blogger, Nan Slaughter) took me to the Chihuly exhibit.
          Millions of people have seen Dale Chihuly’s sculptures, and millions of dollars have been spent to buy it.  But now we can say “millions plus one” because I have evidently been living under a rock and had never known about this guy. But I love his work.  It’s a phenomenal blast of utter creativity, things you never could have imagined on your own, even if you are addicted to LSD.  And no, I did not plan for that to be my theme, nor shall it be.  I’m just saying.
          His ideas are spectacular.  Bursts of color and motion, wild and whimsical, all done with glass.
Imagine taking the most brittle object on earth to create swirling, delicate wonders that leave everyone open-mouthed, staring in amazement.
He even incorporates his art in outside gardens, making you want to go home and completely re-do your yard.
I asked Nan why no one in her Samammish area has these fabulous sculptures in their yards and she said it’s because the huge pine trees there would fall over and crush them.  This is actually a thing, folks—the rainfall makes more trees drop there than you would think, and not long ago she had a car crushed by one. This is not her car, but you get the idea:
          So, even though Mr. Chihuly lives near Seattle, it seems to me we need not only a glass artist there, but a rubber artist who can create magnificent stuff that will simply bounce back. Seems he’d sell even more of them, right?  Just problem solving, here.
I cannot promise my books will never fall on your car, but I’m pretty sure the worst you can get from them is a paper cut, so order all you can carry right here!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Free for a Fee

          St. Bob just got invited to join AARP.  Here’s the notice he received:
          Now, if you’re like me, you’re thinking, “Wait a sec’. Is it free or not?” And you know it’s not.  This “free” bag costs around sixteen dollars.  And we get offers like this all the time.  Free cosmetics.  Free financial advice.  Free gadgets. Free trips, even. 
          But to get them, you shell out money for a sign-up fee of some kind.  Plus your email address.  Plus your phone number.  From here you will get more offers from companies who are buying your contact information. You’ve just won a free trip to Vegas! And, if the sender is shady enough, they want your bank account number and Social Security info.
          Then there are offers for free stuff on an ongoing basis, which you can “quit at any time,” right?  Except quitting is the most difficult thing you will ever attempt, next to climbing Mt. Everest.  To end a “free subscription” you need to be an I.T. expert (even better, a hacker) to get off their list.  And if you can’t do it in time, the bills begin to arrive.
          So, to make Bob feel better, I offered to take him out for a free lunch.  He jumped at the chance.  I wonder if he knew I’d be using his credit card.

Here’s something that really is free, and doesn’t ask for your personal info or money: Check out my YouTube Mom videos here.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Just Taste This

          There is much to be learned at Costco, isn’t there?  That ice cream will melt by the time you reach the actual cash register, that a drum of detergent might not be easy to lift, that no one will ever eat that many green olives, and, above all, that people love free samples.
          I was there a few days ago and saw people clamoring for lunch—I mean, for samples—of everything from chili to chips to cauliflower bites to cheese dip to candy to creamy potato salad (wait—did everything have to start with C?)
          And it occurred to me that anything served in a small enough portion will taste good.  Even the worst concoction in the world—if reduced to an appetizer size—is somehow palatable.
          You want a little bite of sponge, drizzled with motor oil?  You could actually eat that at Costco and think, “Hmm… not bad.”
          How about a sip of a snake venom smoothie?  “Tastes like chicken,” folks will say.
If you’re trying to eat healthy foods, you can justify a tiny bite of a hot dog, right?  And dang, that was pretty tasty!
There is something in our brains that tells us tiny is good—a tiny assignment at work is okay, a tiny phone call scarcely interrupts us, a tiny delay on the road is fine, a tiny baby animal is always adorable.
But make food tiny and whammo!  You’ve got a hit.  That is, if it’s also free.  You’ll notice people don’t like to actually pay for tiny food, and will complain at a restaurant if the portions are too small.  But put those same portions in a little paper cup at Costco, and people will be blissfully satisfied.
It’s the appetizer enigma.  Which is why I shall end this blog right now, and maybe you’ll think it’s even better than it really is.

Check out my very short, very tiny, but very informative YouTube Mom videos, too.  You can find them right here with just one tiny click.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Get Your Feet Off the Table!

          Ta-da!  My latest decorating project is finished.  You know I love McKenzie Childs style, right?  I shared my nod to that when I repainted my grandfather clock (and decoupaged the courtly checks) a couple of years ago:
And you can read more about that here. So a couple of months ago I took the leap and decided to re-do my coffee table in the same style. 
First, you should know that this table has been needing work for years.  Some time ago someone (we will never know the guilty party) tipped over a scented diffuser that was sitting there on a runner.  They didn’t report the spill and it was days before I moved the runner and saw the entirely gouged and eaten up finish.  Needless to say, it’s been covered with various disguisers ever since, from runners to tablecloths.
But the time had come, and I took the bold leap.  I sanded and primed it outside in the cold (bundled up but still cold!) then dragged it in, put down a drop cloth, and began to paint.  I decoupaged courtly check wrapping paper on the sides and painted a border of the colors and stripes so familiar to fans of this home d├ęcor line.
Then eldest son, Richie, suggested a map of Book of Mormon lands for the center, and I found one online.  For non-Mormons I should explain.  The Book of Mormon goes hand in hand with the Bible and is another testament of Jesus Christ. It details his visit, after his resurrection, to people in the Americas. Nobody knows exactly where this happened, but scholars like to guess Central and South America.  Some folks have even ventured to speculate about where various settlements and land forms were, thus various maps have sprung from daring minds with artistic ability.
Needless to say, our officious Chihuahua Terrier mix--a Taco Terrier-- Mickey, had to supervise.  But here’s what she does.  She knocks the throw pillows off the sofa, then leaps from pillow to pillow until she finds one she likes.  Like Goldilocks. (This is the same brainiac who growls at her reflection in the oven door, thinking there’s another dog in the oven looking back at her.) Here you can see her on her perch, the table still a work in progress.
Then I varnished the whole thing and now it’s done!  Here’s the final result. 
At least until Mickey gets to the pillows.  Now I think I’ll sit down and put my feet up…
You do the same—and curl up with one of my books!