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!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Not a Creature was Stirring?

I don’t get why I have to have a rodent-themed Christmas. Last time I told you our new tradition was having a surgery-themed Christmas. But the longer tradition involves rats and mice.
Simon, our ninja cat, keeps bringing in live mice and then letting them go. Our son, Brandon, says cats do this when they think you have no hunting skills. They treat you like you’re their kittens and they need to train you.
I doubt very much that cats think anything through as thoroughly as this. I mean, what’s a cat’s IQ—10?
          So now we have a mouse hiding in a drawer in the laundry room. I can picture a little mouse real estate agent telling him the place shows dark, and the mouse grinning and saying, “Where do I sign?”
Obviously he hasn’t read T’was the Night Before Christmas. We’re trying to capture him, but mice are quick and sneaky.
You’d think this wouldn’t be that difficult. When our son, Richie, was a little boy he asked, “Why do owls come out at night?” I told him it was because mice come out at night. He said, “Then why do mice come out at night?” And we’re back to IQ again.
          Years ago a rat collapsed and died under our tree, trying to get to the water in the tree stand. Good heavens, right? 
          Then one year I was painting our windows with Christmassy themes and added a tiny little mouse, asleep in a wreath with his little stocking hung nearby. I continued this each year, and one year painted him just a bit too large.  “A Christmas Rat!” the kids squealed, thrilled with this tradition that I blogged about here.
          And now Tiffany, our daughter-in-law, has NAMED the latest mouse Reggie. The one we’re trying to capture and relocate in the nearest wilds. But if he’s named then he becomes a pet!
          I just don’t know. Maybe my own IQ is the real problem here.
You can come over and help me on Mouse Watch. When it’s not your shift you can read one of my books!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Ever Tried This Christmas Tradition?

          We all have holiday traditions, right? It seems mine is to have major medical procedures on them. My main cancer surgery was right before Thanksgiving last year, followed by another two surgeries right before Christmas. Then I started chemo on Valentine’s Day. I think radiation began on St. Bob’s birthday, and now I’m having reconstructive surgery right before Christmas again. I sure know how to get out of cooking a giant feast!
          However, as you read this I am now back from a lengthy hospital stay and am enjoying a whole new tradition: Christmas fireworks. At least that’s what I am anticipating as ALL of our wonderful grown children are with us (hasn’t happened in a long time!) and it’s up to them to cook. One is vegan, one is keto, one avoids glutin, one likes junk food and one hates to cook. Should be hilarious. (Plus varied political views which I have told them to keep to themselves but you know how that works.)
          I’m thinking I will pull up a nearby chair, sit there in my pain-med-induced stupor, and enjoy the entertainment.  

St. Bob has planned a wonderful day for them: Zip-lining, rock climbing, and a Via Ferrata rope challenge at the local Quarry Park Adventures. But I fully expect our plans to get rained out. Plus I looked at the website, saw the words “Free Fall,” and now I’m praying for snow. One Christmas hospital visit is enough, right?
Even though it’s Christmas Eve, you can order a sleigh-ful of my Christmas booklet, A Little Christmas Prayer. You can enjoy it throughout the season (hopefully without any injuries) and even stock up early, for next year.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Now Hair This

          Okay, the chemo hair is growing back in. Yes, it fell out and I looked like an eaglet. Or Golum. But now it’s growing back sassy and defiant. Like this is my fault and it’s blaming me.
          Granted, I had somewhat curly/wavy hair before.
          But now I have curls so tight it looks like hundreds of  tiny Slinkies are all over my head. 

Or sheep’s wool.

Seriously, I look like a cross between Sonic the Hedgehog

and Albert Einstein. Like, if they had a baby.
When it gets a little longer I think I may look like Bob Ross:
Who knows-- maybe artistic talents will be included. I still wear wigs, hats, and scarves but soon I’ll be braving the weather with nothing but my tight little curls to protect me. Notice they’re forming two horns? I swear this is just what those particular curls have decided on their own.
If only they could remake Napoleon Dynamite with a crazy Aunt Joni in it. Then everyone would know how he got those curls.
But you can keep your head warm by staying indoors. And while you’re there, read my Christmas book aloud to your family. See if you agree with many of my readers that this would make a wonderful little movie!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Say It Ain't So!

          For years I have been bragging about the Bear Lake Raspberries grown in northern Utah, where I grew up. There’s something about the 6,000 ft. elevation and the chilly climate that makes the plants store more sugar. And that creates the sweetest raspberries known to man. Who knows, maybe even the sweetest people—ha!
Everyone in the vicinity, which includes Southern Idaho (and yes, Napoleon Dynamite felt like a documentary of my childhood) would go to Bear Lake and pick them. Our moms would make jam and it was the sweetest, pinkest, most glorious jam on earth.
Years later as we experienced “store bought jam” or even fresh raspberries grown in other areas, we would grimace, and then bore everyone around us with tales of better berries. We became Raspberry Snobs. Here’s a Vacherin I made, topped with these sweet little gems:
And a cake of mine:
And a creme brulee I topped with them:
But then (cue the sound effect of a needle screeching across a vinyl record), a few years ago it came to a halt. A virus nearly wiped out the entire raspberry plant population there, and they had to tear everything out and start over. Which takes a few years. Some of the farmers gave up entirely.
It was a dark and stormy time. Actually dark and stormy would have been good for the berries. It began to look like authentic Bear Lake Berries would be gone for good.
Thankfully, there are a few hardy souls who are working to bring the industry back again. Pictures of the annual Raspberry Days show lots of happy families enjoying Raspberry Shakes, ice cream, and desserts. So add Bear Lake to your bucket list, and enjoy these juicy red nuggets before they disappear again.
Raspberry jam makes a wonderful hostess gift as you make the rounds this Christmas. But until you can be sure it contains authentic Bear Lake berries, give the next best thing: My latest book!  It’s seriously perfect for anyone of any age, and teaches the magic of gratitude. Find A Little Christmas Prayer on Amazon for just $3.49!