Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Keep on Truckin'

           What is going on where I live?  I’ll tell you what. People are transporting CRAZY things. Think I’m exaggerating? Check out this truck, which even brags that it contains venomous snakes. 

          Now, on the one hand, I guess somebody has to rescue you when you’re cornered by a rattlesnake. On the other hand, what if someone leaves the window cracked and they get out and swarm all over the neighborhood? On the other hand, this is a great way to ensure that nobody will ever steal your vehicle.

          And then this one says CRYOGENIC, which we all know means there are dead bodies in there, frozen and waiting to be unfrozen. 

Some folks will tell you this is incorrect, that these vehicles contain liquid nitrogen and cryogenic gases.  SO THEY SAY.  But we’ve all seen the movies. And I can just picture dead bodies stacked up inside there.  What if that truck gets in a wreck, the back bursts open, and corpses come toppling out onto the hood of your car? 

OR… this is just someone’s brilliant idea of a way to keep us quarantined in our homes.  I must say, it’s working.

And while you’re inside, check out my Youtube Mom videos. There are hundreds of short life hacks to occupy you while you avoid rattlesnakes and zombies.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

All in Vein

          Folks, I just had an ultrasound and I can tell the gender! For those of you who think I could be pregnant, THANK  YOU for thinking I’m young enough. For those of you whose mouths have fallen open in shock (including St. Bob), here’s the skinny:

          I just had my final reconstructive surgery after breast cancer and a mastectomy (all went well, happy with results), but it took A SOLID HOUR to get an IV into my arm. My veins want no part of this. They scoot around, they collapse, and they finally play dead like an opossum.

          First, the nurse takes a stab—pun intended—at this goal. When that doesn’t work, she tries another spot. Then another. Finally she brings in a vein-finder machine and an additional person. Another swing and a miss.

          Eventually an ultra-sound machine is wheeled in, complete with gel. Now a new technician stares at the screen as he feels around in my arm with a needle, looking for a vein that will allow the storm troopers to breach the castle wall.  And, finally, it works.

          I told him if he sees a baby in there kicking around, there’s going to be trouble. Oh, and my gender is unchanged.

          However, my arm now looks like a new bakery item: Eggplant Muffins. Sure, they’ll probably taste weird, but the dark purple splotches definitely grab the eye.

          Meanwhile, how about we add a new category for the Olympics: Getting a needle into Joni’s veins? Although I’m not sure I want to volunteer for this.

The best thing to do when recuperating (or just self- isolating) is to read a great book. Find my faves right here!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Fig Diet

         Okay, everyone has gained their 19 pounds from COVID-19.  So today I’m giving you an easy way to cut down on all the overeating we’ve been doing.

          It starts with figs.

          Did you know figs have to be pollinated on the inside? This means fig wasps crawl in to lay their eggs, but in the process lose their wings. So the female wasp dies inside the fruit.  YIKES, right?  I mean, an enzyme in the fig breaks her carcass down into protein, but STILL. I promise this is true; you can look it up.

          And I already told you that all chocolate bars contain fragments of roaches. The FDA allows anything less than 60 insect pieces per 100 grams of chocolate.  Roach parts are also in popcorn, wheat, peanut butter, fruit, cheese, and pasta.

          Insect pieces are in almost everything—canned goods, baked goods, boxed goods, veggies, coffee, tomatoes, spices, fast food. Experts say it’s just the cost of doing business in the food industry. They can’t eliminate ALL the pests, so they decided what percentage is basically safe for us to eat!

          But it’s even worse. (Are you shedding pounds, yet?) Some foods’ formulas deliberately add fish bladders, human hair, duck feathers, and a musky/vanilla-scented beaver secretion. Each of these items provides something they want— say, for fluffier bread.

          So, not to bug you, but are you gonna eat that last bite of ice cream, or can I have it?

Many of my Youtube Mom videos show you slick tricks for fixing and storing all these foods (be brave), along with must-see life hacks.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Freezing in Frisco

           Mark Twain is rumored to have said, "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco."  And that’s exactly how I felt on Friday when I had to go there for ANOTHER Covid test prior to an upcoming surgery.

          Unwisely, I wore open-toed sandals, white jeans, a T-shirt and an overblouse. It’s been 100 degrees where I live, and I couldn’t believe this nearby city could be that much colder. I was wrong.

          Had we been able to stay inside, out of the chilly wind, it would have been fine. But we had decided to take the train and have an adventure. This also included riding on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), which took us to the sketchiest area that Amtrak services.

          Lest you wonder what I mean by sketchy, this is a bench we saw:

          Take a closer look toward the back of the seat. Yes, those are sharp screws sticking straight up. I can only imagine the screams of pain from anyone who might sit down without looking.

          We finished up and went back to the train station. Two trains came in simultaneously, and as we were trying to figure out which one would take us home, the correct one left. We now had two more hours to sit on hard concrete benches and wait. Soon Bob decided to use the restroom. But this required going back inside and walking through the station.  I now had blisters from my sandals, and couldn’t walk with him. But I assured him I’d be fine alone on the platform.

          For fifteen minutes I kept saying, “Go! I’ll be fine!” to which he would reply, “I’m not leaving you here. It’s dangerous.”  Finally he placed something beside me and took off.  I looked down and discovered his pocket knife. That’s right, a POCKET KNIFE.  Just the thing to defend myself if, say, Crocodile Dundee shows up.

          Soon he was back, but now he noticed swarms of ants on the ground. “It’s like Dunkirk!” he said, and began stomping furiously. He looked like a flamenco dancer who has never studied flamenco dancing. 

         Then my feet were freezing, so Bob emptied out the backpack and told me to put my feet inside. “Here,” he said brightly, “you can just bunny hop over when the train comes.”

          “I am not bunny hopping,” I said. And now I’m mad at myself for not dressing warmly or wearing shoes and socks.

          And then he earns his sainthood again by taking off his shoes and socks, and giving me his socks to wear. What a guy. I warmed up immediately. Always travel with a buddy.

And with a good book to read.  I recommend these!


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Valley of Death

           Okay, Peeps. You think it’s hot where you live, so I’m going to tell you about a place even worse so you’ll feel better.  AND I’m going to tell you 10 surprising things about it.  Yep, Death Valley, where it was 130 degrees on August 17th.

         First, it’s the largest national park in the lower 48 states. And, at 282 feet below sea level, it’s also the lowest point. I’d say you should check low altitude cooking directions but you’d be out of your mind to cook there. Or, rather, you cannot keep from cooking there.

          Of course, if you collapse from the heat, you can always call for help, right? Wrong. No cell service there.

          There’s a layer of salt in Badwater Basin that looks like a dusting of snow. That could be the worst April Fool’s trick ever.

          Crazy things happen there. 700-pound boulders seem to move on their own. Okay, they slide on a thin layer of winter ice that sometimes forms at night. But it’s still bizarre.

         And the sand sings. As it slides down the tall dunes, the friction between the grains sounds like whale songs. And that’s not the only weird sound there. At Devil’s Golf Course (which is NOT a golf course) you can hear billions of salt crystals snapping and popping in the heat.

          Movies, including Star Wars: A New Hope, have been filmed there. (Let me guess. Their new hope was to be rescued.) Artist’s Drive features multi-colored hills.

          Ironic fact: Several gigantic charcoal kilns are still there, after being built in the 1800s. How can a place this hot also need kilns?

          There was a huge volcano there, too.  It left a crater 600 feet deep and half a mile wide. Good gravy. I mean, hot gravy.

          On the plus side, it has the darkest night skies you could ever want, for observing the stars. And at the right time of year there are wildflowers and birds to see. Just don’t visit in the summertime.

          BUT, you can stay in where it’s cool and watch my short Youtube Mom videos right here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Beating the Heat-- Not

           I have discovered that I do not do well in extreme heat.  Thanks to the 100+ temperatures we’ve had, for MORE THAN A WEEK WITH MORE TO COME, my already meager supply of patience has completely evaporated.

          Running errands with St. Bob, who truly earns his sainthood in this weather, I was whining about the face mask elastic that snapped me in the cheek, the seat belt that wouldn’t uncoil, the sunscreen that has melted down onto  my chest, the wind that feels like someone is holding a blow dryer--  on high and  on hot— right at my face, and a few other choice complaints.

Finally he said, “I need to take you home, strip you naked, and--” We all know how this sentence is supposed to end, right?  Only mine ends, “And put you in a tub of ice water.”

This is like the time he said, “If I hadn’t married you…” which was supposed to end, “I’d be the most miserable man on earth,” but which actually ended, “You’d be one of those women with forty cats.”

So yes. I’m having a bowl of ice cream.  Shut up.

Okay, once a year or so I’m in a testy mood. But you, wherever you are, can cheer me up by visiting my web site and buying my books!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Best Pop-up Ad of All Time

          Folks, our washing machine just broke. So we went online to research new ones. I know, I know, this means I’ll be getting pop-up ads forever, about washing machines.

          But then this little gem appeared:

          It’s a small chest freezer, not like the giant ones some folks have, filled with all kinds of frozen goodies. Nope, this one is just seven cubic feet. AND, I might add, pretty brazen to be advertising to murderers who cut up their victims, then go looking for freezers that can hold someone’s chest. Okay, maybe that’s not its sole purpose. But I’m a writer, don’t forget.

          However, this is not the most astonishing thing about this little freezer. Check out the price.   You can have this baby for a mere ELEVEN BILLION, ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN MILLION, ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN THOUSAND, ONE  HUNDRED AND ELEVEN DOLLARS.

          Well, hold on and let me check my wallet. Shazam!  That’s exactly how much cash I carry around!

          And of course, now we can wonder what’s inside. Diamonds? Gold bars? Jimmy Hoffa's chest?  No matter. This is clearly a good deal. But just in case I find another similarly priced item, will you take a check?

Thankfully bargains still do abound, at least on my website. My books are priced to sell and my Youtube Mom channel, filled with life hacks, is totally free!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Keeping Our Distance

          Not long ago I gave you the brilliant idea for social distancing—wear stinky cream or eat an onion to keep people at bay. But when people wear masks they can’t smell things as well, so I have now come up with an even better idea:

          Carry a tote bag of snakes. Okay, not real snakes. But imagined snakes are every bit as scary. Simply go to your nearest reptile shop and get a bag printed with their name on it. Our daughter left this one behind after a recent visit:

          But I also found this one online:

          You can carry it exactly like it is, but if you really want to keep people ten feet away, insert a small wind-up toy that jiggles:

          If it hisses or rattles, even better.  No one will approach and you will stay far from other people’s cooties. Just one more service I offer. You’re welcome.

Maybe this should be one of the life hacks on my Youtube Mom videos!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Another Texting Disaster

         You know that a pluot is a cross between a plum and an apricot, right?  And that the wonderful, amazing Starr family lives right across the street from me, and always shares their incredible summer bounty.

          So, this year, they gave us a giant 5-gallon bucket of pluots. Wowza! In the past I’ve made jam; this year I made pastries with them.

But most people simply enjoy biting into these crimson, juicy fruits.

          I knew we couldn’t use them all up quickly enough, so I packed a few goodie bags to deliver to friends. And, with social  distancing, I would just put the bag on the porch, ring the bell, and take off. Then I dictated the following text: “I left a bag of pluots on your porch.”

         What could go wrong, right? Ah, you forgot this is Joniopolis. So my message actually read, “I left a bag of fluids on your porch.”

          That’s right. A BAG OF FLUIDS. Just what everyone hopes to find at their front door. And during a Covid Pandemic. So if you get a weird text from me, just know that my intentions were good; my spell check not so much.

But summertime is a great time to curl up with books as well— find all of mine here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

What TV Needs

          We’ve all been watching too much TV while cooped up during this pandemic. But even before that, I’ll bet you noticed certain problems with television shows. Here are four of my observations:

Is there anyone on TV who does not have a pistol in their desk drawer?

 Now, I don’t know about you, but my desk drawers are filled with pens, scissors, tape, printer paper, files, lotion, and lip gloss. I must be eccentric. Or maybe I need more exciting visitors.

Next, is there any men’s room on TV where you will not be killed if you simply walk in?  The minute some guy heads in there you know it won’t end well.  Apparently villains like tile? Porcelain? Odd odors?

Third, is there any pair of binoculars in this world that gives this effect when you hold them to your eyes?

No, there is not. Yet this is still the technique they use to let us know it’s a view from binoculars.

And last, is there any empty warehouse that is unavailable to kidnappers?  Such facilities apparently abound—all with working lights and easy-to-open garage doors. No one thinks to lock them, so no key is  needed.

And you already know how I feel about those black hoods all kidnappers seem to have in bountiful supply because I blogged about that here

I’ll tell you what would be a good idea. I should be the Stupidity Consultant for these shows. Wait. Maybe that’s not such a great title. Nevermind.

But rest assured there will be no cliché pistols, men’s rooms, binoculars or warehouses in any of my books. You can find the books at my website, along with my Youtube Mom videos!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Nose Knows

I am a big baby. Not many people will admit to this, but I am fessing up to it in solidarity with other big babies all over the world. We try to act tough but we’re actually wimps.

I recently had to have a Covid-19 nasal swab before I could be admitted to the hospital for reconstructive surgery. Other adults had gone before me and did just fine.

I must have extra nerve endings, because it felt like that swab was going through my sinuses, then my brain, until  it bumped against the back of my skull.  And yes, St. Bob made the requisite jokes about nothing slowing the swab down.

But at least it was done. Now I needed to wait 24-72 hours for results. And, of course, they didn’t come in. We drove to the hospital on surgery day. We waited 2 hours. Still no results. Finally THEY DID ANOTHER TEST!  Turns out there’s a rapid one that only takes 45 minutes to get results. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WE COULD HAVE JUST DONE THIS ONE?

They swabbed the other side this time, every bit as thoroughly as the first one, which if I had OCD—which I do not—would have helped me feel a sense of balance. Instead I just felt a sense of YOWCH.

But the surgery went fine. On the drive home we got caught up in a high speed chase with a crazy driver zipping in and out, followed by 5 different police vehicles, sirens blazing.

I couldn’t help but wonder what the driver had done. And then I remembered another possibility: Maybe they just want him to get tested again for Covid.

          It’s much easier to deal with this pandemic if you have a good book to read. May I recommend any of the 25  I’ve written? Find them all here! (And then browse through my Youtube channel.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Rest or Renewal, You Can't Have Both

          The pandemic has given us all the chance to use sheltering in place to get a few things done—organizing, gardening, binge-watching, and of course gaining weight.

          But here is the main thing St. Bob has done:  He has mentally remodeled the entire house. Bashing and crashing has been a theme for OUR ENTIRE MARRIAGE and I have joked about having seen more worker’s butt cracks than any other human on the planet (except it’s not a joke).

          People wonder how I can tolerate this constant upheaval, but Bob’s  plans always turn out so great that I just focus on the final result. Here is his latest routine: He sits on the back patio each morning, and envisions the massive changes he can make to our house.

          “We’ll take out this wall,” he begins, then describes outrageously expensive and thus impossible plans to expand our footprint, enlarge the kitchen, swing the garage around to the side, make a sunroom, on and on.

          Fortunately, the price tag slows him down. (Cue ominous music here).  But then we got an email from Stake Presidency of our church, sharing ideas from the leaders about how to effectively use this time.

Normally this would not require ominous music, right? I mean, it includes wonderful ideas about Christ-centered worship and serving others. But then it says, “Use this time to continue to renovate our lives & homes into a sanctuary of faith and a center of gospel learning and doing.”

And you know darn well what word popped out in 48-pt font in Bob’s mind:


That’s right. He now feels he has been directed by our religious leaders to call contractors and draw up plans. It’s just like the phrase, “You hear what you want to hear” only it’s “You see what you want to see.”

Meanwhile, I’m thinking I might design workmen’s shirts with an extra long tail in back to cover their hind sides, take it on Shark Tank, and possibly earn enough money to finance Bob’s dreams.

Or, you guys could buy a bunch of my books-- find 'em right here!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

It's All Greek to Me

          If I had lived in ancient Greece I would never have married. It isn’t that I’m against Greeks. It’s that their traditional proposal of marriage was to toss an apple to a girl and if she caught it, she accepted.   

              Are you kidding?  I’ve never caught an apple in my life. I recall catching one baseball when I was ten, but that was by accident. I held up a mitt and the ball fell into it. Seriously, I had nothing to do with it.

          The other night we were Zooming with friends and playing a trivia game. Ancient Greece came up again. What two animals did they believe created the zebra? 

          Turns out it’s the horse and the tiger.

          Okay, I have a problem with this. Ancient Greece gave us the top philosophers of the world, right?  Yet they’ll believe anything, apparently, because I guarantee NO ONE tried this breeding experiment before swallowing this implausible union as fact.


          And where do people in Greece get tigers, anyway? Tigers live in Asia. Zebras, I do believe, are native to Africa. Not only that, but one of these is the predator of the other one. Good luck getting a little romance going between those two, long distance relationships aside.

          Say what you will about the brilliance of Ancient Greek ideas, but suddenly I don’t feel quite so bad about not being able to catch that apple.

However, there is something else that's magical about apples. Check out my short Youtube Mom video here and see what apples can do!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Wear a Hat, Get a Discount

          Well, like squinty, blinking moles, we are finally permitted to creep out of our homes and go to stores again. Cooped up during this pandemic, we’ve all missed the occasional trip to the hardware store.
          So St. Bob and I went foraging for sprinkler parts, paint tarps, drill bits and the like. We brought our purchases to the checkout where former Navy man Bob reminded the clerk to give him a military discount.
          “And I get the millinery discount,” I said, since I was wearing a baseball cap.
          The young girl frowned. “The what?”
          “The millinery discount,” I said, and pointed to my cap.
          “What’s that?”
          “Just a bad joke,” I said. And I realized there are probably two new generations of people who have no idea that a milliner is a hat maker. Yes, I felt about 135 years old.
          People don’t wear fashionable hats anymore. Oh, sure, the occasional ball cap, cowboy hat or sun hat. But not dressy hats, the kind you have tailor made in splashy colors with ribbons and feathers.
          The word milliner originated in the 1400s, in Milan. If you sold fanciness, this was your title. By the 1700s it meant someone who sells women’s hats. 
          Alas, like people who made buggy whips and bustles, hat makers have shrunk in number.
          But I think hats should make a comeback. Not only do they complete a dressy outfit, they protect a bald head from the sun, and hide a bad hair day. And they should certainly be given a discount if you wear one to a hardware store.
          Dare I say hats off to you wonderful readers? Many of you have subscribed to my Youtube Mom channel and are enjoying all  kinds of life hacks in short videos. Thank you!        

Tuesday, June 16, 2020


I know what you’re thinking: That if St. Bob didn’t give me so much material, half of my blog wouldn’t exist.
And you are right. Why do you think I carry a little notebook and pen around?  It’s to capture Bobisms. Here are the latest two.
My oncologists ordered lab tests, so off we went, masked and sanitized. As we were leaving, the nice guy at the Covid-19 screening desk said, “Have a nice day.”
And Bob said, “No thanks, already have one.”  Yes, you may use this line. I don’t think there’s any worry about copyright infringement.
Then we were driving past this tree:
And I said, “Wow—I wonder if that tree got hit by lightning. But I don’t see any scorch marks. Maybe it just got heavy and broke.”
To which Bob said, “Yep, that’s what happened to me, too.”
Maybe I should charge for people to come along on Excursions with Bob. Just be sure to bring a pad and pencil.
You may or may not find some of his quips in my books. And, with summer upon us, what better time to curl up with a funny novel?

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Paws and Think About This

          It’s tough to predict the future, isn’t it? But I have a prediction I can positively guarantee.  For as long as you live, you will never see a police car that boasts having a cat inside.
          We’ve all seen the K-9 police cars around town, right? And inside, we know there’s a highly trained dog ready to follow commands, prevent crime, and basically be a super hero. But never will you see a car that has replaced K-9 with Feline.
          Can’t you just picture it? There’s a bank robber on the corner who starts running the minute he sees cops on his tail. But instead of a handy German Shepherd who can run like the wind to catch him, you now have a tabby cat who leaps from the car and heads straight up a tree. 
          Or falls over to roll around on the sidewalk.
          Or simply glares at you for suggesting he give chase. Ain’t gonna happen, my friend.
          And forget about drug sniffing. If catnip or tuna isn’t in those lockers, a cat will simply sit down and take a relaxing bath.
          I will acknowledge one possible benefit. A cat in the car is likely to commence howling, and this could replace a faulty siren. So there’s always that. 
I’m pretty sure cats would enjoy my books, however.  I mean, cats like mine who have a sense of humor.