Tuesday, February 28, 2017

In the Shrill of the Night

          Last week I was awakened at 5:00 a.m. by a shrill, piercing, nonstop whistle.  Imagine a smoke alarm, except it isn’t beeping; it’s just continuing.
          St. Bob could sleep even if a marching band came tromping right into the bedroom. 
However, he cannot sleep if his wife keeps nudging him and shouting his name.  “What’s that noise?” I ask. “Do you think the house is on fire?” It doesn’t smell smoky, but neither do deadly gas fumes, which I am also imagining.
          I might add that this is the worst time to be awakened because it’s just close enough to your real wake-up time that you can’t get back to sleep again. But Bob is a saint, remember, so he gets up and goes downstairs to investigate.
          He is gone for a very long time.  Now I am imagining robbers gagging him and tying him to a chair.  Finally I get up as well.

          Bob has dragged the ladder in from the garage and has dismantled two of the smoke alarms by the time I arrive.  But then he gets an idea. He checks the family room where we have beeper pads on our sofas, to keep Mickey (often the culprit in these stories) from jumping onto the cushions.
          Turns out we forgot to put Mickey in her crate for the night, which she actually loves, and she had jumped up onto the sofa, set off the beeper pad, and then jumped down.
          Except that she also knocked a blanket off the sofa, and that was now resting heavily atop the pad, making it beep incessantly until Bob pulled off the blanket and saved all our hearing.  Mickey, by the way, was hiding in the back yard, and only timidly approached once the siren had stopped.
          We glanced back at the ladder and the two dismantled smoke alarms. We glanced at the beeper pad. We glanced at Mickey. We glanced at the clock.  Oh, well.  Anyone for sausage and pancakes?

Next time you’re up in the middle of the night,  grab a good book to read.  Might I suggest one of mine?  You can find them all right here, along with my YouTube Mom videos. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I Found My Tribe!

          I found my tribe!  I am in the Cinnabon Tribe.  Seriously, here’s the deal.
          Some back story: When I was young, I lived next door to an East Indian woman named Svarna who braided my hair, dressed me in saris, put a red Bindi dot on my forehead, fed me naan, and had a home full of wind chimes and exotic spices.  It was heavenly and I was sure I was East Indian.
          Here is a photo of me with Svarna, for whom I’ve actually been searching, and my school classmate, Kathy Salunkhe.
          Fast forward to our last Enrichment Night at church, a monthly gathering of women where—this time—we had a get-to-know you activity, since we have so many new members.  I’ve been friends with one of them, Brenda, for a couple of years.  She is from a reservation in Montana, but I never actually knew her tribe.
          She stood up to show photos and tell about herself, and I thought I’d finally ask what tribe she is from.
          “Cinnabon,” she said.
          “Are you kidding me?” I shouted.  “Cinnabon?!? I want to belong to that tribe!”  My mind was whirling with ideas about how to finagle this. Also, do you get free Cinnabons if you are a card carrying honorary member?

          Well, it turned out Brenda had said, “Assiniboine.” But she speaks softly, so what am supposed to do except jump to wild conclusions? Anyone—and I’m telling you, anyone—would think she said Cinnebon. At least if you have desserts on your mind 24/7, which I do.
          I could hardly get to sleep that night. What if there are all kinds of tribes we’ve never heard of, wonderful secret tribes like the Coconut Cream Pie Tribe, or the Cheesecake Tribe, or the Cookie Dough Tribe? 
          St. Bob thinks no tribe will allow me within five miles of their land because they know I’ll come in and eat all their food.
          I ignored him. “What if there’s a Lemon Bar Tribe? Or a Baby Lava Cake Tribe?”  
          I finally got so worked up I had to go downstairs and have an ice cream sandwich.  Being an honorary Native American is going to involve some careful planning.

While I plan, you can visit my website, watch my videos, and order my books.  And, okay, enjoy some desserts as you shop.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Barking Up the Right Tree

          Next time you evaluate your circle of friends, be sure you have an arborist in there.  I cannot tell you how handy it has been to know Ruth and Clare Williams, sisters, tree experts, and generous people willing to answer my every planty question.
          Here is the latest photo I sent to Ruth:
          Alarming, no?  I took one look at this strange phenomenon and just knew my Chinese Elm had contracted Strikin’ Lichen or some deadly disease. Was it because of all the rain we’ve been having? I pictured the cost of removing it, the cost of replacing it, and the possibility that every tree in my yard would catch Orange Whatever, which I would happily name except, wouldn’t you know, nothing rhymes with orange.
          Ruth got right back to me. “Orange spots are good!  Normal for that species. It’s called exfoliating bark. It’s a prized feature to add winter interest to a landscape.”
          It took me no time whatsoever to extrapolate this to humans, and to decide that splotchy skin should become a THING.  Don’t cover it up anymore, just tell everyone you are adding winter interest to the landscape.  We can become Exfoliating Fools, and beautify the world indefinitely!
          Check out these other a-peeling trees, leading the world in winter beauty:
          Ruth also says this is the tree’s way of Spring Cleaning.  Well, humans don’t have to copy everything a tree does.

          Besides, you’re busy watching my YouTube Mom videos, right?  And buying my books?  Find them all right here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Definitely the Wrong Font

          Most people enjoy the zillions of font options out there, customizing their emails and websites with everything from

                                           Old English
                               to  Showcard Gothic

          On the other hand, many of us sigh when we constantly have to switch from Microsoft’s Calibri to Arial, every time we open Word.
          But if you have a business, can I recommend you choose a basic, simple font?  If you try to get too cute, here’s what can happen. I recently called for tech assistance, when an online order wouldn’t go through. As if we don’t have enough tech trouble.  Get this:

          Tech assistant: Your username is not going through.
          Me: But I’m typing in jonihilton. (then I spell it for her).
          Tech assistant: That’s not what I have.  What I have is J O N I L hyphen L I L T O N.
          Now I’m trying to imagine how on earth I entered such a ridiculous username.  Was it that my finger hit an adjacent button? Nope—L is nowhere near H.  Plus a hyphen? Who sticks a hyphen into their name?
          Me: I can promise you I would not have chosen that username.
          AND THEN I PICURE IT.  Joni l-lilton. This woman is looking at a screen where the H has separations between each stroke, like this Stencil font:


          And suddenly the H has become l hypen l.  
          What happens to B in a font like this—does it turn into the number 13?  
Does St. Bob become Agent 13 0 13? 


          And does K become l and then a < symbol?  N would be l slash l.  There’s no end to the confusion.
          So, choose a simple font where each letter has sensible connections.  And hire employees who know that l-lilton would be a ridiculous last name.

          Luckily, you won’t need tech support to visit my website here.  Scroll through my hundreds of YouTube Mom videos, and buy a book or two!