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!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Can You Say This?

          I’ve never owned a racehorse, but if you’re a frequent Joniopolis visitor, you know that I’m crazy about horses.  You may also know that I can sometimes be a monkey.
          So I’ve decided that if ever I do own a racehorse, I’m going to give it a name that will bring me a bit of amusement.  Especially if it wins. Hence the win-win.
          I’ll saddle it, pun intended, with a name that will cause the track announcer (and any broadcasters who try to say the name) a bit of a challenge. Shouldn’t be too hard—just think of the toughest words to pronounce correctly.  Worcestershire, Didgeridoo, and Onomatopoeia come to mind, but I think we can do even better.
          Some friends of mine live in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Nobody except locals say it right. And just imagine, with the state name included, it would take so long to pronounce it that the race could be over.
          Inspissate, obstreperous, floccinaucinihilipilification, inchoate, viviparous, dicotyledonous—the world is teeming with great choices.
Wait—hold the presses! Why not be sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, and give the horse one of those crazy drug names that no one can get right?
          Here’s a good one. It comes from Gulliver’s Travels, where giants were called Brobdingnagians. Try to say that one three times.
          Which brings us to tongue twisters, and why not? You could have a horse named Peter-Piper-picked-a-peck-of-pickled-peppers.  I thought I’d look up the world’s toughest tongue twister and found this quote: “Pad kid poured curd pulled cod." A team of researchers from M.I.T. have dubbed this tongue twister the world's most difficult. "If anyone can say this (phrase) 10 times quickly, they get a prize," said Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, an MIT psychologist.
          HOLD ON again. So that’s harder to say than Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, the very woman running the contest?  She could get a racehorse, name it after herself, and achieve my exact goal.
          I tell you, the pieces are simply falling into place. Now I just need the dough to get a horse. And here’s where you come in. All you need to do is visit my website, buy my books, and then wait for the pennies to stack up. A perfect choice is my latest, a short Christmas story that costs just $3.49 on Amazon. It’s called A Little Christmas Prayer. Hint: Sometimes it takes a child to raise a village.