Tuesday, December 29, 2020

My New Game!

           I’ve been accused of trying to make everything into a game. I welcome such accusations, as I think this indicates creativity and a fun-loving nature. Thus, my latest idea: THE INSOMNIA GAME.

          You will need a spinner, downloadable on any home computer.  Mark spaces like a pie, then flick the arrow when you can’t sleep and it will tell you what to think about. 

Here are the categories you will need to write on your spinner: 

          That pair of pants you didn’t buy in 2006, and what you could wear them with if only you had gotten them.

          Boring people who, if they were here right now and talking, would help you fall asleep in no time

          That rude girl in 8th grade

          How do you spell circadian rhythm, anyway?

          The O.J. trial

          Lyrics to that song you can’t figure out

          Who’s going to buy the house next door that’s for sale

          Justifications for not apologizing to someone

          Figuring out how much sleep you can get if you fall asleep right now

          If you should have a heart attack, are your legs shaved well enough to go to the ER?

          Better things you could have said to the cop who pulled you over

          How can the universe just go on forever?

          Grown children's problems, which is like worrying about a car you already sold  

          What’s the weather going to be like a month from now?

          Every stupid thing you’ve ever done

          Experts say we shouldn’t toss and turn; we should  just get up and get  something done. How about enjoying one of my books? A Little Christmas Prayer is the perfectly priced gift for everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Bob's Latest Scheme

           St. Bob is in the doghouse.

          Here’s what happened. A few years ago my friend, Cynthia Rhine, gave me a wonderful European-style license plate, which I display in the background of my Youtube Mom videos: 

          So St. Bob, for Christmas, thought he’d get me an actual personalized car license plate that said the same thing. Only it’s too many letters. The maximum is seven. So he BRILLIANTLY came up with UTUBMOM.

          “I am not going to be known as a Tub Mom,” I said. He laughed and laughed.

          The only good part of this story is that he told me before actually ordering it. Smart man. Twisted, but smart.

          You are welcome to view any of the hundreds of life hacks and tips I post in short videos as the Youtube Mom. With an e, thank you. (And you can still get quick delivery from Amazon for A LITTLE CHRISTMAS PRAYER, my booklet that's the perfect gift for everyone.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Bob on a Roll

           I think we can all agree that this year has been crazy. And when I encounter crazy, I usually look for the humor therein. Luckily, St. Bob is willing to provide enough laughter to get us both through 2020. Herewith some of the latest Bobisms:

          Me: Call me when you’re free.

          Bob: I’m not free, but I have a 20 % holiday discount.

          Me: (Watching a narrated documentary) You’d be a good commentator for this.

          Bob: I am not a common tater. I’m a very special tater.


          Me: I’ve been procrastinating.

          Bob: That’s better than amateur-crastinating.

          Yep, his brain will definitely be donated to science.

          Looking for the perfect stocking stuffers?  My book, A Little Christmas Prayer is also the perfect price!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

You Got Some 'Splaining to Do!

           In high school I was given a key chain that said, “Lucy,” because I would get into so many Lucy Ricardo situations. Our daughter says traveling with me through Europe is like traveling with Lucy as well. So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that the actual candy shop where they filmed this famous episode:  

is still operating, in Beverly Hills. So of course I had to visit in person when we were down there to see our son, Brandon. It’s called Edelweiss and they still sell hand-dipped chocolates packaged in a pretty sack. 

If you go behind the scenes, you can still see the conveyor belts and a picture of Lucy on one of the walls:


The story goes that Lucille Ball was a regular customer and was offered a behind-the-scenes tour one day. As soon as she saw the conveyor belt she called the producer, told him to drive in from Palm Springs, and see the potential for a hilarious episode. (And if home computers had existed back then, something tells me Lucy would definitely have blogged about it.)

So many of my books contain stories about my Lucy-esque life.  They make great Christmas gifts.  AND my booklet, A Little Christmas Prayer, is a perfectly priced stocking stuffer!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

I Could Never Be Miss Muffet

           You will not believe what just happened to me. Okay, maybe you’ll believe it if you are a regular Joniopolis reader, because crazy things happen here.

I just had a spider get caught in my Covid mask WHILE  I WAS WEARING IT!

I was talking with a woman, also wearing a mask, and we were outdoors, six feet apart. We were doing everything right. And then suddenly she stepped toward me, pulled my mask down, and said, “A spider just fell into your mask!” Mind you, this mask is on tight, with elastic bands over my ears, holding it against my face.

St. Bob was there and the two of them brushed the hideous intruder off my face and onto the ground. I looked up—the sky was clear and there was nothing this spider could have leapt from.

I thanked them for saving my life (although I was about to die of fright), and then I wondered where on earth that spider had come from. Had it been in my ultra-curly chemo hair, which my daughter compares to Top Ramen? 

Was there a whole spider family there, just waiting to attack, or to lower themselves on silken threads and scare the daylights out of me?

I am not afraid of snakes or mice, but spiders do me in. I blogged about the Orb Spider here.  But now I can’t even post a real photo of a spider or I’ll have nightmares. So I have to post cartoon spiders instead.

And imagine if Bob and that woman hadn’t seen it! That spider could have bitten me on the lips! Or crawled up my nose, into my brain, and bitten my cerebellum! And laid eggs!                  

So if you see me with a mask completely duct taped around the edges so NOTHING can get in, you’ll know why.

On a much less terrifying note, my book, A Little Christmas Prayer makes the perfect gift (super low price,too!)  Sometimes it takes a child to raise a village, and this tale teaches anyone, of any faith, the magic of gratitude. Might be good for everyone on your list!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Who Was That Masked Woman?

           Pretend you have a new product to sell. You have a Zoom conference with everyone involved, including the package designer. And this is the single best thing you can say about your product, so you put it on the front of the package:

         Seriously? You can throw this away? Not much of a high water mark, is it?  No bragging about the comfy fit, the effectiveness, the cute design, the washable fabric, the durability. Nope—this thing can be trash in a nano-second.

          Not only that, but isn’t EVERYTHING disposable? I mean, literally, everything?  So we have a redundancy issue as well.

          Some time ago I blogged about a product that claimed to be “Semi-Odorless.”  Semi?  Partially? Not quite?  If you can’t say it’s completely odorless, why bring the matter up?

          Tell me how well these items would sell:

          Jeans: Almost Comfy!

          Cereal: So soggy you won’t even need milk!

          Paint: Fairly Good Coverage

          Toothpaste: Four out of Five Dentists recommend  it (I want to talk to that fifth dentist).

          And how anyone sells a prescription medication with the crazy side effects they list is beyond me. They’re all worse than the malady they’re supposed to treat.  You’ve heard the same list: May cause suicidal tendencies, paralysis, cancer, blurred vision, abdominal swelling, and diarrhea, strokes, and tremors.

          At least the face mask won't send me to the emergency room.

          And you are totally safe buying my books. The worst that can happen is a cramp from laughing. (And be sure to order my VERY inexpensive Christmas short story, A Little Christmas Prayer. Makes a great gift!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Can You Do This?

           Hidden talents. C’mon, you know you have them. I’m going to share three of mine today, and hope you’ll tell me yours as well.

          First, I will share one of St. Bob’s. He has Scissor Toes. Actually, they’re more like plier toes, or wrench toes. He can literally pick up anything with them, reach over and pinch your calf with them, pull out a chair with them, and who knows—maybe he can do calligraphy with them! I figure he must be part monkey, with prehensile toes. This would also explain much of his other behavior.

          To qualify for this talent roundup I think we need one rule: Your hidden talent must be utterly useless, not anything that could earn money.

          Okay, my first talent is curling my tongue. Aha—but not just rolling it into a tube like many can do. Nope, I can turn mine over, and also make it into a cloverleaf. Here’s somebody else doing it because I decided not to take a photo of my own tongue, thank you:

          My next useless talent is remembering lines of dialogue from movies I haven’t seen in 20 years. Yep, nobody lining up to write checks for this.

          And last, I can pour a cooking ingredient into my palm and accurately know whether it’s a teaspoon, a Tablespoon, or any fraction thereof.

          Lots of people have useless talents. I’ve seen people who can ride a bike without using the handlebars, who can solve a Rubik’s Cube in record time, who can say the alphabet backwards, impersonate Donald Duck, recite dozens of numbers in pi, and fall asleep within seconds. (Of course, I don’t know anyone who can do ALL of these.)

          So what’s your useless talent? Pleeeease tell me it’s watching my Youtube Mom videos, or buying my books. Granted, you won’t get paid for it, but you’ll have inner satisfaction that you did the right thing. Check ‘em out at my website.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Death of a Hobby

           For years I've loved entering cook-offs.  Sometimes these are live events where you compete with other cooks. Or it may be a contest where you send in an original recipe, then expert chefs try it and award prizes.

          It was a blast. For one thing, I won more than a hundred of them. This meant fabulous trips (France, Hawaii, the Caribbean, New York, etc.), appliances, and cash.

          St. Bob likes to tell the backstory, which is that I make up recipes and send them in without first trying them out. But after umpty-ump years of cooking, I can tell when I read a recipe if it will work. And then, of course, if it wins I definitely make it! Here are just a few big winners, starting with a mini-cornucopia made from turkey, for Thanksgiving:

Then a Vacherin:

This one, from 1997, is why you see tortilla roll-ups at every potluck now:

Here I am being interviewed at the National Beef Cookoff: 

I definitely went through a spiral roll-up phase:

This Jazzy Jamaican Eggs Benedict one took us on an incredible trip to France:

And a layering phase:

And more:

And then social media happened. Suddenly the entries were not judged by experts, but voted on by your friends. And if you worked in a big office building, you could get 1,500 votes, easily beating the measly 285 votes of the home hobbyist.

          Companies didn’t care that it was now a popularity contest; the advertising they got from all the postings and likes were worth it.

          So, like writing jingles in the 1950s, or selling buggy whips in the 1800s, the legit recipe cook-0ff was dead. Or, as Billy Crystal said in Princess Bride, “mostly dead.”

          Every once in awhile I’ll still hear about a contest that’s judged by experts, and sometimes I’ll enter. But the glory days are gone. And let’s not bemoan it; let’s just celebrate the fact that it was such fun while it lasted. If you’d like a few of my original recipes, check out the “What’s Cooking with Joni” tab on this blog. Food is fun, and always will be.

          Two of my books are cookbooks, in fact. Check ‘em out right here. And be sure to subscribe to this blog!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Treaters and a Trick


          Yikes. Halloween just happened but I made a HUGE mistake. I’ll explain.

          A couple of weeks before Halloween I always buy candy I don’t like, so I won’t be tempted by it as the big day approaches. But this time I decided the local kids have been through enough with Covid, so I’ll get the chocolatey candies I love.

          I dumped them into a basket.  Late in the afternoon my neighbors (the ones I have hijacked as grandkids) came over to show their cute costumes before heading across town to Trick-or-Treat with their cousins. I happily handed each of them a big candy bar.

          Then Bob and I had dinner, and settled down to watch a movie. Suddenly, at around 8:30, I gasped, “Hey! Our doorbell hasn’t rung once!” Was it because of the pandemic?

          “Oh,” St. Bob said, “That’s because I didn’t turn the porch light on.”

          WHAT? So everyone thought we weren’t participating? Oh, no! Not only do we look like the Halloween equivalent of Scrooge now, but I am stuck  with a mountain of candy I LIKE.  This is not good. I do not have that kind of willpower. All I can say is, if you run out of sweets, come to my house and I’ll be happy to replenish your stack with whatever’s left (don’t wait too long)!

          And you get double if you buy my books right here. Or watch my Youtube Mom videos filled with life hacks and DIY ideas!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

It's a Tie!

           It looks like Joniopolis is contagious. At least for Richie, our eldest son. Yep, he definitely stepped into my realm of crazy when he decided to wear this tie to church:

          I complimented him on it, and he said, “Thanks. I got it in Scotland.” Wow—that makes it even cooler, right?  But then he sat down and noticed the upholstery on the pews blended right in with his tie. 

Nicole and I tried to muffle our laughter, but the bench was shaking and our faces were turning red. Richie was not amused. And, of course, this made it even funnier.

So I thought I’d point out that Richie is not alone in this clothing-matching-your-surroundings thing.  Here are five more pictures of other people with similar predicaments:

           This used to happen to me in restaurants-- for years it seemed I always chose clothes that matched the tablecloths and napkins,  and I would wipe my mouth with my own shirt. But now I'm not alone. So welcome to Joniopolis, all of you. And may the farce be with you.

Hey, I wonder if any of my books will match your curtains or walls. There's only one way to find out--  go to this link.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Can You Give Me a Hand?

           Confession: I have never successfully high-fived anyone. This may seem a simple task, but I lack the hand-to-eye coordination to make this work. I usually swipe through the air, missing the other person’s hand entirely.

          The same thing happens when I try to hit a golf or tennis ball. In fact, there is literally no sport involving a ball where I add value to the team. And, of course there is an explanation.


          I have dyspraxia (formerly called Clumsy Child Syndrome until they realized how judgey that sounded). One of my sons has it as well, and when invited to dance at a wedding or someplace, he simply explains that dance is a language he cannot speak.

          It isn’t that we don’t try (although we do learn pretty early on that it’s wasted effort, so yeah, we stop trying). It’s that we cannot coordinate our body like other folks. I marvel at dancers who can make their bodies into artwork. And athletes who can throw, catch, spin around, and leap.

          How I wish I could go back in time, explain this to my P.E. teachers, and then get a pass to go to the library instead. Okay, I worked that out anyhow by not putting on my gym suit, and then getting sent to the library as punishment. But I would rather have gone from compassionate understanding on their part, than being thought a defiant rebel.

          Luckily I didn’t have to ride my bike there. I still can’t put my left foot on the closest pedal, balance as the bike takes off, and then swing my right leg around. Nope. I do it 5-year-old style by sitting on the seat, putting one foot on the far pedal, and then hoping I don’t fall over anyway.

          Can’t we just play a board game, instead?

Or read a good book? Find all of mine here.