Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Welcome Into What?

         I’ll admit it—I love shopping the after-Christmas sales. St. Bob, not so much. Recently he asked me what I was looking for.

          “Impulse items,” I said.

          “You mean repulse items,” he said. Ha ha ha. Little does he know how much it saves us for me to buy wrapping paper and Christmas napkins when they’re on sale. I have no problem waiting about a year to use them.

          But what does bug me is the latest trend I’ve noticed: Clerks saying “Welcome In.”  This never used to happen. They would simply say, “Welcome,” or maybe “Good afternoon.”  Why the sudden addition of “in”?


          I know, someone will write and say I should be grateful I’m even being welcomed, but that’s just it—I’m not being welcomed; I’m being welcomed IN.  The “in” is already implied. It doesn’t need to be stated, and thus redundant.


          Think about it. When was the last time someone came to your home and you said, “Welcome in,” instead of just “Welcome!” 

Imagine visiting a king at his castle. He’s standing there in his royal robes, arms flung wide and he says, “Welcome!”  He would never say, “Welcome in!” 


          So now I have to add another thing to my pet peeve list. I’ll put it right under “Let me see where it’s at.” (sigh)

          You will never find epressions like this in my books—order them here and see. Oh—and if you do find one, Oops.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Oh, the Hugh Manatee!

        It’s Christmastime, so it’s time for my annual gift-making disaster story. Usually it’s a craft, but this time it’s baked goods. The first idea was to make candy cane breads that would look like this:

           But I doubled the recipe and made the loaves too large. Thus they looked like manatees (or fat otters) curling up for a nap together: 

          Not to be dissuaded from continuing with this stupid idea, I decided to make braided bread instead. More mixing. More rising.  The goal was this: 

          But it came out looking like baby aliens. This one even has a face!  

              This one looks like it landed on Santa and crushed him:


              Maybe I’ll just say, “Here’s some Alien bread. Hope your Christmas is out of this world.” 

          And you MUST buy A Little Christmas Prayer which is the ideal gift for anyone, any age, any faith. Even for a manatee.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Re-naming My World

           You’ve seen the socks and T-shirts that say, “I’m silently correcting your grammar,” right?  Well, I am silently correcting some of the street names near me.  

            I told you here that I’ve actually named some streets. But I’ve never re-named a street. And this is a pity, because not far from my house is a new development that needs my help. Tell me these would not be better names:

          Lookout Pass: Are you kidding? First, there is no elevation, no mountain, no “lookout” as in “view.” So what are we to think—that crazy drivers live here, ones you need to look out for? Instead, change it to Cookout Pass.  Now you want to go there.


          Powder Ridge: This would be a great name for a street in Utah, Colorado, or anywhere else where people snow ski. But this is a part of California that gets NO SNOW.  What’s next—Shoreline Drive where there’s no shore? I suggest changing it to Power Ridge, so at least you could hope to see some superheroes.


          Great Divide: A bit optimistic, here. Sure, every street divides one group of houses from another. But is this truly great? It seems the least you could expect, really.  Certainly nothing like the Great Barrier Reef or the Great Salt Lake. On the other hand, Adequate Divide seems a bit sad. How about going the opposite way and calling it Harmony Court or Unity Drive?

          Heather Falls: First, no waterfalls. Second, no heather. What are we to think—that someone named Heather keeps falling down in this area?


          Singletree Court: Uh, false advertising. There are waaay more trees than one here. It’s like Blue Oaks Boulevard near me, which boasts not a single Blue Oak. Doesn’t it seem like the first rule of street-naming should be to at least look around first? (sigh)  So many streets, so little time.

          HOWEVER, you can easily spend less time shopping if you simply buy my books—there’s even one called A Little Christmas Prayer that’s perfect for adults or kids!  

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

In the Pen?

        The three younger grown kids bought Richie, the eldest, a fabulous fountain pen for his birthday. First they sent an inkwell for him to have while he anticipates the pen’s arrival.

          Richie texted, “Wow, thank you so much for the birthday present, everyone! This is just amazing.  I can’t wait to write with it.”

          The others responded with gladness, and eagerness for him to try it out. But they couldn’t simply leave it there.

          Brandon: In the meantime, you can just finger paint with the ink.

          Richie: Ha—people will think I tried to rob a bank and got hit with a dye pack.


          Brandon: Yeah! They’ll think you’re a super cool bank robber. Everyone loves a heist.

          Nicole: Sounds like this is going to open a lot of doors for you.

          So if you see a guy who is possibly too tall for the mug shot measurement lines, and he has black ink on his hands, 


just know that he wasn’t actually robbing a bank; he was finger painting.

          Have you ordered your copies of A Little Christmas Prayer, yet? I’m telling you, it’s the ideal gift for anyone, of any age, and of any faith. Rock-bottom price, too (and the Kindle version is just 99 cents)!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Kids!

         For Thanksgiving this year St. Bob and I went to restaurant with our eldest son, Richie. This is a recipe for comedy as I was flanked by a comedian on either side.

          At least there was a ninja nearby clearing tables, so I felt somewhat safe.


          We were laughing about how many times the waiter had told us his name, and Richie said maybe he waits on a lot of old people, and has to keep reminding them.

          “I hope I never get like that,” I said.

          Richie said, “That’s the fifth time you’ve said that today.”

          And now you know what it’s like to live in Joniopolis.

          Hey, it’s officially Christmastime, so stock up on my latest book—perfect for adults or kids of any faith—A Little Christmas Prayer.  Super low price, too!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Kindred Spirits

           I’ve been dying to post this. I had to wait until my 3rd Italy story ran, so as not to interrupt the travel report. BUT… meanwhile, Lizzie Acker, whom you see here:

           recently left the Great British Bake Off, to which many of us are happily addicted. She revealed that she has SEN (special educational needs) and is dyslexic, dyspraxic (DCD), has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and concentration disorder. I instantly loved her.

          I’ve told you before that I have ADHD. I’ve long said it isn’t that we can’t pay attention; it’s that we’re paying attention to too many things already. And Lizzie spoke about that. So hooray for people whose brains work differently! Maybe we could all go to Neurodiversity University-- just think, it'd be the only college that rhymes! I can almost hear the alma mater, can't you? 

          As for DCD, I blogged about that here. It means we’re clumsy and uncoordinated, and do not belong on sports teams. This morning’s proof as Bob and I were getting ready in the bathroom:

          Me: I’ve never told you this before, but I almost fall out of bed, like, five or six times a night.

          Bob: (laughing and almost choking on his toothpaste)  What do you do— (begins to demonstrate) just catch yourself and say, “Oh, dang—" and scoot back in?

          Me: (Running water to fill up my cup) That is exactly what I do.

          Bob: (Looking into my sink) You’re missing your cup.

Then I look down and realize I’m holding the cup about one inch away from the water. In my defense, I haven’t put my contacts in, yet. But this is how life is when you have DCD. Your hand-to-eye coordination is on a permanent vacation.

And that was just five minutes into the day, folks. Luckily I don’t move around much when I record my Youtube Mom videos.

 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Joni Ricardo Does Italy Part 3

         I’m pretty sure there’s no law in Italy that says you have to stop at every gelato shop, but I didn’t want to take any chances. 

          And gelato was not the only enticement—check out this sign:         


          Between the food, sculptures, fountains, paintings, and cathedrals, we kept Uber drivers very busy. Why did we not rent a car, you ask? Ah. You haven’t been to Italy if you have to ask that. The answer is: Because we value our lives.

          Before going to Italy I’ve always said, “I don’t speak Italian but I drive Italian.” This was just based on what I’d heard. But believe me, I was dead wrong. There is no way I drive like the Italians.

          The entire population has some kind of Reflex Gene that helps them avoid collisions (though we did see two). They drive a zillion miles an hour, cutting over any lane or line they like, and maintain a distance of approximately one inch of space from the next car.

          I’m thinking every driver in Italy has disabled the beeping noise many cars have, where it alerts you if your car is too close to another object. Otherwise you’d hear nothing but ding, ding, ding, ding on every street! Nicole snapped this photo:

          While eating at an outdoor cafĂ© Richie was facing the traffic, and said there should have been at least five fatalities, just in the time it took us to have lunch.

          St. Bob thinks someone should check people’s blood pressure at the beginning of a ride and then at the end.

And yet, they zoom along with their Italian Reflex Genes. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if traffic cops here in the U.S. give a special pass to Italians.  I can just hear it—

“Wait—your last name is Rosetti? You Italian? Okay then, have a good day.”

Stay safely inside and buy my books! Christmas is coming and a perfect gift for anyone, young or old, is ALittle Christmas Prayer.

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Joni Ricardo Does Italy Part 2

         Last week I gave you a peek into our family trip to Italy, and this week the peek widens.

          After touring the Vatican, I decided to surprise the family with opera tickets. They were delighted. 


Then I decided to give our extra one to someone on the street, as a fun surprise for them as well. The kids were not so delighted. They all muttered some version of:

          “So, a crazy person? I mean, you have no idea who this will be.”

          “There aren’t that many crazy people,” I said. “I’m not worried.” I looked around and couldn’t find anyone alone. We jumped into a cab and headed to the theatre. Hey, I thought, technically the driver is on the street.

          So I offered him a ticket. Immediately he began enthusiastically singing, “No Problemo, No Problemo, No Problemo--” (at which point Richie leaned around to give me an “I told you so” glance). 

By the time we arrived the driver explained that he couldn’t stop working to join us.  At least I think that’s what he said. But then I don’t speak Italian. Maybe he said, “My family will never believe the carload of crazy people I picked up today.”

          Stay tuned; next week I’ll address the driving in Italy, which deserves a blog of its own. And subscribe so you get to visit Joniopolis every week!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Joni Ricardo Does Italy Part One

            Trouble began at the airport. St. Bob thought the announcer said “abysmal screenings” instead of “additional screenings.”  He also saw a janitor pushing a giant cart of garbage and muttered, “She’ll never be able to check all that luggage.” 

            I glanced down at my own luggage, which says, "Ricardo" and thought, "Okay, this is another Lucy omen." 


        
      We connected with our five kids (including our daughter-in-law, Tiffany) in Rome and headed straight for the Sistine Chapel. “Why did they pick the number 16?" Bob whispered.

                         

          But he’s not the only jokester in the family.

Because our kids have served foreign church missions, we have several languages going. Cassidy was explaining that “todo” in Spanish sounds similar to “tutti” in Italian, and it means “everything” or “all.”  Richie immediately offered a new translation for the Wicked Witch of the West by saying, “I’ll get you and your little everything else, too.” 

You have to wear a mask everywhere in Italy. Reaching into the box of disposable masks and finding one without any strings to loop around your ears, Brandon observed, “That’s a Pinochio mask.”  Ahh… no strings attached. And, fittingly, Pinochio is Italian, after all.


          Brandon went back to Florence the day the rest of us visited Cinque Terre. He said the Galileo Museum was a bust, to which Nicole said, “Don’t they usually have more than one bust?”

Later, walking through the ruins of Herculanium Richie said to Brandon, “If you procrastinate fixing something long enough you can charge people to come and see it.”  And, “They don’t call it ruins because it’s in good shape.”

There’s more, much more. But you’ll have to tune in next week for Part 2.  Meanwhile, you can watch my Youtube Mom videos, or buy one of my books. They’re all right here.

 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Passport Pastime

        Six months ago Bob learned that his passport now needed to say Robert, instead of Bob, after all these years. No problem, we weren’t traveling to Italy until October. So in April he filled out the forms, told them our travel dates, and was assured there was no need to expedite; our trip was waaay out. Bob made a few trips to the local passport office, just to be sure everything was in order.


          Just like in a cartoon—only in real time—the calendar pages flipped until it was finally September. Still no passport had arrived. Are you kidding me? The passport office in San Francisco—our local headquarters for this-- said they had it there (did they need a postage stamp? C’mon!) and would call when it was mailed.

          Bob made an appointment within their 72-hour window to pick up his passport on October 4th. We needed to leave on October 6th. This was getting down to the wire. Everything else, including COVID testing, was done.

Traffic was heavy, so he allowed 3 hours to drive to San Francisco. He arrived just two minutes before his appointment time. And what did they tell him?  That they had already mailed it and it should be arriving exactly NOW.  Which it did. No phone call. Passport is at home,  St. Bob is in San Francisco!

         !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

So now he had no choice but to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, 


get a strawberry ice cream cone, 


and make the long trek home. Yes, folks, these are your tax dollars at work.


          Consolation?  His passport photo is pretty darn cute, if you ask me.

And while you wait until next week to hear what happened in Italy, you can buy my books and watch my Youtube Mom videos!


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Secret Food Codes

        We’ve all seen ‘em. Expiration dates on our food. Here’s one I bought a couple of weeks ago: 

         Oddly specific, don’t you think? So at  1:09 AM  it’s safe and at the stroke of 1:10  it’s poisonous?

          But at least you can read it. Some labels are too small to read, even with a magnifying glass. Or they’re smudged. Or they make you question the reliability of your source of information:


    I researched this for you, and it turns out that there are no federal requirements for food dates. Each state does its own thing. (Infant formula is the exception.)

          And “sell by” isn’t even a message for us! It has nothing to do with food safety, it’s just note to the retailers to help them stock shelves.

          “Best by” is just a suggestion, it turns out. Yeah, it might be absolutely freshest by that date, but still perfectly edible after.

          All this confusion just leaves me with one thought: As long as nobody stamps an expiration date on me, I’m okay.

Great news: None of the life hacks on my Youtube channel will expire! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

St. Bob's Latest Invention

         Raise your hand if you have trouble seeing at night. Okay, that looks like everybody. Seriously, we’re not cats, with that extra reflective deal behind their retinas. They also have more rods, whereas we have more cones.


          TMI? Well, what would you prefer—an ice cream rod or an ice cream cone? I think we made the right choice.

          And speaking of night vision, did you know dogs have the same vision as cats? Well, almost. That’s fine with me. I’ll take opposable thumbs any day.

          But seeing well at night becomes an issue when we’re driving, blinded by oncoming headlights. There are yellow glasses that claim to help a bit.

But St. Bob has come up with the perfect solution. We were walking across a parking lot when suddenly one of his lenses fell out of the frames. He instantly realized he could now have both day and night vision.


 I married a genius.

          You can also watch my Youtube Mom videos, or read my books with such brilliant glasses. Try it and see!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Funny Business

         If you’re a frequent reader, you know that all our kids are hilarious.

And quick. We’re planning a trip with them and I can’t wait.

          Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of what I can look forward to:

          (On a Zoom call, trying to plan the next one):

          Cassidy: Seven is okay, but that would be 8 o’clock here.

          Richie: Oh, that’s right. Because you live in the future.

          (Texting when I thanked them for the new computer they gave me for my birthday):

          Cassidy: Glad it’s better than the last one! A big thank you goes to Richie for seeing you needed it and knowing what to get you as well.

          Brandon: Fine. Thank you Richie.


          These are the same monkeys who try to come up with the most ridiculous things imaginable, when we go around the Thanksgiving table and say what we’re grateful for.

          And who made me worry through a whole vacation.

          And who used a fake name at a solemn ceremony.

          And who cracked joke after joke about my chemo.

           And who ruined all my clothes by giving them crazy names.

          I can only imagine what lies in store when we get all these kids together. Stay tuned!

          Meanwhile, check out my website where you can find all my books and a link to my Youtube Mom videos!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

You-dunnit

        What would you do if two policemen knocked on your door, said they were investigating a murder, and asked where you were on the night of September 15th?

In order, I would wet my pants, scream, and then ask if I could please check my calendar.  Also I would invite them in for cookies.

          I can’t believe how many suspects on TV know exactly what they were doing on any given evening, even one that’s months ago. I can’t tell you what I had for dinner last night.

St. Bob and I both enjoy detective shows, though I’ll admit I forget all about the dead victim if they have a cat or a dog, and I cannot rest until it is made clear who is going to care for that pet, now.

As we try to figure out who-dunnut, we find it particularly challenging when there are multiple suspects and people who have motive.

And here is where an important insight came crashing into my brain: If you have several enemies, YOU could be a murder suspect one day! I mean, odds are they won’t get killed, but then if they’re so despicable that you’ve chosen them for an enemy, maybe someone else will do them in. These are the very people murderers tend to kill, right?

Think about that nasty co-worker, that mean neighbor, that jealous in-law. Everyone who's made it on to your Enemies List. And now they're dead. Shot in an alley, rolled up in a handy nearby rug, stuffed into a trunk, and dropped in a park. I think we can all agree that murderers need to be more creative. Nevertheless, YOU are now among the suspects!  Innocent you!

You’ll be marched in with everybody else who hates this enemy—well, hated, since he’s dead—and someone on the other side of a two-way mirror will point at you and say, “Her—the one with cookie crumbs on her lips.”


But I have the solution!  We simply have to forgive every dingdong who has every wronged us, so we won’t find ourselves in an interrogation room with warm soda to drink.  Or, just pray your enemies don’t die.

See? I just saved you from a prison sentence. The least you can do is buy one of my books.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

They All Ran After the Farmer's Wife

         Here’s what you expect when you host an evening for the teenagers in your church: You expect them to gather in your twinkle-lit backyard and hear spiritual messages.

          Here is what you do not expect: A gathering of mice darting in and out of the honeysuckle, across the patio beams, and up and down the posts.

          It was like a dang Greek chorus, I’m telling you.


          
Needless to say, it is difficult for any speaker to compete with a complete line of the Rockettes, as impersonated by pink-nosed little rodents.                   

          We had no idea our honeysuckle vines had become a housing project, and now we wonder if there could be more of these little varmints nesting in there.  NO WONDER OUR CAT KEEPS BRINGING THEM IN!


          What we need is a colony of cats to catch and dine upon the colony of mice. But not in front of guests. We’ve had enough theatre to give us a questionable hosting reputation.

          We called an exterminator, but until he arrives I couldn’t help thinking what other animals might like to eat mice. Snakes came to mind, but then... perhaps not.

Nature just doesn’t get it. So stay inside, I’m telling you. Read my books and watch my videos.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

What's Your Word?

            It occurs to me that St. Bob could add some delightful words to the dictionary. You may feel you could do the same.

          Here are just three of his creations. 

          “Hand me that Frabba-snabbitz,” is his favorite. When he can’t think of  Doo-hickey, Whatchamacallit, or ThingamaBOB, dare I say, he simply invents his own catch-all term.


          Another is Wang-doodle, actually a synonym of Frabba-snabbitz. In all fairness, this was the name of a hotdog joint when he was growing up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Today a Whang-doodle, with an H, is a strip of bacon wrapped in a spiral around a frankfurter.  After doing this research, I can hardly wait to see the pop-up ads I get.


          And last is Yacka-dacka-dooey. This is used in place of the one-syllable “Yay.”  It reminds me of Fred Flintstone’s, “Yabba Dabba Doo!”

         And now I have increased your vocabulary by three whole words. Well, “words” in quotation marks.

          Feel free to tell me your own invented words. Meanwhile, be sure to watch my short Youtube Mom videos for all kinds of life hacks and brilliant advice.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Aloha Oy

           St. Bob certainly deserves his title. This time he took me on a surprise vacation to Hawaii for our anniversary. What a guy.

          He even entertained me on the balcony of our rented beachside condo. When doves, cardinals, and myna birds fluttered in hoping for crumbs, he adopted a tough-guy accent and said, “Hey. No mynas allowed here. You gotta be at least 18.” Ba-doom-boom.

          We were on the island of Kauai, which gets frequent rain. It also has about a zillion chickens and roosters. And I can now report to you that “mad as a wet hen” is a complete misnomer. These drenched hens were not one bit mad, nor were they seeking dry shelter. They simply went pecking about, the same as if the sun had been shining. You’re welcome.

          We ate fabulous food and saw gorgeous scenery. Then we went tubing, boogie boarding, and scuba diving. 


            Afterwards, one of the divers said she saw an octopus.  Uh-oh. I felt my face turning red. Do you think she saw my super-curly post-chemo hair?

         All too soon it was time to go home. Our dear friends, Alex and Nancy Theriault, picked us up at the airport at midnight and drove us home. But the battery in our button code door lock had died, so we were locked out. 

        Alex came to the rescue, crawled through our doggie door, and let us in. But of course! This is Joniopolis.

Whether you want the perfect beach read, travel tips, or a bunch of great life hacks, check out my books and Youtube Mom videos here.