Tuesday, November 28, 2023

I Should Be a Detective

           The other day we were walking through the grounds of the Sacramento LDS Temple. Sometimes you'll see deer here, and nearly always some turkeys. Suddenly St. Bob stopped. “Look at this footprint. Do you think it’s a mountain lion?”

          Uh-oh.  Yep, I did think that. It was fresh, too. He snapped a photo of it with his sunglasses for scale.

          Now, you may think I don’t know my cougars, but I grew up in Utah and everyone in Utah knows several people’s cougar stories. I even blogged about my favorite one here.

          The other possibility is that it’s a dog footprint. However, that would be a pretty gigantic dog, and what would one be doing at the temple? So I looked up the footprints.

          Dogs leave nail prints; this one had none. Cougars have a dip on the top of their heel pad, and this sort of has that.  

          Wouldn’t you know this one was smeared a bit. Maybe the animal slipped. OR IT'S A SPY, AND TWISTS ITS FOOTPRINTS ON PURPOSE.

          But I’m going with mountain lion because there wasn't one turkey in sight, and also, they used to have a sign there like this:

          And replaced it with one like this: 

          Either way, we got back in the car and took off. 

          And that’s a lucky thing, because now I can continue making Youtube Mom life hack videos for you.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Thankful for Fairies


         You all know that I have a fairy garden that wraps around a tree in my back yard. BUT… did you know they celebrate Thanksgiving? 

           Oh yes. I’ve seen the table they’ve laid out for a feast! They use acorn tops for cups, and little round “plates” of wood. They even have wee chairs!  

      I can only imagine the tiny food they’ll serve this Thursday. One of them left her eyeglasses in the hobbit house doorway, so I hope she finds them.

I’m so glad they decided to move into my yard!

Subscribe to my Youtube Mom videos for quick life hacks, and I will be thankful for you as well! AND... simplify your Christmas list this year-- buy a dozen copies of my classic, A LITTLE CHRISTMAS PRAYER for just $3.49 on Amazon, and hand them out. Perfect for anyone, child or adult!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Is That Really You?

        Yes, that was me you saw on the sidewalk, in socks, pajama bottoms, and a mis-matched top.

          I was getting ready to paint, and we all know you wear grubbies to do that, right?

            Suddenly I got a message from my doctor asking if I was there yet. YIKES!  I had cancelled the appointment, but then reinstated it, and forgot to fix my calendar. And I hate to be late.

          I leapt into the car and headed to the medical office. I didn’t have time to pull off my woolly socks and put shoes on. These clothes approximate what I wore:




Here is the picture of my bra:


          Aha! There isn’t one, because I wasn’t wearing one.

          Other people were in the elevator as I headed up to the office. They looked at my chest and my feet. I looked at the floor.

          In the waiting room there were several women staring, so I finally said, “Hey, if this isn’t proof that I no longer care about other people’s opinions, then nothing is.”

          They chuckled, and one of them told me she wore a pajama top to a restaurant once, and a lady complimented her on her pretty blouse.

A nurse called my name. “Cute pants,” she said. “You look like a teenager.”

And now I think we both know a new fashion trend is afoot.

Check out my Youtube Mom life hacks here.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Never Stop Imagining

          I've done it—I’ve created a Narnia-style entrance to the magical Christmas bedroom First we measured to see how large a cabinet or armoire we needed. Then we began looking. Months later, after gasping at prices, we found a tall, used wardrobe online that was not only the perfect size, but whimsical as well:

          St. Bob took the back off, removed the shelves, then tried to dolly it about, getting thrown into the bushes as you read here

          But with the help of three of our five amazing pretend grandchildren across the street (strapping teens) we got it upstairs and Bob fastened it to the wall.

           Next we gave it twig-shaped handles,  

  then hung some clothes to camouflage the surprise. 

 You push the clothes aside, and this is the final result:

          When you’re not going through secret passageways into Christmas Land, 

be sure to watch my Youtube Mom life hacks here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Whimsy Comes at a Price

          You recently read that I have a fairy garden, a Christmas room, and refuse to relinquish my childhood. I was even given this shirt:

          But now I have ANOTHER fantastic project: In front of the door to the Christmas room we are installing a Narnia wardrobe—a secret passageway!

          I am super excited. It took months to find an armoire that was not only whimsical, but had the right dimensions. I’ll be posting later about the final result of this project.

          BUT… first we see St. Bob out on the driveway, trying to move the heavy wooden armoire all by himself. He figures he will use his dolly and move it inside with no trouble.

          (Incidentally, there needs to be an alarm that will go off whenever Bob decides to take on something like this by himself.)

          He gets the dolly under the furniture, tips it up, and then realizes that, because he took the back off, it is now top heavy and it begins to fall.

          Somehow—and I still can’t visualize this—it spins and throws him into the bushes. It knocks off his glasses and breaks a knob off a door.

          Bob’s head pops up out of the bushes,

          and his very first thought is to look about, and see if someone was watching. Okay, I do this first as well, but I am clumsier than average.

          No one saw.  HOWEVER, St. Bob got whiplash from his adventure. Hopefully there won’t be any more injuries before it’s nailed into place. The wardrobe, not the whiplash.

Be sure to watch my Youtube Mom life hack videos, while you’re waiting to see the final result!

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Lessons from the Curb

         I just returned from a belated birthday celebration with three girlfriends in Newport Beach. We’ve known each other for decades, and it was a fabulous trip.




          But before it even started, I was standing at the curb at the airport, with various women. A car pulled up for one of them, and she immediately began gushing over the dog in the back seat. The window was down, and she leaned through for lots of kissing and tail-wagging. 

          Meanwhile, her husband was dutifully dragging her suitcases to the trunk, then getting back in the car without so much as a nod.

          And then it happened again!  Another car pulled up and it was “I missed you so much! How’s my babycakes? Yes, Yes, I love you!” to the dog, while the husband simply loaded luggage and got back in the car.

          A lesson for all: Wives, notice your husbands.  And husbands, try to be more affectionate than the dog is.

         Find more relationship advice, and hundreds of life hacks on my Youtube channel.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Forever Young?

          Last week St. Bob and I were shopping in Sam’s Club when I saw a huge dollhouse: 

         I gasped. It even had an elevator! I gushed for a minute or two, then caught myself. “Oh my goodness, I hope I won’t become one of those old women who reverts to her childhood and plays with dolls,” I muttered.

          “Too late,” Bob said (notice St. is now missing). He reminded me of my Christmas bedroom, 

         my Fairy Garden, 

          my little Princess and the Pea mouse, 

          my collections of bird nests, rocks, and boxes, 

           And several other items that could be called “evidence.”

           Yikes. I’m quite certain that the neighbor kids I play with each week will grow into their teens while I remain five.

          “But you won’t have a second childhood,” Bob said, “because you’re still having the first one.”

          However, I manage to be a mom to the world in my Youtube videos sharing life hacks.


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Bear With Me

          Having just returned from Alaska, I found myself telling bear stories. Not because we saw any, but because that's simply what you do. 

I grew up in the Rocky Mountains, with many a family trip to Yellowstone, when they still had hundreds of black bears. We were told to steer clear of them, always good advice.

          Unfortunately, no one has trained bears to avoid humans.  So when my dad, an avid fly fisherman known for his uncanny ability to sense a good bend in the river, pulled over into a meadow and took off in his waders for a perfect place to fish, my mother, sister, and I waited inside the car, where it was safe. 

Dad disappeared into the trees, and we sat.  Within five minutes, we saw a gigantic bear lumbering towards us from the far end of the meadow.  Instinctively, we locked our doors.

          He got closer.  And then closer.  We looked around to see if there was something else he could be heading for, but we were the only item of distinction in the meadow.

Within seconds he was behind our car, his long nose jabbing up into the air as he sniffed.  It was at this moment that my mother realized she had wrapped up some bacon and put it in the trunk.  Yikes.

The bear took a swipe at our bumper.  Then at the fenders, denting them in.  He growled.  He knew there was bacon somewhere in this metal contraption.  He placed his mammoth paws atop the trunk and pushed down, bouncing the car on its shock absorbers.

“Don’t move!” my mother whispered.  But the bear was bouncing my sister and me like this was a trampoline.

Now he roared, slammed all his weight onto the trunk, broke the car’s axle and popped a tire. It also bent the trunk lid in enough to pop it open, revealing all our luggage and, of course, the bacon.

My mother was shrieking, my sister was wailing that she had now sat on a fish hook, and I was frozen in panic.  The bear rummaged hungrily through our belongings, piercing a 3-inch thick book with his teeth, and finally finding the bacon.  A few chomps later he sauntered off, apparently unwilling to break windows and eat screaming females.

No way were we going to open the doors and survey the damage.  Besides, my sister’s fish hook was her greatest concern and getting a barbed hook out of human flesh is no small project.

Five minutes later my father returned, having decided this was not the best fishing spot after all.  But as he approached the car, you can imagine his surprise.  The trunk lid was up, clothing was strewn all around, and the entire back end of the car was destroyed, like a bomb had gone off.

“What on earth happened? I was gone ten minutes!”

And that, my friends, is all it takes.  

I recommend staying in the safety of your home, and watching my Youtube Mom videos right here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Not Quite Gilligan's Place

           Looks like I have an island, folks. Okay, technically it’s not my island. But my maiden name is Pennock and this is Pennock Island, so I’m inferring some attachment to it.

          It’s just southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska and is thickly wooded. It’s about 3 miles long, half a mile wide, and not many folks live there.

          Set in the Tongass Narrows, it’s close to Gravina Island, which had all that “bridge to nowhere” publicity a few years ago.

Yes, it’s a three-mile island. But it’s not that three-mile island. It was named for gold prospector Homer Pennock in 1895, and now hosts the annual “Pennock Island Challenge” a swim race all the way around it, in 55-60-degree water. Not for the feint of heart, clearly. Kayakers (rescuers?) come along.

          Here's even a contingency from South Africa, ready to compete:
          They no longer include it in the census (does that mean it literally doesn’t count?) but if you’re looking for a remote hideaway where you can watch whales and bald eagles, maybe consider Pennock Island for your next vacation. And tell them Joni says hi. Or, you can stay in where it's warm and watch my Youtube Mom videos.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023


           You know my philosophy: Either things go great, or it’s material. Win-win.

          So I never even hope for smooth travel; I kind of wait for the disasters and, as you know, travel never disappoints.

          This time we cruised to Alaska with dear friends and had a fabulous time with them. St. Bob’s text notification is a quacking duck, so every time ducks flew overhead (which was often) he pulled out his phone to check his messages. Much to my amusement.

Did we see whales? 

          Nope. Did we see bears?

           Nope. Did we see moose? 

          Nope. Did we see the Northern Lights?        

          Nope. Did our helicopter ride to the top of a glacier get cancelled due to bad weather?

          Yep. Did our whale-watching excursion get cancelled as well? Yep. But we did get to zip-line, see two bald eagles, and eat ourselves into oblivion.  I think that last one is required on all cruises.

Well, that and watching my Youtube Mom videos here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

To Bee or Not to Bee?

         Our son, Brandon, had tickets to a concert in Joshua Tree, California. He and his girlfriend Melissa, rented a car so they could take Odin, his 165-pound Great Dane.

They had just arrived when Brandon abruptly injured his back. It was one of those “last straw” moments when he hardly did anything, but managed to tear a disc! He couldn’t walk or stand and said his pain level was eleven.

Melissa dashed him to the nearest emergency room, where they couldn’t do much. And here is where we learn how very much Brandon is like his mother, and cannot have one mishap without more bizarre mishaps piling on.

First of all, as Melissa picked him up at the curb and was trying to help him out of his wheelchair, a BEE flew up Brandon’s shorts. Who else has this happen? 


Brandon called the car rental company and asked if his girlfriend could bring it back for him.

          Absolutely not, he was told. His was the only name on the forms. Brandon explained that he couldn’t walk or drive, but their only suggestion was to have the car towed, for $150.00!

          Instead, Melissa drove it to half a block away, then Brandon carefully crouched behind the wheel and drove it in.  CRAZY!  And it turned out the folks there didn’t even care, as long as the car was back.

          That night a friend told him that sleeping on a mattress topper on the floor might help his back, so Brandon was just drifting off when the Great Dane, asleep on the sofa next to him, STEPPED ON HIS EYE!  And now he has scratches on his face.                                                                

          I’m telling you, he is three-for-three living my same life.  Maybe he should start writing a blog.  Meanwhile, sorry for the DNA, Brandon.

          Try to avoid injuries by sitting still at your computer and watching my Youtube Mom life hacks right here.