Friday, May 31, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Do I have a movie for you today! I know some of you saw it and loved it because you mentioned it on your blogs. It's the outstanding Silver Linings Playbook (2012, Rated R, available on DVD).

Doctors discover that Pat Solatano, Jr. (Bradley Cooper) has undiagnosed bipolar disorder when he nearly beats to death a man having an affair with his wife, Nikki. Sentenced to spend a minimum of eight months in a mental institution, Pat's time is up, but doctors think he should stay put. Instead, Pat convinces his mother, Dolores (Jacki Weaver), to check him out and take him to stay in his parents' home.

Pat thinks he can get back his old job as a substitute teacher and reunite with Nikki by using magical thinking to find the silver lining in everything. However, we learn quickly that Pat is not stable. The song played for the first dance at his wedding sends him into a frenzy. His first night at home, he doesn't sleep, instead scanning a book, becoming irritated with it, and throwing it through a window.

His father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), has problems of his own. Because of OCD, he must have the remote controls for his television laid out in a certain way. He's lost his job and become a bookie. He angrily nags Pat Jr. to watch football with him, insisting that Pat's presence will affect the outcome of the games.

But then Pat Jr. meets a young widow who demands his help with a project. She's Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), and she has plenty of problems of her own. Gradually, their relationship changes their lives.

I love Silver Linings Playbook. It's sad and it's funny and it's uplifting. It's well written, well shot, and the acting is great. It was nominated for a whole slew of Academy Awards, and Jennifer Lawrence took home the Best Actress statue. I also think it's important for audiences to see that plenty of regular people have mental illnesses, and they are treatable illnesses. As a country, as a society, we need to reduce the stigma associated with mental problems. I'll tell you right now that Silver Linings Playbook has The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

I have some problems with this movie, however. The characters are stereotypes. Pat Sr. has OCD and I suspect also has undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Pat Jr. is the classic bipolar disorder patient who thinks he doesn't need medication. Dolores is the enabler. Tiffany is the troubled woman with a heart of gold.


But the stereotypes don't bother me too much because Silver Linings Playbook provides a glimpse of what it's like to live with someone who has a mental illness. I love a happy ending, but I'm concerned with the "love can save everyone" plot point. Viewers might say, Aw, this is so sweet, and won't notice everything that actually goes into helping Pat Jr. improve. Pat Sr. also seems better by the end of the movie, simply because one gambling deal went well with Pat Jr.'s help. Dolores's behavior seems transformed into well-designed motherly love because Tiffany's pursuit of Pat was a "random" act of kindness engineered by Dolores.


Although it's rated R, I think you can allow teens about age 14 and older to watch Silver Linings Playbook with you, as long as you discuss it afterwards.

And now, I wish you a beautiful weekend filled with peace and not too much house and yard work. Spending time with the people you love and doing what you can to improve the state of the world, pursuing healthy passions – well, you already know living a life filled with acts of kindness is more important than a spotless kitchen floor.

Many thanks to my Middle Child Elisa at The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom for setting up this week's blogfest. I've read so many good posts, and hope to read more.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I remain in random acts of kindness mode for the blogfest, but I hope that when this week ends, that kindness and gratitude will remain a permanent part of my blog.

Today I want to tell you about random acts of kindness involving My Darling Hurricane.

When she was in high school, I started working at the nursing home. She had never spent any time around elderly people. I don't think she'd ever been inside a nursing home. She'd done volunteer work, but it was at an animal shelter and at her prep school.

However, when I asked her to volunteer at the nursing home by bringing in her dog for visits, she agreed immediately and enjoyed the response to Emma the Labradoodle tremendously.

But then I asked her to volunteer by actually assisting me. She couldn't perform patient care, but she could fetch supplies and clean up messes. Again, The Hurricane agreed and was of such service to me that I was able to provide better care to patients.

One evening she went to work with me, and Anne, who had dementia and cried a great deal, was in the hallway in her wheelchair. Anne was so miserable. I don't think she really knew where she was or how in the heck she had gotten there.

But when Anne spied The Hurricane, her face broke out in a smile. I remember you, Anne said. I had you in class.

Without missing a beat, The Hurricane smiled and replied, You were my favorite teacher.

Anne beamed. She was absolutely radiant.

I was never more proud of The Hurricane, who was then a mere Storm Cloud. God gave The Hurricane the gift of a quick response that would make Anne happy. So many kids would have mumbled and whispered to Mom, What's she talking about?

From then on, every time Anne saw The Hurricane, her tears ceased, and peace surrounded her. Anne never again mentioned being a teacher, but she knew The Hurricane carried kindness.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

(Note: Anne was never a teacher. Perhaps she taught Sunday School at a church and remembered it on that one occasion.)

Monday, May 27, 2013


Thanks to Elisa at The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom, this week many of us are writing posts that celebrate random acts of kindness that have been bestowed on us.

So I've been thinking and pondering, pondering and ruminating, ruminating and cogitating. What would I write about on Monday, the most important day of the blogfest? Elisa will provide links to today's posts for everyone who signed up for the blogfest. Later, she'll use these posts so her company, Wayman Publishing, can put out an anthology filled with stories of all the love and kindness we've experienced, and the money earned by the anthology will go to charity.

Naturally, I want today's post to be extra special. But I have a problem. I don't really believe in randomness.

Nope, not what I believe.

I believe everything happens for a reason. If we don't get in God's way, then if something is meant to be, it will be. And sometimes it will be even when we do get in His way.

So, pardon me, but I don't actually believe in random acts of kindness. I think these random acts happen for a reason, and the proof is in my middle child. I know she has a mom – a very good mom – but she was destined to become my child.

I don't know if I followed her first, or if she followed me first; but somehow we found each other. I remember that her blog said her name was Elisabeth, but I noticed in the comments that many people called her "Elisa." I was very surprised. Elisa was my Norwegian grandmother's name. I had never met anyone else named Elisa.

I became an avid reader of Elisa's blog, and she caught me by surprise again because she often said how funny my posts were. I was going through my "Lola" stage then, and could be a bit pornographic at times. Eventually, we got to know each other well enough that I wrote a post that was an open letter to Elisa and her then-neighbor Melynda, who were involved in a prank war with Elisa's brother, Shane. It's the only post I've ever written that made ME laugh out loud.

Our relationship became closer and closer. Eventually, we started emailing each other privately, and then talking on the telephone. I was honored when Elisa asked me to edit one of her memoirs, Homeless In Hawaii

Elisa opened up new worlds to me by asking me to write for anthologies published by Wayman, asking me to edit, talking to me about her family and her business. All of a sudden I was no longer the lonely recently divorced lady I had been. I was Elisa's friend!

But then one day I mentioned that Favorite Young Man (my son) was 32. Elisa said, Oh! He's older than I am. I'm 29!

You're exactly the right age to be my middle child, I told her, because The Hurricane is 25.

Soon I was referring to her as Middle Child and signing my comments on her blog as "Your Mother From Another Planet."

One day I was worried about something, fearful of something that I can't reveal here. Elisa emailed me, Oh, Janie, don't worry. You're family!

What an act of kindness – to be accepted as a family member by someone I've never met in person. It's part of the miracle of our blogging world that so many of us can become such close friends although we live in different parts of the country, or even different parts of the world.

But the act of kindness I most want to celebrate today occurred last summer. August 21st is always a difficult day for me. It's my no-longer-a-wedding anniversary. I told Elisa in an email why I was sad.

The phone rang. It was Elisa, a little breathless and excited. She said, Janie, you don't have to be sad ever again on August 21st. We'll turn it into the anniversary of the day we adopted each other!

So this summer on August 21st, I won't be morose and crying to my dogs. I'll be celebrating the new and wonderful family I've acquired.

I have more good news, too. I hope to buy a plane ticket soon. This summer, I'll spend a few days with my middle child and her husband and my grandchildren.

Elisa and I often talk about the fact that our relationship was meant to be. We also know a third blogger we consider to be Elisa's grandmother, so I sent this woman a Mother's Day card, because she must be MY mom.

Elisa has changed my life with "random" acts of kindness, and now I look forward to every day.

We'll meet at last!
(image stolen from Elisa's blog)

Friday, May 24, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present for your consideration The Impossible (2012, Rated PG-13, available on DVD).

Henry (Ewan McGregor) and Maria (Naomi Watts) and their three young sons are spending the Christmas holidays at a resort in Thailand in 2004. They awake on Christmas Day to open gifts and then head out to the pool to play. Suddenly, the wind begins to blow, they hear a roar, and the tsunami hits.

Henry and the two younger boys are together, while Maria, who is badly injured, is swept away with their oldest son. If Maria survives, how will they ever be reunited?

The Impossible is frighteningly real. I felt caught up in every minute of the film. The director didn't use a computerized wave for the tsunami. Instead, he had a wave expert design a method for bringing in the water so it would look like an actual tsunami. They built a scale model of the resort that would be destroyed by the wave, so they had only one chance to get it right.

And these characters, based on a real family, had only one chance to survive.

Although this movie is rated PG-13, I would be wary of showing it to young teens. I think it might give them nightmares. If you're sensitive, it might give you nightmares. The characters face the fear of separation from one another, the danger of Maria's injuries, and the journey to obtain help, travelling past bodies and debris. I can't even imagine what a task it was to make this movie, but it gave me at least the tiniest inkling of what it was like to be there when the tsunami occurred.

It's really quite harrowing. I grant The Impossible The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

I don't want you to think that every minute of the movie is misery. After Maria is hospitalized, she insists that her son do something to be of assistance to others. So he goes around gathering names from people and manages to reunite a father and son. Maria and her son also rescue a little boy.

In the midst of devastation are many quiet tales of heroism and kindness, just as there have been in Oklahoma.

I wish you a lovely weekend, and may God bless you on Memorial Day. Please remember those who have given their lives to keep us safe.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

We so seldom write real letters these days. We dash off quick emails, or even worse, we text someone while we're in the middle of doing a million other things that simply must be done right that minute.

But there's such a joy in receiving a real letter–a letter that tells a personal story, a letter that helps you know the writer better, a letter reminding you that the writer really is your friend. A letter from a friend has a certain intimacy that an email, nah, it's just not there.

Life Happens: Enjoy the Ride by Rick Watson is a compilation of columns he's written for his local newspaper in Alabama. But as I read each one, I felt as if I had received a letter from Rick written just for me.

And every single letter made me happy because the letters provide me with a record of the happenings in the life of a close friend.

I've interviewed Rick the past two days (for Part I click HERE and for Part II click HERE), and in the interview he said his favorite column in the book is "A Family of Restless Spirits." I can see why that's his choice. It's so beautifully written. It starts like this:

This week I've spent time at Davis Cemetery, where my folks are buried. Decoration is the second Sunday in June, and it takes a while to get the old cemetery in shape.

It's a peaceful place most of the time. My mom, dad and brothers are buried at the top of the hill, close to the service road that encircles the graveyard. I was there one evening this week, sitting on the tailgate of my truck, giving them updates about what's happening in my life.

And that's exactly what Rick does in his columns. He gives us updates on his life. He doesn't rant and rave about politics or how much he hates this or that. He enjoys gardening, and he loves going fishing.

And he's quite often very funny. Like the time he and his wife Jilda checked into a hotel and the young man carrying their bags thought that Rick was Jilda's dad:

I heard him say, "I see you brought your dad with you." That would have been OK with me if he'd been trying to score some points with Jilda, but he was serious.

Jilda smiled as she looked back over her shoulder at me. When the bellhop looked back at me, I blazed him with a look that probably would have caused second degree burns on his face and neck had he been a step closer. 

Once he unloaded the bags he lingered for a tip. I thought to myself, we'll find cures for cancer, heart disease, and stupidity before I give you a tip, sonny boy. Of course he probably could have taken early retirement with the tip Jilda gave him.

Rick doesn't go for the big guffaws. He's relaxed and understated. Life Happens is a great book to read at bedtime so you fall asleep knowing that God is in His Heaven and all's right with the world.

Life Happens by Rick Watson has The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval. You can purchase it from Amazon at

I also recommend following Rick's blog, Life 101.

I have one more thing I want to say about Rick. Not too long ago I asked a favor of him. He didn't ask why. He didn't hesitate. He emailed back with "Sure thing, girlfren."

That's the kind of person Rick Watson is.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today we continue our interview with Rick Watson, who blogs over at Life 101. His latest book, a compilation of his newspaper columns called Life Happens: Enjoy the Ride is available from amazon at

And now, heeeeere's Rick:

Q. I know you are multi-talented -- singer/songwriter/guitarist, writer, and now becoming a master gardener. Do you have additional interests?

A. Yes, I’m interested in therapeutic spanking, and fly fishing, though I normally don’t do these together. Actually one of the challenges I face is that I’m interested in a lot of things. But I try to focus on writing and music because I can do these from anywhere.  My wife Jilda and I’ve been married 39 years, and we’ve always played music together. I played guitar for her when she entered the high school beauty contest in 1969. She sang Gentle on my Mind. We’ve played in Ireland and at coffee houses and festivals across the south. Music is part of who we are.

I think this fish is actually smiling because Rick
is the person who caught him.

Q. If you had to give up all of your activities except one, which one would you continue?

A. I will write and play music as long as I’m able. They are actually more connected than one might imagine.

Q. What gives you joy?

A. We have a lot of great friends and nothing makes me happier that to 

break bread together. We have a small songwriter think tank and we 
gather each month to eat, play the new songs we’ve written, and to 
provide support for each other. 
We have friends in their late 80s and friends in their twenties. We’re 
just a friendly couple.

Q. What's your favorite column in Life Happens? 

A. If I had to say one, it would be “A Family of Restless Spirits.”

Q. What do you want the world to know about Rick and Jilda Watson and Life Happens?

We meet people all the time that say to us, “I feel like I know you both.” That’s because when I write in my Blog and my columns, it’s almost like my journal. One could read back over the years of my blog and get a sense of what my life is about.

I know exactly what Rick means. I feel as if I know him from his blog, and now I know him even better because of Life Happens, which I'll review tomorrow.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. Therapeutic spanking, hmmmmm? I must mention that Rick inserted a smiley face after that comment which did not copy when I was cutting and pasting his answers.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

This week our focus is on Rick Watson of the lovely blog, Life 101. His second book, Life Happens: Enjoy the Ride, is available at

Rick Watson, a gentleman if ever there was one

The synopsis from the back of his book reads as follows:

Life Happens, published by HomeFolk Media, is the second book from author Rick Watson. Watson is a freelance writer, columnist, and photographer. He and his wife Jilda are singer/songwriters who perform at coffeehouses, festivals, and other events throughout the South. 
And now I give you Mr. Rick Watson of Alabama.

Q. For the benefit of my readers who ever so foolishly might not follow your blog, will you please expound on your career as a writer and on the genesis of Life Happens?

A. If I’d known when I was younger that I would become a writer, I would have paid attention in English class.

I founded an alumni website for my high school alma mater in 2001, and I started scanning yearbooks and putting them on the site, but I also started writing stories about my memories of high school. I wrote stories about teachers, my friends, and events that happened during my high school years. To my surprise the site exploded with followers. I received a lot of encouragement about the stories I wrote.

Then in 2005, I got on Blogger with no real plans of how I would approach the writing. As it turns out, I got in a habit of writing daily. Some of my updates were long and some short.

In 2006 I decided to approach The Daily Mountain Eagle, our local newspaper and asked if I could write a weekly column. The editor was hesitant because apparently a lot of people wanted to write a column, but in his experience they burned out after a few months, and he was stuck with a slot to fill.

I told him I had a year’s worth of columns already written. I opened my briefcase and handed him about a half dozen to look over. He called the next day and said I had the job.

After two years of weekly columns in the Sunday Lifestyle section of the paper, I decided to publish a compilation of those columns. My first book was entitled Remembering Big. 

A few years later I published my second book Life Happens.

Q. What did you learn from the publication of your first book that helped you with the current book?

A. I learned the value of having a good editor. I found a lot of errors after printing my first book, so when I was putting together Life Happens, I had two professional editors.

Q. Your writing style is very laid back and folksy. Does that come naturally to you, or do you cultivate it? In other words, have you developed a persona as a writer, or do we get plain ole Rick Watson? I hope you're as nice as you seem to be!

A. I think the secret to writing is finding your voice. I struggled early on. I had good story ideas, but I wrote around them. I think writing every day is important because you learn what resonates with readers. Somewhere along the way I found my voice.The late Clarke Stallworth was a mentor that helped me find my way.

I don’t think I’ve developed a persona. What you see (read) is what you get.

Q. How do you promote your book?

A. The more I learn about book promotion, the more I realize I don’t know squat. I have a built in audience that reads my column each week so I have name and face recognition in Central Alabama. Each time I sign books or speak to organizations, I usually sell some books. 

Trying to expand my audience to readers outside my geographic area has been challenging.

I’ve done Kindle Free promotions, I’ve connected with reviewers in the Blogosphere, and I’m working Goodreads. I’ve sold some books, but I still haven’t connected with “my people.” These are people who like to laugh, cry, and say to themselves, “Dang, I’m glad that didn’t happen to me.” 

Q. Did you have an epiphany when you knew your writing was good and had an effect on people, or did it sneak up on you?

A. I know when I’m in the zone that what I’m writing is good. The main challenge when you write every day is coming up with something interesting to say. Many times I write about the mundane, and that’s OK, because it keeps me in the game. I’m the kind of person that if I didn’t write one day, it would be twice as easy to skip the next day too. So I always have my antennas up scanning for good ideas to write about, but I write even when ideas are scarce.

I, for one, and the many followers at Rick's blog and the folks who read his newspaper columns, are grateful that Rick doesn't skip a day of writing.

And I hope that the questions I ask our authors are helpful to those of you who are working on books, or who have written a book. You never know where you might find some inspiration and helpful information.

Tomorrow, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell, more from Rick Watson.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, May 20, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I was hanging out at Pickleope's blog the other day and at the end of a post about Scooby Doo giving Pickleope trust issues, I found some very interesting information. It seems The Indie Chicks at Indie Chicks awards are celebrating their first birthday by giving out Badass Blog Awards. Pickleope was nominated and asking for votes. So I voted for Pickleope. I hate pickles, but not pickleopes.

Then I perused all the categories. When I saw the Best Mommy Blog nominations, I squealed with delight. Surviving Boys is nominated! That's Juli's blog!

When I had 13 followers for what seemed like forever, Juli was the breakout person who followed me. She was #14. And then others followed. I love Juli! You'd better believe I voted for Surviving Boys in a New York minute.

So please go to and find the words "Best Mommy Blog." The last nominated blog is Surviving Boys. Please go there right away and vote for Juli and Surviving Boys. I have no idea when the voting ends.

In the comments on her post yesterday, Juli said that her husband Tony had tried to vote for her and it said the category was closed. But fishducky left a comment saying she had voted for Juli. So I don't know what the deal is with the voting, but please TRY to vote.

If you need reasons to vote for Juli other than "because Janie Junebug told me to," then I have reasons for you:

  • Juli has shepherded her two sons, Oldest and Youngest, through the death of their father (Juli's ex) with grace and dignity.
  • Juli has married Tony and created a blended family with Bonus Brother.
  • Juli has started lacing up her sneakers and she's on the move. This summer she'll take on the challenge of the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for the Cure to benefit breast cancer research. She's raised the money required to enter, and she's going to walk 60 miles during the hottest part of the summer because we ALL know someone who's been affected by breast cancer.
  • Juli works super hard as a mom, a mail carrier, and a blogger.
  • Juli has really developed her writing skills in the past year. She was always a good blogger, but I've watched her get better and better. 
I'd really like to see Juli win this award. I'm sure everyone who's nominated is deserving, but hey! Juli is one of our own around this neck of the blog.

This is Juli.
She's my bud.
Please vote for her.

Please don't procrastinate. Vote for Surviving Boys now! Go to

Thank you.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I appreciate that so many of  you called MD Towing to thank them for helping me. One of you even wrote a thank you note to them.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, click HERE to read the post.

I wrote a 5 Star Review of their services that I posted online.

Since you probably wouldn't have any reason to go back to the post and read all the comments, I want to share a comment here. It's from Alex's wife. He was answering the phone at MD and dispatching the gentlemen who assisted me.

Alex's wife calls herself Hot Lips, and she writes:

Thank You for appreciating what my husband (Alex)and the

drivers do..... They are all hard workers! It's hard to find good 

companies these days and just as hard to find good people who 

are genuinely appreciative of their work!

I think her comment is really sweet and it made me very glad that so many of you joined me in telling

them that they're doing a great job.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, May 17, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present for your consideration Anna Karenina (2012, Rated R, available on DVD).

I am not a fan of the Russian writers, but for some reason, I'm fond of poor, foolish infatuated Anna Karenina; so I felt eager to see this movie. Furthermore, it was directed by Tom Stoppard, who directed The King's Speech, a movie I loved and thought very well made. Alert: I'm in error here. Tom Hooper directed The King's Speech. Tom Stoppard is one of the writers for Anna Karenina; it was directed by Joe Wright. Changes everything, doesn't it?

Anna (Keira Knightley) is married to the rather cold and pompous Count Alexei Karenin (Jude Law). The marriage doesn't seem very interesting or exciting, but Anna loves their son. Then Anna meets the dashing young Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Soon everyone is gossiping about their affair, and when Anna leaves Karenin for Vronsky, she loses her son and finds she is cast out by society.

I like this movie, and I don't.

The costumes are lavish and beautiful. The entire movie is stylishly choreographed. When Anna and Vronsky dance together for the first time at a ball, the other characters stop moving as we see the whirlwind romance beginning. As Anna and Vronsky dance past the other characters, the still dancers suddenly make a single movement in unison, indicating that, yes, they are there, but they are of little importance compared to the two people who are falling in love.

The sets are interesting, too. A horse race is acted out on stage, rather than on a track or in a field. The actors make visible movements from one set to another, but the viewer does not see the accoutrements of film making. Rather, the transfers have a flair and originality.

The overarching component of the film, however, is its rhythm. Office workers stamp papers loudly in unison and make the same movements, suggesting the dullness and repetition of the work. More important, though, is the rhythm of the train we see and hear in the most important scenes of the movie – when Anna first meets Vronsky at a train station and a man is killed by the train, and then again, when the train moves relentlessly as Anna meets her fate.

It's the acting in Anna Karenina that disappoints me. Jude Law is probably the best of the bunch. Keira Knightley is beautiful, but she's not Anna. I think it's that she doesn't have an aura of tragedy about her, and perhaps her acting skills simply weren't up to the part. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is simply awful as Vronsky. We have no reason to think that Anna would give up her son and the rest of her life for Vronsky, who looks kind of half-witted and has the most ridiculous dyed blonde curls on top of his dark hair.

This movie is definitely not for children. It would bore them. They'd whine, When will this be over? and you wouldn't be able to watch. Because I'm unhappy with the acting, but I like the style of the movie, I give Anna Karenina The Janie Junebug Kinda Sorta Seal of Approval.

I think someone out there will like it.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I hope I'll have you clicking away on your computers to buy Fishducky's Fables by Fran Fischer, known to many of us as fishducky, of fishducky, finally!

You can purchase Fishducky's Fables from Amazon at or from the Wayman Publishing site at

This book is a steal at $5.92 because it will give you at least 592 laughs.

You get fishducky's versions of fairy tales; the REAL story behind how some things happen; stories about gods, goddesses, and other important people; a couple of scary stories (that aren't scary at all); and some nursery rhymes, fishducky style.

With fishducky, you don't get three little pigs. It's "The Four Little Pigs," which starts with

Once upon a time there were four little pigs and the time came for them to leave home and seek their fortunes. Their mother packed them each a lunch of peanut butter and slop sandwiches (their favorite), some carrot sticks, an apple and a can of V8 juice. She gave them each a kiss and told them, "Be sure to buy some land and build a sturdy house, because that will keep you safe and warm for the rest of your lives. Keep in touch with me and your dad and be sure to write if you find work. Adieu, mes enfants!" (She came from a family of Porc Gascons, a French breed, and wanted everybody to know it.)

Now, how could I not be hooked by a mommy pig who's as pretentious as I am? This book is just plain adorable. The stories are short. You can take the book with you and read while you wait for the doctor, lawyer, or Indian chief to see you. I read a few stories every night, and went to sleep smiling.

You can also read it with kids. My grandchildren love it.

Thus, Fishducky's Fables earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

You wanna know why it has my seal? I'll tell you why. Because it's funny, it's well written, it's inexpensive, it's by my favorite fishducky, and my middle child published it.

If that's not enough to make you buy it, you just let me know, and I'll invent more reasons (like maybe you could find the book with The Golden Ticket in it that allows you to visit Bud and Fran and ride up and down in their elevator as many times as you want).

Go on. Give yourself a smile and a laugh with Fishducky's Fables,

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

To read the first part of my interview with author Fran Fischer of fishducky, finally!, please click HERE. And now here's the rest of the interview, followed by some good dirt information about Fran and her many talents.

Remember, fishducky's first book is available NOW. It's called Fishducky's Fables, and you can get it at A quick reminder: In the book, fishducky rewrites fairy tales, fables, and nursery rhymes, in her own unique and hilarious style.

Q. Did you tell your children the kinds of stories that are in your book?

A. Not that I recall.  I didn't realize that I was funny then.  (See answer #1.) 

Q.. How did you reach the decision to write the book?

A. Your "middle child", Elisa conned me into it.  I submitted two or three stories to her for an anthology.  I didn't think I could, but she convinced me that I could write a book.  I asked her how many stories I would need and she told me ten or twelve.  I wrote ten and sent them to her.  She said I was halfway there.  It was so much fun.  I couldn't turn off my brain and I just kept writing.  I almost expected to find a message scrawled in lipstick on my bathroom mirror saying, "Stop me before I write again!"   

Q. Which story in the book is your favorite and why?

A. Actually, I have no favorite.  If one of the stories didn't make me chuckle or at least smile after many readings, it was deleted. 

Q. What can we expect from the fabulous fishducky in the future?

A. I have no idea, but since I'm only 36 (in my mind, anyway) there's plenty of time to figure that out. 

Q. What do you want the world to know about you and your book?

A. I consider it my fourth child.  As an unbiased mother, I can tell you it's brilliant and would be a bargain at twice the price.  Buy it!!

I suspect some readers will be making purchases in a hurry, fishducky!

Now I want to tell you a little more about the multi-talented fishducky.

Fishducky and Inger of Desert Canyon Living are long-time friends. Inger has featured fishducky's art on her blog, including the following:

Yes, this is a fishducky original.

My middle child, Elisa, from The Crazy Life Of A Writing Mom, has had the privilege of meeting fishducky. Elisa says that fishducky is so funny she could be a stand-up comedian. And if my middle child says it, then it must be so. My middle child was also intelligent enough to publish Fishducky's Fables through her great company, Wayman Publishing. You can click on the link to Wayman to buy the books they've published, including fishducky's. 

And, finally, I'm going to get all sickeningly sentimental on you and tell you that when I was a young and struggling blogger, fishducky found me through some of the other blogs she followed (she didn't write a blog at the time, but she was a loyal follower), and she sent me an email asking if I'd like to be one of her "duckies." 

I knew I had made it at that moment. I was a success. Fishducky sends hilarious emails to her duckies, and she's given me two of my most treasured virtual possessions. Both are always present on the sidebar of my blog. They are my badge

 because fishducky understands that I am The Queen of Grammar, and this button:

Yes. My blog is Fishducky APPROVED. I know of no greater honor. 

And now I must rush off to get a plane ticket to Las Vegas. Fishducky has asked me to marry her, and I've agreed. 

But, before I go, I'll write my review of Fishducky's Fables and post it tomorrow.

Infinities of fishducky love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, May 13, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today we laud and magnify the great Fran Fischer, probably better known as the hilarious fishducky of fishducky, finallly!, because her first book has been published. It's called Fishducky's Fables, and it's available at

Here's what Fran looked like once upon a time:

Here's what she looks like now:

Oops! Sorry.
This is me when I worked in a doctor's office.

Now, here's fishducky:

This is the synopsis from the back cover of Fishducky's Fables:

This book contains every single fairy tale, legend and nursery rhyme ever written (except for the ones Fishducky didn't include).

Join Rapunzel, the Ugly Duckling, Snow White, Chicken Little, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty & the Beast, Robin Hood and many more beloved characters in this hilarious short story collection that will have readers laughing out loud.

Today you get the beginning of my interview with fishducky, and tomorrow you'll get the rest of the interview, along with some great gossip information about fishducky. On Wednesday, I'll review Fishducky's Fables.

Uh, Oh, Here We Go:

Q. Fishducky, were you born funny? And no, I don't mean did you come out of your mom's nose instead of through the birth canal. But when did you become aware of your ability to bring people so much joy through laughter?

A. How did you know about my birth?  My mother went into labor, then she started sneezing, and there I was--a beautiful, but messy little girl.  Actually, I wasn't funny as a little kid at all.  I was very shy.  It wasn't until I got old that I realized I was funny, but then we all laugh at old people, don't we?

Q. Were your parents and siblings humorists? Did you all sit around the dining room table and make each other laugh until chicken soup squirted out of your noses?

A. No, we were a very loving but quiet family.  Besides, that would be an awful waste of chicken soup! 

Q. Who can make you laugh a lot?

A. None of the new comics.  I used to love  Rodney Dangerfield, Totie Fields and George Carlin.  There were some TV shows I would never miss, like I Love Lucy, MASH, Laugh In, Get Smart and even Batman.  My sons could make me laugh ever since they were little!

Q. Do you think Bud is funny? Does Bud think you are funny? (*Note: Bud is Fran's husband.)

A. Bud does think I'm funny.  Unfortunately, that's funny "peculiar", not funny "ha ha".  I seldom think he's funny.  As far as I'm concerned, the difference between our two senses of humor is that I have one and he doesn't. 

Q. Do your children think you're funny? I'm especially curious about this because The Hurricane often says to me, Mom, I know you think you're funny, but you're not (the little brat).

A. We have two boys and one girl.  The boys and their wives think I'm funny but my daughter, not so much.  She has her father's personality and the boys have mine.  She thinks she's funny, but she's not.  I'm pretty sure that a wandering band of Jewish accountants switched one of their babies for her in the hospital and raised my real daughter themselves.  All of my grandkids think their grandma is a hoot!  This is from one of my posts: Bud & I were at a restaurant with our daughter, her husband & their two teenaged daughters,  One of the girls said that some movie star, I think it was Johnny Depp, was cool.  Their father asked, "What about me?  I'm cool."  They laughed & told him, "Dad, you're not cool!"  He asked if their mom was cool.  "No."  "What about Grandpa?  Is Grandpa cool?"  They thought for a minute & said, "Not really."  He then asked, "How about Grandma?  Is she..."   Before he could finish his question, they answered, in one voice, "Yeah, Grandma's cool!!" 

Oh, yeah. Fishducky is definitely cool. More fishducky tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, May 10, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I know I promised you a second movie weekend today, but life intervened. I had a crazy experience yesterday. I did something plenty stupid, but it turned into an opportunity for me to be amazed by the determination of a human being and to be filled with gratitude

Sometimes stuff happens with cars. 

This is not my vehicle, but I wish I had photos of what happened with my Nissan Sentra yesterday.

I did something yesterday afternoon that had me cursing; you do not want to know what came out of my sweet little mouth.

Remember how I told you we had so much rain last weekend that my backyard turned into a lake? I was complaining about the noise from the frogs (see HERE).

I have a detached garage. It's in my backyard. I like putting my car in the garage. It stays cleaner and cooler. But to get to the garage, I have to get through a very narrow part of my driveway that includes a particularly narrow section where the chimney on my house sticks out on one side and my neighbor's fence is on the other side. So I like to go down my driveway nose first.

To get out nose first, I back out of the garage and pull into my backyard. Then I backup onto the concrete next to the garage and I'm ready to roll.

After all the rain, I pondered whether it was wise to drive into the yard. Being a somewhat foolhardy soul, I chanced it. And it worked three times. 

All I needed was one time that it didn't work, and that time was yesterday. I got stuck in the mud in my own backyard.

When I realized I absolutely could not get the car out, I opened the door and stepped into the water, my cute little feet in adorable sandals sinking into the mud. 

Then I did what any intelligent person would do: I burst into tears. A lot has been going on in my neck of the blog lately, and I reached the end of my rope. I called my friend Carol, and sobbed to her the story of what I had done. Don't you have Triple A? she asked.

No! But I have Allstate Roadside Assistance, I told her. It's a good thing you asked me because I completely forgot that I had it.

So I called Allstate Roadside Assistance. They connected me to MD Towing. Still crying, I told Alex at MD what I had done. He said he had a guy who was only a mile away from me, and he would send him right over. I said, That's great, but there's no way to get a tow truck down my driveway. Alex said not to worry.

Within a few minutes, George arrived, wearing a shirt that said Tony (but I checked later and learned his name is definitely George). George comforted me as I wailed about my troubles. Then George tried valiantly to back his tow truck down my driveway. There was no way. The space was too small. 

George took measurements and called someone with a slightly smaller truck. That's when Michael arrived. Michael tried valiantly to back his truck down my driveway. No dice. He tried and tried, and he thought and thought, but finally they had to call the office and say they couldn't do it. They suggested that I look for someone with a small pickup truck or jeep. I didn't know anyone with a small pickup or jeep, but I started calling and texting a number of friends to ask for advice.

Then the phone rang. It was Alex from MD towing again. He said, I have a man coming to you with a smaller truck. He's leaving right now.

Pretty soon, Michael returned with a tire service truck. He brought Scott with him. Scott got out and helped Michael back the tire service truck slowly down the driveway and through my narrow gate. When Michael stopped, he couldn't open the door of the truck because my deck was in the way. So, naturally, Michael climbed out the window, balanced himself on the deck rail, climbed onto the back of the truck, and hopped down behind it. He needed to move the truck a bit to have it in just the right position, so he hopped back on the truck, balanced on the deck rail with the grace of a tightrope walker, and climbed back into the window of the truck.

He got the truck exactly where he wanted it, climbed back out, and hooked a chain to my car. Scott got in the car and put it in reverse, stepping gently on the accelerator, while Michael jumped up and down on the taut chain. 

The car moved a little.

Michael tightened the chain a bit; he and Scott repeated the procedure.

The car moved a little more. 

Then Michael did something completely unexpected. He grabbed the chain with both hands, yanked on it, and jerked the car free of the mud. 

I could. not. believe it.

With my car back on the concrete, Michael slowly took the truck down the driveway, with Scott again guiding him. Then Scott straightened out my car so I could drive out nose first.

For now, my car will stay in the driveway. I have some ideas about what to do with backyard. I don't have a place where a drain can be put in, but I've been getting suggestions from people about fill dirt and gravel. 

By the way, George was shocked at the amount of water in my yard. Michael explained it easily. This is Murray Hill! he said. It's a swamp. These are my old stomping grounds.

So that's the story of what happened to me yesterday. It's the story of an unfortunate experience with a very happy ending. I was amazed by the determination of an angel named Michael. That man was going to take care of my car if it killed him.

And nobody from MD Towing laughed at me or made fun of me. They said they'd seen far worse things. 

But now, I'd like something from you. I'm going to post an online review of MD Towing that will go on their Web site. And I'd appreciate it if you would 1+ this post and tweet about it. Or if you can take the time and you have unlimited minutes, please call 904 838 5284. You'll get MD Towing. Tell them you read about them on my blog, and thank them for helping your friend Janie. 

Today, I am filled with gratitude for Michael and MD Towing and for the persistence of human beings.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

You didn't get a movie weekend last week, so this week you get TWO movie weekends, one today and one tomorrow. And you get both at the same low, low price.

Today, I present for your consideration Life of Pi (2012, Rated PG, available on DVD).

A writer visits the adult Pi Patel in Canada to hear Pi's life story, which is supposed to make one believe in God. Then in flashbacks, Pi -- or as I like to call him, 3.14 -- recalls his childhood and his extremely unusual experience of being shipwrecked on a lifeboat with a tiger named Richard Parker. How did 3.14 survive? And did his experiences on the lifeboat really occur in the way he describes them?

This seems to be a pretty popular movie, and I can agree with critics who describe it as imaginative. Ang Lee won his second Best Director Academy Award for Life of Pi (his first was for Brokeback Mountain). Although I agree that 3.14 is well photographed, as a whole, it just didn't grab me the way some other movies from 2012 have. I wasn't that crazy about Brokeback Mountain, either, although The Hurricane loved it. But maybe she loved it because she had a crush on Jake Gyllenhall at the time. Anyway, she liked what she called "smokin' hot gay cowboy sex." But if she had a crush on Jake, then why did she like seeing him kiss Heath Ledger?

It's just one of the mysteries of life, I guess.

I read the book Life of Pi by Yann Martel soon after it came out several years ago. I wasn't that crazy about the book so maybe that influenced my feelings about the movie. However, I do think that the actor who plays young 3.14, Suraj Sharma, is very good, and Richard Parker is absolutely beautiful. Most of the time, Richard Parker is a computerized tiger, but a real tiger appears in the film at some points.

I wonder if I would have liked this movie better if I had seen it on a big screen. I certainly don't think it's a bad movie, though, so I give it The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval.

If you watch it with kids, especially younger ones, be prepared to answer some unusual questions. I say watch it by yourself before you watch it with children.

I'm curious: Did you like this movie? Why or why not?

I think Ang Lee has made better movies than the two for which he's won Academy Awards. I love Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Sense and Sensibility.

I'll see you tomorrow with another movie.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Our old pal Melynda has a great offer during the month of May on her herbalife Web site . Buy one product at the regular price and get a second product of equal or lesser value at 50% off.

You can find Melynda at She'll give you tips and recipes to help you feel healthier. I'm an herbalife protein shake addict. I've lost ten pound in the past two months.

I think most of it came off my boobs, but that's fine.

I'm grateful for Melynda and herbalife!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. I was not compensated in any way for posting this message on my blog. I just plain like Melynda and herbalife, and that is not me in the above picture. This is me:

Monday, May 6, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm so pleased because this post represents the second time in four weeks that I'm able to review an excellent book by a blogger buddy. First we had Treadwell by Dana Joy Wyzard, a.k.a. Little Lotta Joy. To read my review of Treadwell, which includes information on where to purchase it, please click HERE. I suspect Dana continues to welcome all those who wish to buy her book.

And today we have my review of the thrilling Divine Temptation by Nicki Elson. To read my interview with Nicki, please click HERE and HERE.

Maggie Brock has been through a lot, but she's holding it together. She divorced recently because her husband was unfaithful. Now they're sharing custody of their two children, she works part-time in the office of her Catholic church, and she has an angel named Evan in her bedroom.

Yes. You read that correctly. An angel.

Evan isn't sure why he's been sent to Maggie, but he knows she needs him. Maggie finds herself becoming more and more attracted to Evan as unknown evil forces threaten her.

I love this book. The characters are interesting (Nicki, how did you know exactly how I felt while I was going through my divorce?), the plot is exciting, and the book has all sorts of unexpected twists and turns.

Plus, my girl Nicki is so very good at writing sex scenes that cause one to blush only a tiny bit.

This novel is Nicki's second. Her first was Three Daves (click on the title to read my review). Three Daves represents Nicki's coming of age in the form of the novel and in her maturity as a writer. She was getting her feet wet with Three Daves, and it's a great first novel.

But now we have a mature writer in Nicki Elson. Divine Temptation is highly superior to Three Daves (though I certainly enjoyed Three Daves, and I encourage you to read it).

Let me give you a little sample of the new Nicki Elson we find in Divine Temptation:

When Maggie woke, the first thing she did was pull off her sleep mask. Then, she sat up and found herself surrounded by blood red petals. Lifting one, she held it to her nose and inhaled. Roses. Her legs were sprinkled with them, and when she'd sat up, several had cascaded from her shoulders and arms.

So this is what it feels like to be queen, she thought, and then realized she was smirking. Well, why shouldn't she? She'd just accomplished the impossible. She was Maggie Brock: Seducer of . . . .

I'm not giving you the last word in the sentence. You need to read this book for yourself. You'll find good and evil and romance and adventure, but I assure you: This is no formulaic romance novel.

Divine Temptation has The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

You can purchase it at You'll be glad you did.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Sunday, May 5, 2013


back and forth and back and forth
she's rocking in her head

back and forth and back and forth
she might as well be dead

back and forth and back and forth
and back and forth and back and


and forth and




Saturday, May 4, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I don't usually post on Saturdays, but I've decided to this week because. Because it's raining and raining and raining.

We've been having unusually nice weather. I've only had to turn on the AC twice during the past month, and only used it for about 24 hours each time. For the most part, we've had pleasant sunny days and cool nights.

And then it started raining Thursday night, and it's still raining. My backyard isn't just a pond. It's a lake.

I think it's safe to say that our spring rains have begun.

When we have serious rain, the frogs croak ALL NIGHT LONG. They're so loud that it's hard to sleep. Plus, they say things with those croaky noises. I wrote about this last year, and some of you scoffed at me; but I am telling you, these frogs talk. And talk and talk and talk.

Last night I was having a little trouble deciphering what the frogs were saying to me. One group seemed to croak AMP, while another group croaked ER. Amper? Were they trying to say hamper? Did they think I was letting the laundry pile up?

Finally I realized they were saying DAMPER. Apparently some frogs were telling other frogs which part of the yard was damper. I don't know if they wanted to be in the wettest area, or if they were hoping to find dryer ground. If they want dryer, then they should go to Hot Young Anthony's house. He had a fancy drain put in his backyard last year.

I am so jealous of that drain. I can't have a fancy drain because

  • I can't afford one.
  • My backyard doesn't have a place for a drain because of the concrete on one side that leads to the garage and a huge tree stump on the other side.
  • The reasons I don't have a place for a drain don't matter, because I can't afford one. You damn people refuse to buy my perfectly adorable t-shirts in my CafePress shop, so the hell with you all.
  • Uh, where was I?
  • Oh, yeah. I can't afford a fancy drain.
Okay. So I knew the frogs were saying damper. I got up to take an antihistamine and a couple million Valium, and then I tried again to sleep. I managed to get in a couple of hours before they woke me again by croaking WHORE! WHORE!

What? How dare they! Sweet Young Allison is pregnant. But they were talking about me, weren't they? I certainly hope so.

Anyfrog, I am tired. I hope for a little peace tonight, and I wish you all the same. 

On Monday, be here for my review of Divine Temptation by the adorable Nicki Elson. You can go ahead and order the book right now. You don't have to wait for the review because I'll give you a hint: I LOVE DIVINE TEMPTATION!!!!!!!!!

Was I subtle enough for you? You can purchase Divine Temptation on Amazon at Wow! Only one left in stock, but more are on the way. Cool beans, Vebarino.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebugged by frogs

Friday, May 3, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm terribly sorry I've made you wait for the rest of my interview with Nick Elson from Nicki Elson's Not-So-Deep Thoughts. I have been pulled onto a roller coaster not of my own design, and I do not like roller coasters. I'm more of a ride the flying Dumbos at Disneyland kind of girl.

Order must be restored, and it will be to the best of my ability. Please be as patient with me as my loving Z-Boys are here in Dogtown.

Nicki recently released her second novel, Divine Temptation. To read the first part of my interview with her, please click HERE.

And now heeeeeeere's more Nicki:

Q. How did you get to be so good at writing sex scenes? They're titillating without being pornographic.

A. Oh goody, that's exactly what I was going for. I try to focus more on what the character is feeling, emotionally and physically, during the encounter rather than describing the specifics of what precisely is happening. There are certain body parts that can't be named without sounding silly, so I avoid naming them, and I think that helps keep readers in the moment rather than sidetracking them with a giggle. Also, I like to show satisfaction for both participants, not just for my female leads. 

Q. Did your personal beliefs about religion, and especially Catholicism, play a major role in writing the book?

A. All along I wanted the story to be more spiritual than religious, by which I mean addressing relationships with God and evil in broad terms rather than getting into the nitty gritty of a specific dogma. Maggie works at a Catholic church, her children go to Catholic school, and two Catholic priests play important roles, so Catholicism is definitely present, and I did my best to portray it in an accurate light, but the religion itself isn't the focus of the book, and Maggie doesn't always play by its rules. I'd say my personal beliefs came into play mostly in the portrayal of the angel---I allowed myself some wiggle room with the gray areas, but tried to keep him...reasonably...Biblically-correct. 

Q. Tell me something about the book that makes you feel really good.

A. I like that when I go into it to pull out an excerpt, I stay there longer than I meant to, reading further and wanting to stay when I have to yank myself out. 

Q. I see a more mature style in this book than in Three Daves. Is that because of the more adult subject matter or because you've matured as a writer? Maybe a bit of both? How do you think you've changed as a writer during the time that elapsed between the two books? 

A. Why thank you for noticing. :)  It's partly because of the intended differences in the tones of the stories---going from spunky college co-ed to adult divorcee---but I've also matured as a writer. I've learned a lot since writing Three Daves. If I were to do that book over again, I wouldn't change a thing about the storyline, and I'd keep the smart aleck narration, but I'd scrub out a whole lotta adverbs and do other tightening. From a marketing standpoint, I might consider porting it from the 80s into current times, but in the end I'm pretty sure I'd stick on the 80s.

Q. What do you most want the world to know about you and Divine Temptation?

A. Expect the unexpected---that goes for both of us.

Q. Are you planning another book yet? I look forward to seeing more from you.

A. I'm cookin' up a little something. I'm swinging back toward lighter fare, with an office romance for a girl in her mid-twenties. It gets naughty, in a quirky kind of way. I've only barely started, but so far I'm having a lot of fun with it.  Good to know you'll be looking forward to reading.

Thanks so much for having me over and for reading the book. I just loved getting your comments along the way. 

And that's my interview with Nicki. On Monday, I'll review Divine Temptation. I realize today should be Movie Weekend, but maybe we'll have two movie weekends next week. Nobody knows. As Nicki said, expect the unexpected.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug, who is still alive and kicking ass