Friday, December 30, 2016

NOT POSTING FOR NOW

Happy New Year this weekend. Sorry I signed up for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse and don't have the post.

My eyes have been extra sensitive to light lately, which has brought on the dreaded migraines.

To add injury to insult, I dragged Penelope into the shower with me because she stunk. I almost fell and caught myself by hitting the shower wall with my right hand and thus seem to have sprained my wrist.

I'm typing with my left hand alone, which is weird and uncomfortable.

I shall return.

No comments today, Dear Hearts and Gentle People.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

IT'S THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

'Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the palace
not a creature was stirring
with intent of malice.
Franklin, Penelope, and Stella
were crapped out in bed
while visions of chew toys
danced in their heads.

Willy Dunne Wooters
checked out the college football scores
when Queen Junebug got out the
Chicago Manual of Style Sixteenth Edition
and turned into a bore.

Cut back on your adverbs, she shouted ever so loudly.
Use stronger verbs.
Vary your sentence structures.
Vary your words.
Know the difference between farther and further.
Don't "sing" like Fred Durst.
If you're British, it's towards.
For Americans, toward.
It's is it is.
Alright it is not.

Read a good book.
Check punctuation.
Use ellipsis correctly,
and she'll stop belly achin'.

When you have a question,
call on Your Queen of Grammar, please.
Need help with peak, peek, and pique?
She's here for your dictionarial needs.

Chicago prefers 4:21 p.m.,
but your Junebug is tired.
She's ready to remove her crown.
It's mashed down her golden tresses,
and left her with a frown.

But the DVD from Netflix
is sure to make her smile.
It's Florence Foster Jenkins!
She's wanted to see this for a while.

So where will we be at this time next year?
We don't wish to be anyplace but here
with you Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
we're all right.

Infinities of love can never be depleted.
We wish you a good night.



Friday, December 23, 2016

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I've decided to move my 



Friday posts to the next-to-the-last Friday of the month so I can rejoin The Cephalopod Coffeehouse (a book review bloghop hosted by The Armchair Squid) on the last Friday.

I first published this post about my favorite Christmas memory on December 22, 2014, as part of a bloghop that I co-hosted. It had 268 page views. I want to share it again as a reminder of the forgiveness we can receive.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug 




The nursing home felt sad and lonely throughout the holiday season. Christmas carols played over and over sounded tinny, and could barely be heard. Decorations didn't do much to spruce up the building. It was called a nursing home, but it was no home.

I always volunteered to work my seven p.m. to seven a.m. shift on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so someone who had young children could have the time off. We had been promised food for Christmas Eve, but by the time I arrived on Christmas Eve, the sandwich makings in the employee kitchen looked unpalatable. The lettuce turned brown. The cheese had a crust. The bread had gone AWOL.

I went about my rounds, as usual. All my patients were settled in bed. We had almost reached midnight when I entered Josie's room. I needed to check the flow of her oxygen and turn her from one side to the other in an attempt to prevent bed sores.

Josie was still awake. She looked sad, as she so often did. As I worked, I chatted and questioned her about the past. I hoped to bring out a happy remembrance of the holiday. Her memory was spotty, but she valiantly sought words so she could talk to me.

I wish the Lord would take me now, Josie moaned. I just want to die.

I remained quiet. She might tell me what troubled her.

When I was young, she said, I had a baby, but my husband wouldn't marry me. He married me later, but he wouldn't marry me then. I lied to all my friends at church and said I was a married woman. I . . . I . . . was embarrassed and scared that people would find out.

I couldn't take it anymore after a while, and I tried to drown myself because I was so ashamed. But it didn't work. My daughter knows about it. She says, Why didn't you leave him? I tell her I didn't have anyplace to go. Where would I go? 

A lot of women have that problem, I said. 

I've always been so afraid that God won't forgive me for having a baby when I wasn't married and for trying to kill myself.

We talked more. Josie opened her heart to me as she continued the story of abuse by her husband. He came in occasionally for visits. He didn't appear very nice. Josie's daughter was notorious for her nasty attitude toward staff members and her mother. The daughter came in for lunch every day. When she thought no one saw, she ate the food from her mother's meal tray.

When Josie stopped talking, I said, You know, it's Christmas. 

It is? she asked, surprised.

Yes, it is, and I can promise you that God forgives you. As soon as you ask his forgiveness, he grants it. You don't have to ask him over and over.

I didn't know that, Josie said. Her eyes grew wider. She seemed more awake and in control of her faculties.

I had to move on to my next patient. Merry Christmas, I told Josie as I kissed her soft cheek.

Merry Christmas, she answered. And don't tell the other girls what I did.

I won't tell anyone, I promised.

I left her room and spotted a handsome young man at the nurses' station. We rarely had a visitor in the middle of the night.

I hurried toward him. May I help you? I asked.

I'm sorry to come in the middle of the night, but it's the only time I can get here. I want to see my grandmother. Her name is Josie W______.

I'll take you to her, I said. She's awake.

I ushered him to the door of her room. I saw a smile--a real smile--cross her face. I had never seen her smile before.

I heard the scrape of a chair as he pulled it over to sit next to her. 

Their voices became murmurs. 

I thanked God for the gift of the grandson's visit. I had never seen him before, and I never saw him again. 

After that night, Josie seemed more at peace. It served her well when she developed a bed sore on her leg that led to the amputation of the limb. She was still alive when I had to quit my job to move away.

I've always prayed that death came quickly to Josie, to wrap her in the arms of a loving Christ and a forgiving God.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

MOVIE WEEKEND: EDDIE THE EAGLE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Who remembers Eddie the Eagle from the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary? He was the British guy who came in last in ski jumping but had the best time doing it.

Now we have a movie about him that you can watch with your (older) kids: Eddie the Eagle (2016, PG-13, Available On DVD).


Michael "Eddie" Edwards (Taron Egerton) longs to be an Olympian, and he'll do whatever it takes to become one. With his mother's support and his father's discouragement, he tries one sport after another and fails. He sees his chance to go to the Olympics when he learns that Great Britain hasn't had any ski jumpers in competition since 1929.

As quickly as he can, he learns to ski jump, and even finds a coach in a failed American ski jumper, Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman). Eddie has to fight elitist British Olympics officials to be a team of one, but he makes it to Calgary, where his antics make him a favorite with the crowd, and he earns the nickname of Eddie the Eagle.

Eddie the Eagle is very loosely based on reality, and sure, it's formulaic and a bit silly, but it's fun. You have to decide if your children are mature enough to see it. I probably would have allowed my kids to watch it when they were younger than thirteen, but I would have used it as a learning opportunity. For example, when Eddie's teammates urge him to get so drunk the he misses the Opening Ceremonies at the Olympics, it's a good time to talk about not succumbing to peer pressure.

I watched Eddie the Eagle on Showtime or HBO (don't remember which), but it's available on DVD. I remember Eddie and wanted to recall the happy times at the 1988 Olympics.

Eddie the Eagle earns The Janie Junebug Highest Flying Seal of Approval.

I urge you to look up Eddie's true story. He really was a man who would do anything to achieve his dreams.

Happy viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, December 19, 2016

WHICH WAY HOME: THE ENTIRE FIRST CHAPTER NOT ENTIRELY REVISED

Prologue

You've heard people say their lives changed overnight, right? They woke up and heard the lottery numbers and knew they were millionaires. They fell in love at first sight. 

More often, the change is bad because one day everything is fine, and the next? 

It is all fucked up. 

I read once that Marie Antoinette's hair turned white overnight in jail while she awaited the loss of her head. 

What people don't think about is that the overnight device is a saying. Nothing but a cliché. It hardly ever takes that long: eight hours, twelve hours, or however you define overnight, for a life to be transformed. Most of the time, it happens in one or two seconds.

I bet Marie's hair betrayed her during a few seconds of a nightmare when she saw the guillotine's blade slice through her own milky neck.

How many seconds does it take to purchase that lottery ticket or to decide to stop someplace for ice cream? These decisions may be part of a change that's a long time in the making, but when the hair whitening attacks, it happens in a flash. 

And the flash of the blade in the sunlight can be so bright it nearly blinds you. 

Chapter One

Clue

The yellow piece of paper on the windshield of Aggie's black minivan shone in the evening light as she left the urgent care center. She plodded along with a purse and diaper bag slung behind her right shoulder, Ruth Ann perched on her right hip, while a sobbing Elliot clung to her left hand..

She shook free of El's sweaty grasp so she could pull the paper out from under the wiper and unfold it. "ASSHOLE" it said, printed neatly in red letters on a scrap torn from a legal pad.

"Mom!" Elliot pawed at her, as Ruth Ann's head drooped onto Aggie's shoulder. Aggie stood rooted to the asphalt next to the car so she could check out the area. What had she done now?

White painted lines of parking spaces, empty now, spread out across the parking lot like whitecaps on the ocean. White, white, white, except around her car, where she now saw yellow lines. Two yellow lines on each side of the van and an arrow underneath it that marked the route to exit the lot. The only route between the parking spaces.

Drivers must have woven around her van for hours before the lot cleared out. Tire tracks in the mud provided evidence that they ran her blockade by driving off the asphalt and into the landscaped border along the sidewalk. Flowers and juvenile trees had been flattened.

Aggie pictured the line of vehicles and hated herself. The waiting cars stretched for miles. An imaginary driver, his face contorted in righteous indignation, jumped out of his expensive car with a legal pad in his left hand and a red pen in his right. Angry lawyer. Furious lawyer. Late for an appointment and it was her fault. He held the pen in the air, a sword that dripped bloody ink, chose the perfect word, wrote it, and jammed the note in place.

Then sedans, sports cars, and pickup trucks careened around the sidewalk as pedestrians dragged their children out of the way. Jam-packed cars held drivers and passengers drawn as cartoons. "ASSHOLE" filled every balloon above their mouths because they all knew what she was.

"I am an asshole."

The words played as though they were a stuck record in her mind and fixed themselves to the tune of a children's song about being a pizza.

IIIIIIIII am an assss-hoooole.

She wanted to laugh at her song, but she forgot her pleasure as soon as it struck because being an asshole wasn't funny at all. Then she wished she could bawl along with El, but someone had to be in charge, and that someone was Aggie. Aggie alone.

She had rushed to the urgent care center to have a cut on Elliot's chin seen to and parked in a hurry. She thought the yellow lines marked a parking spot. They sat in a dingy waiting room most of the afternoon and into suppertime before an arrogant doctor looked at El for two seconds and informed a nurse, who then told Aggie, that the cut didn't need stitches. A butterfly bandage would do. She could have put that on herself and never left home, but if she'd been wrong, there would have been hell to pay. She'd never hear the end of it from John.

When her husband did see the cut, he would probably complain that the doctor had been wrong, the cut needed stitches. Nobody, especially Aggie, did anything right in John's hallowed opinion. The sound of his voice criticizing her for going to the wrong doctor replaced the "asshole" song playing in her mind.

But then her own angry voice took over. Dr. High-and-Mighty was never around to take care of his own kids. He'd throw a fit if Aggie bothered him at work, so she had to go to the nearest urgent care center and wait for hours until somebody looked at this damn kid who fell off his bike every two seconds.

She guessed that had been her license plate announced over the loudspeaker. The whining voice had demanded over and over, "Vehicle number hrrm-hrrm-hrrm must be moved immediately."

She hadn't been able to hear anything over Elliot whining that his chin hurt and Ruth Ann begging to have a story read to her.

"Don't touch those books. They've covered in filth from sick people," she'd told Ruth Ann.

By the time Elliot gave up complaining and Ruth Ann fell asleep, the announcements had stopped. All the patients had been treated and gone home, the center was about to close, and it no longer mattered where her mini-van was parked.

Elliot grabbed Aggie's arm and pulled on it so she remembered she stood in a parking lot staring at an ugly word. She crumpled the yellow paper and flung it toward the arrow under her car.

"Mom, you're littering," Elliot accused her in a whine.

"Just get in the damn car," she barked back. "A storm's coming. We need to go home before it gets any darker. I don't know how I'll find my way as it is."

Thunder boomed as the children crawled into the mini-van. "Sop it! Sop it!" Ruth Ann screamed as Elliot (her toddlerese for "stop it") when he stuck his butt in her face as he slid past her on the seat.

At eight years old, Elliot already knew how to torture Ruth Ann––and Aggie. He sneered, satisfied with Ruth Ann's screams. Aggie wanted to lean over to smack him as she buckled Ruth Ann into her car seat, but she didn't dare. John didn't allow her to spank the children, or punish them in any other way, because he claimed it would destroy their spirits. Elliot's wonderfully free spirit was a punishment for Ruth Ann and for Aggie. She had no options for dealing with his obnoxious behavior.

And there would be hell to pay when Elliot told his dad that she'd said to get in the damn car. Cursing wasn't allowed, either.

She also knew Elliot moved as slowly as he could, the way he always did because it irritated her and she couldn't do anything about it, couldn't give him a time out or take away his TV privileges the way other moms did with their children.

She used the back of her hand to wipe the sweat from her forehead and turned away so she could say what she pleased. "I hate this fucking town. Maryland is hotter than hell."

Here she was in a strange town after years in cool, green Seattle because John had a new job, Big Chief Medical Director, at a hospital in Western Maryland. The hospital was about forty miles from the Central Maryland suburb of Columbia where John had bought a house. He had a long commute, but he refused to lived in Haven with the "local yokels."

In fact, John rarely visited the home he had selected without consulting Aggie. Six weeks after their move, John already spent most nights at the hospital because he claimed he was overworked and too tired to drive home. Aggie wondered why the locals didn't bother him enough to make him come home at night. And funny, he never sounded tired when he called to say he wouldn't be home. Sometimes Aggie heard a woman laugh in the background. He claimed it was the nurses fooling around at their station, but the sound––the same laugh, one laugh from the same person, every time––frightened Aggie.

No time to think about it now. With Elliot seat belted in at last, Aggie started the car and headed for the street. At least I'm already in the exit lane, she thought wryly. She had called for directions before they left home and had found the center without too much trouble, but getting home would be another story. She could never retrace her steps. It infuriated John, but it just didn't work out in her mind.

Right or left out of the lot? With no one waiting behind her, she had time to stop and think. She decided it had to be right. She could see the traffic light where they had turned to get to the medical center.

But when she pulled into the left turn lane at the light, she didn't know if she was supposed to be there. Maybe she belonged in the right turn lane. Which way home?

Aggie felt the headache that had started on the way there spread from the top of her head to her forehead and face. Out of habit to try to ease the pain, she ran her hands through her short, curly gray hair, and pushed hard against her scalp.

A sign pointing left said it was the way to D.C. Aggie feared getting sucked out onto the beltway. She had been on it with John in the driver's seat and had closed her eyes to the traffic wooshing around them, too fast for her to bear.

She decided to turn right. Aggie put on the right-turn blinker and twisted the wheel, waiting to see if the driver of a small, dark car pulling up behind her would allow her to get in the right lane. It was getting dark and hard to see, difficult to judge what others in this strange territory might do.

This person surprised her by waiting while she moved into the right lane and then out onto the highway as the light turned green. At the same time, the storm began in earnest. Rain poured down in sheets as lightning lit the sky.

Nothing looked familiar. Aggie, terrified, could barely see, and other drivers zipped and zoomed around her. One truck pulled up behind her. The driver flashed his lights. She knew he meant "get the hell out of my way," but where would she go?

Then, the brightly lit sign of the Hilton invited her into its parking lot and offered a familiar escape. They had stayed in the hotel for a few days before their furniture arrived from Seattle in the moving van.

They could wait out the storm in the lot. Or maybe they could dash into the coffee shop and have supper. Aggie knew she looked horrible. She had been down on her knees scrubbing the kitchen floor when Elliot dashed in with blood dripping from his chin onto the white carpet John had selected ("Oh, Lord, I'll be up half the night cleaning up this mess," she said at the sight of him). The droopy sweat pants she wore made her large butt look extra large. But she was starving after their long afternoon, and the kids had to be hungry, too. The desire to eat and get out of the storm overcame her dread of displaying her derriere in public.

The decision gave Aggie some energy and spirit. No wonder the kids were whiny and fussy, after everything they had been through. When the rain stopped, it would be easier to find the way home.

"I know! Let's stop here and have supper and ice cream," Aggie told them.

El and Ruth Ann picked up on her pleasure and cheered.

She circled the parking lot, determined not to repeat her mistake. All the lines seemed to be white, but in between each set of lines was a car. No place to park in the front, so she headed toward the back of the hotel.

Finally! A parking place. Aggie flipped on her turn signal and headed for it. As she began to pull in, she realized the car next to hers seemed familiar. It was a bright red sports car, just like John's. It was even a bright red BMW, just like John's.

She didn't have the angle of her approach right, so she put the minivan in reverse and prepared to try again. Pulling back allowed her to see the license tag of the BMW. It was a vanity tag, just like John had: DRJOHN

How could someone else have gotten his vanity tag? He had paid extra for it.

Then the fog on her brain lifted enought to allow her to grasp that it in fact was John's car.

"That's Daddy's car," she told Elliot and Ruth Ann. "I wonder why he's here."

The children leaned forward in their seats, excited by the prospect of some time with their overindulgent father. "Maybe he knew we would be here and he wanted to have ice cream with us," Elliot said.

"He couldn't have known. I haven't talked to him since yesterday," she explained, exasperated with the child's stupid comment when she was trying to think.

Aggie stopped the car. She had to figure out what was going on. It didn't make sense.

Then she recognized the bright red Altima parked to the right of John's BMW. "Nasti's car," Aggie whispered.

Nasti, actually NANCI as her own vanity plate proclaimed, was John's favorite nurse. Aggie figured her name was spelled with a pretentious "I" instead of the usual "Y" because it matched her personality.

Aggie had spoken to the cold, unfriendly bitch only a few times although John had insisted the hospital bring her out here with him so she could be his assistant. He claimed she was the one nurse he could trust––his invaluable assistant.

Aggie had seen photos of her with John, taken the year before at a holiday party. She was a young blond with a trim butt and huge boobs that threatened to pop out of her tight, white uniform. She could have been the model for a "Nurse Barbie" doll. She wore white stiletto heels even though she worked the floor as a charge nurse at the time.

Aggie closed her eyes. She should have known what was going on, but isn't the wife always the last to know? Or was it that she didn't want to know? Her mind raced. Her breath came in sharp gasps. Aggie was amazed that she could breathe at all. Her life was over. Years of pretending that John just worked hard were over. Years of pretending that he was really a loving husband and father were over. She finally knew why he didn't come home so many nights and was so damn happy about it. He came home to Columbia, all right, but he didn't make it to their house. The Hilton and its charms beckoned to him from the road. And it was so like John to insist that their trysts take place there. Haven couldn't possibly have a good enough hotel to please John. "I've never been able to please him, either," Aggie said out loud to the children's puzzled stares.

She knew none of this made sense to them. None of it made sense to her, except that it all made sense––perfect sense. It made as much sense as Aggie putting the minivan into reverse and then pulling forward to slam into John's car, over and over and over over, while she and the children screamed.

Friday, December 16, 2016

MY SHOCKING DISCOVERY WHEN I SIGNED UP FOR HEALTH INSURANCE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I purposely wrote the title of this post as if it's a fake news story that you might find online, but I really was surprised––and pleasantly so––when I signed up for my 2017 health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Premiums were lower.

I swear to you it's true. It might not be the same for everyone else, but if it's true for me, then it must be true for some other people, too.

After hearing all that bombast during the election about the cost of "Obamacare" going up, I went to healthcare.gov with trepidation, only to find that the plans most similar to the one I've had throughout 2016 were about $200/month less in cost.

BUT (there's always a butt) they didn't allow me to keep my doctor. So I used the filter on the site that would show me which plans would keep me seeing my beloved Dr. Lacroix and his loyal assistant Holly (I LOVE HER; SHE GOES THE EXTRA MILE FOR ME AND SAYS SHE'S JUST DOING HER JOB).

I found a plan that costs about $20/month less than I've been paying, and it has a much lower deductible. My insurance cost wouldn't have gone up unless my income had gone up significantly, or I'd ordered a super fancy plan.

If you're not familiar with Affordable Care Act plans, they are marked as Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Platinum costs more that $1,000 a month and has features I don't need. I've been in a silver plan every year, but in 2017, I move up to Gold.

Until Donald Trump takes my insurance away from me and I join the ranks of can't afford to go to the doctor and I can't get no prescription medications satisfaction.

Bah, humbug!

Thank you, President Obama.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!

And while I have your attention, here's a book recommendation:



I admit I haven't read Mommy Tried To Kill Me yet, but it's waiting for me on my Kindle. I know I'll love it because Suzy Soro is hilarious. I loved her first book, Celebrity sTalker. 

It's not too late to hop over to Amazon to order a book by Suzy Soro (the actress who got the last chocolate babka on Seinfeld) as a Christmas gift for yourself and to give to someone else who enjoys a good laugh.

A sarcastic laugh, kinda like the way I'll laugh on Inauguration Day.

With my friend Jim Beam in my hand.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

MOVIE WEEKEND: WAR DOGS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Not a Christmas movie to watch with the kids: I hope you enjoy War Dogs (2016, Rated R, Recently Released On DVD).


Based on a true story––and I don't know how true it is, but "true stories" usually bear a vague resemblance to the truth––two childhood friends encounter each other at a funeral after years apart. Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) has started a small business to bid on military contracts. He claims it's going well and invites old pal David Packouz (Miles Teller) to work with him.

Antics ensue.

David Packouz: [Narrating] They called guys like us war dogs. Bottom feeders who make money off of war without ever stepping foot on the battlefield. It was supposed to be derogatory, but... we kind of liked it.

I like this movie. It's funny in a uniquely weird way. Probably not everyone's cup of tea. At first, Efraim's freakish laugh made me want to punch the TV and grab him by the throat. Then I decided it was a good tag for his nut-job character.

A couple of days ago, Jonah Hill earned a surprising Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy. He's not going to win, but the nomination demonstrates that I'm not the only person who thinks the acting in this movie is good.

I've been a Miles Teller fan since Whiplash, and Bradley Cooper shows up as an excellent hard-assed bad guy. I loves me some Bradley Cooper.

DirecTV On Demand offered me a free movie. I chose War Dogs, and I'm glad I did. I had it in my Netflix queue anyway and was looking forward to it.

War Dogs earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Weird Dark Comedy Approval.

Efraim Diveroli: Jordanian customs seized our Berettas.
David Packouz: What? Why?
Efraim Diveroli: I don't fucking know, David! I dropped out of high school before they covered international diplomacy!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

SPOTTING FAKE NEWS STORIES

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Fake news stories are all over the news these days––in more ways than one.

A friend who will remain nameless (and I'm not talking about fishducky's daughter whose name really is Nameless) said to me a few weeks ago, Did you know that Donald Trump has a secret daughter?

I saw this headline online and knew what it was about. I said, If you mean Tiffany Trump, then she's never been a secret. She's his daughter with Marla Maples, who was his second wife. When they divorced, Marla and Tiffany moved to California. Tiffany graduated from college earlier this year. She didn't make a lot of campaign appearances, but that doesn't make her a secret. It was all over the news when The Donald had an affair with Maples while he was still married to his first wife.

Oh, my friend said.

So let's talk about how to spot a fake news story:

  1. Don't look at the headline without reading the attached story. Sometimes the story has nothing to do with the headline.
  2. Is the story from a reputable news source? (I realize some of us disagree about which news sources are reputable.)
  3. Is the story written in standard English, or is it full of typos and strange syntax?
  4. If you're not sure if the story is true, look up some background information. I rely on snopes.com to debunk fake stories.
  5. Does the story seem as if it could be true, or does it sound as if it could be someone's fantasy? 
Here's a good example of a crazy fake news story that has caused serious trouble and no doubt has a lot of idiots writhing in condemnation:

FAKE NEWS, REAL CONSEQUENCES An armed man with an assault rifle entered a D.C. pizza restaurant to investigate fake news claims that Hillary Clinton was running a pedophile ring there. [Marina Fang, HuffPost]

"The restaurant has been the subject of death threats originating from a false right-wing conspiracy theory alleging that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and campaign chairman John Podesta ran a child sex trafficking ring in the back of the restaurant."

No matter how much you hate Hillary Clinton, do you really and truly believe that she ran a child sex trafficking ring? If you do, then I wanna sell you some real estate and a bridge.

Some of the fake stories also appear in emails that continue to be forwarded for years. I used to receive an email regularly that claimed Mr. Rogers had been a military sniper who wore his sweater to cover up his many tattoos. 

I never forwarded the email. It didn't seem "right" to me, so I looked into it. Mr. Rogers was never in the military. He went to the seminary and chose children's television as his ministry.

Other stories are "spins" perpetuated by large companies. When a woman spilled McDonald's coffee in her lap and was so severely burned that doctors weren't sure if she would live, the McDonald's spin machine went into overdrive and had people thinking she was an old fool who opened her coffee while she was driving, got burned, and wanted to become rich from it.

I call bullshit! The woman wasn't driving. Her nephew was, but the car wasn't moving when the two of them opened their cups of coffee. The coffee was so ridiculously hot that the woman's burns really were life threatening.

I've debunked this story a number of times. So have other people. The real story is also told in a documentary.

Yet I still see references to "the world has gone to shit because you spill a little coffee in your lap and sue somebody."

What's gone to shit is our ability to empathize with the person who was harmed, along with our desire to question authority––especially faux authority.

Please don't pass around emails or links to stories that could be fake. Do your homework and let the buck stop with you.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Thanks, fishducky!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

TIP TUESDAY: WHAT BOOKS HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In last week's TIP TUESDAY I urged you to vary your reading as a way of improving your writing.

Now I'd appreciate it if you would tell us what books have influenced your writing. My answers to the questions are in italics. Have you learned from a particular author or authors? I learn a lot from Anne Tyler's writing. I learned from F. Scott Fitzgerald that I will never be "the next" F. Scott Fitzgerald. I don't have it in me.

Do you fall into a rut and read books by the same authors in the same genre, or do you consciously seek variety? I tended to read the same kind of books until I started editing. Editing led me to read about zombies, vampires, and all sorts of paranormal goings on. What's your favorite genre? Literary fiction, but I also read a lot of non-fiction. Is it the same genre in which you write--if you write? I hope my writing is literary fiction, but I don't know if it's good enough to qualify.

Do you want to write but never get around to it? What keeps you from writing? I've been writing, as you know if you've read Chapter One of Which Way Home (incomplete) on my blog. Fear of rejection keeps me from writing, but the larger problem is my lack of experience with writing fiction. I was a newspaper reporter so I'm accustomed to sticking to the facts. I used to write a newspaper column sometimes, too. The columns were usually sentimental family stories or humor, but they were based on reality.

Whether or not you write, what one book do you wish you could say you wrote? I can't limit myself to one choice: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dinner at The Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler, Emma by Jane Austen, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

After this post, TIP TUESDAY will be on hiatus until January.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky.

Monday, December 12, 2016

POOR, POOR PITIFUL AGGIE

Prologue

You've heard people say their lives changed overnight, right? They woke up and heard the lottery numbers and knew they were millionaires. They fell in love at first sight. 

More often, the change is bad because one day everything is fine, and the next? 

It is all fucked up. 

I read once that Marie Antoinette's hair turned white overnight in jail while she awaited the loss of her head. 

What people don't think about is that the overnight device is a saying. Nothing but a cliché. It hardly ever takes that long: eight hours, twelve hours, or however you define overnight, for a life to be transformed. Most of the time, it happens in one or two seconds.

I bet Marie's hair betrayed her during a few seconds of a nightmare when she saw the guillotine's blade slice through her own milky neck.

How many seconds does it take to purchase that lottery ticket or to decide to stop someplace for ice cream? These decisions may be part of a change that's a long time in the making, but when the hair whitening attacks, it happens in a flash. 

And the flash of the blade in the sunlight can be so bright it nearly blinds you. 

Chapter One

Clue

The yellow piece of paper on the windshield of Aggie's black minivan shone in the evening light as she left the urgent care center. She plodded along with a purse and diaper bag slung behind her right shoulder, Ruth Ann perched on her right hip, while a sobbing Elliot clung to her left hand..

She shook free of El's sweaty grasp so she could pull the paper out from under the wiper and unfold it. "ASSHOLE" it said, printed neatly in red letters on a scrap torn from a legal pad.

"Mom!" Elliot pawed at her, as Ruth Ann's head drooped onto Aggie's shoulder. Aggie stood rooted to the asphalt next to the car so she could check out the area. What had she done now?

White painted lines of parking spaces, empty now, spread out across the parking lot like whitecaps on the ocean. White, white, white, except around her car, where she now saw yellow lines. Two yellow lines on each side of the van and an arrow underneath it that marked the route to exit the lot. The only route between the parking spaces.

Drivers must have woven around her van for hours before the lot cleared out. Tire tracks in the mud provided evidence that they ran her blockade by driving off the asphalt and into the landscaped border along the sidewalk. Flowers and juvenile trees had been flattened.

Aggie pictured the line of vehicles and hated herself. The waiting cars stretched for miles. An imaginary driver, his face contorted in righteous indignation, jumped out of his expensive car with a legal pad in his left hand and a red pen in his right. Angry lawyer. Furious lawyer. Late for an appointment and it was her fault. He held the pen in the air, a sword that dripped bloody ink, chose the perfect word, wrote it, and jammed the note in place.

Then sedans, sports cars, and pickup trucks careened around the sidewalk as pedestrians dragged their children out of the way. Jam-packed cars held drivers and passengers drawn as cartoons. "ASSHOLE" filled every balloon above their mouths because they all knew what she was.

"I am an asshole."

The words played as though they were a stuck record in her mind and fixed themselves to the tune of a children's song about being a pizza.

IIIIIIIII am an assss-hoooole.

She wanted to laugh at her song, but she forgot her pleasure as soon as it struck because being an asshole wasn't funny at all. Then she wished she could bawl along with El, but someone had to be in charge, and that someone was Aggie. Aggie alone.

She had rushed to the urgent care center to have a cut on Elliot's chin seen to and parked in a hurry. She thought the yellow lines marked a parking spot. They sat in a dingy waiting room most of the afternoon and into suppertime before an arrogant doctor looked at El for two seconds and informed a nurse, who then told Aggie, that the cut didn't need stitches. A butterfly bandage would do. She could have put that on herself and never left home, but if she'd been wrong, there would have been hell to pay. She'd never hear the end of it from John.

When her husband did see the cut, he would probably complain that the doctor had been wrong, the cut needed stitches. Nobody, especially Aggie, did anything right in John's hallowed opinion. The sound of his voice criticizing her for going to the wrong doctor replaced the "asshole" song playing in her mind.

But then her own angry voice took over. Dr. High-and-Mighty was never around to take care of his own kids. He'd throw a fit if Aggie bothered him at work, so she had to go to the nearest urgent care center and wait for hours until somebody looked at this damn kid who fell off his bike every two seconds.

She guessed that had been her license plate announced over the loudspeaker. The whining voice had demanded over and over, "Vehicle number hrrm-hrrm-hrrm must be moved immediately."

She hadn't been able to hear anything over Elliot whining that his chin hurt and Ruth Ann begging to have a story read to her.

"Don't touch those books. They've covered in filth from sick people," she'd told Ruth Ann.

By the time Elliot gave up complaining and Ruth Ann fell asleep, the announcements had stopped. All the patients had been treated and gone home, the center was about to close, and it no longer mattered where her mini-van was parked.

Elliot grabbed Aggie's arm and pulled on it so she remembered she stood in a parking lot staring at an ugly word. She crumpled the yellow paper and flung it toward the arrow under her car.

"Mom, you're littering," Elliot accused her in a whine.

"Just get in the damn car," she barked back. "A storm's coming. We need to go home before it gets any darker. I don't know how I'll find my way as it is."

Thunder boomed as the children crawled into the mini-van. "Sop it! Sop it!" Ruth Ann screamed as Elliot (her toddlerese for "stop it") when he stuck his butt in her face as he slid past her on the seat.

At eight years old, Elliot already knew how to torture Ruth Ann––and Aggie. He sneered, satisfied with Ruth Ann's screams. Aggie wanted to lean over to smack him as she buckled Ruth Ann into her car seat, but she didn't dare. John didn't allow her to spank the children, or punish them in any other way, because he claimed it would destroy their spirits. Elliot's wonderfully free spirit was a punishment for Ruth Ann and for Aggie. She had no options for dealing with his obnoxious behavior.

And there would be hell to pay when Elliot told his dad that she'd said to get in the damn car. Cursing wasn't allowed, either.

She also knew Elliot moved as slowly as he could, the way he always did because it irritated her and she couldn't do anything about it, couldn't give him a time out or take away his TV privileges the way other moms did with their children.

She used the back of her hand to wipe the sweat from her forehead and turned away so she could say what she pleased. "I hate this fucking town. Maryland is hotter than hell."

Here she was in a strange town after years in cool, green Seattle because John had a new job, Big Chief Medical Director, at a hospital in Western Maryland. The hospital was about forty miles from the Central Maryland suburb of Columbia where John had bought a house. He had a long commute, but he refused to lived in Haven with the "local yokels."

In fact, John rarely visited the home he had selected without consulting Aggie. Six weeks after their move, John already spent most nights at the hospital because he claimed he was overworked and too tired to drive home. Aggie wondered why the locals didn't bother him enough to make him come home at night. And funny, he never sounded tired when he called to say he wouldn't be home. Sometimes Aggie heard a woman laugh in the background. He claimed it was the nurses fooling around at their station, but the sound––the same laugh, one laugh from the same person, every time––frightened Aggie.

No time to think about it now. With Elliot seat belted in at last, Aggie started the car and headed for the street. At least I'm already in the exit lane, she thought wryly. She had called for directions before they left home and had found the center without too much trouble, but getting home would be another story. She could never retrace her steps. It infuriated John, but it just didn't work out in her mind.

Right or left out of the lot? With no one waiting behind her, she had time to stop and think. She decided it had to be right. She could see the traffic light where they had turned to get to the medical center.

But when she pulled into the left turn lane at the light, she didn't know if she was supposed to be there. Maybe she belonged in the right turn lane. Which way home?

Aggie felt the headache that had started on the way there spread from the top of her head to her forehead and face. Out of habit to try to ease the pain, she ran her hands through her short, curly gray hair, and pushed hard against her scalp.

A sign pointing left said it was the way to D.C. Aggie feared getting sucked out onto the beltway. She had been on it with John in the driver's seat and had closed her eyes to the traffic wooshing around them, too fast for her to bear.

She decided to turn right. Aggie put on the right-turn blinker and twisted the wheel, waiting to see if the driver of a small, dark car pulling up behind her would allow her to get in the right lane. It was getting dark and hard to see, difficult to judge what others in this strange territory might do.

This person surprised her by waiting while she moved into the right lane and then out onto the highway as the light turned green. At the same time, the storm began in earnest. Rain poured down in sheets as lightning lit the sky.

Nothing looked familiar. Aggie, terrified, could barely see, and other drivers zipped and zoomed around her. One truck pulled up behind her. The driver flashed his lights. She knew he meant "get the hell out of my way," but where would she go?

Then, the brightly lit sign of the Hilton invited her into its parking lot and offered a familiar escape. They had stayed in the hotel for a few days before their furniture arrived from Seattle in the moving van.

They could wait out the storm in the lot. Or maybe they could dash into the coffee shop and have supper. Aggie knew she looked horrible. She had been down on her knees scrubbing the kitchen floor when Elliot dashed in with blood dripping from his chin onto the white carpet John had selected ("Oh, Lord, I'll be up half the night cleaning up this mess," she said at the sight of him). The droopy sweat pants she wore made her large butt look extra large. But she was starving after their long afternoon, and the kids had to be hungry, too. The desire to eat and get out of the storm overcame her dread of displaying her derriere in public.

The decision gave Aggie some energy and spirit. No wonder the kids were whiny and fussy, after everything they had been through. When the rain stopped, it would be easier to find the way home.

"I know! Let's stop here and have supper and ice cream," Aggie told them.

El and Ruth Ann picked up on her pleasure and cheered.

She circled the parking lot, determined not to repeat her mistake. All the lines seemed to be white, but in between each set of lines was a car. No place to park in the front, so she headed toward the back of the hotel.

Finally! A parking place. Aggie flipped on her turn signal and headed for it. As she began to pull in, she realized the car next to hers seemed familiar. It was a bright red sports car, just like John's. It was even a bright red BMW, just like John's.

She didn't have the angle of her approach right, so she put the minivan in reverse and prepared to try again. Pulling back allowed her to see the license tag of the BMW. It was a vanity tag, just like John had: DRJOHN

How could someone else have gotten his vanity tag? He had paid extra for it.

Then the fog on her brain lifted enought to allow her to grasp that it in fact was John's car.

"That's Daddy's car," she told Elliot and Ruth Ann. "I wonder why he's here."

The children leaned forward in their seats, excited by the prospect of some time with their overindulgent father. "Maybe he knew we would be here and he wanted to have ice cream with us," Elliot said.

"He couldn't have known. I haven't talked to him since yesterday," she explained, exasperated with the child's stupid comment when she was trying to think.

Aggie stopped the car. She had to figure out what was going on. It didn't make sense.

Then she recognized the bright red Altima parked to the right of John's BMW. "Nasti's car," Aggie whispered.

Nasti, actually NANCI as her own vanity plate proclaimed, was John's favorite nurse. Aggie figured her name was spelled with a pretentious "I" instead of the usual "Y" because it matched her personality.

Aggie had spoken to the cold, unfriendly bitch only a few times although John had insisted the hospital bring her out here with him so she could be his assistant. He claimed she was the one nurse he could trust––his invaluable assistant.

Aggie had seen photos of her with John, taken the year before at a holiday party. She was a young blond with a trim butt and huge boobs that threatened to pop out of her tight, white uniform. She could have been the model for a "Nurse Barbie" doll. She wore white stiletto heels even though she worked the floor as a charge nurse at the time.

Friday, December 9, 2016

PENELOPE SPEAKS: MOM MOM IS UNHAPPY

Hello. It is I, Penelope.


Mom Mom is upset. She acts as if I'm to blame, which is not possible. I sympathize with her, but the trouble is not my fault.

After I decided to live the royal life with Mom Mom and Franklin, Mom Mom accused me of leaving wet spots on the rug when she left the house. Not true, of course. It was Franklin.

Mom got a prison for me and made me go inside when she is away. It's true that the prison has a comfy bed. I also get my red Kong when I'm in prison. The Kong has cheese and peanut butter in it. It is quite delicious and makes for an excellent chewing experience.

Mom Mom said that the wet spots went away when I was in prison. Bah, humbug!

In spite of the soft bed and my yummy Kong, I do not like prison. I do not belong there.

Someone else agreed with me––I know not who it could be––and decided to destroy my prison. First, Someone chewed on the front of the prison so it had holes in it and sometimes, if I happened to be in the mood, I could open the metal door myself and greet Mom Mom when she got home.


Mom Mom put something that tasted bad on the prison. Someone stopped chewing on it.

But today, Mom Mom went to the post office. While she was gone, Someone decided to remove the metal side of the prison.



Of course, I departed through the opening. When Mom Mom came in the front door, she said (in quite a disdainful manner), What are YOU doing here, Penelope?

Then she found the metal piece on the floor. Here's the metal piece. Mom Mom put it on top of the prison.


Mom Mom was quite pleased to find that I Franklin did not create wet spots on the floor. However, she was quite unhappy when she discovered that Someone had chewed on the Martha Stewart bedspread that she thinks is so pretty.


Can you see that the Martha Stewart bedspread is a bit torn? It also has a small hole in it. Mom Mom was so irritated that she did not bother to photograph the hole.

No matter. It is a small hole.

Obviously, I shall no longer be in prison when Mom Mom goes away. HA!

Franklin had better not leave wet spots on the floor.

I guess you know that Stella girl lives here now. I ignore her. Even when she sleeps in my chair with me. Even though it is quite cozy and cuddly.

I am Her Royal Highness The Princess Penelope. That Stella girl probably wants to be royalty, but I do not believe it is possible for her to have a title.

That is all. Goodbye.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

MOVIE WEEKEND: GENIUS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present for your viewing consideration the movie Genius (2016, Rated PG-13, Available on DVD), which focuses on the relationship between Scribner's editor Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth) and author Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law).


As the man who discovered and helped to develop F. Scott Fitzgerald's talent, Maxwell Perkins is probably the most famous editor in America, and most likely the only editor whose name is well known to book lovers (other than da Junebug). Besides editing Fitzgerald's work, Perkins served as editor for Ernest Hemingway (Fitzgerald recommended Hemingway to Perkins), Erskine Caldwell, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Alan Paton, and James Joyce, among others.

But in Genius, it's Thomas Wolfe who bursts onto the literary scene and becomes almost a son to Perkins, who was the father of five daughter with his wife Louise (Laura Linney).  The problem is that Wolfe has logorrhea. Perkins struggles to get Wolfe to cut his epic tomes because he is a man who is in love with words and thus has a fear and loathing of cutting a single line. Perkins gets Wolfe to cut some pages. Wolfe writes eighty more. It's a battle for the ages, but it results in the bestsellers Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and The River.

Genius has a stellar cast, with Nicole Kidman as Aline Bernstein, the woman eighteen years older than Wolfe who fell in love with him, left her husband and children for him, and financed the beginnings of his writing career. Laura Linney and Colin Firth are always good, but it's Jude Law as the manic Wolfe who stands out. I wasn't even sure that the actor onscreen was Law until the credits rolled. He was that lost in the role.

I was most pleased to hear Perkins tell Wolfe what I know to be true as an editor––that the book belongs to the author and it is the editor's job to get good books into the hands of the reading public.

Although this film is well made with a sepia overcast that seems appropriate for New York in the 1930s, I do not know if it would be of interest to the average movie goer. I do think it will be loved by writers, editors, and people who have any interest in classic literature.

Genius earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Writerly Approval. At the very least, I think it will make you want to learn more about Thomas Wolfe and about Max Perkins and the relationships he had with the authors whose works he edited. I do not think this movie would be of any interest to children.

I must admit I have never read anything by Thomas Wolfe. I'm going to add Look Homeward, Angel to my Amazon wish list.

I watched Genius on a DVD very kindly sent to me by my friends at Netflix.

Happy viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Maxwell Perkins and Colin Firth


Thomas Wolfe and Jude Law


Wolfe died from tuberculosis of the brain at the age of thirty-eight. When Perkins learns of Wolfe's impending death, he states:

Maxwell Evarts Perkins: The surgeon said his brain was filled with tumors. A myriad of tumors. That's the word he used, "myriad." I think Tom would like that. The plural of "myriad" is "myriads," by the way.

Even when we are grief stricken, we editors do not forget correct word usage. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE . . .

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,


 Stella

Stella yawns.
"I'm so tired of people fawning over me."

You might have noticed that I've mentioned Stella on my blog several times recently. For example, she was here during Hurricane Matthew:

"If I hide my face between my paws,
the hurricane won't see me."

Stella has been Favorite Young Man's favorite dog for many years. She has developed some health concerns (don't we all as we get older?) and needs more time and care than he can give her.

So Stella has joined our pack.

We're not sure how old she is, but she's 10+ years. She is mostly boxer, maybe with a little American bulldog.

She has difficulty walking because of a problem with a disk in her back. She tends to drag her back legs and fall frequently. 

Stella and I have visited kind Dr. Chick twice. She's on two medications to improve her motor function, but they come with a price. They are damaging her liver, so we're going to pick up another medication to help with that.

The medicine will shorten her life, but improve it for the time being.

Sunday was a beautiful day. The weather was ideal. Willy Dunne Wooters and I were in the backyard with the dogs. Franklin and Penelope frolicked and chased each other. To my surprise, Stella joined them--very briefly. Then she ran to me, stood on her hind legs, and put one front paw on my leg.

Stella still has a lot of spirit. We're happy to have her in spite of a little pee-pee problem with the living room rug.

She stays close to me. When Penelope sits in the chair next to me, Stella often hops up to join her so they can nap side-by-side. I'd like to take a photo of them, but Penelope is so camera shy that she moves the second she sees I'm about to "capture" her image.

But now we are a party of four.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

TIP TUESDAY: READ

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When I took the class required to become an accredited writing tutor, our professor told us that people don't learn to write by diagramming sentences (thank God for that because I don't remember how to do it).

Instead, people learn to write by writing.

I want to go one step farther: People learn to write by reading.

I've heard many professors and writers say that the best way to learn to write is by reading the great stylists. Of course, they meant Thackeray.

I don't think you have to read Thackeray, but I do think you need to read great writers and read a variety of genres.

Are you in love with mystery novels? Then put aside your mysteries for a few months to read Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler.

You read every vampire story that bites you? Try Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov.

Read widely. Read something to which you've never been exposed. Never read The Great Gatsby? Check it out and know what it is to write lyrically.

Expand your book horizons. Soak up Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

How many books have you read from the Modern Library's choices and Readers' Choices for The One Hundred Greatest Novels?

It's not that I want you to stop reading your favorite books. It's that I don't want you to become stuck in a rut. And although imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, don't try to write like your favorite writer. Learn from writers of so many genres and styles that you're able to write like yourself.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


How I approach writing:

Thanks for sharing the chickens with us, fishducky.

Monday, December 5, 2016

QUESTION OF THE MONTH: RETIREMENT TO REBIRTH

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's the first Monday in December, so it's time for Michael D'Agostino's



Michael no longer answers his own questions because he's a busy guy, but he continues to engage us in this bloghop with his interesting inquiries.

This month, Michael wants to know


“What does retirement look like for you?”

As much detail as possible is best for you. What’s your best realistic prediction for your state of affairs when you finally drive off into the sunset? What did you retire from? Do you have a partner/kids/grandkids or more? Where are you living? What do you do with your free time? Do you travel and take adventures? Or do you make a nice cosy nest and get comfortable in it? If you’re already retired, feel free to talk about how your retirement compares to what you expected it to be.

My answer:

I retired from my former life when I moved to Florida and got divorced. I thought life had little in store for me because I broke my back in 2009. Although I "recovered," I'm not supposed to lift more than one pound, bend, twist, push, pull, and so on. 

But then one night, I held a sugar cube between my teeth, gulped down a magic potion, and a green fairy whispered in my ear that my destiny was to be The Queen Of Grammar. I was quite surprised, but who was I to deny my destiny?

I was reborn.

I started Janie Junebug Righting & Editing. I enjoy it when a book comes along for me to edit, or when I can use my blog to address your grammatical concerns.




Of course, in real life, I am also Lorelai Gilmore. Running The Dragonfly Inn keeps me busy, and all the coffee Luke makes for me keeps me talking fast. I also must deal with Rory, who hasn't really grown up.



In addition to Luke, I spend time with Willy Dunne Wooters. I don't think of him as a partner. He's more of a "part-time lover and a full-time friend." 

C'est Willy Dunne Wooters.
Oo la la!

I don't know what I expected of retirement, but it wasn't this. I have no free time. My life is one adventure after another. 


How can anyone plan on becoming a queen so late in life and finding a boyfriend who looks exactly like a movie star, only even more handsome? And running an inn and helping my daughter Rory find her underwear?



Yes, Mom, I have lost my mind. I don't plan on looking for it because I have too much fun without it.

Can your retirement possibly be as great as mine?


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, December 2, 2016

SLUGGY'S BORING BLOG BOX GIVEAWAY AND IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO GET SOAP FROM DONNA

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have a feeling you'll want to check out Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway. It includes chocolate!

If you follow Sluggy or if you mention the giveaway on your blog, you can have three entries instead of one. I'll do almost anything for some chocolate.

Thank you, Sluggy! You are most generous with your giveaways.

That reminds me: I haven't had a giveaway in a long time. Maybe I should have one after Christmas in case Santa doesn't bring you everything (or anything) you want.

Thinking about Donna's wonderful homemade soap as part of my giveaway, and maybe a pretty little necklace. Hmmmmm . . .

I think you can still order soap from Donna at The Poor Farm and get it in time for Christmas. Only $5 a bar, plus a little for shipping and handling.

And thank you to four of my followers for becoming Donna's followers.

Some of Donna's lumguscious soap.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, December 1, 2016

OY WITH THE POODLES ALREADY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

You already know what I did on Black Friday. Went shopping.

Hahahahahahahahaha.

I watched all four episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix Streaming. It pretty much made my year.

Here's my summary of the episodes, followed by my review. No spoilers.

Winter. Coffee. I smell snow. La la la la la la. Lorelai. Rory. Lane. Rory. Cabbage. Lorelai. Kirk. Ooo-ber. Lorelai. Rory. Paul or Pete or Somebody. Luke. Lifetime movies. Grandpa. To absent friends. Coffee. Taylor. Emily. Berta. Paris. Surrogates. Rory. Logan. London. Rory. Lane. Paris. Zach. Red dress, full skirt, lucky outfit. Therapy. Town troubador. Paul Anka. No. Gypsy. Lorelai. Emily. Spring. Lorelai. Angry Emily. Sorry. Rory. Naomi. Book. Dragonfly Inn. Michel. Rory. Logan. Lorelai. Luke. Eraserhead. Emily. Luke. Franchise. Chilton. Rory. Paris. Headmaster. Rory. Teach. New York. Wookiee. Editing. Sandee Says. Sandee says no. Summer. Pool. Lorelai. Rory. You're back. I'm not back. Lorelai. Luke. Stars Hollow Gazette. Lorelai. Michel. Stars Hollow Musical. Babette. Gypsy. Sophie. Rory. Jess!!! Cemetery. Rory. Lorelai. Book. Rory. Lane. Kinky Boots. It's never or now. Luke. Lorelai. Kitchen. Wild. The book. Fall. Motel. Lorelai. Backpack. Jess. Luke. Rory. Logan. Colin. Finn. Robert. I'll be damned.  I get by with a little help from my friends. Scotch. Rooftop. Hit golf balls. Dancing. Lorelai. Trail. Rory. Logan. Lorelai. Trail. Emily. That day he went to the mall. Lorelai. Luke. Emily. DAR. Because it isn't home anymore. Dean!!!!! Rory. Sookie!!! Lorelai. Cakes. Rory. Lorelai. Drop the the. Jess. Luke. Rory. Jess. (I cry.) Rory. Lorelai. Michel. Luke. Lane. Final Four Words. La la la la la la.


There now! I bet that piqued your interest, and if you've already watched the shows, you know I pretty much covered everything.

My review:

Bad--Tries to get in everyone ever on the show but doesn't have nearly enough Sookie. We barely see Christopher, and he's one hot dude.

Good--Pretty much everything else.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life earns The Janie Junebug Highest and Most Biggest Amazingest Seal of Happy Approval, especially because I am the real Lorelai Gilmore so I make a lot of money from my show. And now that I know the Famous Final Four Words, I know we must have more episodes, or at least one movie.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



This sequence is from the final episode. It's the only part of this post that might be considered a spoiler. If you don't want to see Rory with her "friends" from Yale--Robert, Colin, Finn, and Logan--then don't watch.





Now that I've worn out, I've worn out the world . . .

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

SCRUB-A-DUB-DUB, I HAVE THE BEST SOAP IN THE TUB

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I love to brag about the cool people I meet online and the great things they make. Today I want to introduce you to

Donna

Donna very kindly gave me
permission to use photos from her blog.

who lives and blogs at The Poor Farm.

Once a month, Donna features Saponification Saturday on her blog, when she has her soap for sale, and let me tell you, it is the God-blessingest-best soap ever (if you don't remember "saponification," think about that darn chemistry class you had to take).


These are not some namby-pamby, teeny-tiny bars of soap that cost a fortune and are gone in a week. No, these are serious bars of soap that will last you a good long while and are a steal at $5 a bar, plus shipping and handling.

In fact, I hope that people who receive Christmas gifts from me are not reading this post, but if you are reading, now you know that you will open your gift on Christmas morning to find soap made with all-natural ingredients.

Currently, Donna has these soaps available (she'll sell out fast, so hurry up and order while you can by emailing her at opies99@gmail.com): peppermint, lavender/Geranium Rose, eucalyptus, and coffee.

When I ordered some peppermint soap, the mail carrier left the box on my front steps. As soon as I opened the door, I could smell the peppermint. It is luscious.

This soap makes a great, unique gift.

I wish you Happy Soap Shopping at The Poor Farm.

And if you receive a Christmas box from me, please forget that you read this post and act surprised when you open your gift!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. I didn't receive anything in return for writing this post. I wrote it because Donna makes way cool soap.

TIP TUESDAY: WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT WADDLED?

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Instead of giving you a tip today, I request your assistance.

My story about Aggie, which some of you have been reading a bit at a time as I add to it, says

The yellow piece of paper on the windshield of Aggie's black minivan stood out like a beacon in the dusky evening light as she left the urgent care center. She waddled along with a purse and diaper bag slung behind her right shoulder, Ruth Ann perched on her right hip, and a still sobbing Elliot hanging on for dear life to her left hand.

A few of you have commented that you think waddled is out of place, that it seems kind of comical in a sad story.

Robyn suggested trudged as a replacement. I like trudged, but the reason I chose waddled is that I want to convey that Aggie is overweight.

The Super Thesaurus has these synonyms for waddle:

toddle
wobble
walk like a duck
sway

I don't think any of these are right.

Synonyms for trudge:

walk
tramp
slog
plod
hike
traipse
schlep
clomp
drag's one feet
stump
hobble

What do you think about replacing waddled with slogged? Not comical, but still conveys that she's loaded down with kids and she's overweight?

I always seek the perfect word. Which word is perfect in this case?

And am I too wordy? Should I make cuts? For example,

Elliot hanging on for dear life to her left hand

Is hanging on for dear life trite? Instead it could read hanging onto her left hand. Is hanging by itself enough?

I always warn my clients to avoid wordiness. I need to listen to my own advice.

I long to read your opinions.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

A new possibility:

The yellow piece of paper on the windshield of Aggie's black minivan stood out in the evening light as she left the urgent care center. She slogged along with a purse and diaper bag slung behind her right shoulder, Ruth Ann perched on her right hip, and a sobbing Elliot hanging on to her left hand.