Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: I HATE BUZZZZZWORDS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

My job search has reminded me of how much I hate buzzwords. Some of the job descriptions I've read make absolutely no sense. One said that the employee's duties would include "onboarding clients." What? Put them on board? Is it a cruise?

Favorite Young Man calls this kind of writing "corporate speak." I don't know the language.

Unless you're writing for a specific audience, avoid buzzwords.

Here are some buzzwords I can't stand:

Empowerment
Face Time
Impact (instead of effect)
Paradigm Shift
Stratcom
Unpack
Come-to-Jesus Moment
Downsizing
Logistics
Offshoring
Benchmarking
Synergy

I'm also amused by all the Web sites that tell me if I have even one typo in my resumé, then the potential employer will toss it in the trash. But the job descriptions are full of errors!

One of them said that the employee needed to have 205 years of experience. Wow! That company needs to hire someone much older than I am. The descriptions have plenty of misspelled words and misused words, too.

Someone needs to hire Your Queen of Grammar to write the job descriptions.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Thanks, fishducky!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A STORY ABOUT MY SON AND A CANADIAN TREE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When Favorite Young Man was a rowdy Favorite Young Boy and The Hurricane was so little that she didn't even show signs of becoming a tropical storm, we lived near Seattle. Every now and again, we'd hop on a ferry to visit the beauty that is Canada.

On one trip, we spent the afternoon in Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia––one thousand acres of heaven.



We went to an outdoor show at the aquarium:


It was a perfect, early summer's day.

We also strolled around the park for a while, and stopped where we saw swings and children playing so Favorite Young Boy could expend some of his boundless energy. Now, you have to understand something about the person who is now Favorite Young Man. When I popped him out at the hospital, he came out screaming I'm gonna end up with all sorts of injuries and scars from skateboarding, roller blading, bicycling, and a bunch of sports. I'll cover myself in tattoos, too.

Therefore, Favorite Young Boy didn't find some other kids with whom to play tag or claim a swing. No, he ran off to climb a tree.


Before we could say, Where in the hell has that kid gone now? he had his foot stuck in the crook of a tree and was hanging upside down, well above the ground.

He has always sworn that his father and I simply stood there and looked at him while he swayed in the breeze, but in reality, we dashed over to pull him out of the tree. On that one occasion, he did not suffer any injuries.

The subject of You stood and looked at me while I hung upside down in the tree continues to come up, but now Favorite Young Man has changed his tune. Last week he told me that he wished we had left him in the tree so he could have become a Canadian.

Hell, yeah, I said. Some nice Canadians would have pulled you out of the tree, taken you home with them, and given you an excellent childhood. Now you'd be a happy Canadian. What a mistake we made when we saved your sorry now-tattooed ass.

No doubt the story of the boy in the tree in Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, will come up again, as these tales do. Until the day I die, I expect to be accused of standing around to watch as he hung upside down in the tree. But now, I stand accused of eventually rescuing him when he could have had a better life as a Canadian.

I can't win.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, June 23, 2017

FRANKLIN FRIDAY: I'M LETTING PENLAPEE WRITE WITH ME TODAY

HI! HI! Hi Hi Hi Hi Hi! It's me me me me me me me, Franklin the Bordernese, and I'm with my sister Penla who Pees! Hahahahaha! That's not really her name, but I made a funny so I laugh.


Penlapee and me wanna talk to you today because we have something we want, and we don't always get it.

We have this Human Brother. Mom calls him Favorite Young Man. It's okay if Mom goes outside with us during the day when we potty, but before we go to bed at night, we want Human Brother to take us out. Sometimes he's not here at bedtime. Sometimes he's asleep. He should be here for us every night.

Mom doesn't understand about us wanting Human Brother. She says there's no reason we can't go out with her.

Here's why we want Human Brother:

Penelope––I am so sick of Franklin spelling my name wrong that I could spit. Human Brother knows that my name is Penelope and not Penlapee, and he's not afraid to tell Franklin that he's wrong. Mom Mom laughs when Franklin calls me Penlapee. I'm sick of it. Sick, I tell you. Human Brother is at work during the day, but sometimes he's here at night. I wish to take advantage of that time frame; therefore, he should be here every night.

Franklin––Human Brother is tall. He is so tall. He can see over all the fences so he will warn us if monsters come out of the dark.

Penelope––Human Brother is very nice to me. He pays attention to me all the time when he's at our house, unlike Mom Mom who goes off to get sloshed on margaritas.

Franklin––Human Brother is kind of stinky. He takes showers, but he gets stinky again right away. I love the way he stinks. I could sniff his butt forever.

Penelope––Human Brother is strong. He's the strongest person I've ever seen. He is strong enough to take care of us if something scary happens out in the dark while Mom Mom is sloshed on margaritas.

Franklin––Last year we had a hurricane named Matthew, who is Fishducky's son. Matthew made the wind blow hard. Matthew made the rain fall for hours. Human Brother stayed with us the whole time that Fishducky's son was here. Human Brother protected us from Matthew.

Penelope––Mom Mom is drunk all the time. We are safe with Human Brother.

It's up to me, Franklin the Bordernese, to finish up here. I think you understand now why we want Human Brother when it's dark and scary outside. But that stuff Penlapee says about Mom, who is not named Mom Mom, being drunk? It's not true. And my sister's name really is Penlapee. Okay I love you bye bye.


I'm not letting that dog have the last word. It is I, Penelope. That is all.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

DON'T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Here are the answers to the queries I posted yesterday in TIP TUESDAY: STUCK ON PHRASES.

a day that will live in infamy--Franklin Roosevelt 
military industrial complex--Dwight Eisenhower
dirty tricks--Richard Nixon
grassy knoll--John Kennedy
Don't cry for me, Argentina--George H.W. Bush

The phrase from Bush is the one that none of you knew. Here's the complete quotation:

“You cannot be president of the United States if you don’t have faith. Remember Lincoln, going to his knees in times of trial and the Civil War and all that stuff. You can’t be. And we are blessed. So don’t feel sorry for — don’t cry for me, Argentina. Message: I care.”
President George Bush, Sr., speaking to employees of an insurance company during the 1992 New Hampshire primary  (source: 20 of the most ludicrous political quotes of all time--you might enjoy clicking on the link; it includes Bill Clinton's words about the definition of is).

Now, as for "there is no there there," yes, it was written by Gertrude Stein in her autobiography when she recalled her childhood in Oakland, California. Although it has come to mean a lack of substance or truthfulness, Stein most likely meant that when she visited the home of her youth, nothing was the same. 

Recently, I Googled images of homes that I lived in as a child. I agree with Ms. Stein. Those houses are nothing like the way I remember them. Nothing of me is in those properties.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: STUCK ON PHRASES

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Two weeks ago I wrote about avoiding clichés HERE, and it made me think about phrases we associate with U.S. presidents.

Without googling these words, do you know the U.S. presidents with whom these phrases are linked, for better or for worse?

a day that will live in infamy
military industrial complex
dirty tricks
grassy knoll
Don't cry for me, Argentina.

And here's a photo I like, complete with the foolish phrase of a newspaper editor or publisher:


When Favorite Young Man spends the evening with me, we often watch MSNBC (yeah, you know we're liberals). We're quite tired of certain phrases associated with current politics. Some are used ad nauseum by various politician or their defenders, and then they tend to be repeated by those who comment on the news. Either way, we want these words to go away:

nothing burger
double down
There's smoke, but is there fire?
big league
There isn't any there there.

Again, without Googling it, can any of you tell me the source for "there is no there there"? You earn a million bonus points if you also know the original meaning.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!






Sunday, June 18, 2017

A STORY ABOUT MY DAD AND A MOUSE

Happy Father's Day, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When X, Favorite Young Man, The Hurricane, and I moved from Washington state to Maryland, we lived in Laurel for three years. Laurel would have been small townish if it hadn't been halfway between Baltimore and D.C., and, thus, had very heavy traffic. Laurel itself also grew because more people were moving farther away from the cities.

We moved into a beautiful and very expensive (the real estate market was almost at its height) townhouse in Laurel. It was part of a new development that had a large wooded area behind its first street, the street on which we lived.

When we'd been there less than a year, I began to suspect that mice visited us. I saw a few of what might have been droppings, but I never saw a mouse or any other evidence of a mouse.

Then one evening when X was out of town, Favorite Young Man, who was about eight years old, left the family room on the first floor for the kitchen on the second floor. Within minutes I heard him squeal as if he'd been attacked. I ran upstairs to see what was wrong.

A mouse! he said. A mouse ran out from the right side of the kitchen and went all the way to the left and underneath the washing machine!

He didn't look like this:



He looked more like this:


I'd never encountered a mouse before! What to do?

What to do?

I picked up the phone to call my dad in Topeka, Kansas. He told me how to set a mouse trap.

I don't think I can do that, I quavered. Why don't you get on a plane and take care of it?

I really wanted Daddy to get on a plane, fly to Maryland, and get rid of the mouse—even though I knew he couldn't.

Daddy told me that he knew I could set the mouse trap. He was sure I could. He was positive.

He always had more faith in me than I had in myself.

I miss him.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Note: We were plagued by mice the entire three years that we lived in Laurel. Our brand new housing development had displaced the home of mice and other small animals. Raccoons were especially good at opening the garbage cans in the back of the house to help themselves to a meal.





Friday, June 16, 2017

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: WHO OWNS THE BED?

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I've applied for more jobs this week. All of the positions are apply-online deals, so I receive an email that says my application has been received and the hiring team will contact me for an interview 
when they fall in love with my mad skills 
if they're in the mood
if the job really exists
if the company actually exists 
if . . . whatever. 

This job hunting business is a real time suck, but I don't want to ignore all of my best friends so I have a Friday

for you. I first published this post on June 14, 2010. It's had 65 page views.

It was my first full summer in Florida, and I took in a foster dog who had cancer. I named her Robin. She wasn't with us very long, but this post describes what happened as Robin took over my life and my bed.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Poor, pitiful little Robin who is dying of cancer started out as a cuddler in my bed.

Poor, pitiful little dog, I thought. She is so starved for affection and attention. I was simply thrilled to give her the love she deserves.

But cuddling has turned into a turf war; that is, who owns the bed?

Before I can get in the bed at night, Robin hops in and settles down smack dab in the middle. I have to push and shove her as best I can so I can join her in bed. For a poor, pitiful cancer stricken dog, she is mighty heavy and strong when she plants herself in her desired spot.

Last night, I barely got into the bed, and when I did, I was allowed only enough of the sheet to cover half of myself. Robin was on top of the middle of the sheet and would not allow me to pull more onto myself.

I awoke frequently during the night, finding myself in danger of being pushed out of the bed. Robin, I said, You really must let Mommy share the bed and get some sleep.

I was exhausted this morning because I spent the night fighting for a spot in what used to be my bed.

So the question is: Who owns the bed?

The answer is simple: Robin.

Friday, June 9, 2017

CONGRATS TO ROBYN & THANKS FOR YOUR HELP

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Way to go, Robyn Alana Engel! Her book, Woman on the Verge of Paradise, won Acorn Publishing's Memoir of the Year Award for 2016.


You can purchase Woman on the Verge of Paradise by clicking on this link to Amazon: https://goo.gl/8lc8DP

Robyn would like to sell a million copies of her book, and I say ain't nothin' wrong with ambition.

You can also read Robyn's blog, Life by Chocolate, by clicking here: Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com

Now I want to thank you for your support as I begin my job search. Thursday was quite productive. I applied for my first job, using my killer résumé and a frabjous cover letter I wrote specifically for the job.

I've also taken your advice on getting started with learning more of the Microsoft Office components. I started with Excel by watching an MS Office training video. Then I created a log of my charitable giving for the year. Next, I'm going to track my medical expenses for 2017, of which there are many.

Even if I don't find a job in which I use Excel, I'm happy I can use it to log certain expenses that I have.

I realize Excel has far more advanced features than I've learned so far, but I needed to start somewhere.

When I requested your assistance in this post on Monday, your encouragement and suggestions lifted my spirits. My favorite comment of the day came from Joanne Noragon of Cup on the Bus fame, who told me

I am the past master of instant learning. I once took a job that required shorthand. I knew nothing. I stopped at the library on the way home to get a book. My mother's shorthand was daunting, and not doable in one night. I eventually took a book called High Speed Longhand, and was a dab hand the next morning.
I learned office pretty much the same way--from internet courses and instruction. It's like jumping into deep water, but what the hell. It's interesting to save yourself. Follow the lesson plans for excel and power point, and pay especial attention to all the little tabs at the top. All the secrets are buried there. Try every one. All will be revealed. 
Yesterday I helped the woman who is replacing me at the township. I have twenty some years on her, and know more about excel and power point than she can learn in a year. There's only one thing between you and learning how to do something: Attitude.

Joanne is recovering from some serious injury-related/health issues, but she never ceases to be a rock. Joanne, I have the attitude, and it's a good one. I'm on my way.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

My blogging and blog reading will probably be sporadic for a while as I job hunt and update my skills. I'll miss you, but I'm never gone for good. 

This video is for all of you, but especially for Robyn and Joanne:




Thursday, June 8, 2017

NOT TODAY

No regular post today, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell.

I'm going to write a cover letter to accompany the beautiful résumé I created and apply for a job.

Then I'm going to use the advice that so many of you kindly gave to me and look into learning Excel.  I have to start someplace.

I won't visit your blogs today and I'm turning off comments on this post.

But it doesn't mean I don't love you!




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

THE REAL SYBIL

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In 1998, a retired art teacher named Shirley Mason died in Lexington, Kentucky. She had breast cancer, for which she had declined treatment because she felt she had been through enough trauma in her life. A few people already knew, and many more soon learned, that she had been the famous psychiatric patient known as Sybil.

Shirley Ardell Mason was born in Dodge Center, Minnesota, in 1923. She was an only child whose mother was well known around town for her strange behavior.

A neighbor of the Mason's named Betty Borst Christensen stated:

"She had a witchlike laugh. She didn't laugh much, but when she did, it was like a screech.'' Christensen remembers the mother walking around after dark, looking in the neighbors' windows.

As a young woman, Shirley went away to college to study art, but suffered a breakdown that precipitated her psychiatric treatment with Dr. Cornelia Wilbur.




The treatment led to Dr. Wilbur discovering that her patient had sixteen separate personalities––some were children and two were male––a disorder that resulted from horrific abuse Shirley suffered at her mother's hands.

Patient and psychiatrist cooperated with author Flora Rheta Schreiber to create the book


that was released in 1973 and became a bestseller. The three shared in the profits.

In 1975, the book became the basis of a TV movie starring Sally Field that helped the actress leave behind her Gidget and The Flying Nun reputation to become a two-time Academy Award winning dramatic actress.


A number of people in Dodge Center are said to have known immediately that the family described in the book were the Masons.

The book and movie resulted in thousands of diagnoses of what was then called multiple personality disorder, and later, charges that Dr. Wilbur manipulated Mason into recalling or creating the personalities, which were

Sybil
The "real' patient, Sybil was "extremely suggestible'
Victoria
Warm and cultured, claimed total recall
Peggy Lou
Assertive and eager, but obstinate and quick to anger
Peggy Ann
More tactful than Peggy Lou, also more fearful
Mary
The most religious personality; a maternal homebody
Marcia
A fiery painter and writer; British accent
Vanessa
Attractive and dramatic, Vanessa scorned religion
Mike
A proud, swarthy carpenter; wanted to "give a girl a baby'
Sid
Also a carpenter, but fair-skinned and less outspoken
Nancy
Paranoid; obsessed with Armageddon and conspiracy
Sybil Ann
Pale, timid and extremely lethargic; the defeated Sybil
Ruthie
A toddler, the Ruthie personality was poorly developed
Clara
Very religious; critical and resentful of Sybil
Helen
Timid, afraid, but determined "to be somebody'
Marjorie
Serene and quick to laugh, enjoyed parties and travel
The Blonde

A nameless teen, fun-loving and carefree


Whether Shirley Mason really had multiple personalities, we'll probably never know. But Mason and Wilbur remained close friends, with Mason moving to be near Wilbur when she accepted a position at the University of Kentucky. When Wilbur was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, Mason moved into Wilbur's home to care for her.

Wilbur died in 1992. She left Mason $25,000 and her share of the royalties from Sybil.

Shirley Mason seems to have spent most of her life quietly. A close friend shopped for her and helped care for her during the final stages of cancer. 


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

"Blue Is The Color of Love,"
a painting by Shirley Ardell Mason
Source: http://www.newsweek.com/unmasking-sybil-165174

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: TRITE DOES NOT MAKE RIGHT

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Some expressions are overused to the point that they become trite (clichés) and lose their impact. People get tired of hearing and reading them, so they reduce the force of your writing.

Here are some clichés to avoid:

  • as cold as ice
  • to make a long story short
  • over and done with
  • the spitting image of
  • stick to your guns
  • the depths of despair
These trite expressions have been around for quite a while, but we also have some newer ones that I don't want to touch with a ten-foot pole:

  • back in the day
  • no worries
  • my bad
  • same difference
  • chill out
  • someone's got a case of the Mondays
  What are some clichés you find annoying? Share them with us, and I'll holler at ya later.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Sources: Harbrace College Handbook and https://goo.gl/5r8wdZ


Monday, June 5, 2017

WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO UPDATE MY SKILLS?

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Your Junebug reaches the month of June with thoughts of applying for a job.

As I look at job listings, I see I'm qualified for a variety of jobs––with an exception. Most employers seem to want people who know everything there is to know about Microsoft Office. While I have no problem with Word, I have very little experience with Excel and absolutely no experience with Power Point and whatever the rest of it is.

What's the best way for me to to become proficient with Office without breaking the bank? How do I interest an employer in me while I start to work on learning all the skills they want me to have?

I applied for jobs years ago and had limited success, but now more jobs are available and I'm still quite a few years away from retirement age. I have some physical limitations because I broke my back in 2009, but as long as I spend most of my time in a reasonably comfortable chair, my back shouldn't complain too much.

I've already looked up all sorts of resume tips, and I wrote a humdinger of a resume on Saturday. Everything nice and neat in one page. No typos. Now tell me, please, how to learn all this Office crap. Do I buy a book? Should I look for inexpensive classes? I prefer to learn at home.

All of you experts out there, please tell me what to do.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Friday, June 2, 2017

AFTER MAMA BEAR ATTACKED THE NINE-YEAR-OLD BOYS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

To read TWO NINE-YEAR-OLD BOYS, click HERE.
To read WHAT DO NINE-YEAR-OLD BOYS DO WHEN THEY'RE HOME ALONE? click HERE.
To read WHAT I DO WHEN NINE-YEAR-OLD BOYS ARE HOME ALONE, click HERE.

When last we visited, I looked like this as I told the two nine-year-old boys who live behind me what they are not allowed to do:


The boys looked like this:


They went inside. I didn't see them for the rest of the day. I didn't see anyone that night. The house was dark. It looked like this every night for weeks:

Nobody's home                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

The white lines are the blinds that I could barely make out.

The boys were quiet. The carousel of smoking and cell phone-talking adults had disappeared.

I told Willy Dunne Wooters about the miracle. He said, They must be keeping it on the down-low because they have reason to fear the kids will be taken away from them.

If my yelling at the boys and calling the police caused them to stay inside and––I hope––caused the adults to keep an eye on them, then I did the right thing. It was the only time I've ever called the police about a neighbor, not that I know who these "neighbors" are. 

Something kind of odd did happen one night after many nights of peace and quiet. I went out in the dark with Franklin and Penelope so they could have their before-bed potty, and I spotted a man standing in the backyard of the house where the boys live. I had enough light on my deck to see that he was staring at me. Did he know that I was the one who called the police? Was he angry? I didn't care.

I put my hands on my hips the way my mother used to do when she was angry and I stared right back at him. In fact, I stared him down. Before long, he went inside the house.

Occasionally, I see the boys and an adult or two use the backdoor as they make their way around the house to the front, but the climbing and yelling have ended, along with the conclusion of the carousel.

Now I look like this:



Boys, don't bother Mama Bear while she rests. She will make you sorry.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

WHAT I DO WHEN NINE-YEAR-OLD BOYS ARE HOME ALONE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

For the first part of my enticing tale about the two adorable nine-year-old boys who live behind me, please click HERE. For the second part, in which I reveal even more about what cuties they are, please click HERE.

We are so fortunate today to have a special guest to help us continue our story. It's the highly overrated actress known as Meryl Streep.


Highly overrated Meryl is a parent herself, so she was quick to agree when I asked if I could channel her in order to deal with the boys.

That pretty woman next to Meryl refused to help us.
She claimed she had to go to her best friend's wedding
during August in Osage County.

As you may recall, the two nine-year-old boys who live behind me were at home alone and were making quite a ruckus. I decided to use my inner Meryl to turn myself into


Yes, I used my acting talent to turn into a Mama Grizzly Bear––a feat that highly overrated Meryl has never achieved.


I marched up to the fence to screech, THERE WILL BE NO MORE CLIMBING. YOU'RE GOING TO GET HURT. THERE WILL BE NO MORE THROWING THINGS AT THE FENCE. YOU'RE GOING TO CAUSE PROPERTY DAMAGE AND IT WILL BE EXPENSIVE AND I'M NOT THE ONE WHO WILL PAY FOR IT. THERE WILL BE NO MORE THROWING THINGS OVER THE FENCE. YOU'RE FRIGHTENING MY DOGS AND I'M SICK OF IT. SICK! SICK! SICK! YOU DON'T BELONG AT HOME ALONE, BUT IF NO ONE IS WATCHING YOU, THEN I'LL WATCH YOU. I'LL BE WATCHING YOU ALL THE TIME AND IF YOU DO ONE MORE THING YOU SHOULDN'T DO, THEN YOU WILL BE SO SORRY. 


Although highly overrated Meryl was shocked that I could do something she couldn't, my mad skills earned her approval.

The boys seemed to be impressed, too. They looked frightened as soon as they saw Mama Bear. They withered at my gaze and sidled into the backdoor of THEIR house.

But highly overrated Meryl and I had to do one more thing. I picked up my cell phone to call the police. Although the state of Florida has no law regarding the age of children who can be left alone without supervision, I decided it was a good idea to try to scare the crap out of the revolving adults who sometimes visit the house.

Hello, I said. This is The Queen Of Grammar. I live in The Palace on Royal Avenue.

Then I recounted the behavior of the darling boys for the police. I didn't want to confront the parents myself. Besides, I still don't know who in the hell lives in that house, other than the boys.

The dispatcher asked if I wanted the officer to come to my house.

No, that won't be necessary, I said. I require my royal nap now. My performance has left me exhausted.

Now I think we'll have one more to be continued regarding the aftermath of Mama Grizzly attacks nine-year-old boys.


Oh, highly overrated Meryl!
You can wait a little longer to find out what happened.
You're such a drama queen.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug
and highly overrated Meryl


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: LIE LAY LAIN LAY LAID LAYING

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The verbs lie and lay confuse many people.

If you learn their definitions, it might help you keep them straight.

Lie means "to be or to stay at rest in a horizontal position," while lay means "to beat or strike down with force" or "to put or set down."

The past tense (or -ed form) of lie is lay, and the -ing form is lying.

In casual conversation, if you say I think I'll lay down, then that's fine with me, but if you want your writing to be correct, then put those little fingers on the computer keys and tap out I think I'll lie down.

The past tense (or -ed form) of lay is laid, and the -ing form is laying.

Example: Students, please lay your essay papers on the table. The students did as they were told yesterday and laid their essay papers on the table.

If your dog only responds to "lay down," then he doesn't know standard English usage. Please teach him to "lie down."


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Source: Understanding English Grammar by Martha Kolln

Thanks, fishducky!

Monday, May 29, 2017

A DAY TO MEMORIALIZE MY FATHER

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I've published this post before, and today I present it to you again because this is more than Memorial Day to me.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Memorial Day has come to mean back yard barbecues, picnics in the park, the opening of public pools, a day off from school.


But Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was actually created in 1868 as a day to decorate the graves of Civil War dead. Decoration Day evolved into Memorial Day, a time to honor armed services personnel killed in wartime.

Memorial Day has come to mean something even more to me. My dad died on Memorial Day 20 years ago. (Note: It's now been twenty-six years.)

My parents had just enjoyed a holiday cookout of their own. Daddy (he was always Daddy, never Dad or, heaven forbid, Father) got up from his chair at the kitchen table and that was the end. He fell. He was gone.

One of my sisters said, "He would have loved that--dying on Memorial Day." She meant that he was a man who loved his country and who honored those who had given their lives for it.

He was also willing to serve his country. He mentioned to me--only once--that he had a deferment as a farm boy, but he enlisted during World War II anyway.

Because he had a degree in education, he spent the war as a flight instructor and never left the U.S. When it was over, he climbed out of his Army Air Corps cockpit, whole and happy, and went home to his wife and their baby boy, my only brother.

Then he spent the rest of his life being a plain ordinary guy. I didn't realize for a long time what a hero he was.

Every morning, he kissed my mom goodbye and went to work. He came back home every night. He didn't go to a bar or a sporting event. He spent his evenings and weekends teaching us to ride our bicycles, making popcorn for our snacks, and pitching in our baseball games.

If he left us in the evening, it was to take our mom out to dinner because he knew she worked hard taking care of a house and six kids.

When we were older, he helped us buy our first cars, and he watched us go out on our first dates. He got up at four in the morning on many Saturdays to take me to school, where I would climb on a bus headed to a debate tournament. If I came home with a medal, he didn't say anything. He'd just smile.

For a man who had been a debater himself at the University of Minnesota (where he also played basketball--I have his Golden Gopher framed with his photo), he never said much. One of my sisters concluded he had given up on talking because he lived in a house full of women--I have four sisters-- and he had lost all hope of controlling us.

In control or not, he and his wife of 50 years--who passed away 15 years ago (now twenty-one years), a hero herself--managed to raise the six of us. My brother, who died not long after my mom did, had a master's degree and taught at a college. My oldest sister owns and operates a large company, where another sister works. Two other sisters have excellent jobs. And then there's me, the writer. He called me "little one" because I was the runt of the litter.

My point is that we're all employed (though I'm on and off), we're all responsible parents (we gave our folks 11 grandchildren), we stay in touch with each other, and we don't argue. We definitely laugh a lot when we're together. Our parents must have done something right.

I do have some regrets, though. My greatest regret is that I didn't call my dad on that Memorial Day 20 years ago and tell him what a hero he was.

I don't know why I didn't call. I wanted to, but for some reason, I kept talking myself out of it. I decided to call in a few days.

I even picked up the phone at one point and put it back down without dialing the number and so I missed my opportunity to hear his voice one last time and to tell him what he meant to me.

My heart was trying to tell me something, but my mind wouldn't listen.

Whether it's Memorial Day or Veterans Day or a Tuesday or a Friday, I hope you'll take some time out from whatever you're enjoying and honor your heroes. First, think of those who were killed in the armed services. Then, think of a hero in your life who's still living and let that person know how you feel.


Honor your hero while you have the chance. I wish I had. Memorial Day is now a special reminder for me of the guy who was my hero.

Friday, May 26, 2017

THE CEPHALOPOD COFFEEHOUSE: STATE OF WONDER BY ANN PATCHETT

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,



Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino, and join in the fun. This blog hop is hosted by The Armchair SquidClick on the link to sign up to join us.

The best book that I finished this month is State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.




State of Wonder begins: The news of Anders Eckman's death came by way of Aerogram, a piece of bright blue airmail paper that served as both the stationery and, when folded over and sealed along the edges, the envelope.

Anders Eckman's research partner, Dr. Marina Singh, receives this news at the pharmacological company in Minnesota where the two researchers shared a lab for seven years. Eckman died when the company sent him to Brazil to find Dr. Annick Swenson, the leader of a research project funded by the company.  Dr. Swenson has long held a prominent position in Dr. Singh's memory as the professor whose criticism ended Dr. Singh's medical career.

Now Marina Singh departs for the Amazon to learn where Anders is buried and to tell Dr. Swenson that she must end her research, which has gone on far too long. Soon, Marina finds herself in a state of wonder, where she befriends a deaf boy named Easter and discovers a world quite different from any she has encountered before:

Easter and Marina liked the river best at six o'clock when the sun was spreading out long across the water and the birds had just begun to make their way home for the night. They sat on the damp banks, as far away as they could from the heat of the Lakashi's fire. It was too early to eat and still she wanted to leave the lab for a while, stretch her legs and roll her neck. Sometimes she would sit for twenty minutes, thirty minutes, and other nights she would stay until it was dark. 

In this state of wonder, Marina encounters poisonous insects, rescues Easter from the grasp of an anaconda by using her medical training, delivers a baby, deals with the Dr. Swenson of the present and the past, and learns the truth behind Dr. Swenson's mysterious research with the women of the Lakashi tribe.

Ann Patchett writes so beautifully that I almost couldn't bear to put down this book and deal with my own dull life. I was much happier in the jungle with Marina Singh.

State of Wonder earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Truth And Beauty Approval.

Happy reading!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, May 25, 2017

MOVIE WEEKEND SNIPPETS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's been a long time since I reviewed a movie for you. Because I've seen quite a few movies, I'll give you "snippet" reviews.

I saw all of these movies on DVDs sent to me by my friends at Netflix.

Lion Carol and I watched this one together. We loved it! Dev Patel is great, and he is a sexy man.

Paterson Paterson's last name is Paterson. He lives in Paterson, New Jersey. He drives a bus. He goes home every night and eats the dinner cooked by his wife. Then he takes her dog for a walk. The dog sits outside while Paterson goes in a bar and drinks one beer. Then he goes home. But into Paterson's mundane existence we insert the fact that he writes poetry--beautiful poetry. His wife expresses her artistry by painting everything in sight and deciding she wants to be a country singer. She also loves her husband's poetry. I love this movie. Art can be where we least expect it. By the way, Paterson's favorite poet is William Carlos Williams, who was from Paterson, New Jersey.

Jackie Dull, breathy-voiced debutante grieves after her husband's assassination. How could Natalie Portman be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award? Watching this movie led me to Google more info about Jackie Kennedy, though. I didn't realize that Caroline Kennedy allowed her mother's oral history recorded for the JFK Library to be released much earlier than Jackie Kennedy had decreed. Did you know Jackie called Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson "Colonel Cornpone and His Little Porch Chop"? Now, that made me laugh.

La La Land I thought I didn't like this movie because my expectations were too high. Then I discovered that some other bloggers didn't like it, and Favorite Young Man said he knows a lot of people who didn't think it was that great. This movie won Best Director and Best Actress at the Academy Awards? Not okay. I realize that the actor who looks so much like Willy Dunne Wooters is in this movie. He's fine. He's always fine. He rises above the material.

Deepwater Horizon Big disaster.

The Light Between Oceans Sweet and sad.

The Infiltrator Dull character study that only gets interesting at the end.

Demolition Love, love, love, love it! Go, Jake Gyllenhaal! His character's strange reaction to his wife's death in a car accident makes for a great movie. Give Jake an Academy Award already.

You'll learn more about two nine-year-old boys on Tuesday. Tomorrow is The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, so I have to tell you about the best book I read this month. Monday is Memorial Day, so I have to memorialize my favorite vet. Oh, wait! Tuesday is TIP TUESDAY. The boys might not be back until Wednesday.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WHAT DO NINE-YEAR-OLD BOYS DO WHEN THEY'RE HOME ALONE?

This post is Part II of a series that began with TWO NINE-YEAR-OLD BOYS.


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

What do two nine-year-old boys do when they're home alone?

They scream and climb on things. Then they shout and climb. Then they yell and climb.

It's noisy; get the point?

The climbing includes climbing trees and climbing on whatever happens to be in their backyard that allows them to look in their neighbors' windows. They are such climbers that I can see them from the waist up above my privacy fence, which is seven-feet tall.

not my adorable little neighbor

Their worst climbing is when they clamber up on the crappy shed in their crappy backyard, jump to the roof of my garage (which has asbestos shingles so just wait until you learn about mesothelioma, boys), and then drop down in my backyard. I did not witness this particular climb. My neighbor saw it, and I don't know how they got out of the yard because my gate was still chained and the ladder was not removed from its spot in the garage.

Remember No Country For Old Men?
"MY" nine-year-old boys will grow up to be this guy.

They also like to throw things. Throwing started with them tossing toys into my backyard. I thought the toys had come over the fence by accident when they were playing, so I tossed them back. A few hours later, the toys would be in my yard again. So I gave up on that and let the dogs chew on the safe toys. Unsafe toys went in the garbage can.

"My" nine-year-old boys can be food-throwers at times. I guess this happens when they have something for supper that they don't like, although God only knows who prepares their meals since no adults live in the house. One evening I found numerous slices of fresh cucumber in my backyard. My brilliant mind deduced that their meal had included cucumber in a salad. I don't want the dogs to eat the food because it might be poisoned, which I think could be true because if I cooked for those kids I would poison their food.

So I cleaned up the cucumber. The next evening the cucumber magically replaced itself in my yard. Left-overs for supper, I thought.


The two-nine-year-old boys don't limit themselves to throwing toys and food. They have become more aggressive, perhaps because of the lack of cucumber in their diets. They throw things AT the fence. The largest items appeared to be big, clunky pieces of firewood.

That made quite the smacking sound, which frightened Franklin and Penelope. I wouldn't be worried about what two nine-year-old boys do when they're home alone except for these three reasons:


  1. They might injure themselves on my property and their non-existent parents could blame me and even sue me. Because they are home alone, if I saw that they were injured, I would feel as a reasonable person that I should use my prodigious first-aid skills to help them by handing them band-aids and screaming at them to go call an ambulance for themselves.
  2. I'm concerned about property damage. Sooner or later, they will throw something at the fence that damages it and breaks it down. Then Franklin and Penelope will not have a secure yard, and I'll have to make a big fuss to get the damage repaired.
  3. They scare Franklin and Penelope. Franklin barks at them, which leads to them barking back at him because they aren't really nine-year-old boys; they are feral dogs. Although Franklin makes a valiant effort to protect his yard, they frighten him. So he runs inside and doesn't get to enjoy his yard during rare nice weather. Poor Penelope is terrified of her neighbors to the point that she won't go out if they are out. This problem leads to hours of Penelope crossing her legs because she needs to pee. She trembles, hides behind my chair, and turns into a pitiful sight.
Penelope crosses her legs much tighter than
Mona Lisa after four drinks and does not look this relaxed.

Now the question becomes: what does one do about two nine-year-old boys who are at home alone?



Here come the words you adore: to be continued, but you should blame yourself for this to-be- continued-thing because so many of you read my to be continued stuff about the dentist who stopped accepting my insurance. So there.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug