Sunday, December 30, 2012

LIKE FRANKIE SAID I DID IT MY WAY



Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's my third blogaversary. Whoo-hoo, and I mean that in the most mean spirited and sarcastic way possible.

I chose the Bon Jovi song above because this blog -- this thing -- it's my life. I just wanna live while I'm alive.

Dr. X always discouraged me from singing. One of the nicest things Elvis Aaron Schwarz said to me was that I have a nice voice. He might have even said that it was sweet and beautiful, and that I'm sweet and beautiful.

Well, I can pretend he said that.

You know who I am,
and
I am not Dr. X.
So three years ago I sat down at my computer and set up my blog and my very first post was First Wife Hell -- Second Wife Heaven by Dumped First Wife. I didn't know then that I was going to evolve into that wildly pornographic Lola and then settle down into being plain old me, Janie Junebug.

Sometimes I worry I'm not as funny as I was when I was Lola, but you know, things change, and I'm one of them.

Now I have 151 followers, I've written 816 posts, and I've been checked out 40,762 times. I once had heady dreams of thousands of followers. Now I'm grateful for you 151 and anyone else who happens to stop by.

I'm also extremely grateful for the connections I've developed and the friends I've made. I never knew there was such a creature as a fishducky, and I love her so, along with Melynda and Rita and Dee and Sherry and Kianwi and loonysuse and The Frisky Virgin and Juli and Stephanie and Susan and Veb and so many other people, and I'm sure I'll be sorry I named names because no doubt I've forgotten to mention someone who is fabulous and fantastic and almost as adorable as I am.

If it weren't for blogging, I wouldn't have a middle child (Elisa), and I wouldn't have edited four books. I also hope to edit more, so if you're in need of a good but tough editor, then please let me know because I'll be glad to take your money and return your manuscript to you with corrections and suggestions for improvement. My email is dumpedfirstwife@gmail.com. I'm fast and cheap -- as an editor, that is. I gave up my fast and cheap ways as a woman when I met that scoundrel Elvis Aaron Schwarz.

Yeah.
You know who the fuck
I am.
I thank those of you who stuck with me during the time I had to take my blog private because a wicked witch who shall remain nameless but don't think I don't know who you are was haunting me with truly vicious comments. I am sad that my boy Maxwell stopped blogging, and really disappointed in dirtycowgirl, who said she would be my pretend lesbian lover and then dumped me so she could sell crap on ebay.

Something that's changed since I marked the occasion of my 700th post is my most popular post. For a long time my most popular post was Dumpy Men With Beautiful Skinny Wives. This post has dropped to the ninth spot in my top ten most popular list. It's been replaced by Lip Lock. I don't know why.

In second place is A Brief Tribute To My Father-In-Law, which touches my heart. Third place goes to Mr. Rogers Did Not Wear A Sweater To Cover Up His Tats. This post debunked the email that claimed Mr. Rogers was a grizzled war hero who wore his sweater to cover his many tattoos. I received that email so many times that I couldn't stand it anymore, and every time I receive an email that claims something stupid, like Obamacare calls for "death squads," then I'm glad I debunked at least one dumb email.

During these three years, the dog of my life -- my collie, Faulkner -- died. LegalMist doesn't post very often these days, but when she does, I'm there for her. She didn't know it at the time, but the night after Faulkner died, I was lying in bed, reading her comments on my then quite new blog. LegalMist got me through that long night.

Since then, Franklin has joined us.

 So when Bon Jovi sings "Frankie said I did it my way," he may think it's Frank Sinatra, but it's really Fankie Big Paws, the Mafia dog of Jacksonville, Florida, which at my blog house is Dogtown, where I live with the Z-Boys.
Scout








Harper Lee


Infinities of doggie style love,

Janie Junebug


Friday, December 21, 2012

MOVIE WEEKEND

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm afraid this news will come as quite a shock to you, but I saw a movie in a theater. The trip represented my first visit to a theater since August, 2011, when The Hurricane and I saw the final Harry Potter movie.

As you may recall, The Hurricane visits me even as I write. She insisted I see Lincoln on a big screen in an actual theater. She said it was one of the most amazing movies she's ever seen.

So, thanks to The Hurricane, we drove to the theater and purchased our tickets for the matinee, and I'm pleased to report that The Hurricane knew of what she spake. Lincoln is indeed an amazing movie.

Based on the book Team of Rivals by my heroine, Doris Kearns Goodwin, the movie chronicles the final months of the Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment to The Constitution of these United States. The Hurricane knew the outcome of the vote on this amendment to abolish slavery, yet she found the counting of the votes suspenseful.



According to the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB, which in some circles -- including mine -- is now used as a verb, as in "I'm going to IMDB such-and-such a movie because I can't think of the name of the actress who was in it"), director Steven Spielberg spent 12 years on his research for Lincoln.

It shows.

I felt as if I were watching the actual events unfold. Every shot is beautiful.

I also learned a great deal about everything that was going on at the time. The Hurricane and I were amused by the fear some men felt at the thought of giving all slaves their freedom, because dammit, then they'd expect to vote. And if black men got to vote, then Dear Lord No! next it would be women at the ballot box.

Lincoln can also boast of lovely performances.

Daniel Day-Lewis IS Abraham Lincoln as I imagine him to be. I comment in this fashion because all traces of the actor are erased. Day-Lewis is so totally at one with this role that had I not been told it was Daniel Day-Lewis in the part, I wouldn't have known who it was.

The Hurricane and I predict that Daniel Day-Lewis will win the Academy Award for Best Actor for this role (if he wins, then I believe it will be his third best actor award).

Rather astonishing to me, though, is Sally Field as Mrs. Lincoln, or "Madam President" as Mary Todd Lincoln preferred to be called. She is outstanding. I don't know if she'll win an award, but surely she'll be nominated for Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress.  

The Hurricane also believes Lincoln will win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. How the dialog doth sparkle and move the viewer.

Thaddeus Stevens: Retain, even in opposition, your capacity for astonishment.

Lincoln has The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval. If you're going to see one movie in a theater during this holiday season, then I recommend you see Lincoln.

Dee and Rita, I think you will like this movie. I'm warning the rest of you that it's not for children, and it might not be for you, Maggie, because of a sequence of upsetting shots when President Lincoln and son Robert visit a hospital for soldiers. There will be blood.


However, The Hurricane and I find ourselves intrigued by Les Miserables, which opens Christmas Day. Next week I might be recommending another film seen in a theater.

Oh! such wild times I do have with the fruit of my loins.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. The Hurricane and I also discussed our amusement over people who said President Obama had no experience because he was ONLY a grassroots organizer. What were abolitionists? Grassroots organizers. What were suffragettes? Grassroots organizers.

I could go on, but I think I've made my point that grassroots organizers can be rather powerful. Additionally, they are OF the people, and not above them.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

HOMELESS IN HAWAII

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Here we are, just a few days away from Christmas, and, boy, have you screwed the pooch. You've done some shopping, but not all of it, or maybe you haven't even started.

The thought of fighting your way through the stores this weekend is more than you can bear. You don't have time anyway. Christmas caroling in the neighborhood is Friday night, followed by an Open House at the Bentternderfer's. Saturday night is the company holiday party. Sunday night the kids will be in the Christmas pageant at church. Little Katie will play an angel, and Matthew is a shepherd.

To top it all off, you need to finish a project before Monday, so you have to work all day Saturday, and then on Sunday after church.

Well, you've come to the right place. Mama Junebug can solve all your gift buying problems.

Have you heard of Amazon Prime? Go to amazon.com to join Amazon prime and for a small additional fee, you can have your items delivered in two days. So break out the laptop and get busy ordering. You don't have to hit the stores at all.

My primary recommendation for the adults in your life is the memoir Homeless In Hawaii. That's right: Give them all the same book and tell them you did it so they can have a book club.



And now here's a special Junebug tip. I'll give you some comments to make about the book so everyone will be impressed with your knowledge.

Here goes nothin': In Homeless In Hawaii, EC Stilson uses a journey-quest motif to develop the theme of a young girl's successful coming of age.

Elisa, a mere 17 years old, runs away from Utah with Cade, a young man she barely knows. They take off on a literal journey to Hawaii, while figuratively seeking adulthood. Elisa and Cade have frightening and fun adventures in Hawaii. Sometimes Elisa's naivete gets her in a little trouble, but she can be awfully cute, too.

To succeed on the journey to adulthood, Elisa must learn that although some people are evil, or are not as nice as she thought they were, most people are still good. Most importantly, she learns that Cade may disappoint her at times, but he's worthy of her love.

Stilson tells her story in her usual pleasant, chatty style that makes me feel as if I've gotten to sit down with a good friend who tells me all sorts of fascinating stories about her life.

When Elisa and Cade were homeless in Hawaii, they supported themselves by playing the violin and the guitar to earn tips. Watch and listen and you'll know why they were successful:







Now go to http://www.amazon.com/Homeless-Hawaii-Volume-EC-Stilson/dp/1468157728 to buy the book, or order the ebook at http://www.amazon.com/Homeless-Hawaii-The-Golden-ebook/dp/B00A9NGMLO/ref=tmm_kin_title_0.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug














































Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ANGEL'S KAT

To read the beginning of Angel's Kat, click HERE.

Kat grew older. Angel looked at pictures in her books while she read. He sat on Kat's lap when she watched television or talked to her parents. When Kat went to school, he waited patiently for her return. Then he rubbed against her hand, purring, always purring. Mama wondered if Angel might be Kat's guardian angel because he watched over her so carefully, never sleeping if he thought Kat needed him.

As Kat grew older, she also grew sadder. Once she had sung and played with Angel. Now she wept at the cruelty of the world. The other children at school were unkind, so unkind. Human touch brought pain to Kat, too. The children attacked her. They called her vile names, and a boy kicked her while the other children gathered around, laughing.

When Kat cried herself to sleep, Angel curled himself around Kat's head on her pillow, trying to comfort her. But Kat could not feel comfort. She sensed only pain. Mama and Daddy wanted to help, but they could not find a way. Nothing brought peace to Kat.

One night Kat felt particularly miserable. She fell into an exhausted sleep after her tears had finally passed. But during the night, she awoke to find Angel sitting on her chest. His golden eyes glowed. Kat saw love in Angel's eyes. She remembered the cruelty he had suffered. Somehow Angel had survived. He had not given up. And after his rescue, he had never refused solace. As Angel returned to his place on Kat's pillow, she allowed herself to feel his comforting touch.

Kat woke up in the morning, still feeling the glow of Angel's eyes on her face. She let the glow enter her heart. She felt ready to face the day.

Kat came home from school feeling sad, but not so sad that Angel couldn't comfort her. Every day, she took his glow to school with her.

And she survived. Kat grew older and found friends who were more like her. She met cruelty with strength. Although she didn't need Angel as much as she had in the past, he continued to sleep on her pillow. Mama would look in the door during the night and see Angel, his eyes wide open, still watching over Kat.

Angel continued to take care of Kat until he was sure she didn't need him anymore. After she went away to college, Angel tired of life. He was old. He was sick. He knew that Kat was all right, so when the angels came to take him to Heaven, he was glad to say farewell to the world and move on into the endlessly rocking cradle of God's sea.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ANGEL'S KAT

The cat had been beaten, her jaw broken. Then she and her two kittens were tossed in a dumpster and left to die.

But a kind stranger came along, fished them out, and took them to a shelter. There, caregivers saved the cat's life. And they named her male kitten "Angel" because he was so sweet. In spite of all he had suffered, he purred whenever they touched him.

In fact, the human touch that had once brought pain to Angel now seemed to bring him to life. Most of the time, he sat quietly, as if waiting for something. But as soon as a hand passed near him, he arched his back, rubbed against the hand, and commenced his deep grunting purr. Everyone loved him.

Then one day a family visited the shelter. They wanted a cat -- not a difficult task. Cats raced, strolled, or rested everywhere they looked. The mama wanted a big black cat with white socks. The staff called him Tommy. Tommy looked tough and strong.

But the dad had his eye on a little gray tabby. Over and over again, the father saw this bit of a tabby saunter up to their four-year-old daughter. The tabby arched his back; rubbed his chin and his head against the girl's soft, tiny hand; and let loose his deepest purr ever.

The daughter smiled her quiet smile. She held very still while Angel made her his girl.

"Honey," the dad whispered to the mom, "look at this fellow. See how he seems to love Kat already. I think he's the kitten for us."

The mama watched. She had to agree. The staff hated to see Angel leave, but they were happy he had a family.

Angel settled into his new home quickly. He was happy. He had his very own Kat.

Angel stayed by Kat's side every day and every night. When she and Mama played Chutes and Ladders, Angel tried to play along. Mama shooed Angel  away from the spinner on the game, fearing he would break it by trying to spin it with his paw, so he pawed at the picture of the spinner in the instructions. He wanted to make the wheel revolve, just as Kat did.

to be continued

Friday, December 14, 2012

MOVIE WEEKEND

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have a good one for you this week: Hope Springs (2012 and recently released on DVD).

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for a little more than 30 years. Kay and Arnold don't sleep in the same bed. Hell, they don't even sleep in the same room.

Kay is lonely. She wants a real marriage, instead of feeling she's married to golf, or ESPN. So Kay books a week of marriage renewal therapy in Maine with Dr. Feld (Steve Carell).

Oh, I can hear you right now. You're thinking that if Steve Carell is involved then the movie is silly, but I promise you it's not. Steve Carell has what it takes to play this part.

But more important than anything Steve Carell does, is that Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are at their best in this movie -- not that I think I've ever seen them do anything poorly.

Arnold grumps and complains about going to Maine, about seeing a therapist, about spending money, about (though he probably doesn't realize it) leaving his comfort zone. Kay is quieter, less sure of herself, and feeling rejected.

Never have I seen a movie do such a fine job of capturing the loneliness that can occur in a marriage -- the feeling that you'd be less alone if you didn't live with your spouse.

I also want to thank Meryl Streep for being Meryl Streep. She inhabits every role she plays. She's not as skinny as a stick and she doesn't have her face so botoxed that her eyebrows meet her hairline. Meryl Streep is a real person -- open and giving, even when her character seems a bit shy and reluctant to complain that she doesn't want a hot water heater for a present.

Kay and Arnold leave Maine without resolving their issues. I'm not going to tell you if they stay together or decide to divorce, if the ending is happy or sad. I will tell you I cried tears of joy mixed with tears of sadness and longing.

Hope Springs has The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

Dee and Rita, I think you will like this movie.

Happy watching and happy weekend, everyone! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. Recently Elvis Aaron Schwarz said he needed to ask me some serious questions about my blog. Who is this Maxwell? he wanted to know.

Maxwell, I told him, is my lover who comes to me in the still of the night when the moon is full . . . and he lets me put my cold feet on him wherever I want. When Maxwell departs, my feet -- and the rest of me -- are sooooo warm.

Take that, Elvis Aaron Schwarz! My man must keep my feet warm!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ZELDA

If the nursing home held a contest for Most Hated Patient, the prize would have gone to Zelda with no need to take a vote.

It wasn't because the other patients hated her, though. They never saw her.

It was the staff who despised her. Zelda's call light lit up and buzzed constantly throughout the day and the night, and nothing could be done to appease her. And when Zelda was dissatisfied, watch out for your ear drums. She emitted a series of high-pitched screams and wouldn't stop until her daughter arrived and told her to shut up.

Zelda's room was on South Hall, my favorite place to work. I knew the patients well, and adored all of them -- except Zelda. Zelda seldom slept, and nothing could make her comfortable. Her call light went off every five minutes throughout most of the night.

"My neck hurts," was her usual complaint.

I would lift her head a little, adjust the pillow a bit, and place her head back on the pillow.

"No, it's not right," she invariably whined.

I would lift her head again, move the pillow a bit, and put her head back down. She would wiggle her head a bit.

"No, it's still not right."

After adjusting the pillow in every direction without any hope of satisfying Zelda, I would finally have to say, "Zelda, I can't do anything else. I'm afraid you'll have to put up with it the way it is."

"All right," Zelda would sigh.

Five minutes later her call light would buzz again.

I had some sympathy for Zelda. She had severe rheumatoid arthritis. Her movements were limited. She was also obese. She couldn't roll over in bed, couldn't life her arm to adjust her own pillow, couldn't walk. She had to be fed because her fingers were virtually paralyzed from arthritis. On the rare occasion she left her bed, we moved her in a sling, using a mechanical lift to place her in a chair for a short period of time.

Zelda never stayed in the chair for long. She always wanted to be back in her bed.

One night I was working with Betty, and the two of us headed to Zelda's room together when her call light lit up and rang.

"You hold her down," I joked with Betty, "while I put the pillow over her face and hold it there."

Betty laughed.

Zelda wanted her pillow adjusted, as usual, but Betty lifted her head roughly and dropped it back down on the pillow.

I felt guilty immediately. Had my joke encouraged Betty to handle Zelda roughly? Betty's action wasn't unkind enough to be considered abusive, but she wasn't nice, either.

"She just wants attention," Betty said as we headed down the hall to another room.

Wants attention. Why, of course Zelda wanted attention. Suddenly the reason for Zelda's neediness slapped me in the face.

Zelda had raised five children. Only one came to see her. Zelda had been married to a pastor, and no doubt had spent many years helping her husband minister to the needs of their congregation. No wonder Zelda wanted constant attention. She had spent years surrounded by people, and now she was alone nearly 24-hours per day.

Zelda was lonely.

To be continued.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

THE TANTRUM

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

A few days ago I had a doctor's appointment (nothing wrong, but thank you for asking), and then I stopped by one of my neighborhood restaurants for a sandwich.

A man, woman, and young boy were sitting in the booth across from me. I wasn't paying much attention to them because as I waited for my food, I was reading Bill The Vampire by our friend Rick Gualtieri of The Poptart Manifesto.

I couldn't help hearing the "gentleman" across the way ask the server where something from his meal was. I heard the server reassure him that it was on the way.

The server returned to the kitchen, and suddenly the man's voice became louder and louder and then out of the corner of my eye, I saw him use his arm to sweep all the food and drinks off the table. I got splattered, but it wasn't anything serious.

The man arose, followed quickly by the woman and little boy, demanded his bill (strangely enough), and then left immediately. I think the cook, a rather burly fellow, told him to just get out. Then I heard the cook call the police.

My server came back to check on me, and I asked her what was wrong. She said she had no idea -- that the man had eaten there before and had always been very polite, but on this day, he'd been rude from the minute he walked in the door.

I got out my money to pay my bill and was told to forget it -- having Sprite tossed at me earned me a free lunch.

I felt sorry for the woman and the little boy, and concerned for their safety.

I've seen people complain in restaurants -- the service is poor or the food isn't what they ordered -- but I've never seen anyone have a restaurant tantrum.

What about you? Have you seen anyone act that badly in public?

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. Bill the Vampire is safe. He didn't get hit with the drink.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ELVIS AARON SCHWARZ GETS COLD FEET

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Elvis Aaron Schwarz has gotten cold feet. What? What's all that yammering about?

Oh, you thought Elvis had backed out of our friendship. No way! That's not what I meant by cold feet.

Hi! Remember me?
I'm Elvis Aaron Schwarz.
My baby doll is the one who has cold feet.

You see, on Thanksgiving I gave Elvis kind of a nasty surprise. I was cold so I climbed into bed with him for a warm cuddle. But I touched poor Elvis with my feet. That's how he got cold feet.

One touch of my feet and I heard a grown man squeal like a little girl. Your feet are freezing, he screeched. You have ice cubes instead of toes.

I know, I said. That's why I put my feet on you. I need you to warm my feet.

As my feet explored Elvis's warm body, I discovered that Elvis was wearing socks.

Uh, honey, I said. Are those the kind of socks that are tight around your ankles?

Yes, he grunted.

It's really not a good idea to sleep in socks like that, I told him. They cut off the circulation to your feet.

A minute later Elvis made some strange wiggling motions.

What, pray tell, are you doing? I inquired.

I'm taking off my socks, Elvis answered.

You're taking off your socks because I said it would be good for you? I asked, feeling quite pleased that a man had listened to me.

I've learned it's easier to just do what a woman says than to argue, Elvis replied.

Oh, that Elvis Aaron Schwarz. He is so intelligent. 

Because Elvis is diabetic, I've taken it upon myself to care for his feet because I want him to keep those tootsies. Elvis loves it when I soak his feet in warm water with peppermint sprinkles. Then I scrub his feet gently and massage his feet and legs with peppermint lotion. I even trim his toenails. 

What a simple thing to do, and it makes Elvis so happy.

As for my feet, I can take care of them myself. But Elvis does like something about my feet, as long as I'm not touching him with icy toes.

It seems that Elvis likes peep-toe shoes.

As soon as I found out, I bought a pair. They're black and pink.




 Do you think he'll like them? I hope so.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Monday, December 10, 2012

THANK YOU, PANERA AND ECZEMA

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I've finally completed a chapter for my book, CareGiver: Love, Laughter & Poop.

I started the book earlier this year with a prologue and an explanation of how I ended up working in a nursing home instead of spending my days as a reporter in a newsroom. I deleted those posts from my blog, and eventually I'll probably delete the poopy night chapter, along with all the writing for the book that follows. After all, why should you be able to click on my blog and read my book in its entirety whenever you want? You're going to have to buy this sucker to get the whole story.

Besides, the writing for the book that I post on my blog is my rough draft. And I won't post everything that's going in the book. But writing for my blog helps me keep the words for the book flowing.

I guess I need an assignment to be able to write, and I think of the blog as my assigned writing. Sitting in my recliner with my feet up, tapping away on my laptop, is a lot more fun than writing an assigned story in a loud, dirty newsroom.

When the book is finished, I think I shall have to dedicate it to Panera and eczema. The two are keeping me awake at night, the time I feel most comfortable writing.

If you don't have Panera where you live, then I'm sorry for you. It's a soup, salad, sandwich, bakery, coffee house. I've never been a coffee drinker. Love the way it smells, but I've always found the taste bitter.

But recently, the nice server at Panera told me that thanks to my Panera rewards card, I could have a free frozen coffee. Thanks, I told her, but I don't like coffee.

Oh, but we have frozen coffees that don't even taste like coffee, she said. You should try the frozen peppermint mocha coffee.

I took her advice and that night I emailed a friend and said I finally understand why coffee drinkers can accomplish so much. The coffee and its symbiotic friend, caffeine, have me feeling as if I can move mountains. I might even spin around so fast that I fly away into the sky, where I shall look down upon all the non-coffee drinkers and laugh maniacally.

A less pleasant feeling comes from my eczema, a skin disease that leaves nasty, itchy little bumps on various parts of my body. The itch often precedes the appearance of the rash, and don't even bother to tell me not to scratch. It ain't gonna happen. Eczema and I were born to be together cuz I've always had it.

not me


At the moment, the eczema is particularly bad under my left arm and on the middle of my back, where my bra strap rubs against it and irritates the skin even more.

I've been taking my antihistamine that usually relieves my itching, but the current cases of eczema are so bad that the antihistamine is of little help.

So I borrowed the topical spray I got from the vet last summer when Harper had severe skin allergies. It helped a little, but the eczema remains, keeping me awake and writing.

So that's why I'll dedicate my book to Panera and eczema, and maybe a couple of young adults who claim to be my children. But I don't know how that can be. They were shorter than me just the other day, and they giggled when we played games.

Now they're taller than I am, and I request their help.

Be good to your children. One of these days you'll need them to get the Christmas decorations out of the attic and move the furniture and tend to you when you're sick.

I tried asking the doggies to do all that stuff for me. They said, no, they're not here to work for me.

I forgave them as soon as the weather turned chilly and they cuddled me in bed.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, December 7, 2012

MOVIE MOVIE WEEKEND

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have two fine movies for your consideration today. Both became available on DVD recently.

The first is Ruby Sparks (2012), starring Paul Dano as Calvin, a novelist who suffered an early success. Now, how can he live up to his first novel?

But then Calvin starts writing about a girl named Ruby, who comes to life. As their relationship develops, Ruby wants a life of her own. She stays out at night, leaving Calvin alone.

So he simply re-writes her, and Ruby becomes clingy, not wanting to let Calvin out of her sight. No matter what goes wrong, Calvin can change it by sitting down at his typewriter.

This movie is interesting and unusual. Paul Dano is a fine actor.

Ruby Sparks has The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval.

Our second possibility for your viewing enjoyment is Dark Shadows (2012). I love, love, love this movie. How could I not adore it? It's Johnny Depp, directed by the great Tim Burton.

As the movie began, I thought, meh, not living up to expectations. But after Barnabas Collins (Depp) is unearthed and rescued from the coffin in which he has rested for two centuries, the fun begins. It's now 1972. Barnabas must deal with the deterioration of his family's business and wealth and help his dysfunctional ancestors.

And while he performs this function, he copes with his vampirish need for for blood.

Although a bit bloody at times, but not in a horrifying slasher movie way, overall  Dark Shadows is campy and hilarious.

Barnabas Collins: What is your age? 
Carolyn Stoddard: Fifteen. 
Barnabas Collins: Fifteen, and no husband? You must put those child-bearing hips to good use, lest your womb shrivel up and die. 

Barnabas's activities are accompanied by the music of the early '70s. Particularly amusing is when Barnabas sees Karen Carpenter performing on television and attacks the TV set, exclaiming that she is a tiny sorceress concealed inside.

The one aspect of this movie that's a bit off is Helena Bonham-Carter. She's wasted in the role of the psychiatrist.

However, the costumes and the set are perfect, and Dark Shadows has that great Tim Burtonesque look. Tim Burton continues to impress me as a true auteur, and my Johnny is the perfect Barnabas.

Dark Shadows has The Highest Janie Junebug Seal of Approval.

Dee, in spite of my approval of these movies, I don't think you would like them. Rita, I'm not absolutely positive, but I think you might enjoy them.

Happy viewing to you all! Please don't wear yourselves out with holiday "festivities." I hope you enjoy your families and don't overdo the activities. If cookie baking is too much of a chore, then go to the bakery. Buy a few small gifts at The Dollar Store and wrap them in newspaper -- unless your name is Elvis Aaron Schulz. 

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, December 6, 2012

THE FIRST POOPY NIGHT ENDS

To read about the beginning of The First Poopy Night, click HERE. To read the second part of The First Poopy Night, click HERE.


Now that my patients were clean and sleeping -- at least temporarily -- I visited each room to bag the poopy linens and take them to the Soiled Utility Room for rinsing and re-bagging so they could go in the large laundry bin.

Since the laundry workers started their days early and left early in the afternoon, by the middle of the night the bin often overflowed with bags of stinky laundry.

As I began rinsing the excrement-coated linens, Shayla marched into the room. "Trish wants to know where you are," Shayla said, "and she's mad cuz she told you to stay on the hall and clean up the patients."

"I cleaned everyone," I protested. "I can't just leave the sheets and bed pads on the floor."

Shayla shrugged her shoulders and wandered out.

I stuffed the little bit of laundry I had rinsed into a bag, tossed it in the bin, and returned to West Hall, where Trish awaited me. "You can't leave your patients, girl," she shouted. "They're sick."

During the few minutes I had been in the Soiled Utility Room, Minnie had awakened and begun to vomit again. The poor old woman now suffered with dry heaves.

I held Minnie's hand, rubbed her back and tried to comfort her while Trish berated me for my slowness.

I spent the rest of the night dashing from one patient's room to the next, cleaning up the sick, changing wet diapers, rolling people from side to side to side in the losing battle against bedsores. Stolen minutes found me back in the Soiled Utility Room, rinsing out linens.

When 7 a.m. finally arrived and my shift ended, my hands shook with exhaustion. I hadn't had a break during my entire 12-hour shift.

And any fondness I might have felt for Trish had gone out the window. I suspected that her accusation that I was slow would follow me forever.

I got in the elevator that would carry me to the first floor, a little spot of peace on the way to the safe haven of my car. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but since paying the bills rested on my narrow shoulders, I figured I'd better laugh or I would spend every night at work in misery.

Laugh I did, all the way to my car, where I chuckled and guffawed at the insanity of the night as I drove home. I giggled as I dragged myself into my house, until spasms seized my stomach and I spent the next few hours glued to the toilet.

The stomach bug from which the residents suffered had followed me home.

But at least I could get up and walk to the bathroom. I didn't have to depend on someone else to clean my bottom. How fortunate I was to be 45 years old, and able to take care of myself.

Best of all, I got to call in sick to work.





Wednesday, December 5, 2012

THE FIRST POOPY NIGHT CONTINUES

If you missed the beginning of this chapter or have a burning desire to re-read it, then please click HERE.



I cleaned up John as quickly as I could, but it wasn't easy. I spread paper towels over the poop in the bed and washed John thoroughly. Then he had to roll to his left side so I could roll up the right side of the filthy bottom sheet and bed pad next to his body. Then I immediately replaced the bare part of the mattress with a clean sheet and bed pad.

John then rolled to his right side and onto the clean bedding while I pulled out the soiled bedding and finished rolling the clean sheet and bed pad onto the rest of the bed.

I knew I was fortunate because John was strong enough to roll himself. GNAs often have to roll a patient onto his side and hold him with one hand while changing the sheet with the other hand.

Then it was time to move to the next room, where I found gentle Margaret in a pool of diarrhea and vomit.

Margaret suffered from dementia and was confused by the mess that surrounded her.

"Something, uh, seems to have happened here," she whispered, as if she might hurt the feelings of the person who had gotten sick in her bed.

"It's all right, Margaret," I told her. "I'll get you cleaned up."

But where to begin? Everything was covered with filth -- Margaret herself and the bed.

Trish the RN rushed in. "You're going to have to give her a shower, honey," she commanded.

I got a shower chair from the large shower room down the hall and dashed back to Margaret's room with the chair that looked like a rolling toilet seat, complete with a potty under the hole in the seat, necessary for catching what might be released when the patient was in the shower.

Before I could get Margaret onto the chair, Trish grabbed a bed pad and put it over the shower chair seat. "Here, you need to set her on this," she said.

I knew the bed pad was a mistake. Any other fluid that came out of Margaret's bottom would flow over the sides of the bed pad and onto the floor instead of going in the potty. Also, I would have to lift Margaret off the chair in the shower room to get the bed pad out of the way.

I was discovering quickly that Trish liked to give orders with no thought to the consequences, and she wouldn't listen to any other opinions. She was very critical, too. "C'mon, girl, you need to pick up the pace," Trish ordered me.

But at least she helped me get Margaret out of the bed and onto the bed pad-covered shower chair.

Rolling the chair as fast as I dared, Margaret and I then flew down the hall to the shower room,.

In the shower room, I turned on the water to warm it up, but now I had to get the bed pad out of the way. All alone and terrified that I might drop Margaret, I strained to lift her enough to remove the bed pad.

Miraculously, I managed it, and rolled Margaret and chair into the shower. She looked so confused by the spray of water that I felt sorry for her. Although the water was warm, the room was cold. As soon as I turned off the water, I wrapped Margaret in towels, yet she shivered and shook.

We hurried back to her room, where poor Margaret had to remain seated on the shower chair while I put clean sheets on her bed and, again, left the soiled bedding on the floor as Trish had told me to do.

I continued to work my way down the hall, finding sick people in nearly every room. My first night to work a 12-hour shift, and a wave of stomach flu was sweeping through the building.

When I finally reached the last room on the right, tiny Minnie was mewling as quietly as a weak kitten. Minnie had just returned from the hospital the day before. She had been admitted because of pneumonia and hadn't yet recovered completely.

Now she leaned over the side of the bed and vomited onto the floor. When her stomach spasms stopped, I cleaned up Minnie and Trish came in to check on her, or perhaps to check on me. "You gotta go faster, girl," Trish again told me.

I didn't know how to move any faster. Already my fear that I couldn't do this new work quickly enough was being realized.

More of this chapter to come soon, I hope. Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting. I promise that every chapter won't be filled with poop and vomit. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A LOVERLY GIFT FROM FISHDUCKY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I hope to continue the story of the poopy night tomorrow, but for today I must insist that you admire my gift from fishducky. It's in the sidebar of my blog, to the right of this post. Look under the FOLLOWERS box.

I'll also show it to you right here, right now, because it's so special.

Look at that! It's my very own badge: GRAMMAR POLICE

                                                         to serve and
                                                            correct.

I'm so honored, fishducky. I thank you from the bottom of my grammar loving heart.

Infinities of fishducky love,

Janie Junebug

And if you don't follow fishducky's blog, it's time to start. Fishducky is hilarious. You can find fishducky, finally! by clicking here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

LOVE, LAUGHTER, AND POOP: THE FIRST POOPY NIGHT

I hopped out of my car, my heart filled with trepidation and joy, nervous but excited about starting my new job at the nursing home. My certification as a Geriatric Nursing Assistant was as new as the crisp white scrubs I wore.

I had volunteered to work 12 hour shifts -- 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Would I be fast enough? Strong enough? Smart enough? Or would I be fired before I had a chance to get the hang of the job? A Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) has to hit the ground running. If I didn't do the job well from the very beginning, I wouldn't make it.

Accidentally killing patients, or killing them through carelessness, was easy as pie. Keeping them alive was much more difficult.

Many elderly people can't swallow liquids. Instead, they suck the liquid into their lungs and get pneumonia. If we didn't squeeze every drop of water or mouth wash from the small oral care sponge used to clean out the mouth of such a patient, this simple procedure  could turn us into benevolent killers.

People could be severely injured if we dropped them while transferring their still living, yet dead weight, from wheelchair to bed. If we didn't maintain a constant vigil, a patient might unbuckle the useless seat belt on her wheelchair, get up to walk on her own and come to a stop on the floor with a freshly broken hip.

How could we watch everyone all the time and still perform the patient care required of us?

The nursing home wasn't completely new to me. I had already worked there for several months as a Hospitality Aid, passing out snacks to the patients, filling water pitchers, emptying bins filled with soiled laundry.

But now I would actually be allowed to touch the patients. I would wash them and change them into hospital gowns before putting them to bed. Throughout the night I would make rounds every two hours -- changing diapers and rolling the patients from one side to the other in the losing battle to prevent ugly bed sores.

My main concern was speed. Geriatric Nursing Assistants have to work quickly. They are overloaded with patients. Nursing homes never have enough help. When I was a newspaper reporter, I could whip out an article in 20 minutes.

But could I wash a patient, dress him in a gown, brush his teeth and get him into bed in less than 20 minutes?

We really had only about ten minutes to spend on each patient so that everyone would be in bed by 10 p.m., when it was time to start first rounds.

I HAD to get up to speed. I HAD to work quickly and perform the tasks well.

I needed this job.

So I made myself walk briskly through the front door of the nursing home, pretending to be filled with confidence, pretending I knew what I was doing, and I took the elevator to the third floor, where I knew every patient.

I was assigned to West Hall that first night, the hall with the fewest patients because the area that would usually be occupied by four standard rooms and two bathrooms was instead filled with a Day Room. The Day Room had chairs, couches, tables, a television, and jigsaw puzzles. I never saw anyone use it.

Four GNAs were on duty. Three of us were responsible for the three halls filled with double rooms for the patients. The fourth GNA was a floater. She went from one hall to another, wherever she might be needed because where the fourth hall could have been, instead there was a large dining room.

In the center of the floor lay Command Central, the nurses' station. The RNs and LPNs spent their evenings passing out medicine and most of the rest of the night sitting at the nurses' station, filling out paperwork.

With a little help from Shayla, that night's floater, everyone on my hall was in bed by 10.

That was when the fun began.

I started rounds by entering the first room on my right. "Oh, help," the man in the bed closer to the window suddenly groaned. "I'm going to have diarrhea."

His name was John. He had a broken hip, and he couldn't walk to the toilet.

I looked in the bedside table for a fracture pan -- a smaller version of a bedpan used for patients with broken hips. The patient could roll onto his side then roll back down onto the fracture pan without lifting his hips for the more cumbersome bedpan.

No fracture pan in the bedside table. Bedpans and fracture pans were supposed to be standard equipment. Where was John's?

"I can't wait much longer," John cried. "I'm sick. I need to poooooop!"

I dashed to the bathroom. Surely a fracture pan would be close at hand.

No fracture pan in the bathroom.

"I have to get a pan for you, John," I called back as I scurried out the door, headed for the supply room that occupied a small space near the nurses' station.

Fracture pan. Pink. Handle on one end. Where was it?

In a box, on a shelf, almost out of reach. I grabbed the pan and wasted precious seconds following the instructions that had been drummed into me during my certification classes.

"Always remove the sticker from supplies and place the sticker in the charge book on the page with the patient's name," our instructor had said over and over. "If we don't charge the patients for supplies, it may save us 30 seconds at the time, but it hurts our paychecks in the long run if the patients aren't charged for every single item we take to their room, whether it's a toothbrush or a basin."

With the sticker in place in the charge book, I walked back to John's room as fast as I could go. We were not allowed to run because if patients saw us running, they might think there was an emergency and be frightened. Sudden scares could lead to heart attacks.

As I approached the room, I heard John's wails increasing. "Unnnnnnnnn . . . I can't hold it much long. Hurry! Hurry!"

"I"m hurrying, John," I assured him as I pulled on plastic gloves, removed the protective plastic from the fracture pan with my right hand, rolled John onto his side with my left hand, placed the pan under his butt, and rolled him onto his back, fracture pan firmly in place.

"Here it comes!" he cried, as if he were about to give birth to a giant poop baby.

John proceeded to poop as if he had never pooped before. I didn't know anyone could poop that much. He pushed out so much poop that it squeezed over the edges of the pan and onto John's hospital gown, onto the protective pad under his bottom that was supposed to protect the sheet, and then squished out from the pad to the sheet.

When John decided he was done, I rolled him over, removed the overflowing pan so I could rinse it out, and tallied in my mind what I would need from the large metal linen cart in the hall: a clean hospital gown, a fresh bed pad, clean fitted sheet, clean top sheet, washcloth, towel.

At that moment, an RN named Trish stuck her head in the door and saw the mess. She told me to leave all the soiled linens on the floor at the foot of the bed, which was against the rules. Soiled linens were to be placed in large plastic bags immediately and taken to the soiled utility room, where we would then use a large sink with a hose to rinse off as much poop as possible before placing the linens in yet another plastic bag and leaving them in the laundry bin.

"But, but," I tried to protest to Trish.

She cut me off. "You have more people who are sick."

To be continued, I hope. 

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE BROKEN HEART

for EAS



Where did my broken heart go?
It seems to have disappeared.

I checked in the crumb-filled crevices of the couch.
It wasn't there.

I dumped everything out of my purse and searched my wallet.
It wasn't there.

I vacuumed up a tumble weed of dog hair in a corner.
It wasn't there.

I would have cut myself on the shards of glass if it had been in the couch.
I would have seen the glitter of glass if it had been in my purse.
I would have heard the shattered bits of glass as the vacuum cleaner sucked them away.

I suspect someone stole it and hid it where it can never be found.

His name is MY LOVE.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

MAKE YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EASY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Don't wait till the last minute to do your Christmas shopping. You can find great books at reasonable prices at the Wayman Publishing Christmas Book Fair.

Here's the link:

http://waymanpublishing.webs.com/christmasbookfair.htm

Go ahead -- make your life easier by purchasing books for your loved ones. You can also buy yourself a gift, just in case Santa has put you on the naughty list. A book for Christmas will make up for that lump of coal in your stocking.

The book fair starts today, and runs through December 4th.

Of course, I have to recommend the latest Open Doors anthology: Fractured Fairy Tales. I have a story in this book. I re-imagined Rumpelstilstkin.


Please keep in mind that most of the profits from this book go to charity.

I also must urge you to start off the sales of EC Stilson's third, just released memoir, Homeless In Hawaii, with a bang. This is a great book that deserves all the attention it can get.


You'll find a lot of other good books at the fair, including Melynda Fleury's collection of three "Nonsense" books, which consist of posts from her hilarious and touching blog at Crazy World, and who can resist that naughty Bill The Vampire by Rick Gualtieri of The Poptart Manifesto?

Last, but not least, please check out Dee Ready's two books: A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story and A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Legacy. Dee writes so beautifully that her books make my heart do flip-flops. Dee blogs at coming home to myself.

I wish you a happy shopping experience at the book fair. Shopping with Wayman Publishing is a heck of a lot easier than running around a crowded mall, and I think you'll find the perfect book for every person on your list.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Saturday, December 1, 2012

FREE EBOOK

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I apologize for not posting this information earlier, but it's still not too late to get the ebook of Wayman Publishing's latest anthology for free at http://www.amazon.com/Open-Doors-Fractured-Fairy-ebook/dp/B00AB986C4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1354376828&sr=8-2&keywords=open+doors+fairy.

Please don't "click to look inside." It won't work. I borrowed the image from Amazon. As the cover says, this Open Doors is a collection of Fractured Fairy Tales. And I confess: I wrote one of them.

Mine is a re-working of Rumpelstiltskin.

The ebook is free today only, but you still have several hours left to get it if you are on Eastern time, and even more hours if you're in a time zone on the other side of the country.

Enjoy!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug