Friday, May 30, 2014

APPARENTLY, I AM A VERSATILE BLOGGER

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Stephanie Neighbour has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award, which means I have won the versatile blogger award, according to the versatile blogger award Web site, which you can find HERE.


I'm supposed to nominate 15 bloggers I've discovered recently or follow regularly for the versatile blogger award, which means you are a wiener if you find the address of your blog below this paragraph. Here's where it goes haywire. I don't think anyone ever accepts an award I've passed on. Oh, well. I'll try anyway. After I nominate you 15 who can't be bothered, then I'm supposed to tell Stephanie Neighbour seven lies interesting facts a buncha bullshit things about myself. You are welcome to stick around for the seven lies interesting facts a buncha bullshit things about myself.

Okey-dokey. Whom shall I harass this time?


  1. http://1makingadifference.blogspot.com/
  2. http://thestephanieconnection.blogspot.com/
  3. http://crystalcollier.blogspot.com/
  4. http://shadydell.blogspot.com/
  5. http://bmariede.blogspot.com/ V
  6. http://delusionsofingenuity.blogspot.com/
  7. http://ilovetoreadyourbooks.blogspot.com/
  8. http://eseckman.blogspot.com/
  9. http://jo-annemotherandnanna.blogspot.com/
  10. http://www.justinappropriate.com/
  11. http://shellysm.blogspot.com/
  12. http://nickielson.blogspot.com/
  13. http://www.skanthony.com/
  14. http://quillfeather-blog.blogspot.com/
  15. http://when-a-lion-sleeps.blogspot.com/
I betcha a dollar that not one of these bloggers will accept this award.

Well, maybe Rachel at When a Lion Sleeps, Let It Sleep (#15) will accept it because she's my buddy. So I betcha 75 cents. But maybe Shelley and Sir Shady and Vebbie and a couple other people will accept it, so the bet is off.

Now I have to think of seven things about moi to tell Stephanie Neighbour:


  1. Wednesday night I went to my neighborhood restaurant to have dinner, and it was closed, as in everything is dark and all the signs are gone and the people who work there have probably been selected to go on a little visit with some aliens. I am bereft, utterly bereft. I met Willy Dunne Wooters for the first time in that restaurant. I went to a different restaurant for dinner and my food and drink were utterly tasteless. Then I got home and found out Maya Angelou had died and I felt as if the bottom had dropped out of my world, especially because Willy Dunne Wooters has to work extra this week and he'll have to work over the weekend so I might not see him for another week or so. I texted Favorite Young Man about Maya and about the restaurant. He was sad about Maya, too. He asked if I was sure the restaurant was closed because they're always so busy at breakfast time and maybe they just aren't open evenings now and I told him I'd gone to their Web site and next to hours it says "Now Closed". I am bereft, utterly bereft. Where will I go in my neighborhood when I want a nice, inexpensive little meal, in a place where everyone says Hey, Janie, when I walk in, and I can sit and read a book while I eat? I remain bereft and without a clue. I am concerned about the servers, too, because I think they got dumped with little to no notice. I always befriend the servers where I eat. When I broke my back, the only person who called me to find out where I was and what was wrong was a server at my favorite restaurant (in Illinois).
  2. Although I have dogs, I am cat-like in much of my behavior. I sleep for about 20 hours a day. When I wake up, I alternate between organizing stuff, kind of like a cat pushing around poop in a litter box; eating; rubbing up against Willy Dunne Wooters when he's here; and playing with a piece of string or some bubble wrap. I am easily entertained and a cheap date.
  3. I majored in English. I'm not sure how I became a newspaper reporter. I went to a job interview and the executive editor asked where I had gotten my training in journalism. I said that I didn't have training in journalism, that I only took a Journalism 101 class. She said, Then where did you get your training in writing? I told her I went to Shepherd University. She held up a special issue of a small newspaper where I was the managing editor and asked, Did you do this? I said yes. They hired me. Those people were nuts. I didn't know what I was doing. Maybe that was the key to my popularity with the public.
  4. Now that we're on the subject of popularity, I was never popular while I was growing up, and I didn't have a lot of friends during the early years of our marriage. We always had to move because X screwed up at something or got mad at somebody at work and he'd quit his job. Every time we moved, I lost my friends. Then I finally went back to college, and it was weird because everybody except this one jerk named Kevin seemed to like me. I always sat in the same place in Dr. C's class. The other students told me they knew where to sit based on my seat because the world is Janiecentric. Dr. C told me that he always saved my essays to read last because they made him feel he'd accomplished something as a teacher. At most of the jobs I had, if they had taken a vote for Miss Congeniality, I think I would have won. I get to be popular without every doing the rah-rah cheerleader thing. It's fun to be popular. I just read what I wrote in this paragraph, and it makes me feel good.
  5. Recently, I fell in love with the TV show Nurse Jackie. I don't have Showtime so I'm getting it on DVDs from Netfix. I think it's wonderfully funny because it's so real. At the beginning of the first episode, Jackie says something to the effect of What do you call a nurse with a bad back? She answers herself: Unemployed. Jackie doesn't have any problem with bending or breaking rules if it will help her patients. I used to steal stuff out of the supply closet when I knew patients couldn't afford to buy something. Occasionally I ignored positive drug tests because what difference does it make if somebody who can't get any other job is working as a housekeeper in a hotel and she smokes some pot? Jackie and I are addicts, too.
  6. Um, er, hmmm, snrt. Oh, I know! I'm editing a book for someone. A certain blogger recommended me for the job and apparently told the writer that I am "a scream". I usually only think I'm funny when I'm with my kids so I laugh at my own jokes until I'm about ready to fall down or pee my pants and they just shake their heads and say, We know you think you're funny, Mom, but you are so not funny. What kind of a bug do they have up their asses? How can they be my kids and not think I'm funny? Well, it's okay because Middle Child thinks I'm funny, and fishducky says that her daughter doesn't think she's funny and everybody knows that fishducky is hilarious. 
  7. I have a new family member, and that's all I'm going to say about that for now.

Thank you, Stephanie Neighbour, for the award. I likes you a whole big bunch, and you is my friend.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, May 29, 2014

MOVIE WEEKEND: AMERICAN HUSTLE

Gentle Readers  . . and Maxwell,

American Hustle (2013, Rated R, Available on DVD) is worth watching just to see Bradley Cooper with his hair in little pink curlers.




This very loosely based-on-the-facts film fictionalizes the Abscam scandal of the late 1970s and early '80s. Con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his mistress, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), are dragged into the world of FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso involves them with the mafia, and especially with politician Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner).  DiMaso's wild plan to catch politicians taking bribes from Arabs could all be ruined by his own craziness and the intervention of Rosenfeld's wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence).

It says a lot about this movie that it was nominated for all the major Academy Awards, including the four acting categories: Christian Bale, Best Actor; Amy Adams, Best Actress; Bradley Cooper, Best Supporting Actor; and Jennifer Lawrence, Best Supporting Actress. Jeremy Renner also is outstanding, as is Louis C.K. as DiMaso's much put upon but ultimately triumphant boss.

American Hustle is character driven, and I like that in a movie as well as in a book. The plot is a little wild, but it can be followed. It features some very funny moments, especially between Bradley Cooper and Louis C.K., and Jennifer Lawrence with anyone or by herself.

It did not win any Academy Awards, but I favor Amy Adams over Cate Blanchett, though Judi Dench should have won Best Actress. I like just about anybody instead of Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. I could have beat Cate Blanchett for my role as craziest person in Jacksonville, Florida. It's not that Cate Blanchett isn't a good actress. She simply didn't deserve this particular win.

Jennifer Lawrence singing Live and Let Die while she cleans house is quite a sight.

This movie is not for children. Older teens? It's up to you.

I thoroughly enjoyed American Hustle, which earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

Happy Viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

THE PHENOMENAL WOMAN HAS LEFT US

Maya Angelou died earlier today. I am sad, but she was 86 years old and lived a life full of hardships and honors.




Monday, May 26, 2014

BULLY FOR YOU: RACHEL'S STORY OF A STOLEN EDUCATION

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today we begin with our guest posts on the subject of bullies. The young lady who starts us off is Rachel, of When A Lion Sleeps Let It Sleep. Rachel has had a very rough time with bullies so I count on all of you to give her the tender loving comments she deserves. I hope you'll also visit her blog and consider following her. I'm very fond of Rachel.

Take it away, Rachel:


Hello! Let me start off by saying that my name is Rachel and I have never done a guest post before. I saw Janie's request on Twitter for guest posts about bullying and I asked to do one without a second thought. There are a lot of things that are important to me, but this is at the top of the list.

I've been bullied most of my life. In grade school, there were mean girls who would tease me because I was too quiet or I was friends with the labeled "bad kid". The "bad kid" was my neighbor. He used to come over to my house to hide when his mother got loud, drunk, and invited different men over for parties in the middle of the afternoon. We hid him so that he wouldn't get any more bruises than he already had and I became his friend. At school, he just needed somebody to pay attention to him so he played harmless pranks and spoke out of turn. Can you blame him though?

In middle school, I was in a new state. I wanted a new start, away from all of the teasing, but that wasn't what I got. In my new school, I was shoved against lockers, pushed down the stairs, had my gym locker broken into multiple times only for the gym teacher to tell me to stop lying about forgetting my uniform at home. Rumors were spread and boys started grabbing at me more and more.

The halls were so crowded that I was only able to catch one boy who did it. I had him pinned up against the wall and all my anger came out in words: "If you EVER touch me or anyone else like that again, I will make sure you end up in prison for molestation and sexual harassment. My mom is friends with half the cops in this town so I can guarantee that will happen. If I don't make you pay myself." Dramatic pause while the color drained from his face. "Don't come near me again." He didn't-–he just had his friends come after me instead. I knew that because I would see him smirking and watching when I was grabbed by some unknown pervert.

"Why didn't you go to the teachers?"

In that school, I only had two people on my side. One was my English teacher and the other was the school guard. The English classroom was the only place where I was safe, because she would hand out detentions like candy on Halloween night if anyone messed with me. She was also the only one who didn't yell at me if I stood up for myself. She was the only person who believed that I wasn't faking the incapacitating stress-stomachaches that put me in the hospital at least once a week. The school guard would escort me to classes when he could, but he could never get too close because the two times he spoke to me, I left with bruises on my side and a sprained ankle from being pushed down the stairs. They both stopped my mom the day that she told them I "moved away" (code for: "dropped out at thirteen") and asked her to wish me luck and to stay hidden until I was legally allowed to leave school.

The PE coach was already mentioned, but she wasn't the worst, despite yelling at me for having my things stolen. (Because, you know, I asked for that to happen?) The reading teacher was a nightmare. Thanks to her, the target on my back ended up a flashing neon sign that said, "Sic her!" and pointed to me. She stopped class and walked around the room one day. "Now, I've recently learned that our school counselor has been talking to students, learning their secrets, and telling a certain somebody in this class, who has then been spreading the rumors." She looked at me, faced me, and everyone followed her eyes until I was the center of attention. "I expect you all to stop speaking with the counselor unless you want everyone to know your secrets." It only got worse. I still don't know who the counselor was-–I never met her or him.

Snitch. Bitch. Whore. Loser. Skank. Liar. Dork. Nerd. Geek. Slut. Rat. Idiot. Stupid. Fat. Ugly.

I heard those words and more on the daily basis until that was all I could believe about myself. I only made it half the school year before I left. Now, I'm twenty years old and still trying to graduate, while trying to function as a normal adult. I wanted to kill myself and I got close to it many times. I cried constantly and became an angry, hateful person to the only people who supported me. I used to get into fist fights with my own mom because I was positive that she would turn against me too. I lost the line between being a strong person and being a broken person hiding behind a spiked wall. I'm still trying to find it, seven years later.

I still have nightmares. I'm still insecure. I still have days where I don't want to get out of bed. I can't trust anyone until they prove themselves to me repeatedly. Generally speaking, the depression is under control now. I don't want to kill myself anymore, but I still have days where I want to just disappear. I still have anger problems, which I'm not sure will ever just go away. But if I see somebody being bullied, you can bet your life that I will jump in front of the victim to save them from it. I would do anything to protect somebody else from going through what I have.

The worst part? I got off lucky. Just think about how many people kill themselves every year (thousands) and then think about how many are results of bullying (Rebecca Sedwick and Amanda Todd, to name just two). Think about how much worse it's gotten for people with computers (which I didn't have while in school) because it's so much easier to be anonymous. Think about how many people turn to alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, cutting, or other forms of self harm just to escape the pain (tens of thousands). Think about how many turn into bullies themselves so that they won't be a victim anymore (the number one cause of bullying). 

I will probably be recovering for the rest of my life and I'm one of the lucky ones. Talk to your kids, your grandkids, your nieces or nephews or friends. Ask them how they get along with people, ask them how they're feeling. Talk to them about how one little action can either save or ruin a life. For all you know, that could cause a butterfly effect and save a life.


Thank you so much for opening up to us, Rachel. This post calls attention to how severe bullying can be. I know Rachel is working very hard to try to finish her GED, and I wish her all the best.

She's an unusually sympathetic and intuitive person. I'm not happy about what happened to her, but we are shaped by our experiences and Rachel puts what she's gone through to good use by making people aware of bullying whenever she has the chance, by being willing to stand up for other people, and by offering kindness everywhere she goes. 


Infinities of love to you, and especially to Rachel,

Janie Junebug

Friday, May 23, 2014

JANIE JUNEBUG & WILLY DUNNE WOOTERS WORK IN THE YARD

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Last weekend I asked Willy Dunne Wooters if he would help me with some yard work. I have big pots on the concrete below my deck that mostly have dead stuff or grass growing in them. I proposed that we dump out the dead stuff and the dirt where the swamp is at its worst in the backyard, and put potting soil and new plants in the pots.

We had to go to Lowe's first to buy potting soil and plants and weed killer.

Here's what I looked like before we went to Lowe's:


Yes, I dress like that to go to Lowe's.  You wanna make something of it?

Here's what Willy Dunne Wooters looked like before we went to Lowe's:


Yeah, that's pretty much what he always looks like.

So we went to Lowe's and I remembered I needed a flashlight so I got one. Then we found potting soil and a couple of plants on sale. I said, I'm going to get some weedkiller.

And I walked away.

Big mistake.

I found the weedkiller and couldn't find Willy Dunne Wooters. I called his phone and got voice mail. I sent him an email.

No response.

So I sat down in a nice patio chair with the weedkiller.

After about 15 minutes, WDW came along from a completely different direction than the one I'd left him in. I thought you left without me, I said. I've been sitting here waiting for you to find me and you didn't answer your telephone, I said.

My telephone is in the car, WDW said. And if you're not moving and I don't go in the right direction, then I'm never going to find you, he said.

We paid for the stuff and went back to my house. WDW carried all the heavy stuff to the backyard.

We changed our clothes so we could work in the yard. I looked like this:


Willy Dunne Wooters looked like this:





We tried to move the pots to the yard so we could dump out the dirt and stuff. I rolled a pot, and it cracked and dirt spilled out all over the concrete. Willy Dunne Wooters tried to lift a pot, said "uuuuuunnnnngggggggghhhhhh", and put it back down. We finally pushed a couple of pots into the yard.

Then we did our thing of dumping and refilling.

We finished, and I said, We were not meant to do this kind of work.

WW: Yeah.

JJ: We were meant to sit at computers and tippety-tap away.

WW: That's right.

JJ: If we were migrant workers, they wouldn't even give us the 50 cents a day. We'd only get 25 cents.

WDW: No, they'd fire us and wouldn't pay us anything.

JJ: Yeah, you're right.

WDW: People like us are the reason America needs migrant workers.

JJ: Let's get a drink and sit on the deck.

So we got some water and sat in the wrought-iron chairs.

I looked like this:



Willy Dunne Wooters looked like this:



I don't think we should work in the yard again. But after we got cleaned up, we looked like this:





Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug













Thursday, May 22, 2014

MEMORIAL DAY MOVIE WEEKEND: THE RAPE OF EUROPA & THE MONUMENTS MEN

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I watched a documentary on Netflix Screaming that I think is excellent. It's The Rape of Europa (2006, Unrated, Available on DVD and Screaming and Amazon).


I knew that the nazis stole works of art during WWII, but I had no idea how extensive the pilfering was. Occasionally, a stolen piece still turns up for sale at an auction house. Some people continue to fight for the return of the art that was stolen from their family.

Hitler's plan was to have a huge museum in his hometown in Austria. He was going to fill it with this art that was taken from museums, cathedrals, and individuals––who, of course, were Jewish.

Hitler didn't like modern art so a Picasso might be destroyed.

Art "collecting" became all the rage among the nazi hierarchy because everybody wanted to be like Big Daddy Hitler.

This outstanding documentary, which earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval, describes how the nazis stole the art, where they stored it, who "shopped till he dropped" to pick up pieces of art, and then it goes into the story of The Monuments Men. I'll tell you more about them in a minute if you'll just hang on and quit complaining so much.

I would watch The Rape of Europa with any child who's old enough to understand that there was such a time as World War II and that nazis are just one big arschloch.

Right after I watched the documentary, I learned that a movie called The Monuments Men (2014, Rated PG-13, Directed and Starred in by George Clooney) was about to be released on DVD, so I put it in my Netflix queue. The Monuments Men isn't a brilliant movie, but along with the documentary, it's a great way to teach kids something about the war and the importance of culture and history.


The Monuments Men were a real group of art curators, architects, art historians––you know, people like me––who went to Europe to rescue stolen art and to try to protect historic buildings and works of art during battles. One of The Monuments Men who was still alive, at least as of 2005 or so, is interviewed in The Rape of Europa. 

It wasn't a big group, but they recovered a lot of stolen art. They weren't the kind of guys who were meant to be soldiers, but they got right in there and worked hard to save the cultural history of the world.

This movie could be better than it is. It's predictable. Clooney tried to insert some humor and some pathos. He didn't really succeed, but I still think you should watch The Monuments Men with your kids. I just watched it two nights ago. If I recall correctly, it has some profanity that didn't make a big impression on me. Anyway, if you don't have children, I don't care if you don't watch The Monuments Men as long as you watch The Rape of Europa.

Clooney is joined by some other big stars, including Matt Damon, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett. Oh! and Lord Grantham is in it for a while. I know his name is really Hugh Bonneville, but for the rest of my life I'll think of him as The Earl of Grantham. If I ever see him in person, I'll probably drop a curtsy and offer him a cup of tea.

Clooney looks kind of silly because he's made to appear older than he is. I suspect it was done so he'd seem more distinguished and more of an intellectual. Dumb idea. Gorgeous George shouldn't look like anyone other than himself.

The Monuments Men earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval (with misgivings).


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

JE SUIS OCCUPE ET/Y ESTOY OCUPADO

Darlings, I'm editing. I'll try to be here tomorrow for MOVIE WEEKEND. I think of you all as I work.

Love,
Janie


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

GRATITUDE TUESDAY: INDIE AUTHORS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell, AND Independent Authors,

I love you, Independent Authors. You provide me with a job. I have a new manuscript to edit, and I'm very excited about it but I'm not revealing anything yet.

But you're more than a job to me, you Indies. You are the embodiment of courage––the courage required in your attempts to communicate with the world when you don't have anyone to announce that you've arrived, when you don't have that person who should get you a chair and a diet soda. You people rock. I'm proud of you all.

As a symbol for indie authors, I choose today to focus on Karl Schonborn. Don't worry, Karl. You won't get after-school detention.

In THIS BULLY FOR YOU POST, I hope I made the point that Karl's cleft lip and palate made it more difficult for him to speak to people, but this difficulty is a universal condition. We all struggle in one way or another to connect with humankind, and independent authors face that difficulty under unique conditions.

We write because we have something to say. Maybe lightning won't strike, and we won't find an agent or a publisher. That doesn't mean we stop. It means we find another way to communicate because we don't merely want to chat––we NEED to pass on the word to to the masses, unwashed or sparkling with cleanliness.

Karl works so hard to promote his memoir Cleft Heart: Chasing Normal, and I know many of you face a similar struggle. I say, Do not give up. You have something to share. If you didn't, then you wouldn't bother to write.

You can inform. You can teach. You can entertain.You can dole out words without fear that they'll dry up and you'll never again have anything to say. Your words are infinite, just as my love is.

Indies, you are part of the universal need for human interconnectedness, for oneness. You want to connect with your words, and I know it's tough. I've been published plenty, and I've been rejected plenty, too. I don't stop writing, and I don't want you to give up.

Karl couldn't give up from the time he was a little boy. He had to learn how to speak clearly, and bullies picked on him the whole time. You probably have bullies in your lives, too. These people are dream stealers. They tell you your writing is not appropriate, it's not good, it doesn't fit their pigeonhole in the market. So you look for good, constructive criticism and advice, not someone who wants to tear you down.

Karl became successful through hard work. His deformity and the bullies who harassed him pushed him to study medicine and ways to avoid violence. He's a great wordsmith, and funny, too. All manner of readers will find Cleft Heart an engaging and enlightening memoir. Moreover, healthcare professionals should read this book. It's the only one about a cleft by a person with a cleft.

Healthcare providers who aspire to treat the person, not just the disease, will love that Cleft Heart allows them to see beyond the early years of surgery. They'll see how this common birth defect influences the lives of their patients for years to come.

Educators, librarians, healthcare providers, and all y'all (I can't believe I just wrote all y'all; stop me before I turn into a southerner) can benefit from reading Cleft Heart and watching how Karl goes about promoting it. He is not one to give up, and I don't want you to give up, either.

Okay, now imagine me, fist in the air, I strike a pose––and scene.


Infinities of writing love,

Janie Junebug


You can order Cleft Heart at  http://goo.gl/MQfZ4C or http://goo.gl/ZY84Sb.




Karl Schonborn
  
Author Cleft HeartChasing Normal
        Love, tragedy, mystery and triumph.
"A poignant, heartfelt tale."
                Secretary of State John Kerry  
        -   KarlSchonborn.com  
Available at Barnes and NobleBooks Inc, Amazon  


Please note that I have not been compensated in any way for promoting this book.

Monday, May 19, 2014

BULLY FOR YOU BOOK NOOK: CLEFT HEART BY KARL SCHONBORN

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I have a very special BOOK NOOK presentation for you––a book to read in tandem with our BULLY FOR YOU series. It's Cleft Heart: Chasing Normal by Karl Schonborn. Perhaps you noticed that Karl weighed in on some of your comments last week with the first BULLY FOR YOU post.

I hope you'll get to know Karl. This is what he looks like:



And here's his book:


You can order Cleft Heart at  http://goo.gl/MQfZ4C or http://goo.gl/ZY84Sb.

Karl told me: I wrote Cleft Heart: Chasing Normal mostly to show kids with facial differences that they can rise above, that normal is a state of mind, that you’re only as “normal” as you feel. And, too, I wrote it because I found out no cleft had ever written about the cleft palate experience before. Zounds! Can you imagine?

Yes, Karl Schonborn was born in 1943 with a cleft lip and palate, "meaning an unjoined lip and gum, and a hole in the roof of his mouth". But this memoir offers far more than the story of a boy with a facial deformity. 

It has a universality in that we all need to connect––to communicate––with other people. Whether we have complications because of a speech impediment or shyness or acne, each of us is alone, reaching out for the interconnectedness of human kind, or "oneness", as our friend Dee Ready at coming home to myself calls it.

Schonborn writes plaintively of an early inability to connect:

But nothing compared to the pain in my heart. It reminded me of my first public humiliation years ago when my mom inadvertently left me with a group of strangers for a minute. Judgmental eyes and headshakes shamed me after I made a simple statement in front of the group. Wanting to redeem myself at once, I screwed up my face and courage and concentrated on enunciating during a second attempt.

As the words started in my throat, I contracted my lips, tensed my cheeks, and gritted my teeth to make the words more intelligible. But to no avail. By the time the words emerged, they still sounded nasal and whiny as if coming from an underwater source. Upon hearing my second try, the people staring at me needed no further proof, given my scarred, asymmetrical face. A couple called me names I didn't understand. Most turned their backs and left. I stared at the ground until Mom reclaimed me. I felt awful until I told Mom. We both cried then.

Schonborn wasn't completely alone because he had such a strong relationship with his mother, who championed his causes and made sure he received the medical treatment and speech therapy he needed. As his voice and face became more "normal", the still young boy embarked on a friendliness campaign to extend his connection to the world. And all the while, he stood up to bullies who taunted and mistreated him.

Schonborn also travels Forrest Gumpishly, though with a much higher IQ, through the history of the United States during the '40s, '50s, and '60s. He takes part in the beginnings of Silicon Valley, learns about non-violence from Joan Baez and her cohorts, and encounters future Secretary of State John Kerry during their college days. Cleft Heart includes a captivating endorsement by Kerry. Schonborn travels much of the world as a young man, on the literal and figurative road to maturity–a maturity he needs desperately when he faces a major loss.

Schonborn writes in the voice of a person with a great deal of perception, yet he maintains a sense of humor throughout much of the book. Cleft Heart: Chasing Normal earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

I had the pleasure of working as one of the editors on this book. After it was published, I intended to scan it before writing my review, and instead ended up reading the entire book again because I felt so caught up in it.


Here's the trailer for Cleft Heart:





And now I wish you happy reading.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Two notes: First, I did not receive any compensation for writing this review. Second, we'll have the first of our BULLY FOR YOU guest posts one week from today. Rachel from When A Lion Sleeps, Let It Sleep, will share her firsthand knowledge of being bullied. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

A CONVERSATION WITH WILLY DUNNE WOOTERS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Last Saturday night, Willy Dunne Wooters and I watched a movie starring Robert Redford called The Company You Keep (2012, Rated R, Available On DVD).


I liked the movie, but Willy Dunne Wooters absolutely loved it. We sat in our chairs and chatted about what we liked, and I pointed out what I didn't like.

The movie is about some former members of the Weather Underground (the militant wing of The Students for A Democratic Society) who are still in hiding. One is taken into custody, and then others, including Redford's character, are in danger of being charged.

I'll provide our conversation as closely as I can remember it:

Janie Junebug: That's a good movie, but Robert Redford is so much older than the other actors who are supposed to be former members of the Weather Underground. And it's pretty weird that he has a young child. The man is 76 in real life, and he looks it.

Willy Dunne Wooters: He's in the same age group as those other actors. Didn't you see those pictures of him they used to show him when he was young? Those are real pictures of him. Those pictures are from the time of . . . uh . . . uh

JJ: Jeremiah Johnson, Downhill Racer, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. Yeah, I know those were real pictures of him, but he still looked too old for the part.

WDW: Well, maybe his character was just the oldest one in their group when they were young, so he's older now. The movie I'm trying to think of from that time that he was in had him as a cowboy and he's with Jane Fonda and he doesn't like the way the horse is treated so he rides away. It was They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

JJ: Huh? They Shoot Horses, Don't They? is about a dance marathon during the depression. Robert Redford isn't even in it.

WDW: About a DANCE MARATHON? No, it's not. It's Robert Redford and Jane Fonda and he's a cowboy.

JJ grabs her laptop and opens it. She taps on the keys.

JJ: Here it is on IMDB. It was Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin. They're in a dance marathon and she's really miserable and she wants to be shot like a horse being put out of its misery. blah blah blah yada yada yada snrt snrt snrt. That's They Shoot Horses, Don't They? I remember seeing it a long time ago.

WDW: That can't be right. It's Jane Fonda and Robert Redford and he's a cowboy and he's upset about the way the horse is treated. Let me see that.

JJ hands over the laptop so WDW can see for himself.

WDW: I don't understand this. This can't be right. blah blah blah yada yada yada snrt snrt snrt.

JJ: I think the movie you remember might be called The Electric Horseman. I never saw it. Let's IMDB it.

JJ taps on the laptop a little more and finds the Robert Redford movie. She reads the description of it aloud to WDW.

JJ: blah blah blah yada yada yada snrt snrt snrt.

WDW: Yeah! That's the movie. So They Shoot Horses, Don't They? is about a dance marathon. And Robert Redford isn't in it?

JJ grits teeth. 

JJ: That's correct. Robert Redford is not in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

WDW: I still don't think he was too old for the part in this movie. He could have just been the oldest one of that group of people. blah blah blah yada yada yada snrt snrt snrt . . . and so on and so forth . . . and WDW continues to talk and snrt snrt snrt . . .

JJ points her index finger at her head and pretends to pull the trigger of her imaginary gun. Her head slumps to the side.

WDW: blah blah blah yada yada yada snrt snrt snrt this movie was just perfect. I loved it. The acting was great. snrt snrt snrt.

JJ: Let's go to bed.

WDW: I'm not tired.

JJ: I am. I'm going to bed.

WDW: Okay. I'll be in in a bit. blah blah blah yada yada yada snrt snrt snrt . . .

Good night, everybody.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Thursday, May 15, 2014

MOVIE WEEKEND: PHILOMENA

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I love it. I just love it. It's Philomena (2013, PG-13, Available On DVD).


Based on a true story, young Philomena, an Irish lass, got pregnant. Her father turned her over to some evil nuns––the kind who enslaved girls and forced them to work in laundries to pay back the nuns for the "care" they received. Adult Philomena (Dame Judi Dench) eventually reveals her long-ago tragic loss to her daughter. Her little boy, Anthony, had been taken away from her, and the nuns sold him to wealthy Americans, as was their practice.

Philomena's daughter meets former journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) and asks him to investigate Philomena and Anthony's story. The results are astonishing. Though we learn what happened to Anthony, the movie focuses on the relationship between Philomena and Martin as they seek the man who was re-named Michael.

Judi Dench's performance is beautiful. Nuanced. Tender. Never too much drama. The entire movie manages to be poignant, yet have amusing moments as Philomena and Martin get to know each other. Martin often becomes annoyed with "typical old lady" Philomena, but Philomena does just fine for herself. She's nobody's fool, though her forgiveness almost defies credibility.

I guessed it before and now I know it to be true: Judi Dench should have won the Best Actress Academy Award. Cate Blanchett, I'm sorry, but I knew you didn't deserve the win. I didn't like Blue Jasmine very much. Judi Dench conveys so much with a look, with a slight tremble of her lip. Dame Judi, how do you do it? I suspect you'd say, Practice makes perfect, darling.

Philomena earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval. I have ordered the book on which it is based. I read reviews that say the book is based more on Anthony/Michael's life. No doubt I'll find it interesting.

I felt quite moved when I learned that some of the footage of Michael used in the movie is real home movies of Michael. Philomena also has one photo of him as a child.

Happy Viewing! But you might have a tear in your eye with Philomena.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SENIOR PROM: A JANIE JUNEBUG PUBLICATION

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

A couple of my blogger friends, including The Chubby Chatterbox and Shelly of La Tejana, have written pieces for a cute online seniors' magazine (it's seniors in high school, right? 'cause we can't be senior citizens). I read their articles with pride and commented on them, but I admit, it bothered me a bit that I hadn't been published, other than on my blog, in a while.

This photo is from my senior prom.
Which girl do you think I am?

Then I received an invitation to write for the online magazine. I felt pretty darn pleased. I wrote a little somethin' somethin' that I titled "Senior Prom". It's the true story of how I met Willy Dunne Wooters.



You can find it at http://retirementandgoodliving.com/senior-prom/.

I will love you forever, not that I don't already, if you will read my article and leave a positive comment. I'd like to be invited back to Retirement and Good Living, and maybe even pop up in some other publications as well.

If you're only capable of leaving a negative comment, then please don't go. If you have a neutral comment, then I guess it's up to you.



But I'd like positive comments ever so much!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




A big thank you to everyone who read the guest post by Favorite Young Man and Steph. If you missed it, you can find it

HERE.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

FAVORITE YOUNG MAN & STEPH WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT DIABETES

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today Favorite Young Man and his lovely lady, Steph, want to talk to you about their fundraising efforts on behalf of the American Diabetes Association.


Take it away, you two:

Hi! Steph here. I love to ride my bicycle. Nothing else is like it. When you're in a car, you're separated from the world. When you're on your bike, you're part of everything, with the wind blowing in your hair. I can smell the flowers and the trees. I also like riding my bike because I'm an environmentalist. I just completed two environmental science degrees.

I organized Sunday bike rides in Jacksonville, Florida, because it raises cycling awareness. We all follow the rules and ride safely. It also increases our sense of community.

This tall, handsome man showed up for a bike ride one week. I knew I was done looking as soon as I saw him. I'd never thought before, He's the one. Now we don't have to ride solo ever again. We ride together, and I told him I would follow him anywhere. 

No wonder Janie Junebug calls him "Favorite Young Man" instead of Dave. That's his name, but I call him "Babe".

Now, we're preparing to ride in The American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure, a series of fundraising cycling events held in 40 states. Ours will be a 100-mile bike ride throughout Jacksonville. It's this Saturday, May 17th. The money we raise from sponsors will all go to diabetes research.

Dave and I have friends and family members affected by diabetes. A good friend of mine had pancreatic cancer. As he was going through the chemo, he was too sick to get out of bed for his shot of insulin. So diabetes killed him while he was on the way to recovering from cancer.

Dave wants to say something to you now. 

Favorite Young Man here. My Uncle Howard (my mom's brother-in-law) died recently because of heart problems, but he also spent many years suffering from diabetes. For about the last 15 years of his life, he couldn't feel his feet. One time he hurt his foot, but he didn't know it. His job involved a lot of walking. People shouldn't have to walk around on feet they can't feel. I'm going to ride this 100 miles in my Uncle Howard's honor.

Steph and Dave together now:

We ride because we are proud to do our part to Stop Diabetes. We decided to team up to change the future and make a positive impact on the lives of those who are affected by diabetes. We are committed to ride and raise money in this inspirational event, not only because 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, but because we personally know some of them, and want to do something about it.

Through our hard work, we CAN make a difference in the fight for a cure! We can raise awareness through cycling, and raise funds to support the effort. The bicycling community knows all too well the ups and downs when it comes to health. This ride will just further our initiatives to have a happy, healthy, and loving community of people. We are the future!

We are getting on our bikes, raising funds, and supporting this great cause!! Our bicycling community is part of a larger community . . . so we want to show our support and love to those living with diabetes.

Will you please help us? You can make a donation at 
http://main.diabetes.org/goto/StephMH or

http://main.diabetes.org/goto/DaveLH

Thanks for helping us!

Dave and Steph

Janie Junebug back with you again. I donated $100, and Willy Dunne Wooters has pledged to do the same. Whether you can give the $5 minimum or $100 and send your positive thoughts, prayers, and love to Steph and Dave, you know I appreciate it.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, May 12, 2014

BULLY FOR YOU

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

"Bully for you" is defined on multiple sites as meaning the following:

1. Good for you; you've been especially courageous.

2. Well, aren't you just the big effin' deal (and I don't mean that in a nice way at all).


I've decided to call this weekly series BULLY FOR YOU because so many people are forced into bad situations by bullies and they try to be courageous, and because bullies so often take on the attitude of the second definition.

We'll talk about bullies every Monday until we're done with the topic. No end date specified. One week from today I'll review a memoir in which bullying plays a large part. It's Cleft Heart: Chasing Normal by Karl Schonborn. If you want to go ahead and order a copy, you can get it on Amazon at http://goo.gl/MQfZ4C or on Barnes&Noble at http://goo.gl/ZY84Sb.



Following the book review, we'll have guest posts on Mondays until we've said everything we want to say about bullies. I hope we'll explore times that we've been bullied, how we've handled bullies, how we wish we'd conducted ourselves with bullies, and in particular, the effects of bullying. What does bullying do to us, and what does it say about us as a society? The final guest post will be by Karl Schonborn himself. I've asked him to write "Dr. Schonborn's Prescription For Dealing With Bullies".

I've already received a few guest posts, and some other folks have promised to write posts (don't worry: I'll remind you about your promise).

I wonder if bullying is worse now than it was in my salad days?

I don't know. New opportunities for bullying present themselves. I was bullied on Facebook recently.

But bullies have always walked among us. In The Little House Books, Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about numerous bullies, and her stories––most of which are based on reality––occurred during the 1870s and 1880s. When I was in the fifth grade, a boy in kindergarten brought a knife to school and stabbed another kindergartner while they were on the playground for recess. We all saw the blood, but in 1970 or thereabouts, the story wasn't on the news. If I had gone home and told my parents about it, my mother would have said, Don't be ridiculous; that didn't happen.

I guess we talk about bullies more these days, and we should, especially in light of the young people who have committed suicide because of merciless bullying. I imagine some older folks have killed themselves because of bullies, too. It's not a problem that's limited to any particular age group.

Today, I'd like to tell you a story about The Hurricane. When she was born, she wasn't even drizzle yet. By the time she was in elementary school, drizzle began to form, but it formed because she was sad. She was not yet The Great and Powerful Hurricane that she is today, whirling and twirling and saving herself when she must.

Many of the children in her elementary school––and their parents––disdained The Hurricane because of her unusual intelligence. On a Brownie camp out, one of her tent mates told her, My mom says you just think you're smart. You're not really smart.

Kids said X and I did The Hurricane's homework for her. Did I also squeeze myself into a child's school desk to take the tests on which she received perfect scores? When she was in prep school, some kids called her The Curve Breaker.

It wasn't The Hurricane who told the other children she was intelligent. She didn't know she was different until she was in the second grade and the other kids started to talk about how smart she was. She asked me if what they said was true. I said, God has given you a gift, and you must use it wisely. Always do the best you can, but don't tell the other kids your test scores. Grades are a private thing, and you shouldn't brag.

When The Hurricane was in the third grade, the children didn't limit themselves to saying, Oh, wow, The Hurricane is smarter than everybody else. Instead, a girl started an I Hate The Hurricane Club.

When she was in the fifth grade, her teachers did not practice effective disciplinary techniques, and many of their students were out of control. The chaos was very hard on The Hurricane, though she remained focused on her studies. Verbal attacks on her intensified.

One day while her class was supposed to be standing in a line, a boy suddenly turned around and used a kick boxing move on The Hurricane. She told me about it after school. She said the other kids laughed. She had told her teacher. She had a bruise on her arm.

I called the school and spoke to her teacher. She told me she gave the boy two days of after-school detention. X called the principal, who was an ass hat, and said the disciplinary action wasn't sufficient. The principal declined to intervene.

I had been keeping a journal throughout the school year about verbal attacks on The Hurricane by students and teachers. After the physical attack, we made an appointment at the central office for the schools, where we spoke with the supervisor for elementary education. I gave her a copy of an 11-page letter in which I recounted the attacks. I also presented her with copies of letters I had sent to her teacher, all of which had gone unanswered.

The supervisor promised me that she would handle the matter. For the last few months of the school year, although gossip persisted, it lessened. More important, The Hurricane's teacher ceased her verbal attacks.

Sometimes I think about the incidents of that year, and I wonder if I did enough. I sympathized with The Hurricane, and I stood up for her against bad teachers and a worse principal.

But should I have called the police? When I finally had the chance to tell a friend of mine about the attack, my friend, who is and has been a teacher for many years, said, Doesn't the school have an officer to talk to that boy? Don't they even have a DARE officer? Detention is not enough for assault.

No, they didn't have any kind of officer. If I had called the police and showed them pictures of the bruise, if I had insisted that the boy be charged with assault, would it have helped? Would the kids have backed off, or would they have treated her even worse? I have no idea what happened to that boy. Would getting into serious trouble then have prevented him from getting involved in worse activities? His misbehavior in school was already a constant problem. What if someone had told this boy and his parents, This crap has to stop, and it has to stop now. Have you heard about juvenile detention?

The period of attacks against The Hurricane haunt me, but she seems to have put them behind her. She told me a few days ago that it's been many years since someone told her she's too smart for her own good. She's happy with her life, and she enjoys the many opportunities provided by her intelligence and education. Some "good" came out of her experiences: she's empathetic, and she's very tough.

But I'll always wonder if I did enough.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Friday, May 9, 2014

SPEAK! BAD FAVORITE YOUNG MAN

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Favorite Young Man was supposed to write a guest post that I would publish this week on my blog. Have I received the aforementioned guest post?

Whadya think?

If he comes through with the guest post, which has to do with an important cause, I'll post it on Monday. Otherwise, my series on bullying will begin on May 12 as scheduled.

Wow! I just looked for a funny e-card about a bad son, but the following showed up. Do you see the error? I don't know why everybody doesn't hire me so they can avoid these embarrassing mistakes. People who need editors and proofreaders: don't you know you can appear to be intelligent with my assistance?




Please! I beg of you: tell me you can spot the error.


Infinities of love to everyone except Favorite Young Man (my love for him is a wee bit limited right now),

Janie Junebug

Thursday, May 8, 2014

MOVIE WEEKEND: LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I continued to watch movies while my blog was on hiatus so we have a lot of catching up to do. We might have two MOVIE WEEKENDS per week for a while.

This week I have a doozy of a British series for you. Last Tango In Halifax was on Masterpiece a while back. My beloved RitaPitaPan at SoulComfort's Corner told me about it when it was on, but I was so busy I didn't even DVR it. I was pleased when it turned up on Netflix Screaming, and even more happy when I read the description of the show to Willy Dunne Wooters and he said he wanted to watch it with me. We tend to have some difficulty finding movies we can enjoy together. (The man has strange taste. What can I tell ya?)


Last Tango In Halifax (2012 - 2013, unrated, six episodes available on DVD and Netflix Screaming) relates the charming story of Celia (Anne Reid) and Alan (Derek Jacobi), a widow and a widower who knew each other as teenagers. With the assistance of younger family members who teach Celia and Alan to use Facebook, the two find each other after 50 years apart, fall in love, and decide to marry. (*Please note that although Celia and Alan need help with Facebook, they are not the stereotypical doddering idiots who have to be saved by their children, nor are they the know-it-all parents who solve their children's problems in the end.)

It's not all easy going. Celia's daughter Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) and Alan's daughter Gillian (Nicola Walker) meet under distressing conditions. Caroline is an academic and Gillian runs her farm and works at a supermarket. Saying they don't hit it off at first is an understatement. They're shocked that their parents want to marry. Caroline and Gillian have their own romantic troubles, and their sons have difficulties.

So much drama, but it's not overdone in the least. This sort of series is as close to reading a book as it gets. It's character driven, and it has such an array of characters. It's witty and tender and poignant and sad and sweet, but not sappy. I like every single character because even the ones who aren't so likable are amusing.

Willy Dunne Wooters and I binge watched season one very quickly. We could hardly wait to get from one episode to the next. I discovered online that the BBC made a second season, which we'll get on PBS this summer (I think), and a third season is in the works. Willy Dunne Wooters and I can hardly wait for the second season.

Last Tango In Halifax earns The Janie Junebug & Willy Dunne Wooters Highest Seal of Approval.

As for children, I don't know if kids would like it, but teenage characters are included. Some references to sex might not be appropriate for younger children. I can't remember any profanity, so it couldn't have been enough to make an impression on me.

I think a number of you would like this series. Rita did. It's not just an "old folks" show. I love it that Last Tango In Halifax portrays older people living life to the fullest, but the characters span the generations.

Happy Viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

WHAT? WEDNESDAY: THE NEIGHBOR'S CRAP

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I was shocked to see my neighbors cleaning out their garage on Sunday. No, not Hot Young Anthony and Sweet Young Allison. The creepy people who talk very loudly out in their driveway at 3 a.m. even though their driveway is right outside my bedroom. They also have a large weed growing out of their roof right above the front door. I don't know why, but that weed makes me want to hurt someone.

I hate it when the woman comes out to chat with me when I'm working in my yard and she blows her fricking cigarette smoke in my direction and even though I'm outdoors the smoke still gets caught in my throat and I gag.

her


me
They carried stuff from their garage to the curb for hours. I've never seen so much crap in my life. People stopped to root through the stuff to see if they could find anything good. I don't think they did because almost all of it was still there when Willy Dunne Wooters went home that night.

I'm amazed the garbage men picked up that much stuff.

So here's today's WHAT? WEDNESDAY question: Will you look through someone's castoff stuff to see if there's anything you can use?

I do not mean dumpster diving. I do not mean shopping at a yard sale. I mean stuff sitting at the curb, waiting for the garbage men. I swear, people in vans and trucks were coming by to look at the treasure trove of garbage.

I will not go through someone's castoff stuff. I don't even want to look at my own castoff stuff. 

I suggested to Willy Dunne Wooters (I was joking) that we should sneak over after dark and look at some of the neighbor's junk, but I was afraid that if we opened a box a rat would jump out. (I just realized that "neighbor's junk" is a double entendre. God, I crack myself up sometimes, but not now.)

As always, I look forward to your answers.


Infinities of love, but not to those people with the weed growing out of their roof unless it turns out to be smokeable and I do not mean a regular cigarette,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

GRATITUDE TUESDAY: SAM, I LOVE YOU

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Some of you may recall that I mention Sam occasionally. She is an important person in my life because I'm extremely fond of her and because she cares for my golden tresses.

The Hurricane took this photo of me gazing in the window of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco:

Golden tresses courtesy of Sam.


Here's a photo of Sam with her little family:

Baby courtesy of Sam.
(photo stolen from Sam's Facebook page)


You may have noticed that Sam has some tats. A lot of people do, including Favorite Young Man. Initially, I disapproved of Favorite Young Man's tattoos, but I got over it because A. It's none of my fricking business, and B. It's none of my fricking business.

I do not have tattoos, but I have learned to develop what I hope is a pleasant curiosity about the meanings behind other people's tats. Recently, though, Sam had an experience with someone whose curiosity about her tattoos was not so pleasant, but telling you about it gives me an opportunity to be even more grateful for my Samsam than I usually am.

Here's the story, Morning Glory:

Sam went in a restaurant for breakfast. An elderly couple looked at her, and the woman said, That's disgusting. Who would do that to themselves?

Now, you should know that Sam is quite fond of older people. She helps her granny a lot. I've never seen Sam behave in a rude or unpleasant manner, even though Sam and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

As Sam ate her breakfast, the woman stared at her, and not in a friendly way. Maybe she thought that if she looked hard enough that she would develop laser vision to make Sam's tattoos disappear.

So what did Sam do about it?

She paid for the couple's breakfast.

God bless your sweet little heart, Sam. What a beautiful way to deal with those people.




Also stolen from Sam's Facebook page.


If you happen to need to get your hair done in Orange Park, Florida, then let me know. I'll tell you how to get in touch with Sam because she's the best in every way. I am so grateful for you, Sam.


Infinities of Sam love,

Janie Junebug