Thursday, December 1, 2016

OY WITH THE POODLES ALREADY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

Hahahahahahahahaha.

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

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

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


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

My review:

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

Good--Pretty much everything else.

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


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



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





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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

Donna

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

who lives and blogs at The Poor Farm.

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


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

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

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

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

This soap makes a great, unique gift.

I wish you Happy Soap Shopping at The Poor Farm.

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


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

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

TIP TUESDAY: WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT WADDLED?

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

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

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

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

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

The Super Thesaurus has these synonyms for waddle:

toddle
wobble
walk like a duck
sway

I don't think any of these are right.

Synonyms for trudge:

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

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

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

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

Elliot hanging on for dear life to her left hand

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

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

I long to read your opinions.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

A new possibility:

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

"ALL WRITERS ARE BUMS, I MURMURED. MAY I BE COUNTED AMONG YOU ONE DAY." (PATTI SMITH)

Prologue

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

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

It is all fucked up. 

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter One

Clue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I am an asshole."

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

IIIIIIIII am an assss-hoooole.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 25, 2016

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: PUT ON YOUR OWN OXYGEN MASK FIRST

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I just remembered that today is

Friday.

It's a day to publish a post that didn't get much attention in the past, or a post you especially like.

It's hard to believe that it's already the last Friday in November. Of course, it's also Gilmore Girls' day--the day that the four ninety-minute episodes of The Gilmore Girls premieres on Netflix streaming.

I've watched the first two episodes. By the end of the day, I'll know what the famous final four words are. I'm betting on "oy with the poodles," but I could be making that up. I hope you remember that I am the real Lorelai Gilmore, who goes out into the world as Janie Junebug. My daughter is the real Rory Gilmore, who is distant and lost to me.


See how shocked I am that we're not on the phone together, dissecting each episode and saying "oy with the poodles"?

Well, enough about me.
me me me me me

ME

Janie Junebug

me


Now more about me with my Flashback Friday post. It's called PUT ON YOUR OWN OXYGEN MASK FIRST. I wrote it during the bitterness of divorce.  I first published this post on January 31, 2011. It's had one hundred ninety-four page views and earned one comment.

Although I can say now that I'm happier without a husband, the point of the post is still true. I should have made a life for myself instead of settling. Doing what my husband wanted and staying at home with my kids did not get me a Mom of the Year trophy. It got me nothing. Here's PUT ON YOUR OWN OXYGEN MASK FIRST:



You drag yourself, your carry-on bag, your child, and your child's FAA approved car seat onto the plane, while your husband casually walks on and takes his seat. You get the car seat in place, child safely buckled into the car seat after tolerating yet another argument from a flying waitress who tells you that you can't have that seat because you didn't buy a ticket for it and you show her the ticket and the boarding pass for your child and son of a bitch you mutter under your breath as the sky waitress wanders off vanquished but determined to have revenge, you stuff your bag into the overhead bin while the businessman behind you who is so important suddenly decides he must have something from the bag he already stowed and while pulling it from the bin he whacks you in the head with it

and
then
you
finally
sit
down
and
try
to
catch
your
breath
while
you
struggle
with
the
stubborn
twisted
seat
belt
and
you're
trying
not
to
cry.

Then it's time to get the flight underway and the sky bitch gets on the intercom and gives the little demonstration about what you should do if the oxygen mask falls from above and she says, In the event of an emergency, place your own oxygen mask over your face first and adjust it before putting an oxygen mask on a child or someone else in need of assistance.

So now the plane has taken off. Oh no! You encounter turbulence. The plane is rockin' and rollin' like you've never felt it before. You've flown straight into a huge storm. And for the first time ever, the oxygen mask is in front of you. The oxygen mask is in front of your child in the car seat. And the oxygen mask is in front of your husband who has bumped his head and is unconscious.

Whose mask do you put on first?

Nine out of ten women (so I have been told) will say that you put on the child's mask first, your husband's second, and then your own.

Now that's not the safe, correct thing to do, is it?

You need to be able to breathe if you're going to help anyone else.

You need to be able to breathe if you're going to help anyone else.

You need to be able to breathe if you're going to help anyone else.

How many times do you need to hear it before you understand it? Will you ever get it?

I am the one person out of ten who answered that question correctly.

And yet I didn't do it in my own life.

I didn't make a life for myself.

I allowed myself to be dominated and manipulated because I was so afraid I would be alone. And now I am alone and I will always be alone because God forbid I should ever have a man in my life who would love me, or even just like me for who I am, because I would lose my maintenance. I've been conned, dumped, and divorced. I live alone.

But he still calls the shots.

Please don't do this to yourself. Put on your own oxygen mask first. You can't take care of anyone else if you don't take care of yourself.

He told me to get a life. But every time I tried he snatched it away from me. I have to keep going to school because I'm going to invent something that will change the world, so forget about your education. We have to move and it's your fault because you complain all the time that we don't have enough money, so forget about your home and your friends. I cheat because you aren't enough for me, and never mind that I don't shower or brush my teeth. We don't have enough money for you to go to your family reunion because you go out for lunch, and never mind that I've lost thousands gambling. I don't want you because you've gotten fat and you snore, and never mind that I've been fat and snoring for 30 years. Never mind that I'm sick and I won't take my medicine. I'm not the one who's in the hospital. You are fat; you are ugly; you make me sick. It's not my fault you're depressed. Not my fault not my fault not my fault yourfaultyourfaultyourfaultgetout

My fist has to punch you because it's your fault. My knife has to cut you because it's your fault. My hands have to shove you because it's your fault. My mouth has to threaten you and belittle you because it's your fault.

For God's sake, please put on your oxygen mask.

And breathe.

BLACK FRIDAY: I SAID NO, NO, NO

I'm staying at home today. Who's with me?