Friday, December 8, 2017

PENELOPE SPEAKS: DOES THIS JACKET MAKE MY BUTT LOOK BIG?

Hello. It is I, Penelope.

Sometimes it is cold here in Florida. Franklin wears a big, furry winter coat all the time. I have short hair, so Mom Mom got a jacket for me to wear on cold days.

At first, I did not like the jacket. I had never worn such a thing. So I hid behind a chair and had big scaredy eyes.


Then I started to think the jacket was soft. It felt warm, kind of like wearing a blanket. Franklin said, Come out, Penlapee. You look good in your jacket.



I went outside. Mom Mom took photos of me because I look so beautiful. The bright red jacket looks nice with my black-and-white fur. The jacket has a snowflake on it, too, although I do not know what snow is.



But wait a minute! I don't like the way that Franklin is looking at my butt! Does this jacket make my butt look big?



Franklin said, I was NOT looking at her butt.



Look at Franklin sit so perfectly as if he's a little angel.



But then Franklin said, I'm sorry I looked at your butt, Penlapee. It doesn't look big. Let me give you a kiss because you are my sister and Kissmas is coming.




That took my by surprise. It was quite nice of Franklin.



I like this photo of me in the jacket. I look long and lean.



Is my butt still back there? Yes, it always follows me, but Mom Mom has assured me that I have a pretty bottom.



It is chilly and rainy today. I like my jacket a lot. Thank you, Mom Mom.




That is all. Goodbye.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

MY 2018 AFFORDABLE CARE ACT INSURANCE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In my post on Monday, I invited you to guess how much I'll have to pay for my 2018 health insurance that I have because of the Affordable Care Act. Most of you said you had no idea how much it would cost, but I saw a couple of guesses for around $500 a month. I'm happy to say that it's not nearly that expensive.

For 2017, I've had a gold plan that cost a little more than $400 a month. It had a low deductible, which I thought was a great idea, but it didn't help me much. I didn't reach my maximum out-of-pocket expenses until the end of November. I've gotten to fill a few prescriptions for free, but that's it––unless I manage to break a bone or get sick before the end of December, which I don't intend to do.

I decided to try a different tactic for 2018. I chose a bronze plan that has a higher deductible, but the co-payments for doctor visits are less than I've paid this year. The prescription plan is also good. I have one non-generic prescription that will cost some serious money, but that payment will be offset by the monthly premiums for the plan because my payment will be

$0.00

Yes, you read that correctly. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Keep in mind that this health insurance if for me and me alone. I don't have a spouse or dependent children. It doesn't include eye care or dental insurance. I have to pay $35 to see my primary care physician, make a co-pay for prescriptions, and pay for any other treatments I receive, although all plans include certain basic service that are free––including mammograms.

Of course, I'm on a fixed income, too, and I have to live with the constant fear that the Republican congress, led by the president, will take away my benefits.

I still hope to get the job. I'll let you know when I hear about it.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Monday, December 4, 2017

THE NEWS FROM MY MICROCOSM

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have an update on the package-stealing thieves who were in our neighborhood on Thursday (click HERE to see my post about the incident). After a while, the police moved the thieves' truck closer to my house so I got a better look at the contents. The two pieces of furniture in the back provided camouflage for the children's bicycles that were also in the truck, along with large black garbage bags that probably held the stolen packages. The police took a number of photographs of the truck and its contents. They weren't fooling around.

Yesterday I went to see my newest neighbor, a very nice young lady, to alert her to what had happened because I knew she was at work when the police were here. I told her I had seen an officer go to her door. It turns out she is missing a package. She's going to call the city to find out if they're holding it.

I put up my Christmas tree and set out a few decorations. The items I like to put on the mantle and the tree skirt are wedged in the attic. I can't get them out and Favorite Young Man has gone away for a while. I can live without the stuff in the attic and take delight in what I do have.






Last weekend was beautiful and sunny. Penelope has never learned to walk well on a lead, so I took Franklin for a shorter walk than usual and returned to prepare Penelope for a walk of her own. She has to wear a harness because she slips out of her collar. We went out the door and  Penelope showed me that I had put the harness on wrong when she walked right out of it on the front steps. But did she take off and run? No, not my Penelope. Instead she turned to go back in the house, where I put on the harness correctly.

Who's a good Penelope?


I haven't heard anything about the job (I had trouble submitting the forms for the background check, but the company received them on Friday), so I signed up for a new year of Affordable Care Act insurance in case I don't have that beautiful benefits package. This year I had a gold plan with a low deductible. I found that the low deductible didn't do me much good because it was only at the end of November that I reached my maximum out-of-pocket expenses. For 2018, I have a bronze plan with a higher deductible but lower co-pays. And guess what my monthly premium is! Go ahead! Guess in your comment.

I think I'm done Christmas shopping. It's time to wrap and mail!

That's all the news that is news from my microcosm. See you soon.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, November 30, 2017

FRANKLIN SOUNDED THE ALERT: THIEVES ARE ABOUT!

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Franklin launched into his "something is wrong" bark a while ago. I went to look out the living room window and expected to see a cat. Instead, I saw three police cars and a dilapidated truck stopped in the road only a few yards from my palace.

I spied with my little eye a police officer going door-to-door, so I went outside to try to find out what was going on. An officer told me that they had caught "the group" with the truck. They had stolen the stuff in the back (furniture, from what I could see) from "around the corner," and then they were going around stealing boxes left by UPS at houses in the hood. The police did not have any packages with my address on them.

I am not going out to take photographs. I don't want to get in the way of what appears to be an ongoing investigation.

I'm grateful to Franklin for informing me about this bad behavior. He probably saw the whole thing.

All I can tell you is that this business of stealing packages seems to be gearing up along with the holidays. Watch out!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: THE INTERNATIONAL PHONETIC ALPHABET

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Several years ago, a friend came to stay with me for a few days. He perused a page on Wikipedia and wondered out loud about some marks following the name of the subject he was reading about. I told him that the marks were symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet. He said, Well, they don't do any good if people don't know what they are.

He was right––as he is occasionally. So today I'll clue you in on the IPA so when you come across it, you know what it is.

The IPA consists of symbols that resemble letters in the English language. It's based on Latin. Each symbol represents a sound in oral language. It's used by linguists, lexicographers, and a variety of people who want to learn how to pronounce words or names, whether in their own language or any other language. It can even be used to represent unrecorded languages.

I learned the IPA long ago when I took a class on linguistics. I don't remember all the symbols, but I still get the general idea of a pronunciation when I see it written in IPA.

Let's take the example of Milo Ventimiglia, who stars in the popular NBC show This Is Us, which I started watching because my good friend Rita at SoulComfort's Corner recommended it. Ventimiglia also played Jess on The Gilmore Girls, a show I adored because it's about my daughter and me.

Need I remind you yet again that I am the real Lorelai Gilmore?


So if we look up Milo on Wikipedia, we see this after his name: /vɛntɪˈmljə/ That's the pronunciation of Ventimiglia in IPA symbols. 

You can find the entire IPA chart with its symbols and sounds online. It looks like this:



Yes, I know it's too small to read. Don't start complaining in your comments. Look it up online if you want to see a larger version of it. You can do it. You can also find helpful information HERE.

So now you know what those funny symbols mean when you happen across them, even if you don't know how to read them. But you can learn the IPA if you like, or pick out your favorite resource for the symbols and use it as a reference guide.

You're welcome.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Monday, November 27, 2017

BOOK NOOK: BETWEEN BREATHS BY ELIZABETH VARGAS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Although I don't watch 20/20, the show that Elizabeth Vargas currently co-hosts, I've seen her on TV many times over her long career and have always admired her for her intelligence and poise.

I had no idea that she has suffered from severe anxiety for as long as she could remember and that she had turned to alcohol to self-medicate until I read Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction.

If you've ever said, I don't understand these people who claim they have panic attacks, then this is the book for you. Vargas writes this description of the anxiety she experienced during her childhood:

When you are anxious in the way that I was, fears begin to feed on themselves. The feeling is so unpleasant that you start to notice everything, wondering if it is going to make you want to jump, wondering if you should run. I was poised at all times, it seems, to flee the bugs, the snakes, or a patch of marshy soil that looked like it might melt into quicksand. Even little things that normally don't bother people can send an anxious person up a wall My brother was exposed to the same terrors as I was, but to me at least, he seemed to glide through, unperturbed.

As a young adult, Vargas turned to alcohol to alleviate her anxiety. In this book she describes her eventual treatment in rehab, relapses, divorce, and continued efforts to change her life.

Even if you already have empathy for people who have panic attacks, I think you'll find Vargas's memoir of interest and enjoy her success that hasn't come to her without very hard work.

Between Breaths earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Appreciative Approval.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Note: This review is a fair and impartial one, not affected by my receipt of the book from a Goodreads giveaway.

Friday, November 24, 2017

PLACES IN THE HEART

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Yesterday was dreary and rainy, but the weather couldn't dampen the scent of the turkey and all the other good food I had prepared.

As the turkey spent its time in the oven, I watched a favorite movie from 1984 on Turner Classic Movies: Places In The Heart. It stars Sally Field (she won her second Best Actress Academy Award and gave that often misquoted speech), Danny Glover, and John Malkovich.

Every time I see the final sequence, I have tears in my eyes. Yet I have always wondered about the presence in the church of characters who have died or gone away. Edna Spalding's (Sally Field) late husband is there, next to the man who accidentally shot and killed him and was lynched for it. Moses (Danny Glover) appears, although he's had to leave the Spalding farm because of an attack by the KKK.




But yesterday, as the characters took Communion, I finally realized that all are in place because in the end, nothing is left but love and forgiveness.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug