Friday, June 30, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

The best book that I finished this month is War Brides by Helen Bryan.

Although this work of historical fiction/romance/mystery is fairly long, I didn't want it to end. I can't say that the writing is brilliant, but the characters are so interesting that I wanted to know what happened to them. It was hard to put War Brides down at night and go to sleep. I think I even dreamed about reading it.

Five young women end up in the English village of Crownmarsh Priors during the second World War, and all––in spite of their differences––become close friends and war brides. Their romances take center stage, but they're also dealing with refugees, pregnancies, evacuees from London, working as "Land Girls," rationing (of very bad food), and danger. Their day-to-day lives are interesting enough alone, but when one of them is recruited to go above-and-beyond the call of duty by her country, she jumps in immediately to give her all.

In addition to loving the characters, I'm pleased that this novel focuses on how important "women's work" was during the war. Helen Bryan writes in her "Introduction":

In households I knew as a child, family photographs of uniformed men and women were yellowing and gradually consigned to closets and drawers to make way for wedding pictures, new babies, and family holiday pictures. I began to add to what I already knew about how women had coped in the war, not sure at first what I would do with this information. The preoccupations women of any period share––falling in love, marriage, looking after husbands and families, struggling in many cases with financial pressures to make ends meet or forced by circumstances into spinsterhood––remained the same as the war engulfed everybody. In terrible times, and despite the heavy added burdens of war work, rationing, and the threat of invasion, many women fought a personal battle for some kind of normality, with the kind of determined courage never mentioned in the history books. Elsie, Frances, Alice, Tanni, and Evangeline soon invented themselves out of the information I was amassing. They hung about, waiting for their stories to be written.

I'm glad Bryan couldn't get these characters off her mind without writing their stories. I must say that the conclusion of the book also has a twist that makes me long for a sequel, but I don't expect one since War Brides was published in 2007. I wish I'd known about it sooner. 

This book will make a great summer read on the beach, at the pool, in your favorite chair, or where I read it: in bed.

Happy reading!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

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

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

Here are some buzzwords I can't stand:

Face Time
Impact (instead of effect)
Paradigm Shift
Come-to-Jesus Moment

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

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

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

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

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

We went to an outdoor show at the aquarium:

It was a perfect, early summer's day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can't win.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, June 23, 2017


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

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

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

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

Here's why we want Human Brother:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!

Sunday, June 18, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

He didn't look like this:

He looked more like this:

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

What to do?

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

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

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

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

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

I miss him.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

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

Friday, June 16, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

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

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

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

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So the question is: Who owns the bed?

The answer is simple: Robin.

Friday, June 9, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

You can purchase Woman on the Verge of Paradise by clicking on this link to Amazon:

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

You can also read Robyn's blog, Life by Chocolate, by clicking here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

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

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A nameless teen, fun-loving and carefree

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

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

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

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

"Blue Is The Color of Love,"
a painting by Shirley Ardell Mason

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

Here are some clichés to avoid:

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

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

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Sources: Harbrace College Handbook and

Monday, June 5, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, June 2, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,


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

The boys looked like this:

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

Nobody's home                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now I look like this:

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

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug