Friday, December 25, 2020


 The nursing home felt sad and lonely throughout the holiday season. Christmas carols played over and over sounded tinny, and could barely be heard. Decorations didn't do much to spruce up the building. It was called a nursing home, but it was no home.

I always volunteered to work my seven p.m. to seven a.m. shift on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so someone who had young children could have the time off. We had been promised food for Christmas Eve, but by the time I arrived, the sandwich makings in the employee kitchen looked unpalatable. The lettuce turned brown. The cheese had a crust. The bread had gone AWOL.

I went about my rounds, as usual. All my patients were settled in bed. We had almost reached midnight when I entered Josie's room. I needed to check the flow of her oxygen and turn her from one side to the other in an attempt to prevent bed sores.

Josie was still awake. She looked sad, as she so often did. As I worked, I chatted and questioned her about the past. I hoped to bring out a happy remembrance of the holiday. Her memory was spotty, but she valiantly sought words so she could talk to me.

I wish the Lord would take me now, Josie moaned. I just want to die.

I remained quiet. She might tell me what troubled her.

When I was young, she said, I had a baby, but my husband wouldn't marry me. He married me later, but he wouldn't marry me then. I lied to all my friends at church and said I was a married woman. I . . . I . . . was embarrassed and scared that people would find out.

I couldn't take it anymore after a while, and I tried to drown myself because I was so ashamed. But it didn't work. My daughter knows about it. She says, Why didn't you leave him? I tell her I didn't have anyplace to go. Where would I go? 

A lot of women have that problem, I said. 

I've always been so afraid that God won't forgive me for having a baby when I wasn't married and for trying to kill myself.

We talked more. Josie opened her heart to me as she continued the story of abuse by her husband. He came in occasionally for visits. He didn't appear very nice. Josie's daughter was notorious for her nasty attitude toward staff members and her mother. The daughter came in for lunch every day. When she thought no one saw, she ate the food from her mother's meal tray.

When Josie stopped talking, I said, You know, it's Christmas. 

It is? she asked, surprised.

Yes, it is, and I can promise you that God forgives you. As soon as you ask his forgiveness, he grants it. You don't have to ask him over and over.

I didn't know that, Josie said. Her eyes grew wider. She seemed more awake and in control of her faculties.

I had to move on to my next patient. Merry Christmas, I told Josie as I kissed her soft cheek.

Merry Christmas, she answered. And don't tell the other girls what I did.

I won't tell anyone, I promised.

I left her room and spotted a handsome young man at the nurses' station. We rarely had a visitor in the middle of the night.

I hurried toward him. May I help you? I asked.

I'm sorry to come in the middle of the night, but it's the only time I can get here. I want to see my grandmother. Her name is Josie W______.

I'll take you to her, I said. She's awake.

I ushered him to the door of her room. I saw a smile--a real smile--cross her face. I had never seen her smile before.

I heard the scrape of a chair as he pulled it over to sit next to her. 

Their voices became murmurs. 

I thanked God for the gift of the grandson's visit. I had never seen him before, and I never saw him again. 

After that night, Josie seemed more at peace. It served her well when she developed a bed sore on her leg that led to the amputation of the limb. She was still alive when I had to quit my job to move away.

Thursday, December 24, 2020


Glaedelig Jul Veselé VánoceFeliz NavidadBuon Natale Feliz NatalVrolijk kerstfeest

Joyeux Noël Frohe Weinachten

And From Franklin and Penelope

Merry Kissmas

Tuesday, December 22, 2020


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I spent more than an hour on Monday with a dear friend I met in high school. Other old friends have fallen by the wayside, but she is extra special and we've managed to stay in touch without seeing each other face to face. We talked over the telephone about The Cheeto in The White House, and discussed shows we've been watching on streaming services. 

She didn't reveal that a surprise was on its way. This afternoon I awoke from a nap and saw a gigantic box on the doorstep of The Little House On The Swamp. I sighed and thought, Another box delivered that's not for me. We'll have to get it to the correct address.

But it was addressed to me! Dear Friend sent me a gift!!!!

The box is beautiful:

And here are the contents:

It's the mother lode of cookies from Cheryl's! If you've never had their treats, then I can assure you they're delicious. 

I love this nativity scene that Carol gave me, but Baby Jesus better not try to take my cookies:

The scene rests on a red placemat provided by Carol. And the red placemat rests on a Christmas table topper that I embroidered. I guess a table topper is different from a tablecloth, but I don't know why the package said Table Topper To Embroider. Did you swing by Mitchell's place to catch the discussion of bread-and-butter plates? It became so  lively that it continued the next day.

After I opened the box, I saw a text from Dear Friend warning me that a box had been delivered so I'd better grab it before Porch Pirates saw it. We've only had package thieves in the hood once. They followed the UPS truck and snatched parcels within minutes of their arrival. They made the mistake, though, of also taking children's bicycles from their yard. Mom called the police, and three cars filled with cops showed up to stop those nasty Christmas stealers.

Now Favorite Young Man and I pronounce ourselves amazed by the vast quantity of cookies in our humble home. Thank you, Dear Friend.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Lovely Joanne who blogs at Cup On The Bus, asked a question in her comment on Franklin's most recent post:

Ask your mom about this, Franklin. I'm currently reading The Song of the Lark, Willa Cather, 1915. I'm seeing all contractions written as would n't, could n't, should n't, etc. Can she sometime write a little history of when the space between d and n elided?

Franklin responded by saying he was sure that I would do it, but I'm afraid Franklin spoke too soon. I don't know the answer and can't find it in any of my grammar texts or through online research.

I recall seeing contractions written in this way from reading My Antonia, also by Willa Cather, for a class on American novels that I took long ago.

If it was commonly done at the time, however, I do not remember seeing it in other books from the early 1900s. Perhaps they had been updated, or I didn't notice the space. My Antonia is so beautifully written that it has always stood out to me.

So, how about it, Brilliant Friends? Do any of you know the answer to Joanne's question? Feel free to show off your knowledge. 

And if you feel the need for lovely, cotton tea towels, Joanne weaves them. You can see her offerings at Everything Old Is New Again

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, December 18, 2020


Hi! Hi Hi Hi! Hi! It's me! It's me! Its memememememe! Franklin, the Bordernese. For Kissmas, let's have a cheese ball, if you please.

I don't have no balls, but that's okay. I don't need 'em. Do you have balls? I've noticed Mom doesn't have any. Maybe Human Brother does, but I've never seen him in the shower.

That's enough ball talk. I wanna show you Kissmas lights at our house. I have to write today because Santa Paws will be here soon. Then I'll be busy with new toys and treats and fun stuff to do. I wonder if Mom will bake peanut butter doggy biscuits. Those are my favorite food. We always put some out for Santa Paws.

Wow! It's hard for me to think straight when I know Santa Paws will be here next week.

Did you know Penlapee pooped in the living room when it thundered a few days ago? snicker snort  That Penlapee.

Here's our Kissmas tree in the living room. Good thing Penlapee didn't poop on that. We need the tree so Santa can put our presents underneath it. It's kinda hard to see in pictures. I think I could take better pictures than Mom does, but she says I can't use the camera because I don't have posable thums. I don't know what that means. I tried to pose Mom's thums and it didn't work.

 We have new lights, too. Human Brother gots lights that can go outdoors so he put them on the house. They are sooooooo pretty.

Here's me at the front door. I help by watching. When I sound the alarm, Penlapee joins me. We say so when a human person and a human dog walk by. We talk about cats, too. I don't like cats. Mom thinks they're nice. I don't know why.

Okay! Okay! Okay! Now you've seen our lights so go home. Go back to your home or me and Penlapee will bark at you.

Okay. I love you. Bye-bye.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I never knew anyone who said groovy. I certainly didn't use the word myself. 

But I thank you for your kind comments on my last post. They moved me to tears––of a good kind.

It's raining very hard. When we heard thunder a few minutes ago, two unhappy puppies skittered away to hide behind the furniture, but first, a certain little penguin who wants to fly pooped in the living room.

Accidents happen. Before you know it, I'll probably take a shit wherever I happen to be, and the dogs will clean up after me. 

 We had glorious weather on Sunday, though. It was the kind of December day that makes me love living in Florida. The sun shone. Temperature 75 with low humidity.

Franklin and I enjoyed a stroll to the park, while Favorite Young Man worked on his bicycle.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, he transformed the bike's dull, pale blue into the hot pink you see here.

The latest addition is a water bottle holder, along with the bottle, of course. The little, silver torpedoes are compressed air so he can make flats disappear without carrying a more cumbersome tire kit.

Happy Trails, FYM!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, December 15, 2020


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In spite of my antidepressant, sometimes I see myself on the edge of the cliff. 

It's hard to pay bills without a job, but I dread looking for something else. I feel old, slow, and unloved. 

I told only a couple of people what the manager at my former job said to me. I think I'm ready to reveal it now. 

He threatened me with dismissal from the beginning, and was never satisfied with my work. His early threat was They're going to come and take you out of here.

He didn't know about X's threat: I'm going to see to it that you're locked up in a mental institution for the rest of your life.

The manager's ignorance provided no excuse for saying such a thing to me.

Over time, his statements escalated to him belittling me for living where I live (a lovely neighborhood in which the value of my little house has increased dramatically), but he lives at the beaches. A lot of people there are entitled assholes.

He also brought up my age repeatedly. The statement that led me to report him: You're too old to get on your knees and give me a blow job.

Remind you of trump much?

The company investigated my complaint and decided that no one else had heard him say it, and he denied saying it; therefore, he didn't say it.

His words had more value than mine. As a writer, it's excruciating to me to have my words ignored and dismissed.

I was switched to a different manager. Her office was directly across from the other manager's office. I had to look at him when all I wanted was to never see his ugly face again. 

The situation with the new manager wasn't much better. She wanted to get rid of me. With time she wore me down and I left. 

The icing on the poop cake came when we moved one row over and she assigned a new desk to everyone except me. It's difficult to work without a desk.

The last of my fight was gone.

Now here I am, feeling a bit sorry for myself. I can't give as many gifts this year and I love to be a gift giver. I mailed Christmas cards today, though. I didn't know if I would accomplish that. Next I want to bake some cookies. Maybe I'll manage that.

Tomorrow will probably be better. It couldn't get much worse.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, December 11, 2020


 It's me it's me it's me. It's Penelope. Wait till you see what I have!

Mom Mom told Santa Paws that it's cold and he brought me an early present. It's a new sweater!!!!!

It has the body of a penguin on my back and then my head sticks out of the opening so it looks like I'm a penguin. Mom Mom said I'm the most adorable penguin in the world. Human Brother called me Peneloguin. Then he said I'm CUTE! I wonder if being cute will make me fly like the reindeer on the TV.

I bet I'll fly the next time Human Brother says I'm cute. I almost flew in the backyard already because I ran fast fast fast in a big circle around the yard WHILE I WAS WEARING MY NEW SWEATER!

I'm a happy penguin. Happy happy happy.

Would you like to see a picture of me as a penguin? You know penguins are cute.

Wait a minute. You should see a penguin first because you might not have ever seen a penguin.

See? Penguins like art. I bet I'll get invited to an art museum now that I'm Peneloguin.

Okay. Here's a picture of me that Mom Mom took after I got tired and needed a rest from running in circles around the yard.

Wow. I am cute. I'm sure I'll fly soon.

I thought of something else. This isn't the way I write. I'd better write the way I usually write or you might think I'm Franklin.

Hello. It is I, Penelope. 

No, Peneloguin! I don't care about writing the way I usually do. Let's have fun and fly!

Bye! See you soon! I know Santa Paws will bring more presents for me on Kissmas and I hope every present will be new clothes for me to wear because I'm CUTE!

Thursday, December 10, 2020


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have Tupperware™ I've owned for 40 years. Yeah, I'm old. 

I love Tupperware. It's pretty and it provides a good, airtight seal. Please don't write comments about how you hate Tupperware because you had a container that ate your cat or broke a guest's leg and the person sued you. Whatever. I take Tupperware's side in all complaints. I don't care about your cat or your guest.

I feel fussy tonight. I was going to write about all the reasons I'm fussy, but decided to write about Tupperware instead because I try not to dwell on negativity. hahahahaha The joke's on you because I always dwell on negativity.

And please don't call the plastic containers you can buy in the grocery store or Wal-Mart or Target or The Dollar Store Tupperware. They are not Tupperware. I seldom let my Tupperware out of my sight. I allowed Willy Dunne Woofers to take my Tupperware home with him because he returned it to my gaze every time. Willy Dunne Woofers and I broke up a long time ago, and after the big event, he actually returned my Tupperware. Left it on the doorstep where my cracked, broken body lay.

Well, anyway. Tupperware. Yeah, Tupperware. After 30 or so years, some of the lids for my Tupperware cracked, split, broke. Became useless. Like me.

But the great thing about Tupperware is that you can call them and get replacements for the shipping/handling fee of $5.75.

When I made my most recent request for new lids, Tupperware no longer stocked the lids I needed. Makes sense since my Tupperware is 75 or maybe even 100 years old, as am I.

Here's my new Tupperware. Greet it kindly, please. Its feelings are easily hurt.

Favorite Young Man asked if we're going to leave the new Tupperware on the dining room table or put food in it. Definitely leave it on the dining room table.

These particular containers are called Freezer Mates. They're not cheap. I looked them up. I received more than a hundred dollars worth of them for calling 1-800-TUPPERWARE and giving the customer service person the model numbers from my no longer happy lids, which I did not toss in the garbage. Boy, am I ever superior.

Okay. Well, I guess that's it for now, so I'll go back to feeling fussy in the privacy of my own little home.

Oh, yeah. I should add this tidbit: Don't be afraid of me. I do not sell Tupperware and will not try to talk you into having a Tupperware party.

Infinities of love,

Fussy The Same Way Babies Are Fussy Janie Junebug

Maybe I'm hungry or my diaper needs to be changed. Or maybe I want to be held.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day, a day of remembrance that most people probably no longer observe. 

I confess that years after hearing Roosevelt's speech, I finally realize that he said "a date which will live in infamy," while I always thought it was "a day."

Of course, Penelope knew it was date.

My word choice question, however, concerns which or that.

If I wrote the speech, I would use "a date that will live in infamy." But my grammar texts tell me that, although many writers prefer that, which is acceptable.

Do you prefer which or that?

Infinities of love,
Janie Junebug

Friday, December 4, 2020


 Hello. It is I, Penelope. 

During November, all Mom Mom and Human Brother talked about was voting. Everyone should vote, they said. What is this voting? I demanded.

Mom Mom said, Voting is about making important decisions.

So I voted. I voted for more kibble in my bowl. I voted for Human Brother to share his tortilla chips with me. I voted for sunshine on a rainy day. I voted for Mom Mom to add DogTV to the satellite dish. I voted for Franklin to disappear.

My votes did not get me what I wanted. I will not give up.

It is cold. I must wear my sweater, but honestly! It is so last winter.

Mom Mom purchased some new clothes for me at Target, the fancy store for dogs. I tried them on and they were too small.

Mom Mom said, Penelope, you need to lose a few pounds.

So I vote for the pounds to go away. I am certain that this vote will come to fruition and I will be in my new clothes by Kissmas.

Good luck with that vote, Penelope, Mom Mom said.

I think she was being sarcastic. 

That is all. Goodbye.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I went with BREAKING NEWS because I see it on my news channel all the time. How can everything be breaking news? At least the PBS news hour is a more traditional show. Favorite Young Man likes to watch it each evening, so I join him in that.

FYM ended up being very busy with home improvements after he promised to make one improvement and then kept putting it off. He made the other improvements as a way of keeping busy while he avoided what he had promised. In the end, he fulfilled the promise and did a whole lot more, so I was thrilled.

FYM's initial offer entailed repairing a gouge in the laundry room wall and painting one side of the laundry room (one side was fine because painting behind the washer, dryer, and a cabinet wasn't necessary). The gouge occurred when the front panel of my old washing machine fell off about nine or ten years ago.

First, he filled in the gouge:

Then he avoided painting––which he hates to do so I don't know why he suggested it––by putting up a new handrail next to the front steps:

The old rail broke a couple of years ago. The new one is much sturdier.

Then FYM found a pressure washer at a good price. He pressure washed everything in sight. If I hadn't showered, he probably would have pressure washed me. He began with the steps:

The front steps are in the shade. Mold grew on them. They were slippery. Now they're clean enough to eat a meal on. He also cleaned all of the concrete in the front and the back of the house, and cleaned the deck. The deck is rotting and needs to be replaced, but until that happens, at least it's clean.

He bathed Franklin and Penelope, which is a home improvement because it keeps away the doggy odor. They didn't like it, but he did it anyway.

Then he organized everything in the garage and cleaned it out. We also got rid of an old couch because the house is a bit crowded. Now I can walk through the living room without dodging furniture and we have plenty of room for the Christmas tree.

The moment of truth arrived. Would he paint? YES! 

He taped:

He cursed:

He painted:

I love the cheerful blue that he chose.

And here's the finished product:

He also painted the backdoor, which remains white:

Finally, he removed the tape.

FYM said that Penelope is not allowed to put her paw on the door when she wants to come in. I distract him from that command by telling him when he gets home from work that I put my paw on the door. He laughs. All is well.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug