Tuesday, January 26, 2021


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I want to share some blog posts I wrote long ago about working in a nursing home. Perhaps I'll write more stories about my all-time favorite job.

The following is the prologue I wrote for what I thought would be my first book. Fortunately, I learned from an x-ray and a thorough examination by a doctor that I do not have a book in me. The knowledge allows me to enjoy writing without feeling any pressure.

If you have a book in you, then you must write it. A surgeon cannot remove it for you.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Although it's been 20 years since I was there, I can picture the layout of the building perfectly. I know all the residents. I know their faces, how they look when they are smiling, how they look when storm clouds pass over them and the tears rain down their cheeks. Which ones have visitors, which ones have no family, and which ones have family but never receive a visit.

They are our mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandparents. They cared for us and changed our diapers when we were babies.

Now, they have turned into babies. Dementia turns adults into toddlers. Alzheimer's often leads to violent tantrums.

I can still smell the urine––strong, a very strong odor because the elderly don't drink enough water.

I know the care each person requires. Vivie is in a wheelchair but can walk with only a little assistance. Gene could walk with assistance when he arrived, but his condition deteriorated. He no longer walks. Zora and Ann have to be moved with mechanical lifts.

Violet and many others have to be lifted in our strong arms––lifted from wheelchair to toilet, from toilet to wheelchair, from wheelchair to bed. All the residents are terrified when we lower the bed railings so one of us can roll the person on her side while the other washes the rear end.

If the people are rolled toward me, "I'll fall out," they cry.

"No one ever gets past me," I reassure them.

"There's a first time for everything," they always say in between cries and screams. "You're too skinny. You're not big enough to save me."

O.K. So I'm skinny. I'm quite a bit smaller than the average nursing assistant. But there was no first time. No one ever rolled out of bed when I was there to offer protection. People who work in nursing homes have arms made of bands of steel. How else could we lift people who weigh 200 pounds?

The patients are safe with me, and not just because I'm strong. I saved Zora when s
he coughed and her face turned purple. No one else took her illness seriously. It turned out she had pneumonia.  I demanded that the charge nurse call her doctor.

Nurses hate to call the doctor because sometimes doctors yell at nurses. Doctors abuse nurses. Nurses abuse nursing assistants. Sometimes nurses and assistants abuse patients.

I never "get tough" with the patients others call spoiled. I don't have it in me. When Pop tries to hit me, I hold up my hands so he punches my palms. Katherine throws her bed alarm at me. I catch it with my left hand and congratulate myself, laughing. Katherine doesn't know what she's doing. How can I be angry?

And I always try to find a way to make the residents laugh, whether it's something I say or by dancing my way into their rooms, pretending to be a clumsy ballerina.

I am hugged, kissed, told "I love you."

I am peed on, vomited on, told "I'll kick you."

The people in my safekeeping hold my heart in their shaky hands, hands with skin so thin it can rip as easily as tissue paper. 

I touch with love, with laughter, with recognition of the individual.

I am a caregiver.

Monday, January 25, 2021


Two lovers in love
laughed at the sea,
laughed as the waves 
splashed the shore.
The water was cold
and it tickled their toes
and they laughed
and sang la la la laa.

Two lovers in love
loved though as one, and
laughed as the waves splashed the shore.
The water was warm
and it licked at their toes
and they laughed
and sang la la la laa.

Two lovers in love
labored as one, and
laughed as the waves splashed the shore.
The waters burst forth
and fell to the floor.
They laughed at the shore,
three laughed, and then four
and they laughed
and sang la la la laa.

Friday, January 22, 2021


Hello. It is I, Penelope.

You will be pleased to know that I have taken charge of Mom Mom's recovery. Yesterday she had muscle spasms. I made sure she took the right medicine and used a heating pad. As a result, she is much better today. She has spoken to an advocate, and she has an application to fill out so she can receive help with expenses related to The Bad Thing. 

I have allowed her to go on short walks, and today I told her she could go out to get some groceries. We must have an appropriate amount of dog food in this house at all times.

The three of us enjoyed the inauguration of President Biden. I am particularly interested in Vice President Harris. I see a great future for her.

I know you wanted to see the image of Santa Paws on my Kissmas sweater. 

I am on my very own special green blankie on my bed that I share with Mom Mom. I have three of my toys next to me because sometimes I enjoy chewing on them during the night. Mom Mom often says I like a little pinch between my cheek and gum. I do not know why she makes such a statement. She seems to find it amusing.

I am quite upset with Franklin. We found a dead lizard in the backyard. Franklin told me that people in France who speak French and wear beautiful French clothes enjoy dining on dead lizards. He told me if I ate the dead lizard I would go to France and speak French and wear beautiful French clothes.

So I tried to eat the dead lizard. It was disgusting! I could not eat it! Then Mom Mom explained that Franklin was joking. She also said I can pretend to be French if I like. 

I thought about it and decided pretending sometimes is better than being French all the time.

This is what I look like when I think:

I am finished for today. Goodbye. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

What a day it's been! No matter the weather, the sun came out at noon.

In spite of masks, in spite of social distancing, in spite of the necessity for a heavy National Guard presence, the inauguration was perfect. Joe! Kamala!! Jill!!! Doug!!!! Amanda Gormon!!!!! I'm in love with all of you. 

Can you believe a woman is the vice president? Can you believe a woman of color is the vice president? When Hillary wasn't elected, I was afraid a woman in the top spot wouldn't occur during my life. Joe introduced us to The Possible.

How nice to see three former presidents (Obama, George W., and Clinton) supporting the peaceful transfer of power. I'm sure Jimmy Carter shares their sentiments. 

I cried on and off all day, and every tear was shed in joy and gratitude. Fortunately, I've reached the point in my recovery that I can cry without experiencing pain.

No one can take my happiness away from me, but I'm glad to share it with every single one of you.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, January 19, 2021


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

This afternoon Franklin and I watched the Bidens arrive for The Big Event. I cried a little because Joe is taking on such a burden for us. Franklin cried a little because he was disappointed that Champ and Major didn't get off the plane with the rest of the family.

Of course, I must keep my joy under control because we're giving up so much as 45 departs. Who can forget the way he's unified America? The crowd on Jan. 6th was the largest ever in the Capitol.

What a campaign 45 fought against Old Uncle Joe! Sleepy Uncle Joe!

Well, guess what, shit for brains? Old Uncle Joe kicked your ass! So did Sleepy Uncle Joe!

But as we prepare for the future, let's look back at the machinations of Joe Biden.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, January 18, 2021


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

This is a pantoum I wrote many years ago and shared on my blog. I'm re-sharing it today in honor of Martin Luther King's birthday and in joy over the impending inauguration of Kamala Harris. I conceived it at a Writers' Workshop, where we were to use our personal geography as our subject. I grew up in Topeka, Kansas, the home of Brown vs. The Topeka Board of Education.

Happy MLK Day!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

I Grew Up in Linda Brown’s Town

I grew up in Linda Brown’s town
Where the Supreme Court said no more
We should have shared the ground
But on our Selves we shut a door.

Where the Supreme Court said no more
Separate was not equal
But on ourselves we shut a door
Complete with imaginary key that locked the lock forevermore.

Separate was not equal
But one mind can begin the change
Complete, with imaginary key that locked the lock forevermore
That mind began to pick open the door.

But one mind can begin the change
And cross the imaginary line
That mind began to pick open the door
And with a We Shall Overcome was joined by many more.

And cross the imaginary line
One went
And with a We Shall Overcome was joined by many more
Then the door burst open, forever, more.

One went
And then another
Then the door burst open, forevermore
To create a coat of many colors, black white brown and many more.

And then another
World began
To create a coat of many colors, black white brown and many more
That spread across the land because one mind had said No, more.

World, Began
Dream, Imagine Freedom
That spread across the land because one mind had said no more
Now all must join together to keep the door unlocked forevermore.

Dream, Imagine, Freedom
We should have shared the ground
Now all must join together to keep the door unlocked 
For, evermore, I grew up in Linda Brown’s town.

Friday, January 15, 2021


 Hi! Hi! HiHiHiHi. It's me me me me, Franklin the Bordernese. How's every buddy? A bad man has to leave the house that's white. Two dogs are moving in. They are named Champ Biden and Major Biden.

Maybe I'll get to meet Champ and Major. They look nice. So do their mom and dad. My whole name is Franklin Frederick Goltz. Sometimes Mom calls me Frank Fred for short.

We been having some problems around here. The Bad Thing happened. Me and Penlapee were scared. I look like this when I'm not happy:

Penlapee looks like this:

It's good that the pitchers of us look fuzzy. We feel all fuzzy and strange.

I heard Mom tell some buddy that since The Bad Thing happened we've got sneeze in your tissues. I don't understand. We sneeze sometimes, but we don't gots Kleenex or Puffs. 

Oh. Wait a minute.

Mom says it's not sneeze in your tissues. It's behavioral issues.

I think that means going potty in the living room. Penlapee potties there every time she's scared. This is kinda embarrassing, but I think I pottied in the living room, too.

Mom doesn't get mad at us. She understands we're scared. I also heard her say I helped save her from The Bad Thing. I dunno what she's talking about. All I did was ask for my supper.

Mom makes little noises a lot. It means something hurts. We run to her when we hear her noises.

We're all kinda tired. We sleep lots, but yesterday Mom sat outside for a while to read her book. We helped by staying close to Mom.

Love is what we're all about.

It's almost bedtime. That's fine with me.

Mom says we'll forget about The Bad Thing after a while.

I hope so. Treats help.

Okay. I love you. Bye-bye.

Thursday, January 14, 2021


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Last weekend I watched Born Yesterday (1950, recorded from Turner Classic Movies and available for $2.99 - $3.99 on some streaming services). It helped me feel a bit better after the mob attempted to sully our beautiful U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Judy Holliday won the Best Actress Academy Award for her first starring role in a movie. She had already originated the role of Billie Dawn on Broadway.

Billie has been junkyard tycoon Harry Brock's (Broderick Crawford) fiancĂ©e for seven years. They've traveled to Washington, D.C. so Harry can buy himself a congressman. 

Harry thinks Billie is an embarrassment when they socialize with the congressman and his wife, although Harry is crude and disgusting. Harry hires journalist Paul Verrall (William Holden) to educate Billie. 

Although Born Yesterday is considered a comedy––and it is funny––it also has dramatic moments. The cast is outstanding. George Cukor's direction is "superb."

Born Yesterday had me aglow when Billie and Paul visit the Capitol (it's not a set––they were on location). Billie marvels at the beautiful building as she absorbs Paul's teachings about U.S. history and democracy. It reminds me that the Capitol is a symbol of our democracy, a democracy that cannot be destroyed in spite of all the best efforts of any mob. The windows can be smashed and the speaker's podium stolen, but the building will be restored. Our democracy cannot be stolen from us.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Paul: A world full of ignorant people is too dangerous to live in.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Here are the answers to the CLASSIC CHRISTMAS MOVIES QUIZ.

1. C--The Apartment  Character: C.C. Baxter, played by Jack Lemmon

At the 1960 Academy Awards, Billy Wilder received three Oscars for The Apartment: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. It was the last black-and-white Best Picture winner until The Artist in 2011.

Fred MacMurray played nasty Mr. Sheldrake. He said a woman once hit him with her purse because she was angry with the character. He wasn't yet known for playing the nice-guy dad in Disney movies and on My Three Sons.

2. C--It's A Wonderful Life Character: Zuzu, played by Karolyn Grimes

Karolyn Grimes had a successful movie career as a child and also played Debby in another classic Christmas movie, The Bishop's Wife.  Her character was named after Zu Zu Ginger Snaps.

It's A Wonderful Life was not a box-office success. It was nominated for five Academy Awards but didn't win any. Director Frank Capra and actor Jimmy Stewart cited it as their favorite film from their long careers. It became well known during the 1980s when the copyright lapsed and TV stations could show it for free. It's now back under copyright protection.

3. A--Our Vines Have Tender Grapes Character: Selma Johnson, played by Margaret O'Brien

This story of a Norwegian farm family living in a Norwegian community makes me think of my family's history. My maternal grandmother came to the U.S. at the age of 12 with her Norwegian family. They lived in a Norwegian farming community. My mom said her grandfather never learned to speak English, but she thought he only pretended not to understand it.

Margaret O'Brien was known for her natural acting style and won a Juvenile Academy Award in 1944 for her performance in Meet Me In St. Louis. A maid took the award home to polish it and disappeared. It turned up almost 50 years later and was returned to O'Brien, who is now 83. Following her career in movies, she made a successful transition to TV roles and dinner theater parts.

4. D--A Christmas Carol Character: Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Reginald Owen

Charles Dickens' novella has been adapted for movie and TV screens numerous times. Many critics and scholars consider this, the 1938 version, to be the best. Lionel Barrymore, who played Ebenezer Scrooge on the radio every year, was set to play Scrooge in this film and had to drop out because of his arthritis. Reginald Owen replaced Barrymore.

Gene and Kathleen Lockhart play Bob and Mrs. Cratchit (Mrs. Cratchit doesn't have a name?). A Cratchit daughter, Belinda, is played by the Lockharts' daughter June, who speaks on film for the first time. You might remember June from Lassie, Lost In Space, Petticoat Junction, and numerous character roles. She is 95.

5. B--Christmas In Connecticut Character: Elizabeth Lane, played by Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck plays a magazine columnist who writes about Martha Stewart-type stuff, such as cooking, her home on a farm, pleasing her husband, and taking care of her baby. The problem is Elizabeth Lane knows nothing about cooking, lives in New York City, isn't married, and has no child. Antics ensue.

I love Barbara Stanwyck. She shone in comedies, dramas, and film noir––including her brilliant performance in Double Indemnity. In 1944, she was the highest-paid woman in the U.S. She was nominated four times for the Best Actress Academy Award, but never won. She received an honorary Academy Award in 1982. Stanwyck also won three Emmies for The Barbara Stanwyck Show, The Big Valley, and The Thorn Birds.

I see from your comments that we don't have any classic Christmas movie savants, but some of you did pretty well, and some of you are too bawk bawk bawk 

to tell us what you claim to know. I hope I've piqued your curiosity about some great movies that you might check out when December rolls around again.

Everyone's sweetheart, Mistress Maddie, wins bragging rights with 60 big ones . . . uh, I mean points. Wish we could watch classic movies together, dear heart. 

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, January 11, 2021


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I was going to write this post immediately after Christmas and didn't have an opportunity to do so. But it's not too late to have a quiz about classic Christmas movies.

I watched a lot of Turner Classic Movies over the holidays. I'm still watching them now.  The movies I selected for the quiz don't necessarily revolve around Christmas, but they have something to do with the holiday.

I'll provide a quotation from a movie and give you four possible responses. Each correct response earns 10 points. If you can name the character who says these words, you get 10 more points. If you can name the actor who plays the character, you get another 10 points. 

NO FAIR GOOGLING TO GET THE ANSWER. You have to take the quiz based on your knowledge of movies. Some of these should be pretty easy. Others? Maybe not.

Any references to A Christmas Carol have to do with the 1938 version. I'll return on Wednesday with the correct answers.

1"That's the way it crumbles . . . cookie-wise."

      A.  A Christmas Carol

      B.  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

      C.  The Apartment

      D.  Our Vines Have Tender Grapes

2. "Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings."

     A. Our Vines Have Tender Grapes

       B. The Apartment

       C. It's a Wonderful Life

       D. Miracle On 34th Street

3.  "Mother said Ingeborg Jensen isn't quite right."

       A. Our Vines Have Tender Grapes

       B. The Dark Knight Returns

       C. It's A Wonderful Life

       D. The Bishop's Wife

4. "Yes! Yes I do! I like Christmas! I LOVE Christmas!"

        A, Scrooged

        B. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

        C.  Christmas In Connecticut

        D. A Christmas Carol

5. "Suppose you listen to me for a change? I said listen to me! I'm tired of being pushed around. Tired of being told what to do. Tired of writing your god-darned articles. Tired of dancing to everybody else's tune. Tired of being told whom to marry. In short, I'm tired!"

          A. The Bishop's Wife

          B. Christmas In Connecticut

          C. A Christmas Carol

          D. Meet John Doe

Thanks for visiting. The person with the most points gets bragging rights.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Friday, January 8, 2021


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I want to tell you what has happened, but I'm going to begin with a little information and see what I'm able to say in the future. A psychologist friend has told me to talk and write about what happened. Get it out; don't internalize it. It wasn't my fault.

Late Sunday Afternoon, January 3, 2021:  An attack in my home. Strangulation. Started with me standing up, but suddenly, I was on the floor, still being strangled. It was incredibly painful. I thought I would die. Screamed. Shouted for help. Hit him in the balls and bit his hand. Finally convinced the attacker to let me go and I would not call the police. As soon as I could, I got out the front door and screamed for help as I ran first to one neighbor's house (not home but saw me on camera and returned to try to help) and then ran to another house where a couple took me in and called the police.

Went to a hospital ER in an ambulance. Attacker arrested. 

Sunday night: In ER. Never saw a doctor. Physician's assistant and nurse made it clear that I was a bother. I know these are COVID times, but I needed help. I did get x-rays and a scan. Jaw broken. Covered in bruises. Terrified. Discharged. The nurse said they didn't have time to find someone to take me home. They couldn't get a ride service because I didn't have a credit card. Excuse me all to hell for not grabbing my phone and my wallet while I was being strangled. 

Went out into the dark. No shoes. Wearing torn pajamas. Tried to walk home and knew I wouldn't make it. Stopped at a house and asked people to call the police because I needed help. They said they called, but the police never came. I don't think they called. They did nothing to help me.

Continued walking. Saw a man in the street behind a car. Begged him to call the police. He stood and stared at me so menacingly that I continued my journey. Went to another house. Asked a woman to call the police because I had been attacked and discharged from the ER with no way to get home. She said, Call the police and tell them what?

I kept walking. Two cop cars passed. I flagged them down. The woman had called! After verifying the case number I had been given by an officer in the hospital, an officer drove me home. I thanked him profusely. 

The attack started at approximately 5:15 p.m. I noted the time when I arrived: 11:38 p.m. 

Had pain pills, but on Wednesday, I noticed something new: pain in my left shoulder and under my left arm. I rested and medicated. Iced. Thursday morning the pain was worse, and after a while, began to radiate down my left arm. I called Carol and asked her to come over immediately. I prepared by putting needed items in my bag. When she arrived, I said, Let's stay calm. We're going for a ride to the emergency room because I might be having a heart attack.

We did NOT go to the same emergency room.

While we were driving, the pain in my arm became worse. The fingers on my left hand were numb. Carol let me out at the ER and I told the triage nurse about my symptoms. She got a wheelchair and said, I'm going to call this as a possible stroke.

A doctor greeted me and decided it wasn't a stroke after he asked me to push on his hands and I nearly knocked him down. Tests determined I did not have a heart attack. Dr. said I was having muscle spasms that caused the pain and prescribed muscle relaxers. Everyone treated me with such kindness.

Carol took me home. She and the very nice lady who lives across the street have gotten me groceries and picked up prescriptions. The muscle relaxers are helping more than the painkillers did.

I fear the future. The attacker is charged with a felony. I doubt if he'll get much jail/prison time. I'll get a restraining order. It won't stop him. Hospital bills will pour in. Insurance only covers so much. I fear being ruined financially. I fear being murdered. 

That's as much as I feel up to writing for now.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, January 6, 2021


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I am tired. I have been tired since that miserable creature was elected.

I knew trouble would come today. The creature told us it would.

But I am appalled by the severity of what happened in D.C. I am appalled by the lack of preparation. I am appalled by the violence. I am also appalled because I know that if those criminals had instead been #BlackLivesMatter protesters begging for their civil rights, many would have been shot and killed, and their bodies would have been desecrated. Those who weren't shot and killed would have been beaten and hauled off to jail.

The Metro Police fought hard and valiantly to protect the Capitol. Why hadn't the National Guard already been called out to assist when the creature said how big this day would be? Why? Why? Why? 

I thought arrests of these insurrectionists would take place when the police received the assistance so desperately needed. Instead, some morons left and those who remained stood around while the cops watched them. They violated the 6 p.m. curfew. They acted violently and posed an obvious threat. Yet they had nothing to fear. The vast majority are Caucasian. 

And the creature loves them. He said so. He loves them. They're special.

The kiss-ass senators who committed to trying to overturn election results have backed away from that position. Why did they ever make that commitment? They are the creature's accomplices in terrorist acts. Mitch McConnell will continue his reign unabated.

The light that reaches me is the election in Georgia. It can't be wiped out by this day.

I have been let down––personally––by the police in Jacksonville, Florida, and by a hospital emergency room. I don't know if I'll write about it because it was horrifying.

And now I have been let down by today's insanity. 

I am lost and alone. I'm in too much pain to cry. 


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, January 5, 2021


Hello. It is I, Penelope. I had to wait before sharing one of my presents from Santa Paws. I needed to regain my self-control.

However, Mom Mom took these photographs of me on Christmas. I am wearing a new sweater. Santa Paws' face is on my back. Perhaps Mom Mom will photograph me again so you can see Santa Paws better. 

I was quite tired on Christmas after all of the excitement of gifts and treats. When it grew dark, I got in my bed, which I share with Mom Mom because I am generous. I pushed down the covers to feel cozy. It was cold on Christmas Day.

I allowed Mom Mom to photograph me once, but the second time, I raised my head to tell her it was time to stop bothering me.

Santa Paws also brought me a beautiful, red hoodie. I might show it to you if you beg enough.

I have been thinking a lot about Santa Paws. Do you think he is real? I suspect that Mom Mom is Santa Paws.

 Mom Mom asked me to tell you she is sorry she hasn't been visiting your blogs. She was injured and has to take time to recover.

That is all. Goodbye.