Not what I meant but too cute not to post.
I haven't posted in a while, but that's because a lot has been going on in my life. I did, however, get my book Moms are from Mars: a savory blend of memories, opinions, advice and ridiculousness
onto Kindle and Nook. Huzzah! And it's only $2.99. That's a small price to pay to read embarrassing stories about me, as well as witness another miracle by Action Figure Jesus. ;) As for other e book devices, it will be coming to them very soon. Click here
for more info on when and where yoy can buy it. Of course, don't forget my other book, Extraordinary: Light vs. Dark.
It's getting great reviews! For info on that, click here
But enough with the sales pitch. I want each and every one of you to know I love you. Truly, I do. Yep, I think you're all that and a bag of Cheetos. To prove it, I came up with a special pet name just for you. Just do the following. In the first column, find the number that corresponds to your birth year (ex. 1996 = #6). That's the first part of your pet name. After that, go to the second column and select your birth month (ex. January - #1). That's the second part of your name. Voila! When you're done, leave me a comment so I know what to call you from now on, okay?
Mom's Pet Names
Oh! Before I go, I have a confession I must make to my family. Remember the French silk pie I bought last week for my birthday? I lied when I said I thought everyone else liked that kind of pie. I knew no one else did. But I got it anyway. Because it's my favorite. And it was my birthday. And, dang it, it was MY special day. And though it took me three days to it, it was no sacrifice for me to eat it all. I savored every slice. Anyway, with that said, I'm going to hop on the tread mill. For some reason, I gained two pounds this week. Huh. And finally, thanks to fellow writer and blogger Ian Cochrane for giving me a Versatile Blogger award. So sweet!
I've got a big announcement: I've written another book and I am very excited about it. Why? Because it features a TON of my crazy life experiences. Dating, high school, money, travel, fashion, and -- of course -- motherhood are all covered. Called Moms are from Mars, this book blends
blog posts with original content that will never be published on this site. Below are a few of the stories you will find inside:
... my glorious liberation from Tough Skins® jeans...
... an embarrassing misadventure with a weaponized curling iron...
... the ill-thought implementation of a noose as a life-saving device...
... my dad's HUGE tall tale about Ronald Reagan...
... an early fascination with high quality television programming...
... my unseemly dalliances with lying, cheating, and thievery...
... the time in Paris when I saw French film star Gerard Depardieu naked. Maybe.
Keep in mind, however, that I've learned from my mistakes. You'll find plenty of opinions and advice, as well.
This book is great for teens and adults, alike, and would make a GREAT Mother's Day gift. :) In fact, that's why I'm announcing it now. Some of my test readers wanted to give it to their moms or fellow moms on that day. So I cranked to get it out in time. Still, as of this writing, it's only available in paperback on Amazon. Click here to go there now.
The e book is coming soon, though. When it becomes available, I'll let you know. Oh! One more thing. I'm going to kinda sorta take back my words on the whole "exclusive content that will never be published on my site." Right now, since the LOOK INSIDE THE BOOK feature isn't up yet, I decided to post a little bit here. Once the feature is installed on Amazon, I will take the snippet down. Until then, if you want to look before you buy, click here to read some of the first chapter.
And now I'm done. I hope you like my new book!
Not me. I have hair.
I'm going to tell you one of the scariest, most embarrassing stories about me right now. I remember it clearly. It was the night of April 14th. My family and I had been sound asleep upstairs.
Around 2AM I heard a HUGE thump downstairs. I sprung out of bed. Then, without thinking, I ran down the stairs in the dark to find out what had happened. At the foot of the stairs, I froze as my heart sprang up into my throat. What was I doing?
"Janene," Rick scolded from the top of the stairs."Come back up! You don't know what or who might be down there."
Exactly what I'd been thinking.
I rushed back up the stairs as Rick went down, a thick dowel rod in his hands. Grabbing the phone from our bedroom, I tip-toed back down after him, hoping he'd found nothing. Which he had. We had no idea what had made that noise moments ago. Then I entered the dining room and realized something was off. Really off.
I couldn't figure it out at first. Then I realized what had bee wrong. Our huge print of Portofino, Italy -- one of my favorite places, BTW -- had fallen from the wall. Luckily, the glass hadn't cracked. The only damage had been to the back of the frame. One of the large hooks that had held the wire to hang it had completely ripped off. There it sat, leaning up against the wall, instead of hanging from the nail in the wall. Are you ready to hear the embarrassing, scary part?
As of today, the print is still there. And this didn't happen a couple of weeks ago. It happened April 14, 2012. Yep. This all happened over a year ago and the print is still leaning against the wall.
Embarrassing, huh? I told you. And here's the scary part of all this. I have no plans to fix it anytime soon. My life is just so dang busy!
All right. I know that's a cop out, which is why I'm telling you all of this today. I'm hoping the shame will finally spur me into action. I hope it works.
Somehow I doubt it.
Is it just me or has Mother Nature gone insane? The weather's been so wacky lately. It's April 19th in Iowa and earlier today it actually SNOWED. Not much, mind you -- just a few flakes but, dang! What is going on? I'm particularly concerned about my homies in Chicago. All that flooding. Not much fun.
Of course, I know more than my fair share about floods. It started back in 1993. Rick and I had just moved to Germany. We turned the TV on and saw a place called "The Quad Cities" had made international news.
It had flooded. Big time. No huge surprise since it was situated on the Mississippi River. To preserve the beauty of the riverfront, an earlier decision had been made to keep their flood walls low.
Really? we thought. What kind of people live like that? Turns out, they were people like us. Three years later we were transferred to Rock Island Arsenal in -- yep, you guessed it -- The Quad Cities.
Now I have to say the river doesn't flood every year and, when it does, it's not like 1993. But it does flood. I'm not sure how many times it's done so since we've moved here, but the fact that I've lost count should tell you something.
Anyway, I dug out photos I had taken during one of the floods. I'm not sure which year these are from. 2011? I do know they're starting to fill sandbags again. Perhaps another photo op is coming.
The Dock restaurant. Yes, I see the irony of the name.
a more panoramic view
No trains today!
a marriage of the river and the street
The Levee Inn. Yep. More irony.
New meaning to the words "water fountain."
going on a milk carton
Stan is missing. You know that sad and sullen voodoo doll I bought in New Orleans during Spring Break? Well, he's
gone, baby, gone and I'm oh so sad. He'd already looked as though he'd seen enough. Of course, you know who I am blaming: our cat, Cinnamon. He's got a record. Remember when he attacked my Thor?
I'd found Thor's hammer behind the couch -- surrounded by cat fur, no less. And now Cinnamon's getting bolder. Look at this:
It's a feather from Stan. I didn't find it behind the couch but IN PLAIN VIEW on the carpet right next to my desk. It's like Cinnamon isn't even trying to appear innocent. I fear what he might do next.
My other voodoo dolls are worried, too -- at least the ones with feathers. To be safe, I put them in my desk drawer. Just to make them comfy, I covered them with an old cleansing cloth for glasses. I think they appreciated that.
Man, that looks like it hurts.
Seriously, what am I going to do with that cat? He's turning into such vicious troublemaker. You'd never guess he was the same cat who pees in fright whenever he's by the front door and the doorbell rings. He even runs away when anyone other than family enters the house! Well, I'm not buying the "scaredy cat" act anymore.
I'm on to you, Cinnamon. Watch out.
I feel bad. I meant to create some cute Easter keyboard animals for you, but I simply ran out of time. You see my mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law and their kids came in this weekend to celebrate the holiday with us. Huzzah! Though it was fun, it was also very busy -- and not just while they were here, either. I had to prepare for their arrival. You know, cook, clean, as well as put out my special hand soap, shown below. It seemed appropriate given the Easter holiday, don't you think?
But, like I said, there was also fun. Yesterday we decided to take the crew few miles down the road to Le Claire, Iowa. Of course, that meant we had to stop at the American Pickers store. Mike and Frank weren't there, but we did see a big head that was just screaming for me to take it home:
Rick said no.
Oh, did I mention we also celebrated Rick's birthday? The baker asked me what I wanted on the cake and I said, "Just put 'Happy Birthday, Rick!' Nothing fancy. Maybe some green and yellow balloons because he likes the Green Bay Packers." Here's what I got:
Anyway, now that our company's gone, it's time for me to collapse. I promise to make some Easter keyboard characters soon. In the meantime, here's the cutest photo of a bunny I've ever taken. Ain't he cute?
quite possibly the creepiest souvenir ever
Did you miss me? Please say yes because I have a strong need for validation and love. Last week was Spring Break so our family went on a vacation to New Orleans, Louisiana. The trip didn't disappoint and not just because it was 40 degrees warmer down there. (Come on Iowa. Snow in mid-March? Really?)
Anyway, our family is always insane when it comes to doing and seeing everything we can, so instead of writing your eyes out (which I'm assuming is the reading equivalent of talking your ears off) I'm going to showcase a snippet of our trip: the bayou.
We went about forty minutes outside of New Orleans to the Honey Island swamp for this totally awesome experience. Before I start, though, I want to show you this bridge right near our boat launch. When Hurricane Katrina hit on 2005, guess how high the water level got.
All the way up to that cute little station house. I'm guessing that's at least thirty feet up. Needless to say, we saw quite a few new homes that had been raised up on stilts. Here's one we saw right on the river:
P.S. It's still a bit lower than that station house.
Anyway, let's get to the tour. We saw a ton of alligators like this one here:
I'm sorry if it's a little blurry. I had to really use the zoom on my camera to get this shot.
I didn't have to use the zoom on this one, though I admit, for a moment, I had the urge to wet my pants. I will say no more.
We also saw a mama boar with two little piglets -- or are they boarlets? I refuse. That sounds weird.) We fed them marshmallows. (We fed the alligators, too.) Here's a shot of the mama going after one. So fun to watch.
We also saw turtles,herons, snakes and some beautiful flowers. Did you know the fleur-de-lis, the official symbol of Louisiana, is based off a stylized iris lily? They grow wild in the swamp. Don't believe me? Take a peek.
Still, the coolest thing we saw had to be the merman. You heard me. I said, merman!
Oh, come on now. It's me. You KNEW I'd have to throw something goofy in here. Like this coffee I found in a store:
The blocked out word is "HECK." Promise.
And the most adorable voodoo dolls. There are a ton of these things. I predict they'll be the next craze.
Now, of course, not all voodoo dolls are cute. Here's one that looked so lonely and pathetic, I had to buy him. His name is Stan.
Seriously, he looks so horrifically shocked and dismayed by life. I felt he needed a good home.
But I'll stop now. Just let it be known that we had a fabulous time during our entire trip. And now I'm back and it sucks. This snow has REALLY overstayed its welcome.
Take me back to New Orleans!!
Say it isn't so!
My critique partner, Leslie Langtry
, just found one of the silliest book titles available on Amazon. Called A List of Animals I Believe I Could Defeat in Single Combat, Organized by Phylum
, it's one man's list of ....well, animals he believes he could defeat in single combat, orgnaized by phylum.
I've got to say, there are a TON of crazy books out there. I, for one, think that's awesome. So I did some research and found some of the craziest book titles Amazon has to offer...
...and here they are. Below are the some of the goofiest books I have ever seen. And some of the reviews are hysterical. If you want to read them just click the book cover and you'll be sent to its page on Amazon. Enjoy!
How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack
How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men
Living with Crazy Buttocks
The Zen of Farting
Cheese Problems Solved
Be Bold with Bananas
Five Very Good Reasons to PUnch a Dolphin in the Mouth
So Now You're a Zombie: A Practical Guide for the Undead
The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories
The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods
Do It Yourself Coffins for Pets
Reusing Old Graves
People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About it
The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification
You Are Worthless: Depressing Nuggets of Wisdom Sure to Ruin Your Day
I Was Tortured by the Pygmy Love Queen
An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England
This book will be mine. MINE!
It has been said that just because you can watch 16 episodes of Parks & Recreation back to back, doesn't mean you should. Well, I'm here to say I think that's caca. To maintain my sanity (which is hard), I find it necessary to take a day off once in a while. Yesterday was one of those days. Though some may say my day off had to do more with my P&R obsession than my need for a sanity break, all I can say is the first step in dealing with a problem is recognizing that you have one. I'm not ready to do that yet.
Plus I did do a couple other things on my day off, like carving out time to perfect my whistling lips beat box skills. If you think I'm joking, ask my family. They will nod in acknowledgement, then bow their heads in shame.
I am posting this picture in protest of the "look how cute I am" photomania currently on Facebook. I call this "look at how moronic I am." No extra charge for the fly away hair and dark circles under the eyes.
I also coaxed my Action Figure Jesus into turning water into wine. I have to say, he outdid himself. Instead of a standard table wine, he produced a savory full-bodied cabernet with soft vanilla undertones. Yum.
Then to continue the magic, I let my dragon finger puppet friend, Steve, help me type this post. (My index finger had a boo boo and typing hurt. Boy. Such a good friend, that Steve.)
Steve was rescued from the $1 bin at IKEA. The thought of him languishing in a landfill made me cry.
And now I feel much better. Sure, I'm still a little crazy but you knew that already. If you have a sec, tell me what do you do to blow off steam. I'd love to hear it.
Before I dive into this story, you have to know that I loved Swarovski crystal figurines. In fact, every time our family goes on a trip, I get a piece to commemorate our travels. If it's a small trip, I usually get a small figurine. If it's a big trip, I get a big one. When Rick and I took a trip to Austria's Salzburg and Vienna, I got a big one: a crystal piano.
Now back in the day before kids, Rick and I used to travel quite a bit. If we'd bought crystal for each trip it would have put us in the poor house so we decided that some trips didn't wouldn't warrant it.
The tale I'm going to tell you now to tell you is about one of those crystal-free trips.
It was 1993 and we had just moved to Germany. Rick was especially pumped. "We're so close to the Alps!" he would say. "I can't wait to go skiing!" Um...yeah.
You see, I wasn't a skier. Not even a little. Sure, I had skied a couple of times, but both had been on small Wisconsin hills. And even then I'd sucked. We're talking black-and-blue-butt sucked. Still, Rick loved skiing. I knew my destiny was doomed.
The first Thanksgiving we were out there, Rick made arrangements for us to go skiing with friends at Steinplatte Ski Resort in Austria. Man, was I nervous. Before we went, I told Rick I wanted lessons from a ski school instructor. Rick balked, "Lessons? You don't need no stinkin' lessons," he replied with Blazing Saddles flourish. Rick was an expert skier. He could easily teach me. Why throw good money away?
When we arrived at the ski lodge, I brought up the subject again. I may have even begged.. "Rick, you have no idea how bad I am. I really think I need lessons."
Rick still brushed it aside. "Well, you have no idea how good of a skier I am. Trust me, you'll be fine."
The next morning, after I composed my last will and testament, we suited up and hit the hills. As we rode up the chair lift, I swore the mountain grew before our eyes. It got bigger and bigger. Taller and taller. There was no way I'd make it back down. Just getting off the chair lift proved too great. As soon as I skied off the bench, I landed on my butt.
"Don't worry," Rick said with the gusto of a cheerleader trying to will their losing team to win. "Chair lifts aren't easy the first few times. You'll be fine on the hill. Just follow me."
We started going down the mountain and I did follow him for about ten seconds or so. Problem was, I didn't know how to stop or slow down. Before I knew it I was way ahead of him. And I was going fast -- too fast -- and a big turn was coming up. I screamed back to Rick, "How do I stop?" Rick bolted forward, doing his best to catch up with me. I forgot what he told me to do.
What I do remember is the mountain. You know those banked turns that keep you from skiing off a cliff? Well, this ski run didn't have one. As for those fences that catch you if you do run off a cliff? Nope. Didn't have those either. As I careened toward the turn I couldn't make, I realized what would happen if I didn't stop. I'd Wile E. Coyote off the cliff and then plummet to my death.
HOLY HAND GRENADES!
Rick realized it, too. "Just crash!" he yelled. Now that's something I could do well. Just shy of the cliff I tumbled backward -- a sea of arms, legs, skis and poles.
It wasn't pretty. When Rick caught up to me, a slew of creative and crude expletives burst from my mouth. He just stood there, stunned. Then he smiled at me rather sheepishly. "How would you feel about getting some lessons?"
Needless to say, I got a HUGE crystal figurine for that trip.