Joan's Jottings


Book Time
January 25, 2010, 1:27 am
Filed under: books

The lawn has gone dormant and the jingle bells have ceased clanging ringing.  This can mean only one thing-I FINALLY have time to indulge myself with books. (Our community built a brand-spanking new, fancy-schmancy library just five minutes from our home. Thanks to falling leaves begging to be raked and nonstop holidays, it took us nearly two months to enter its doors.)  In the past month or so, I have managed to knock out four books (some on loan from afore-mentioned library), and have started a fifth. LIFE IS GOOD! So, here’s a brief synopsis of what has been (or currently is) on Joan’s nightstand:

have a little faith by Mitch Albom.  This is my fourth Mitch Albom book and one that I purchased so I could add it to my collection.  It is the true story of Mr. Albom’s encounters with his Rabbi (who asks him to write his eulogy) and a Detroit pastor who ministers to the poor and homeless in his community.  It is yet another “little book” with a BIG message!

For Christmas, a friend sent me the second book written by Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses. (Ms. Walls is the author of the bestseller, The Glass Castle.) Her latest book is the embellished story of her maternal grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, born in 1901 in west Texas. This is a great “chick read”, as it captures the story of a strong, courageous woman with perseverance that is admirable.

My next two reads are by an author that had somehow escaped my literary radar. Jen Lancaster managed to release several hysterically funny biographies without so much as a blip on my screen. Over the course of nine bedtimes, I managed to whip through Pretty in Plaid and Such a Pretty Fat. I have finally found a woman who swears TONS more than I do! The books were an easy read, and offered many opportunities for laughing out loud.

My current book-of-choice is Grace (Eventually)-Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott.  I just started the book last night, but was a fan early on after reading a quote by Kathleen Norris, which is included on page 11 in the Prelude. Ms. Norris says, “Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can’t imagine.” LOVE THAT! I have read two other books by Ms. Lamott, and have never been disappointed.  I’m sure that this one will make number three.

I hope that the slower pace that January tends to offer has left you with time to pursue your hobbies/passions. Before you know it, the birds will be chirping and the grass will be growing, and I will once again be a slave to my little plot of land. ARGH!!!!



Stranger in the House
January 17, 2010, 10:22 pm
Filed under: family

I have known for the past two years or so that my son had officially become a tween. Some of the first signs included a tendency to become “mouthy” and argumentative at times, as well as the need to faithfully apply deodorant each morning.  Of course, he possess all of the “tools” required of  male tweens and teens today-iPOD, XBox 360, cell phone (just acquired in the last six weeks) and a vocabulary that includes verbage from the rap culture. (What?) In just a few short weeks, my almost-twelve-year-old-tween has become a teen, even though the “magic 13” is over one year away.  Here are some of the clues that this morphism has occurred:

1. The bathroom of my son now includes products such as AXE shampoo and body wash (what happened to Johnson’s No More Tears?), Purpose Gentle Cleansing Face Wash, Clearasil Cleansing Pads and hair styling gel.

2. I have been informed by afore mentioned boy/man that the tags in his clothing must read Aeropostale, American Eagle and Under Armour. It is still okay to wear college and pro sports athletic shirts, so his Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers apparel is safe-for now!

3. This past week it was necessary to replace his worn out Nike sneakers for a new pair.  Since the beginning of the school year, his once youth-sized feet have grown into a men’s size 8 1/2, along with a man-sized price of $50.00. Cha-ching!

4. My once always-pays-attention, never-forgets-books-or-papers child is forever forgetting to bring home the items necessary for homework completion.  In a flabbergasted moment, I asked, “What is going on with you?” His reply-“I am too busy talking!” This from a child once so shy that he spent his entire Kindergarten year (sans the last three weeks) standing by himself on the playground at recess. My sort of socially awkward child is now a social butterfly. Go figure!

5. Just this past week, Junior climbed in the car for a ride to the bus stop and informed me that if I got up close to him, I could REALLY smell his AXE bodyspray because he had doubled his usual amount. (I had to stifle my smile/giggle.) I am sure that some sort of expensive manly-man cologne is next……

These are just a few of the signs that times they are a-changin in our household, and there is no turning back now.  Junior’s once dormant hormones had been awakened and even Ambien won’t be able to lull them back to sleep.  Lord help me!



Crossing the Line
January 3, 2010, 10:22 pm
Filed under: family

My son has been a vegetarian since birth. This somewhat unconventional diet has not been his choice, but rather was imposed upon him solely by birth right. He has never ingested a juicy burger from a fast food chain, nor has he been served bacon with his breakfast. At Thanksgiving, we show up strictly for the carbs-no turkey protein for us! Junior is comfortable and satisfied at mealtimes, where the staples include cheese, beans, tofu, yogurt and whole grains, including lots-o-pasta. Over the years, I have brainwashed informed him of the inhumane and often unsanitary conditions in which cattle and poultry are raised in the United States. We have also discussed that as a card-carrying member of the “Religion of Joan,” it is considered less than spiritual to eat animals.

I remain hopeful that nearly twelve years of education and abstinence from flesh-eating have guaranteed that my son will adhere to this diet, however, a certain curiosity with the forbidden fruit (or shall I say forbidden flank steak) has been brewing in Junior’s little veggie head. Recently, he expressed an interest in taste testing a real, all-beef burger. Is Junior’s new found inquisitiveness just that, or is it a form of teenage rebellion? If the latter is correct, I would much rather he rebel against his enforced diet than his Type 1 Diabetes. (I have been forewarned by his doctors and clinicians that adolescent diabetics often rebel against their condition as a means of  “fitting in.”) I must confess that my own curiosity has been peaked regarding Junior’s sudden interest in channeling his inner carnivore. I am just a teeny, weenie (pun intended) bit interested in learning if he likes it. (Kind of like Mikey in the LIFE cereal commercials.) He does, after all, possess the genes of a long line of butchers on his grandfathers side. Will his virgin patty-on-a-bun be passed through a window at the Golden Arches, or will it possess the title, “The Baconator,” where one can cross off two forms of livestock with just one bite? (Family and friends have discouraged him from choosing a burger-in-a-box as his first meat-inclusive meal, and are anxiously awaiting the call to assist him in his rite of passage.)

It has been several weeks since Junior first mentioned his interest in meat consumption. So far, he has remained faithful to the family food chain. I’ll keep you posted in the event he crosses over, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that he remains my vegetarian baby!



This Neglected Child of Mine
January 2, 2010, 7:25 pm
Filed under: life

I just checked in with my site for the first time in weeks.  My last blog was posted on September 20th.  Can that be? Have I neglected this child of mine for over three months?  If this were a human baby, I would have had Child Protective services knocking on my door, threatening to remove this offspring from my home (and computer).

Thankfully for Joan’s Jottings, the Christmas tree and trimmings have been packed away for at least ten months, and the lazy months of January and February are upon us.  I am choosing not to make any New Year’s Resolutions as we begin this new decade, but if I were, I would vow to write more.  I would also like to spend more time keeping in touch with friends.  And then there is my wish to abstain from using curse words (things that come out of my mouth), and eat less sugar (things that go into my mouth).  Oh no, this is beginning to sound like a list of New Year’s Resolutions!

I wish you a year of happiness and good health, and whatever may be on your non-list of resolutions!