All posts by Jolie

Shameless plug

Here’s a funny thing…

Last night, as I perused the hectic week to come,  I made a wish. I made a wish that instead of a frantic day running around my Monday would be spent quietly at home.

Guess what? Mother Nature answered my wish!

It’s 38 F outside. The snow’s melted. The resultant liquid is flowing gracefully over a thick layer of ice (formed sometime before Christmas) that coats all our roads and right now:  South Central Alaska is a skating rink.

Voila, today is canceled.

My apologies to everyone. While I’m pleased to be sitting here doing nothing much, I did not intend to reach this bliss in the current fashion. To all those unable to stay home today – Godspeed.

Anyhow, this free day makes it possible for me to ask everyone a HUGE favor.

(Hey, I canceled today! That’s worth a favor, right?)


Would you vote for me? I entered a story contest and I need votes.

It’s relatively painless, I promise. All it takes is 2 clicks, one on the link below the other on the “thumbs up” at the bottom of that page.

Here’s the first one:


Once on the story page look for this:

thumbs up



And click again.

What do you say? If I get enough votes I just might win and winning is really fun.

But you know what else is fun? Bowling people over. It means so much to me that you read this blog. I’m positively giddy. But If you vote for my story I’ll be completely bowled over.

And bowling people over is fun. Really.


You are all truly the best people ever.

Thank you.

Hope you all have a stellar day .



Getting Fit(ish)

meanwhile, in my kitchen…


Me: Wine, old friend, it’s a new year and I’ve decided it’s time for a change.

Wine: Here we go again…

Me: It’s not personal, you know I love you, but it’s high time I start taking care of myself. No more sloth. It’s healthy eating and living from here on out!

Wine: Every January it’s the same…

Me: See that’s exactly what I’m talking about. And so, starting now, we are going to stop spending so much time together.

Wine: Sure we are.

Me: We are because I am going to get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night. “Early to bed, early to rise!” that’s my new motto.

Wine: All aboard the USS Lifeless and Uninteresting! First stop, Boringville!

Me: After that it’s the gym five times a week.

Wine: Or you could commit to one time a week, maybe get in two, then revel in your over achievement…

Me: There’s a thought…I mean – NO! That’s the old me. Everything will transform, including my diet. I’ll start with a juice cleanse, ramp up on antioxidants, low carb it and go vegetarian…

Wine: Except for bacon right?

Me: No. And pizza is out.

Wine: hahahahaha!

Me: No more sugar either. It’s poison.

Wine: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Stop, I’m going to pee my pants.

Me: You might as well cork up. I’ll be meditating soon and that takes a clear head. Maybe we’ll catch up on my birthday, but don’t count on it.

Wine: OMG you’re serious? Hang on, can’t we talk about this?

Me: Nope. I need focus and dedication right now. I don’t mean to sound harsh but you can be a bad influence sometimes.

Wine: Moi?! What are you talking about?

Me: Um, remember New Years?

Wine: Oh come on. One bad decision… Most of the time you and I are brilliant together. We bleed creativity! And we’re funny. Oh my gosh we are SO funny!

Me: True, we’ve had some epic inspirations…

Wine: And you’ve got to admit you are at your most motivated when you and I are hanging out. You can do anything! Nothing can stop you.

Me: You do make me feel invincible…

Wine: That’s right, indomitable, smart, rich, a good dancer….

Me: I do like feeling rich…but I’m sticking with my plan. I’m going to get heathy if it kills me!

Wine: Well, OK. If you’re absolutely certain…. Hey, have you spoken to Martini Friday about this “new you”?

Me: No. He’s going to take it so hard. He’s such a happy guy, I hate to break his heart.

Wine: He sure will!  Um…here’s an idea, why don’t you spend one more evening with him before you say anything. Ease him into it. Start the new you next week then, I promise, we’ll all be on your side.

Me: Really? That is kind of a good idea…

Wine: It’s a great idea. And because I hate seeing either of you sad, I’ll come too and help everyone relax.

Me: Oh, that’s nice of you, thanks!

Wine: Hey, what are friends for? Oh you know what would make the evening absolutely perfect?

Me: What?

Wine: Pizza. No don’t get up, I’ll call….


Sticks and Stones


*Caution. If this photo offends you, it is not advisable to read this post.*


“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…”

Unless those words are man, girl, wife, husband, a color or religious holiday, the phrase “brown bag it”, PB&J sandwiches, a compliment…

Welcome to the new world. Today you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone offended by something (hypothetically swung dead cats, for example). It’s almost as if we are manufacturing reasons to be offended.

People, this isn’t healthy.

(Feeling heated? You might want to stop reading now)

But what is the fix for such an affliction? The obvious answer – focusing on truly offensive behavior like murder, starvation, genocide – is, apparently, not only not obvious but not effective. So, what are we to do?

What if this disease is like the flu? What if, like the flu, things must get worse before they get better? The offended fever hasn’t broken because it hasn’t reach max temp yet.

I hope so, because if that is the case I can help.

I happened to live in a state abundant in offenses! Offenses I bet most of you have never heard of! Offenses that will make your blood boil.

(Palms sweaty, heart racing? You should stop reading now)

And so, in the interest of world peace and harmony, I am here today to stir the pot. Following are 5 truly offensive things happening every year right here in Alaska:

#1 The Fur Rendezvous festival

Ever February Alaskans come together and celebrate – that’s right – Fur. For a solid week, there are dead animal skins EVERYWHERE.

#2 The Miners and Trappers Ball.

If you are of the offended class, you would probably rename this party the “earth rapist and animal hater extravaganza”. Champagne anyone?

#3 Outhouse races

A race where teams see who can push a toilet the fastest. Elaborately decorate latrines racing down main street, what’s not to love? But you can’t be completely offended by this. After all, outhouses are unisex.

#4 The Iditarod

Dogs pulling humans on sleds. (Honestly if you find this offensive, you’ve never met a sled dog before. However, since our goal here is not understanding but instead unleashed ire, let’s forget about the motivations of a sled dog for now). This is dog slavery. Maybe the dog would rather watch movies in pajamas? How do you know?

#5 The Wilderness Woman Contest

I know, right away you are wondering what could possible be offensive about women exhibiting their outdoor prowess? Let me help. Besides hauling wood, catching fish and climbing trees, one of the skills the women are occasionally required to perform is –

“making a sandwich and opening a beverage for a reclining bachelor watching Sunday-afternoon football on a simulated TV” (“wilderness woman contest” Wikipedia)

One animal was harmed in creating this picture
One animal was harmed in creating this picture

(Don’t tell any feminists but I have a secret wish to enter this contest.)

Are you mad yet?


I told you to stop reading.


Congratulations, you have the one tool required to survive the apocalypse – a sense of humor.

I’ll see you on the other side.



Total Honesty 2018


My son (who is a genius btw) has come up with a genius way to insult almost anyone. He calls it: Total Honesty.

“I’m having a total honesty day,” he’ll say and instantly your heart warms. ‘He’s going to share a bit of himself with me,’ you think, ‘how lovely.’

Then he hits you with, “So I have to tell you…” and follows it with whatever abuse is currently rolling around in his head. “This food smells disgusting.” “Those pants make your butt look big.” “That is the ugliest chair I have ever seen.”

Clever, eh? He is a genius. Did I mention that?

As we roll into 2018 I find myself wondering, maybe he’s onto something.

2017 was kind of a wild ride. Look back. How many time did this phrase leave your lips:

Did that just really happen?

More than twice, I’d wager. In fact I think it would be fair to call 2017 the year of incredulity. I think it would also be fair to say we’re tired of wild astonishment. So why not honesty?

2018, the year of total honesty.

Has a nice ring to it, yes?

Let’s get this party started. Following, in no particular order, are 5 totally honest 2018 talking points I am compelled to share:

  1. Social media is a giant time sucker. Admit it, it’s a life drain, except for those 5 minutes a month when it is hilarious, terrifying or inspiring. And that is why we stay. For those 5 minutes. For those who can’t do math that’s 43,200 (minus 5) minutes of your life potentially sucked away every month as you stare at a screen waiting for something amazing.
  2. Most commercial aircraft have more than one entry/exit door. The usual number is 4. The next time you are trapped in row 32 waiting for a gaggle of passenger and their oversized carry on’s to de plane, turn around and note the door behind you. (PS Hat’s off the all the airlines that 1. Know about these doors and 2. Allow passengers to use them)
  3. Chances are, you don’t actually “know what you are doing.” Nope. I don’t care if what you are “doing” has been done for a hundred years. One day, future peoples will look back at it and say “well that was weird”. (remember leaching? ) But chin up, no one knows what they are doing, not even the ones who seem like they really do. We’re all just making it up as we go. Anyone who thinks they “know” is probably only following someone else’s made up “do”. Better to be original.
  4. In your sphere of peers, only 1/16 understand math or knows geography. History? Forget about it. But instead of being distraught by my made up statistic, let it make you stronger. Memorize the countries of south America, learn how to count back change, find out who is prime minister of Germany – you will be a god.
  5. 2017 was not in fact the WORST year EVER. (Neither were 2016, 2015…) It also wasn’t the BEST year EVER. It very well could have been a good year, a bad year, or a year leaving you feeling luke warm, but it was not, and will never be, superlative worthy. Honestly, is anything?


OK, it’s your turn now. Hit me with the truth. It’s Ok, I can hack it. I’ve been in training.

Happy New Year
Happy New Year


Season Greatings!

Is that not the most non descript holiday salute ever?


Any really, fill in your own blank. I can’t be bothered to find out what cultural or religious observances you will partake in this winter.


Webster’s defines To Greet as “to meet or react in a specified manner.” So there, without performance I acknowledge this assembly. Please imagine it in whatever custom you find appropriate.

Warms the heart, doesn’t it?

Much like my sons do this time of year. Take yesterday for example. After gift shopping with his father all morning my third son walked into the house with two sacks and plopped them down, right in front of me.

Two translucent plastic department store sacks holding items I had earlier told Mowgli that I’d enjoy receiving on Christmas morning.

“Wait!” I said, looking my son straight in the eye and ergo carefully avoiding any further inspections of the goodie bag before me. “Are you absolutely certain this is where those bags should be put?”

His reply?


(for those who don’t know “oh.” in teen is clear communication that a mistake is recognized and lamented)

I hate to go into the holidays in a cynical mood so I wont. I refuse to.

Even though I am the ONLY person I’m my family who actually WANTS to be surprised so am also the only person that rarely ever is.

Even though later that day the same son told me he had decided the bags should be put in the trash.

Ah holiday teasing. Warms the heart.


To all I wish you Peace, Joy, and a very happy…

(please select the least offensive of the following options:)

Christmas. Kwanza, Hanukkah,  Eid, Deity Free Winter Festival or Monday!


Martini Mondays. Who’s with me?

Holiday week


It is Thanksgiving week in the US. Hooray!

Time to focus on loved ones, reach out to the less fortunate, immerse yourself in a whole lot of cooking and (for this family) disappear on a mini, much anticipated, get away.

(Where I will not be cooking AT ALL. Wish you were here.)

Curiously, leading up to this week I managed to get myself employed.

Just a part time job (PART time. I mean REALLY part time.  So part time it would be more accurate to call it a “sometime” job)…

With responsibilities ranging from “pick up packaging tape” to “organize a fun filled educational event for 15 kids and their parents.”

Anyway, it’s interesting.

And if I wasn’t ready for that mini get away before, I sure am now.


So, adios!

But more importantly, Happy holiday.

Hope where ever you are, celebrating or not, your life is bursting with joy, love, wonder, and all things good.



busy busy busy

No time to blog today.

Nope today I must journey into the city and procure ski gear for all the bodies in my house that exploded with growth this year.

(that would be everybody) 

Why need this be done TODAY when the forecast shows absolutely NO SNOW for the next THREE WEEKS?

Because, this way me getting ready for winter wont jinx things.

It’s Murphy’s law. Be prepared for weather and it wont come. You can count on it.

Enter my genius logic:

It can’t possibly snow less than NOT AT ALL right?

(are you reading this mother nature? HA!)

So, today I’ll be busy shopping.

And that is why no blog, because of my kids. And the weather.

It is absolutely NOT because I’ve been occupied for the last month DIYing. Nope not that.

No, it is not because – when faced with an empty house after being away – I decided to shun the furniture store and build everything we’ll sleep, sit, eat, and watch movies on…by myself.

Not true.

However, since I’ve not the time to humor you with words today, I will share with you all the projects that have (not) diverted my brain (hands, feet, shoulders…) as of late.

Slide show please:

Table (in case that isn’t clear):

Table. (Just in case that wasn't clear)

Couch, interrupted. There will be more pillows and another layer of fabric once I decide on colors – an area I’ve NO aptitude for and welcome ALL advice on…

Couch, interrupted. There more pillows and another layer of fabric once I decided on colors - something I'm horrible at and WELCOME all advice on


Bed. Bed frames are rarely photograph worthy (this one isn’t anyway) but I’m very happy with how the legs turned out. Nice?

Bed. Beds are easy and not photograph worthy, but this one has nice legs...don't you think?

As you can see it was all quite doable. I should have had time to blog, even after Saturday rolled around and I felt a need to upgrade the bar.

Old Bar (and help!)


(The real reason Mowgli works in a field that requires frequent travel? To get away from this?)

I’m reasonably sure Mowgli volunteered for a month in Korea the second we finished this project but, it still might just be worth it.

New Bar! 

New bar.

Lovely isn’t it? Especially when experienced from my position. This is primarily my work space you know.

Me Working:

Me working


Anyway, there you have it. My apologies. I promise to be funny soon.

Well, I certainly wont be SKIING. I can tell you that much…

Have a great week!


IHOP in Paradise

this image will make sense later
this image will make sense later

I should let my boys write this blog every once in a while as a sort of fact check. It would be a chance for you to see beyond the sunshine and roses I always write about.

For example, if my son were writing today he would make you all aware (as he did us recently) that nobody, and I mean NO-body, has done any laundry in our house in “50 years”.

Not in “ever” not in “a long time” but in “50 years”.

After grappling with the conundrum “what happened 50 years ago??” I decided to own it. I told my son I was going to hang a “days since” plaque in the laundry room.

Goal: a century of dirty clothes.

He told me I’m not funny.

(See what I mean? Where else does one find such candor?)

The other news worthy piece my son would share with you is that the new (used) car I just bought “smells like a grandma car.”

(Poignant? Yes. My son – at nearly 13 – has become a student of Sarcasm. He’s almost a prodigy. Cynicism has become a second language for him. We’re very proud.)

Anyway, because I’m a slave to his opinion, I bought an air freshener. The scent: Bahamas.

So my car would smell like paradise.

It doesn’t.

See, the same day I installed the air freshener I treated my other son to a take away pancake breakfast.

(Yes, he got in my new (used) car and I handed him a plate of pancakes, with all the fixings. It’s a long story.)

Anyhow, I thought he’d wait until we got home to eat it.

I also thought, after the syrup slid across and off his plate, that he would grasp the dynamics of “car-turning-syrup-moving” physics and stop it from happening again.

Furthermore, when he said “a little syrup spilled”, I thought a little syrup spilled.

Which is why:

  1. I didn’t do anything about it,
  2. the next morning, the passenger door was glued shut, and
  3. my new (used) car now “smells like an IHOP”

An IHOP in paradise, I’d like to point out.

And that must be an improvement.

I mean, 50 years?




Ode to my sons

IM from my son Friday:


Never mind the heart pounding I experienced considering the damage his ignorance could inflict on my beloved washer,

Never mind that (as I was later to discover) he had loaded the machine with his socks, only his socks and not one other item sharing the hamper with his socks,

Never mind that he went from brazen challenger to quitter in one sentence,

Never mind that, at 12 years of age, Sarcastic Willy Wonka is his chosen avatar…

Never mind.

None of that matters because,

My son knows we have a washing machine and he knows what it is for!

Mommy win.

And it got me thinking. I don’t take time often enough to thank my boys for all the joy they bring me.

So, without further ado (too late)

Here it is:


Ode to my sons, a thank you


A computer breaks, an engine won’t start,

You come to me and it warms my heart.

Your wreckage arrives,  as there’s “nothing mom can’t do!”

And so I do, and do, and do and do and do.


I love you but if everyone could stop breaking things, that’d be great.


I like to be outside, this you know,

So without complaint we go, go, go!

But when life ties us down and we’re unable to roam,

You bring the lovely outdoors right into our home!

Seriously. There’s dirt everywhere. I’m freaking Cinderella, cleaning, cleaning…


I strive to be fit, to keep up with you,

Your energy, speed, our active milieu!

And you, my sweet darlings, help me on my way,

By making me run stairs a dozen times a day!

The next time I have to walk up and down stairs just to tell a kid  his food is cooked someone is losing an eye…


I love you, my cherubs, more than is possible to tell,

But there is one thing I love almost as well.

So thank you, for you and your fantastic freak show,

And flooding me with reasons to drink more Merlot!

Cabernet, Pinot Noir, sometimes even a nice Riesling…I’m not picky…


I love you boys. Never change.

Except, shower – do that. And wear clean underwear… maybe get a job one day…. 


Hunting, what really happened

My boys went hunting last weekend and, because I wanted to aid in the successful stuffing of our freezer for the winter (without having to actually do anything), I decided to help them pack.

My job was food. As I wish to see them happy, I asked what they wanted.

They said:

“Shredded beef, roast beef, turkey, ham…”

“Hamburgers, hot dogs…”


“That’s it? You aren’t forgetting anything”

“Oh right. And cheese. Thanks Mom”

“What are you going to eat for breakfast?”

“Can we have Poptarts?”

I have not been so happy to not be on a camping trip in a while. Think about it. The lot of them in an 11 x 12 foot camper on a diet of protein and sugar.

good times
good times

Anyway, I packed what they asked for and, because I love them, included condiments, a loaf of bread, and a selection from the popular food groups “chips” and “dips”.

I’m just caring like that.

(I also tossed in some food from the lesser known – more nutrient dense and life sustaining – groups, but that was only so I could unpack those same foods, untouched, a few days later.)

(I’m just ridiculous like that.)

Then, I sent them on their merry way and for the next 72 hours wallowed in the misery of my empty home pining for their return…


I sent them on their merry way and for the next 72 hours I did whatever the hell I felt like.

(I won’t go into wild details but suffice it to say Wine and Pinterest were involved.)

(It was awesome)

And then it was over. Waaaaaay too soon. My beloved family returned a day early.

Rained out, they said and wet they were.

But…funny thing…

I cooked vegetarian that night and, for the first time ever, guess what was missing.

Complaints and leftovers.


For those wondering, the weekend wasn’t a total bust. They came back with a grouse.

And ate it. Wrapped in bacon.