Posted by missjunebug on February 23, 2012
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missjunebug has a long memory for certain quotations from smart people. One that has stayed with her was written decades ago by John Updike, a writer whose celebrity has faded somewhat, but whose words still resonant for mjb. One of the characters in Witches of Eastwick, a fantastical tale of love, intrigue, and betrayal, had some keen observations about the stuff of life women deal with everyday: “There was so much dirt in life, so many eraser crumbs and stray coffee grounds and dead wasps trapped inside the storm windows, that it seemed all of a person’s time – all of a woman’s time, at any rate – was spent in reallocation, taking things from one place to another, dirt being as her mother said simply matter in the wrong place.”
missjunebug would generally agree with this keen and frustrated observation, but not on this night of all nights. For tonight missjunebug has been to her church to participate in that age old ritual (the best kind of ritual there is) called weightily, The Imposition of the Ashes on Ash Wednesday. To borrow from that online encyclo of the people Wikipedia, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and begins the 40-day period of prayer, fasting, and repentance. As mjb’s insightful Pastor F. suggested, It’s time to do a 180, to recalibrate, and to walk in a new direction, thoughtfully and prayerfully. Easy to say, not so easy to do.
But as missjunebug likes to think, God gives us 40 days to right ourselves and get it right. And those dark ashes imposed upon the waiting forehead in the sign of the cross are a sign of our mourning and repentance to God, a sign of the cross that marks us with a grim reminder of our mortality, a sign that we are working to turn things around for ourselves and get right with God.
Hey, nobody said this was going to be easy. Some people decide to do daily devotionals during Lent focusing on repentance and changing for the better; others decide to give up some coveted thing or indulgence as a sign of commitment to change. Chocolate comes readily to mind for many, it being the ubiquitous shorthand for all things creamy, delicious, craved, and good. Still others turn to good works to get back on the straight and narrow path. Whatever is chosen, the sacrifice is not to be taken lightly. Forty days is a long time (place a Billy Bean/Brad Pitt/Moneyball elongated pronunciation on that phrase to give it its due.) A long time. missjunebug recommends you chose wisely and well.
What has missjunebug chosen to do? That’s between her and her Father “who sees in secret.” Don’t make her out to be like the hypocrites sounding a trumpet before them when they do their good work. mjb plans to keep her 40-day Lenten trial to herself. No doubt she’ll be held accountable. Wish her luck. Believe her when she says what she’s decided to try is harder than giving up TJ’s 73% Belgium Chocolate Non-Pareils. And you know how hard she thinks that would be if you read her recent post on non-pareils!
Why so serious? The words of the imposition make that perfectly clear: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
She’s reminded of one more insightful and tragicomic quotation of John Updike that will complete the grim but joyful hope of life on this earth (yes! a double oxymoron to complete the tale!): “We do survive every moment, after all, except the last one.”
Meditate on the fragility of human life, its perfection and its failings, your perfection and your failings, and you, too, can join in on the age old ritual of Lent and “enjoy” this 40-day journey of prayer, fasting, and repentance.
Amen to that.
Posted by missjunebug on February 15, 2012
missjunebug loves her TJ's Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils So Much, She Gave Them a Rose Bouquet!
missjunebug does not take the word nonpareil lightly. Non-pareil means “having no equal” and “unrivaled.” Pretty strong words to live up to. But that’s exactly what Trader Joe’s 73% Belgian Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils are: nonpareil.
Two ingredients, endless deliciousness. The chocolate is super dark, super smooth and chocolately and the white sprinkles will remind you of all the (inferior) nonpareils you scarfed down as a kid. These TJ nonpareils leave the ones of missjunebug’s youth in the dustbin of history, to borrow a phrase from Dubya.
Walk, no run to your local Trader Joe’s and buy a bunch of these candies. Especially if you’ve already managed to eat your way through your Valentine’s Day candy from yesterday. Come one, you know you have. And you’ve got to love the marketing brilliance of measuring out Belgium Dark Chocolate in such precise percentages. missjunebug for sure would pass on 72% Belgian Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils. Who wouldn’t? You gotta have 73%!
Thanks, Trader Joe’s, for another great product. missjunebug thinks that 3 of these gems for 110 calories is a bargain even Weight Watchers would approve. Satisfaction guaranteed!
Posted by missjunebug on February 13, 2012
One from the Heart! Happy Valentine's Day from missjunebug!
missjunebug has decided to write her missive about Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day Eve. Pourquoi? (the requisite bon mot of French for V-Day) you may ask?
Because tomorrow missjunebug will be way, way, way too busy scarfing down See’s Candies Strawberry Creams and swilling Frexinet Champagne in that sexy-chic and sleek black bottle and swirling her new Jennifer Miller Jewelry faux (another Français bon mot!!!) diamond-size seven-yellow gold bracelet around her wrist that she ordered for Mr.JB to give her (natch!), to be bothered with anything wordpressy and tedious.
missjunebug has mixed feelings about V-Day what with all the commercial hoop-la, Lifetime cry-fest movies, and rom-coms littering the airwaves, streaming bands of Netflix, and guilty pleasure-rented iPad movies. (missjunebugTip: Skip Blue Valentine with Gosling and Williams: triple downer on steroids, but an excellent film–save it for a dark and stormy winter’s night. But if you do choose to watch it –even though the title alone should scare you off–have Jane Eyre (2011) or Pride & Prejudice (any version will do) or Downton Abbey Season One waiting in the wings for an emotional uplift because you are going to need it after BV).
missjunebug’s bottom Valentine line is it’s all about LOVE.
So how do we fall back into LOVE if our Sweetie Pies (MrJB for mjb) have been with us for 30+ years??? missjunebug has done thousands and thousands of loads of laundry, washing the Jockey t-shirts and underwear (eww: skid marks!) of her SP about a kagillion times, fixed countless sometimes-inspired meals, (sometimes not), made the bed every morning (or at least her half of the bed, because mjb must admit, her SP makes his half–thanks Mr.JB), planned social outings because somehow that task falls to her most of the time, and even set the queue for their streaming evening entertainment (no more WWII movies puhleeze, Mr.JB; missjunebug is currently partial to French subtitled rom-coms, a cut above the American ones–except for any American-made rom-com with her guilty crush AplusK. (sigh). Sorry Demi, you did the one thing that can’t be allowed a woman in Hollywood married to a (much) younger man: you got old. missjunebug so does not envy you this V-Day.
But missjunebug digresses. How to get the LOVE back into a mature marriage? That is the V-Day question. And here are missjunebug’s super practical, maybe no-fail mjbTips to help you just do it. After all, LOVE is a verb, an action, (mjb’s Master’s in English pays off big time) and that will make all the difference.
1. Say a prayer every night thanking God for your man. missjunebug has a dear friend who recently lost hers and believe mjb when she says that is NO picnic. Her dear friend is shouldering on, but the thing is, she no longer has a solid, manly man shoulder to lean on. Think about that the next time you start mentally nagging your SP. At least he is THERE to listen to your nagging if you have the temerity to vocalize it. mjb advice: Stifle the nagging. It is a guaranteed marriage and romance buzzkill. Don’t ever, ever go there. A) It doesn’t work. B) It’s rude as well as unkind and (mostly) unwarranted. and C) It doesn’t work. You’re a smart cookie. Figure out a way to politely cajole or do the damn thing yourself that has to get done…remember LOVE is also a verb, not just a noun. Okay, so say that prayer of gratitude to soften you naggy attitude. You won’t regret it, and God and your help-meet with appreciate it. Guaranteed.
2. Be happy to plan the social outings. You know all your girlfriends are having to do the same thing, too, so have some fun with it and double date or triple date. mjb has two dear friends + hubs that she and her Mr.JB celebrate New Year’s Eve with every year. No better place to be than in one of their homes, drinking champagne (or martinis–triple olives, please), and popping Poppers when the clock strikes twelve and poor old Dick Clark gets rolled out again on his taxidermy stand to wish us all a Happy New Year‘s. Fun times x 6!!! So bust out that calendar, email, text, tweet, or call your married friends or solid single friends–don’t invite problems with unattached women you can’t trust–because our silver fox men are looking better and wealthier every year! True dat. And make some fun plans to do something, anything that shakes up the routine a bit. A movie, a dinner and a movie, a museum date, a local play, a music experience, a quick stroll around the outlet malls (okay, maybe not so quick), a walk along the beach or in your own neighborhood! Many, many fun things to do if you’re willing to make the initial move. Just do it!
3. Praise your husband to your children. You loved ‘em and nurtured ‘em unconditionally, but your SP taught them how to be wonderful men and women. ElderJB and TinyJB don’t spend much time referencing what they learned from their mom missjunebug, but you can bet Mr.JB gets mentioned repeatedly in sentences that begin: I remember Dad said… I remember Dad did this.. I remember everything I every learned from Dad and just now I’m beginning to appreciate his profound wisdom as a man, husband, father, friend, breadwinner, spiritual leader, and all round great and ethical human being. So say ElderJB and TinyJB. So says missjunebug. So say we all.
4. Keep buying you SP’s wardrobe and sending those shirts to the cleaners-you know you’ll never get around to ironing all of them so don’t kid yourself! Keep your man well-clothed and encourage the occasional haircut, eyebrow trim, and nose and ear ream-out. Speaking of ream-outs. Get him in for his colonoscopy asap if he hasn’t had one yet! This kind of maintenance is absolutely essential for a full and fun second half of life. And throw in a physical with a good internist while you are at it. Encourage good grooming and exercise to maintain your SP in tip-top shape. Who benefits? He does, of course. But so do you!
5. Feed you man according to the Michael Pollan/Mark Bittman plan. Food does matter so “eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” And throw in a little red wine for good measure. One of mjb and Mr.JB’s faves? Monogamy Cabernet Sauvignon featured on a previous mjb blog post! But choose his fave and you can’t go wrong. Cheers!
Are there other tips? Keep things interesting in the bedroom. A little lovely lacey and racey lingerie never hurt (missjunebug must try this herself sometime!). Surprise him every once in a while with an interesting story, an amusing anecdote, or just a line or two from the newspaper you can quote to him. Have both of you listen to NPR together in the morning as you prepare for your day…lots of good stories to talk and debate about that are always in the news. Listen to Marketplace.org for some fun and scary facts about our economy! Our local NPR station KCLU 88.3 has the best local coverage, too, for Ventura County so you get triple benefit with news, weather, and traffic reports. This year Mr.JB and mjb donated some funds and received excellent seats to see Yo Yo Ma, master cellist, up in Santa Barbara in April. What a great cause to support and what a great gift in return! Thanks KCLU and program director Mary Olsen. Sweet x 88.3.
Other mjbTips? Just love him up before he leaves the house with a big hug and love him up with a big hug when he comes home. It’s rough out there, and our SPs are not getting any younger, better maybe, but not younger. Somehow what they’re up against, is younger, faster, hipper, and much more technologically expert, so fortify them with hugs infused with LOVE and encouragement.
Are you back in love with your SP yet? No? Okay, then think of all the reasons you married him in the first place, and yeah, you picked him!! That’s a really good thing to remember!
Is he sweet? funny? kind? adventurous? smart? capable? loving? spiritual? giving? cute? handsome? (lucky you! But missjunebug will take intelligence over looks any day of the week and twice on Sundays! just mjb’s pref.) or all of the above? (even luckier you!). In other words, remember why you fell in love with him and want to be in love with him again. It’s all still there, you just have to take the time to discover it again.
And remember what Rhianna wisely sings, “I found love in a hopeless place…I found love in a hope-less place.”
You can too! Now go give your man a big Valentine’s Eve hug and an even bigger one tomorrow!
Posted by missjunebug on February 8, 2012
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missjunebug had the pleasure of greeting her JBBigBro today in her own driveway! Yes! He made the trip from way back east and south, from Dallas, (missjunebug’s darlin’, darlin’ Dallas) for a little visit and caregiving. Thanks, Larry! You rule! And thanks to missjunebug’s fab sis-in-law who helped think up this crazy, brilliant idea!
missjunebug doesn’t just have any JBBigBro; she has the best BigBro in the world. He is beyond kind, super interesting to talk to, knows all things architectural, being an A.I.A. guy in the architect biz for close to forever, well-read, talented in the kitchen, and just the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. As those near and dear to him can attest, he is a wonderful husband, devoted to his “bride” as he still calls her (40+ years later!!! No lie!!–No starter marriage, either), terrific father of two terrific kids, and doting grandfather (Pops) of two of the most delightful grandkidlets on Planet Earth (Shout-out! to Carly and Christopher). Oh wait, missjunebug forgot to mention: He is the best JBBigBro EVER.
missjunebug won’t bore you with the details of their idyllic and tortured childhoods–you know how childhoods are! Suffice to say they had fun playing in the backyard, chasing the Dallas Transit bus down their block in a game called “Beat the Bus,” raising chickens in their side yard, only to take them back to their aunt’s farm for the final day of reckoning and some outstanding homemade chicken noodle soup (Zuck, eat your heart out–we killed our own meat, too), heading to the Texas State Fair every October for Czech Day and family fun.
One of the most obsessive preoccupations missjunebug shared with her JBBigBro was collecting all the brochures of all the new car designs from the fab Auto Show in the Automobile Building (natch!) at the Fair, hauling them home, and cutting out pictures of the cars to set up their own car lots! Their dad Red was in the auto body repair business (35 years! Red’s Body Shop, Garland Rd, Dallas, Texas!!) so somehow this low, low tech game made perfect sense to them. What to do when their cars got into the inevitable wrecks which took place on the card deck highways? Straighten out those crimped bumpers between the pages of some really heavy World Book Encyclopedias, of course! It did the trick every time and those paper (doll!) cars were right back on the card deck highways trekking through their modest living room! Fun x 10!!
missjunebug and her BigBro have been inseparable (metaphorically) ever since. He is her Rock and her Mainstay. He is her JBBigBro. And she thanks God for him everyday (and thanks her divine JBSis-in-Law for the loan of him this week!)
Here’s to you, JBBro! Cheers!