Living proof that the Universe has a sense of humor.

My most used words on Facebook, three years later.

Posted November 25, 2015 | Things I Say a Lot, Welcome to My Brain | Leave a Comment

I first used the app, “What are your most used words on Facebook?” on May 30, 2012. Since the words I use reflect what I’m thinking about, I decided to revisit it and see how I have changed since then.

My Most Used Words on Facebook, May 30, 2012

My Most Used Words on Facebook, May 30, 2012
My Most Used Words on Facebook, November 25, 2015

The Words I Use Most Often on Facebook, November 25, 2015


  • Either they didn’t count names the last time I took the quiz, or I tag people a lot more often than I used to. Both, I expect.
  • I don’t complain about my allergies as much. Just so you know, I still have them; I’ve just accepted them as a fact of life.
  • I know a lot of people named “Anne.”
  • I love my nieces equally, but apparently I tag Heather more often than Ally. I’ll work on that.

Maybe it’s just the colors – I like shades of blue better than yellow and orange – or maybe I’ve become a happier person.

It’s got to help that I haven’t had to go to nearly as many funerals lately.

Category: Things I Say a Lot, Welcome to My Brain

Would they put me away and forget me if they could? Why I give to Operation Santa Claus at Catawba Hospital.

Posted November 10, 2015 | Lessons Learned, My Family - Past & Present, Welcome to My Brain, Welcome to My Life, What Someone Else Said | Leave a Comment

I’ve been writing about my great Aunt Myrtle, her girdle, the elderly mentally ill, and Operation Santa Claus at Catawba Hospital in Catawba, Virginia, for just about as long as I’ve been posting here.

My posts, listed below from oldest to most recent, explain why I write about it every year, and why I’ve donated to the program for even longer than that. They’re listed below, from oldest to most recent. Each opens in a separate window so you can close it, come back here, and go to the next one.

This year I have a new chapter to add.

If you’ve read even a few of my posts, you’ve probably noticed that I have a warped sense of humor. In real life, I often actually say, out loud, around real people, some of the things I write here.

A little over a week ago I posted the letter that I sent to my gynecologist after my recent ultrasound. It included the line,

“But wouldn’t ‘Transvaginal Ultrasound’
make a great name for an airline?”

I was talking with one of my cousins about my test, and I said that to him. His reaction? “If you say that at the table at Thanksgiving, I’ll feel like crawling under the table.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“We don’t talk about things like that,” he replied.

I thought for a moment, considered my position, and said, “Okay. I’ll wait until after dinner.”

Our Family Motto

We Don't Talk About That.

Credit: QuoteHD.

If our family had adopted a motto when I was a child, it would have been, “We don’t talk about that.”

I only found out that my Aunt Myrtle had been committed to Catawba Hospital and had died there in 1971 – four years after we moved to Roanoke – when I saw her grave marker with the year of her death on it. I had been led to believe that she was already dead. No one talked about her in the present tense. No one mentioned she was at Catawba.

Okay, maybe she rode the city bus home one day carrying her girdle. Maybe that embarrassed our grandfather. (Almost certainly it did.) But was that really a reason to pretend she didn’t exist and mark her life with only a granite burial plaque?

Apparently, it was.

Wishful thinking.


Credit: Andrew Newton.

I thought that my generation of the family had gotten over all that. I’m afraid I was wrong.

I asked my cousin if he had known Aunt Myrtle had been alive and had died up at Catawba, and he said no. I didn’t ask him if his children know about her. I think I know the answer.

If the thought of my telling a slightly risqué joke at the dinner table is enough to embarrass him, what would happen if I were committed? (My brother and I had to have both our parents committed at various times – my mother, Aunt Myrtle’s niece – twice, so I know it can happen.)

Would he pretend I didn’t exist, too?

I hope not. But I’ll do my best to keep my sense of humor under control at Thanksgiving. No sense embarrassing people, right?

What I’ll do instead.

Operation Santa Claus 2015, Catawba Hospital, Catawba, VirginiaBut I’ll give a little extra to Operation Santa Claus 2015, because maybe what happened to Aunt Myrtle really could happen to me.

Click to download the Operation Santa Claus 2015 brochure.


To those of you who appreciate my sense of humor and understand that looking at the funny side of things is a great coping mechanism, thank you. Your chortles and guffaws mean a lot to me.

And if you’d like to donate to Operation Santa Claus, I’d appreciate that, too.

Category: Lessons Learned, My Family - Past & Present, Welcome to My Brain, Welcome to My Life, What Someone Else Said

Throwback Thursday: Yoyo’s visitation – An expression of love.

Posted November 5, 2015 | Cats, Cool Stuff, Photos & Photo Galleries, Throwback Thursday, Welcome to My Life | Leave a Comment

Dead Cricket

Sample dead cricket, with back legs displayed neatly on either side.

My first black cat, Yoyo, used to pull the legs off of crickets that got into the house.

We’d find their little carcasses with the back legs laid neatly, but detached, on either side of their bodies.

When a cat brings you a dead thing, it’s an expression of love.

"Pet me...or else."

Typical Yoyo position:
“Pet me…or else.”

About two months after Yoyo crossed Over the Rainbow Bridge – a victim of mouth cancer – I was thinking about her while I was doing some cleaning.

When I turned around, there was a cricket on the floor where no cricket had been 30 seconds before. Its little back limbs were detached and lying neatly on either side of it.

An expression of love, indeed. :-)


Category: Cats, Cool Stuff, Photos & Photo Galleries, Throwback Thursday, Welcome to My Life

A note to my doctor: On airlines & citrus fruit.

Posted November 5, 2015 | Welcome to My Life | 2 Comments

GrapefruitDear Doctor,

I am very grateful to you for noticing the thickening in my uterus and sending me for the ultrasound.

I had the procedure yesterday. The tech made a movie – working title: “The Grapefruit Within Her” – of the 11cm fibroid.

Be sure to have some popcorn handy. It’s a real nail-biter 😉

Once you’ve had a chance to view the movie and/or read the reviews of it, please let me know. As you may imagine, I would like to have it [the fibroid; not the movie] removed as soon as possible.

Flying AirlinerI asked the ultrasound tech if there was a “disintegrate” function on her machine.

Apparently there was not, so the grapefruit is in your court.

But wouldn’t “Transvaginal Ultrasound” make a great name for an airline?



Category: Welcome to My Life

It was fall, and the sun set, and it was beautiful.

Posted September 13, 2015 | Clouds & Sunsets, Photos & Photo Galleries, Skies, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Life | One Comment

September 13, 2015 Sunset, Roanoke, Virginia

September 13, 2015 Sunset, Roanoke, Virginia

September 13, 2015 Sunset, Roanoke, Virginia

September 13, 2015 Sunset, Roanoke, Virginia

September 13, 2015 Sunset, Roanoke, Virginia

September 13, 2015 Sunset, Roanoke, Virginia

September 13, 2015 Sunset, Roanoke, Virginia

September 13, 2015 Sunset, Roanoke, Virginia

Category: Clouds & Sunsets, Photos & Photo Galleries, Skies, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Life

New V-Kit e-Cig: Great for both newbies and long-time vapers.

Posted August 7, 2015 | E-cigarettes, Products Mentions & Reviews | 4 Comments

When Brian from Vapor4Life asked me if I’d try out its new V-Kit and write a product review, I was all over it. I switched from traditional cigarettes to e-cigs with Vapor4LIfe five years ago, and I’ve never had the desire to go back to the mess, smell, and smoke of regular cigarettes.

I’ve tried many different types of e-cigs – from cigarette-sized batteries to tanks with large, rectangular batteries. The new V-Kit from Vapor4Life is now one of my favorites. Here’s why:

The kit is all-inclusive. It comes with everything you need to get started: battery, USB cable, USB to AC adapter, a pre-filled V-cart, enough e-juice to refill it twice, and a carrying case.

Vapor4LIfe WowVapor V-Kit

My new V-kit, fresh out of the box.

The battery charges fast. The first time I charged the battery, it took less than 45 minutes to charge fully. When it’s completely out of power, it takes about two hours to charge. The good news is that you can use it while it’s charging, although it doesn’t charge quite as fast when you do that.

V-kit charging

You can charge the V-kit battery when it’s in its case.

Fully Charged V-kit

It’s easy to tell when the V-kit is fully charged.

A new, fully charged battery lasts me the better part of a day. In my experience, the longer you use an e-cig battery, the shorter its battery life gets. I’ve used my V-kit mine for three weeks, and it hasn’t shown any sign of doing so yet.

The V-kit is easy to carry and comfortable to use. The “Ming vase” mouthpiece is made of medical-grade silicone, so it’s easy to clean. It fits into my mouth more comfortably than a cigar-shaped mouthpiece does. The assembled V-kit is sleek, light, and easy to carry in the back pocket of my jeans.

The V-kit has a GREAT throat hit! The first time I took a puff from the V-kit, I was delighted with the throat hit. This isn’t something you can take for granted when purchasing an e-cig, and it makes a big difference to me.

Me and with my V-kit.

Me and with my V-kit.

As much as I like my V-kit, there are a few things I think could use some improvement:

There isn’t any warning when the battery is going to need charging. If you’re depending on your V-kit for your nicotine fix, you might want to get a spare battery to or use it with the charging cord when you’re near a power source.

The case isn’t my favorite part. First, it’s shiny and likely to get scratched. Second, you have to take the e-cig apart to carry it in the case. Everyone has a different way of keeping track of her gear, so this may or may not bother you. I carry mine fully assembled in my purse or the back pocket of my jeans.

There’s a trick to filling the V-carts. See my post “Advanced vaping: A sure cure for your nicotine jones” to learn more about that. The pre-filled carts, while a bit more expensive, are a great solution if this is a problem for you.

My Conclusion

When it comes right down to it, I find that the positive qualities of the V-kit far outweigh any of the other issues I’ve mentioned.

  • For the person who wants to switch from tobacco to vaping, this is about as easy as it gets, and it gives you a great vaping experience.
  • If you’ve been vaping a while and want something compact but with a great throat hit, I’d definitely recommend that you try it.

. . .

Disclaimer: Vapor4Life sent this product for me at no charge to review. I am receiving no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own. They were not influenced in any way by Vapor4Life. If you decide to try it, your mileage may vary…but it’s certainly worth a try!

Category: E-cigarettes, Products Mentions & Reviews

The tenderness of scars.

Posted July 27, 2015 | Lessons I've Learned, My Family - Past & Present, Photos & Photo Galleries, Welcome to My Brain, Welcome to My Life | One Comment

Scars: A love storyYou’ll have to go way back to my September 13th, 2010 post – “Scars: A love story” – for the photos below to make sense.

And even if you do, they still might not, not really. It’s just that I saw the movie Southpaw yesterday, and the scenes where the boxer got his eye cut open so he could see reminded me of the scars I have.

I didn’t win any medals for getting them, though.

The Scars

Click on an image to view a larger version in a new window.

Scar, right brow bone.
Scar: Right brow bone.
Fist punch to the right eye through glasses resulting in a very bad black eye, a cut that bled like crazy and was left to heal on its own, and a broken right glasses lens.


Scar: Left brow bone.
A result of a head butt that left tiny bone fragments where little pieces broke off my left brow bone and stayed under the skin. A little bit of a black eye, and a broken left glasses lens.

Scar: Upper left “laugh line.”
The scar on the left between the outside of my nose and the corner of my mouth left from a punch in the face is cleverly concealed by my nasolabial fold. The cut was the only injury that time.

The Lessons

Can you read this story, look see these photos, and imagine yourself in my place for just a little bit?

Black EyeIf so, maybe you’ll understand why I have trouble letting go of hurts – even ones that don’t leave marks – and why I need someone to notice, admit, and care if he hurts me or my feelings – even if he (or she) didn’t do it on purpose.

It makes me seem fragile and demanding. Sometimes I am.

And I’m very, very sorry, for more reasons than you’ll ever know.

Category: Lessons I've Learned, My Family - Past & Present, Photos & Photo Galleries, Welcome to My Brain, Welcome to My Life

May The Force Be With You: Turning from The Dark Side to The Light.

Posted July 10, 2015 | Lessons Learned, Personality Tests, Random Observations, Welcome to My Brain | 2 Comments

Yesterday I took the online quiz “What does your name mean in French?” Here’s the answer I got:

Janeson the Force

Find out what your name means in French here.

I don’t know about the “tower of strength” or “confidence” part, but I do have a very strong force field under certain circumstances.

The Light Side.

I can be an advocate, a protector, a rescuer. Need someone to give you first aid and make sure you get medical care? I’m all over it. Want someone who will stand beside you in a fight? I’m in.

The Dark Side.

However, if I interpret something someone says or does in a way that makes me feel disrespected or bossed around, the Janeson Force can be brutal. Those feelings were evoked in me at such an early age that my first reaction to anything not overtly positive has often been instant – fear, closely followed by anger – and…uh…forceful.

I’ve hurt a lot of people with that force, and I regret that I didn’t learn much earlier how to channel that energy more positively.

Moving Toward the Light.

How others see you is not important. How you see yourself is everything.I’m still learning that people don’t usually do the things that light my fuse on purpose.

Few people are mean, condescending, or disrespectful intentionally. And when they are, it says more about them than it does about me.
May the Force Be With You
I’m learning to take the time to identify my feelings and separate them from the event that triggered them. When I do that, I can respond with The Light Side of The Force instead of The Dark Side.

Turning that sequence of behaviors into a habit is a work in progress. Happily, the Janeson Force helps me with that, too.

Category: Lessons Learned, Personality Tests, Random Observations, Welcome to My Brain

Fun with kids: Chapter 4

Posted July 4, 2015 | Photos & Photo Galleries, Welcome to My Life | 2 Comments

Chapter 4: Family fun on the 4th…and shrimp burgers.

Kara’s in-laws and Dan were nice enough to invite me to join them for their 4th of July picnic. Dinner was delicious, with Evan’s first attempt at shrimp burgers being a big hit with me. Oz was in fine form, and Dan took pictures of darn near everyone, including me.

Evan, Dan, Maddie & Oscar Smith

Three generations of Smiths.

Maddie & Me

Me & Pampa’s best grandgirl.

Evan Smith's Shrimp Burgers

Evan Smith’s newly famous shrimp burger on the right.
I ate two of them.

Me & Oz

Oz actually likes watermelon. And he likes me. Sitting for a picture? Not so much.


Category: Photos & Photo Galleries, Welcome to My Life

Fun with kids: Chapter 3

Posted June 28, 2015 | Beloved Friend, Kayaking, Photos & Photo Galleries, Welcome to My Life | Leave a Comment

Chapter 3: Out on the Cove

Dan decided he wanted to take Maddie out on the cove, so I invited Buffy along and off we went: four kayaks, four people, three vehicles. Okay, not very energy efficient, but lots of fun.

Dan tows Maddie

Dan is towing Maddie, although for all the world it looks like they’re trying to go in opposite directions.

Buffy & me

Beloved friends.

Maddie & Me

Ssssh! We’re trying to hide from Photographr Pampa Dan.

Buffy, Maddie & Me

Maddie and her new friends. She even gave Buffy a hug when we left. (Although I think she may hug everybody, just on principle :-)


Category: Beloved Friend, Kayaking, Photos & Photo Galleries, Welcome to My Life

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    JanesonThanksgiving 2014

    You'd think that with all the time I spend working on the computer, I'd pick another way to spend my time. Alas, that is not the case. I've noticed - in my advancing age - that my brain is getting full. Since I don't want to take the chance of forgetting anything interesting (if only to myself), I thought it might be nice to have a place to offload the stories and minutiae that are filling it up so I can make room for more stuff.

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