Welcome to my brain. Kinda squishy in here, isn't it?

What would I put in my email sig file if I weren’t in business for myself?

Posted September 21, 2016 | Welcome to My Brain | 4 Comments

Many people include signature files at the end of their emails. My favorites are the ones with interesting quotes.

Since I use my primary email address for business, I keep my sig file for that account strictly business. But if I could add a more interesting sig file, one (or choices of several) that reflected my philosophy of life, these are my top choices…so far.

My sig file philosophy of life.

“The thing is, at least I’m not overly stupid.”

– Janeson Keeley

“A loving heart is the truest wisdom.”

– Charles Dickens

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

Where am I going, and what am I doing in this handbasket?

“Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.”

– Anonymous

Veni. Vidi. VISA. I came. I saw. I shopped.

As Eeyore would say, “It’s Just The Sort Of Thing That Would Happen.”

Category: Welcome to My Brain

Some of my favorite quotes.

Posted September 20, 2016 | Welcome to My Brain | 3 Comments

On living.

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

– Carl Bard

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

– Winston Churchill

“Sometimes, it is not good enough to do your best; you have to do what is required.”

– Winston Churchill

What I aspire to.

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business. Charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.”

– Marley’s Ghost to Ebenezer Scrooge
in A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens


“My hope is that one day I’ll learn how to deal with my feelings without expecting anyone I don’t have to pay to help me. My fondest wish is that one day my childhood traumas will be healed, or at least quiescent, and I won’t have to worry about them popping up like an evil jack-in-the-box, triggered by nothing but a jiggle of the handle.”

– Janeson Keeley
“Throwback Thursday: When the present throws you back into the past.”

On knowing ourselves.

“None of us really changes over time. We only become more fully what we are.”

– Anne Rice

“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”

– Carl Jung

On the absurdity of life.


“Because there is joy in embracing – rather than running screaming from – the utter absurdity of life.”

– Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess in
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)


“I decided it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity.”

– Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope Against Hope

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”

– Philip K. Dick, VALIS

On mortality.

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”

– Norman Maclean

“Say not goodnight, but in some brighter place bid me good morning.”

– Unknown

Warren Zevon did an interview on The Late Show with David Letterman following Zevon’s having been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Letterman asked Zevon if there was anything he understood now, facing his own mortality, that he didn’t before. Zevon replied:

“Just how much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.”

– Warren Zevon, January 24, 1947 – September 7, 2003

Just for fun.

“Hang on tight! We’re going around the learning curve!”

– Buffy Lyon

“I’m glad you like adverbs — I adore them; they are the only qualifications I really much respect.”

– Henry James


Category: Welcome to My Brain

It was a “gotta go kayaking this morning” sort of day.

Posted August 30, 2016 | The Great Outdoors | One Comment

I’ve been frustrated no end at the weather this summer. Yes, it can be too hot to kayak. And too humid. And it can certainly be too rainy.

You know how kayaks hate to get wet 😉

I usually wait until the afternoon or evening before I think about going out to the cove, especially on weekdays. But this morning I woke up early, and the weather was nice. No doubt about it; Zippy and I had to take ‘Yak out for some exercise.


A lovely, clear, breezy day
perfect for a morning paddle.


Not very crowded on a Tuesday
morning, either.

Kayak launch at Carvins Cove

‘Yak eyes the water excitedly
while I park Zippy.

We arrived at Carvins Cove about 9 AM. I unloaded ‘Yak at the launch and parked Zippy. Then ‘Yak and I headed out.

Instead of our usual run up to the dam, around the islands, and back to the dock. we went the opposite way to the far end of the cove.

We “docked” about an hour and a half after we launched, both happy and refreshed and just a little tired.


A happy ‘Yak waits patiently for
his ride home.

After I fetched Zippy and loaded ‘Yak into the trunk, we headed home with a brief stop at McDonald’s for a vanilla cone.

I haven’t yet mastered the art of taking photos of myself – particularly from a distance – but I think you can see from these pix that (a) it was a lovely day, and (b) ‘Yak looked much happier after his outing.

I did, too. And I got lots of work done this afternoon.

Some days it pays to clear the mind first thing instead of waiting until the end of the day.


Category: The Great Outdoors

Zippy & I celebrate his 50K.

Posted August 28, 2016 | Welcome to My Life | One Comment

Zippy & 'Yak

Zippy: My Kayak Transportation Vehicle (KTV).

If you’ve visited my blog before or are friends with me on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed that I like my car. A lot.

His name is Zippy, and he’s a 2008 Saturn ASTRA XR. He was made in Antwerp, Belgium, and came to live with me in Roanoke via the port in Newark, New Jersey on May 26, 2008.

Zippy in the Snow

Zippy waits patiently while I did him out of his snow drift.

Zippy’s service requirements have been few, his maintenance requirements easily met, and he carries my ‘yak, groceries, and anything else I can wedge into him without complaint. He’s the best car I’ve ever had.

Zippy is what the insurance industry calls a “low mileage” car. It took 2,999 days – from May 26, 2008 to August 10, 2016 – for him to cover 50,000 miles. He was so happy that I remembered to take a picture of it, he grinned from headlight to headlight.

Zippy's Odometer @ 50,000 Miles

Zippy hits 50,000 miles!

At this rate, 16.67 miles per day, he’ll get his 100,000 chip on October 25, 2024.

We’re both looking forward to it.

Category: Welcome to My Life

High water, low cars, and the importance of air intake placement.

Posted August 13, 2016 | Stories | One Comment

In one of my favorite Facebook groups, You know your grew up in Roanoke when…, a member recently posted a question:

“So where were you? How old were you? How did you feel when the water took over? ‪#‎FLOODOF85‬”

If you weren’t in Roanoke the first week of November in 1985, think of the recent flooding in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. It was like that. The Roanoke River – yes, the one I so often walk beside and take pictures of – reached its highest crest ever. They called it a “100-year flood.”

Lives, homes, and treasured memories were lost. Businesses suffered crippling setbacks, and hundreds of cars met their watery demise.

Watch the video on YouTube.

Everyone who was here then has a flood story – sort of like, “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” or “What were you doing when you heard about the attack on 9/11?” Here’s mine.

The Water.

Salem High School

Flooded intersection.I was 25 and a special education teacher at Salem High School. The entrance road to the school is Spartan Drive, which intersects Main Street in Salem where it runs parallel to the Roanoke River. At one point the water at that intersection was three feet deep. We were trapped there until the water subsided – about two hours after the official end of the school day.

The Drowning.

While I was waiting to leave, I called my husband to find out how he was. He asked me to pick him up at his office as soon as I could get there safely.

He’d gone out at lunch and tried to drive through the water puddled at the intersection of Franklin Road and Wonju Street. At the lowest part of the intersection, his had car died. He and some coworkers pushed it out of the intersection, but it wasn’t going anywhere else without a tow truck.

The Rescue.

Once I was able to leave the high school, I headed toward his office across town on Franklin Road. This involved driving over the bridge on Apperson Drive at Riverjack. I don’t know a “riverjack” is, but when I got there it was a low, two-lane bridge with two feet of river water rushing across it.

1985 Toyota MR2

I decided that as long as the car ahead of me could make it, I could, too. My car was a Toyota MR2 with very low ground clearance. The “car” ahead of me was a quarter-ton pickup truck. Only in my 25 year old mind could that have been a valid comparison, but both the truck and my car made it through.

After several flood-induced detours, my car and I arrived at my husband’s office. The 20 minute drive had taken close to an hour.

The Importance of Good Engineering.

1985 Honda CRX

1985 Honda CRX

It wasn’t until we were on our way home that Buffy told me why his car had died. Apparently the air intake on his car was inconveniently located at the bottom of the engine. When he tried to drive through the intersection, it sucked water instead of air into the engine, which bent all the engine’s connecting rods. It was well and truly drowned.

I thought back to my drive across the flooded bridge. The water there had been higher and flowing crosswise faster than what had drowned his car, and the bottom of my car was at least as low as his. It hadn’t occurred to me to wonder where my MR2’s air intake was.

I was thankful for a lot of things that day, but I was especially grateful that the intake on my car was above flood level, and that Toyota’s design engineers understood the importance of air intake placement better than Honda’s did.

Category: Stories

Rain: What comes down must go somewhere.

Posted August 5, 2016 | The Great Outdoors | Leave a Comment

Dead tree at sunset.

Dead tree at sunset.

Buffy and I took a walk on Monday evening. The water level in the Roanoke River was pretty lower then.

When we walked yesterday, it was…uh…quite a bit higher. And there were some pretty flora and fauna, too.

Click on a image to see a larger version in a new window.

Low water bridge

I won’t try to kayak under that.

The River

“Down a more lively river….

Summer flowers

August shower make pretty flowers.

Watch the video on YouTube »

Category: The Great Outdoors

Let’s take a night walk.

Posted July 30, 2016 | The Great Outdoors | Leave a Comment

Sunset from Wasena Park

Sunset from Wasena Park.

The weather yesterday, having finally changed to “summer” from “hell,” inspired me to take my ‘yak out for an afternoon paddle on Carvins Cove and a late evening walk around the neighborhood.

The paddling cleared my head. The walk presented me with some cool photo ops. And mosquitos. Lots of mosquitos.

In lieu of posting the selfie that I didn’t take of me trying to excavate a mosquito from my nose, here’s a tour of my neighborhood on a less-than-sweltering July evening.

Mill Mountain Star

I can’t walk at night without taking a picture of the Star. It’s a law.

Riotous Clouds

Riotous clouds.



Jesus Saves

The famous “Jesus Saves” sign.

Category: The Great Outdoors

Okay, maybe I won’t go kayaking today…

Posted July 27, 2016 | The Great Outdoors | One Comment

No Kayaking Today

‘Yak at rest.

Summer thunderstorms aren’t conducive to kayaking – unless I want to wait until the water in the street gets deep enough 🙂

But at least ‘Yak and Zippy are getting baths!

A friend of mine suggested that this might be a good nap opportunity….zzzzZZZZZ

View the video on YouTube.

Category: The Great Outdoors

What to use when your sink doesn’t have a sprayer.

Posted July 27, 2016 | Product & Service Reviews | Leave a Comment

Kitchen Sink with a Sprayer

Note the nice sink. Note the lack of sprayer.

The problem.

I love my duplex, and I have the best landlord in the natural world. But, like most landlords, he doesn’t like to install things that tend to break. In my case, that would include a built-in sink sprayer with a hose.

I can’t blame him for not installing one. In my experience, the hoses tend to get twisted or kinked, and the the sprayers often get clogged with lime buildup. Lime build-up is as common as tree pollen in my part of Virginia.

The thing is, I like to rinse my sink after I use it, and a plain old faucet just doesn’t do the job. For the first eight months I lived here, I rinsed the sink by pouring water into it from a dish pan, channeling the water from the faucet around the sink with my hands, and/or wiping it out with a wet dish rag. None of those techniques were very effective.

Low-grade annoyance like that wears on me.

Looking for a solution.

Siroflex Deluxe Amazing Acrobatic Sprayer

Finally I decided to see what I could find that might solve my problem. I searched on Amazon and found the Siroflex Deluxe Amazing Acrobatic Sprayer. It had a 4-1/2 star rating, helpful reviews, and the price was right – $11.40 with Prime shipping – so I ordered it.

It arrived in just a couple of days – as things I order from Amazon usually do. I was ready to install it, but I found that the aerator screwed to the faucet was screwed in tighter than I could unscrew with the tools I had on hand.

I asked my friendly ex to help. He easily unscrewed the aerator with a curved pipe wrench wrapped in thick electrical tape (to avoid scratching the aerator). Now I could install the sprayer!

The instructions are clear if you read them carefully. I don’t read instructions so much as scan them, so I put the washer included in the kit for inside-threaded faucets on top of the adapter and screwed them in together. It wouldn’t switch between spray and stream. Drat!

But my ex figured out that if I followed the directions and inserted the washer before screwing in the inside threaded faucet adapter, everything worked fine.

Siroflex Deluxe Amazing Acrobatic Sprayer

My newly installed sprayer. I love that it takes up no sink or counter space at all!

It swivels in two places, meaning that whether I’m using spray or stream I can reach all the corners of both sides of my kitchen sink. It switches between spray and stream by moving the black head up or down, which (if you install it according to the directions) you can do with one hand easily. It doesn’t leak at all, and I can’t randomly spray the wall if I get distracted. (It happens. What can I say?)

I now have both an aerated stream of water and a sprayer, and I can rotate the acrobatic nozzle (love that description!) around to rinse out the whole sink. Yay!

My ex said the sprayer was easier to use and worked better than the built-in hose sprayer he recently installed in his kitchen. He’s considering ordering one for his kitchen sink and just not using the sprayer he installed.

It’s a little difficult to video with one hand and spray with the other, but since the Siroflex head doesn’t require much effort to rotate or change modes, I made a video demonstrating my sink rinsing ritual:

Click here to view the video on YouTube

Problem solved!

Being able to rinse out the sink the way I want to eliminates that little bit of irritation I used to feel every time I rinsed out my sink the old way. Sometimes making a small change can make a big difference. This was one of those times.

I highly recommend the Siroflex Deluxe Amazing Acrobatic Sprayer for its quality construction, ease of installation, helpful instructions (if you read them!), and most of all because it works better than I could have hoped.

Happiness Rating


Disclaimer: I purchased this item myself. This review is unsolicited and is only my opinion based on my experience. I can’t promise that you’ll enjoy the same results.

Note If you purchase this product through one of the affiliate links above, I’ll make a small commission. You can purchase the Siroflex sprayer outside my affiliate link here.

Category: Product & Service Reviews

Missing children, happy memories.

Posted July 23, 2016 | Welcome to My Life | One Comment

Janeson & Oz

Oz, the Great and Mighty.

No, this isn’t a post about children who’ve gone missing. It’s about my missing two kids who I got to know and enjoy last summer.

I had hung around with “Pampa” Dan Smith for several years before I got to meet the delightful grandchildren he refers to as his “Pampettes.” Last year I finally got to meet his granddaughter, Madeline, who I’d heard so much about, her younger brother Oscar, Dan’s son, Evan, and Evan’s wife, Kara.

I have lots of great memories of their visit.

I shared their “welcome home” lunch at the City Market, where I met Maddie and Oz for the first time.

Dan, Maddie, and I went hiking and then had lunch, where I got to introduce them to my favorite youngest niece, Ally.

Maddie and I leaving the loo.

Pre-hike pitstop at Roaring Run.

Maddie & Me at Wendy's

Fine dining at Wendy’s.

Then Madeline and I put on a fashion show for Dan at Goodwill.

Tricolor dress at Goodwill

Janeson, the Understudy.

Maddie the Model

Maddie, the Model.

Buffy, Dan, Maddie, and I went kayaking at Carvins Cove.

Buffy, Maddie & Me

Kayaking buddies.

I was invited to the family 4th of July picnic at Kara’s father’s house, where I got to play with the kids, take the Smith Family Portrait, and got a couple of pictures taken of me, too.

Evan, Dan, Oscar & Madeline Smith

The Smith Family Portrait.

Me & Oz

Only watermelon got Oscar to sit still long enough to get his picture taken.

Maddie & Me

Me & Maddie & hugs.

Overnight Sensations 2015

Definitely sensational.

I got to sit with Evan’s mom, Chris, to see Dan’s performance in “Overnight Sensations” at Mill Mountain Theatre. Natalie Faunce and Dan were so funny, I laughed out loud. So did Maddie.

My cattoos are well-protecting while I'm kayaking.

Dan took this picture on another kayak outing. He always referred to the two of them as my “damn cat tattoo.”

When Dan invited me and his family to his house for dinner, I played with the kids upstairs after we finished so the “grown-ups” could have some quiet time. Oz, who I hadn’t gotten to know as well, liked the “cattoos” on my arm, but he tended to hit them rather than pet them. I told him those were my kitties, and they liked to be petted gently.

When the crew was heading toward the door to leave, Oz ran back to the kitchen where I was washing dishes and ever-so-gently petted each cat and gave them each a kiss. My heart melted.

Dan & Maddie run through the sprinkler.

Makeshift summer shower.

One afternoon, Dan had Maddie and suggested they come over to the pool at my apartment complex. The pool’s hours were a bit unpredictable, so I checked that it was open when he called before I told him to come on down. By the time he and Maddie got to my apartment (four blocks away by car), the pool had closed.

After waiting a while, Maddie and I suggested that we go back up to Dan’s house and play in the sprinkler. We had fun, and I got a terrific photo of Dan and Maddie jumping through the sprinkler together. Dan made it the cover of the book he created for Maddie of her summer adventures.

Maddie's card

Click the card to see a larger version.

By then Oz, Kara, and Evan had left to go back to Spain. Dan and Kara’s mother were to take Maddie back at the end of August. I asked if he could arrange for me to say goodbye to her before they left.

The day came, and I hadn’t heard from Dan, so I make a card and emailed it to him to give to Maddie for me. And, to be honest, I cried. How on earth could I get attached to a little girl so fast?

Because Madeline Smith is one special young lady.

I treasure those memories, because this year it’s been different. I’ve gotten to see Maddie once, in passing and quite coincidentally.

Buffy isn’t usually interested in the theatre, but I told him about Overnight Sensations, and he said it sounded like fun. After we had settled in our seats, I saw Kara and Maddie walk across the auditorium a few rows down. I could see that Maddie had grown up a lot since the last time I’d seen her. I got Kara’s attention. Maddie saw us, ran up to our seats, and gave us each hugs to me. We chatted briefly, and then she went to sit with her family.

Thanks for the {{{ hugs }}}, Maddie. Please give one to Oscar for me, too.

Category: Welcome to My Life

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  • Why am I here?

    Janeson Keeley June 13, 2016. Photo by Jeri Layne.

    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.

    Since you've found your way here, I hope that you find something that's interesting to you, too.

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