Wednesday, April 30, 2008


When you live in the woods, like we do, you have to make peace with the bugs. There are lots of them, all the time, especially spiders, especially in the Spring and Summer, and they might consider your house theirs for a time.

If I find one that I'd rather not have crawling around, I usually escort it outside with a cup over it and a piece of paper underneath. Fair enough. You can live, just not in my bathroom. Or my bedroom. Or in my laundry basket.

Spiders can't help being creepy, but it's not the legs or the little hairs or the antennae that I have a problem with, it's their shady demeanor. It's the sneakiness and the lurking in dark corners. That's just rude.

I say give me a good old Daddy Long-Legs. Any spider willing to install itself on a windowsill, hold itself up to the light and boldly stake its claim earns the right to stay. For a while. They get big points for honesty, and anything that eats mosquitoes and fruit flies is a friend to me. Last Summer one lived in my kitchen window long enough that I named him and fed him by shooing flies into his web as I washed dishes (RIP, Simon).

Yes, Spring is the season for cobwebs at Chez Jones. I've changed my dusting habits (?) and learned to appreciate the three-dimensional lace doilies that have taken shape. Even if you haven't seen Charlotte's Web two hundred times, you'd have to feel somewhat guilty for just swiffing away such hard work. Plus, they give any home a genuine rustic feel, and they're way more sightly than those nasty dust-and-insect-carcass dreadlocks that are left hanging around after you try to clean them.

I mean, who dusts? Not me, I live in the woods.

Monday, April 28, 2008


If it's not too late already, then hear this: The next time you're browsing the New Releases for a movie and you happen upon The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, if your instincts tell you that this might turn out to be the most agonizingly boring two and a half hours you've spent in a while, trust your instincts.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mama, You Been On My Mind

My mom, in a very real and present way, has been hanging around in my house lately.
She's never really "visited" me before, in dreams or in waking. She's just been gone from me for the last two years. I've missed her, despite my general lack of crying or dwelling on it. She's missed me, too, apparently. Because she's been jumping out at me from some unexpected places.
Of all the knicknacks I have of hers, there are a few gems (literally and figuratively) that I hold very dear.

One is a pregnancy book from the seventies that I recently lent to a friend in that predicament. She had it for long enough that when she returned it, it was like getting a long distance phone call from an old friend. I opened it up and saw my mom's signature. "Judy Groves" it said. That handwriting that I knew so well. Her old name from before she was remarried to my stepdad. That signature that I tried so many times to forge, but could never get it right. The pregnancy book was from when she was pregnant with me.

I also have these videos that I had converted from old 8mm reels that my sister and I found in the attic after she died. It's footage of my sister learning to crawl and walk, our old dog, birthdays, trips to Kansas, me when I was born, my parents, together, talking to each other (something I never really saw in my lifetime). I can't tell you why, but I've never really watched the videos until a few days ago. I heard my mom talking to baby me in that voice that's so like my own. Heard her laugh at my dad for fondling a snowman I helped him make. Heard her laugh as a new mother, watching my sister make her first cooing sounds. Heard her answer the phone the way she always did, "yyYELlo." It was like she was right there. I don't know when I'll be able to watch those again.

Most surreal of all was last week when my dad came to spend the day and we wound up going through "the suitcase." Let me preface this by saying that for the last twenty years, my mom was like "She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" in my dad's house because of my stepmother. She, too, has recently died, giving my dad the newfound freedom to express himself fully. "The suitcase" is full of papers and photos: My mom's grade school report cards, signed by my grandma. Newspaper clippings from when she received various awards in high school. Homework and Essays she wrote in high school and college (she had that same handwriting then, too). Prom pictures, pictures of her and her brothers on the farm, Christmas cards, wedding napkins from my parents' wedding, and long distance letters from my dad from when he was in Vietnam, trying to talk her into staying with him and marrying him. These were why we pulled the suitcase out in the first place. He started reading one and started crying, told me he never stopped loving her, and he put it back with all the other stuff he wanted to keep and said I'd have to rediscover it all again after he died.

These are all images of my mom before the ones in my own memory. It's interesting, but not heartwrenching for me like it must have been for my dad. What was heartwrenching for me was last night when I was going through some stuff in Mazzy's room and happened upon a necklace that my mom wore every day I can remember. I had forgotten I had it. I saw it in the bottom of a box and nearly fell over. It's still so sparkly.

Here's one of my very favorite pictures of my mom. I probably don't need to explain why, but she's wearing that necklace, holding baby Maz, right after she shaved her head for the first round of chemo.

In a couple weeks is her birthday. She would have been sixty this year. I'll happily drink a couple of "Jack Daniels over with a splash of water"s. You should, too, they're not bad.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cheap as Free

To combat the toll that $3.87/gallon gas is taking on the Jones Family Budget (ha!) we vowed to stay home today. Give the car a day of rest.
To combat the ensuing boredom, we decided to give the kitchen sink more action than it's seen in a while.

the dish soap really is tough on grease, soft on hands.

Monday, April 14, 2008

summing it up

Neither of the Jones Mobiles are adorned with any decorations or stickers. Boring, maybe, but I've never found it necessary to display my political beliefs on my car, and lord knows, my husband tells enough jokes in person. I could never commit to three or four words, either, and I'd hate to fall down the slippery slope that becomes a patchwork bumper.
More power to those who do, though, and I've made a mental collection of the ones that have caught my eye.

The political, mostly anti-Bush ones:

"Be Nice to America or We'll Bring Democracy to Your Country"
"Impeach Cheney First"
"Save a Tree, Lose a Bush"
"Never Thought I'd Miss Nixon"
"At Least the War on the Environment is Going Well"
"My Country Invaded Iraq and All I Got is this Expensive Gas"
These usually share the bumper with faded and torn "Kerry/Edwards '04" stickers. Speaking of, I saw one once that said "Kerry Lost, Lose the Sticker." So now there's the bumper-stickers-complaining-about-other-people's-bumper-stickers genre.

"Old-Time is Not A Crime" was one of my favorites.
"Visualize Parking" is a good one for the city.
"Evolution is Just a Theory, Kind of Like Gravity!" addresses religion vs. science pretty concisely.

And then there's the too-proud Hunters & Fishermen:
"My Retriever is Smarter than Your Honor Student"
"Work is For People Who Don't Fish"
"It Takes Balls to Shoot a Muzzleloader"
"If it's Tourist Season, Why Can't We Shoot 'Em"
These are usually accompanied by "Ducks Unlimited" or "Catch & Release Wild Trout" and "Proud Member of the NRA" emblems.
Some of my favorites are the vegetarian ones. I laugh every time I see one because I think vegetarianism is a funny thing to bumper sticker about.
"Beef: It's What's Rotting in Your Colon"
"If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em"
But the one that sent me over the edge and the reason I'm writing this said "Legalize Tofu."
That's my kind of humor.

I encourage additions to these lists.