Today is the day to take those small moments and give them to those you care about.

~Susie Davis




I read books about words, like Spunk and Bite, Better Than Great, The Snark Handbook, In Other Words and I’m Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears.



I love Dictionaries, the ordinary and the obscure ~ one-letter words, all-consonant words, all-vowel words. And every one on the list below can give you an edge in Scrabble with your brainy friends. Not to mention a jack-in-the-box moment on every page.

WORD SPY: The Word Lover's Guide to Modern Culture

Whether you’re a word wonk or a “n00b”, word spy will make your bones boogie.




Take the word mungy, with a soft, j-like G. I learned this word on Paul McFedries website. It means overcast and damp, like it was the day before yesterday. You know, the kind of weather that provokes grey-sky thinking…. and its extreme version, black-sky thinking.


But not yesterday.

It was definitely a blue-sky thinking day.

Down in the hollow…


…and at the coffee shop.


So Readers, this narb’s for you. Every blog post is a small narrative bit, a tiny story about a small moment. Want to share one of yours? Leave a digital morsel in the comment section. It’s the perfect place to pass along your narb ~ by word-of-mouse.

Toni 1/25/12


I’m sure Heaven rocks.

Johnny Otis and Etta James are there.

Johnny Otis, the “Godfather of Rhythm & Blues,” fiercely imagined a mix of music ~ bebop, stride piano, electric blues, strip-time percussion, cool blues and jump boogie.

You know who he is. It’s 1959 and you sang along.


Otis discovered a young R&B firecracker, and with a simple flip of her first name, introduced the world to the dynamic, high-voltage Ms.Etta James.

“I sing the songs that people need to hear.”  And she did.

Jamesetta Hawkins had a gritty Southern-soul edge. She and Otis cooked up an earthy fusion of rock and gospel, tossed in blistering horn arrangements, funky rhythms and added a church-style chorus.


Etta wasn’t slinky, skinny or silky like the other female blues singers. She was Street. She wasn’t Southern gospel, New York doo-wop or Chicago blues.  She was pure R&B.

Etta’s life was a powder keg ~ heroin addiction, drastic weight fluctuations, a troubled childhood.  She smoked marijuana, snorted cocaine and shot heroin. She hung out in gangs. One of them, an a cappella group called The Peaches, gave her the nickname ~ “Miss Peaches.”

“My mother always told me, even if a song has been done a thousand times, you can still bring something of your own to it. I’d like to think I did that.” 

Boy, did she ever.

1961.  At Last.


Johnny Otis wrote about his life and the music ~ ~ and Etta wrote about the rage to survive. <iframe frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” style=”border:0px” src=”’d%20Rather%20Go%20Blind&pg=PA173&output=embed” width=500 height=500></iframe>

I never met Otis or Etta.  Lucky for me, though, they live on my playlist and are with me wherever I go.

Requiescat in pace, Godfather and Miss Peaches…

…but the music will never die.

Toni 1/23/12



Tis the season to be wary.  Like many of you, I resolve to be more organized, read more books, write more poetry, learn new things, get more sleep, lose weight, spend less, eat healthier, keep the car cleaner and the closets emptier.

Janopause is the buzzword for the January time-out that Brits take from alcohol consumption, in the belief that it will give their livers a break. For a wider audience, it’s basically post-Christmas, bleak-winter pressure to abstain from anything remotely pleasurable.  Not for me, thanks.

My Janopause is a time to muse.  It’s the mid-month stop-and-take-stock time.  New Year’s resolutions have yet to be broken.  And there’s still a passel of willpower left.

It’s not likely that I can keep any resolution all year, maybe not even until July. But I think if I can make it through to the end of January, the odds are in my favor.

Professor Richard Wiseman researches the psychology of luck, self-help, persuasion, and illusion.  A passionate advocate for science, his best-selling books have been translated into over 30 languages and he has presented keynote addresses at Microsoft, Caltech, and Google. Wiseman is the most followed psychologist on Twitter.

Here’s his 59 second mini-motivator~



I’m starting with “be more organized”.  More specifically: Clean one bookshelf every week. Take one box of “stuff” out of the cellar each garbage day.  Not too challenging, not too easy. And, of course, there will be rewards ~  Keep my eye on the prize. Like fiddling around on YouTube.



Resolution #2 ~ Eat healthier. Michael Pollan says plants are good for us. Eating more plants brings health benefits. If we fill ourselves up on plants, then we eat less of unhealthy foods. Plants have antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Vegetarians have better heart health than meat eaters. Flexatarians (occasional meat eaters) have much better health statistics than meat eaters. The more vegetables you eat, the healthier you’ll be. Can’t argue with that.

As for my resolve to “learn new things”, I listen to podcasts.  The NPR podcast directory lets you mix skadoodles of topics and programs. WIKIPEDIA has a random article link for the “Hey-I-didn’t-know-that!” moment that is crackling good fun. And then there’s the Learn Something Everyday App, free in iTunes, for an all-important daily dose of humor.

Bloggers are a mixed breed but there’s tons of truffles among the toadstools. They’re the Renaissance writers of the Internet. They have plenty to say and teach us about life. Like Fish and Dew. And they’re just a mouse-click away.

Janopause isn’t the season to be sorry, to punish yourself, or go for the one-hit, one-month stab in hopes of long-term liver health. It can be a spritz of joy and some shanti for the soul.  Wished for and welcome.

Toni 1/16/12