Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover


Weekly six-pack, 2017, v26

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and comments on Dobie. I miss him so hard and am slowly easing back into normal life or whatever normal looks like now. We do plan to get another dog but it’s off the table until I return from Dallas which is actually better for all of us, Barkley included. And as far as rejoining the blogging world. I’m getting there.

In the meantime, here’s what my life looked like this week when I wasn’t crying.

Reading.American Fire by Monica Hesse. I planned to start Caroline but this one called me instead. Haven’t bothered to look at NetGalley or get anything from the library. Three year anniversary for Show Us Your Books is Tuesday and that means giveaway and prizes!

Watching. American Vandal. It’s a Netflix parody of true crime docs but it’s incredibly hilarious and well done and definitely stands on its own merit. I also started The Disappearance of Maura Murray. Fascinating shit, that case.

Listening. I’m trying to get into some new serial (not Serial) type podcasts and I found Small Town Horror which is okay but not my favorite. I have a couple of others that I’m looking forward to but if you know of any in the vein of Homecoming or Alice Isn’t Dead, send them my way, please.

Eating. Um, well, really nothing beyond basic sustenance. I don’t eat when I’m grieving (although I binge when I’m stressed) so I’ve been on a steady diet of coffee, cheese, and tortilla chips. If you have any recipes that might help bring back my appetite, please also send them my way. If they can be adapted into gluten free, all the better.

Raging. Watching the events in Las Vegas and the horror show of 45’s trip to Puerto Rico and the new abortion ban that passed the House and the lack of vote to reauthorize CHIP and now 9 million kids are uninsured unfold when you’re in a fog makes it hard to really process all that you’re seeing. Where I want to see red, and believe me I do, I just feel helpless instead. I CANNOT handle what the orange menace is doing to this country and to see people like Pitbull and Bethenny Frankel and Mark Cuban and Ricky Martin and others step in overwhelms me to the point of crying even more. And then there’s the Second Amendment. I’ve never really expressed my opinion on this in any forum but here goes. I have absolutely ZERO problem with the amendment itself. I have no problem with people owning guns for their own safety, protection, or simple amusement. You feel that you need a conceal and carry permit, have the fuck at it. There are thousands and thousands of responsible, normal gun owners in this country and it is their right to do so. HOWEVER. We have a serious fucking problem with mass shootings. We have a serious fucking problem with access to assault rifles and unhinged lunatics who procure them and the accessories needed to turn them into even bigger weapons of mass destruction. We have a serious fucking problems with gun control laws and regulations and an even more serious problem with the gun lobby. People are too afraid to lose a donor than to stand up and protect the rights of concert goers, movie goers, club goers, church goers, women attending exercise classes, people going to work, and KIDS WHO DID NOTHING ELSE BUT GO TO SCHOOL. Freedom of assembly is in the First Amendment and we have a raging problem of the power of the Second usurping the freedom guaranteed in the First.  Gun control and regulation is not taking away the right to own guns. It is limiting access to people who shouldn’t have them in the first place and adapting our laws to match the evolution of the weapons and accessories. Assault rifles in their current form weren’t a thing in the 1780s when the Constitution was written and I’m confident the Founding Fathers would be just fine with some modifications. We should all be. THE TIME TO TALK ABOUT IT WAS IN 1999 BUT NOW WILL DO, TOO. JUST HAVE THE FUCKING DISCUSSION.

Deciding. To run a bunch of 5Ks next year. I hate running but Dobie loved it and because of his heart, he never could do it as much as he wanted so for the next year, my husband and I are going to honor him by running when we can and in races that support causes we believe in.

I try to end these with something funny so

Have a great weekend! Wish me luck as I’m going shopping. I hate shopping.

Working titles

Now that I’m 40 I think it might be time to write my memoir. After all, I have a few decades of experience to share along with some wisdom and knowledge and truth bombs (that’s the term the kids are using these days, right?).

But what to name it? I have a few working titles:

Where’d I Park My Car?: A Life in 50 Parking Lots

Inspiration: My Life Between Sneezes

Hiding in the Bathroom: 47 Ways to Get Some Damn Peace

I Conquered Laundry Mountain: Great Achievements of the 90s-Now

That’s Where That Went!: Things I’ve Found in My Bra

Sure, I Like Her (and Other Lies I’ve Told)

I’m Not a Joiner: Tips for Avoiding the PTA

Wear Those Pants All Week and Don’t Wash Your Hair: A Style Guide for Moms

Carpool Confessions

Cereal, Grilled Cheese, and Chips: A Weeknight Cookbook

What do you think? What would you name your memoir?

It’s the story of a dog named Dobie

Once upon a time, a woman and a man got married. They bought a house and quickly decided that house needed a dog. So they got a dog and named him Barkley (after the dog from Sesame Street and at the woman’s insistence). After a year or so, the woman and the man realized Barkley needed a brother. And they began the process of finding the perfect companion for Barkley.

It wasn’t easy. Barkley, like his mom, is very particular about who he likes and doesn’t take to everyone quickly and approaches all new people with caution and nerves. But there was one puppy, a small, underweight, runny nosed, wheezing puppy, who stole his heart. They took to each other instantly and the woman and the man knew that was the one. And they took him home and named him Dobie. 

Throughout his first year, Dobie grew and grew. His runny nose and ear infections cleared up. He gained weight. He learned to walk on a leash, he learned not to pee in the house, and he graduated from school. He took his rightful place in the woman and man’s bed and when they brought home a human baby, he slept in front of her crib, too. 

It was the beginning of an amazing 11 1/2 years. Because during that time, Dobie gave more love than he ever asked for in return. When the woman had bouts of depression, he still made her smile every day. When the man was stressed from work, he knew how to calm him down. When the girl needed someone to play with or dress up, Dobie obliged. When Barkley needed a headrest or someone to snuggle with, he provided it. Dobie did it all with patience and enthusiasm and smiles.

Loving his people, making them happy, tolerating their idiosyncrasies and endless nicknames for him, didn’t mean he didn’t have his own preferences. He loved food, especially hamburgers and peanut butter and carrots and ice cubes, but he enjoyed every morsel he consumed from kibble to a Starbucks pup cup and everything in between. If it was something he wasn’t supposed to have, all the better! The woman never cooked a meal without him right at her feet, waiting for something to drop, and he really loved licking the dishes in the dishwasher. Nothing made him happier than playing in the snow or a car ride with the wind blowing right on his face or quick swim in his grandparents’ pool. A rousing game of fetch with his stuffed potato was a favorite nighttime activity and dammit if he didn’t let you know when he was ready to start and was done. And no day started without a good scratch behind his ears. 

But what made him special was all the weird things about him. His foot fetish, his need to eat garbage and the girl’s toys, his choice to nap on the floor in corners or against the front door instead of the couch, his utter hatred of the squeakers inside stuffed toys and the precision he used to extract them, his reprimanding of Barkley when Barkley got a little out of control, the way he slept at the woman’s feet, the way he ran in crazy circles around the house, and the way he shook the bed when he snored. 

And what’s impressed most upon the woman and the man and the girl is the way Dobie loved, unconditionally and unfailingly. The feel of his kisses on their face, the heat of his body on their cold feet, the softness of his fur under their hands, the willingness to do what was asked of him, his persistence, his intelligence, and his ability to make everyone he ever met love him instantly. 

Dobie’s life will be remembered for all the things he gave and the love he had. And love and give he did, even at the end. No words can ever accurately and completely describe what an amazing dog he was and how my life is better and blessed because he was in it. I am infinitely changed and irreparably damaged now that he’s gone. All that’s left to do now is live my life in a way that honors him because God knows that’s what he deserves. 

Barkley made me a dog person.

Dobie made me a dog mom. 

And holy shit, did I love being his mom. 

Rest in peace, my sweet boy. I hope you’re running around in the wind and the sun and eating all the things you want and your heart never bothers you again. We miss you here but we know you’re needed there. Say hello to our baby and give him all the kisses he needs.

Until we meet again. 



Unpopular opinons

Every fall since 2011 I’ve attended a blogger conference. At this conference, one of the sponsors routinely provides cookies. These cookies are white chocolate covered Oreos coated in purple sprinkles and stamped with the sponsor’s logo. Most attendees refer to them as blogger crack. I refer to them as disgusting. 

I’m 100% comfortable with my opinion and I stand by it and also, it’s just a number of unpopular opinions I have or popular things I don’t like. For instance:

Pumpkin spice anything. The only right way to consume a PSL is dump it right down the drain and when I was in Walmart a few weeks ago, I swear to you I was in pumpkin spice hell (which is different than the regular hell that is Walmart). It’s madness, and it needs to stop immediately because we all know pumpkin spice really isn’t that great. You can tell yourself it is but really? NO. Apple cinnamon, maple pecan, hell the smell of wet leaves is better than pumpkin spice. 

Game of Thrones.  I don’t have any fucks to give about it and I don’t care to find a fuck. See also: Harry Potter related anything, Gilmore GirlsThe Walking Dead, This Is Us, any prime time reality show.

Audiobooks. I don’t like them. They’re not reading for me. They’re listening to someone tell me a story. When I read, I want to actively engage and read. Not passively listen. 

Wedding hashtags.  I get that they’re for finding all social media pictures from a particular wedding but good fucking lord. They’re stupid and take vanity to a level I am incredibly uncomfortable with. How do I make them stop? See also: the word “bumpdate”. Sorry, preggo friends. I hate the word and I’d like to banish it. 

Punctuation abuse. Look, I know it’s trendy to put grammar in a corner and forget that it’s important and to just say what you want and blame autocorrect. But OMG it is important and I will totally and forever judge you if you can’t use a proper apostrophe or understand the difference between “where” and “wear”. Also, if you’re trying to make a political statement about how kneeling during “The Star Spangled Banner” is unpatriotic and it is riddled with grammatical and punctuation errors, I will not take you seriously at all and your opinions are invalidated in my eyes. If you’re going to be that impassioned, at least take the time to spell words correctly. 

Ed Sheeran. I think his music sucks. There. I said it. (Also I’m not a huge Beyonce fan. I think she has an obscene amount of talent but I don’t get the constant and incessant worship)

Scarves in fall. How about scarves never? Putting a scarf around my neck makes me feel like I’m being strangled and I want it removed pronto. I will not purposefully spend money on a scarf as an accessory. Hell, I don’t like to spend money on them as a necessity for the 4 days a winter when NOT wearing one means I’ll freeze. 

Craft beers and IPAs. EWWWWWW for days. I’ll take my stouts and porters and my vodka sodas when I don’t feel like tearing up my stomach. But most microbrews are horrible and I don’t understand the love they get. 

Wine. I don’t like that, either. Except moscato. I’ll drink that. 

To be fair, I’m not completely immune to the allure of popular things. There are several that I do enjoy: 80s and 90s nostalgia, Carpool Karaoke, How To Get Away with Murder, hating on Joe Buck (he really fucking sucks, though), wasting time taking BuzzFeed quizzes, red lipstick, Adele, yoga pants, and all the IG pictures of coffee and sunsets and dogs and cats. 

It’s a good balance for me. 

How about you guys? What are some unpopular opinions you have about popular things?

Thanks to Stephanie for the post idea






Do NOT add it to your list

The last Tuesday of the month means all the recommendations coming in courtesy of Lauren and Bre. You should go read all of those lists because they’re incredibly helpful. But you know what comes in handy for me sometimes? Knowing what NOT to add to my list. You know, those products that suck and are a waste of time and money and energy. So this month, I’m sharing what I think you should skip right over. 

NYX eyeshadow. Their lip products are THE BEST and the eyeliner is pretty fabulous, too. But the eyeshadow leaves a lot to be desired. The color payoff and pigmentation is shit, it almost never looks like what you think it will, and I have never had luck blending it in any sort of decent capacity. If you’re on a budget and don’t want to use products tested on animals, you’re better off with with e.l.f or Wet N Wild. 

Reese’s coffee creamer. Seeing as how Reese’s peanut butter cups are my favorite candy in the history of time, I was (way too) excited to try this. Then I did. And I cried a little. It’s AWFUL. Not even remotely close to good. Do not waste money or a cup of coffee or taste buds on this crap. 

Books by Ruth Ware. She’s a terrible writer who writes terrible books about terribly annoying characters. If you want to read thrillers written by women, I can recommend at least 5 who are better and none of them are Gillian Flynn, either. 

China Glaze nail polish. I am not a nail polish snob. I have all brands from drug store to salon quality and by far the worst one I have ever used is China Glaze. While the colors look phenomenal, they last maybe a day. MAYBE. I have never experienced nail polish that chips so much and so quickly even with using the amazing Orly bonder and a solid top coat. It is almost not worth the effort to do your nails using this shit. (However, if you have a suggestion for how to make it not chip, I’m all for it because some of the colors I have really are outstanding)

ios11. This is mainly for my iPhone users. If you’ve already updated, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, please wait until they fix the battery drain issue. I’m not a heavy phone user, not even when I’m in the car, and my battery drains faster than a keg at a fraternity party. There are some good features added but you can honestly do without those. It’s incredibly frustrating needing to charge my phone 3 times a day. 

I know there’s a few TV shows and movies I want to suggest avoiding but I think I’ve blocked them from my brain since the titles aren’t coming to me right now. 

Okay, now that you know what I think you should avoid, what do you recommend that I not add to my list?