Monday, May 30, 2005

copyright Janoski Studio Posted by Hello
Googly Googly!....

I read a news story of how a woman is planning to sell advertising space on her newborn baby's clothing and baby goods. She will make the sales on ebay and Craigslist. Expecting $1,000 for one month of advertising, she figures everybody looks at cute little babies, right? This lady got the idea after learning of a woman who offered to have advertisements tattooed on her body.

The poor baby! As if it isn't bad enough for a kid when people put their big old faces down to the buggy and warble nonsense like, "Googlegooglegoogly! There's the baaaby! Hullo! Hullo! Little baby!" the big old face will pause to read advertising about, I dunno, maybe used cars or something, and then ask, "Would the wittle baby turn over so I can read what's on her wittle butt?" The degradation! Babies everywhere should demand a cut of the action! $$$$$ 

This will be my last blog for a week while I wander off to do an arts and craft show. If you are in the Pittsburgh area, stop by our booth at Monroeville Mall, Wednesday thru Sunday. Enjoy our collection of beautiful Pittsburgh cityscapes, also available at Janoski Studio.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Washing the Dog

.....How do they know? I'm careful. Oh so careful! I don't get out the shampoo. I don't even so much as glance at the towel. Honestly, all I do is think about it, and that dog knows.

She looks at me and her ears go down--down in that hangdog way that lurks somewhere between guilty and painfully obedient. Then she bolts. She takes off toward the bedroom. Her hiding place is there...under the bed.

I run faster and slide in on one knee just in time to close the baby gate. Yes, that's right. We have a baby gate on the bedroom doorway for moments like this when we have to stop the dog from hiding under the bed. I sigh in relief before picking her up in my arms and plopping her in the bathroom. I won this time, but what about the next bath day?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

That's me! My head is spinning after my latest "Microsoft moment." I thought I had a software problem and completely reformatted my hard drive only to discover it was a hardware problem. Ah well. At least I had everything backed up, and it wasn't too bad to get my files and programs in their proper places again. Time for some culture to clear the air...a poem I've written for a workshop.

Earthly Spinning Globe

Spinning blue globe, dancing through space
Magic above, Magic below.
Welcome to Nature's other face
People to see. Places to go.

Earth, people, animals, plants, bugs
God's fantastic orchestration
Flying, running, pushes and tugs
So much going--consternation.

Winds blow, sun shines, violins strum
Reds, blues, oranges, too blinding
Melodies play while people hum.
Grasses sway along roads winding.

So much confounded commotion
From creatures huge to bugs minute
Sensory overload in motion!
Earth travels blind through infinite.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski

Sunday, May 22, 2005


.....As the TV season comes to a close, my reality programs are coming, one by one, to their conclusions. How I wished Ian would win Survivor! Being a Pittsburgher, I was painfully aware that a win by Ian would have given my fair city a complete trio of hometown winners: Jenna, Amber, and finally, Ian. Alas! The fellow went and got values at the last minute--putting friendship above victory by offering his opponent, Tom,  the million bucks if he could have that man's friendship back after a serious betrayal. Ah well. To be truthful, I admired what he did, and he made the folks back home proud anyway--just in a different way than we planned. 

Charlie, The Bachelor, remained fun to the end, although I must say no sooner was I thinking how refreshing it was to have a bachelor with a pragmatic air about denying roses to the beautiful ladies, i.e., paraphrasing, of course,"Sorry you didn't get a rose. Everyone can't. Too bad! See ya!" Well, as the show got closer to the end, pragmatic Charlie cracked and became tearful on more than one occasion. But nonetheless, he remained the most decent bachelor I've ever seen on the program. When he told the final two babes, he wouldn't go much beyond kissing them because to do more to one would be disrespectful to the other, I could hardly believe my ears. And he wasn't afraid to ask for an unprecedented extra two weeks to date, sans cameras, in order to make a more realistic decision. Bravo, Charlie! Finally, he chose "Little Sarah" in the nicest final ceremony I think I've ever seen. Good man, Charlie!

And then The Apprentice--down to two contestants--street smart Tana and book smart Kendra. My good vibes about Tana turned sour on the program a few weeks ago when in selling limited edition tee shirts, designed by a prominent artist, she sewed beads on them to "jazz them up." My Gawd! Did the artist know she did that? Someone should tell him. Thankfully, Kendra won. She needs some work on her people skills--but she is young, and I think those instincts will develop naturally. 

I'm pleased to announce I have been interviewed for the June issue of Living Well  free ezine. This is also the issue with my inaugural CameraWorks photography column. This month focuses on the basics of light and photography. If I were you, I'd run, not walk, to join this group and get that June issue. Here is the address:

Monday, May 16, 2005

Flea Markets . . . I have such a colossal urge to go to a flea market! The yearning hits me every year when the weather turns warm and we get sunny days again. Yep! A nice outdoor flea market (or indoor) would be great to poke around in. I love old stuff. Maybe it is the writer in me, but when I look at an old lamp or a book, I feel like I can touch a person from long ago, complete with an aura and a jolt from a time gone by. That is probably why I have my grandmother's old dining room set. Purchased in 1925, it graces now my teeny weeny so-called dining room. Let's face it. Out of place in that little room, it was designed for a spacious dining room like families had long ago to accommodate lots of kids. But it is not out of place in my heart. I run my hand along the wood and touch the souls of relatives long gone, some of whom I never met, like my Uncle Tommy who died during the war. I wonder what thoughts he had at the table. I can imagine my mother (gone now for many years) writing letters to my father, overseas during the war, her tablet and pen resting on its surface. All of his large family shared meals at the table long before I came along, and my own family used it when I was growing up. I did my homework there all through college. Yes, I love old stuff not for its physical value, but for its spiritual worth in illustrating a time gone by.

Friday, May 13, 2005


I am a reality show junkie. I love them all--well, not all of them. The Fear Factor, for example, is not my cup of tea. But when I discovered The Amazing Race, I hit the jackpot. If you've never seen it, plan on doing so next season. Eleven couples (any configuration--two friends, two relatives, husband/wife, etc.) take off on a race around the world with tasks to perform at each stop along the way. The last couple to reach a "pit stop" at the end of each leg of the race is eliminated; unless as happens occasionally, they are allowed to stay in but with nothing but their passports and the clothes they are wearing--no money. In the end, three couples are left racing to arrive first at the final pit be the winners.

The globe-hopping on this program blows me away. I can't imagine traveling at breakneck speed, crossing continents, stepping in and out of diverse cultures and mingling with the locals as tasks are undertaken. Frequently, the tasks are to partake of local culture, such as herding goats, planting seeds, or even scaling mountains. This is a race requiring both moxie and physical endurance.

Couples are melded or broken on these treks. Last year, Alison and Donny, transplants from the Big Brother show, appeared to have been forever damaged. They didn't treat each other well under the stress. Others, like Uchenna and Joyce, the winners of the latest program, grew closer and found the show cemented their relationship, a beautiful process to watch.

I was rooting for Amber and (Boston) Rob on this latest race. I love those kids! They fell for each other when they did Survivor together, and were fabulous in The Amazing Race. But they came in second. When I saw Uchenna and Joyce running first to the final pit stop, I was happy anyway. Because Uchenna and Joyce played the game with lots of heart. The trip was much more enjoyable watching Uchenna, in particular, marvel over the cultures, the scenery, the people. He was so darned appreciative, you had to love him for it. Uchenna and Joyce's refreshing attitude put them in my mind a cut above the rest. Great show, Uchenna and Joyce--The Amazing Race.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Press One for Nothing

Today I spent time getting my writing group's book fund in order at the bank. The bank wanted to charge a monthly fee for online bill pay, which we never asked for and didn't want. I first called about it on April 4. I waited a few weeks and when the charges didn't disappear as promised, I called again. Still no luck after that. Several emails later, and a phone call today finally got the job done. It seems so hard to accomplish the little-ish things anymore when dealing with big companies.

It is like they don't want to be bothered with us. ;-) First you have to play push-button games to get past the "press one for this--press two for that" business. Press that button, and you end up with another recording to press more buttons. Help! And so many times a so-called "service representative" will assure me he/she is fixing the problem even as we speak...and guess what? Turns out nothing changed, and I'm back on the phone again. The representative didn't do anything. This is frightening! LOL.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Big News

I'm being interviewed in the June edition of Living Well ezine. Be sure to join the yahoo group to receive Living Well free and enjoy the interview. I am also a columnist there, so be sure to see the debut of my CameraWorks column on photography. This issue covers the basics.

And now, a poem, since today is a beautiful May day in Pittsburgh with lots of sun and a temperature around 80 degrees:

Traveling Sun
(A Rondel)

Heaven's golden traveling hymn
Joy marches in with each refrain.
Swirling within the soul in pain
Vanquishing pangs in quiet dim.

Sunshine filling hearts to their brims
Rivers of light washing out pain
Heaven's golden traveling hymn
Joy marches in with each refrain.

Washing through worlds, chasing the dim
Trees to caress, flowers to paint
Traveling warmth as angels deign
Light with life, according to Him.
Heaven's golden traveling hymn.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Nature's Heart

I live on a woodsy acre outside the city limits, and I consider our place a wonderful locale for welcoming in the seasons. Lots of birds, squirrels, bugs, and trees keep us attuned to the ways of the wilderness.

But for some reason, I felt more in tune with nature when I was a kid walking to and from school every day. I grew up within the city, and one could not describe my environs as "woodsy" by any stretch. But that walk every morning for 7 or 8 blocks filled my childlike, curious heart with wonder.

I loved the quiet in the morning. Always nervous about school, I would use the time walking to collect myself and prepare for anxious moments ahead. But helping that along would be the crunch of autumn leaves under my feet, or perhaps soft snowflakes brushing against my face. Teeming rain and windy days; cold, dull gray March days that refused to edge toward spring; or green, sunny May days--they all set the tone of my life as I breathed in nature's influence.

It has always been comforting to me to realize that no matter where you are, nature can insinuate itself in your life, bringing a sense of the world as a bigger place, a powerful, beautiful entity in itself for all to see.

I feel sorry for kids today who ride buses to school. They will never know the stabilizing influence of a walk with nature in the morning.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


(A nonet - a poem with 9 syllables, counting down to 1)

Under dark shade of green patchy trees
encircled by summer breezes
hum delicate forest songs.
Bird chirps ring like gold bells.
Animals chatter
by grasses

Copyright Jo Janoski

Warm Breezes at Last!

The frost in Pittsburgh is finally easing out of the way, giving us a bright, sunny day with even balmier temperatures due toward the weekend. Here is a small tribute to spring birds and warmer days:

Nature Walk

Tiny bird chirps droplets of cheer after rain,
while golden sun skips among the dark spots
on rough-hewn tree trunks with old weathered bark.
Tiny bird swishes past my ear
and sets my heart to racing.
His world isn't mine
and yet, here we are, together.
His world has tiny miracles
that sing together in a chorus of wonder,
while my world blasts and whines and
worships its self-importance.
But I always know to come back,
to the bird chirps, drenching rains, and fragrant flowers.
Because my true identity is encased in this old planet.

Copyright JO Janoski

A Tribute to Birds Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Contender -- Don't Knock It Until You See It

When I first heard Sly Stallone was hosting a show about boxing, I guffawed. Boxing! I'm the gentle type, a pacifist of sorts. I could never see why you would want to try and pound the daylights out of another human being, or worse yet, have him pound the daylights out of you. But then something made me tune in, curiosity perhaps. Or maybe just the fact I am reality TV's biggest fan. You can keep your CSI's, cop programs, lawyer programs or any other current drama and just give me good old-fashioned human nature on parade in its natural form and fashion.

So I tuned in and cut through the layers to reach the heart of the thing. First, I realized our politically correct society with its peacenik overtones has forgotten that boxing is a sport deserving respect, and not a mindless show of aggression. Boxing is a sport, requiring all the training, discipline, and strength as any other sport. It is a fierce combat between two men, but more importantly between two win.

But I'm jumping ahead of myself. My Epiphany evolved from meeting the players...strong young men, each one working feverishly to better himself, his life, and provide for his family. The prize is rich in this contest, a million dollars, and any one of these 16 gentlemen (soon to be whittled down to the final 2 for a face-off at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas) would be a worthy recipient. We meet them with their families-- doting wives and children, fathers and mothers, all supporting the boxers as only family can. More than once I heard a fighter say the first thing he would do if he won the million dollars is lift his family out of poverty and into a better life. I'm not laughing at boxing anymore. I've found its soul in the determination of these young men to better themselves the only way they know how, and it is the way of the sportsman.

Week by week, I got to know each contestant better. The program succeeds in presenting a well-rounded portrait of each. They undergo weekly challenges with rewards reflective of the good life--stylish new clothes or going to night clubs like they never dreamed of. It is thrilling to see these kids enjoy riches they've never known as a reward for work well done. They are humbled by the experience...and grateful. So refreshing in this "gimme, gimme" world we live in.

The boxing match each week comes in the last segment of the show, and if you thought you were entertained up to this point, you ain't seen nothin' yet. These boys are the best of the best and when they box, it's thunder and lightning. Truly, I've never seen TV as intense as this. The matches are phenomenal. Who will win? First it seems like one, then the other! Each contestant has everything riding on this fight! Whew! Tune in and find out for yourself why boxing is a sport and much more.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Reflections on a Sunday Afternoon

A persnickety Sunday--cloudy with wind rushing one minute, sunny and glistening bright the next. What is a person to think? Spring has enlivened the bird population on our acre, and I hear the little chatterboxes cheep-cheeping out there. It makes a nice music to go with the sunny side of the day. Down on the ground level I see ants scurrying, reminding me that a whole other world of work and competition exists under my heel in the ultimate version of Smallville.

It is good sometimes to stop short and draw in a big breath of life in all of its splendid sizes, sounds, and shapes. A gentle reminder that my self-indulgent ways, always looking out for me, me, me, can blind me to the delicate-appearing yet powerful world just outside my usual view. My heart jumps in surprise when a touch of its simple elegance grabs me in the song of a bird or a brilliant cloud parade rushing across blue sky in beautiful shapes. There is more to see than I could hope to fathom in a lifetime of viewing. So I'd better get started.