Learning From Parents

I find this week’s topic difficult: If we had to write a letter to our parents, what would we thank them for?

I had a relationship with my father that is better left undiscussed. It was not just with me, either, but let’s give him his due. There were a couple of very important lessons by example and listening that I got from both he and my mother. Unfortunately sometimes, I learned the hard way.

The first and most important lesson I learned from both of them was honesty. Neither of my parents would accept a penny over their due when being given change at a purchase, nor would they ever think of not going back and paying for something that they had inadvertently not been charged for.

Another virtue that was practiced by both was charity. Both of my parents would do good things for other people, especially those in need, and not accept payment. They also listened to people who were not needy but needed to talk, and would they never be cruel or less than charitable with those who were less than fortunate in any way, (physically, emotionally, etc.). We sometimes had extended family members or children of friends staying with us, who had a temporary need. It was unfortunate that the kindness shown to others was not often shown to all members of the family. But however bad my parents’ marriage was, they were both fond of, and kind to, each others’ families… (and, boy, did my father put up with a lot from my crazy aunts!) Plus, both of my parents were kind to animals.

The biggest gift was that they raised we kids to have absolutely no prejudice and to respect all people, judging only individuals and then only by their actions. This was particularly important since I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, where we had people from all over the nation and all over the world.

There was their work ethic that really made an impression on me. If either of them put their minds and hands to something, they always did a perfect job of it. Always. Whether it was a wiring job by my father or folding towels by my mother, it was a thing of beauty. (My mother had been an executive secretary before we kids were born. The company hired THREE women to take her place and they still offered her to name her own salary to try to lure her back; ’nuff said. Unfortunately, my father was not as good with money as he was an electrical engineer and turned down every one of many offers to be set up in business for himself. He would have been on the ground floor of television. And I’d be a rich media or electronics tycoon, but I digress.)

Certainly not the least of their better virtues was that both of my parents had very good senses of humor! Neither could tell a joke to save themselves, but they had quick wits, they laughed readily and were both good story-tellers. I listened all the time, which is probably why I am here with you today.

I was exposed to all types of music and was shown many movies and TV shows, and taught to make discernment on the quality, depending on the type or genre. I was read to, and there were always book around and trips to the bookmobile and once in a while, a magazine subscription, just for me.

Besides the fact that I can do great laundry, my mother taught me to cook, and a taskmistress she was about it, too! She worked me to the bone during the holidays but I became a cook and baker. I even had a bakery/restaurant and knew I could put my food in front of anyone with pride…I had no qualms about sending anything to the movie producer and his unnamed celebrity guests when the calls would come in.

And my mother made sure I knew to get all the pots and pans perfectly clean and shiny afterward, even if it took until 3:00 A.M Thanksgiving morning.

Through both of my parents I learned to be a good host; always share, always offer, always serve and never let anyone think that helping them or serving them is an inconvenience in any way.

I also learned from both of my parents that life is not fair, nor should I expect it to be. I learned that sometimes the screw-ups get the attention instead of the ones who are dutiful…in other words, I can empathize with the Prodigal Son’s brother. Sometimes there are just different sets of rules for different people, even within a family. I learned that you can’t make someone care for you, no matter what you do, which kept me from making a fool of myself over men, so I am grateful for that. I learned that I did not need many ‘things’ and how to be frugal, but to always have dignity. I learned early to deal with disappointment. I learned that everyone has human weaknesses; there are no perfect people or heroes. I learned that personal choices have consequences that last for generations, both good and bad. (You can use your imagination as to how I learned some of these.)

Although she often put up stumbling blocks and projected her own fears, my mother used to tell me that I could do anything I mind to; sometimes I believed her. I do believe it now.

For what I received, including my life, (which I know came at a bad time in their own lives), I am grateful.

[Co-incidentally, today is the 104th anniversary of my father’s birth. It is also his youngest sister’s birthday, who is still very feisty at 91! Happy Birthday, Aunt Marion!]

Posted in childhood, Family, Friendship, Life, Random thoughts, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized, youth | 2 Comments

Great Parents

Great Parents … and Terrific Role Models

By Jeff Salter

This week’s topic concerns what (about our parents)  we are grateful for.

It would be too difficult to attempt to put this in any particular order (of importance), so I’ll just start listing:

*          They taught me frugality; I learned the meaning of “no” and usually understood it was because our family income could not stretch far enough to constantly hear “yes”.

*          Our family of five survived on a single income of a minister’s salary (which, at that time, was less than starting school teachers made). We didn’t have any frills, but we never went hungry.

*          Both taught me to appreciate fine arts: music, visual art, literature.

*          As a kid, I had a lot of freedom to roam and play and – as long as I didn’t get into trouble somewhere else – there were relatively few restrictions.

*          I was taught to treat people fairly, with as little pre-judging as possible.

*          I learned consequences for when I broke rules.

*          I had chores to do – inside and out – and was not usually bribed to do them.

*          My parents knew (or got to know) my school teachers and kept up with my grades and such, but they NEVER did my school work “for” me. Those were my classes and I had to do all the course work.

*          Both parents encouraged my own creative expressions — whether visual arts, music, or creative writing.

*          Neither parent “compared” me to my older brother (a straight A student) or my younger sister. Both of them possessed musical talent and discipline.

*          My friends were welcome in our home.

*          My parents took me to church when I was little and encouraged me to continue when I was older, but I never felt like religion was being crammed down my throat.

*          My Dad was a fairly liberal Democrat and my Mom was a fairly conservative Republican … and I was allowed to get myself informed and make my own decisions.

*          I was never pushed to attend a particular university, or select a particular career field… but when I made each of those decisions, my parents supported them.

*          Both parents accepted and loved my spouse… and accepted and loved my kids. My Dad only lived long enough to meet my first grandchild, but likewise for that next generation.

*          When I was young and gave my parents little 25 cent gifts at Christmas, they made me feel very appreciated.

My list could continue, but I think you get the idea.

What were YOUR parents like?

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Better Late than Never?

Thank You, Parents     My son and his wife invited me to visit at their home in TX after my boyfriend dropped the Breakup Bomb.  So I forgot my list of subjects at home and that today was Tuesday!  It’s still Tuesday for about 7 more hours, so I figure I can still make my Tuesday post.  :)

Today’s subject; if I had to write a thank you letter to my parents, what would it be about?  I wasn’t very thankful at the time, but I guess it would be thanks for all the gifts they gave me.  The character gifts of Honesty; Commitment; Trustworthiness; Endurance; and the material gifts of Horses, New Clothes, a Mustang for my first car, among other things.

How about you?  What are you thankful for today that you weren’t so thankful for during your youth?

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Socially Graceful

This week we’re talking about using social media.

If you want to talk about Facebook, I’m there all the time.

You see, twenty years ago I moved to a small town. (Insert your own jokes here.) It isn’t easy.

For many years I tried to avoid Facebook, but all the real friends I had were far from me and few had time to continually email. Besides, they stopped sending pictures. ”I have them on my Facebook” was all I’d hear, so I gave in…and I am so glad I did.
Now I hear from all kinds of old friends and so many new ones. I have made many connections with writers and people who share other interests with me. I have three FB pages. One is for the people who are what I call “People Collectors”, the younger, local moms who asked  at Cub  Scout meetings, “Are you on Facebook? I’ll ‘friend’ you”, even when my grandson was not even in their den. Or people with whom the only thing we had in common was where we worked together years ago, and then there are the relatives of ex-in-laws and ….you get the idea. I’ve tried to keep the ‘Share this if you have the best daughter in the world’ people out of my other, favorite FB, but they slip in.(I’m still trying to figure out how they all have the same, best daughter, because …never mind).

My main FB page has my writer contacts, plus real friends and family that I want to hear from.

If Jesus is judging people by whether they share inane posts on FB about Him or not, I would be very much surprised, (and in a lot of trouble, but I’m willing to bet my soul against that one…literally).

The third is attached to that and is for my other blog on easy entertaining and cooking…I have a million posts on there, particularly a few who stay on their kitchen and run their life there and on FB; it isn’t all that fascinating.

And I have no idea if anyone pays any attention to my few posts there.

I am Linked-In, to what end, I have no idea.

I don’t even know what Tumblr does, but it seems I had to sign up with it years ago to get something from someone, or attempt to.

I got set up on  Disqus to read something by someone sometime. I get notices from them, (which get immediately deleted).

I am also signed up with Google+, but I don’t even know what to do with it. I have missed a bunch of messages on it and I’ll bet people think I’m ignoring them, but I’m not….I’m just not paying any attention to Google +.

As for Twitter, I feel guilty when I get a message that someone is now following me. I usually only tweet to enter contests,( usually Rafflecopter.) I do it on the computer…I can’t imagine reading everything that anyone has to say in a tweet…and there are so darned many of them, especially trying to squint on a phone to do it. Not that I do. I still have a ‘grannyphone”.
(Although I did just tweet about the give-away I have on my easy entertaining and food blog.)

As for my grannyphone, I did break down and start texting on it when I have to. I had to start to receive messages because no one wants to call anymore.(Don’t get me started about txtng. It’s great for leaving messages, but I can multi-task when I’m on the phone. It takes time and attention to sit there with your nose on the screen texting. And I am so slow at it, people keep running over my answers. I hate  that. I will lose it if I tell one more person that I have to go only to have to find my phone again, pick up a text when I have my hands in something and find that someone has texted back: ”k”…they had to bother me again …and really? They have to shorten “OK”?)

And I feel as bad when someone says they are following me in Pintrest, because it’s basically the same deal as Twitter. I know better than to get sucked into looking at things there. It’s a maze I don’t need to get lost in. I have too much to do. Now a sister-in-law has her crochet patterns up on another one, “Craftsy”, which I needed to set up an account on, because some things you just do for some family members. They asked me what MY interests were,I hit one and they started asking all kinds of intricate questions regarding the one. But gee! I don’t run my life around cake decorating…I didn’t even when I ran a bakery! Enough, People.

I have posted, (and will post), book reviews on Goodreads, but reporting what I am reading, what I have read and what I want to read is TMI, and Too Much Time. Who does that all the time? Go take the time to read a good book, for Heaven’s sake!

I found old acquaintances on MySpace long ago, which was interesting. He was a bit famous on his own but you’d really recognize his father’s name right away.He was a young man, and I was a kid. He came in with a family friend and was kind to me.It was nice to speak with him,(I knew he wouldn’t remember me).He was glad to hear that although he thought he was very wrapped-up in himself that he had been considerate at that age. I never would have sought him out and he lives nearly half the world away,but I haven’t been on MySpace in ages…is it even still running?

So, no, I don’t use a lot of social media but I use Facebook to socialize a lot. It has probably saved my sanity, but I guess some of you may be laughing at the thought…that my sanity has been saved.
How about you?

Posted in authors, Family, Friendship, GIveaways/Contest, Life, Random thoughts, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Day Late, Dollar Short

Day Late, Dollar Short

[Why Technology HATES Me]

By Jeff Salter


            In a loose sense, we’re blogging about technology this week. How it’s so difficult (and expensive) to get caught up… and so easy to suddenly lose ground again and get left behind.

            In a more specific focus, we’re talking about the impact of social media on our lives and work. But before I address that particular topic, let me lay enough foundation for you to understand how technology and I really don’t get along.



            Decades after phonograph records had peaked (but I didn’t realize it), I finally had opportunity and resources to join a “record club”… and quickly built up a nice-sized collection. Just in time to learn that music would no longer be produced in that format… and our record player had finally bit the dust.

            I slowly re-built some of my music collection in audio cassettes… certain that THIS was the technology I could bank on for a long future. Uh, nope. They died nearly as soon as I’d made significant investments in cassettes and the appropriate player/recorder.

            For the most part – except for a few gifts from other people – I have refrained from making a THIRD attempt to build a music collection on CD. My reason? As soon as I make that investment, they’ll come out with some sort of musical bubble technology (or whatever)… or they’ll play/sell music on the Ethernet cloud. Oh, wait. Maybe they’re already doing that.



            Same thing happened to me with videos. My brother had invested in a BetaMax video player and numerous video cassettes in that format. I wisely stayed out of that format war brouhaha and waited until VHS was firmly entrenched as the national pastime. So firmly entrenced that, yes – you guessed it – as soon as I joined a video club and got scores of my favorite movies, the industry had suddenly dropped VHS and jumped on DVD.

            I had scarcely bought my first “regular” DVDs when Blue-Rays came out.

            I refuse to buy any Blue-Rays, because as soon as I do, they’ll come out with some sort of video bubble technology (or whatever)… or they’ll play/sell videos on the Ethernet cloud. Oh, wait. Maybe they’re already doing that. I think they call it “streaming”.



            I’ve sent and received a LOT of e-mails. Where I used to work, some people called me the “e-mail king.” [It was NOT a compliment.]

            I’ve pretty much used whatever email service was provided by whatever internet hook-up that I had. Some have been pretty sorry, too. People often ask me why I keep on using a sorry email provider and I reply: “Because it’s so difficult to switch to a new one and get everybody (and every account) over to that new address.”


Smart and Semi-Smart Phones

            I love the convenience of a phone I can take with me.

            I hate the interruption of a phone I carry with me.

            I loved the ease of use of the old push-button desk phones.

            I hate the confusing, user-unfriendly steps required to perform simple cell phone functions like “call” and “answer”.

            Don’t get me started on “auto-correct” messing with my text messages.


Social Media

            Okay, I finally arrived at the actual topic, but it was important for you to know (first) how poorly my luck has been running with respect to technology.

            I didn’t join Facebook until Jan. of 2009 and didn’t really get rolling with it until – yep, you guessed it – people started bailing out because FB kept changing the rules, messing with the feeds, selling our info to advertisers, and throwing so many ads in our faces. Now most of the folks who remain on FB only do so for the reason I do — we’ve already invested so much time and energy that the though of starting over (elsewhere) makes us weep.

            I’m a “member” of GoodReads, but still don’t know what I’m doing and consequently spend very little time doing it there.

            I resisted Twitter until a few months ago when I became convinced that all the hot info was moving along those avenues instead of on FB. I still don’t know what I’m doing on Twitter, but have already learned enough to feel that I’m basically wasting my time and somehow all I’m accomplishing is becoming a potential buyer / user of somebody ELSE’s products or services.

            As one of my author friends described her experience on Twitter: “I joined Twitter to promote my books among potentially interested readers. But 99% of my contacts are other authors who are doing the same thing — namely, trying to interest me in THEIR books.” And that pretty much sums up my Twitter experience so far.


The Future

            I don’t know what medium will face us when Facebook finally runs off everybody and services like Twitter get so knotted up in changes that nobody wants to bother with them anymore. I suspect it will be some sort of communicating bubble technology (or whatever)… or they’ll send / receive messages on the Ethernet cloud. Oh, wait. Maybe they’re already doing that.

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

My GoodreadsPinterestingFacebookTumblrTwitter Space

Do you get the funny feeling that this week’s topic is about social media?  What?  Someone just tweeted you?  You have to go check a comment on your Facebook status?  Ooooh, and look at this fabulous dinner on Pinterest!

I once had a My Space account, but it was only so I could read one of the Biggest Loser contestant’s blog.  I never figured out how to make all the cool, creative pages.  Facebook happened more by accident and I don’t think I used it for nearly a year.  Then another friend got me to use Facebook with the magic words.  “It’s like My Space, but for people our age.”  Technically she was wrong on that second part, but she connected me with enough of our mutual friends and explained how much easier it was than MySpace, that I haven’t looked back.  In the beginning, my Facebook friends were just high school and college friends.  That is, people who were within 5 years of my age.  I probably posted a lot more at that time.  Then I got a friend request from a former student.  I had to think long and hard if I wanted to accept it.  If I did, then I would be opening myself up to all of my former students.  If I didn’t, would that make me a jerk?  Luckily, I liked that student, she was then over 18, and I decided that if my students really wanted to friend request their former math teacher, then I probably should feel honored.  If they can’t handle that I enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail every once in a while or that I care very deeply about my University of Miami Hurricanes during football season, they are free to take advantage of that “Unfriend” button.  (Facebook now has other options such as “Unfollow” or “Block” or whatever thing they call it so that I can get through political seasons without hating the entire world.  I save my venom for those soul-selling scumbags called politicians.)

As for all the other stuff like Linked In (I’ve heard this is supposed to be Facebook for professionals), Goodreads, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and who knows how many others, I don’t “do” them.  Twitter?  Do you really think I can say anything of significance in 140 characters or less?  Pinterest?  I was told what a major time suck that one is right up front.  right after I discovered how much time I was already killing on Facebook.  Look, I have a family to feed.  With real food.  Not with pictures of perfectly sculpted mashed potatoes with cutesy celery people that some psycho moms use to get their darlings to eat fresh veggies.  (In all fairness, I have not seen that exact picture, but I bet one of you with a Pinterest account can scan to see if one exists.)  If my family doesn’t want to eat the mashed potatoes (which may have come from a box), fine.  But I’m not cooking them anything else.  And after one friend spent hours upon hours to make Pinterest-inspired centerpieces for another friend’s wedding, I’m thinking, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

I have mixed feelings on Goodreads.  I hear it’s a must for authors, but I’ve also heard the horror stories of internet trolls leaving 1-star reviews just out of meanness.  Honestly, I hope karma bites those bullies with the heat of a 1000 suns.  Sorry to all the folks who’ve sent me Linked In requests, but it’s just like the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Thank you, but no thank you. I already created a separate, more professional email account.  I really don’t want another social media thing to maintain.  My daughter set me up with Instagram, but I don’t get the need for all the filters for pictures that very few people really care about.  If I cared that much about my picture presentation, I wouldn’t have boxes upon boxes of unused scrapbooking materials.  (I’m very familiar with the end destination of a path paved with Good Intentions.)  Tumblr?  I can’t get past the purpose of leaving out the ‘e’.  And I picture a gymnastics-style room with lots of mats.  I fail to see how that has anything to do with social media.

If and when I finish a few of these WIP manuscripts and have a publisher who insists that I take part in social media, then I’ll deal with whatever the “flavor du jour” is.  But for now, I’m sticking with Facebook which takes up more time than it should.

Which ones are your favorite social media sites and which ones do you wish would die a quick death?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


outsourcing content

     My subject line up there sums this week’s topic up nicely.  It’s all I can do to keep up with posts of what I’ve got going, let alone keeping up with posts made by my followers.  And now I’ve joined a self-published email list & started a newsletter!  (What was I thinking???) 

I’m keeping up with my newsletter and endeavoring to keep everyone entertained.  If any of you are interested in news of my new INDIE writer’s life; please subscribe to my newsletter!  You can do so by visiting my blog at http://www.authorjanetteharjo.blogspot.com/

I know that as a writer I’ve got to keep up with all my followers, but there is not time in the day to get my writing done and engage in regular conversations, ala Twitter.  Like I said, I manage to keep up with my newsletter and am trying to engage my subscribers as best I can.

Even when I had a publisher I could not find the time in the day to spend on social media.  (as you have seen by my lack of prompt responses to the other posts here)  And now it’s worse since I don’t have a publisher and need to do EVERYTHING myself.  I’m currently re-editing and getting covers made so I can go live with my debut serial.

What I really, really, need is an office assistant who can do all that for me and allow me time to get my writing done.  But alas that will require $$ I don’t have yet.  In the perfect world…

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments