Jo Janoski\’s Blog

Writings, Observations, Poetry, Stories

Be a Kid! November 30, 2005

Filed under: Poetry — jojanoski @ 5:00 pm

Be a Kid!…

It's December!…

December–Snow, presents, carols! The Holidays are coming! Suddenly, people act nicer to one another. And all the while, December coaxes the little kid in all of us to emerge again and smile, just for a while. I'm no exception. So I'm devoting December in my blog to poems about snow and having fun, children's stories, and pieces about Christmas. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, there will still be items for you. So let's all act like kids together! December is "Be a Kid Month."

Here's a little something you may remember from your childhood…

Snowy Day

The air is as soft

as the snowflakes, flying.

They dance around me

in gentle turns and twists

like ballerinas in the sky.

I plop down on my sled.

The runners are red and hard

against the carpet of gentle snow.

I lie on my belly, head first

and push myself forward.

I'm off–to another world

of wet, swishy noises

and a shower of white stuff

on my giggling face.

Bumping over hard spots

and swooshing downward.

My body and the sled are one

on our raucous journey.

Zoom! The world soars by

in a glorious mist of whiteness.

Until Thud! I reach the end.

The fantasy has bumped into a snow bank.

The magic has splintered into a thousand pieces,

and I'm no longer possessed and flying.

I'm just another kid

with a long walk to the top.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski


I made it! November 26, 2005

Filed under: NaNoWriMo — jojanoski @ 8:12 pm

I made the 50,000 word mark tonight!


Peepers November 19, 2005

Filed under: Miscellaneous,My Photos — jojanoski @ 9:33 pm

Happy Birthday to Our Dog


November 20, 2005


Nano Snippet November 16, 2005

Filed under: NaNoWriMo — jojanoski @ 4:58 pm


Another snippet from my ongoing novel at NaNoWriMo

Whew! Pass the coffee!

He walked toward the closest house and I followed, surveying the older structure with interest. It was a typical inner city place, fading red brick with a spacious front porch, two stories, with an attic under the sloped roof. It was set back from the sidewalk by a succession of concrete steps, with a landing halfway up. The yard, although taken care of, was not professionally landscaped. Hedges bordered the property, and three scraggly bushes were planted in front of the porch. They looked like rose bushes, but I wasn't certain. This was the yard where that older fellow usually waved to us during our comings and goings. Strange he wasn't out today. I thought I'd seen him when we pulled up, but now he was nowhere to be found.

Tim knocked on the door. We waited. Nothing. He pounded harder a second time as I glanced in the picture window to see a shadowy figure hovering near the threshold. With a click, the door opened. The grisly faced man stared out at us in silence.

"Hi! Good to see you!" Tim said.

The fellow nodded but eyed us warily.

"We wanted to ask you a few questions." The man didn't respond, so Tim added, "about your neighbor, Rachel Fitzsimmons. I'm Inspector McNair." He flashed his badge.

An awkward silence stood between him and us, until he finally opened the door wider to let us in. In a gravelly voice, he invited us to sit on the living room sofa, settling across from us in a faded recliner. I glanced around the room with interest. The furnishings were aged and dull from years of use–a mismatched sofa and chair, ornate end tables like I'd seen in my grandmother's house with elegant legs and curlicue designs. The lamps had curved shades and flower designs on their bases, indicating at some point there was a feminine influence. Tiny Hummel figurines lined up on the mantel indicated a further womanly touch.

"What's your name, sir?" Tim asked.

"Barney…Barney Smith," came the reply. So far, so good.

"Did you know Rachel Fitzsimmons very well?" Tim asked.

I gazed at the fellow. I noticed when we walked in, he was short, only a couple inches taller than me. Several days growth of gray stubble decorated his chin and cheeks while his hair, scraggly being the kindest description, hung down to his back and shoulders. A flannel shirt and jeans with a hole in the knee completed his ensemble.

"Did you know her?" Tim repeated.

He darted his eyes away from our glances in a fearful fashion, tapping his foot while squirming in his seat. Next he looked back to us with a confounded expression. "Yeah," he answered.

"Good. What can you tell us about her?"

The hesitancy again. Finally, he stumbled out, "She was pretty."

"Yes, yes, she was pretty." Tim paused. "Did she have many people visit her?"

The foot tapping continued. "No, just neighbors."

"I see. No other people? Dates? Relatives? Anyone else?"

"I don't know."

"I see. Did you speak to her much?"


I shifted in my seat. The fellow's economy of words was getting to me, wearing on my patience. Was he evading our questions, or was he mentally challenged, I wondered.

"What can you tell me about her?"


Tim shot me a glance, closed his notebook, and rose to go. "Well, sir. I guess we are finished."

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski


Nano Snippet November 11, 2005

Filed under: NaNoWriMo — jojanoski @ 5:12 pm


Another snippet from my ongoing novel at NaNoWriMo

Whew! NaNo is a real workout!

I have 21,277 words so far…

I could see Jennifer studying him with interest, her eyes wide as she spoke. "I'm pleased to meet you, too," she said extending her hand in what I hoped was friendship. It was important to me the two of them come to know and understand one another. I feared that in bringing Jennifer here I may have blundered. After all, she could find him to be of a criminal disposition while that was the farthest thing from my interpretation of him. Or he could not like her, and put me in an awkward position in the middle. So far, in my mind Joe and I existed as just the two of us, leaning on each other for our different needs–his to have a friend to trust and mine to have a patient who responded to my care. Now I was introducing a third party who could wreck the entire chemistry between Joe and me. I wondered if I would regret this move.

We settled in chairs and an uncomfortable silence filled the room. I felt a need to fill it. "Well, Joe, how are you doing today?"

"Okay. Really, okay, for a man with no life." He said the last phrase looking to Jennifer with an awkward grin. She nodded in understanding.

"It's been weeks since you lost your memory. I'm surprised it hasn't come back yet," she commented.

He shot her a fiery glance. "Well, there's not much I can do about that," he said.

Jennifer shifted in her seat as though uncomfortable. "Well, I mean. It seems like a long time. I suppose every case is different."

His eyes canvassed her. "Yes," he said, adding in a murmur, "Every case is different."

"So, how is Nurse Taylor treating you?" I asked, desperate to change the subject. I noticed Jennifer staring at the floor.

"She'll do, I suppose. Although I like you as my nurse better."

"Thank you."

"Inspector McNair came by yesterday," Joe stated. "I wanted to remember to tell you. I have to say, I think that man is trouble."

"Well, he's just doing his job. What did you talk about?"

Joe looked to me with eyes glowing with a haunted light. "He kept asking me about that woman and if I knew whether she had any wealth. How the heck would I know?"

"Hummph, that sounds like our 'dear Inspector.'"

"I mean, I can't even remember my name. What would I know about that woman?" The expression of outrage on Joe's face convinced me he knew nothing of Rachel Fitzsimmons.

"Maybe he was just trying to jog your memory," Jennifer commented.

"Jog my memory? What the hell?" Joe's face flushed as his hands gripped the bars on his wheelchair until the knuckles turned white. "Are you telling me that cop is playing amateur psychiatrist or something? What right does he have to mess with my mind?"

It was Jennifer's turn to go pale. Gasping, she looked toward me in confusion, next bolting up from the chair. Wringing her hands, she paced back and forth before stating, "I think I need to go." Murmuring the remark, she walked toward the door.

Horrified, I whispered to Joe as I rose. "I'd better see to her." My worst nightmare had just come true.

"Don't bring her around here again!"

"No, I won't. I promise." I patted his knee and turned. Jennifer was already in the hallway. "I'll see you tomorrow, Joe." I paused. "Please, don't let what she said upset you. She meant no harm."

He didn't reply, so I left. Jennifer waited for me. "You didn't tell me he was a mad man!" she seethed.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski


Nano Snippet November 5, 2005

Filed under: NaNoWriMo — jojanoski @ 4:43 pm


A second snippet from my ongoing novel at NaNoWriMo

Tim and I arrived on the second floor landing to spy two bedrooms. One was completely empty and the other, being Rachel's, looked as though she were still around. Her closet was open revealing a rainbow collection of blouses, dresses, and skirts. I walked in the room, resting my feet in the thick carpet, and ran my hand along the smooth wood of a vanity continuing next along the top of her hair brush. Golden strands were meshed in among the bristles. I shuddered. It was spooky, roaming around in a dead woman's house. Except for the open closet, the room was neat. No clothes or shoes scattered anywhere. Even items on the dresser were lined up in meticulous fashion. One had to conclude Rachel Fitzsimmons was an extremely tidy person. What irony that death left such carnage on her immaculate front porch.

"The attic is up here," Tim said, grabbing a straight chair to stand on in order to push open a door in the ceiling. He pulled a ladder down and turned to me. "You go first, and I'll catch you if you fall." He grinned.

"You want me to go up that ladder?"

"It's pretty steady. Don't worry."

I shook my head in doubt, but proceeded anyway. His large hand felt warm on my waist as I made my way up the shaky steps, with relief arriving at the top.

"There's a string to pull right there. Tug it and it will turn on the light." Tim's voice sounded far away once I stuck my head into the dark cavern. I reached, flailing my arm around, until I felt a cord. I yanked it and there was light. I gasped. A mountain of boxes came into view, stacked from floor to ceiling.

"You can see there is a lot of stuff to go through," Tim's voice chased after my gaze. "Pull yourself in so I can come up the ladder."

I crawled off on my hands and knees, then stood, brushing dust off my white uniform slacks. With the sloped ceiling, I had to be careful where I stood, keeping to the center of the room where the ceiling was high.

Tim arrived coughing. "I have a dust allergy, so you can imagine how much I like this job," he said, crawling over to the middle where I was, standing when the room would accept his total six feet. "We started to go through this stuff, but there is so much. I was hoping to spend some time here with you, maybe a week or so of evenings, going through some of these boxes. Maybe with all that you know about Joe, something will come up."

"Well, we have our limits. The man has amnesia. I don't know anything about his past."

"Yeah, but you know his personality. I have a hunch it can help. Are you with me?" His eyes appeared soft gray and mysterious in the dim light.

I gazed around the attic at the cobwebs, dust, and stacks of boxes and sighed. It was the least I could do to help Joe. Maybe there would be something to send the police off on someone else's trail where they should be, so they left an innocent like Joe alone. "Okay," I said. "Let's get started."

An hour and a half later, after closing yet another box, I felt as though we'd accomplished nothing. We went through dozens of cartons and not a single clue as to who would want Rachel Fitzsimmons dead.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski


Nano Snippet November 1, 2005

Filed under: NaNoWriMo — jojanoski @ 8:12 pm


My first paragraphs…

Okay, National Novel Writing Month has begun, and I have submitted my first 2,555 words. I found if I get up an hour earlier in the morning, I can get a good start on it, then work at the end of the day when I finish my day job. Today I had extra time, so my word count is good. Here is an excerpt from the beginning:


I remember the first time I saw him, with bandages wrapped around his skull and sitting in front of a window, stooped in a wheel chair, face blank, looking out. Dr. Johnson took me in to make introductions in a private room. There was no name to offer. An amnesia victim. The poor man knew nothing of his past and even less about his future. Not to mention the fact he used to be alive, fully functional. Now a wheelchair controlled his life. What a lost, sorry soul!

"He was found with head trauma, CVA," Dr. Johnson said. "Next to a woman's murdered body on her screened front porch, of all places–no ID on him, no witnesses. We're not sure if he knew the woman or not."

I startled back in alarm. "Next to what?"

"A dead woman, shot in the chest, and this gentlemen was knocked unconscious, lying on the porch. The police haven't pieced together the crime yet. He, of course, has no memory of the event."

I looked to Dr. Johnson, expressing horror in my gaze and asking with my eyes the question–who killed the woman?

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski