Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

December 9, 2015

Diary for a New Year

Filed under: Normal Life,Writing — Janice @ 1:11 am

I have become immersed in sites that have planners and calendars for the New Year. There are some complex, multi-tapped, works of art out there. A little spendy for me to buy, use two weeks, and then forget, so I will by pass them. I bought a calendar at Big Lots! for $2 and it will work in here in my office where all I really need is to know the day and the date at a glance.

I did order and receive my 2016 Daily Diary from Moleskine. I’m so glad I discovered these. I think this will be my fourth year with one. They have good thick paper so even when I write with a fountain pen or a Flair pen (do they still make Flair pens?) it doesn’t soak through. The color for this year is a hunger green. I’ve had a brighter green before, and red, and purple. I like green because it reminds me of prosperity and I plan on having that a lot in the new year.

Have you ever heard about bullet planners? I’ve been reading up on them on the Internet and they can be done on a blank notebook and don’t require the commitment of a big hunk of cash so I may try that method a bit this year, too. And then about February I will resort to my old style of sticky notes, Google calendar from time to time, and “Oh I’ll remember.” Fortunately I have very very few commitments in my life. I could put “work” down on my dayplanner from 8 to 5 every day. And then I would laugh and laugh when I saw the 8 every day when I got to work at 10.

I promise this year to write in my handwritten diary every day. I can’t keep the promise to write HERE every day or even every week, but I have the habit and routine of my diary pretty well ingrained in my life. It’s by the bed, I turn on the light, get under the covers, write in my diary, put it away and read a while, put mentholatum on my lips (oh come on … you have your quirks, too), put in my earplugs, and I happily say my thanks and gratitude and go to sleep.

As for the others, I am not going to sweat it. I have never had a boss raise the issue of my organizational abilities and I don’t have to punch a time clock or visit clients at certain times on certain days. I have a creative job in a creative environment and, so far knock on wood, they have allowed me my freedom to be less organized. I am rolling with the flow this year and not stressing over things that have been this way for years and years. Not worth it. Happy New Year. It’s on January 1 this year, right?

December 6, 2015

More Holiday Spirit

Filed under: At home,Normal Life — Janice @ 10:24 pm

There is a Christmas tree in my house. Not one, but two actually. Last year our raggedy little fake tree was looking bad. I swore we were going to throw it away after Christmas to force us (me) to get a new one in 2015. And, surprise, surprise, I must have kept my promise. That sounds so UNLIKE me! But I climbed into the attic just before Thanksgiving to pull down that tree and no tree was in sight.

Mark went looking for a tree when he was at a big box hardware store. He came home puzzled; he couldn’t believe “good ones are $100!” Actually, good ones are more than that, but okay ones are triple digits, for sure. We don’t have children, we don’t have company, we won’t be having a holiday party here, so we really didn’t need a tree like that…especially when I’m still paying for air conditioner repairs from August and a new washing machine in October.

I went to Big Lots! Friday and found a nice little tree, on sale, for just $70. That seemed reasonable to my budget-oriented mind and so I got it AND a smaller, bright purple tree. Both have the lights on them already. In fact, the “big” tree (it stands just a hair taller than me) has lights that can be white or multicolored or flash back and forth. Mark and I have generally alternated years on the tree:  one year he gets his all white lights, the next year I get all multicolored. Sometimes we have both, the multis up the middle and the white on the tips. With this tree we can have our favorite when we are home alone and alternating between the two when we are home together.

I got them set up and lit and spread the branches today, but I didn’t have the ornaments from the attic. My enthusiasm for the project waned as the day went on, so I’ll get to those sometime this week.

I will have pictures of the trees eventually—hopefully fully decorated—and I will post them along with the lights across the street that make me happy every time I look out.

September 2, 2015

Where Does the Time Go?

Filed under: At home,Normal Life,Writing — Janice @ 10:26 pm

Here it is Wednesday night, almost midnight, and I haven’t done my Tombstone Tuesday blog over on my other site. Will it get done this week?


I would like to be one of those bloggers that we all love so much that tell all the details of their lives. They tell us when they are mad at their friends, family, coworkers…  I would love to be one of those freewheeling writers that confesses my sins and gripes in gory detail, but I think the truth WOULD NOT set me free when it comes to a blog. I am ever aware that not only do my family members and friends read this, but my real name is up there and anyone could Google it, not just now, but forever more. We all know jobs have been lost or certainly applicants have not been hired over things on the Internet, so I do try to be cautious.

Not that I’m mad at anyone or have anything to confess…

Except… Bluebell ice cream is back in the stores in Austin this week. Monday I went to CVS. Tuesday I went to Sprouts. Tuesday Mark went to HEB. Today, I struck gold. Finally. I really wasn’t even thinking about it this evening, but the Walgreen’s on South First has a big flashing sign and it said, “We have Bluebell.” I figured it was all just a come-on and I’d get to the freezer and they would be sold out, but they weren’t. They had Homemade Vanilla and Cookies ‘n’ Cream so I bought 10 gallons and came home and ate them. Okay, I bought one gallon and truly only ate one spoonful. I love frosted Cokes and ice cream with syrup on it, but I have to be in the right mood and tonight I could live without it. If I am lucky enough that Mark doesn’t finish it off tonight, I will hope to be in the mood tomorrow. Or it may be my breakfast.

Time really does get away from me. I feel like work keeps me so busy from Monday through Friday that I am just hanging on for the weekend to be able to catch up on laundry, rest, housecleaning, etc. I say that, but I went to see the awesome Cornell Hurd Band tonight at El Mercado on what may become a Wednesday night residency for them. Monday I went to see the LIttle Elmore Reed Blues Band at the King Bee and had a great time and stayed until the very end of that incredible display of talent. So obviously there is time for extracurricular activities if I make them a priority. 

I’m going to ponder the other blog post and maybe attempt it tomorrow. Or put it off to the weekend with everything else.

August 1, 2015

Am I Back?

Filed under: Family,Genealogy,Normal Life,Writing — Janice @ 10:35 pm

I like have a blog and I like having an outlet. To vent. To create. To blah blah blah. And I have missed my blog. I haven’t even looked to see the last time I wrote, but when I broke my arm on June 2, that put a stop to any creative typing. I was stuck with slowly only typing the bare minimum of work I had to do. The cast came off a couple of weeks ago, but I am still trying to be back to “normal” with the arm and be able to use all the twist and torque I once had. You don’t realize how many muscles and tendons a hand, wrist, and arm have until you can’t use them all. My typing is getting stronger (probably because I am GOING to do it and make it stronger), but I still have difficulty with turning my palm straight up. I can’t accept change with my left hand, for instance. Or pour an aspirin from a bottle into it. I looked up some exercises to strengthen hands and arms and I am doing them and think everyone should do them.

Otherwise it was a flooding spring and now a long hot summer. We are into the really hot miserable time where any sane person would only stay indoors. But after two months of no yard work, I did get out today and pulled weeds and trimmed bushes and watered some thirsty plants. I wasn’t out too long, but it still took its toll. I was glad to retreat to a cool shower and fans and air conditioning.

It has been a year since I wrote the book for my family and took it proudly to the reunion. The reunion is coming up this next weekend and I will go empty handed this year. I always approach the reunion with dread and anticipation. The dread is mainly for the heat and the feeling that I want to do MORE—talk to more people, soak in more history, be by myself more and be with other people more. I have a deep desire to be able to just sit and play cards and sit in one spot at the reunion, but I can’t stop myself from getting around and visiting and meeting people, too. There are people I don’t like and I usually get stuck talking to them, but I try to remember that everyone has a story and everyone is interesting in some way, so I try to find that. I’ll be trying to keep an open mind next weekend.

Okay, I’ve written, a blog is done. I’m not even taking the time to go find a picture to put with it. Spending more time and putting more effort into it will come with use. Just like I’m exercising my hand and wrist and arm, I hope I will be exercising my creativity and perseverance and storytelling. But no promises. I may not write again until Christmas.

December 9, 2014

Holiday Visits

Filed under: At home,Family,Normal Life,Travel — Janice @ 10:14 pm

There are many things to love and hate about the holidays, but one thing I do love it the feeling that you NEED to visit people you love and people who you love feel the need to come visit you, too. I don’t know why I get in that frame of mind more in the holidays when everything is busy and crazy instead of in maybe February when we’d have time for a good visit, but that is the way it is.

Sunday I went down the street and visited the new little baby boy Jack who was born in July. He’s a precious little thing. His parents are incredibly sleep deprived and deliriously in love with their little one. That made me happy. I hope Santa is very good to him.

Tonight my cousin Alisa was in town from Italy. I met her a couple of years ago via Facebook and my Cunningham family page and we began a bit of a correspondence. Last year she was in Texas on Halloween and we went out to dinner and got acquainted really well. She is a missionary, which is about as far removed from my life as you can get, but she is a writer and a lover of life and interesting things and we find plenty to talk about. She came by tonight and we just stayed at the house and had pizza and wine and visited a bit. It was lovely.

I can’t wait to see who drops in next…

December 5, 2014

Old-Fashioned VCR Stuff

Filed under: At home,Normal Life — Janice @ 11:03 pm

We got to laughing at work this week about the way the world was back when video tape recorders came along. I was the only one in on the conversation that was an adult when this all took place. They were all just kids at home that don’t remember all the details of life back then.

I am NOT an early adopter. My friend Jamey had a massively HUGE Betamax machine. I don’t think I ever saw a real movie on it unless it was just rolling during a party. He was the one that kept me abreast of the latest innovations and how I needed to move forward and get a VCR.

I did finally get a VCR in about 1984, I think. It was a VHS tape player and had a remote that had to be plugged into the VCR so I had a long wire draped across the living room to the remote on the coffee table. I never did mind it because I didn’t lose the remote that way.

My favorite thing about a VCR was that I could tape TV shows and watch them at a different time. I was working a morning show and if I could tape something and go ahead and go to bed, that was a big plus to me. Jamey and others used their tape players more for watching new movies. Back before video came along, if you had a life at night (like a night time job), you missed out on a lot of monumental television. I still haven’t seen Lonesome Dove, for instance.

On my birthday, probably 1985 and I was 26, Jamey and the guys on my staff gave me a membership to a video store. My coworkers were laughing about the ways video stores began. Only one other remembered the days when those stores began. My group gave me a membership that cost $30, I think. Although I feel like everything today is just about as expensive as it was back then, I do realize that $30 then is a LOT more than it is now. That was quite an investment (and 4 guys pitched in on this gift). For the $30 I got 10 rentals included.

I have no memory of what I might have rented with that membership. I really don’t know that I took good advantage of it. I have never been an avid renter or buyer of movies on tape or DVD. Now that we can stream movies I would be more inclined to watch them, but I find myself on the internet or finding TV shows to watch.

Last weekend I actually threw away a lot of VHS video tapes. Since we don’t even own a VCR anymore, they seem rather superfluous. I did save the ones that have my nephews on them as kids. I saved a few of Mark playing on TV. I threw away all examples of me being and actress or newsreader and previous jobs. I know no one needs to see those! I threw away some old TV shows that are probably available on Netflix.

I love how quickly we move from one technology to another. I really like the technologies that let me throw away old things and not replace them with something new. I throw out the VCR and the videos and their replacement is just information in the air.

December 4, 2014

Shopping Adventures

Filed under: Normal Life — Janice @ 11:35 pm


Holidailies 2014 Badge

I am participating in the Holidailies challenge again this year, by the way, which is my incentive to write each and every day until December is done. Sometimes I think Jette should have a ____dailies in May or another month that is less busy.

I went shopping for some new clothes tonight. I am not a shopper. I don’t know why anyone wants to be a shopper. It was hot and I made three trips to the dressing room, which might be a record for me. My goal was to have something new and Christmas-y to wear to a dinner I’m going to tomorrow night. I was invited this week to the dinner and I remember his party last year where everyone was wearing pretty festive clothing and I thought to myself, “I want to make sure and get something new for this party next year.” I went to my favorite store, Kohl’s (okay, I realize that maybe that is part of why I am not a fan of shopping, I don’t go to the “good” stores). I only wanted to find a nice long top/shirt/sweater to wear over tights in a festive red color. Easy, one would think.

I discovered tonight that the festive Christmas colors of 2014 are black and gray and black-gray and gray-black and maybe blue. Green does not exist in the world anymore and red was barely visible. I ended up with a festive BLACK sweater to wear. It does have some sparkly sequins that I hope make it look a cut above all of my other black sweaters. I bought some pretty festive jewelry to dress it up. Again, NO RED. Believe me, I’m not just saying I didn’t like the reds this year. They truly were not there.

Apparently sweater shawl things are really big right now. I liked them and would happily wear one, but it does require that you wear something underneath it. Since I had nothing to wear under it, I couldn’t make myself invest in a black or gray or gray-black or black-gray shawl.

All of this is coming from a woman with an entire wardrobe made up of black and gray. But it is CHRISTMAS, right? Even a holiday purple would have been welcome.

November 30, 2014

Creativity Boost

Filed under: At home,Normal Life,Writing — Janice @ 9:07 pm

I have been feeling particularly inept when it comes to creativity this weekend. It is a real frustration. I see myself as a creative person. I feel like I am the kind of person that can DO things. But I’ve been stymied on the most minor things.

I had to make a trip to Home Depot yesterday so I was thinking of what I might need from there. Well, one thing I thought of was the little ceramic caps that go over the bolts on the base of the toilet. We had our bathroom remodeled over a year ago and that was one thing they didn’t do when they finished. So for a year those bolts have been there, ugly, taunting me. I would do something about it.

I looked high and low at Home Depot, but couldn’t find what I needed because they were hidden among a gazillion other little plumbing needs on a big wall. I had to get a clerk to help me find what I need. Well, first off, he says, they don’t make them ceramic anymore, they are all plastic. Yuck, I didn’t want plastic, but that’s all there is. I bought them and brought them home.

The installation of the little caps was pretty straightforward, but still more than I had anticipated. You are supposed to remove the nut and the washer and put down a piece it has included and then put back the washer and nut and then put the cap on and it will CLICK and stay firmly on that first plastic piece. The first bolt had the nut on tight so I moved on to the other side. The nut there was loose (and I was smart enough to know that it probably shouldn’t be loose). I could loosen it completely with my fingers. I put down the plastic part and put back the washer and nut and twisted the nut. And twisted and twisted. Then I realized that the bolt was turning just as much as the nut. I needed tools.

I know my father or Mark could walk into the garage and pull the perfect tool from a toolbox and be back in the bathroom in a minute. I had to look high and low and figure what would work and finally settled on a pair of pliers and a pair of vise grips. I went back at it and finally got it tightened enough to satisfy me. So I was going to push on the cap and then move to the other side. I tried, but the bolt was too long for the cap to fit down on it completely. I’ve googled around about this since then and find that the bolts do need to be hacksawed or cut after the toilet is installed. Fine.

By this time I was already frustrated beyond my tolerance and I just balanced the other cap on the bolt and called it good. At least it looks okay until you try to mop around the toilet and it goes flying off. But I’ll worry about that the next time I mop . . . May?

I had a couple of other instances of those simple tasks that I thought would take a minute and be an easy fix and it took way longer than it should or I couldn’t do it at all. I don’t know how these do-it-yourselfers can choose a project, make their list, go to Home Depot, come home and get to work, and by the end of the day they have a whole new closet or painted living room or landscaped yard.

So, to get my creativity in gear, I have done 2 things. Tonight, I signed up for Holidailies, the web portal that encourages bloggers to post daily in December. With that obligation and my rule-following nature, I hope I can get in gear and write some of the things that come up in my head each and every day. I WANT to live up to the titles I give myself in my head (WRITER and STORYTELLER).

The other thing was a little bit of clearing. I have an office that makes it LOOK like I am a hoarder. I am not, in any way shape or form, a hoarder (okay, except for genealogy stuff. And family related stuff. And books.). I was, however, at the home of a hoarder recently and it is enough to scare me into a little bit of clearing. For over a year I have had a huge bin of tapes in my office. These were reel-to-reel tapes of my earliest days in radio, cassette tapes for the next 30 years of me in radio along with cassettes of music and interviews and who knows what, and video tapes of TV shows and family events and my graduation from UNT, etc. The bin also had about 100 little records.

I “inherited” a reel-to-reel player and my plan was to move the tapes that were reel-to-reel to digital so I could preserve them and listen to them. I had a dickens of a time making it work and getting the sound to the computer. I did get one tape moved and boosted and edited. I wasn’t sure it was worth it. So today I went through and threw things away with abandon. I threw away almost all the reel-to-reel tapes because I really can’t stand to hear me in my earliest days anyway. Why go through that? If I did get them moved to the computer I would probably never allow anyone else to hear them so what’s the point? I threw away hundreds of cassettes, too. Many of them were completely unlabeled, so how important could they be, right? I kept a couple dozen that I might throw away at some future point, but I got rid of a lot.

And I threw away video tapes. I once worked for a video production house and I acted and did news on a few projects. Again, I don’t want to see them and I don’t want anyone else to see them, so they went into the trash. All in all, I filled up the recycling bin (I hope they all count as plastic) and I downsized the pile of stuff to a much smaller box (that can be lifted, unlike the bin). I didn’t do anything with the little records… I wasn’t ready for that yet.

Next on the list will be to get this giant reel-to-reel player out of the house and delivered to someone else with this brilliant idea of dubbing off their tapes to the computer.

I am hoping that that little bit of clearing, the little bit of free space on the floor in my office now, and the commitment to creativity, will make December a little bit brighter when it comes to the neurons in my head.

September 24, 2014

Befuddled and bewildered

Filed under: At home,Music,Normal Life — Janice @ 10:16 pm


Mark and I saw a news story tonight about the transportation service “Uber” and how it is working in Austin. Mark said a friend he knew was participating and carrying passengers for Uber.

“Who’s doing that?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m having a senior moment and can’t think of his name. It’ll come to me. Piano player.”

“Mike Farrell?”


“Hmmmmm… T. Jarrod Bonta?”


“Earl Poole Ball? Nick Connally?”

“No, not them.”

“Uhhh… that old guy that looks like you?” (I was having my own senior moment.)

Mark just ignored that one.

“He lives just around the corner. Used to play with Jack Ingram.”

Oh, I think, I should know who was playing with Jack Ingram, but I can only think of Bukka Allen and I knew that wasn’t who he was talking about.

“He also played with Jimmy LaFave, but not Radoslav.” (Okay, he’s an accordion player to me, I don’t ever think of him on keyboards.)

I keep coming back to “played with Jack” but I can’t remember any keyboard players with Jack.

“Oh, it’ll come to me. Give it time.”

We watch Modern Family and another show. Then …

“Chip Dolan!”

“Okay. Sure. Chip Dolan!” I say. “Now what was it we were talking about?”

September 3, 2014


Filed under: My Job,Normal Life — Janice @ 10:09 pm

I am trying not to be a complainer. I know I do complain and I know sometimes I make snarky remarks that come across as complaining. Or maybe I say the truth, knowing you will understand that I’m complaining even if I don’t say the actual words (like “I need to go to the grocery store” when I want to say “Augh, I hate this, I don’t want to go to the grocery store.”)

One motivator I have to control my complaining is by listening to others complaining. I won’t name any names, but I know people who can complain about the nicest things. If we are told we can leave at 3 p.m. before the holiday, she might say, “Oh, great, NOW you tell me after I ran all my errands at lunch.” Or the weather is going to be ideal on Saturday, “Well, that sucks, I just wanted to stay inside and watch movies.” Those may sound extreme, but I have heard worse.

I don’t want to sound all Pollyanna, but I am still so darn grateful to have a job each and every day that I don’t want to sound unappreciative of it. I know I complain about some things and, no, lots of days, while it is the ideal job, it isn’t as good as NOT working, but I am still happy to get paid to do what I do and have the flexibility I have and the coworkers and a nice cubicle of my own and a parking garage spot. It’s the little things that are the big things!

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