Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Body, Mind and Spirit: Gabriel's Daughters wins prestigious design award

June 17, 2015
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Gabriel's Daughters won first place honors in the "Body, Mind and Spirit" category of the prestigious Southwest Book Design and Production Award. 
Entries came from five southwestern states. 
The awards were presented at the annual New Mexico Book Association Gala in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

Congratulations to the team at Jolly Fish Press! 

The Southwest Book Design and Production Award 
is sponsored by

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

An Acquired Taste and a Song about a Sandwich

In honor of this summer's upcoming opera season, a column on the subject seems timely.

I’m told that opera is an acquired taste. I’ve sampled a number of operas by now and for the most part, my taste buds haven’t matured. In fact, I’ve concluded that I am a Broadway Musical person. I truly love musicals. But I do like classical music, too, very much, and there are many splendid themes I recognize from great operatic works. I guess the “wasted” piano and violin lessons and music appreciation classes in childhood did pay off in adulthood, in the form of simple enjoyment of the music, and in some absolutely memorable moments I will always cherish.

I suspect that with me, appreciating opera has something to do with attention span and bladder capacity. I can even quote an authority on this subject. Alfred Hitchcock said, "The length of the film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder." I just wasn’t meant to sit through long, long afternoons of opera.

The sad moment of truth,the knowledge that I probably wouldn't develop a passionate love for opera, manifested itself during a performance of Handel’s Julius Caesar several years ago. Before that I had tried, truly tried to understand opera. Besides, how could we go wrong with Handel, we thought when we purchased our tickets? How, indeed? We learned that with Handel's Julius Caesar we could go wrong. Very, very wrong.

The orchestration was gorgeous, as we expected from Handel, featuring the musical instruments of the period, but when it came to the plot and vocals and artists, oh, my! We spent a very long afternoon listening to a series of very accomplished singers perform a very long series of vocal gymnastics, one after another, while others stood perfectly still on the stage, holding torches and palm fronds. We knew they had wonderful voices too, these scenery-holders, as we'd heard them sing in another production, but for most of Julius Caesar they were relegated to assistant sword-carriers, which was a waste of talent, we thought. The production lasted for about seven hours. Husband will insist it was eight hours, but he is prone to exaggeration.

To add to our great confusion, the part of the great general, Julius Caesar, was sung by a true male soprano. The male soprano was authentic, too, in Handel’s day, we have since read, but this particular voice and the concept of a man singing in the the female soprano's territory were simply jarring to our uneducated eyes and ears.

The first portrayal of Julius Caesar I recall seeing on film was by Richard Burton, and Mr. Burton was no soprano. He didn’t even really sing (as we learned when he appeared on Broadway in Camelot), but who really cared? He was, after all Richard Burton, with that beautiful, rich Welsh-bred voice and articulate delivery, and he was undoubtedly and thoroughly masculine in presence. I have since read a biography or two mentioning him, and there was evidently no question about his masculinity, according to the many women who kissed and told. And kissed again.

On the other hand, the gender of Mr. Handel’s operatic Julius Caesar onstage that afternoon wasn’t all that obvious until we finally confirmed the presence of facial hair. When he opened his mouth and those first elevated notes poured out, well, as Husband protested, no self-respecting soldier would have followed that high C into battle, and I was inclined to agree. I’m sorry, I just didn’t buy it, and neither did Cleopatra, evidently; they didn’t come to a good end, and it took them two hours too long to reach that very unhappy conclusion.

I suppose that sometimes I can’t quite lose myself in the moment, as you must in opera, because I’m an author and editor, always striving for concise, clean language. It's important to be able to suspend belief in order to appreciate the opera, I think, for it is meant to be bigger than life. There are no small emotions, no small moments or gestures or steps, and surely no small notes, even, in opera. It’s all enormous in scope, to be acted and danced and sung and played out before our bedazzled senses.

Our local opera company is marvelous and deserving of all the many accolades it receives. The historic theater in which they perform is a jewel, and visiting performers often get misty-eyed when they experience its acoustics for the first time. We usually attend several of the opera productions each summer, though we choose the light/comic/operettas/Broadway musicals over the more ponderous Tales of Hoffman types.

One summer’s lighter offerings included the musical The Most Happy Fella. I’d heard of it many times but had never seen it, and I was looking forward to the evening. After seeing it, I'd have to say that The Most Happy Fella has a charming plot with a raggedly-stitched patchwork quilt of mismatched songs, including the haunting “Joey, Joey,” the fingersnapping showtune “Standin’ on the Corner, Watchin’ All the Girls Go By,” and a few others that feel more pure in the operatic sense, as if they’d wandered in from the wrong production and decided to stay anyway.

Some songs were in performed English, some were in Italian; the older sister from the Old Country did not have an accent, but her younger brother, the Most Happy Fella, well-a, he sure did have-a an accent. Nobody explained that one to my satisfaction. In fact, nobody even attempted to, that I recall.

The point in the musical that I’m finally reaching here, the moment when time stopped in the theater and I lost myself in the opera, comes now. It was a song performed by a delicious trio of waiters. I don’t think they even had names, because, after all, though they were happy fellas, they weren’t the Happy Fella, even though their voices were richer and more powerful than The Happy Fella. Their names, as listed in the program, were simply Waiters One, Two, and Three. They wore white aprons tied just below their armpits, and held various articles of food in their hands, and from their energetic pantomimes even I could tell that the whole village was preparing for the joyful wedding feast to be held that night, and these three waiters were right at the heart of it.

Allow me quite a bit of literary license as I describe the scene:

The tables are heavy with food — every kind of food imaginable, including meat, breads, cheeses, fruits, vegetables,multi-storied pastries taller than I am, and, since the musical takes place in wine country, of course there is plenty of alcohol, which in the end causes its usual mischief, but I won’t give away that plot twist. Anyway, now comes the glorious song from the waiters, at least my version of it, and since it’s in Italian, I'm pretty safe offering my translation to most readers who don't speak Italian.

Verse One:

Waiter One: (holds up a loaf of bread) The hoagie!
Waiter Two: The hoagie!
Waiter Three: The hoagie!
Waiter One: The hoagie!
Waiter Two: The hoagie!
Waiter Three: The hoagie!
Waiters One, Two and Three: The hoagie, oh, the hoagie, yes the hoagie, oh, the hoagie . . . . . . . . (instrumental interlude) . . . ta-da!

Verse Two:

Waiter One: (holds up the mustard, but we can’t see a brand name) The mustard!
Waiter Two: The mustard!
Waiter Three: The mustard!
Waiter One: The mustard!
Waiter Two: The mustard!
Waiter Three: The mustard!
Waiters One, Two, and Three: The mustard, oh, the mustard, yes, the mustard, oh the mustard . . . . . . . (instrumental interlude) . . . ta-da!

This goes on for about ten splendid minutes as the three prepare what any clueless opera-goer can see is a sandwich, and we’re all getting very, very hungry, but we don’t notice the hunger pangs, because . . .

Waiters One, Two, and Three could be singing about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens or the Dow Jones or Obamacare. It simply doesn’t matter. The actual assembling of the sandwich is a nice visual, of course, but those three marvelous voices, and the way they blend - - - even better than the mayo they praise so richly in Verse Three - - - well, if we could have specified an encore number (and we did applaud Waiters One, Two and Three very enthusiastically after that number, and again at the end, when they took their bows), it would have been that one. I would even have happily bought another high-priced ticket just to hear them sing what I called “The Sandwich Song” one more time.

I may not be a connoisseur of opera, and I don’t even like mustard, but for the chance to hear those three happy white - aproned waiters sing the praises of a garden-variety sandwich, well, I’d toss a bouquet of fresh parsley on the stage just to show my appreciation. The Sandwich Song was simply one of those exquisite show-stopping numbers you don’t ever want to end.

Several years later, those three rich, soaring voices still ring in my mind whenever I pass a Subway sandwich shop.

When art moves us, as this song did, it stays in our minds and gently colors everything else that’s there, for our lasting benefit. I felt that overwhelming joy when I stood before a Van Gogh painting for the first time in my life, and I felt it that afternoon when those waiters sang the praise of onions, among other ingredients; and perhaps that's why I had tears in my eyes, even all the way back in row M.

Ann Patchett, a lyrical writer, offers this beautiful paragraph in Bel Canto, a book I am now devouring for the second time just for the pleasure of it. Listen to her description of a group of people who have just heard the most famous soprano of their day perform for them, in a small intimate party setting:

Some of them had loved her for years. They had every recording she had ever made. They kept a notebook and wrote down every place they had seen her, listing the music, the names of the cast, the conductor. There were others there that night who had not heard her name, who would have said, if asked, that opera was a collection of nonsensical cat screechings, that they would much rather pass three hours in a dentist’s chair. These were the ones who wept openly now, the ones who had been so mistaken.

For me, that’s another one of those wonderful moments I'll remember, and it will gently color everything else that’s there—simply reading that graceful passage from a truly gifted writer. And that's how I felt when Waiters One, Two and Three graced us with their splendid voices. 

I’m sure Ms. Patchett would have loved my singing waiters, too, and their lusty Sandwich Song.

originally posted June 2008

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Book Reviews: O, the Humanity!

About book reviews:  Authors need reviews. We want reviews. And of course we want readers to love our books and post glowing reviews.

The author of a memoir I really enjoyed asked me to post my review on a site where his book had been subjected to some tough criticism. I  smiled at one reviewer’s comment that the author of the memoir seemed “self-involved.”

    From Wikipedia: Memoir (from French: mĂ©moire: memoria, meaning memory or reminiscence), is a literary nonfiction genre. More specifically, it is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private that took place in the author's life.

So, to respond to the reviewer’s criticism: Yes. Memoirs tend to be self-involved. As the central theme of the memoir in question, the author described a harrowing event that had a profound effect on his life. He then analyzed decisions he made during that event, and the effect they had on the outcome. He traced the origins of those decisions, attitudes and experiences that had shaped his personality throughout the years and that directed his behavior during the crisis. Sounds self-involved to me. As one would expect in a memoir.

In the rare case that your book isn’t the best book the reader’s ever read, well, it happens.

A recent review pointed out what the reader perceived as weakness in my latest book, suggesting potential that wasn’t realized.  Gulp.  I 'd had the same concerns as I wrote the book, taking special care to strengthen and improve some of the very areas the reader noted. So---painful as it was, I’d have to say the reviewer was perceptive and her points were valid.

When a review is less than glowing, here’s a good perspective from Norman Vincent Peale:

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. 

Thanks, Norman. I plead guilty as charged. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

More Kentucky Humor

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've visited Kentucky. What a beautiful state. I couldn't resist sharing some Kentucky humor, because I've used a fictional town in Kentucky for a setting in both of my novels, Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys, and Gabriel's Daughters

In case you think I'm picking on Kentucky, I'll be writing about Utah humor, too. I might start with unusual names parents choose for their children. Stay tuned. 

Kentucky Residency Application

STATE OF KENTUCKY RESIDENCY APPLICATION Name: ________________ (_) Billy-Bob (last) (_) Billy-Joe (_) Billy-Ray (_) Billy-Sue (_) Billy-Mae (_) Billy-Jack (Check appropriate box) 

Age: ____ Sex: ____ M _____ F _____ N/A 

Shoe Size ____ Left ____ Right 

Occupation: (_) Farmer (_) Mechanic (_) Hair Dresser (_) Un-employed Spouse`s Name: 

__________________________ Relationship with spouse: (_) Sister (_) Brother (_) Aunt (_) Uncle (_) Cousin (_) Mother (_) Father (_) Son (_) Daughter 

(_) Number of children living in household: ___ Number that are yours: ___ 

Mother`s Name: _______________________ Father`s Name: _______________________ (If not sure, leave blank) Education: 

1 2 3 4 (Circle highest grade completed) 

Do you (_)own or (_)rent your mobile home? (Check appropriate box) 

__ Total number of vehicles you own 

__ Number of vehicles that still crank 

__ Number of vehicles in front yard __ 

Number of vehicles in back yard __ 

Number of vehicles on cement blocks 

Firearms you own and where you keep them: ____ truck ____ bedroom ____ bathroom ____ kitchen ____ shed 

Model and year of your pickup: _____________ 194_ 

Do you have a gun rack? (_) Yes (_) No; please explain: 

Newspapers/magazines you subscribe to: (_) The National Enquirer (_) The Globe (_) TV Guide (_) Soap Opera Digest (_) Rifle and Shotgun 

___ Number of times you`ve seen a UFO 

___ Number of times you`ve seen Elvis

 ___ Number of times you`ve seen Elvis in a UFO 

How often do you bathe: (_)Weekly (_)Monthly (_)Not Applicable 

Color of teeth: (_)Yellow (_)Brownish-Yellow (_)Brown (_)Black (_)N/A 

Brand of chewing tobacco you prefer: (_)Red-Man 

How far is your home from a paved road? (_)1 mile (_)2 miles (_)don`t know


Monday, May 18, 2015

Happy! (a cappella cover from Despicable Me 2) - Mike Bearden

I promise this rendering of Happy! will make you smile. By Mike Beardon of one of my favorite groups ever, Voice Male. And he's got a whole YouTube channel if you like this! 

Read more about Voice Male here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Two new books by Lindzee Armstrong

Today I'm featuring two new books with clever titles and covers, and they're part of a series, too. For a fun read and a clean, enjoyable romance, check these out! 


Miss Match

Miss Match (No Match for Love #1)

Genre: contemporary romance
Blub: Billionaire CEO Luke Ryder doesn’t want to hire his best friend, Brooke, as his matchmaker. Not when he’s been in love with her for eight years. Too bad she doesn’t see him as relationship material and is engaged to another man. If the matchmaking company she works for closes, Brooke is out of a job, and Luke is out a best friend. There will be nothing stopping her from moving to Italy with her fiancĂ©. And Luke isn’t about to let that happen.

Brooke’s dream career may be crumbling, and she will do anything to keep Toujour in the black. Even recruit Luke, America’s favorite bachelor, as her next client. Surely his perfect smile and swollen bank account will send clients swarming to their doors. But when matching up Luke works a little too well, Brooke wonders if she’s with the right man. Maybe she should finally forget Luke’s playboy image and admit he’s changed. All Brooke has to decide is if she’s willing to risk her heart.

Buy Links
Amazon | Goodreads | Createspace

Meet Your Match (No Match for Love #0.5
Genre: contemporary romance
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Brooke Pierce doesn’t need her mom to tell her all boys are trouble. After watching her dad break up the family for a woman half his age, dating is the last thing on her mind.

On the first day at a new high school, Brooke meets Luke, the school flirt with a reputation for heartbreak. He’s interested. She’s not. That only makes him chase her more. After a shocking revelation from her dad, Brooke and Luke form an unexpected bond, complete with crazy rules to keep them safely in the friend zone. Problem is, that’s the worst place to be when you’re falling in love.

Buy Links

Author Bio
Lindzee Armstrong met her match at Utah State University, although she was technically in high school at the time. She and Mr. Armstrong became engaged quickly, and fell in love even quicker. He wasn’t a high school student, but still thoughtfully offered to take her to prom in her wedding dress. She declined. Wearing the wedding dress before the Big Day just seemed weird. A few years after getting married, they welcomed twin boys into the world.

Lindzee loves chick flicks, ice cream, and chocolate, like any true romantic. She believes in sigh-worthy kisses and happily ever afters.

Social Media Links

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day

 Night and Morning

by Dorothy Aldis

The morning sits outside afraid

Until my mother draws the shade;

Then it bursts in like a ball,

Splashing sun all up the wall.

And the evening is not night

Until she's tucked me in just right

And kissed me and turned out the light.

Oh, if my mother went away

Who would change the night  to day? 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

An Interview with Johnny Worthen, In Which I Hold My Own .....

Johnny Worthen 


Janet Kay Jensen, Gabriels' Daughters, and The Danites

Author Janet Kay Jensen is from Utah which means that like the rest of the denizens of that odd state, she knows about polygamy. It’s a dirty little secret in this neck of the woods, a taboo subject in many places. I was excited to talk to Janet about her new book Gabriel’s Daughters that deals with this sensitive subject in an adult and tender manner.

Johnny: Are you completely mental?

Janet: What do you mean? 

Johnny: This is Utah, you don’t talk about this stuff. It’s like fight club. What’s the first rule of Fight Club?

Janet: Don’t talk about Fight Club? 

Johnny: What’s the first rule of living in Utah? Janet: It’s hard to get a drink? It’s a great place for orthopedic surgeons because we have fabulous mountains for skiing? Or there are beehives on our state flag and the seagull is our state bird, even though we’re landlocked? That if out-of-shape grown men participate in Church basketball and try moves they haven’t made since high school, they’ll end up in the ER? Stay off I-15 unless it’s noon-2 p.m. Utah has two seasons; winter and construction. There are many rules here. Many are unwritten. 
construction season in utah

Johnny: Well, yes that’s right, especially the one about the seasons, but there’s a rule somewhere about not bringing up Utah’s ugly history. Like the Mountain Meadow Massacre. Just mentioning it on a blog will bring Danites to you door.

Janet: I don’t think it’s that bad. We make the New York Times with some regularity. It’s out there. The good stuff and the not-so-good. Utah and the LDS church are beginning to acknowledge and own the not-so-good history, which is great progress. But everywhere I’ve lived, the locals cringe about anything that makes them look less than stellar in the national news. Personally, I squirm when someone from Utah does something idiotic that makes the national news. I won’t name names. But there are idiots in every state of this great nation. So you have to get a perspective. And, seriously, if there are stories about our people to be written, it’s not a bad idea to write them ourselves. We often have an emotional connection. 

 Johnny: Did you hear that? 

 Janet: The doorbell? 

 Johnny: Yes. 

 Johnny: A Danite.

 Janet: He looks like a missionary.

 Man at door: Would you like to know more about our church? 

 Janet: See.

 Johnny: Don’t you believe it. Are you a Danite? 

 Man at the Door: Yes sir, I am. 

 Johnny: Wait outside, I’ll be with you in a minute. 

 Danite: Our spies say you mentioned the Mountain Meadow Massacre. Can you confirm this? What exactly did you say? Who’d you blame for it?

 Johnny slamming door: Later. Now out. 

Janet: How’d you know? 

Johnny: He’s alone. Missionaries travel in pairs. 

 Janet: Right. He also looks hungry.

Johnny: So we don’t have much time. They’ll come back in greater numbers. Tell me about Gabriel’s Daughters.

Janet: Gabriel’s Daughters continues the story lines of my first novel, Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys. There is one daughter, Zina, who has disappeared in the first book. The second book is about her decision to flee the family she loves rather than marry into polygamy. As she’s only 16, she has a lot to learn about the world, and the book takes us on her journey. But no matter what she accomplishes or where she goes, she can’t break the longing for family, and she has to recognize that before she can completely become the person she wants to be. She has to make peace with her history and find a way to relate to the people she loves. 

Johnny: What personal experience do you have with polygamy? 

Janet: None. My husband has one wife and that’s me. He says that’s more than enough. It’s in my genealogy, though. His, too. Also, years after high school, I realized that one of my classmates—a bright, well-mannered, quiet boy, had been raised in polygamy. But when I knew him, I had no clue. Throughout the years I followed him and his family through occasional newspaper stories and read two books his sister wrote. The more I learned, the more I was intrigued, and the more books I read on the subject. 

Johnny: I understand you walk a fine line on the subject not wholly condoning and not wholly condemning. Do you do this because you’re afraid of the Danites? 

Janet: I suppose it can be a choice of consenting adults to practice polygamy. But children who grow up in the culture lack education and skills to function in the world of the “Gentiles,” and they don’t know all the choices they really have in the outside world. Girls, especially, often don’t think they have any option but to marry young and become entrenched in the lifestyle. That’s where my concerns lie. 

 Johnny: It’s a timely book. The horrors of the FLDS still make the news pretty regularly. Do you have a character like Warren Jeffs in Gabriel’s Daughters? 

Janet: Nope. I have a Council of Brothers who govern all manners temporal and religious. They’re also related to each other through numerous marriages. In Gabriel’s Landing there are trees that don’t fork. They’re very serious, well-acquainted with their scriptures, and lack any sense of humor… But have I told you about my grandchildren?

Johnny: How do you approach the religious element of polygamy in your book?

Janet: It is explained as a choice made by some LDS (Mormons) around 1890, when Utah attained statehood by renouncing polygamy. Some formed splinter groups that still exist today, and that is Zina’s heritage. They feel it is a fundamental doctrine that the mainstream church abandoned. 

Johnny: Oh, there it is. There’s a pack of them now. 

Janet: They’re so young. Are you sure they’re not missionaries? 

 Johnny: It’s still an odd number, but I admit the white short-sleeve shirts are a little disconcerting. 

Janet: Lots of acne too. Eager looks on their faces.

Johnny: But I bet they’re armed to the teeth. 

 Janet: You’re paranoid. But I have a Border/Beagle named Gus who could be a diversion. Give those guys a few tennis balls and Gus will wear them out playing fetch. Well, actually, he keeps and guards all the balls he catches…... 

 Johnny at the window: Hey Danites! Are you armed to the teeth? 

 Danites: Yes.

Johnny: Told you. So Janet, I’m always curious how authors got to be where they are. How’d you go from a scribbler to a published author? 

 Janet: I grew up in a family where reading was important. My parents went back to school when my older sisters started college, to finish their own educations. Eventually they both got master’s degrees: my father’s was in history and political science and my mother’s was in library science (now called instructional technology). 

My training and career were in Speech-Language Pathology but I always felt a creative need was being suppressed. I’d occasionally read a book and say “I could have written that better,” so one day I sat down and tried. Then I was approached by another writer in my chapter of the League of Utah Writers, Shaunda Wenger, who is a voracious reader and a fabulous cook. I am one of the above. Her concept was a co-authored literary cookbook, and millions of books and hours in the kitchen later, The Book Lover’s Cookbook came to be. It’s a lovely book. Lovely to read, as it contains passages from famous literature, and great for cooking, as the original recipes match the food mentioned in the books. It’s like cooking with your favorite authors and characters.

By the way, funeral potatoes snuck in there. Astute cooks will recognize them another name. No green jello, though. And no fry sauce. We did have our standards. When The Book Lover’s Cookbook was published, I went back to working on Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys. It became unmanageable because I was trying to tell two stories at one time, and they involved two different characters, 10 years apart in chronology. So I had to kick Zina out of the book and promise that she’d get her own. That’s how Gabriel’s Daughters came to be. I think Zina has forgiven me.

 Johnny: They’ve started to sing hymns. We haven’t much time. 

 Janet: Why are there so many? Pus, they’re singing out of tune.

 Johnny: Well beside my mention of Mountain Meadow, your book not only deals with polygamy and Mormonism and modernity, but also touches upon homosexuality. Such things attract Danites like a magnet. How do you deal with homosexuality in your book? 

 Janet: There is a character, Simon, who’s a great guy. He’s also gay and in need of a roommate. Zina, he thinks, would be perfect. He senses she has trust issues with men, and he’s nonthreatening. He’s also a great mentor for Zina, and has a fabulous art collection. He’s been kicked out of his family, so he knows what it’s like to feel like an orphan.

 Johnny: Powerful social commentary. I can’t wait to see it. I hope you’re around to reap all your accolades.

 Janet: Why wouldn’t I be?

Johnny: Danites.

Janet: Oh right. 

 Johnny: In case you don’t make it, where on the internet can my readers find out more about you and your book?

Janet: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads Facebook Twitter Blog Email 

Johnny: They’ve got a battering ram. 

Janet: What are we going to do?

Johnny: Hide in the Blog Mansion and hope they don’t find us. Wait for them to leave.

Janet: What if they find us? What will they do to us? Johnny: It’s terrible. you don’t want to know. That last time they got in… 

Janet: What? 

Johnny: It’s too horrible to tell.

Janet: What…? Listen, I’ve been a soccer mom and a PTA president and even a Cub Scout Leader. My parents met at a debate meet. My partner took state in debate my senior year. I met my future husband when we were both members of Utah State University’s debate team. I am fierce. 

 Johnny: They made me eat funeral potatoes and green jell-o with carrots! 

Janet: Oh my god. The horror! You see, green jell-o should also be made with crushed pineapple and maybe even bananas. Cool Whip on the top. Listen, grab a copy of The Book Lover’s Cookbook and hold it up. That might frighten them off. By the way, did you know there are more than a dozen variations of funeral potatoes? The perfect fast comfort food for the masses. 

Johnny: Yeah, I know. Hide! 

 Side note from Janet: One of my sons lives in Finland. It’s a tradition to bring a cake to work on your own birthday. So he called me for help. He was standing in the American section of a supermarket and wanted to make sure he had all the ingredients. I haven’t heard how Grandma Ann’s 7-Up Salad was received by his co-workers yet, but I can guarantee it was their first experience with it. The Finns are so advanced, they don’t even have Jell-o. Although I have tasted a dish similar to funeral potatoes in Finland. I was too polite to tell them what we called it. Plus, you never know how American English is going to translate into Finnish. 

 Posted by Johnny Worthen   Read the original post here: