I love the idea of Santa.  I love even more the idea of being his helper.  This year this helper sat down on Cyber Day and found something for everyone on her list, assisted in the stocking department by the natural body oil/butter/cosmetic company’s warehouse sale three blocks away.
A few moments ago, as I organized the gifts in plastic bags to make the midnight Christmas Eve distribution easier, I discovered I had a theme going that I didn’t plan on:  everyone in my family will either look good or smell good or both.  That includes my sons and husband, their packages containing silk boxer briefs, four cedar/patchouli balls tucked cunningly inside each waistband.
I’m not sure they’ll catch the joke.  My granddaughters, being teenagers, will.  We’ll have a Merry Christmas laugh and a few, “Grandma Joie,” rollings of the eyes in disbelief.
The thing is, I’ve been smiling, laughing, and not believing for more than a week. My Christmas present arrived on December 15th with the announcement that Grandma Graffiti was named to the 100 Best Books 2013 list by Kirkus Reviews, shocking Graffiti Grandma, aka Ellie, and me into speechlessness. We both recovered enough to get organized, notify a few friends, have a glass of white wine or so.

And then I bought Ellie a present, a big one. After discovering that I’d sold four more copies of the book since the announcement, I took the plunge.  I bought three ads in several of the Kirkus Review editions.  Like many gifts, once handed over, those ads may drop into a bottomless black hole.  But last night, in the midst of a late what-have-I-done wakefulness, Ellie whispered, “At least I apparently smell good to some folks, and you’ve got the balls to do something about it.”
As for the silk boxers, they look wonderfully comfy.  I’m hoping a son or husband will return a pair to me because they are not his style.   I’m pretty sure they are mine.


  1. Congratulation on winning this accolade from Kirkus Reviews. All your hard work is paying off and I can't wait until more people realize you're as gifted as I know you to be. Take care.

  2. Congratulations on this great review. I'm wondering if you are the Jo Barney I took a couple of classes with from Cynthia Whitcomb. If so, I hope we can reconnect. Check out my website at

  3. Yes, I might be, Toni, but names escape me after a few years. Thanks for being reminded of mine. I'd love to chat, one way or another, with you and discover what you are writing, our common writers' concerns.

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