One Cold Day


One Cold Day | J.J. Cannon | First published by What the Dickens! Magazine November 29, 2011 – A raw and very personal poem about the relationship between my mother and grandfather.

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Like a latex glove
filled to capacity,
its accusatory fingers bulging,
pointing, wonkily in all directions,
the index eventually bursts with a force,
spewing its proverbial venom forth,
the direction suddenly clear.

‘You cocksucker!’ she shrieks,
a spray of angry spittle lands on the old man,
now in the winter of his life…

Sitting, a cold block of stone bench beneath,
a jury of trees surrounds
two narcissistic images staring,
oblivious to the fact.

Raw wind suddenly swirling up around the pair,
pigeons take cover,
no crumbs here.

A smug smile creeps
at the corners of a mouth
already lashed out
at the scared little girl who is no more.

Smoky cigar swirls,
this sickness between them has grown
over a lifetime rooted in dysfunction,
pulling, stretching
into a magnificent redwood,
they, the two branches on either side
unwilling to bend.

Permission to love unconditionally
never granted, never given, now
one cavernous emotional debt.

Profanity is the salt of their dialog now
sprinkled often, generously
over one another’s wounds
which can never be healed.

– J.J. Cannon


Dear Oprah | A Letter from Gram… circa 1988

Gram Letter to Oprah 1988

The folder containing photos, clippings and, most especially the writings from my Grandmother (like a letter to Oprah), is like a book that I never want to end. I’ve looked through it so many times searching for just one more bit of insight into the person she was. The person I loved so very much and to whom I am forever grateful for having raised me for the first eight years of my life.

Jen and Gram 1974

Each time I carefully thumb through the many letters she wrote (and thankfully made copies of before sending) I find something new. I ‘laughed audibly’ at this one.

Oh, Gram… if she only knew that commercials have become even more, in one of her terms ‘ad nauseam’ in number and what she would surely consider outlandishness.

It reads:

Dear Oprah,

Your show, 86% of the time, is so engrossing that the hour seems to pass with only two blinks of my eye lids. But there is one glaring defect. The commercials!! I realize they are necessary, that the bottom line “Make Money” is what counts and there is nothing wrong with that, but at the end of your hour I am totally exhausted.

The emotion charged experiences being relived, many times by overwrought guests, in front of our eyes, our open hearts, is all encompassing and involves deep emotions. To be jerked back and forth between a person who is baring their soul, painfully, and a commercial, prohibits any kind of continuity with the story unfolding before us. Trying to acheive this connection is so frustrating that after the end of your show I feel as if I have run the Boston Marathon, twice.

There must be a solution. Would it be possible to have the first 25 minutes devoted to commercials (I promise to watch) and then the balance of the time devoted to your extremely interesting subjects? It must be heart rendering for your guests to have to pause in the middle of the retelling of a traumatic experience. I feel for them and often wonder how or why they put themselves through the torture. There is a message to be told. We need show such as yours to enlighten us. I enjoy them and I will watch, but I hope that an answer will be found that will satisfy all goals.

Good luck and good health to you Oprah. You are a gutsy, classy Lady.

I am sincerely, Martha Dordigan
13424 Huston St. #C
Sherman Oaks, Ca 91423

p.s. I tried to write small and fit this on one page but old habits never die.

Clearly Gram put a lot of thought into this, did some math and came up with what she thought would be a great solution. I have to wonder if Oprah ever saw this letter. Was there any reply? Unlikely, but I have to believe this would have brought a smile to her face and maybe even a laugh.

My beloved and otherwise very healthy Gram died of breast cancer at the too young age of 72 in 1996. She would be in awe of technology today and would definitely have been a fan of Netflix, Hulu, and the DVR.

Obviously, it would be awesome if Oprah were to see this today – so, if you feel so inclined please do share. I’d be thrilled and thankful.

Thanks for stopping by,

xo Jen

California Chrome and Sunset Orange

Image Credit CNN
Image Credit CNN

First, big CONGRATULATIONS to California Chrome who has captured hearts everywhere and is being called a “modern-day Seabiscuit”. If my horse-racing fanatic grandfather (better known as “Doc Shah” in West Coast racing circles in the ’70s) were still alive, he would surely be swept up in the excitement of this story.  Sunset Orange… a good name for a racehorse (or nailpolish!)?  Maybe, or maybe they are just two little words I heard yesterday that captured a bit of my heart and inspired this post.

“Nick by a Nose” (working title), the YA novel I’m hoping to wrap up before the end of the year, was put on hold last fall while another book “@Sophie Takes a #Selfie” insisted on being born.  Now that she’s settling in and making her mark, it’s time finish this story.

Inspired by true events, this story revolves around Nick Motta and is told through the eyes of his twelve year old granddaughter Nicki.  It details their exciting, definitely-not-approved-of-by-Nicki’s-single-mother, adventures together in Southern California during the mid-1970’s.  There is one big mystery…maybe two… (dun dun daaa)

An only child, Nicki lives with her mother, Roxy.  There is an unspoken, but clearly understood, gag order barring any discussion of the existence or whereabouts of Nicki’s father.  Nicki cherishes the time she spends with Grandpa Nick whether they’re diving for lobsters, being treated like royalty at the best restaurants in town or going to the track.  Days spent with Grandpa Nick are always spur of the moment and exciting, especially when he picks her up extra early to watch a pre-dawn workout at Santa Anita.  Soon enough though she is exposed to the darker side of racing, but refuses to believe Grandpa Nick is anything but perfect.

Grandpa Nick’s horse, Irish Mafia, who his girlfriend Marcelle has pinned all of her hopes and diamond-ring dreams on, is a sure thing at Aqueduct in New York that Fall, and Nicki and her best friend Kelly go along for the crazy, luxurious ride.

My grandfather was one of those people who, without a doubt, lived every single day of his eighty-something years as if it were his last.  He was far from perfect, but I loved him anyway.

I didn’t set out intending to tell all of this today, but there it is.

Not sure if it’s just me, but this mind of mine never ceases to think about words and how I might string them together in an original way.  As an example, I was driving home from the store last night with my daughters (10 and 8) we were treated to an especially beautiful sunset.  We were having one of those simple, easy moments where no one was arguing and the conversation was sweet.

At one point, Sophie said, “Sunset orange is my favorite color.”

Bet you can’t guess what Nicki’s favorite color is going to be…

Thanks for stopping by,


xo Jen




Photo via

Silver white snowflakes falling steady

by the light of a sliver moon.

The smell of sparkling cinnamon

warms a firelit room

filled with Merry Christmas makers

drunk on the promises of stars wished upon all the year through…

Jingle bells and mistletoe,

Popped corn strands strung

Blown spheres of glass hung

in hues of deepest red, blue and green glowing.

A flaxen-haired angel sitting proudly atop

a tall and handsomely tinseled tree

in all her ivory finery

A thousand tiny lights twinkling,

if eyes squint just right,

light filtered through hazelnut-rimmed irises

reflect rays of amber and white.

Soon cherubic babes will take delight

in the flight of dreams

Their angel wings nestled safely

into downy beds of purest white.

Watching their sleep,

long lashes lying soft upon cheeks

still crimson from winter’s frosty kiss.

Hurry, hurry, musn’t be late!

The old Grandfather gongs its reminder…

Cue the sugarplums please,

hang the stockings with care.

And now, at last

the familiar clatter

I’d been longing to hear!

There he is, breathless,

blue eyes blinking in disbelief

as I close the pine-perfumed space

between us and say,

“Kiss me like you’ve not seen me for

three hundred sixty-five days, 

like you’ll not for three hundred sixty-four more.” 

                                                                                                             ~ J. J. Cannon

A Duck, A Hospital Bed, and The Fountain Pen



(Beautiful) Photo Credit: Spectreman’s Photos at Flickr

Two years ago, almost to the day, I was eagerly trying to be a bona fide busy writer.  I would eagerly check for my Morning Coffee Newsletter each Tuesday and peruse the freelance writing “want ads”.  

Fast forward to today.  I find myself busier than ever professionally thanks to the incredible people, who I also call my friends, at All Stages Marketing, a first novel “Nick By A Nose” (working title, in progress) and “@Sophie Takes A #Selfie” due out soon.  Additionally, being a mom to a son, 28, and two daughters ages 10 and 8 keeps me just about as busy as I can possibly be!

As I sat down to do some revisions to a manuscript another document dated 11/26/11 caught my eye.

The query said they wanted a 100 word story, which included a duck, a hospital bed and a fountain pen.  My submission:

Suddenly, Truman C. Duck was in the middle of one helluva brawl.  Next, he awoke bruised and bleeding in a hospital bed across from Central Pond.  He remembered the fabulously shiny pen he had fought so hard for in the fountain.  He thought he had it… drat!

Truman believed if he had the right pen, he could write the next great American novel.  Now he had some time.  If only he had that fountain pen! 

 Upon his discharge, a smiling nurse said “Your personal possessions Mr. Duck.  I look forward to reading your story one day.”  And there it was.

I just knew it was going to be a hit… or not.  I never heard from anyone, but I have to believe that at least one person smiled?

Hope you’re all enjoying this Sunday before Thanksgiving.  I find myself more thankful than ever for the obvious- my precious family and friends- but ever more thankful for little things… like the opportunity to enjoy this frigid east coast morning sitting next to the fire with the dog, my laptop and a large Dunkin Donuts coffee.  


Little girls are laughing in the other room, waiting patiently for me to finish this post so that they can get together and work on building their Minecraft zoo.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving and, as always, thank you for taking a moment to read.


xo Jen


First Foray in Fondant

Youngest is turning 7 tomorrow.  Where does the time go?  She is madly, passionately in love with all things pony and has requested a cake with a pony on top.  While I am more cook than baker, I do love a challenge.  I have never worked with fondant or sugar paste, but thanks to YouTube we finally found this cute little pony and decided to give it a whirl.

How did I do?

I will post a picture of the finished product later today.

Update:  My Bastille Day Baby had a great day with family, friends and some cosmic bowling.  I wouldn’t have been able to make this fun cake if I hadn’t found the perfect “How to Make a Fondant Pony” video via YouTube.


Hello and welcome to Well Adjusted on WordPress! 

I’ve successfully and painlessly made the switch from Blogger.  Feeling like a kid with a brand spankin’ new pair of sneakers and am sure I can run faster and jump higher!

Honestly, (no laughing) the most difficult part of this whole process for a lunatic like me was finding just the right theme, header pic and font.  I purchased the Custom Design package which gave me access to some beautiful fonts and, if at some point I become a technical wizard, I’ll be able to customize even more. 

I want to say thank you and acknowledge my friend Antonella for the awesome pic which I have pilfered for my own use here.  The Caterpillar symbolizes transformation.  Its slow and steady movements serve as a reminder to be patient and work methodically towards our goals, whatever they may be.

My current goals are to write more in this space and continue to share information, recipes, random musings, etc.

As always, thank you for reading ~ I’ve missed you!

xo Jen