eight fun things

Anyone else have trouble with dry, rough feet? I’m not sure why mine are so awful. In the winter I wear socks all the time, and in the summer I usually wear shoes or flip-flops. But my feet are rough year round. My husband has similar habits and his feet are soft and silky. What gives? Is this a female-only problem? 

Before the wedding, my mother came over, ordered me to sit, and gave me a foot treatment:

She literally shaved my feet, burning through multiple razors and only cutting me twice.

Anyway, the best foot treatment thus far is: Vaseline! Before going to bed, I rub a lima bean-sized glob of vaseline into my problem ares — the sides of my feet, especially the heel — and then put on a pair of socks. In the morning, my feet feel pleasantly plump and hydrated. There’s still poke-y rough skin (my mom just bought me this but I haven’t tried it yet) but over time, my feet get noticeably softer. In the morning, I remove the socks and save them for the next night — I usually get several wears out of a single pair. 

Of course, the biggest problem is remembering to apply the vaseline in the first place, but when I do, it makes all the difference. 


This (old) clip of Moira Rose, I mean Catherine O’Hara, receiving her Canadian Screen Award made my day.

Right now I’m watching the show — for the third time? the fifth? — with my younger son. Ew, David.


I know it’s only January, but I have a feeling this is gonna be my favorite book of 2022:

I hesitated to read it — a sexual assult victim’s story doesn’t sound like the most uplifting material for the dead of winter — but I decided hers was a perspective I needed to spend time with. In the beginning, I avoided reading it right before bed because I worried it would give me bad dreams, but once I got through the initial trauma (which did not give me secondary trauma, thankfully) and into the story, I’d read late (for me) into the night. It’s a page-turner, for sure, but minus any sensationalism and with a hefty dose of maturity, perspective, integrity, and grace. Reading, I found myself being jolted repeatedly as I realized the myriad ways in which our misogynistic and patriarchal society has distorted my view of sexual harrassment and abuse. Highly, highly, highly recommend, for men and women alike. It’s so good I purchased a copy so the rest of the family can cycle through it — right now, it’s my husband’s turn.


For months, I’ve been after my husband (in a mostly vague way) to make my kitchen a little more user friendly. You know, hooks and stuff. And I wanted a stainless steel shelf to go on the wall behind the stove because I was sick of the little jar of toothpicks inching forward and then crashing to the stove top below. That area had dead space and it could be soooo usable, I thought. 

And then a few weeks back, he hauled in a strip of stainless steel that he’d gleaned from a job and BOOM. I had my shelf.

It’s even better than I imagined. Nothing wobbles or moves, and it’s deeper than the top edge of the stove so it can hold bigger things.

And it was free!


Pro-tip for better cold-weather cardio: underdress.

On this particular morning, my easy little walk turned into a mad dash for survival.


Last weekend we watched Summer of Soul (Hulu) for our family movie. I thought it might be a little dry, but no.

A number of times I noticed I was leaning forward in my seat, getting as close to the screen as possible so I could study every little aspect and catch all the words. And it was exciting to hear familiar songs and be like, “Oh! That’s who sings that song.” 


Now that my book is written (only the first full draft, y’all — calm down), I’m ready to plunge into the mind-boggling swirl that is Structural Revisions. Google Docs is great, and it’d been what I’ve used up until now, but I’ve found that once a doc gets yay big, it becomes unwieldy and I start feeling claustrophobic.

Enter Scrivener.

None of my close writer advisors (i.e. my brother, aka my personal Tech Support Service) use it or even know much about it, so I knew I was going out on a limb when I downloaded the app (there’s a thirty-day free trial) and transferred everything over. I have spent the last two weeks* watching YouTube tutorials and teaching myself how to import from google docs, format, make an outline, and use the various tools. (*I’ve done other things, too.) 

I’m incredibly proud of myself — I didn’t cry once — and I freaking LOVE the platform. (I’m buying it: 50-dollar one-time purchase feels like a steal and I can’t imagine writing without it now.) By forcing me to organize and restructure the book, I’m gaining some new, much-needed perspective and clarity. And the best part? I no longer feel like I’m drowning in a word tsunami, yay!


And finally, this. 

Simply because it made me happy. 


Have a great weekend, friends. And those of you up north in blizzard world (hello, daughter), stay warm! xo

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (1.27.20), omeletty egg bake, crispy pan pizzas, keep everlastingly at it, Friday evening fun, Gretchen’s green chili.


  • Becky

    I use one of those little shaver things from time to time. I also moisturize my feet straight out of the shower every morning. It’s made a difference.
    I totally want a shelf just like that over my stove! May have to bump it up on the list for my husband….

  • Beth

    I’ve been using Kerasal Intensive Foot Repair daily for several years. I put a little on and rub in each morning before putting my socks on. I can’t stand sleeping in socks! It has completely changed my feet!

    • Jennifer Jo

      I hate sleeping in socks, too, though it does help me stay warm — our room drops to the mid-fifties some nights. I was doing Vaseline at night because I didn’t want it to soak through the socks and grease up the floors. Do you have that problem with the cream you use? If not, I might make the switch….

      • Laurali

        I also use the Kerasol. However, due to me hating to sleep in socks, I ordered heel socks that are gel lined and that is tolerable. My heels are much improved!

    • Beth

      I only use a small amount of Kerasal, and rub it in really good. I don’t ever have greasy socks. I found that you don’t need to slather it on like Vaseline.

  • Susan

    1. “Know My Name” is phenomenal. The account is harrowing and horrifying at so many levels, but so necessary to tell and read … and the writing is incredible. Definitely one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read.
    2. I also have dry yucky feet. Vaseline works well, but I also really like O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet, applied right after I shower and with socks overnight. It goes on feeling unsubstantial but ends up being really effective! Also: have you done a Foot Peel Mask? It’s super easy to do, but insane how much skin and gunk comes off after a few days. It’s hard not to want to take photos and keep everyone updated, so there’s that. Your feet will look amazing for a week or so, then kind of return to normal, but the fun/gross factor was extremely high. If you watch videos, you’ll see people peeling off sheets of skin, and it’s not inaccurate.

  • Pauline in Upstate NY

    Let me throw in one word of focused concern here — if you are diabetic or caring for someone who is diabetic, there is the potential for truly serious complications from accidentally being overly aggressive with the shaving, trimming, sanding (whatever) of thickened skin on the feet. People with diabetes can have both decreased sensation in their feet, leaving them prone to injury without knowing it, AND decreased blood circulation in their feet, making it extremely hard for any resulting infection to heal. I get the frustration with rough, callused feet, but be very careful in this particular situation, or even see a podiatrist to get it done. (Retired home hospice nurse here, and I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut about this…)

  • Candi R

    AmLactin lotion is something I’ve heard helps with rough dry skin and I hope to test it out before sandal season… Also, what is the mushroom salt on your new shelf?

  • Karen S

    Hi, Jennifer!
    RE: the feet: not the shaver, you can really injure yourself. Get a pumice stone and pumice in the shower. After the shower, petroleum jelly and the socks. Or soak before bed, petroleum jelly and socks. I used to have this problem because I went barefoot all the time. stopped that and most of the problem. Is it rough and dry, or calloused? If it’s callouses, it could be your shoes, feet growing callouses where there’s consistent rubbing. Your earlier post spoke about new slippers. That MAY be your answer.
    Been intending to email you to say how much I love your blog, the things I learn from it and your writing style. I have been trying to read everything you have written, going through the archives, but it’s funny:
    sometimes I end up at the same post (old age ain’t no fun), but sometimes I find something new, even though I’ve gone through what I thought was that whole month/period.
    One thing I really liked was you sharing your birth stories of your children. BUT every link for your oldest son doesn’t work, so I’ve never been able to read his, and would really love to.
    I also discovered that we share the same birthday, although many years apart!
    Keep writing, and I’ll keep reading!
    Especially the cheese stories.

    • Jennifer Jo

      It’s roughness, not callouses, and a pumice stone never really did much.

      Thanks for the heads-up about the bum links. When I switched to wordpress, some things went wonky, and I took down a few posts over the years. Summary of his birth (in Nicaragua): planned a homebirth, pre-eclampsia, induced labor, in labor (off and on) for three days, emergency c-section, the end!

  • Ramona

    My feet get very dry and sometimes cracked which is a little painful. Years ago on TV I saw a man sanding the bottom of his wife’s feet with an electric sander. I started doing that to my own feet after seeing that. I also put Bag Balm on my feet to moisturize .

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