MJ Monday: MJ’s Music–The Monkees

Another of my teenage idols passed away recently. Peter Tork of the Monkees.  I vacillated between Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork being my favorite. Some of my earliest forays into writing fiction included Monkees stories, which would now be called fanfic.  Mrs. Sherman, my sixth grade teacher, caught me passing stories to my friends. She called me up to her desk. I just knew: So. Much. Trouble.

Instead, she complimented me on my writing, but asked me to not share the stories during class.

Here’s a song from the Monkees’ third album, Headquarters. Vocals are by Davy Jones, who passed away several years ago,  on the first verse; Peter sings the second verse.

You can also hear Peter at the end of the chorus, sounding lonely, singing , the title of the song: “Only Shades of Gray.” The lyrics are just as relevant today as they were when the song was released.

 

 

 

 

MJ’s Musings: Thistle Dew

A friend of mine owns an 1809 former stage coach inn in the foothills of New York’s Adirondack Mountains.

Her dream has always been to create a warm, welcoming place where her author friends could retreat and write. She has succeeded.

For several years, personal situations kept me from attending, but about two years ago, my circumstances changed,and I became a Thistle Dew regular. I always stay in the same room. I usually write in the dining room, although sometimes I move around to keep myself fresh.

The thing is, I can write here. I am so much more productive than when I am home. At home, my husband wants to spend time with me. The house needs me to spend time with it.

A few weeks ago, when I was desperately trying to finish a book due a month later, I planned an entire weekend at home, writing. HAHAHAHAHA.  The following weekend, I went to Thistle Dew, which is about 90 minutes from home, and I wrote over 10,000 words Friday afternoon/night, all day Saturday/Sunday morning.

Two weeks later, I finished the book at Thistle Dew .

Thistle Dew isn’t all work. There is plenty of eating (always) and laughter. I love getting to know people from my local RWA chapter with whom I might not interact at our monthly meetings. We forge new friendships and learn other writers’ strength and generosity. In warmer weather (i.e. no snow), we spend evenings around the fire pit outside and watch the sky while creating fond memories. And then there was the one night three of us encountered a ghost. Nothing bad. Nothing scary. Nothing threatening. But yeah. A woo-woo filled night. (A building constructed in 1809 is bound to house leftover energy.)

I am so lucky my friend had this dream and was able to make it come true.

 

 

MJ’S Musings: Claustrophobic Feet

A social media acquaintance, after reading my lament about not being able to wear a pair of fun and funky boots, even though an ad for them beckoned me for months, said I had claustrophobic feet.

What a perfect description!

My reason is that my feet cannot abide being trapped inside boot or sneakers. If I can’t easily kick off my footwear, I don’t wear it.

But I really wanted those boots. So I bought them. I wear them.

They are cute as all get out. I am, however, of an age, where comfort should take precedence over cute. And I can’t wear them a full work day. By mid-afternoon, I am shoeless at my desk.

I live in a part of the US where we have winter. We have snow. We have feet of snow. So yes, I wear snow boots. And if we’re at an event in the winter, and I have to wear boots for any length of time, I go crazy.

But I’ve ruined several pairs of shoes in the spring when it rains because I just can’t abide wearing snow boots. My solution? Rain boots. Gardening boots.

Again, cute as can be. At least my poor feet won’t be stuck in them for hours.

Flipflop weather is around the corner.

MJ’s Musings: How Does My Garden Grow?


Yes, it is still February in upstate New York. Yes, there is still snow on the ground. Neither of those means I can’t start thinking about my 2019 garden.

Last year was the first year I had what I really wanted.  It has taken several years to reclaim my back yard from the above-ground swimming pool that was here when we purchased the house.  The pool was a great thing to have when the children were  younger. But eventually it turned into a time & money suck. I’d much rather have a yard.

In 2018, I decided to go with coleus for color. My husband is allergic to bee stings, so color without flowers is a concern. So in May, I purchased many plants, along with a sweet potato vine and Persian shield. The man who has been helping me reclaim the space planted my coleus along with chives, lemon balm, oregano, two kinds of parsley, spearmint, and peppermint.

For some reason, he planted the coleus in front of the herbs. In May it wasn’t a problem.

Even in June, I could manage.

July started to be challenging.

By August, the herbs were essentially unavailable, but the coleus was gorgeous.

So I clearly need to rethink 2019. I have a corner, down by the garage, that is deep and difficult to access. I think I will fill that with coleus.

And where the coleus grew with the herbs requires more herbs. Perennials such as thyme, rosemary, sage.  Maybe I should put in basil, too. My basil is usually in a container. I find I don’t use it as much as I used to. What I’d love to grow is cilantro, but I’ve never had success.

We do have cherry and grape tomatoes for my husband. I think green onions and spinach would be nice additions to plot of land.

MJ’s Musings: Rituals from My Childhood

My mom had Saturday night rituals for us that I haven’t thought about in years. I have no idea why I stopped doing these things. Maybe modern materials don’t require as much care as things did back in day. Maybe we took better care of our belongings because we had to make them last.

We polished, then buffed our shoes every Saturday night. There were three or four colors of shoe polish and/or paste on the upper shelf in the bathroom. My dad had a large shoe brush. According to Amazon, shoe brushes are still a thing.

The other thing we did every Saturday without fail was wash our combs and hairbrushes. I can still smell the Prell shampoo we used. My mom had a dedicated fingernail brush we used to get between the teeth on our combs.  I sometimes used a toothpick.

Yes, I still clean the hair from my brush, but my comb isn’t dirty. Is my scalp cleaner than it was when I was child because I wash my hair more often? 

Do you have childhood rituals you abandoned?