MJ’s Musings: My Log

For many years, my parents heated their house with wood.  One of the many chores my siblings and I had to do involved stacking firewood.

I’ve always been one to notice details. One day, while stacking logs, I noticed several that appeared to have been etched. I asked my father if I could have one of them. He said yes. He explained that insects between the bark and the wood had made the marks. I didn’t care. I was fascinated by patterns.

I carried the log with me through many moves while I was in my twenties. Most people thought I was weird. Then I met TV Stevie, who asked me about the log. Turns out he had one, too. Something about it appealed to him.

We still have both logs, careful not to burn them in our own wood stove. Our logs predated “The Log Lady” on the TV series Twin Peaks. We never received cryptic messages from ours, but who knows? Maybe the etchings on mine reveal the secret of life.

MJ’s MUSINGS: BOOK BINGO–UNDER REPRESENTED AUTHOR

For my “under-represented author” square on the BOOK BINGO card, I chose Tikka Chance on Me, by Suleikha Snyder. Several people had recommended it as a good read, not necessarily for book bingo.

I loved it! It’s the story of an Indian girl who works in her parents’ restaurant and a biker bad boy, neither of whom are all they seem.  They’d known each other in high school, but their lives took divergent paths. The story is actually a novella, but it reads longer because it’s packed and fast-paced. And it’s hot.

Five stars.

 

 

 

 

MJ’s Musings: Talking to Your Family

When my children were young, we had a habit of dinner together every night. No TV, no radio. Each meal began with a toast, “Happy <<insert day of the week>>.” Then we went around the table and shared one good thing that happened to us that day. We ate we talked, we shared the low points as well as the high points of our days. Often times it was the only chance we had to reconnect as a family.

When X-Chromo (the youngest) invited a friend over for taco Tuesday, we didn’t alter our habit. Her friend was shocked that we conversed. And laughed. At her house, her parents listened to NPR during meals, and there was no talking allowed.

I was stunned. I understand not every parents’ workday mirrored ours. I knew other parents did other things with their children, running them to and from activities and such. But to not allow them to speak at a meal so they could listen to the radio outraged me.

We enjoyed discussing current events with our children. We would explain why famous people who had died were important. When drama club would select a play, we would discuss the realities behind the play. We tried to teach them history and why it is important to know.

I’m glad we did meal time our way, and I hope my children are, too.

 

Even now that we are empty nesters, TV Stevie and I still do “One Good Thing” when we manage to sit down together for dinner.

MJ’s Musings: SEP-Dream a Little Dream

Dream a Little Dream is my least favorite of the Bonner brother/Chicago Stars books. I don’t like Gabe (hero), I don’t like Rachel (heroine), I don’t like Edward/Chip (Rachel’s little boy). I don’t like that a favorite character from Nobody’s Baby But Mine  was dead. Maybe Rachel and Gabe’s respective backstories are too bleak and dark and need the comic relief the dead character provided in Nobody’s Baby. I don’t know.

The humanizing of Gabe is well done. My heart breaks for him. But he’s not a romance hero. Rachel’s return to the scene of her late-husband’s crimes is well-motivated, but I still can’t warm up to her.

I’m the first to complain when so many romance novels conflicts seem trite (to me), so I’m not sure why the grim premises of this story bother me so much. It is a testament to the author’s skill that I feel this so strongly.

There were things about the book that I did like: I liked that the evangelical huckster got his (before the story opened); I liked that Gabe’s parents weren’t in the book (Jim & Lynn Bonner from Nobody’s Baby But Mine), and I loved Gabe’s brother Ethan and the subplot involving him and his secretary.  I love that God speaks to Ethan with Oprah’s voice.

Three stars.

MJ’s Musings: Early Bird or Night Owl?

I am what is known as an early bird. I get up early. It’s my best time to think because the distractions of the day haven’t yet attacked.

But I often wonder if I am naturally an early bird or was my circadian rhythm warped by my upbringing. When I was a child, even a teenager who often babysat until the wee hours of the morning, my mother made sure I was out of bed by 9AM every morning. People who lingered in bed were lazy and slothful.

Part of this could be my dad having to get up at 4AM to work in a factory every day. So naturally bedtimes at our house were early.  I get that.

But since being an adult and with my children adults, too, when I’m not bound by the alarm for the day job, I do tend to stay up later at night–and to write and write well.  So perhaps my natural cycle is that of a night owl.

Maybe when I retire I’ll find out.