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?

 

MJ’s Musings-Thursday Thought: SEP-FIRST LADY

This month’s Susan Elizabeth Phillips book review is one of my top three favorite SEP books: FIRST LADY. My paper copy is in the process of disintegrating, which means  an e-copy is in my future.

Again, this story is not part of her Chicago Stars football series. It does introduce a character who becomes a heroine in her own book.. I’ve seen it classified as part of her Wynette, Texas series, but the connection doesn’t happen until a couple of books later, so I believe that’s a stretch.

This book manages to wring my emotions each time I read it. The major romance trope is on-the-road.  NEELY (Nell) is the widow of the assassinated president of the United States who was coerced into continuing the job after her husband’s death. She manages to escape the White House and goes “undercover,” where she runs into  MAT, a disillusioned and discredited journalist trying to find the big story in order to reclaim his career.  They each have secrets, although Neely’s are the major ones. Mat’s big internal conflict is family. The primary issue between them, however, is trust.

The book was published in 2000, which means one or two things have changed since then, but the gist of the story rings true.

There is no secondary romance in this story, which is unusual in an SEP book. The on-the-road aspect of the story doesn’t leave room for that kind of subplot. There are plenty of wonderful characters in the novel, though, and one of them–Lucy, who grows up to be the heroine of another SEP novel–will shred your heart.

If I were to give out stars on a 1 to 5 scale, FIRST LADY would receive five.

MJ’s Musings: An Observation on “Healthy” Food

Many of my friends and most of my extended family have dietary restrictions. One person recently made a “cookie” she shared. I would never hurt her feelings, and I understand completely why this cookie met her food requirements, but I did not want another one.

When I’m grocery shopping, there are frequently people pushing free samples at the customers. The most recent one was a cookie in the health food department. Or maybe it was a “power bar”.

All I know is I stopped eating sawdust when I was about 3. Yeah, we used it as a “cooking ingredient” when we played house when I was an older child. But we also cooked with mud, gravel, and milkweed pods. Oh, and there was that disastrous experiment trying to make the cat eat a combo of Snowy Bleach and Oxydol. But like the cat, we never actually put the stuff in our mouths. (OK, we smoked cattails behind the barn, but that was different.)

So why does so much modern, “healthy” food remind me of my extreme childhood, sawdust-eating days? Particularly the sawdust part?

MJ’s Musings: A Thing I Don’t Get

There are many things in life I do not understand. Movies on a first date. Cars that are more elaborate than homes. I’m not saying those things are wrong. I simply don’t understand them.

Here’s another: you walk/run 10 miles a day, pride yourself on your physical fitness…and need an electric can opener to open your can of garbanzo beans. What?

And riffing off that, I don’t understand electric can openers. Why?

MJ’s Musings: Book Bingo: TBR Pile-WICKED GAMES

My local RWA chapter is once again running a Book Bingo challenge. This year’s Bingo board is 96% different than last year’s challenge. The only square that has not changed is the center square: Written by a CNYRW member. I think this year’s contest is going to be more challenging for me than last year’s was.

However, the first square I completed was YOUR TBR PILE (this included your Kindle version of the TBR pile).  I chose WICKED GAMES by Jessica Clare.

The novel is heavily based on the TV program SURVIVOR. I’m sure there are aspects of other reality shows mixed into the concept, particularly the “romance”-based ones.  I was surprised I liked the book as much as I did, having never watched television of this genre. Well-written and fast-paced, the story could have bogged down describing the challenges. It didn’t. Yes, important parts of the plot were predictable, but the book was still a fun read.