MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-Aida Soundtrack

Y-Chromo was in his high school production of Aida. To this day, it remains my favorite of his school play (including the role of Tony in West Side Story, which he rocked!) The story is based on the opera, with music and lyrics by Tim Rice and Elton John.

I’ve heard people say the only good song in the play is “My Strongest Suit.” They would be wrong. There are many wonderful tunes.  There’s a CD of covers,  including such artists as The Spice Girls, James Taylor, Sting, Tina Turner, Boyz II Men, Shania Twain, Lenny Kravitz, and others. It’s a good CD, although I still prefer the original Broadway sound track.

When the show came to our city, almost everyone from the high school cast went, even though it was several years after the fact. The consensus was our kids were better in their roles than some of the professionals we saw that night.

While I was researching this blog, I learned that my favorite Monkee, Mickey Dolenz, played the same role on Broadway my son played in high school.

How cool is that?


MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Network

NETWORK  is a classic.  “A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor’s ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit,” is how IMDB describes the film. Many of us who worked in TV in the late 1970’s and early 80’s found the realism unnerving.  Some consider the movie satire. Others know better.

Written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, the film won four Oscars and garnered a slew of other nominations and awards.

The film is from 1976, but many parts are still relevant today.

Here’s a trailer that sums it up.

And here is seven minutes of something that should make you think about the world today.


MJ Monday: MJ’s Meals–Fall Dinner

I’m going to share the recipes for one of my family’s favorite fall meals.

The first recipe is one I found on line. My adult son likes it so much, he makes it for himself in his bachelor apartment.

The chicken recipe originally started as a butter advertisement in a magazine that my friend Robin shared with me, but has gradually morphed into something else. This is one recipe my daughter begged for when she was at college. I’ve served it to almost everyone who’s come to my house for a meal. It has been my “secret” recipe for years. I’m sharing the bare bones. Yes, I give measurements, but I mostly eyeball the general proportions.


  • 2/3 cups butter
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed Keebler Onion Toasteds*
  • 2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 TBS dried basil
  • 1 TBS dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Melt the butter
  3. Combine cracker crumbs, Parmesan, basic, oregano, garlic powder.
  4. Dip chicken in melted butter, then coat with crumb mixture. (Reserve leftover melted butter)
  5. Place chicken in an ungreased glass baking pan
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes
  7. Add apple juice,  green onion, parsley to reserved melted butter.
  8. When chicken i s golden brown, pour the butter-apple juice sauce over the chicken and bake for another 3-5 minutes.
  9. Serve with sauce spooned over the chicken.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Chopped fresh chives also work well in the sauce
  • I usually melt more butter, because my family really likes the sauce over the chicken.
  • The Keebler Onion Toasteds are crucial to the success of the recipe. If you opt for another type of breadcrumb, add onion powder to the crumb mixture.



MJ Monday: MJ’s Manuscript-WIP Excerpt


FROM: BEWARE OF THE MOON, tentatively scheduled for Oct 2019 publication

“So what do you do with yourself?” Dakota squirmed in the passenger seat, disrupting the sparse air, sending his pheromones in her direction again.

“I’m a chemist.” No, no, no. Do not engage with him. Sex only.

“You must be smart.”

Was he saying she was too smart for him? Was he going to try to take her down a peg? Been there, donated the t-shirt. “I’m as smart as I am. I could be smarter. Everyone could.”

“I wasn’t insulting you.”

Dakota’s calm manner infuriated her. The only time he hadn’t been placid was during sex. Amazing sex. Stupendous—

“You and Selena were working on herbal healing bath stuff for females,” Dakota continued.

“Are working on,” she corrected. She refused to believe Selena would abandon their hard work because her grandfather died.

His foot slammed against the floor as she took the corner onto Ash Street too fast.

“You’re not going to tell me I’m too pretty to be a chemist?”

“What does one have to do with the other?” He sounded perplexed, as if he meant the words.

“Never mind,” she muttered. She needed to concentrate on not hitting the group of men dressed in black trying to block the street. No matter what hour she arrived at Ethan and Selena’s house, a gang congregated on the corner—both corners—of the short block.

“Run ‘em over if they get in your way,” Dakota suggested, as if reading her mind. “They’ll move quickly enough. Although they might damage the undercarriage of your car.”

She was tempted. “Interesting theory. My favorite theory involves the questionable legality of mowing people down.”

“I won’t tell if you won’t.”

She couldn’t stop the grin stealing across her face. Not only was Dakota a fabulous bedmate, he was funny. Dangerous combination.

“If you drove a bigger vehicle, mashing a few vagrants wouldn’t be an issue.”

There. He’d said something to annoy her.

“What’s wrong with my little car?”

“Small cars aren’t safe.”

Oh crap. He was a man who believed a night in her bed meant he acquired rights.

She gritted her teeth and pressed her foot on the gas pedal. Her car hitched a moment before lurching forward, drunk on an influx of fuel.

Dakota was right. Once she aimed, the men in the street scurried to the side. Ethan ought to report the thugs to the authorities. They’d blocked the street, twenty-four seven, for weeks.

She parked at the curb, behind a massive black SUV. Gas hogs ought to be illegal. She couldn’t imagine any of Ethan’s acquaintances would drive such a monstrosity.

She stood on the sidewalk and waited while Dakota extracted himself from her car. The view, she had to admit, was nice. Very nice. For someone who allegedly drove a bus for a living, he was superbly put together. As he stood and stretched, something in her belly stirred. Okay. Maybe he wasn’t a one-and-done, but rather the exception proving the rule.

The opening notes of “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” bleated from her cross-body bag. She pulled out her phone to check the incoming text. And nearly dropped the phone to the sidewalk. Numbness depleted her strength, from the tips of her pedicured toes to her brain. Especially her brain.

“Are you okay?” Dakota’s sharp tone pierced the fog.

She couldn’t answer. All she could do was stare at the photo on her screen and try to not hyperventilate.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-1776

I like musical theater. I like to listen to the sound tracks. One of my favorites is 1776.

A friend had told me it was his favorite musical. We made tentative plans to see it together. A few weeks later, he passed away. Several months later, a local theater troupe put it on, so my husband and I took our children to see it.

I fell in love.

I was amazed at how the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence could be made into an entertaining musical. I have since seen the movie several times. I talked to my children’s high school drama teacher about it (except I doubt any high school could find that many males to mount a performance).

History doesn’t have to be dry and boring. This musical proves it.