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: My Favorite Mugs

There are too many coffee/tea mugs in my house. There are boxes of them in the basement. They are stacked in the cupboard over the stove. They reproduce faster than guppies.

Four of my most favorite mugs have been broken: two oversized bright yellow mugs, a cobalt blue one from the 2000 RWA National Conference Chapter Presidents’ Retreat, and one my parents brought me back from Florida–a lovely gray and purple beach scenes with the moon rising over star fish in the dune grass.

Here are four of my current favorites:

I call this my SARK mug because of all the brilliant colors. I like to drink tea from it. It was a gift from a critique partner one holiday when we drew names.

I purchased this mug at the Margaret Mitchell House Museum  when I attended the RWA National Conference there in 2006. It was the last one I’ve attended. The legend at the bottom says, “In a weak moment I have written a book.” I also have the matching refrigerator magnet.

This is my favorite tea mug. I purchased it from an import store in Syracuse that eventually became Pier One–but the mug predates that. My then-room mate and I each bought one. This mug is older than most of my co-workers at Day Job.

Captain Planet! When I worked in local TV, I was given a lot of mugs by program vendors (see previous comment about boxes in the basement, although I did leave many at the station when I left).  This was always my favorite. The reverse side reads THE POWER IS YOURS. The interior is a fabulous periwinkle blue. How can you not love Captain Planet?

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.

MJ’s Musings: Tour of My Office

A friend asked me to do a tour of my office. She thought I’d have a lot of colorful, Boho-type décor. Sorry. The walls are dingy gray and in need of a paint job. And we’re also in the process of  rearranging some things upstairs, so I’m hoping to make some changes.

In the meantime, here is most of the space as it stands today:

My dry erase calendar (the monthly version) fell off the wall. My hats came down and need to be rehung. That’s my Erin Condren planner, which I love. The shelves below this contain music CDs.

 

 

 

I have an L-shaped el-cheapo desk. The chimney in my  house runs up the center. It creates some interesting nooks. I was able to find a “corner” shelving unit where I keep reference books.

Yes, those are glow-in-the-dark stars on my desk. I am obsessed with the sky.

My actual work space, with my laptop, more reference books, etc. Another bookcase next to the desk.  Wall space is at a premium.

 

 

 

Above my desk, I have some of my book covers framed and hung. I also have Boho-type décor hanging over me: a dream catcher, a wishing well wind chime (for refilling the well), a sea glass mobile a friend made for me when she saw me posting pictures of them on Facebook, and a chakra crystal charm.

I also have a salt lamp and to the left, several wine bottles: two different styles labels of Werewolf wine, The Novelist wine, and a Ravage wine bottle light.

T

The bureau top contains my RWA Chapter mementos (Book in a Week, our annual Rose Ceremony, etc.). The bureau drawers contain office supplies. Below the bookcase, I have several pretty storage boxes of stationary, Tarot/Divination decks, candles, and other things. I hope to move these once we get one of my husband’s book cases out of my office.

There are three book cases behind me. Two are my husbands. Mine is the one in the middle. I have a dry-erase 12-month planning calendar hung over the book case. Except I can’t reach it.  Hopefully, the book case on the right (with the baseballs) will be moving to another room.

And that’s it. Almost. There are windows opposite the door. I have crystals hanging in them. My clothes closet is at the far end, and opposite that is the door to the attic.

Nothing fancy, as you can see. But it’s mostly functional.

MJ’s Musings: Atomic Habits

The speaker at a recent meeting recommended the book Atomic Habits. I put the Kindle version on hold at the library. When it finally came in, I slogged my way through it.

It covered a lot of the same material as the Julia Cameron classic, The Artist’s Way. Many of the suggestions are things I incorporated into my life years ago. Other things were tricks I’ve tried and found don’t work well for me.

I don’t believe the myth that it takes 21 days to form a habit.

Maybe other people, who haven’t read as many time-management books as I have would get more out of this newest bible.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to grab my affirmation beads every morning and remind myself: “I am an author. Writing is the best part of my day.”