Archive for the ‘Maryjo "Mj" Morgan, Writer’ Category


Thursday, February 24th, 2011

"An-ti-ci-pa-tion" the way Carly Simon sang it sounded marvelous.

I am enjoying the anticipation of a long overdue visit with my brother. Always our family has been close - you know, the kind of close that means we call one another, criss-crossing the country with our phone calls.

My sister Lynda and I are on the phone at least three times a week. Same with my brother Lawrence. Cousins, too. We might not see one another often, but we remain connected. Thank goodness for VOIP and lots of cell phone minutes!

We are grounded in the safety net we provide for one another. We've been through births and weddings and graduations and adventures. We've also shared illnesses, deaths, divorces and life's disappointments more often over the phone than in person.

But for the next 2 weeks I will have the distinct pleasure of sharing face-time with my Bro - and taking him all around Colorado yet again. Each time he visits he sees more of my favorite places. And always, the laughs and memories we share are gifts to be savored.

Delicious ... this anticipation.† Sing it Carly!

This is a test of our new e-mail blog subscription feature ...

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

We have looked into a simpler way to help people subscribe to blogs rather than only using RSS feeds to something like iGoogle.

We experimented on, so take a look there. Try it out - all you do is put your e-mail address in the "E-Mail Subscription" box there at the top of the right column. Each time a new blog entry is posted, you will get an e-mail alerting you.

First I subscribed, got an e-mail telling me I had to activate the subscription by clicking on the live link. Then I posted a blog entry "This is a test of our new e-mail subscription service" and now I will see if I get my daily update yet today or tomorrow! I will update this post to let† you know!

For some, this will be easier than using the RSS feed to something like iGoogle. Everything is a learning process!

Steps on the Journey

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Earlier this month one of our Under The Cuckoo Clock members - Cindy Strandvold - shared a paragraph that was part of a year-end message she received from her agent's agency:

"While it's exciting to see the year's successes listed this way, there are so many more things we are proud of that cannot be quantified--most notably, the countless times that all of our clients, published and unpublished, have pushed through self-doubt, gotten past rejection, continued to focus on growing in their craft, started new projects, brought others to completion, finished revisions, taken note of their own successes (in all forms), and held on to hope.† Each step on the path is worth celebrating, not just those that come with publishing contracts or starred reviews."

For weeks now I have not stopped thinking about the concept.
It was "each step on the path is worth celebrating" that touches a chord in me. I am endlessly trying to improve myself, to mindfully steer my course and reach long term and short term goals. My list is long!

Often I get so caught up in achieving a particular goal, I forget to be glad - in the moment - for what is happening right now.

Celebrate each step

*† Like celebrating when I sell a story to a local publisher.
*† Like celebrating when the subject of an article I write brings me flowers.
(Thanks, Heather Janssen!)
* Like celebrating when I write a blog entry here and post it on time.† 🙂

Each step is part of the journey, and thus, a big deal indeed. Thanks to the writers who sit Under The Cuckoo Clock for bringing chocolate (!) to give us pause, to notice, and transform each step into a noteworthy celebration - sweet in every way.

One Year We've Been Here

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Weekly Writers' Workshop meets under my cuckoo clock each Thursday.† A year ago this month we decided to commit to sharing this blog.† Congratulations to us!† We have done it - each has made contributions to the blog on a regular (or semi-regular!) basis.† We are developing distinct voices from one another and from any number of writing projects that pay the bills.

Congrats, Word Wenches, for your persistence and commited presence Under The Cuckoo Clock!

This Life/Work Balance Thing

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

This balancing thing escapes me.† I think I am doing better at keeping track of what's what and then I go drop something.† I got two books on time management from the library and revamped my daily schedule ... but I still feel like a circus performer trying to keep plates spinning on sticks.† I run from one wobbling plate to another, giving each the amount of energy to keep it spinning.

Balancing Life in Your War Zones: A guide to Physical, Mental, and Spriitual Health

LeAnn Thieman's book makes me think and her personal story never fails to wow me.

So this month seemed like the perfect time to re-read Balancing Life in your War Zone: A guide to Physical, Mental, and Spritual Health by LeAnn Thieman.† Since it was published in 2008 I think I've read it cover to cover twice and skimmed through it several times.

Each time I glean something that seems appropriate for what I am experiencing at that time.† Like a devotional or collection of essays, there is always a tidbit that soothes my weariness or jazzes my bones. 🙂

Good reads are worth re-reading!
Anyone want to share a favorite book that stands up to reading again and again?

Honored to Share

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Corn Recipe Entry

When I entered the Corn Roast Festival Recipe Contest, I did it to share a family recipe.

One of the best flavor mixes I've ever tasted is a dish my first mother-in-law Carolyn Davis Morgan taught me ages ago.

When she told me she was making Fried Corn, I was a bit less than enthusiastic. First of all, I could not imagine how anyone could fry corn.† Secondly, why would you add calories to an already starchy food?

Maryjo Costanzo Morgan shares Fried Corn recipe taught to her by Carolyn Davis Morgan

Carolyn Davis Morgan's recipe for Fried Corn garners Mj a trophy

Why?† Because it is absolutely delicious!

Here's the recipe - if I'd thought ahead, I would have more carefully named it "Nanny's Fried Corn" to honor Carolyn Morgan ... she gave me so much more than this recipe!

"Nanny's" Fried Corn

4-7 slices thick cut bacon
6-8 ears of ripe corn, shucked (you can use frozen corn, cooked, in a pinch)
salt, pepper to taste.

Cut raw corn from cob.

Brown bacon. Drain. Dice into ºî pieces. Set aside.

Carefully pour remaining bacon grease into a suitable glass container and set aside.

Put corn in the same pan the bacon was cooked in. Sprinkle with sugar ñ about 1 tablespoon per 3 ears of corn, more or less, and cook corn on medium-low heat to carmelize the sugar and corn, about 10 minutes. Stir often so it won't scorch.

Add bacon pieces. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Some corn is naturally sweeter than other corn, so reduce the sugar to Ω T. if you know a batch of corn is especially sweet.
I am deeply grateful to have had a person so generous, kind, and thoughtful as Carolyn Davis Morgan in my life.

The Reporter-Herald posted winners in today's paper.

All things? Really?

Monday, July 26th, 2010

"You must have the capacity to endure all things."

My meditation prompt this morning seemed a bit large to wrap my consciousness around.

It is so easy to endure joy ñ such as the excitement I felt at the Colorado Women of Influence Women of Vision Gala last Wednesday night. I saw Heather Janssen honored as mother, publisher, woman. I saw Heidi Olinger honored for building a business model that creates self-awareness and self-esteem in young girls and tweens. I saw Temple Grandin honored for inspiring us to greater heights as human beings in our treatment of animals Ö and one another.

It is so easy to rethink those moments and smile to myself, happy for them.

Ah, but to endure sorrow, that is another matter.

To hear my Friend say she has stage 3 cancer and see her go through surgery, tests, chemo and radiation. To hear my Friend say she has discovered a lump and see her go through a surgery, checking lymph nodes, chemo and radiation. To hear my Friend's 4 year-old daughter has died, knowing the heart-rending ache she and her husband must now bear.

These pains are much more difficult to shoulder. Endure? How? I know hearts are breaking all around me - how do I face this carnage?

I force myself to breathe in-2-3-4. And then to breathe out-2-3-4, just as I learned in childbirth classes a lifetime ago. Slow down my breathing. Slow down my tears. Slow down the wild beating of my heart.

Do I have the capacity to endure all things?† Really?

I must. How else can I help those dear friends, than to continue to accomplish the day to day tasks required of me? Of what good is it to collapse now?

No, I must accept what cannot be changed and go forward.† Be at the ready in case I may be of any small assistance.

Nothing says this will be easy or without doubt.

But one step at a time ... forward I go.

I write to honor sweet little girl Samantha Schichtel.

Olive and My Book Club

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Belonging to a Book Club can sometimes be a challenge. Take for instance this month. Our January selection was "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout © 2008 Random House.

Olive Kitterage by Elizabeth Strout, 2009 Pulitzer for Fiction

No wonder Olive Kitterage nabbed a Pulitzer!

Before Christmas I went to the Loveland Library but their copy was already gone; I didn't have any road trips planned, no Denver outings, so a book on tape wouldn't work this month. Next I checked the Poudre Library District online and all of their 4 copies were out.

Finally I chose Prospector (inter-library loan) and hoped for the best. After all, I was early and most people have time off work over the holidays. Surely they must read then?

When the calendar announced our Book Club meeting last Tuesday I was still bookless. Since I did have a business meeting that would make me late for the Book Club discussion, I opted out with regrets.

The book arrived Wednesday. Go figure.

But since "Olive" had traveled all the way from Greeley, and inter-library loans are usually short with no renewals, I dug right in.

It jazzes me to experience a story unfolding - I simply love it when I have no idea what a book or movie is about.† It's hard in this age of information to maintain such an innocence, but when it does happen, I am enthralled.

Kitterage and Pulitzer vaguely connected, but I did not know anything about the story.†† I purposely did not look at the back-of-the-book blurbs. Did not read online reviews. Nothing.

Reading a book this way is truly like taking the author's hand and allowing myself to be led around unfamiliar territory.† This book is unfamiliar Ö in style and content. Olive Kitteridge is odd, quirky and thoroughly engaging.

Thanks to the savvy readers in my Book Club for yet again launching me on a worthwhile journey.

A new calendar ... brings another 365 dilemmas

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

This year I received an interesting gift for a writer: Book Lover's Calendar for 2010. It pleased me and challenged me, just as it did last year when I received the 2009 version. A colleague told me calendars like this make her nervous.

I pondered this at length, and decided the calendar seemed to be a treasure trove waiting for me to dig in. It didn't make me nervous, it exhilarated me! Great books, recommended by the calendar which met the ì365 Days of Good Authors, Good Books, & Good Readingî criteria as touted on the calendar's cover.

Each day presents one book by Title with Author, Publisher, and Date. There is a short synopsis that strives to spotlight each tome in such a way, it makes you want to run out and buy it, devour it in one gulp.† Burp.

I suppose each author pumps the air with a triumphant fist when notified her or his book has been chosen for the next year's ìBook Lover's Calendar.î Out of the hundreds of thousands of books published each year, for one day of the year all eyes [albeit only calendar users] would turn to her or his book. Gravy, advertising at its finest.

What I did not expect was my reaction to the calendar by, say mid-March. Let's take the Ides as an example. I laughed to see ìCaesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Goldsworthyî taking up the 3/15/09 page. Equally amusing was the pairing of April Fools' Day and the dark comedy with frightening undertones by Michael Crichton, ìNext

But, as the year progressed, I felt more and more like a slacker. Too lazy to keep up with the calendar of great reading suggestions, I fell hopelessly behind early in January and never gained a foothold.

This year I'm doing much better. How do I manage to read a book a day?

I don't.† Moreover, I give my self permission to choose from a tiny sprinkling of the diverse advertisements numbingly numbering 365. Nervous? Nah. No way. I am taking this daily billboard of books less to heart. It is much easier this way, and I have not the indigestion of gobbling† a book a day.† Burp.

Today's suggestion ìHow To Be Aloneî was penned by my old ìThe Correctionsî buddy Jonathan Franzen. Maybe I'll get around to it before the 2011 edition of the Book Lover's Calendar challenges me all over again.