How’s Your Monday?

Dr. Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Monday, August 1, 2022

Take Out the Recyclables & the Trash

Yes, the writing life is glamorous – ha! I awoke at 6 AM and got out of bed. I put on my house slippers, made a pit-stop at the “necessary room,” put my iPhone on the charger, and headed downstairs.

Once downstairs, I first placed my iWatch on the charger. Next, I collected a bag of trash from the kitchen along with a bag of recyclables. I exit the house via the kitchen door, I walked passed the swimming pool, opened the back gate and places the bags in the alley. 

I returned to the back side of the house. Five more bags of recyclables and two more bags of trash awaited me. Carrying two bags at a time, I made four trips to deposit them in the alley. The trash collectors come about 8 AM and the recycle people between 10 and 2 PM. Mission accomplished. I come back into the house and lock the kitchen door.

Next, I put a new trash bag in the trash can and a new recycle bag in the recycle bin. 

Then I headed back upstairs, got dressed, pick up my now fully charged iPhone, and made my way back downstairs.

Take My Morning Medications

I refilled the water bottle before going to the restroom to get my seventeen morning pills to take. Once retrieved, I spent the ten minutes taking the pills and glancing at the online version of the Dallas Morning News. My iWatch is now fully charged so I retrieve and put it on. 

I tossed my MacBook in its black leather Coach bag along with the charger, noise suppressing headphones, and wireless mouse. I have an extra USB mouse in my computer bag in case I forget the wireless one.

A note I left on the table tells where I am going and what I’m doing. A stop at the mini-refrigerator gets me a Diet-Coke. I grab a new KN-95 face mask, exit via the front door, lock the front door, and put my computer bag in the back seat, get into my Mercedes, open my Diet Coke, turn on SiriusXM to channel 90 – NASCAR. 

Drive to Starbucks

I drink half the Diet-Coke during the ten-minute drive to Starbucks. The NASCAR news of the morning updates me on the latest happening. I’m a NASCAR fan following the Joe Gibbs Racing team’s four drivers.

When arriving at Starbucks, the handicap parking space was full so I have to park where I have to cross traffic to get into the building. I get my computer bag, my navy-blue Cardigan, and cane from the back seat and wait until there’s a break in the stream of traffic to cross the parking lot.

Once inside, I claim my table. All twelve tables are empty. I go to the counter where several baristas greet me by name. The manager says, Good morning, Jimmie. After returning their greeting, I pull out my iPhone and open the Starbucks app. 

The addion of funds to the app is my first order of business. I push a button and another $25 is on my Starbucks account. I order the Starbucks Eggs & Cheddar Protein Box and a large cup of blonde roast coffee. 

Daily Writing

While eating breakfast, I’m writing this post. When I finish, it’ll be time to get back to the daily writing as I head for achieving today’s word count on my pen name novel. 

So goes the exciting life of the writer. 

Air Conditioners, Sweaters, & Hot Weather

Today in North Texas

It’s Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Today is day 31 with temperarues100 degrees or warmer in 2022. We have not measured rain at DFW Airport for 51 days. We need rain and cooler weather in North Texas.

Hot Weather

Outside, it was over 90 degrees F when I left the house before 9 AM.

Hot weather is blanketing North America. The high today in Vancouver, British Columbia, is 91 degrees F. I’ll arrive there in 22 days.

I’ll be in Vancouver for three days before going on an Alaska Cruise-tour where I’ll end up at Mt Denali and the Denali National Park. It’s 38 degrees F with light rain at Denali.

Starbucks

I’m sitting in Starbucks this morning wearing my cardigan sweater (see today’s selfie) as the AC is frigid.

It’s morning writing, a walk in AC comfort, a visit to the allergy doctor, Bible reading, more reading for pleasure, and an evening swim are part of the day’s agenda.

Friends

I have a dear friend whose mother passed away peacefully in the in-patient hospice care unit this morning. I’ve known this friend since 1970. Losing your mother at any age is tough.

Today’s Selfie

The selfie is from today. FYI – My trifocals are for reading and computer. The regular or distance lease has no correction as my distance vision after cataract surgery is 20/20. I have to wear glasses for driving to read the dashboard.

My Mustache and Hair Are Turning Grey

Dr. Jimmie Aaron Kepler, July 2022

I’m a Believer

My day begins with daily Bible reading. This morning I read read chapter four, five, and six the Book of Exodus from the English Standard version the Holy Bible.

Yes, I’m a regular Bible reader. Yes, I confess Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I’m a Believer, a Christian.

Starbucks Regular

I’m at Starbucks at Coit and Campbell in Richardson, Texas. My classic oatmeal with brown sugar is yummy. The cup of Blonde Roast coffee amazing.

Most mornings I write at a Starbucks in the north Dallas Texas suburban area. I’ve written at dozens of locations over the years.

Today’s Writing

Morning writing is on my agenda for the next few hours. I’m working on the first draft on book two in my pen name historical fiction series. I’m about 22,000 words into a 80,000 word book.

Grey Hair

I’ve been reading about grey hair recently. 

Why? 

Well, my whiskers have started looking like they have frosting on them. They facial hair is now about 60% grey and white and 40% brown. The hair on my head is changing as well. 

The root (newest part of my hair) has areas that are turning grey. My research shows (besides me turning 69 in November) that typically the hair’s root turns grey when they have mostly died off having no more or very little melanin (the brown or black pigment in hair).

The middle of the hair will have a bit of melanin because it was produced when there were still some functional melanocytes, and the tip (the oldest part of the hair) will still be full of melanin from when it was produced. 

From what I read stress and health – as well as aging – can cause the hair to turn grey. My guess is it’s my time unless the Covid and related stress has caused it. 

From my research, if I cut my hair short, it would be very grey because of the newer grey roots. With it the length I have (about 18 to 20 inches) it could take as long as two to three years to all go grey. 

On the other hand, I read that if turning grey is stress or illness related, remove the stress and recover from the illness and a majority of the hair will again start producing melanin and regain its pigment. Interesting. 

Google grey hair and join me in information overload.

If you’re grey, how old were you when your hair started going grey? The average age for white men and women is mid 30s.

I’ll take what God gives me. The photo shows the greying/silvering of my mustache.

Routines of Life

Routines of Life

My day began with me carrying out trash. Taking my morning prescriptions followed. After a short drive, I’m enjoying a venti blonde roast coffee from Starbucks. For your information, a venti is 20 fluid ounces.

My To Do List

Today I’ll be working on Bible verse memes for the next few months. I’ll create them and schedule them. I use Canva software for this job. I post them daily on two private Facebook groups I manage. One of the groups is for my family and is used to keep track of me.

The other is for the retirees and friends of the day job from which I’m retired. I’ve been doing both foe around four years. The day job retiree/friend group helps friends and former coworkers stay connected and to share prayer requests/needs. I have 168 people in that group.

Staying Busy

I’ll also do my daily writing, some editing, and strive to get my 10,000 steps in for the day. Additionally, I’ll do some longer range planning for the my writing goals including my nonfiction, my pen name work, my blogs , some video work (working on doing a video blog), and reading/ listening goals/schedules. I also have my Spanish lesson.

My working about 30 to 40 hours a week on the writing work is why I’ve had writing income for 50 consecutive months. Some months the income is small but it all ads up and it’s what gives me purpose and fills my retirement hours.

I confess that my writing keeps me from being bored. I’m never lonely.

Today’s Selfie

The selfie is from today.

My Daily Devotional Time

You might enjoy reading the morning devotion I used. It is at https://www1.cbn.com/devotions/names-of-christ-savior.

Psalm 62:2 (NLT)

“He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:2 (NLT)
 

Need Strength? Need Peace of Mind?

Click on title to see picture.

Comments on the Coffeehouse Culture

Are you part of the coffee house culture? I confess I am.

What Is The Coffeehouse Culture?

The coffeehouse culture describes a friendly environment of associated common practices that depend upon coffee. Coffee is used as a social lubricant much as alcohol is in a bar or pub setting.

Coffeehouse culture also relates to the dispersion and choosing of coffee as a broadly consumed stimulant by society. In the late 20th and early 21st century, particularly in the Western world and urbanized cities around the globe. Espresso has become a more favored form.

Formation of Culture Around a Coffeehouse

I am a historian and religious educator by university and seminary education with a bachelor of arts, master of religious education, master of arts, and doctor of education degrees. With my classical liberal arts education, I developed an inquisitive mind. My curiosity had me research coffeehouses. I found the formation of the culture around coffee and coffeehouses dates back to 14th century Turkey. Coffeehouses in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean were traditionally social hubs, as well as artistic and intellectual centers.

Examples of famous coffee houses include Les Deux Magots in Paris. Now a popular tourist attraction, it was once associated with the intellectuals Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, coffeehouses in London became favorite meeting places for artists, writers, and socialites. They were also the center for much political and commercial activity.

In the United States, the New Orleans French Market tourist destination Café du Monde which is as famous for its powdered-sugar-coated beignets as it is for its chickory-flavored coffee., according to the popular social check-in app Foursquare, is the most popular coffeehouse in the Americas.

Coffeehouses Today

Elements of today’s coffee houses, the slower-paced gourmet service, tastefully decorated environments, or social outlets such as open microphone nights, have their origins in early coffee houses and continue to form part of the concept of coffee house culture.

In the United States, the term is often used to designate the everywhere presence of hundreds of espresso stands and coffee shops in the Seattle metropolitan area and the spread of franchises of businesses such as Starbucks and their clones across the United States.

Other aspects of the coffeehouse culture include the presence of free wireless Internet access for customers, many of these patrons do business in these locations for hours on a regular basis. The patrons of the coffeehouse usually do one of three things. They either are on Wi-Fi surfing the Internet with their smartphone or computer, are meeting with a business client or friends, or are reading. The location is popular for meeting someone for the first time, especially when dating is being considered.

Some countries, like Australia, have a strong existing cafe-style coffee culture. The strong cafe-style coffee culture explains the poor performance of Starbucks there.

Yes, I am part of the coffeehouse culture? Are you?

I would love you to leave in the comments section the name of and info about your favorite coffeehouse.

The picture is of the Starbucks at 1356 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, California, USA. I frequently visited this location during the summer of 2012 while working in Southern California. I was employed about 8 miles away just across the street from Howard Hughes Center, Center Dr. W, Los Angeles, California.


Source: Some material adapted from Wikipedia

Photo: Starbucks,  1356 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, California, USA

My Coffeehouse Writing Habit

Where I Write

I’m doing my morning writing at one of my favorite Starbucks. I like the location on Preston Road just north of Lorimar in Plano, Texas. I write here most mornings.

The photo is of my writing-table. I usually sit at the same table each morning. From left to right in the picture, you see my laptop bar, my personal porcelain Starbucks coffee cup. Using the cup not only helps the environment by decreasing the number of paper cups in landfills but it saves me 10 cents a purchase.

My Writing Tools

You can see the MacBook Air I use for writing. It has a 1TB solid-state hard drive as well as 16GB of RAM. It never crashes and is a high-speed computer. I have an external, wireless Bluetooth mouse that I use.

I use some writing specific software like Scrivener and Vellum as well as Microsoft Word for Macintosh.

When I Write

I’m usually at my Starbuck table between 6 to 6:30 AM. The Muse knows where to meet me. Working for years as a US Army officer and later for decades in the information technology field, I learned the power of habit and repeatable processes.
In the Army, we had standard operations procedures. It allowed us to work faster, safer, and more efficiently — and to save lives. In the IT field, we had repeatable procedures. They did the same thing.
Writing at the same place and the same time is kind of the same thing. My brain knows it is time to put fingers to the keyboard and input words into the computer. I also usually listen to the same instrumental music. When it starts, my brain says, “Time to be creative.”
Note: I am not saying you have to follow my routine. You need to find what works for you, to develop your own habit.

Photo Source: The picture was taken by the Author

How to Have a Friend

As I write this post, it’s a Tuesday morning. I’m writing at my favorite Starbucks. I love Tuesday’s as this coffeehouse has a little more traffic than usual this morning.

 

The reason for the increased customer traffic is a running club meets here on Tuesday and Friday. They’ve come here for over twenty-five years. A number of them are good acquaintances. A couple of the members attended my wife’s funeral last spring. They always ask how I am doing, what I am writing, how my book sales are doing, and share what they are reading. They ask what I’m reading as well.

 

This morning I asked one how loves history what he’s reading. His face lit up with joy. He shared his excitement on the latest book he is dipping into. He also commented he had found my blog, Kepler’s Book Reviews. 

 

He said I should have told him about it.

 

I replied I simply post reviews of some of the books I have read and liked. I stated I write a short review on what I read and post some of them.

 

What’s my point?

 

Even the Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:24a (KJV), “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:”

 

Not into the Bible? The writer/poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”  The poet Rod McKuen penned, “Strangers are friends just waiting to happen.”

 

The post’s title is “How to Have a Friend.” The answer is to be one!

 

Why not add at least one new friend, even a casual one to your circle? You will both be blessed.

Photo Source: Pixabay

Neuroplasticity and Writing

One Word of Advice

I remember watching the movie “The Graduate” when I was in high school. In the movie, Dustin Hoffman’s character was given one word of advice upon his college graduation. The word was “plastic.”

I want to give my fellow writers one word of advice. No, it’s not the word plastic. The word is “neuroplasticity.”

Neuroplasticity Defined

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This includes changes in neural pathways and synapses due to changes in behavior, environment, thinking, emotions, and, of course, head injury.

Did you know these changes in neural pathways and synapses decide, among other things, our creativity? You read that correctly, creativity.

What this means is our brain changes its functional structure based on our thoughts, environment, behavior, emotions, etc.

We Can Be More Creative

The application to writing is by changing our neural pathways and synapses, we can be more creative in our writing. That’s one reason writer’s retreats make us feel so wonderful. It’s also why people write in various locations like Starbucks, the library, or even the food court in a shopping mall. The change in scenery is the secret.

Sometimes I do something as simple as going to a different Starbucks or a walk in a different place and find myself filled with new ideas, thoughts, and creativity.

It’s amazing how changing the sights, sounds, and smells can change how we feel and think.

My going to my writing-table at Starbucks helps my productivity. I have ten Starbucks in my metropolitan area that I frequent, though the one I am at this morning is my “primary first draft writing site.”

If you find your writing in a rut, why not try a change of scenery. You’ll be amazed at its impact on your thinking and creativity.

Google “neuroplasticity and creativity” and “neuroplasticity and writing” to learn more on the subject.

Note: The photo is of the Starbucks where I normally do my morning writing.