Friday Five

1. It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. Sometimes I fall into what Gretchen Rubin calls “decision quicksand.” Does this happen to you? You’re poised to make a purchase of a new, let’s say, vacuum cleaner and you find yourself spending ridiculous amounts of time researching reviews online, comparing prices, and wondering if you’ll be happy without the automatic cord rewinder. Gretchen says she often has to “remind myself not to squander my time and energy on decisions that don’t matter very much. “This is what she calls decision quicksand because” we can get sucked in, and drown, in these trivial choices.”

In these cases, there are two kinds of people. (Aren’t there always?) There are satisficers (that’s not a typo) who make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the vacuum cleaner that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision even if they see a vacuum that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option. Oh, dear. I should add maximizer to my list of descriptors. Research shows (as if we needed research to show this because I bet you can guess where I’m going here) that maximizers are not as happy as satisficers.

Do you ever find yourself falling into decision quicksand? 

3. Speaking of decision quicksand: My cousin and I went on our annual Christmas shopping trip last weekend. She drives us to New Jersey to one of the (many) malls. The M-A-L-L. As we parked I realized that the last time I’d been to the mall was exactly one year ago on our last excursion. Had it really been a year? What a far cry from my days living in Atlanta, where there was a mall less than two miles from my house. That’s not an unusual statement because, in Atlanta, there is a mall less than two miles from everyone’s house. Precisely because it was so close and easy, I never gave it a second thought, I’ll just run into the mall and … Everyone I knew did that. I thought nothing of it. But what I never noticed was that we did that because there were no other options in my area. No mom-and-pop stores or quirky little boutiques. Now I live in a neighborhood where the vast majority of shops and restaurants are small and locally owned. It’s interesting to me how it was so ingrained my daily life and now I don’t even miss it.


4. The Writers on Writing segments are back over at The Writers’ Salon.  In this edition, I welcome author Erika Marks. You may remember her novel, Little Gale Gumbo, from my Great Books to Give…and Get post. Erika talks about how one of the characters came out of her experiences during Hurricane Katrina, and her approach to offer readers a new take on the two very different, but intriguing locations: New Orleans and Little Gale Island, Maine. As it turns out there will be another Louisiana writer coming up on Writers on Writing, so stay tuned for that.

I have a bit of a selfish motive in renewing these segments because I love learning how other writers approach the process and craft of writing. Often I find there are so many takeaways that apply to more than just writing. So even if you’re not a writer, I hope you’ll take a gander. Read Erika’s Q&A here.


5. It’s been so much warmer than usual for this time of year so Reggie and I spent some time enjoying the roof deck before Jack Frost comes roaring our way. (Isn’t it cute how the WordPress snow is falling over Reggie’s face?)

Have a super weekend everyone! 




    1. Thanks, Wendy. We’ve been enjoying the warmer weather. The temperatures have dipped a bit, but Reggie doesn’t mind at all.


  1. Hi Jackie! Hi Reggie!

    Hugs to you again for hosting me, my dear–the questions were wonderful and I can’t WAIT to find out who the next LA author is…

    Talk about decision quicksand–that’s me with online book research–i’ll go in for what should be a five second search and the rabbit hole begins. Now I’ve learned my lesson–I’ll just leave a series of xxxx’s in the spot, keep going and come back in a later draft (of course, this doens’t work as well for bigger research issues, but certainly the little ones that turn big!)

    Wish I could see the snow falling on Reggie’s sweet face–my computer won’t let me–but that deck looks perfect! Olive would be sprawled out in a heartbeat!


    1. OMG! I can’t tell you how many days I spent on researching passenger trains in the 1940s. The hobbyists on the forums were very helpful (thanks, guys!) but talk about getting distracted. Now, I do the same thing. I’ll highlight a paragraph that needs more period details and designate a “research day” when I can dig to my heart’s content.


    1. There are so many places where there really aren’t other options except the mall. Where my mom lives is a good example. Small shops come and go because they can’t compete. Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Reggie looks like he’s smiling 🙂 and I love the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote! As for the type of decision maker I am: definitely a Maximizer unless funds are low for a necessary purchase… then I’m a disgruntled Satisficer! haha. Apparently I’m bound to be unhappier either way!


    1. That is too funny, Julia. Don’t you just feel that sometimes there are toooo many choices? One look at the toothpaste aisle is enough to paralyze us Maximizers! 🙂


  3. About “decision quicksand”: I’m one of those people who also agonizes over decisions – especially ones involving money. My current quest: to find a new Notebook computer.

    My best boss ever, was a guy who would make decisions quickly and never had regrets later. If you wanted to do anything/purchase anything you had to write a short proposal (no longer than an A4 page). He’d often read it and give you an answer while you were still in his office. Considering that was in the corporate world, I found it quite amazing. Wish I had absorbed some of his decisiveness when I was working there!

    Another cute photo of Reggie! 🙂


    1. Your former boss sounds like he really knew how to get things done and be a good manager. Employees really appreciate that kind of quick decision making.
      Good luck finding a new computer. The last time I had to look for one, it was an agonizing decision. 😛


    1. I definitely would NOT count the trips to Panda Express. Food is not included at all. 🙂
      Reggie loves hanging out on the roof deck and eating the plants.


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