Monthly Archives: February 2011

Blog on Pause

1980s Candies; image from

So, tomorrow, I’m off to surgery. 

A “Bunionectomy with Osteotomy and fixation,”  the Podiatrist said.  Bunions … ugh, I feel about 900 years old just saying that out-loud. Something to do with heredity and strappy heels.  Crap. All those hot little “Candies” (shoes) I’ve adored since my teens have come back to bite me in the … toe.

So what’s in my future? A surgery shoe, crutches, handicapped parking sticker, an orthopedic boot, and prescription pain relief.  No more than 10 min per hour on that foot for the first week.  No driving for 3 weeks.

~ Sigh ~

Have I mentioned our house is multi-level with 7 stairs up (to our bedroom)..7 stairs down (computer/office/other bedroom)..and 6 down again (laundry/game room). 

No hopping; au contraire mes amis, I’ve been advised to scoot.

Holy Hell, Batman!  Will I have the shoulders of an Olympic Freestyler when this is all said & done?

~ Sigh ~

But, really, here’s the rub … I am going to miss writing my little blog and all of you who stop in with comments and observations.  I really will.

Because of where my computer is (desktop not laptop) I can’t get to it easily.  That’s probably a good thing; I just love me some technology and not being able to reach it will force me to rest, read, and rest some more.  I have a work laptop, but no wireless, so that’s out of reach as well.

I know my guys will be great because their intentions are good;  I’ll be tucked, fluffed, and stuffed.  I’m doing some cooking and laundry today and I’ve resisted the urge to do it too much because, if I do, I eliminate their opportunity to shine.  And they like to shine!

Just like when the hubbs had dental surgery last year (I blogged about it here ), he will care for me. I’ll hear his big feet as he tippy-toes up the stairs to check in on me. I’ll feel his heavy hand when he rests it on the blanket to ask if I’m warm enough. I’ll hear him shoe our elderly, ever-worried dog out of the room. I will sense our boy when he appears near me wondering if I’m ok, and I’ll invite him closer to tell me all about his day.

It doesn’t matter what I eat. It doesn’t matter which blankie I have.  None of that matters. What matters is that they will be there.

They will do the best they can, and I will try my best to receive their care openly and gratefully.

I will try to be patient, to use my crutches, stay off my feet, and take the time to heal.

And that, my friends, is why my blog is on pause for now.


Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Family, Fashion, Friendship, Gratitude, Home, Life, Men, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

Who has seen the wind?

Grandpa F's old red barn; a Lisa Birch photo

I love the wind. It reminds me of my childhood home, our family farm on the Saskatchewan prairie.

I could never, ever live in the woods; I get claustrophobic when I can’t see the horizon.

I delight in a summer breeze drifting lazily across my skin and embrace it when it fiercely pushes my hair straight back from my face.

Even on wintry days when the wind is more a foe than a friend, I respect it. I step back as it blasts snow back at us, whips leaves through the yard, and howls above me in the cold, starless sky.

There’s a book I adore and I’m sharing here: “If you’re not from the prairie ….” by David Bouchard

“…My hair’s mostly wind,
My eyes filled with grit

My skin’s white then brown
My lips chapped and split

I’ve lain on the prairie and heard grasses sigh
I’ve stared at the vast open bowl of the sky

I’ve seen all the castles and faces in clouds
My home is the prairie and for that I am proud…

If You’re not from the Prairie, you can’t know my soul
You don’t know our blizzards; you’ve not fought our cold

You can’t know my mind, nor ever my heart
Unless deep within you there’s somehow a part…

A part of these things that I’ve said that I know,
The wind, sky and earth, the storms and the snow.

Best say that you have – and then we’ll be one,
For we will have shared that same blazing sun.

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Categories: Beauty, Family, Gratitude, Home, Life, Opinion, Personal, Share, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

I was fine…until he cried

I can handle a lot. I’m emotionally strong, and it takes a lot to get me weepy.   

This past weekend, the hubbs and I were chatting about his mom’s sudden passing last year. How unexpected it was. How sad we were. And how she gave the two of us one last really good day … and how grateful we are that she did.

We were both talking about that horrible week last year. About her long battle with M.S. and his Step-Dad’s devotion to her.  We talked about that week before her passing; her husband in and out of the ICU and then surgery, about our trying to figure out care options for her while trying to do our jobs, too.  We talked about who was wonderful and supportive to us and who acted like a selfish jerk.  We talked about leaving her house that last day and knowing, deep in our souls, that this might be it. That the end was coming and that we were not ready but that she was.  We talked about that phone call the next morning, about making calls to others to tell them that no – he was ok, he’d made it through his surgery, but that we’d lost her in the process.  We talked about planning the funeral, picking out a dress for her, and how grotesque it felt to choose a casket.  We talked of our wonderful friends who opened their hearts to us and lifted us up in prayer and food and hugs and beer.  We spoke of the absurdity of certain people’s behavior and those unbelievable moments of clarity when plans came together effortlessly, even when they shouldn’t have.  And then I saw it. His head tilted ever so slightly to the left and he looked up at me from where he sat. I could see the tears forming in his eyes, and his resolve to hold them in.  I saw those broad shoulders tremble and heard him take in a deep breath.

And then, simply, quietly, matter-of-factly, he put his head down and he cried.

That big-shouldered, hearty hunk of a man of mine let the tears flow.  It was necessary. It was gut-wrenching. 

And I was fine .. until he cried.

Categories: Faith, Gratitude, Grief, Life Lessons, Love, Men, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

The commute to nowhere

image from

It’s been an interesting day so far!

Yesterday morning, we had green grass showing; it started to snow around 2pm, a “wintry mix” the weatherman called it.  By 7pm we had seven inches of snow.

I got up extra early this morning because I knew the commute to the office was going to be horrendous, and it was.  Icy roads, cars in the ditch, and vehicles stuck where the snow plow hadn’t yet been.   I had to tap the brakes once and felt my SUV start to slide; Crap! Crap! Crap! I shouted as I swerved back into position.

I made it to the office on time (yay!) and powered up my laptop;  slowly my programs started to populate.

“Anyone else having problems with email or downloading files from the network?” This became the question of the day.

Sure enough, our office had lost connectivity. It made sense, given the ice and power outages in the area.

In my job I am dead in the water without my laptop though so, after a meeting, I powered down my computer, undocked it from the docking station and loaded up my vehicle for the trip HOME.  Driving back was no better; the roads are icy and messy and now, the wind is swirling the loose snow around into a drifting, blustery hazard.   The snow plows are out but there’s no salt being applied because it’s too cold for the salt to take effect.  I saw several more vehicles in the ditch and a few unfortunate folks who were stuck.

I made it though.   And thankfully the power is on so I have access to high-speed.

((Truth be told, I’m just fine working here today anyways … I have a number of projects to finish and I will be able to without interruption.))

But first, I think I’ll fill up my coffee cup, slip into my slippers and crank the heat up.

Happy day all!

Categories: Gratitude, Home, Life, Opinion, Random, Technology, Travel, Uncategorized, Work | 14 Comments

Beautiful Sunday

an emjayandthem photo

Sunday is my favorite day of the week.

It’s become my day.

Generally speaking, all of my hard work is accomplished by end of day Saturday. The grocery shopping, the laundry, the cleaning, the sorting, the tidying, the endless “to-do” list.  On Saturdays, I am a work horse. I get up; I survey the day, and tackle what’s ahead.  Saturdays, I am a warrior.

Sunday arrives and ah that’s a different story altogether.  I get up, but I take my time.  I sip my coffee while reading the paper, browsing news sites or just sitting quietly in the early morning sunshine. Sundays mean no particular place to be and plenty of time to get there. When we do attend church, I prefer to go Saturday evenings so I can hog Sunday all to myself. Yes, I’m that greedy with my Sundays.

Unlike harried weekday meals, on Sundays I can take my time cooking.  I play my music and flitter in and out of the kitchen.  On Sunday, the house sparkles with Saturday’s efforts and I like to fill it with the aromas of my childhood: tender roasts simmering in their own juices, sautéed vegetables, crunchy salads and home-made bread.  Sometimes there’s even a freshly baked treat for my loves: oatmeal/butterscotch cookies or my game day brownies.  I emulate the women I admire most by preparing fresh, hearty, soul-filling food and plenty of it. When I cook, I pay tribute to my mom, my Aunt Irene and my Grandma F. – the three greatest cooks I know.

Sunday is my day to slow down, get creative and reconnect.  It’s a beautiful day.

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Family, Food, Friendship, Gratitude, Home, Life, Love, Men, Mom, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , | 12 Comments

So tell me …

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Friendship, Home, Life, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Safety first!

“Let’s eat Grandma”  or “Let’s eat, Grandma.”  – think about it.

 Punctuation saves lives.

Categories: Humor, Life, Quotes, Random, Rants, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Useful Information, Writing | 4 Comments

A test in self-worth

emjayandthem in grade one

Find a picture of yourself as a little kid and say to that little person what you say to yourself when you look in the mirror. Would you tell her that her thighs are too big? That she needs to lose weight? That her hair is wretched? That he’s not good enough? Would you tell him that he’ll never be enough, have enough, make enough?  No you wouldn’t.

If you wouldn’t say those things to a small child, why do you say them to yourself?  

A balanced diet. Exercise. Enough sleep. Vitamins.  Health products. You name it. I think it has to start at the core.  Reinforcing my self-worth comes from thinking about how I would talk to that grade school girl.  I would treat her with kindness;  I’d encourage and support her. I’d tell her she could do anything, be anything, go anywhere and that she is most certainly.. good enough.

What we do to ourselves, we end up expecting and accepting from others.

What’s that quote? 

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -Ghandi.


Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Fashion, Friendship, Gratitude, Life, Love, Men, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

A toolbox approach?

image from

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” – Abraham Maslow

I know this for sure: on certain topics I most definitely wield the hammer but, the rest of the time, I’m surely a nail.  On occasion, when I’m feeling extra savvy, I fancy myself as the pliers, twisting and pulling the answer from an impossible spot. 

How about you?

What’s your communication style?

Do you wield a hammer for certain topics and a nail for others?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Life, Opinion, Personal, Random, Rants, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | 2 Comments

How one letter can make all the difference

image from

So .. our youngest is a junior in high school and works part-time as a host for a local breakfast (chain) restaurant.  It’s the perfect gig for him because he only works on weekends plus he’s tall, cute, and affable. He’s just as comfortable with senior citizens and veterans as he is with college students and young families. In fact, I think he prefers the former.  He’s got regulars whose names he knows by heart; he manages the church crowd on Sundays (and, surprisingly, they’re some of the worst behaved).  He’s diligent, responsible, and quick to pass out soda crackers to hungry toddlers.

This past Sunday was a gloriously sunny and mild day here in West Michigan and, as we expected, the restaurant was swamped.  As he often does, after changing out of his work clothes, he plopped down and entertained us with the stories of the day. Both of us have put our time in at restaurants – his Dad grilling a local steak house during high school and me, waiting tables and tending bar throughout college.

The lobby was jammed with families and groups jockeying for a Sunday brunch table.  He and another young gal, the hostess, share the responsibility of taking down names and group size as people fill the waiting area hoping for a spot.  Looking down at a name, she hesitated before calling out, “SHARTZ party of 5. SHARTZ party of 5.” 

No takers.

Imagine that … a sea of hungry people eagerly awaiting a table and no one stepped forward to claim a table for 5?

Shartz. defines a “shart” as gas … followed by …mass.   

After a few minutes passed, a gentleman approached our boy and whispered, “Shaltz? Did you mean Shaltz?”

Flushed with embarrassment, he quickly ushered Mr. Shaltz and his group to the nearest table accommodating 5.

Tears ran down his face as he retold the story; we all came to the same conclusion:  when asking for a table, first names will work just fine

Jim, table for 5? Jim, table for 5.

Categories: Family, Food, Home, Humor, Life, Personal, Random, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work | 8 Comments

A happy Tuesday

It’s Tuesday;  I’m up and at it, and getting ready for the day.  The forecast is calling for milder weather (yay) and I’m involved in several juicy projects at work.   That makes the day fly by!  Supper’s already cooked and in the fridge and I get to end my day with a massage (redeeming a Christmas gift certificate from my sweet hubbs)!  

Today, I’m feeling groovy. 

How about you?   Are you grooving or slugging through February?

Categories: Beauty, Friendship, Gratitude, Home, Humor, Life, Love, music, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

A little something sweet …

photo from

Today’s Valentine’s Day and unless you’ve been sequestered with your TV/radio off, it would be difficult not to know about it.  Commercials – point-of-purchase displays – even the gas station is set up to make sure we don’t forget our sweethearts!  Millions will be spent today on roses, candy, teddy bears and more yet later tonight, retail employees will mark down all the Valentine’s stuff to make way for … Easter!   Good-bye Necco sweethearts, hello Peeps!

Put aside the romantic connotations (and pressures) of today and know that it’s actually a perfect opportunity to do something sweet for yourself.  There’s an abundance of good things and warm feelings around anyways, why not roll in it? A few ideas:

  • Indulge in that special coffee-house drink you love so much. Monday morning commutes are so much better with a tasty treat.
  • Build yourself the ultimate healthy salad at lunch and, if possible, sit in the sunshine to eat it.
  • Double up on the amount of water you drink today; your circulation will thank you.
  • Treat yourself to a workout that leaves your skin glowing.
  • Leave the dishes in the sink and instead, sink into the book or movie you’ve been eyeing.
  • Buy one special piece of candy/chocolate/whatever and savor it slowly.
  • Bottom line: do one decadent thing today that leaves you feeling spoiled. Because when you feel that way, when you’re happy and satisfied and included, you’re more likely to share your best with others.    Including your sweetheart.

Love is all around us … how are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?    

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Family, Fashion, Friendship, Holidays, Home, Humor, Life, Love, Men, music, Opinion, Random, Relationships, Romance, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

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