Monthly Archives: January 2012

Ghost Dog

Ghost dog .. what’s your story?

  Why do you come so near?

Ghost dog, what’s your story?

What have you to fear?

You trod uphill and you stop in time

to sit and face my house.

You sniff the air, you look at me,

but still you won’t come close.

Ghost dog, what’s your story?

To whom do you belong?

We see your collar,

we see the belly,

we know you’re not alone.

Ghost dog, what’s your story?

Who do you come to see?

Spring and Winter, Summer and Fall

we find you close at hand.

Ghost dog .. what’s your story?

What can’t we understand?

Ghost Dog across the street; always near but never closer than this ... What's his story?

Categories: Animals, Life, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Signs, signs everywhere signs

Driving to a workshop a few weeks ago, I enjoyed the morning sunshine and some Elvis tunes – it was his birthday that day, after all. Nothing like a little “Burning Love” to get me ramped up for a new adventure!

Introducing the course materials, the instructor explained how she does her work (she’s a Reiki healer and a spiritual medium) when she added, “but it’s not like I can channel Elvis or anything” I smiled and knew that comment was for me.

Before I committed to the  class, I had to wrap my head around the fact that I used to work where the class was being held.  We had reorganized and didn’t need that much office space; the building and surrounding acreage sold easily. The new owners invested a lot to convert it from office space to a spa/healing center and what a beautiful center it is now.  At the time of the sale, I served as the legal contact and while I couldn’t remember the new owner’s names, I definitely remembered their personalities: she was headstrong and driven, he was quiet and meticulous. I remembering wondering if I could ever work for a woman with a personality so defined (think: her way or the highway).  Probably, but it would not be without its challenges, I thought.

Back to the class … it began, I took notes, and felt myself relax into the materials.  Then, I found myself distracted by Salisbury steak.  Now I love to cook and I enjoy food, but I’m not a fan. In fact, I’ve never even cooked it!

What does this have to do with anything? image from

I know you’re probably wondering where this is going .. please bear with me.

When the instructor referenced the work she does and and how the Spa owner’s personality is a “red” – someone who is pragmatic, organized and defined and she’s more of a “green” – creative, light and carefree, I asked, “Do you have to speak another language just so she can understand you?”  She looked me right in the eye and said, “Yes, that’s it, exactly.” And suddenly that steak image popped up again and I recalled the name:  Julie  Salisbury – the buyer from so many years ago…

Signs are everywhere. We all get them and we all have an intuitive voice that speaks to us:    Do we heed the signs?

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.  We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein.

Categories: Growth, Life, Personal, Random, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

The same but different

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Friendship, Life, Random, Share, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , | 14 Comments

Rivers and Rides

As a kid, my cousin and I lived, breathed, scrimped and saved for that one glorious week in late summer: the arrival of the summer fair! There was so much to see and so much to do – the  rides, the concerts (KISS, Bob Hope, The Stampeders and Cheap Trick, just to name a few!), the Midway, the games of chance, the incredible foods, and all those rides! Did I mention the rides? Yeah .. I loved the rides. Total ride junkie, yes, yes I was.

Best friends then and now: Deb (L) & me (the curly haired shorty) with 2 other cousins

I loved everything about the fair: escaping summer’s heat by feigning interest in the exhibits, just so we could chat up the cute Ag reps (yeah we weren’t obvious at all), finding a shady spot to listen in on local talent shows, strolling through the midway in our cutest summer outfits, sampling yummy treats, and of course, riding the rides.  We’d spend all day out there:  chatting up our friends, trying to be cool and cute and older than our years and then we’d finish our day at the Grandstand taking in a concert accompanied by sunburned shoulders and a mild case of indigestion.

Once was enough for me on the Zipper;

I can count on one hand the number of times I braved the Zipper, a swirly, spinny cage designed to make riders hurl and retch. No, my preference was far tamer; I preferred the tilt-a-whirl, the Ferris Wheel and of course, the classic whip-us-around and thrash-us down roller coaster.   A must stop was the “Avalanche,” a circular roller-coaster type ride blaring classic rock, the place anyone cool preferred to hang out. We were far from cool but did our best by loitering there in our summer tans,  Bonne Bell lip gloss, Bob Seger Tee shirts, and knee-high socks:  Cat Scratch Fever – duh duh duh!

Made perfect sense at the time!

I was thinking about carnival rides the other day and how they translate to life.

Have you ever been excited about a someone new in your life – a new friend or relationship and later found yourself feeling a little sick?  As in heartsick?  Have you ever found the experience just wasn’t worth the price of admission?

Some relationships are like that.   Sometimes … they’re people who are related to you.  Sometimes they’re co-workers and sometimes, sometimes they’re just people you thought were friends.

It’s easy to get it wrong: we see what we want to see, after all.  Someone who appears interesting isn’t necessarily interested … in me.  Someone who appears genuine might very well be .. as long as the relationship benefits them.  Someone who came across as fresh and new and invigorating can turn out to be unpredictable, needy and exhausting … lurching unexpectedly and throwing me to the rails when their  personality reveals itself. And it always does.

I’ve learned something since those summer days of old … and that’s how good relationships – healthy ones – are a bit like a river, they meander and move along at a predictable, steady pace; random events can cause the river to swell and a subsequent course adjustment might be needed but always, always the good ones are those that leave us refreshed and relaxed, filled with satisfaction and ease.   I don’t have a lot of rivers in my life but the ones I do have are wide and deep and very, very good.

... sometimes quiet, sometimes roaring, but always, always there; image

Some rides aren’t worth the price of admission; unfortunately some relationships aren’t either. I think the key might be in skipping the rides and finding yourself a river, or two.

Did you have a favorite carnival ride as a kid? Do you have any rivers now? Can you see any relevance to your present day relationships?

Categories: Family, Friendship, Growth, Life, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Give a little bit

Give a little bit …  Give a little bit of your love to me

Give a little bit

I’ll give a little bit of my love to you

There’s so much that we need to share
So send a smile and show you care

I’ll give a little bit

I’ll give a little bit of my life for you
So give a little bit …  Give a little bit of your time to me

See the man with the lonely eyes
Take his hand, you’ll be surprised

Give a little bit
Give a little bit of your love to me

I’ll give a little bit
I’ll give a little bit of my love for you

Now’s the time that we need to share
So find yourself, we’re on our way back home

Going home
Don’t you need to feel at home?
Oh yeah, we gotta sing

Give a little bit.

Take his hand, you'll be surprised; image

Paws work too; an emjayandthem (C) photo

Categories: Animals, Friendship, Love, music, Relationships, Share, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 28 Comments

A baker’s dozen

Toast and Jam anyone?

Two bloggers inspired this post: they are MJ Monaghan’s and his 27 Possibly Interesting things about me  and Darla’s “about the Maineiac” over at She’s a Maineiac.  Well written and and hilarious, their musings made me laugh out loud and and think long and hard about what I’d choose to share if I did.  And then I did.  For more please consider visiting the links above; I promise it’s worth the read. 🙂

On that note, I give you my Baker’s Dozen:  i.e. 13 pieces not 12.  More about the history of the Baker’s Dozen here.

  1. When I started school I was a left-handed curly-haired little girl;  teachers made me switch to right-handed.  I stuttered then and still do if I’m tired or nervous. I still have curly hair.  Some things cannot be forced out of us.

    I'm glad grand-daughter MJ has my curls & someone in her life who understands them!

  2. Singing in a cover band helped me pay for college. Don’t tell anyone but I would have done it for free.

    rockin the 80s hairdo as the "singer in the band"

  3. Speaking of, most of what I learned there has nothing to do with what I actually know or do.
  4. I hear people.  About a year after my Dad passed, my cousin Kirk died unexpectedly.  Before I “heard” the news, I knew: I was cleaning my closet and heard Dad’s voice (in my right ear) quietly say, “Oh … Kirk’s here.”  And that night, I got the phone call informing me of his death.  It was comforting to have advance notice and to know there’s definitely a welcoming committee upon arrival.

    Thanks for the heads-up, Dad

  5. My eyes used to be blue, but are green now. How does that happen?

    yep .. definitely green now

  6. Breakfast is my favorite meal because 3 of my favorite scents happen then: coffee, toast and bacon. Mm mm.

    .. mouth-watering-goodness .. (

  7. I give great credence to my intuitive self.  The only times I’ve gotten into trouble is when I’ve ignored it.

    ..:: so true ::..

  8. I’m patriotic.  I still think there’s more that’s right with this country than there is wrong.  You can think otherwise if you wish, but I don’t care to debate it.

    A day I'll never forget: the day I became a citizen!

  9. My earliest memories involve animals, especially horses.  Dad used to clean the barns with Tony and Bruce, a team of Belgian draught horses,and he’d let me and my sister climb up and hold onto their neck collars as he drove them. Lumbering to the field on their monstrous shoulders made us feel like we were on top of the world’s highest rocking chairs.

    The famed Budweiser Clydesdales; Imagine being 5 and being up on those shoulders!

  10. As much as I love to talk with and be around others, I also relish being alone and remaining quiet.

    I can find beauty out here

  11. I don’t believe being related gives you the right to be hurtful. My parents always told us “don’t save your best manners for strangers.” There’s nothing admirable about being brutally honest if all someone remembers about you is …..that you were brutal.


  12. The Library is one of my favorite places to visit.  I love the “shhhs,” the smell of the books and all the nooks and crannies in which to hide away and read. I’ll probably never have an e-reader.

    image from

  13. My favorite quote of all time is this one: “To thine own self be true.” Know who you are and own it. And if you don’t know who you are and what you stand for, find out.

    ..:: read it ... learned it ... living it ::..

Will you consider sharing your “Baker’s Dozen” with me?

Categories: Attitude, Life, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

This post brought to you by Prednisone

This post serves a warning to you, my regular readers – all those kind and thoughtful peeps who pop in regularly just to say hello. It’s also for any who might happen by for a visit.

Why’s that, you say?

Well .. I’ve been to the doctor, again. This was my 4th visit in … 4 weeks.  Diagnosed with Bronchitis just before Christmas,  I was given a 5 day antibiotic + 8 days of Prednisone (preds).  Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid used as an immune-suppressant. Translation – it’s a man-made chemical that gives your immune system a stern talking to.  The dose starts out with 8 tablets per day, 7 the next and so on.  In my case, it was given to combat the inflammation in the bronchial airway (lungs); I needed its help to settle things down and let me breathe again.

"Hello, Immune System? Mrs. Prednisone calling. I have 3 words for you: Knock it off!" Photo

That was week one.

Week two found me back for a long-acting bronochiodilator  (translation – jaws of life for the lungs).   I was also given a short-term inhaler for those moments when my chest felt tight. Which was daily.    Things started looking up and I even blogged about the Adventures of Wonder Boy and Phlegm girl.

I went back to work in week three but found myself in trouble a few days in; Wheezing, short of breath, and exhausted.  The doctors prescribed another 8 days of preds.

I am in week 4 and thought I was all set. Except I’m not.  I’m still raspy, hoarse and wheezy.  I’m short of breath and honestly, I’m beat.  (Don’t ever Google those symptoms, you’ll panic; I did).  I was scheduled for a regular blood draw this morning anyways at my new favorite hangout (kidding) when Doc popped his head in to check on me (love that).  After a few tests and checks, I’m now on a 3 week dose of a higher amounts of preds that will taper off week by week.

Turns out that what I’d been given were effective but just not quite enough.  It makes sense now. I’d start the high dose on a Thursday, feel pretty good over the weekend, and by Tuesday (day 5)  I was hoarse, gasping and dragging again.

Why the warning?

High doses of Prednisone can mess with the body’s ability to make cortisol at the right times (think cortisone = think adrenal fatigue, which I’ve battled and beat before).  Cortisol levels being out of whack affect sleep quality, concentration and can increases the likelihood of gaining weight around the middle.  Fantastic!  Other possible joys in my immediate future? Facial swelling, anxiety, depression, mouth sores, general snarkiness and unexplained body pain. Super-de-duper!

.. definitely out of whack;

So, if you’re looking for me, please know I might have to hide under the blankies from now till … I don’t know, March?  I’ll expect to breathe better soon but might only be allowed out to play with proper supervision.

I just want my Mom to get better ...

Categories: Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 45 Comments

On Luxuries

“When I first moved to New York I bought VOGUE instead of dinner. I just felt it fed me more.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

When I read that quote, I immediately knew my answer:   it’s having  simple luxuries like a really good cup of coffee to start my day.  Nothing better than a hearty, robust cup of Joe in the wee morning hours.   Or afternoon. Or after a great meal!

Do you really want to hurt me?

I’ll happily spend a Visa gift card downloading MP3 music from Amazon.   Who needs the whole CD when Boy George only had a few good dance songs anyways?  Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make cry?

I’ll happily take the plunge for a box of Clementine oranges.

I’ll spend my last bit of Christmas money in the book store … and take a couple of hours to do it.

I’ll skip dessert and save the calories for a really great bar burger shared with hubbs;  I’ll languish over a cold Killians, too.

I’ll pass on home cooking, jewelry and purse parties and instead, I’ll  lose an afternoon in the kitchen gadget section of “Bed, Bath and Beyond.” Lord, have mercy.

Oh, my darling, Clementine!

I’ll happily haggle with local farmers over fresh produce.  And I’ll come home with more than I can fit in the fridge.  Crazy, I know.

Yep, it’s the simple things.

What luxury will you happily spend money on?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Fun, Joy, Life, Personal, Random | Tags: , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Fruits of Disconnection

I don’t know about you but sometimes I just need to disconnect. To unplug. To step away.  Emails, texts, phone calls, voice mails, faxes, Mail, deliveries, neighbors and friends; you name it, sometimes it’s just too much.

As connected as we are (you’re reading my words via the internet and an electronic device, right?)  there are days when I just pull the plug.  Sometimes, as much as I enjoy taking it all in, I take in too much, and others’ problems and energies overwhelm mine.

I’ve cultivated a few strategies and these include:

  • Take a trip  … to nowhere-ville.  Shut the door, close the blinds, turn off the

    Frankie hangs out in nowhere-ville, too

    TV, radio, stereo and phones.  I cozy up in my favorite spot, burrow under a soft throw, and stay still.  I don’t speak, I don’t watch, I don’t engage.  I just enjoy my little slice of nowhere.  It takes practice because I’m a multi-tasker and always have a to-do list rolling through my head, but practice brings ability.

  • Hide.  This one I save for company trips; after a day of meetings and ideas and business dinners, when others head for the bar, I head for my room.  I bolt the door, draw a bath, pull back the sheets and luxuriate in all that space …just for me.  I enjoy my book and a snack brought from home. I slip my tired, clean self into the middle of that big ole bed and dream the dreams of the rested.  I get up refreshed and ready for the next day’s meetings or travel.  And I smile tenderly into the bleary eyes of the over-served.
  • Assess relationship ROI(return on investment).  Sometimes you’ve got to divest yourself of relationships that wear you out or just don’t return the investment you’ve made.  You might need a hand scraper and you might need

    so effective, so satisfying

    some Lysol, because my experience has taught me the toxic ones will try and to pull you with them when they leave.  You might encounter tempers and hurtful words but you can do it; you must do it, for your own well-being.

  • Be careful who you fill your friendship cupboard with.  When you’ve made room in there, take a little time to think about who has the right to occupy it.  You might be tempted to reach out and fill the void right away.  Don’t. Be choosier this time.  Pay attention to signals you might have missed in the past.  The friend who seemed just a little too eagerto be mine. The super competitive/ultra ambitious friend who’s made me

    No need to fill your friendship cupboard right away; image

    think “what ever do they see in me?” The friend who only called when they needed something but have never asked if I do.  Pay attention. Pay attention. Pay attention.

  • Reflect – and say out loud – what’s good in your life?  What’s working? What makes your heart sing?  What makes you smile?  For me, it’s the little things and here’s just an example: I am quite sure I look a bit crazy driving down the beltway smiling and singing but having a great sound system with good music thumping makes me happy to be driving.  Every time.

Every time I make a point to stop – to step away, get still and clear the clutter –  I discover just what I’m thankful for. And always, I find there’s more than I realized.

Do you make it a point to disconnect?  And what do you find when you do?

Categories: Growth, Life, News, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

The road

“When someone comes to me with a problem, I don’t care what it is: poor health, lack of money, unfulfilling relationships, or self esteem issues… there is only one thing that I ever work on, and that is LOVING THE SELF. I find that when we really love, accept and approve of ourselves exactly as we are, then everything in life works.” – Louise Hay

I wrote about a the Lesson in the Lesson, my experiences in a class I attended last week.  But something I’ve carried with me since are the words shared by a woman who sat next to me.   She’s a nurse and a practitioner of Reiki;  her work is done in hospice.  It was her comment about Love that struck a chord with me.

She commented that the greatest hurdle she works to overcome with patients isn’t the cancer or other diseases they’re fighting: it’s the self-loathing.  It’s the inability to forgive. It’s the hanging on to past hurts and the continuation of old fights. It’s the heartache and it’s the fear.

Her work takes her to a place of deep intimacy with those who are very ill and who want their time here to mean something.

What are we waiting for? Do we really want to be standing at death’s door before we finally accept who we are?

“The road to freedom is through the door of forgiveness.” – Louise Hay.

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken" ~ Oscar Wilde (

Categories: Attitude, Forgiveness, Growth, Life, Love, Quotes, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

With a hopeful heart on bended knee

Lord, help me walk another mile, just one more mile
I’m tired of walkin’ all alone
Lord, help me smile another smile, just one more smile
You know I just can’t make it on my own

I never thought I needed help before
I thought that I could get by, by myself
But now I know I just can’t take it any more
With a humble heart, on bended knee
I’m beggin’ You, please, help me

Come down from your golden throne to me, to lowly me
I need to feel the touch of Your tender hand
Remove the chains of darkness let me see, Lord let me see
Just where I fit into Your master plan

I never thought I needed help before
I thought that I could get by, by myself
But now I know I just can’t take it any more
With a humble heart, on bended knee
I’m beggin’ You, please, help me

With a humble heart, on bended knee
I’m beggin’ You, please, help me

It’s not a secret that I have a thing for the King.  As a girl, I swooned over his movie-star good looks, melted at how he adored his Mama, and relished his velvety soft and  powerful voice.  Still do.

But Elvis cut his teeth on Gospel music.  Down home. On his Mama’s knee. In revival tents with his Daddy and his cousins by his side.

an MJ favorite; image from

In challenging times, it’s where he retreated to.   It’s what he sang to relax and come down from all the emotions poured out in concert. And, yes, it’s where I go in my darkest hours but, just as often, it’s where I visit in my happiest, too.

I adore his upbeat tempos and thoughtful ballads but when I hear his version of Gospel … I’m all in.

Say what you want about the Karate moves, jumpsuits and capes;  I get it.  There’s just something so stirring about a talented and charismatic icon admitting that he, too, got down on a bended knee and asked for help.  His humanity reminds me I can, also.

“Since I was two years old, all I knew was Gospel music. That music became such a part of my life it was as natural as dancing. A way to escape from the problems. And my way of release.”

reprinted in Elvis in His 0wn Words, 1977

Categories: Faith, Gratitude, Joy, Life, music, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

on Choices

We’re in the grey days of winter.  Those grey January days that can drag. Those January days when it feels like forever since we’ve seen that golden thing in the sky.

I really can’t complain for we’ve had the mildest West Michigan winter I can remember.   It was 50 F just two days ago; it’s in the 20s this morning… and snowing, blowing and, generally speaking, an icy mess out there.

300 area schools around us closed; youngest boy is happily snoring and me? I’m very content to be working from home today.

a very good day to stay in; image

I’ve had years of commuting and am grateful that today’s not one of them.  I’m delighted to leave the white-knuckle driving to someone else.

doesn't that image just make you cold? image

These are the days when we reach for our warmest gear.  Our coziest sweaters, our warmest socks and our thick Artic-worthy jackets.

Gale force winds? Um .. no thanks; image

These are the days when you check and make sure there’s an extra blanket and boots in the car … just in case. These are the days.

I’ve know a few friends and colleagues who have the same options as me but will brave the elements anyways. They don’t have to, and they’ll tease me for choosing to stay in.

from my back porch lookin' out

They’ll give me grief on Monday that I chose this today …

my cozy home office

and him as my office mate.

The kitchen's up there; when's lunch??

What would you have done? And, do you have a choice?

Categories: Gratitude, Home, Joy, Share, Technology, Work | Tags: , , , | 28 Comments

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